Monday, August 19, 2019

OPINION - Gerson and Tumulty 8/16/2019

"Michael Gerson and Karen Tumulty on 2020 Senate races, Israel and Trump" PBS NewsHour 8/16/2019

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SUMMARY:  The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson and Karen Tumulty join Amna Nawaz to discuss the latest in politics, including our analysis of upcoming 2020 Senate races and potential candidates, the controversy over Israel’s barring a visit from Reps. Omar and Tlaib, how trade tensions between the U.S. and China are affecting the economy and President Trump’s apparent interest in purchasing Greenland.

Amna Nawaz (NewsHour):  And that brings us to the analysis of Gerson and Tumulty.  That's Michael Gerson and Karen Tumulty, both of The Washington Post.  Mark Shields and David Brooks are out.

We are so grateful both of you are here.

Michael Gerson, Washington Post:  Good to be here.

Amna Nawaz:  Karen, I want to ask.

You have been writing about this.  Let's pick up where Lisa left off there.  Why aren't some of these high-profile Dems running for the Senate?

Karen Tumulty, Washington Post:  Yes, it's so interesting.  It's practically like these days running for President has become your safety school.

The fact is that the Chuck Schumer has been left at the altar in a number of states, not just by, as Lisa said, Bullock and Beto O'Rourke, but, in Georgia, he very much wanted Stacey Abrams to take on a Senate race as well.

And the stakes are really, really high, because even if the Democrats can manage to get back the White House next year, if Mitch McConnell is still the majority leader in the Senate, they are just not going to get a lot of things done.

And it's — it is a — they have a path to the majority, but it is a very, very narrow path.  And their Senate candidates are not really raising enough money right now, in part because the Presidential race is taking up so much oxygen.

Amna Nawaz:  Michael, what is that pitch like to potential candidates, right, come join an incredibly gridlocked body?

Michael Gerson:  Yes, that's true.

But it's also a difficult election cycle for Democrats.  It shouldn't be.  There are a lot more Republican seats up.  But they're in red states.  There are really only a couple of targets of opportunity here.  So one reason there aren't more marquee Democrats, I think, is because it's a difficult circumstance.

They have to win Colorado.  That's the only path they — their path to a majority goes through Colorado.  And I think Hickenlooper actually may be a very good candidate.  There wasn't much appetite for a centrist, practical centrism in the Presidential race, but there really is in Colorado.

And they like the fact that he's a former barkeep.  So I think they view that as an honorable path to power.

Amna Nawaz:  And there's a timeline issue here, too, right?  They don't have to make up their minds just yet.

Michael Gerson:  That's true.

And the states very, but it's a couple of months in both cases.  So…

Amna Nawaz:  So, you see some of these folks, you see some of them maybe potentially changing their mind or announcing that they end up — they will end up running for these seats?

Karen Tumulty:  Well, I think there's going to be a lot of pressure on Bullock, especially if he doesn't make the debate stage this next month.

So, yes.  I mean, Chuck Schumer, the light is on in the window.

Amna Nawaz:  I want to talk to you also about another story we have been following this week.  Obviously, it's taken a lot of twists and turns in the last 24 hours alone, but Israel's denial of entry to two sitting members of the U.S. Congress, Representatives Tlaib and Omar.

I want to ask you really more about the U.S. reaction, because this caught some people by surprise.

Michael, you had their own colleagues in Congress, in some cases, saying they supported the ban.  I just want to show you one tweet from yesterday.

This was from Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican from New York, who said:  "It shouldn't be shocking they're unwelcome in a nation they're taking great pains to tear down."

What do you make of the reaction from some of their own lawmaker colleagues?

Michael Gerson:  Well, so much of this is unprecedented.

Generally, this has been off-limits.  And I think that now we're seeing this has become a partisan issue.  Support for Israel — an organization like AIPAC has tried to keep support for Israel from being a partisan issue for decades.

They're the one that reacted in very clear-eyed way that said, we will welcome any Republican member.  Even they — Israel should welcome any Republican member of Congress or Democratic member of Congress.

But I think the President and Netanyahu have taken what shouldn't be a partisan issue and made it into a partisan issue.  And people are now coming down on various sides of this partisan issue.  That's not good, by the way, for Israel or for the long term of American relationship with Israel.

Amna Nawaz:  Karen, what do you make of the way this has unfolded over the last couple of days?

Karen Tumulty:  Well, I think that, whatever the forces were that went into Israel's decisions here, what I think is even more astonishing is President Trump's behavior in this, in that Israel was ready to go ahead and let them in, assuming that there's — there's an advantage to sort of keeping the dialogue going, which is generally how other countries have treated members of Congress.

But it was only after President Trump gets into this publicly and puts pressure on Israel, and it was only that we saw them reverse that decision.  And it is really an extraordinary thing to see a President of the United States putting pressure on a foreign power to essentially punish his adversaries.

Michael Gerson:  Yes, and using the federal government as a method to score-settle with political opponents.  I mean, that is not normal either for the President of the United States.

That's — usually, foreign policy is not conducted like it's a reality TV show.  But now, evidently, that's how it is done.

Amna Nawaz:  Are you worried that sets a dangerous precedent in some way?

Michael Gerson:  Well, absolutely.

I think that any of these relationships now could be used by the President as a backdrop for his political ploys.  And we have avoided that overseas for the most part.  And this, I think, is a new and worse era.

Amna Nawaz:  Karen, it's worth pointing out, of course, that our partnership with Israel is strong.

And there's a lot more to talk about.  There's economic partnership.  There's national security partnership.  Can we even have those conversations now?  Has it just become too politicized?

Karen Tumulty:  Well, I do think that is why you see AIPAC, the leading pro-Israel lobby, actually criticizing Netanyahu on this decision.  This is something that almost never happens.

But I think they are, in fact, looking at the long game here.

WOODSTOCK AT 50 - What it Taught Us



"What Woodstock taught us about protest in a time of polarization" PBS NewsHour 8/16/2019

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SUMMARY:  It’s been 50 years since Woodstock made music history.  The groundbreaking festival is seen today as a nexus of freedom, drugs and rock and roll -- and as a defining symbol of 1960s counter-culture, idealism and anti-war sentiment.  Jeffrey Brown and producer Courtney Norris spoke with the people who made it all happen about what the seminal event means now, five decades later.

VOTE 2020 - Battle for the Senate

"Here are the Senate seats that will be critical in 2020" PBS NewsHour 8/16/2019

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SUMMARY:  While nearly two dozen candidates are competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, that party is facing the opposite predicament in the Senate: not enough top-tier candidates are running, in part because many strong contenders are in the presidential race instead.  Lisa Desjardins reports on the 2020 Senate races that could change the party power balance in the Senate.

AMERICAN PUBLIC LANDS - Leisure v Livelihood

"Balancing leisure and livelihood on Grand Junction’s public lands" PBS NewsHour 8/16/2019

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SUMMARY:  In the American West, recreational and tourist activities on public lands can conflict with agriculture, ranching, and mining.  Despite this potential clash between leisure and livelihood, the people of Grand Junction, Colorado, have found a way to share their state’s precious resources.  Iowa Public TV’s Josh Buettner reports on a Western community where coexistence has triumphed over conflict.

SEPARATED FAMILIES - Foster Home Oversight

Does anyone really think the Trump Administration cares about 'brown' immigrant children?  Of course he doesn't.

"How much oversight do foster homes for migrant children have?" PBS NewsHour 8/16/2019

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SUMMARY:  A new investigation by the Associated Press and FRONTLINE finds allegations of physical and sexual abuse for some migrant children who are moved into government-funded foster care after they are separated from their families.  Jeffrey Brown talks to the AP’s Martha Mendoza about details of the allegations, who oversees the foster homes and why additional lawsuits may be forthcoming.

KASHMIR - India's Crackdown

One solution, although not likely to happen, is make Kashmir and independent nation.

"How people of Kashmir are reacting to India’s crackdown" PBS NewsHour 8/16/2019

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SUMMARY:  Nearly 4 million people in Kashmir have been confined to their homes in a total communications blackout since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped the primarily Muslim state of its semi-autonomous status 13 days ago.  Amna Nawaz reports and talks to Surabhi Tandon, special correspondent for France 24, about how civilians are handling the situation and why there hasn’t been more resistance.

RACE IN AMERICA - Trump and Faith

To these fine leaders, Trump only cares about Trump.  In his warped mind there is only room for Trump, forget ethics or morality.

"2 faith leaders on Trump, racism and toning down incendiary rhetoric" PBS NewsHour 8/15/2019

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SUMMARY:  In times of division, people often turn to faith leaders for guidance and support.  Jeffrey Brown spoke to two such leaders, Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and Richard Land president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, about navigating the current landscape of polarized national politics, what they think of President Trump's rhetoric and how to promote unity.

TRUMP WORLD - Criticism of Trump and Criticism of Israel Not Allowed

"Israel has welcomed other political critics.  How Trump made Omar and Tlaib different" PBS NewsHour 8/15/2019

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SUMMARY:  Israel says it will bar two U.S. congresswomen from entering the country.  At President Trump's urging, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed his earlier decision to allow Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Muslims critical of Israeli policies, to visit.  Amna Nawaz talks to Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif).

HONG KONG - The Fight for Democracy

"Hong Kong demonstrations cool, but police, Beijing vow consequences" PBS NewsHour 8/14/2019

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SUMMARY:  Although Hong Kong's airport is back up and running, the city’s political unrest is far from settled.  Local police and the Chinese government both condemned protesters Wednesday, saying they had “crossed the line” and would be prosecuted accordingly.  Beijing also blamed the U.S. for the pro-democracy demonstrations, as President Trump tried to maintain neutral ground.  Amna Nawaz reports.




"Amid Hong Kong’s unrest, how China is ‘laying the groundwork’ for intervention" PBS NewsHour 8/14/2019

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SUMMARY:  After two days of heightened violence, demonstrations in Hong Kong partially receded Wednesday, and the city's airport resumed operations.  Now questions are surfacing about whether Hong Kong will prosecute protesters it arrested -- and whether China itself intervene.  Amna Nawaz talks to former National Security Council staffer Ken Lieberthal, and Minxin Pei of Claremont McKenna College.




"With buildup of forces on border, China displays waning tolerance for Hong Kong protests" PBS NewsHour 8/15/2019

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SUMMARY:  Chinese military exercises Thursday near the border with Hong Kong reiterated the country’s waning patience with months of pro-democracy demonstrations, some turning violent.  Beijing officials have referred to the protests as “terrorism,” and even some Hong Kong residents have grown weary of them -- but more are planned for the upcoming weekend.  Special correspondent Bruce Harrison reports.




"After recent chaos, Hong Kong protesters hold peaceful march" PBS NewsHour 8/18/2019

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SUMMARY:  More than 1.7 million people in Hong Kong took to the streets on Sunday in the largest demonstration in the ongoing protests in the city, organizers said.  The peaceful demonstration follows last week’s violent clashes with the police and chaos at the Hong Kong airport.  Quartz reporter Mary Hui joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

RACE IN AMERICA - The Great Land Robbery

"How southern black farmers were forced from their land, and their heritage" PBS NewsHour 8/13/2019

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SUMMARY:  African Americans have lost millions of acres of farmland across the South during the last century, in a trend propelled by economic forces, racism and white economic and political power.  Most of the losses occurred since the 1950s.  John Yang talks to Vann Newkirk of The Atlantic, which highlights the story in its September issue, about the origins of what Newkirk calls “the great land robbery.”

SMART PHONE GAMBLING - Addictive Casinos and Facebook Data

"How social casinos leverage Facebook user data to target vulnerable gamblers" PBS NewsHour 8/13/2019

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SUMMARY:  Every year, more people are playing games on their phones, and a category of apps called social casinos has quickly become a multi-billion dollar industry.  But are game developers targeting vulnerable users, with Facebook’s help and massive trove of personal data?  Nate Halverson of Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting has the story of this treacherous platform for addiction.

FALLOUT - Chernobyl 2?

"What we know about deadly radiation explosion at Russian military site" PBS NewsHour 8/13/2019

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SUMMARY:  An explosion at a Russian missile testing site last week killed at least seven people and caused widespread fears of a radiation leak.  While officials offered little clarity, analysts believe the Russians were testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile – one President Vladimir Putin boasts can’t be stopped by U.S. missile defenses.  William Brangham talks to Angela Stent of Georgetown University.

PICS OF THE MONTH - Beauty and the Beast
















































GYMNASTICS - Sky's the Limit

"With unprecedented moves, Simone Biles cements her ‘transcendent’ legacy" PBS NewsHour 8/12/2019

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SUMMARY:  Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles is showing no signs of slowing down.  On Sunday night, Biles won a record-tying sixth consecutive national championship -- and some of her moves were unprecedented.  Amna Nawaz reports and talks to USA Today’s Nancy Armour about the challenging physics involved in Biles’ spectacular feats and how she is using her influence to hold USA Gymnastics [USAG] accountable.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Killing the Endangered Species Act

"How Trump plans to change the Endangered Species Act" PBS NewsHour 8/12/2019

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SUMMARY:  The Trump administration has announced major changes to the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law signed by [R] President Richard Nixon that's credited with saving iconic species like the bald eagle and the grizzly bear.  William Brangham talks to Lisa Friedman of The New York Times about new rules around how scientists designate species as in need of protection and anticipated court challenges.

TRUMP ANTI-IMMIGRATION - Penalizing Legal Immigrants

So now not only is Trump going after people seeking to enter the United States, he's going after LEGAL immigrants.  So in Trump-World there is no benefit to doing things legally.

"Trump administration seeks to penalize immigrants for using public benefits" PBS NewsHour 8/12/2019

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SUMMARY:  Recent immigration debates have focused on illegal entry into the U.S.  But the Trump administration is issuing new rules to limit legal immigration, by penalizing green card seekers who use, or might eventually use, public benefits.  Yamiche Alcindor talks to the Bipartisan Policy Center's Theresa Cardinal Brown about the public charge concept and who will feel the effects of the rule change.

Monday, August 12, 2019

EPSTEINE'S DEATH - Suicide?

"After Epstein’s death, only a trail of documents remain" PBS NewsHour 8/10/2019

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SUMMARY:  Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier who was awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges, died by apparent suicide Saturday morning, a day after a federal court in New York unsealed a trove of documents related to his case.  Julie Brown, the Miami Herald reporter who has been investigating the Epstein sex scandal for more than two years, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.




"Federal officials ask why Epstein was not on suicide watch" PBS NewsHour 8/10/2019

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SUMMARY:  Federal authorities are calling for an investigation after wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide in a New York jail on Saturday morning, just weeks after another reported attempt to take his own life.  Epstein was in custody on sex-trafficking charges.  Pervaiz Shallwani, senior editor at The Daily Beast, joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 8/9/2019

"David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart on Trump’s mass shooting response" PBS NewsHour 8/9/2019

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SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Amna Nawaz to discuss the week’s political news, including whether there will be real momentum in Congress to enact stronger gun legislation, how President Trump conducted himself visiting shooting victims in El Paso and Dayton and what white supremacy means for our American national identity.

Amna Nawaz (NewsHour):  We're now nearly a week on from the two tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.  But the grave questions that have been raised in the aftermath remain, and likely will remain for some time.

How, if at all, will American politics and American society respond?

That brings us to Brooks and Capehart.  That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart.  Mark Shields is away this week.

Welcome to you both.  Thanks for being here.

Let's jump into the big topic for this week.  Obviously, gun violence was a big topic of conversation.

I want to go right to a poll.  We heard President Trump mention earlier today that Leader McConnell is totally on board with background checks.  That would bring him in line with the rest of the country.  This is broken down by party support for universal background checks.

The floor there, David Brooks, is 84 percent for Republicans.

Do you see this as the moment that this legislation passes?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, of course, logically, you want to say yes, but we have been here so many times since Newtown and all — Parkland and all the shootings, that we haven't quite got there.

And so how can something with that kind of support even among Republicans not pass?

First, the NRA has a zero compromise policy, that we won't accept any compromise at all.  We're just holding the line.

And so far, for 20 or 30 years, that has sort of been working for them.  Second, it's low salient issue.  People care about guns on the week after something like this happens.  And then you ask them, rank the issues you care about, guns start dropping down.

And then the third, it's turned into a culture war, where, for a lot of people, it's not about guns at all.  It's about my culture vs. your culture.  And if you want to control my guns, which are part of my gun clubs, part of my community, you're just a bunch of coastal elites coming after me.

And so I hope this is a week when that changes, but we have a right to be a little skeptical.

And the one opportunity — and this is a perverse way to put it — is that we might not have — we might have the same gun debate over and over again, but what's become new this week is, it's a terrorism issue as well, in that the people, especially in El Paso, but in a lot of these other shootings, they are killing on behalf of an ideology that is a little like the ISIS ideology in some ways.

And we could — if we had a discussion, what do we do to combat domestic terrorism, that, we might be able to have a different kind of conversation and pass some of the things we couldn't pass any other way.

Amna Nawaz:  The threat might be different there, you think.

David Brooks:  You might rearrange the political alliances, because the gun issue, people are pretty baked in.

Amna Nawaz:  Jonathan, what do you think?

I mean, we do have this conversation again and again.  It's usually right after one of these mass public events.  You remember, back in 2012, after kindergartners were murdered…

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  Yes.

Amna Nawaz:  … we thought, OK, this is the moment.  And then it wasn't.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right.

If the slaughter of 20 children in their elementary school wasn't enough to move the Senate, to move the U.S. Congress to pass even just background checks — it failed by six votes — then nothing will move them.

To David's point about, a week we will be talking about, we will move on, but I think the momentum in this case will dissipate greatly because the President just left for vacation.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is already on vacation.  He's already said the Senate's not coming back.

And so by the time they come back in September, God forbid we're not talking about another mass shooting, but it might not be until another mass shooting that you get the kind of energy and momentum that's needed to push such a heavy rock up the hill.

Amna Nawaz:  Do you think if they face — members of Congress are in their home districts.  If they're getting questions about it, that could help add to some momentum?

Jonathan Capehart:  I mean, look, again, going back to Newtown, the national outrage over what happened wasn't enough to blunt the power of the NRA.

So I don't know how much a town hall is going to — or successive town halls will be to change the momentum.

David Brooks:  The cultural issue cannot be underestimated.

I have always loved Mayor Bloomberg, but it wasn't good for the gun issue that the guy spending all the money around the country and becoming a spokesperson for the movement was the mayor of New York City.

This has to be led by a group of red state people who are rock-ribbed Republicans who say, I'm very Republican, I love to shoot, guns are part of my culture, but we got to change.

And until you can get red state leaders doing that, it's going to be a tougher issue.

Amna Nawaz:  Let me ask you about something else.

The President did, obviously, make a visit to those affected communities.  And his team put out what's basically a highly produced edited video of his visit on the ground in El Paso.  You're watching a clip of it right there.

There was a contrast there between some of the reports we heard on the ground from journalists and then another video.  It was cell phone video that emerged after the visit.  It showed the President on the ground in El Paso talking about his crowd size at a rally back in February and comparing it to Beto O'Rourke's.

Take a quick listen to what he said.

Donald Trump:  That was some crowd.

Woman:  Thank you.

Donald Trump:  And we had twice the number outside.  And then you had this crazy Beto.  Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot.  They said his crowd was wonderful.

Amna Nawaz:  Jonathan, there is kind of a tale of two narratives there.  In the moment, you don't really know which one to pay attention to.

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, the narrative here is consistent.

President Trump is at the center of that narrative, whether it's that highly produced campaign-style-like video of his visits to El Paso Dayton, or it's that cell phone video where he's talking about one of the things that is part of his greatest hits, crowd size.

He has talked about crowd size since the day of his inauguration.  And, for him, that is a marker of popularity.

But, in that moment, what I would expect the people of El Paso and Dayton, the people in Ohio, the American people who are grieving — and also Texas — people who are grieving, what they want to see from a President is comfort.  They want to see someone consoling them.

I was in New York on 9/11.  And President George W.  Bush was President of the United States, and I had lots of disagreements with the policies of President George W. Bush.  But when he stood on that rubble at ground zero and talked to those workers, and talked to the city, and talked to the nation, that's exactly what we needed to hear then.

When President Obama went to Charleston and impromptu sang "Amazing Grace" at the eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, a state senator who was murdered with eight other people in Mother Emanuel Church, in that moment, he channeled the grief of a church, of a city, of a community, and of a nation.

We didn't get that with President Trump.

Amna Nawaz:  David, how do you look at this, really?  He's such a divisive figure anyway.  There is the standard of the consoler in chief.  He hasn't done it yet.  It's not who he is.  Right?

David Brooks:  Yes.

Well, there's a photo, a still from that visit where he's with the orphan baby and two family members, with his wife.  And Melania is holding the child.  And he's got this grin and the thumb up.

And when I looked at that photo, I thought, the Democrats are having a debate: Is he a racist?  Is he a white supremacist?

And I look at that photo, I think, well, he's a sociopath.  He's incapable of experiencing or showing empathy.

And, politically, it's helpful for him to target that lack of empathy and fellow feeling toward people of color.  But how much have we seen him show empathy for anybody?

And so I look at that as someone who is unloved and made himself unlovable and whose subject is himself, is his own competitive greatness.  And so he doesn't do the consoler in chief just because he doesn't do that emotional range.

And that's a burden and a cost for any of us.

Amna Nawaz:  You mentioned the white supremacy line there.  We have obviously been talking about that a lot in 2019 now.

And Lisa Desjardins was reporting earlier too on the ground in Iowa there.  Candidates are being asked about that:  Do you think this President is a white supremacist?

Is that sort of a litmus test now for candidates moving forward?

David Brooks:  It's an easy emotional inflation, it seems to me.

I thought Biden's answer and Kamala Harris' was pretty good, which is, I don't know, but he's certainly enabling them.  And he's certainly speaking the language.  He uses the language of invasion when talking about immigration.

Now, I read a lot of the manifestos this week and those who have actually killed in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso.  They start with invasion.  They go many more steps.  They believe that racial mixing really is a cancer.  And they have this deep separatism.

I don't know if Trump has that.  But he has certainly set an atmosphere where it's easier to talk about human beings as an invasion.

Amna Nawaz:  What do you make of all this right now, Jonathan?  It's a big topic.  This is nothing new in America.  And yet it's new in terms of how prevalent it is.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right, because — and it pains me to say this, but we're talking about it because the President of the United States is a racist with a white supremacist policy agenda.

He began his political career questioning the legitimacy of the first African-American President.  He started his campaign within the first two minutes saying that Mexicans were — quote — "rapists."

He called for a complete and total ban on Muslims entering the United States after the San Bernardino attack during the campaign in December 2016.  He's used words on the campaign trail from the midterm elections and continued, invasion, caravans, infestation, animals, to what David was talking about.

In policy and in rhetoric, he is feeding into this environment, this atmosphere, where people such as the shooter in El Paso who has — we have seen the affidavit.  He's confessed in doing what he's done, and confessed to targeting — quote — "Mexicans."

That — these things don't happen in a vacuum.  Did the President order this person to do this?  No.  But that person heard in that rhetoric — and we have seen it from New Zealand, around the world, but particularly here, where we are dealing with a domestic terrorism problem, where the primary people committing these terrorist acts are white supremacists.

We're dealing with a situation here where the President of the United States is feeding into it with the rhetoric that's coming out of his mouth, whether it's from a podium at the White House or from a podium at a campaign rally somewhere in the country.

David Brooks:  Yes.

I hear you talking, and I think I basically agree with it.  Then I — my next question is, well, how do we then do democracy for the next 16 months?  Like, there is a presumption that we're all Americans together.  There's a presumption of goodwill, that we can have a conversation.

And maybe Donald Trump — but how do we address ourselves to Donald Trump supporters, many of whom are very realistic and are supporters of him for good reasons having to do with their own lives and the dissolution of their own communities.

It's going to be hard to have a conversation once the President has been declared sort of really beneath contempt.  And I'm not saying I disagree with you.  I'm just saying this is a problem we have to deal with as we try to have a national conversation over this election.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Acting Director of National Intelligence, Independent or Stooge

At least Trump named someone with real qualifications other than political.

"Will acting top intelligence official speak truth to power?" PBS NewsHour 8/9/2019

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SUMMARY:  The two top officials at the office of the Director of National Intelligence will soon leave their posts.  The Deputy Director, Sue Gordon, resigned Thursday after nearly 30 years in the field.  President Trump then named retired [Admiral] Joseph Maguire, formerly head of the National Counterterrorism Center, as the office’s Acting Director.  Nick Schifrin talks to Amna Nawaz about this critical role.

FERGUSON MISSOURI - What's Changed 5 Years After?

"5 years after Michael Brown’s death, what has changed in Ferguson — and what hasn’t" PBS NewsHour 8/8/2019

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SUMMARY:  It’s been five years since Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.  The incident sparked protests, questions about race and police brutality and a Justice Department conclusion that the city’s law enforcement practices had been unduly influenced by revenue generation.  Yamiche Alcindor returns to Ferguson to see what's changed since 2014 -- and what hasn't.




"Ferguson residents have turned anger into action — but say some wounds won’t heal" PBS NewsHour 8/9/2019

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SUMMARY:  Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the deadly Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. by a white police officer.  Protesters gathered in Ferguson after the incident to voice outrage, but the officer was never charged.  Since then, activists including Brown's family have continued to push for change -- but say the trauma will never heal.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

DISPUTED LAND - Kashmir

"How India’s revoking of autonomy for Kashmir could lead to increased violence" PBS NewsHour 8/8/2019

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SUMMARY:  Government forces in riot gear are patrolling Kashmir, four days after India announced a change to the contested territory’s political status.  Until then, India’s only Muslim-majority region had enjoyed a high degree of autonomy.  Nick Schifrin talks to retired [Ambassador] Frank Wisner about the decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and what’s at stake.

CALIFORNIA - Adequate Mental Health

"Why California is struggling to provide adequate mental health care" PBS NewsHour 8/8/2019

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SUMMARY:  With more Americans seeking treatment for mental health issues, lawmakers and the U.S. health care system are having trouble keeping up.  People with severe mental illnesses who don't find adequate health care often end up on the streets or behind bars.  And the options for residential long-term care are dwindling.  Byrhonda Lyons of CalMatters, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization, reports.

DIRE WARNING - World Food Supply

"How our food is grown and consumed is making climate change worse.  What can we do?" PBS NewsHour 8/8/2019

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SUMMARY:  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning of a devastating global feedback loop around how humans produce and consume food.  A new report urges immediate action on agricultural practices that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change and, in turn, make soil less productive.  William Brangham talks to the World Resources Institute's Janet Ranganathan.

STORIED CAREER - Ron Howard

"Actor and director Ron Howard on the joy of being a storyteller" PBS NewsHour 8/7/2019

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SUMMARY:  Ron Howard has cultivated a long, storied career in show business, beginning with “The Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s and continuing to his present success as a director.  His latest work is a documentary about opera legend Luciano Pavarotti.  Jeffrey Brown caught up with Howard earlier this summer to discuss his professional evolution, his excitement about his newest subject and politics in film.

HEALTH TOURISM - Cayman Islands

"How the Cayman Islands could become a new health care destination" PBS NewsHour 8/7/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  As health care costs continue to rise, practitioners in India are working to lower prices -- and bring their innovations closer to American shores.  Health City Cayman Islands is a new frontier for India’s largest for-profit hospital chain.  Focused on efficient health care delivery, its services are now drawing Americans to the Cayman Islands.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

MEMORIAM - Toni Morrison 1931-2019

"Remembering Toni Morrison’s ‘beautiful human urgency’" PBS NewsHour 8/6/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Author and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison died Monday at age 88.  The acclaimed writer, editor and professor helped transform American literature, bringing forth a black perspective that had rarely been heard.  Jeffrey Brown reports and talks to Princeton University’s Tracy K. Smith, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, about how she was influenced by Morrison's work, generosity and “amazing vigor.”



HONG KONG - Authoritarian China Labels Protesters Criminals

"China calls Hong Kong protesters ‘criminals,’ threatens retaliation" PBS NewsHour 8/6/2019

Hummm....sounds like someone we know?  Mr 'Fake News' himself.

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  A day after a strike disrupted public transportation and blocked major roads in Hong Kong, China’s central government strongly condemned the protesters, whom it called “criminals.”  It did not address the grievances of the pro-democracy forces or propose solutions, but rather warned them not to “mistake our restraint for weakness.”  Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News reports.

GUN CONTROL - Blocked by the GOP, #45, and the NRA

"After El Paso and Dayton, what can be done to prevent similar mass shootings?" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left more than 30 people dead over the weekend.  What can be done to prevent incidents like these?  Amna Nawaz talks to Larry Ward, chief marketing officer of Gun Dynamics, and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, for two different perspectives on potential solutions to the problem of rampant gun violence in the U.S.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  Back now to our look at guns in America.

Excluding El Paso and Dayton, just since yesterday, at least 88 people were shot and at least 28 people were killed by guns in 27 states.  That's according to the Gun Violence Archive.

In fact, we rarely report on these events:  gang warfare, domestic violence, robbery.  And that excludes suicide, the largest factor for gun deaths.

Amna Nawaz reports that the number of guns in America, some 393 million of them, more than one per person, is greater than in any other country and that, even on days of relative calm, guns kill roughly 100 people in this country every day.




"Why domestic terrorism is an underestimated national threat" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  The weekend mass shooting in El Paso appears to have been motivated by white supremacist and anti-immigrant sentiment.  In response, President Trump said Monday the FBI has been tasked with disrupting “domestic terrorism.”  What is the nature of this movement, and how can we address it?  Amna Nawaz talks to the University of Chicago’s Kathleen Belew and George Washington University’s Seamus Hughes.




"Congressional inaction on gun reform is ‘an insult’ to shooting victims, says Rep. Ryan" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton prompted immediate outcry among candidates for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.  Several of the contenders denounced President Trump for rhetoric they said foments violence and hatred.  One of them, Rep. Tim Ryan [D-Oh], represents Ohio in Congress.  He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss “weapons of war” and whether there is hope for gun reform in Congress.




"What Bill de Blasio would do to counter rise of white supremacy and deadly violence" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  After mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, we examine the threat of domestic terrorism and the nation's gun policy debate.  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, one of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the El Paso and Dayton tragedies, the “horrible reality” of the white supremacist movement and why he thinks strict gun laws have decreased homicides in New York.




"Could El Paso and Dayton massacres drive congressional action on guns?" PBS NewsHour 8/6/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have pushed gun safety back into the forefront of national politics.  On Capitol Hill, how are lawmakers responding?  Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to discuss an unusual move from Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, the current landscape of proposed gun legislation and whether there is a realistic chance for any expansion of background checks to pass.




"Why addressing mental illness isn’t enough to reduce gun violence" PBS NewsHour 8/6/2019

My answer, addressing mental illness does not work when access to guns is too easy.

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  How do we explain and stop mass shootings like those in El Paso and Dayton?  Some Americans point to guns, saying they're too common and easy to obtain, while others emphasize the mental and emotional conditions that could drive perpetrators to inflict such horror.  Amna Nawaz talks to Dr. Garen Wintemute of UC Davis Medical Center and Duke University's Jeffrey Swanson for analysis of both theories.




"A former House Republican on why we need to reform gun laws" PBS NewsHour 8/6/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  And now we turn back to guns in America.  And we look at the politics.

Joining me is former U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo.  He's a Republican who represented Florida for four years, until 2018.

EL PASO/DAYTON MASS SHOOTINGS - Brought to You by the GOP, #45, and the NRA (continued)

"El Paso shooting stuns tight-knit community that welcomes diversity" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  At least 22 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso on Saturday.  The alleged shooter referenced white supremacist ideology in a manifesto posted online shortly before the massacre.  Judy Woodruff talks to William Brangham, reporting from El Paso on why the violence is so “jarring” in a largely welcoming and harmonious community adjacent to the U.S. border with Mexico.




"After massacre, Dayton residents demand political action on guns" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Less than 24 hours after a shooting massacre in El Paso, another nine people were gunned down in a busy nightlife area of Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning.  Police quickly killed the alleged gunman.  Judy Woodruff talks to Yamiche Alcindor, reporting from Dayton on how stunned residents are coping with the tragedy, what they think is causing the violence and the political change they want to see.




"Dayton’s mayor on her grieving community, gun control and Trump’s visit" PBS NewsHour 8/7/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  On Wednesday, President Trump traveled to Dayton, Ohio, where a gunman killed nine people and wounded 26 early Sunday morning.  Ahead of his visit, Mayor Nan Whaley expressed concerns about the President’s previous rhetoric and said she hoped his visit would “add value” to the grieving community.  Whaley joins William Brangham to discuss what she told Trump about her stricken city and gun safety.




"Why El Paso residents felt ‘deeply divided’ about Trump’s visit" PBS NewsHour 8/7/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  President Trump visited grieving El Paso Wednesday.  An “El Paso Strong” rally was held to coincide with his arrival -- and protest his rhetoric on race and immigration.  Judy Woodruff talks to Dan Bush, reporting from El Paso, about the mood in the “deeply divided” city, how residents felt about the President’s visit, Trump’s agenda while in town and what Sen. Ted Cruz [R-Tx] said on the somber occasion.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

BBC AMERICA - Killing Eve Series

"Killing Eve is a British spy thriller television series, produced in the United Kingdom by Sid Gentle Films for BBC America.  The series follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a British intelligence investigator tasked with capturing psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer); as the chase progresses, the two develop a mutual obsession.  It is based on the Villanelle novel series by Luke Jennings.' - Wikipedia

This is the best Psycho-Thriller series I've seen to date.  The following video is a collection of trailers.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Are Health Insurance Giants Running Medicaid?

"Are Trump’s Top Medicaid Regulators Ignoring Major Problems?  Insurance Giant’s Tense Meeting With a Senator Adds to Growing Concern." by J.  David McSwane (ProPublica) and Tom Benning (The Dallas Morning News), ProPublica 8/6/2019

The CEO of Centene, a company now entangled in a broader federal inquiry, met with Sen. Bob Casey to allay concerns that patients are being neglected.

This story was co-published with The Dallas Morning News.

The ranking member of the Senate health committee has complained for months about the Trump administration’s failure to look into Medicaid contractors that have reaped big profits while sometimes failing to provide crucial patient services.

So last week, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa) called in the top boss of Centene, the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care company.  He wanted to question the company about reports that its Texas subsidiary denied life-sustaining care to sick and disabled children — in one case, leaving a baby in foster care to suffer a catastrophic brain injury.

The meeting with longtime Centene CEO Michael Neidorff did not go well, according to Casey.

“I thought they would try to persuade me that they were going to do better, but they didn’t seem interested in that at all,” Casey told ProPublica and The Dallas Morning News in an interview.  “I just couldn’t believe it.”

Casey said the Centene official denied providing inadequate care and cast blame for failures on foster parents and nurses.

Centene declined to make Neidorff available for an interview and emailed a brief statement in response to questions about the meeting with Casey.

“Centene and its subsidiaries care deeply about each and every member we serve,” the email read.  “We work tirelessly to ensure we provide the appropriate level of care for our members.”

Under Neidorff, Centene has grown from a tiny health network in the Midwest into a $60-billion-a-year health care empire, backed almost entirely with taxpayer money.  The company cares for more than 8.5 million Medicaid patients.

The company came under criticism last year after an eight-part investigation published in The Morning News examined whether Centene and other Medicaid managed care companies were skimping on care to bolster profits.  The series raised questions about Centene’s Texas subsidiary, Superior HealthPlan, and its handling of the case of D’ashon Morris, a Texas toddler who was born with severe defects and was living in a foster home.

The series, titled “Pain & Profit,” reported that D’ashon was denied 24/7 nursing care and suffered brain damage after a medical incident that occurred while he did not have his nurse around.  (Read the full story here)

The Morning News reported that state health officials had found the Centene subsidiary in violation of state and federal Medicaid rules and recommended the company face steep fines for what happened to the child.  But top Texas health officials never assessed those fines, The Morning News reported.

D’ashon’s adoptive mother sued the Centene subsidiary in Texas state court.  That case is tied up in the Texas appeals court, where the Centene subsidiary has argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because D’ashon and his mother are stifling the company’s right to free speech.

During hearings in the state Capitol, Superior representatives denied that the company’s refusal to provide 24/7 nursing was improper.

After his meeting with the Centene official, Casey sent a strongly worded letter to Seema Verma, a former health consultant appointed by President Donald Trump to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In the letter, Casey called Centene’s response to questions about D’ashon’s case “callous.”

He also asked Medicaid officials to dig further into Centene’s business practices and to provide documentation on any response to The Morning News investigation.

“It’s another indication that the regulatory approach here by the administration is, at best, suspect,” Casey said.

A CMS spokesman said that Texas officials have shared with the agency an “action plan they intended to take to address the concerns raised,” adding that CMS is in regular communication to ensure the state improves.

“CMS has received Sen. Casey’s letter and will respond to his office directly,” spokesman Brian Leshak said in an email.

Casey’s position as the top Democrat on two Senate panels overseeing federal health programs gives him the standing to raise questions about the Medicaid managed care system.

It’s not unusual for company officials facing a federal audit or investigation to meet with members of Congress to address concerns, but it is unusual for such meetings to spill into public view.

Casey said he sent the letter to CMS because of what he called Centene’s “cold and clinical” defense of what happened in D’ashon’s case.  He said it gave him concern about how the company cares for other patients — and what, if anything, regulators are doing when things go wrong.

Last month, more than a year after The Morning News story was published, Centene officials provided Casey’s office with a one-page rebuttal titled: “The Dallas Morning News got it wrong.

The company’s explanations include that D’ashon’s foster mother was a trained nurse.  But, as The Morning News reported, she was on an approved vacation at the time of D’ashon’s injury, and he had been placed in a different foster home.

The company also said D’ashon’s foster mother should have restrained the baby, but The Morning News previously reported that Texas foster care officials confirmed restraints would have required a doctor’s order, which she did not have.

“It was all blame shifting and pointing to other factors,” Casey said of Centene’s letter.

Casey said the meeting left him wondering why federal regulators weren’t doing more.

“It might even be worse than asleep at the wheel,” he said of CMS under Verma’s watch.

“They may be awake at the wheel but choosing consciously to say, ‘We’re going the other direction.’”

Without commenting on specific cases, the CMS spokesman said the agency routinely monitors states and intervenes when necessary.

Problems with this privatized Medicaid model have grabbed headlines in other states, too.  And advocates in those states said they haven’t heard much from CMS, which they say is a shift from the Obama administration.

In Iowa, for instance, The Des Moines Register reported failures to provide care and chronicled patients who had been caught in that state’s broken medical appeals system.

Rob Sand, Iowa’s state auditor, wrote to state officials in June that two large managed care companies had “significantly harmed” two paraplegic patients by refusing to provide services they needed.

Mary Nelle Trefz, of Iowa’s Child and Family Policy Center, said she’s been shocked to hear nothing about that from CMS.

“I don’t feel, or can’t observe, or point to anything, where CMS has stepped in to provide that oversight and accountability,” she said.

In March, California’s state auditor found that millions of children in that state’s privatized Medicaid system weren’t being provided services that taxpayers had paid for.  Auditor Elaine Howle blamed California health officials’ “deficient oversight of the managed care plans.”

Andy Schneider, a researcher at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families, and a former top adviser to CMS under the Obama administration, said these episodes come at an inconvenient time for the Trump administration, which is focused on reducing regulation and creating additional eligibility hurdles like work requirements.

CMS has taken a hands-off approach compared with the previous administration, he said.

“These are reports coming from reputable media sources,” he said.  “They’re very concerning, they have to do with the operation of the program, they suggest that something is wrong.”

Monday, August 05, 2019

MORE MASS SHOOTINGS - Brought to You by the GOP, #45, and the NRA

"Multiple fatalities in El Paso shooting, suspect in custody" PBS NewsHour 8/3/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Authorities in El Paso, Texas, said a gunman opened fire Saturday morning inside a local Walmart, killing multiple people.  A suspect is now in custody, and at least 22 people were injured during the attack.  For more on the shooting, Dennis Woo, operations director at NPR affiliate KTEP, joins Hari Sreenivasan from El Paso.




"El Paso shooting is domestic terrorism, investigators say" PBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Investigators of the El Paso mass shooting, which left 20 people dead and wounded at least 26 others, are treating the massacre as a case of domestic terrorism and will file capital murder charges against the suspect, now in custody.  They are also trying to determine if an anti-immigrant “manifesto” posted online was penned by the alleged 21-year-old white male shooter.  Megan Thompson reports.




"El Paso ‘standing strong’ after shopping center massacrePBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  A gunman, now in custody, opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, killing 20, and wounding dozens of others.  Texas Tribune reporter Julian Aguilar joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype from El Paso for more on how the community is coping with the loss.




"A deadly massacre in under one minute" PBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Less than 13 hours after the massacre in El Paso, Texas, a gunman killed nine people, including his own sister, in downtown Dayton.  Police said the carnage lasted less than a minute before they arrived on the scene and killed the shooter.  NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson reports on the latest.




"Death of Dayton gunman’s sister makes family history a focus" PBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  A gunman in Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people and injured 27 in under a minute early Sunday morning, before he was fatally shot by police.  Among the dead was the shooter’s sister, making family dynamics a main focus for investigators.  Jim Bebbington, editor of the Dayton Daily News, joins Hari Sreenivasan with the latest.




"‘When is enough going to be enough?’ asks Dayton mayor" PBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Nine people were killed and 27 were wounded in a mass shooting in the downtown entertainment district of Dayton, Ohio.  The police patrolling the area fatally shot the gunman within a minute of the attack.  The shooting took place less than 24 hours after the killing in El Paso, Texas, of at least 20 people.  Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype.




"The ‘gamification’ of domestic terrorism online" PBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  Hate-filled online posts or “manifestos” have often been purposely left behind by shooters for the public and authorities to find.  New York Times opinion writer-at-large Charlie Warzel, who covers information technology, joins to Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the ‘gamification’ and radicalization of white supremacy on online forums.




"How news organizations should cover white supremacist shootings, according to a media expert" PBS NewsHour 8/4/2019

Excerpt

SUMMARY:  While reporting on the white supremacist ideology behind mass shootings, are journalists inadvertently magnifying the message?  Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Research project at Harvard University, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss how reporters should -- and should not -- cover mass shootings.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 8/2/2019

"Shields and Brooks on Trump and race, Democrats’ 2020 values" PBS NewsHour 8/2/2019

Excerpt

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 personal attacks on Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and other lawmakers of color, the significance of a wave of Republican congressional retirements and how the 2020 Democrats fared in the two-night debate in Detroit.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  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.

So let's pick up on Yamiche's reporting, David.

All this comes after President Trump has been going after Congressman Elijah Cummings, going after Baltimore, calling it rat-infested, this just a few days after he went after four congresswomen of color, the Squad.

Some people are saying the President's being racist.  He says, "I'm the least racist person in the world."

How do you see it, and what are the consequences?

David Brooks, New York Times:  I think I disagree with the President on that one.

You just look at who he's attacking.  It's one African-American or one person of a color after another.  It's not dog whistle anymore.  It's just straight-up human whistle.

And so it is just pulling at this racial thing over and over and over again.  And I don't know how it how much it affects people.  I really don't know.  I know people don't like political correctness.  And when he does that, I think people really get a charge out of that.

But going to clearly racist tropes goes well beyond it.  We're walking into Father Coughlin territory.  We're walking into George Wallace territory.  We're walking into very ugly territory.

And if this is what this election is going to become about, then it becomes, I would think, hard for people of conscience, whether they like Trump's economic policy or not, to wind up with him in however many months Election Day is.

Judy Woodruff:  Ugly territory, Mark?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Ugly territory, Judy.

It reached the point where, when it was reported that Congressman Cummings' house had been broken into, the President tweeted, "Too Bad," Elijah Cummings, the crime in Baltimore.

This was too much for Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, former U.N. ambassador, who said, this is — she took the President to task.

Judy Woodruff:  Republican.

Mark Shields:  Republican, as did Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

No, the President — you think of the founder of that great party, the Republican Party, words of Lincoln, with malice toward none, with charity for all, let's bind up the nation's wound, the task we're about.

This is just the opposite.  This is salting the wounds.  This is sowing division, and all for a very narrow political purpose.  I do think that it reaches a point of diminishing returns, because, at some point, you're just not proud to say you're for Donald Trump.

You can say, oh, he's my guy, or he fights my fights, or he's on my side, but Americans want their President to be a comforter in chief and a consoler in chief, as Ronald Reagan was at the Challenger crisis, or in tragedy, or Barack Obama was after the Charleston church shooting.

That's what a President — to unite, to comfort and to bring out — he's the only voice that can speak to us, all of us, and for all of us, and he obviously doesn't want to speak to all of us or for all of us.

Judy Woodruff:  But, David, you still have, as you heard in Yamiche's reporting from Ohio, people saying that they don't think it's racist, that they like the fact, as you suggested, that he speaks out.

David Brooks:  Yes, well, they do like that fact.

The one thing I have noticed — I was at two conservative conferences over the past month.  And they were pretty Trumpy, I guess.  And they were 95 and 99 and maybe 100 percent white.  And so, if you're conservative worlds, you're just not around minorities anymore.  You're not around people of color.

And then you say, well, shouldn't you get some people of color on stage just to hear viewpoints?  And they say, well, we don't want — like, I don't see color.

And if you're living in this country, with the culture of this country and the history of this country, you have got to see color.  And you have got to affirmatively try to get different people in the same room.  And it's just become a habit on the right to not care about that.

And this wasn't always the case.  And this is how Trump is influencing the party, and, frankly, how the party is influencing Trump.  In the world — in the age of the Bushes, in the age of Jack Kemp, there was really aggressive efforts to try to diversify the party, with some success.

And now that's not even tried.  And it's not only Trump.  It's up and down the whole apparatus.

Judy Woodruff:  And last night, Mark, as we have reported, Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, announced he's not running again from Texas.

Mark Shields:  He did, Judy.

I think it's the seventh this week — sixth this week, ninth overall.

Judy Woodruff:  Total of nine, yes.

Mark Shields:  And I think there's a couple of factors at work.

I mean, what David mentions is one of them.  The Republicans are becoming increasingly a white party.  And Will Hurd, who is a former CIA professional and a high-qualified person, but prior to his retirement, or announce that he wasn't going to seek reelection; Susan Brooks of Indiana, who's been tasked for seeking women candidates for the Republican Party, and Martha Roby of Alabama announced their retirement.

And I think what's significant about it is this.  Ronald Reagan's last term, half the members of Congress who were women were Republicans, 12 out of 25.  Now there are 102 women in the House of Representatives; 89 of them are Democrats, 13 are Republicans.

Two of those 13 have just announced they're retiring.

Judy Woodruff:  Are not running.

Mark Shields:  I mean, so you see it's a white male party.  And that has — that's a finite demographic.

Judy Woodruff:  So, you're — I mean, you're both talking — what are the consequences of this, David?

David Brooks:  Of course, I think electoral ruin, though people have been saying that for a long time.

And there was a book called "The Emerging Democratic Majority" that was probably 15 to 20 years ago from John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, who took a look at the demographics that were Republican, and they were all fading.  And they predicted Democratic reign by now.  And that hasn't happened.

And that's because a lot of Latinos, as they assimilate, they become white.  And so — and so they are voting Republicans.  And whites have swung overwhelmingly to the Republican side.

It's a short-term boon, like the country is 76 percent white, but it's a long-term catastrophe.  And that's just talking politics.  It's a short-term moral catastrophe for the party.

Judy Woodruff:  But in the short run, Mark, this could be good politics for Donald Trump?

Mark Shields:  It's hard for me, Judy.  They're maximizing a minimum, I mean, is what they're doing.

There's not an inexpensive ceiling on the Trump coalition.  It means getting every possible Trump voter out.  There's no persuasion.  It's all an organization effort.  There's not — they're not reaching across the aisle and saying, we want to get you, come join us, we agree on 80 percent.

I mean, this is just mining down, is what it is.