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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    By Diane Lincoln Estes

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    Paul Solman recently sat down with with Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman.

    Earlier we posted an excerpt from our interview with David Stockman, the former politician and businessman who's out with a much talked about book, "The Great Deformation." Stockman made the case that the 19th century American economic system was far superior to today's thanks to "sound money," "fiscal discipline," and "free markets." Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman begs to differ.

    Paul Krugman: I think Stockman is an interesting sort of amalgam. Most of what he says is what I would think of as sort of standard "gold bug-ism." He's pretty much standard, you know, like the commenters on gold-bug blogs. It's all "inflation" and "too much printing of money" and "excess" and "we've been doomed ever since [Franklin Roosevelt] took us off the Gold Standard." Mixed in with a certain amount of "we need to crack down on the bankers," and so there's a little bit of liberal-sounding stuff in there.

    Paul Solman: Well, more than a little.

    MORE FROM PAUL KRUGMAN: Krugman Says Forget Debt, Help the UnemployedPaul Krugman on Debt, but Are Soaring Interest Rates Running Against Him?

    Paul Krugman: Yeah, but mixed in with a view of economics -- of broader economic policy -- that takes us back 80 years in one step. I mean, it's great that he's not a completely standard-issue right-wing gold-bug type, but his willingness to be a little bit mean to the bankers doesn't mean that the rest of his stuff makes any sense at all and it doesn't, unfortunately.

    Paul Solman: Well, he doesn't want to take us just back 80 years. I think it would be fair to say he wants to take us back a hundred or more years. He thinks the 19th century, for example, where the free market more nearly reigned, was a period of ups and downs, but we came back quickly from the downs, and 1870 to 1912, he says, was the period of the highest growth in the history of the United States.

    Paul Krugman: Actually, I think the period from 1947 to 1973 actually beats it, but they're close. It was a pretty good period, fueled by a lot of immigration, but also good stuff, the Industrial Revolution and all that.

    Paul Solman: Well, he said immigration is one of the signs that it was so good. People were coming here from all over the world because we were so vibrant.

    Paul Krugman: They still would be if we let them, right? That's kind of a bad way to make the analysis. If he thinks that we didn't have a crisis or he thinks that they were short-lived, he's not actually studying the history. I've looked. The data aren't so great going back, but as far as we can tell, the aftermath of the panic of 1893 looked a lot like what we're going through right now, which was years and years of a depressed economy.

    You know, it all fades into the haze. We look back and we remember the railroads and the steel mills and we remember that America, looked at over a 40 year stretch, got much richer. But we forget the long intervals of misery that went along the way. I mean, there was a reason why William Jennings Bryan was a serious contender for president and it wasn't because the farmers were stupid. It was because a lot of Americans were suffering.

    Paul Solman: And that's 1896 and Bryan's "mankind shall not be crucified on a cross of gold" speech, meaning there should be more inflation, not such restrictive monetary policy.

    Paul Krugman: Right, and that is taking place in the shadow that follows the Panic of 1893, right? That is a period that in some ways is like today, of a prolonged, depressed, economy where all of the "sensible" people said, "inflation is the great danger," but they were probably wrong.

    Paul Solman: So, no credibility at all to the idea that maybe we made a mistake by creating a Federal Reserve that thinks it can manage the economy when clearly there have been times when it has shown that it couldn't?

    Paul Krugman: I think no credibility at all. You have to just have a fantasy view of what pre-Fed America looked like. You have to just sort of dump the many, many financial crises and the many sustained depressions that we had before the Fed was created. You have to just put those down the memory hole and pretend they never existed. It's just not true.

    Paul Solman: There were great depressions before the 1930s?

    Paul Krugman: Sure. They were not as great as the 1930s -- that was a unique worldwide event -- but you look at the aftermath of the Panic of 1873 or the Panic of 1893, and you see that they were really pretty bad, and the Panic of 1907 was averted only because J.P. Morgan acted as a sort of personal version of the Federal Reserve. That's what led to the creation of the Fed. Because we said, "Hey, we won't always have J.P. Morgan around to rescue the banking system." So the idea that we had calm and that we didn't have terrible periods of economic dislocation until the Federal Reserve came along -- again, I think represents a blindness to the realities of our history.

    Paul Solman: You called David Stockman in a column of yours "a cranky old man."

    Paul Krugman: I actually meant to say it was "cranky old man economics." I don't think he quite makes the old man designation yet because I'm not that much younger than he is.

    Paul Solman: Yes, that was one thing I had noted, but he's cranky?

    Paul Krugman: Yeah, definitely. I mean anyone who thinks that the last 80 years, ever since FDR took us off gold, have been a doomed venture, that strikes me as kind of cranky, right? There seem to have been three generations of pretty good stuff along the way, so that's what strikes me as being a crank vision.

    Paul Solman: And when Neil Irwin of the Washington Post called the book "a spittle-filled diatribe," you approve of that description?

    Paul Krugman: Well, I was glad to see Neil do that because it made me look polite. In a way, I'm glad [David Stockman] wrote it because there are a lot of people for whom that kind of crankiness or spittle outflow has a kind of visceral appeal. This is the stuff that really grabs a lot of people, so it's good in a way to bring it out into the open in one book so that we can all say, "Hey look, let's explain why this is wrong."

    Paul Solman: So you welcome the opportunity to oppose David Stockman at almost every turn?

    Paul Krugman: Well, there are a lot of other people I need to argue with too, but I was glad to have it come out because it's very hard to have an argument with "those who say that." Instead of saying "those who," I say "Stockman."

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @paulsolman


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    JEFFREY BROWN: It's highly secret and far-reaching, and it's been going on for years. It is an enormous database of calls amassed by the National Security Agency and made public today.

    The revelation came first in the Guardian newspaper in London. It reported the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has authorized the NSA to monitor millions of domestic and international calls by Verizon customers.

    In Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder declined to go into detail at a Senate hearing.

    ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER, United States: Without saying anything specific, I will say this, that with regard to -- that members of Congress have been fully briefed as these issues, matters have been under way.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Later, a White House spokesman defended the program and he said the government is not allowed to listen in on the phone calls. Instead, under the court order, the NSA logs what's known as metadata, call location, duration, and numbers dialed, but not the subscribers' identities or the content of a call.

    For the most part, lawmakers from both parties seemed untroubled today by the agency's activities.

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke at the Holder hearing.

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: I'm a Verizon customer. It doesn't bother me one bit for the national security administration to have my phone number, because what they're trying to do is find out what terrorist groups we know about and individuals and who the hell they're calling.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Other senators confirmed the NSA has been building a massive database of calls to look for suspicious patterns since 2006, under the Patriot Act.

    Democrat Dianne Feinstein, chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the records are collected, but not reviewed unless there's a good reason.

    SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-Calif.: If through another way, information comes to the FBI that there is reasonable suspicion that a terrorist act, conspiracy, planning, carrying out is going on, they can access those records. The records are there to access.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But at least one senator, Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, raised a concern in a statement, saying: "I believe that when law-abiding citizens call their friends, who they call, when they call and where they call from is private information.

    It was first reported in 2006 that the Bush administration was wiretapping e-mails and phone calls worldwide in the hunt for terror suspects. At the time, then-Sen. Obama said it was a -- quote -- "slippery slope."

    Today, House Speaker John Boehner said today it's now up to President Obama to explain how critical the program is.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: It's important for president to outline to the American people why the tools that he has available to him are critical to the threats that we may -- that we may have.

    JEFFREY BROWN: For their part, Verizon and other major carriers declined to comment today.

    And late today, The Washington Post reported the NSA and the FBI are tapping directly into servers for nine of the country's leading Internet companies, gathering audio, video, photographs, e-mails, and other personal information under a highly classified program.

    And we pick up the debate now in all of this with Kate Martin, the director of the Center for National Security Studies, a civil liberties advocacy group. And Col. Cedric Leighton had a 26-year career in the Air Force and served as deputy training director for the National Security Agency in 2009 and 2010. He now has his own consulting firm.

    Welcome to both of you.

    COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, U.S. Air Force: Thank you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Kate Martin, let me start with you.

    One reaction today we heard was, what's new? What's the big deal? This is a routine renewal of an order. You had a different reaction?

    KATE MARTIN, Director, Center for National Security Studies: Well, I was astounded, first of all, to learn for the first time that the government thinks the law allows this, and even more astounded to learn that they were doing it.

    We have engaged in debates in this country about changes to this law for the last 12 years. The civil liberties community has continually raised concerns about bulk collection, and basically been told that it's not a problem. And it turns out that the bulk collection that's going on appears to be beyond our wildest fears.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, let me ask Cedric Leighton.

    This bulk collection, metadata, explain it a little bit more and why you think it's OK and not an invasion of privacy.

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: It depends on how it's done, actually, Jeff.

    But the basic idea about bulk collection is that you take all of the data that you can possibly gather and then look for the indicators that you are -- you need. So, for example, let's say you want to find somebody who is connected with somebody in Chechnya because of the Boston bombing. We will use that as an example.

    So, you look at how their phone calls work. You look at how they talk to people, where they talk to them, when they talk to them, and which people they talk to. So, once you have that connection, let's say, to Chechnya, then you also determine how that person interfaces with people in the United States, and if people in the United States are part of a network, a terrorist network, or if they're just innocent people that are part of a friend's network that has no knowledge of any other efforts that are going on.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, in fact, Kate Martin, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, today said that -- and I want to just quote -- that this NSA program helped stop a significant terror attack in the U.S. in the last few years.

    Now, he didn't give any more information than that. That's all we know.

    KATE MARTIN: Right. And I think that that's not the point at the moment.

    The question, of course, is whether or not a lesser intrusive program would also stop terrorist attacks. We all want that to happen. And the first question is whether or not the government's going to come clean, first of all, about whether it thinks it has the legal power to do, and, second of all, what it's doing.

    You know, so they have basically been keeping this a secret, and instead of, you know, saying, oh, gosh, maybe we need to have a public debate about the contours of the program, whether or not the program's really needed, et cetera, they have jumped to, oh, well the program's been useful.

    But that's not the criteria. The criteria is whether or not the program's lawful. And it's lawful only, in my judgment, if the Congress and the American people have understood that the law allows it. And Congress, apparently, thinks that they understood it. They forgot to tell us.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, let me – Col. Leighton, one of the questions here is sort of how clear the law is, right? I mean, in deciding when the collection of data is allowed, how well defined is this idea of relevancy to important security data? Is that clear?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: Well, it's -- you know, when you look at how the law is written, it is not exactly explicitly clear.

    So, for example, Kate and I can have a debate on the issue, on the merits of the law, but the issue for an intelligence agency is, how do I, as an intelligence agency, look at the data that is available to me and what kind of data should be made available to me?

    So the intelligence agencies look to the executive leadership in the White House, and then the legislative leadership in Congress, and in these particular cases, Congress has been briefed on the program, on the nature of the program, and, to some degree, on the extent of the program.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But they're looking to a judge, ultimately, who has to make the -- has the opinion that this is, in fact, relevant enough.

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: That's right. And the judge has to make the determination. In the case of the FISA courts, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts, they are designed to work in a classified arena, and they take the arguments from NSA or another intelligence agency and say, OK, is this relevant to national security? Is there a clear and present danger to us right now that requires this kind of action?

    If there is not, then they should reject the motion. If there is, then they accept it, and that's how they operate.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so, Kate, Kate Martin, respond to that. Where is the weak link, if you think there is one?

    KATE MARTIN: Well, I think the first question that we don't know is, what is the government doing? Does it consider that it's relevant to collect not only all of our metadata on all of our phone calls and our Internet communications, but also other kinds of records, bank records, credit card records?

    In the government's views, those aren't protected by the Fourth Amendment. So it has this giant database, which I vaguely heard today that maybe before they -- they have some more procedures, right, about how they use that database. That's all secret. So we don't know what it is that they're collecting, the breadth of what they're collecting, nor do we know what the rules are about using it.

    And, you know, my view of the Constitution is that the basic purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent general searches, which meant that the government goes into your house, takes everything, and looks through it to see if there's evidence of a crime or terrorism.

    And I worry that what it seems like, but we need to know because we don't know, and we have been denied the information -- that what the government's approach at the moment is, well, we will construct this enormous database on all Americans' activities.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, let me get -- let me ask Cedric Leighton to respond to that.

    Is there a way for the government to be clearer about what it's collecting and still do its work?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: I think so, and I think we have to be very careful with it.

    I think Kate brought up an interesting point, an excellent point, in that they have not been clear about how they handled the data. And some of the issues surrounding it have to this point been classified. But there are -- think -- I think there are ways to say, OK, this is the data that we're collecting in general terms, and our way of handling that data is as follows.

    For example, there are rules that govern how we deal with data from U.S. persons. The NSA has some very specific rules, many of which are classified. But the gist of them is that no one can gather data on U.S. persons without the express permission of a court. And that is part of that. That's the beginning of this approach where we have to be very careful with how we make this work.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And just very briefly, now we get The Washington Post reports about the Internet. Would it surprise to you find that other phone companies may have been involved with this as well?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: Oh, not at all. I think it's logical to say ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: You're expecting that we will hear more?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: Yes, I definitely do.

    KATE MARTIN: And just to be clear, the express permission of a court is not equal to a Fourth Amendment warrant. There was no Fourth Amendment warrant-type order in this case.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right.

    KATE MARTIN: And it's really disturbing that we have to learn about this through a leaked document, rather ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: OK. We will continue to follow this.

    Kate Martin and Cedric Leighton, thank you both very much.

    KATE MARTIN: Thank you.

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: Thank you so much.


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    Myrlie Evers-Williams, Samantha Power, Michelle Obama and Susan Rice -- unwavering women who all drew headlines this week.

    Four women who dominated headlines this week could not be more different from one another. But each one, we are told, possesses sharp elbows.

    President Obama used this basketball analogy to describe his newly-picked national security adviser Susan Rice. Actually, she did play basketball in college, but over time has acquired an even tougher reputation in foreign policy circles. You can imagine how well that goes over in that mostly-male world.

    Samantha Power, who has been nominated to replace Rice at the U.N. Ambassador, is no shy flower either. Power won a Pulitzer Prize at the age of 32 for her 2003 book "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide." She's the Obama campaign aide who was forced to resign in 2008 after she referred to Hillary Clinton as a "monster." More important, she has made a career out of telling governments what they don't want to hear.

    Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, has spent the 50 years since her husband's brutal murder redefining what it means to be a "civil rights widow." Unlike Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz, both now deceased, she remarried and launched her own, independent civil rights career when she was elected chairman of the NAACP.

    And then there is Michelle Obama, whose carefully manicured image as a mom-in-chief and backyard gardener has always sought to mask the straightforward Chicago lawyer inside. She let loose a little this week when a heckler interrupted while she was speaking at a fundraiser, threatening to walk out if the woman did not stop.

    Presidents must remain calm when they are harassed in public or pressed to comment on unpalatable issues. Spouses, whose lives are more aggressively roped off from prying eyes, always seem more likely to snap. Think Hillary Clinton -- she of the "vast right wing conspiracy" -- or Barbara Bush, who flatly told an interviewer recently that her son Jeb should not run for president.

    It helps to take a deep breath when male public figures ranging from governors to hedge fund managers opine about how the world went askew once women started working and having babies -- as if many of their mothers had not done the same.

    For women in the public eye, the response must be measured. Each is intimately familiar with a world of shifting standards.

    Having sharp elbows was never previously considered a negative quality for a national security adviser -- unless her name was Condoleezza Rice. That's got to get old.

    Even though Myrlie Evers had already made a huge sacrifice for the civil rights movement, the NAACP was sharply divided when she made a leadership bid. She won election by only one vote.

    And Power, even while standing in the Rose Garden this week, candidly described the opportunities of the limits of the United Nations post she will assume if confirmed by the Senate. "I have seen U.N. aid workers enduring shellfire to deliver food to the people of Sudan," she said. "Yet I've also see U.N. peacekeepers fail to protect the people of Bosnia."

    The time will come, I suppose, where we stop being surprised that women who have advanced degrees, raised children and have seen more war and grief than many of those who criticize them, succeed or fail on pure merit. But until then, I can only hope our daughters are watching.

    Top photos by Pete Souza/White House, Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images, Kevin Lamarque/Reuters and Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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    KWAME HOLMAN: A top official at the IRS apologized today for a 2010 conference that cost more than four million dollars. Faris Fink told a House hearing his division followed rules in place at the time, but he acknowledged, nonetheless, the spending was excessive. Some of it paid for videos shown at today's hearing. One was a "Star Trek" parody, which drew this from New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney.

    REP. CAROLYN MALONEY, D-N.Y.: Not only was it a monumental waste of well over $50,000 dollars of taxpayers' money, but I would say it is an insult to the memory of "Star Trek."

    I could do a better Captain Kirk.

    But I think I recognized one of the panelists in the video.

    Mr. Fink, were you Mr. Spock in that video?

    FARIS FINK, IRS Deputy Commissioner: Yes, that is correct.

    KWAME HOLMAN: An inspector general's report found the IRS spent nearly $50 million dollars on 225 conferences over two years. Fink said today new rules now put much lower limits on training and travel expenses.

    Senate Democrats and Republicans blocked each other's proposals today to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. Republicans wanted to tie rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans to 10-year Treasury notes, meaning they would rise as the economy gains. Democrats sought to extend the current 3.4 percent rate for the next two years. Barring congressional action, the rate goes to 6.8 percent on July 1st.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has named his state attorney general, Jeff Chiesa, as interim U.S. senator. He succeeds long-serving Democrat Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this week. Christie said today the new senator will serve just four months and will not be a candidate in an October special election.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: I made him the offer. As I told you, he texted me the next morning and said, I'm in. I called him and I said, great. I said, now, are you going to run for it or you just want to serve on the interim basis? And he said, I have no interest in being a political candidate, Governor. I would rather not run. And I said, fine. It's fine with me, Jeff. If you don't want to run, that's fine.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Chiesa will be the first Republican to represent New Jersey in the Senate since 1982.

    The first system to reach storm strength and earn a name this Atlantic hurricane season pushed onto Florida's Gulf Coast today. Tropical Storm Andrea took aim at the state's Big Bend region, with heavy rain and winds of 60 miles an hour. It was headed for Georgia and the Carolinas. The storm is not expected to strengthen into a hurricane.

    Rescue crews in Philadelphia finished searching a collapsed building today, as an investigation began into how it happened. Six people died yesterday when the four-story structure fell as it was being demolished.

    Mayor Michael Nutter faced questions today about problems at the site and the contractor's history of legal and financial trouble.

    MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, D-Philadelphia: Something obviously went wrong here yesterday and possibly in the days leading up to it. That's what the investigation is for. But the simply answer to your question is, we have demolitions all the time with active buildings next to them, and they're done very safely in this city all the time.

    KWAME HOLMAN:
    The building fell onto a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store. In addition to those killed, at least 13 people were hurt.

    In Turkey, protesters again defied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Thousands marched in Istanbul, jeering and carrying signs demanding Erdogan's resignation. They vowed to keep up the demonstrations that began a week ago. Meanwhile, Erdogan winding up a trip to North Africa charged that terror groups are involved in the protests.

    On Wall Street, stocks broke a two-day losing streak. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80 points to close at 15,040. The Nasdaq rose 22 points to close at 3,424.

    Swimming champion and movie star Esther Williams died today in Los Angeles. Williams won several races in the 1939 national swimming championships, and then moved to the movies in 1942. She starred in a number of aquatic musicals through the 1940s and '50s, and was a favorite pinup for G.I.s during World War II. At her death, Esther Williams was 91 years old.

    Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Jeff.


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    JEFFREY BROWN: And next to Syria, where rebels briefly seized control of the only border crossing with Israel in the Golan Heights today, sending U.N. staff in the area scrambling to shelters. Austrian peacekeepers announced they would withdraw their troops because of the violence. Several hours later, President Bashar al-Assad's forces retook the crossing.

    Meanwhile, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Syrians to unite against Assad. And, in Lebanon, there were more signs today that the conflict is spilling over there following the takeover of the Syrian town of Qusayr by Assad forces and Hezbollah.

    Margaret Warner is in Beirut and talked to Ray Suarez a short time ago.

    RAY SUAREZ:  Margaret, welcome.

    What's the reaction in Lebanon to the victory of Assad's forces in Qusayr over the Free Syrian Army?

    MARGARET WARNER: Ray, the reaction's been large here because of the role that Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon played in the retaking of Qusayr, assisting the Assad forces.

    There also has been an immediate security reaction here in Lebanon. That is, 11 rockets were fired overnight at this Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley, Baalbek. And then today, a Syrian military plan, or it looks like a helicopter, fired rockets at a town in northern Lebanon in the Bekaa Valley that's been a haven for Free Syrian Army fighters, rebels, and refugees.

    That was of particular concern to Western diplomatic officials here, what the Syrian military did, because, as one said to me, it shows that the Syrian government doesn't feel any sense of restraint anymore about crossing this border line to pursue its enemies inside Lebanon.

    And, finally, it has stirred up fears among people here who are -- have their ear to the ground in terms of the security situation, that it is going to inflame Sunnis here, and that extremist Sunnis may take their revenge on Hezbollah and Shias in general by attacking them here in Lebanon.

    RAY SUAREZ:  You have had the chance to speak to people close to both Hezbollah and the Syrian rebels. What's next for both sides in this conflict?

    MARGARET WARNER: What I hear from someone very close to the FSA Gen. Idris is that there is many FSA fighters still trapped in Qusayr between government forces in the center of town and essentially a lot of Hezbollah around.

    He said the main problem the FSA realizes they have and have to solve is one of command-and-control, that the forces they thought they were collecting from around the country to go in and do a rescue operation, which I reported on last Friday, most of them never got in. So, that's their situation.

    For Hezbollah, I talked to someone, a former Lebanese security and intelligence official very close to talks to all the players, including the Syrians, because of the Syrian occupation here. He said he doubts that Hezbollah will, as others have reported, move on to Aleppo and other areas in Syria.

    He said: I don't believe they're going to move deep into Syria. They're going to stay protecting the border around Lebanon, protecting holy sites, Shiite holy sites, protecting their own supply routes, and protecting some Lebanese who live inside Syria.

    He said, I would be surprised if they go on.

    So, that all remains to be seen.

    RAY SUAREZ:  Margaret Warner joining us from Beirut.

    Margaret, thanks a lot.

    MARGARET WARNER: My pleasure, Ray. 


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the debate over cutting food stamps.

    The Senate agreed today to move forward with a vote next Monday on a wide-ranging farm bill. More than three-quarters of the money for it, or about $760 billion over 10 years, would go toward food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. SNAP has grown in the wake of the recession. Roughly 47 million Americans, or about 15 percent of the population, receive assistance from it.

    But now there's a push to cut back. The Senate bill would trim it slightly by $4 billion over 10 years. A version moving through the House would cut at least $20 billion, possibly more.

    We look at all this now with Lori Silverbush. She's a filmmaker who produced the documentary, "A Place at the Table," which explores hunger in the United States. And Chris Edwards, he's director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and he's editor of its downsizinggovernment.org website.

    Welcome to you both.

    Chris Edwards, to you first.

    With millions of Americans still unemployed, many of them still not earning, those who are employed, as much as they were earning before, why is now the time to cut food stamps?

    CHRIS EDWARDS, director, Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute: Well, I think we need to look at not just the food stamps, but farm subsidies to cut. So I just wouldn't zero in on food stamps.

    There's a lot of cutting I think we need to do in this farm bill in general.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But the food stamps are the bulk of the farm bill in terms of...

    CHRIS EDWARDS: No, that's absolutely right.

    If you look at the big picture, the cost of the food stamp program has roughly quadrupled over the last decade, from about $20 billion to about $80 billion today.

    And the House Republicans are thinking about cutting about $2 billion of that, just a couple of a percent. After you have quadrupled the size of a program, I think that's reasonable, a cut that small.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Lori Silverbush, what about this point that the program has grown so much that why isn't it reasonable to begin to make some cuts now?

    LORI SILVERBUSH, co-director, "A Place at the Table": Well, I think it's interesting that you say that, Chris.

    I mean, it's grown so much because demand has grown so much. It isn't growing because it's bloated or not being administered well. There's that many people hungry who are availing themselves of it. So the word “reasonable” is a funny word.

    What's a reasonable amount of hunger for your kids, for example? How many meals would you want your children not to eat in order to balance the budget? I think that's -- the word reasonable is deceptive.

    CHRIS EDWARDS: You know, the thing is, it's true that the recession and the economic slowdown has caused food stamp costs to increase.

    But the cost of the program roughly doubled under President Bush, even before President Obama came to office, just because Congress and President Bush expanded the eligibility so much. So that's part of the problem.

    And even now, the unemployment rate now is lower than President -- when President Obama first came to office, and yet there's millions more on food stamps.

    So the Congress and the states have continued to loosen eligibility. So the food stamp program now is not just for the lowest-income people. It's moving up into the middle class.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you respond to that?

    LORI SILVERBUSH: Well, sure, Chris. I mean, Chris, you're making a very good point. Members of the middle class are now going hungry.

    And, as a consequence, they're signing up for food stamps. I mean, I think it makes sense that there would be a bit of a lag between the time in which food stamps -- the food stamp -- people avail themselves of a program after being unemployed.

    I'm not an economist. I'm a filmmaker. I went around the country with my partner, Kristi Jacobson, and we -- we met the people that you're talking about, these middle-class people that I think you're trying to imply are somehow gaming the system.

    But I saw people, we met people just trying to put food on the table and struggling, or out of work, or cobbling together part-time jobs without benefits, and not paying their rent so that they could buy food, or not -- you know, going without medical care so they could buy food.

    So, I think all of the things you're saying are factual, sure, but you're not saying, well, the reason food stamp enrollment went up so much under President Bush was because need went up so much.

    LORI SILVERBUSH: This is a program with very, very low rates of fraud. It's not being -- I don't think people are gaming the system at all, and we sure didn't find that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you respond to that?

    CHRIS EDWARDS: Well, one of the things that's happened, for example, is there used to be strict income and asset tests on the program. In other words, if your income was too high or you had a lot of money in the bank, you didn't get food stamps.

    Those sorts of limits have been basically eliminated in most of the states now for this complicated reason called categorical eligibility.

    But, basically, the Republicans have been trying to re-establish some income and asset tests, so that you can't have too much money or too much money in the bank and still get food stamps.

    And there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence, for example -- for example, groups of people, college students now often get food stamps, and they never used to. So there's a growing sort of dependence here.

    And, you know, a lot of people who didn't used to even want to get food stamps are now being dependent on the government.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Lori Silverbush, what about this argument that the eligibility requirements have now grown looser, so that they are now possibly scooping in people who -- who may not need food stamps?

    LORI SILVERBUSH: Well, let's be really clear.

    Those eligibility requirements are still incredibly -- the bar is very, very high to entrance to food stamps. As family of four -- I think it's something like a total income of $28,000 a year for a family of four. That is not people who are living high on the hog. And the food stamp benefit itself comes down to approximately $1 a meal. It's not a lot of money.

    So I would -- my experience meeting the people who are for the first time availing themselves of food stamps is that they're doing it because of straight-up need. We didn't find that people were happy to collect food stamps. They were devastated and humiliated.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about this, this question of changing the eligibility. What's an example of what -- of a requirement that could change that you believe would be fair?

    CHRIS EDWARDS: Right.

    Well, I will give you an example. It used to be people who are non-citizens did not -- were not eligible for food stamps. That's changed in the 2002 farm bill under President Bush. He made is so that non-citizens, as soon as they come into the United States, they can get food stamps now. So that's type of expansion in eligibility that has gone on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So you're talking about legal immigrants?

    CHRIS EDWARDS: Yes, legal immigrants didn't used to be eligible. Now they are.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so you're saying they should be taken off the food stamps?

    CHRIS EDWARDS: I'm saying we need to reduce the costs in a lot of different ways, as well as reducing the costs of farm subsidies, which are welfare for higher-income people and -- right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lori Silverbush, I believe...

    LORI SILVERBUSH: Chris, I think you kind of dodged that a bit, because she said, does that mean you think people should be taken off the program?

    And, yes, we should reduce costs across the board. We have ag subsidies that are not even on the table that people are collecting, millionaire farmers. Industrial farms that have had record years of farm income are still collecting food subsidies. We're willing to add tens of billions of dollars to our deficit. This is not even in discussion.

    And yet we're always somehow at a point of -- at a moment when our nation feels budget anxiety, we always go right back to illegal immigrants and poor people who are fraudulent, when all of these things are myths.

    And, frankly, if an undocumented person is feeding their children with food stamps so that they have a shot at succeeding in school, I'm OK with that.

    CHRIS EDWARDS: I mean, Lori, come on. The -- when President Bush came to office, there was only about 18 million people on food stamps.

    Today, as your program mentioned, 47 million. So this is not just more low-income people getting the benefits here. The benefits have just exploded.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, quickly, what about her other point, that there is very little fraud, she said, in the food stamp program?

    CHRIS EDWARDS: I don't think that is correct. The official numbers by the USDA, the Department of Agriculture, say that.

    I don't think it's correct. For example, there's 200,000 retailers in the United States who take these electronic cards to redeem food stamps. There's a lot of fraud at these retailers. And -- yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Very quick response.

    LORI SILVERBUSH: Well, honestly, they're not -- we're not seeing that. The data is not supporting that.

    If anything, the error rates are high because fewer people are participating than are actually eligible. And, frankly, they're participating less because of the stigma of calling it a fraudulent -- a fraudulent handout, which it isn't. It's an investment. If we're feeding people, they can stay productive. They can stay in the work force.

    They can actually put their energy into their jobs, into studying, into raising their kids. Those kids can stay in school if they're eating. So, I think it's an investment. I think it's an important investment in our future.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Senate moves to a vote on Monday.

    We thank the both of you, Lori Silverbush, Chris Edwards.

    CHRIS EDWARDS: Thank you, Judy.

    LORI SILVERBUSH: Thank you, Judy. 

     


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    JEFFREY BROWN: And now to the continuing debate over the government's role in the economy and the decisions taken in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

    Earlier this week, we aired a conversation with David Stockman, a businessman and former White House budget director whose book focused on the dangers of too much intervention.

    Tonight, economics correspondent Paul Solman gets a different perspective, part of his ongoing reporting, “Making Sen$e of Financial News.”

    PAUL SOLMAN: We recently interviewed former Reagan budget chief and private equity deal-maker David Stockman about his provocative bestseller "The Great Deformation," in which he argues that America's economic system is busted, corrupted by debt, crony capitalism, and government meddling, case in point, the bailouts during the crash of 2008.

    DAVID STOCKMAN, Former Reagan Administration Budget Director: We basically made a mockery out of free markets and financial discipline and we will never come back.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But, of course, Stockman's verdict has its share of critics, including the prodigiously well-read Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. A New York Times opinion piece by Stockman drew several written retorts from Times columnist Krugman.

    In one, he called Stockman a cranky old man.

    We asked Krugman to respond to Stockman at greater length, first to the idea that we should have let foundering financial firms simply fail in '08. But that risked doomsday, Krugman said.

    PAUL KRUGMAN, Columnist, The New York Times: Destroying the world is not something you want to do by mistake.

    Unfortunately, what we have learn from 150-plus years of history is that financial crises, left unmanaged, unfought, can produce mass suffering. I mean, it's been pretty bad, but it could have been much, much worse than it was.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Is there, in David Stockman's phrase, no economic basis for contagion, that is, the dominoes, where one institution goes and all the rest go?

    PAUL KRUGMAN: You see contagion everywhere.

    I mean, the great banking crisis of 1930-'31 began with the failure of a quite small bank in New York, that these -- these domino effects are very, very real. They partly run through the fact that people see a bank run down the street. Then they -- so they run the bank at this end of the street. They partly take place because, in a banking panic, everybody's trying to sell the same assets, and all those assets collapse in price, so that companies that were not in financial trouble all of a sudden are in financial trouble.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Stockman's argument, for example, with respect to the auto industry is, yes, we saved 40,000 jobs, but those are 40,000 jobs that would have been added in the South by automakers who were already there, foreign automakers, many of them, Nissan, Hyundai.

    PAUL KRUGMAN: It's not clear that allowing GM to go under would actually have opened up space for its competitors.

    It's all very easy now, now that it turned out that we didn't have a collapse in the auto industry, to say, oh, well, everything would have been fine if we did nothing, but that's certainly not the way it looked at the time, and I think it wasn't in fact true, that we did need to act, and it's a good thing we did.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But, surely, you're sympathetic to Stockman's charge that crony capitalism is a major problem in this country?

    PAUL KRUGMAN: Yes, of course.

    No question that there are a lot of companies, a lot of people who make their way not by having the best product or the best idea, but by having the right connections. The question is whether the solution to crony capitalism is to say, let's have a depression that destroys everything, so that we don't bail out those fat-cat bankers on Wall Street.

    And I think that's not the answer. The answer is to regulate the bankers, but at the same time save the workers.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Stockman, like many others, blames the Federal Reserve for inflating the housing bubble that caused the crisis in the first place by keeping interest rates too low too long. He says low interest rates are again fueling a speculative frenzy on Wall Street, enabling traders to bet with cheap borrowed money. But Krugman doesn't buy it.

    PAUL KRUGMAN: We had very low interest rates in the 1950s. Did we have wild speculative bubbles? Did we have crazy stuff? Was all this happening? Did we have wildly overpaid bankers? The answer is, no, we didn't.

    The difference between now and then is not that the Fed has cut interest rates when the economy is depressed. It's supposed to do that. That's the Fed's job. The problem is that we took away the safeguards that prevented financial abuse. And the truth is that financial abuse has been pretty widespread even when interest rates are not near zero.

    PAUL SOLMAN: One of Stockman's main points is that we have become addicted to debt, and he says, acknowledges that he himself knows, because, as a leveraged buyout guy, he too was addicted.

    PAUL KRUGMAN: I don't think it's an addiction.

    Financial sector has a lot of debt, but I think you need to be a little careful, because it's -- a lot of that is just complexity. You have multiple layers, and so the money gets lent several times. But we actually don't have a problem with government debt, not yet, but, you know, people are worried about the rise. And, of course, you can throw around big numbers.

    But the fact of the matter is that the U.S. is a $16 trillion dollar-a-year economy, and the numbers are not as overwhelming as they sound if you just give the raw number.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But there's got to be a point at which we simply are taking on too much debt, no?

    PAUL KRUGMAN: It's a long ways off.

    To say that debt is a problem is not to say that renouncing all debt is the way you solve it. And government debt, yes, I mean, I think that's -- I will turn deficit and debt hawk once we're out of this depression, but not now.

    PAUL SOLMAN: I asked David Stockman, so what happens next? And he says, not Armageddon quite, but more than even cruising for a bruising right, I mean, that the stock market cannot sustain itself, that interest rates cannot stay this low.

    PAUL KRUGMAN: The argument is supposed to be that the Fed is printing all this money to keep interest rates low. But then isn't the price of printing too much money supposed to be inflation? And the Fed is actually worried right now that inflation is running too low. So where's the inflation? Where is the limit? What's unsustainable here?

    PAUL SOLMAN: So what do you think happens next?

    PAUL KRUGMAN: I think, eventually, the economy spontaneously recovers, unless we screw it up with more and more government austerity, and unless we have a really major crisis.

    It's a dangerous world always, but my sort of central forecast is of a slow, grudging, much-too-late recovery, but eventually a recovery.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Now, Krugman does agree with Stockman about crony capitalism, but not much else.

    So, at the end of the interview, I asked Krugman why he thinks Stockman's overall indictment has made such a splash.

    PAUL KRUGMAN: Everybody wants economics to be a morality play. Everybody wants it to be a tale of sin and excess, and then the punishment for sin.

    And this notion that we had a bubble, we had runaway stuff, we had bankers run wild, therefore, the economy must suffer a sustained slump, and anything you do to mitigate that is somehow enabling the sin and we will pay for it, that's ...

    PAUL SOLMAN: Even though there were sins?

    PAUL KRUGMAN: Even though there were sins. But economics is not a morality play. There is nothing about the fact that bankers made bad loans in 2005 that says that ordinary workers should be out of work in the year 2013.

    People love to write about the -- or talk about the lurid details of everything that went crazy in the bubble years, and they don't really much like to talk about the kind of prosaic, OK, but how do we get people back to work right now?

    So, I think that's -- you know, the sermon aspect -- people love to treat economics as a sermon, when it's actually -- it's actually just a job. You know, here's this economy. How do we fix it?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Paul Krugman, thank you very much.

    PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, thank you for having me on.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And the debate continues online. You can find much more from both Paul Krugman and David Stockman on Paul's Making Sen$e page.


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    JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight: doling out history lessons on Twitter.

    Gwen Ifill has that.

    GWEN IFILL: NewsHour regular Michael Beschloss has written eight books and countless commentaries on the American presidency, but recently he's discovered a new way to engage a different audience, taking us back through the nation's contemporary history in 140 characters or less.

    Michael joins us now.

    Michael, what is with the 140-character chunks? When did you start doling out history this way?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, presidential historian: It is an antidote to all these long books I write.

    It actually was during one of the debates right here in the studio we were watching, as you remember.

    And Christina, our Christina Bellantoni, saw me looking at a search engine through Twitter comments on the two candidates. And she said, well, why don't you just go on Twitter yourself?

    And I said, essentially, I hadn't really thought of that. Why don't I try?

    GWEN IFILL: So, as you started to post things you found along the way, I want to -- before we show some of them, how do you come across these things that you find that you have been putting up?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, I'm not only generally interested in presidential history, but, for years, I have been fascinated in what images can evoke.

    You could see one picture, it asks a lot of questions, and I hope gets people curious about other larger issues that relate to it.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let's show the viewers what we are talking about.

    This first picture I want to show here shows in the foreground the very familiar Lyndon Baines Johnson, but...

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: And that is not his third finger up there.

    GWEN IFILL: And that is not his -- that is his index figure in the air.

    And if you see behind him, however, there is John F. Kennedy. They were not really very close, but there he is kind of reaching over to grab him. What is going on here and when was this taken?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: That was taken just before the election of 1960.

    But you look at it and it looks like sort of an icon of the 1960s, Johnson aggressively getting into the Vietnam War maybe and Kennedy sort of trying to restrain him. That is why that picture particularly touches a nerve.

    But what actually happened was a couple days before the election, Kennedy came to Amarillo for a rally with Johnson. Kennedy began speaking, was at the airport, and Republican pilots began turning on their jet engines to drown out Kennedy.

    Johnson was furious. So you can see him going, turn those engines off. You know, that is exactly what is going on.

    GWEN IFILL: And this is 1960, before they were even serving together.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Absolutely.

    GWEN IFILL: So, perhaps they were even friendlier at the time.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Indeed.

    GWEN IFILL: I'm curious about what people thought about it when they saw it.

    But let me show you another one. The next picture, which I was fascinated by, there is Richard Nixon. And someone appears to be pouring a beer over his head?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Yes, I put this out without telling what it was. And I said, what do all you think it is?

    And one person wrote, it's Nixon celebrating his pardon by Gerald Ford in 1974.

    It wasn't.

    This is Nixon actually at the Angel Stadium 1979. Angels won the division title. Bobby Grich, the second baseman, came over and poured champagne on Nixon's head. And it is novel because that is not exactly a scene that you normally see with Nixon. Some of the others who wrote in said, is this just Dick Nixon partying hard?

    GWEN IFILL: But what is interesting about it is, it goes completely against what we think of when we see -- even if we think of him partying hard, it is not quite that way.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Against type. And that is why an image like this is so arresting.

    And you get not micro. Nixon, it turns out, was absolutely delighted to have this done, because, five years after Watergate or so, he was trying to pull himself back. He was enough of a politician to know that a picture in the newspapers of him celebrating that victory with the champagne on his head was worth an awful lot.

    GWEN IFILL: I believe that was beer.

    I don't know if they make champagne in cans.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: No, well, it was champagne of bottled beers.

    GWEN IFILL: Exactly.

    Now, this is the picture that first caught my attention of your tweeting, as I was going through my timeline, which is...

    GWEN IFILL: It's very puzzling.

    There is Bill Clinton clearly on the left, and in the center is George H.W. Bush. And next to him, he is shaking hands with George Wallace, the famous segregationist governor of Alaska. And I just couldn't -- I turned it upside-down trying to figure out where could this have happened where these three men were together.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, it is sort of like the Kennedy and Johnson. A lot of people said, is this Photoshop-ed? It couldn't be possible that this picture exists.

    And a lot of the people who tweeted about this to me said, this must have been Photoshop-ed, too, because, first of all, George Wallace is a figure out of the '60s, and Clinton and Bush '80s and 90s. So that doesn't fit. Plus, he was one of the worse segregationists in American history, so why would Bush and Clinton be sitting at a picnic with him eating lobster?

    And the other thing is that they didn't really sort of see it in terms of Bush and Clinton being at a picnic years before they ran against each other. Why would they have been so friendly? Plus, Bill Clinton looks as if he is about 12 years old.

    GWEN IFILL: Plus, Bill Clinton later went on to defeat George H.W. Bush. And then their famous relationship came around to now they refer to each other as father and son.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Yes. Now they are very friendly. But at the time of this image, George H.W. Bush was vice president, gave a picnic for American governors. Clinton was a governor. George Wallace was too. And by then, Wallace had recanted and apologized for a lot of his segregationist positions.

    GWEN IFILL: So this was in Maine, in Kennebunkport.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: It was in Maine. Lobster, and Wallace is drinking some Mountain Dew, if you look closely.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Culturally appropriate.

    GWEN IFILL: And another thing in that picture that we were looking at, there is a blonde woman sitting next to George Wallace. Who is that?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Wallace is sitting 1983 with his third wife. This was Lisa.

    During the '68 Wallace campaign, there were two singers. One was Mona. One was Lisa. So he finally married her.

    GWEN IFILL: And the famous wife that we all knew about, Lurleen Wallace, was by that time dead.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Indeed. She had succeeded Wallace as governor. There was a one-term limit or four-year limit, so that Wallace could continue to try to pull the strings. And she died in the middle of her term.

    GWEN IFILL: Fascinating.

    So, as you look back as you come across these images, and you come across some audio occasionally that you post and other things, do you get -- take any heart at all from the kind of reactions you are getting from people who suddenly have discovered this through you on Twitter?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: I love it, because what I'm trying to do is get people interested in history and get them to think about some of the larger issues.

    And these picture do this.

    And the other thing is, you and I have talked about this. We're living this an age in which imagery in presidential politics has become all the more important. So people have become pretty good at deciphering what they are seeing in a picture. And, oftentimes, there is an awful lot of meaning packed in there. And I hear from it -- from people about this on Twitter.

    GWEN IFILL: So, are you spending all of your days now scrolling for the next interesting thing to get a reaction?

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: I am not spending all my days, my book publisher, please note.

    But it is an interesting sideline.

    And since I'm not likely to write a book about political pictures, it is interesting for me to do.

    GWEN IFILL: Michael Beschloss, thanks a lot for opening that window for us.

    MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: My pleasure, Gwen.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, online, history buffs are tweeting on behalf of George Washington, Paul Revere, and other historical figures. You can read about it on the Rundown.


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    JEFFREY BROWN: Finally tonight, we mark June 6, D-Day.

    Ray is back with book conversation he recorded recently about World War II.

    RAY SUAREZ: The war that had a hand in cementing U.S. status as a superpower and created the map of the modern world ended almost 70 years ago.

    You could fill a library with books about the Second World War, yet historians still find new things to say and new ways to say it.

    Award-winning author and historian Rick Atkinson has just completed the third book in his "Liberation Trilogy," "The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945." And he joins me now.

    And, Rick, if nothing else, this book is a reminder that, with D-Day, there was still some of the worst fighting of the war left to go.

    RICK ATKINSON, author, "The Guns at Last Light": That's certainly true, Ray.

    I think the horror of it is difficult to imagine 70 years later. And it continues really after D-Day, almost to the last gunshot. There were almost 11,000 Americans killed in Germany in April 1945, the last full month of the war in Europe. And that's nearly as many as died in June 1944, the month of invasion.

    So the bloodletting continued right to the end. The notion that many Americans have that it was bad on the beaches, and then something bad happened during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, and then it was kind of sweeping into Germany and the war was essentially over is actually quite incorrect. It was bad to the very end, almost to May 8, 1945, when the war in Europe ended.

    RAY SUAREZ: Terrible, ferocious, deadly fighting through Northern France, through Holland and Belgium, and finally into the German homeland.

    Then you bring us to one British officer who says, "Why don't the silly bastards give up?"

    What was the German calculation in those last months, when it was clear they could no longer militarily prevail?

    RICK ATKINSON: Well, there are several things at play.

    Part of it is terror. Hitler had a police state of the first order. And those who showed any sign of being weak-kneed faced prison or often summary execution. That prevented a lot of people who knew that the war was not going to turn out well for Germany from giving up.

    In other cases, you have to say that 80 million Germans tended in large measure to be true believers, that they believed in the fuhrer almost to the bitter end. You would see parades, for example, on Hitler's birthday, April 20, 1945, in Berlin -- this is 10 days before he kills himself -- of young girls, young boys who are too young to go into the military carrying flags and singing patriotic songs, people cheering along the streets of a badly battered Berlin at that point.

    So, the German psyche was such that they'd been heavily influenced by propaganda. And they were just generally disinclined to give up.

    RAY SUAREZ: Rick, you also remind us that the war got deadlier as it went on, because both sides were innovating, inventing new ways of killing the other side practically until the last day of the war.

    RICK ATKINSON: That's true, Ray. The lethality increases as the war goes along, and it -- it's extraordinary how brutal it is.

    We Americans, for example, invented something called the POZIT Fuse. That was the code name. There was a little radar sensor in the nose of an artillery shell, and it could, by emanating radar signals, determine when a passing plane or when an approaching target was just within the kill radius of the burst, and detonate that shell.

    It was used for the first time in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The Germans called it pure manslaughter. It was part and parcel of a generation of weapons that came along, napalm used for the first time around this time. The Germans had invented the V-1 and V-2 flying bombs and then a ballistic missile, the V-2, with terrifying results, most of them launched against London or Antwerp with devastating results to civilians.

    RAY SUAREZ: We have in the final weeks and months of the war some moments where it's hard to tell where moral authority existed, if such a thing any longer existed.

    How could you tell concentration camp inmates not to rise up and kill their captors who were trying to surrender and act like normal soldiers? How could you put trial Americans who, sickened by the slaughter, would just turn and around pop these guys with their sidearms as they tried to surrender? It got nasty, brutal, and frightening in those final weeks.

    RICK ATKINSON: This is true.

    And it's not just the final weeks, actually. There's killing of prisoners that begins early in the liberation of Europe by American, British, Canadian soldiers, and, of course, by the Germans. It intensifies during that last 11 months from Normandy on.

    But when you get to the camp liberation phase, particularly in April 1945, for example, at Dachau, American soldiers coming into this camp, tens of thousands of emaciated, horribly treated prisoners, and thousands of bodies lying around, and there were soldiers that went on a rampage. There were at least a couple dozen S.S. guards who had surrendered, had been taken into custody who were murdered, probably more than that.

    This is at the same time that there are liberated inmates rampaging, tearing literally some camp guards limb from limb. There was an investigation. The investigators found that, yes, there had been prisoners murdered by American soldiers. Nothing was ever done of it. No one really had the stomach to prosecute American soldiers under these circumstances.

    This is just one example of many, though, of the barbarity that war unleashes with -- inside otherwise good soldiers.

    RAY SUAREZ: I want to continue this conversation with you online.

    The book is "The Guns at Last Light."

    Rick Atkinson, thanks a lot.

    RICK ATKINSON: Thank you, Ray. 


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    Watch a debate over the NSA's program of collecting phone records, which aired on the May 12, 2006, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

    Under a top-secret court order issued using a provision of the Patriot Act, the United States government has been collecting phone records of millions of American Verizon customers for at least seven years, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday.

    Feinstein's defense that the order was "lawful" came after The Guardian newspaper disclosed late Wednesday the copy of the order requiring Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" provide the National Security Agency with meta data of all telephone records from the U.S. to other countries.

    In May 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA, under then-CIA Nominee Gen. Michael Hayden's leadership, had, since 9/11, secretly collected tens of millions of phone call records from the nation's three largest telephone companies -- Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth.

    We uncovered this conversation Jeffrey Brown held on May 12, 2006 with Bryan Cunningham, a former lawyer for the National Security Council in the Bush administration and with the CIA during the Clinton years, and Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, about the legal merits of the government's -- at the time -- alleged data collection program.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Cunningham, starting with you, from what you know so far, is this program legal?

    BRYAN CUNNINGHAM: I would say it's almost certainly absolutely legal and constitutional unless there are facts, obviously, that we don't know about.

    First of all the United States Supreme Court said in 1979 that Americans do not have any expectation of privacy in telephone toll records. And, therefore, the Fourth Amendment warrant does not apply and that probably why polls are showing most Americans are not too exercised about this because the Supreme Court got it right in terms of what they expect of these records.

    Secondly, the, apparently the records were turned over voluntarily by the telephone company to the government. So the government would not even have to go to court to get legal process to do this.

    And thirdly, if the government did need to or did decide forth benefit of the companies to go to court, there are a number of mechanisms in existing law that would allow them to get the right kind of legal authorities without ever implicating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, because these are not content of communication. So I think it's very clearly legal.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Kate Martin, what is your reading of the law?

    KATE MARTIN: Well, I couldn't disagree more. The Congress explicitly protected the privacy of such telephone records. And after the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment didn't apply to seizures of these kinds of telephone records, Congress passed a whole series of laws. One of them is called the Stored Communications Act, pen register laws. What they say is that the telephone companies may not voluntarily disclose the information to a government entity. They can only disclose the information to government entity like the NSA if they are served with a court order or a subpoena. And it's my assumption that the NSA had no court order, it could not get a subpoena, and I don't think it would be entitled to a court order under the laws.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Cunningham made a distinction, as I have heard elsewhere, between collecting phone records, and gathering names or content. You don't see that distinction?

    KATE MARTIN: I do see that distinction. Gathering -- listening to the contents of telephone calls or e-mails requires a warrant. And that is a separate set of laws, not the stored communications laws, and not the pen register laws. But what the Congress has done is set up a whole framework, because it disagreed with the Supreme Court about whether or not people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that the government will not know everyone you've called, everyone who's called you, how long, how many times those phone numbers came in and out of your phone, and if the government did want to find that out, it would get a court order.

    Now the FBI can get a court order it is not at all clear that the NSA would ever be entitled to a court order. And without an order, it was clearly illegal.

    Our political analysts -- syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks -- were also on hand that day seven years ago. We digitized that interview for you below.

    Watch Video

    May 12, 2006, analysis with Mark Shields and David Brooks.

    They touched on the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency's collection of phone records, as well then-President George W. Bush's low approval ratings with even further gloom trending on the Hill.

    RAY SUAREZ: Mark, one of the big stories this week as we just heard, the National Security Agency's collection of phone records, is this going to play differently from the earlier discussions of surveillance of overseas phone calls?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, I think it will, Ray. I mean, the president told us when the original disclosure was made, it was a terror surveillance program, that we fiercely protected the privacy of all Americans. And so you are led to believe that if you are calling Kabul or Indonesia, or Yemen on a regular basis, you may very well have been listened -- your phone call might have been monitored.

    But now we're talking about 224 million phone users, and their records. And the overnight poll said, well, people said that's okay. I don't know. I think upon reflection, there is a sense of that this goes beyond what was described at the first -- why didn't they get FISA approval.

    Were the cases in some instances so flimsy that they even compliant tribunal like FISA, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court wouldn't give it to them? And I think, you know, everybody has, whether you are calling your bookie, whether there are people doing day trading, whether they are calling a 900 number in New Jersey, I think that there is a sense of perhaps privacy being violated here in a way that the president had not described at all at the time of the initial disclosure.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, David, what do you think? Because everyone has a phone, virtually, this is different from the surveys lance of overseas phone calls.

    DAVID BROOKS: So far, it doesn't seem that way. I mean, the original poll, the poll that I saw, I guess in the Washington Post, somewhere said that 63 percent approved the program. 57 percent, I think it was, said even if it is my own phone on these records, they support the program.

    I think basically people think this is a legitimate way, if the NSA professionals want to do this; they are prepared to defer to the NSA professionals who seem to be doing it by the book for the NSA, which is a pretty good agency.

    And so they feel, you know, they don't want to be attacked. And if they can use these records, this compendium of records, they find a bad guy, they want to find out who that bad guy called, I think most people will accept it. I think on Capitol Hill, I think you see two things. You see, A, general support for the program I think instinctively among Republicans, especially, but also a little anger that they weren't told about the extent of it last December. I mean, we knew they were doing this data mining last December. We knew that there were millions of phone calls being made.

    We didn't know from the White House that it was purely domestic, as well as the international calls, so there was a little bit of upset that the White House wasn't forthcoming but as for the substance, I don't think it will be a political problem.

    For more on the phone records story, watch Thursday's NewsHour.

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    Boys stand outside a camp settlement of 35 Syrian families in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Photos by Saskia de Melker.

    BEIRUT -- The odds that you'll see a Syrian refugee in Lebanon are high. Nearly 500,000 Syrian refugees reside in this country with a landmass the size of Connecticut and a population of just over 4 million.

    Scattered throughout the country, people are settling wherever they can. They often are living among Lebanese families, many of them poor themselves, and are at the mercy of local municipalities to welcome them into their communities.

    With rents very high, families cram as many people as possible into small spaces. They build tents out of found materials and donated plastic and turn dilapidated buildings into makeshift shelters.

    Unlike Syria's other neighbors, Turkey and Jordan, there are no official camps in Lebanon and no plans to build them. Lebanon is still haunted by memories of an explosive refugee crisis a generation ago when Palestinians fled north. They never left and those teeming camps have become permanent neighborhoods.

    Lebanon also is deeply divided over its relationship to Syria. The government has an official policy of disassociation from the conflict, and some factions worry that building camps would send the wrong message to the Syrian regime.

    Whether conditions in a large-scale camp like Zaatari in Jordan are actually better is debatable. However, without a centralized camp structure in Lebanon, there are long delays to register refugees with the United Nations and many are unsure where to go for assistance when they arrive.

    Even those who were not poor in Syria now find that the money that would buy them food for a week back home barely lasts a day in more expensive Lebanon.

    Ali

    Eleven-year-old Ali arrived in Lebanon just two weeks after being shot in the face. Fearing reprisals on their families back in Syria, most refugees don't want to reveal their last names and many cover their faces to protect their identities.

    A sniper shot through the window of his father's car in Daraa, Syria. The bullet went through his nose, his eye and out the right side of his head.

    When the fighting in the southern Syrian city intensified, his family had no choice but to take him out of the hospital prematurely and flee. Now 20 family members are living in a windowless back room of an upholstery shop owned by a Syrian friend.

    Ali is blind in one eye and still has fragments of shrapnel in his chest and face. "I can feel the shrapnel in my chest and my nose when I breathe. It hurts," he said.

    He needs to have surgery to remove the rest of the shrapnel, but the family is having a hard time finding the money to pay for it. Aid agencies, they've been told, need to use their limited medical resources for life-threatening cases. So the family is considering moving onto the street temporarily to save the rent money for his procedure.

    Nasser

    Nasser came from Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria located outside Damascus, where he said he had a nice house and a good job as a businessman.

    When the camp was bombed in December and gangs tried to kidnap him and his son, the two fled -- leaving his wife and other children behind -- to find work and a house for all of them in Lebanon.

    They spent their first month in Lebanon sleeping under a bridge and have had difficulty finding work or receiving assistance.

    Nasser feels because he is Palestinian, he is being discriminated against in his job hunt. Fed up and frustrated, he has joined a group of other Palestinians from Syria in camping out for the past several months on a highway in front of the Beirut office of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which is tasked with helping Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

    "I came here needing help, and I realized that the Palestinians in Lebanon need help as much as I do," he said.

    Tawasseef

    Tawasseef, 29, was pregnant with her third child when she and her husband fled Homs, Syria, after their house was bombed eight months ago. Her son was born shortly after arriving in Lebanon and she spent the last months of her pregnancy sleeping on a bare floor of their hastily made tent.

    They have since taken out debts to build a tent out of scrap wood, cardboard, and plastic in a settlement in the Bekaa Valley, where 35 Syrian families have taken up residence. There is no clean water or plumbing in the settlement and her children are frequently sick.

    Like each family in the settlement, they must pay $200 a month to the Lebanese landowner to use their plot of land.

    Tawasseef said she isn't sure what her family would do if the rent is raised. They are relying on vouchers from the U.N. refugee agency and other aid organizations for food.

    "We used to talk about how poorly the gypsies lived back in Syria," she said. "Now we are living worse than they were."

    Tawasseef said she has found some comfort in sharing her experiences with other women in the settlement, and despite the hardships, at least her family is safely out of Syria.

    Related Resources

    Hezbollah's Role in the Bloody Syrian War Comes at a Price

    Dispatch: Neighbor Against Neighbor in Northern Lebanon

    All of the PBS NewsHour team's reports from Lebanon.

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

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    Photo by Gettyimages/PAUL J. RICHARDS A look inside the NSA Threat Operations Center located at Fort Meade, Maryland.

    The Morning Line

    "They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type."

    That's the memorable closing quote from an unnamed "career intelligence officer" who provided the Washington Post with details about a secret government program to collect information Americans put online.

    The story summarizes a broad data mining effort by the National Security Agency and the FBI to extract from the servers of nine Internet companies -- including Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft -- "audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time."

    The classified "PRISM" program was established in 2007, the Post reported. Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras went live with the story Thursday night, as the nation grappled with reports that had surfaced the night before about the NSA collecting phone records under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act.

    The pair reported that over the last six years, PRISM has become "the most prolific contributor to the President's Daily Brief." And NSA reporting "increasingly relies" on the program, "accounting for nearly 1 in 7 intelligence reports." From the piece:

    That is a remarkable figure in an agency that measures annual intake in the trillions of communications. It is all the more striking because the NSA, whose lawful mission is foreign intelligence, is reaching deep inside the machinery of American companies that host hundreds of millions of American-held accounts on American soil.

    The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players in Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: "Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple." PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.

    Dropbox , the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described as "coming soon."

    The entire story, presumably in the works long before the Guardian story about the collection of millions of Americans' phone records was published, is worth a read.

    Among the important points to keep in mind as the debate ignites anew in Washington: these actions appear to be legal, all authorized by Congress during the George W. Bush administration as part of the war on terror. And it's President Barack Obama who has gotten the most utility out of the government's data collection, and who now is expected to answer for it.

    Politico gets at the heart of this idea with a pair of stories Friday. Glenn Thrush suggests Mr. Obama is living out a "fourth Bush term." And Darren Samuelsohn looks at the frequent liberal Bush critics who have now turned to go after Mr. Obama. From the story:

    "The president said that I must return to my authentic self. And I think the president needs to go back and read his own speeches," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, implying Obama could use a refresher course on some of his own 2008 campaign rhetoric -- when he spoke openly about not becoming part of the conventional politics of Washington.

    Others likened him to Bush, directly.

    "I'm very concerned that this is basically a continuation of the policies of the Bush administration and the abuses of the Patriot Act. I'd like to see better out of this administration," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who noted he's long been game to question Obama's priorities.

    As we noted Thursday, the Guardian detailed a program involving Verizon. While Verizon did not officially comment, the organization made clear through other channels that they were just a small part of the bigger picture.

    The company was ordered to turn over the records and couldn't say no, and the data collection is "industry wide," a source told the NewsHour.

    Members of Congress spent most of Thursday defending the program.

    The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, released a statement Thursday night that charged the articles in the Washington Post and the Guardian "contain numerous inaccuracies."

    "Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats," Clapper added. "The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans."

    On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported the NSA's monitoring of activities included "customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions."

    The president could address the subject Friday in California, where he begins a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Cyber security, and particularly China's spying on U.S. companies, is expected to be on the agenda. But the reports of the past few days also mean there will be plenty of questions for Mr. Obama about his administration's intelligence operations. He did not tackle the subject Thursday at a pair of private Democratic fundraisers in the Bay Area.

    Jeff Brown unpacked all of this in a debate Thursday night. He spoke with Col. Cedric Leighton, a former NSA official, and Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies.

    Martin said she was "astounded" by the news and dismissed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers' claim that the program has recently thwarted a terrorist attack. Leighton said it all depends on how the collection is done.

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    Online Politics Production Assistant Meena Ganesan also dug through the archives for some of the NewsHour's best debates on this issue during the Bush administration. Among the finds: Mark Shields and David Brooks. The guys will weigh in again on Friday night's show.

    LINE ITEMS

    The president on Friday will step up efforts to sell Obamacare to young people at a speech in California.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Thursday named Jeffrey Chiesa -- the state's attorney general -- to serve as interim senator to replace the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Chiesa said he will not run in the Oct. 16 special election.

    Watch the announcement here or below.

    Watch Video

    Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report writes that Christie doesn't care what national party leaders or pundits think of him.

    The Republican-controlled House voted Thursday to roll back the Obama administration's policy, known as DACA, of deferring the deportation of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. The final tally on the amendment, which was offered as part of a Department of Homeland Security appropriations measure, broke 224 to 201 along party lines. The proposal is expected to face opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement the amendment is "wrong," "extreme" and "will not become law." "These are productive members of society who were brought here as young children, grew up in our communities, and became American in every way but on paper," he said.

    National Journal's Beth Reinhard explains how opposition to immigration reform is "moving from conservative talk shows to the corridors of power" and what that means for the GOP's longterm strategy.

    The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz looks at the mix of business and politics at this weekend's conference in Park City, Utah, hosted by 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

    Politico has the latest on the lung transplant legal fight involving Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    Huffington Post's Jon Ward looks at the Silicon Valley-infused effort to boost the Republican National Committee.

    Reid Wilson looks at Senate Democrats amid all the changes in seniority and retirements.

    Nathan Gonzales dives in to a Republican battle in California.

    Ryan Reilly's terrific Guantanamo Bay reporting is now in iPad magazine form.

    Former Senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman will work as a lawyer at a New York firm.

    Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, are divorcing.

    The Boston Globe mapped all the Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts locations in the country and asked three business analysts to examine what the results say about the competition between the two companies.

    Jimmy Fallon's team at "Late Night" edited together a video of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams doing Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate." That followed Wednesday's release of Williams rapping Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's 1992 hit "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang."

    You can donate to help Washington, D.C.'s Frager's Hardware rebuild after this week's devastating fire.

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    Gwen Ifill writes about four women who dominated headlines this week.

    Judy Woodrff explored the debate over food stamps with filmmaker Lori Silverbush and Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute as the Senate moves toward a vote on the Farm Bill next week.

    "Economics is not a morality play," says Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in an interview with Paul Solman responding to David Stockman's much talked about tome, "The Great Deformation." Read more from Stockman and Krugman on our Making Sen$e page.

    Ahead of Friday's meeting between Mr. Obama and President Xi, here are eight things that factor into the U.S.-China relationship.

    TOP TWEETS

    Am guessing the NSA already has a pretty good idea of what today's jobs report is going to look like.

    — Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) June 7, 2013

    .@sentedcruz and I bet our FL colleagues TX beer on #NBAFinals. Sad they won't get to try Shiner. #GoSpursGo

    — JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) June 6, 2013

    This Scalia dissent on the DNA case has relevance for the #NSA metadata database.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/t...

    — Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) June 6, 2013

    i'm just declaring right now that the Weiner puns need to be really clever because at this point it's just sloth

    — Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 6, 2013

    Could it be arranged for him to stay there? RT @spaceteam: Justin Bieber set to jet into space on.flatoday.com/187r5Ia

    — Steve Mort (@mobilemort) June 6, 2013

    Great birthday surprise from my team - can't beat a @shyndigz cake! #RVAtwitter.com/GOPLeader/stat...

    — Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) June 6, 2013

    With appointment of Jeff Chiesa, NJ, KY & SC now tied for most appointed U.S. Senators since 1913, with 8 each. #NJsen

    — Robert Yoon (@yoonCNN) June 6, 2013

    I made it! twitter.com/WW2VetCharles/...

    — Charles Herd (@WW2VetCharles) June 6, 2013

    Mitt Romney & Cindy Crawford go hiking. @dgjackson dutifully there to capture the moment #roughingitbit.ly/11Hn5oe

    — Sarah Boxer (@Sarah_Boxer) June 6, 2013

    My #Fragers memory: A snow day when they cancelled votes, so I went there, bought some sleds and enjoyed the snow. twitter.com/DWStweets/stat...

    — D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) June 6, 2013

    .@vp Joe Biden gave @john_dingell a small clock in congratulating himon breaking congressional record twitter.com/davidshepardso...

    — David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) June 6, 2013

    Holder says "whoever is going to be attorney general in a year or two years." which seems a little odd for someone planning to stay, no?

    — john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) June 6, 2013

    I'm very disappointed House Republicans voted to put thousands of DREAMers at risk of deportation. Their bill is dead on arrival in Senate.

    — Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) June 6, 2013

    Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

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    More than 5 million Americans now suffer from Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in the United States, and that number could easily triple by 2050 as the population grays. If the latest projections hold true, that will mean the U.S. will spend $1.2 trillion on care for Americans with the disease -- up from $203 billion today.

    The numbers are especially startling given that -- like most other Americans -- most of those who will eventually develop the disease have done little to no planning for their future. To profile what long-term care will look like for many of these Americans, PBS NewsHour correspondent Ray Suarez introduced viewers to Mary Wyant, an artist who slowly lost her ability to paint and the ability to take care of herself due to Alzheimer's, and her daughter Rebecca, who is now her mother's legal guardian and primary caretaker.

    After the segment aired, the NewsHour received dozens of follow-up questions about the disease from viewers. Below, Carol Steinberg, the president of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, answers many of them.

    But first, brush up on the basics with Steinberg's Top 10 Things You Should Know About Alzheimer's Disease, and watch the NewsHour's full broadcast segment here:

    Watch Video

    Viewer Question 1: My grandfather and aunt (his daughter) both passed from Alzheimer's. I'm concerned I may get this disease. Is this hereditary and does it skip a generation or does it affect each generation? Is there a test for predisposition? And if so, who would I see for such a test?

    Carol Steinberg, Alzheimer's Foundation of America president: Having an immediate relative with Alzheimer's disease does not necessarily mean that you will develop the disease. But it is yet another risk factor.

    The general thinking about Alzheimer's disease at this time is that there are two distinct types of the illness. The first is typically referred to as "late-onset" Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for nearly 95 percent of all cases of the brain disorder and affects adults after age 65. Studies suggest a two- to four-fold greater risk for Alzheimer's disease in individuals with a first-degree relative who has late-onset.

    The other and rarer type is known as "young-onset" or "early-onset" Alzheimer's disease, and affects people under 65 and even as young as the late-30s. Family history appears to play a stronger role here. This type of young-onset, familial, accounts for only about 2 to 3 percent of all cases. Current evidence does not suggest that the disease necessarily skips a generation.

    Genetics is a major focus of Alzheimer's disease research. Scientists have identified several common gene variants that may contribute to either young-onset or late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but there are also still many unknowns related to heritability.

    As for genetic testing for Alzheimer's disease, it's a very personal decision. Tests have about a 50 percent predictability factor. Many people without the genetic markers can develop Alzheimer's disease, and many people with the genetic markers will not. Should you opt for this route, albeit inconclusive, your doctor can refer you to a geneticist for genetic counseling and testing. Another option is to enroll in a clinical trial related to family history and Alzheimer's disease; visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

    Viewer Question 2: Is Alzheimer's preventable -- or is it possible to at least delay its onset? If so, how?

    Steinberg: Unfortunately, at present, Alzheimer's disease cannot be prevented, reversed or cured. The hopeful news is that one of the main goals of the federal government's historic "National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease" is to "prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025." Achieving this objective requires substantially increased funding for Alzheimer's disease research so that scientists can continue and expand their efforts on this front.

    While people cannot control genetic predisposition for Alzheimer's disease, individuals can take control of their overall lifestyle choices. Researchers have found that basic lifestyle changes may help reduce or eliminate multiple risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Risks include smoking, drinking alcohol, high blood pressure, diabetes, poor cholesterol levels, depression and stress.

    In 2010, an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded that inadequate data exists to absolutely define the impact of successful aging strategies on cognition. But it found no evidence to suggest that Americans should quit good health habits. A rule of thumb: what's good for the heart is good for the brain. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, doing mental stimulation activities, socializing, and managing hypertension and stress. For additional tips, visit www.alzprevention.org.

    Viewer Question 3: Do you have advice for those looking for a local doctor who specializes in Alzheimer's treatment?

    Steinberg: A good place to start is with your primary care physician -- a family practitioner or internist. You'll find that some primary care physicians are more knowledgeable about or focused on Alzheimer's disease than others. For example, a primary care physician trained in geriatrics -- a sub-specialty that focuses on the special needs of older adults -- might be more familiar with Alzheimer's disease since the brain disorder primarily affects people aged 65 or older.

    Typically, a group of specialists are part of the evaluation process. While our regular doctor might run initial tests, ultimately, the doctor may refer to a geriatrician, neurologist, neuropsychiatrist or neuropsychologist.

    To find local doctors, it would be advisable to first call your insurance carrier to find a clinician covered by your plan. Many websites can also help with a search, including www.medicare.gov, the federal government's website for Medicare beneficiaries; and www.healthinaging.org, created by the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging. As well, tap local Alzheimer's agencies, adult day programs or senior centers for referral sources -- to both doctors and support services to assist with diagnosis and treatment as well as care.

    Viewer Question 4: What is the importance of early diagnosis if there is no cure? Creating more years of anxiety, or what?

    Steinberg: Early detection of Alzheimer's disease has its benefits -- benefits that may outweigh any potential increase in anxiety. According to one study, disclosure of a diagnosis of dementia does not prompt a "catastrophic emotional reaction" in most people, even those mildly impaired. In fact, it may provide some relief once the person has an explanation for symptoms and embarks on a treatment plan. As well, a recent study of women currently caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease found that an overwhelming majority would want to be diagnosed early.

    Why know? While there is no cure for the brain disorder, there are several FDA-approved drugs that may help slow the progression of symptoms -- enabling individuals to remain independent and have a better quality of life for a longer period.

    Moreover, early diagnosis is heavily linked to individual rights. It offers diagnosed individuals the opportunity to be actively involved in making decisions about their future -- finances, long-term care, end-of-life care and other personal wishes -- and getting legal and financial affairs in order before the disease strips them of their communication skills, judgment and other intellectual functions. This takes the heavy responsibility of decision-making off a family member's shoulders.

    The domino effect is that family members can benefit as well, giving both the diagnosed individual and family members an opportunity to get educated about the disease; set up care networks; access local and national resources that can ease the emotional, practical and financial toll of the disease; consider enrolling in clinical trials; and take steps to safeguard the person's safety, such as home modifications to reduce falls and curb wandering. The sooner a person is accurately diagnosed, the sooner families can embrace available resources.

    Viewer Question 5: How do you approach someone you love and ask them to take an Alzheimer's diagnostic test? I love someone who is diabetic and at risk. He is losing capacity (I think), but I am too close to make this judgment. Is there a dialogue to get this started?

    Steinberg: Starting a conversation sooner rather than later may be one of the best things you could do for a loved one with symptoms -- and for yourself.

    There is no doubt that broaching the subject can be uncomfortable and challenging. So much fear, denial and misconceptions continue to surround Alzheimer's disease. These concerns often stop people who notice symptoms in themselves from talking about them; others are unable to participate in this conversation because the illness has already significantly impaired their memory and judgment. So how you approach the topic is very dependent on the person's symptoms.

    If your loved one's rational thinking remains intact, explain that a diagnosis is critical to pinpoint the exact cause of memory loss. The knowledge that a number of potentially treatable medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, such as thyroid imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, dehydration and depression, can be just the information that facilitates a doctor's visit. Also point out the benefits of receiving a diagnosis -- even if it ends up being Alzheimer's disease.

    If you can no longer rationalize with the person, try reassurance instead. Start by saying, "I noticed you had some forgetfulness in the last few weeks. I care so much about you and want to make sure that you are well. How about we go to the doctor just to get it checked out? I will be by your side the whole time." Also consider pairing the appointment with a pleasurable activity, such as going to lunch or visiting a museum. Associating a doctor's visit with a more pleasurable event can be helpful in reducing resistance.

    Viewer Question 6: I know there are facilities for patients with Alzheimer's, in which Medicare helps cover the costs, but what about help for those who want to care for their spouse at home until the end of life?

    Steinberg: The costs of Alzheimer's disease care are skyrocketing -- in whatever setting: the average cost per dementia case was between $41,000 and $56,000 in 2010, according to a new study by the Rand Corporation. The dollars and cents become all that more relevant when they're out of pocket -- a typical scenario for families given limited government funds for in-home assistance for people with Alzheimer's disease.

    If your desire is for your loved one to remain home, it's important to plan ahead and to be resourceful. Consider speaking with a financial planner and/or elder law attorney, and consider buying long-term care insurance before a pre-existing medical condition, such as Alzheimer's disease, or addiction may result in denial of coverage or stricter terms.

    While Medicare may cover some services, such as skilled nursing or physical therapy, it does not cover in-home custodial care -- daily activities like eating, dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. For this, look to the state-run Medicaid program; eligibility criteria include low income, few assets, and the need for medical care and assistance with daily activities.

    Less widely known, an increasing number of Medicaid-waiver programs, some more liberal than others, offer recipients the option to "self-direct" or "participant-direct" the funds they receive for their own care, thus allowing family members to get paid for caregiving in certain instances.

    In addition, veterans who qualify for a veteran's pension may also qualify for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Aid and Attendance program. This offers a monetary benefit for in-home assistance with activities of daily living above the monthly pension allotment.

    Beside government funding, some nonprofit organizations can help offset costs. For example, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America provides grants to its member organizations so they can offer scholarships for adult day programs, home health care aides or other respite care to clients in need.

    Viewer Question 7: What is the current research on dealing with the plaque found in brains of people with Alzheimer's? Some studies say it is a symptom of the disease and needs to be prevented. Other studies say it is the brain's defense mechanism against the disease. Which is it and how does that impact development of treatments?

    Steinberg: Your question illustrates the complexity and uncertainty surrounding Alzheimer's disease.

    What we do know is that people with Alzheimer's disease have two types of abnormal lesions in their brains: beta-amyloid plaques -- sticky clumps of protein fragments that form around neurons; and neurofibrillary tangles -- insoluble twisted fibers of the protein tau that build up inside nerve cells. Although these structures are hallmarks of the disease, scientists are unclear whether they cause it or are a byproduct of it.

    The mystery of Alzheimer's disease is so overwhelming at a time when the incidence is reaching crisis proportions. This dichotomy points to the critical need for increased funding for research and greater participation in clinical trials so scientists can obtain answers that one day lead to effective treatments and a cure.

    Earlier this year, President Obama proposed the BRAIN initiative, a new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer's disease. This project, like others, is dependent on funding.

    Viewer Question 8: I would like to know what are the main causes of Alzheimer's disease?

    Steinberg: Currently, researchers do not know the exact causes of Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that this disease is caused by complex and intricate events in the brain over a long period of time. Changes in the brain are at work a decade or more before symptoms appear.

    Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor. Although Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging, the risk of developing the disorder rises as people get older. Current research from the National Institute on Aging indicates that the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease doubles every five years beyond age 65.

    Beyond age, Alzheimer's disease may be triggered by other factors, such as family history, genetic makeup, oxidative damage to neurons from the overproduction of toxic free radicals, serious head injuries, brain inflammation, Down syndrome and environmental factors.

    Viewer Question 9: Why don't experts or scientists talk about the personality changes that occur in patients, and how caregivers or families can best deal with aspects of changes? Why do some patients become very suspicious about money and finances to the point not of not trusting anyone?

    Steinberg: Alzheimer's disease, as you point out, extends well beyond memory problems. As it attacks brain cells, people progressively lose myriad intellectual functions, as well as experience behavioral problems, personality changes and a breakdown in bodily functions. Ultimately, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

    Just like many people incorrectly believe memory loss is a fact of life in growing older, results from a survey released in 2012 by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America revealed that many caregivers also mistakenly interpret various behaviors as a normal part of aging -- rather than as symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or another dementia. And as a result, they now believe those false impressions delayed their loved one's diagnosis. The most common behavioral symptoms are irritability, sundowning or late-day confusion, anxiety and sleeplessness; other ones include hallucinations, paranoia, aggression and inappropriate sexual behavior.

    Behavioral issues can be some of the most disturbing consequences of Alzheimer's disease, and can cause enormous stress for caregivers. In fact, the survey, "Alzheimer's Caregivers: Behavioral vs. Cognitive Challenges," found that only 14 percent of caregivers feel they are managing the person's behavioral symptoms better than cognitive symptoms.

    While the treatment approach is not one size fits all, health care professionals typically suggest a multi-pronged strategy: environmental changes, such as reducing noise and clutter; behavioral modifications, such as communication techniques, sticking to routines, making sure a person's needs are met, such as using the bathroom and eating; participating in support groups and engaging the person in activities like music and artwork; and medications, either specifically approved for Alzheimer's disease or, albeit controversial, those to treat specific behaviors, such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Above all else, it's vital to take appropriate actions that prevent self-harm or harm to others.

    To deal with suspicion about finances, it helps to understand what might be prompting this behavior. Individuals with Alzheimer's disease often have trouble with complex mental tasks, so suspiciousness about money may stem from an inability to make sense of why they can't understand their finances. Additionally, for many adults, having control over one's finances symbolizes independence. As symptoms chip away at independence, people with Alzheimer's disease may "act out" their feelings of loss. Therefore, it would help to find ways to encourage your loved one to make choices about safer things, such as what foods to eat, what clothing to wear or what activities to participate in.

    A caregiver's attitude and response also go a long way. Try not to take behaviors personally. Since individuals with Alzheimer's disease are often highly attuned to a caregiver's tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, they may mirror back a caregiver's frustration and anxiety in the form of aggressive behaviors. As difficult as it may be, caregivers should attempt to remain calm and supportive. In order to maintain this calm, caregivers should attempt as much as possible to invest in their own self-care.

    Viewer Question 10: Are there tests you can take in the privacy of your home that let you know if you should seek further evaluation by a physician?

    Steinberg: While an increasing number of self-administered memory tests are being marketed to consumers, these are not diagnostic tools and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.

    Individuals who are concerned about their memory or are noticing warning signs should take this up with a health care professional. When you are potentially facing a chronic disease like Alzheimer's, the value of a one-on-one interaction with a qualified health care professional should not be minimized.

    Memory problems can result from multiple causes, some of which can be readily treated and others that might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer's disease. A clinician will perform a full evaluation, which may include a comprehensive medical history, cognitive screen, blood/urine test, and brain scan to determine probable Alzheimer's disease.

    Viewer Question 11: Does Aricept work or is it just a placebo?

    Steinberg: Aricept is not a placebo. It is the brand name for donepezil hydrochloride, one of four medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Aricept belongs to a group of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors, which delay the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger, in the brain. It has been approved for individuals in all stages of Alzheimer's disease, from mild to severe.

    This medication can be used alone or in combination with other drugs, and may help slow the progression of symptoms. Response to the FDA-approved medications for Alzheimer's disease can vary from individual to individual. But as a general rule, the earlier that treatment begins, the more likely the medication will be effective.

    Related Content

    Coping With Alzheimer's: A Mother and Daughter Portrait Of Long-Term Care

    Signs of Alzheimer's Disease: 10 Things You Should Know

    Alzheimer's and the Artist: As the Disease Took Hold of Mary Wyant, Her Paintings Changed

    Looking to the Past in Caring for Aging Americans in the Future

    How Growth of Elderly Population in U.S. Compares With Other Countries

    Americans Seriously Unprepared for Long-Term Care, Study Finds

    Why Long-Term Care for U.S. Seniors Is Headed for 'Crisis'

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  • 06/07/13--08:45: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    Visitors gather on artist Ryoji Ikeda's "Test Pattern," an installation featuring sound and light components, during the VIVID Sydney festival in Australia. Photo by Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images.


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    An inmate on max assault status and 23-hour lock down talks to himself in his cell. Max assault status is issued to inmates who have attacked officers or treatment staff. The inmates have been known to throw a mixture of feces and urine, spit, hit, kick, punch or cut. Photos by Jenn Ackerman.

    What happens to someone suffering from mental illness after they commit a crime? Are they treated for their illness during their incarceration? Is their treatment sufficient or will they be sent back to the streets without the necessary help to prevent future damage?

    With the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and countless others before, the treatment of mental illness has become a highly debated national issue. The conversation has largely been about prevention, treating the mentally ill before they commit a crime. But what happens after the crime is committed? What is the prison system like for the mentally ill and the people responsible for managing them?

    Minneapolis photographer Jenn Ackerman set out to find out the answers to these questions. For her project Trapped, she spent months in the Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit (CPTU) of the Kentucky State Reformatory to learn about the experiences of the mentally ill confined in the prison system.

    According to Ackerman, nearly 25 percent of prisoners in Kentucky suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other equally serious mental health problems. Larry Chandler, the warden at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange told Ackermann, "We are the surrogate mental hospitals now."

    "I saw them cry. I saw them hit themselves so hard in the head that they bled. I saw them throw their feces at the officers. ...For most of these men, they have been outcasts of society and rarely heard. So they had a chance to share their story and have someone listen that actually cared," Ackerman describes in her artist statement.

    Art Beat recently spoke with Ackerman about her experience:

    Art Beat: What sparked your interest in this project?

    Jenn Ackerman: The project really started when I read an article. I don't remember what the article was about honestly, but there was a sentence that mentioned that there was an increase in the mentally ill in prisons, and so of course that led to questions and to weeks of research and then I had to do this project. People need to understand what's going on and people need to see it and feel it. My belief is that when you feel something you can't forget it and so my approach was to make people feel something from these images in order that they can't forget it. So after weeks of research, I put a proposal together and started contacting prisons in the U.S. that were attempting to meet the needs of the mentally ill.

    A man on suicide watch lays without a blanket. "Isolation works in our favor sometimes, but more often than not it works against us," says Dr. Stephanie Roby, psychologist in CPTU.

    Art Beat: What was your experience in the prison? What are you trying to make the viewers feel?

    I felt sorrow, compassion, and that's what I wanted people to feel. It wasn't that I was scared of these men and I didn't want people to walk away scared; I wanted them to walk away saddened by the fact that these men had ended up in prison. It was a really sad experience for me and one where I felt helpless in a way and that emboldened me more. I need to do this even more than I thought originally. I need to help these men, not necessarily the ones in Kentucky, but the people that are ending up in prison with mental illness. I need to help the situation.

    Art Beat: You say in your artist statement that "The system designed for security is now trapped with treating mental illness and the mentally ill are often trapped inside the system with nowhere else to go." What do you mean?

    Jenn Ackerman: At first, I went into the prisons with the intention of showing what the inmates were dealing with and then I realized that it's actually two-sided. The prison system is designed to keep people secure within the boundaries of a prison. They're not designed to be a hospital and they now have to do both, which means they are not doing either really well. They are not getting as much funding as they would need in order to treat these men and they don't have the capacity to do so. They're correctional officers, not nurses; they are not there to treat the inmates, but that's what they are learning. They have to be trained to help treat people with mental illness.

    Correctional officers clean the room of an inmate, searching for possible weapons, after the inmate cut himself with a spork earlier that morning.

    On the other side of the equation, a lot of the men that I met received treatment before they ended up in prison. I would say 97-98 percent had already received treatment, which was not very successful at the time. They would be put into a hospital setting, but at the time they would only be able to stay in a psychiatric treatment facility for 72 hours. With someone with mental illness, that is definitely not enough to maintain their meds and get them stabilized, so they often went back on the streets and got off the meds. Some of these men did some pretty heinous things, but often they were just delinquents. They would steal something at a convenience store and then they would be put into jail overnight and they wouldn't understand what was going on and they would hit an officer and that would get them into the system. Once they get into the prison system, it's really hard for them to get out because a lot of them are not aware of what was going on, they don't understand the rules. A lot of these men were not able to follow the rules of society and now to follow the rules of the prison system is really difficult.

    The men in CPTU are a fading memory for many. The mentally ill often get trapped int he system with nowhere else to go. Here, a man stands in the middle of his room for most of the day staring at the 4 walls surrounding him.

    Art Beat: What about the correctional officers? Can you speak about their experience?

    Jenn Ackerman: It's not an easy job for them. I saw the level of compassion that they needed, the level of trust that they had to have with these men, who are very volatile. They are a very volatile community of inmates and the officers really cared and that really surprised me. The first day that I was there, I saw them do a cell entry, which means they broke down the door, handcuffed an inmate, and strapped him in a chair. I was so taken back and upset by the situation and I was so frustrated with the officers because I was like, "What are you doing? Why are you hurting them?" That afternoon, they explained to me, "Look, Jenn, he was trying to commit suicide. He had been trying to hurt himself all day." I realized at that moment that they have such a tricky position to play because they are not only trying to keep them secure, they are really trying to keep them from hurting themselves. If that means being hit on and spit on, then they are willing to take that. It definitely takes a certain type of individual; not every correctional officer can handle that level of compassion day after day after day. There is a high level of turnover in that unit for that reason alone. It takes a lot of patience and humor to get through that and not every officer comes into a prison expecting to have that kind of job and need those kinds of traits.

    An inmate is cuffed and returned to his cell after acting out earlier that day. A spit mask is used to prevent him from spitting at the doctors and correctional officers. "Our priority is security. That mandates that we have certain security measures that cant be breached. But security can't be a stranglehold on progress," says Larry Chandler, warden of Kentucky State Reformatory.

    Art Beat: How did you gain the access and trust you needed to tell this story?

    Jenn Ackerman: One of the things I really strive for is access and trust in all of my projects, no matter what. I realized that in order for me to be the photographer that I am, I have to have that. That's what I told the warden. He was an amazing component to this. He believed in educating the public and at the time, his prison was really struggling with what to do with this population. When I first approached him, I gave him my spiel and told him I needed that level of access and asked him if he was willing to do that and I just put it out on the table and told him exactly what I needed and what I was planning to do. He believed in the story and he believed that people needed to know about a population that is rarely talked about in prison.

    The officers restrained an inmate after he banged his fist and head on his cell door for six hours and threatening to kill himself.

    The inmates were skeptical of course of someone coming with a camera. But after days of talking to them and explaining my intention and showing them that I was willing to put down my camera and the questions I was asking them -- I wasn't really asking them about their crime and I think that also helped. I didn't really think it was necessary to the story and I think that showed them that I really did care about their condition in prison and their experience of mental illness. That's pretty much all I asked them, "what are you experiencing, do you hear voices, tell me about what goes on through your mind during the day?" Those kinds of questions. I think that helped to reinforce the story that I was really trying to tell and I think over time, everybody within that prison, including the doctors and the correctional officers, knew that this is a story that no one really talked about and they were really willing to talk to me about it.

    To see more of Jenn Ackermann's photographs, view the slideshow below: View Slide Show


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    By Paul Solman

    Photo courtesy of Bloomberg via Getty Images.

    Paul Solman: Robert Lerman is a centrist economist whose first NewsHour appearance in 2011 generated real wrath. Many viewers and the organization Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) objected to his assertion that including Social Security and Medicare as tangible wealth made the U.S. economy look a lot more equal than we, Duke Psychology and Behavioral Economics Professor Dan Ariely and others suggested. You're encouraged to watch the piece and make up your own mind.

    Watch Video

    He later appeared in a story of ours about the seemingly sterling school-to-work program Youthbuild, adding the economist's cold-hearted cost-benefit perspective: "We have not had really serious research that proves that it's highly effective...on balance [it] may not even capture its costs."

    I mention Lerman's edgy appearances to give this post credibility -- meaning, he is anything but a knee-jerk liberal. Yet he is advocating a government school-to-work program, one that he claims to have seen flourish the world over. I'll let him explain it.

    Robert Lerman: My last post for Making Sen$e argued for a way of reducing youth unemployment and underemployment, raising the skills and productivity of American workers, making young people productive earners as they learn, developing genuine mastery in an occupational field and increasing lifetime incomes substantially. In other words, expanding apprenticeship.

    MORE FROM ROBERT LERMAN: Apprenticeship and the Youth Unemployment Crisis

    As a longtime and, as Paul Solman says, cold-hearted cost-benefit economist, I base my argument on the data - the evidence. And in this case, the evidence comes not only from European countries with robust apprenticeship systems, but also from studies of earnings gains for apprentices in the United States. Already, many Americans are using apprenticeships to achieve middle class incomes and too few people and policy makers seem aware of the fact.

    And thus arises the question, and the motivation for this post: can the United States significantly expand apprenticeship training so that it becomes a viable alternative to college and/or the military for large numbers of young people?

    At the moment, we are far behind other countries in offering apprenticeships. The United States is graduating more than 3 million students from high school each year, yet only about 125,000 apprenticeship slots open annually. That's a measly 4 percent, compared to 40 to 80 percent in most other high income countries.

    In other words, at a time when President Obama worries aloud that the United States is falling behind in college graduation rates, neither he nor other leaders point out that we lag woefully behind in generating apprenticeship opportunities, at a rate of somewhere between one-tenth and one-twentieth the opportunities offered by our economic rivals.

    Moreover, Mr. President, if college graduation rates are the key to youth employment, how is it that two of the countries that have most increased their college graduation rates in recent years -- France and Spain -- are experiencing record youth unemployment and underemployment?

    So, given the evidence, why can't we replicate the success of such apprenticeship-oriented countries as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Austria? Many see the barriers as insurmountable.

    1) In America, parents want their kids to go to college, not enroll in some work-based program that yields no college degree

    2) U.S. companies are unwilling to train non-college grads

    3) A sound apprenticeship system requires a major role for unions, but unions make up only 6.6 percent of private sector wage and salary employment (not including the self-employed) and that number is falling

    4) The United States lacks a tradition of apprenticeship.

    At first glance, these arguments sound compelling. But in fact they are just an excuse for inaction. Let's examine them, one excuse at a time.

    1) While most parents may indeed envision college for their children as the sine qua non for gainful employment in 21st century America, high quality apprenticeships are actually oversubscribed here. Top apprenticeships, such as those provided by Germany's Siemens Corporation in North Carolina, are attracting students with A- averages.

    2) U.S. companies already spend tens of billions of dollars on training and more than 20,000 of them offer apprenticeships. Many more could be encouraged to do so if the programs were in place.

    3) While unions play a major role in the German system, they are far less important in Switzerland and England, where apprenticeships play an increasingly important role.

    4) Finally, the loss of an apprenticeship tradition has not stopped England from expanding its program from 50,000 in the early 1990s to more than 500,000 today.

    The simple fact is that the United States has lacked national leadership and funding to expand apprenticeships. The federal and state governments combined spend a measly $25-40 million per year to encourage apprenticeship. That is a trivial amount relative to what even England spends - equivalent, given the relative sizes of our two economies, to $10 billion per year in the United States -- and to what federal and state governments spend on other postsecondary education alternatives (well over $200 billion).

    I'm anything but a romantic, so I understand that making apprenticeship into a mainstream alternative will not be easy; if it were, it would have happened long since. But we can learn a lot from recent developments in England and South Carolina, both of which I've visited recently.

    England is building apprenticeships in 10 occupational clusters, ranging from agriculture and construction to engineering, arts, media and publishing. The government pays training providers for most classroom instruction relating to the apprenticeship, with the highest subsidies going for the youngest apprentices, ages 16-18. This support gives training providers, including colleges similar to U.S. two-year colleges, a strong incentive to market apprenticeships to employers.

    There are not enough jobs for young people: it's a problem the world over. Another problem: the cost of college compared to the job opportunities a degree doesn't guarantee. Apprenticeship can be, and in some countries already is, an obvious alternative. The head of the Rolls Royce apprenticeship program in England told me it is now harder to be accepted into their program than to get into Oxford or Cambridge, and that one of his apprentices is a former first year Oxford student in physics.

    Even the tony BBC is on board. The head of the Westminster-Kingsway apprenticeship program told me how the BBC and the college have jointly developed digital media positions.

    England's top political leadership in all parties embraces the expansion of apprenticeship. During Apprenticeship Week in mid-March, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a strong speech, stating, "There's no better way to back people's aspirations than to invest in apprenticeships, to invest in the skills that can make a difference to your careers."

    Attractive posters plastered on London subway walls show employers proudly announcing, "I hired an apprentice." Some apprenticeships in the UK are not at the high standards of the German and Swiss program. But spurring 100,000 employers to offer apprenticeships is a stirring start. England is now moving to upgrade the quality of many apprenticeships.

    In the United States, South Carolina is leading the way, expanding apprenticeships without sacrificing quality. From a very small base of 90 companies offering apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Carolina initiative increased employer participation six-fold between 2008 and 2012, at a time when jobs were declining rapidly in that state. Apprenticeship Carolina reaches across broad industry sectors, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare and information technology.

    The initiative's small, but the business-savvy group's staff has marketed apprenticeship as a way for businesses to solve human resource problems. A $1,000 state tax credit per apprentice helped the staff get in the door with firms to have serious discussions about training. The result: a jump in apprenticeship slots from under 800 to well over 4,000 in just four years.

    So, what is really holding us back as a country? A lack of leadership, minimal funding and knowledge about apprenticeships all play a role. But grassroots and state efforts, along with the influence of international organizations and even the German Embassy in Washington, are beginning to gain the attention of policymakers. A few members of Congress are developing new bills on apprenticeship.

    To increase the momentum, I incorporated the American Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship (AIIA) with a new website and Facebook page. Although it will take years to expand to a high-quality, large-scale U.S. apprenticeship system, the task is feasible once a national consensus and high level leadership emerge. With the increasing talk of too much college, at too high a cost, for too few jobs, it's high time we invested in a proven alternative.

    For more PBS NewsHour coverage on apprenticeships, watch Margaret Warner's report on how German apprentices contribute to Germany's strong and stable economy.

    Watch Video

    This story was first broadcast Feb. 8, 2012. Watch the video above or read a full transcript of the report.

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @paulsolman


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    By Paul Solman

    Our U-7 index includes everyone in the government's U-3: everyone who said they wanted a job and had looked for one in the past four weeks. It also adds everyone who said they wanted one, hadn't looked in the past four weeks, but had in the past year. (These people are included in the government's most inclusive statistic, U-6). But we also add people who hadn't looked in the past year but still said they wanted a job and would take one. Finally, we add people working part-time, but say they are looking for full-time work, like "consultants" I know, who may have worked only one hour in the week the government survey taker came calling, but are still tallied as officially "employed."

    Well, the stock markets, both at home and abroad, seem to think this morning's jobs numbers are good, very good news. As a headline in London's Financial Times online put it, "Stocks gain on better US jobs data." The copy that followed:

    "Stronger than expected US jobs data have helped lift S&P...The dollar recovered early losses as the outlook for the US economy improves."

    The Wall St. Journal online had a similarly positive spin: Jonathan House and Eric Morath wrote:

    "The latest report showed the labor market maintaining its momentum despite worries about another slowdown as the summer approaches and the effects of government spending cuts start to bite."

    Bloomberg's Lorraine Woellert wrote:

    "The improvement in the labor market is a sign companies are looking beyond fiscal restraint this quarter and are optimistic enough about the prospects for demand in the second half of the year. At the same time, bigger job and wage gains are needed to move Federal Reserve policy makers closer to scaling back record monetary stimulus."

    On Twitter, an economist we much admire, Michigan's Justin Wolfers chirped graphically:

    Graphing payrolls growth over the past year: ▂▁▃▄▃▃▆▅▃█▃▃▄ This month's +175k continues the trend. (Average of +172k over past 12 months.)

    — Justin Wolfers (@justinwolfers) June 7, 2013

    (Pretty cool use of Twitter, BTW.)

    But why is everyone so upbeat? Yes, the survey of "establishments" reported that the economy added a fair number of jobs: 175,000. But downward revisions deducted 12,000 jobs from the previous two months this spring. Moreover, the government's survey of households, during which they ask real people questions about their employment status, reported 100,000 more Americans who hadn't worked even one hour in the past week.

    April's U-7: The Pros and Cons of Being a Jobless Single Dad for 711 Days

    And an additional 300,000 adults said they wanted a job and didn't have one, but they aren't even counted in the labor force because they hadn't looked for work in the past week or more. That total had to be seasonally adjusted to get it down below 7 million, a height it hasn't reached in more than a year. All this means there are a whole heap of "discouraged workers."

    Add in the fact that the number of part-time workers who were looking for full-time employment held steady at nearly 8 million, and you can see why our own all-inclusive reckoning of un- and underemployment, U-7, went up from 16 percent to above 16.1 percent. But hey, the government's own official number (U-3) rose from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent.

    These data tend to support rather gloomier assessments of today's numbers, as offered by Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler:

    Looks like public sector lost 3,000 total jobs in May, but the feds shed 14,000 alone. First sequestration sign I can recall in jobs report.

    — Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) June 7, 2013

    National Journal Hotline's Reid Wilson added:

    Federal workforce (2748k) down to its lowest rate since February 2008 BLS report (2747k)

    — Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) June 7, 2013

    David Wessel, of the Wall Street Journal, had this to say:

    In May 3.15 million in US had been out of work a year or more and were still looking, up 65k from April, down 651k from year ago: BLS.

    — David Wessel (@davidmwessel) June 7, 2013

    And under the headline "U.S. Added 175,000 Jobs in May; Jobless Rate Rises to 7.6%," Catherine Rampell of the New York Times noted:

    "The federal government lost 14,000 jobs in May, and the spending cuts probably also had effects in the private sector, as laid-off or furloughed government workers had less money to spend at their local businesses.

    Most disturbing of all may be the fact that African-American unemployment rose back to 13.5 percent from 13.2 percent and, among teenagers not in school, the rate soared from an already astonishing 40.5 percent to a nearly incomprehensible 42.6 percent, which is far higher than it was a year ago at 36.4 percent. I've written about this grimly on the Making Sen$e Business Desk but -- and I don't mean to take any given month's numbers too seriously -- these data, if real, are truly troubling.

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @paulsolman


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  • 06/07/13--13:09: Will You Work Forever?
  • Watch Video

    Next week, PBS NewsHour will launch an interactive project on the so-called "death of retirement."

    Many of us will continue to work well past the traditional retirement age either because we want to or we need to.

    Throughout the project we profile Americans navigating this new work landscape, including those who thought their work years were well behind them.

    Babs Tatalias retired at age 61.

    But after the stock market crashed in 2008, Tatalias went back to work, starting a new career as a kindergarten teacher without any prior teaching experience.

    Now at 68, Tatalias has no plans to stop working.

    "I remember in the beginning I thought, I don't know if I can do this. Little kids are totally different than anything I'd been used to. In the business world you usually got results immediately when you asked someone to do something." She continues, "Now, I'm totally having fun with it."

    Continue watching these pages for our full report on America's New Old Workforce.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JEFFREY BROWN: Revelations that the government is checking up on phone calls, Web traffic and credit card sales prompted the president to speak out today. He said intelligence officials are trying to keep the country safe from terrorism, and they're doing it under close supervision.

    It's now known the National Security Agency is running three highly classified surveillance programs. The first to be publicized collects phone call data from millions of Verizon, AT&T and Sprint customers.

    Last night, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also confirmed the existence of PRISM, targeting the Internet. It taps into the central servers of nine major U.S. companies, including Google, Apple, Yahoo!, and Facebook, to access e-mails and other files.

    Today, The Wall Street Journal reported the NSA also catalogues credit card transactions.

    Hours later, President Obama defended the NSA's activities at a stop in San Jose, Calif.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That's not what this program's about. They are not looking at people's names, and they're not looking at content.

    But, by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism. Now, with respect to the Internet and e-mails, this doesn't apply to U.S. citizens, and it doesn't apply to people living in the United States.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The programs began in 2006, and the president said they have been monitored by Congress and the courts all along.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Many in Congress support the surveillance, while other lawmakers, along with civil libertarians, have voiced alarm.

    President Obama said, that's all to the good.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: One of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how were we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy? Because there are some tradeoffs involved. And I welcome this debate.

    JEFFREY BROWN: At the same time, the president denounced the leaks that triggered the debate.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that there is a suggestion that somehow any classified program is a -- quote, unquote -- "secret program," which means it's somehow suspicious.

    If every step that we're taking to try to prevent a terrorist act is on the front page of the newspapers or on television, then, presumably, the people who are trying to do us harm are going to be able to get around our preventive measures.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The president said he plans to address the issue further in coming days. 


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    JEFFREY BROWN: And for more on what is known about these programs, we turn to two reporters who've been covering this story, Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal and Charlie Savage of The New York Times.

    So, Charlie, tell us first more about the collection of data on the Internet. What do we know about how extensive it is and how it works?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE, The New York Times: Well, people who pay attention to this world may remember that, in 2008, Congress passed a law called the FISA Amendments Act, which retroactively or going forward legalized a form of the warrantless surveillance that President Bush had been conducting outside of statutory authority.

    And an element of that was that surveillance aims at foreigners overseas didn't need to have individualized warrants, even if that collection was taking place on U.S. soil. You could get a basket surveillance order that would be up -- good for up to a year aimed at, say, surveilling suspected al-Qaida targets in Pakistan.

    And that would include e-mails to and from those people, even if they were communicating with people inside the United States. And so what PRISM seems to be is the manifestation of that program that's called “702 orders” in the world -- this -- this universe, going to Internet companies, at least nine of them, who are participating in the program by, when being presented with these orders and then requests under them, turning over information about e-mails and other electronic traffic that they have about the overseas targets and the people they're communicating with.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Siobhan, we also learned today that the data collection program on the phone calls, which was -- first came out yesterday, goes beyond Verizon.

    SIOBHAN GORMAN, The Wall Street Journal: Yes, we were told that it's the three major carriers, so it's Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Nextel. They all have the same standing orders from the FISA court, the secret surveillance court.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And today you reported on the cataloging of credit card transactions. That was new today. Tell us what you can about that. What do we know?

    SIOBHAN GORMAN: Well, my understanding is that it's -- there have basically been a whole host of transactions that have been swept up in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. And this has been sort of an evolution.

    And so one of the sets of transactions that has been funneled through these databases is credit card transactions. I do want to be careful. What I was told was, it's not clear that there are standing orders for credit card transactions, but there are certainly -- that data has been incorporated into these database -- these database vetting search types of investigations as well, as have lots of different types of information from data brokers, which you can -- one can buy. You can buy it for direct marketing purposes.

    But, in this case, it's just being used to collect as much information as possible to balance it against leads and things like that that intelligence officials pick up in the course of their terrorism investigations.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You're saying, though, that it's not clear whether that program continues, whether that's -- whether that's ongoing.

    SIOBHAN GORMAN: Right.

    I mean, it may be the kind of thing that -- something that they do periodically for different purposes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, Charlie, we heard the president say no one is listening to your calls.

    So, flesh this out a bit. Explain what -- what is going on in the search for data.

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, so he's referring specifically to the first of these now three major intelligence disclosures over the last three days. And that involved the calling log data that Siobhan was just referring to from Sprint and Verizon and AT&T. What this appears to be doing is assembling a giant library of calls made inside the United States and calls made between the United States and abroad, not the content of those calls, but this number called that number at such and such a date from such and such a location.

    And when you have -- but all of them. Ordinary people's calls are being logged in here. But that doesn't mean that what they're saying to people is being eavesdropped upon. It appears that this database is being used so that, when they learn that someone is suspicious, they want to quickly see who that person was talking to and who was talking to those people, without having to go back to the phone companies and present individual orders, and that would slow down the process, and/or maybe the phone companies would have disposed of the data after some time for their own business purposes.

    However, one question that's arisen around this program is whether it's really necessary for the privacy cost that's incurred, especially now that we all know every time you call someone, now there is apparently going to be a permanent record in the government that you did so. Could the government not just take that extra step of getting those subpoenas when they need them about a specific person in the community of interest surrounding them?

    Does this really need to be stored forever for everybody's phone call records? That will be one of the conversations that's unfolding in the days to come.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, what do -- Siobhan, let me start with you on this. What do we know about how the data has been used so far? We have now had several members of Congress, I think, refer to the program actually helping to stop terrorists. Do we know any details? Do we know how all this has been used?

    SIOBHAN GORMAN: Well, yes, lawmakers have said that there was at least one significant terrorist plot that was thwarted several years ago. We have still been waiting to get details, which apparently they're working to try to get declassified, but it sounds like that won't happen today.

    I was told that one of the primary values that intelligence officials see in this program is that it allows you to sort of rule in and rule out different individuals and locations. So, if you get a lead on a particular individual, you can do this so-called link analysis to try to see who they're connected to, and you can see, well, if this -- do they have -- is this an overseas person who has some sort of significant connection in the United States? If so, then what other investigative actions can they take?

    And what officials have taken pains to describe in recent days is that there are very specific standards that the investigators have to adhere to when they were going through this database. One official who I spoke with yesterday said that a fraction of one percent of the data has actually been viewed in the course of these searches.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Charlie, one more in -- just in our last minute here. There's been talk about when this information -- when investigators go to the courts. There's been talk about how much Congress has been notified about these programs. What can you tell us so far?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, what appears to be clear is that a lot of people in Congress knew about this, were well-briefed about it, and that, notwithstanding some voices like Sen. Wyden in particular and Mark Udall, who have been warning about what this section of the Patriot Act that is underlying this phone record collection, they have been raising alarms about that sort of opaquely for years, their colleagues who knew about this thought it was OK, because they kept reauthorizing the law that this is based upon.

    And so President Obama's defense today is, this is not illegal, all three branches of government are on board for it, the courts are overseeing it, Congress authorized it and oversees it, and so therefore there are no rule of law concerns.

    Obviously, civil libertarians might beg to differ on constitutional grounds, but certainly it will be an uphill climb to make that case with three branches of government behind it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: OK, Charlie Savage, Siobhan Gorman, thank you both very much.

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Thank you.

    SIOBHAN GORMAN: Thank you. 


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