updated 5/17/2007 11:15:56 AM ET 2007-05-17T15:15:56

Guests: Arianna Huffington, Ryan Lizza, Danny Bonaduce, Kim Serafin

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight here—stay here because this is great TV.  Tonight we talk about the Imus effect.  Is the fall-out from Imus creating a new McCarthyism, where free speech leads to firings?  That story ahead.

But first: The walls close in at the White House as Washington is gripped by stunning testimony telling about how Alberto Gonzales and White House officials rushed to the hospital bedside of then attorney general John Ashcroft, taking advantage of the attorney general‘s feeble state to pressure him into signing one of the administration‘s most controversial programs.  Former deputy attorney John (SIC) Comey also told Congress of his tense stand-off with senior White House officials over the administration‘s warrantless wiretapping program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I was very upset.  I was angry.  I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  The damaging testimony sounds like one more nail being hammered into the political coffin of Alberto Gonzales, the latest revelations causing further erosion of the embattled attorney general‘s support in Congress.  Now yet another Republican, this time, Chuck Hagel, is demanding Gonzales‘s head.  Democrats, of course, are almost universally united in their belief that the AG must leave at once.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  He has to go.  It‘s not he should go, it would be better if he would go.  For the sake of justice in this country, he has to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And while the White House is fending off attacks on the home front, administration officials are now having to explain why the one man in Washington who seemed willing to take the newly minted war czar position was actually against the president‘s war surge plan until, of course, he received his offer from the White House.  The embarrassing revelation put the Bush camp back on its heels and forced the White House to defend its pick for war czar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN:  The president has repeatedly made it clear that nothing—not the wishes of the American people, not the advice of the military and foreign policy experts, not the concerns of members of both parties—will discourage him from pursuing a war that has no end in sight.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  I will not allow this president to tell me that I have no right to try and end this war!  I have every right to try and end this war.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS:  How many more soldiers do we have to bury, how many more do we have to bring into our military and veterans hospitals, how many more thousands of innocent Iraqis have to die before we finally accept our responsibility to bring this war to an end?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Democrats bashing George W. Bush, the White House and the war plan.  Of course, a job description that was given by Tony Snow left many ask asking whether Tony Snow had just defined the position of another employee in the executive branch, that of commander-in-chief.  Why exactly does one need a war czar if one has an engaged commander-in-chief?

Whoever‘s running the war effort in the White House, Mr. Bush or the war czar, had to be concerned with those attacks we just heard coming from Capitol Hill today, as Democrats and some Republicans alike use the debate over the troop withdrawal in Iraq as yet another excuse to blast Mr. Bush‘s war plans.

Meanwhile, the president was forced to bid farewell to the most loyal of his allies, British prime minister Tony Blair.  Now, this is a man whose loyalty to George W. Bush ultimately destroyed his decade-long dominance at the top of British politics.  Well, that‘s over now, and as Washington continues go to war over the war, American troops continue their frantic search for those American troops and are now allegedly being held by al Qaeda in Iraq.  The new war czar, the president, the hostages—it is getting worse and worse.

Let‘s start and bring in right now Arianna Huffington.  Arianna, so much stuff going wrong for the White House today.  I would have to say, though, on the war front, one of the more embarrassing revelations was the fact that this newly minted war czar, the man who‘s supposed to coordinate all of the plans for the administration, since I guess the commander-in-chief‘s not doing that anymore, General Lute, was actually against George W. Bush‘s surge troop plan.  How do you spin that at the White House?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  It‘s kind of amazing, Joe.  You know, they asked, as you know, many four star generals, who did not want to be considered.  So they ended up with this three star general, who had been opposed to the surge, and now they are trying to explain how come he‘s going to be the war czar.  First of all, as you said in your introduction, why do you need a war czar?  And if you needed a war czar, why didn‘t you appoint one when the war started in 2003, instead of now, in 2007?  So this is all, again, another demonstration of a White House that is absolutely desperate to keep doing things that give the impression to the public that they are changing course while, in fact, they are not.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, the new war czar is Army Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, told “The Financial Times” in 2005, quote, “You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq.  It‘s very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus largely Western foreign troops occupying the country.”

And Pat, let‘s- I want to ask you two questions.  First question is, how did these guys manage to hire a war czar who was against the surge?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I don‘t take this post very seriously, Joe.  I think what it is, is Hadley is overworked.  He‘s a national security guy.  He‘s running the whole world, the problems with China, the problems with Russia.  And then you got this major war going on, or two of them.  And I think he needs someone who basically is a co-national security director who will deal with the war alone.  And I see this fellow as being that point man who takes the information to the president.

When I was in Reagan‘s White House, Joe, and we had Iran-contra, Speakes was being bedeviled, and I suggested we bring in Dave Abshire (ph), set up an entire separate operation that handles entirely Iran-contra, that requests everything, and do it separately, and the White House would stay on course.  That‘s what we did, and I think this is the same thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, but I mean, would Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon, another man you worked for, ever have allowed the hiring of somebody called a war czar?  Isn‘t that what a commander-in-chief is supposed to do?

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you—you mean, would Henry Kissinger allow somebody to be co-equal with him at the National Security during Vietnam?  The answer, Joe, is no.  I don‘t think Hadley‘s a big enough figure, and I think he needs help.  That‘s the problem here.  This is something that they‘re being overwhelmed by what‘s happening day in and out with this surge.  Who‘s coordinating all the rest of it?  I don‘t take this fellow...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... we‘re almost...

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re—we‘re four years plus into this war.  The White House is overwhelmed with what‘s going on?

BUCHANAN:  The National Security Council has to be overwhelmed with what‘s going on, if you bring in someone who‘s an equal to Hadley, the president‘s national security adviser.  It‘s like taking Henry Kissing and saying, OK, Henry, you deal with detente, but we‘re bringing in a three star or a four star who‘s going to report to the president daily on the war.  It is a demotion for Hadley.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And Ryan Lizza, that would obviously never happen in the Reagan White House or the Nixon White House.  Certainly, you wouldn‘t see Henry Kissinger pushed to the side.  What do you make of the White House hiring a war czar, first of all, and secondly, having a war czar who was opposed to the surge, which has been the centerpiece of the Bush administration‘s plan in Iraq post-election?

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Well, look, the fact that they‘re hiring someone who is critical of the strategy—I mean, it‘s hard to criticize them for that.  We‘ve criticized them quite a bit for not reaching out to people that think differently, for not adhering to everything that the—that Bush says.  So you know, maybe they deserve a little bit of credit for bringing someone in on Iraq policy that views things differently.

Look, I think the big problem that the National Security Council has always had, and this is a problem under Condi Rice and clearly a problem under Hadley—is that it‘s been dysfunctional.  And the job of the national security adviser is to coordinate policy between the State Department and the other branches, and that has never, ever functioned in this administration.

And if this guy‘s coming in and he‘s going to help do that, that would be great.  But they have a year-and-a-half left in this White House.  It‘s, like, it‘s too little, too late.  I mean, it‘s tragic, what‘s going on.  You know, even if this was the best, brightest guy and he knew what he was going to do, I mean, this—it‘s too late.  I mean, it‘s just—it‘s—it‘s sad.  If it weren‘t so tragic, it would be funny.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... frightening situation.

HUFFINGTON:  What can he do?  You know, here we have a tragic situation on the ground.  We have four soldiers, one of whom we know is dead, but we can‘t even identify him because his body is so burned, and three soldiers missing.  This is like now a face being put on why we need to withdraw because our soldiers are caught in the middle of the civil war, and what can a war czar do about that?  A war czar can...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  ... different departments.  What can he do about the facts on the ground, which is where this war is being fought every day, which is what is putting the lives of thousands of American soldiers at risk every day?  We need to keep every day reminding the American public of those four soldiers...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Ryan?

LIZZA:  If we take the White House at face value, what he‘s going to be doing is be a direct conduit to the White House to really explain to the president and the national security adviser what‘s going on in Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  The fact that they don‘t have someone doing that is insane.  I agree with you, Arianna, it is pathetic.

BUCHANAN:  All right, but look, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan?

BUCHANAN:  Joe—sure.  Look what happened today in the Senate.  They got 29 votes to pull out of Iraq and 67 votes against it.  When you get to the bottom line, whatever Arianna says or you say or I say, the president‘s got the courage of his convictions and he‘s staying with it, and the Congress does not have the courage or the capacity...

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Pat, why...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Democrats only get 29 votes today, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think because nobody—Joe, it‘s what we‘ve talked about.  Many of those Democrats, like Levin and them, they do not want to be perceived as having undercut the troops by not sending them what they need to continue fighting the war.  They look down the road, they say, I‘m not going to go with Feingold...

HUFFINGTON:  Hey, Joe...

BUCHANAN:  ... and I‘m going to...

LIZZA:  I think the headline is that...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna?

HUFFINGTON:  Something very significant—something very significant happened, which is that all four candidates for president voted for this bill.  Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama all voted for it.  That‘s because they need to be in touch with where the American people are.

BUCHANAN:  Well...

HUFFINGTON:  And Harry Reid—and Harry Reid, who is the head of the Senate, was the co-sponsor of this bill...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, though.  Hold on.  Arianna, you can‘t ignore the reality that only 29 people out of 100 voted for this.  You say that these four candidates are now in touch with the American people.  Where are the other 71 senators?

HUFFINGTON:  I agree with you there are way too many enablers in the Senate.  But you know what, Joe?  Last June, when a similar bill was introduced, only 13 voted for it.  And it didn‘t even include specific terms about cutting off funding.  So there is some very, very slow progress.  Trust me.  I completely agree with you.  It should have been a lot faster (ph), and a lot more of them should have voted for it.

LIZZA:  The truth is that the left has been a leading indicator on

public opinion on the war for the last five years.  And Arianna‘s right, 29

the fact—I think the headline today is that 29 senators voted for this.  And I think it‘s not where the American people are, I think it‘s where the Democratic primary voters are.  But so far, for the last few years...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  The bottom line is...

SCARBOROUGH:  The thing is, though, and the reason why I‘m laughing, Pat Buchanan is because even when I was in Congress, you could get 29 crazy conservatives to vote on anything!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Hold on.  The bottom line is the president of the United States is going to win this.

SCARBOROUGH:  He wins.

BUCHANAN:  He‘s going to get the money with no strings attached, and these guys have been told, Go back and do your term paper over again and over again, and they‘re going to turn it in and give him the money.

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s exactly what‘s going to happen.  They‘re going to go back to their dorm rooms, you know, put on some Grateful Dead and figure out how to give him—I mean, the president wins.  Pat Buchanan is being proven right.  When you‘ve got people considering 29 votes a victory, it appears the president‘s going to keep getting his way until he leaves office in January of 2009.

Hey, Ryan Lizza, thank you so much.  Pat and Arianna, stay with us.

When we come back: Are Democrats too negative?  A top GOP pollster goes toe to toe with Arianna on Bill Maher‘s show.  But does he have a point?  We‘re going to talk to Arianna about that coming up next.

Plus, a stunning new hidden camera investigation by our station in LA reveals that you‘re getting taken for a ride when you go get your car fixed.  This is ugly hidden camera stuff you‘re not going to want to miss.

And later: Tell you what, friends, there may be a new McCarthyism that‘s cropping up because of the Imus effect.  More and more shock jocks being suspended.  Is anybody safe in this post-Imus PC climate, or is this the new McCarthyism?  We‘ll ask radio host Danny Bonaduce coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER:  The Democratic Party would be more successful if it were more tolerant of those who are religious.

HUFFINGTON:  Oh, come on!  You know, when did the Democratic Party...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  But no, hold on a second, Frank.  This is such a caricature.  You know, when did the Democratic Party become intolerant of those with religious views?

You just say anything with conviction and...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  Yes, Frank is so right.  He‘s so right.

LUNTZ:  When was the last time...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  Frank, when you just said to me, you know, you‘re angry, I thought to myself, God, I‘m angry.  Yes.  That‘s what they do (INAUDIBLE) to Democrats.  You know, you say, You‘re angry.  You‘re not being bipartisan.  You‘re not being civil.  And we kind of go, OK.  We retreat.  You know, let‘s just please Frank.  Let‘s forget about pleasing Frank!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That was Arianna with Republican strategist Frank Luntz on “Real Time With Bill Maher.”  Their heated debate continued after Friday‘s show across the country and across the Internet.

Still with us, the woman at the heart of it all, Arianna Huffington.  Also with us, Pat Buchanan.  Arianna, listen, I—you know, I hope you consider me your friend.  I consider you my friend.  I‘m just going to tell you, friend to friend, You know, as a reformed angry political guy, Democrats are angry.  Democrats today remind me of Republicans in ‘95 and ‘96, and it blew up in our face.  Shouldn‘t the Democrats just kind of cool out a little bit?

HUFFINGTON:  You know what, Joe?  It‘s not just Democrats.  I think the country is angry.  I think any sentient being is angry about the continuation of an unwinnable war which is costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars.  So I don‘t think there is anything illegitimate about being angry.  The question is, are we at the same time putting forward clear proposals?  And there is a clear proposal.  As we discussed in the previous segment, there aren‘t enough Democrats behind it.  But there is a clear proposal to bring the troops home within the next nine months and cut funding after that.  I mean, isn‘t that a positive alternative to what we have right now?

SCARBOROUGH:  That is a—I think that‘s a very positive alternative.  I‘m not saying that all Democrats are negative.  I‘m just saying that there‘s just been such a hatred of George W. Bush, I think, that Democratic leaders need to be concerned that, again, like the Republicans in ‘95 and ‘96, you know, they may see their hatred of a president and commander-in-chief blow up in their face, like it did with Republicans in the 1990s.

I also want to get to the second part of that, where, you know, you went after Frank Luntz when Frank said that the Democrats have been too anti-religious through the years.  You said that was a caricature, but my God, that show—Bill said, and the audience applauded, that anybody that believed in a God was dumb.

HUFFINGTON:  Well, I totally disagree with that.  You know, I have very strong spiritual beliefs.  You and I have discussed them.  Many, many Democrats.  The majority of Democrats have spiritual beliefs.  Nancy Pelosi herself, you know, she‘s a Catholic who is very proud of her faith.  But also, the essence of our culture is to be tolerant of those who don‘t have spiritual beliefs and of any spiritual belief.  That is, after all, what the separation of church and state has always been about.  But to say that Democrats as a party are anti-religion is really to completely ignore the reality of the Democratic convention, for example.

Incidentally, to go back to the anger issue, do you remember the last Democratic convention in Boston, when it was the brilliant idea of the consultants running the Kerry campaign to allow no expression of anger...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna, I am not saying—yes, I am not saying that anybody should run their convention or campaign like John Kerry.  If somebody said that about me—and I was suggesting all along, Pat Buchanan, that John Kerry punch back, and he just never did.  But at the same time, Pat, the Democrats have been dogged, I think, through the years with the belief that they are a secular party.

And certainly, if you looked at Bill Maher—yet another guy—I like Bill Maher.  He‘s always been very fair to me.  I‘ve been on his show probably 10, 15 times.  But it was like—I thought it was like a religious hate fest.  Arianna certainly has beliefs and faith in God, but my God, the crowd—it was like—it was like a Roman Coliseum crowd.  I expected the lions to come and drag Frank Luntz off by the arm.

BUCHANAN:  Well, there—look, there is really a secular militancy that goes through the Democratic Party.  The 1992 convention, for example, Bob Casey, who was the governor of Pennsylvania, a devout Catholic, a leading pro-lifer, was denied the right to speak at his own convention because no right-to-lifers need apply!  In the 2000 convention, the honor guard was Boy Scouts.  They were booed out of the convention because the Boy Scouts...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... Cub Scouts into West Virginia and camping out with them.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  I mean, this party has been consistently hostile.  It favors the de-Christianization of America, and every devout Christian just about in the country knows it!

HUFFINGTON:  Pat, honestly, this is such a caricature!  What about Jim Wallace (ph)?  Jim Wallace is a member of the Democratic Party.  He‘s called to renewal (ph).  His books have been best-sellers while absolutely promoting a progressive agenda.  There is an enormous amount of progressive spiritual fervor in the Democratic Party, as there is an enormous amount of fervor on the right wing of the Republicans.  So this is just completely absurd.

BUCHANAN:  Arianna, look, let me tell you, right-to-lifers and devout Christian conservatives came out of the Democratic Party.  When I was with Nixon, they were all Democrats.  They loved it.  It was their home.  They were driven out into our camp by the intolerance of the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is militantly secularist and hostile to traditional Christianity!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna—hold on a second, Arianna.  Let me say this, though.  You look at the top two Democratic candidates right now, Hillary Clinton and you look at Barack Obama.  Hillary Clinton gave a speech, Arianna, right before George W. Bush‘s inauguration, talking about the importance of faith in the public place.  And of course, Barack Obama, the guy seems to be preaching out of the Old Testament every time he talks.  So do you think Democrats may have learned from some of their mistakes in the past and are not going to seem as allergic towards issues of faith as we move forward to the 2008 election?

HUFFINGTON:  I think that Pat Buchanan is actually equating being pro-choice with being secular.  I think that is really the mistake he‘s making.  The examples he gave are all about the differences that he and I have on the question of abortion.  That is not what spirituality and faith are about, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  But you know, Arianna...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  It‘s not about faith.

BUCHANAN:  The Boy Scouts were just giving the Pledge of Allegiance, and they hooted them out of the hall!

HUFFINGTON:  And what does the Pledge of Allegiance...

BUCHANAN:  Why?  Because they don‘t go along with the agenda—the gay rights agenda, and it‘s a very militant...

HUFFINGTON:  Here we are...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  We are down to policy.  We are down to policy.  We are now down to the gay rights agenda.

BUCHANAN:  Well, you know...

HUFFINGTON:  We are not talking about spirituality.

BUCHANAN:  Look, the Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Joe is right.  The Democrats are right now—they‘re doing a good imitation of being very tolerant and pro-church because they looked at the numbers.  If you go to church more than once a month, if you go every week or more than once a week, you‘re almost always going to vote conservative and Republican.  And if you never go at all, you‘re a solid Democrat!  Why is that, Arianna?

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  Can I just say two quick things?  First of all, you can be spiritual without going to church.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hurry up.  We got to go.

HUFFINGTON:  And second...

SCARBOROUGH:  This is great, but hurry up.

HUFFINGTON:  ... it‘s completely unfair to say that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton...

BUCHANAN:  The truth hurts, Arianna!

HUFFINGTON:  ... are pretending to be spiritual.

BUCHANAN:  The truth hurts!

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  All right.  Thanks.  We‘re going to have to (INAUDIBLE) I do want to—I do want to underline this fact, though.  And you can go back and look and see how people voted in 2004.  Pat Buchanan is right.  If you go to church more than once a month, you overwhelmingly voted Republican.  If you hardly ever went to church, you overwhelmingly voted Democratic.  I think that‘s going to change this year, again, because you look at Barack Obama, you look at Hillary Clinton, they talk about faith.  That‘s exactly what the Democratic Party needs to do if they‘re going to reach out and bring some of those former Democrats back home.

Thanks, Arianna.  I greatly appreciate it.  Pat, thank you.  We could have talked about this all night.  And who knows, maybe we will afterwards.

Coming up next here, though: Caught on tape, hidden cameras catch mechanics taking their customers for a ride.  You‘re getting ripped off because you‘re being charged for work mechanics never do.  We‘re going to show you our hidden camera investigation.

But first: It‘s the PC police versus “Mack the Knife” next in “Must See S.C.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve got to see.  First up, it looks like Apple is trying a new approach in their Mac versus P.C. ad campaign.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW”:  I‘ll tell you what, folks, we‘ll be right back after this message from Apple Computers. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello, I‘m a Mac.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I‘m a P.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, I have a 2.5 gigahertz Intel processor and 120-gigabyte hard drive.  Oh, and I also come equipped with two gigabytes of memory. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Great, then you probably won‘t forget this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And Jimmy Kimmel once again manages to drag our minds through the gutter with another edition of “Unnecessary Censorship.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... and overanalyzing everything and, I don‘t know, hoping that Simon will (bleep) me again.

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  You got to speak to the queen.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, “VIEW” CO-HOST:  I did.  I said hello, and (bleep) you, and I don‘t know what else came out of my mouth.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Last week, Secretary Rice attended an international meeting on Iraq in Egypt.  And she (bleep) me and she (bleep) Secretary Gates, who‘s right there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up, is the post-Imus world a dangerous return to McCarthyism?  Have the P.C. police seized the last bastion of free speech?  Wait until you hear what Danny Bonaduce has to say. 

But first, driver beware.  A stunning hidden camera investigation reveals why you are getting taken for a ride the next time you get your oil changed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And now to an undercover investigation you‘ve got to see.  The focus:  one of the top consumer complaints, getting ripped off when you‘re getting your car fixed.  Now, a lot of people trust the big-name repair chains, but wait until you see what this hidden camera investigation from Joel Grover at our NBC station in Los Angeles uncovered.  He‘s just caught a big California chain in the act, not for the first time, but for the second time.

Joel, what you got? 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOEL GROVER, KNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, I‘ve done numerous investigations about car repair, and now I‘m doing another one.  The reason is, I keep getting new information from insiders that the cheating we‘ve exposed at major chains is still going on.  And this time, we‘ve uncovered some new tricks at a chain with 76 stores in California. 

(voice-over):  Take a ride in our undercover car which we‘ve carefully wired with hidden cameras and we‘ve made sure everything under the hood is in tip-top shape. 

(on screen):  Everything in the car is in great shape? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Absolutely. 

GROVER (voice-over):  We‘re about to put California‘s fastest-growing lube and tube chain, EZ Lube, to the test once again, a chain that just six months ago was charged with fraud by the state.  This former manager says they‘re still at it. 

Like at this EZ Lube in Costa Mesa, where our undercover customer is greeted by the manager, Ton Martinez (ph).  Wait a minute.  We caught this same guy over three years ago selling unnecessary repairs at another EZ Lube.  Now he‘s been promoted to store manager.  But our cameras shows Ton and his guys never checked our transmission dipstick before telling us we needed a transmission flush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, you checked it? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have checked transmission, and there‘s hardly any fluid.  It looks like it burned up already. 

GROVER:  And they say we need new differential fluid. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The fluid that‘s in there, it‘s already burned out. 

GROVER:  And they claim we need a new fan belt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The spins (INAUDIBLE) that‘s going to snap on you.

GROVER:  We agree to the repairs, but look at this.  Another hidden camera is watching the fan belt the whole time, and they never change it.  The manager just sprays some polish on the old belt.  Then, a worker gives it another spritz, and they tell us they put in a new one. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You did put on a new belt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, don‘t worry about it.

GROVER:  They‘re lying, because before taking the car in, I mark the old belt.  And, after our servicing, it was still there.  And as for that transmission flush they sold us, our cameras show they never did that, either, never touching the transmission lines or the dipstick. 

So what did they try to charge us for this big rip off? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It comes out to $490.88.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, wow.

GROVER:  We got hit with a different trick at this EZ Lube in Marino Valley, where they tell us our radiator, which was full of fluid, needs servicing. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The fluid‘s really broken down, deteriorated out pretty bad.

GROVER:  And they push a transmission flush.  They say they‘ll replace all of our transmission fluid with this high-tech machine. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘ll take six out, put six back in.

GROVER:  But our car takes 10 quarts of fluid, and they charged us for all 10, even though they didn‘t put them in. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s all about shortchanging the public.  Why give you 10 when I can get away with six?

GROVER:  We thought we‘d finally found an honest EZ Lube in Long Beach, where this guy tells us we don‘t need a single service. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So the power steering looks good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The power steering‘s OK.

GROVER:  So I changed the plates on our car and sent it back with a different customer.  Now, all of a sudden, a manager tells us that same power steering fluid needs flushing...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It should be like burn to clear.  I think it‘s starting to burn a little bit.

GROVER:  ... in fact, recommending new fluids by look or color is against EZ Lube‘s own company policy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Recommend by mileage.  You never want to recommend a differential by looks or color or never give a sample out.  It‘s against the law. 

GROVER (voice-over):  How often do these guys violate company policy? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All day, every day. 

GROVER:  All together, we got taken at six out of 10 EZ Lubes we tested.  It was time to get some answers from our old acquaintance Ton Martinez...

(on screen):  Do you remember me?

(voice-over):  ... who scammed us more than three years ago... 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you want to ask me special, you want to talk to the manager.

GROVER (on screen):  No, we want to talk to you.  Wait, wait, wait.

(voice-over):  And now had done it again. 

(on screen):  Can we talk to you for a minute?  Don‘t run away.  Don‘t run away.

(voice-over):  We wanted to know why they lied to us. 

(on screen):  You said you put a new belt on, but you didn‘t. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know.

GROVER:  You don‘t know?  You don‘t remember that?  It was a few days ago.

(voice-over):  Within minutes, his corporate bosses showed up, and we showed them our undercover tape. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It looks like it burned up already.

GROVER (on screen):  Is that against your policy? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It is.

GROVER:  That‘s wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s against our company policy, absolutely.

GROVER:  Your managers said they put a new belt on, but they were lying. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, we obviously have a huge problem with that... 

GROVER:  You told me 3 ½ years ago this stuff would stop.  What is it going to take to stop this? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re going to do everything within our power to stop this. 

GROVER (voice-over):  And what did they claim to do about Ton? 

(on screen):  Are we going to see him working at an EZ Lube again? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I wouldn‘t think so. 

GROVER:  Because of our investigation, EZ Lube says it‘s now fired seven employees.  They also claim to post signs in their stores stating their policy about recommending services.  And, finally, take a look at this:  I received this check from EZ Lube, $1,500, reimbursing us for all those services that were either unnecessary or they didn‘t even do—Joe? 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, KNBC‘s Joel Grover.  Great reporting. 

And now let‘s go from L.A. to England, where news broke today that Prince Harry is not going to be allowed to fight in Iraq after all.  NBC‘s Keith Miller is in London with the latest on the sudden change of course—

Keith? 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH MILLER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Two years in training at Sandhurst, Britain‘s premiere military academy, molded the 22-year-old prince into a first-class officer, ready to serve the commander-in-chief, his grandmother, the queen.

PRINCE HARRY, BRITAIN:  The last thing I want to do is have my soldiers sent away to Iraq or whatever like that and for me to be held back home, twiddling my thumbs.

MILLER:  But Prince Harry was a special target of Iraqi insurgents. 

British intelligence intercepted specific threats to kill or capture him. 

SIR RICHARD DANNATT, BRITISH ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF:  These threats expose not only him, but also those around him, to a degree of risk that I now deem unacceptable. 

MILLER:  The British zone of combat around Basra, where Prince Harry would have served, has deteriorated, a dozen British soldiers killed in the past month.  Yesterday, the prime minister, Tony Blair, told Brian Williams the decision was up to the military.

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN:  Well, I know he is a very brave young man and is determined to go, but I think, in the end, this is a decision for the army and for his commanders. 

MILLER:  The monarchy has always played a role in the military.  Harry‘s uncle, Prince Andrew, served in the Falklands war.  Even his grandmother served briefly in World War II.  Since he was a boy, Prince Harry has dreamed of being a soldier.  Tonight, the prince is reportedly deeply disappointed, but has no plans to quit the armed forces. 

And already tonight, there is some controversy over whether royalty is getting special treatment, although Prince Harry is insisting he stands ready to serve his country—Joe?

(END VIDEOTAPE) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks so much.  NBC‘s Keith Miller in London.

Coming up, post-Imus shockwaves continue.  Two hosts suspended for their comments.  Is it new McCarthyism?  We‘re going to be talking to somebody who knows the biz very well, Danny Bonaduce.

And later in “Hollyweird,” mommy trouble for Britney Spears, but this time it‘s not her kids who are suffering.  It‘s her mom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the axe falls for a pair of big radio names, just a month after CBS and MSNBC fired Don Imus for his racially comments made about the Rutgers women‘s basketball team.  Radio shock jocks Opie and Anthony are now being slapped with a 30-day suspension by XM for comments about Condoleezza Rice that they made on their show. 

NBC‘s Matt Lauer is reporting, though, they‘re just the latest domino to fall in our post-Imus world. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON IMUS, RADIO HOST:  Well, I watched the basketball game last night between a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women‘s final.  Those are some (bleep) I‘m going to tell you that now.

MATT LAUER, “TODAY” SHOW HOST (voice-over):  They were three words that sparked a firestorm.  And one month later, who can say what is a question people are still asking.  On Friday, in a televised debate, Imus‘ producer called Reverend Al Sharpton a race-baiter.

BERNARD MCGUIRK, FORMER IMUS PRODUCER:  ... it took on a life of its own after the Reverend Sharpton got involved...

LAUER:  It is a debate that some in the media have tried to use as an opportunity to create change. 

RUSSELL SIMMONS, HIP-HOP MOGUL:  The corporate responsibility, that‘s the issue. 

LAUER:  Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has asked radio stations to clean up rap songs with the same offensive words.

SIMMONS:  I just made a recommendation that the hip-hop community take those words, the three words, b, the h-word, and the n-word, off their radio. 

LAUER:  But since the Imus scandal, two New York DJs have been fired for mocking Asian-Americans. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Ha, ha, ha, ha.  I would like many eggrolls.

LAUER:  And on Tuesday, XM Radio suspended Opie and Anthony for their explicit remarks made about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice‘s face.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, offensive words, but still, I mean, should these people be fired?  We want to thank Matt Lauer.  And we ask the question, is this the end of shock radio?  And should DJs be walking on eggshells tonight?

Here now to talk about it, Danny Bonaduce from the “Partridge Family,” VH1‘s “Breaking Bonaduce” and the “Adam Carolla Show” on 97.1 FREE FM, up and down the West Coast.

Danny, this isn‘t about shock jocks.  I don‘t listen to shock jocks.  It‘s about the First Amendment, though.  Aren‘t you a little concerned that these guys, more and more of these guys are getting fired or suspended for saying things that nobody would have thought twice about a year ago? 

DANNY BONADUCE, RADIO HOST:  Well, I‘m more and more concerned about the First Amendment in the sense that I couldn‘t even understand Russell Simmons when he said, “We got to get rid of the h-word, and the o-word, and the n-word.”  I mean, we‘re now speaking in Morse code, which is unfortunate.  We‘re grown men and women and should be able to say any word that is in the English language. 

On the other hand, I find shock jocks so offensive.  Now, you‘ve met my partner, Adam Carolla, probably the second brightest guy in radio.  And the fact is, we work very hard, and we don‘t wish to fight the illiterate.  I don‘t want to fight for first place with—it‘s like boxing a young man in a wheelchair.  It‘s not a great, wonderful victory.

SCARBOROUGH:  But let‘s say the illiterate want to turn on—let‘s say the illiterate spend a lot of money, and they want to get XM Radio and listen to Opie and Anthony, or they want to get Sirius Radio and listen to Howard Stern.  I mean, that‘s their business, right?  I mean, isn‘t this what we hear all the time, if you don‘t like what‘s on the radio or you don‘t like what‘s on TV, change the channel? 

BONADUCE:  Right, I‘m far more—I‘m not angry—Opie and Anthony are hired by my employers.  I‘m not going after Opie and Anthony at all.  And Howard Stern could not have been more beneficial to my career.  And I think Mark Cone (ph) invented the radio, and Howard Stern reinvented it.  I love all these guys that are fine with me.

I‘m more angry with the American people in what they want to listen to.  I think what you want to say is your right, and what you want to listen to—Bill Nix (ph), a great comic, said, “It should be your right to burn the American flag, but you just shouldn‘t want to.”  I‘m with him.  They should have a right to say whatever they want, but you have a right to go, “You know what?  I‘m an educated adult, and I don‘t need to hear gratuitous sounds and boing sounds or rough sex.

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Danny, are you concerned about the First Amendment being, if not violated, certainly being infringed upon by all of these firings? 

BONADUCE:  I am terrified of the First Amendment being infringed upon in any way, shape or form.  It‘s not—it is not the First Amendment that worries me as much as the dumbing-down of the American people that the First Amendment becomes so less important, because your freedom of speech is now to protect to saying stupid things, things that are of no consequence to anyone.

Don Imus, who cares what Don Imus said?  He‘s inconsequential and irrelevant.  He‘s an old man that repeated something that he shouldn‘t have.  But should he have been fired?  No.  The First Amendment protects him.  People should decide what is good and listen to what is good and what is adventuresome to them, that makes them think, that makes them laugh, that makes them like and enjoy the show. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If they don‘t like it, if they don‘t like it...

BONADUCE:  Push the button, absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... they can change it. 

(CROSSTALK)

BONADUCE:  I can‘t believe I can‘t say the f-word, the n-word.  The n-word I (INAUDIBLE) but I can‘t say it offends me deeply.  But I think the fact that people can and do say things, I think this (INAUDIBLE) pride themselves on the fact that they haven‘t read today‘s paper or even a book in the last five years, and I think that‘s shameless. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m with you there, Danny.  I‘m also glad that you‘re refraining from saying the f-word or the n-word or any other word on our show.  Danny Bonaduce, thanks so much.  Stay with us, because coming up next, “Hollyweird,” breaking Paris Hilton and breaking the news to her about jail time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Big, breaking news out of “Hollyweird.”  Authorities in California have reduced Paris Hilton‘s jail term to about 23 days, half of her original 45-day sentence.  The sentence was shortened after jail officials gave Hilton credit for good behavior—looking good—citing a recent court appearance among other factors.

Let‘s bring in now “InTouch Weekly” senior editor Kim Serafin.  And still here, Danny Bonaduce. 

You know, Danny, my problem is, she showed up to court 15 minutes late.  You do that in the Redneck Riviera, they send you to jail immediately.  I guess you do that in La-La Land, you get your sentence reduced. 

BONADUCE:  Well, I‘ll tell you, in all honestly—it‘s certainly nothing I am proud of in my old life—but I showed up in court without a tie and was fined $500.  I guess things are different now.  But when we reported on the Carolla show that Paris Hilton would be serving 45 days, that was never true.  That‘s the sentence.  That‘s not what she served.  Good time is cut in half like this, so that‘s 22 ½ days.  My guess is she‘ll serve 17 at best.  Michelle Rodriguez was sentenced for 60 days, served two hours, because the jails are crowded.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow, Danny, you seem to be the expert. 

BONADUCE:  I‘m afraid I am. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly, and I don‘t want to ask you why.  Kim, cited for good behavior in the courtroom, despite the fact she was late.  What would she have had to do to get docked, spit on the judge?

KIM SERAFIN, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Well, no, Danny does point out something that they had alluded to.  I believe there was an article that had come out that people were saying the sheriff thought that she probably wouldn‘t serve this 45-day sentence because of the overcrowding, because of time for good behavior.  I mean, she was 15 minutes late, but, you know, in terms of what she could have done, I guess they‘re considering that good behavior.  You know, there was traffic.  L.A. does have lots of traffic.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All I can say is, we thank God that, in “Hollyweird,” that even this passes for breaking news.

Let‘s move onto not breaking news, Britney Spears, she‘s got problems, apparently also no love for her mom.  The pop princess reportedly didn‘t even visit her mother in hospital on Mothers Day.  Danny Bonaduce, you‘re also an expert on the Spears family.  What‘s going on with this woman?

BONADUCE:  Well, to be honest with you, the Spears family that I know well—I mean, the portions of the family that I know well are very nice and reasonable people.  Britney, I really do think—I don‘t think she fits in the Lindsay Lohan category.  I barely think she fits into a category.  As a matter of fact, I think they should just free Paris Hilton and shoot Lindsay Lohan and just call it a draw.

But I think that Britney has some real issues of her own and is trying to take care of her own family, her own children, and I‘ve noticed, even on Mothers Day with my wife, that I have forgotten birthdays.  And you start to remember the generation down.

I don‘t know why it is that (INAUDIBLE) but I have a soft spot for Britney, because I think her problems are legitimate and not self-induced.

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ve got to go, Kim.  Ten seconds left.  What‘s wrong with Britney?

SERAFIN:  You know, I think people just want her to start making albums again, start touring, start doing some good stuff again.  And then we won‘t care about the family problems anymore.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s hope not.  Certainly, nobody‘s advocating shooting Lindsay Lohan.  On that note, good night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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