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- 08/25/16--15:20: _For Trump, China is...
- 08/25/16--15:30: _Why the ‘alt-right’...
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- 08/25/16--15:20: For Trump, China is at the heart of U.S. economic problems
- 08/25/16--15:33: What is the Trump trade doctrine? His economic adviser explains
- You increase the GDP growth rate
- You decrease the trade deficit
- And you strengthen the manufacturing base
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- 08/26/16--07:15: Trump immigration waffle reflects voter confusion on issue
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- 08/26/16--13:19: How religious voters could help determine the 45th president
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HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first: Trade, globalization and the impact on wages and jobs are issues that have spoken strongly to voters throughout this presidential campaign.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are talking very differently about the subject than prior nominees. And for Trump, it’s been a major focus of his campaign.
As part of our continuing coverage of the issues, our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, is spending the next three weeks focused on those questions.
Tonight: how Donald Trump sees it, and some of the concerns about that approach, part of our weekly Making Sense series, which airs on Thursdays.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: China. China. China. China. China. China. China. China. China all the time. China.
PAUL SOLMAN: Given Donald Trump’s persistently pointed pivot to Asia, small wonder that among his favorite films is “Death by China.”
NARRATOR: China has stolen thousands of our factories and millions off our jobs. Multinational corporation profits are soaring, and we now owe over $3 trillion to the world’s largest communist nation.
PAUL SOLMAN: And small wonder the film’s writer/director, Peter Navarro, sounds like the candidate.
PETER NAVARRO, Economic Adviser, Trump Campaign: We’re going right down the toilet, and it’s a made-in-China toilet.
PAUL SOLMAN: Navarro, a Harvard-trained professor at University of California, Irvine, is the sole Trump economic adviser with a Ph.D.
So how’d you get interested in and worried about China?
PETER NAVARRO: I teach MBAs. And I noticed, starting a few years after China joined the World Trade Organization, that a lot of my students were no longer employed. They were still coming to get their MBA, but they’d lost their jobs. And I started to ask questions why. And, at that point, all roads were leading to Beijing.
PAUL SOLMAN: Navarro has done plenty of technical work in economics, is a pioneer in online learning. But he began focusing on China just a few years ago.
PETER NAVARRO: The defining moment in American economic history is when Bill Clinton lobbied to get China into the World Trade Organization. It was the worst political and economic mistake in American history in the last 100 years.
PAUL SOLMAN: In the last 100 years?
PETER NAVARRO: In the last 100 years, yes.
China went into the World Trade Organization and agreed to play by certain rules. Instead, they are illegally subsidizing their exports, manipulating their currency, stealing all of our intellectual property, using sweatshops, using pollution havens.
What happens is, our businesses and workers are playing that game with two hands tied behind their back.
PAUL SOLMAN: Navarro says you can even see the effects at U.C. Irvine, where, he says, Chinese students, paying triple the in-state tuition rate, are displacing native Californians, while the Chinese parents are scooping up local real estate.
PETER NAVARRO: Generally all cash deals.
PAUL SOLMAN: So your argument is, unfair trade practices, they amass dollars, they bring the dollars back here, they buy up property, and they drive up real estate prices?
PETER NAVARRO: That’s right. And they drive up rents for younger people. They will drive up home prices for first-time homebuyers. So it’s not just that we’re losing jobs and factories. We’re giving away our homes, our businesses, our companies, our technologies.
PAUL SOLMAN: But, of course, we heard the same alarm about Japan in the 1980s, a false alarm. But China is different, says Navarro, so much bigger.
DONALD TRUMP: We are going to enforce all trade violations against any country that cheats.
PAUL SOLMAN: So one of the answers your candidate, Donald Trump, provides is that we should have protective tariffs on Chinese goods.
PETER NAVARRO: Wrong word. Wrong word.
PAUL SOLMAN: What’s wrong?
PETER NAVARRO: Donald Trump is not a protectionist. All he wants to do is defend America against unfair trade practices.
PAUL SOLMAN: Well, defend, protect.
PETER NAVARRO: Very different. Trade is good. Tariffs and the threat of tariffs are a negotiating tool to require countries like China to stop their unfair trade practices. That’s the mission.
PAUL SOLMAN: And how much do you imagine it might cost in the increase in the price of goods at, say, Wal-Mart?
PETER NAVARRO: Any increase would be less than the paycheck that all these people would be getting, both in terms of actually having a job, plus wages rising again.
PAUL SOLMAN: If the jobs actually were to come back, that is.
PETER NAVARRO: The Trump trade doctrine is this. America will trade with any country, so long as that deal meets these three criterion: You increase the GDP growth rate, you decrease the trade deficit, and you strengthen the manufacturing base.
PAUL SOLMAN: But isn’t technology responsible for the elimination of American factory jobs?
PETER NAVARRO: Certainly technology has played a part, but the dramatic change from five-and-a-half decades of 3.5 percent rate of growth prior to China entering our markets with illegally subsidized goods and the 1.8 percent afterwards suggests strongly that China has played an enormous role in the decline and downfall of the American economy. And I can show on a blackboard exactly why.
PAUL SOLMAN: Now, your typical economist would hardly agree. But, hey, says Navarro, your typical economist still believes in the old so-called Keynesian approach to reviving the economy.
PETER NAVARRO: Alright, Paul, the growth of any nation is simply four things.
PAUL SOLMAN: More consumption, C., by consumers and more G, government spending. He and Trump, however, will supposedly flip the script, stimulating more I, Investment, by business, via tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, while boosting net exports through new trade deals.
That’s exports minus imports.
PETER NAVARRO: That’s right.
PAUL SOLMAN: And, of course, if that’s a negative number, that is, you have more imports than exports.
PETER NAVARRO: This is the big kahuna. This is what Donald Trump understands. This is the trade deficit. We run a trade deficit of close to $800 billion a year. And so this directly subtracts from this. This is why we’re stuck in low-growth mode.
PAUL SOLMAN: Well, maybe. The job of a journalist, however, is to ask questions.
What is U.S. GDP 2016?
COMPUTER VOICE: Checking on that.
PAUL SOLMAN: Happily, there’s now Siri to answer them.
COMPUTER VOICE: It looks like the answer is about 18.2 trillion U.S. dollars per year.
PAUL SOLMAN: Thank you, Siri.
In that case, GDP is something like $18 trillion, right? And you’re saying that the trade deficit is — well, it’s less than $1 trillion, right? So, this can’t be a major factor in total GDP, the size of the economy.
PETER NAVARRO: Yes, but when we run these big trade deficits and send our jobs offshore, we hold our wages down and our income down. That feeds right back into the biggest part of this whole equation, consumption. This drags GDP down as well.
PAUL SOLMAN: Or so this story goes.
When you hear the criticism about Donald Trump’s own goods being made in other countries, what’s your reaction?
PETER NAVARRO: Do me a favor. Play Dan Slane’s clip in my “Death by China” movie. It’s priceless.
PAUL SOLMAN: Slane was a plywood manufacturer in Bowling Green, Kentucky, whose competitors moved to China.
DAN SLANE, Business Owner: And I opened up three factories in China and delivered to the customer in the United States 50 percent cheaper than I could make it in Bowling Green.
PETER NAVARRO: He winds up selling product back here into the U.S. at cost. How did he make his money?
DAN SLANE: Every month, the Chinese government would send me a check for 17 percent of my exports, and that was my net margin and my profit.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, is Donald Trump getting checks from the Chinese government?
PETER NAVARRO: That’s how the game works.
PAUL SOLMAN: But he could use American companies. There are lots of people who actually say made in USA and use that as a marketing tool.
PETER NAVARRO: The point here is, he can’t. The competitive forces that force a Dan Slane to take his furniture company to China, they’re real, OK? And if you try and take the high ground and produce here in America, when China’s dumping product in and manipulating their currency, you go out of business. You just go out of business.
PAUL SOLMAN: What about the character issues that surround Donald Trump?
PETER NAVARRO: Well, look, I don’t go there. I focus on policy. That’s my job.
PAUL SOLMAN: And you have no problem with the failed companies?
PETER NAVARRO: No one should be surprised just because somebody isn’t successful 100 percent of the time. The percent here, he’s a billionaire. He’s successful.
PAUL SOLMAN: And no matter how much money he actually has or hasn’t got, given that Donald Trump is the Republican candidate for president of the United States, no can argue that he isn’t successful — to date, at least.
“NewsHour” economics correspondent Paul Solman, reporting from Irvine, California.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And next week, Paul will look at Hillary Clinton’s approach to trade, and how she has changed over time.
The post For Trump, China is at the heart of U.S. economic problems appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, both presidential candidates were in full attack mode today. At issue, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s alleged connections to a fringe conservative philosophy.
John Yang has the story.
JOHN YANG: Today, Hillary Clinton debuted a fresh line of attack against Donald Trump.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: That is what I want to make clear today. A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far, dark reaches of the Internet, should never run our government or command our military.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHN YANG: This comes a little more than a week after Trump made Steve Bannon his campaign’s CEO.
Bannon is on leave from his job as executive chairman of Breitbart News, a Web site Bannon has called a platform for something called the alt- right. It’s a movement that lives largely online, rejects mainstream conservative politics, and is linked to nationalist and white supremacist sentiments.
Clinton said Trump has echoed alt-right rhetoric.
HILLARY CLINTON: All of this adds up to something we have never seen before. Now, of course, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of arising from racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone, until now.
JOHN YANG: Clinton’s campaign backed up their candidate’s message online with this new video that includes a Ku Klux Klan member expressing support for Trump.
MAN: Donald Trump would be best for the job.
QUESTION: For president?
MAN: I am a farmer and white nationalist. Support Donald Trump.
JOHN YANG: Even before Clinton spoke, Trump hit back.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. They keep saying it. You’re racist.
It’s a tired, disgusting argument. The people of this country who want their laws enforced and respected, and respected by all, and who want their border secured, are not racists.
If you want to have strong borders, so that people come into our country, but they come in legally through a legal process, that doesn’t make you a racist. It makes you smart. It makes you an American.
JOHN YANG: Today’s exchange between the candidates shining a spotlight on a little-known movement.
So, what is the alt-right? And how it is influencing this year’s presidential race?
For that, we are joined by Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news Web site, and from Manchester, New Hampshire, David Weigel, who covers national politics for The Washington Post.
Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us.
Dave, let me start with you and ask you that question. What is alt-right, who’s behind it, where did it come from?
DAVID WEIGEL, The Washington Post: Well, it’s a fairly young movement with fairly old ideas.
I would say what they’re against, which is easier to define, is a philosophy of invite the world, invade the world. They are generally anti-intervention and anti-multiculturalism.
And they started to grow in 2007, as the Bush administration was falling to below 30 percent, was seen as discredited, was obviously going to help Democrats win the next election. Ron Paul’s campaign seeded some of this, but it really grew under the presidency of Barack Obama.
And they’re fairly young people. This is, I think, what’s worrying for a lot of progressives and a lot of people on the right, fairly young people, under 25, under 30, who have only known the Republican Party as a disappointment. And they have gravitated to these ideas which are very anti-immigrant, very anti-intervention.
JOHN YANG: And they’re getting a lot of attention, Dave, because of the anti-Semitic and anti-white — or — and white supremacist rhetoric. How central is that to their message and to what they believe in?
DAVID WEIGEL: It’s enabled in a lot of their messaging.
Not every alt-right thinker or activist is a white nationalist, by far, but there’s a sense that political correctness is a bigger problem than racism, and that racism is used as a cudgel for silencing what they want to say, what they want to argue about.
That’s, again, an older idea. Before the alt-right, there were paleoconservatives, like Sam Francis, like Pat Buchanan, who argued this and said, look, what the left wants to do to America, how it wants to import lots of immigrants, decrease the number of traditional white Americans, what they want to do is not popular, and they have to kind of Trojan a horse through culturally, and we’re against that.
JOHN YANG: Matthew, what is your take on this? What would you add to that, to what Dave said?
MATTHEW CONTINETTI, Washington Free Beacon: I think I have a slightly narrower definition of the alt-right than Dave does.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: It’s true, there has always been this kind of critique of conservatism from the non-interventionist, the non-multicultural view.
I think the alt-right takes it a degree further. And so what you have that unifies a lot of these alt-righters on the Internet is really a disgust at the idea of egalitarianism.
They do believe in hierarchies. Some of them are racial. They also believe in sexual hierarchies. So, a lot of them kind of wave the banner of the men’s rights movement.
And so you start off from that political conclusion. And very quickly, when you read the rhetoric, it devolves into just outright racism, outright misogyny. So part of it starts with these ideas of Sam Francis, Joe Sobran, Pat Buchanan, that have been around since the end of the Cold War, really.
But a lot now of it is now much more visceral, hatred of the mainstream cultural movement for embracing some version of egalitarianism, civil rights, equality of the sexes.
JOHN YANG: And, David, what is the link, or is there a link or is there a connection between the Trump campaign and the alt-right?
DAVID WEIGEL: Well, there always has been. There been alt-right support for Trump mostly manifested online or even sometimes the T-shirts and signs you see at rallies.
There is a big alt-right presence on sites like 4chan and Reddit. And it was good that Matt mentioned the men’s rights movement. You could mention Gamergate. That was kind of a gateway for a lot of activists who consider themselves alt-right.
So, they supported Trump in the first place. The more direction came when Steve Bannon, the CEO of Breitbart, became the CEO of Trump’s campaign. Breitbart, very, I think, in a calculated and then also in a natural way became a forum for alt-right thinking and alt-right coverage, coverage of politics the way that those 4chan and Reddit people wanted it covered.
And that’s when this connection became harder to deny and when I think the Clinton campaign thought it was something to exploit.
JOHN YANG: And, Matthew, what does this mean for the future of the conservative movement?
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: I think it’s one more sign that conservatism as we understand it is coming under great strain during the era of Trump.
And so you have all of these criticisms of the mainstream conservatism represented by William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan. All these critics now feel empowered with the rise of Donald Trump.
Anyone who had a bone to pick with the George W. Bush administration, with the Republicans in Congress, with the editors of National Review, of The Weekly Standard now says, Trump is our guy. Trump is going to be the agent of change that legitimates our somewhat fringe, marginal ideas.
Now, is there a large constituency for these ideas? No. I mean, you can find it on the Internet, but the danger for the conservative mainstream is to say, oh, all of a sudden, since it’s on the Internet, maybe we need to incorporate it into our thinking.
As soon as that happens, I think you’re going to find conservatism itself illegitimated.
JOHN YANG: You talk about the days of William F. Buckley, when he was sort of the one who said who was a conservative.
Does the conservative movement, do you think, bear any responsibility for the emergence of this sentiment, the alt-right?
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: I think it’s bottom-up, really. So, I don’t think you had the same gatekeepers that you did in the earlier media age, when there were one or two conservative magazines that published biweekly or monthly.
Now we live in the Internet, and it’s the Wild West. Anyone with an opinion, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, they can express themselves. They can put these opinions into the public sphere. And what we have found, much to the surprise of conservatives like myself, is, there is a large audience for this type of rhetoric, these types of ideas.
And also one thing that needs to be mentioned with the alt-right, they’re kind of cyber-bullies. And we saw, with the rise of Trump in 2015, groups of these advocates and activists on Twitter going after in many cases Jewish conservatives and calling them anti-Semitic tropes.
This is something that I think is very ugly. And I worry for the future of conservatism, that it may displace the more traditional mainstream conservatism that most Americans think of when they think conservatism for the last 30 years.
JOHN YANG: We should point out that one of the targets of Breitbart was your father-in-law, William Kristol, who they went after right — in a very…
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: I wouldn’t like them anyway, though.
JOHN YANG: OK.
Dave, what’s the future of this movement? You say that they feel like this is their moment, with Donald Trump as the nominee. Regardless of what happens to Donald Trump in November, what’s going to happen to this movement?
DAVID WEIGEL: Well, the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of Republicans is, they don’t think they’re going to win the election. They think Trump will lose.
And there will be an effort — I don’t think a cynical effort, I think in part a sincere effort — to say the reason he lost is because he embraced a lot of radical ideas that can’t win in America anymore, we need to get rid of those elements.
To key off what Matt was saying, it wasn’t like they were part of the conservative conversation, the mainstream conversation anyway. They weren’t writing for National Review. They weren’t writing for The Weekly Standard.
They were always on the outs, but I think they will be actively ostracized after the election.
JOHN YANG: Dave Weigel, Matthew Continetti, thanks for helping us walk through this.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Thank you.
JOHN YANG: Thanks.
DAVID WEIGEL: Thank you.
The post Why the ‘alt-right’ is coming out of online chat rooms to support Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: On Donald Trump’s economic team, there’s just one economist with a Phd: Peter Navarro. For this week’s Making Sen$e report, economics correspondent Paul Solman spoke with Navarro at length about the trade deficit, China and the Trump trade doctrine. You can watch that segment on tonight’s PBS NewsHour. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
— Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor
PAUL SOLMAN: So let’s start with China. What is China doing that’s so problematic?
PETER NAVARRO: What happens in China doesn’t stay in China. So let me give you the history here. The defining moment in American economic history is when Bill Clinton lobbied to get China into the World Trade Organization. It was the worst political and economic mistake in American history in the last 100 years.
It’s on a par with Herbert Hoover going into the Great Depression and tightening the money supply. It did not have as steep an effect as the Great Depression, but it’s had a more prolonged effect, because it’s been 15 years.
And let me give you the relevant stats — from 1947 to 2001, the American economy grew annually at a rate of 3.5 percent. After China got into the World Trade Organization, got access to our markets and flooded our markets with its illegally subsidized exports, we grew at a rate of 1.8 percent from 2002 to 2015. That’s almost cut in half.
PAUL SOLMAN: And you’re attributing that to letting China into the World Trade Organization.
PETER NAVARRO: In my movie, “Death By China,” it shows Bill Clinton in 2000 promising that when China got into the World Trade Organization we would be making products here and selling them there, and life would be great. Just the opposite has happened. And here’s why this has been so devastating — China went into the World Trade Organization and agreed to play by certain rules. Instead, it’s violated these rules. For 15 years, it continues to illegally subsidize its exports; it steals intellectual property at a cost of about $300 billion a year to the American economy and engages in what’s called forced technology transfer. So if GE wants to produce on Chinese soil, it has to give them patents to the jet engines.
PAUL SOLMAN: But it is possible that the situation would be even worse if China weren’t in the WTO, right?
PETER NAVARRO: When China got into the WTO, that allowed it to sell into any other country within the WTO — not just the United States — at the lowest tariffs that country offered. And the other countries could sell into China at the lowest tariffs that China offered. The problem, right off the bat, was that China had much higher tariffs than everywhere else, so the U.S. and Europe in particular got the short end of that stick.
But the really big problem with China is that there are the unfair trade practices, like currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies and the theft of intellectual property, but then there’s also things that the WTO doesn’t cover that it should, which is the use of sweat shops and pollution havens.
If you’ve been to China, you know there are over 100 cities in China, and the pollution levels are just horrific – 60,000 people a year die in Chinese factories and facilities, because they don’t have any safety regulations. It’s a carnage; it’s Dickensian.
PAUL SOLMAN: But defenders of free trade and free trade agreements always say it would be worse if we didn’t have these agreements.
PETER NAVARRO: China is illegally subsidizing their exports, manipulating their currency, stealing all of our intellectual property, using sweat shops, using pollution havens. What happens under those rules is our businesses and workers are playing that game with two hands tied behind their back. And so when China entered the World Trade Organization, over the following 15 years, we’ve seen over 70,000 factories close; we’ve seen over 20 million Americans unable to find a good job at a decent wage; the huge labor supply from China that came in has led to an average median household income not just rising but going down a little bit; we’ve had flat wages for 15 years and the big thing is the fact that our growth rate was cut in half.
PAUL SOLMAN: One of the answers your candidate, Donald Trump, provides is: We should have protective tariffs on Chinese goods.
PETER NAVARRO: Wrong word. Wrong word.
PAUL SOLMAN: What’s wrong?
PETER NAVARRO: Donald Trump is not a protectionist. If he imposes tariffs on China or any other country that cheats, all he wants to do is defend America against unfair trade practices.
PAUL SOLMAN: Well, defend — protect.
PETER NAVARRO: Very different. Protectionism is what happened leading into the Great Depression with things like the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs — the design was just to put these big walls up on your markets and then try to basically take unfair advantage with competitive devaluations in other markets.
PAUL SOLMAN: In other words, make your currency worth less so that you can sell exports more cheaply abroad.
PETER NAVARRO: Correct. And those competitive devaluations alone were a big contributor to the Great Depression, because it was just a downward slide. Defensive tariffs speak to this word called countervailing. Countervailing tariffs offset any advantage a country gains by cheating. But here’s the most important point; the end game is not tariffs — that’s not the end game. Tariffs and the threat of tariffs are a negotiating tool to require countries like China to stop their unfair trade practices — that’s the mission. And here’s the Trump trade doctrine — this is the most important thing I’m going to say to you today — America will trade with any country, so long as that deal meets these three criteria:
PAUL SOLMAN: But there are other factors that go into the decline of the American growth rate, no?
PETER NAVARRO: The key here, in terms of the Trump economic plan, is to diagnose the problem correctly. What we’ve been doing for the last 15 years is misdiagnose the problem. The diagnosis has been this is a short-run, cyclical phenomenon that you can handle with Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimulus.
PAUL SOLMAN: But a lot of economists are now talking about secular stagnation – long-run decline in economic growth, and they’re not blaming it entirely or even to a significant extent on China.
PETER NAVARRO: And that’s also a misdiagnosis. The correct diagnosis is that this is a long-term structural problem, based on issues related to trade and tax policy and, to a certain extent, regulatory and energy policy. But if you look at, for example, Europe and the United States, both of these entities are facing slow growth rates, well below historic norms.
PAUL SOLMAN: Because of China?
PETER NAVARRO: Because they’re running trade deficits with the rest of the world. If you look at the U.S. trade deficit, it’s close to $800 billion trade in goods. Half of that is with China, so it’s a big part of the problem. And the problem with China, as opposed to, say, Canada, is that China cheats. For example, right now as we speak, China is dumping 100 million tons of steel below cost into global markets. What does that do to steel workers in Indiana? What does that do to steel workers in Ohio? It unfairly puts them out of business. That kind of behavior is totally contrary to WTO rules, but by the time you file a complaint three years later, everybody’s out of a job and the company’s closed.
Watch Making Sen$e’s latest segment with Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro.
PAUL SOLMAN: How do you lose money on your exports and yet amass more and more money, which is what China’s done?
PETER NAVARRO: In this period of time, where China’s growth rate is rapidly declining, they’re actually running down their reserves at an alarming rate, and part of that is the subsidization of their industries. Basically, the Communist Party maximizes job creation. In America, a capitalist state, our companies maximize profits and our government — I’m not sure what it does, but I know what it doesn’t do — it doesn’t protect American workers from this kind of dumping.
PAUL SOLMAN: But for decades, the charge has been that China has been subsidizing its exports. In fact, even in the steel industry, right?
PETER NAVARRO: Yes, absolutely. Steel and aluminum have been just getting killed. It’s a structural problem beginning in 2001, when China came into the WTO. For some years, it goes great for China, and the U.S. and Europe slowly decline in terms of their growth, lose their factories, lose their jobs. Everything’s kind of OK, and then we hit this wall in about 2008, 2009 where Europe and the U.S. are growing so slowly they can no longer support China in the manner in which it’s accustomed. Now, what happens there — China basically drives the economies of Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia, all of these commodity countries.
PAUL SOLMAN: It’s buying the raw materials from them.
PETER NAVARRO: And this is the structural disequilibrium in the global economy. It’s all tied to the inability of exchange rates to work in the way they’re supposed to because exchange rates are fixed rather than floating, and the market can’t adjust. That’s the structural problem we’re dealing with.
PAUL SOLMAN: So when Trump talks about tariffs — 45 percent on Chinese goods — that’s a reasonable policy suggestion?
PETER NAVARRO: That’s more than a reasonable policy suggestion, and remember that the goal is not to impose the tariff. The goal is to persuade China to stop cheating. But here’s what’s interesting — Trump intuitively understands what things should be. I did a study in 2008 where I estimated the impact of China’s unfair trade practices on their competitive advantage — the so-called China Price. You know what it came out to be? Forty-three percent. Forty-three percent — very close to what his intuition said we needed in order to equalize things.
PAUL SOLMAN: And how much do you imagine it might cost in the increase in the price of goods at, say, Walmart, if there were a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports?
PETER NAVARRO: Any increase would be less than the paycheck that all these people would be getting, both in terms of actually having a job, plus wages rising again.
The way the textbook works is you have gains from trade that should be distributed across all the trading partners. As soon as one bad actor like China massively cheats, they win at the expense of us; they win at the expense of Europe and over time it threatens the entire integrity of the global financial system and the global trading system. That’s where we are in 2016 a few months out before this election. Donald Trump understands this. He’s been talking about it since 1980. He understands it. The people that are on the other side of this, including his opponent, have been part of every bad trade negotiation we’ve had since 1993.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: As we reported earlier, the government of Colombia signed a deal with the largest rebel group, the FARC, that could end the world’s longest-running conflict.
Here to discuss what’s in the accord and the road ahead is Cynthia Arnson. She’s director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
So, thanks for joining us.
CYNTHIA ARNSON, Wilson Center: Thank you.
HARI SREENIVASAN: First of all, this deal has been a long time coming. What’s in it?
CYNTHIA ARNSON: Well, there are five basic agreements that cover agrarian reform, cover the kind of political participation that the guerrillas will have, cover illicit economies, including drug trafficking, transitional justice, and then the final one on the terms for disarmament and demobilization.
So it’s very comprehensive, very detailed. The text itself is over 250 pages, but there are some provisions of it that are more controversial than others. And as with any peace accord, the real test comes when it’s time to implement, and the government and all of Colombian society have to live up to the agreement, including the FARC.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The disarmament seems like one of those complicated motions that there are just also — there is a distrust between people who have been fighting, shooting, killing one another for quite some time. What’s to keep someone from saying, you know what, I’m going to wait until the very end before I hand in my guns or before I walk in through this process?
CYNTHIA ARNSON: There is a very explicit timetable for the demobilization and disarmament of the FARC.
It’s supposed to start the minute that the peace accord is actually signed between the government and the president of Colombia, which will probably be some time in a couple of weeks, in mid to late September. And then that is considered day one, and there is a 180-day period, basically six months, for the FARC to go to one of 23 zones throughout the country that have been designated that will be overseen by the United Nations monitors in terms of verification.
So there’s a very detailed thing. And the Colombian military will actually be in place to guarantee the safe passage of the guerrillas from the various places in the country where they are. So the Colombian military has also been at the peace table. That was one of the very unique, I think, features of the Colombia peace process.
So they have been working together with the guerrillas to come up with these procedures.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And this is still a country that has a lot of opposition to the FARC. What about the feeling that this is perhaps giving them a pass? There have been injustices and human rights violations on both sides of this. How do you bring some of those perpetrators to justice while you build this peace?
CYNTHIA ARNSON: Well, it is hugely controversial. And the country is very polarized.
And there will be a plebiscite, a chance for the Colombian public to vote either yes or no for the peace accord to be binding and valid. Thirteen percent — 50 percent of 13 percent of the registered voters have to come out and approve the peace accord that’s been negotiated.
And the most strident critic is the former president, Alvaro Uribe, and the current president, Santos, was his defense minister, and so there is a tremendous amount of bad blood. And there are provisions on transitional justice and on the political participation of the FARC guerrillas that are really, really controversial.
And there is an expression in Spanish about swallowing frogs. And I think there are many such frogs in this agreement.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Is there a possibility here we could actually see a campaign, almost a political-style campaign, to try to encourage voters to scuttle this accord?
CYNTHIA ARNSON: Well, that campaign has been under way throughout the peace negotiations. A lot of criticism, almost daily tweets from President — former President Uribe and members of his political party.
There will be a very, very active campaign between over — now and October 2, both by the government and its supporters to mobilize people to come out and vote in favor of the accord, and an equally vigorous campaign by the opposition to say vote it down, this is not a good agreement for Colombia.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Cynthia Arnson of the Woodrow Wilson Center, thanks for joining us.
CYNTHIA ARNSON: Thank you.
HARI SREENIVASAN: My conversation with Cynthia Arnson continues online on our Facebook page. Viewers also asked her about the U.S. role in the conflict, and what happens if the agreement to end the war is rejected in the referendum. You can hear what Cynthia Arnson has to say at Facebook.com/NewsHour.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Rescuers in Italy today desperately searched for signs of life amid a sea of rubble. The death toll now stands at 250 people. The temblor leveled a cluster of mountain communities northeast of Rome early yesterday.
Emma Murphy of Independent Television News is in Italy with the latest.
EMMA MURPHY: Since the first quake, the aftershocks are seemingly endless. This one measuring 5.4 brought fear to an already traumatized population and greater danger to those working through what is already damaged.
And what damage. This is Pescara del Tronto. These images are of destruction on such a scale which makes them almost impossible to take in. On the ground, it still seems unreal. And yet a closer look gives a glimpse into the lives which were lived here and for some lost here.
Even the bishop tells me he has no words to offer comfort, relying instead of spiritual closeness or physical closeness and silence to help people through.
There were around 1,000 people in the town when the quake struck. Incredibly, most were able to escape. But there are others buried deep beneath. There are moments of joy, like when this worker shouted that he thought there was a child and called for silence.
They carefully begin to inch her out from the rubble which she has been trapped in for 15 hours. She is 10 years old and pulled out alive.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
EMMA MURPHY: It was a moment of hope, but there is much desperation and a feeling that the time for rescues has now passed.
MAN: We use the dogs. They are looking for now at this moment, but no sign of people alive, no.
EMMA MURPHY: For some, there’s been a chance to retrieve a few belongings abandoned as they ran for their lives.
MAN: I’m angry with God.
EMMA MURPHY: You’re angry with God?
MAN: Yes, I’m angry with God.
EMMA MURPHY: It’s unlikely these homes will ever be salvaged. And few feel particularly confident about living here now.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Italy’s civil protection agency estimates about 5,000 people, including firefighters, soldiers, and volunteers, have provided assistance in the wake of the disaster.
Colombia’s president formally delivered a historic peace deal with FARC rebels to his country’s congress today. It establishes a timetable for the leftist rebels to disarm and reenter society, ending five decades of war that’s killed more than 220,000 people. President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the agreement before a jubilant crowd outside the congress building in Bogota. It still requires the Colombian people’s approval in an October referendum.
PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, Colombia (through translator): I want to inform Colombians that I have ordered a definitive cease-fire with the FARC, beginning this coming Monday. With this ends the armed conflict with the FARC. Through this act, we are giving the people the last word regarding Colombia’s peace, and it will be the people on October 2 who will say, yes, we want peace.
HARI SREENIVASAN: We will take a closer look at Colombia’s path to peace after the news summary.
At least 13 people are dead one after a nearly nine-hour-long siege at the American University of Afghanistan on the outskirts of Kabul. Dozens more were wounded. The attack began last night with a car bomb at the university’s entrance, followed by gunfire. It didn’t end until this morning, when two gunmen were shot dead by Afghan special forces. Students recounted the assault.
AHMAD HUSSIN, Student, American University of Afghanistan (through translator): We were at the gym inside the university when the attack took place. There is a safe room there. We all stayed there until 1:30 a.m. Then the security forces came in and rescued us.
NAQIE ULLAH, Student, American University of Afghanistan (through translator): The militant insurgents threw hand grenades at us, but we covered ourselves under the desks to avoid shrapnel. Then we all jumped down from the window of the second floor and escaped.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The State Department confirmed no U.S. citizens were among the dead. So far, there has been no claim of responsibility.
In Syria, the main Kurdish militia is beginning to withdraw from the Turkish border a day after the U.S. threatened to revoke its support if the Kurds didn’t do so, this in part due to Turkish concerns that the so-called YPG has gained too much ground fighting the Islamic State. They say the group is tied to Kurdish separatists inside Turkey.
Meanwhile, more Turkish tanks and fighters moved into the Syrian border town of Jarabulus today to help Syrian rebels secure the area from ISIS militants.
U.S. defense officials have confirmed a series of naval face-offs with Iran in the Persian Gulf. An Iranian vessel approached two American warships yesterday, prompting one U.S. ship to fire warning shots. The incident came a day after Iranian boats steered within 300 feet of an American ship in the Strait of Hormuz.
A Pentagon spokesman said Iran’s naval aggression was a concerning trend.
PETER COOK, Pentagon Spokesman: We certainly hope it doesn’t continue, because it serves no purpose, other than to raise tensions in an important part of world, and tensions that we don’t seek to have escalated.
We are conducting ourselves again, as always have, as the Navy does around the world, in a safe and professional manner, and our sailors will continue to do that, and they will continue to take the steps they need to, to protect themselves, their ships and our interests in the region.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Iran’s defense minister warned today they will continue to confront any vessel entering its territory, even though this week’s incidents were in international waters.
The maker of the EpiPen said today it is reducing out-of-pocket costs for some patients, amid a firestorm of criticism. The company, Mylan, will issue savings cards that cover up to $300 of the cost of its $600 two-dose package of the lifesaving allergy treatment. It is also doubling the amount of people that qualify for its patient assistance program.
Stocks slipped on Wall Street today, led by declines in the health care sector. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 33 points to close at 18448. The Nasdaq fell five points, and the S&P 500 slid nearly three.
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This week, Colombia finalized a peace deal, an earthquake leveled villages in Italy, and something notable happened at the world’s “worst zoo.” Take our quiz about this and more.
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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday expanded a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating a safe zone for tuna, sea turtles and thousands of other species in what will be the world’s largest marine protected area.Obama’s proclamation quadrupled in size a monument originally created by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will contain some 582,578 square miles, more than twice the size of Texas.
The president is slated to travel to the monument next week to mark the new designation and cite the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change. The president was born in Hawaii and spent much of his childhood there.
In creating the new monument, Obama cited its “diverse ecological communities” as well as “great cultural significance to the Native Hawaiian community and a connection to early Polynesian culture worthy of protection and understanding.”
The monument designation bans commercial fishing and any new mining, as is the case within the existing monument. Recreational fishing will be allowed through a permit, as will be scientific research and the removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices.
The regional council that manages U.S. waters in the Pacific Islands voiced disappointment with Obama’s decision, saying it “serves a political legacy” rather than a conservation benefit.
The council recommends catch limits and other steps designed to sustain fisheries. It said it recommended other expansion options that would have minimized impacts to the Hawaii longline fishery, which supplies a large portion of the fresh tuna and other fish consumed in Hawaii.
“Closing 60 percent of Hawaii’s waters to commercial fishing, when science is telling us that it will not lead to more productive local fisheries, makes no sense,” said Edwin Ebiusi Jr., chairman of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council “Today is a sad day in the history of Hawaii’s fisheries and a negative blow to our local food security.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts helped lead the push to expand the monument. It says research shows that very large, fully protected marine reserves are necessary to rebuild fish populations and diversity of species.
“By expanding the monument, President Obama has increased protections for one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet” said Joshua S. Reichert, an executive vice president at Pew.
The White House is describing the expansion as helping to protect more than 7,000 species and improving the resiliency of an ecosystem dealing with ocean acidification and warming. It also is emphasizing that the expanded area is considered a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.
Shipwrecks and downed aircraft from the Battle of Midway in World War II dot the expansion area. The battle marked a major shift in the war. Obama will travel to the Midway Atoll to discuss the expansion.
With the announcement, Obama will have created or expanded 26 national monuments. The administration said Obama has protected more acreage through national monument designations than any other president.
The White House said the expansion is a response to a proposal from Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and prominent Native Hawaiian leaders. The federal government will also give Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources and Office of Hawaiian Affairs a greater role in managing the monument, an arrangement requested by Schatz and Gov. David Ige.
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GENEVA — The United States and Russia on Friday renewed efforts to secure a military and humanitarian cooperation agreement for war-torn Syria as conditions on the ground continued to deteriorate after months of hesitation, missed deadlines and failed attempts to forge a nationwide truce.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were meeting in Geneva as part of a new U.S. bid to enlist Russia as a partner in Syria as the fighting becomes more volatile and complicated with the introduction of Turkish ground forces. Neither Washington nor Moscow has signaled that an agreement is imminent, although progress appears to have been made in one critical battleground: the besieged city of Aleppo, where the United Nations has been clamoring for a 48-hour cease-fire so humanitarian aid can be shipped into the city.
Asked to describe the main impediment to a nationwide ceasefire in Syria as he sat down with Kerry, Lavrov said: “I don’t want to spoil the atmosphere for the negotiations.” Kerry did not speak and it was not immediately clear if either man would address reporters after their talks, which are expected to last several hours and also include discussions about the crisis in Ukraine.
On Thursday, U.N. officials said Russia was on board for a plan to win a 48-hour pause in fighting in and around Aleppo so that aid can be delivered to its increasingly embattled population. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry simply reiterated its general support for a ceasefire to open an aid corridor, and was waiting for the U.N. to announce it is ready.
The three-point plan for Aleppo, which U.N. officials say now needs the approval of two rebel groups and the Syrian government, would involve road convoys both from Damascus and across the Turkish border through the critical Castello Road artery. Another mission would go to southern Aleppo to help revive a damaged electric plant that powers crucial pumping stations that supply water for 1.8 million people.
Kerry was to meet with the U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan di Mistura, later Friday in Geneva.
Despite the apparent incremental progress on Aleppo, U.S. officials are keen to broaden the focus and hammer out a diplomatic initiative that would see greater military cooperation with Russia that could lead to a resumption of talks on a political transition. However, previous efforts to set target dates for the start of the transition process have failed, most recently when an early August timeline had to be abandoned.
Before those talks can begin, though, U.S. officials say it is imperative that Russia use its influence with Syrian President Bashar Assad to halt all attacks on moderate opposition forces, open humanitarian aid corridors, and concentrate any offensive action on the Islamic State group and other extremists not covered by what has become a largely ignored truce. For their part, U.S. officials say they are willing to press rebels groups they support harder on separating themselves from the Islamic State and al-Nusra, which despite a recent name change is still viewed as al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria.
Those goals are not new, but recent developments have made achieving them even more urgent and important, according to U.S. officials. Recent developments include military operations around the city of Aleppo, the entry of Turkey into the ground war, Turkish hostility toward U.S.-backed Kurdish rebel groups and the presence of American military advisers in widening conflict zones.
Meanwhile, in a blow to the opposition, rebel forces and civilians in the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya were to be evacuated on Friday after agreeing to surrender the town late Thursday after four years of grueling bombardment and a crippling siege that left the sprawling area in ruins. The surrender of Daraya, which became an early symbol of the nascent uprising against President Bashar Assad, marks a success for his government, removing a persistent threat only a few miles from his seat of power.
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Schools across the country keep EpiPens in their nurses’ offices in case a student has a severe allergic reaction. For years, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has been selling the devices to schools at a discounted price, giving them a break from rising costs. But the program also prohibited schools from buying competitors’ devices — a provision that experts say may have violated antitrust law.Mylan’s “EpiPen4Schools” program, begun in August 2012, offers free or discounted EpiPens to schools. Over 65,000 schools receive free EpiPens through the program; an unknown number of schools buy the epinephrine auto-injectors at a discount. Laws in at least 11 states require schools to stock epinephrine, and keeping a stockpile is incentivized by federal law across the country.
As of last year, the EpiPen4Schools discounted price was $112.10, according to company documents. That is about a quarter of the cost charged to pharmacies at the time, according to data from Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database.
However, in order to qualify for that price, schools had to agree they would “not in the next twelve (12) months purchase any products that are competitive to EpiPen(R) Auto-Injectors,” the agreement stipulates. (In the course of STAT’s reporting, this agreement was removed from the EpiPen4Schools website.)
A Mylan spokesperson said this requirement is no longer part of its program, and did not say when the requirement was dropped. STAT found such language on EpiPen4Schools order forms dated August 2014 and June 2015.
She added that there have never been purchase requirements to receive the free EpiPen auto-injectors.
In a statement, Mylan said “the program continues to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.”
“It is illegal to issue a discount on the condition the customer not acquire a competitor’s goods — if the effect may be to substantially lessen competition,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a University of Iowa law professor and antitrust expert.
At issue is the notion of an exclusionary contract, which requires a customer to promise not to deal with a competitor. Exclusionary contracts are a common tactic for keeping a lock on a market, Hovenkamp said.
But using such a contract while also having a dominant market share may hinder competition, which he explained can be an antitrust violation. Last year, EpiPen made up 89 percent of the epinephrine auto-injector market, according to IMS Health, a market research firm.
Schools might have to buy more auto-injectors in that 12-month window for a variety of reasons: they might use the auto-injectors and need to replace them, or the devices might reach their expiration date.
Earlier this week, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) called on the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible antitrust violations in the pricing of the EpiPen.
In response to Klobuchar’s letter, an FTC spokesperson said that “the Commission takes seriously its obligation to take action where pharmaceutical companies have violated the antitrust laws, and it will continue to closely scrutinize drug market competition on consumers’ behalf.”
The fact that Mylan used to have such a stipulation may still be problematic, said Harry First, a professor at the New York University School of Law, who specializes in antitrust matters.
“It’s like the bank robber saying ‘Don’t worry, we don’t rob banks anymore,’” First said. “But if you make such a change, it casts doubt on why you needed to have such a requirement in the first place.”
The inflation-adjusted list price of EpiPens has increased by about 450 percent since 2004, according to Elsevier data. That rising price has become an issue for schools. John Torre, public information officer for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, said that the district is worried that the price of EpiPens sold through Mylan’s discount program might change.
Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia’s largest district with over 180,000 students, orders about 1,100 EpiPen 2-Paks each year at the discount price offered by Mylan, Torre said.
The district also receives about 400 EpiPen 2-Paks for free each year from the company. These agreements contain no restriction on a district purchasing auto-injectors from other companies.
Torre said that the district is “closely monitoring the Mylan situation” and “actively exploring alternative vendors to meet our needs for the annual supply of epinephrine.”
At least 11 states have laws mandating that schools stock epinephrine, according to the advocacy group Food Allergy Research and Education (which receives funding from Mylan). As of July 2016, all other states — except Hawaii — allow, but don’t require, schools to stock epinephrine that can be used for any student experiencing anaphylaxis.
This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Aug. 25, 2016. Find the original story here.
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AKRON, Ohio — Dean Green supports Donald Trump partly because of the GOP presidential nominee’s tough, deport-them-all stance on illegal immigration. But the 57-year-old Republican paused as he complained about U.S. immigration policy and acknowledged that deporting all 11 million people in the U.S. illegally would separate families.“I don’t want to break up families,” Green said.
It has been 30 years since the country embarked on an immigration overhaul, and the ambivalence of voters like Green is one reason why. Polls often show that majorities favor letting people illegally in the U.S. stay and also back tougher laws to deport them.
“The electorate is conflicted and that’s a fundamental problem,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “This is such an emotional issue that reason and facts have very little to do with how people stand.”
Trump is now either caught up in, or trying to exploit, that contradiction as he considers “softening” his controversial immigration stance. He won the GOP primaries on the strength of an aggressive immigration policy, calling for the immediate deportation of the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally and construction of a Mexican border wall. But as he trails in the polls and struggles to overcome record lows with minority voters, he has sounded a softer tone.
“To take a person who’s been here 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it’s so tough,” Trump told a Fox News town hall, quoting what some “really strong” supporters had said to him. He even polled the audience on whether to allow some people in the country illegally to stay, a key part of President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s agendas.[Watch Video]
Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, which advocates for an immigration overhaul that would let people in the country illegally remain here while increasing border security, said that Trump’s words mean little until he commits to a real policy change. But just the fact that the candidate has to utter them is telling, he said.
“Opposition is not just toxic with Latinos and Asians and African-Americans, but with white voters,” Schulte said.
A Pew survey released Thursday found 24 percent of the public favoring toughening border security first and 29 percent letting people stay in the country. Forty-five percent called for both. Trump’s proposed wall is opposed by 61 percent of the country but backed by 78 percent of his supporters.
Views of immigrants have shifted over time, but remain conflicted, said Mark Lopez of Pew. In the early 1990s, two-thirds of Americans surveyed by Pew characterized immigrants as a burden on society, but now nearly two-thirds see them as a benefit. Lopez noted that happened as large numbers of immigrants settled in the U.S. and had children. However, a Pew survey last year found 50 percent of Americans believe immigrants make the economy worse compared to 28 percent who believe they make it better. (The survey did find majorities think immigrants improve food and music.)
Immigration has created complications for both parties. During the Democratic primary, as she courted groups that favor a softer stance on immigration, Clinton had to disavow her prior opposition to providing driver’s licenses for people here illegally and also her support for deporting Central American children who flooded the border in 2014.
But the Democrat’s contradictions are dwarfed by those in the GOP. During the GOP primary Trump slammed rivals like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for backing “amnesty” — letting people here illegally remain. But in exit polls in 20 primary states, 53 percent of Republican voters supported letting those immigrants stay, even as Trump won the primaries.
Ayres recalled a focus group in the Deep South during which conservative voters complained about illegal immigrants. One man said he wanted them to pay taxes, work and learn English. Ayres told the man that was precisely the bipartisan proposal that had passed the Senate in 2013 and was being held up in the Republican-controlled House. “But that’s amnesty,” the man responded. “I don’t support that.”
“That’s when I turned around and cracked my head against the wall,” Ayres said.
Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, which pushes for less immigration, sees Trump’s shift through that prism. “Trump is much more like an average American than he is like a politician,” said Beck, whose group still downgraded Trump in its voter guide this week. “He’s thinking about these things, people are talking to him and he’s reflecting that.”
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which also advocates for less immigration, doesn’t think the Republican nominee should be cut any slack. Trump has changed his position on many issues, but immigration is the one that launched his candidacy, he said.
“Without the immigration issue, the words ‘President Trump’ would still be a ‘Simpsons’ joke,’ ” Krikorian said.
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A pay gap persists between top-earning male and female actors, according to a new measurement by Forbes.Forbes published a list this week showing that the world’s 10 highest-paid male actors earned a total of $457 million from June 1, 2015, to June 1, 2016 — more than twice as much as the 10 highest-paid female actors, who made a combined $205 million.
The highest-paid female actor, Jennifer Lawrence, made $46 million last year, including from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” and the upcoming film “Passengers.”
But Lawrence’s earnings were $19 million lower than the highest-paid male actor, Dwayne Johnson. He brought in $64.5 million with movies like “San Andreas” and “Central Intelligence.”
Lawrence is one of many women who have spoken out against the gender pay gap in the film industry, especially after leaked Sony emails last year revealed she was paid less than her male co-actors in “American Hustle.”
Following the leak, Lawrence said she “failed as a negotiator,” in part because she was worried about how coming across as “difficult” — a concern, she said, that did not seem to affect her male colleagues.
Maya Raghu, Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women’s Law Center, said that in order for help women negotiating their pay, workplaces need to provide a greater amount of transparency about how much their employees make. Raghu said employees should not feel like they might be punished if they talk about salaries in the workplace.
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In addition, companies should look at disparities in pay between employees of different races, Raghu said. “Companies can also do a pay audit, and compare between men and women and across races,” she said.
In general, men receive more speaking parts than women in films, according to Polygraph, a website that compared the screenplays of more than 2,000 films.
Earlier this year, the Center of the Study of Women in Television and Film looked at gender representation among the “top critics” on popular review website Rotten Tomatoes over a three-month period, finding that men held more positions than women as film reviewers, regardless of job title.
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The controversial ban on “burkinis” — a full-body swimsuit preferred by some Muslim women — has been overturned for the town of Villeneuve-Loubet by France’s highest administrative court.“The emotion and concerns arising from the terrorist attacks, notably the one perpetrated in Nice on July 14, cannot suffice to justify in law the contested prohibition measure,” the Council of State’s ruling stated. “The contested decree has thus brought a serious and manifestly illegal infringement on basic freedoms such as the freedom to come and go, freedom of conscience and personal freedom.”
The decision is likely to set a legal precedent for the dozens of other French towns that have enacted such bans.
Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League — one of the organizations that issued the legal challenge to the burkini ban — said that Friday’s decision sets a legal precedent for the rest of the country, the Associated Press reported.
“Today all the ordinances taken should conform to the decision of the Council of State. Logically the mayors should withdraw these ordinances. If not legal actions could be taken [against those towns],” Spinosi said.
But there is still resistance, in spite of the Council of State’s decision.
The Telegraph reported that the mayor of Sisco, Ange-Pierre Vivoni, has vowed to enforce his town’s burkini ban.
“This judgment does not affect us here because we had a fight over it [the burkini],” Vivoni said, referring to an Aug. 13 altercation on a Sisco beach that preceded the ban.
Proponents of the ban say it protects secularism, especially in the wake of jihadist attacks.
The Council of State’s decision comes a day after Nicolas Sarkozy, former French president and current French presidential candidate, said he would be in favor of a nationwide burkini ban.
He said in a TV interview on Wednesday that the full-body swimsuit is a “provocation,” adding, “We don’t imprison women behind fabric.”
France still has a national ban on full-face veils, according to a law adopted in 2010 that banned “the covering of the face in public spaces.”
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A surprising ingredient — infant gas relief drops — may be contributing to the contamination of medical scopes nationwide and putting more patients at risk of infection, according to a small but provocative study.
Researchers in Minnesota unexpectedly found cloudy, white fluid inside several colonoscopes and gastroscopes after they had been disinfected and deemed ready for use on the next patient.
Further analysis revealed the fluid contained simethicone, the main ingredient in over-the-counter anti-gas medications available at grocery stores and pharmacies. Doctors nationwide regularly inject the liquid drops into gastrointestinal scopes during colonoscopies and other procedures to reduce bubbles inside the body that can impede visibility.
However, that routine practice may be helping bacteria grow inside a wide variety of scopes and making the bacteria hard to remove. The authors of the study, published in August in the American Journal of Infection Control, recommend that hospitals and doctors minimize the use of these products pending further research into their effect on patient safety.
No infections have been specifically linked to the drops thus far. The study only suggests that they could heighten the risk of contamination. “Finding residual fluid in scopes that should be dry would be troubling alone,” said Cori Ofstead, the study’s lead author. “The finding of fluid containing simethicone suggests we have more serious problems. It could explain why we are having more trouble getting these scopes clean.”
Infant gas relief drops, which are available over the counter, contain sugars and thickeners to make the liquid solutions more palatable for babies. Ofstead said those ingredients “could provide the perfect habitat for the growth of bacteria” inside scopes.
The liquid drops also contain silicone, which doesn’t dissolve in water and can’t be removed using detergents or disinfectants. The researchers said that silicone could add another impenetrable coating to blood, tissue and other organic material trapped inside scopes. It can also foster the growth of biofilm, a slimy material that protects bacteria and other microbes from being removed during cleaning.
Ofstead, an epidemiologist and chief executive of the medical research firm Ofstead & Associates in St. Paul, Minn., said these findings were “absolutely surprising” and that researchers stumbled upon them during a broader look at scope cleaning techniques. The seven-month study was conducted with physicians and a surgery center affiliated with the University of Minnesota Health system.
Dr. Michael Shaw, a gastroenterologist and a co-author of the study, says halting the use of simethicone products would hinder doctors’ ability to accurately treat patients with endoscopy. He’s pursuing funding for larger studies at other endoscopy centers to determine the extent of the problem and possible alternatives.
“I don’t want to see the public alarmed, but this study did raise a huge number of questions,” says Shaw, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Federal prosecutors, U.S. lawmakers and government regulators have been investigating a series of outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” across the country tied to a specific device known as a duodenoscope, which is used in about 700,000 procedures annually. Overall, as many as 350 patients at 41 medical centers worldwide were infected by or exposed to contaminated duodenoscopes from 2010 to 2015, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Regulators and medical experts have said the duodenoscope’s complex design at its tip can make it difficult to clean even when following the manufacturer’s instructions. The infant gas relief drops are used occasionally with duodenoscopes, doctors say, and it’s unclear what role, if any, those products might have had on patient infections.
This new study focused on more widely used colonoscopes and gastroscopes, which have simpler designs and tend to be easier to disinfect. The researchers found bacteria in some of the scopes that were analyzed, but they weren’t the drug-resistant superbugs that can be deadly for patients.
At the Minnesota surgery center, researchers examined colonoscopes and gastroscopes three different times during the seven-month period. They confirmed that technicians were following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions during nine unannounced audits.
In the final examinations, researchers observed multiple fluid droplets inside 19 of the 20 endoscopes that were cleaned and disinfected. In eight of those 19 scopes, the fluid appeared cloudy, white, opaque, shimmery or viscous.
The discovery was unexpected and puzzling, the researchers said, so they contacted other experts who suggested it might be simethicone. The study’s authors then examined the infant gas relief drops the surgery center was using and noted the similarities to what they saw inside the scopes.
The researchers were only able to obtain samples from three of the scopes because the fluid was in narrow channels or other hard-to-reach areas. Simethicone was found in two of the three samples.
The findings raise questions for the three largest manufacturers of gastrointestinal endoscopes and the doctors who use the devices to treat millions of patients annually.
Scope manufacturers are well aware that anti-gas products are used to reduce bubbles. Two companies — Pentax Medical and Fujifilm — have told health care providers that injecting these drops into endoscopes is not recommended because residue can build up and impede cleaning.
“Due to their nature, these silicone-based agents cling tenaciously to surfaces,” Pentax wrote in its scope cleaning instructions in 2014.
“Unless they are rinsed very thoroughly, a barrier which could reduce the effectiveness of the disinfection/sterilization process could be created.”
The leading manufacturer of gastrointestinal scopes, Olympus Corp., told customers in a 2009 letter that because simethicone may be difficult to remove from endoscopy equipment, health-care providers should use the “lowest concentration possible to achieve the desired effect.”
Representatives of Olympus and Fujifilm didn’t respond to requests for comment on the study.
Pentax Medical said in a statement via email that “maintaining patient safety and quality is our utmost priority.”
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, which represents physicians using these instruments, has acknowledged that anti-gas drops are not FDA approved for this use, but doctors are free to use medications and devices in off-label ways not specifically approved by the FDA.
Shaw, the gastroenterologist involved in the study, said the amount of liquid drops used by doctors to prevent bubbles varies widely. For now, he recommends the lowest concentration necessary. “There is really no guidance for physicians,” he said.
The Minnesota study also noted that some liquid simethicone products have been recalled in recent years due to contamination with molds, yeasts and bacteria — posing another potential threat to patients undergoing endoscopy. These drops aren’t sterile, yet doctors conducting the procedures often mix them with sterile water that’s used for irrigation and other purposes. In other instances, doctors inject the drops directly into the scope channels.
Wava Truscott, a microbiologist and infection prevention consultant in Atlanta, said the study’s findings “definitely raise a yellow flag.”
Truscott said more studies are needed, but in the meantime scope manufacturers should issue stronger warnings to hospitals and doctors to limit the use of anti-gas drops.
“That would be the fastest way to decrease it, and it would have the most weight right now,” Truscott said.
Funding for the study came from 3M Co.; Medivators Inc., which sells scope cleaning equipment; Healthmark Industries, which provides cleaning products and accessories; and Ofstead & Associates.
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called Friday for all blood donations in the U.S. to be screened for Zika virus. The move deviates from the medical agency’s guidance released in February, which recommended screening only for areas with active transmission of the virus via the mosquito population. The new advisory applies to whole blood and blood components used in the U.S. and its territories.
“There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion.”
The guidelines come as instances of non-travel-related infections appear outside of Miami. On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced a locally transmitted case in Pinellas County near Tampa Bay, while Palm Beach County reported its second local infection on Wednesday. Further south, Miami-Dade County has experienced 39 local infections, while Broward noted one. Overall, the state has recorded 577 cases of the disease.
Elsewhere, a Maryland man without symptoms appears to have spread the virus to his partner via intercourse, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The man in question traveled to the Dominican Republic, returned and had condomless sex with his partner, and she developed a Zika infection with symptoms 10 days later.
This is potentially the first reported case of a symptomless individual spreading the virus sexually. (France reported a possible incident in April, but in that case, both partners had recently traveled to a country with active Zika transmission.)
The CDC is careful to state that this single case doesn’t mean every asymptomatic person returning from a Zika-hit nation carries a risk of sexually transmitting the virus. But the case report raises new concerns about the reach of the virus.
Sexually transmitted cases of Zika represent a small minority of total infections — 22 of the 2,517 reported in the continental U.S. so far. Meanwhile, three out of every four people infected with Zika don’t display symptoms. That means the total scope of Zika transmissions caused by sexual intercourse with asymptomatic individuals is a mystery, especially in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, where sexually transmitted cases cannot be tracked because they overlap so heavily with mosquito-borne transmission.
“Ongoing surveillance is needed to determine the risk for sexual transmission of Zika virus infection from asymptomatic persons,” the report states. “The findings in this report indicate that it might be appropriate to consider persons who have condomless sex with partners returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission as exposed to Zika virus, regardless of whether the returning traveler reports symptoms of Zika virus infection.”
A second report released today by the CDC highlights Zika-related Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) cases in Puerto Rico. Though Zika is better known for causing microcephaly and other birth defects, the virus has also been linked to GBS, a rare autoimmune disorder in adults.
The Puerto Rico Department of Health with an assist from the CDC identified 56 suspected GBS cases between January 1 and July 31. Of these cases, 26 had a confirmed or presumed Zika infection based on screening. Laboratory tests tied another eight GBS cases to flavivirus infections, but couldn’t distinguish between Zika virus or the related dengue virus.
Overall, the number of GBS cases linked to Zika virus or an associated flavivirus is 2.5 times greater than those cases without ties to these mosquito borne-diseases. Plus, the GBS case count has increased each month since April, when the rainy season (and mosquito season) started. As of August 25, Puerto Rico has recorded 14,181 cases of Zika virus.
ATLANTA — Republican Donald Trump has told conservative evangelical pastors in Florida that his presidency would preserve “religious liberty” and reverse what he insists is a government-enforced muzzling of Christians.
The same afternoon, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine praised another, more liberal group of black church leaders in Louisiana for their “progressive values that are the values of Scripture,” and he urged them to see Hillary Clinton as a kindred spirit.
The competing appearances earlier this month highlight an oft-overlooked political reality: The “religious vote” is vast and complex, and it extends beyond generalizations about “social conservatives” who side with Republicans and black Protestant churches whose pastors and parishioners opt nearly unanimously for Democrats.
Here’s an overview of how the dynamics among religious voters could help determine the 45th president.
HOW RELIGIOUS ARE AMERICAN VOTERS?
There’s a reason politicians chase steeples. Exit polls from recent elections suggest religiously affiliated Americans and those who attend services regularly are more likely to vote than those who claim no organized faith identity.
In 2012 exit polls, almost nine out of 10 voters claimed some religious affiliation and eight out of 10 voters identified as Christian. That’s a higher proportion than what surveys typically find in the general population: A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that three out of four people claim a religious affiliation, while seven out of 10 Americans are Christian.
Still, there’s no absolute count of who believes what, since the government’s census doesn’t ask.
MOST CHRISTIANS ARE REPUBLICANS, RIGHT?
White Christians do skew toward Republicans. President Barack Obama won about 40 percent of white Catholics, according to 2012 exit polls. He won less than a third of white non-Catholic Christians. A slice of that group, white evangelical or “born-again” Christians, are even more conservative, with a strong opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage, along with strong support for Israel. Obama won just a fifth of them.
Yet those groups are just a subset of religious voters, and the Democratic nominee still gets some of that vote. White non-Catholic Christians cast about 40 percent of the 2012 ballots, with white Catholics responsible for less than a fifth. The “born-again” white evangelical vote accounted for just a quarter of the overall electorate — same as the total Catholic vote that includes millions of Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans.
Black and Hispanic voters, meanwhile, also form key pieces of the religious vote, and they lean heavily in Democrats’ favor.
TRUMP AND WHITE EVANGELICALS
In Florida, Trump told pastors he’s not their “perfect” candidate.
He’s drawn fire for his boasts about sexual exploits and his caustic rhetoric about immigrants.
But he’s tapped Mike Pence as his running mate, touting the Indiana governor’s staunch anti-abortion, anti-gay rights record that appeals to many white religious conservatives.
Trump compares himself to Ronald Reagan, another divorced candidate initially questioned and then embraced by conservative religious leaders. Reagan “knew how to win,” Trump reminded the pastors in Florida. Arguing that too many evangelicals stayed home for Obama’s victories, Trump says he’s the movement’s best chance for conservative federal court appointments and relaxing the ban on tax-exempt churches participating in blatant political activity.
Yet Trump also risks his own oversimplifications. He urged the Florida assembly to “get your people out to vote,” pointing specifically at Utah, a GOP-stronghold where he is underperforming. Utah is, in fact, heavily Mormon.
CLINTON, THE METHODIST
Just as Trump is aiming for traditionally Republican religious sectors, Clinton’s is focusing most heavily on a Democratic trove: the black church. The group Kaine addressed in New Orleans was the Progressive National Baptist Convention, an outgrowth of the civil rights movement. Clinton’s staff includes a “national African-American faith outreach director.”
Still, Clinton bets that Trump’s atypical GOP profile gives her some opening. She touts her Methodist faith, and some of her arguments about Trump’s temperament and his treatment of others are aimed broadly at moderate and even Republican voters who prioritize their faith.
IS THERE A BELLWETHER?
The winner among Catholics has also won the national popular vote in every presidential election since 1972. But it’s really more a function of math: Catholics cast about a quarter of presidential ballots, and the group is ideologically, ethnically, racially and geographically diverse. So it’s basically a massive sample size of the complete electorate. For example, Mitt Romney won six out of 10 white Catholics in 2012, about the same proportion he claimed among all whites; Obama dominated among non-white Catholics, just as he did among other non-whites. Together, Obama won a narrow majority of the Catholic vote, not much different than his national popular vote share.
WHERE IT MATTERS MOST?
Each party’s religious anchors — black Protestants for Democrats, white evangelicals for Republicans — figure prominently in Southern battlegrounds of Florida, North Carolina and Virginia (and Georgia, assuming that traditionally GOP state stays competitive). They also are important in Ohio, though the Midwestern band of states that Trump will depend on for any chance of victory generally is whiter and more Catholic than the Southern battlegrounds.
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Each month, the NBER Digest summarizes several recent NBER working papers. These papers have not been peer-reviewed, but are circulated by their authors for comment and discussion. With the NBER’s blessing, Making Sen$e is pleased to feature these summaries regularly on our page.
The following summary was written by the NBER and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Making Sen$e.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis; they store the carbon in their biomass and release it when they die and decompose or are burned as fuel. Worldwide, deforestation accounts for up to 15 percent of carbon emissions, second in carbon production only to the burning of fossil fuels.
In “Cash for Carbon: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Deforestation,” Seema Jayachandran, Joost de Laat, Eric F. Lambin and Charlotte Y. Stanton analyze a United Nations-funded Payments for Ecosystem Services pilot program in Uganda. The program conducted a randomized trial in 121 villages from 2011 to 2013. Households in 60 villages were paid to refrain from cutting down trees, while those in 61 villages were not. The program put a significant dent in the pace of deforestation in the test area. Satellite imagery showed that tree cover declined by about 5 percent less in villages where incentives were offered, as compared with the control group.
The researchers found no evidence that participants shifted tree cutting to land not covered by the Payments for Ecosystem Services agreements. They also determined that landowners who had previously planned to keep their forests intact were not disproportionately enrolled in the program. In fact, 85 percent of enrollees reported having felled trees in the three years prior to the program.
Only about a third of eligible households signed up for the program. The researchers suggest that participation would have been much higher had the program been better publicized and had the communication dispelled fears that it was a ploy to confiscate land.
Since the program was short-term, the households could be expected to make up for postponed deforestation after it was over. But even delaying deforestation benefits the environment, the researchers note, though how much depends on the pace of renewed tree cutting. Assuming a four-year catch-up period, they estimate that the program’s benefits would be double its costs in payments to landowners and administrative expenses.
Because rural Ugandans are poor, the payments needed to compensate them for protecting the forest — and reducing CO2 emissions — are inexpensive in global terms. The researchers conclude that “per ton of averted CO2, this program is considerably less expensive than most alternative policies in place in the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions, such as hybrid and electric car subsidies.” They also suggest that offering permanent incentives to discourage deforestation could offer more bang for the buck, although such programs need to be tried and evaluated.
The researchers tentatively estimate the cost of permanently preventing a ton of carbon dioxide emissions using forest preservation subsidies at $3.10. By comparison, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the social cost per ton of carbon emissions at $39 in 2012 U.S. dollars.
— Steve Maas, National Bureau of Economic Research
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Now to our “NewsHour” Shares.
Tonight, an update to a story we brought you earlier this year. Last June, Darius Nabors set out to visit all 59 national parks in 59 weeks to commemorate the Park Service’s centennial anniversary. We spoke with Nabors on the National Mall recently, as he prepared to finish his tour at Maine’s Acadia National Park this week.
DARIUS NABORS, Visiting National Parks: My name is Darius Nabors, and I’m visiting all 59 national parks in 59 weeks.
It’s been a little crazy. I have essentially been all over the country visiting all the national parks, and just spending time in beautiful places. So I like to say that I traded the modern conveniences of life, like a microwave and a coffee maker and things like that, for beautiful sunrises, beautiful sunsets and just beautiful views of our country.
Most recently, kind of coming west, I went from Badlands National Park in South Dakota, to Hot Springs in Arkansas, mammoth cave in Kentucky, and then all the way down to Florida, where there’s Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, and Dry Tortugas National Park.
There’s additionally a park in the U.S. Virgin Islands, so we did have to go out there. They actually have an underwater trail. So they have little signs that are kind of put down into the ground that when you’re snorkeling, you can pass over them.
The thing I love about the parks is there’s such — well, it showcases the diversity of the country in terms of geology or environment. And so those underwater ones are just totally different. You get to see alligators. You get to see fish. You get to see manatees.
So we’re going to Acadia last for our 59th park, and it’s one that I haven’t been to, so I’m very excited about that. They always say you got to watch a sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, so I will go and do that. It’s the first one on the East Coast, and so it’s kind of special in that sense.
And then I think, for the trip, it’s been a trip of going to bed and waking up with the sun. And so it’s just going to be another beautiful sunrise. It’s wonderful that we have all 59 of these parks. I always say that, if you can get Congress to agree on something, like the beauty of a natural place, then it means it’s pretty special.
And so I’m just super thankful that we have set aside these places for other people to enjoy. Just get out there and see it. You don’t have to go camp in the backcountry, like I do. That’s what I love, but I think it’s important for other people to do the things that they love. If they want to go to an overlook and look there, if they want to go and do a hike, if they want to spend time with family or friends, I think that’s the wonderful part about the parks, is it provides so many experiences for so many people to enjoy it in ways that they like.
The post National parks explorer urges Americans to ‘get out there and see’ them appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Lionfish have voracious appetites that are upsetting coral reef ecosystems from Rhode Island to Venezuela.
But a new nonprofit company has an unusual plan to restore balance to those environments before it’s too late.
In the latest edition of our online series “ScienceScope,” science producer Nsikan Akpan has the scoop.
NSIKAN AKPAN: The lionfish is an invasive species. It’s also Darwin’s nightmare.
In its native home of the Indo-Pacific, the lionfish is a fierce, unrelenting predator. In the mid-1980s, exotic pets, including lionfish, became popular in the U.S. Scientists suspect pet owners eventually dumped their adult lionfish in the Atlantic.
The lionfish now threatens ecosystems up and down the Atlantic. But they should watch out. A new robot is entering the fray. Meet the lionfish terminator.
To learn about this robot, we traveled here to Bermuda, where we teamed up with the Nekton mission. This new alliance of 30 scientific organizations and companies wants to conduct one of the largest marine life surveys in history.
OLIVER STEEDS, Mission Director, Nekton: These divers are the first 1,900 meters. And then these extraordinary submersibles go down even further. We have adapted some with some of the latest filming and scientific equipment, so, we can sample, we can study, and we can research, as welcome as taking scientists down into those depths.
NSIKAN AKPAN: Of the earth’s oceans, only 5 percent have been explored. That means we know more about the moon than the water that covers 70 percent of the Earth.
Nekton wants to fill the knowledge gap by making a baseline measurement of ocean health. That’s because our are facing threats, including the spread of invasive species like the lionfish.
Chris Flook is a collector of marine specimens for the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo. And he was one of the first to notice the region’s lionfish invasion 16 years ago.
CHRIS FLOOK, Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo: But then very quickly, I started to notes that, over time, we were losing small fish from these areas where I traditionally went and found lots of small juvenile fish. And lionfish were becoming more and more common.
So, by about 2007, we actually started a culling program in Bermuda to tackle these invasive species.
NSIKAN AKPAN: Now known as the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force, the team holds daily dives and fishing tournaments to rid their waters of these invaders. Its members consist of recreational swimmers, professional divers and even local scientists like Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley.
DR. GRETCHEN GOODBODY-GRINGLEY, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences: The lionfish are a threat to the ecosystem because, first and foremost, they’re voracious predators. So, they consume an exorbitant amount of food, more than any other potential predator out there right now.
All of the white part is solidified fat, because it’s unique to lionfish that they overconsume, to the point that they get fatty liver disease.
NSIKAN AKPAN: This is because smaller fish in this region don’t recognize the lionfish as a threat. They swim right up to it and get gobbled up.
Basically, the lionfish just opens its mouth. It’s a big dilemma, because the task force can tackle lionfish only in shallow water. But in Bermuda, Goodbody-Gringley has found most lionfish live 200 feet below the surface. That depth is largely inaccessible to the average sport diver. But that’s not too deep for a robot.
Goodbody-Gringley and Nekton have teamed with a new nonprofit called RISE, or Robots in the Service of the Environment, that is developing a lionfish-hunting robot.
GEOFFREY GARDNER, Robots in the Service of the Environment: The leading candidate is based on an electrofishing techniques, where if you put the lionfish between two electrodes and apply an electric current, that current voltage kills the lionfish or stuns the lionfish.
NSIKAN AKPAN: The device is in its development stage. And dive teams are testing how lionfish might react to a robot arm with two metal electrode plates.
The lionfish have few predators in the Atlantic. As a result, they’re not conditioned to flee anything. Notice here, when the probe approaches from behind, the lionfish stay still. Saltwater is highly conductive, so it should act almost like a straight wire between two electrodes. That should keep other nearby fish from being stunned.
But is the mass killing of lionfish ethical? The lionfish is a pest, but it’s also a living creature.
We spoke with ocean ecologist James Morris.
JAMES MORRIS, Ocean Ecologist: We harvest fish all over the U.S. and the planet. So, I don’t think there is really any ethical issues with, you know, utilizing the resource.
But if we’re looking for an ethical question, it’s one around introducing non-native species and the impact that it has on the region and specifically the biodiversity.
NSIKAN AKPAN: That’s it for now.
I’m Nsikan Akpan, and this is “ScienceScope” from the “PBS NewsHour.”
The post How scientists aim to combat ‘Darwin’s nightmare’ — the invasive lionfish appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Syrian conflict is in its fifth year, making Jordan home to more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, many struggling with trauma and the psychological costs of war.
With fewer than 100 psychologists in Jordan, doctors and social workers are struggling to fill the mental health care gap.
University of California, Berkeley, journalism students bring us this story.
It’s narrated by Lacy Jane Roberts.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: The war in Syria led Nisreen Katbi to flee her home country four years ago. Now she runs a center in Amman, Jordan, that cares for refugees fleeing from Syria.
They’re recovering from the trauma of war. Souriyat Across Borders is a home away from home for refugees suffering from both physical and emotional disabilities. They get rehabilitative care and live full-time at the center, all free of charge.
NISREEN KHAZNA KATBI, Souriyat Across Borders: This is where they have their physical therapy training.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Nisreen and her staff care for a rotating group of 30 men, women, and children. The residents can stay at the center until they’re rehabilitated, after which many return to their families in war-torn Syria.
Nisreen sees people with amputations, spinal cord injuries, and head traumas. But she says the injuries aren’t only physical.
NISREEN KHAZNA KATBI: They faced some frightening situations, like the bombings, the killing, losing their limbs or had these severe injuries.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: But Souriyat Across Borders has no full-time mental health professionals on staff. So, when a mental health training project run by a group of California-based doctors came to Amman, Nisreen signed up.
Dr. Saad Shakir leads CPR, or Care Program for Refugees. At first, CPR’s goal was to give direct mental health care to Syrian refugees, but after seeing the overwhelming number of people needing help, they instead began offering mental health first aid training to clinicians, counselors, teachers, and even legal consultants, anyone who works with refugees.
DR. SAAD SHAKIR, Care Program for Refugees, Alalusi Foundation: While being a physician, I’m a humanitarian. So, seeing all the devastation going on, it’s like I want to have an impact in a positive way.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Dr. Atef Al-Qasem is CPR’s on-the-ground partner and training manager for the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation’s Institute for Family Health. He was eager to partner with Dr. Shakir after seeing an increase of refugees needing quality mental health care.
DR. ATEF AL-QASEM, Institute for Family Health, Noor Al-Hussein Foundation (through translator): The goal of the training is to have anyone dealing with refugees be able to provide psychological first aid; 19 percent of people we see have been victims of torture. We also see PTSD, depression, anxiety. All of them need immediately treatment.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Dr. Al-Qasem says that it is hard to provide individual treatment, with so many patients and so few professionals.
So, he is encouraging caretakers and mental health workers to apply group therapy. At their field clinic in the Zaatari refugee camp, the counselors with the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation try to see as many people as possible in group therapy. The camp is one of the biggest in the world, home to 70,000 refugees.
Am Sanad Al-Badi works as a counselor in the camp, where he says he confronts mental health stigmas.
AM SANAD AL-BADI, Institute for Family Health, Noor Al Hussein Foundation (through translator): We have a mobile team which make visits to refugees to talk about the need of psychosocial counseling because the psychological support is necessary.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Once individuals start coming to group therapy, counselors help them cope with trauma and loss.
AM SANAD AL-BADI (through translator): Common trauma we see is loss trauma. I ask them to remember their happy memories and encourage positive thinking about the future.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Back in Amman, Doctors Without Borders is treating refugees who have been physically disfigured from Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
Dr. Gwenola Ghanes manages the hospital’s mental health program. She says there is no way to predict how people will react to a traumatic event.
DR. GWENOLA GHANES, Doctors Without Borders: On a psychological point of view, there is no rules. It’s not a mathematical equation. Most of the people will develop symptoms such as depression or anxiety disorder, and a small percentage of PTSD.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Children especially can be affected by the trauma of war.
Talha Al-Ali is a pediatric counselor. He works with young victims to rebuild trust.
DR. TALHA AL-ALI, Pediatric Counselor: They start at the beginning to have the small social networks while playing or while doing activities together. Like, a child will start to adapt again with building relationships, and especially to build trustful relationships. But to protect them from the trauma, no one will be able to protect them while they are living in a war.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: After the training, Nisreen Katbi says she will be able to provide better care for the patient-residents.
NISREEN KHAZNA KATBI: I have learned how to deal with certain cases, like if he is having constant nightmares, or if he is aggressive in a certain way or depressed.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: Dr. Ghanes agrees that, while this kind of training is useful, much more is needed.
DR. GWENOLA GHANES: It’s useful, but it’s not enough. On a humanitarian point of view, we need to train a lot of people in a short time.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: CPR hopes to return to Amman once a year. And Nisreen hopes she will eventually be able to train her whole staff.
NISREEN KHAZNA KATBI: This is the most important thing for us to do.
We have to raise an awareness about how to deal with victims of war.
LACY JANE ROBERTS: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lacy Jane Roberts in Amman, Jordan.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: That brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Let’s start with your reactions to what you saw, this group of voters.
MARK SHIELDS: It’s always great to hear the voices of real voters.
I mean, they’re — you know, we see polls, and it’s 57 percent, we figure everybody’s monolithic. And yet you get — what you get is, you get the texture in the conversation like that.
And I found Alison really almost compelling, the woman who had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and really felt that she and the demographic of, I guess, white American voters had been neglected and forgotten.
I just — in the past eight years, and Democrats’ attention to other agendas. And I just — I found the voices just really revealing. And most of all, it shows the lack of enthusiasm about this election. When 51 percent of Republicans, according to Gallup poll, and 42 percent of Democrats say they wish their party had nominated somebody else, I think it was reflected in Judy’s session.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, first, I disagree with Mark. I think we are real voters.
DAVID BROOKS: Do we not bleed?
DAVID BROOKS: But, yes, I’m really shocked. Like a lot of people one runs across, a lot of people in that focus group were — just couldn’t imagine a Trump presidency, but found Clinton distrustworthy.
And then say she wins — and according to the upshot out of my newspaper, it’s like an 88 percent chance or something like that. But say that we go to an inaugural or we go into an administration with someone the country fundamentally doesn’t trust.
And what does that do to the morale of the country? And is there a way she can become more trustworthy, where she can reintroduce herself in some way, maybe after an election, not in the heat of a campaign? Somehow, it just seems so dispiriting, if she does win, that we would go through four years where people feel this personal distrust for the commander in chief.
That can’t be good for the country, if it stays like that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Today, there was even a tepid endorsement by Bush adviser Paul Wolfowitz, saying that he would vote for Clinton, but really it just came down to this choice between the lesser of two evils. It seems so much that these campaigns right now is positioning about not that our candidate is not so great. It’s just that the other candidate is worse.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
But the last endorsement in the world that Hillary Clinton wants at this point is the man who made the case publicly to go to war in Iraq and admitted that the argument was — consensus argument was on weapons of mass destruction, because that was what everybody could get behind.
So, the cause — cause for going to war was just, you know, a contrivance. So, it’s not — Hillary Clinton probably doesn’t want to be reminded of her support for that venture. And I think she probably now has enough Republican foreign policy endorsements.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also this week, we talked a little bit about the rise of the alt-right movement, the white supremacist movement.
We have got this week one candidate calling the other a racist, and then him responding back that she’s a bigot. Where are we here?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, I guess we’re getting it out in the open.
I happen to think Donald Trump’s campaign began with an act of ethnic signaling, or more. When the San Bernardino thing happened, and he wanted to ban Muslim immigration into the country, entrance into the country, that is — that was blanketing an entire ethnic group or an entire religion. And that’s bigotry.
And so that was the thing that exploded his campaign. And there have been just signals all along the way between alt-right and the Trump campaign.
And it just seems to me there is always a danger in every party to be taken over by some radical, angry fringe, the John Birch Society for the Republican Party in the 1960s. Hubert Humphrey was — spent — and Eugene McCarthy and other people spent a lot of time trying to get the communists out of the Democratic Party in the 1940s.
There was a famous confrontation in Minnesota where Humphrey’s suit was wet — was — he was spit upon so much, it was soaking wet. And parties have to control themselves so some vicious element doesn’t take over.
And the Republican Party has not controlled the alt-right movement. And, therefore, it has come into the movement. Trump has welcomed it in with a wink and a nod.
And it is a long-term problem for the party. It is a long-term problem that you’re basically an all white party. And so that’s just a core problem that Trump has now exacerbated and blown up.
HARI SREENIVASAN: I mean, Secretary Clinton might have not called him specifically a racist, but she’s basically pointed instance after another after another where — and this is during a week where Donald Trump goes out and tries to lure African-American votes, Latino votes.
MARK SHIELDS: To be very blunt, I will state my case.
Donald Trump has gone to, on a consistent basis, the meanest corners of the American soul, appealed to the basest and darkest side of all Americans. He began his presidential bid publicly by charging falsely, by alleging libelously that the president of the United States wasn’t an American: My people are out there. They’re finding all of this stuff.
He began his candidacy with, they’re rapists, they’re murderers, they’re coming here for that purpose, speaking of Mexican immigrants to this country.
David said about the Muslim ban. He’s going to build the wall. I mean, it’s — everything about it has been dark and mean-spirited.
But let me just say one caveat. And I thought Hillary Clinton delivered the speech well. She wasn’t strident. But this is the worst course for her to win a campaign, because you win a campaign this way — and he’s not a dog whistle. He’s a canine choir, OK, of dark impulses.
But you win a campaign this way, and you have agreed upon nothing about where we are as a people, what we ought to do next, what we ought to think about as the great challenges facing our country in the next generations.
All you have greed upon is that the person is unacceptable. And your political honeymoon, your presidential honeymoon basically ends on Tuesday — about midnight of election night. There is no agreement on who we are as a people, what we ought to do as a people.
So, I would just say, if this is where we’re going in this campaign — it’s obviously where he is and where he continues to go — but if she goes that way, and just to drive him down further, it’s going to be a terrible, terrible result.
DAVID BROOKS: I also do think one has to — and she wasn’t too guilty of this, I don’t think.
One has to continually distinguish between Trump and the Trump supporters. And it’s too easy to say, oh, they’re all a bunch of racists.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.
DAVID BROOKS: Which is — we don’t know. And it’s probably — it’s not true in our experience.
MARK SHIELDS: It’s not fair. Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: It’s unfair.
And so I think my answer has always been, he’s the wrong answer to a right question, that a lot of people feel a lot of anxiety. They feel they have lost dignity, they have lost a role.
And, sometimes, in those cases, they do go to a little ethnic tribal fear. But the way to ease that fear is not to say, oh, they’re all a bunch of racists. And she’s not guilty of that, but it’s something that is floating around in the conversation.
MARK SHIELDS: Well, she did a pretty good job of separating, tactically and strategically, the Republican Party, the Paul Ryans, the Bob Doles, the John McCains, that he’s an aberration, he’s an anomaly.
I thought that was a well-crafted part of the speech.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Let’s talk a little bit about immigration.
If you’re a Trump supporter, you call it a pivot. If you’re a critic, you say this is a flip-flop, but what to make of this particular change in his stance?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, the change — the fact that he’s changing stance is not surprising, because the man has a severe problem with impulse control.
The fact that he was consistent for a little while is the odd situation for him. The only thing he’s been consistent upon is narcissism so far. And so this was him responding to different audiences.
And so a new campaign team comes in, and they look at a bunch of poll numbers, and they see he’s not doing well, and he’s especially not doing well among moderate Republicans. They are not doing well among Latinos. And so there is this very crude pander both on him saying he will be great for African-Americans, and then on the immigration, the pander.
And the crudity of it is what is so striking. Here’s a guy who actually — to the extent that people really did like him, or do like him, it’s because he speaks his mind. And to throw that away on such a blatant flip-flop is a sign not just that he made some strategic pivot or something. It’s a sign that he has attention span problems, and that he has — he just wants to please whatever audience he happens to be in front of at that moment.
And there is just not a lot of competency he has shown.
MARK SHIELDS: The defense of Donald Trump consistently has been, look, he may be a bully, he may be a blowhard, but at least you know where he stands, he’s not your typical politician. You get — he is who he says he is.
And he turns out not to be who he says he is. He began the campaign, that was the raison d’etre for his candidacy was building the wall, and rounding up these 12 million undocumented immigrants, or illegals, as he called them, and banishing them to the outer darkness of the netherworld, or wherever.
And now — now the ban on all Muslims was just a suggestion, he says. Now he’s backing off on this. So, what is it? To me, I’m always skeptical about motives, but I have to look at it and say, Mitt Romney carried white women by 56 to 42 over Barack Obama for his vote.
He’s getting murdered among white women right now, especially college-educated white women. Why? Because he is who he is. And it’s an embarrassment to say you’re for Donald Trump. You can’t do it. You can’t look at your kids in self-respect.
So, to make him somehow, I think — make them less uncomfortable in somehow supporting him, I think it’s a vote to try and appeal to the moderate Republicans David’s talking about to come home. It’s OK. He’s really not as bad as we thought he was or he seemed to be. See, he’s really moderating.
To me, that’s what this…
DAVID BROOKS: In this cosmos of Trump bashing, I feel like I want to say some nice thing about Donald Trump.
And the Wollman ice rink in Central Park, which he built, is a fantastic ice rink.
MARK SHIELDS: It is. And he built it when it wasn’t being built. That’s right.
DAVID BROOKS: Right.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, let’s try to get through a couple of non-Trump-related topics then.
MARK SHIELDS: OK.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Bernie Sanders’ new political organization about the revolution had a bit of a rocky start. A bunch of his aides decided to leave en masse because they were concerned about the direction that it was going and who was leading it.
Does this mean the end of the revolution, or is this just a step?
MARK SHIELDS: This means that putting together an organization after a campaign based on a campaign is always difficult. It’s frequently attempted, rarely pulled off.
But I don’t think there is any question that constituency is still there. This is very much a change election. This is a change — you heard it in Judy’s piece. People want a change. This is not a status quo election.
The problem is that Trump, we mentioned him, represents a change that is chaos to people and scary.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
And with Sanders, when you get an outsider, you’re not going to get — you’re usually not going to get a lot of competence. What you want are insider’s competence with an outsider’s perspective. And that’s a rarity. Usually, when you get somebody who has not been in the system, just putting together organizations, a lot of the management stuff has not been their bailiwick.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes.
MARK SHIELDS: Howard Dean did a pretty good job after 2004.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, New York Times columnist David Brooks, thank you both.
MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.
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