Tuesday, October 16, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 10/12/2018

"Shields and Brooks on President Trump’s ‘angry mob’ rhetoric" PBS NewsHour 10/12/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including President Donald Trump’s efforts to energize Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, accusations of voter suppression in Georgia, and the state of U.S.-Saudi relations after a Saudi journalist’s alleged murder.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  We turn now to another busy week of news.

With just over three weeks to go until the crucial midterm elections, President Trump is headlining rallies almost daily across the country, hammering Democrats, and trying to energize Republicans to get to the polls.

A cue for the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Hello to both of you.  It's Friday.

So we do have the President, it seems, out on the campaign trail every single day, jetting out to whether it's Tennessee or Pennsylvania or another part of the country.

Today, Mark, he is in Ohio trying to energize the Republican vote, the base, trying to get them out.  Is it working, do you think?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Republicans feel it's working better than it did two or three weeks ago, Judy.

But I think what is remarkable about it is how constant it is.  You said about energizing the base.  It's about inflaming people.  Donald Trump's message is never about forging a coalition, reaching across the divide, trying to enlist the majority.  It's always about coming back to, it's us against them, and we may not be perfect, but, boy, those other guys are really bad.

And I think that's the message.  It's going to be a referendum, as it is every midterm, on the President.  And his numbers right now are just about the same point where Barack Obama's were in 2010, when the Democrats suffered enormous defeat, Bill Clinton's in '94, when the Democrats suffered a big defeat, and 2006, George Bush's, when the Republicans lost control of the Congress.

Judy Woodruff:  But you do have the President, David, out talking about Democrats are part of an angry mob, calling them evil, I mean, using some of the strongest language he has used.

Is that likely to get his base even more fired up?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Yap.  Ya.


David Brooks:  I think it's working.

We're in an age of negative polarization.  And that means you don't have to like your own party.  You just have to hate the other one.  And that means it's all about contempt.  And has the other side made you appalled?  Have they made you feel contemptuous?

And one thing the Kavanaugh hearing has done is, it made both sides feel the other is appalling.  And so that has fired up both bases.  And the effect is — and it's always worth reminding ourselves that we no longer having one election anymore.  We have a red state election and a blue state election.

And they're increasingly disconnected.  And so the odds are looking pretty good.  The polls have been shifting in a Republican way on the Senate side in all those red states, Texas, Montana, and those places.  And the Senate is looking more secure as of this moment.

The House is looking more endangered for the Republicans at this moment, as suburban women move over to the Democratic side.  So we have two different elections.  And there seems to be pretty strong momentum in opposite directions.

Judy Woodruff:  How are Democrats countering this, I mean, this approach by the President, Mark?

There's this couple of polls, including the one we did with Marist and NPR this week, that came out showed, yes, the enthusiasm gap has narrowed.  It was the Democrats who were more energized.  And, indeed, Republican seem to be more energized.

What — how to Democrats come back?

Mark Shields:  Well, the first thing they ought to do is stop picketing and stop boycotting and organize.

I mean, the most Democratic group in the entire electorate of voters is age 18 to 35.  And they live everywhere.  They aren't concentrated in certain districts, like perhaps African-American or Latinos are.  They are everywhere.  And if they vote, the Democrats will win big.

I will say this.  I think the most encouraging sign for the Democrats is, the Democrats do have a national macro message in this campaign.  It's about checks and balances on the President.  It's not a new message, but it's a message that certainly resonates with an awful lot of voters.

It's about preserving the strength of health care, particularly the preexisting condition provision.  But, most of all, I think it's contrast with the Republicans, who don't have a national message.  They really don't.  They're running micro campaigns.

In one camp — one district, it's you double parked, and you got several parking tickets, or you were late on your library books, or you missed your mother's birthday.  I mean, they're running very personal campaigns in a very micro sense.  I think that's good.

The final thing I would say is, look at the governor's races, the governor's races across the country, if you really want to see which way the country's going.  They're going blue.  They're not — they're not going red.

When you have got Democrats competitive in places like Oklahoma and Kansas and South Dakota, which they are right as we speak here tonight, then there's a possibility of the Democrats sweeping that entire belt from the Midwest all the way to the East Coast.

Judy Woodruff:  We did hear, David, Al Gore, saying — talking about checks and balances, that that's a good motivating thing for Democrats.

But what about that?  I mean, is — are we seeing Democrats united in some way, in some — in a message that they're…

David Brooks:  Yes, unity is not any parties' problem right now.  They're both — they're all pretty unified.

To me, one of the — an interesting debate is happening — you could call it the Michelle Obama-Hillary Clinton debate.  And when Michelle Obama famously said, when they go low, we will go high, and she's sticking to that.  And Hillary Clinton says, no, they are going low, we got to go low too.

And you see that debate.  I think, in this age, having the moral high ground is a bit of an advantage, a major advantage.  And because of Donald Trump's behavior, he has put the Republicans at a moral disadvantage.

And keeping go — staying high, staying reasonably civil, not totally going into the gutter with Donald Trump strikes me as the right Democratic strategy and the right strategy for any movement, because once you go down there, you self-corrupt.

And so I — one begins to see — Eric Holder said, if they go after us, we kick them.  You're beginning to see a lot of people getting so angry about Kavanaugh and other things, any means necessary.  To me, that is a mistake just for the soul of your party.

Judy Woodruff:  I mean…

Mark Shields:  Let me say, I agree with David.

I think it's not only the right thing to do, but the wise thing to do.  I think it's in the best interests of the country.  And I would say, at a practical level, you can't compete with Donald Trump.  He's just better at it than anybody else.

Judy Woodruff:  Better at what?

Mark Shields:  Better at finding, identifying the weakness or shortcoming of his opponent, and then exploiting it.

It is a major talent.  He did it serially to each of his Republican challenges in 2016.  He did it to Secretary Clinton in the election.  And that's really what makes this midterm election.  He is searching for an opponent that he can do the same thing.

David Brooks:  Yes.  And the politics he specializes in is, I don't really like those kind of people.

Like, we used to have debates about health care, about economic policy, about foreign policy.  Now it's just, those people are really bad.  Those people who say you're bad, actually, they're the bad ones.

And that's a style of politics.  Somehow, we have gotten away from issues.  And the governor's races are — maybe that's a third electorate, because the governor's races tend to be a little more about issues.  And they are swinging to the Democrats.

AT THE MOVIES - "The Hate U Give"

"‘The Hate U Give’ tackles race, policing and a teen girl’s two worlds" PBS NewsHour 10/12/2018


SUMMARY:  In “The Hate U Give,” Amandla Stenberg plays teen Starr Carter who witnesses a white officer kill her best friend.  Carter struggles to grieve and find her voice while navigating her poor, mostly black neighborhood and her mostly white prep school.  Jeffrey Brown talks to Stenberg, director George Tillman Jr. and author Angie Thomas who wrote the best-selling book on which the film is based.

ONE ON ONE - Al Gore on Trump Anti-Regulation

"Al Gore calls Trump’s deregulation proposals ‘literally insane’" PBS NewsHour 10/12/2018


SUMMARY:  Former Vice President and climate change activist Al Gore warns that climate change could be an “existential threat” and calls President Trump’s response an “outlier reaction.”  In a wide-ranging interview, Judy Woodruff speaks with Gore about Hurricane Michael, President Trump, the UN Climate Change report out this week, and why he thinks Democrats will fare well in the midterm elections.

PLASTIC - Loss of Chinese Recyclable Market

"Loss of Chinese export market drives new ideas for repurposing recyclables" PBS NewsHour 10/11/2018


SUMMARY:  China’s decision to buy less recyclable material from the U.S. has prompted major questions about how we handle waste in America.  What will we do with our abundance of plastic bottles and pizza boxes, if exporting them is no longer an option?  As Paul Solman discovers, some local governments and businesses have devised innovative ways to reuse these items--and to educate consumers.

Monday, October 15, 2018

ELECTION SECURITY - Ongoing Election Interference

Fake news, Trump's boyfriend says he doesn't interfere.  Yah, right.

"DHS official warns of ongoing election interference from Russia, China" PBS NewsHour 10/11/2018


SUMMARY:  As the midterm elections approach, administration officials continue to warn of attempts by foreign entities to influence their outcome.  But they also assert that their preparation could yield ‘the most secure election in the modern era.'  Judy Woodruff speaks with Christopher Krebs, undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, for more.

TRUMP AGENDA - Poisoning the Fruit

"What’s on your citrus fruit?  Trump’s EPA fights to keep controversial insecticide in use" PBS NewsHour 10/10/2018


SUMMARY:  Citrus growers hope to fend off fruit-munching katydids, but one weapon is under scrutiny.  Researchers found that children growing up near fields where the insecticide chlorpyrifos was deployed exhibited autism-like symptoms.  A court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the insecticide’s use, but Trump’s EPA is fighting back.  Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports.

TRUMP AGENDA - Corn Country Politics

To correctly answer the question all you have to consider is what makes Trump look great.

"Trump’s ethanol moves: good policy or corn country politics?" PBS NewsHour 10/10/2018


SUMMARY:  At a Tuesday campaign rally in Iowa, President Trump announced plans to lift the ban on summer sales of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, known as E15.  This move is opposed by oil companies and environmental groups, but supported by the agricultural sector.  John Yang speaks to Grant Gerlock from Harvest Public Media, who explains the changes and how they could impact the midterm elections.

WALL STREET - Market Selloff

IMHO:  Using the Stock Market as a measure of our economy distorts what is really going on, because it says nothing about worker income.

"What’s behind Wednesday’s market selloff?" PBS NewsHour 10/10/2018


SUMMARY:  A financial storm sent stocks plunging to their biggest losses in eight months.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 831 points.  The NASDAQ fell 316 percent.  Amna Nawaz talks about what may have prompted the selloff with Hugh Johnson, Chief Investment Officer at Hugh Johnson Advisors.  Johnson says it’s a “severe correction.”

MAINE - Attracting Younger Workers

"Aging Maine repays college debts to attract younger workers" PBS NewsHour 10/9/2018


SUMMARY:  Maine, land of lobsters and lighthouses, is also the nation’s oldest state.  With a median age of 43, roughly a third of its population is in or approaching retirement.  To counter its aging workforce, the state is attempting to attract more recent college graduates by helping to repay their student loans.  Hari Sreenivasan reports as part of our weekly education series, Rethinking College.

VOTE 2018 - North Dakota and Trump Trade

"How Trump and trade factor into Heitkamp’s reelection battle" PBS NewsHour 10/9/2018


SUMMARY:  North Dakota is small in terms of population, but its Senate race this fall is attracting major attention.  Incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, the only high-level Democratic official left in the state, faces a close contest with Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, an enthusiastic supporter of President Trump.  For the state's farmers, the choice may amount to a referendum on the President's trade war with China.

SUPREME COURT - Will Kavanaugh Tarnish Image?

"Will the Kavanaugh saga tarnish the Supreme Court’s image?" PBS NewsHour 10/9/2018


SUMMARY:  As Justice Kavanaugh’s tenure on the Supreme Court begins, echoes from his contentious confirmation hearings remain.  Will the anger and partisanship surrounding this appointment damage public perception of the Supreme Court?  Marcia Coyle from the National Law Journal joins Judy Woodruff to report on Kavanaugh's first day on the bench and how the court’s new makeup might affect upcoming cases.

JOURNALISM - Jamal Khashoggi

"Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi has disappeared.  Will the U.S. take a stand?" PBS NewsHour 10/8/2018


SUMMARY:  Jamal Khashoggi, a singular voice willing to criticize Saudi leaders, has disappeared in Istanbul at the Saudi consulate.  The Washington Post columnist and prominent former editor has previously spoken out about some of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's actions, including the silencing of dissenters.  Nick Schifrin talks with Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post and Robin Wright from the New Yorker.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Gutting of the Civil Service

"Michael Lewis traces the ‘gutting of the civil service’ under Trump" PBS NewsHour 10/8/2018


SUMMARY:  Bestselling author Michael Lewis says the idea that civil servants are “lazy or stupid or dead weight on the society is...the most sinister idea alive in this country right now."  In his new book, “The Fifth Risk,” Lewis examines how the Trump Administration has been staffing the federal government, and its “ignorance of the mission.”  Lewis sits down with William Brangham for a conversation.

CLIMATE CHANGE - United Nations, Revolutionary Change Required

"World needs to make near-revolutionary change to avoid imminent climate disaster.  Is there hope?" PBS NewsHour 10/8/2018


SUMMARY:  Unless we immediately reduce the burning of coal and oil and gas that drive up global temperatures, a new UN report warns the world will suffer tremendous consequences as early as 2040.  William Brangham talks with Rafe Pomerance of the Woods Hole Research Center and Gavin Schmidt from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Monday, October 08, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 10/5/2018

"Shields and Brooks on Kavanaugh confirmation showdown" PBS NewsHour 10/5/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the dramatic decisions made by senators on whether or not to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, as well as the deeper national impact of the contentious process.

NOBEL PRIZE - Peace Prize

"Nobel Peace Prize winners fight rape as ‘a weapon of war’" PBS NewsHour 10/5/2018


SUMMARY:  The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday in Oslo, Norway.  The winners are two people fighting sexual violence.  Twenty-five-year-old Nadia Murad, from Iraq, escaped enslavement, rape, and torture.  She says she hopes to be “the last girl with a story like mine.”  Dr. Denis Mukwege is a Congolese surgeon who has risked his life to treat thousands of rape victims.  William Brangham reports.

FBI - Most Wanted Russians

"Russian government accused of hacking agencies investigating its alleged crimes" PBS NewsHour 10/4/2018


SUMMARY:  American and Dutch officials on Thursday accused the Russian government of a widespread series of computer attacks.  In the Netherlands, four Russian agents tried to hack into computers at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted seven men who tried to disrupt the investigation into alleged Russian doping.  William Brangham reports.

RECYCLABLES - No Where to Go?

"Why your recyclables might have no place to go" PBS NewsHour 10/4/2018


SUMMARY:  Until this year, China had been America's -- and the world's -- number one recycling market.  But China has shut its doors to plastic waste, which could result by 2030 in more than 100 million tons of trash with nowhere to go.  So how did our recycling become so reliant on a country half a world away?  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

MIAMI - A Future Atlantis?

"Will climate change turn Miami into a ‘future Atlantis’?" PBS NewsHour 10/3/2018


SUMMARY:  Florida research professors studying climate change have serious warnings for the Magic CityThey say that Miami’s buildings have come a long way in becoming more resistant to sustained, heavy winds.  However, the city’s infrastructure may not be prepared to protect it from a huge hurricane storm surge.  Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports.

FED CHAIR - Different Era For Workers' Wages

HINT:  Trickle-Down economics is a Republican myth.

"Fed Chair Jay Powell: U.S. may be in a different era for workers’ wages despite economic gains" PBS NewsHour 10/3/2018


SUMMARY:  Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell discusses the state of the economy, bigger changes in the job market and why wages haven’t caught up with other economic trends in a conversation with Judy Woodruff.  At the Atlantic Ideas Festival, Powell also explained why he supports “gradually” increasing interest rates and how the strong economy hasn’t reached every American.

PUTIN - America Give Up, We Control Your Elections

"Putin urges American political elites to ‘calm down’ on Russian election meddling" PBS NewsHour 10/3/2018


SUMMARY:  Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a pointed verbal attack on the U.S. while speaking with special correspondent Ryan Chilcote in Moscow Wednesday.  He called concerns about Russian meddling in the upcoming 2018 elections “insanity” and he criticized some Trump Administration policies.  Nick Schifrin talks with special correspondent Ryan Chilcote, who spoke at length with Putin.

NOBEL PRIZE - Physics, First Woman in 55yrs

"For the first time in 55 years, a woman shares the Nobel Prize in Physics" PBS NewsHour 10/2/2018


SUMMARY:  A trio of scientists won this year's Nobel prize, including Canada's Donna Strickland--the third female recipient in history and the first in 55 years.  Amna Nawaz speaks with Strickland about her research in laser amplification, what she would tell young people interested in a physics career and how she plans to celebrate her landmark achievement.


"NYT investigation unearths new details about Trump’s early millions" PBS NewsHour 10/2/2018


SUMMARY:  The New York Times has published a special investigation that digs deep into the Trump family finances.  It paints a detailed picture of how the President used potentially illegal tax schemes to acquire millions from his father.  The account contradicts President Trump's long-repeated narrative that he was a self-made man.  Judy Woodruff talks with Susanne Craig, a Times investigative reporter.

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER - Fighting Cancer

"For this Nobel winner, fighting cancer began with his family" PBS NewsHour 10/1/2018


SUMMARY:  Cancer treatment was for years dominated by just four techniques.  But there is now a fifth category -- immunotherapy -- thanks to the revolutionary research of Jim Allison and Tasuku Honjo, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine on Monday.  Allison joins Nick Schifrin to discuss his research and his personal connection to fighting the disease.

TRUMP TRADE - 'New' U.S.-Mexico-Canada Deal

"Trump touts ‘fairness and reciprocity’ of new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal" PBS NewsHour 10/1/2018


SUMMARY:  President Trump declared victory on Monday on a deal more than a year in the making.  The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, largely keeps the structure of the 1994 North American Trade Agreement, but gives U.S. dairy farmers greater access to the Canadian market, add stipulations for the auto industry and increases certain protections.  Amna Nawaz reports.

"The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal offers modest changes.  Will it help the economy?" PBS NewsHour 10/1/2018


SUMMARY:  President Trump made renegotiating NAFTA a priority of his administration.  What's really in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and what does it mean for the U.S. economy?  Amna Nawaz learns more from Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Monday, October 01, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/28/2018

"Shields and Brooks on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in question" PBS NewsHour 9/28/2018


SUMMARY:  Fallout from sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh threw American politics into upheaval this week.  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, how partisanship is recasting our politics and a moral reckoning around sexual abuse.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  From the stock market floor on Wall Street to barbershops on Main Street, the nation tuned in to watch a series of riveting moments unfold in United States Senate this week.

Thankfully, we have the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

We're so glad to see both of you tonight.

Yes.  What are we going to talk about?

Mark, yes, there was the Kavanaugh hearing yesterday, the extension of the hearing, but — and the news today that the Republicans in the Senate have agreed to go along with an FBI investigation before a vote, a week.  I have just been told that the Senate has formally gone into session to consider the vote.  We're still talking about a week from now.

But what do you make of this turnaround by Republicans in the Senate and the President?

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  I first want to say a word about — about Jeff Flake.

Jeff Flake is a senator from Arizona.  When Tim Kaine was nominated for President by the Democrats in 2016, he immediately tweeted the statement, trying to count the ways I hate Tim Kaine, coming up with a blank.  Good man good and a good friend.


MARK SHIELDS:  And that's — that's Jeff Flake.  I mean, he has friendships.

And one of the friendships he has is Chris Coons, the Democrat from Delaware.  And these are two people who aren't constantly running for President.  They are — they are senators.  They treat each other as human beings.  They treat other senators as human beings.

And Jeff Flake — Jeff Flake did the Senate a favor.  He did the Supreme Court a favor.  He did the entire country a favor, not the least of which his own justice, Judge Kavanaugh, he did a favor to.  And he did his party a favor.

If this nomination, Judy, had been railroaded through, strong-armed through, outmuscled, and all the rest of it, it would have left an aftertaste, it would have left bitterness, more business than there already is.

And, most of all, 27 years after Anita Hill testified, there is still a cloud of controversy and doubt over Justice Clarence Thomas.  And, to me, this week is that important.  It was that logical and almost inevitable to have it done, and have done the right thing.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  But, David, I mean, it is a turnaround.

This morning, it looked as if Republicans were moving through the Kavanaugh nomination regardless, no FBI investigation.

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  Yes, but we were entering a period of semi-political hysteria and confrontation over that.

I was hearing e-mails with friends wondering if this would turn to violence, if this would lead to such a sense of civic breakdown and national anger, that it would spill over into something completely ugly.

And that was a very plausible conversation.  And maybe it still will be.  But we had a very believable and compelling witness in Dr. Ford, I thought also a compelling witness in Kavanaugh, a man who clearly believes in what he's saying.

And, as a result, because — and there was no evidence corroborating one side of the other, basically.  And so we had a country breaking down purely on tribal lines.  Who you believed was 100 percent determined by which party you supported.

And there was no intellectual integrity.  People were making an avalanche of bad arguments to support their side.  Passions were going up, as people egged each other on.  And so maybe this will allow us all to step back.

And, frankly, there are a lot of questions I would like to see answered.  I sat there trying to think, who do I believe?  And I really don't know.  And so to have Judge interviewed, to have Leland Keyser, Ford's friend, interviewed…

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The woman, then girlfriend of hers.

DAVID BROOKS:  Who was allegedly at the party.

Maybe they will be some more information.  Maybe we can find the house where it happened, and that can provoke some more facts.

And so, to me, just to prick the bubble of hysteria that was sweeping around this whole thing was a very important thing.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Mark, what about yesterday?  Did you find one more credible than the other?  What did you make of her testimony and his?

MARK SHIELDS:  Well, it's the first time we had met her.

And all we knew was what we had heard about her, read about her.  I thought compelling is an understatement.  She was — she was believable.  She was — what she wasn't, I think, was almost as impressive as what she was.  She wasn't brittle.  She wasn't vengeful.

So there was nothing mean-spirited.  There was an openness about her, a naturalness.  She wasn't affected.  She was totally believable.  And I thought she — she came across as an appealing human being.

And I would say, after that, after her appearance, the Republicans were despondent.  And I think Brett Kavanaugh, probably shrewdly, changed his testimony, I mean, that he realized he had to go back and win — re-win the Republicans, beginning with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where they had openly expressed doubts about his appearance, I think the wisdom of his appearance, on FOX News.

This became the first, I think, Supreme Court nominee to discuss his loss of virginity.  I don't think Earl Warren did that.  Maybe — I could check.


MARK SHIELDS:  But, you know, in a rather bizarre interview.

And so he tried — riled up the base.  He went to the…

JUDY WOODRUFF:  You mean by being angry and combative.

MARK SHIELDS:  By being angry.  And Democrats gave him a legitimate case.

I mean, when Cory Booker said, anybody who supports Brett Kavanaugh is complicit with evil, I mean, that just changes our politics.  I mean, not that David's wrong, or made a mistake, or made a larger conclusion, you're evil, that you're somehow morally unacceptable, that just changes the entire equation and makes future coalitions or compromise all but impossible.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  But, David, I mean, you're saying this whole thing yesterday was — was moving in a partisan direction, that no matter what they were saying, you're saying, I mean, that neither story was — she gave, as both of you have said, a credible — I mean, a credible, compelling performance.

But you're saying it's still hewed to the party lines.

DAVID BROOKS:  Well, I just looked at my Twitter feed.  I looked at all the commentary.  I looked at the political reactions.

And it was 100 percent correlated.  If you supported Bill Clinton during the whole impeachment thing, then you were against Kavanaugh.  If you opposed Clinton, you were for Kavanaugh.  It was 100 percent party line.

I don't think I saw a single deviation from what you would predict from party affiliation.  And so we used to have people who could step back and look at the evidence.  And to me, I tried.  You get wrapped up in this — in the emotion.  And you begin to want to fight.

But I think you got to step back.  This is about the truth.  And one of my rules is truth before justice.  You got to — if we don't know what the truth is, we can't fight for justice.  You can never put justice before truth.  You always have to figure out what actually happened.

And a lot of people were not doing that.  And you look at these two people, and I found them both very compelling.  Now, she — my interpretation, psychological, from the TV screen, is that she suffered a trauma, and she's been dealing with it for a long time.  And so something probably happened.

When I looked at Kavanaugh, frankly, I thought he's in the middle of the trauma.  He is a week in.  You can imagine what it would feel like.  I think he feels completely innocent, that the Democrats have staged a partisan hit on him, and his whole reputation has been destroyed after 35 years of adulthood.

I'm sure that's a tough thing.  And so when he drinks water and sobs — choke sobs, I sort of get that.  But who to think is true, I don't think any of us have any concrete evidence to make a dispositive judgment on that.  I'm hoping it will come in the next week.  I don't know.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Mark, what about Kavanaugh's decision to take his anger and basically take it right back to Democrats, to challenge Amy Klobuchar:  How much do you drink?


MARK SHIELDS:  That was a mistake.  There's no question about it.  He apologized for it.  It was dumb.  It was rude to do that.

And the Republicans made a mistake coming with Kavanaugh.  They introduced Brett Kavanaugh, who is a widely respected judge, a widely respected public figure, they introduced him as a Norman Rockwell good boy.  He studied hard.  He helped the poor.  He was an athlete.  He was, you know, just kind of an admirable citizen.

George W. Bush, when he ran for President in 2000, had a far more checkered personal background than Brett Kavanaugh of personal embarrassments, drinking and misbehavior.  And they made a very wise decision.  They said, when I was young and foolish, I was young and foolish, and it became the answer.

And so, when Kavanaugh then was confronted with questions about his misbehavior, they kind of scurried back, and he got defensive.  There's no doubt about it.

And — but, I mean, I think he achieved what he felt he had to achieve.  He stayed alive.  I think they were ready to cut him loose after her testimony.  I mean, the President reportedly said, according to two of my sources, after her — why didn't anybody tell me she was that good?

And what — he gave the highest salute he can give afterwards.  Brett Kavanaugh showed the nation why I picked him.

It always does come back to Donald.  But that was…

JUDY WOODRUFF:  But — and, David, what about the reaction of women?

I mean, there have been, what — I just read there were 88 more people arrested at the Capitol today.  Women were calling in yesterday to hot lines talking about their own experiences that they hadn't been comfortable talking about before.

This has intersected with the #MeToo movement.  And people keep talking about the comparisons to Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill 27 years ago, but we're in a different time now, aren't we?


Well, frankly, this week, I have been thinking about millions of women over 20 centuries who — we have a world history, world literature going back 20 centuries, and, presumably, sexual abuse has been a part of human civilization for all that time.  And how many stories have come out?

And so, to me, it's a big, finally, unveiling of stories that have been hidden for 4,000 years.  They come out in little bits of literature, but not really.

And so, to me, that's one of the historic good things of this horrible moment, that at least the stories, these sorts of stories are coming out.  And it's part of the unveiling that we have to go through, just as racial stories have to come out.  And so, to me, that is the one good thing that's coming out of this week.

MARK SHIELDS:  I think that, politically, to be venal about it and bring it down to politics, Donald Trump did carry women who had not gone to college by 27 points, 61 to 34.  That's how you could say he got elected.  They were 17 percent of the electorate in 2016.  He lost college-educated women to Hillary Clinton.

Right now, Republicans generically are running 5 to 6 percent behind among non-college women, and 22 percent behind among college women.

So, yes, I mean, Trump set the table for the Republicans to be in trouble on this issue.  And I…


MARK SHIELDS:  Go ahead.  I'm sorry.

DAVID BROOKS:  Well, I would just say, I think the Republican intensity is up.  The early polling indications is that Republican — Democratic intensity has been up.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  Has been up.

DAVID BROOKS:  Republicans' is coming up.

I happened to be in Texas, Minnesota, and Appalachia and Southeastern Ohio this week, and so saw it in the context of that.  And what struck me is, when we're in Washington, we think it's right-left.  But in — with the conversations I had this week, maybe 150, a lot of people, it was in, out.

They just wanted to recoil.  And it wasn't like, oh, the Republicans are good, the Democrats are bad.  It's, Washington is a swamp.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So it's not just Kavanaugh.  You mean Washington.

DAVID BROOKS:  The conversation is, the general tenor was, what a mess that is.  Aren't you so glad you're out of there?

And so, to me, the big winners of the week politically are Trump, because he hates — he wants to blow up the system, and some future Democratic version of Trump, who will also want to blow up the system.

MARK SHIELDS:  Boy, I disagree completely.

I think this is a referendum in 2018 on Donald Trump, as it is on every sitting President, especially in his first term.  It's a corrective election.  There's no question that voters do want a check, not — they don't want Donald Trump with a blank check.

And I think that's what we're going to see in 2018.  I think we're headed to it.  Republicans I have talked to report basically nothing but bad news from races.

DAVID BROOKS:  Yes, I don't disagree with that.

But I just think there's a recoil from Washington.  Washington is some hostile thing that we can't affect and can affect us.  Let's just get away from that whole Washington thing.

MARK SHIELDS:  I do — I think that part of that — not to get on a Trump diatribe, but there's a sense of exhaustion, that Donald Trump — I think voters are really — somebody who just says, look, I'm going to bring tranquility to the country.  We're going to get along.  We're going to move ahead.  We're going to bring justice.

I think it's a winning message.  I mean, the idea that everything has to be chaotic, that everything has to be a crisis is what — seems the watchword of this administration.


Brett Kavanaugh - Typical Male Chauvinist Pig

"How Washington is reacting to emotionally charged Kavanaugh hearing" PBS NewsHour 9/27/2018


SUMMARY:  High drama played out in a day-long hearing on the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  Christine Blasey Ford offered her much-awaited testimony about the summer day in 1982 that she remembers being assaulted, while Kavanaugh defiantly called it a “political hit.”  Amna Nawaz reports, then Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor join Judy Woodruff for more.


Blasey Ford - Victim of Sexual Assault

"At Kavanaugh hearing, tests of credibility and partisan blowupsPBS NewsHour 9/27/2018


SUMMARY:  Judy Woodruff takes a deep look at the day-long hearing into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report, Michael Gerson of The Washington Post, and former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, also a former prosecutor.

"Christine Blasey Ford’s friend: ‘She’s paid a high price’ in coming forward" PBS NewsHour 9/27/2018


SUMMARY:  Samantha Guerry, a friend of Christine Blasey Ford, says that Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony that he didn’t know Ford seemed “like an evasive answer.” Guerry talks with Amna Nawaz about watching Ford testify in front of Congress and how she might feel if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

TRUMP AGENDA - Failure to Lower Drub Prices

"Why the Trump administration isn’t making much headway in lowering drug prices" PBS NewsHour 9/25/2018


SUMMARY:  President Trump made reducing drug prices a focus of his campaign, and his administration has taken some steps to do so.  But a recent analysis of more than 26,000 U.S. brand name prescription drugs found 96 price hikes for every one price cut in the first seven months of this year.  Judy Woodruff learns more from Elisabeth Rosenthal of Kaiser Health News.

WORLD'S OCEANS - Plastic Pollution

"Plastic lasts more than a lifetime, and that’s the problem" PBS NewsHour 9/25/2018


SUMMARY:  Around the world, waves of plastic are washing ashore and clogging landfills.  Even though plastic pollution is now one of the largest environmental threats facing humans and animals, our appetite for the virtually indestructible material keeps growing.  Amna Nawaz and producer Lorna Baldwin begin our series.


"After scores of allegations, Bill Cosby is going to prison.  What changed?" PBS NewsHour 9/25/2018


SUMMARY:  Comedian and actor Bill Cosby, 81, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, though some 60 women have accused him of similar crimes going back 50 years.  William Brangham learns more from Maryclaire Dale of the Associated Press, then gets reaction from Lili Bernard, one of Cosby’s accusers.

UN LEADERS - Message to Trump

"Leaders confront Trump’s ‘America First’ philosophy at UN" PBS NewsHour 9/25/2018


SUMMARY:  At the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump unapologetically rejected internationalism and trumpeted national sovereignty, leaving Europe to defend the world order and multilateralism.  Nick Schifrin reports from New York.

ROBERT REDFORD - Retires (Part 2 of 2)

FILM LEGENDS - Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek (Part 1 of 2) (includes movie trailer)

"Robert Redford retires from acting as a bankrobber who won’t quit" PBS NewsHour 9/24/2018


SUMMARY:  In the movie "The Old Man and the Gun," a charming, aging criminal manages to leave a smile on the faces of those he robs.  Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek join Jeffrey Brown to discuss their new film, and to look back on Redford’s long career.

VOTE 2018 - One Minnesota District

"This Minnesota district is one that could decide control of Congress" PBS NewsHour 9/24/2018


SUMMARY:  This year Minnesota is home to the only two Democratic-held House seats that are rated a toss-up.  Republican Jim Hagedorn and Democrat Dan Feehan are competing in a district that's voted for both parties, and where issues of health care and agriculture dominate.  Special correspondent Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities PBS reports.

KOREAS - Progress on North Korea?

"Trump and South Korea’s Moon sound positive notes on North Korea progress" PBS NewsHour 9/24/2018


SUMMARY:  At the annual United Nations General Assembly, President Trump met Monday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to talk about trade and the auto industry, as well as diplomatic outreach to North Korea.  Nick Schifrin joins Judy Woodruff to discuss what they said, and what to expect from the rest of the week.


"Will a police officer’s murder trial be a turning point in Chicago?" PBS NewsHour 9/24/2018

IMHO:  A person moving away (even if they have a knife) from anyone with a gun (LEO or not) is NOT a threat to anyone.


SUMMARY:  Defense attorneys began presenting their case Monday in the trial of a white police officer accused of shooting Laquan McDonald in 2014.  Jason Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges, after firing on the black teenager 16 times.  Amna Nawaz talks with Jennifer White, host of the WBEZ podcast "16 Shots."

HUMOR - Daughter's iPad


Monday, September 24, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Ponnuru 9/21/2018

"Shields and Ponnuru on Brett Kavanaugh allegations, Russia probe declassification delay" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review join Amna Nawaz to discuss the week’s news, including the controversy surrounding the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the decision by President Trump to push back his order to declassify Russia probe documents, and how the President could influence the midterm elections.

Amna Nawaz (NewsHour):  Now we turn back to the controversy surrounding the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

And to the analysis of Shields and Ponnuru.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review.  David Brooks is away.

Gentlemen, welcome.

Let's jump right in.

The biggest story of the week, obviously, here in Washington, Judge Kavanaugh, right?  We're having this conversation at the unfortunate intersection of high-stakes politics and how we handle sexual violence in America.

Ramesh, the Republicans are in charge here, though, kind of running the show.  How are they handling it?

Ramesh Ponnuru, The National Review:  Well, I would say that things took a marked turn for the worse when President Trump decided that he was tired of being responsible and sober-minded, which must have chafed, and instead decided to attack Dr. or Professor Blasey Ford, saying that, if this was a real thing, she should have come forward decades ago, which anybody who's familiar with these cases understands is not the way these things work.

So I think that's a real black mark on the Republicans.  And I know a lot of Republicans, including Senator Collins, were really smarting over that remark and wanting to distance themselves from it.

On the other hand, you look at the Democrats, and they haven't been covering themselves in glory either.  Senator Feinstein's handling of the allegation, sitting on it for two months, essentially, was almost inexplicable.  And you have got various Senate Democrats who are pre-judging the case, saying that they — as Senate Republicans, some are, too — saying that they already believe the allegations without having heard anything.

Amna Nawaz:  Mark, what do you make of all this?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Well, let me agree with Ramesh, especially on President Trump.

If you're a Republican in 2018, and on the eve of an election that is increasingly looking pessimistic, by numbers and outlook, for the Republicans, the last thing you want to be talking about is women and sexual abuse and recalling of the Anita Hill hearings, and having as your spokesman a man who has been 19 times accused of sexual abuse or sexual harassment, the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

It's not a message you want, and it's not a messenger.  This is more than about Brett Kavanaugh.  This hearing that's coming up is essentially about David against Goliath, against — we're going to hear from Professor Ford for the first time.  And that will determine how the country responds.

But between — before then, I think the one indicator that has hit me is polls that suggests that women are more upset about the charges and the response of the Republicans than any other group.

And you will recall, in the 2016 election, Donald Trump carried women who had not been to college by a 61 to 34 margin, decisively.  Hillary Clinton carried a majority of women who had gone to college.  If women in — the non-college-educated women are responding to this charge and the sense that something is wrong and that — that this is a society that is indifferent and intolerant of women and the abuse they have suffered, this is nothing but bad news for the Republicans.

It's not where they want to be.

Amna Nawaz:  So, how do they handle this?  Part of this is about optics, right?  I mean, and we're talking there could be a hearing next week.  We don't know where this stands.

You have got three men who could be questioning Dr. Ford who were there back in 1991, right, questioning Anita Hill, and didn't handle it well back then.  How do they move forward?  How did they have the hearing that everyone says they're going to be moving towards to some degree and not alienate this group that Mark was just talking about?

Ramesh Ponnuru:  Well, I think one thing we all have to remember is, the optics actually have to take a backseat to the facts.

And it's going to be very hard to determine the facts.  But the senators need to go in and be seen to be going in, yes, but mostly to actually go in, trying to determine the facts.

We have got sworn statements now from Judge Kavanaugh, from Mark Judge, from an unnamed third party.  We will presumably get a third — get a sworn statement from the accuser as well, Professor Blasey Ford.  And then we're going to have to actually try to do what we can to figure out who's telling the truth.

Amna Nawaz:  Do you think that the way they have presented it so far enforces that message that we take this seriously, we have an intention to get to the bottom of this?

You're hearing some folks, like Mitch McConnell earlier today, we heard him in the show saying, Judge Kavanaugh is going to be confirmed.

Ramesh Ponnuru:  Right.

So I think it's one thing to say that, based on the evidence that you have heard so far, you are inclined to go with one or the other.  But I think it's a real mistake to close your mind to the possibility that you're going to get new information.  If that's the case, then you do have to ask, why are we having any hearings at all?

Amna Nawaz:  I want to bring up a poll too.  We have got some numbers to look at, Mark, and get your take on these.

Mark Shields:  Yes.  Sure.

Amna Nawaz:  This shows publicly, look, there has been an actual increase in opposition to Judge Kavanaugh over the last month, up nine points.

At some point, does he become a political liability?

Mark Shields:  I'm not sure he's a political liability.

I think that the subject is a political liability for Republicans.  And, obviously, if he's stayed with and sullied with it, yes, he becomes a political liability.

I think the hearing is — Ramesh is right.  The Republicans and the Democrats have basically taken their position, put on their uniforms, or at least the partisans have.  The group that has yet to make a decision on this will look at the hearings.  And the hearings will be determinate.

And it really isn't about Judge Kavanaugh as much as it's about Professor Ford.  I mean, is she believable?  Is she sympathetic?  Is she convincing?

And the President saying, why didn't she come forward, why didn't she go the FBI when she was 15 years old, first of all, it's not a — it's not a — I'm not sure that we're talking about a federal offense.  But, secondly, I mean, if anything we have learned, through the pain and torment of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse, is that people, out of pain, embarrassment, humiliation, a sense of fear, don't come forward.

I mean, the Department of Justice own numbers say that 22 percent of rape victims ever come forward.  And so that — but, really, it is David against Goliath.  And the focus is on her.  The question, is she believable?  Is she convincing?

I wasn't sure that Mark Judge had signed a sworn statement.

Ramesh Ponnuru:  He made a statement to the Judiciary Committee.  So, that is a potentially legally actionable document that is…

Mark Shields:  OK, because he showed no willingness to…

Ramesh Ponnuru:  He doesn't — but he doesn't want — yes, right.

Mark Shields:  He wrote a book on the subject, but he didn't want to — he doesn't want to talk about it.

Ramesh Ponnuru:  He doesn't want to talk about it anymore.

Amna Nawaz:  This is the other individual that Dr. Ford says was there in the room that day.


Mark Shields:  And his not testifying, seems to me, absolutely irrational.


Amna Nawaz:  Go ahead, Ramesh, yes.

Mark Shields:  Sure.


Ramesh Ponnuru:  One of the things that's most dismaying about this entire debate is that almost everybody's views about what did or didn't happen 36 years ago lines up perfectly with what they think ought to happen to Roe v. Wade now.

And that's not the way it ought to be.

FILM LEGENDS - Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek

"Film legends Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek on aging gracefully on-screen" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2018


SUMMARY:  In "The Old Man and The Gun," Robert Redford is a charming, well-dressed and friendly old guy -- who just happens to be a bank robber.  He and co-star Sissy Spacek join Jeffrey Brown for a conversation about their first time acting together, the benefits of aging, and the joy of being swept up in a scene.


"People start revealing things when they ‘feel that you really care’" PBS NewsHour 9/20/2018


SUMMARY:  Telling a person's story is not unlike being a biologist, says Jay Allison.  "You go out in the world and encounter actual life and you collect it...and you bring it back and you study it and then you figure out how to present it," he says.  Allison, an independent journalist who produces the Moth Radio Hour and founded Transom.org, shares his Brief but Spectacular on finding stories.


DISASTERS - Jose Andres, Food First Responder

"When disaster strikes, Jose Andres brings hot food and hope" PBS NewsHour 9/20/2018

REF:  World Central Kitchen


SUMMARY:  Celebrity chef Jose Andres has been on the ground in the Carolinas this week, helping victims of Hurricane Florence.  As a "food first responder," Andres was also in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria tore through the island a year ago.  Jeffrey Brown talks with him about how he uses his knowledge of and passion for food to help create a new kind of activism, and offering nurturing to those in need.

UNITED STATES - Supporting Genocide?

"Yemen war’s civilian casualties trigger questions on Capitol Hill about U.S. support role" PBS NewsHour 9/20/2018


SUMMARY:  War in Yemen has killed at least 10,000 people and endangered millions more.  Now questions are being raised on Capitol Hill, and inside the State Department, about U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition and whether Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are doing enough to limit or prevent civilian killings.  Nick Schifrin talks with Larry Lewis of the Center for Naval Analyses.

AMERICA POLITICS - Republicans and Race

"GOP faces identity crisis as some candidates stoke racial divide" PBS NewsHour 9/19/2018


SUMMARY:  This year, a handful of GOP congressional candidates have openly expressed or supported racist views, opening up a divide in the party over how to address the issue and who Republicans want to be.  Lisa Desjardins takes us inside a Virginia Senate race, where candidate Corey Stewart is a polarizing figure.

KOREAN DIPLOMACY - Without the United States

aka North Korean Play-Book "How to Sucker the United States"

"Is new North and South Korea deal a significant step toward denuclearization?" PBS NewsHour 9/19/2018


SUMMARY:  A new joint agreement signed by leaders of North and South Korea marked their most significant progress toward peace to date.  Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in pledged a "new era," with Kim agreeing to dismantle his main missile testing site, as well as his main nuclear weapons complex -- with conditions.  Yamiche Alcindor talks with Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation and Jenny Town of 38 North.

PUERTO RICO - Post Hurricane Maria Update

"Puerto Rico’s beleaguered public schools face controversial reform after Hurricane Maria" PBS NewsHour 9/18/2018


SUMMARY:  Puerto Rico's school system was struggling long before Hurricane Maria struck a year ago.  But the disaster exacerbated deep problems, as schools were destroyed, thousands of children moved to the U.S. mainland and students struggle with trauma.  Now, special correspondent Kavitha Cardoza of Education Week reports, the system is at a crossroads as the schools chief advocates for charter schools.

"Families say Hurricane Maria’s death toll was preventable — and neglect is to blame" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2018


SUMMARY:  Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, the Associated Press, and Quartz compiled an extensive database of nearly 500 victims of Hurricane Maria whose families say that mismanagement, poor communication and damaged infrastructure were to blame for the deaths.  Ana Campoy, Latin America reporter for Quartz, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Dallas.