Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Monday, July 22, 2019

PHOTOGRAPHY - Back Row America

"Overlooked Americans: Scenes from the country’s back row" PBS NewsHour 7/21/2019


SUMMARY:  After nearly 20 years on Wall Street, Chris Arnade left his high-paying career to document Americans living on the margins.  Traveling all over the country, he took photographs and wrote about the America that is overlooked.  Christopher Booker recently spoke to Arnade about his new book "Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America," in which he documents people living in poverty and addiction.

Christopher Booker (NewsHour):  These were the thoughts running through the Wall Street veteran's mind as he walked through some of the most economically challenged parts of New York City toward his million dollar Brooklyn condo.

Chris Arnade:  What started seeping in was this realization that we on Wall Street had messed up.  This intense obsession with profit and efficiency and thinking that all that matters is growing the economy, damn the consequences.  Well, the consequences were really bad.

Christopher Booker:  Where would you say is back row America?

Chris Arnade:  It's all over.  It's not certainly not a red or blue thing.  It's a lot of neighborhoods in New York City, it's in Appalachia, it's in California, it's in Chicago, it's everywhere.  it's neighborhoods generally and communities that are often adjacent to very wealthy neighborhoods.  It's kind of the bulk of the population but the people who don't get a lot of attention, we tend to focus on what I call front row which is people who go to Harvard or Princeton or what have you.  I love that picture.

Christopher Booker:  What does the word dignity mean to you now after you've finished this book and been working with this thesis as long as you have.

Chris Arnade:  Just a desire to be treated like a normal human being.

BRITAIN - Iran Tensions

"Britain seeks diplomatic solution with Iran over Gulf crisis" PBS NewsHour 7/21/2019


SUMMARY:  In response to the seizure of an Iranian-flagged ship by the United Kingdom earlier this month, Iran on Friday took a British oil tanker and its 23 members.  As tensions between the two countries rise, Britain is looking to de-escalate the Gulf crisis diplomatically.  Jackie Northam, NPR’s international affairs correspondent, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 7/19/2019

"Shields and Brooks on Trump’s attacks, Biden vs Sanders on health care" PBS NewsHour 7/19/2019


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including President Trump’s attack on four congresswomen of color, the Republican response to Trump’s controversial rhetoric, whether race politics is smart election strategy and the battle over health care policy among 2020 Democrats.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Hello to both of you.

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Thank you, Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  So let's go back to these attacks by the President.  They have now lasted a full week on these Democratic congresswomen, all of them, congresswomen, all members — all women of color.

He has called them a variety of names and he's told them, David, to go back to their countries, their home countries.  Of course, they're all U.S. citizens.  Three of them were born in the United States.

What does all this tell us about President Trump, about these women member of Congress, about our country?  And what does it say about racism?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, it's racist.  Let's get that off the top.  It's a pretty clear example of it.

To me, it shows that what Trump wants to do is make this election about what America is.  And he has a certain vision of what America is.

And his vision, America is xenophobic.  The good people of the heartland are being threatened by outsiders and by Muslims and by people who don't look like them.  It's a vision that is nostalgic, looking backward to the past.  And it's a vision of a white America, that white Protestants created this country, and the rest of us are here by their sufferance.

And this is the national story he wants to tell.  And I think it's up to the rest of us to tell a better story about America, that we're a universalistic country, we're a country defined by our future, what we're building, and not by our past, and that we're a country that's traditionally had a mission to cross frontiers.

And one of the missions we have right now is to create a mass multicultural democracy, where people of all races can be united in one democratic process.  And that is a hard thing to do.

But Donald Trump is pointing us in the exact opposite direction.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you see all this?

Mark Shields:  I see it probably less cosmically than David…… although I agree totally with his historical and philosophical perspective.  I don't think Donald Trump has a vision.

I think he has a vision of the campaign.  What Donald Trump wants to do — Richard Nixon, who, along with Franklin Roosevelt, only two Americans ever to run five times for national office, and win four times, said of vice Presidents, when you pick a vice Presidential running mate, it never helps you, it always hurt you, because you're either explaining or defending or apologizing for what that vice Presidential nominee said that morning in Portland or Peoria.

Case for the prosecution, Sarah Palin and John McCain.  And what Donald Trump is trying to do, in a very cynical and callous fashion — and David's absolutely right about the racist implications of it — is to marry these four freshman members, to make them the running mate, whoever the Democratic nominee is.

And the Democratic nominee then would have to — these — the four of them — let's be very blunt about it — like Donald Trump, are heliotropic plants.  Heliotropic plants, sunflowers, seek the sun.  They turn to get the sun's rays.

These four women have shown a remarkable facility and gift for seeking cameras and seeking microphones, and winning that attention, just as Donald Trump did.

And so that's what he wants to do.  They have said — got there by saying terribly controversial things, by criticizing their own party leadership.  And that's what Donald Trump wants to do to whoever the Democratic nominee is.

He knows, if the election of 2020 is a referendum on who he is and his failings, Americans do not like him.  They do not trust them.  They do not respect him.  They do not think that he is an object of inspiration in any way to them or their children.  Then he loses.  But he has to make it about something other than himself.

Judy Woodruff:  But — so, David, does this help the President?  I'm asking in part because we watched the cross-section of Republican reaction.  Some Republicans were critical.

A few, a number of them embraced him, but a lot of them were quiet.

David Brooks:  Yes, there are two theories of how Trump could win this election.

One is — and they're both based on, I, Donald Trump, have to win over people who don't like me, because the majority doesn't like Donald Trump.

[1] The one theory is, he drives the Democratic Party so far left that people think they have no choice but to vote for Donald Trump.

Mark Shields:  The '72.

David Brooks:  Right.

And by embracing the Squad — and by attacking the Squad, he forces the entire Democratic Party to embrace the Squad, and the Squad becomes the voice of the Democratic Party, at least for a week.

And that's one theory.

[2] The second theory is, I don't like Donald Trump, but I like this economy.  And that theory is, you lay low and just let the economy do your speaking for you.

Laying low is not really Donald Trump's style.  So he's going with this.

Do I think it will end up working?  No, because, fundamentally, the vast majority of America like living in a diverse country.  The vast majority of America abhor racism.  And so it may work with a small base, but I think, on balance, the evidence is very clear the vast majority of the country finds it repellent.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, we had a crowd behind him this week in North Carolina, Mark.

Mark Shields:  He did.  They were — he was with the crowd, and then he was against the crowd.  Now he's back with the crowd, we have learned most recently.

Judy, the vote for President is the most personal vote that any of us Americans cast.  We're far more apt to cast a vote based on issues, whether it's the economy, or immigration, or the environment, for the United States senator for Congress.

But in a Presidential race, we have an information overload.  We have a feel for who these people are as individuals and whether we would like them, whether we trust them.

Donald Trump is presiding over the greatest economy, in employment terms, in the history of any American under the age of 68.  You could say, 50 years ago, it was, you know, almost as good.  We were at war then.  This is a peacetime economy.  It's a remarkable thing.

And yet, Judy, we sit here tonight, and 13 percent of Americans say they're often inspired by what he says.  And half of Americans say they're never inspired.  Americans do not trust him.  I mean, one-third think he's honest and trustworthy.

So, Donald Trump has to make this election not about him.  If it's about him, if it's a referendum on him and his qualities, because Americans have already decided.  They don't.  He's never been a single day of his presidency had a majority of Americans say they approve of him, with this greatest economy ever.

So, I mean, he wants to make it — he doesn't want to make it about him.  He was smart, he would just withdraw and go to ground zero and say, look at the economy.  I have done it.  I'm working on it.  That's all I'm doing, and keep — he can't.  He cannot.

David Brooks:  Yes.

It's worth pointing out that my newspaper had an analysis today by heliotropic on how the Electoral College could differ from the actual popular vote.  And the analysis was, Trump could lose the popular vote by 5 percentage points, which is way more than I think the 2.8 he lost last time…

Mark Shields:  Ya.  Ya.

Judy Woodruff:  Ya.

David Brooks:  … and still carry the Electoral College.

So this really is about Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

NASHVILLE - The Black Keys

"What The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is doing in Nashville" PBS NewsHour 7/19/2019


SUMMARY:  The Black Keys debuted its first album in five years at the top of the U.S. charts.  But band vocalist and guitarist Dan Auerbach has been making a name for himself in another setting over the past few years.  Jeffrey Brown visited him in Nashville to discuss his record label, Easy Eye Sound, the unique vintage studio in which he records and why he believes he’s doing what he was meant to do.

CLIMATE - Heat of the Moment

"With more extreme heat, air conditioning becomes a matter of life and death" PBS NewsHour 7/19/2019


SUMMARY:  According to NASA, last month was the hottest June documented in the past 139 years.  And the National Weather Service forecasts record highs, at potentially deadly levels, through the coming weekend.  How is climate change related to the extreme heat, and how can individuals and governments prepare for more days of it?  William Brangham talks to Astrid Caldas of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

SMITHSONIAN - Helping America's Identity

"Lonnie Bunch on how the Smithsonian can help America understand its identity" PBS NewsHour 7/18/2019


SUMMARY:  Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has just become the 14th head of the Smithsonian Institution -- and its first black leader.  He sits down with Judy Woodruff to discuss the challenges facing the world’s largest museum and research complex and why the Smithsonian is as much about today and tomorrow as it is about the past.

PRIVACY - The Face Off

Yah.....lets trust software from a hostile nation that has been hacking and trolling America for years, and still trying to influence our political process.  NO WAY!

"How FaceApp highlights a gap in U.S. privacy protections" PBS NewsHour 7/18/2019


SUMMARY:  The growing popularity of FaceApp, a photo filter app that allows users to transform their features by adding or removing wrinkles, is sounding alarm bells among privacy advocates and lawmakers.  There are questions about how the images of people's faces could be used, especially as the app's company is based in Russia.  Amna Nawaz talks to the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Joseph Jerome.

AMERICA ADDICTED - The Opioid Cartel's Database

"The opioid industry fought hard to keep this database hidden.  Here’s what it shows" PBS NewsHour 7/18/2019


SUMMARY:  Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died during a national opioid addiction crisis.  As the drug manufacturers face a possible legal reckoning from multiple lawsuits, a newly uncovered database sheds more light on the scope of the disaster.  William Brangham talks to Scott Higham, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post, about the "jaw-dropping" data.

APOLLO 11 - 50th Anniversary

"What Apollo 11 pilot Michael Collins feared most during critical NASA mission" PBS NewsHour 7/17/2019


SUMMARY:  This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which first landed American astronauts on the moon's surface.  Of the intrepid crew, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have tended to dominate public attention, but it was pilot Michael Collins who flew the command module to the moon -- and faced his own distinct concerns about the return trip.  Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports.

"NASA opens a new collection of moon rocks to researchers" PBS NewsHour 7/20/2019


SUMMARY:  Johnson Space Center in Houston houses more than 2,000 samples collected over six Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972 from various parts of the moon.  The collection includes rocks, core samples, pebbles and dust that scientists are still learning from 50 years later.  Hari Sreenivasan reports on the laboratory keeping these artifacts safe.

"This retired astronaut captured hundreds of images in space" PBS NewsHour 7/20/2019


SUMMARY:  Retired astronaut Scott Kelly spent a record-setting 340 days on the International Space StationAnd while he was there, he took hundreds of photographs that he compiled into a book: "Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut’s Photographs From A Year In Space."  He spoke with NewsHour Weekend about his experiences in space and the spectacular views of Earth.

"NASA looks to return astronauts to the moon" PBS NewsHour 7/20/2019


SUMMARY:  Fifty years ago today, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the surface of the moon.  Now, for the first time since the Apollo program ended in 1972, NASA is planning an ambitious launch in 2024 to return astronauts to the moon, and to sustain a human presence there by 2028.  Hari Sreenivasan reports from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

MEMORIAM - Justice John Paul Stevens 1920-2019

"How Justice John Paul Stevens hoped to be remembered" PBS NewsHour 7/17/2019


SUMMARY:  Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at age 99.  Stevens grew up in Chicago; served in the Navy, and as a law clerk, and worked in private practice, before becoming a federal appeals judge in 1970.  Five years later, President Gerald Ford nominated Stevens to the Supreme Court, where he remained for 35 years.  Judy Woodruff remembers Stevens’ legal record and personal legacy.


"Where U.S.-Turkey relations stand after dispute over purchase of Russian missiles" PBS NewsHour 7/17/2019


SUMMARY:  The White House announced Wednesday that the U.S. will not sell billions of dollars of next-generation fighter planes to Turkey, after the NATO ally purchased advanced Russian surface-to-air missiles.  Amna Nawaz talks to Admiral James Stavridis, who served as NATO's top military officer from 2009 to 2013, about what these latest developments mean for U.S.-Turkey relations that were already tense.

TRUMP EGO - 'Deal of the Century?'

Again, this 'never-ending-war' will not be resolved by outsiders.  It can only be resolved when the people of Palestine, AND the people of Israel, demand that their governments stop the tit-for-tat war.

"Why Trump thinks this is the moment to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict" PBS NewsHour 7/17/2019


SUMMARY:  U.S. presidents have long tried, and failed, to resolve the decades-old [40 yrs] Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In June, President Trump’s team unveiled the first part of its peace plan, an economic proposal.  The plan’s all-important political component is yet to come.  Judy Woodruff speaks with Jason Greenblatt, a former Trump real estate lawyer helping lead the U.S. effort, about what’s at stake.


The real problems Trump needs to do something about to mitigate U.S. immigration.

"For Venezuelans fleeing chaos at home, Brazil offers temporary refuge — and uncertainty" PBS NewsHour 7/16/2019


SUMMARY:  Over the past five years, Venezuela’s combination of political instability, economic crisis and humanitarian disaster has driven record numbers of people out of the country to seek refuge elsewhere.  The exodus is reshaping the entire continent of South America in unexpected ways.  Amna Nawaz reports from the border between Venezuela and Brazil, where she met families making the desperate journey.

"How Colombia’s foreign minister sees chaos in Venezuela, fragile peace at home" PBS NewsHour 7/16/2019


SUMMARY:  It's been three years since a groundbreaking peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.  The agreement opened the door for land reform, political participation for ex-rebels and a crackdown on drug trafficking.  But most of those problems remain, amid a political transition and influx of Venezuelan refugees.  Judy Woodruff talks to foreign minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - The "I Can't Breathe" Controversy

"What Eric Garner case says about federal prosecution of police officers on duty" PBS NewsHour 7/16/2019


SUMMARY:  Eric Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” served as a rallying cry for protests against police brutality.  But the Justice Department announced Tuesday it would not file charges against the officer involved in the incident.  The decision closes the door on federal prosecution, as the statute of limitations expires Wednesday.  Yamiche Alcindor talks to Katie Benner of The New York Times.

CHINA - Huawei Spy Agency

We are suppose to trust that in China's totalitarian society that Huawei is the only business not under the government thumb?

"Huawei executive denies claim of ties to Chinese intelligence" PBS NewsHour 7/15/2019


SUMMARY:  For months, the Trump administration has accused Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei of being a threat to U.S. national security, warning that data could be channeled through the company’s equipment to China’s intelligence services.  Huawei is effectively banned from U.S. networks.  What does the company think of Trump’s stance?  Nick Schifrin talks to Huawei Senior Vice President Vincent Pang.

AMERICAN POLITICS - Trump the Racists

This IS about people not understanding that racism can, and often is, inconscient.  People who have racist tenancies often are not aware of them.  It is others, looking from the 'outside,' that see the racism.

"The political fallout from Trump’s racist tweets" PBS NewsHour 7/15/2019


SUMMARY:  President Trump is defending racist tweets targeting four House freshmen, all women of color.  Three of the four lawmakers had recently testified about their visits to crowded border detention facilities, lamenting what they saw there.  But despite condemnation from congressional Democrats, some Republicans and even the British Prime Minister, Trump isn’t expressing remorse.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

"Why Rep. Gallego says Republicans should be ‘ashamed’ of silence over Trump tweets" PBS NewsHour 7/15/2019

REMINDER:  Three of the 4 women are born Americans, one is a Naturalized Citizen.


SUMMARY:  A political firestorm has erupted over tweets from President Trump telling four American women of color in the House to “go back” to where they came from.  Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz) joins Judy Woodruff to discuss what Trump is trying to achieve with his inflammatory rhetoric, why Republicans who don’t condemn his tweets “should be ashamed" and how the President has “broken the border.”

"Trump’s tweets aren’t racist, argues Rep. Comer" PBS NewsHour 7/15/2019


SUMMARY:  Washington is reeling as a result of racist tweets President Trump made Sunday, in which he blasted four women of color in the House and said they should return to where they came from, although all four are American citizens.  Rep. James Comer (R-Ky) joins Judy Woodruff to explain why a “frustrated”  Trump’s comments are “overblown” and how he knows his constituents aren’t offended by them.

"How Trump’s controversial tweets are exposing a party divide on race" PBS NewsHour 7/16/2019


SUMMARY:  Lawmakers continue to react to racist tweets President Trump posted Sunday about four women of color in the House.  So far, most Republicans have defended the President or tried to reframe the conversation as about ideology rather than race, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved to officially condemn Trump’s remarks.  Lisa Desjardins reports and joins Judy Woodruff to discuss an ongoing divide.

"Trump’s racist tweets and the ‘politics of distraction’" PBS NewsHour 7/17/2019


SUMMARY:  President Trump’s attacks on women of color in the House have launched fierce debate about whether his meaning was racist.  There is no doubt, though, that his words echo threats and insults that have been lobbed against perceived outsiders in America for generations.  To explore the painful history, William Brangham talks to the University of Minnesota’s Erika Lee, and UC-Berkeley’s Ian Haney Lopez the author of "Merge Left."

"Former Sen. Jeff Flake on why Republicans aren’t disavowing Trump’s ‘awful’ words" PBS NewsHour 7/18/2019

My answer, power.  Trump's win gave the Republicans more power to remake America in their despicable image.


SUMMARY:  It's been a tumultuous week in Washington, amid fallout from President Trump’s racist attacks on four members of Congress, all women of color.  On Thursday, Trump held a rally in North Carolina, where his words -- and the crowd’s -- took the controversy to a new level.  Former Arizona Senator and CBS Contributor Jeff Flake [R-Ariz] joins Judy Woodruff to discuss what he calls Trump’s "awful" rhetoric and the Republican response.


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

SPORTS - Women’s World Cup

NOTE:  This was copied from the e-newspaper, therefore no link to article.

"Press: U.S. thrives on pressure" by Kevin Baxter (Lyon, France), San Diego Union-Tribune 7/2/2019

Stakes will be high against determined English side today

Christen Press has a theory as to why the U.S. women’s national team has been so successful.

“The team rises to the occasion,” she said Monday.  “Throughout the history — watching the team, being on the team, playing for the team — we’ve done a great job at flipping pressure and making it inspiration, making it motivation.

“When the stakes are the highest, when the games and the tournaments are the biggest, you have to find another level in yourself to win.  And if you don’t find it, you don’t win.”

In that case Press and her teammates might have to push all the way through the penthouse today when they meet England in a Women’s World Cup semifinal, where the stakes will definitely be high and the opponent the most determined they’ve faced in this tournament.

“It’s win or go home at this point,” goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher said.

First the U.S. must regroup.  After cruising through a three-game group stage in which they set a World Cup record with an 18-0 goal differential, the Americans gutted out a pair of 2-1 victories in their first two games of the elimination rounds.

Coach Jill Ellis called the last one, an emotional win against the host French in Paris, “the most intense match I’ve ever been a part of.”

The U.S. players have said there’s no chance of a letdown today though they admitted last week’s quarterfinal against France, one they had mentally prepared for all year, felt like a final.

England appears headed in the other direction.  Unimpressive in their first two games of group play, the Lionesses have taken off since then, shutting out Japan — a finalist in the last two Women’s World Cups — then eliminating Cameroon and Norway by identical 3-0 scores in the knockout stage, going 371 minutes without conceding a goal.

Statistically it’s a dead heat: The U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the world, England is No. 3.  The two teams are unbeaten in this tournament, are 1-2 in goals scored and 1-2 in fewest goals allowed.  The U.S. has scored in the opening 12 minutes of each of its five games; England has scored in the first 14 minutes four times.

England has also matched the Americans in confidence and cockiness in the tournament, all the while observing proper English manners.

“They’re the best team in the world without a shadow of a doubt,” coach Phil Neville said of the U.S.  “Their record is phenomenal.  But I never worry about the opposition.  We concentrate on what we can do.

“That’s what we’ve been saying to the players.  Don’t get to the semifinals and have any regrets.  Don’t get to the semifinals and think afterward I should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.  Get to the semifinal and get out there and play your best.  I want to see smiles and I want to see freedom and I want to see us play like we can.”

The U.S. and England also have arguably the two best players in the tournament in versatile English right back Lucy Bronze and U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe, who figure to be matched against one another for much of today’s game.

Rapinoe has all four U.S. goals in the knockout rounds and five for the tournament, tying her with teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White for the World Cup lead.  White has scored in each of England’s last three games.

Where the U.S. has a huge edge, however, is in experience.  Though the team includes 11 World Cup debutantes, it also has 12 World Cup champions and six players who have played in multiple World Cup finals.

The Americans, three-time world champions, are unbeaten in 15 consecutive Women’s World Cup games, winning the last 10.

England’s women have never won a major international tournament, falling in the semifinals of the 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2017 European Championships.

“Looking back to 2015, we never really expected to get to that semifinal,” said England captain Steph Houghton.  “We know we are in a better position now and we can be calm and collected.  The key is for us to carry on doing what we are doing well.

“If we do the things we are good at, we have a great chance.”

England has lost just one of three games against the U.S. since 2016, playing the Americans to a draw to win the SheBelieves Cup in March, a result Neville still considers significant.

“That game gave us great confidence and belief, the way we were playing, the style of playing,” the former Manchester United defender said.  “But I suppose the real thing that came out of March was that we won that tournament.  Because you go to tournaments to win.

“We were the ones that stood on that platform.  We were the ones that held up the trophy.  And that gives us great confidence.  When you win something and you stand on that platform, it gives you the taste of wanting to do it again.  And this time the prize is even bigger.”

So while the U.S. is focusing on raising its play a level and winning today, the English have already decided what their World Cup victory — one they’ve been planning for the last year — will mean.

“Twelve months ago we set out our objectives,” Neville said.  “All I wanted my players to say was that they wanted to win the World Cup.  But they said they wanted more, to create a name people would relate to, badass women.

“They were thinking bigger and that really knocked me out of my stride.  I think we’re getting to that legacy moment.”

Women’s World Cup
U.S. vs.  England
Today: Noon at Lyon, France
On the air: Ch.  5/69

Monday, July 01, 2019

AT THE G-20 - Trade War Ceasefire

"At G-20, U.S. and China reach a ceasefire in trade war" PBS NewsHour 6/29/2019


SUMMARY:  The leaders of the two biggest economies in the world met in Osaka, Japan at the G20 summit to discuss the on-going trade war between them.  And while no resolution has been reached, the U.S. is holding off on further tariffs on China for now.  NPR’s chief economics correspondent Scott Horsley joins to discuss the President’s meeting with Xi and his Twitter invitation to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 6/28/2019

"Shields and Brooks on Democratic debates, Supreme Court rulings" PBS NewsHour 6/28/2019


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including the first debates for 2020 Democratic candidates, whether that party has shifted too far to the left to be viable and Supreme Court decisions on partisan gerrymandering and including a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  It's been a big week for news.

Twenty Democrats took the stage for the first time, and nine Supreme Court justices finished their term, with two key cases that could reshape how our democracy functions.

Here to reflect on it all are Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who joins us from Aspen, Colorado.

Hello to both of you.

David, I'm going to start with you.

You are — you are in Aspen, but I gather you did watch those debates over the last two nights.  Let's start by talking about the main takeaways.

David Brooks, New York Times:  Yes, I'm getting in touch with the real America out here.

You know, I think my main takeaway is how far the Democratic Party has gone to the left and how little the moderates in the debates have any interest in fighting it.

Two candidates, Warren and Sanders, said they wanted to get rid of all private health plans, employer-based health plans.  Only 13 percent of Americans agree with that.

All of the candidates of all stripes seem to think they can't get anybody to their left on immigration policy, and they're wondering very close to sort of an open borders-type approach.  And this would be, I think, devastating in the fall.

This country has 35 percent of the people who call themselves conservative, 35 percent who call themselves moderates, and 26 percent who call themselves liberals.  You can't win with 26 percent.

But this debate was entirely within that — that little parenthesis.

Judy Woodruff:  Is that what you're seeing, Mark, in this first debate?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Well, I don't see things exactly the way you do from Aspen.

But, no, I would say this, Judy.

For those Democrats for whom the highest mortal objective politically in 2020 is the retirement of Donald Trump, it's not been a good week.  The — if you think about it, the great unfinished business of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and Harry Truman's Fair Deal and Jack Kennedy was national health insurance.

And at great political cost, the Democrats, without any help from the Republicans, with total objection and resistance, passed it in 2010, under a Democratic President, Barack Obama.  And ever since then, five consecutive elections, Republicans have run on, we're going to repeal it, going to repeal it.

As a consequence, Democrats — public by 2-1 thinks the Democrats are better on health care.  So what do the Democrats suggest?  We're going to get rid of it.  We're going to get rid of it, going to get rid of — you like private health insurance that you have and guaranteed for preexisting conditions covered under the Affordable Care Act, we're going to get rid of private insurance.

I mean, and this is a party, let's be honest, in a polarized Washington [DC], couldn't pass an adjournment motion, but they're going to pass this national health.

So I would say — I would say it was impractical, unhelpful, and flirted with open borders on immigration.  And I just — I just think the whole image coming out of that was not of a party that was responding to voters, but responding to its own interests and its own constituencies.

Judy Woodruff:  But, David, when you stack all the Democrats up, isn't it the case that most of them are saying they're not ready to throw out private insurance yet?

David Brooks:  Right.  That is true.

And I think one thing that it's worth reminding ourselves about is that most voters are new to these people.  And the instant polls after the debates are not quite what we read on Twitter.

A lot of people — and I mean a lot of the candidates saw their approval rating go up significantly, because, for Cory Booker, it's the first look for a lot of people.  And they sort of liked what they saw.

For Biden, the conventional wisdom he did so poorly, but not so much the instant polls.  He did suffer little with that Harris interchange on busing.  But people still like Joe Biden, and so he hasn't sunk himself.

I do think he [Biden] has to prove next time that he's able to go toe to toe with Donald Trump.  And if he couldn't go toe to toe with Kamala Harris on an attack that was pretty — he should have anticipated, it'll be harder to go toe to toe with Trump.

So, in some sense, his debate performance next time becomes much more crucial.

Judy Woodruff:  How did you read how Joe Biden handled last night.

Mark Shields:  Badly.  Badly.

I mean, he was unprepared.  He had to know the charge was coming, having had so much coverage for his mentioned sort of and reminiscence about Jim Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, his colleagues for whom he had gotten along with, and who were arch segregationists, both, and that he was unprepared for it, almost like he recoiled and it was personal.

I thought that Joe Biden stood in bad contrast, quite frankly, to Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, who accepted responsibility.  He [Buttigieg] owned the fact that the South Bend Police Department had not — had failed to recruit African-Americans, and took that responsibility and said, it's on me.

And Biden just somehow couldn't do that.  And it was a tortured argument he made for the difference between his position in Wilmington and Kamala Harris'.

I mean, let's be very frank.  Civil rights has been a national issue in this country.  States' rights has been the resistance mantra.  And I just — I just thought Joe Biden did not — did not handle it well.

When he was asked what his principal objective would be on first day in office, he said, defeat Donald Trump.  Well, if you're going to have a first day in office, that's sort of a given.  You have defeated Donald Trump.

Judy Woodruff:  So, David, whether it was Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg or we — lest we forget the first night, when we had Elizabeth Warren up there with the others.

Were there candidates who significantly help themselves in these debates?

David Brooks:  Yes, I would say Warren and Harris would be the two.

What's interesting is, right now, the key fight is, who's going to be the progressive rival?  Who's going to be the progressive — the face for the progressive side of the party?  And Warren and Sanders and Harris are all vying for it.

I think Warren and Harris did particularly well.  I have always thought Harris was going to be the most formidable progressive, just because her whole life going back to when she was a prosecutor, she's just a forceful arguer.

She says, I have been an eye for an enemy, and I know how to go after them.  And that strikes me as right for the mood of a lot of progressive and a lot of Democrats.  So I think they helped themselves.

What's interesting to me is, will there be a moderate reprisal?  Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota should have come up and say, no, I don't think that our party should go there.

She should have pulled that punch.  Michael Bennet from Colorado tried to do that.  And then the final piece is Buttigieg, who seems to hover between the two camps.

And so I would say his path to the nomination, the way it looks today, is that the two camps get tired of fighting each other, and they need some sort of unity candidate, and Buttigieg could potentially be that kind of person.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you see the — whether anybody, anybody in this group helped themselves?

Mark Shields:  Judy, I would take us back to December 9, 2003, six weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

Al Gore, former vice President, who had won the popular vote against George Bush in 2000, just three years earlier, broke the political world wide open.  He endorsed Howard Dean, the Democratic chairman, former chairman, and made his nomination inevitable.  Five weeks later, it was over, was the Dean campaign.

I mean, so, this is the opening day of the season is what we're seeing.  I would say this.  I would say, collectively, for the Democrats, it was not good.

Just think of the 80 yards of the field that Republicans have surrendered to them on the abortion issue.  Republicans have been running away from what Republicans did in Alabama and Georgia and in Missouri, in Ohio.  And the President has been distancing himself even.

And what do Democrats do?  I mean, they basically just endorse abortion and throw in — well, how about trans people, covering abortion?

I just — I mean, to me, they just — wasn't thinking in terms strategically.  I mean, they owned the majority position in the country, safe, legal, rare.  And so, to me, I just don't understand the strategy.

David Brooks:  Yes.

I would say, across all issues, there's an insularity problem.  They sometimes talk as if they're campaigning for Brooklyn.  And so on a lot of issues, whether it's the economy, whether it's abortion, whether it's immigration, I don't think they're quite perceiving how a lot of people, even in Democratic House districts, are perceiving them and seeing them as something quite strange.

Judy Woodruff:  I want to ask you both about the big Supreme Court decisions that came down yesterday.

David, I'm going to come back to you on this.  You saw a divided court, two big decisions, the first one on what's called partisan gerrymandering.  It's when states draw lines based on — for partisan reasons, to hurt the other political party.  The court basically said, that's OK, that can continue.

David Brooks:  Yes, I think we're all disgusted by gerrymandering.  It's a complete manipulation of the electorate.

The question is, how do we fix it?  And I sort of think that the best way to do it is through independent commissions.  Voters in eight states so far, five in 2018, voted to create an independent commission, and to have them draw the lines.

And I, frankly, think that's a better option than letting legislators do it, who are inherently compromised, because it's political, or letting the courts do it, who have no accountability.  So I'm sort of glad that the courts decided this is not going to be a court issue.  We're not going to impose this on the country, because I think it would politicize the courts.

But it does mean everybody has to work a lot harder to try to get independent commissions in their own state.

Mark Shields:  The court found out that segregated schools were separate, but unequal, but we're not going to go near that, because it's going to be too difficult.

That's basically what the decision was yesterday.  We found out that this is unjust, it's undemocratic, it's corrupting to have this system, but we're not going to get — we're not going to dirty our own hands with it.

I agree with David in the best of all possible worlds.  It's an Iowa, Arizona approach, where you have a commission and it's fair and fairly done, and not done like it's been done in Ohio, or Maryland, or North Carolina.

But it's got to be remedied.  I mean, we're talking about a democracy that's under siege in this country and from Russia, as we have learned again.

So, to me, I just think it's — Justice Kagan was absolutely right.  It's a duty and a responsibility to act.

Judy Woodruff:  Both of these decisions very much affecting the functioning of our democracy.

Just quickly, David, less than two minutes.  Of course, the other decision had to do with the Trump administration's attempt to insert a citizenship question in the 2020 census.  The court in this case said that the Trump argument had just not — had not been one that they could buy.  So — and they sent it back and said, for now, we're going to let this go forward.

What does this say to you?

David Brooks:  Yes, the word I think the justices used was contrived.

It was a contrived argument.  They were trying to think of some way to deter immigration or not provide benefits for communities that had a lot of immigrants or maybe undocumented immigrants.  So I think there's no reason to ask this.  There's no reason to try to use the census to push people into the shadows, which is really what this is an attempt to do.

So I'm — I wish there had been a more clear ruling, but at least they did utter the elemental truth that this was a contrived reasoning, which was really an attempt to deter immigration from coming out into the open.

Judy Woodruff:  And this was a case, Mark, just quickly, where the chief justice joined with the four more liberal justices.

Mark Shields:  He did.  He did.

And it was based on a lie, I mean, Commerce saying the Justice Department wanted this to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which was a total fabrication.  It came from the Department of Commerce.  It came from the political arm of the Trump organization.

Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce, it did not originate with him intellectually, but it did politically.  So it was — it was obviously just an attempt to rob people of what is deserved, I mean, not simply representation in numbers, but so many programs, the formula is based upon need.

And if we don't even know these people, as David said, if they're in the shadows, if they don't exist, they're going to be deprived of what they are owed.

Judy Woodruff:  Both of these decisions very much worth — worth reading over the weekend, if people haven't had a chance to so far.

Mark Shields:  I agree.

Judy Woodruff:  Thank you both, Mark Shields, David Brooks.

Mark Shields:  Thank you.

CANVAS - Whitney Museum of American Art

"What this year’s Whitney Biennial says about contemporary American art" PBS NewsHour 6/28/2019


SUMMARY:  The biennial exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art represents a big moment for contemporary art, featuring some of its biggest names.  While works tackle various major social and political issues of the moment, they tend to do so in a way that feels “hopeful and often productive” instead of cynical.  But as Jeffrey Brown reports, this year's show is accompanied by a controversy of its own.

EUROPE - Boiling Point

"Why is it so hot in Europe?" PBS NewsHour 6/28/2019


SUMMARY:  An extreme heat wave is gripping much of Europe, breaking records and causing widespread misery.  Temperatures soared well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in France, Germany and Spain.  While the heat is coming from sub-Saharan Africa, some researchers say climate change is exacerbating and prolonging it.  They warn more record highs are likely--and along with them, more deaths.  William Brangham reports.

Possible answer, too many visits by blowhard Trump?

TRUMP - Embarrassing at G-20, Again

"At the G-20, Trump delivers warning on election meddling with a grin" PBS NewsHour 6/28/2019


SUMMARY:  In Japan, President Trump warned Russian President Vladimir Putin and his staff not to meddle in the 2020 election, but he did so with a grin.  Although G-20 summits have historically been calm conferences, President Trump has made them less predictable.  He will finish his trip to Osaka with a pivotal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  Nick Schifrin reports.

so embarrassing

KANSAS - Passing It On

"This Kansas program links a company’s past to its future" PBS NewsHour 6/27/2019


SUMMARY:  Transitioning a business to a new owner has its challenges.  But a program run by the business school at the University of Kansas aims to match those seeking to sell their companies with potential buyers seeking business opportunities.  Peter Tubbs of Iowa Public Television reports on the importance of this link between people entering and exiting business that are critical to local communities.

U.S. SUPREME COURT - At Session's End

Another very bad decision that threatens or election system.  Gerrymandering should be un-constitutional.

"Supreme Court ends term with major rulings on census, gerrymandering" PBS NewsHour 6/27/2019


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court ended its term with two major rulings that could have long-running implications for fundamental U.S. political processes.  It blocked a census citizenship question, at least for now, and declared federal courts have no role in policing partisan gerrymandering.  NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang and Stu Rothenberg of “Inside Elections” join Jeffrey Brown and National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle.


"Pioneering journalist Lesley Stahl on breaking into a boys’ club" PBS NewsHour 6/26/2019


SUMMARY:  Lesley Stahl is an Emmy-winning journalist who currently reports for the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”  During her long career, she has served as a White House correspondent and anchor of CBS’ “Face the Nation.”  But she didn't have an easy start in the industry.  For the NewsHour’s “That Moment When,” Stahl tells Steve Goldbloom what it was like to be the only woman in a 1970s Boston newsroom.

THE INVESTIGATIONS - Mueller Testimony

My answer, not much.

NOTE:  On Obstruction of Justice Mueller wrote, “Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct.”

He could have wrote, “Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct.  Therefore it is up to Congress to make this decision," and we would not be in this mess.

"With Mueller testimony, can Democrats expect a ‘breakthrough moment’?" PBS NewsHour 6/26/2019


SUMMARY:  The debate over the Mueller Report and its political fallout continue.  More than three months after the investigation concluded, the former special counsel himself will testify before two congressional committees on July 17.  Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the format of the appearances, why Democrats are hoping for a “breakthrough moment” and what Mueller won’t be able to discuss.

ON THE BORDER - The Effect of Political Instability

The real problem is Trump wanting loyalists, who will do his bidding, no matter what baggage they carry.  Another 'temporary' appointment Trump uses to avoid Concessional oversight.

"How political instability is making U.S. immigration situation worse" PBS NewsHour 6/25/2019


SUMMARY:  The U.S.-Mexico border continues to drive political turmoil.  After reports of miserable conditions for detained migrant children, John Sanders, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, resigned.  Meanwhile, Congress is scrambling to reach a border funding deal.  Lisa Desjardins talks to reporter Bob Moore of the digital news organization El Paso Matters [El Paso Community Foundation] about the problem's origins.

"How conditions in U.S. detention centers can affect children’s health" PBS NewsHour 6/26/2019


SUMMARY:  The plight of migrant children held in U.S. detention centers continues to generate controversy.  As Congress battles over emergency funding for care and resources at the border, medical professionals warn that even brief exposure to the current conditions could be damaging to children’s health.  William Brangham reports and talks to pediatrician Julie Linton, who has visited some of the facilities.

STONEWALL - 50 Years Later

"50 years after Stonewall, why so many LGBTQ people are ‘still grieving’" PBS NewsHour 6/25/2019


SUMMARY:  During the era of 1969’s Stonewall Riots, police raids against LGBTQ establishments were common.  But when Stonewall patrons fought back, the modern gay rights movement was launched.  On Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, Judy Woodruff gets perspective from Reverend Emma Chattin, activist and journalist George Johnson, The Anti-Violence Project’s Beverly Tillery and Mark Segal of Philadelphia Gay News.

"Stonewall exhibit showcases flash point in LGBTQ community" PBS NewsHour 6/29/2019


SUMMARY:  It was 50 years ago this week that gay, lesbian, trans and other gender-nonconforming people rioted at a bar called the Stonewall Inn after a police raid.  The New York Public Library has one of the largest collections of LGBTQ artifacts from that tumultuous period, which is now being displayed in a major exhibit, "Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50."  NewsHour Weekend's Ivette Feliciano reports.

STRINGS ATTACHED - The Paganini Violin

"Why this Italian violin travels with its own security" PBS NewsHour 6/24/2019


SUMMARY:  In 2015, a delegation of city leaders from Columbus, Ohio, went to Italy's Genoa, where they heard a performance of the famed Paganini Violin.  The contingent spent the next four years working to arrange a visit for the violin to their city, and this spring, it finally arrived.  WOSU’s Jackie Shafer reports on the rare travel for the Italian national treasure, worth an estimated $35 million.

MIDDLE EAST WAR - What Palestinians Want

"Marshall Plan?" Not even close.  And negotiated by Jared Kushner, what a joke.

Again, this problem can only be solved by the people of Israel and Palestine tell their governments to stop.  Stop the tit-for-tat violence.  It cannot be stopped by any outsider.

"What Palestinians want more than Trump’s peace plan" PBS NewsHour 6/24/2019


SUMMARY:  The White House has unveiled part of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, a $50 billion economic blueprint designed to double Palestinian GDP and create a million jobs.  Jared Kushner likened the proposal to the Marshall Plan, which revitalized Western Europe after World War II, but the response among Palestinians was not enthusiastic.  Nick Schifrin talks to Gwyn Lewis  and Mattias Schmale of UNRWA.

"How Palestinians in the West Bank are reacting to Trump’s peace plan" PBS NewsHour 6/26/2019


SUMMARY:  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured for over half a century, through violent eruptions and pushes for peace.  A weak Palestinian government is grappling with economic crisis as Israel retains control of the West BankBut Palestinians are not optimistic the Trump administration’s new peace plan will yield a solution.  Special correspondent Jane Ferguson reports and talks to Judy Woodruff.

U.S. HEALTH CARE - Hidden Costs

"Trump pushes for new transparency with health care prices — but will it lower them?" PBS NewsHour 6/24/2019

Again, the U.S. lags behind the other nations that have universal health care, that the citizens like (worth every penny).  And these nations have smaller GNP than the U.S. and still afford it.

NOTE:  Trump's solution only applies to ELECTIVE heath care.  So what about when you have a heart attack and are taken to a out-of-network ER?  You can guess, you're out of luck (unless you're rich).


SUMMARY:  Uncertainty around the costs of prescription drugs and health care in general is worrying Americans.  A recent study found that one in six were surprised by a medical bill from a hospital treatment in 2017.  On Monday, President Trump issued executive orders requiring greater transparency around medical costs.  But will they help?  Nick Schifrin talks to Elisabeth Rosenthal of Kaiser Health News.


"Amid elevated tensions, Trump announces new sanctions on Iran" PBS NewsHour 6/24/2019


SUMMARY:  After tensions with Iran nearly resulted in U.S. airstrikes last week, President Trump has fired a different type of weapon, levying new economic sanctions specifically targeting the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader.  At the same time, top U.S. officials pursued diplomatic measures while visiting the Middle East.  But Iran said the U.S. is the aggressor.  Nick Schifrin reports.