Monday, March 16, 2020

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 3/13/2020

"Shields and Brooks on leadership in a time of crisis" PBS NewsHour 3/13/2020


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including the unique magnitude of the novel coronavirus pandemic, how President Trump is handling the crisis, what the government should do to reassure fearful Americans, and how the outbreak might affect the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary race.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And now, with their own take on the pandemic that has seemingly taken over our lives, it's time for the analysis of Shields and Brooks.

That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Hello to both of you.

It's been a week like no other that I can remember.

Mark, where are we?  What — how do you make sense of what's going on right now?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Well, the only way I could make sense of it is by what we have been through before.

I mean, I would compare it, Judy, to the time after World War II began or the polio epidemic in the '50s.  And there was — it was a time of collective national sacrifice.  Everybody was in it together.  We were all at risk.

And it was — and especially after the beginning to have the war, it was a time of collective sacrifice, where there were shortages of alcohol, tobacco, meat, butter, you name it.  But Americans, through 20 million victory gardens, raised a third of the country's vegetables.  They saved tin.  They sacrificed collectively.

The president of the New York Stock Exchange went in the Army for $21 a month as a private, William McChesney Martin, later chairman of the Federal Reserve.

And at the time of polio, there was terror in the country.  We closed bowling alleys, and swimming pools, and beaches in the summer; 497,000 Americans were paralyzed, and then that magical moment in 1955 when there was a cure.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

Mark Shields:  But that's all I can — that's where we are.

That's where — it's the unknown.


Judy Woodruff:  … terror.

Mark Shields:  It's the unknown, and there's a sense of terror.

Judy Woodruff:  Can we make sense of it, David?  How do we get our arms around it?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, there are two issues.  Maybe I should deal with them separately.

One is the political leadership issue, and one is the moral and social issue.

And just on political, I found it an enraging week.  We sat here many years ago, when we saw images of Katrina and bodies floating in New Orleans.  And I think both Mark and I felt a deep sense of anger.

And I feel a deep sense of anger that our government has responded so badly.

And, frankly, it's — this is what happens when you elect a sociopath as President, who doesn't care, who has treated this whole thing for the past month as if it's about him, how do people like me, minimizing the risks, does the stock market reflect well on me, and he hasn't done the things a normal human being would do, which was to, let's take precautions.

Let's do the backup things we need to do.  Any President would sit down with his team and say, people will suffer here.  Let's get ready.

And he's [Trump] incapable of that.  And he's even created an information distortion field around him.  Even today, the press conference today was all his propaganda.  It wasn't honest with people.

And then with Yamiche's perfectly good question about an agency, maybe he didn't know when that part of the National Security Council was shut down, but he should know about it by now.

And so the fact that he wasn't even aware of this is a sign that nobody is willing to tell him bad news.  And we have got a dysfunctional process at the heart of the administration at a time of great national crisis.

Judy Woodruff:  With all that going on, Mark, how does that affect Americans' ability to get through this?

Mark Shields:  Well, it affects it in many respects.  And I don't disagree with what David said.

It's global, Judy.  And 'America first fails'.  If there's ever a time for international cooperation, collegiality at a personal and national level, professional level, this is it.

I mean, I think if Americans were informed and put to the test, whom do you want — who do you want in charge of this, this epidemic, Dr. Tony Fauci or Donald Trump, they would — anybody who have watched would say Dr. Tony Fauci.

I mean, he's knowledgeable, he's straight, he's direct, he's candid, he's thoughtful.  He's everything that we want.

The President is impulsive and uninformed.  He has misled the people that it was contained.  Any President of the United States saying he's going to leave Americans on a boat docked off of California, rather than bring them ashore for treatment because they might — because it would increase the number of people, would hurt his numbers, would hurt my numbers, that's somebody not lacking in empathy.

That's somebody with an empathy void.  And it just — to me, it's — I think it's a seminal moment in the Trump presidency, when we realize, in spite of my 401(k) having been terrific, now all of a sudden it's at jeopardy, and he [Trump] really puts the nation at jeopardy and the health of my family and my friends at jeopardy.

Judy Woodruff:  Is there someone Americans can look to for guidance, for an example and for leadership at a time like this?

David Brooks:  Yes, well, Tony Fauci, Francis Collins the head of NIH.

A lot of the state and local — the governors have been pretty fantastic.

Mark Shields:  Yes.

Tony — Andrew Cuomo.

David Brooks:  Yes, Andrew Cuomo.

And so I do think there are some leaders out there.  And look to each other.  I mean, as everyone has said, it's quite remarkable how the country has responded, responded with all the social distancing and all the very drastic measures that have been taken.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

David Brooks:  It should be said, we shouldn't expect that wonderfulness to continue.

I have spent the last week reading about pandemics in the past.  And they're not good for social trust.  People go into them thinking, I'm going to be a good soldier and citizen for people around me.

But when the fear gets going, they stop seeing each other.  They stop caring about each other.  They stop volunteering.

I have always wondered why the 1918 Spanish Flu that happened here killed 675,000 Americans.

Judy Woodruff:  Hard to imagine.  Impossible to imagine.

David Brooks:  And it left no trace on the national culture.  And I have always wondered, why was that?

And reading about what it was like, people were ashamed of how they behaved, because they looked after themselves.  And that's understandable.  Fear is just this terrible thing.  And we haven't really been hit by the raw, gut-wrenching fear of seeing hospitals overwhelmed and stuff like — but we will.

And we sort of need to take moral steps and social steps, as well as we take health steps, to sort of mitigate that.

Judy Woodruff:  And we know, Mark, it is going to get worse.

I mean, we see Tony Fauci talking about it's either going to go up like this and — before it comes down, or we can mitigate it somehow, by the social distancing, and the rest of it.

But we are in a moment when we are looking for guidance, and we're also in the middle of a Presidential campaign.  We have got Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders still campaigning, although it's been moved — shoved to the sidelines this week.

Mark Shields:  Right.

Judy Woodruff:  The two of them the last few days have made statements.  They have talked about what needs to be done.

Do we see something going on there that gives the American people hope?

Mark Shields:  Well, I hope so.

I mean, I thought both statements yesterday, I thought particularly Biden's, were quite thoughtful, to use an adjective not loosely, presidential, they were reflective, and given it a serious and — there is — as Vice President Biden said, there's no zip code on this.  This isn't a foreign threat.  I mean, this isn't something organized by the Chinese communist politburo.

I mean, this is no respecter of state of status or station or anything of the sort.  And I thought that — I thought that came through.

As far as the election, I feel bad for Senator Sanders, because you're behind.  And how do you catch up?  You catch up by showing enthusiasm, by showing and drawing crowds, by showing energy.

All right, all of a sudden, you can't do that anymore.  I mean, you're not going to have crowds.  You're not going to be out there.

Judy Woodruff:  Not going to have rallies.

Mark Shields:  You're not going to have rallies.

So it's almost frozen in time.  I think the debate Sunday night takes on greater importance.  And I would commend it, because there is no audience.  And I would hope that would be the pattern for future debates.

Judy Woodruff:  No live audience.


Mark Shields:  No live audience, because live audience brings out the worst in candidates.  They pander.  They look for applause lines.  They taunt.

And I just think — I think this will be a serious debate between two people.

But Joe Biden carried every county in Michigan.  I mean, that was just sobering.  I mean, the turnout was up 31 percent.  And it almost all went to Biden.  I mean, Bernie Sanders was stuck where he was in 2016.

So I don't know where the hope is for him.  Biden is now heading to state of Washington as of 4:00 this afternoon.

David Brooks:  And Florida's coming.  Yes, I don't see much hope for Bernie Sanders.

I would also say the dynamic changes, because you — Sanders is running on a revolution.  Trump ran on a revolution.  Oh, we should get rid of the establishment and drain the swamp, as the Republicans say.

Well, in a time of pandemic, you really need the establishment.  The establishment is pretty good.  You don't want to burn the system at a moment when people are dying and when diseases are spreading.

And so the idea that the swamp is something you need is something that's hit everybody suddenly very hard.  And all the Trumpians saying, where are the tests, where the tests, why doesn't the government do this for me, well, if ever there had been a reminder of why we need the institutions of our government, that's what we're in the middle of.

Judy Woodruff:  And Sanders is saying that if there ever was a reminder that all Americans have a right to health care, this is it.

Mark Shields:  That's right.  Yes.

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - "When Home Won’t Let You Stay" Exhibit

"Memory, meaning and mortality are at the heart of this migration exhibit" PBS NewsHour 3/11/2020


SUMMARY:  Nearly 71 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, including nearly 30 million refugees.  How does that movement shape migrants' understanding of where they belong?  The current exhibit “When Home Won’t Let You Stay” uses art and found objects to spotlight the human cost of dislocation.  Special correspondent Jared Bowen reports.

NUCLEAR OPTIONS - Trump's Nuclear Arms Control

"State Dept. official on Trump’s vision for nuclear arms control" PBS NewsHour 3/11/2020


SUMMARY:  The New START treaty is the only remaining limit on U.S. and Russian offensive nuclear weapons.  It is set to expire next February.

So far, the Trump administration has been unwilling to begin negotiations.  Instead, the U.S. says it wants to explore a broader agreement, to include China, but critics fear that strategy, that it might risk the treaty altogether.

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "Imperfect Union"

"The little-known story of the Republican Party’s 1st presidential nominee" PBS NewsHour 3/10/2020


SUMMARY:  In a new book, NPR’s Steve Inskeep has chronicled the little-known story of how the illegitimate son of an immigrant rose to become the Republican Party’s first presidential nominee in 1856 -- with a lot of help from his wife.  Lisa Desjardins sits down with Inskeep to discuss “Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War.”

OUTBREAK - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update, World and America

"Amid virus outbreak, U.S. communities brace for disruption" PBS NewsHour 3/9/2020


SUMMARY:  As U.S. cases of COVID-19 rise, officials are stepping up efforts to control the outbreak's spread.  Communities across the country are bracing for disruption, with many schools closing or holding remote classes.  Also, two GOP congressmen who were with President Trump recently are self-quarantining after a conference attendee with whom they met tested positive for the virus.  Amna Nawaz reports.

"How economic effects of global virus outbreak ripple beyond stock markets and travel" PBS NewsHour 3/9/2020


SUMMARY:  Monday was a tumultuous day in the global battle against coronavirus.  Italy’s government banned travel nationwide after new spikes in infections and fatalities.  Meanwhile, U.S. stocks had their worst day in over a decade.  Special correspondent Christopher Livesay reports from Rome, and Judy Woodruff talks to Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and Ben Mutzabaugh of air travel website The Points Guy.

"Why clear, consistent communication is so important during a public health crisis" PBS NewsHour 3/9/2020

Which we are NOT getting from the Trump Administration.


SUMMARY:  Amid the growing U.S. coronavirus outbreak, some experts have criticized the way President Trump, his team and top public health officials are communicating information to the public.  For example, Trump made inaccurate statements Friday about the availability of virus tests.  Dr. Joshua Sharfstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"As impact of COVID-19 deepens, U.S. officials debate economic response" PBS NewsHour 3/10/2020


SUMMARY:  The impact of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is deepening.  On Tuesday, new cancellations, closures and quarantines were announced and President Trump and lawmakers huddled about potential measures to soften the crisis’ economic impact -- but the stock market rallied back from Monday’s major losses.  Amna Nawaz reports and Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor join Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"How this school district is educating students at home during coronavirus outbreak" PBS NewsHour 3/10/2020


SUMMARY:  A growing number of U.S. schools, including several colleges and universities, are shutting their doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Although only a small fraction of public elementary and high schools have closed, more than 430,000 students are affected already.  John Yang talks to Michelle Reid, superintendent of Washington state’s Northshore School District, about the decision to close.

"British government worries about virus outbreak, but residents carry on" PBS NewsHour 3/9/2020


SUMMARY:  In the United Kingdom, novel coronavirus has killed six people as of Tuesday, with another 370 infected and quarantined.  The British government is watching how the illness spread quickly and pervasively in Italy, fearing the same could happen in the UK.  But as special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports, the current attitude among the British is very much to keep calm and carry on.

"What WHO doctor says Americans should do in face of COVID-19 pandemic" PBS NewsHour 3/11/2020


SUMMARY:  The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a global pandemic.  The illness has infected about 120,000 people worldwide and claimed 4,400 lives, and public health officials both within the U.S. and abroad are warning that the crisis will get worse.  Amna Nawaz reports, and Judy Woodruff talks to WHO’s Dr. Margaret Harris about how people should be preparing.

"Why UVA joined scores of other colleges in asking students to stay off campus" PBS NewsHour 3/11/2020


SUMMARY:  As the U.S. novel coronavirus outbreak worsens, colleges and universities around the country are asking students to stay off campus -- and essentially shutting down.  Though some classes are migrating online, the closures may still represent a hardship for students who rely on school for housing, meals and other services.  Amna Nawaz talks to James Ryan, president of the University of Virginia.

"Pandemic’s ‘unique uncertainty’ creates market shockwaves" PBS NewsHour 3/12/2020


SUMMARY:  The economic consequences of the novel coronavirus pandemic are growing even more severe.  Stocks logged their worst day of trading since the 1987 market crash, cancellations and closures rippled across the globe and the fallout from President Trump’s decision to ban most travel from Europe became evident.  Nick Schifrin reports and Charles Schwab’s Liz Ann Sonders joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"Can Congress, Trump put pandemic response ahead of politics?" PBS NewsHour 3/12/2020

Answer, no, at least not at first.  Republicans will see anything from Democrats as a threat.


SUMMARY:  On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are working on a multi-billion dollar novel coronavirus aid package to help the Americans hit hardest by the pandemic.  They, along with Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, also weighed in on President Trump’s response to the crisis.  Lisa Desjardins reports and joins Nick Schifrin, Yamiche Alcindor and Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"Why Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency — and what he denied responsibility for" PBS NewsHour 3/13/2020

Note the "and what he denied responsibility for."


SUMMARY:  Friday was another day of mass closings and cancellations as schools, sports and travel shut down amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.  President Trump also declared a national emergency to increase funding for a federal response, and he appears to have a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for related legislation.  Amna Nawaz reports and Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor join Judy Woodruff.

"What the U.S. health system needs now to fight COVID-19" PBS NewsHour 3/13/2020


SUMMARY:  President Trump has declared the pandemic of novel coronavirus a national emergency, allowing him to direct additional funds toward the federal government’s outbreak response.  Will it mean faster virus testing and more ventilators?  Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, and The New York Times’ Dr. Sheri Fink join Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"South Korea proves pandemic response requires more than money" PBS NewsHour 3/13/2020


SUMMARY:  South Korea’s government is spending nearly $10 billion to fight novel coronavirus, which has infected nearly 8,000 people there.  But the effort to contain the illness requires more than just money -- entire communities must come together, sharing information, volunteering at testing centers and limiting consumption of vital medical supplies.  Bruce Harrison of Feature Story News reports.

"New York launches drive-thru testing site for COVID-19" PBS NewsHour 3/14/2020

Again, a state responds better than the federal government.


SUMMARY:  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has deployed the National Guard and created a one-mile containment zone around the town of New Rochelle, just north of New York City, where at least 158 cases of COVID-19 have been reported.  And on Friday, the state launched its first drive-thru mobile testing facility in the region.  NewsHour Weekend's Christopher Booker has more.

"The economic fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak" PBS NewsHour 3/14/2020


SUMMARY:  With businesses shuttering, professional sports leagues suspending their seasons and widespread travel restrictions initiated around the world, the economic fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak may continue for months.  Vijay Vaitheeswaran, editor for The Economist, joins Hari Sreenivasan for more on the financial impact of the virus.

"Outbreak tests Italy’s limits a week after lockdown began" PBS NewsHour 3/14/2020


SUMMARY:  A week after Italy’s government began locking down the country due to the coronavirus outbreak, new cases are emerging as the death toll climbs.  The scenario is overwhelming a medical system already reeling from an influx of patients.  NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Chris Livesay joins Hari Sreenivasan from Rome with updates on the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

"Coronavirus in the US: things are ‘changing hour by hour’" PBS NewsHour 3/14/2020


SUMMARY:  The response to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is changing on an almost hourly basis.  But as health care workers face a volley of new challenges amid an American populace wary of the global pandemic, there has been an increase in testing and guidelines to consider.  Caroline Chen, a ProPublica reporter who is covering the outbreak, joins Hari Sreenivasan with more.

"Coronavirus outbreak is ‘a time of sacrifice for all of us’" PBS NewsHour 3/15/2020


SUMMARY:  To help contain transmission of coronavirus, the CDC has issued guidelines for “social distancing.”  But as the virus continues to spread, many more questions on when to close schools, how to seek day-to-day healthcare and the extent of the outbreak in the coming weeks remain unanswered.  Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, joins Hari Sreenivasan with more.

Monday, March 09, 2020

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 3/6/2020

"Shields and Brooks on Warren’s farewell, Biden’s surge" PBS NewsHour 3/6/2020


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest political news, including a week of dramatic shifts in the 2020 Democratic Presidential race, what’s next for the campaigns of Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s disappointing finish and how President Trump is handling the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And now, to help make sense of a turning point week in the race for the Democratic nomination, here are Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Hello to both of you.

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  So, the Earth shifted on its axis, or at least the Democratic Party, the Democratic primary did, David.  We had South Carolina, we had Super Tuesday, we had four presidential candidates drop out, or maybe more than that.

What happened?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Oh, I have never seen anything like it.

It was — in the 48 hours after South Carolina, the polls were moving so fast, some pollsters were saying that polls that were 12 hours old were obsolete.  And it was a spontaneous move by millions of people all around the country in different demographics, turning as one, and reaching the same conclusion, that it's got to be Joe Biden.

And why they didn't do that six weeks ago or four weeks ago, I think, first, Super Tuesday forced a decision on a lot of voters all at once.  Second, you had an amazing political act of selflessness.

Amy Klobuchar could have won Minnesota, and it would have been a nice feather in her bonnet, and she said, no, that would be selfish.  And Pete Buttigieg did the same.

And so you had a party establishment, frankly, doing the right thing.  But more important was the rank-and-file voters who just — they looked at reality.  And like a community — a community is more than just a bunch of individuals.  A community, people have common values.  They sense each other's movements.

And I don't — really see the Democratic Party acting like a community, moving all in one moment.

Judy Woodruff:  What did it look like to you?

Mark Shields:  Boy, that was good, David.


Mark Shields:  African-American voters are the most strategic voters in the Democratic Party.  They are not much given to empty gestures.  And they want to retire Donald Trump more than any group in the electorate.

And they saw, in Joe Biden, a means of doing that, and the instrument, and they saw in Bernie Sanders an obstacle to that.  And they saved the Democratic Party.

Judy Woodruff:  In South Carolina, you mean.

Mark Shields:  In South Carolina.  They redeemed it.

And I don't disagree with the points that David made.  They're good.  But I think Donald Trump is the key to this.  Donald Trump inspired, organized, galvanized Democrats.  The idea of beating him became more than just a concern or an interest.  It's an overriding passion.

You can see it.  Late-deciding voters, as David was talking about, those polls changing, 40 percent of the people in North Carolina who decided late went to Joe Biden.  Forty percent decided, they went overwhelmingly to Joe Biden.

Same thing in Virginia, across the board.  It was a very practical position.  There's a difference between an ideologue and a pragmatist in politics.  An ideologue believes what is right works.  A pragmatist believe what works is right.

And the Democrats were pragmatists in those elections.

Judy Woodruff:  When we were here at this table a week ago at this table, Democratic voters were still struggling, David, with the right thing to do.  They were almost paralyzed with indecision.  Something changed.

David Brooks:  Yes.

I think it was — well, partly, it was South Carolina, that he looked so strong, but, really, I think it was Super Tuesday.  I think I had thought the Democrats had made a big mistake by putting all these states so early in the process.

But, as it turned out, they just speeded up people's decision-making.  And so the fact that you had 38 percent of the delegates selected by this point meant that they couldn't wait.  And they had to make a decision.

And what had been going on earlier for the previous month was, they were floating around.  And so you had people — Warren was up for a little while.  Buttigieg did well in Iowa.  And they were just sort of trying people out.  And then they said, OK, make a call.

And so I'm thinking — I mean, the Bernie Sanders people hope that there's another twist in this story.  I personally think that's unlikely, in part because we're going into some states where Biden's lead, like Florida, is massive, in part — even in Michigan, where he — Sanders won last time, he's not doing as well this time with working-class voters as he did last time.

And so much Michigan — even Michigan becomes a harder state for him.

Judy Woodruff:  I want to get Michigan in just a second.

But, Mark, in the meantime, we have had not just Buttigieg and Klobuchar drop out.  Michael Bloomberg, who spent, as we have all said, a half-a-billion dollars in this race, dropped out, and then, as we know, Elizabeth Warren yesterday.

How do you size up those decisions that they made?

Mark Shields:  Well, I mean, obviously, it's the toughest decision.  It's a tough decision for anybody to run for President, knowing that virtually everybody who runs loses.

But it's an even tougher decision to end a campaign.  I mean, that's saying publicly, I have lost.  I have been defeated.

Michael Bloomberg made it almost in an analytical fashion, it seemed.  There was no road forward.  There was no avenue.  He had a premise, which was the cratering and collapse of Joe Biden.  And that stopped.

And if that had continued, he would have been seemingly an alternative.

The other problem with Bloomberg, quite frankly, was that he didn't match his campaign.  His campaign was far more compelling and interesting than he was.

And the second…

Judy Woodruff:  You mean his ads.  You were saying his ads, right, right.

Mark Shields:  His ads — than he was person.  He was just a — he was a very uninspiring and uninspired candidate, when you did see him on that stage.

The other mistake he made — and he didn't think it at the time — was on August 5, 2012, when he hosted his Upper East townhouse a fund-raiser for a Republican senator from Massachusetts named Scott Brown.

Scott Brown was being run against by — opposed by Elizabeth Warren.  There's an old saying in Massachusetts, don't get mad, get even.  She got both.  She got mad and she got even.  She kneecapped him.  He never recovered.

That was — Elizabeth Warren is another case.  But go ahead.  Let David — but I would be happy to discuss.

Judy Woodruff:  Yes.

Mark Shields:  I just think she's a mystery to me.  I mean, she — I thought she was a phenomenal candidate.  I really did.  I mean, she had great energy.

Judy Woodruff:  And she was leading last October.

Mark Shields:  She was leading.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

Mark Shields:  She could have — she made a mistake.  She was honest.  She made a mistake, I think, by endorsing Medicare for all.

But then she was honest about paying for it.  And that — if you're Medicare for all, you got to be a purist, and you don't get into — like Bernie doesn't get into how it's paid for.  Once she got into the weeds on that, she lost her purity and she also, I think, stumbled.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you see Elizabeth Warren?

David Brooks:  Well, a few different candidates here.

One, Biden, I want to mention one thing, that he's a legislator, so he's able to build coalitions.  And that's what being President is.  And with these other candidates, or even with Jim Clyburn, he was going to reach out and say, would you support me?

And Bernie Sanders never made those calls or didn't have the set of relationships that Joe Biden has.  So that's important in a President.

On Bloomberg, I started this thinking, you can't buy your way in — votes in a presidential election.  There's too much free media.  Good ads don't do it.  And I think there's a lot of political science evidence to this, that advertising, especially in a high-profile campaign, just doesn't work.

And Biden — I mean, Bloomberg didn't help himself in the debate, but I don't think ads are enough to get you votes.

And then finally, on Warren, I think the demographics are clear.  She didn't have a huge gender gap.  She had a huge education gap.  And the people who support her were college-educated people who saw this very smart person with a lot of plans who taught at Harvard Law School.

And she never — she wasn't — she grew up in Arkansas — or in Oklahoma.  And that side of her didn't get out.  Genuinely, when you meet her, she does seem like a very smart Harvard law professor.  And a lot of people just didn't relate.

Judy Woodruff:  So, talking about — just quickly pivoting, Mark, to the challenges now that Biden and Sanders face, Michigan coming up next Tuesday.  David just raised it.

What are the challenges that Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have right now?

Mark Shields:  Well, Joe Biden's, first of all, is, Judy — and it's a challenge for anybody that is running for President — and that is to sit down and tell the American people in two minutes, without mentioning your opponents' name, without mentioning Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, why I should be President of the United States.

Joe Biden has told us that he's not Donald Trump, and that he's not Bernie Sanders.  But I'm not sure that anybody really has an understanding about what a Biden presidency would be, other than not Donald Trump.

And we saw the limits of a 'not Donald Trump' campaign in 2016.  So I think that's the first thing.  There has to be — whether it's the lift of a driving dream, or two things that he wants to get down in his first four years and how he's doing it, I think that's necessary.

Judy Woodruff:  Let me interrupt you.

Has Joe Biden done that?

David Brooks:  I agree with Mark.  He's got to say to the Trump people, the people who support Trump and the people who support Sanders, do it for a reason.  Something's not working for them.  But I have got an answer for you.

He's basically got to say that with a set of specific policies.

Judy Woodruff:  And Sanders.

Mark Shields:  And Bernie's problem, I think, is a constitutional problem, personally.  Bernie doesn't look for allies.  He doesn't look to enlarge.

He looks — have to pass a litmus test.  I mean, it's the Bernie bros.  I mean, if you're not 110 percent on board — and I just think that's — he's not a coalition-builder.  He's a lone eagle.  He's a lone wolf.

That's his strength, and it's also his greatest liability.

Judy Woodruff:  That's your point about is not reaching — reaching…


David Brooks:  Right.

And I do think this race really only turns if Biden really looks frail in a debate, really gets crushed in a debate.  I think that's the — if it's going to change, it will be because of that, oh, he's too old for it.

Judy Woodruff:  We will see.  Again, Michigan coming up next week.  Bernie won that pretty big last time, 2016.

We will see.

Mark Shields:  Bernie's doing less well in every state this year than he did four years ago.

CRISIS IN SYRIA - Opinion, UK Defense Secretary

"What UK defense secretary thinks about Syria crisis, Huawei and U.S.-Taliban deal" PBS NewsHour 3/5/2020


SUMMARY:  Fighting between Turkey and Syria in Idlib has driven hundreds of thousands of refugees toward Syria’s border with Turkey.  What obligation does NATO have to help member nation Turkey handle the ensuing humanitarian crisis?  Nick Schifrin talks to Ben Wallace, the United Kingdom’s secretary of defense, about that, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, and the U.S.-Taliban deal in Afghanistan.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Reuniting Separated Families

aka 'Trump Anti-immigrant Racism'

"Why it was so difficult for HHS to reunite separated migrant families" PBS NewsHour 3/5/2020


SUMMARY:  A new watchdog report reveals troubling details about how the U.S. government handled the separation of migrant families as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.  The litany of failures includes communication breakdown, lack of planning and insufficient care.  Lisa Desjardins talks to Ann Maxwell, Assistant Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. SUPREME COURT - Louisiana Abortion Law Case

"What’s at stake in Supreme Court’s Louisiana abortion law case" PBS NewsHour 3/4/2020

Another attempt of imposing a religious belief on others by using statuary law which IS NOT freedom of religion.


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case about access to abortion doctors in Louisiana.  The law in question is similar to a Texas one struck down by the Court in 2016 -- but decided by a different group of justices.  Lisa Desjardins talks to the National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle and Mary Ziegler, professor and author of “Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v. Wade to the Present.”

BRIEF BUT SPECTACULAR - Naturalist John Bates

"How this naturalist helps people fall more in love with the world" PBS NewsHour 3/3/2020


SUMMARY:  John Bates is a naturalist who sees his professional purpose as enabling people to develop environmental literacy.  Since 2003, Bates has been particularly interested in old-growth forests, made up of trees that are hundreds of years old at minimum.  Bates shares his Brief But Spectacular take on helping others “fall more deeply in love with the world” and connecting time through old-growth forests.

TORNADOES - Tennessee Twisters

"Deadly tornadoes leave central Tennessee in a state of shock" PBS NewsHour 3/3/2020


SUMMARY:  At least 25 people were killed when tornadoes tore through central Tennessee early Tuesday.  The storms blasted downtown Nashville and damaged or destroyed at least 140 buildings, including some Super Tuesday polling stations.  Four counties reported storm-related deaths, hospitals treated dozens of injuries and rescue crews searched for missing people amid the rubble.  Stephanie Sy reports.

OUTBREAK - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Update, Political and Financial Fallout

COMMENT:  The U.S. response has been bungled, especially since the response has been put in the hands of a politician rather that our health experts.  At one point our political control has gagged our health experts from making comments.

"Why Washington health officials fear novel coronavirus may have been quietly spreading" PBS NewsHour 3/2/2020


SUMMARY:  The novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is now blamed for six deaths, all in Washington state.  Health officials worry the illness may have been spreading undetected near Seattle for weeks, possibly resulting in many undiagnosed cases.  Can hospitals in Washington and across the country accommodate a “surge” of patients?  Lisa Desjardins reports and talks to The New York TimesDr. Sheri Fink.

"With novel coronavirus deaths rising, health officials face grilling on Capitol Hill" PBS NewsHour 3/3/2020


SUMMARY:  As states discover increasing numbers of new novel coronavirus cases, public health officials are scrambling to respond -- while also facing questions from a Senate panel on Tuesday about why the U.S. has been so slow to roll out effective tests for the virus.  COVID-19 is responsible for nine deaths so far, all of them in Washington state.  William Brangham reports.

"In Iran, government distrust rises amid deadly outbreak of novel coronavirus" PBS NewsHour 3/3/2020


SUMMARY:  The global spread of novel coronavirus has hit Iran hard.  Nearly two dozen members of the nation’s parliament as well as its director of emergency services are infected with the illness, and a third government official died from the virus Tuesday.  Special correspondent Reza Sayah reports from Tehran about how the country is handling the crisis -- and where they are placing blame.

"As virus deaths rise, Congress agrees on $8.3 billion to fund public response" PBS NewsHour 3/4/2020


SUMMARY:  The novel coronavirus has claimed more lives in the U.S., with a total of 10 deaths in Washington state and one in California.  As the number of infections also continues to rise, the House and Senate have agreed on a bipartisan, multi-billion dollar emergency spending measure to fight the outbreak.  The bill includes money for vaccine research, medical supplies and more.  William Brangham reports.

"How the IMF is trying to reduce the economic fallout of novel coronavirus" PBS NewsHour 3/5/2020


SUMMARY:  Restrictions intended to control the global outbreak of novel coronavirus continue to increase.  In many countries, schools are closed, travelers face quarantine and business has ground to a halt.  William Brangham reports and Judy Woodruff talks to Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, about how it is attempting to offset the economic implications of the virus.

"Can $8 billion in emergency spending help the U.S. curb novel coronavirus?" PBS NewsHour 3/6/2020


SUMMARY:  On Friday, President Trump signed a bipartisan, $8 billion emergency spending package to fund the U.S. government response to novel coronavirus.  Still, concerns remain over how quickly health officials are able to conduct tests for the illness.  Meanwhile, the number of novel coronavirus cases across the globe is approaching 100,000, according to the World Health Organization.  Amna Nawaz reports.

"How lack of paid sick leave is complicating U.S. virus response" PBS NewsHour 3/6/2020


SUMMARY:  As COVID-19 spreads to communities nationwide, financial and logistical concerns about its impact are rising.  Among the major questions are whether employers will require workers to take unpaid sick leave, and who will pay for potentially significant medical bills.  William Brangham talks to Georgetown University’s Sabrina Corlette and Joseph Leitmann-Santa Cruz of Capital Area Asset Builders.

"With the coronavirus, ‘pay attention to the basics’" PBS NewsHour 3/8/2020


SUMMARY:  As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., the National Institute of Health on Sunday advised vulnerable people, particularly the elderly with underlying health conditions, to avoid large crowds and trips.  ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen, who has been reporting on the virus, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss what people need to understand about testing, infection rates and more.

"Italy’s coronavirus outbreak sparks ‘a lot of panic’" PBS NewsHour 3/8/2020


SUMMARY:  The coronavirus has now spread to 107 countries and there are close to 108,000 cases worldwide.  Italy is one of the hotspots, where more than 230 people have died from the virus.  In response, Italy's government this weekend issued a quarantine restricting travel for more than 16 million people in portions of the country.  Special correspondent Christopher Livesay joins Hari Sreenivasan with more.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

U.S. NAVY - Ohio-class Submarine Georgia Ran Aground, Report

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) exits the dry dock on March 22, 2019, at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, following an extended refit period. (Bryan Tomforde/U.S. Navy)
"Captain Warned That Crew Wasn't Ready Before Sub Ran Aground, Investigation Shows" by Hope Hodge Seck, 3/1/2020

A newly released investigation from a submarine mishap in 2015 that caused some $1 million worth of damage shows that an inexperienced crew was given the go-ahead to complete a tricky return-to-port mission in the dark, despite warnings from the commanding officer that they weren't ready.

The Ohio-class submarine Georgia ran aground in the predawn hours of Nov. 25, 2015, the day before Thanksgiving, as it prepared to return to port at Kings Bay, Georgia, to replace a failed towed array sonar.  While conducting a scheduled pick-up of a new pilot at Fort Clinch, Florida, near the entrance to St. Marys River, which approaches the base, the sub inadvertently exited the channel, then collided with a buoy amid the crew's efforts to re-orient.  The grounding occurred as the crew worked to get clear of the buoy, the investigation shows.

Ultimately, the sub was able to return to port to assess damages, which were mostly cosmetic, save for the ship's screw propeller, an acoustic tracking device and an electromagnetic log meter that measured the sub's speed.  The Georgia was taken into dry dock in December 2015 for assessment and the costly repairs.

The investigation, which was completed in March 2016 but just released to this month through a public records request, found that the "excessive speed" of the sub as it approached the pilot pick-up made it more difficult for the crew to control the ship, and that the tugboat carrying the pilot was positioned poorly, making the maneuver more complex.

Ultimately, though, blame for running aground is laid at the feet of the commanding officer.  In the wake of the incident, the commander of Georgia's blue crew, Capt. David Adams, was relieved of his post due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.  Like all submarines in its class, Georgia has two identical crews -- a blue and a gold -- that alternate manning and patrols.

"His inability to effectively manage the complexity of the situation and failure to respond to the circumstances in a manner sufficient to protect the safety of the ship and crew is beneath my expectations for any CO," an investigation endorsement by Rear Adm. Randy Crites, then-commander of Submarine Group 10, reads.

In his detailed and thorough endorsement of findings, Crites also dismisses the notion that maneuvering in the dark and with a green crew was what led to the sub's disastrous mishap.

"Ultimately, had this crew (and the Pilot) executed the same plan in the same manner during broad daylight, there is nothing in the ship's planning effort, demonstrated seamanship, or response to tripwires that indicates the outcome would be any different," he said.

While coming in for the brunt of the blame, Adams was not alone in being designated for punishment.  Crites indicated his intent to take administrative action against the sub's executive officer; chief of boat; navigation/operations officer; weapons officer, who was the officer of the deck; and assistant navigator.  He also said he'd issue non-punitive letters of caution to the commander of Submarine Squadron 16 and his own chief of staff and director of operations -- all Navy captains -- for failure to take appropriate action toward resolution regarding Adams' concerns around the sub's transit into port.

The 475-page investigation, which includes witness statements, logs and other supporting documentation, offers insight into what those concerns were.  In a Nov. 24 email to the commodore of Squadron 16 marked "confidential," Adams, the Georgia blue crew commander, lays out his qualms about the plan he has been ordered to execute, particularly the predawn return to port for a brief one-day stop with a crew that had spent just three weeks underway together on a new ship.

"CO/XO/NAV have not piloted into Kings Bay in the last 20 years.  All of the untoward [incidents] I know of occurred between [St. Marys] and Fort Clinch," he wrote.  "My assessment is that this is not a prudent plan for [return to port] ...  Having just been at sea for a few weeks, I have not built enough depth.  I am concerned about the fatigue level of my command element.

"Given an all day evolution and subsequent [underway], we will have spent the majority of 36 hours awake and are set to pilot out and submerge on the mid-watch at 0330."

The two-page memo, it appears, was never received and read by Submarine Squadron 16's commodore, Capt. John Spencer.  But Adams testified he had relayed the same concerns face-to-face with Spencer days before, on Nov. 22.  He also discussed the same issues, he said, in a follow-up phone call.

This much is clear: the plan wasn't called off, and the mission was cleared to proceed.  But murky communication dogged the lead-up to the operation, and later the mission itself.

Spencer and others testified that Adams had been given leeway to "slow things down a little" if he felt uncomfortable.  Adams said he believed any delay would have been viewed as insubordination.

On the day of the mishap, communication was also flawed, in ways that underscore the crew's unfamiliarity with each other, and possibly the sleep deprivation that had left some members running on just two to three hours of rest.

According to the investigation, as the Georgia approached the point at which it was to meet with the tug and pick up the pilot -- the navigation expert who would drive the ship into port -- it became clear that the tug was well west of its expected position.  The sub, meanwhile, was approaching too fast and slowing too gradually.  The investigation found it was still making 15 knots, or about 17 miles per hour, when it passed the set "all stop" point.  That speed and positioning would make every maneuver that followed more risky and difficult.

Initial attempts to communicate with the tug and the pilot aboard via radio were unsuccessful, and the planned transfer happened late.  Adams did not want to scrap the transfer and proceed into port without the pilot, the investigation found, because of the challenges of pulling into port without one.

When the sub exited the channel at the west end of the Fort Clinch basin, the crew's communication skills faced a major test.  The assistant navigator recommended to the navigator that the sub go to "all back emergency," a call the navigator then passed to the bridge.  The officer of the deck seemed to agree, but said nothing, the investigation found.  Adams, however, overrode the order, believing it would not work, and ordered "all ahead full" instead.  He started directing the officer of the deck, but did not fully take control of the sub or give direct orders to the helm, the report states.

Despite a series of maneuvers -- right hard rudder, left hard rudder, all ahead full, right hard rudder -- the sub collided with Buoy 23 in the channel.  But the worst was still to come.

"When [Adams] asked [the lookout] if the ship hit buoy 23, [the lookout] informed the CO that he did not care about the buoy, but thought the ship was going to run aground on the beach forward of the ship," the investigation states.

As grounding looked imminent, the Georgia asked the driver of the C-tractor tugboat if the tug could cross in front of the sub on the starboard, or right, side, and push the bow around.  The tug master refused, according to the investigation, worried that the water was too shallow.

The sub ended up, as the lookout put it, "hitting Fort Clinch."

The mishap, and the misgivings that preceded it, came against the backdrop of a Navy grappling with a culture in which overworked and unready crews were regularly put underway in service of operational needs.  After two separate deadly destroyer collisions in 2017, service leaders found, among other things, that a "'can-do' culture" had undermined safety and led to unduly high operational tempo and fatigue.

"The can-do culture becomes a barrier to success only when directed from the top down or when feedback is limited or missed," the Navy's comprehensive review of the destroyer mishaps, released in October 2017, found.

Whether these factors came into play with the Georgia is more difficult to say.

In a statement for the investigation, Adams emphasized that he took full responsibility for what had transpired.

"Despite my significant reservation - expressed face-to-face, on the phone, and In emails with staff and leadership ... concerning the risks of proceeding into Kings Bay in the dark with an inexperienced team, when my requests to delay [return to port] one hour later were denied, I failed in my command responsibilities by driving to achieve mission success at the expense of appropriately acting to mitigate risks to increase our margin of safety," he said.

"In retrospect, I should have loitered at [St. Marys] until I was satisfied that the risks were commensurate with the mission gain."

Reached for comment by, Adams, who retired in 2016, referred to a public statement he had released at the time of his relief, in which he called the actions that caused the grounding "mine alone."

"I ask that my lapses not be used to denigrate the terrific service of the Sailors and families of GEORGIA BLUE," he said at the time "After thirty years of serving in the world's finest Navy, my only regret is that I will miss sailing with them again to stand against our nation's enemies."

But the fact that some above Adams were also warned offers insight into how the higher command viewed the incident.

Crites faulted Spencer, the Squadron 16 commodore, with "failure to provide his ship a plan with adequate margin to safety, specifically in not providing sufficient guidance and training to his staff that developed the plan in his absence and not aggressively pursuing complete resolution of the ship's requested arrival through personal intervention with the Type Commander staff."

The chief of staff and director of operations for Submarine Group 10, Crites said in the report, had failed to "pursue acceptable resolution to the concerns they had with the plan for the ship's arrival."

Holly Carey, deputy public affairs officer for Submarine Force Atlantic, declined to say whether all administrative actions recommended by the investigation were carried out.

"What I can tell you is that the Navy is confident that leadership took appropriate corrective actions against several personnel assigned to the squadron and submarine based on the findings of the investigation," she said.

"Following the investigation, which concluded in 2016, leadership took appropriate accountability measures and has taken all necessary steps to prevent a recurrence in the future.  USS Georgia, and her current crew, serve proudly today among the U.S. Submarine Force and has leadership's full confidence to protect the interest of the United State and allies."