Articles on this Page
- 04/08/16--11:27: _How have Chicken Li...
- 04/08/16--14:17: _House Speaker Paul ...
- 04/08/16--15:20: _How robotics helped...
- 04/08/16--15:20: _Justice Dept. gives...
- 04/08/16--15:25: _Brooks and Marcus o...
- 04/08/16--15:30: _Al-Shabaab exploits...
- 04/08/16--15:35: _Violent, overcrowde...
- 04/08/16--15:40: _Will Pope Francis’s...
- 04/08/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Final fu...
- 04/08/16--15:50: _Clinton-Sanders cam...
- 04/09/16--07:26: _WATCH: Jeffrey Brow...
- 04/09/16--08:33: _Kerry meets with le...
- 04/09/16--09:24: _Should people convi...
- 04/09/16--09:56: _From guns to Guanta...
- 04/09/16--11:34: _Wyoming Dems hold c...
- 04/09/16--11:38: _Prosecutors detail ...
- 04/09/16--12:34: _Belgium officials s...
- 04/09/16--13:03: _Thousands of protes...
- 04/09/16--13:19: _Kerry visits Kabul ...
- 04/09/16--13:22: _Has Trump’s campaig...
- 04/08/16--14:17: House Speaker Paul Ryan gets Republican challenger
- 04/08/16--15:20: How robotics helped a paralyzed man cross the finish line
- 04/08/16--15:20: Justice Dept. gives Congress documents on Fast and Furious
- 04/08/16--15:30: Al-Shabaab exploits Kenya’s divisions to wage war
- 04/08/16--15:35: Violent, overcrowded Alabama prisons hit a breaking point
- 04/08/16--15:40: Will Pope Francis’s manifesto on family bring change to the church?
- 04/08/16--15:45: News Wrap: Final fugitive from Paris attacks arrested in Brussels
- 04/08/16--15:50: Clinton-Sanders campaign combat cools off
- 04/09/16--09:56: From guns to Guantanamo, how Garland might rule on SCOTUS cases
- 04/09/16--11:34: Wyoming Dems hold caucuses as Cruz pulls delegates in Colorado
- 04/09/16--11:38: Prosecutors detail sex abuse allegations against Dennis Hastert
- 04/09/16--12:34: Belgium officials say ‘man in the hat’ found, charged in attacks
- 04/09/16--13:19: Kerry visits Kabul in effort to ease political tensions
- 04/09/16--13:22: Has Trump’s campaign hit a wall after loss in Wisconsin?
One year ago on April 1, 2015, in my persona as “Chicken Little,” I revealed my investment positions. As shown in the graph below, one year ago I was primarily invested in U.S. Treasurys and had 30 percent in cash. This investment position reflected my macroeconomic view that “the sky is falling.” And in case you’re wondering — yes, all of my Chicken Little articles include my real investment positions. People often ask for my investment advice; I respond by showing them my actual investments.
In this article we look back on 12 months of Chicken Little’s performance. For investors, we highlight aspects that remain the same and then note what has changed. We end with Chicken Little’s advice and a look at where Chicken Little is invested today (spoiler alert: still cowering in fear).
Chicken Little’s one-year performance
Over the last year, Chicken Little earned 1.3 percent. Is this good or bad? At first look, it seems pretty bad. It is very close to zero. Furthermore, consider that pension funds and endowments assume they will earn more than 7 percent a year. By these measures, 1.3 percent is pretty dismal.
However, if we look at investment possibilities over the last year, the 1.3 percent gain may look better. Let us look at stocks, Treasury bonds and gold.
When we started, on March 31, 2015, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,766. One year later, on March 31, 2016, the Dow was 83 points lower at 17,693. With dividends, the total return on the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.89 percent.
Looking more broadly, stocks outside the U.S. had a bad 12 months. Emerging market stocks lost 12.63 percent while international stocks in places such as Europe and Japan lost 8.40 percent. So investors in U.S. stocks made a little bit of money, while those who invested outside the U.S. had moderate-sized losses.
The best place to have been invested in the last year was the “safe-haven” assets of gold and long-term Treasury bonds. Both safe havens had relatively modest returns in absolute terms, but did well relative to stocks.
The last year has been a pretty challenging one for investors. The average stock in the world lost money, the best return among the choices above was gold and long-term U.S. Treasury bonds.
If we had a time machine and could go back to March 31, 2015, where would we invest? The highest return would have been to put all of one’s money into gold. However, that would have been very risky. Another reasonable alternative would have been to partially sit out the year by holding a lot of cash. From this perspective, Chicken Little’s decision to buy Treasurys and hold a lot of cash looks pretty good.
There is, however, no chicken victory dance going on, because one year is a very short period of time for investing. A good performance can become disastrous in a few days with turbulent markets. So Chicken Little’s preliminary self-grade is an A* — an A for avoiding money-losing, foreign stocks and picking among the best investment choices. An asterisk to note that we are not even in the first inning. As an investor, humiliation is never far away.
2016 looks like 2015 in many ways
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” as the French saying goes.
We continue a grand Keynesian experiment. The cure to problems caused by loose money and too much debt is, according to current policy, looser money and more debt. Governments around the world continue to print money and spend with reckless abandon.
Loose money means low interest rates and the purchase of assets through newly created money (also known as quantitative easing). The massive monetary experiment is truly hard to fathom. Table 2 summarizes current monetary policy around the world by way of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan.
The Bank of Japan is pursuing the most aggressive quantitative easing program in the world. Newly created yen equate to one-sixth of the size of Japan’s economy each year. In January of 2015, Japan moved to negative interest rates. On both measures, Japanese monetary policy is the loosest it has been in its history.
But the loosest monetary policy award may go to the European Central Bank. European interest rates are even more negative than those in Japan. In addition, the European Central Bank recently expanded its money creation to nearly 1 trillion euros per year — the greatest rate of money creation by the European Central Bank in its history.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is also pursuing a super loose monetary policy. Short-term interest rates are fractionally above the lowest rates in U.S. history. After creating $4 trillion dollars of new money in recent years, the Fed has paused its quantitative easing program.
For investors and savers, the Keynesian experiment means low interest rates. If you’re prudent enough to be a saver, you have been placed in a terrible position by low interest rates. Senior citizens, in particular, face two unattractive alternatives:
Senior citizen alternative #1: Invest in Treasurys, and eat cat food.
Senior citizen alternative #2: Gamble. Eat caviar until the bust, then eat at the soup kitchen.
More generally, the grand Keynesian experiment has led to tepid economic growth while creating daunting instabilities. Just this week, International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde warned once again that global growth is stalling.
In summary, global macroeconomic policies are unchanged from a year ago: We continue to experiment with the world economy by attempting to print and spend our way to prosperity.
What is new for investors?
1. The bull market in U.S. stocks might be over
It is said that no one rings a bell at the end of a bull market. However, the one sure sign of the end of a bull market is a failure to make new highs. The U.S. stock market peaked in May 2015 and has not made a new high in more than 10 months. This is the longest period without a new high since this bull market began in March 2009.
In April 2015, Chicken Little showed a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and wrote, “This is a bull market in U.S. stocks.” A year later, the odds that we are already in a stock market decline are much higher than they were.
2. The nightmare of low interest rates has reached absurd levels.
Many government bonds around the world now pay negative interest rates. A negative interest rate means that you are guaranteed to lose money. Looking back just five years, the picture was much different. Interest rates in many places are now the lowest in history. Some pundits label low rates as “financial repression.” If you are a saver, you can choose your own word: unfair, obscene, depressing, horrible, ________?
Chicken Little’s current investment advice for readers
I believe that most people have too much invested in risky assets. By this, I mean the horror of trying to live on the low interest rates on safe assets has pushed people to take too much financial risk.
How do you know if you are taking too much risk? The simple approach is to recall how you felt with the roughly 10 percent declines in the U.S. stock market in August 2015 and from January to February 2016.
If a 10 percent decline in stocks causes you stress, then you probably have too much risk in your portfolio. In the last century, there have been four periods where stocks lost 50 percent or more of their value. The 1910’s saw massive inflation after World War I. Stocks lost 90 percent of their value in the Depression. Stocks also lost more than half their value in the inflationary 1970s. Finally, stocks lost half their value in the 2007 to 2009 declines.
I suggest that people scale back on their risky investments by a modest amount. For example, an investor could sell 10 percent of her or his stock position. Such a move would have little impact on wealth, but may allow for larger changes in the future. In particular, if the Dow Jones Industrial Average makes a new low below 15,000, Chicken Little will advise more sales.
Chicken Little’s current investments
Chicken Little remains invested for a deflationary depression. As shown below, this means a heavy dose of Treasury bonds and a substantial cash position. What about stocks? Chicken Little does not have a single penny invested in stocks and will, in fact, make a little bit of money if stocks around the world decline. (Chicken Little is “short” stocks, which is a position that makes money if stocks go down.)
As compared with the positioning a year ago, Chicken Little is even more pessimistically invested. Chicken Little became more optimistic about gold prices two months ago. The short position in stocks is larger, and there are more long-term Treasury bonds in the portfolio.
A few last thoughts from Chicken Little
The grand Keynesian experiment will end in ruin.
Furthermore, when markets move, they will move too fast for most people to react. To avoid being frozen in panic when the decline comes, I believe people would do well to reduce financial risk now.
The first year of the Chicken Little portfolio was successful primarily in avoiding losing money in global stocks and for picking a safe asset that rose in value. I expect future stock market moves to be much more extreme than they have been in the past 12 months.
You can compete or follow along with Chicken Little in the Chicken Little 2016 fantasy stock contest.
The post How have Chicken Little’s investments fared in this rough year for stocks? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
MADISON, Wis. — House Speaker Paul Ryan is being challenged in the Republican primary by a Wisconsin businessman who says he once volunteered for the congressman but now feels betrayed.
Paul Nehlen, of Delavan, Wisconsin, launched his underdog campaign last week. Nehlen says Ryan is an “establishment politician” who supports out-of-control spending and “dangerous immigration policies.”
Ryan’s campaign spokesman Zack Roday declined comment.
Nehlen will face Ryan in the Aug. 9 primary.
Ryan was first elected to the House representing southern Wisconsin’s 1st District in 1998. He was chosen as House speaker in October, after John Boehner stepped down.
Nehlen is senior vice president of operations for the water filtration company Neptune Benson. He also owns the business consulting firm Blue Skies Global.
The post House Speaker Paul Ryan gets Republican challenger appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally to our NewsHour Shares, something that caught our eye that we thought might be of interest to you too.
Ten years ago, a car accident severed Adam Gorlitsky’s spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. But that didn’t stop the former high school cross-country and track runner from finishing a 10K race last weekend, thanks, in part, to a special robotic suit.
Step by step, and mile by mile, 29-year-old Adam Gorlitsky walked the entire length of the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday.
ADAM GORLITSKY: I’m feeling good. I’m feeling very good, very confident.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Gorlitsky used a robotic exoskeleton machine to accomplish the feat. He received the system in December and has trained two to three hours a day with it ever since to prepare for the race.
ADAM GORLITSKY: Not only are you walking, but you’re walking in the Cooper River Bridge Run. Come on.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Friends and family walked beside Gorlitsky on race day as he battled hills, high winds and physical pain along the way.
ADAM GORLITSKY: My wrists, man, my wrists feel like they’re about to snap in half.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And seven hours after his journey began, the man who was once told he’d never walk again finally crossed the finish line.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ADAM GORLITSKY: It feels really good. It feels really good. I’m speechless, man. I really am.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What an inspiration.
The post How robotics helped a paralyzed man cross the finish line appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Friday that it had given to Congress additional documents related to the botched gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious.
The Obama administration had for the last four years refused to provide the records to House Republicans, invoking a claim of executive privilege.
But a federal judge in January turned aside that argument, saying a blanket assertion of executive privilege was inappropriate since the Justice Department had already disclosed through other channels much of the information it had sought to withhold.
In a letter Friday, the Justice Department said it was moving to end the legal dispute with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by providing the documents even though it continued to disagree with the order from Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
“In addition, in light of the passage of time and other considerations, such as the department’s interest in moving past this litigation and building upon our cooperative relationship with the committee and other congressional committees, the department has decided that it is not in the executive branch’s interest to continue litigating this issue at this time,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs, wrote in a letter to committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican.
House Republicans sued in 2012 to obtain thousands of emails related to the failed effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to track guns across the Southwest border. Under that operation, ATF allowed gunrunners to buy weapons in hopes of tracking them and disrupting Mexican gun-smuggling rings.
Revelations of the operation created a political firestorm and set off a documents dispute between then-Attorney General Eric Holder and Congress that resulted in Holder being held in contempt of Congress.
The Justice Department had already produced tens of thousands of pages of documents, but Congress continued to seek records that the department argued it was entitled to withhold.
The department said that, in producing the documents Friday, it had completed its obligations under the court order.
Chaffetz said in a statement that while the department had turned over “some of the subpoenaed documents,” the committee remains entitled to “the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit.” He said the committee was appealing in hopes of getting additional documents.
The post Justice Dept. gives Congress documents on Fast and Furious appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the week’s political news: the renewed war of words between the two Democratic candidates for president, a former president’s skirmish with protesters, and how Wisconsin has altered the race for the Republican nomination.
We get analysis now from Brooks and Marcus. That’s New York Times columnist David Brooks, joining us from New York, and here on set, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus. Mark Shields is away this week.
And we welcome both of you.
So, let’s talk about this war of words that’s been going on the last few days between the two Democrats.
David, it’s gotten — the language has gotten tougher. It’s gotten more personal. What do you make of this?
DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: They’re like 1/100th of the Republican level so far.
DAVID BROOKS: I think that I’m most amazed that Bernie Sanders wasn’t here months ago, frankly.
You know, he made a decision early on, I think the wrong decision, to take the e-mail issue off the table and take a bunch of issues off the table and not go after Hillary Clinton. And so he really wasn’t as tough on her as he could be.
Now he’s going after her, to me, on the least promising possible grounds, that she’s unqualified. Whatever else Hillary Clinton may be, unqualified, at least by any conventional measure, is not one of them. And so I’m a little mystified.
I do not think it will hurt the Democratic Party. I think, if you look at the polling numbers, people — most — the vast majority people on both — who support either candidate would be happy with the other. And so I think you will still get a reasonably united Democratic Party.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ruth, what do you make of this, and why do you think it’s happening now?
RUTH MARCUS, The Washington Post: So, it’s happening now because this is the stage in every protracted primary campaign where candidates are tired, nerves are frayed. Everybody kind of wants it to be over and wants the other guy to go away, or woman to go away, and to win finally.
And so these — this is the moment when these things tend to happen. And they always tend — David is right that this is really rather tame compared to what happened on the Republican side.
I mean, on the Republican side this week, you had Donald Trump accusing his main rival of having committed a federal felony by coordinating with his super PAC. So, this is pretty mild.
These things also always look worse at the time than they do in retrospect. If you look back at some of the words that occurred between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008, there was a lot of angst at the time about how Hillary Clinton’s supporters would never, ever be willing to vote for Barack Obama after what had happened to her.
Back in June of 2008, only 60 percent of them said they would vote for Obama. Well, guess what? They did. He’s president. So, this is going to — we had ramp-up Thursday yesterday. Today was kind of tamp-it-down Friday.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Calm-down Friday.
But, David, you don’t see this having an effect in the fall, that this could come back to bite whoever the Democratic nominee is? We assume it’s Hillary Clinton, but we don’t know for sure.
DAVID BROOKS: Right.
Yes, no, I really don’t think — I think, first of all, as Ruth said, wounds get healed, especially around convention time. Everybody has a party. They feel good against each other — with each other.
And then, you know, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump or somebody like that is sitting out there, a very good unifying device for Democrats.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ruth, what about this exchange between Bill Clinton yesterday and these Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia? They brought up the crime bill, criticizing him, criticizing Secretary Clinton, his wife, for being his wife, for supporting him at the time.
Now she’s saying this is something she would change. But is this something that has traction, do you think?
RUTH MARCUS: Well, there’s a few different risks embedded in there.
One is the sort of continuing role of Bill Clinton, who is simultaneously her most powerful surrogate in chief and also Hillary Clinton’s most dangerous surrogate in chief. So, when he tends to have that finger-jabbing red-in-the-face moment, it can be a dangerous moment for Hillary Clinton.
In terms of Black Lives Matter, again, it sort of depends on the context. Compared to what? The Black Lives Matter protesters have an issue with Bill Clinton and to some extent Hillary Clinton and criminal justice reform and the 1994 crime bill. But guess what? They have the same issue with Bernie Sanders. And guess what? They’re going to have a bigger issue even in this general election with a Ted Cruz or a Donald Trump.
So, it’s an irritant, but it’s an irritant — and I don’t mean to dismiss it, but it’s an issue that Hillary Clinton has tried on the campaign trail to defuse by saying she’s sorry for mentioning super predator and she is sorry, and she regrets a piece of the 1994 crime bill went too far.
So, to me, this is another one of those things that looks like a bigger deal this week than it’s going to look in a few months.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David, what do you think?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think there are a couple true facts, most of which were uttered by Bill Clinton.
The one that wasn’t was that the crime bill, the Clinton crime bill, didn’t have a huge measurable effect on crime or incarceration rates particularly. It was — some pieces of legislation don’t have much effect. And that was one of them.
The second thing to be said is that there are such a thing super predators. And Clinton sort of made that point, that some people are really doing harm to their neighborhoods. And the third thing to be said is, we have too much incarceration in this country.
And so any honest appreciation of this issue contains two opposite facts. One is that there is a crime problem, and that has to be cracked down on, and second that there is racism within the enforcement community, and that there is overincarceration.
And I think Clinton — the Clintons sort of stand for those two ends of the spectrum here. And that’s probably what most voters recognize, that we have to be tough on crime, and, as Tony Blair said, tough on racism or tough on the causes of crime.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But to wrap up the Democrats, Ruth, looking like what in New York, which is coming up in another week-and-a-half, the New York primary?
RUTH MARCUS: Well, Bernie Sanders is a natural-born New Yorker, to use a constitutional phrase. Hillary Clinton is an adopted New Yorker.
But she is in a much stronger position. This is a state that she’s won, as she likes to point out, three times, in two Senate races and in a presidential primary previously. And so she is in a quite good position with New York. He’s in a less good position.
I have to say, as for New York, I can’t let the week go without mentioning that what a great week in American politics, when Ted Cruz is going to the matzah factory, to the matzah factory, and Bernie Sanders is going to go to the Vatican next week. So, how great is American politics?
JUDY WOODRUFF: He just revealed that, revealed that today.
RUTH MARCUS: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we’re going to get to the Republicans in a minute.
But, David, anything to add on the Democrats in New York? What do you see with the two New Yorkers confronting each other, one adopted and one home-born?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, if Hillary lost here, it would be — that would be bad.
I think that, if she lost here, if she lost in California, that would be bad. Otherwise, she’s still basically got the math on her side and she’s rolling along.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, David, let’s turn to the Republicans.
Donald Trump took quite a drubbing in Wisconsin this week. Ted Cruz picked up almost all the delegates, I guess, in Wisconsin, and he just keeps picking up a delegate here and a delegate there. How much less inevitable is Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, or is he?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, in the corridors of cognoscenti, if any of us are to be believed, there’s been like a 180 in the conventional wisdom.
A couple weeks ago, it was, Trump is inevitable. He’s rolling through everything. Now it’s, Cruz is inevitable. There’s just a lot of chattering that suddenly it’s going to be Ted Cruz. And the basic argument is that Trump will not get a first-ballot majority at the convention. And the sorts of people who are delegates to a Republican Convention are the sorts of people who like Ted Cruz, and that given the chance on a second or third ballot, they would love to dump Trump and go to Cruz.
Magnifying the fact is events like has been happening or is about to happen tomorrow in Colorado, where the actual delegate selection process is something the Trump campaign is fumbling horrifically, and the Cruz campaign is pretty good at.
And so as we focus on the delegates, and less the raw vote totals, Ted Cruz is looking pretty. So, I don’t know — I think it’s a little overstated, because I think Cruz is about to suffer some really bad defeats. I think he is going to look a lot worse off after the Trump-Cruz civil war goes on for another couple months, but, right now, the glow of inevitability has suddenly shifted over to Ted Cruz.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you see the glow the same way David is describing it?
RUTH MARCUS: I think to use the word inevitable about the Republican race in 2016 is going to be all kind of constantly wrong.
But it’s just undeniable that Donald Trump had a very bad night in Wisconsin and a very bad couple weeks leading up to that. And those both affect this aura of — this shift in the aura of inevitability, because what we have seen with Donald Trump is underperforming, underperforming on an electoral level, right?
He won New Hampshire with 35 percent of the vote, but he lost Wisconsin with 35 percent of the vote. He is not — as the field has winnowed, he is not increasing his vote total. Probably more significant is something that David alluded to, is that he is not doing well in this tension between being possible President Trump and being real Donald Trump.
He’s not doing well alleviating the tension between professionalizing his campaign, which he’s trying to do with bringing in Paul Manafort to do his delegate selection and convention, and ad-libbing his campaign, which is what he is wont to do. And ad-libbing his way through editorial board interviews and different discussions of abortion has not served him well over the last few weeks.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, he’s been off the trail.
We haven’t really seen Donald Trump for day or so, other than that tweet today about tending to his business, David. But is there room for Donald Trump to come back and be this term we keep hearing him say, his wife wants him to be more presidential, and to get his act together when it comes to building up his delegate lead?
DAVID BROOKS: You know what? I think a lot of wives have imagined wishes for their husband’s change in behavior, but they rarely come about, certainly not in the case of Donald Trump.
DAVID BROOKS: You know, I do not think he’s going to be more presidential. He is an aggressor. He’s an attacker.
He’s been doing that since 1990, or since anybody ever heard of Donald Trump. And so he is the same thing. He’s just not that substantive. I think some of the organizational problems with the campaign could be fixed. If you look at what’s happening in Colorado, you know, people show up at the congressional districts’ delegate committee hearings, and the Trump campaign hands them who to vote for.
But the people on the list that they’re handed who to vote for don’t match the people actually on the ballot. That’s just a basic organizational incompetence.
I do think, however, he’s going to have a bunch of rebound and he’s going to look a lot better as we head to the Northeast. Ted Cruz is just not a Northeast/Mid-Atlantic candidate. And so the vibe around Trump, as he starts racking up some big wins, will probably change.
Right now, he’s probably at a little nadir, but it is significant that a big nadir could come in Cleveland. It could all come down to that first or second ballot, or the negotiations up to that first or second ballot. And there is a much higher likelihood than there was a couple weeks ago that he won’t get there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, of course, Trump’s people are saying that’s not the case. His delegate man came out today and said, we’re going to have it.
RUTH MARCUS: Right. They have got it locked. It’s inevitable.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But they are also hanging this phrase that Ted Cruz used back in a debate in January critical of New York values around his neck, making it a little bit harder for Mr. Cruz.
RUTH MARCUS: What a surprise that they would dredge up that phrase.
It was — New York was going to be hard, as David mentioned, for Ted Cruz. It’s not his natural territory. The Northeast is not his natural territory. Even if he hadn’t derided New York values, that was going to be difficult for him.
And so that leads to the situation we’re going to see Trump in going forward, which is, things are going to look better. He’s going to rack up these wins. But, at the same time, there is this subterranean war for delegates going on that he needs to really improve his performance on to not have more of this kind of Colorado debacle that we’re seeing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re watching it, both terraneanly and subterraneanly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ruth Marcus and David Brooks, have a great weekend. Thank you both.
The post Brooks and Marcus on Democrats’ clash over qualifications, GOP nominee questions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, tonight we begin a series, Inside Kenya.
The East African nation is the United States’ primary ally in the region, and in the fight against the deadly terror group Al-Shabaab, based in Somalia. Al-Shabaab attacks government and military institutions in Somalia, but it has also launched major attacks in neighboring Kenya.
Special correspondent Nick Schifrin and producer Zach Fannin traveled extensively throughout Northeastern Kenya, along the Somali border.
Tonight, with the help of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, we start our series with a look at how Al-Shabaab is targeting Kenya, and how Kenya is fighting back.
And a warning: The story contains images some viewers may find disturbing.
NICK SCHIFRIN: On Kenya’s front line against Al-Shabaab, police on patrol are armed like soldiers. They search traditional straw houses, checking I.D.s at the barrel of a gun.
JULIUS KIRAGU, Kenyan Army (through interpreter): The main threat here is the Al-Shabaab. That is terrorism, because they are associated with al-Qaida, and you know what al-Qaidas are.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Officer Julius Kiragu heads Kenya’s administrative police in Wajir, only 70 miles from the Somali border. Every night, they search for smuggled weapons and hiding fighters.
JULIUS KIRAGU: They pretend they are selling milk and all these things, but they are waiting for the appropriate time to strike.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Most of his officers are ethnic Somali, like the majority of the local population. Some officers wear civilian clothing and ride around in unmarked cars. They work with local tribal chiefs, like Zein Abdulla.
What kinds of weapons have you found here?
ZEIN ABDULLA, Tribal Chief: There were guns. There were grenades. There were ammunitions and such things.
NICK SCHIFRIN: So, Shabaab has supporters even here?
ZEIN ABDULLA: So, they have representatives at least in every district.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Al-Shabaab has waged a decade-long war in Somalia. In 2011, Kenya invaded Somalia, in a campaign called Protect the Country.
Emmanuel Chirchir was the face of the campaign in Somalia, and on Twitter.
EMMANUEL CHIRCHIR, Kenya Army: This gives an opportunity to tell the rest of the world what is true and what is happening in the battle space.
NICK SCHIFRIN: At first, Kenyan and other African troops pushed Shabaab out of its strongholds, and raised the Somali flag. But after an operational pause, Shabaab is strengthening.
In January, Shabaab fighters took over a Kenyan base. It was Kenya’s worst ever military disaster. More than 100 soldiers died, including Chirchir’s brother.
EMMANUEL CHIRCHIR: My brother died immediately, instantly. This is what he loved most. I am happy that he actually died doing what he loved most.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Twenty-nine-year-old Dan Chirchir had only been in Somalia for three weeks. His funeral, with full military honors, was held at the family’s estate in Western Kenya.
The explosion that killed him was unprecedented. Al-Shabaab got inside the El Adde base to detonate a car bomb, or VBIED.
EMMANUEL CHIRCHIR: The penetration of that VBIED changed the game.
NICK SCHIFRIN: What can you tell me about the El Adde attack?
MAN (through interpreter): The attack was carried out by one of our brigades. They were trained commandos.
NICK SCHIFRIN: This 40-year-old Somali says he’s a member of Al-Shabaab. He says the El Adde attack took eight months to plan. He threatened to kill me if we didn’t keep him anonymous.
What’s the main motivation for you and your men to have joined Al-Shabaab?
MAN (through interpreter): I joined thee group to get a job. Somalia is a place where there is no government and no work.
NICK SCHIFRIN: What is the main goal for you and your men in al-Shabaab?
MAN (through interpreter): We want to have an Islamic State in Somalia, where Sharia law is practiced.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Why you have launched attacks inside Kenya?
MAN (through interpreter): Kenya has invaded our land.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Shabaab claims to be fighting for Kenyan Muslims. It recruits Kenyans to carry out attacks in Kenya. The worst in 20 years was on Garissa University.
How bad was the scene here when you arrived?
HAMO MOHAMED, Garissa University: It was terrible.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Hamo Mohamed is Garissa’s dean of students. This classroom is still scarred from last year’s attack. Shabaab murdered 19 students in this room for singing Christian prayers.
HAMO MOHAMED: Bodies of the students that you know them by names, the young, aspiring, and you’re seeing their body lying down, you know, their blood all over.
SOFIE GATRIWIRI, Student: They came when I was here, and then I would be no more too. So I’m just lucky.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Sofie Gatriwiri is a junior.
SOFIE GATRIWIRI: I’m going to finish my education and get a better job.
NICK SCHIFRIN: She was a member of the Christian prayer group that was attacked.
How many friends did you lose?
SOFIE GATRIWIRI: I lost like 15. I don’t like this discussing that story about those people, those students who passed. I don’t like at all.
NICK SCHIFRIN: The gunmen lured the students down into this courtyard, right?
That courtyard is in Garissa’s largest dorm, with students’ rooms upstairs. This was the gunmen’s final stop.
HAMO MOHAMED: It was ugly, what had happened here. And you see, you could find the bodies. You know what the manner, the way they arranged, they put them so close.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Side by side.
HAMO MOHAMED: Yes, side by side, so that they were just lying all over.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Shabaab gunmen locked the doors and killed everyone. This photo was taken a few hours later and posted online.
This is the same spot today; 120 bodies filled this atrium. The gunmen had gone from bedroom to bedroom, claiming they just wanted to talk to the students. So, many students willingly came down here. But when they were all lined up, they were all shot in the head, execution-style.
Today, police patrol the campus. Kenya says the school represents resistance to terror. But, for this community, it’s a reminder of decades of neglect.
HAMO MOHAMED: Fifty years of independence, and yet you don’t have even a single university in the whole of the northern region, Northern Kenya. That’s marginalization.
NICK SCHIFRIN: When Kenya became independent in 1963, the Northern Frontier District covered nearly half the country’s land mass. But it had no higher education.
Today, Garissa is the region’s only university. And for 50 years, northeastern cities and the ethnic Somali residents have received barely any development funds from the central government.
Has Wajir and the northeastern region been neglected?
HASHIM ELMOGE, Community Organizer: Yes. It was terribly neglected. For 50 years since independence, we never knew roads. We never had good health facilities. We have no good education. We’re still drinking from dried-up wells.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Hashim Elmoge is a former police officer turned community organizer.
Today, roads are being built, and local governance established. But this is the first new road in Wajir in half-a-century. That neglect becomes toxic, when combined with accusations that security services abuse ethnic Somalis.
Were you proud of your son?
ADOW ABDULLAHI (through interpreter): I loved him so much.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Adow Abdullahi’s son was picked up by police and disappeared. And then Abdullahi got a call from a town 40 miles away. Local media covered how his son’s body had been found in a river.
Was your son’s body tortured?
ADOW ABDULLAHI (through interpreter): He was strangled. He had marks on his genitals. He was tortured. He had marks.
NICK SCHIFRIN: How shocked were you when you saw your son’s body?
ADOW ABDULLAHI (through interpreter): I am a Muslim. I have faith in God. What a father could feel is what I felt.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Can you point where they hit you?
OMAR FAISAL BASHIR (through interpreter): They hit me here, all the way up, and also below here.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Omar Bashir is 19 years old. He says security services stopped him on the street, took him away, and tortured him for four days.
Do you feel pain?
OMAR FAISAL BASHIR (through interpreter): Yes.
NICK SCHIFRIN: What was your son like before this happened
MASHIR ULMAK, Omar’s Father (through interpreter): He was sharp. He was healthy and he went to school.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Mashir Ulmak is Bashir’s father. He is worried about his son. These days, Bashir skips school and is depressed.
Does the government single out Somali Kenyans?
MASHIR ULMAK (through interpreter): They single out ethnic Somalis. They are not doing this to other communities in Kenya.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And when a community feels like prey, they want to become the hunter.
OMAR FAISAL BASHIR (through interpreter): I know what I have gone through. I was innocent. I will treat people the same way I was treated.
HASHIM ELMOGE: Because of the seething discontent, Kenyan ethnic Somalis are feeling that Kenya is not their home. So, some are joining terrorist organizations in Somalia.
NICK SCHIFRIN: The police deny wrongdoing. They say everything they do is to fight Al-Shabaab.
JULIUS KIRAGU: The people, they may not like the operation, but we have to do it.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Why did you have to do those operations.
JULIUS KIRAGU: The operations?
NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes.
JULIUS KIRAGU: Wipe out the criminals. These are the Al-Shabaab.
NICK SCHIFRIN: The relationship between national security services and local ethnic Somalis has always been strained. Today, human rights activists say it’s close to breaking.
HASHIM ELMOGE: The war against terror is valid. It is legitimate. As Muslims, and as ethnic Somalis, we support it. Overwhelmingly. That said, our government is using terror to suppress terror. And the people are more angry. And that is why Al-Shabaab is tapping into that anger, to radicalize and use bitter young men against our security agents.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Until Kenya stops breeding its own enemies, the country will remain divided, and Al-Shabaab will continue to exploit those divisions to wage war.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin in Garissa, Kenya.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Our reporting from Kenya continues on Saturday, when the “NewsHour Weekend” looks at why young men join Al-Shabaab and the efforts by some to get them out.
Then on Monday, we examine the epidemic of corruption in Kenya and the people fighting back.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: Alabama’s prison system at a breaking point.
The state currently packs more than 24,000 inmates into a system designed to house about half that number.
Jeffrey Brown looks inside the most overcrowded prison system in the nation. It’s part of our ongoing series Broken Justice about new approaches to criminal justice.
JEFFREY BROWN: The William C. Holman maximum security prison in Atmore, Alabama loud, crowded, and, when we visited just weeks after a riot broke out here, still in partial lockdown.
On March 11, with just 17 guards overseeing more than 900 prisoners, a fight broke out between two inmates. An officer trying to break it up was stabbed, as was the warden. Video uploaded to Facebook by an inmate using a smuggled cell phone captured some of the mayhem.
And it took the prison’s rapid response emergency squads to reestablish order. It was a shocking that unfolded here at Holman Correctional Facility on March 11 were, but perhaps more shocking is that no one we have spoken to is surprised that something like this could have happened.
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY (R), Alabama: Unfortunately, I think things like that will continue. That’s why I think it’s essential that we solve this problem, that we solve it once and for all.
JEFFREY BROWN: We joined Alabama Governor Robert Bentley as he toured Julia Tutwiler Prison, a maximum security facility for women outside Montgomery.
The U.S. Department of Justice sued Tutwiler in 2014, citing corruption, sexual assault and harassment of inmates by staff, just one of a number of lawsuits accusing the Alabama Corrections System of violating inmates’ rights.
The violence, the overcrowding and the federal measures have pushed the solidly Republican state government into action, a penal reform bill passed last year by an overwhelming majority in the Republican-controlled legislature, and signed into law by the Republican governor.
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY: I know, in Alabama, just like in a lot of states, it was a three strikes and you’re out type thing. And so our prison population has just dramatically increased over the last 20 years. So, we need to look at that. We need to look at a different approach. And that’s what we’re doing in the state with our prison reform bill.
JEFFREY BROWN: Republican State Senator Cam Ward spearheaded the legislative effort.
CAM WARD (R), Alabama State Senator: It took many years to get into this mess; it’s going to take as many years to get out. We campaigned and politicized it so much, that it was easy to get votes by saying, I’m going to be tough on crime.
It’s a lot harder to say, I’m going to maintain a healthy constitutional system. It doesn’t quite fit on the bumper sticker the same way that the first slogan did.
JEFFREY BROWN: Among other things, the new law, which just went into effect in January, creates a new class of felonies for low-level drug and property crimes that keeps offenders out of state prisons.
Alabama was the only state that considered all forms of property theft violent crimes. It’s now reclassified third-degree burglary as a nonviolent crime. The law requires the hiring of 100 additional probation and parole officers. It mandates that parole boards create standardized guidelines statewide, give reasons why inmates are denied parole, and reduces punishments for minor parole violations.
For the first time, the new law uses risk assessment to focus resources on those who most need them, and funds drug treatment and mental health programs for those released under correctional supervision.
CAM WARD: Ninety-eight percent of everybody who’s an inmate in a prison today in the United States eventually gets released. However, what we’re not doing is putting the adequate resources there to monitor them when they’re on their parole, making sure they’re complying with all the stuff they’re supposed to be complying with.
We didn’t do that. This legislation did.
JEFFREY BROWN: Are you making this push for budgetary reasons, or for moral reasons?
CAM WARD: Interestingly enough, it depends on who you ask who — why they support it. You have some who say, hey, for budgetary purposes.
JEFFREY BROWN: We just have to do this.
CAM WARD: This is the second largest item in our budget. We have got to do something about it.
Then you have those for moral purposes. I would say many of my Democrat colleagues would say it’s a moral issue for them. They have had to deal or hear people about this. And then, finally, I would say, myself, I look at it from a legal aspect. You’re going to run afoul of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution if you continuing running facilities and a system like we have been.
JEFFREY BROWN: The Eighth Amendment prohibits punishment considered cruel and unusual and the threat of a federal takeover motivates Ward and many others.
BRYAN STEVENSON, Equal Justice Initiative: I think it is cruel and I think it’s unusual. I think it violates the Eighth Amendment.
JEFFREY BROWN: Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer and prison reform activist who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery-based nonprofit that represents prisoners and indigent defendants. He says the state’s reform efforts don’t go nearly far enough.
BRYAN STEVENSON: Alabama hasn’t done anything that I would call significant reform. We had a prison task force that didn’t talk about prisons, didn’t talk about conditions, didn’t talk about anything related to the prisons. We passed some really moderate, minor even, changes in some of our sentencing schemes.
MAN: It’s rough when you’re kind of elbow to elbow to person.
JEFFREY BROWN: In Dothan, Alabama, we asked men who had recently been released from prison about the conditions.
MAN: It’s harder to keep clean when you got all the people in there like that.
JEFFREY BROWN: Did you have that, Dwight? Was it crowded?
DWIGHT HAGOOD: Yes, sir. About every day, there was a stabbing, fighting, cutting.
JEFFREY BROWN: Every day, you saw things like that?
DWIGHT HAGOOD: Every day.
JEFFREY BROWN: These men are now receiving help from Pastor Kenneth Glasgow…
KENNETH GLASGOW, The Ordinary People Society: I’m just now hitting 15 years, after doing 14 years.
JEFFREY BROWN: … who, after serving 14 years on a drug charge, created the Ordinary People Society, an organization and halfway house to help people transition out of prison.
Glasgow applauds the efforts made by the legislature so far, but is also calling for a more fundamental change to the way people view inmates.
KENNETH GLASGOW: We’re not ex-convicts. We’re not ex-offenders. We’re not ex-felons. Don’t classify us. We are people with felony convictions, people that have paid their debt to society. People. People.
BRYAN STEVENSON: Look, it’s still legal in this state to impose a mandatory life without parole sentence on someone in simple possession of 2.5 pounds of marijuana, using it for their personal use.
I’m representing a man who’s a 75-year-old disabled combat veteran who was found to have 2.5 pounds of pot, because he was using it to deal with stents in his heart. And because he had convictions from 30 years ago in Alabama, the judge had to impose a mandatory life without parole sentence on this man.
And that’s the kind of sentencing regime we still have in this state. The metric that matters is the number of people in jails or prisons. You can talk about reform all night long, you can talk about building prisons, you can talk about all kinds of things. But the truth is, we have got thousands of people in jails and prisons who don’t need to there. And we haven’t found the courage yet to get them out.
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY: We’re very proud of how we have taken this facility and done some work in it. It still has considerable limitations.
JEFFREY BROWN: Even if the new reforms do work, they will only limit the overcrowding. Governor Bentley now wants to take a dramatic next step. He’s proposed building four supermax prisons, costing $800 million, to replace outdated facilities like Tutwiler.
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY: The facilities we have right now with 190 percent occupancy rate, almost 200 percent, I mean, this is just unacceptable. And it’s dangerous, not only to the prisoners, to our corrections officers, and really to the public, and it’s costing us hundreds of millions of dollars.
And so we can modernize the system, and we can try to correct and help those who are here, and that’s our goal.
JEFFREY BROWN: But now the governor faces a more immediate political threat: a state ethics investigation into his time in office, including whether he violated state laws in conducting an alleged affair with a former adviser.
The statehouse, including members of the governor’s own party, just moved ahead on impeachment proceedings.
The ethics investigation now, does that have any impact, do you think, on your potential to pass reform, prison reform?
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY: You know, I think that, look, some people will think that, and some people may use that. I really do not. I think that the legislators who understand the seriousness of this will not look at that. They will try to solve problems, just like I’m trying to do.
JEFFREY BROWN: And how big a priority is this for you?
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY: This is very high. This is — right now is my highest priority.
JEFFREY BROWN: Highest?
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY: Highest right now. We’re the closest right now to solving this problem that will solve a problem for the state of Alabama for the next 30 to 50 years. And that’s major. And we’re going from, as I say, the worst in the country, we’re going to go to the best in the country.
JEFFREY BROWN: In the meantime, everyone agrees there’s certain to be continued overcrowding and more violence.
From Atmore, Alabama, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”
The post Violent, overcrowded Alabama prisons hit a breaking point appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Today’s pronouncement from the pope on family life was two years in the making. Pope Francis explicitly called for the church to be less judgmental.
Instead, he said more support is needed for single and unmarried parents, as well as same-sex couples. Divorced or remarried Catholics shouldn’t be judged or discriminated against in church life. Priests can be merciful when it comes to delivering communion. But he didn’t change doctrine on same-sex marriage or on the role of contraception.
We sample some of the reaction now with Amanda June Gargus. She is the student administrator at campus ministry at Georgetown University’s Law Center. Gloria Purvis is the host of a radio show on the EWTN’s Catholic Television Network called “Morning Glory.” And Marianne Duddy-Burke is the executive director of Dignity USA, which works on support changes for the LGBT community in the Catholic Church.
And we welcome all three of you to the program.
So, let’s begin by — I just want to ask each one of you, what do you think of this latest statement by Pope Francis?
Let me start with you, Ms. Gargus.
AMANDA JUNE GARGUS, Georgetown University: I think it’s a great thing.
I think it falls well within what the pope has been saying all year in this year of mercy of being in love with our neighbors and how we show mercy towards the people around us, so, the saints and the sinners, those that conform with how we see God’s love and those who may not necessarily be acting in the way that maybe traditional Catholics tend to think of the church acting.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Gloria Purvis, what about you? What was your reaction?
GLORIA PURVIS, Global Catholic Network: My reaction was, this is quite a merciful message. It had a lot for everyone.
I think it was a challenge for everyone. He clearly speaks within the confines of the church’s understanding of marriage, faithful, fruitful, faithful forever, and yet, at the same time, he says we need to be merciful to everyone, walk with them.
And one of favorite lines in the exhortation is where he says love coexists with imperfection. And so I think there is a hopeful message for all of us. We all fall short of perfection. But if we’re willing to listen and think with the mind of the church and try to form our consciences properly, the church is there with us.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marianne Duddy-Burke, what about you? What did you think when you read this?
MARIANNE DUDDY-BURKE, DignityUSA: Yes, I find it to be a very uneven document. There are certainly places where it soars. I love the emphasis on respecting the formed consciences of so many of us and pastoral care, starting from the needs of the person.
I think those are fantastic and really consistent with a lot of what Pope Francis has been about. And then there are areas where it really falls short of what I think people were hoping for, and that’s certainly true on the issue of LGBT people, where there really isn’t a lot of progress in this piece.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What were you expecting him to say in that regard?
MARIANNE DUDDY-BURKE: Well, I think what was most encouraging about this Synod process was at the end of the first session, when there was some beautiful language that came out about LGBT people and how we should — our gifts should be welcomed and honored by the church and how commitment between same-sex couples was — could be a sign of real grace.
And that language was rolled back very quickly, but I think there was some hope that Pope Francis might take at least some of that and move it forward a bit. And he really doesn’t.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Amanda June Gargus, what about — whether it’s the language on same-sex marriage on the LGBT, that affect the LGBT community, or on the statement broadly, where do you think it could have gone further than it did?
AMANDA JUNE GARGUS: Well, I think the important thing to remember when it comes to documents like this is that the pope isn’t in a position when making these types of statements to change church doctrine.
So, we have to be very realistic our expectations of what’s going to come out of these sessions and out of these speeches. But I think that one thing that he didn’t touch on that I think is very pervasive and very obvious is the church’s role with contraception.
We have seen the pope make statements about contraception, particularly in Central and South America, with the current issues of the Zika virus, but we don’t see him talking more broadly about how families should be treating contraception. Is that still the church’s doctrine? Are we going to remain in that vein? Or are we going to have a more fluid concept of when contraception is appropriate and not?
But I think he at least touched on it somewhat when talking about the importance of sex education, and that that was an important aspect of child development. But I think he could have gone a step further in helping Catholics, helping everyday Catholics understand exactly what the role of contraception is going to be in our community going forward.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Gloria Purvis, what about the language or not — the missing language on contraception?
GLORIA PURVIS: Well, I think it was there when he was talking about that each child is to be welcomed and that the mother can dream about the child with God.
What I would like to say, what I would have liked to have seen — and we talked about structures of sin — is the consideration that perhaps how society is set up to make the male as the model of perfection is actually something that is contrary to us as women.
So, that is why we think that our fertility or motherhood is the enemy of our progress. It’s a lot of times because of how high society is set up. And I would like to see us challenge that setup, because I think there’s nothing defective about women. There’s nothing detective in our fertility, but society is defective in its view of us.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how would you have liked to have seen him change that concept?
GLORIA PURVIS: I would like to have seen him specifically say, women, you are not defective because of your ability to bear children, and, in fact, society needs to make more places available for you, in respect of that awesome gift that you have.
If the human person — if the economy exists to serve the human person, so much so that the economy exists to serve the human family, and we need to make sure women can participate in that economy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marianne Duddy-Burke, what effect do you think, what practical effect do you think this is going to have? He spoke about the role of individual priests in interpreting this and being more compassionate. What do you — how do you think priests are going to look at this?
MARIANNE DUDDY-BURKE: Well, I think this has really far-ranging impact, both within the church and at the level of policy all across the globe, certainly in the area of pastoral care.
I hope that it will lead to less dogmatic interaction with people across the board. I hope that, you know, there’s more of a sense that the church is first and foremost here to help care for people and help us care for each other, and that that really needs to be the starting point.
And I think there is a lot of that kind of language there. I think that we really have to see what the response is going to be certainly at the level of the bishops and cardinals, because that trickles down to what happens in the everyday lives of where people encounter the church in its pastors and in each other, that pastoral care often comes from the people of the church giving it to one another.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
MARIANNE DUDDY-BURKE: So, that level, I think the responsiveness has often been there, mostly been there. It’s really at the level of the hierarchy where we start struggling a little bit more with rigidity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Amanda June Gargus, let me pick up on that point.
How much do you think is going the change in — either in the teaching, the decision-making by priests, by bishops, by individual Catholics, as a result of this?
AMANDA JUNE GARGUS: I would like to hope that there’s going to be some change, that priests are going to start using this as a guide for how to deal with married and divorced Catholics especially, since that was a huge part of the pope’s message.
I think you’re going to see a lot of more liberal priests using this as an opportunity to advance their — already their feelings on it. They’re going to see this as an OK to go forward.
But I think, for us everyday Catholics, for the ones who aren’t in the priesthood, I think this should be the point where we see our role as evangelicals, as part of the clergy of Christ, as it were, to love our neighbor and to make sure that we are protecting the family, that we’re guiding the family, that we’re loving the family, but we’re also loving those who may not conform to our particular ideas about the family, and that we’re showing the love of Christ in that environment as well.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Gloria Purvis, what do you see changing as a result of this?
GLORIA PURVIS: Well, I think, really, it’s a challenge to the priests, because it is an awesome responsibility to walk with the sheep, if you will, and to keep us on the straight path.
I don’t like the terms liberal or conservative Catholic. I like the terms just truth. What is the truth of our teaching? And it is not compassionate to waive the teaching to make people feel comfortable.
I think what the pope is calling the priests to do is to walk with each of the sheep wherever they are and help us to grow in holiness, which means properly forming our conscience and being willing to listen. And the priest is going to have to be a bride of Christ and have the heart of a mother in dealing with some very troubled children. So, that’s what I think is going to change.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we thank all three of you for helping us look through, think through what it is that the pope has said in this important statement.
Gloria Purvis, thank you. Amanda June Gargus and Marianne Duddy-Burke, we appreciate it. Thank you.
The post Will Pope Francis’s manifesto on family bring change to the church? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: The pope issues a landmark manifesto on family life, urging greater tolerance for divorced and remarried Catholics, while standing firmly against same-sex marriage.
Then: inside the most overcrowded prison in America. Can reform help Alabama out of a dangerous system that’s reaching a breaking point?
BRYAN STEVENSON, Equal Justice Initiative: The truth is, we have got thousands of people in jails and prisons who don’t need to be there. And we haven’t found the courage yet to get them out.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it’s Friday. David Brooks and Ruth Marcus are here, to analyze the week’s news.
All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news, Pope Francis called for Catholics to put conscience over dogma on critical moral issues. His statement, 256-pages-long, suggested that some clergy might allow divorced Catholics to take communion. There was no change in the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage. We will explore the pope’s statement after the news summary.
Police in Belgium say they have arrested the last fugitive from arrested the Paris attacks in November. Mohamed Abrini was picked up in a raid in Brussels, along with four others. Prosecutors say he may also be the hat-wearing suspect who escaped after the bombings in Brussels.
ERIC VAN DER SYPT, Federal Prosecutor, Belgium: At the moment, the investigators are verifying whether Abrini, Mohamed, can be positively identified as being the third person — third person present during the attacks in Brussels National Airport, the so-called man with the hat.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mohamed Abrini’s exact role in the Paris attacks has never been made clear.
Greece resumed deporting migrants to Turkey today, after a four-day pause. More than 120 people were ferried away from the Greek island of Lesbos under a deal with the European Union. Human rights activists have condemned the deportations.
The government of Syria has released an American who’s been held since 2012. He’s identified as Kevin Dawes, a freelance photographer. Russia says it aided in his release, flying him to Moscow last week. Meanwhile, Syrian activists report that scores of kidnapped workers are being released by Islamic State militants. They were seized earlier this week.
Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Baghdad today, and urged Iraqis to focus on fighting ISIS. He met with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who’s facing a political crisis over corruption, a struggling economy and poor security.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: It is important to have a unified and functioning government as rapidly as possible in order to move forward, so that all of these operations are not affected, and so that we give confidence to the coalition.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Kerry said that Abadi didn’t ask for additional U.S. troops.
The Obama administration today turned over thousands of documents on Operation Fast and Furious. They involve a gun-running investigation that may have let Mexican drug gangs get their hands on 2,000 weapons. House Republicans demanded the documents four years ago, but the president initially claimed executive privilege. In January, a federal judge rejected that claim.
Wall Street finished the week with modest gains. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 35 points to close near 17577. The Nasdaq rose two points, and the S&P 500 added five.
And an inflatable room is headed toward the International Space Station. It was launched today on a SpaceX rocket for a two-year test. NASA animation shows how the pop-up module will be attached to the orbiting lab and inflated. It could prove an alternative to metal enclosures. In another first, the booster rocket landed on an ocean barge today to be reused.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the pope’s views on the church and the modern family; a look inside the most overcrowded prison system in the nation; why Kenya is being targeted by the terror group Al-Shabaab; and much more.
The post News Wrap: Final fugitive from Paris attacks arrested in Brussels appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The campaign combat cooled off some today in the presidential race. Two of the three Republicans took a break from campaigning, and the two Democrats took a step back from open warfare.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders reached a kind of verbal truce this morning after doing battle over who’s qualified to be president.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I respect Hillary Clinton. We were colleagues in the Senate, and, on her worst day, she will be — she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates.
QUESTION: She’s qualified?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Of course.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I think, in the heat of the campaign, people say lots of things. I want to stay focused on the issues. There are contrasts between us, and I think that’s fair game.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The front-runner’s camp also dealt with former President Bill Clinton’s confrontation with protesters yesterday. At an event in Philadelphia, they jeered his record and his wife’s on crime and race.
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Today, in Erie, Pennsylvania, he voiced regret about the incident.
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I almost want to apologize for, but I want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country. I was talking past her the way she was talking past me.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigned in New York state today, and Sanders announced he will visit the Vatican next week to speak at a conference on social issues.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump canceled an event in California to stay in his home state. He said in a tweet, “So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things. Remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign, and loving it.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s newly hired convention manager, Paul Manafort, insisted the front-runner will win enough delegates before the convention that there will be no need for brokering.
PAUL MANAFORT, Convention Manager, Trump Campaign: The reality is, this convention process will be over with sometime in June, probably June 7. And it will be apparent to the world that Trump is over that 1, 237 number, and at that point in time, when it is apparent, everything’s going to come together.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ted Cruz was off the campaign trail today, while John Kasich campaigned in Connecticut.
More than 500 authors are set to appear at the LA Times Festival of Books this weekend for one of the largest literary events of the year. This weekend, Jeffrey Brown and Rich Fahle will appear on Detroit Public Television’s Book View Now for a two-day broadcast interviewing dozens of authors, including Nicola Yoon, Somini Sengupta, Padma Lakshmi, Kwame Alexander and others.
Watch the stream above from 2-7 p.m. EDT this Saturday and Sunday.
The post WATCH: Jeffrey Brown interviews authors at LA Times Festival of Books appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hoped a brief stop Saturday in Afghanistan would help promote cooperation from a would-be “unity” government that has proved largely incapable of running the country less than two years after he worked to install the leadership team.
For America’s top diplomat, it was the second visit in as many days to a country that the United States long has wished to stabilize. On Friday in Baghdad, Kerry backed efforts by Iraq’s prime minister to settle a political crisis and stressed the importance of having a “unified and functioning government” to confront the Islamic State group.
In Kabul, Kerry met alone with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and then included Ghani’s rival, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Kerry also participated in talks on security, governance and economic development.
Afghanistan remains largely lawless, is rife with corruption and struggling to check the Taliban’s stubborn insurgency.
“We need to make certain that the government of national unity is doing everything possible to be unified and to deliver to the people of Afghanistan,” Kerry told Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and other officials. Kerry said he would tell Ghani and Abdullah to drop their “factional divisions.”
The challenges in Afghanistan are not unlike those Kerry encountered Friday in Iraq.
The U.S. invaded both countries under President George W. Bush and hoped to foster stable democracies. It hasn’t happened, even though the U.S. has spent some $2 trillion so far and several thousand Americans have died in military operations.
Governments in both countries lack control over significant areas. Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban is entering its 15th year. Iraq is still trying to muster the strength for an assault on Mosul, its second largest city, and other places held by IS.
Sectarian and personal rivalries threaten both governments. Security vacuums in each threaten the United States.
Despite President Barack Obama’s pledges to end both wars, American troops cannot just leave. There are 9,800 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, set to drop in principle to 5,500 next year. In Iraq, there are 3,780 now.
Obama has less than 10 months to leave both places in better shape, but the strategies differ: In Iraq, the U.S. seeks the destruction of IS; in Afghanistan, it hopes to draw the Taliban into peace talks.
First, however, the Kabul government might need to reconcile its own divisions.
Following a bitterly fought and inconclusive presidential election in 2014, Ghani and Abdullah are sharing power under a deal Kerry brokered. But the partnership has never really been defined and the government is in disarray. There are predictions it could collapse due to corruption and incompetence.
After almost two years, Ghani and Abdullah have failed to set aside their rivalries. The bitterness stems from a belief in Abdullah’s camp that the election was stolen and gifted to Ghani – an anthropologist who lived in the U.S. for three decades – as someone with whom Washington could more easily do business.
The leaders also are seen as pandering to different constituencies: in Ghani’s case, the majority ethnic Pashtoons, and in Abdullah’s, the Tajiks.
The pair recently cleared their diaries for a full-day meeting to iron out differences. They gave up after only two hours, Afghan and foreign officials said.
The country’s defense minister and intelligence chief are acting in their posts because the parliament has not confirmed them; several other ministers have resigned. A cabinet reshuffle is expected soon.
Afghanistan’s economy is contracting. Unemployment stands at 25 percent. Afghanistan needs to secure more international aid. The Taliban are nowhere near a defeated fighting force, while an IS affiliate may be making inroads. The much-hyped peace process has been all but dead for almost a year.
The post Kerry meets with leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan to discuss ISIS, Taliban appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
By Hannah Yi
There are two sides to the criminal justice system in Texas. While the state has a reputation for being tough-on-crime (highest number of executions in the country), Texas is also at the forefront of reforming its system (highest number of exonerations nationwide). Now a relatively new law puts the Lone Star State at the forefront of giving those convicted with bad forensic science a second chance.
Texas was the first to pass the junk science law in 2013. It offers convicts a direct path to an appeal when there is new scientific evidence or evidence that contradicts what was used to convict. Short of DNA analysis, new scientific evidence was never enough for the state’s highest criminal court to grant a new trial. Today these cases are finally making it onto the calendar of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the only court that can overturn a conviction.
Sonia Cacy is waiting for her day with the court. Cacy is petite but has a loud and generous laugh. She prefers calling everyone – from her best friend to the lady behind the counter scooping her ice cream – “sweetheart.” Most are surprised to learn 68-year-old has a murder conviction.
In 1993, Cacy was convicted of killing her uncle Bill Richardson and later sentenced to 99 years in prison. The most critical piece of evidence came from a lab analyst’s report that said there was gasoline on Richardson’s clothing.
“They claimed that she had doused her uncle Bill in gasoline and set him on fire, which killed him and then burned the house down,” said Cacy’s attorney Gary Udashen.
Cacy spent nearly six years in prison before seven independent arson experts came forward and discredited the arson science that was used to convict her. Two pathologists on behalf of the defense submitted affidavits saying Richardson likely died of a heart attack and not burns.
“Sonia is a real, live example of somebody whose life was really destroyed based upon bad scientific testimony in court,” said Udashen.
With this new evidence, Cacy was set free on parole, but the transition has not been easy.
“Everyone does your background, where you’re living, where you’re going to work. I’ve never been able to get a place to live. You know, a regular place,” said Cacy, who has also struggled to find a steady job, besides working for friends or pet-sitting.
And for the past 17 years, she’s also been required to report to a parole officer every month. Today, Cacy hopes the state’s Junk Science law will bring her one step closer to a true chance at freedom.
Read the full transcript below.
SONIA CACY: I grew up with him from a baby, and I adored him. He was kind of eccentric. He had his flaws. But, oh my God, he was a good man.
ALISON STEWART: Sonia Cacy is describing her uncle, Bill Richardson. In the early 1990s, Cacy lived in Fort Stockton, Texas with her uncle, who was in his seventies and suffering from a form of dementia. On the morning of November 10th, 1991, everything changed.
SONIA CACY: The night before we watched a movie together. Burt Lancaster was in it and that was my favorite. And then when that was over – it was a late movie – I went to bed, and we were both alive.
ALISON STEWART: Around dawn, a fire broke out in their home. The then 44-year-old Cacy escaped through a window and ran to a neighbor, who called 911. When emergency responders found Richardson, the 76-year-old man was dead. Authorities said the fire was suspicious.
ALISON STEWART: When did you sense, Sonia, that the authorities suspected you of setting the fire?
SONIA CACY: Well, they took me to the hospital. I was there eight days for smoke inhalation. Scraped all my fingernails. I said, “What’s the matter? What are you looking for?” And I was still crying over Uncle Bill. And he said, “Blood or whatever’s on you.”
ALISON STEWART: Five months later, Cacy was arrested and charged with murder by arson.
ALISON STEWART: Did you have anything to do with the fire that occurred on November 10, 1991?
SONIA CACY: No. I did not. I did not ever, anything. No.
ALISON STEWART: Gary Udashen is Cacy’s attorney.
GARY UDASHEN: They claimed that she had doused her uncle Bill in gasoline and set him on fire, which killed him and then burned the house down.
ALISON STEWART: At the trial, the most critical piece of information came from a report by a toxicologist, someone trained to check for drugs and chemicals in the body. He testified that accelerant was found on Richardson’s clothing. The prosecution’s fire investigator also testified that burn patterns in the house were indicative of an accelerant.
GARY UDASHEN: Sonia is a real, live example of somebody whose life was really destroyed based upon bad scientific testimony in court.
ALISON STEWART: In 1993, Cacy – a wife and mother of three grown children – was convicted in a jury trial and later sentenced to 99 years in prison.
But a relatively new Texas law could change Cacy’s life. It’s known as the “junk science law.” The law offers a direct path to appeal when there is scientific evidence that was not available at the time of the conviction or there is new evidence that contradicts what was used to convict. Before the law, it was impossible in Texas to appeal a conviction based only on flawed scientific evidence.
When the Innocence Project of Texas took Cacy’s appeal, attorneys immediately questioned the toxicologist’s results, specifically a chromatography test, which separates mixtures found at crime scenes to detect molecules like those from gasoline.
GARY UDASHEN: We actually had the Texas State Fire Marshal, who’s a state of Texas official, issue his report where he said, “The cause of the fire should be listed as undetermined.” And what he meant by that, that there was no gasoline on the clothing. So you couldn’t say that it was arson. Dr. Buc is the expert that the district attorney hired.
ALISON STEWART: Which backfired.
GARY UDASHEN: Which backfired, because Dr. Buc said that the chromatograms are “negative for gasoline,” which is exactly what all of our other experts said.
ALISON STEWART: Seven other arson experts brought in by the defense agreed, and two defense pathologists who reviewed Richardson’s autopsy found he died of a heart attack – not burns.
GARY UDASHEN: What everybody thinks most likely happened is that Uncle Bill was a very careless smoker. He accidently set the house of hire and he actually died of a heart attack.
ALISON STEWART: This new interpretation of the evidence convinced the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole to grant Cacy parole, after she had spent five years in prison. But without her conviction overturned, at 68, Cacy has been required to report to a parole officer once a month for the past 17 years.
ALISON STEWART: What kind of burden has it been to be considered in the eyes of the law a convicted murderer? What has the burden of that been?
SONIA CACY: It’s a big burden because you can’t even get a place to live. Everybody does your background. Where you’re living, where you’re gonna work. I’ve never been able to get a place to live. You know, a regular place.
ALISON STEWART: Today, Cacy lives in southeast Texas and spends time with her family and friends. But her standing murder conviction makes it difficult to find a job because of background checks. She’s gotten by working for friends and pet sitting. Cacy hopes the junk science law will bring her a step closer to real freedom.
JOHN WHITMIRE: It’s definitely a law-and-order state, but we’ve gotten smart.
ALISON STEWART: Democratic state Senator John Whitmire – who chairs the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee – sponsored the junk science bill. He says his state’s reckoning with DNA testing paved the way for the law. Since 1993, Texas has exonerated 57 people – mostly convicted of murder and sexual assault – who appealed with DNA evidence. The highest number of any state. Whitmire says that was a moral wake up call.
JOHN WHITMIRE: I hope it keeps everybody up at night if they think one person is wrongfully convicted. Junk science has proven we have numerous people, maybe large numbers nationwide, wrongfully convicted.
ALISON STEWART: When Texas adopted its junk science law in 2013, it was the first in the nation. Last year, California, became the second. Junk science appeals are finally making it onto court calendars in Texas, but there is no deadline for decisions. So far, only one case has resulted in a new trial. A handful of other cases – including Sonia Cacy’s – are waiting to be heard.
But the number is expected to increase, because of the work of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a group of seven scientists and two attorneys appointed by the governor. They investigate the integrity of forensic analysis at crime labs and set guidelines about what is solid forensic science for judges, who ultimately decide what evidence a jury sees.
In February, the commission recommended that bite mark evidence should stay out of courtrooms because there is not enough scientific research to prove its validity when identifying a perpetrator. The commission is also reviewing other types of evidence like microscopic hair analysis that involves comparing under a microscope a loose hair from a crime scene to hair from a suspect.
ALISON STEWART: Cases that use the junk science law hope to end up here at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. It is the body that can overturn a conviction. But an overturned conviction is not an exoneration. And that’s an important distinction, and it’s where some say this law falls short.
Criminal defense attorney Jeff Blackburn pushed for the law. He previously worked for the Innocence Project of Texas and today has his own practice.
JEFF BLACKBURN: Are you gonna get exonerated? Probably not. That means you’re not gonna be compensated. That means you’re never gonna really have your name cleared. You’re never really gonna get the moral or practical satisfaction of saying, “I didn’t do it, and the courts have exonerated me.” And that’s an awful big deal.
ALISON STEWART: For instance, in that first case where the conviction was overturned due to doubts raised about junk science, the defendant was not exonerated or declared actually innocent, which requires a higher standard of evidence. Blackburn says one of the law’s shortcomings is there is no accountability for mistakes.
JEFF BLACKBURN: The worst thing under this law is that now prosecutors get off easy. They have an excuse and they can say, “Well, I guess it was just those creeps in the lab coats that did it to us this time. Sorry.” That prevents us from ever understanding what really goes on in these cases.
ALISON STEWART: Senator Whitmire points out that it took the state legislature three sessions to pass the bill.
ALISON STEWART: We talked to a couple of attorneys who felt that the law didn’t go far enough because there wasn’t an exoneration clause in that.
JOHN WHITMIRE: You probably couldn’t pass that. In my work, in criminal justice in Texas, I take three steps forward, and they pull me back two. So at the end of the day or end of session, I’ve taken a step.
ALISON STEWART: The current district attorney of the county where Cacy was tried stands by her conviction, rejects her arguments about the scientific evidence, and says there is considerable circumstantial evidence that still points to her guilt.
ALISON STEWART: What are you gonna do if Sonia prevails under the junk science avenue, but is not exonerated?
GARY UDASHEN: I just don’t see that happening.
ALISON STEWART: Are you sure you’re giving her false hope?
GARY UDASHEN: No.
ALISON STEWART: You feel that confident?
GARY UDASHEN: I feel that confident that she’s gonna be exonerated.
ALISON STEWART: Cacy thinks often of her uncle Bill while waiting for her new day in court.
SONIA CACY: My hopes for the future are to get everything like this over with and to be exonerated before I die, and it would be really nice for my children.
The post Should people convicted based on poor scientific evidence be given new trials? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
President Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, has been characterized as a moderate who, if confirmed, would nudge his divided colleagues slightly to the left because he would replace conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia.
But Garland will not necessarily come down with the more liberal justices in every area, particularly on criminal justice issues.
An Associated Press review of Garland’s record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – more than 5,000 rulings and 17,000 pages since 1997 – suggests he is a judge who only rarely, and perhaps reluctantly, has found himself at odds with the government agencies that appear before him.
On the Supreme Court, Garland probably would frustrate the political left and right on alternate days.
He is apt to infuriate conservatives as a champion of union rights, his court record indicates, and, as a believer in public access to government records, to annoy those who defend government secrecy.
He is likely to offend liberals with a readiness to turn back constitutional challenges to criminal prosecutions and perhaps claims of workplace discrimination.
He probably would frustrate partisans on both sides, regardless of which party controls the White House, with steadfast deference to the rules and interpretations of government bureaucrats, whatever their impact.
Summaries of Garland’s decisions on critical issues:
Many of Garland’s rulings in criminal cases reflect his 12 years as a federal prosecutor or a senior official in the Justice Department’s criminal division.
In dozens of decisions, he upheld lower court rulings that denied defendants’ attempts to suppress evidence because of alleged illegal search and seizure by police. He typically upheld prison sentences imposed by lower courts.
In a 1999 decision, for example, Garland wrote for the court’s majority that police in Washington, D.C., were within their rights to search a car after spotting a 6-inch dagger next to a front seat. They then found a loaded .45-caliber handgun. Defendant Morris Christian’s lawyers contended the search was unjustified.
“First, as appellate judges we do not second-guess a street officer’s assessment about the order in which he should secure potential threats,” Garland wrote. “To the contrary, we must defer to his quick decision as to how to protect himself and others from possible danger.”
Garland also found that U.S. Park Police were correct to have searched Warren Turner’s car trunk after they found a pot-filled “blunt” in the passenger compartment. Cocaine base was found in the trunk, leading to Turner’s conviction on drug distribution charges.
Turner claimed the only evidence officers had before the trunk search was marijuana he had for personal use, but Garland found that “too fine” a line. There was “a ‘fair probability’ that Turner may have hidden additional drugs not necessary for his current consumption in areas out of plain sight, including the trunk of his car,” he wrote.
In a 2000 case, Garland wrote that U.S. Customs agents were not required to get a warrant to install a tracking device in a package shipped from Thailand that contained heroin. The man who opened the package in a taxi in Washington, Abdul Gbemisola, claimed the drug evidence was obtained improperly.
Garland found that no warrant was required. “Adding the tracking device did not require any additional intrusion into anyone’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” he wrote. “One cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy concerning an act performed within the visual range of a complete stranger.”
Sometimes, Garland wrote or joined rulings that sided with defendants.
In a 1999 case, Garland wrote the opinion vacating one of Andre Clark’s two gun-related convictions – one for possessing a gun and the second for the ammunition inside it. Garland reasoned that was two convictions for the same offense.
“Indeed, if the statute were read that way, it might just as readily permit 14 charges against Clark, one for the gun and one for each of its 13 bullets,” he wrote.
In a 2006 case, Garland wrote that prosecutors were wrong to pursue more than $63,000 in restitution from a man convicted of making a false statement to the FBI but acquitted of the main money-laundering charge. The ruling overturned a lower court’s decision that Daniel Dorcely of Washington should have to pay restitution despite the acquittal on the money count.
The Supreme Court, Garland wrote, “made clear that a defendant charged with multiple offenses but convicted of only one offense cannot be ordered to pay restitution for losses resulting from the other charged offenses.”
A rare dissent in a criminal justice case came in 2007, when the full appeals court overturned the conviction of a D.C. police detective for accepting an illegal gratuity. The detective, Nelson Valdes, had been targeted in a federal sting operation for accepting money to look up license plates in a police database.
The majority found Valdes had not accepted money for an illegal act, so no crime was committed. Garland disagreed.
“A guy walks into a bar,” his dissent opens, referring to the first meeting between Valdes and a man who described himself as a “federal judge.”
“The detective cannot know who the ‘judge’ really is, or why he wants the information. He cannot know whether the ‘judge’ is a loan shark seeking to find and punish his debtors … nonetheless, in the end he takes the cash – repeatedly – and gives the ‘judge’ the information he seeks,” Garland wrote.
The majority’s decision overturning the conviction, he added, “undermines the prosecution of public corruption.”
Garland’s votes in two gun cases have fueled opposition from gun rights advocates, who have announced they oppose his nomination.
In one, Garland voted to have the entire appeals court review a ruling by a three-judge panel that struck down the ban on handguns in the nation’s capital. Because the entire court declined to review the case, it’s unclear how Garland would have voted on the constitutionality of the gun ban.
The Supreme Court later sided with the three-judge panel, with the 5-4 majority opinion written by Scalia, who died Feb. 13.
In the other case, Garland joined a ruling that upheld a Justice Department rule allowing the federal agency to temporarily save gun buyers’ records. The National Rifle Association had sued, arguing that the Brady Handgun Violence Act required immediate destruction of personal information related to gun purchases.
But the department said it was important to keep some of the information for six months at most to allow audits of the background check system to ensure both accuracy and privacy. A federal district court judge dismissed the NRA’s complaint, and the appeals court affirmed that decision.
Garland played a central role in deciding cases concerning detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than a decade. He largely deferred to the government’s arguments in preventing their access to the courts and their release – with one notable exception.
In 2003, Garland joined a majority opinion ruling that those held at Guantanamo could not access lawyers or challenge in federal court the legality of their detentions. The decision was based on Supreme Court precedent that dictated that U.S. civilian courts lacked jurisdiction to hear challenges brought by detainees who were foreigners not present on U.S. soil.
The Supreme Court would overturn that ruling the following year in Rasul v. Bush, finding that detainees were entitled to challenge their detention in federal court under the habeas corpus statute.
“Initially, Judge Garland was overly cautious in the detainee cases in not seeing the broader, fundamental interest at stake,” said Baher Azmy, legal director of the New York-based nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented numerous detainees before the district appeals court. “The D.C. Circuit has been so consistently reflexively pro-government, and overall Garland has not staked out a particularly helpful position there.”
In June 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bush administration’s planned military commissions at Guantanamo violated U.S. and international law, allowing detainees to pursue their cases in federal courts. Congress and the Bush administration came up with new rules for the military trials later that year.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that foreigners held at Guantanamo had constitutional rights to challenge their detentions in civilian courts. By June of that year, Garland sat on the three-judge panel that was offered the first civilian judicial review of the government’s evidence for holding the detainees.
Garland wrote majority opinion in that case, brought by Huzaifa Parhat, a detainee who was a member of a Chinese Muslim minority group. Parhat should be released, transferred or be given a new military hearing, Garland wrote, because the government’s intelligence was unreliable.
“The government suggests that several of the assertions in the intelligence documents are reliable because they are made in at least three different documents,” Garland wrote. “We are not persuaded.”
Attorneys for detainees filed a flurry of cases seeking their clients’ release following that ruling, but when government lawyers appealed, the D.C. Circuit typically came down on the side of continued detention.
For example, Garland wrote a majority opinion upholding a lower court’s denial of detainee Shawali Khan’s petition for habeas corpus in 2011, citing “particularly incriminating evidence” that linked Khan to a force associated with al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Three years later, Garland joined a majority opinion upholding a Guantanamo policy that allowed guards to search the genitals of detainees meeting with their lawyers. The opinion said Supreme Court precedent required deference to the government’s view that such policies were “rationally related to security.”
“Garland essentially has been a moderate who applied the law as it existed at the time in a faithful manner,” said David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown. “Some people may not like the law, but that is another story.”
Garland often shows deference to federal agencies but has ruled against the government in some cases involving government regulations.
He was part of a 2010 decision limiting the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of electronic cigarettes. The appeals panel ruled that the devices, which create a nicotine vapor inhaled by users, should be regulated as tobacco products rather than as drug delivery devices.
“In the absence of an authoritative agency interpretation, I conclude that, unless a product derived from tobacco is marketed for therapeutic purposes, the FDA may regulate it only under the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act,” Garland wrote in a concurring opinion.
He has joined decisions that struck down a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission increase in rental fees for hydropower projects on federal land; vacated a Federal Communications Commission penalty against AT&T related to long-distance charges; and sided with the United Mine Workers, which alleged that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had withdrawn a proposed air quality rule without explanation.
There’s an occasional glimpse of humor in his regulatory writings for the court.
One came in an opinion that sided with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board when the agencies determined a pilot was not medically fit to fly due to a history of problems with consciousness and awareness. Garland wrote that the best the pilot’s own medical expert could say about one incident, which occurred on a Boeing 757, was that the pilot “was acting like a teenager.”
“Had the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believed that expert, it might well have taken away the ‘teenager’s’ jet keys on that ground alone,” he wrote.
In a case involving a transit system providing transportation to professional baseball games, Garland wrote, “This appeal raises the following question: Can Congress constitutionally permit a federally-subsidized transit system to take the residents of Seattle out to the ball game?” The appeals court, citing goals of accommodating disabled fans and restoring affordable service, allowed the transit system to resume services to Seattle Mariners games over the objections of private charter carriers.
As an appeals judge, Garland has joined in decisions that protected water from boat sewage, families from lead paint and even an endangered toad from land development.
But he has not sided so much with environmentalists as with government regulators. His rulings have backed federal agencies that allowed mines to pollute the air, swans to be killed, landfill to foul wetlands and storage of hazardous waste without permits.
The AP found at least 19 Garland cases since 1997 that clearly leaned either toward or against environmental controls. Of those, 10 favored stronger regulation while nine did the opposite. Only three went against government agencies that were under challenge.
In December 2006, Garland joined a ruling that upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s crackdown on power plant pollution that forms haze over natural areas.
In November 2012, he again backed an EPA regulation in a ruling that said it was enough that the agency’s legal interpretation “was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent.” This time, though, the agency had decided against air pollution controls for leach fields and other waste sites at gold mines.
The pattern is the same in water pollution cases. In February 2003, Garland joined the court in letting the EPA impose radioactivity limits for drinking water. The rules had been challenged by industry groups.
Then, in November 2011, Garland was part of a ruling that supported the Army Corps of Engineers and generally sided with developers of a Florida shopping mall. The ruling allowed fill to be dumped into wetlands, despite the heated objections of conservationists, though it left a single question open on potential impact to rare eastern indigo snakes.
In April 2003, Garland wrote an opinion that upheld a Fish and Wildlife Service decision. This time, he unequivocally favored wildlife protection, blocking a plan to build a California housing development that threatened rare arroyo southwestern toads.
In December 2006, though, when conservationists tried to stop the killing of male mute swans to manage the Chesapeake Bay population, Garland backed an opinion approving the plan. As usual, he sided with the regulating agency, in this case the Interior Department.
THE GLOBAL VIEW
In several high-profile cases, Garland sided with victims and their families when they sued foreign governments, terrorist groups and others for war and terrorism-related damages.
In one of Garland’s strongest dissents, he sided with Iraqi nationals who sued two U.S. contractors involved in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison scandal. In a 2-1 decision, the federal appeals court in 2009 dismissed the lawsuit, saying the companies had immunity as government contractors.
But Garland disagreed, saying no act of Congress barred the plaintiffs from suing private contractors “who were neither soldiers nor civilian government employees.”
“The plaintiffs in these cases allege that they were beaten, electrocuted, raped, subjected to attacks by dogs and otherwise abused by private contractors working as interpreters and interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison,” Garland wrote.
Garland said neither Presidents George W. Bush nor Barack Obama suggested the suit would “interfere with the nation’s foreign policy or the Executive’s ability to wage war.”
Four years earlier, Garland wrote an opinion reinstating a suit against al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden filed by Kenyan victims of 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. The victims sued bin Laden and his terrorist group for orchestrating the bombing that killed 200 people, including 12 Americans.
The district court had dismissed the suit, saying federal courts lacked jurisdiction. Garland disagreed. “The defendants engaged in ‘unabashedly malignant actions directed at (and) felt’ in this country. Bin Laden and al Qaeda should therefore ‘reasonably anticipate being hauled into court’ here by those injured as a result of those actions,” Garland wrote.
In another case, Garland was joined by two other justices, including now-Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, to allow the brother of a slain hostage to sue Libya for his killing.
Peter Kilburn had been an instructor and librarian at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, when he was kidnapped by Hezbollah in 1984. Two years later, in retaliation for a Berlin nightclub bombing that killed two American soldiers, the U.S. bombed Libya – and Libya sought revenge.
A group linked to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi paid Hezbollah $3 million for Kilburn, then murdered Kilburn and left his body along a roadside near Beirut with the bodies of two British hostages.
Kilburn’s brother, Blake, later sued Libya, and the country tried to have the suit dismissed on grounds of sovereign immunity. A federal court denied Libya’s motion and Garland’s court affirmed that ruling. His opinion held that the suit could go forward because of a terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
Many of the civil rights cases that have come before Garland are about workplace discrimination, though some have had broader implications.
He was part of a 2004 decision that found a transit authority had waived its immunity from federal lawsuits under the Rehabilitation Act by accepting federal money.
The ruling came in a suit filed by an electrician who said he was fired by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority because of his bipolar disorder. The transit authority countered that he had been fired for insubordination and other behavior.
The authority, created by an interstate compact among Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, argued that it was legally immune to a suit for disability-based discrimination.
The three-judge panel split 2-1, with Garland and Roberts saying the transit authority had waived immunity by accepting the funds. “Congress reasonably can insist that decisions regarding the expenditure of federal funds not be based on irrational discrimination,” Garland wrote.
In 2002, he was part of a panel that reversed a district court that had favored the government in a suit by Catholic prisoners who claimed they were being denied religious rights to drink small amounts of wine during Communion. The panel sent the case back to the lower court to determine whether the prisoners met the threshold of showing a substantial burden on the free exercise of their religion.
In the case of an inmate who sued for sexual harassment at the D.C. jail, Garland ruled to uphold part of her award, but threw out punitive damages. The prisoner said she had been sexually harassed by corrections officers and inmates, including allegations that she was forced by corrections officers to dance naked on a table in front of hundreds of chanting, jeering inmates.
She was awarded $350,000 in compensatory damages in a lower court as well as $5 million in punitive damages. But the punitive damages were reversed because Garland said the district was immune from such damages.
When it comes to workers’ rights, many of Garland’s cases originated from the National Labor Relations Board. In a majority of those cases, he sided with labor board rulings, which usually supported pro-labor positions. When Garland dissented from his appeals court colleagues or disagreed with a regulatory ruling, it was usually in support of workers or a union.
His dissent in a 2009 case involving FedEx drivers and the shipping giant is a case in point. Drivers for FedEx’s home-delivery unit filed a complaint with the labor board after the company refused to negotiate with the union they elected to represent them in collective bargaining.
The company argued that the drivers were independent contractors, not employees. As evidence, FedEx showed that home-delivery drivers had the option of selling their routes and hiring helpers.
But the labor board held that the drivers were employees because they were an essential part of FedEx’s home-delivery business and because the company exercised substantial control over them.
In a 2-1 ruling, the appeals court overturned the labor board, finding that FedEx home-delivery drivers were independent contractors because they have “entrepreneurial potential,” can operate multiple routes and sell routes.
Garland disagreed, saying the drivers had little “entrepreneurial opportunity” and noted that FedEx actually put limits on drivers’ ability to sell routes. He said FedEx showed only a rare case or two of “a driver seizing an entrepreneurial opportunity.”
Two years earlier, Garland ruled against a proposed federal rule to increase the driving hours for long-haul truck drivers, citing safety concerns. The consumer group Public Citizen had opposed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulation to increase truck drivers’ daily driving limits from 10 hours to 11 hours as well as a provision to permit an off-duty period of 34 hours to restart the weekly on-duty limits. It said the FMCSA failed to provide an opportunity to comment on the methodology of the crash risk.
Citing mostly procedural shortcomings, the appeals court granted the group’s petition and vacated the contested portions of the rule. Garland added that the agency’s rules could not be upheld without important aspects of its methodology being fully examined.
In other rulings, Garland:
-Joined a 2004 decision upholding a NLRB finding against a company that refused to recognize its workers’ union after moving them to a different location.
-Upheld a NLRB finding in favor of a woman who handed out fliers at work after hours that expressed concern over how the company was handling layoffs.
-Was part of a 2011 decision that supported an NLRB decision in favor of two employees fired for verbal outbursts against a policy they opposed as unsafe.
Garland has staked out strong views for keeping government transparent and accountable to the public.
He worried in one of his rare dissents in July 2004 that fellow judges might have given the impression that a Freedom of Information request cannot expose prices paid by federal agencies to contractors. He questioned whether the law really says that and added that, if so, it “should be an exception rather than the rule.”
In September 2009, Garland wrote a powerful defense of the public’s right to know who lobbies Congress. He noted that the Supreme Court long had championed this principle and added that “nothing has transpired in the last half century to suggest that the national interest in the public disclosure of lobbying information is any less vital.”
But he also supported agencies that failed to hand over records. Sometimes, he agreed that they did reasonable searches that simply failed to turn up anything relevant.
In 12 of at least 22 open government cases that came before him since 1997, he has leaned in favor of access, opening the door to release government documents, electronic calendars, audiotapes and other material.
In March 2013, Garland wrote an opinion forcing deeper review of the CIA’s refusal to turn over records on its drone attacks to a civil rights group. Garland said that the intelligence agency could not simply cite national security.
In another case, Garland did not let possible mistakes in records prevent any chance of a full release. In November 2006, he joined in ordering a lower court to reconsider denial of a request for names of people in the U.S. illegally and being held states on behalf of federal authorities. The Justice Department had said releasing such records might embarrass the detainees and unfairly brand misidentified people. But Garland and fellow judges said that risk needed to be formally evaluated – not just asserted.
In November 2005, Garland parted with the court majority in a case involving government scientist Wen Ho Lee, who was largely exonerated of spying accusations in a case that made headlines. Garland urged the court to reconsider a reporter’s effort to protect a confidential source of a leak about Lee, saying the court should be more mindful to the First Amendment and “the importance of a vigorous press.”
In May 2007, Garland voted with the losing side in a ruling in favor of Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner, who later became speaker of the House. Boehner had sued Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington state, for releasing to reporters an illegal recording of a conference call among Republican politicians. Garland joined with other court dissenters who argued that, though the recording was illegally made, McDermott had not violated the law by accepting it.
But Garland did not always opt for openness in politically charged cases. In October 2001, he joined colleagues in blocking release of thousands of pages of Internal Revenue Service documents. A conservative nonprofit law firm wanted the records to examine claims that the agency had unfairly targeted conservative groups for audits.
The post From guns to Guantanamo, how Garland might rule on SCOTUS cases appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The hunt for presidential delegates is focusing on Colorado and Wyoming.
Republican Ted Cruz looks to add to his edge in Colorado over front-runner Donald Trump when 13 more delegates are chosen at the GOP state convention on Saturday.
Cruz already has locked up the support of 21 Colorado delegates. Trump holds an overall lead nationally, but there’s seems to be a real chance no one will reach the 1,237 mark by the national convention in Cleveland in July.
Wyoming Democrats are holding caucuses Saturday.
At stake are 14 of Wyoming’s 18 convention delegates.
The state is overwhelmingly Republican: More than 140,000 residents are registered with the GOP, compared with about 41,000 registered Democrats.
Bernie Sanders is coming off a victory over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin on Tuesday.
The post Wyoming Dems hold caucuses as Cruz pulls delegates in Colorado appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert committed bank fraud in order to pay hush money to a man whom he sexually abused when the victim was a 14-year-old wrestler on a team Hastert coached, federal prosecutors said in a court filing late Friday.
Hastert, a Republican who served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, was accused last year of illegally structuring cash withdrawals of nearly $1.7 million (out of a promised total of $3.5 million) in an attempt to cover up past misconduct against an unnamed man — and of lying to the F.B.I. about doing so.
Hastert, 74, pleaded guilty to the banking violation in October and is scheduled to be sentenced April 27, But the Friday filing is the first time that prosecutors said publicly that the former speaker paid the hush money in order to cover up accusations of sexual abuse. It is also the first time prosecutors provided details about the alleged abuse.
Prosecutors allege that Hastert molested at least four boys while he was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in the Chicago suburb of Yorkville, where he worked from 1965 to 1981. According to the filing, the abuse consisted of “intentional touching of minors’ groin area and genitals or oral sex with a minor.”
“The actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violated the special trust between those young boys and their coach,” the filing says.
The man whom Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million — referred to in court papers only as “Individual A” — said the former speaker molested him in a room at a motel where they and several others boys were staying during a trip to a wrestling camp.
The court document also refers to a fifth man, another former member of Yorkville wrestling team, who said that during a post-practice massage, Hastert brushed against his genitals. He was unsure whether Hastert did so on purpose, but said that the incident was “very weird” and made him feel uncomfortable.
Prosecutors said that Hastert cannot be charged for the alleged sexual abuse due to the statutes of limitation, but they recommended in the Friday filing that the federal judge who will decide Hastert’s sentence give him six months in prison for the charges related to the bank withdrawals.
The post Prosecutors detail sex abuse allegations against Dennis Hastert appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
One of Europe’s most wanted men confessed to his role in the terrorists attacks on Paris and Brussels after he was taken into custody a day earlier by police along with several others, Belgian authorities said Saturday.
Authorities say Belgian citizen Mohamed Abrini, 31, is the suspect widely referred to as “the man in the hat” after being captured on video surveillance at Brussels airport last month. Abrini was allegedly seen alongside two accomplices, who later killed 16 people in separate suicide bombings inside the building’s departure hall. Another 16 people also died in a third bombing inside a Brussels subway car.
Abrini was taken in custody by police in Brussels on Friday, later admitting to playing a part in the assaults, officials said.
According to a statement released by Belgian federal prosecutors, Abrini will face terrorism charges related to a string of incidents across sections of Brussels and Paris that killed more than 160 people in March and November.
The prosecutors said Abrini was confronted by video evidence, which led to his admission.
“He had no other choice,” the statement read. “He is charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murder.”
Police said Abrini is a childhood friend of Salah Abdeslam, who is also accused of his involvement in the Paris attacks and was taken into custody days before the assaults on Brussels.
Three other people were also charged on Saturday for their participation in the attacks in France and Belgium. One of those individuals, Osama Krayem, had allegedly purchased garbage bags used on the day of the Brussels assaults and was also said to be in the vicinity of the subway bombing on March 22, prosecutors told Reuters.
The post Belgium officials say ‘man in the hat’ found, charged in attacks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Thousands of people gathered outside U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s headquarters in London on Saturday, calling for his resignation after the Panama Papers, a massive data leak, revealed his connection to offshore funds.
The protesters accuse Cameron of hypocrisy because his government has publicly supported eliminating tax loopholes.
Critics crowded in the streets outside the prime minister’s official office and residence at 10 Downing Street in London Saturday. Supporters of the protest joined in on Twitter using the hashtags #ResignDavidCameron and #ResignCameron.
— lily (@lilyallen) April 9, 2016
The papers, published last Sunday through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), showed that Cameron’s father, who died in 2010, set up an offshore trust called Blairmore Holdings Inc. in the 1980s. Initially, when asked about his connection to the investment fund, Cameron evaded questions, dismissing it as a “private matter.”
After days of negative press, he told a British Television program on Thursday that he sold his shares in the trust shortly before becoming prime minister in 2010, estimating they were worth around 30,000 pounds, roughly $42,300.
He also said he had received an inheritance from his father of about ten times that amount, and said that he could not be certain where that money had come from.
Offshore accounts are not illegal, but shareholders often use them to avoid paying taxes, which the director of the ICIJ told PBS NewsHour looks “rather suspicious.”
On Saturday morning, Cameron told a group at a Conservative Party spring forum that he mishandled the situation.
“It’s not been a great week,” he said, prompting laughter from the crowd. “I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. I know that there are lessons to learn and I will learn them.” The crowd applauded.
Cameron said he was “very angry” about what people had said about his father, but promised he had done nothing illegal, and that he would make public his tax returns for this year and past ones.
Cameron is the latest in a line of political leaders drawn into controversy over connections to the Panama Papers in the week since they were published.
Iceland’s prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said Tuesday he would resign over revelations of his offshore investments.
The post Thousands of protesters call on Cameron to resign over offshore funds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today in an attempt to ease escalating political tensions there and prolong a power-sharing agreement he brokered two years ago.
Secretary Kerry met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose security forces control 70 percent of the country’s territory but are fighting a resurgent Taliban, which was initially toppled by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Kerry also met with Ghani’s political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who is chief executive of the unity government. Kerry later tweeted, quote, “The U.S. continues to support sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of self- reliant, democratic Afghanistan.”
Kerry visited troops serving at Camp Resolute Support in Kabul to thank them for their service. The U.S. plans to withdraw nearly half of the almost 10,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan next year.
Joining me now via Skype from Kabul, Afghanistan, to discuss Secretary Kerry’s trip is “Reuters'” State Department correspondent, Arshad Mohammed.
So, first, it seems that there are two sets of problems that Kerry and the Afghans are trying to tackle. On the domestic side, they’ve got economic problems, political problems, and then they also have the big giant security concerns with the Taliban, which is now heading into its 15th year?
ARSHAD MOHAMMED, REUTERS STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: That’s exactly right. On the political side, the problem, essentially, is whether the current national unity government between President Ghani and so-called Chief Executive Abdullah, can continue on beyond what’s widely believed here to be the end of its two-year kind of mandate in September. The security problems are well-known. The Taliban has been resurgent over the last year. The fighting season is about to start again. And the U.S. government is planning to cut the number of its troops to 5,500 from 9,800, toward the end of this year.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So what happens on that political front come September? Does that mean the government dissolves or collapses?
ARSHAD MOHAMMED: Well, there’s a lot of ambiguity about what exactly happens. What Kerry today said — and he’s the person who brokered the agreement that created the unity government — was that from his point of view it doesn’t need to end — or it doesn’t end in two years, that there’s no specific termination date. What he’s essentially and what U.S. officials are really trying to do here is to get the Afghan politicians, not just Ghani and Abdullah, but also the opposition politicians associated with former President Karzai to try to work out some kind of an agreement to keep the government going beyond September.
That’s especially important because in October, aid donors are going to meet in Belgium and decide how much aid to give to Afghanistan, and they’re not going to want to give money if it isn’t clear an established government in place to spend the money wisely.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Secretary Kerry had almost a similar trip in Baghdad. There the common foe is ISIS.
ARSHAD MOHAMMED: That’s right. We were in Baghdad yesterday, and again, he’s trying to push Iraqi politicians to achieve consensus. And the case there, it’s really trying to figure out how to craft a cabinet for the Iraqi government that enough of the politicians can live with.
You need to have in general a functioning, somewhat cohesive government, to prosecute the war against the Islamic state militants in Iraq or against the Taliban here in Afghanistan.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, when you’re on these long plane rides with him and you have access to the secretary, do you ever see his optimism waning? I mean, when you think about this, thousands of American lives have been lost. It’s been now 15 years. We’ve spent probably a couple of trillion dollars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and here we are in situations where both of these countries, and parts of them, are completely lawless still.
ARSHAD MOHAMMED: You know, my impression is most secretaries of state are almost cogently optimistic because that’s part of their job. Their job is to try to find ways to solve problems. We do see Secretary Kerry on the plane off the record sometimes. I can’t talk about that. But most secretaries of state I’ve covered and I’ve covered for now tend to be looking for solutions rather than wringing their hands over the problems.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Arshad Mohammed joining us today via Skype in the U.S. embassy in Kabul — thanks so much.
ARSHAD MOHAMMED: Thanks for your time.
The post Kerry visits Kabul in effort to ease political tensions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
NEW YORK — When Donald Trump walked onstage for his final rally before Wisconsin’s presidential primary, he found an unfamiliar sight: hundreds of empty seats.
The election eve rally Monday at the grand Milwaukee Theatre, which featured the heavily promoted campaign return of the GOP front-runner’s wife, was intended as a capstone of Trump’s three-day blitz through the state. A big-enough victory could have put Trump on a path to clinch the number of delegates needed to win the nomination before the party’s convention in July.
Instead, the half-filled room was an ominous harbinger: He ended up losing to rival Ted Cruz by 13 percentage points on Tuesday.
Trump still holds a solid lead in the race, but the stinging defeat was evidence that Trump’s unorthodox campaign — run by largely inexperienced operatives and fueled by the candidate’s sheer force of personality — had hit a wall.
The ever-confident Trump canceled his plans for the rest of the week, hunkered down and confronted fears that he was being outmaneuvered.
For nearly a year, the celebrity businessman had kept away from the trappings of a more conventional campaign operation. But days after the Wisconsin loss, he relented on that front as he tries to recapture his momentum and gear up for a potential general election race against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump is bringing in new staff, including a seasoned Washington operative to run his efforts at the convention, where the nomination appears more likely than ever to be decided. He also plans to place new focus on policy.
His team is making more strategic decisions as to how to make best use of Trump’s time — the campaign’s most valuable asset — starting with a refocused effort to run up the score in the April 19 primary in his home state of New York.
“In many ways, I think it’s a recognition that the successful primary campaign that Mr. Trump has run has to shift gears,” said adviser Ed Brookover, brought on board to help lead the delegate strategy.
With minimal spending on advertising and a small staff in comparison with Clinton’s, the Trump campaign has upended the political orthodoxy by riding large rallies and a knack for earning free media, and risen to the top of the GOP race.
But Wisconsin showed the limitations of that strategy.
The state’s Republican establishment coalesced around Cruz. Leading the way was Gov. Scott Walker, who had dropped out of the White House race last year and warned against Trump’s ascendance. The state’s influential conservative talk radio circuit proved an unfriendly venue to a candidate who has glided effortlessly through so many interviews.
Trump also found himself on the defensive after retweeted unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, and committed what may have been the first costly gaffe of his bid when he bungling a question about abortion.
His insular campaign leadership, featuring a tiny inner circle led by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who’s facing charges of battery after an incident with a reporter, seemed ill-equipped to compete in the bruising and complex fight to line up the support of delegates who will attend the national convention.
In Colorado, for instance, Cruz-supporting delegates swept local contests while Trump’s team made repeated flubs. The campaign fired its Colorado state director last Saturday, just after he had arrived. The new director, Patrick Davis, started running Trump’s fledgling operation on Wednesday, after Cruz had snapped up nearly one-sixth of the state’s delegates.
Davis insisted the Trump operation wasn’t worried.
“There’s not a concern. Colorado was just next for the campaign to focus on,” Davis said, adding that the addition of campaign veteran Paul Manafort to lead the delegate effort shows that Trump understands its importance. “This is the next phase of the campaign, and they understand that. This is when the hand-to-hand combat starts.”
Trump and his team had largely assumed he would have the race all but locked up after winning Florida in mid-March, and had largely failed to prepare for a potential fight at the convention. It was then, even before the resounding defeat in Wisconsin, when Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign aide and longtime adviser, put Trump in touch with Manafort, a veteran of numerous conventions.
As part of the campaign shuffle, Manafort will be “responsible for all activities that pertain to Mr. Trump’s delegate process and the Cleveland convention,” according to a campaign statement.
It is not clear precisely how Lewandowski now fits into the campaign operation. He is expected to continue to have a prominent role that will including traveling with the candidate – highly unusual for a campaign manager.
Manafort’s duties expected to be broad. He will start with a focus on the delegate efforts, as well as outreach to Washington lawmakers.
“I’m somewhat relieved,” Stone said. “This is a complicated process. … I think that Trump has turned this campaign to Manafort to take it in for a landing.”
After canceling a swing that would have included stops in Colorado and California, Trump is now planning to barnstorm across New York ahead of the primary. Winning at least 80 of the state’s 95 delegates is the goal. The rallies won’t go away; one was set for Sunday in Rochester.
“I’m inheriting a great situation,” Manafort told CNN on Friday, predicting that the race would be settled before the July convention. “All I’ve got to do is just sort of steer the ship in a little bit different direction.”
This report was written by Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin of the Associated Press.
The post Has Trump’s campaign hit a wall after loss in Wisconsin? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.