Monday, June 29, 2020

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 6/26/2020

"Shields and Brooks on Trump’s poll numbers, health care in a pandemicPBS NewsHour 6/26/2020


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including polling on President Trump’s job performance, the federal response to a surging coronavirus pandemic, the administration’s effort to strike down the Affordable Care Act, congressional divergence on police reform and whether Washington, D.C., will become a state.

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

So good to see both of you.  Thank you for being here this Friday.

So, let's start with some interesting poll numbers.  They show not only President Trump running somewhere between eight, 12, even 14 points behind Joe Biden, but the President's disapproval ratings are at record highs.

This is from the new Marist poll the "NewsHour" does with NPR and Marist, 58 percent disapproval for President Trump, the highest it has ever been.  And then you see on this second graph his ratings, disapproval ratings higher than President Obama at his — at this stage of his presidency or President Bush 43 at this point in their first term in office.

David, how significant is this?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Oh, pretty significant.

The numbers are devastating for the President.  But, you know, big things have happened.  We're looking at possible really serious and long economic recession or depression.  We're losing the battle against COVID.  We're having a racial reckoning.

And a lot of white Americans are learning what daily life is like for African Americans.  These are just gigantic things that are happening in the country.  And on each one of them, Donald Trump is considered an inadequate leader by a lot of people.  So he's losing college-educated women.  He's losing some high school-educated white men, just across the board.

In our New York Times poll this week, Biden was winning by 14 percentage points.  These are — there's no way, other than to say that some seismic shift is happening in the electorate right now, and a lot of people want to fire Donald Trump.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, what do you see in these numbers, and how significant do you think they are?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Well, I think they're encouraging for the Democrats.

But, at the same time, Judy, for those who want to put the champagne on ice, I would remind them of the wisdom of Ann Richards, the late governor of Texas, who said, July results do not make a November election.

And, you know, this is not the first time that Democrats have had a large lead in the summer, and not managed to win in November.

But I think for Donald — I think David's absolutely right about Donald Trump.  He — right now, this election is a referendum on him.  And he is failing that test on virtually every major ground.

There's only two times it's good to be a United States President, one, when things are going so swimmingly, prosperity, and there's peace in the world, and you get to that — bask in that warmth of the era of good feeling.

The second time is, strangely enough, when there's a catastrophe not of your making, an earthquake or a pandemic, as we're having now.  And that's when a President can console and lead and comfort a nation and be really a figure who brings everybody together.  Donald Trump has failed that, and failed it miserably, and I don't see a recovery.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, the President, though, is having his first rallies.  He was out in Tulsa last weekend.  He was in Arizona a few days ago getting thousands of people to show up, in Tulsa, what is it, 6,000.

He's dismissing, if you will, the COVID virus, though.  I mean, he's saying that, if more testing — if there were more testing done, there wouldn't be a virus.  He is trying play to his base.

David Brooks:  To some part of his base.

There's some of the base that likes him.  They like the showmanship of the rallies.  They like the jokes.  They like him spending 20 minutes talking about walking down a ramp, which he did in Tulsa.

But there's a part of his base — and these are people who have supported him in the past — who hate all that stuff.  They vote for him for judges or for some other issue, or because they think he's decent on the economy.  But now he's not decent on the economy.

And they really don't like the idea of voting for a President who seems racist.  And so they might be with him on other issues, but — so you're seeing him — people flake away from him for really serious issues, for really serious reasons, not for some temporary tweet.

And so I agree with Mark.  This is not the time to celebrate.  But we have had such a stable set of polls over the last three years, where Trump has just hung basically solid vis-a-vis other people.  And now things look different.  And they look different because big things are happening.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, I mean, could his arguments about the virus appeal to enough people to somehow persuade them that he's got the right argument going here?

Mark Shields:  I doubt it, Judy.

He [Trump] has not been a national leader on this issue.  I mean, in fact, he's been a sniper on the sidelines too much, criticizing governors in Michigan and Minnesota and Virginia for taking measures to — in their states to lead to a lockdown, in hopes of curtailing it.

Somehow, there seems to have emerged a choice between public health and a strong economy.  And Donald Trump says, well, I'm for a strong economy.  Open up that economy.

But the reality is, we will not have a strong economy without restored public health.  I mean, that's the route and the road to it.  And I just think that he's going down a dead end.  And it shows terrible indifference to the people who are his most loyal supporters.

Those 3,000 kids in Arizona without masks, without any social distancing, that's a — that's a terrible prospect of illness forthcoming.

Judy Woodruff:  And that's the image that the administration's projecting, David.

The vice President today defending those rallies, saying there's a First Amendment right to assembly, people have a right to go out and support the candidate of their choice.

David Brooks:  Well, I sort of have some sympathy for that.

If we're going to have the George Floyd protests, which I think we should have had, you can't say to one group of people, you can protest, but, to another, you can't, obviously, once that precedent was set.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

David Brooks:  Though, you know, the more I think about this whole administration, there was a crucial moment, when the President basically chose Jared Kushner over Steve Bannon.

And what's interesting about the Bannon populist wing is, they were very quick on this COVID situation.  They were saying, this is a major crisis way back in February.  They were: Let's take this seriously.  Let's be the side of order.  Let's be the side of the health hawks, if you want to put them that way.

And Trump went the other way early in his administration, away from the populists, and toward more Wall Street people.  And he said:  No, it's nothing, because I don't want to hurt the market.

And that shift in the administration, looking back on it, was one of the pivotal shifts in the administration.  And I hate to be a praiser of Steve Bannon, but I think, frankly, the President would be a — in better shape, both substantively and politically, if he had listened to people on that wing.

Judy Woodruff:  Interesting.  We have forgotten about that.

And, Mark, on top — to top it all off, it's what we talked about early in the program, the administration going to the Supreme Court to try to yet again do away with the Affordable Care Act.

Is this something that's likely to win him friends and admirers at this stage of his reelection effort?

Mark Shields:  No, Judy.

John Boehner, the former Republican Speaker of the House, was very candid on this subject, said, 25 years as a Republican in the House, not once, never once did Republicans ever agree on a health care plan.  And he was absolutely right.

There's never been a Republican health care plan.  They're trying to repeal, replace the — the Affordable Care Act, but at a time when 20 million people are turning to it, having lost their jobs, and at a time when it is more popular than it ever was when Barack Obama was President, and with every health care group of any significance and hospitals and doctors and — except the American Nurses Association — opposing the administration this.

What happens if they win and there is no Affordable Care Act, and there is no preexisting condition coverage?  And I just — it's an absolute political folly.

Judy Woodruff:  I want to ask you about that, David.  And then — and then I have got two or three other things I want to ask.

So, go ahead, if you want to comment — comment for us on the Affordable Care Act and the administration trying to — yet again to get rid of it.

David Brooks:  Well, just quickly, if you're a Republican Senate candidate in Arizona or Georgia or wherever these close races are, suddenly, you have got to defend the idea of taking away this insurance for preexisting conditions, at a moment when having had COVID-19 could become a preexisting condition.

It's political poison for any Republican Senate candidate in a close race.

Judy Woodruff:  David, I'm going to stay with you.

Police reform.  After all these rallies around the country, it's clear there's a lot of sentiment for looking at ways to improve policing in this country, the House and the Senate completely — Republicans and Democrats completely at odds over this.  What's going on?

David Brooks:  On this one, I blame the Democrats, frankly.

I think Tom (sic) Scott, the Republican from South Carolina, who was the Republican sponsor, put together a good-faith bill.  It had not everything the Democrats wanted, obviously, but it had some stuff.  It had the — making lynching a federal hate crime.  It had — against choke holds, more transparency for police misconduct.

And then Scott said, we're going to let you vote on amendments.  And so maybe — and he said that maybe I'd support some of these amendments.

And so he had a pretty open process.  I'm a big believer, if you can take half a cake, take half a cake.  And then, if Democrats win November, they can get the whole cake.  I think they should have compromised on this and accepted half a cake.  It would have been a step forward to a better police force.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, should the Democrats have tried to sit down with Tim Scott or any of the other Republicans?

Mark Shields:  Well, I think Tim Scott (R-S.C.)— I think Tim Scott, who is an authentic figure on this and absolutely a man of reality, talked about his own personal experience of being stopped seven times by Capitol Hill Police, he, a United States senator, and being asked for identification and papers.

And so he showed a sensitivity to it.  But I think there was a skepticism about how much he could deliver.

But I did honestly think there was a chance.  I thought that — for legislative compromise on this.  I'm less confident of that today than I was last week.  It's an election year.  The Senate is about to take two weeks off.  The closer we get to election, the less chance there is.

And I'm sad about it.

BRIEF BUT SPECTACULAR - 911 Dispatcher Bridget Rhodes

"A Brief But Spectacular take on being a 911 dispatcher during COVID-19PBS NewsHour 6/25/2020


SUMMARY:  Throughout the pandemic, the NewsHour has highlighted courageous front-line workers who are keeping the country running in the face of unprecedented hardship.  Bridget Rhodes is one of these essential workers, a 911 dispatcher in Portland, Oregon, who has offered a calm voice to many callers suffering with COVID-19.  Rhodes offers her Brief But Spectacular take on her critical role.


"Why a ‘feverish’ Arctic will affect everyone on the globePBS NewsHour 6/25/2020


SUMMARY:  A historic heat wave is occurring in the Arctic, already the fastest-warming place on Earth due to the increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases.  Dr. Merritt Turetsky, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder, has studied the Arctic for decades.  She joins William Brangham to discuss causes and consequences of the Arctic's rising temperatures.

BOLTON - Botched Trump Impeachment

"Bolton: House Democrats botched impeachment with ‘partisan process’PBS NewsHour 6/25/2020


SUMMARY:  Ambassador John Bolton, who was President Trump's national security adviser, has deep familiarity with Republican administrations.  But as he describes in a new book, "The Room Where It Happened,"  Bolton found Trump's divergence from presidential norms "stunning."  Bolton's claims about Trump's foreign policy, in particular, have stirred national controversy.  Bolton joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

POLICE REFORM - One View From 'The Hill'

"Rep. Karen Bass on Democratic police reform bill and changing a culture of ‘impunity’PBS NewsHour 6/25/2020


SUMMARY:  House Democrats are set to pass a comprehensive police reform bill.  Led by the Congressional Black Caucus, the measure would create a ban on some police practices, such as chokeholds and the use of no-knock warrants in federal drug cases.  It would also make it easier to punish officers for misconduct.  Lisa Desjardins reports and talks to Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) who chairs the caucus.

AMERICAN MILITARY - U.S. Force Reduction in Germany

"Trump pushes plan to reduce forces in Germany despite bipartisan oppositionPBS NewsHour 6/24/2020

aka 'Trump Makes Boyfriend Putin Very Happy by Abandoning Germany'


SUMMARY:  President Trump met with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House Wednesday -- the first time he has hosted a foreign leader since the pandemic began.  Trump reiterated his administration’s plan to base 2,000 American troops in Poland after relocating them from Germany.  The move is controversial and has roiled both members of Congress and U.S. allies in Europe.  Nick Schifrin reports.

THE BARR JUSTICE DEPARTMENT - Totally Infected by Politics

"In ‘extremely unusual’ hearing, 2 DOJ lawyers allege politicization of justicePBS NewsHour 6/24/2020


SUMMARY:  The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on whether the federal agency tasked with enforcing the law is in fact breaking it.  Two current Justice Department attorneys charged that department leaders -- including Attorney General William Barr -- ordered certain investigations and undermined others due to political motivations.  Lisa Desjardins reports and talks to NPR’s Carrie Johnson.


IMHO:  Note the Confederacy conducted a war against the United States of America, a union which they signed a contract (Constitution of the United States) to join and support.  They committed treason and the Confederacy should never be calibrated nor memorialized.

"What the future could hold for these symbols of the American pastPBS NewsHour 6/23/2020


SUMMARY:  As the country faces a moment of reckoning about its treatment of Black Americans and other people of color, the display of memorials, monuments and statues is being reexamined.  Some of these symbols are being torn down by protesters, and others removed by authorities or relocated.  But what is the historical context behind their origin?  Jeffrey Brown reports for our Race Matters coverage.

"Monuments, statues and a national reckoning on racial injusticePBS NewsHour 6/23/2020


SUMMARY:  The debate over physical symbols of the Confederacy has evolved into a broader one about U.S. history.  Judy Woodruff talks to Peniel Joseph, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Arielle Hudson one of six students who petitioned the University of Mississippi to relocate a campus Confederate statue.

VOTE 2020 - 'Here Come the Young'

"What to expect from Gen Z voters in 2020 electionsPBS NewsHour 6/22/2020


SUMMARY:  Voters under age 25 are taking to the streets and to social media to express their opposition to President Trump.  But will the political energy of Generation Z translate into votes for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee?  Yamiche Alcindor reports on whether there are signs of mobilization among a demographic with historically low voter turnout.

Please, PLEASE Barney supporters do NOT make the same mistake as 2016.  Not voting in 2016 gave Trump the Presidency.  Vote in 2020!

VOTE 2020 - Deeply Flawed Voting Systems

"In Georgia, primary election chaos highlights a voting system deeply flawedPBS NewsHour 6/22/2020


SUMMARY:  Georgia experienced major problems with its voting processes during a primary election earlier in June.  People waited in line up to eight hours to cast ballots, and poll workers struggled with new machines on which they hadn’t been trained due to the pandemic.  What do Georgia’s election issues mean for other state primaries -- and for American democracy more broadly?  Miles O’Brien reports.


"Journalist Maria Ressa on an ‘ominous’ global pattern of threats against news mediaPBS NewsHour 6/22/2020


SUMMARY:  On June 15th, a court in the Philippines convicted one of the country’s most prominent journalists, Maria Ressa, of Cyberlibel.  Advocates for press freedom quickly called the trial unfair, arguing it is part of a larger crackdown by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on his political opponents and media critical of him.  Nick Schifrin talks to Ressa about an “ominous” global trend toward reporters.

Gee, sounds like something Trump would like to do.

PANDEMIC - World Wide and U.S. Response

"Where the coronavirus is spreading worldwide — and whyPBS NewsHour 6/22/2020


SUMMARY:  The World Health Organization says Sunday marked the largest global daily surge in new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began: 183,000.  In the U.S., daily fatalities from the disease have dropped since the initial peak this spring, but more than 600 people are still dying each day.  Amna Nawaz reports and talks to Stephen Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Why Gov. Asa Hutchinson says reopening Arkansas isn’t to blame for rising COVID-19 casesPBS NewsHour 6/22/2020

As to Confederate monuments: The Confederacy conducted a war against the United States of America, killed American soldiers, and committed treason against the union they had they had signed a contract (Constitution of the United States) to support.  The Confederacy should never be celebrated.


SUMMARY:  As states continue to lift pandemic restrictions and allow economic activity to resume, many are seeing new surges in coronavirus cases.  Arkansas has documented more than 3,500 new positive tests since it began the second phase of its reopening.  Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson joins Judy Woodruff to discuss where the increase in cases is coming from and his thoughts on moving Confederate monuments.

"Past pandemics have reshaped society.  Will coronavirus do the same?PBS NewsHour 6/22/2020


SUMMARY:  Although the coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for people living through it, humans have endured similar health ordeals in the past.  Jeffrey Brown speaks to two historians, Frank Snowden of Yale University and Nancy Bristow of the University of Puget Sound, about how previous pandemics have shaped societies.  It’s part of our ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas.

"Fauci tells Congress more testing needed to combat ‘disturbing surge’ in virusPBS NewsHour 6/23/2020


SUMMARY:  Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before Congress Tuesday, referring to the spread of COVID-19 in a dozen U.S. states as “a disturbing surge.”  Fauci and other top health experts reiterated the need for more testing, even as President Trump claimed that “testing is a double-edged sword” in the pandemic fight.  Lisa Desjardins reports.

"As COVID-19 spreads in Texas, an ER doctor begs residents to stay homePBS NewsHour 6/23/2020


SUMMARY:  Texas is taking a particularly hard hit from COVID-19.  For about a week, the state has been reporting roughly 4,000 new cases per day.  In the Houston region alone, there are nearly 32,000 cases.  For a report from the front lines of the fight against the disease, Amna Nawaz turns to Dr. Hilary Fairbrother, who works in emergency medicine at the Texas Medical Center.

"Are professional sports ready to resume play amid the pandemic?PBS NewsHour 6/24/2020


SUMMARY:  The pandemic halted Major League Baseball's spring training in mid-March.  Now, the league has announced it will start a shortened regular season in July.  The plan to play 60 games comes after 40 players and staff tested positive for coronavirus in recent days.  Amna Nawaz talks to author and sportswriter John Feinstein about the pandemic’s challenges for professional sports.

"Stories of 5 Americans killed by the coronavirusPBS NewsHour 6/26/2020


SUMMARY:  As the United States approaches another coronavirus milestone, with nearly 125,000 deaths from the disease, we look back at the lives of a few of those lost.  Judy Woodruff shares their stories.

"Florida shuts bars and beaches as COVID-19 cases surgePBS NewsHour 6/27/2020

aka "Florida regrets reopening"


SUMMARY:  At least six states have reported a record increase in COVID-19 cases as the total number of cases in the U.S. nears 2.5 million.  Some states, like Florida, which saw more than 9,500 new cases Saturday morning, are rolling back some of the reopening including shutting beaches, parks and some bars.  Ben Conarck, who covers healthcare for the Miami Herald, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the state’s response.

"Why the race for a COVID-19 vaccine is complicatedPBS NewsHour 6/27/2020


SUMMARY:  Pharmaceutical companies and governments around the world are chasing a coronavirus vaccine, fast tracking the usually years-long vaccine development procedure to a few months.  ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the ambitious timeline and the unpredictability of the clinical trials.

Monday, June 08, 2020

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 6/5/2020

"Shields and Brooks on race in America, Trump’s responsePBS NewsHour 6/5/2020


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest news, including public opinion of the nationwide protests over police treatment of black Americans, President Trump’s response and use of force to dispel protesters and the reaction of prominent military leaders to his handling of the situation.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  To help us make sense of a week that brought protesters to the — into the streets in more than 700 American cities and towns, the analysis of Shields and Brooks.

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

So, hello to both of you.

What about these protesters, Mark?  I have just been talking with Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles about it, but, as we said, 700 cities and towns across the country, thousands and thousands of people in the streets.  It started out about George Floyd.  It's become, I think it's fair to say, something much bigger than that.

What do you make of it?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Judy, it's quite unlike anything I have ever seen.

The — most protests here in Washington involve the usual suspects on both sides.  Those are committed partisans, in some cases, zealots, who show up regularly.

This is remarkable in its composition.  It's people who are not protesters, who are not political activists.  At the same time, even though it's spawned by, inspired by the tragic death of George Floyd, it is not specifically racial.  There's a very large white composition in it.

And that, to me, is rather remarkable, the reach of it.  It's reached not only the major cities, but small towns worldwide.  I think this is of enormous significance.  And it can't be of little consolation to George Floyd's family and loved ones, but his death is having — his murder is having an enormous impact on this country.  And it will not be just transitory.  I think it will be permanent.

Judy Woodruff:  You think it will — David, do you think this is a different moment?  We have seen moments of protest.  We have seen police-involved killings of black men.

What's different this time?

David Brooks, New York Times:  I would say it's a combination of things.

I sort of think of it as a hurricane that's happening in an earthquake.  The earthquake started in 2014 with Ferguson, with a lot of terrorist killings, then with the election of Donald Trump.  And we saw ravines open up in our society.  We saw divides in politics.  We saw racial divides, economic divides, obviously.

And into this comes first a pandemic, just pouring water and exposing all the divides, and then this killing, this murder, which exposes them more.  And then you get this generational turnover.  You have had a generation of people under 35 who've seen the financial crisis, who've seen a bit of the war in Iraq maybe, but who've seen nothing on global warming.

And so this is a generation that is fed up.  And, frankly, a lot of people in the African-American community are fed up.  The word I keep hearing is exhausted.

And so I do think, when you calculate the depth of the ravines that are being exposed, with a generational change, with a sense of America finally turning to race as maybe the central storyline in our history or our story right now, these are just big, epic shifts.

And I do think it's like one of those big shifts that happen periodically in American history, '68 or 1890 or 1830.  And I think we're in the middle of something — I agree with Mark.  I think it's not just a moment.  It's a climactic shift.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, a shift.

Will it lead to something distinctly different, though, from what we have today?  Because these protesters, as we have just been discussing, they want police departments defunded, or they want budgets cut.  They want real change.  They want more African-Americans elected to office, and many, many other demands about — around education, around housing, around communities.

Are those things really going to change?

Mark Shields:  Well, Judy, I think there's demands, and there's demands.

I think Mayor Garcetti made a good point that both the African-American community and the police need each other.  They truly do.  I mean, African-Americans disproportionately live in high-crime areas.  And they do want an engaged, principled and activist work — police force working to preserve peace and order in their community.

But I think we're far beyond the prayers and thoughts, reaction.  I think there's an awakening in this country to the fact that African-Americans, people of color have been treated — and it's irrefutable — been treated differently in law enforcement, and unfairly.

I don't think there's any question about that.

I do find it encouraging that two institutions that have been sort of sidelined, it seems, in our country that were so much involved in the American civil rights movement and were — played principle roles this week.

I thought Bishop Budde of the Episcopal Church here in Washington spoke up so forcefully about the photo-op using and abusing her church.  Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the African-American Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., spoke out strenuously, emphatically against using religious places and symbols to exploit political advantage, especially when the message isn't one of inclusiveness or justice.

So — and the United States military — it's no accident that the United States military, the most integrated institution in our society, that the words of people like General Martin Dempsey and Admiral Mike McMullen — Mike Mullen, to add to Mike Hayden, Stanley McChrystal, and Admiral McRaven, as well as, of course, General Mattis, you know, and the reaction of the military, I think, was encouraging.

And so I'm hopeful.

Judy Woodruff:  David, I do want to ask you both about the President and bring in the use of the military.

But, just quickly, do you think there will be real change coming out of what we're seeing?

David Brooks:  Yes, I look at the polls.

And we never used to get polls where it was 50 — where it was above 55 percent for anything.  We were completely an evenly divided country.  And now we had a poll, PBS/Marist poll, 67 percent disapproving of the way Donald Trump is reacting to this moment, 67 percent reaction to the lockdown.

We had 67, 77 percent.  Again and over the course of the last three months, we have had polls in the 60s and 70s.  It looks to me like we're a less divided country than they were, Joe Biden opening up now an eight-point lead on the average polls.

So, I mean, the dumb thing to say is, we're moving left.  And the pandemic and this event have just underlined the inequalities in America.  And whether you like it or not, I just think that's the reality, if you look at the evidence.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, let's — let me turn you to what Mark brought up.  And that is the President invoking the military, I mean, having the military, armed people out in the streets, troops clearing the streets forcefully to make way, so that he could walk across the area, the — Lafayette Square, to hold the Bible in front of St.  John's Church.

A lot of pushback, as Mark reminded us, from former military officials.  Even — we're even seeing current military leaders pull back.

Is this a moment of turn for this President, do you think?

David Brooks:  I do.  I mentioned the polling.

But, listen, he's [Trump] been a bully for a long time, but he was a bully over Twitter, and maybe he was a bully to the press.  But now he's using U.S. troops to be a bully.

I think what set General Mattis off was just watching the military, which is a fine, unprofessional and unpoliticized — I mean, professional, but unpoliticized organization, suddenly turned into a prop in a campaign video.  And I think that turned his stomach, as it should turn all our stomachs.

But I think what mystifies me — and it goes back to what you were talking about with Mayor Garcetti — is, you have a President who's taken this authoritarian line of domination, be dominant, unleash vicious dogs and dangerous weapons.

And that's not only just talk anymore.  And it swings through the Republican Party and Senator Tom Cotton's tweets about no quarter given.  We're going to dominate our fellow citizens, as if they are enemy.

And then I think it bleeds down to the police and the videos we have already seen tonight.  It's a theme that is coming from the top, from the White House, a theme of brutalism, of mental brutalism.  And it affects people.

And what we have seen coming out of the White House has been a more dangerous contagion than even with all the outrages of the past.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, David raised the — it's term, and the President used it again today.  We need to dominate, he said, even as they are now announcing they're going to pull uniformed military out of the streets of Washington.

But the orders are there.  I mean, we know what happened this week.  We know that the President talked about calling out the National Guard.  He urged governors to use the National Guard.  He said they were weak, would look like fools if they didn't.

And we're left with the reminders of this.

Mark Shields:  This is the world of Donald Trump, to be very blunt about it.

Admiral Mattis may have put it best at the Al Smith Dinner in New York last fall, which I'm sure didn't escape the President's attention, when he said, I earned my spurs.  'I, General Mattis, earned my spurs in battle, and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a doctor's letter.'

And that's the toughness, that's sort of the phony toughness of Donald Trump, the swagger.  When his number and his chance came up to serve and to get tough, he, of course, ran and scurried personally.  But he's somebody who wants to bully other people.

And he does not — I guess what bothers me more than anything else — I saw him today in act that Jack Reed, the senator from Rhode Island, a very respected member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called pretty and preposterous, pulling 9,500 American troops out of Germany to — why?  Out of spite and out of pettiness, because Mrs. Merkel declined his invitation to be part of the photo-op of the G7 at Camp David next month, because — on the very legitimate grounds of coronavirus.

So, I mean this is — the President, he does not understand the military.  It's kind of a crazy swagger, John Wayne movie version of it.  Most military people — I just miss John McCain so much.  If John McCain were alive today, it would be scorching and scalding, the rhetoric he would be directing at this President of his own party.

RIPPLES - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

"American skyscrapers face an uncertain future amid coronavirusPBS NewsHour 6/4/2020


SUMMARY:  Fears of the coronavirus pandemic and the sharp shifts by companies to allow employees to work from home could devastate the nation’s office skyscrapers, some economists say.  But real estate moguls say the office as we know it isn't dead yet.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman explores how uncertainty is affecting the market.

"How the coronavirus crisis offers a glimpse of what poor, black communities ‘feel every day’PBS NewsHour 6/4/2020


SUMMARY:  Long lines to enter stores.  Anxiety about finding food on the shelves.  Boarded up businesses and barren streets.  Journalist and author Dawn Turner says this pandemic has afforded everyone the chance to understand what people who live in poor communities faced long before COVID-19.  Turner offers her humble opinion on why we all need to make a connection between the pandemic and the protests.

"Stories of 5 coronavirus victims in the U.S.PBS NewsHour 6/5/2020


SUMMARY:  Even as unrest and mass protests dominate national headlines, the novel coronavirus continues to take more lives.  We share stories of five victims, including a baker who endured internment during World War II, a veteran of the Fire Department of New York who responded on 9/11 and a retired elementary school teacher.

OUTRAGE - Police Brutality and Trump Police State

"Death of George Floyd drives protests across the U.S. — and beyondPBS NewsHour 6/1/2020


SUMMARY:  Cities across the U.S. are bracing for unrest as protests continue.  Outrage over police killings of black victims, most recently that of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day, has fueled demonstrations, and in some cases, destruction.  In response, President Trump called for stricter policing, telling governors they must “dominate” protesters.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

"A sheriff and a former mayor on hearing protesters while maintaining peacePBS NewsHour 6/1/2020


SUMMARY:  Peaceful protests around the U.S. continue Monday night, but there will likely also be charged confrontations and more looting and destruction.  How can law enforcement defuse these fraught situations and minimize violence while acknowledging protesters’ voices?  Judy Woodruff talks to Sheriff Christopher Swanson of Genesee County, Michigan, and Michael Nutter former mayor of Philadelphia.

"Roxane Gay, Anna Deavere Smith, and Tay Anderson on the protests’ hope and despairPBS NewsHour 6/1/2020


SUMMARY:  For analysis of the deeper systemic issues that are underlying the country’s civic unrest, Judy Woodruff talks to Roxane Gay a noted essayist and author whose work frequently addresses issues of race, identity and privilege; Anna Deavere Smith, award-winning playwright and actor; and Tay Anderson, a Denver school board member and activist who has been leading protests in that city.

"Minneapolis’ long history of policing black and white communities differentlyPBS NewsHour 6/1/2020


SUMMARY:  The problems with criminal justice in Minnesota’s Twin Cities extend beyond the George Floyd case.  Of the 100 largest metro areas in the country, Minneapolis’ income gap between black and white families is the second largest, at nearly $50,000, and the city has a long history of discriminatory housing practices.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the context behind this crisis.

"A week into protests, political divide over the right response widensPBS NewsHour 6/2/2020


SUMMARY:  The U.S. has now experienced a full week of protests over police treatment of black Americans.  The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has triggered widespread demonstrations, curfews and thousands of arrests.  National Guard troops have been called up in states across the country.  And President Trump’s rhetoric urging increased use of force is prompting more disagreement.  Amna Nawaz reports.

"Protests near White House grow, a day after police cleared people for Trump photo opPBS NewsHour 6/2/2020


SUMMARY:  President Trump has caused new controversy for his handling of a protest near the White House Monday night.  Police began clearing people out from a peaceful demonstration in Lafayette Square before the citywide curfew took effect, firing gas with no apparent provocation.  Trump then walked to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photograph.  Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"Thune says peaceful protests should be allowed to continuePBS NewsHour 6/2/2020


SUMMARY:  With protests taking place in cities across the country, how should the federal government respond?  Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota joins Judy Woodruff to discuss President Trump’s rhetoric about the use of force, whether a peaceful protest near the White House Monday should have been interrupted as it was, the role of Congress in addressing racial unrest and federal pandemic aid.

"Bishop Budde on Trump’s ‘inflammatory’ rhetoric and how he can help the nation healPBS NewsHour 6/2/2020


SUMMARY:  Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde leads the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.  That includes St. John's Church, across from the White House, which was partially burned during Sunday's unrest and the site of President Trump's Monday night photo op.  Budde joins Judy Woodruff to discuss Trump's "extremely inflammatory" remarks and federal law enforcement's violent confrontation with protesters.

"What happens when police officers see protesters as ‘the enemy’PBS NewsHour 6/2/2020


SUMMARY:  Former senior military officials are criticizing Secretary of Defense Mark Esper for participating in a controversial photo op with President Trump, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley for walking through D.C. in his battle-dress uniform.  Nick Schifrin talks to John Yang, and then discusses the increasing militarization of police with Radley Balko, author of “Rise of the Warrior Cop.”

"Charges against police added, upgraded in Floyd case as protests continuePBS NewsHour 6/3/2020


SUMMARY:  As protests over the death of George Floyd continue in cities nationwide, there were major developments Wednesday in the legal response to the case.  Derek Chauvin, the officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, is now charged with second-degree murder, while three other officers are accused of aiding and abetting a murder.  Lisa Desjardins reports.

"Amid protests and pandemic, this South Carolina mayor sees ‘collective pain’ emergePBS NewsHour 6/3/2020


SUMMARY:  Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, is among the many U.S. cities seeing protests and curfews over the past week.  Mayor Stephen Benjamin is the city’s first African American mayor, and he joins Judy Woodruff to discuss how he sees “collective pain” emerging during this tumultuous period, what his constituents are asking for and his fears about controlling the spread of COVID-19 amid protests.

"What’s behind racial disparities in American policing — and how to solve themPBS NewsHour 6/3/2020


SUMMARY:  Widespread protests over George Floyd’s death and the treatment of black Americans by police more broadly have dominated the U.S. in recent days.  For analysis of the issues at the heart of the unrest, Amna Nawaz talks to Art Acevedo, Houston’s chief of police; Tracey Meares, professor and founder of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School; and Samuel Sinyangwe of the group Campaign Zero.

"The critical role white parents play in shaping racism — and eradicating itPBS NewsHour 6/3/2020


SUMMARY:  Structural racism is now sharing the American cultural spotlight with COVID-19.  While solutions to racial disparities in police treatment, health care and education will likely require policy changes, some experts say decisions at the family and individual levels matter just as much.  Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks to Margaret Hagerman of Mississippi State University.

Clarification:  This report stated that the majority of Americans who have died of COVID-19 have been identified as African American.  The CDC reports that more white Americans have died of coronavirus, but race/ethnicity was available for only 42.3 percent of those tracked.  A recent study by the nonpartisan APM Research Lab shows that the latest overall COVID-19 mortality rate for black Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for whites and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinos.  A second national study by the AIDS research group amfAR found that half of all COVID-19 cases and nearly 60 percent of deaths due to the disease were in counties that are disproportionately black.

"Mourners remember George Floyd as Trump’s talk of using troops at protests draws pushbackPBS NewsHour 6/4/2020


SUMMARY:  Formal mourning began Thursday for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death has touched off a torrent of national outrage.  While overnight protests were largely peaceful, President Trump is now facing a torrent of criticism over his talk of using the military to quell unrest.  John Yang reports.

"New York protesters say they want change from ‘daily fear’PBS NewsHour 6/4/2020


SUMMARY:  In New York City, protesters were largely peaceful on Wednesday, but as nighttime fell, police in riot gear moved in to enforce a curfew -- sometimes by force.  The NewsHour’s Daniel Bush talks with Judy Woodruff about what protesters there are saying about why they are out in the streets and how leaders there are approaching the demonstrations.

"‘Armed forces exist to protect’ U.S., not police communities, retired general saysPBS NewsHour 6/4/2020


SUMMARY:  President Trump's talk of using military force on people protesting police brutality against black Americans has generated a backlash among a number of former senior military officers.  Nick Schifrin gets perspective from retired Army Gen. Carter Ham on why these officials, as well as some who are currently serving, are wary of sending active-duty troops into the United States.

"How Newark’s protest preparations have helped maintain calmPBS NewsHour 6/6/2020


SUMMARY:  It has been more than 50 years since deadly riots in Newark, New Jersey broke out.  But protests taking place there this past week over George Floyd's death have been mostly peaceful.  Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss what the city has done to prepare for interactions between police and demonstrators, and how that's helped maintain relative calm.

"New York protests continue despite rain, pandemic and curfewPBS NewsHour 6/6/2020


SUMMARY:  The threat of a pandemic did not keep New Yorkers home as protesters across the city took to the streets chanting “Black Lives Matter” calling for several police reforms.  Largely peaceful, several demonstrators defied the city’s 8 P.M. curfew.  Protests continued Saturday.  NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker reports on what protesters would like to see changed.

"San Francisco may stop hiring cops with records of misconductPBS NewsHour 6/7/2020


SUMMARY:  The demand to reform police departments is causing some local governments to look at new regulations and laws.  In San Francisco, the board of supervisors is considering a resolution introduced last week that would urge the civil service commission there to prohibit hiring officers with a history of serious misconduct.  San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

PROTESTS - Responses, You Decide

A FRIGHTENED LITTLE MAN - Trump Tear-Gas Protesters

"Inside the push to tear-gas protesters ahead of a Trump photo op" by Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Rebecca Tan - The Washington Post 6/1/2020

President Trump began mulling a visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday morning, after spending the night devouring cable news coverage of protests across the country, including in front of the White House.

The historic church had been damaged by fire, and Trump was eager to show that the nation’s capital — and especially his own downtown swath of it — was under control.

There was just one problem: the throngs of protesters, who on Monday had again assembled peacefully in Lafayette Square across from the White House to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

And so — shortly before the President addressed the nation from the Rose Garden at 6:43 p.m. Monday and roughly a half-hour before the District’s 7 p.m. curfew went into effect — authorities fired flash-bang shells, gas and rubber bullets into the crowd, clearing a path for Trump to visit the church immediately after his remarks.

The split screen as Trump began speaking was dark and foreboding — an angry leader proclaiming himself “an ally of all peaceful protesters” alongside smoke-filled mayhem and pandemonium as protesters raced for safety.

Before Trump vows to end ‘lawlessness,’ federal officers confront protesters outside White House.

The evening’s events were the product of a President who favors brute strength and fears looking weak, yet finds himself reeling from a duo of crises — a deadly pandemic that has left more than 100,000 Americans dead and racial unrest that has led to protests and riots across the nation.

He has also been consumed by his faltering poll numbers against former vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

When Trump had returned safely to the White House less than an hour later, the verdict seemed clear: The President had staged an elaborate photo op, using a Bible awkwardly held aloft as a prop and a historic church that has long welcomed Presidents and their families as a backdrop.

In the process, protesters had been tear gassed and attacked, and Trump had taken a raging conflagration and doused it with accelerant.

“We long ago lost sight of normal, but this was a singularly immoral act,” said Brendan Buck, a longtime former Hill aide who is now a Republican operative.  “The President used force against American citizens, not to protect property, but to soothe his own insecurities.  We will all move on to the next outrage, but this was a true abuse of power and should not be forgotten.”

Trump’s decision to speak to the nation from the Rose Garden and to visit the church came together earlier in the day, said one senior White House official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.  The President was upset about news coverage of him briefly retreating to the White House bunker Friday evening amid protests, and he repeatedly wondered why anyone would have disclosed those details to the news media, two officials said.

He was also frustrated by coverage this weekend of his call with the Floyd family, which he believed was positive — Trump called it “a very good call,” an official said — but was portrayed negatively.

Finally, Trump was angry at cable news footage from Sunday evening, showing protests and riots near the White House, a White House official said.  He spent much of Monday discussing with his team how to demonstrate the streets in Washington were under control and that there would not be riotous scenes in the coming days, the official said.

Inside the West Wing, aides were torn on the proposed spectacle.  One official argued it was necessary, allowing Trump to demonstrate that he was not hunkered down and was out of the White House, as well as standing with evangelical voters by visiting the church.  But two others worried it could backfire.

“It was just to win the news cycle,” one Trump adviser said.  “I’m not sure that things are any better for us tomorrow.”

Jason Miller, a former senior adviser on Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, defended the President’s decision.  He said Trump was elected in part on law-and-order themes, which he needs to continue to hammer, while simultaneously talking to black supporters about some of his initiatives, such as criminal justice reform.

“You’re going to have to go and knock some of the bad guys around a little bit,” Miller said.  “Once they get tear gassed or pepper sprayed, they don't want it to happen again.”

He added that Trump had been reminded by allies that he was elected as a “get-things-done President.”

“He’s not the hand-holder or consoler in chief,” Miller said.  “He was elected to take bold dramatic action and that’s what he did.”

The action began less than an hour before the District’s curfew, and in the moments before Trump was set to speak.  Just after 6 p.m., hundreds of protesters were gathered on H Street NW, facing Lafayette Square.  Though members of the National Guard — wielding shields that said “Military Police” — were lined up behind barricades, along with Secret Service and other law enforcement officers, the protesters remained peaceful.  Several played music, and one painted on an easel.

But shortly thereafter, Attorney General William P. Barr visited the scene, and, about 6:30 p.m., the National Guard moved just yards from the protesters, prompting some screams.  Some protesters threw water bottles, but many simply stood with their arms raised.

Then, the chaos began.

Members of the National Guard knelt briefly to put on gas masks, before suddenly charging eastward down H street, pushing protesters down toward 17th Street.  Authorities shoved protesters down with their shields, fired rubber bullets directly at them, released tear gas and set off flash-bang shells in the middle of the crowd.

Protesters began running, many still with their hands up, shouting, “Don’t shoot.” Others were vomiting, coughing and crying.

As Trump began to speak, some protesters took a knee several blocks from the White House, again yelling, “Hands up!  Don’t shoot!”  But they were never able to stay kneeling for more than a couple of minutes, because authorities kept pushing them forward, as a thick, yellow cloud of smoke hung over the crowd.

About midway through his remarks, and roughly 10 minutes before the city’s curfew was set to go into effect, the President offered a stark warning: “Our 7 o’clock curfew will be strictly enforced.  Those who threaten innocent life and property will be arrested, detained, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Trump concluded by promising that the nation’s “greatest days lie ahead,” and then said, cryptically, “And now I’m going to pay my respects to a very, very special place.  Thank you very much.”

Accompanied by a small cadre of top advisers — including his daughter Ivanka Trump, clad in dark coronavirus mask — the President then made his way over to the church.

One White house official noted the lack of any black aides.  Vice President Pence, a leading administration official to Christian voters, was also conspicuously absent from the event at the church.

Trump seemed to take in the scene and paused in front of St. John’s, turning to the cameras and holding up a black Bible in his right hand.

Asked if it was a family Bible, he said, simply, “It’s a Bible.”

Soon after the church event, the President’s top law enforcement and military officials, including the secretary of defense, attorney general and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, walked across parts of downtown Washington in an unusual show of force.

Some local officials were livid.  D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser upbraided Trump on Twitter: “I imposed a curfew at 7pm.  A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protesters in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult.  Shameful!  DC residents — Go home.  Be safe.”

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said she learned of the President’s visit by watching it on the news.

“I am outraged,” she said, with pauses emphasizing her anger as her voice slightly trembled.  “I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to inflame violence.”

But Trump’s campaign team viewed the visit as a success.  By late Monday, campaign officials were already tweeting a black-and-white photo of him walking to the church with a coterie of aides in his wake.  Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s top spokesman, posted the picture without a caption.

As the curfew descended upon the nation’s capital, the scene had calmed down significantly.  Trump returned to the White House, and the groups of hundreds of protesters began dispersing.

Helicopters could be heard overhead all over the city Monday night, and officials said the streets were far emptier than usual.