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

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  • 09/29/16--14:30: Do flu shots still work?
  • Photo by Brian Snyder/REUTERS

    Studies conducted by the CDC had shown that for the past three flu seasons the FluMist vaccine wasn’t protecting the people who got it. Photo by Brian Snyder/REUTERS

    You’re seeing the signs in pharmacies and perhaps around your workplace. Your doctor’s office may be calling to schedule an appointment. It’s just that time.

    Flu vaccination efforts are in full swing.

    But you may have been hearing puzzling things about flu shots over the past couple of years.

    In late June an expert committee that advises the US government on vaccination policy recommended that the nasal spray vaccine FluMist, which has been used by millions, not be used this season.

    While the flu is a common illness, that hardly means the science around it is static. Some recent studies have suggested that getting a yearly shot may actually diminish the benefit of successive vaccinations. Others have raised the possibility that statins — the commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs — may actually interfere with your immune system’s response to influenza vaccine.

    Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended against the use of the nasal mist vaccine that many kids prefer over injected vaccine.

    So are the shots worth the bother? STAT asked some influenza vaccine experts to break down what we’ve learned lately about flu shots and what you need to know as the winter draws near.

    READ MORE: Nasal flu vaccine is not working and should not be used this season, expert panel concludes

    Nasal flu vaccine loses its luster — or does it?

    In late June an expert committee that advises the US government on vaccination policy recommended that the nasal spray vaccine FluMist, which has been used by millions, not be used this season.

    The reason: Studies conducted by the CDC had shown that for the past three flu seasons the vaccine wasn’t protecting the people who got it.

    It’s not clear why. Adding to the confusion, a study by the vaccine’s manufacturer, MedImmune, suggested the mist was effective. (MedImmune is a division of AstraZeneca.)

    Both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are working with the company to try to figure out what’s going on.

    In Canada, meanwhile, kids will have the option of getting FluMist this fall because data gathered there showed the vaccine was working — though not quite as well as injectable vaccine.

    In Canada, meanwhile, kids will have the option of getting FluMist this fall because data gathered there showed the vaccine was working — though not quite as well as injectable vaccine, said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, a flu expert at British Columbia’s Center for Disease Control in Vancouver.

    “I think they struck the right balance in that decision,” Skowronski said of the experts who decided to retain the vaccine in Canada.

    How can we make sense of all of this conflicting information? There are some theories.

    FluMist seemed to work well in the United States until MedImmune changed its formulation a few years ago to put an extra component in the vaccine. It had protected against three flu virus families; now it protects against four. Maybe something happened in that process?

    Or perhaps repeatedly vaccinating children with this vaccine is diminishing its effectiveness?

    For now, there’s no answer. While the search for one continues, the CDC has recommended US doctors not administer FluMist this flu season.

    Questions over the impact of repeat vaccinations

    There have been suspicions for decades that getting a flu shot year after year might invoke a law of diminishing returns. Those suspicions stem from a 1970s study in which a researcher observed that boarding school students who were vaccinated each year were more likely to contract influenza.

    In the late 1990s a British researcher named Derek Smith hypothesized that repeated vaccination could trigger beneficial results — which he called positive interference — when the viruses the vaccine targets were different from one year to the next.

    But he also suggested when the vaccine targets the same specific virus in successive years, the antibodies created in the first year might dampen antibody production the second year. He called that negative interference.

    In recent years, a new method of measuring the effectiveness of the flu vaccine has put this theory back on the table. In 2014 scientists from Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wisc., found that people who received the flu vaccine generated higher levels of antibodies — compared with people who received an annual shot — if they hadn’t been vaccinated in the previous five years.

    So, is it a thing?

    Dr. John Treanor, an influenza vaccine expert at the University of Rochester in New York, said it appears there’s something there.

    “It’s really unclear exactly what the mechanism is and I think that’s going to be an area of very intensive investigation over the next few years,” said Treanor.

    The problem is, even if the theory proves true, it would be hard to act on the information, he noted. Flu vaccine contains protection against three or four types of viruses, depending on the brand. It is very rare that all four viruses would change from year to year.

    A nurse displays a flu vaccine at a free medical and dental health clinic in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 27, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson /REUTERS

    A nurse displays a flu vaccine at a free medical and dental health clinic in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 27, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson /REUTERS

    So one year you might not really need a repeat of one component, but you would need the other two or three. Because of the way vaccines are made, it’s impossible to unbundle the components.

    Still, understanding what is going on is important, said Skowronski.

    “For me anyway, these repeat vaccine effects are among the most important developments in influenza vaccinology of the past decade,” she said, noting the issue could have implications for universal vaccination programs, such as the one in the United States, where it’s recommended that everyone get vaccinated against influenza.

    “The long-term implications of that frankly are not known and these repeat vaccine effects may have a huge bearing on that.”

    In the meantime, experts stress that while repeat vaccinations could lead the body to generate fewer antibodies, it’s still recommended to get a yearly shot. Some protection is better than none.

    The statin factor

    Statin use has become ubiquitous among people in late-middle age and older seeking to lower their cholesterol.

    But two studies published last fall (here and here) suggest that people on statins don’t mount as vigorous an immune response to flu vaccine as people not taking the drugs. The effect was particularly pronounced for people taking synthetic statins.

    READ MORE: Why my patients refuse the flu shot. It’s not what you think

    Inspired by that work, the researchers at Marshfield did a study of their own. They found statin use seemed to lower antibody production to one family of influenza A viruses (the H3N2s) but not to another (H1N1s) and not to influenza B viruses. In other words, this is another question that needs answering.

    Loeb said the issue bears studying, but hasn’t yet been proved. “I think there’s some biological rationale [but] it’s definitely not a slam dunk by any means.”

    The $64,000 question

    So how good is flu vaccine at protecting against influenza?

    In the not-too-distant past, the CDC and other public health institutes estimated that flu shots cut one’s risk of contracting flu by between 70 percent and 90 percent.

    But that new way of assessing vaccine effectiveness we talked about earlier has shed more light on that question, and the effectiveness estimate was seen to be too high.

    The more common claim is that the vaccine lowers one’s risk by an average of about 50 percent to 60 percent — though some years the protection is far less, depending on how well matched the viral targets in the vaccine are to the viruses making people sick.

    Everyone wishes the vaccines were more effective. Research is underway to try to develop a flu shot that would provide broader protection that wouldn’t have to be administered every year.

    But the science isn’t there yet. And bringing a brand new type of flu vaccine through licensure and to market would cost boatloads of money. So for now, manufacturers in the crowded flu vaccine market are, as Skowronski put it, “tinkering” — adding the fourth component to the vaccine, creating a high-dose product for seniors, who don’t respond as well to flu vaccine, or adding an adjuvant (a compound meant to amp up antibody production) to another vaccine for seniors.

    “You get maybe little marginal benefits here, there. But in terms of a real game-changer … I don’t see it,” Treanor said.

    Yes, there are questions about flu vaccine that need to be explored through scientific study. But in the meantime, Skowronski said, people should stay the course.

    “You could become overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of issues that have arisen when we started to really systematically evaluate influenza vaccine performance on an annual basis,” she admitted.
    Treanor agreed.

    “The recommendation and the message that people should be vaccinated still holds true. Because it’s clear from all these studies that although many factors can influence how well the vaccine works, getting the vaccine is always better than not getting the vaccine,” he said.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Sept. 28, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Do flu shots still work? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Iraqi fighters of the Shabak ethnic minority train before the upcoming battle to recapture Mosul in Diyala province, Iraq on Sept. 19, 2016. Photo by a Reuters stringer

    Iraqi fighters of the Shabak ethnic minority train before the upcoming battle to recapture Mosul in Diyala province, Iraq on Sept. 19, 2016. Photo by a Reuters stringer

    Even as battle plans are laid to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants — who’ve held Iraq’s second-largest city for more than two years — questions remain about what will come after the battle.

    The issues are myriad: from keeping the city secure and free of Islamic State influences to how to care for the outflow of people, which has already begun.

    President Barack Obama this week authorized the transfer of 600 more U.S. troops over the coming weeks to help Iraqis prepare for the ground offensive in Mosul later this year.

    The authorization followed the July announcement of a 560-troop deployment. The deployments bring the total U.S. troop level in Iraq to 5,262. By comparison, the U.S. has about 300 troops — mostly special forces — now in Syria acting as advisers, according to the Associated Press.

    An Islamic State fighter waves a flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq on June 23, 2014. File photo by Reuters stringer

    An Islamic State fighter waves a flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq on June 23, 2014. File photo by Reuters stringer

    The troops in Iraq will help with logistics and maintenance, in addition to training and advising Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga, but they won’t be doing the fighting, U.S. military officials have said.

    “Everything we do there is to support and enable [the Iraqis]. They will continue to be the primary trigger-pullers,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, director of Pentagon press operations.

    Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute said the military plan is set for reclaiming Mosul. What isn’t clear: Who will govern and rebuild a liberated Mosul, or how to keep it secure. “It is estimated they need 25,000 policemen to guarantee the security of Mosul,” she said. But in a city with a complex sectarian and ethnic makeup, who will compose the police force? How will they be vetted, funded and managed, Slim said.

    Iraqis fleeing Mosul after it was overrun by Islamic State militants have sought refuge in the Kurdish-administered north.

    Iraqis fleeing Mosul after it was overrun by Islamic State militants have sought refuge in the Kurdish-administered north.

    More concern surrounds the anticipated sharp increase in Iraqi civilians who will be fleeing the fight, Slim said. The Kurdistan Regional Government “is already at the breaking point, and they expect up to 800,000 refugees as a result of the Mosul battle.”

    Mercy Corps, which is providing aid in the region, said at least 135,000 Iraqis have fled violence in the central part of the country so far. In addition to lacking basic food and water, Iraqis are traveling such great distances they’re wearing out their shoes.

    “Never before have I seen sandals listed as a top need,” said Suad Jarbawi, Mercy Corps’ country director in Iraq.

    Displaced Iraqis, who had fled to Syria to escape the violence in Mosul, return to Iraq and move to a refugee camp in Kirkuk on Sept. 10, 2016. Photo by Ako Rasheed/Reuters

    Displaced Iraqis, who had fled to Syria to escape the violence in Mosul, return to Iraq and move to a refugee camp in Kirkuk on Sept. 10, 2016. Photo by Ako Rasheed/Reuters

    The possibility that Islamic State fighters will try to infiltrate the fleeing crowds and attempt terrorist attacks in refugee camps or elsewhere is another concern, Slim said.

    And even after Mosul is liberated, the old resentments and rivalries between the central government in Baghdad and forces seeking independence in the Kurdish region are not expected to disappear.

    “The fight against [the Islamic State group] in Mosul has created a common enemy approach that has pushed aside all these other issues that have plagued Iraq since 2003,” Slim said. People in Mosul who supported the Islamic State’s takeover because of their grievances against Baghdad will still have those grievances tomorrow, she said.

    The battle to retake Mosul is expected to start before Iraq’s rainy season begins at the end of the year.

    “There are no major objectives after that,” said the Navy’s Davis. “This is it. This is the last big holdout in Iraq for [the Islamic State group].”

    Stay tuned for a PBS NewsHour report about the upcoming fight for Mosul.

    The post U.S. sends more troops to Iraq to retake Mosul appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into a law a measure that ensures bathrooms across the city will be gender neutral by 2017. A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. The shop installed the signs after North Carolina's "bathroom law" gained national notoreity. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake        - RTX2CPEL

    The bill requires businesses and governments to post non-gender-specific signs on single-occupant restrooms by March 1, 2017. Photo by Jonathan Drake/REUTERS

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown is wading further into the debate over transgender rights as he approves a bill requiring that all single-stall toilets in California be designated as gender neutral.

    The Democratic governor announced Thursday that he has signed the bill, AB1732.

    Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco says his bill establishes the nation’s most inclusive restroom-access law and will counter what he termed hateful efforts in other states.

    It requires businesses and governments to post non-gender-specific signs on single-occupant restrooms by March 1, 2017.

    Lawmakers sent the bill to Brown in August, a day after a federal judge temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s order that public schools let students use bathrooms that correlate with their gender identity.

    California students can already do so under a law Brown signed in 2013.

    The post California governor Brown approves gender-neutral restroom bill appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    photographer

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now to another in our Brief But Spectacular series, where ask interesting people to describe their passions.

    Tonight, we hear from artist iO Tillett Wright, whose photography projects have sparked a dialogue on gender identification and sexuality.

    iO’s memoir, “Darling Days,” was released this week by Ecco.

    IO TILLETT WRIGHT, Author, “Darling Days”: My earliest memory of wanting to be a boy was when I was — had my fifth birthday party, and I had this lacy blue dress.

    The second I got home, I was just like, get this thing off of me. And I ripped it off. And I, like, put on warrior paint and I went up to the roof, and I, like, took a piss standing up. That was my, like, ownership of it.

    These kids were like, are you a boy or a girl? And I was like, why does that matter? I can play better than you. And they didn’t let me play.

    And I went to my dad and I was like, hey, I’m a boy now. And he was like, OK. My mom’s attitude was, yes, as long as you can get acting roles as a boy, I don’t care.

    My mom put me into child acting. I only played boys until I was 17. And then I played a couple girls. And that’s was when people started to tell me that I was too unique. And it was like, if one more person tells me I’m too unique, out of here. And I did. I quit.

    I miss acting. But do you cast me as a boy? Do you cast me as a girl? Do you cast me as the gay girl? Do you cast me as the trans kid? Oh.

    QUESTION: You have got incredible range.

    IO TILLETT WRIGHT: I have got incredible range.

    For the last six years, I have done this project where I have been photographing 10,000 people who identify as anywhere on the LGBT spectrum in all 50 states. And if you look into the eyes of a person that you discriminate against or you think is so different than you that they deserve less rights than you, it becomes almost impossible to deny their humanity.

    The complicated part of that is, I’m not trying to say we are all the same. What I’m trying to say is, we are all completely different, and that’s the beauty of it.

    I had set out to photograph gay people and trans people. And what I had found was that people from older generations identified super strongly with labels because they’d had to fight for them. But younger people were more like, well, yes, like I loved a guy, and now I love a girl, and maybe I’m more boyish tomorrow.

    They’re more fluid on a spectrum of things. I think that the most dignified gift you can give them as a human, as part of their family or their family of friends, is the right to change.

    I’m iO Tillett Wright. And this is my Brief But Spectacular take on expanding one’s circle of normalcy.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can watch additional Brief But Spectacular episodes at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

    The post Photographer documents the beauty of difference across the LGBT spectrum appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    DJ

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: An acclaimed deejay has been traveling the globe documenting the changing landscape of music and digital culture.

    Jeffrey Brown has another edition to our Bookshelf looking at the result of these travels, the new volume, “Uproot.”

    JACE “DJ /RUPTURE” CLAYTON, Author, “Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture”: So, what I will start off with, scratchy old 45 that I found in Morocco, just kind of randomly dropping the needle on the record.

    Let’s see.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What does a deejay do? Well, Jace Clayton, AKA DJ /rupture, takes musical pieces from around the world, adds his own sounds and mixes them together, creating something that will make you get up and dance, or maybe listen in a brand-new way.

    JACE CLAYTON, Author, “Uproot”: Activating music, you know, keeping music alive.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Each part is alive on its own.

    JACE CLAYTON: Each part is alive on its own, but I love the way in which, when you bring these things into overlap or superimposition, they start talking to each other in new and surprising ways. And you can tell all sorts of stories with this.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The 41-year-old Clayton graduated from Harvard with a degree in English, but music has been his passion since middle school.

    In 2001, he put a mix called “Gold Teeth Thief” on his Web site and was stunned when hundreds of thousands of people around the globe started sharing it.

    He’s traveled the world ever since, both making music and collecting it, and tells what he’s found in a new book, “Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture.”

    These days, New York is home, and that’s where we talked.

    JACE CLAYTON: All this disruption through technology, how all these digital changes are transforming how we think about analog, how we think about what music used to be and what it’s becoming.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, when you say travels in 21st century music and digital culture, what are you looking for?

    JACE CLAYTON: I’m looking for the surprises, you know, and…

    JEFFREY BROWN: The surprises?

    JACE CLAYTON: Exactly, the unexpected moments of technology, the unexpected moments of musical creation.

    Every time I’m in a foreign place and a different city, I’m always asking around to say, OK, well, what’s special here in this particular place? What makes these people move here and why?

    And so I’m one of the people who will hear a song in a taxi and be like, stop, stop the car. Like, let’s go back. What was that?

    JEFFREY BROWN: You mean literally?

    JACE CLAYTON: Literally, yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Stop the car.

    JACE CLAYTON: Stop the car.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Because you heard it coming out of some storefront?

    JACE CLAYTON: Exactly, yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That approach has taken him to side streets off the beaten path in more than three dozen countries, Morocco, for instance, where he spent time with local musicians and performed with his own group, Nettle, mixing his electronic sounds with traditional instruments and a singer, and Mexico where, again, he found that, in the age of globalization, while everyone now has access to the same music, local culture continues to thrive, and music is a way to understand it.

    Clayton writes of the young people he encountered making North Mexican teen rave music.

    JACE CLAYTON: They’re saying, oh, we hear all this sort of international techno is really popular here. But then they grew up in this world of hearing rodeo music, sort of cowboy music from their parents.

    Then they go on YouTube and they’re seeing Shakira videos. And so they’re thinking, so, like, what is local to us right now? And so the idea that local now draws on all sorts of international, all sorts of layers of input, and yet they’re still making something which would only be made in Monterrey, Mexico, in this moment. This is urgent music. We need to discuss it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is there a general theory why, in Benin, there’s this, and, in Morocco, there’s that, and in North Mexico, there is this?

    JACE CLAYTON: Well, that is why is so exciting. It’s like there is no general theory. And so, if there’s anything I have learned, it’s to sort of be sensitive to what — to how much — to how creative the act of listening is and to how powerful the act of listening is.

    JEFFREY BROWN: He makes his living playing at clubs and at major festivals like here at Pitchfork in Chicago.

    In a world in which music travels as never before, when a young producer can bypass big record labels, and so much music is consumed for free, I asked Clayton how he sees his role.

    JACE CLAYTON: I do think of myself as a taste-maker, yes, absolutely. And so much of what deejays like myself do is, I’m very interested in — I’m constantly looking for new music, constantly digging, but then also I am thinking about how to present it in a way that kind of makes sense to people who are less — sort of less with their hands in it than I am.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I wonder if you run into people, if you say, what about just the human voice? You know, what about just somebody playing a guitar?

    I love watching — going to a cafe, and I just — somebody plays a guitar, and that’s beautiful.

    JACE CLAYTON: You know, I say, me, too.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JACE CLAYTON: Most of the summer here in New York City, I have just been going to hear coral music in churches, completely unamplified, the human voice, maybe an organ.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The guy who is writing about digital technology and musical culture just goes to church and listens to a chorus?

    JACE CLAYTON: I know. Yes, I have got to look at the flip side of things, because, in a way, music is always a conversation, you know? It’s a conversation between the musician and their tools and their technologies.

    It’s a conversation between people and their community, you know, people and — and deejaying, it is a way of amplifying that conversation and kind of putting that conversation on blast in a way. But at a very basic level, it’s records talking to records.

    JEFFREY BROWN: From New York City, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    The post This DJ mixes the world’s local music to create a global sound appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Newark's mayor Ras Baraka speaks to the media during a meeting with police chief and N.J. civil organizations outside of the federal building, in Newark, New Jersey, after the grand jury decision in Ferguson on Monday, November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST) - RTR4FKNL

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Today, the Pew Research center reported on how different racial groups see the police. Only a third of all African-Americans view the police as doing an excellent job, compared to roughly three-quarters of all whites. Working with the police is one of the many responsibilities of Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka.

    For over a year, “NewsHour” special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault has explored solutions to the nation’s racial tensions and sits down with him for the latest in our series.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Ras Baraka’s election as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, sent chills through the city’s establishment.

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA, Newark, New Jersey: We need a mayor that is radical.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Out of nowhere, Ras Baraka has won over most of his critics, and we sat down with him to find out how.

    But what do you mean by radical?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: Well, I mean going to the root of the problem. That’s what it means to me. That’s what radical is.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But, somehow — and I will start with the white people who doubted you — and yet, according to The New York Times and other articles I have read, you have won them over. What did you do?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: We have — you know, I, as the mayor, have been able to lead very well and bring people together and negotiate and fight for what we think we need and compromise around the issues that we can gain ground on.

    So, ultimately, I mean, the chair belongs to the people. It doesn’t belong to me.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, how do you balance off creating opportunities and supporting business with the people who live in these poverty-stricken neighborhoods?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: These are not poor cities in terms of it resources.

    There’s just the wealth is not staying in the hands of the people that are here. And you have to create scenarios where more wealth is — remains behind for the people in this town.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In the two years that you have been mayor, have you seen substantial change there?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: We have a municipal I.D. that we didn’t have before. We have 6,000, 7,000 more people who now can involve themselves in the city, pull themselves out of the shadows and participate in city services, that can put their money in specific banks, that can, you know, participate in the economy of this city that could not prior, when — if they had a record or if they were immigrants.

    We have begun to attack the unemployment rate in the city. It’s spiraling downwards, but there is still a huge way to go. And we’re pushing for a jobs plan on a state and federal level. That’s been extremely helpful.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: One of the things I was interested in that I read about was how you support the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as police. How do you reconcile those two things?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: Well, I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.

    I think that, you know, safety in the community, African-Americans want to be safe in their community, like any other nationality that lives in America. They don’t want to be robbed. They don’t want to be beat. They don’t want to be shot down in their neighborhoods, whether it’s by police officers or people who live there.

    So, to advocate for police in a community, I don’t think is a contradiction. I think it’s necessary. But what I think we want is community policing and police officers who care about the community that they live in, who think that they’re part of a community, and not an occupying force in a community.

    And I think that is important for us to create, change the culture of the police department, where they begin to see that they have to police our neighborhoods the same way other people’s neighborhoods are policed in suburban communities and other areas.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, how are you doing that?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: We have developed a civilian complaint review board.

    We changed the makeup of the internal affairs. We provide training for new recruits that is not like the training that they normally get. They get sensitivity training. They get the kind of de-escalation training. We begin to sensitize them to what’s happening in their neighborhoods and the communities where they police.

    We try to advocate that police officers live in a community longer than they normally do. So, those are things that have to happen.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And what result are you seeing?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: Well, we have just begun. So, we can’t, like, give you empirical data on it. We have only been in office two years, not 25, and this problem has been, like, decades of work.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But you’re getting feedback from both sides, are you not?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: I think that some of the concerns about a civilian complaint review board are based on knee-jerk reactions that people have about police supervision that they have always had.

    But we live in a new time and a new place, and people have to begin to be ready for the kind of oversight that the public is demanding. And I don’t see any of that as contradictory to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

    People say all lives matter. And that’s true, but it’s just black people that are getting shot in the back running or choked to death for having cigarettes or playing their music too loud. So it’s important for us to uphold all life, but we have to be honest and say that, you know, African-Americans are being disproportionately affected by, you know, the kind of misuse and abuse of power.

    And so there needs to be, obviously, some light shed on that, which is why Black Lives Matter is important. And then there needs to be some reconciliation and repair of what’s going on.

    So, all of the things, from body cameras to review boards, to training, to people calling for independent investigators, all those things are important for us to get a handle on what’s happening in our cities.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: You have just described a situation that exists in many cities across this nation. What kind of solutions would you propose? And what kinds of things have you done that you could share with others to improve these circumstances?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: I think that, ultimately, the only thing that affects race relations is fair treatment.

    I mean, the problems that exist in Newark are national problems. They’re systemic problems that existed before I was even born. And they exist all over the country, which means that we need a systemic solution for these problems.

    So, we don’t know everything. We’re experimenting and trying to do the best that we can with the ideas that we have, creating opportunities for cooperatives, so we can get people to begin to own business and own what they have in their community to offer.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Cooperatives?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: Cooperatives where we have collective ownership, workers begin to own the businesses that they work in.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Based on everything I have read, you have a really good relationship with business, the business community, for the most part. So how do you see getting them invested in the things that you have just talked about?

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: Prudential held a convention or conference for us here in Newark about procurement and convening the folks in a community, the business community, to begin to help us invest more in this community.

    Saint Barnabas has invested in the capital project of our cooperative laundry, reentry laundry, made up mostly of folks who are 100 percent Newark residents, predominantly black and brown folks in the city, folks who were formally incarcerated who are now beginning to learn how to run and operate a laundry business. And they’re going to own and operate a cooperative laundry that does business with the local hospitals in this area.

    We haven’t hit a home run yet, but, you know, I think we’re up at the plate and we’re swinging.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, Mr. Mayor, thank you for joining us.

    MAYOR RAS BARAKA: No problem.

    The post Newark’s mayor on solutions he is using to change his city making it a better place for all appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Bedford, New Hampshire, U.S. September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSQ3MV

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now what we know about Donald Trump’s taxes, what we don’t know, and how his real estate business could be affecting his tax bill.

    That subject led to one of the more memorable exchanges of this week’s presidential debate.

    Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, sat down with a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, David Cay Johnston, who’s been reporting on Trump since the late ’80s. He’s also the author of a bestselling book, “The Making of Donald Trump.”

    It’s part of our weekly series Making Sense.

    PAUL SOLMAN: David Cay Johnston, welcome.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, Author, “The Making of Donald Trump”: Thank you, Paul.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Let’s begin with Secretary Clinton’s claim that Mr. Trump pays no federal income taxes, and, in the debate, his response.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: Maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: That makes me smart.

    HILLARY CLINTON: So, if he’s paid…

    PAUL SOLMAN: The media are making a big fuss about that offhand remark of Mr. Trump’s, but isn’t he right to say he’s smart to pay no taxes?

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, there are two issues here to separate.

    And one of them is, because he is a — the owner of a lot of real estate that he manages, he may well pay no income taxes. We know for a fact that he didn’t pay any income taxes in 1978, 1979, 1984, 1992 and 1994. We know because of the reports of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. We don’t know about any year after that.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But that’s because he’s depreciating the properties, right, while, in fact, they’re increasing in value.

    But I depreciate the home office in my house. I work there. I don’t have another office. It’s just not much of a benefit for me, obviously.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Most Americans cannot save more than $6,000 a year from depreciating real estate. That’s all they can write off against their salary or business profits.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, I don’t come close to $6,000.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: But people like Trump can take all the money that’s made from a TV show, from selling neckties made in China, running golf courses, and wipe out that income for tax purposes with depreciation. Only a narrow segment of people qualify for this.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And how does he qualify?

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Because he spends at least 15 hours a week managing real estate that he owns. That’s the rule.

    If you’re a full-time manager of your own property — and full-time, according to Congress, is 15 hours a week — you can take unlimited depreciation and use it to offset your income from other areas and pay little in tax.

    Years ago, one of the biggest real estate tax lawyers in New York said to me, if you’re a major real estate family and you’re paying income taxes, you should sue your tax lawyer for malpractice.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, but then he’s just doing what everybody else does.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: That’s right.

    Congress has all sorts of rules, Paul, that certain people, hedge fund managers, private equity managers, executives, movie stars, fall into that allow them to escape or defer into the future not paying their taxes. And if you can defer your tax into the future, it’s the best deal in the world, because you don’t just get to eat your cake and have it too. You get to eat your cake and have a bigger cake.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But you mean you get to keep the money…

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Right.

    PAUL SOLMAN: … that you would otherwise have had to pay in taxes.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: That’s right.

    PAUL SOLMAN: You then invest that money.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Correct. And in the future, you pay taxes.

    And I will give you the example I have used with Donald Trump. If he really made $65 million a year for his television show, which NBC says is absurd, but let’s assume he did.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But he says that.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: He says that.

    And he would have paid about $23 million in federal income tax. If he’s able to wipe that out by depreciating the various buildings that he owns, he would keep the $23 million. Now, the normal rules say he has 20 years. So let’s assume he keeps it 20 years, and he earns a net of 10 percent a year.

    And, after all, he’s Donald Trump, who says he’s a great investor. At the end of the 20 years, Trump would give the government the $23 million, which is worth a lot less because of inflation, and he would pocket, after tax, $130 million.

    PAUL SOLMAN: That’s the $23 million at 10 percent a year.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: For all those years, that’s the interest on it.

    And I don’t think most Americans understand that, for certain very wealthy people, our federal income tax system is a subsidy system that makes them richer.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But you can’t blame Mr. Trump for taking advantage of the system.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: I agree. I do not blame him one bit. But that’s only part one of it.

    The second part is the 1984 tax trials, when he appealed his New York state and New York City audits, were about Donald claiming zero revenue for his consulting business and taking over $600,000 of deductions, for which he couldn’t produce any documentation, no receipts, no checks, nothing.

    When shown a tax return that Donald Trump had been audited on — he appealed the audits — his tax guy said, well, that’s my signature, but I didn’t prepare that.

    In fact, it was a photocopy. No one could find the original. Now, those two elements, zero income and huge deductions, combined with his own tax guy testifying under oath, that’s my signature, but I didn’t prepare that tax return, those are very strong badges of fraud.

    And seen in the context of Trump having committed sales tax fraud in the past, which is indisputable, I think that it’s reasonable for the American public to ask, did you go beyond what’s lawful, maybe scandalously lawful, but lawful, and violate the law?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Sales tax fraud?

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, Donald participated in something known as the empty box scam.

    He bought $65,000 worth of jewelry from Bulgari across the street from Trump Tower, and had the record show that it was mailed to him in an out-of-state address. Now, if you’re not a New York resident, you may not have to pay sales tax if the jewelry is mailed to you in another state. The problem is, they were empty boxes. It was proven.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Was he convicted?

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: No.

    Instead, the attorney general of New York prosecuted the store manager and one of the Italian owners of the store. And that led Mayor Ed Koch to say, the customers who took part in this fraud, they should serve 15 days in jail. They’re really the criminals here, not the store.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But he didn’t serve any time.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: No. And he wasn’t charged in the case either.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, so, then, why are you making a big deal of it?

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Lots of people commit crimes and don’t get arrested. That’s not the measure.

    The measure is, did you engage in unlawful conduct? Now, Joe Blow does this, we don’t particularly care. But if you’re going to be the president of the United States, we’re reasonably going to put you under a microscope.

    And Donald Trump’s tax behavior is absolutely important to understanding, is he qualified, is he morally fit, is he capable, is he trustworthy to have everything from the powers of federal law enforcement to the nuclear codes?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Peter Navarro, economic adviser to Mr. Trump, economist, University of California at Irvine, says, Mr. Trump should not release his income taxes, and here’s why.

    PETER NAVARRO, Economic Advisor, Trump Campaign: It gives the opposition too much information. Why would you do that?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Because every other presidential candidate ever has.

    PETER NAVARRO: Ah, but here’s the difference. He’s self-funding his campaign. And if you release your tax returns when you’re self-funding your campaign, you reveal to the opposition how much you have to run that campaign.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: I think the reasonable response to this is, what are you hiding?

    DONALD TRUMP: Almost every lawyer says, you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I will do it.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Let’s take Trump at his word: I can’t release the returns that are under audit.

    Well, let’s have your returns from 1977 to 2008. The audits are closed on those. There’s no excuse, by your own standard, not to release those returns.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Why do you care so much about this?

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Because I want to make sure that the American public knows who this man is.

    I met Donald Trump in June of 1988, when I went to Atlantic City to cover the casino industry. And so my standard here is, you should know these facts. And the minute you know, and you still want to vote for someone, you should go ahead and vote for them. But don’t later say, I had no idea.

    PAUL SOLMAN: David Cay Johnston, thank you very much.

    DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Thank you, Paul.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The IRS says nothing prevents Trump from sharing his tax information even if he is being audited.

    For his part, Trump told Bill O’Reilly on FOX News Channel last night that he didn’t admit at the debate that he doesn’t pay federal taxes. But he also didn’t confirm that he does pay such taxes.

    The post Why seeing Trump’s tax returns really matters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    farmers

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Fifteen since the United States went into Afghanistan, the U.S. has spent an estimated $1.5 billion to develop women’s rights in the country. There’s also a new $300 million five-year program to continue to help women have a say in their society.

    But, despite the money, the fact that only a quarter of parliamentarians are now women, and laws protecting them from violence, Afghan women still face significant challenges.

    Special correspondent Jennifer Glasse reports from Kabul.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Kobra Dastgirzada is a successful Afghan businesswoman. The U.S.-funded program Promote has sent these women to learn from her. She’s sharing more than a decade’s experience running companies in Afghanistan.

    Helped in part with U.S. funds over the years, her enterprises include making jams, pickles, baskets and dried soup packs. She remembers life under the Taliban, and says things have improved since 2001.

    KOBRA DASTGIRZADA, Entrepreneur: In this 15 period, or years, it was a very good chance for women, because there was a good program. And every day, the new program come, especially about the business, about the society, about education. Everything did come. And the women get a lot of benefits from this program too. Right now, the women has a good state to the society.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: But even with experience, it’s not easy. She can’t manufacture on this day because there’s no electricity, and this is Kabul. She knows life is much harder in business and other ways for women elsewhere in Afghanistan.

    KOBRA DASTGIRZADA: Right now, in the province, it is a very big problem, because the women cannot go out of the home, because the Taliban has the control. You know that. Then maybe they kill them. And maybe, one day, they kill me too, because I work and have a lot of activity. If they come and get Kabul, the first person will be I. They kill me.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Kobra says she can’t worry about the Taliban’s recent military gains around the country. She wants to concentrate on her work.

    Kobra has advantages many other Afghan women don’t, not just a supportive husband, but her factory is in her backyard, so she can work at home. And her shop is just in front of her house. Her small shop is just one outlet for her goods. She also sends them to markets. For that, she needs a man. Afghan society would frown on women selling in the bazaar.

    That man makes three times the salary of her female Afghan employees. Kobra says that can’t be helped. She needs him. Even where women succeed, the culture of discrimination here finds its place.

    KIM MOTLEY, Lawyer: A lot of people don’t realize that Afghanistan is a country where it’s been reported that over 85 percent of the women are victims of domestic violence. It’s a country where I understand that 72 percent of women are uneducated.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Kim Motley is a lawyer who takes on some of Afghanistan’s most desperate cases, like Sahar Gul, who was tortured and abused by her husband’s family. She testified against them and they were jailed, a rare victory here.

    Motley’s newest client is Gul Meena, attacked with an axe by her brother, uncle and husband and left for dead.

    KIM MOTLEY: This incident happened over three years ago. And it is deplorable that not one person in the Afghan government has bothered to talk to her about what happened. I mean, literally, there are three axe murderers on the loose in Afghanistan or Pakistan. They don’t know, but no one has bothered to sort of find out.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Gul Meena says she is still afraid of her attackers, but would like to see them punished and would be willing to testify.

    GUL MEENA, Victim Of Ax Attack (through translator): I’m worried that, if I go to court, then the judge might put me in jail because I ran away.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Hundreds of women have been jailed for so-called moral crimes, like leaving their husbands or even being alone with a man. President Ghani released many.

    Regardless of their cases, both Gul Meena and Sahar Gul want to leave Afghanistan. They feel there’s no future here for them.

    Susan DeCamp is one of the stewards of the five-year, $300 million U.S.-funded Promote program for women. She says she knows women’s rights are tenuous here.

    SUSAN DECAMP, USAID: It’s a challenge, and it’s always been a challenge, and it’s going to continue to be a challenge for quite a while.

    What we hope to do is get enough women out there working together in a positive way, so that they can have their own voice. It’s not so much about us deciding what they want and need, but about them being in a position to influence what they want and what they need.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: On a farm on the outskirts of Kabul, that’s what Sophia Wilcox is doing teaching, women to stand on their own.

    She’s taken a somewhat tough-love approach with her farming training programs. Anyone who wants to participate has to pay dues to be part of the collective. Since she arrived in 2009, Wilcox has avoided creating what she calls NGO disease, dependency on international aid.

    SOPHIA WILCOX, Women’s Agricultural Extension Program: I don’t give them anything because we need to teach them to be independent and use what they have, become creative in their use of their own resources to build themselves up.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: And it’s working. One of the gardeners has a daughter who’s a hospital worker, so they devised these drip feeding systems. Women are motivated, with good reason.

    SOPHIA WILCOX: There’s decisions that they’re not allowed to make. And if they’re given a slight bit of income, they can make those decisions, children going to school, whether or not they go to school, if we buy medicine, if we don’t buy medicine. Those types of decisions are not given to women freely. And when they have their own income, they are able to make those decisions.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: The Afghan women started managing this farm on their own last October. So far, each of the 15 workers has made about $100 a month. Considering a taxi driver in Kabul makes about $150 a month, it’s good money, more than they have ever made in their lives. A lump sum is expected at the end of the summer harvest. Next year, they expect to earn more.

    Farm manager Lailajan Yousafzai needs no help with marketing. She knows her products inside out. She’s proud to support the 15 women farmers here, and to give some income to 25 more. They can’t leave their homes, so they grow products in their own gardens.

    LAILAJAN YOUSAFZAI, Farm Manager (through translator): One woman sent her son to university. She can pay for his transport and she can pay for his books. We all use the money for our families.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: Four years ago, this was all dirt and weeds. But as often happens here, success brings problems. Although this project paid for the local water pump and its repair, the man who has the key demands money to supply water. For Sophia, it’s a dilemma.

    SOPHIA WILCOX: It’s a problem for me, because I’m working for essentially the U.S. taxpayer, and we can’t pay bribes, and — but bribes are really common. And so it’s a frustration, and it’s everywhere. It’s rampant. You can’t get anything done, really.

    JENNIFER GLASSE: A rival project nearby, funded by the Afghan government, is failing. Its politically connected manager is threatening to take the women’s land away. The women here say they will fight that to stay, that the money they’re making is changing their lives.

    But like so many things here, as women, they ultimately may not have a choice.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jennifer Glasse in Kabul.

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    Ohio voters cast their votes at the polls for early voting in the 2012 U.S. presidential election in Medina, Ohio, U.S. on October 26, 2012.     REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo - RTSNKB0

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Election Day may be 40 days away, but voting has already started in a number of states.

    Lisa Desjardins reports on the candidates ground game.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: I am so happy to be back here in Iowa

    LISA DESJARDINS: Just hours after Iowa started early voting, Hillary Clinton was in Des Moines with a turnout push.

    HILLARY CLINTON: Are you ready to go to the polls?

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    HILLARY CLINTON: Well, luckily in Iowa, you can start today.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Performance from the state’s high-profile caucuses back in February, when she barely eked out a win over Bernie Sanders. She’s now neck and neck with Donald Trump in Iowa. The Democratic nominee is also visiting another state kicking off early voting today, Illinois, to host two fund-raisers in Chicago.

    Meanwhile, Donald Trump returned to the site of his first 2016 win, New Hampshire. He cleaned up in the state’s primary, but it’s a general election tossup.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: They said the biggest single problem they have up here is heroin. If I win, I get the nomination, and I win, we’re going to build that wall, and we’re going to stop that heroin from pouring in.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS: Away from the campaign trail, the Republican’s business investments took the spotlight. “Newsweek” reported that Trump’s hotel and casino business spent $68,000 in Cuba in the late 1990s, routing it through a third party, to try and gain a business foothold there. That apparently violated strict U.S. bans on doing any business with the communist nation.

    Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, defended him on “The View,” but she seemed to admit there was business conducted.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY, Trump Campaign Manager: And it turns out that he didn’t — he decided not to invest there.

    (CROSSTALK)

    QUESTION: So, are you denying they said that — that his company spent any money in Cuba?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: I think they paid money — as I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998. We’re not supposed to talk about years ago when it comes to the Clintons.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Later, Clinton weighed in.

    HILLARY CLINTON: Donald Trump knew what the law was. And from everything we can tell by the investigative reporting that has been done, he deliberately flouted it.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Another set of headlines today for Libertarian Gary Johnson. One big win: He earned the endorsement of The Detroit News, which called Trump unstable and possibly dangerous. It was the first time in the paper’s 143-year history that it hasn’t endorsed a Republican.

    But Johnson also faced some bad press, after he was asked on MSNBC last night to name a foreign leader he respects:

    GARY JOHNSON, Libertarian Presidential Nominee: I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment, and the former president of Mexico…

    CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: But I’m giving you the whole world.

    GARY JOHNSON: I know, I know, I know, I know.

    CHRIS MATTHEWS: Anybody in the world you like, anybody. Pick any leader.

    GARY JOHNSON: The former president of Mexico.

    CHRIS MATTHEWS: No. Which one?

    GARY JOHNSON: I’m having a brain — I’m having a brain…

    CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, name anybody.

    (CROSSTALK)

    BILL WELD, Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee: Fox.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Johnson is polling at 7 percent nationwide, much higher in a few states, but it’s not enough yet to make the stage for the second presidential debate in two weeks.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All told, more than a third of all votes are expected to be cast early this year. And that math has changed the way campaigns organize.

    Reporter Sasha Issenberg with Bloomberg News has been digging in on the role of early voting in this election, and he joins me now.

    Sasha Issenberg, welcome.

    So, this is really changing the way the campaign — the candidates and the campaigns are organized.

    SASHA ISSENBERG, Bloomberg Politics: Yes, you know, within Hillary Clinton’s campaign — we saw her today. She went to Iowa to try to basically start get-out-the-vote activities five weeks before Election Day.

    But within her headquarters in Brooklyn, they have basically changed the internal org chart. In past years, campaigns have split up the country by geography. They put all the Western states in one group, and they put all the Southern states in one group.

    This year, she set up her pods, as they call them, separating out the early vote states. And that’s because the sort of rhythm and strategy and tactics they use there is now so different. Some of these states, it’s — you know, well over 50 percent of votes are going to be cast before Election Day. And that changes who you’re talking to and when.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is there much more of that going on this year, Sasha, than it was in 2012?

    SASHA ISSENBERG: Yes, we see steady increases.

    Obviously, we won’t know until after Election Day what percentage of the vote is early, but this tends to go in one direction. You know, as people vote early, they develop a habit, much as they do with regular voting. And so early voters tend to vote early.

    And a lot of states, although obviously not all, have taken strides to make it easier, so that people who can request absentee ballots don’t need excuses to do it. Some states like Ohio are now automatically sending out absentee ballots to most voters.

    So, you know, in a lot of places, voters are being pushed into this, and so it could be as high as 40 percent this year of the total electorate that votes before Election Day.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about the difference in how these two campaigns are positioned to take advantage of this.

    You just mentioned that Clinton has reorganized the way the whole campaign is organized. How about Donald Trump?

    SASHA ISSENBERG: Yes, Trump’s campaign has been pretty public about the fact that they’re leaving all sorts of field activities, get-out-the-vote stuff, to the Republican National Committee and to state parties.

    And this is a place where they may have different interests. You may have in, let’s say Iowa, where Chuck Grassley is running, the senator, is running for reelection, you could have voters who decided early that they are on board with Grassley, but are still undecided in the presidential race, or are considering a third-party candidate.

    And if Trump is relying on the state party to turn those voters out, he could find that, you know, people aren’t necessarily voting a straight ticket when they get that reminder phone call to return their ballot.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re saying really the targeted voters for the national candidates might be different from those of the state candidates.

    But what about the Clinton campaign? Have they now perfected this? How would you describe how far along they are?

    SASHA ISSENBERG: You know, I think that there’s been a lot of focus on this, as there was in 2012 from the Obama campaign, among Democrats, who see it as an opportunity, especially in larger, more diverse states like North Carolina, Florida, that have early voting, to use the extended period to mobilize some of the communities that are very important to the Democratic coalition, especially minorities, who are often difficult to turn out

    And so, you know, we see North Carolina as a very good example of where Democrats have worked hard to move up the African-American vote, taking advantage of the multiweek early vote window. So, those people are voting in often mid-October. And as the campaign gets later, Hillary Clinton will be more likely there to speaking to sort of persuadable moderate white voters, because she will feel that she’s locked in many of the votes from her base.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what are a couple of other swing states in this election that — where early voting, you see, could make a difference?

    SASHA ISSENBERG: Nevada is a state that’s majority early vote now. They make it very easy to vote in Nevada. There are registration forms in supermarkets there. They have weekend early voting. You can vote on Saturdays in late October.

    And then Colorado is sort of the, you know, extreme case of a battleground state. There is no in-person Election Day voting. Everybody gets a mail ballot. You can drop it off until, I believe, 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. But Election Day itself is an afterthought. It’s just one more day that you can drop off your absentee ballot or put it in the mail.

    And so, by the time we get to Election Day in Colorado, most of the votes will be banked. And the campaigns will probably wake up on Election Day and think they know who’s won.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Huh.

    Well, it certainly is — we paid attention to it in 2012, but it sounds like it is much more of a factor this year.

    Sasha Issenberg with Bloomberg News, we thank you.

    SASHA ISSENBERG: Thank you, Judy.

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    U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrives at his news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSQ1ZX

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In the day’s other news:  Republican leaders in both houses of Congress opened the door to changes in a new law allowing relatives of the 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, this just one day after lawmakers pushed the measure through to passage, and, in so doing, managed the first override of a veto by President Obama.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faulted the White House for being too slow to point out problems.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Majority Leader:  I think it was an example of an issue we should have on a bipartisan basis talked about much earlier, because everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were, but nobody really had focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships.  And I think it was just a ball dropped.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  House Speaker Paul Ryan also suggested a fix might be needed.  And White House spokesman Josh Earnest took note of the shift.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  I think what we have seen in the United States Congress is a pretty classic case of rapid-onset buyer’s remorse.

    If there are members of Congress that have had a change of heart, are now prepared to take a principled position, we would welcome a conversation about that.  We would welcome action to solve the problem that they have created.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  President Obama has warned that the new law could lead to retaliation against Americans abroad.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  The United States is on the verge of ending its Syrian talks with Russia because of the assault on Aleppo that from Secretary of State John Kerry today.  At a Washington event, he said diplomacy can’t continue in the face of an all-out Russian- Syrian offensive.

    JOHN KERRY, U.S. Secretary of State:  It’s irrational in the context of the kind of bombing taking place to be sitting there trying to take things seriously.  There’s no notion or indication of a seriousness of purpose with what is taking place right now.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Earlier, Russia brushed aside Washington’s warnings.  But the defense minister suggested a possible 48-hour truce to let humanitarian aid into Aleppo.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  American Olympic and Paralympic athletes had their White House moment today.  The president hailed their success at this summer’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, winning 46 Olympic gold medals and 40 Paralympic golds.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  It inspires us to do what we do much harder.  We admire your athleticism but we also admire your character and your stick-to-itiveness.  We know you don’t do this for the money or the fame.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Mr. Obama also hosted families of African-American Olympians from the 1936 Games.  Those athletes were left out of a White House welcome 80 years ago.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Stocks fells sharply on Wall Street today, as drug companies and banks suffered major losses.  The Dow Jones industrial average plunged nearly 196 points to close at 18143.  The Nasdaq fell 49 points, and the S&P 500 lost 20.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  And Congress hopes to help parents who need to change babies’ diapers in federal buildings.  A bill sent to the president today requires changing stations be installed in men’s and women’s restrooms in all federal sites open to the public.  That includes courthouses, post offices and some government-run museums.

    It’s about time.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  It is.

    The post News Wrap: Congress considers fix to bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A derailed New Jersey Transit train is seen under a collapsed roof after it derailed and crashed into the station in Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S. September 29, 2016.    REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTSQ24N

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Investigators in Northern New Jersey have a big question to ponder tonight: Why did a commuter train smash into a station in the midst of rush hour?

    For now, the answer is anything but clear.

    It was 8:45 this morning, when a New Jersey transit train came barreling into Hoboken without slowing down. A passenger in the first car said there’d been no hint of anything wrong.

    JAMIE WEATHERHEAD-SAUL, Rain Passenger: There wasn’t even a screeching, like it was halting. It just kept going. Maybe there was some kind of, like, braking involved, because the lights went off and people started screaming.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The speeding railcars crashed through a barrier and into the outer wall of the terminal waiting room, crushing the front of the train and collapsing part of the ceiling.

    POLICE SCANNER AUDIO: We have a train that’s into the train station at Hoboken terminal. We are going to need multiple EMS for multiple injuries.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Police and emergency workers rushed to the station, a commuter hub just outside New York that handles 50,000 passengers every day. Bystanders jumped in to help people pinned under mangled steel and concrete.

    MIKE LARSON, New Jersey Transit Employee: The second half of the first car was completely destroyed, to where they were crawling on their hands and knees. And we were trying to get as many people out. I assisted in maybe three or four people getting out.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The lone fatality was a woman on the platform killed by the falling debris.

    WILLIAM BLAINE, Engineer: They were pulling people out. People were jumping out, cuts and bruises, and — but I didn’t realize, when I ran, I stepped over a body. It was a dead woman.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Dozens were sent to area hospitals. Three were in critical condition, including the train’s conductor. Many more made it out with minor injuries.

    Hours later, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the scene. Christie said it appeared to be an accident, but key questions remain.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-N.J.): What we know is that the train came in at much too high a rate of speed, and the question is, why is that?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The National Transportation Safety Board has now opened an investigation. And New Jersey transit’s terminal at Hoboken is closed. Other parts of the station have reopened.

    A short time ago, officials announced that the train’s engineer has been released from the hospital, and they plan to interview him soon.

    We’re joined now by Brenda Flanagan of NJTV News, part of our public broadcasting family.

    Brenda, you have been there reporting all day. What is the scene like now?

    BRENDA FLANAGAN, NJTV News: Well, right now, you can see that the building is still surrounded by police vehicles and command centers.

    The National Transportation Safety Board just held a briefing in which they told us that the train was equipped with outward-facing cameras. Obviously, they’re going to be looking at those tapes. They’re also going to be pulling the black box tonight.

    As the train station remains closed, they will be looking for issues like operator error, mechanical issues, signal problems, track issues. Now, they will not determine the cause of this accident today or on the scene. It’s going to take seven to 10 days before they’re able to come up with possibly a reason for this catastrophe — Hari.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Brenda, it’s almost surprising that it’s as few people were injured, considering what a busy transit hub this is in the New York area and that it happened during rush hour, when trains are usually packed.

    BRENDA FLANAGAN: Absolutely.

    This was — I know it’s a cliche, but it’s like the perfect storm, when you had so many wrong things. You had all of these people jampacked. It was a standing-room-only type of commuter train coming in at 8:45 in the morning, everybody heading into downtown Manhattan, to the ferries, to the PATH.

    The fact that only one person was killed in this accident is amazing. The Transportation Safety Board is going to be looking at this tonight, but positive train control is another issue that was raised. Governor Christie was asked whether or not that might have slowed the train down. New Jersey Transit has no positive train control apparatus on any of its tracks or facilities.

    Now, Senators Menendez and Booker of New Jersey held a news conference this afternoon. They said they are alarmed about the lack of security and the lack of safety and that they are going to be looking into this seriously, Hari.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Tell us also a little about all the civilians that actually responded because of the structural threat right after the crash.

    BRENDA FLANAGAN: That was amazing.

    In this area, you know, we always have in the back of our minds, because of 9/11, this could be a terror attack. And, as you well know, New Jersey and New York has been the scene of bombings that have been linked to a possible terror threat just a week-and-a-half ago.

    Now, be that as it may, people who are in the terminal when there was this huge boom, they said the building shook, the lights flickered, and several people ran toward the source of the boom. They got to the scene, they helped remove some of the passengers from the area.

    Looking up, seeing that that ceiling just might collapse, they said, it’s too dangerous, we have to help move these people out of the way. One man actually took the shirt off his back to fold it around some of the victims. He said they were shaking because they were cold and scared and in pain.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Brenda Flanagan joining us from the scene in Hoboken from NJTV News, thanks so much.

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    Marchers protest the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September, 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek - RTSPA6K

    Marchers protest the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September, 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek – RTSPA6K

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The killing of a black man by a Charlotte police officer, and the sometimes violent protests that followed, have intensified the political divide in a state crucial to deciding whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the presidency.

    Republicans and Democrats alike say the killing of Keith Lamont Scott will energize both parties’ strongest supporters in a presidential battleground state that also has competitive races for governor and the U.S. Senate. Both camps are citing the case as they push familiar arguments on race relations, law enforcement and social unrest.

    “Both sides think they are right in this,” says Dee Stewart, a Republican consultant in North Carolina. “This all fits very well with Trump’s argument of ‘law and order’ and respecting our officers. It fits with the left’s narrative that anytime law enforcement acts with force in certain communities, it should be viewed with suspicion.”

    It’s unclear if or how Scott’s killing and its aftermath will affect undecided voters, but even subtle shifts in support can be crucial. Polls show a tight race in a state that Barack Obama barely lost in 2012 after barely winning in 2008. In the state-by-state contest for the presidency, it’s difficult to see how Trump can win the presidency without capturing North Carolina.

    Scott, 43, was shot Sept. 20 standing outside his vehicle. Police maintain he was armed. Video released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities was inconclusive. The officer who shot Scott is also black.

    Both Trump and Clinton had planned appearances in Charlotte in the days after Scott’s death, but both canceled them.

    Trump has said little specifically about Scott and the Charlotte protests, beyond calling the situation “tragic.” But at Monday’s debate, he again cast himself as the “law-and-order” candidate. He chided Clinton for avoiding the same phrase, and he renewed his endorsement for the kind of “stop-and-frisk” police practices that critics deride as racial profiling.

    [Watch Video]

    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated for 94 minutes in their first public face-off Monday night. During that time, the candidates rattled off accusations, numbers and “he said, she said” quotes. But what was true, what wasn’t and what needed more context? Lisa Desjardins takes a look at the facts behind their claims.

    Clinton has campaigned extensively with Mothers of the Movement, a group of African-American women, some of whose sons have been killed by police. She called for Charlotte police to release their videos of the shootings before they had done so. Clinton also held a phone call with black pastors in the area. She campaigned Tuesday in the state capital, Raleigh, where she urged caution and said “there’s still a lot we don’t know” about Scott’s death and the police killing of Terence Crutcher four days earlier in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Throughout her campaign, Clinton has argued the United States must confront “systemic racism” in its law enforcement and criminal justice structure. Trump’s running mate Mike Pence has described that as “rhetoric of division” and declared that “the men and women of law enforcement are a not a force for racism in this country; they’re a force for good.”

    Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucia McBath and Sybrina Fulton — the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis — spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Video by PBS NewsHour

    Alma Adams, a Democratic congresswoman whose district includes parts of Charlotte, said Clinton’s approach will appeal to African-American voters, millennials and others concerned about police practices. “They’re going to be looking for answers at the polls,” she said in an interview.

    Adams added that Trump’s rhetoric will stoke the Democratic base, pointing specifically to his comments a day after violent Charlotte protests dominated the news. Trump said “drugs are a very, very big factor in what you’re watching on television at night.” His campaign later said he was talking about America’s drug problem in general, not the protests.

    It’s unclear if or how Keith Scott’s killing and its aftermath will affect undecided voters, but even subtle shifts in support can be crucial.

    Still, Trump’s comments could influence voters like 19-year-old Niesy Figueroa, a student who said she knows some of Scott’s extended family and participated in peaceful protests. Figueroa said she’s not thrilled with casting her first presidential ballot for Clinton, but said Trump’s Charlotte reaction helps her get over her “hurt” that Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination. “Trump? No,” Figueroa said. “He just seems a little racist.”

    Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state Republican Party, concedes that Democrats can add the Scott case to the argument aimed at their base. But he argues that the television images of the protests and Democratic rhetoric about police are more important to independent and moderate whites than anything Trump says about protesters.

    “Democrats come across always pointing the finger at police,” Woodhouse said.

    He recalled a scene at the Carolina Panthers football game Sunday in Charlotte, where he said he watched scores of fans seek out law enforcement officers. “This is still a Southern state, a cordial state, a state that has people lined up to thank the police because they think they are being unfairly maligned.”

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

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    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a news conference upon his arrival from a state visit in Vietnam at the International Airport in Davao city, Philippines September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a news conference upon his arrival from a state visit in Vietnam at the International Airport in Davao city, Philippines September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte received swift backlash Friday for likening himself to Adolf Hitler.

    After arriving in Davao City, his hometown where he was once mayor, Duterte gave a rambling speech telling reporters he had been “portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler” by critics, Reuters reported.

    After incorrectly noting that Hitler murdered 3 million Jews (scholars estimate about 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust), Duterte made a connection to his own war on drugs.

    “There are 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said.

    “There are 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” — Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines

    Duterte did not stop there.

    “If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…” Duterte said, then paused and pointed to himself, Reuters reported.

    “You know my victims. I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” Duterte said.

    His comments inspired international backlash.

    World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder condemned Duterte’s remarks calling them “revolting” and demanded a retraction and apology.

    “Drug abuse is a serious issue,” he said. “What President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heart-breaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country.”

    “If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…” — Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines

    The German government also admonished the president of the Philippines for his comments.

    “It is impossible to make any comparison to the unique atrocities of the Shoah and Holocaust,” the German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said in Berlin, according to the Associated Press.

    A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Manila told the New York Times the U.S. will continue to work with the Philippines to uphold democratic values.

    The AP reports that since taking power on June 30, more than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed in Duterte’s crackdown and nearly 700,000 have surrendered to the government.

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    Workers from the Metropolitan Transit Authority use plywood and sandbags to cover subway grates as New York City prepares for potential flooding from post-tropical storm Hermine along the east coast of the United States, September 4, 2016.  REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich - RTX2O3PS

    The sharp gain in median household income last year may also signal a turning point in the decades-old disconnect between middle-class earnings and overall economic growth. Photo by Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters

    The sharp gain in median household income last year, one of largest increases on record, may also signal a turning point in the decades-old disconnect between middle-class earnings and overall economic growth.

    In 49 states, median income increased at a faster rate than per capita gross domestic product, according to a Stateline analysis of census data and figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The one exception was New Jersey, which is feeling the effects of a slumping casino industry, declining interest in suburban office parks and many communities’ slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

    In 49 states, median income increased at a faster rate than per capita gross domestic product.

    Analysts across the ideological spectrum have noted the “great decoupling” between earnings and economic growth, which has existed nationally since the 1970s. The gap grew after the recession: Between 2009 and 2012, U.S. GDP grew by 4 percent, while inflation-adjusted median income fell by 4 percent. In 2010, the gap hit a single-year peak of 5 percentage points, as GDP grew 2.2 percent and income fell 2.8 percent.

    “Economic abundance, as exemplified by GDP, has remained on an upward trajectory, but the income and job prospects for typical workers have faltered,” Erik Brynjolfsson of the MIT Sloan School of Management wrote last year.

    Cumulative economic growth, as measured by the change in GDP, outpaced median income growth in every state from 2000 to 2014. Some states, in some years, bucked the trend, but 2015 marked the first time that median income had outpaced GDP in as many as 49 states since state-by-state numbers became available in the 1980s.

    READ MORE: Income is up, poverty is down, but neither are back at pre-recession levels

    Lane Kenworthy, a University of California at San Diego economist who has studied the gap between income and GDP, said the one-year change was heartening but likely not the start of a new trend.

    “It’s good news, to be sure,” Kenworthy said. “But I don’t see any sign that the deep-seated obstacles to shared prosperity have abated. So I’m not optimistic.”

    Analysts across the ideological spectrum have noted the “great decoupling” between earnings and economic growth, which has existed nationally since the 1970s.

    In 2015, a tightening labor market gave workers more bargaining power and thus higher pay, Kenworthy said. But he predicted that deeper economic trends, such as the diminishing power of labor unions and the rise in new technology that could replace workers with machines, would continue to erode pay over the long term.

    Mark Perry, a University of Michigan economist who is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, agreed that it’s too soon to determine whether 2015 was “a change in direction or a one-time blip.”

    Perry also pointed out that the median income measure may be misleading, because it doesn’t capture other forms of compensation, such as health insurance and stock options.

    “Even during the years when median household income was stagnant, I’m sure the median household compensation was rising,” Perry said.

    Dramatic Gains in Montana, Tennessee

    Montana and Tennessee had the largest increases in median household income in 2015, and in both states median income gains easily outpaced GDP growth.

    William Fox, director of the University of Tennessee’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, said his state had seen a tightening job market, as more people flock to Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis.

    Tennessee surpassed its 2008 pre-recession jobs peak in 2014 and gained another 94,100 jobs in 2015.

    “People go where there’s jobs, and we’ve had a lot of job creation,” Fox said, pointing out that Tennessee had surpassed its 2008 pre-recession jobs peak in 2014 and gained another 94,100 jobs in 2015.

    Much of Tennessee’s job growth has been in business and professional services, he said. Some companies, like Bridgestone in Nashville and FedEx in Memphis, have expanded corporate operations in Tennessee over the past several years, attracted by a relatively low cost of living and the central locations.

    The state’s 2014 offer of free community college tuition, which drew 58,000 applications that first year, also might have attracted employers, Fox said.

    READ MORE: The economy is steadily improving, but wages aren’t. Could unions be the answer?

    Montana has benefited from wage growth in all industries, said Barbara Wagner, the state’s chief economist. Technology and research companies around Bozeman, home of Montana State University, are doing particularly well, she said.

    At the other end of the spectrum, New Jersey’s median income increased less than half a percent in 2015, the lowest rate of any state, even as the state’s GDP increased by 2 percent.

    Last year, New Jersey still had fewer jobs than it did before the recession, despite adding 69,200 of them.

    Last year, New Jersey still had fewer jobs than it did before the recession, despite adding 69,200 of them. James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said the state’s economy is still suffering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and from the consolidation of the casino industry in 2014.

    Another factor, Hughes said, is that many businesses no longer want to be in suburban office parks, and New Jersey has plenty of them.

    “The office growth is now in the 24/7 cities like Manhattan, Boston and Washington, D.C. on the East Coast,” Hughes said. “That suburban stock is languishing. It used to be the driving force that made New Jersey a regional economic powerhouse.”

    READ MORE: Column: Don’t be fooled. CO2 emissions still tied to economic growth

    In some states, however, surging income growth in relation to GDP was not a sign of good times. In North Dakota, GDP declined by 4.4 percent, largely because of falling oil prices. But median income grew by 2.5 percent, creating a 6.8 point gap, the largest among the states. (The changes in GDP and in median income have been rounded.) Because of the way the U.S. Census Bureau asks about income, the North Dakota income data may reflect relatively high energy prices in late 2014.

    A sign of inequality?

    When economic growth outpaces median income, it indicates that the fruits of prosperity are not being distributed widely, said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution.

    When economic growth outpaces median income, it indicates that the fruits of prosperity are not being distributed widely, said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution.

    “It might be that a lot of the extra income went to the top 1 percent or the top 20 percent, and the middle didn’t get as much of the gain. They didn’t get their fair share. That’s usually how it’s interpreted,” Burtless said.

    Growing income inequality has spurred many cities and states to raise the minimum wage. But the largest planned increases are still being phased in and were unlikely to have had an effect on median income so soon, said Dean Baker, an economist at the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research.

    “The story of most states has been a modest shift back to wages, from profits, in the last couple of years,” Baker said. “The median [income] will be moved by more jobs per family, more hours per job and higher wages. All of those things were going the right way in 2015.”

    This story first appeared on Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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    Hurricane Matthew has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm as it makes its way toward Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

    The National Hurricane Center predicts heavy rain over the weekend in Aruba, Colombia and Venezuela.

    Meteorologists still do not know if or how the storm will make landfall in the United States. The National Weather Service said Friday it is still too early to determine how it could affect Florida.

    Matthew is the fifth hurricane in this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.

    The Weather Channel reports that even if Matthew does not hit the U.S. coast there will be “a threat of dangerous swells, coastal flooding, and beach erosion is likely to be in play along parts of the Eastern Seaboard.”

    Hurricane Matthew gains strength in the Caribbean, becomes major storm appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Federal Reserve police officer keeps watch while posted outside the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington September 16, 2015. The Federal Reserve, facing this week its biggest policy decision yet under Chair Janet Yellen, puts its credibility on the line regardless of whether it waits or raises interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RTS1E4W

    A Federal Reserve police officer keeps watch while posted outside the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    The labor market is tightening. Wages are rising. And yet, despite very aggressive monetary policy efforts, United States central bankers have been unable to hit their inflation target. For more than four straight years, the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation has been below its target of 2 percent. This has happened despite an explosion of assets on the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve, which rose from 6 percent of GDP to 24 percent between 2008 and 2016.

    Despite very aggressive monetary policy efforts, United States central bankers have been unable to hit their inflation target.

    And it’s not just here in the U.S. that prices are stubbornly refusing to rise. They’ve been treading water across many of the world’s major economies, including in the Eurozone and Japan. The European Central Bank has been missing its mark for over three years, and the Bank of Japan, which has been fighting deflation for 15 years, has similarly struggled to increase prices. Meanwhile, between 2008 and 2016, the ratio of central bank assets to GDP has grown from 22 percent to 90 percent in Japan and from 14 percent to 35 percent in the Eurozone.

    Under conventional wisdom, quantitative easing and other unconventional policies should have produced extraordinary inflation, quite possibly even hyperinflation. So what the heck is going on? Three important trends are drowning the global economy in deflationary waves, thwarting the best efforts of central bankers: 1) the slowdown in China, 2) a technology- and globalization-driven decline in manufacturing costs and 3) aging populations in the developed world.

    READ MORE: Income is up, poverty is down, but neither are back at pre-recession levels

    China’s transition from investment-led to consumption-led growth has not been smooth. It’s exposed massive overcapacity that the country built up in industrial sectors like steel, cement and aluminum and significant overinvestment by global mining companies. As demand growth has slowed, prices have fallen across the board. Since June 2011, the price of iron ore has dropped nearly 70 percent, and the prices of copper and crude oil have fallen by half.

    In response to the sputtering economy, Chinese policymakers have focused on pump-priming the country’s export engine. Specifically, they have been devaluing the currency to increase the competitiveness of Chinese goods in global markets. Since last August, China’s yuan has dropped 7 percent against the dollar. By devaluing their currency, China is importing inflation via higher prices for imported goods. The flip side of this dynamic is that Chinese goods are cheaper to foreign consumers. Let’s not fool ourselves, China is exporting deflation.

    Under conventional wisdom, quantitative easing and other unconventional policies should have produced extraordinary inflation, quite possibly even hyperinflation.

    related issue is the declining cost of manufactured goods thanks to technological progress and globalization. According to the Financial Times’s Matthew Klein, 88 percent of U.S. inflation since 1990 has come from health care, prescription drugs, housing and education. Meanwhile, Klein points out, the prices of high-tech goods like televisions and computers have fallen at a rate of 12 and 18 percent per year, respectively, while the cost of low-tech goods like luggage and linens has also dropped dramatically.

    The millennial generation, which has never experienced broad inflation, now expects regularly declining prices for consumer goods. This may be one reason why their inflation expectations are consistently lower than those of older people. And as the ranks of millennials overtake those of other generations, these dynamics will be increasingly problematic for the Fed, which is trying to get the population to expect regularly and modestly rising prices.

    READ MORE: Column: The monetary bubble to end all bubbles is coming

    Another potential long-term driver of deflationary pressure is demographics. As Breughel’s Jérémie Cohen-Stetton summarizes, in the last decade, population growth rates were positively correlated with inflation rates, and there are some reasons to believe this is more than just a coincidence. For instance, aging populations in the developed world may lower growth expectations and investment, thereby depressing demand. Or they may give policymakers political incentives to keep inflation low in order to protect the purchasing power of those on fixed incomes. Take Japan, a society that is rapidly aging. Might it be that the population actually wants deflation?

    At the same time that the developed world is aging, the population of the emerging world is exploding. But because the purchasing power of these individuals is meaningfully lower than those of developed world consumers, the impact on demand is not nearly large enough to offset the impact of the aging developed world.

    Aging populations in the developed world may lower growth expectations and investment, thereby depressing demand.

    The persistence of low or negative inflation can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As central banks consistently miss their stated targets, they lose credibility, making it likelier that they will miss their targets in the future.  Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda recently compared this dynamic to the story of Peter Pan: “the moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

    While deflationary pressures run rampant, recent data suggest the possibility of rising prices. The 2015 census report, released earlier this month, showed a tight labor market drove a 5.2 percent real increase in the median household income last year. According to Goldman Sachs, wage growth is now running at an annual rate of 2.6 percent. Analysts like Goldman Sachs economist Daan Struyven have argued that we are underestimating how quickly the tighter labor market could speed along the Fed meeting — or overshooting — its target.  If we do see a wage-price spiral take hold, American millennials may get the first dose of rapid inflation in their lifetimes.

    Suffering a trend like missed inflation targets for so long, there is always the risk we’ll grow complacent and pay dearly for a rapid reversal. With all eyes on the prize of 2 percent, we must be careful we don’t overshoot dramatically.

    READ MORE: Column: The world economy is running on monetary fumes

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    A rubber band wraps the front page of the La Opinion newspaper featuring pictures of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Santa Ana, California. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

    A rubber band wraps the front page of the La Opinion newspaper featuring pictures of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Santa Ana, California. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

    NEW YORK — “A clear and present danger to our country.” ”Xenophobia, racism and misogyny.” ”Beneath our national dignity.”

    Those aren’t excerpts from attack ads by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Those are longtime Republican newspapers disavowing Donald Trump.

    If newspaper endorsements equaled victory, Clinton would be in line for a historic landslide. She has been endorsed by dozens of papers ranging from such expected backers as The New York Times to such once-certain GOP advocates as The Dallas Morning News, the Arizona Republic and the Cincinnati Enquirer, which on Sept. 23 called for “a leader who will bring out the best in Americans, not the worst.”

    On Friday, USA Today ended its tradition of not taking sides and published an anti-endorsement, contending that Trump “lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.” The paper didn’t back Clinton but advised readers to “Stay true to your convictions.”

    Trump, meanwhile, is supported by far fewer publications. They include a paper owned by son-in-law Jared Kushner (the New York Observer) and the National Enquirer, a tabloid whose parent company is run by Trump friend David Pecker and whose content usually focuses on celebrity scandal.

    Trump scorned the negative editorials Friday, tweeting that “The people are really smart in cancelling subscriptions to the Dallas & Arizona papers & now USA Today will lose readers! The people get it!”

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    If Clinton’s overwhelming advantage among editorial boards mirrors the revulsion Trump has inspired from officials in both parties, the endorsements may also illustrate the decline in newspapers’ power to shape opinions and the strength of Trump’s anti-establishment appeal. Polls show Clinton trailing in Texas, Arizona and Ohio despite the unexpected support of GOP papers. During the primaries, the venerable conservative paper the New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Chris Christie, only to have the New Jersey governor lose the state decisively, drop out and back Trump. The Arizona Republic favored John Kasich in the state’s GOP primary, but Trump won easily, and the Ohio governor finished fourth.

    “Newspaper endorsements don’t have nearly the impact they used to,” says Mark MacKinnon, co-host of Showtime’s political show “The Circus” and a longtime adviser who has worked with former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the GOP’s 2008 presidential candidate. “There are just way too many other sources of information for voters today.”

    “They are just part of the wave,” says political historian Rick Perlstein, who is in the midst of a multivolume series on the rise of the conservative movement and has written in depth about elections of the 1960s, ’70s and beyond. “They don’t start anything, and probably didn’t determine much — but betoken a widespread disgust in the air.”

    Readers may not let editorials tell them how to vote, but they care enough to respond. Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson recalls a group of about a dozen people demonstrated against the endorsement across the street from the paper. Wilson went down to talk with them. In a series of tweets, he described a discussion that began angrily but settled into a serious dialogue. “I got a few words in and persuaded zero people,” he tweeted.

    Wilson said he’s received some messages from Clinton supporters thanking the newspaper for the editorial, but hasn’t heard that it changed anyone’s mind. “They’re not really meant to end arguments, they’re mean to start discussions, and this one certainly did that,” he said.

    Readers may not let newspaper editorials tell them how to vote, but they care enough to respond.

    “One of the reasons we exist is to take editorial positions on things that can improve lives in our community,” he said. “That is one of the core functions of a newspaper.”

    Peter Bhatia, editor and vice president of audience engagement at the Cincinnati Enquirer, said he knows that the impact of editorial endorsements has lessened. “The days of people taking the endorsements of an editorial board and going into the polling place with them are pretty much long gone,” he said. But he still considers it an important obligation. The newspaper’s editorial board came to consensus pretty quickly so they decided to get it out.

    As anticipated, some readers lashed out. Bhatia said he received some 150 angry emails and there were some canceled subscriptions. “I am impressed by how thoroughly rehearsed some of the attacks on Hillary Clinton are,” he said. “They have a very familiar bent to them.”

    He also cites their incivility, but doesn’t find that unusual in the internet age. He said there also have been a few dozen positive notes. He said he gave an interview to CBC radio in Canada and got a long email from someone who found his arguments convincing.

    Just one problem: The person lives in Canada and can’t vote.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post Clinton set for landslide in newspaper endorsements. Does it matter? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now the latest addition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf.

    It’s a closer look at the roots of the Islamic State in the wake of 9/11 and the people affected by its spread in an unstable Middle East.

    Jeffrey Brown has that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Lawrence Wright first went to the Middle East as a young man to teach English in Cairo. It was the beginning of a long relationship with the region that would coincide with the rise of terrorism and American wars that continue to this day.

    His 2006 book, “The Looming Tower,” on the growth of al-Qaida and events leading to 9/11, won the Pulitzer Prize. Now he’s pulled together writings from “The New Yorker” magazine, the product of many years of reporting, in a new book titled “The Terror Years: From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State.”

    And, Larry Wright, welcome back to you.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT, Author, “The Terror Years”: Thank you, Jeff. It’s good to be with you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Fifteen years after 9/11, I suppose there is a sense of wanting to tie things together. Did you see a guiding thread in your work when you went back to look at it?

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes.

    I was planning just to put together a collection of articles, but then when I looked at all the work that I had done on terrorism since 9/11, I never thought that I would still be writing about that 15 years later.

    But I realized these pieces told — had a kind of narrative quality in terms of the evolution of ISIS and al-Qaida and how it’s developed from 9/11 until today.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Your weigh-in has always been the individual stories, right..

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: … to tell a larger story, whether they’re Americans or Egyptians, Saudis, a Syrian filmmaker. These people stay with you?

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: It’s a privilege, first of all, to be able to go out and tell these stories, but to meet these remarkable individuals and tell their stories.

    It’s what I was born to do. But I don’t think you can understand terrorism, radicalization. You know, we can analyze it to death, but unless you understand a single individual’s journey, that makes it much more clear, I think, to the reader, and that’s what I aspire to do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I wanted to ask you one particular essay that hit me going back to it, “Captured on Film.”

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: This was from Syria in 2006 about the very small film industry at that time.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And you work, “I found a people who had been beaten into silence.”

    Now, these years later, it’s impossible to think about a film industry when we think about Syria. But do you see a connection to what you saw then to today?

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes, unfortunately.

    The reason I went there is, you know, the Middle East is a very valuable place. It’s a paradise for reporters, except when they’re targeted.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: But I thought, one day, Syria is so quiet. And it was like the dog that didn’t bark.

    And I went to the editor at “The New Yorker” with this observation. But that’s not a story. So, I thought, well, people know about America through our movies. So, I will go to Syria and I will watch their movies and talk to their filmmakers and see if I can understand their culture.

    And physical abuse was a common element. Everybody I met had been beaten, by their parents, or their schoolteachers or the police. You know, it was a culture that had already suffered an enormous amount of trauma.

    And you know, my fixer, this lovely young woman, her…

    JEFFREY BROWN: Fixer is the local producer there.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes.

    Her parents had been in political prison, her mother for two-and-a-half years, her father for 13 years. He had been tortured. He had been locked in isolation. And so he came home. And what did he do? He beat her up on a number of occasions and locked her in her room.

    That was a common tale. And I think a lot of times, when America wanders into regions that it so poorly understands, we don’t know what we’re facing. Iraq was a classic example of us becoming involved in a culture that we totally didn’t understand.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Finally, I want to ask you about — because you’re also looking at us, right, 15 years later.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Fifteen years later, 15 years ago, people said the world has changed; 9/11 changed everything.

    Did it, when you look back now?

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: America’s changed profoundly.

    And I reflect on the fact that I took a date to the airport one time when I was a young man in high school. I didn’t have money to take her out. It was Dallas, Texas. It was called Love Field.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Right.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: So — but back, then we walked out on the tarmac and climbed up into this international jetliner that had just come in from Paris, we supposed.

    And we sat in the first-class section, and the stewardess brought us a snack. And then we went up in the FAA tower. And I opened the unlocked door. And they said, come on in, kids. And we sat down and watched them land the planes.

    That America is long dead, and terrorism killed it. But if it’s forgotten, if that community of trust and safety is forgotten, then I think that we will have lost in some way in this battle against terrorism.

    Those are the liberties that we had, freedoms. And we often talk about that that’s what we’re fighting for. But, at the same time, we’re compromising all those very freedoms.

    I’m not saying that some of those compromises aren’t necessary, but we need to keep in our heart the idea that there was a country where those kinds of freedoms were freely exercised.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The book is “The Terror Years.”

    Lawrence Wright, thank you so much.

    LAWRENCE WRIGHT: My pleasure.

    The post Understanding the rise of the Islamic State appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Gentlemen, here we are. Monday night, you were here after the debate.

    And now my first question isn’t about a significant policy discrepancy. The entire news cycle has been concerned with whether or not he paid taxes and also how he is treating a beauty queen, or how he treated her and how he is still treating her.

    MARK SHIELDS: You’re right, although I don’t think they’re bookends. I don’t think they’re of equal value or significance.

    I think that his disdain for paying taxes and his self-identification as a smart person for not doing so reveals any absence, a total absence of civic-mindedness, citizen responsibility.

    I mean, the idea of John Kennedy’s ask not what you can do for your country — ask not what your country can do you for, but what you can do for your country, is just so alien to that.

    But the attack on Alicia Machado fits a pattern. I mean, this is a man who, as Tony Schwartz, who wrote “The Art of the Deal,” the ghost writer of it, and made Trump really a central figure in America with that book, wrote — he said, every time he’s criticized or caught for any of his lies, he doubles down.

    And that’s exactly what he does. And usually in the pattern with Mr. and Mrs. Khan, the Gold Star parents, and with Judge Curiel, is to pick on someone who doesn’t have the resources, the stature, the voice that he does, and try to overwhelm them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: David, we’re working on a story for Sunday on kind of the impact on the Latino vote in Florida, for example.

    And we even saw, since the debate, increase in search registration, searches in predominantly Latino areas, according to Google. Is this going to matter, the fact that he has called this Miss Housekeeping? Did that resonate? Did that connect?

    DAVID BROOKS: If the vote can go any lower.

    It might affect turnout potentially. But his support in the Latino community wasn’t super high. And his support isn’t super high. So, it may go lower. But maybe it can’t.

    But to me, the crucial fact of this story — well, first, we should just step back and be aware of its bizarreness, that we are a month away from electing a president and one of our candidates is up in the middle of the night tweeting about an alleged sex tape.

    MARK SHIELDS: A 70-year-old grandfather.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Yes. It’s just another day in paradise as far as this election goes. And so we should just continue to remind ourselves of that bizarreness.

    But, to me, the significance of the tweets in the morning or in the middle of the night were the solitariness of the guy. Now, most campaigns, they’re a campaign. It’s a team. An administration is a team. And there is a front person and an ultimate insider, but it’s a team effort, and decisions are made and strategies are discussed and decisions.

    But he’s alone in the middle of the night upending his whole campaign with this, I don’t, impulse-driven tweetstorm. And that to me is the most unnerving part of the whole thing, let alone the low-class nature of the thing, is that he’s unorganizationable. And it’s just — it’s been his secret of his success, but it’s hard to imagine a president acting that way.

    MARK SHIELDS: Could I just add one thing to what David said? And I agree with the point he made.

    The discussion on the debate on Iraq, all right, 2.8 million Americans have served in uniform many multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 15 years; 6,890 have died, been killed. And as Donald Trump discussed that war, it was all about him.

    It was about his alleged discussions, his discredited argument that, in 2002, as a real estate mogul in New York, in private, off-the-air conversations with Sean Hannity, he had opposed the war.

    It turns out the war wasn’t about the United States or those who fought it or those people there in that area who suffered through it. It’s about Donald Trump. And it comes back to that. It is — a really successful presidential campaign is always about the voters. It’s about their hopes, their lives, their futures, their country.

    And that’s the only chance you have to lead a country if you do win. And this is all about him.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Clinton’s campaigning today in Florida, a large Cuban American community.

    And earlier this week, there was a story led by “Newsweek” and other outlets also talked about how Donald Trump had business interests that were trying to do business in Cuba. And this was during a time when there were economic sanctions, and this might be a violation of those rules.

    Does that matter to that community there?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, the short answer is, I don’t know.

    The second answer is that the Cuban issue, I think, has been dissolved by what’s happened over the last four years. And it hasn’t particularly hurt Barack Obama in Florida to take the position he’s taken. And so it may hurt him on some, but I have trouble believing that anybody not — the Cuban American population that is super Republican was already pretty super Republican.

    To me, the violation of U.S. law with the Cuba thing is symptomatic of one thing about Donald Trump. And I’m a big fan of capitalism, but capitalism unrestrained by any moral system and any sense of moral restraint, that you’re just about money and you’re just about selfishness, is a very destructive and corrosive thing.

    And so whether it’s bragging about not paying taxes or just trying to make money any way you can regardless of the law or regardless decency, or stiffing your contractors, that’s sort of — we the devolution of what capitalism can become when the human beings who do it don’t have some other moral system to go to, to sort of check selfishness. And that’s what we see.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Hillary Clinton is working hard to try to win millennial voters back from third-party candidates.

    You think that perhaps the Libertarian candidate would have pulled more from Donald Trump than from her, but why is she not connecting?

    MARK SHIELDS: She’s never connected. Bernie Sanders cleaned her clock among younger voters.

    There is not the sense of either rebellion or inspiration or vision. I mean, you can check off all the boxes. She’s good on the issues. She’s good on student loans and so forth. But it’s an important segment. I mean, this was a key segment to — element. They represented one out of five voters, voters between the ages of 18 and 29, in 2012 for Barack Obama.

    They represented more votes really in actual terms than did voters over the age of 65. And they didn’t turn out in 2014, and the Democrats got murdered in the off-year. And the over-65 represented 9 percent more than did the 18-to-29-year-olds.

    So, it’s not a question simply of reaching them and converting them. It’s energizing them and getting them to the polls.

    If I may just add, Gary Johnson, who got the endorsement this week of The Chicago Tribune and The Detroit News, I mean, when he couldn’t name a single — he couldn’t name the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis or Justin Trudeau or anybody that he liked or admired as a foreign leader, may well have hurt the case for normalization of marijuana.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: He just — I think he hurt himself as a candidate — I really do — with this group and anybody else.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: David, how much of this is the fact that the first-time voters perhaps don’t remember the impact that a third candidate or a party can have?

    In the year 2000, these folks were maybe in elementary school.

    DAVID BROOKS: It would be interesting, if the polls are super tight at the end, whether Johnson would begin to fade. I suspect that he probably would.

    But she just doesn’t speak the language of millennials, not that Trump does, and he’s even worse. But one thing young people have a lot of, it’s future. And they want to feel some sense of lift and idealism about the future. And they want to be called. And just saying, oh, I will give you free college, without any sense of lift, without any sense of transformation of society, which Sanders did offer, then it’s just not speaking the language of hope and inspiration, idealism, which hopefully people of all ages respond to.

    And that’s the part of a campaign that’s been lacking for her.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You mentioned the endorsements from The Chicago Tribune, but the USA Today took an unusual step.

    Lots of papers are taking their steps. They’re making their case for one candidate or another. Do these endorsements matter, considering how upside-down world this cycle seems to be? Or are we just saying my Facebook feed says this, this is what I should do?

    MARK SHIELDS: As an alumnus of editorial writing, of course they do. Everybody sits on the edge of their seat.

    I’m not sure that people are saying, well, I want to see what The Arizona Republic said. But when you get papers like The Arizona Republic, which, in its history, has never endorsed a Democrat, The Dallas Morning News, the last Democrat endorsed was Franklin Roosevelt in 1940, the Cincinnati Enquirer was Woodrow Wilson 1916 — and I read it at the time.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: I think it has a cumulative effect, because the theme that runs through them is not an embrace of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform.

    It’s a rejection. I mean, it’s going on the record in just categorical terms that he’s unacceptable as a presidential candidate.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. I would say signed columns have a big impact, but unsigned editorials…

    (CROSSTALK)

    (LAUGHTER)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, let me squeeze in one non-election-related.

    This week, we saw a very strange thing from Congress. This was the first veto of President Obama’s first entire eight years, and it was about whether or not families should be able to sue Saudi Arabia, 9/11 families, and then it was overridden by Congress.

    And then, the day after that, we get people getting up to that podium saying, well, we have to kind of look at this again.

    MARK SHIELDS: I have been a defender of Congress for a long time.

    And after they took off seven weeks and come back here to pick up clean shirts and their checks, and now, before taking six weeks off, they vote on this, and by 99-1. The next day, Mitch McConnell says, the president made me do it. You know, these are unintended ramifications. I really — he should have been stronger, like we’re puppets of the president.

    Just in that sense, it was an incredible scene to watch.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: David?

    (CROSSTALK)

    DAVID BROOKS: Substantively, I do side with the administration on this.

    We just can’t have a foreign policy where every individual gets to sue a foreign government and run our own foreign policy through the court system. And so Obama is right on the merits.

    It’s tough to vote against the 9/11 families. But the president didn’t make them sign a bill that he opposed. And I agree with Mark on that one.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, David Brooks, Mark Shields, thanks so much.

    The post Shields and Brooks on Trump’s ‘solitariness’ and Clinton’s fight for millennials appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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