Monday, February 27, 2017

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 2/24/2017

"Shields and Brooks on tea party lessons for Democrats, remaking GOP in Trump's image" PBS NewsHour 2/24/2017


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including the grassroots fervor meeting Republican members of Congress in their home districts, the challenge of a clear message for Democrats, how President Trump has influenced American conservatism, and the impact of a President targeting the media as “fake.”

THE RESISTANCE - Congressional Town Halls

aka 'The Rats Scurry for Cover'

"At congressional town hall meetings, citizens turn up the volume — and activism" PBS NewsHour 2/24/2017


SUMMARY:  With members of Congress on recess, usually that would mean lawmakers meeting with constituents at home in their districts.  But fewer than 30 Republicans are holding meetings in the face of local protests and rowdy town halls.  Lisa Desjardins reports from New Jersey, where five-term Rep. Leonard Lance faced more than a thousand people, ready to let him hear their urgent concerns.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Members of Congress have been on recess this week.  Usually, that would mean a number of constituent town halls in their home states and districts.

But fewer than 30 Republicans are holding those meetings, as protests grow outside some district offices, and constituents rally inside the town halls that are scheduled.

INSPIRATION - Heroic Foster Father

I know I could not do this, the emotional toll would be too much.

Note that his actions are part of the faith, Islam.  Caring for others.

"The foster father who cares when terminally ill kids have no one" PBS NewsHour 2/24/2017


SUMMARY:  Mohamed Bzeek has become somewhat of a local hero in Los Angeles, taking on a life mission that few others would consider:  as a foster parent who cares solely for terminally ill children.  Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon meets Bzeek, a former Libyan immigrant who depends on his Muslim faith as he juggles intensive caretaking and heartbreak, as well as his own battle with cancer.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now the story of a good man on a quiet and heartbreaking mission, one many people would never consider undertaking.

He worked for years in obscurity, until recent notice brought this remarkable man and his story to light.

From Los Angeles, special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon brings us this profile.

MOHAMED BZEEK, Foster Parent:  What are you doing?

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, special correspondent:  Mohamed Bzeek has become something of a local hero here in Los Angeles recently.

MOHAMED BZEEK:  I am not an angel.  I am not a hero.  It's just what we are supposed to do as a human being.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  In 1978, Bzeek, then a former marathon runner, came to the U.S. from Libya to study engineering.  He met his wife here in the U.S., and became a citizen in 1997.

But, today, he is a different kind of champion.  His distinction?  He is the only foster parent in this city of four million who cares solely for terminally ill children.

What happens if you get sick?

MOHAMED BZEEK:  Father doesn't get sick day.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  It is not a glamorous job.

MOHAMED BZEEK:  You have to do it from your heart, really.  If you do it for money, you're not going to stay for long.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  Over almost three decades, he and his wife cared for scores of children.  Ten have died in his care.  Most of the children he's taken recently are born with terminal illnesses.

Sometimes, they are abandoned or born to parents with drug addiction.  Once they enter the foster care system, the county works to connect them with foster parents like Mohamed.  The memories of the children, he says, still live with him every day.

SYRIA - 'The White Helmets' Oscar Winning Documentary Short

"Out of Syria's devastation, 'The White Helmets' offer moments of hope" PBS NewsHour 2/23/2017


SUMMARY:  The daily destruction of Syria's civil war is at once shocking and now strangely familiar.  The Oscar-nominated documentary short “The White Helmets” aims to get beyond the numbness of the conflict by showing real first responders working to rescue victims from the ongoing assault on cities like Aleppo.  Jeffrey Brown talks with the film's director and producer.

ORLANDO VON EINSIEDEL, Director, “The White Helmets”:  What we found most extraordinary was who the rescue workers were, this group of everyday Syrian civilians who had decided not to pick up a gun, had decided not to leave Syria, and instead had decided to stay and every day risk their lives to save their fellow citizens.

And they’re builders, tailors, bakers, just normal people.  They’re truly real-life heroes.

AMERICA - Life Expectancy

"How the feeling of falling behind fuels deadly distress for white Americans" PBS NewsHour 2/23/2017


SUMMARY:  Why have middle aged, white Americans experienced a stunning rise in premature deaths due to alcoholism, suicide and drug abuse?  Economists who have documented the dramatic decrease in life expectancy say an obvious place to look is the loss of work and economic status for the working class.  But economics correspondent Paul Solman finds that's not the whole story.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  But first, the second of a two-part look at the declining life expectancy for some middle-aged white Americans.

Last week, economics correspondent Paul Solman examined the role prescription painkillers and alcohol may play in the trend.

Tonight, he explores how the economy and the job market may be involved.

Its part of our weekly series Making Sen$e, which airs Thursdays.

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  The Hardee's in Maysville, Kentucky, a popular hangout for the senior set.

Martin Sauer used to work for the sheriff's department, where he says he saw his share of Saturday night drunks, but nothing like the current opioid drug epidemic.

MARTIN SAUER, Kentucky:  People get hooked on it and can't get off of it, or don't want to, causing a lot of younger generation to lose their lives.

PAUL SOLMAN:  And by younger generation, Sauer means his middle-aged neighbors, who, as we reported last week, are experiencing a stunning rise in premature deaths due to alcoholism, suicide and drug abuse.  But why?

ANGUS DEATON, Economist:  The health crisis here is particularly among white working-class or white people with a high school and no more.  For those people, the economy's been very hard for a very long time.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Predictably, Angus Deaton and Anne Case, economists who have documented the dramatic decrease in life expectancy, say an obvious place to look for a cause is the economy.

ANNE CASE, Economist:  It used to be, with a high school degree, you could get a job, that actually could provide for your family.  And the disappearance of those may lead people to feel a lot more stressed.

TRUMP AGENDA - Transgender School Guidelines

THINK ABOUT IT:  There was a Facebook post on this issue that had a pic of a guy in jeans learning at girls in a school restroom.  Problem, a transgender boy would NOT be dressed as a boy, 'she' would be dressed as a girl.

Now think about how a transgender boy (dressed as a girl) would feel being forced to use a boy's restroom, or a transgender girl (dressed as a boy) would feel being forced to use the girl's restroom.  You can imagine the bulling and harassment the student would suffer.

The real solution is to have all schools have at least one unisex restroom.

"How scrapping transgender bathroom guidelines impacts schools" PBS NewsHour 2/22/2017


SUMMARY:  Federal guidelines advising schools to let transgender kids use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity are being withdrawn by the Departments of Justice and Education.  What will the Trump administration's change mean for schools and students?  William Brangham talks to Evie Blad of Education Week.

OPINION - Americans on Trump via Regional Newspapers

"How Americans see President Trump, according to three regional newspapers" PBS NewsHour 2/22/2017


SUMMARY:  What do Americans think of President Trump's time in office so far?  Judy Woodruff asks newspaper editors from around the nation -- David Bradley of the St. Joseph News-Press, David Haynes of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Lee Ann Colacioppo of The Denver Post -- to weigh in on what they are hearing from their readers.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now that we're one month into the Trump administration, we wanted to get a sense of how different parts of the country are assessing the president's time in office.

To do that, we have asked newspaper editors from three states to tell us what they're hearing from readers in their communities.  And they join us now.

Lee Ann Colacioppo is the editor of The Denver Post.  David Haynes is the editorial page editor for The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in Wisconsin.  And David Bradley is the editor of The St. Joseph News-Press in Missouri.

And we welcome all of you to the NewsHour.

David Bradley, I'm going to start with you.

Missouri is a state that went heavily for Donald Trump.  He won by something like 20 points.  What are you hearing right now from your readers about how he's doing?

DAVID BRADLEY, St.  Joseph News-Press:  I think people are fairly well satisfied with what Donald Trump is doing now.

I think he's done a lot of things that he said he would do.  He's made a few misstatements over the last few weeks, but what he's done, I think, has been pretty impressive.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Lee Ann Colacioppo, what about your readers in Denver around Colorado?

LEE ANN COLACIOPPO, The Denver Post:  We're getting a lot of really mixed results, mixed phone calls.

We have got people calling up really upset, angry with the Trump administration, angry with us when we have editorialized in the vein of he's lying.  And then we have got a lot of people who are — so we're really hearing from both sides.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  OK, we are going to pursue that.

David Haynes, what about in Milwaukee?  What are you picking up from your readers?

DAVID HAYNES, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:  Well, Judy, it always depends on who you talk to.

Liberals in our state don't have much use of Donald Trump.  Independents are a little bit divided, although they are concerned about what has been reported as some of the chaos in the White House.  Conservatives in Wisconsin didn't support Donald Trump in the primary.  They went for Ted Cruz, and so they're still a little wary and worried that the agenda of Paul Ryan, who is from our state, may not get passed in the way they'd like.

But what I hear from Trump supporters, mostly, is you in the media need to let him get his administration organized.  And I often hear them saying that, you know, Bill Clinton didn't exactly have an easy transition either, but, in the same breath, they often will say, but, gosh, I wish he would stop tweeting at 3:00 in the morning.

TRUMP AGENDA - Manufacturing Jobs

"Can President Trump bring back manufacturing jobs?" by Steve Hoover, Lauren Mucciolo, and Anjali Tsui; PBS NewsHour 2/21/2017


When Donald Trump announced a campaign stop in Erie, Pennsylvania in August, it seemed like an unusual move.  The blue-collar community on the shores of Lake Erie had not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984.  For decades, labor unions endorsed Democratic candidates and their members voted in step.

But the landscape in Erie was changing.  Well-paying manufacturing jobs that once sustained families in the region were disappearing.  Residents were leaving in search of better economic prospects.

General Electric Transportation, once Erie's largest employer, began the election year by shedding 1,500 of the 4,500 jobs at its locomotive plant that paid, on average, a comfortable $34 an hour.  Over the past three years, the company had gradually shifted production to a non-union facility in Fort Worth, Texas in an effort to minimize costs and keep up with global competition.

Erie, along with dozens of other manufacturing hubs along the Rust Belt, have seen seismic shifts as technology has quenched the demand for manual labor on factory floors.  Companies like GE that once sustained the region have either cut jobs, or closed entirely, in recent years.  Since 1990, Erie County has lost 16,000 manufacturing jobs, representing 44 percent of the industry there.  In the year leading up to the election, unemployment in Erie rose from 5 percent to 7 percent.

The anxiety and excitement was palatable at the ice hockey arena when Trump took the stage in Erie.  His calls to lower taxes and punish companies from leaving the United States were greeted with thunderous cheers.  Bucking conventional wisdom about America's economy, Trump promised to renegotiate trade deals and “bring back” jobs that many economists say have been lost to automation.

“Erie has lost a lot, right?” Trump said.  “Hang in, don't leave.  I promise we can fix it so fast.  We will stop these countries from taking our jobs.  We will stop these countries from taking our companies.”

On Election Day, Trump defied expectations in Erie, taking a county that Barack Obama won by more than 19,000 votes in 2012, and winning it by around 2,000 votes.  His victory in Pennsylvania was the first by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.  Trump also won other traditionally Democratic states like Michigan and Wisconsin, propelled by voters from similar counties throughout the industrial heartland.

Trump's message resonated with small business owners like Joe and Sondralee Orengia.  A champion power lifter, Joe manages Joe's Gym, while Sondralee operates Custom Audio, an electronics store.  Both say they have seen fewer customers in recent years, and are excited about Trump's promise to return manufacturing jobs and revitalize the Erie economy.

“The Democratic Party's so strong here and then you get someone like Donald Trump who is really a very different candidate.  I mean, we've never seen anything like him before,” Sondralee said.  “I think a lot of people are fearful, especially the Democrats, but I think the people who voted for him, they're hopeful.”

Joe Orengia voted for Democratic candidates in the past, but registered as a Republican for the first time after reading Trump's book, “Crippled America: How to Make Our Country Great Again.”  He showed his support by designing and selling “Pump for Trump” T-shirts that proudly displayed Trump's face superimposed onto a cartoon power lifter.

Orengia, who is 70 years old, grew up in the 1950s during the heyday of manufacturing, when more than half of Erie workers were employed in factories.  After apprentice school, he worked as an ironworker and helped construct factory buildings for companies like GE and Hammermill Paper Company.

“I was one of their best climbers,” he said.  “I always got the job of putting the buildings together, which was fun.  You climb up the column, a big piece of steel comes up, you bolt it up, you walk out, unhook the cable and stand there and wait for the next piece.”

Hammermill, which was bought by International Paper Company, shut its Erie factory in 2002.  Many buildings that Orengia helped to build have been torn down.

“They were some of the best years of my life working down there, putting them up.  They are gone and the people are gone,” he said.

Frontline "Betting on Trump:  Jobs" (10:17)

"Erie longs for its manufacturing past, but what's the future?" PBS NewsHour 2/22/2017

IMHO: Sorry folks, manufacturing of the '50s and '60s are gone and NOT coming back.  You now live in the high-tech world which means production with fewer people aka fewer jobs.  You need to upgrade your job skills for the new world.


SUMMARY:  Erie County, Pennsylvania, has long been a manufacturing center, but jobs have been declining since the 1970s.  In collaboration with the NewsHour and Marketplace, Frontline offers a look at the hopes and hardships in regions that voted for President Trump.  Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Douglas Holtz-Eakin of American Action Forum talk more with Jeffrey Brown.

THE LEADING EDGE - Alien Life in Solar Systems

"Hunt for alien life zooms in on newly discovered solar system" PBS NewsHour 2/22/2017

An artist's impression of TRAPPIST-1
 and its seven planets


SUMMARY:  Astronomers have identified seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star that's just a mere 230 trillion miles from our own planet, raising the tantalizing prospect of life in a solar system beyond our own.  Science correspondent Miles O'Brien joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss how they made the discovery and what it means.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Now to this week's edition of Leading Edge.

There is new excitement tonight about the search for possible life in a solar system beyond our own.  Astronomers have identified seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star just a mere 230 trillion miles or so from our own planet.  That sounds like a mind-boggling distance.  It is.  But researchers say the idea of life on one of these exoplanets, as they're called, is tantalizing.

Astronomers, using ground and space telescopes operated by NASA and the European Southern Observatory, made the announcement.

Our own Miles O'Brien is here to guide us through the news.

First of all, if something is so far away — this is maybe a basic science question — how do we know what we know and what we saw?

MILES O'BRIEN (NewsHour):  It's a good question.

You know, think about it for a minute.  If it's trillions of miles away, how is it even possible?  So, imagine — the technique is called transit photometry.  Now, imagine you're about a mile away from a headlight and a mosquito goes across the headlight.

Believe it not, that headlight is slightly dimmed by the fact that mosquito goes across.  Well, this is tantamount to what they do.  The planet goes in front of the star, it dims ever so slightly, and with a lot of complicated and sensitive instrumentation, you can determine that, in fact, that's a planet.

They discovered three of them this way.  They said, hmm, this is an interesting, ultra-cool brown dwarf to look at.  Let's put some more hardware on it.  They set more instrumentation on it.  And, sure enough, there ended up to be seven Earth-like planets, just about the size and mass of Earth, orbiting this Jupiter-sized, ultra-cool brown dwarf.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Now, you say ultra-cool, that doesn't mean it's a cold sun.  It's just not as big or as hot as ours, right?

MILES O'BRIEN:  It's about like Jupiter is to us, OK, cooler and smaller.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  And when we talk about this habitable zone, this Goldilocks, not too cold, not too hot, how do they know that there are planets in this group that exist within that range?

MILES O'BRIEN:  They can measure the radiation off of TRAPPIST-1, this particular ultra-cool brown dwarf, and figure out the zone at which water would remain liquid.  And that's the key.

Everywhere we look on this planet and we find liquid water, we find life.  It doesn't matter where we go.  So, in the hunt for potential alien life, the thought of finding places where there is liquid water is what really intrigues scientists.

So, these planets are a lot closer to TRAPPIST-1 than we are to our sun, but, remember, it's smaller and dimmer.  And they have these very tight little orbits.  And it's quite likely there might be water on some of them.

NASA Announcement Video (38:32)

TRUMP AGENDA - Antisemitism

First, I do not trust #NotMyPresident to really care about antisemitism.  He will play the card to enhance his political creds, but that's all it will be, pandering.

"What can the Trump administration do to quell Antisemitism?" PBS NewsHour 2/21/2017


SUMMARY:  A wave of anti-Semitic incidents has swept across the U.S.  in the past few months, including dozens of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers around the country.  Although President Trump formally denounced the threats on Tuesday, some believe he has not responded forcefully or quickly enough.  John Yang speaks with Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The past couple of months have seen a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, including a dozen bomb threats at Jewish community centers in the past two days, and the destruction of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Missouri.

The President today made a statement of condemnation, but it comes amid growing concerns in this country about antisemitism and other incidents involving hate, and some criticism that President Trump hasn't responded forcefully and quickly enough.

Our John Yang has the story.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  Over the past two days, authorities have evacuated Jewish community centers in a dozen cities across the country, the latest this morning in La Jolla, California.

MAN:  It's just bigotry raising its head again in this country.

JOHN YANG:  No explosive devices were found, but it's part of an unsettling series of events.  On Monday, more than 200 headstones were toppled and damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Saint Louis.

Since January 1, 54 Jewish centers in 27 states have been the target of 70 threats.  In all of 2016, there was just one such incident.

This morning, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, President Trump condemned the threats.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

JOHN YANG:  Mr. Trump's comments followed Monday's tweet from his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Orthodox Judaism before her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner: “We must protect our houses of worship and religious centers.”

The President was far stronger today than he was last week, when, in two news conferences over two days, he was asked about the apparent uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Watch how friendly he is.

Go ahead.

JOHN YANG:  On Thursday, he dismissed a question from a reporter for an Orthodox Jewish weekly as very insulting and unfair.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life.  I hate the charge.  I find it repulsive.

JOHN YANG:  Today, the Anti-Defamation League urged Mr. Trump to present a plan to combat antisemitism.

And we are joined by the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, who is in Palm Beach, Florida.

Jonathan, thanks for joining us.

You tweeted this afternoon that polling shows that anti-Semitic views have been fairly constant for the past 20 years, despite a little uptick, you say, in 2013 and 2016.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO and National Director, Anti-Defamation League:  Right.

JOHN YANG:  Why, then, are we seeing this wave of threats against Jewish community centers?  What's going on here, in your view?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT:  Well, look, the ADL has been tracking anti-Semitic attitudes since the 1960s.

And, as you said, our latest poll, which looks at anti-Semitic attitudes in 2016, turned up about 14 percent of all Americans harbor these ideas.  That's more than 30 million Americans.  So, it's not a small number.

But I think what's changed is the fact that, over the course of the last 12 to 18 months, we saw — we had a political campaign that saw extremism move from the margins into the mainstream of the political conversation.

We saw images and ideas from white supremacists literally shared from political campaigns showing up in the Twitter feeds of major news organizations.  We saw it in our political rallies as well.

And then, after the election, there was a surge of hate crimes.  We saw acts of vandalism, certainly a lot of slander on social media and, in fact, in the last few months, as you mentioned, a number of bomb threats, almost 70, to dozens of Jewish community centers across the country.

So, I think what's happened is, the extremists feel emboldened.  The lack of comments from the highest levels of our political office have created a vacuum that they have rushed to fill, bringing their hateful ideas literally into the center of our public life.

That's got to stop.

BALTIMORE - Student Stress

"Faced with outsized stresses, these Baltimore students learn to take a deep breath" PBS NewsHour 2/21/2017


SUMMARY:  Violent crime and unemployment rates are nearly twice the national average in Baltimore.  Educators say factors like these add significant stress to children, causing emotional and behavioral problems, so several public schools are working to reduce that stress with mindfulness and meditation.  Hari Sreenivasan reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Baltimore, Maryland, has high unemployment and a violent crime rate of nearly twice the national average.  Educators say that factors like these add significant stress to children and cause emotional and behavioral problems.

Several area public schools are working to reduce that stress with programs that teach mindfulness and meditation.

Our Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

It for our weekly series Making the Grade.

CHRIS BOWMAN, Student, Patterson High School:  And exhale, pushing out all the things that make you stressed out.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  This isn't your local yoga studio.  It's the Mindful Moments Room at Patterson High School in East Baltimore.  It's a place students go when they act up, get stressed out, or just need a break.

CHRIS BOWMAN:  Stay in your happiness.

LATONYA LEE, Student, Patterson High School:  My day is so stressful.  As soon as I walk in the door — I don't even have to do exercises.  There's just a big smile on my face because I'm in here.  If they didn't have mindful moments in Patterson, I wouldn't be here at all.


LATONYA LEE:  Because it's too stressful.  And for — to not have a place to relieve stress is like putting you in a oven.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  These students are participant ambassadors for mindfulness meditation programs run by the nonprofit Holistic Life Foundation at Patterson High.

It's a school that has struggled with higher rates of dropouts, absenteeism, and has more students on free or reduced lunches than the national average.

Nineteen-year-old Chris Bowman not only practices mindfulness meditation at school, but he starts his day with it, and yoga, which he's used to deal with his demons.  At a previous school, he says he used to fight with kids who picked on him for being black.

Then his father died when he was 13.

CHRIS BOWMAN:  Growing up without a father and stuff like that, I struggled with a lot of depression, a lot of grief, and a lot of just really bad — really bad zones of like suicidal thoughts.

But I had to find a way to get out of that.  A mindful moment is when you — you just take a deep breath in a moment of conflict and just — maybe you just look at that and just like, I can do this in a different way.  I don't have to fight this person.  I don't have to look violence as the answer.

TRUMP ECONOMY - Coal Country Promises

IMHO:  OK, in 'coal country' this is a jobs issue, BUT it is also a pollution issue for our nation.  So which should have precedence, I vote for our nation (anti-pollution over jobs).  As for coal miners, you need to go into another industry, your region needs to attract new industries.

About the video, notice the first man interviewed?  He is wearing breathing tubes likely because he worked in coal mines, and coal dust has damaged his lungs.

"In coal country, putting faith in Trump's economic promises" PBS NewsHour 2/21/2017


SUMMARY:  In the coal towns of West Virginia, President Trump made economic promises that helped him win the election.  Around 12,000 mining jobs have been eliminated in the last few years in that state alone while production remains at its lowest since the 1980s.  In collaboration with the NewsHour and Marketplace, Frontline offers a look at the hopes and realities for some of the Americans who voted Trump.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now a special series this week on the hopes and economic realities of many of those Americans who voted for President Trump.

Three reports will take us to Erie County, Pennsylvania, Central Valley, California, and the coal towns of West Virginia.  The President made economic promises in each of these places that helped him win.

Filmmakers with PBS' Frontline went to those areas looking for personal stories.

Our first report is set in coal country in West Virginia, and profiles two miners we spoke with after the election.

It is part of How the Deck Is Stacked, NewsHour's collaboration with Frontline and Marketplace, in conjunction with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


DAVE BOUNDS, Retired Coal Miner:  I have been registered Democrat all my life, but I crossed over this year.  I voted for Donald Trump, because he promised to help the coal miner.  And, for this region, we need help.

There's good men out here just walking the streets.  Their families are getting desperate.  Welfare can't keep people forever.  These men need to go back to work.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  So I just left parts of Virginia, and West Virginia.

And the coal industry is decimated.  The miners are out of work.  They are totally out of work.  I mean, there's — there will be no such thing as coal in this country pretty soon.  What we're going to do, folks, is going to be so special.  We're going to bring back our jobs.

We are going to be America first.  We are going to make America great again.

DAKOTA HALL, Coal Miner:  I really want to be a coal miner, always have been, ever since I was in high school.  Everybody had their dreams about being a basketball player, football player.  I always just wanted to be a coal miner.

The only thing that I really have given thought about is Trump getting in office and going back to work.  My American dream would just be to watch my kids grow up happy and healthy.  That's the only thing I could ever ask for.

I didn't have anything very long, you know, not a whole lot anyway.  Didn't make enough.  Didn't work long enough.  They said that things went dry.  It made it really, really hard to take care of a baby and a wife.

ROGER BALL, Owner, B&B Mine Safety:  Since the election, a lot of lights have came on in mining.

Most of them have a job waiting on them, or they wouldn't be here to spend that money.

Getting outside with nobody hurt, now that's what pays the bills, and pays it the right way.  We don't want no blood on that coal.  Nobody does.

NEWSHOUR SHARES - 'Heads of State'

"These giant sculptures bring new meaning to 'heads of state'" PBS NewsHour 2/20/2017


SUMMARY:  In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, intrepid explorers flock to this rural Virginia farm for a glimpse of past Presidents.

DELHI INDIA - World's Most Polluted Metropolis

"Fighting to breathe in the world's most polluted city" PBS NewsHour 2/20/2017


SUMMARY:  Delhi now outranks Beijing as the world's most polluted city.  Carbon dioxide, ozone and fine carbon particles get trapped over India's capital, mostly due to dirty fuels, causing long-term health consequences such as lung and heart disease.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on some efforts to lessen the environmental toll on residents.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  India's capital, Delhi, now outranks Beijing as the world's most polluted large metropolis.  And it's taking a toll on its residents' health.

But, as special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports, there are efforts under way to make the city's air less toxic.

It's part of his ongoing series Agents for Change.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO (NewsHour):  He murmurs and he gasps, waiting for a spot to free up, for a chance to just breathe.

As nebulizer treatments open up the lungs of a handful of patients, dozens more await their turn at the chest clinic in a Delhi government hospital.

This is the scene outside of the doctor's office.  Clinic hours are 9:00 in the morning until 1:00.  And on a typical day, the doctor says he sees about 120 patients who've been here before and 30 brand-new ones.

Three to four patients are seen at the same time, in the same room, by Dr. Raj Kumar and his team of junior doctors and residents.  The most common complaint?   Simply change of season, the winter, which brings dust and tiny carbon particulates into the environment

DR. RAJ KUMAR, India:  When there is a change in environment or increase in the particulate matter and everything, these asthmatic and COPD patients do get exacerbation of their symptoms.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  They get exacerbation of their symptoms?


FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  Dr. Kumar can do little more than check on their medications and advise patients to avoid some of the most polluted outdoor air on the planet.

Weather and wind patterns are blamed for trapping pollutants over India's capital, carbon dioxide, ozone and fine carbon particles.  Dirty fuels are the culprit from several sources.  Automobiles are the major one.  On average, 1,400 new vehicles are added to Delhi's streets every day, most now burning a highly polluting diesel long outlawed in Europe and the United States.

By 2021, diesel fuel here will meet European standards.  The government has also promised to shut down old coal-fired plants and restrict new ones.  And wood- and coal-burning brick kilns has been moved farther away from the city.

But the pollution continues.  To get an idea of how polluted the air is, we went to one of the cleanest places in Delhi, the American Embassy School.  It serves the children of American and other expats and diplomats.  Many don face masks, but only until they're inside, says the director, Ellen Stern.

ELLEN STERN, Director, American Embassy School:  We have an air system that goes all the way through the school.  We now have four different kinds of filters on it that filter out various kinds of things.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  Barun Aggarwal showed me the elaborate system his company, BreatheEasy, has set up in the school, pulling out the first layer of filter, thickly coated with a grimy soot.

So, if you were to walk outside today, this is what is coming into your lungs?

BARUN AGGARWAL, BreatheEasy:  Absolutely.

Most of the black carbon actually passes through a filter like this.  This is mostly dust.  And the black carbon will get trapped in the finer particle filters.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  So, how old is this accumulation?

BARUN AGGARWAL:  Less than six days.

TRUMP AGENDA - Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster

"Trump taps military strategist as National Security Adviser" by Catherine Lucey (AP), PBS NewsHour 2/20/2017

President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.

Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach club and said McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”

The President, who has no military experience, has shown a preference for generals in the top security roles.  McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals.

Trump says retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff.  He also said he would be asking John Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to work with them in a “somewhat different capacity.”

Trump made the announcement from a luxurious living room, sitting on a couch between McMaster and Kellogg.  The President told reporters as he exited the room that Vice President Mike Pence had been involved in the process.

Trump brought four candidates for the position to Mar-a-Lago over the weekend for in-person interviews, McMaster among them.  McMaster called the appointment a “privilege.”

McMaster served in the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Considered a scholarly officer, he holds a Ph.D. in military history, and has authored a book called “Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.”  He has also written articles questioning the planning for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The position of National Security Adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

Trump pushed out Flynn a week ago after revelations that the adviser had misled Pence about discussing sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition.  Trump said in a news conference Thursday that he was disappointed by how Flynn had treated Pence, but did not believe Flynn had done anything wrong by having the conversations.

Trump's first choice to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the offer.

"Who is H.R. McMaster, Trump's new National Security Adviser?" PBS NewsHour 2/20/2017


SUMMARY:  President Trump named Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new National Security Adviser.  The 54-year-old is currently a three-star general in the U.S. Army, who lead American forces in Iraq in 2005 and brought stability to a city that had been rife with ethnic conflict.  Judy Woodruff learns more from Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post.

TRUMP AGENDA - Truth About Travel Ban

"Terrorism and Trump's Travel Ban" by Eugene Kiely, 2/24/2017

Stephen Miller, a senior White House policy adviser, claimed that 72 people from the seven countries covered by President Donald Trump's 90-day travel ban “have been implicated in terroristic activity in the United States” since the 9/11 attacks.  That's a gross exaggeration.

Miller cited an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies that covered alleged terror cases from Sept.  12, 2001, through Dec.  31, 2014.  We reviewed the convictions of all 72 people included on the list, and here is what we found:
  • Most — 44 of the 72 people — were not convicted on terrorism charges.  Many were swept up in terrorism investigations, but investigators failed to provide evidence of terrorism-related crimes.  Prosecutors instead filed fraud, immigration and other lesser charges.  One of the 44 had his conviction overturned on appeal.
  • More than a third — 28 of the 72 — were convicted of terrorism crimes or pleaded guilty to terrorism-related activity.  The vast majority of these people were convicted of helping to finance terrorism outside the U.S.  Only three of the 28 were convicted of plotting acts of terrorism on soil, and two of them were sting operations.
  • Four of the 72 were arrested in foreign countries and extradited to the United States for prosecution.  Three of the four were convicted on terrorism charges.  None of the four would have been blocked by Trump's travel ban, since they were not attempting to enter the U.S.  In fact, three of the four, including a Dutch citizen, were arrested in countries (Spain, Romania and the Netherlands) that were not covered by the travel ban.
None of the 72 people was responsible for any terrorist-related deaths in the U.S. — even though roughly 1 million citizens of the seven countries came to the U.S. during this time as refugees, immigrants or on nonimmigrant visas, according to our review of State Department data.

Defending Trump's Travel Ban

Miller appeared on several Sunday talk shows on Feb.  12 and discussed, among other things, the president's executive order — Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.  The order imposes a 90-day travel ban on the citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen).  It also indefinitely prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., and suspends the refugee program for citizens of all other countries for 120 days.

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on Feb. 3 issued a temporary restraining order that blocked portions of Trump's order from taking effect, pending his full consideration of a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota seeking to permanently block Trump's order.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Feb. 9 unanimously denied the Trump administration's emergency motion to lift Robart's temporary order.

“The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said.

As a result of the court decisions, refugees approved for resettlement in the U.S. and visa holders of the seven countries can travel to the U.S., pending further action by the administration or the courts.

In defense of the temporary travel ban, top White House officials have cited terrorism attacks that never happened.  Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, spoke of the “Bowling Green massacre” and White House spokesman Sean Spicer repeatedly listed “Atlanta” among the sites of U.S. terror attacks.  (We did not write about those incidents, because both acknowledged their mistakes.  We try not to play gotcha here at

On NBC's “Meet the Press,” Miller also defended the president's travel ban, and criticized the court decisions.  Host Chuck Todd asked Miller why the administration's travel ban does not include citizens from countries that have a history of committing terrorism in the U.S., such as Saudi Arabia.

Miller, Feb.  12: First of all, 72 individuals according to the Center for Immigration Studies have been implicated in terroristic activity in the United States who hail from those seven nations.

Miller made a similar statement on ABC's “This Week” that same day.

Miller, Feb.  12: We know there's at least several dozen, perhaps many more than that, cases of terrorism from these countries that have happened in the United States in terms of terroristic plots, terroristic activity, material support for terrorism, supporting terrorism overseas — all different kinds of terroristic activity that's been interdicted in the United States tracing back to these seven countries.

The Center for Immigration Studies, an advocacy group for low immigration, posted a blog item on Feb. 11 that said “72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump's vetting executive order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks.”  CIS extracted the 72 names from a larger list of foreign-born suspected terrorists compiled by the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration.

We reviewed the CIS list and found that not all 72 individuals from the seven countries covered by Trump's travel ban were convicted of terrorism charges.

44 Convictions — None for Terrorism

Most of the 72 individuals referenced by Miller were not convicted on terrorism charges.  Many of them were caught up in terrorism investigations in the days following the Sept.  11, 2001, attacks, but were either never charged or not convicted of terrorism.

For example, CIS listed 19 Iraqis convicted in terror cases.  But we found that only three Iraqis were convicted on terrorism charges.  Most — 11 of the 19 — were part of a terrorism investigation in Pittsburgh that ended up as a simple fraud case that had nothing to do with terrorism.

In the Pittsburgh case, Kamel Albred, Haider Alshomary, Haider Al-Tamimi, Ali Alubeidy, Alawi Al-Baraa, Mustafa Al-Aboody, Mohammed Alibrahimi (a cousin of Ali Alubeidy), Fadhil Al-Khaledy, Hatef Al-Atabi, Wathek Al-Atabi and Elmeliani Benmoumen were among 20 people arrested in the days following the 9/11 attacks on charges they illegally obtained commercial driver's licenses and hazmat transportation permits, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Federal prosecutors feared that the men obtained the licenses in order to transport hazardous materials across the country to carry out terrorist attacks, the Post-Gazette wrote.

But the terrorism investigation fizzled.

When one of the defendants, Alawi Al-Baraa, pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining a hazmat license by bribing a state official, the Post-Gazette wrote, U.S. District Judge Robert Cindrich “took the unusual step” at the hearing of asking the federal prosecutor to make clear that Al-Baraa's case had nothing to do with terrorism.

Post-Gazette, Dec.  14, 2001: “We have attempted through the FBI's efforts to establish any possible connections between Mr.  Al-Baraa's activities and the events of Sept.  11,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Teitelbaum.  “We have been unable to establish any link.”

Teitelbaum said there is no reason to believe Al-Baraa is anything but a truck driver who paid bribe money to get a new hazmat certification without taking the required test.

Nearly four years later, the Washington Post wrote a story about the Pittsburgh case — “The Terrorism Case That Wasn't — and Still Is” — that quoted Cindrich as saying that he would “not continue to characterize this as a successful prosecution of a terrorism case, because it was not.”

Similarly, CIS identified 19 Yemeni citizens on its list of 72 individuals “convicted in terror cases,” but we found only four who were convicted on terrorism charges.  Most of them — 10 — were initially suspected of funneling money to terrorists through illegal money transfers, but the investigations failed to support terrorism charges.

For example, federal authorities grew suspicious of a check-cashing business in California and set up a sting operation that resulted in the March 2007 arrests of three Yemen-born men, Yehia Ali Ahmed Alomari, Mohamed Al Huraibi and Saleh Mohamed Taher Saeed.  The men agreed to arrange illegal overseas transfers of more than $100,000 for an undercover agent who allegedly “told the men that some of the money would go to Hezbollah, an organization linked to terrorism,” according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

However, the paper wrote, “U.S. District Judge Charles Siragusa did not allow mention of Hezbollah during the trial because the criminal charges the men faced had no connection to terrorism.”  Ultimately, the three each pleaded guilty to operating an illegal money-transmitting business — an outcome “authorities contended” was “fair, given the government's evidence,” the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote.  The paper said that one of the jurors told the men, “I hope you go and have a good life.”

Like the Pittsburgh case we mentioned earlier, several of the terrorist investigations were launched in the days following the 9/11 attacks but terrorism charges failed to materialize:
  • Mustafa Kilfat and his father were stopped while driving in New Jersey because they were “driving a red Pontiac — a car law enforcement officials briefly believed was connected to the attacks” on Sept.  11, 2001, according to the New York Daily News.  The two men had no connection to the 9/11 attacks, but Kilfat — a Syrian citizen — was convicted on one count of visa fraud.
  • Nageeb Abdul Jabar Mohamed Al-Hadi was arrested in Toronto in the hours immediately after the Sept.  11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  He was bound for Chicago using a false name, carrying three Yemeni passports and two Lufthansa uniforms, according to the Chicago Tribune.  “A prosecutor in the case said Al-Hadi provided the false information because he didn't think he would be allowed to re-enter the United States, after abandoning the legal status that he had obtained here in the 1980s through a sham marriage,” the paper wrote.  Al-Hadi was convicted on one count of visa fraud.
  • Mohamed Abdi, a Somalian living in Virginia, was arrested in the days soon after the 9/11 attacks because authorities found his name and phone number written on a Washington street map inside a 1988 Toyota registered to Nawaf al Hazmi, one of the 9/11 hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon, according to CNN and the Chicago Tribune.  But, as the Washington Post later reported, “authorities were unable to find any connection to terrorism.” Abdi pleaded guilty to forging rental subsidy checks.
  • Mohammed Refai became a suspect shortly after the 9/11 attacks when “federal investigators in Arkansas found documents that appeared to connect one of the terrorist hijackers, Saeed Alghamdi, with an apartment complex in Akron, Ohio,” the New York Times wrote.  Refai lived in the complex.  “According to newspaper accounts, investigators apparently have decided that the documents from Arkansas involved a case of mistaken identity,” the Times wrote.

Other examples of terror investigations that did not result in terrorism convictions, but were among the 72 cited by Miller:
  • Mohamed Hussein, a Somalian businessman living in Massachusetts, was “suspected of diverting money to the al-Qaeda network,” according to the Agence France Presse, but was convicted on two counts of illegal money transfers.  Prosecutors presented no evidence linking Hussein to terrorists.  U.S. District Judge Robert E. Keeton sentenced Hussein to 18 months, rather than the five years sought by prosecutors.  “You're trying to ask me to sentence him as a terrorist,” Keeton told a prosecutor.  “It shocks my conscience that I would even be asked to do that.” (Note: Hussein's name was misspelled on the CIS list as “Mohammed Husssein.”)
  • Pirouz Sedaghaty, who goes by the name of Pete Seda, was convicted in 2010 of two felonies related to his charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.  Federal prosecutors accused Seda of using his organization “to send nearly $150,000 to support religious extremist militants in Chechnya,” according to the Justice Department.  But he faced no terrorism charges and his conviction was overturned on appeal by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.  “This is a tax fraud case that was transformed into a trial on terrorism,” Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote in the court opinion.

Terrorism Convictions and Pleas

Of course, some citizens of the seven countries covered by Trump's ban were convicted on terrorism charges.  In all, there were 28 individuals who were either convicted on terrorism charges (25) or admitted to terrorism activity (three) in pleading guilty to lesser charges.

Of those 28, however, three arrests occurred abroad, and the suspects were extradited to the United States.  None of them were trying to enter the U.S., so they would not have been blocked by Trump's travel ban.  Like Osama bin Laden, they were plotting attacks from other countries.

For example, Syrian arms dealer Monzer Al Kassar was extradited from Spain and later convicted on charges of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of high-powered weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to be used to kill Americans in Colombia, according to the New York Times.

Al Kassar was convicted of, among other things, providing material support to terrorists.  That was true for most of the terrorism convictions, and many of them were Somalian citizens living in the U.S.  In all, there were 14 Somalians convicted of helping to finance terrorism abroad, typically for al-Shabaab — a terrorist group operating in East Africa whose leaders are affiliated with al Qaeda, according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

There were only three cases during this time in which foreign-born residents of the seven countries on Trump's temporary travel ban attempted to carry out a terrorist attack in the U.S. — two of which were not real attacks, but rather government sting operations:
  • Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia who lived in Oregon, was charged in an undercover sting operation with attempting to set off a fake bomb supplied by undercover FBI agents at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland.  He was sentenced in October 2014 to 30 years in prison.
  • Yassin Aref, a Kurdish refugee from Iraq, was convicted in a counterterrorism sting operation in 2006.  According to the New York Times and the Albany Times Union, an undercover federal agent told Mohammed M. Hossain, Aref's co-defendant, that he planned to assassinate the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. in New York City and then sell the weapon for $50,000.  The undercover agent offered to give Hossain a $50,000 loan for improvements to his pizza shop.  “According to testimony, Mr. Hossain asked Mr. Aref to attend another meeting with the informant to act, by Muslim custom, as a witness to the loan,” the New York Times wrote.
  • Mansour J. Arbabsiar, an Iranian American living in Texas, was convicted on charges of “plotting to hire assassins from a Mexican drug cartel to murder Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States,” according to the New York Times.  He pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries and two counts related to murder-for-hire,” the Times said.

To sum up, we found 28, or more than a third, of the 72 people cited by Miller were convicted on terrorism charges.  We found that 25 of the 28 people were in the U.S., when they were arrested.  Only three of 25 were implicated in plotting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and only one of those was aimed at U.S. citizens on U.S. soil — a government sting operation, not an actual attack.

None of the U.S. residents from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen were responsible for any attacks on U.S. soil that resulted in a loss of life.  At the same time, roughly 956,000 citizens of those countries entered the U.S. as refugees and visa holders, according to State Department data.

A total of 258,508 refugees from the seven countries resettled in the U.S. from Sept. 12, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2014.  Another 697,113 others obtained immigration and nonimmigration visas in fiscal years 2002 through 2014, which covers Oct.  1, 2001, to Sept.  30, 2014.

Here is the breakdown, by country:

TOTALS 258,508 697,113 28

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TRUMP AGENDA - Deport and Ignore Nationality

"Trump Plan: Deport to Mexico Immigrants Crossing Border Illegally, Regardless of Nationality" by Ginger Thompson and Marcelo Rochabrun, ProPublica 2/20/2017

The idea is part of a raft of immigration proposals signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that are likely to spur international and legal challenges.

This article was co-published with Univision. (Spanish)

Update, Feb.  21, 2017:
In a call with reporters Tuesday morning, DHS officials confirmed they were working on a plan to send migrants who had entered the United States from Mexico back to Mexico, even if they were not citizens of that country.

Buried deep in the Trump administration's plans to round up undocumented immigrants is a provision certain to enrage Mexico — new authority for federal agents to deport anyone caught crossing the southern border to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico.  Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.

President Trump wants them to do so from Mexico, communicating via videoconference calls with U.S. immigration officials from facilities that Mexico would presumably be forced to build.

“This would say if you want to make a claim for asylum or whatever we'll hear your case but you are going to wait in Mexico,” a DHS official said.  “Those are details that are being worked out both within the department and between the US government and the government of Mexico … there are elements that still need to be worked out in detail.

Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Mexico later this week to meet with representatives of the Mexican government.  It remains unclear if they will discuss this issue.

The new authority for immigration agents is among the dramatic, some would say untenable, tactics the Trump administration is preparing to deploy as it upends President Obama's policies on illegal immigration.

A pair of memos signed by John Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, and publicly released on Tuesday outline the plans for what present and former government officials say will be a massive roundup of undocumented immigrants.  Near final drafts of the memos had leaked over the weekend and had been first reported by McClatchy.

Officials disclosed that two former Senate aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions drafted the plan without input from career DHS policy staffers.  The ideas aren't new.  Many of the approaches described in the memos come from a 1996 law that policy makers and law enforcement agents had disregarded as either unenforceable or absurd.

“Most of these provisions of law have been there for decades,” the DHS official said.  “We are simply trying to execute what Congress has asked us to do.”

Among them was the Mexico part of the plan, for example, which calls for returning undocumented immigrants “to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived.”  The memo goes on to point out how foisting the immigrants onto Mexico would benefit DHS's budget, saying that it would, “save the Department's detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens.”

However, former senior Mexican and American immigration officials said it could very well create new security problems along the border, as authorities in each country push unwanted migrants back and forth.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said that the proposal would violate U.S. law and international treaty obligations.  Mexico is as likely to embrace the plan as it did the notion of paying for a wall.  “I would expect Mexico to respond with an emphatic 'No,'” said Gustavo Mohar, a former senior Mexican immigration and national security policy official.

Whether viable or not, the Trump administration's deportation plans mark a dramatic departure from decades of policy and practice.  Current and former immigration policy officials say that while the details of how the administration intends to carry out the plans remain unclear — if not insurmountable — the administration's overall message to enforcement agents across the country is clear: the limits have been lifted.

President Obama attempted to focus enforcement efforts on immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes, and on those who were caught while or shortly after illegally entering the country.  Still, his administration deported record numbers of immigrants, most of whom had only been accused of minor crimes and immigration violations.

The Trump administration says it, too, is focused on deporting criminals, but it has redefined crimes to include any activity that might bring a conviction, including entering the U.S. without permission.  Effectively, that makes virtually everyone in the U.S. without a proper visa subject to roundup at their workplace or home.

“If you are present in the U.S. without being admitted or paroled or having overstayed your visa, the immigration laws of the U.S. subject you to removal,” the DHS official said.  “Everyone who is in violation of the laws is theoretically subject to enforcement.  The Department has limited resources and we will, to the extent that we can, focus on folks who have committed serious crimes.”

The only clear exception, according to the enforcement plan and the DHS briefing, is for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers.

“Anyone who complained about Obama as the deporter-in-chief,” said David Martin, formerly DHS's principal deputy general counsel, “is unfortunately going to get a taste of what it's like when someone is really gung-ho.”

Greg Chen, the policy director at AILA, said the Trump plan would “effectively unleash a massive deportation force with extremely broad authority to use detention as the default mechanism for anyone suspected of violating immigration law.”

The question looming over the proposals is how many of them, with all their legal and logistical obstacles, will the President actually be able to carry out.

The memos, for example, authorize the Border Patrol to hire 5,000 new agents, even though the force has never been able to fill the slots it has already been allotted.  Some 60 percent of applicants to the Border Patrol fail the required polygraph, and those who pass take 18 months to get sent out into the field.

The Trump plan calls for the expansion of a George W. Bush-era program, known as 287g, which allows DHS to deputize state and local police as immigration agents.  It was touted after 9/11 as a critical “force-multiplier.”  But by 2010, some of the country's largest police departments were refusing to participate because they believed it would shatter the trust between their officers and the communities they were sworn to protect.  Meanwhile, participating agencies, which foot the bill for the program, were suddenly saddled with new debts and hounded by accusations of racial profiling and other abuse, forcing the Obama administration to suspend expansion of the program.

Until now, the enforcement of summary deportation laws, known as “expedited removal,” have been limited to those apprehended within 14 days of illegally entering the country and within 100 miles of Canada or Mexico.  The memos signed by Kelly would allow use of those laws anywhere in the country against anyone who entered illegally within the past two years.

Lucas Guttentag, a former DHS adviser and Stanford law professor, said this would “unleash chaos,” violate due process, and meet challenges in court, similar to those that scuttled the administration's travel ban.

There would also be aggressive challenges, lawyers said, to plans that would allow immigration agents to deport unaccompanied minor children who crossed the border illegally, rather than uniting them with parents or other relatives in the U.S.

The reason for discussing unaccompanied minors is “ that they have been abandoned by their parents or legal guardians,” the DHS official said.  If it is “determined that there is a parent or guardian in the U.S. that they can be handed over to, then DHS needs to take a hard look over whether that person is actually'' an unaccompanied minor.

“There will be a renewed focus on ensuring that folks don't abuse the system,” the DHS official added.

They also expect legal opposition to a proposal that would strip undocumented immigrants of existing privacy protections, allowing personal information such as asylum cases or immigration violations to be publicly disclosed.

“We want to ensure that our privacy policies are consistent with the law,” the DHS official said.  “The Privacy Act applies by statute to citizens'' and green card holders.  “The President has asked us to align our laws with what congress has directed.”

“The Trump people have clearly bought into the model of harsh enforcement.  They apparently think, 'we'll be tough, and a lot of people will leave on their own,'” said Martin, an immigration law professor at the University of Virginia.  “They believe they'll win in the court of public opinion.  I'm not sure about that.  A lot of Americans know hard-working undocumented immigrants.  The kind of enforcement Trump's people are talking about will visibly create many more sympathetic cases than unsympathetic ones.”

Some of the provisions explicitly acknowledge that it could take years before DHS has the manpower and money to pull off what the President has ordered.  Immigration enforcement agents, however, have already begun filling the policy void by launching raids and deportations, including some that advocates worry are meant to test the limits.  Meanwhile panic has taken hold in many immigrant communities.

“The level of fear is more than anything we've ever seen,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.  She said the plan's sweep, “sent a chill to my bones,” because it threatens to do irreparable harm to millions of families.  She added, “This all seems aimed at changing who we are as a nation.”