Articles on this Page
- 10/18/16--13:22: _How will Elizabeth ...
- 10/18/16--13:30: _Don’t worry America...
- 10/18/16--14:06: _Six people back Peo...
- 10/18/16--14:27: _Column: 2016 is mak...
- 10/18/16--14:34: _Not a fan of any ca...
- 10/18/16--14:57: _Number of police of...
- 10/18/16--15:15: _For educators, ther...
- 10/18/16--15:20: _Why Uganda is one o...
- 10/18/16--15:25: _What’s being done t...
- 10/18/16--15:30: _The economy is impr...
- 10/18/16--15:35: _Nevada’s split GOP,...
- 10/18/16--15:40: _Is the media fair t...
- 10/18/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Russia a...
- 10/18/16--15:50: _Obama calls out Tru...
- 10/18/16--16:08: _Two years after deb...
- 10/19/16--15:07: _Learn about where t...
- 10/19/16--15:20: _Using sensors to sp...
- 10/19/16--15:20: _Anti-Semitic tweets...
- 10/19/16--15:25: _Where the candidate...
- 10/19/16--15:30: _What the candidates...
- 10/18/16--13:22: How will Elizabeth Warren use her influence after the election?
- 10/18/16--13:30: Don’t worry America, Canada thinks you’ve always been great
- 10/18/16--14:06: Six people back People magazine account of Trump sexual assault
- 10/18/16--14:27: Column: 2016 is making me rethink how I teach elections
- 10/18/16--15:15: For educators, there’s no debate: this is a tough election to teach
- 10/18/16--15:25: What’s being done to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Mosul
- 10/18/16--15:30: The economy is improving, yet these voters don’t trust the data
- 10/18/16--15:35: Nevada’s split GOP, sluggish job growth drive tight Senate race
- 10/18/16--15:40: Is the media fair to Donald Trump?
- 10/18/16--15:50: Obama calls out Trump on rigged election claims
- 10/19/16--15:07: Learn about where the candidates stand on the issues
- 10/19/16--15:20: Using sensors to spoon-feed crops with extreme precision
- 10/19/16--15:25: Where the candidates stand on criminal justice and policing
- 10/19/16--15:30: What the candidates need to do in their last debate
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From liberal California to conservative Missouri, there are few places Sen. Elizabeth Warren won’t go this election season. The Massachusetts Democrat is campaigning for Hillary Clinton, for Senate Democratic candidates and for liberal policies.
And she’s banking political capital that she could end up spending in ways that make Clinton and other Democratic leaders uncomfortable.
Already Warren has been laying down markers for Clinton, in public and private, to consider activist progressives over Wall Street allies for appointments to key financial positions like Treasury secretary. The months to come will tell whether Warren serves as ally, antagonist, or both, to a new Democratic president and leadership in Congress.
Warren’s stature has never been more evident. The wind-down of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has left her onstage as arguably the most influential liberal politician in the country.
She gets rock-star treatment from Democrats everywhere she goes. “This is bucket list territory. … She is a hero!” Judy Baker, Democratic candidate for Missouri state treasurer, shouted to an excited crowd in Kansas City, Missouri, before Warren appeared last Friday with Senate candidate Jason Kander.
She’s emerged as one of Donald Trump’s most pointed antagonists, attacking him over Twitter and goading him into labeling her Pocahontas, a reference to her disputed claim of Native American heritage.
And hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, show just how anxious the Clinton team has been about keeping her happy. In one email, campaign manager Robby Mook frets about how it would be “such a big deal” for an early meeting between Warren and Clinton to go well. In another exchange, Clinton adviser Dan Schwerin details a lengthy meeting with Warren’s top aide, Dan Geldon, in which Geldon makes the case for progressive appointments to financial positions.
It all underscores Warren’s role as what allies call the “north star” of the Democratic Party. Thanks to Sanders’ candidacy and her influence, many Democrats say the party’s center of gravity has moved to the left, away from centrist policies on health care and entitlements in favor of embracing expanded Social Security, a higher minimum wage, debt-free college and a new government insurance option in Obama’s health law.
Now the question is how Warren, 67, will use her influence if Clinton becomes president. With Sen. Chuck Schumer set to become the Democratic leader in the Senate, the party would have two New Yorkers with Wall Street ties in top roles.
At the same time, a whole group of Democratic senators from red states like North Dakota, West Virginia and Montana will be up for election in 2018. Will liberal policies on wages, tuition and other issues resonate in those states?
“The way I see this, Hillary Clinton has run on the most progressive agenda in decades, so I think it’s the job of progressives like me to help her get elected on that agenda and then help her enact that agenda,” Warren said in a brief phone interview Friday in Missouri.
As for her advocacy on appointments, Warren said: “There’s no ‘hell no’ list. But I’ll say the same thing publicly that I’ve said privately — personnel is policy. Hillary Clinton needs a team around her that is ambitious about using the tools of government to make this economy work better for middle class families. That happens only if she has the right people around her.”
As a freshman senator in the political minority, Warren has found creative ways to use her influence outside the creaky legislative process. She’s gone public to needle the executive branch for action on issues like overtime rules and for-profit colleges, getting results. After she lectured the chief executive of Wells Fargo and told him to resign, he did.
Within the insular confines of the Senate, according to lawmakers and staff, Warren is more popular than the gruff Sanders. She is willing to listen, collaborate, and compromise. She uses her star power judiciously. During budget negotiations last month, for example, she pushed Democratic leaders to use must-pass legislation to undo a measure supported by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that blocks the SEC from requiring corporations to disclose political spending.
The effort was ultimately unsuccessful, but Warren’s advocacy kept the issue alive through final negotiations and likely ensures that it comes back up again.
Many Democrats would like to see Warren run for president someday, even four years from now, but if Warren is thinking that far ahead she is not saying. She may have a political contest closer to home: Former Red Sox star Curt Schilling said in an interview on WPRO radio in Providence, Rhode Island, Tuesday that he will run against Warren in 2018, if he gets permission from his wife.
Either way the ideas she advocates are at the center of the national debate and could be so for election cycles to come.
“Part of what independent voters want and swing voters want is conviction and a willingness to stand up to powerful interests,” said Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii. “So you probably won’t be running in a red state as a full-on Elizabeth Warren Democrat, but you may well be running on some of her ideas.”
The post How will Elizabeth Warren use her influence after the election? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
NEW YORK (AP) — America’s neighbors to the north — so often the butt of their jokes — are taking to social media to try to keep spirits up in the U.S. during this divisive election season.
Using the hashtag #tellamericaitsgreat, Canadians have swamped Twitter with compliments about American music, culture, technology and even tailgating. The outpouring of love triggered a reply — #TellCanadaThanks.
It’s all an effort started by the Toronto-based ad agency The Garden Collective, which chose its hashtag as a play on Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again.” The firm’s video launching the social media push has gotten over 752,000 YouTube views and the hashtag has been trending on Twitter for several days. Many Canadians have made their own mini-videos, too.
Dic Dickerson, managing director of the firm, called it a pet project they devised for no other reason than to just spread love. “We put it out there and I don’t think any of us expected to get as much traction as it did but we’re really, really excited by all the positivity,” he said. “A lot of people are talking, which is exactly what we wanted.”
The agency was found about 18 months ago and usually focuses its attention on businesses. Dickerson said they’d never done anything like this.
“Every day we come in and the founders and myself and our team, we sit around and sort of talk about what’s new, what’s everybody reading, what are we looking at, and it always sort of came back to this notion of just how negative everything was about this upcoming election,” he said. “You can either pile on with the negativity or try to look at the positive side of things.”
Some of the things Canadians say they admire about the U.S. are its federal parks, its diversity, its missions to Mars, jazz and Tupac Shakur. One Canadian from Halifax on Tuesday complimented Americans for baseball, “The Catcher in the Rye” and first lady Michelle Obama.
Canadians, who have long been mocked by their southern neighbors for their accents (“aboot”), their creation of Justin Bieber and an apparent abundance of moose, have enjoyed some good press recently, largely thanks to their telegenic new prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
Americans, meanwhile, have been in the doldrums as Trump and Hillary Clinton face accusations of running a squalid campaign for presidency, not to mention several dispiriting Hollywood breakups, including the demise of Brangelina. The land that gave the world Ryan Gosling has now proven as seemingly warm and kind as that sensitive actor in America’s time of need.
“Don’t worry neighbors, if the election goes haywire, you can all come and live up here with us, plenty of room!” wrote one Canadian on Twitter.
Only the most cynical people would suspect this, but might the cheer-up ad campaign be really a massive attempt to troll Americans? Is this just a big mocking of the Yanks? Dickerson said no.
“It’s only coming from a place of love,” he said. “We’ve kind of been joking around about it like it’s a collective group hug from your neighbors to the north. It just felt right at this moment to share the love.”
The post Don’t worry America, Canada thinks you’ve always been great appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — People Magazine reported Tuesday that a half-dozen people have come forward to corroborate its writer’s account of being sexually assaulted by Donald Trump and its aftermath.
Natasha Stoynoff, a former staff writer at the celebrity magazine, wrote last week that Trump grabbed her, pinned her against a wall and forcibly kissed her in a room at his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida in 2005. She was on assignment to write a profile of the billionaire businessman and his then-pregnant wife, who Stoynoff said was upstairs when it happened.
The Republican presidential nominee has denied the accusation, saying Stoynoff fabricated the incident. He also suggested Stoynoff, 51, is not physically attractive enough to merit his attention.
“She lies! Look at her, I don’t think so,” Trump, 70, said at a campaign rally last week.
Stoynoff is one of about a dozen women who have recently accused Trump of such misconduct as groping, unexpected kisses on the mouth and unwanted sexual advances.
Though Stoynoff says she and Trump were alone when he accosted her, the magazine’s latest story quotes five friends and former co-workers who say the writer told them about the incident shortly after it happened.
In Stoynoff’s first-person account, she also wrote of a chance meeting and brief conversation with Melania Trump along New York’s Fifth Avenue weeks later. She said Trump’s third wife was by then carrying the couple’s infant son, Barron, in her arms while outside Trump Tower. She said Melania called her by her first name and gave her a hug.
But Melania Trump said in an interview with CNN broadcast Monday that the conversation never happened.
“I was never friends with her, I would not recognize her,” the candidate’s wife said of Stoynoff.
However, a sixth person quoted in People’s story on Tuesday, Liza Herz, said she was with Stoynoff and remembers the moment well.
“They chatted in a friendly way,” Herz is quoted as saying. “And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.”
Stoynoff’s longtime friend Marina Grasic told People she got a call from the reporter the day after the alleged attack. Grasic said Stoynoff detailed everything, from Trump pushing her against a wall to the mogul later showing up at her massage appointment.
“Beyond just the attack, she was horrified by the vulgar circumstances under which she was attacked and propositioned to have an affair,” Grasic recounted. “She was there in a professional capacity, writing an article about their happy marriage, and after the incident Trump acted like nothing happened.”
Paul McLaughlin, Stoynoff’s former journalism professor, told the magazine she called him in tears looking for advice on the night of the alleged encounter. He cautioned her to remain quiet in fear of how Trump might retaliate to destroy her career and reputation.
“I advised her not to say anything, because I believed Trump would deny it and try to destroy her,” McLaughlin told People.
The former People co-workers quoted to bolster Stoynoff’s account were East Coast Editor Liz McNeil, Deputy East Coast News Editor Mary Green and former staff writer Liza Hamm. All said Stoynoff confided in them years ago about the incident.
The post Six people back People magazine account of Trump sexual assault appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: Assigning students to watch the presidential debates and discussing candidate’s platforms have been fairly commonplace practices for most U.S. government and civics teachers — until Election 2016.
Ryan Werenka teaches AP U.S. government and economics at Troy High School in Troy, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. In 17 years of teaching social studies, Werenka said that this year’s presidential race has made him rethink how he teaches about elections.
I have a confession to make: I love politics. There, I said it, and I’m proud of it. My love of presidential politics goes all the way back to the 1984 presidential campaign, when my neighbor rode his bike to my house adorned with a ‘Mondale for President’ bumper sticker.
I remember asking my parents why someone was challenging President Reagan, because everyone liked President Reagan. I was 6 years old and thought that President Reagan and George Washington were best friends.
When I was 14 years old, I volunteered on my first political campaign and have worked on campaigns ever since. The point of telling you this is to demonstrate how much I look forward to election years, although the presidential campaign of 2016 is making me rethink my position.
Teaching about the political process, campaigns and elections, and the democratic process is why I became a government teacher. I have taught about contentious elections before — 2000 and 2004 come to mind. The negativity and vitriol of this campaign is much worse.
Social studies teachers in my district and all over the country are having a difficult time figuring out how to teach this election. Teachers don’t want to offend students or parents who may have strong beliefs about the major party candidates or be accused of presenting materials in a biased manner.
To be clear, I am not afraid to teach controversy or controversial issues, but I can empathize with less experienced teachers. My recommendation to teachers in my district is to teach the electoral process without indulging in the personality contest and to emphasize that we need more civility in our political process.
My classes look at the issues that American voters care about, the issues that the candidates are discussing on the campaign trail and identify what important issues are being largely ignored. One thing that my students and I have noticed is that the issue of education has been largely ignored in the presidential and vice presidential debates.
This issues-focused approach is useful because voters are obviously upset with the federal government and feel betrayed by politicians. Studying the candidates’ issue profiles and asking students to examine the feasibility of their plans is a valuable lesson about political campaigns versus governing.
I also teach my students how to disagree on issues without resorting to personal attacks. Recently, I ran a lesson on potential Constitutional amendments where I argued against the proposals favored by my students. They made strong, principled arguments in favor of the amendments, and I responded with forceful, substantive rebuttals. Training students to have civil discussions that avoid turning into venomous personal attacks is an important contrast to what we have witnessed in the presidential and vice presidential debates.
Parts of how I teach presidential campaigns have remained unchanged. For example, it is important to teach about the Electoral College and why it is a part of presidential elections. Students still need to understand how our presidential elections are really held in 10-15 swing states and the strategy that campaigns develop to reach out to voters in those states.
Finally, I try to get students to think about America beyond Nov. 8. On Jan. 20, 2017, our new president will face a polarized country and a daunting set of public policy challenges. Regardless of the winner and the voters’ level of satisfaction, it is important to teach that our Constitution and democratic process will endure.
My hope is that American voters participate on Election Day in large numbers with the dignity that this great country deserves. I also hope that potential 2020 candidates have paid close attention to this campaign and keep in mind the impact that their campaign and behavior has on students and teachers.
The post Column: 2016 is making me rethink how I teach elections appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
LAS VEGAS — Nevada voters unhappy with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t have to consider Libertarian Gary Johnson or either of the two other candidates on the ballot (Jill Stein of the Green Party failed to qualify).
Since 1975, Nevada ballots have included the ultimate protest option: “None of These Candidates.” It’s something no other state has.
“It was a post-Watergate effort to try to get people to participate in the process, but also here’s a chance to sort of vent if they’re disappointed about their choices,” says University of Nevada Las Vegas political science professor David Damore. “The big consequence of it is that you end up typically in a close race with the winning candidate not getting 50 percent.”
In a presidential contest, the option has never won more than 1.9 percent of the vote. Given the high unpopularity of both major party’s nominees, Damore estimates it could get up to 5 percent this year.
In some elections — including two presidential contests — it’s played a spoiler role. In 1996, None of These Candidates got 5,608 votes, more than President Bill Clinton’s margin of 4,730 votes over Bob Dole. Two years later, the 8,125 votes for None of These Candidates was far greater than the 401-vote margin between Democrat Harry Reid and Republican John Ensign. And in the 2012 Senate election, Republican Dean Heller beat Democrat Shelley Berkley by 11,576 votes, with about one-quarter of the 45,277 ballots cast for None of These Candidates.
Damore says it’s most popular in primaries or elections for the Nevada Supreme Court, when candidates are often not well-known.
None of These Candidates has actually finished first in four primary elections: Two for U.S. House seats and once each for the Secretary of State and State Treasurer. State law says that in those cases the actual candidate who wins the most votes wins the election.
In 2012, the Republican Party went to court to get None of These Candidates off the ballot. Party lawyers argued it was unconstitutional, because if the option won the most votes, it doesn’t win. A federal district court judge agreed, but the suit was thrown out on appeal.
So in Nevada, the old political adage is wrong: You really can beat somebody with nobody.
The post Not a fan of any candidate? In Nevada, you can vote for ‘None of These Candidates’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — The number of police officers killed as a result of criminal acts decreased in 2015 from the year before, dropping from 51 to 41, the FBI said Tuesday.
The report covers officers who were killed during ambushes, traffic pursuits and domestic disturbance calls and while handling prisoners and individuals with mental illness, among other situations.
More than half of the officers killed were on vehicle patrol when they died. Most who died — 38 — were killed by firearms.
In addition, more than 50,000 officers were assaulted last year while performing their duties, the FBI said. The report says 45 law enforcement officers died accidentally in the line of duty, many during automobile accidents.
The report includes the cases of a Philadelphia police officer who was killed during an attempted robbery at a store; a New York City police officer fatally shot while investigating a suspicious person; and an Omaha, Nebraska, officer who was slain by a fugitive just as she was about to go on maternity leave.
It’s too early to know what the 2016 tally will be, but there have already been a series of high-profile police deaths this year, including the five officers in Dallas who were slain by a sniper over the summer and three law enforcement officers who were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The post Number of police officers killed on duty decreased in 2015, according to FBI appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: As we know, tomorrow’s the final presidential debate. Tens of millions of voters will be watching, but there are other audiences too, including middle and high school students around the country, who are often watching and even tweeting as part of their civics or government classes.
During this campaign season the nature of what’s being discussed, particularly questions about sexual assault and other tough rhetoric, makes this a different year for teachers and students.
That’s the focus of this week’s Making the Grade segment.
We begin in an A.P. government class at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
ANDREW ORZEL, Teacher, T.C. Williams High School: I guess the first question I would pose to you is, why? Why actually watch these things? Anybody have thoughts on why you’re drawn to this?
HARI SREENIVASAN: Andrew Orzel is getting his seniors ready for tomorrow night’s debate. And given what was discussed right off the bat in the last debate, some of the students are not feeling enthused about what the candidates might want to focus on.
ADDISON GUYNN, Student, T.C. Williams High School: I almost stopped watching the last one. It was getting so combative, so loud, it was kind of just hard to get a — like, at one point, it gets to be difficult to handle mentally.
ANDREW ORZEL: And I, as a teacher, honestly have been frustrated by this, in that normally, at the beginning of the year, one of the things we get into is ideology of liberals believe this, conservatives believe this.
Presidential debates usually show that. And you’re not actually getting to see kind of the liberal arguments vs. conservative.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Even, so Orzel is assigning his students to watch again. He asked whether the debates might change anyone’s mind and their expectations if the tone was similar.
JAMAL JABATI, Student, T.C. Williams High School: I feel like Trump has the most to gain, because he’s like — he was down by 11 points. Now it’s nine points. So, if he does get on this one, he can have a higher chance of winning.
AMANDA EISENHOUR, Student, T.C. Williams High School: I would say the person who has potentially the most to lose in this election would be the American people, because if we become ingrained in the idea that this is normal, this is the normal tone of our political rhetoric and discourse in this country, then we’re not going to expect more in debates in the future.
And it’s potentially damaging to democracy as an institution in America for many years to come.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Orzel is expected to discuss it in class on Thursday.
And Peter Laboy says he hopes the focus will be different than last time.
PETER LABOY, Student, T.C. Williams High School: We are here arguing about locker room talk and Bill Clinton. And it’s just like, instead of talking about what really matters, we’re talking about each other and negative aspects. And I just don’t think that’s good.
HARI SREENIVASAN: That’s an issue many teachers are grappling with.
Some 90 percent of high school students take at least one civics class. So, how are teachers dealing with this kind of campaign?
We hear from Richard House. He teaches seventh grade civics at Gunston Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. And Chris Cavanaugh, who teaches government to juniors and seniors at Plainfield High School in Indiana.
Richard, let me start with you.
You’re talking to an audience that’s just turning into teenagers. You had them watch debate one. You didn’t assign debate two. What were their impressions?
RICHARD HOUSE, Gunston Middle School, Arlington, VA: I think a lot of them, words they used, entertained.
But I also tried to bring it back to, let’s focus on the issues, that that hateful rhetoric doesn’t have a place in my classroom. And when we’re talking about the debate, when we’re discussing it, we’re going to focus on the issues.
So, for example, for the first debate, I had them pick two or three issues that were focused on the debate. What did each candidate say about them? And then we can have a classroom discussion. I do not want to take time to really focus on some of the personal behavior that the candidates have exhibited and some of the negative behavior.
They know what I expect of them and the expectations that I have when they walk into my classroom. And this election should be about policy and it should be about the issues and focusing on them.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Chris, your high school students, what did they think so far?
CHRISTOPHER CAVANAUGH, Plainfield High School: I think they have been a little bit turned off by some of the rhetoric they have been hearing.
I would agree that you try to get them to focus on the policies and not the politics. But, as with having older students, you want to allow them the freedom to be able to discuss some of the issues and some of the rhetoric that’s been used in the debates. So, it’s been a tough row to hoe, so to speak.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Chris, staying with you for a second, how do you navigate some of these topics, especially the ones, as teenagers, sexuality, sort of locker room talk, all of that that came up, all the sort of personal attacks that the candidates took on each other? How do you discuss it?
CHRISTOPHER CAVANAUGH: Right.
Well, I think I try to couch it in historical terms, in the fact that, you know, I think mudslinging is nothing new in American politics, or not new in politics, period. You can go back to the Roman states with Cicero.
Or one of my favorites is to discuss the election of 1800, where Jefferson accused Adams of having hermaphroditical tendencies, and Adams said that Jefferson had a mulatto father.
So, slinging mud is nothing new in American politics. It’s tough to get the kids to sort through that to get to those policies and to be able to lay those policies side by side to get to see what the candidates are proposing.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Richard House, as you assigned your students to keep track of policy positions, did they notice what was being talked about and what wasn’t?
RICHARD HOUSE: I think there was definitely a notice of the issues that they were focusing on, but, at the same time, they’re always — they’re middle schoolers. There’s a certain maturity level there.
They notice what these candidates are saying and the hateful rhetoric that is coming out of their mouths. So, you have to forewarn them: We’re not going to focus on that. We’re going to take the high road. And some of the things that are coming out of these candidates’ mouths, I don’t want them coming out of yours.
I do want them to be able to formulate their own opinions, but, at the same time, they also have to know that, in my classroom, bigotry and hate doesn’t have a place.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Richard, what about the administration or parents knowing that these conversations are happening in the classrooms of their children? Have they been supportive?
RICHARD HOUSE: I think so.
I think my goal this year is to bring certain as we — current events to issue, to light in my classroom. We focused on police brutality. We talked about Colin Kaepernick’s protest.
And after that, I got an e-mail from a parent thanking me for bringing those issues to light, that they were able to have a substantive conversation about police brutality and privilege, something that they normally might not have had at the dinner table.
So, I think parents are appreciative when teachers do bring to light certain issues that are currently going on in our country.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Chris Cavanaugh, how do you walk the line between teaching them how to think and not what to think?
CHRISTOPHER CAVANAUGH: Well, I think it’s important to create — listening to Richard speak, I think it’s important to create that environment where it’s a safe environment, especially maybe for my students, being a little bit older and maybe a little further along in the political socialization process, to have them start to — a safe environment to express those ideas and then to get them to examine themselves.
I like to play devil’s advocate quite a bit with my students, regardless of what they support, and to challenge them on those views to get them to reexamine their own views.
And, thankfully, you know, we’re well aware of fact-checking organizations that exist, so we can go back and fact-check debates to see what the candidates have said and how well it holds up under scrutiny.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Richard, how do the facts play into it? Technically, they’re coming into your classroom. They’re expecting you to maybe help them see what is true and what isn’t. How do you get that across?
RICHARD HOUSE: I think, a lot of times, it’s my job to guide their thinking, but not tell them what to think, give them the resources out there, so that they can go out and do the research and formulate an opinion on their own.
For example, today, we were talking about voting. We registered to vote for a mock election that we’re going to have in with weeks. And then we focused on voter I.D. laws. I presented information on, these are how voter I.D. laws impact people across this country.
Do you think that — and I posed the question, do you think this is done because of voter fraud, or is it done because — to place an unnecessary burden on minority voters? And then I wanted them to be able to formulate their own opinion.
So, it’s my job to present them with the information they need, but it’s their job to form their own opinion.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, Chris, in this day and age, your students can be fairly active during the debate.
The next morning, when you look past through their Twitter feeds or their Facebook comments, what are you looking for?
CHRISTOPHER CAVANAUGH: Honestly, I try not to do that.
CHRISTOPHER CAVANAUGH: I have only had a couple kids where I have had to go back and say, you know, what they posted perhaps does not encourage debate. It doesn’t push the debate or conversation forward. You know, you want to avoid the politics of the personal attacks.
So, there have only been a couple kids that I have had to admonish for that. So, we try to — it’s difficult, because we’re trying to promote civic discourse, civil discourse. And, unfortunately, we don’t see that in the adult world as much as — we don’t see it modeled for them as much as it should be.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Chris Cavanaugh from Plainfield High in Indiana and Richard House from Gunston Middle School in Virginia, thanks for joining us.
RICHARD HOUSE: Thank you for having me.
CHRISTOPHER CAVANAUGH: Thank you.
The post For educators, there’s no debate: this is a tough election to teach appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: In a world struggling to accommodate a record number of refugees, one country has been notably welcoming.
Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has a report from Uganda. It’s part of his Agents for Change series.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Nakivale in Southern Uganda looks like any other dusty rural African town. What’s remarkable is that almost none of its 113,000 residents are Ugandan.
All of these schoolchildren and their parents are refugees.
Burundi? Rwanda? Congo?
All told, 13 nations are represented in this crowded school, their families fleeing conflicts across a wide swathe of East Africa and finding haven in what must rank as one of the world’s most hospitable countries to refugees.
In Uganda, refugees are placed in settlements and not camps, and the government says there’s an important difference. Camps tend to confine people, whereas, in Uganda, when refugees arrive, they are issued legal I.D.s that entitle them to move freely anywhere in the country, to find a job, start a business, put their children in school.
Refugees in rural areas are given a small plot of land to farm. Others migrate to the urban areas. Somalis are among the earlier arrivals in recent years. Their enclaves in the capital, Kampala, are well-established with small businesses and mosques, a predominantly Muslim community in a mostly Christian nation.
Mohammed Abdi runs this grocery story with his partner, Zahara Hassan.
MOHAMMED ABDI, Somali Immigrant (through translator): We have very many Ugandan customers and we are friends. I am one of the Somali elders in the community. We interact with the elders of the Ugandan community, whether leaders in this distract or region. And we are friends, and they welcome us. We’re very happy. We’re like one people.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And one scholar who’s studied refugees in Uganda says there’s reason to be happy
ALEXANDER BETTS, Oxford University: We showed in the capital city of Uganda, Kampala, 20 percent of refugees own businesses that employ someone else. And of those they employ, 40 percent are citizens of the host country. So refugees can contribute to the host societies that they’re part of.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Oxford University’s Alexander Betts says Uganda is the exception in a world where refugees face widespread hostility, often stoked by politicians.
ALEXANDER BETTS: It’s all too easy to have a race to the bottom in terms of political standards, where provincial and municipal politicians or national politicians say, these people are a burden. We have to keep them out.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And while many politicians, especially in Western democracies, must tread carefully on this issue, Betts says it’s not a problem in Uganda, where one man rules virtually unchallenged.
ALEXANDER BETTS: President Museveni has been able to adopt refugee policies that are a little different, in part because there are lower standards of accountability to the public.
Now, not having democratic standards is definitely not something to celebrate, but it highlights the difficulties for democracies to open up their economies to non-citizens. It’s a hard thing for politicians.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Recent history might also account for Uganda’s hospitality to refugees. President Yoweri Museveni himself lived in exile for years during and after the bloody dictatorship of Idi Amin. Museveni’s rebels took power 30 years ago.
REV. ZAC NIRINGIYE, Bishop, Anglican Church of Uganda: There’s been a history of violence in this region.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Zac Niringiye is a bishop in the Anglican Church of Uganda.
REV. ZAC NIRINGIYE: South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, even Congo and even Uganda. I think that that has created a sense of being hospitable, because you never know. It may be your turn next.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Despite praise for its hospitality, life in Uganda is far from perfect for refugees. Their number has doubled in the past five years to more than half-a-million, most recently from separate conflicts in Burundi and South Sudan.
Many refugees, like Abebesh Gebreslassie, remain haunted by the ordeal that brought them here.
ABEBESH GEBRESLASSIE, Eritrean Immigrant (through translator): My husband was killed, my son was killed, and also my daughter.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: A son and daughter died in their escape from Eritrea, part of the exodus of hundreds of thousands from a country notorious for human rights abuses.
Her son-in-law made it to Libya, but died in the Mediterranean.
Gebreslassie survived the journey of thousands of miles on foot and on trucks with her then 6-year-old twin son and daughter. But she made a wrenching decision to leave two older teenaged children behind.
ABEBESH GEBRESLASSIE (through translator): I feared if we all died, like my son who was shot. I left them so that our family can survive, can be represented.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: They are still there now?
ABEBESH GEBRESLASSIE (through translator): I don’t know. I don’t know.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Along the way, she also took custody of her orphaned granddaughter, Sara, who’s now four.
ABEBESH GEBRESLASSIE (through translator): I don’t care if I die here, but I want a better future for my children, and that’s not possible without a good education.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: That’s not likely in the crowded school her children attend, with 120 students in each classroom, and perhaps, because of that, teachers who aren’t very sympathetic. There are severe consequences for being late, for instance.
They beat you?
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Who beats you?
STUDENT: The teachers, yes, they beat me. The teachers, they say, if you come late, we wash the toilets.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: So, if you’re late, you have wash the toilets.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: “They don’t understand,” she said, “that I’m late because I’ve gone to fetch water and helped my mother with the chores.”
In the end, Ugandan and international officials say it boils down to resources, or a lack of them. Uganda may be hospitable, but it has a gross domestic product of just $600 per year per person.
Nakivale’s school is funded by the U.N.’s Refugee Agency. It gives Uganda some $200 million annually in refugee aid, a fraction of what’s needed, but not likely to increase amid the demands on donor governments for refugees out of Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere.
Charles Yaxley is the U.N. agency’s spokesman in Uganda.
CHARLES YAXLEY, United Nations Refugee Agency, Uganda: Around the world, humanitarian financing is arguably at breaking point. Currently, humanitarian appeals for South Sudanese and Burundian refugees in Uganda, both of those appeals are severely underfunded.
We’ve received less than a quarter of the money we need for 2016, and that leaves real gaps in our humanitarian response. It means we’re not able to provide the education support for children such as better schools, more schools, more teachers.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: That does not bode well for the future of Abebesh Gebreslassie’s twins, who shared their dreams in halting, shy English.
What would you like to do when you grow up?
STUDENT: When I grow up, I want to be a doctor and to help my mother.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: How about you, David? What would you like to do when you grow up?
STUDENT: I wish to be a pilot.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: You want to be a pilot?
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Yes.
Where would you like to go?
STUDENT: Every place, America, like, I guess, everywhere.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: America and everywhere.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Possible, but like their chance of a good education here, with lottery-like odds. America admitted 70,000 refugees last year. The U.N. says there are 65 million displaced people in the world today.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Fred de Sam Lazaro in Nakivale, Uganda.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Fred’s reporting is a partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: the fight over Mosul and taking back the last major stronghold in Iraq for ISIS.
We take two looks at it now, with a Jeffrey Brown conversation with the head of a humanitarian group and, to begin, this report from the front by John Irvine Independent Television News.
JOHN IRVINE: Keeping enemy heads down. I.S. aren’t far away, and the gunfire gives Kurdish soldiers the chance for a quick look over no man’s land. They want a glimpse of home.
These men are from what will be the next village liberated. Having fled from there in June 2014, they can hardly wait to run. But while some people will soon be going back home, others are having to flee. They have just left Mosul.
There are a few more dangerous undertakings than escaping the clutches of I.S. and crossing over, but they managed it, carrying a few belongings and a white flag. Regarding the battle, with the help of coalition airstrikes still smoldering today, the Kurds did make important gains.
Under normal circumstances, the city of Mosul would be just 10 minutes’ drive away. However, for the time being, the advance here has been halted because advances elsewhere have not gone so well. These Iraqi forces want to wait for their colleagues to catch up before pressing ahead.
In a house in a captured village, we saw rooms full of piles of earth. I.S. go to great lengths to hide their tunnels from coalition drones. These networks amounted to extensive living quarters underground. We saw only a faction of one system in what is a small village. What must the defenses in Mosul be like?
JEFFREY BROWN: And for a closer look at what faces civilians caught in the crossfire, I’m joined by David Miliband. He’s the former British foreign secretary, now president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.
Welcome to you.
I assume that a lot of people right now face this immediate difficult choice of whether to flee the city if they can or remain behind and see what happens.
DAVID MILIBAND, Former British Foreign Secretary: You’re absolutely right.
We have our own staff now northeast and south of the city. About 1,000 people have so far left since the fighting began. We have been talking to them. And the perilous choice that they face is between staying put and waiting to see how the fighting develops and, on the other hand, trying their find their way out of the city, using all their savings for transport, and taking the risk with land mines, sniper fire and other kinds of interference.
And it really is a perilous choice and a terrifying one.
JEFFREY BROWN: Today, President Obama said, “It’s not something I expect will be easy, but it perhaps hasn’t been publicized enough the degree of planning, assets and resources we have devoted to this important problem.”
Now, I wonder, as the fighting begins, how much can the interest in refugees and humanitarians play into the actual fighting strategy? What do you see?
DAVID MILIBAND: I think that there are two things that are important.
First of all, we have to say loud and clear to all those who are engaged in the fighting that attention to and respect for humanitarian needs is absolutely imperative. Anyone with any knowledge of Iraq, never mind any concern about the future, knows that the way in which the war is prosecuted has a big impact on what comes afterwards.
Secondly, there has been a lot of planning. The United Nations coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, is an outstanding public servant. The head of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees is in Baghdad at the moment.
And the planning has been serious. But the truth is, if the numbers rise to the kind of level that the U.N. fears, anything above 500, 750, a million people, at that sort of scale, even at a quarter-of-a-million scale, it’s going to overwhelm the camps that are being set up.
And that’s why we’re putting such emphasis on the need to support those who flee the city and don’t find themselves in camps, but instead are staying with friends, are staying overnight in mosques, are finding informal ways of surviving. And it’s very important that they get support as well, in addition to those who make it to the camps that are being set up.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, in fact, the U.N. has already reported that, in spite of appeals, it had not received additional funding for emergency camps and all the aid that it thinks it might need.
How would you describe the shortfall at this point?
DAVID MILIBAND: Well, I think that 60,000 tents have been put in place. If you think they could support a family, you can do the numbers yourself.
At the time of the United Nations General Assembly last month, the U.N. reported that the funding was only 30 to 40 percent of what they — of what was needed. Now, obviously, we don’t know the kind of exodus that’s going to take place, but everything the president said today suggests that the fighting is not going to be over quickly.
And, therefore, we have to prepare for a long struggle in which the humanitarian needs grow, both inside the city and those outside who have their lives disrupted for not just weeks, but probably months.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, in fact, we talked last night on the program about the military aspect to this and how long it will take. And I see the same reports you do today that longer than perhaps people even thought.
So, when you think about those longer-term needs from the humanitarian aspect of this, what’s most important? What’s crying out?
DAVID MILIBAND: I think three things need to be preeminent.
First of all, all men and boys over the age of 14 are going to be screened when they leave the city, screened for obvious security reasons. It’s imperative, given the lessons in Fallujah and elsewhere, that there’s independent monitoring of those screening arrangements. Otherwise, the fear of persecution is going to lead to chaos and frankly to dangerous decisions being made by individuals.
Secondly, we need to make sure that, as the camps fill up, those outside camps get better support. The best means of support, frankly, is to get them cash, because it’s a market economy and these people will have used up their savings to get out of the city.
The third element is obviously the situation of those still trapped inside. There’s a lot of fear of land mines and other need for specialists’ help to help those civilians who are inside the city, even before you get to the new building process afterwards.
JEFFREY BROWN: And just briefly, if you could, to the extent that there are many military forces involved in this, is it clear who is in charge? Is that a concern as well?
DAVID MILIBAND: I think it’s a very dangerous situation for the staff of an NGO like ours. These are local Iraqi people. They’re local people who are working for us.
Of course, it’s a sovereign government. The legitimate government of Iraq is in charge. But you’re right to point out the multitude of different factions and the danger of civilians being caught in the crossfire. That’s why, at an absolute minimum, effective coordination across the — those supporting the Iraqi government is absolutely imperative.
JEFFREY BROWN: David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee, thank you once again.
DAVID MILIBAND: Thank you very much.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: One subject that’s sure to come up in the final presidential debate is the state of the American economy, and, more specifically, the state of the American worker.
During the primary season, in what now seems ages ago, we looked at Americans’ attitudes toward the economy. We have an update tonight with our partners at Marketplace and “Frontline,” part of our series on How the Deck Is Stacked.
The unemployment rate may now stand at 5 percent officially, and more than 10 million new jobs have been created during the Obama administration. But a new survey done by Marketplace and Edison Research found nearly a third of people are afraid of losing their jobs within the next six months, and almost 40 percent of people say they are losing sleep over their financial situation.
Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal is with us again.
Kai, when we first did this a year ago, we expected things to get better. Why are people more anxious now and seem less financially secure?
KAI RYSSDAL, Host & Senior Editor, Marketplace: The thing about the economy, Hari, is that we measure it in numbers, right, things like the unemployment rate, but people experience it through how they feel.
And what they’re feeling now is anxiety, possibly because the election is drawing near, possibly because they sense that the headline numbers of unemployment at 5 percent and gross domestic product growing at a percent-and-a-half, plus or minus, they’re not feeling that in their lives, while, at the same time, food prices are going up and gas is bopping around, $2.5, $3 a gallon, whatever it is.
People don’t feel that security they really would like to feel seven years now into an economic expansion.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All the numbers that you just rattled off, what’s interesting is that your survey also reveals that there’s a lack of trust in the data itself.
KAI RYSSDAL: Oh, yes.
So, this was, to me anyway, one most of interesting and disturbing things about this entire survey. We asked people whether they trust government economic data, the stuff that we do on Marketplace all the time, consumer spending, the unemployment rate, all of that stuff; 25 percent of all Americans completely distrust government economic data.
And then you drill down a little bit and you ask them to — who they’re voting for and how they feel about government data, 48 percent of Donald Trump voters distrust government data; 5 percent of Hillary Clinton voters distrust the economic data.
And I think, if you look at what’s happening out there on the campaign trail and some of the rhetoric that’s coming from the Trump camp and from the candidate himself, it sort of stands to reason that his voters are going to distrust that data.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Speaking of distrust, there is also this feeling that your survey is picking up on about the system being rigged. And a couple of the numbers that leapt out to me, 62 percent of Americans say that the system, the economy is rigged.
And then, when you break this down, 66 percent of Trump supporters say it’s rigged for those who get government assistance; 62 percent of Clinton supporters say it’s rigged for white Americans. It’s really depends on who you ask. But, really, regardless of who you ask, they still think the deck is stacked against them.
KAI RYSSDAL: Right. They think the desk is stacked against them.
And what is interesting is who they think the deck is stacked for. In about 90 percent of all responses, people think it’s stacked for politicians, for corporations and the rich. And what you see here is this divide that we’re seeing now out in the economy at large between those who have assets, those who have income, those who have wealth, and those, as we have been talking about for a long time now, who simply don’t, and the income inequality gap in this country and how it’s playing out now in this election.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Kai, are you surprised by these results? Were the pollsters surprised by these results?
KAI RYSSDAL: So, we had a whole lot of long conversations about this with our partners at Edison Research.
And I think it breaks down along two lines. First is, on the distrust in government, on the feeling that the economy is rigged, that plays directly from what we see happening out on the campaign trail. We know Donald Trump and his surrogates say all the time the economy is rigged, the election is rigged. And this is sort of the fallout from that.
But also we’re seeing a shift now from what happened in the primaries, where you had people like Bernie Sanders and like Donald Trump saying the economy is rigged, and those numbers now are coming home to roost.
The other thing is really that the numbers on income inequality and who they think it is rigged for can’t come as a surprise, because what we have known for years now is that the gains in this economy go to the top 1 percent. The rest of it, the other 99 percent, just don’t get the gains.
And we’re seeing that now play out both on the campaign trail and also in this survey.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace and our partners at “Frontline” on How the Deck Is Stacked, joining us from L.A. today, thanks so much.
KAI RYSSDAL: You bet.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: From the press, we turn to Nevada for the “NewsHour”‘s latest on-the-ground report.
A split amongst Republicans, paired with sluggish growth in construction, means that jobs are front and center, and a key Senate race is now in play.
John Yang reports. It’s part of our continuing series on poverty and opportunity in America, Chasing the Dream.
ANNOUNCER: When news breaks, we talk about it.
ANNOUNCER: This is News Talk 840 AM.
JOHN YANG: The sun rises over the Nevada Desert, one day closer to the election.
HEIDI HARRIS, “The Heidi Harris Show”: Why don’t we just change the name to groper in chief?
JOHN YANG: And Heidi Harris is talking to the biggest audience of any Las Vegas morning radio talk show host. A hot topic, the very tight Senate contest between Republican Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.
HEIDI HARRIS: I tried to watch Heck and Masto. I tried to watch it. I did.
REP. JOE HECK (R), Republican Senate Candidate: Therefore, I cannot in good conscience continue to support Donald Trump.
JOHN YANG: Heck shook up the race when he jumped off the Donald Trump bandwagon after the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, one of more than a dozen Republicans in tough congressional races to withdraw their support.
Now some Trump supporters say they’re dumping Heck, like this caller to the Heidi Harris show.
CALLER: It’s time to send a message. We put Donald Trump there for a reason, and that’s how I feel. I will be voting for Donald and the ballot questions, but not for Joe Heck.
JOHN YANG: Harris, a reluctant Trump supporter, says she hears that a lot from listeners.
HEIDI HARRIS: I don’t know that many of them are going to vote for her instead of him, Catherine Cortez Masto, but I think they’re going to stay home and not vote for Heck, which essentially gives her a free vote.
JOHN YANG: With early voting beginning Saturday, it’s become a big campaign issue. Heck was pressed on his about-face last week in a televised debate. He said it was a personal decision.
REP. JOE HECK: As an emergency department doctor, I have taken care of far too many women who’ve been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. And I have great empathy for anyone who ever had to experience such a tragedy. My wife was a victim of domestic abuse in a prior relationship.
JOHN YANG: Cortez Masto wasn’t buying it.
CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D), Democratic Senate Candidate: Let’s call this for what it is. Congressman Heck was worried about his political career.
JOHN YANG: It was Heck’s last public appearance before leaving for a week-long Army Reserve assignment at the Pentagon, where he’s General Heck.
Nevada’s desert and mountains can feel remote, but its politics are surprisingly typical. Since 1908, it has failed to vote for winner of the White House just once. And this year, it may decide who controls the Senate. Analysts say it’s the Republicans’ best shot at winning a Democratic-held seat. It’s attracting outsized interest and money.
NARRATOR: Who else has sunk millions in to elect Joe Heck?
JOHN YANG: Nearly $49 million worth of ads from outside groups, many in Spanish in this state that’s about 30 percent Latino. Whoever wins this race will become only the fifth person to elected to the seat since 1933, replacing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who’s retiring after 30 years.
Heck served in the Nevada state Senate and was elected to the House in 2010. Cortez Masto is a former federal prosecutor and two-term Nevada attorney general. Even before his un-endorsement, Heck said he disagreed with Trump’s remarks about women and minorities.
This week, CNN published an audiotape of Heck, authenticated by his campaign, at closed-door Las Vegas fund-raiser.
REP. JOE HECK: I want to support him. I really do, but he has got to change his tone. And he’s got to be — I don’t want to make him into a politician or make him into the same thing that he is running against. But he has got to realize that he is not going to win this race by appealing to the 20 percent or 30 percent of the Republican base.
JOHN YANG: Gun store owner Bob Irwin, a Republican backing Trump, says he’s disappointed by Heck’s decision, blaming Heck’s campaign managers.
BOB IRWIN, Owner, The Gun Store: The new guys are trying to make a politician out of him. He’s not a politician. I thought he should just simply rise above the fray and talk about Obamacare and creating jobs by changing the tax structure to bring businesses into the country.
JOHN YANG: But he says he will still vote for Heck.
Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a Trump supporter standing in for Heck while he’s on Reserve duty, seemed to open the door to ticket-splitting.
SEN. JONI ERNST (R-Iowa): We need to separate the presidential race from what is really important right now, the United States Senate race as well. That’s what Joe is running for.
JOHN YANG: Cortez Masto welcomes Hillary Clinton’s embrace, appearing with her last week in Las Vegas.
CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO: There’s going to be things that we disagree on, but that’s part of the process, right? And then we work together and find compromise along the way. That’s how it should work.
JOHN YANG: President Obama will visit this coming weekend to campaign for both Cortez Masto and Clinton.
The economy is a big issue in both the Senate and presidential races, which polls show both very close. No state boomed like Nevada until the recession, when it went bust like no other state. When the real estate bubble burst, the carpenters union went from 18 million manhours a year to two million.
Frank Hawk is the union’s business manager.
FRANK HAWK, Carpenters Local 1977: In 2009, we had a record amount of suicides in our local here. We were losing about 15 a month to suicides. People were cashing in their retirement to save their houses, only to lose them anyway. In 2010, we had a record amount of cardiac arrests for people under 45. And that was due to the stress.
JOHN YANG: The union backed Heck when he ran for the House, but now they’re behind Cortez Masto, with members going door-to-door for her and the rest of the Democratic ticket.
David Damore is a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
DAVID DAMORE, University of Nevada, Las Vegas: What’s missing from our — from the return here of the economy is those construction jobs. Those were a real driver, and as opposed to being, you know, $10 job hours, they’re $30, $40 job hours there.
JOHN YANG: That blue-collar frustration is driving some of Trump’s support.
DAVID DAMORE: He’s also, of course, mobilizing working-class whites. You have a smaller share of college-educated people in Nevada, so some of the sort of cultural movement away from the Republican Party isn’t quite so strong in Nevada.
Clearly, Trump is a mobilizer on both sides, right? He’s mobilizing Latino voters in a way that we haven’t seen.
JOHN YANG: Driving them, Damore says, to the Democrats, like the family and friends who gathered Sunday night on the west side of Las Vegas.
In the kitchen, it was dinner, in the living room, politics watching a Spanish-language rebroadcast of the Heck-Cortez Masto debate. Since January, activist Jose Macias, whose parents came to the United States illegally, has helped dozens of Latinos become citizens so they can vote next month.
JOSE MACIAS, Community Activist: We have to go out there and really, really show the numbers of the power we do have, because a lot of candidates think that we don’t have power when they’re talking to the rallies, attacking Mexicans, attacking women, people of color. The reason that I’m working for a vote, we have to make sure that we tell them that we do matter.
JOHN YANG: Mobilizing to try to help decide who wins the White House and the Senate.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Las Vegas.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Claims of news media bias in politics are certainly nothing new. But what of Donald Trump’s accusation that the press is actually responsible for rigging the presidential election against him?
To explore that notion, we are joined by Jim Rutenberg, media columnist for The New York Times, and Robert Lichter. He’s director of the center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.
And we welcome both of you to the program.
I’m going to start with you, Robert Lichter.
Donald Trump is saying that the media — and I’m quoting — is being — that the election is being rigged by what he calls the dishonest, distorted media pushing Hillary Clinton.
You have studied the American media for, what, decades? Is there a grain of truth to what he says?
ROBERT LICHTER, George Mason University: Well, when people say the media are biased, they usually mean somebody is getting too much attention, more than he deserves, and his coverage is more favorable than he should get.
Donald Trump is a news magnet. He gets more attention than anybody else, but a lot of that attention compares him either with Hitler or Mussolini. So studies show what our eyes see, that Trump gets a lot of coverage, that his coverage is very negative.
He has managed the considerable feat of getting more negative coverage than Hillary Clinton, who has issues in her own right. I think that — so you could make a case that there is bias. I think the question is whether the traditional definitions of bias apply to such a nontraditional candidate as Donald Trump.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jim Rutenberg, how do you see this? You write about this stuff frequently for The Times.
JIM RUTENBERG, The New York Times: I think I would agree with that assessment to a degree.
One thing is, though, that Donald Trump’s candidacy has been so amazing and has been such — it has had such a can’t-look-away quality, because he says things that we’re not used to hearing from the standard-bearer oft Republican Party.
So, to the extent that some of the things are about the appearances of women, what have you, what we just heard on the “Access Hollywood” leaked tape of him discussing his behavior with women, was at best descriptions of groping, there’s going to be a reaction to it. The press is going to cover that, and it’s going to, yes, be negative, but it is also what it is. It’s a pretty accurate description of what he said in that tape, for instance.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s take this a little bit further. What Donald Trump — Bob Lichter, what Donald Trump is saying is that the media is in collusion with the Clinton campaign. What evidence is there that that could possibly be true?
ROBERT LICHTER: Well, they have been so nice to her about her e-mails, I think, is a piece of evidence.
It’s perfectly obvious, and, again, studies show that her coverage is more negative than positive. There’s been…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wait a minute. There was one story about a member of the Clinton organization passing along information ahead of a debate. Is that right?
ROBERT LICHTER: Right. Yes. There was that one story.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
ROBERT LICHTER: And then there is the issue of her not turning these over, which has been raised many, many times by Donald Trump and by journalists.
So I think they’re just — there isn’t a case that can be made that the media has gone soft of Hillary Clinton. She’s not getting great coverage either.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, in fact — and Bob Lichter just referred to this, Jim Rutenberg — the media, especially television media, can be credited for giving Donald Trump a lot of airtime, a lot of print space during the primary period.
JIM RUTENBERG: I mean, this drove his Republican competitors for the nomination crazy. And there was one analysis that my newspaper wrote about where the figure that was used in terms of — quote, unquote — “free media” — this was the value of the extra airtime he got from the news networks — was some $2 billion.
No candidate came close. So he draws the cameras. It can be a good thing for him. Sometimes, it’s a bad thing for him. Right now, it’s not going so well.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you put this in historical perspective, Bob Lichter? We know the role of the press has changed in this country. I mean, you have talked about how, 17th, 18th centuries, we had a partisan press in the United States.
ROBERT LICHTER: Yes, Donald Trump should go back a couple of hundred years and see the nasty things that were said about Adams and Jefferson.
It’s only the 20th century that the press has taken on the role of being an objective arbiter, trying to be fair and balanced and objective. And in a way, it releases journalists from the responsibility of saying I’m presenting this from my point of view, sort of nobody’s point of view. I’m being fair all around.
Donald Trump makes that really hard to do. This is man who insults members of his own party. He bullies his opponents. He says things that are demonstrably untrue. What do you do with that as a journalist to be objective without becoming negative in a way that opens you to charges of media bias?
I think Trump has done a good job of kind of defanging the media, to some degree.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Jim Rutenberg, you have also written about how Donald Trump has singled out the press at his campaign rallies, to the point where members of the press have felt uncomfortable and worse.
JIM RUTENBERG: Well, two major networks are now using security at his rallies. And it’s kind of, he will direct the crowd at the assembled press.
And I have covered many rallies in my career where that hasn’t happened, with the exception of maybe Sarah Palin kind of toward the end of ’08 and when she was kind of flirting with her own presidential run.
And other colleagues I have talked to who are much older than I am refer me back the George Wallace and some of his rallies were tense. But the National Guard was there protecting the press. But this is the insane territory to be in, as a country right now, where this is a conversation we’re having.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jim Rutenberg, staying with you, I want to come back to something you quoted this week in one of your columns, a senior editor at the Web site American Conservative, and he — it’s Rod Dreher, I think is how you say his name.
He said: “Mainstream journalists are interested in every kind of diversity, except the kind that would challenge their own prejudices. Those include bigotry against conservative religion, bigotry against rural folks and bigotry against working-class and poor white people.”
That’s pretty sweeping, isn’t it?
JIM RUTENBERG: It’s a sweeping generalization, but, that said, I think, look, we’re not perfect.
And for what most of our conversations so far have been a defense of the press, but the press — let’s face it. A big part of the country is primed to believe what Donald Trump is telling them about the press. And the press needs to definitely take a look at itself.
And look, there is something to it. There is a cultural mind-set that I think even goes across the kind of ideological divide of the mainstream news media. The Wall Street Journal editorial page and The New York Times editorial page agree on certain things like free trade that this crowd feels is, you know, threatening their livelihoods and their country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: At the same time, we know that — you have talked, Robert Lichter, about the need for American — frankly, for journalists to rethink the way we write about, not just Donald Trump, but the people who have been supporting Donald Trump.
ROBERT LICHTER: Yes, I think Jim Rutenberg was quite right that journalists, national media journalists are kind of part of an elite.
And they know government elites, they know business elites. And it’s these elites that Donald Trump is running against. And, as a result, he stirs the populism of his supporters, who also feel that the elites are running away with the country, although I think it’s overstated to say that these are kind of peasants with pitchforks.
I think there is a kind of bias in that portrayal of his supporters. There are some of those people, but he obviously wouldn’t be running in the 40-odd percent of the public with nobody like — with everybody like that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: No question about that.
Robert Lichter, we thank you.
Jim Rutenberg with The New York Times, thank you both.
JIM RUTENBERG: Thanks so much.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: Iraqi forces slowed their advance on Mosul in its second day, as they reached larger towns on the outskirts. Humanitarian groups warned the city’s one million people could face a disaster. But President Obama said plans are in place to avert a crisis. We will explore the situation in Mosul later in the program.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Next door in Syria, Russian halted strikes on Aleppo today, ahead of their call for a short-term stop to all fighting on Thursday. It’s meant to allow humanitarian aid into that ravaged city.
But in Moscow, the Russian defense minister warned militant groups to evacuate when the fighting stops.
SERGEI SHOIGU, Defense Minister, Russia (through translator): We call on the leadership of countries that have influence over armed groups in Eastern Aleppo to convince their leaders to stop military action and abandon the city. Everyone truly interested in the fastest possible stabilization should take genuine political steps and not continue shuffling political papers.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thursday’s pause in the fighting is set to last eight hours. A United Nations spokesman complained today that that’s not nearly enough time to get humanitarian convoys in and out of Aleppo.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A temporary halt to the fighting in Yemen is also in the works. The country’s warring factions agreed today to a 72-hour cease-fire, beginning shortly before midnight Wednesday. It’s to allow much-needed humanitarian aid to be delivered.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Iran, a court has sentenced an Iranian-American businessman and his father to 10 years in prison each. Siamak Namazi was detained a year ago. His 80-year-old father was arrested in February. Today’s announcement says they were sentenced for — quote — “cooperating with the hostile government of America.”
HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, for a fifth straight year, Social Security recipients and federal retirees will get just a tiny bump in benefits. The annual cost-of-living hike announced today is three-tenths of a percent. The average monthly Social Security payment is $1,238. That means the increase for the coming year will be less than $4 a month.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street moved higher today, thanks to some strong earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 75 points to close near 18162. The Nasdaq rose 44 points, and the S&P 500 added 13.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And the original ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” will get a makeover if the Smithsonian can raise $300,000. It’s asking the public to help on the crowdfunding Web site Kickstarter. The ruby slippers are nearly 80 years old, and showing their age, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington. The institution wants to repair them and build a new display.
Correction: The on-air version of this report incorrectly stated the location of the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” They are at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, not the National Museum of Natural History.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s three weeks to go until Election Day, just 24 hours until the last presidential debate, and charges of vote fraud and media bias are swirling.
Today, the current occupant of the White House dismissed such talk, and rebuked the candidate behind it. It was a Rose Garden welcome for the Italian prime minister, and President Obama used it to call out Donald Trump on his claims of a rigged election.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You start whining before the game is even over, if whenever things are going badly for you or you lose, you start blaming somebody else, then you don’t have what it takes to be in this job.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Trump shot back this afternoon in Colorado Springs.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: But they even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt, and you see that. And voter fraud is all too common. And then they criticize us for saying that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Running mate Mike Pence joined in. Visiting Republican Party offices in rural North Carolina that were firebombed over the weekend, he insisted voter fraud is a reality, and called for voters to be on the lookout.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), Vice Presidential Nominee: Donald Trump and I are encouraging all of our supporters around the country and frankly American, whatever their politics, to take the opportunity to be involved in a respectful way in providing accountability at our polling places.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Pence also complained of media bias and what he called scant coverage of negative news about Clinton. The latest such news involved communications between the FBI and a senior State Department official who wanted one of Clinton’s e-mails reclassified. It wasn’t.
But last night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump charged there’s collusion in the Obama administration to help Clinton.
The candidate’s wife, Melania, was on CNN, claiming that the sexual assault allegations against her husband are not true.
MELANIA TRUMP, Wife of Donald Trump: I believe my husband. I believe my husband. This was all organized from the opposition.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Former “People” magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff is one of the accusers. She stated that Trump forced himself on her in 2005. And, today, the publication reported that six of her colleagues and close friends corroborate her account.
Meanwhile, Clinton remained out of the public eye today, even as poll after poll offered her good news. The Washington Post reported she has a clear advantage in the latest survey of battleground states. And a USA Today poll found 68 percent of young voters favor the Democratic nominee, to 20 percent for Trump.
All of this sets the stage for tomorrow night’s third and final encounter between the two nominees, this one in Las Vegas.
Rolling Stone headed to trial today for a defamation case over their portrayal of an University of Virginia dean in a discredited article of brutal gang rape. A statement from the student at the center of the article contradicts the magazine’s portrayal of the dean.
Nicole Eramo, the former dean of student affairs, said the 2014 article portrayed her as indifferent to the student’s plight. Eramo is now suing the magazine for $7.85 million in a defamation lawsuit.
The statement from the student, who is only identified as “Jackie,” was part of a deposition Eramo’s attorney read during opening arguments Tuesday.
The Associated Press reports that in the deposition Jackie said the dean was supportive.
“I never felt like she suppressed my sexual assault,” Jackie said in the deposition. “I personally thought that she did everything right.”
Jackie will not appear in person to testify in the case nor will her name be released. The video of her deposition will be shown to the jury and not released to the public.
The story, “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” written by Sabrina Erdely, was discredited after media outlets and police investigated the gang rape allegations of Jackie.
Rolling Stone’s attorney Scott Sexton said in his opening statements that Eramo must prove the magazine acted with “actual malice” and that the magazine knew the information written about Eramo was false, the Associated Press reports.
Sexton further noted that the magazine staff believed Jackie’s story to be entirely true and admitted to putting too much faith in her, Reuters reports.
Before the trial, Rolling Stone pointed to a U.S. Department of Education multi-year sexual violence report on the university, according to the Washington Post.
Rolling Stone said in a statement that the report “found Dean Eramo to have specifically contributed to the University’s hostile environment for sexual assault victims — an assertion much more critical that any statement from the article.” They further stated, “The depiction of Dean Eramo in the article was balanced and described the challenges of her role. We now look forward to the jury’s decision in this case.”
Eramo’s face was shown in the article in a photo illustration, and her name was mentioned 31 times throughout. In her first public interview since the article was published, Eramo discussed with ABC 20/20’s Amy Robach last week her reactions to article, which she says made it look like she “used the trust of young women to cover up rapes.”
In the interview, Eramo’s lawyer, Libby Locke, said that the story portrayed Eramo as a “callous, indifferent administrator.”
“After two years of litigation, Ms. Eramo’s legal team has uncovered damning evidence of Rolling Stone’s reckless disregard for the truth and Ms. Erderly’s pattern of willful avoidance of the facts,” said Locke in a separate statement. “We are excited for a jury of Ms. Eramo’s peers to hear the evidence and to pass judgment on Rolling Stone’s false and defamatory article. We are confident that Ms. Eramo will prevail.”
Eramo was a University of Virginia alum and chairwoman of the sexual misconduct board while acting as associate dean of students. She now works in the office of the vice president for student affairs and has little contact with students.
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PBS NewsHour coverage of where the candidates stand on the issues.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: a look at trying to clean up the water supply in the country’s heartland.
For decades, American farmers have been applying nitrogen fertilizer, in some cases too generously, to crops. Much of that fertilizer has found its way into runoff, contaminating water supplies and forcing many communities to invest heavily in water treatment plants.
From NET in Nebraska, Ariana Brochas of Harvest Public Media reports on new technologies farmers are using to reduce contamination from their fields.
It’s part of our series about the Leading Edge of science and tech.
ARIANA BROCHAS: When University of Nebraska professor Richard Ferguson looks at a cornfield, he has no illusions.
RICHARD FERGUSON, University of Nebraska – Lincoln: To profitably produce corn in Nebraska, we have to apply nitrogen fertilizer. In many cases, in the past, we applied more than we really needed.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Ferguson wants to reduce the chance that excess nitrogen will get into the groundwater. His high-tech approach, called Project SENSE, uses sensor technology to help farmers fertilize during the growing season as timely and precisely as possible.
RICHARD FERGUSON: If we can make them more money by the use of sensor technology, we think that’s something they would adopt.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Project SENSE is being put to the test in areas where groundwater nitrate levels are high. Today, it’s at the Seim family farm in Central Nebraska.
The machine’s arms have sensors that gauge how much nitrogen the plants need. A computer fires applicators to deliver fertilizer, practically feeding plants one by one.
For Anthony Seim, SENSE is another tool for his family to try.
ANTHONY SEIM, Seim Ag Technology: I don’t think there’s any farmer that wakes up in the morning and says, I’m just going to go dump 1,000 gallons of fertilizer down a ditch. Everybody’s trying. It’s just that it doesn’t always work. There’s a lot of things that we can’t control, weather being the biggest one.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Anthony and his brothers have adopted their father’s ideology of progressive farming. Like many farmers, Ken Seim used to put nearly all his fertilizer on the ground before the crops were even planted.
KEN SEIM, Owner, Seim Ag Technology: Today, we apply everything in we call it spoon-feeding, which is a term for just a little bit at a time.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Noah Seim shows off one method of spoon-feeding.
It’s called chemigation or fertigation. It uses a center pivot hooked up to a fertilizer tank. This lets the Seims control how much nitrogen gets applied each time they water. It’s less precise, but less expensive than Project SENSE, but still allows farmers to vary fertilizer rates in response to weather, soil moisture and plant growth.
Across the Missouri River in Iowa, you won’t find many center pivots. Here, they rely on good soil and rain.
DICK SLOAN, Iowa Corn and Soy Farmer: We got a three-inch rain 24 hours or 48 hours ago, but you can see how the water didn’t come down and leave a channel through my field. A lot of soy conversation is about slowing water down.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Dick Sloan farms in Eastern Iowa, near Cedar Rapids.
Here, systems of underground pipe, or tiles, drain excess water off fields. But those tiles also carry fertilizer and pesticides and drain directly into nearby streams and rivers. This kind of field runoff isn’t regulated, and Iowa has some of the worst water pollution in the Midwest.
Sloan uses no-till and cover crops to help slow and filter water before it gets to his tiles.
DICK SLOAN: You can see how everything’s kind of knitted together.
ARIANA BROCHAS: He also devotes some of his land to prairie strips, land that could be used to grow corn or soybeans.
DICK SLOAN: As water moves down across the field, it encounters this contoured strip that will stop any residue from getting through there and have less water getting polluted as it goes down to the Cedar River then on down to the Mississippi and down to the Gulf. So that’s the hope.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Former Iowa extension agent Chad Ingels has worked with farmers like Dick Sloan on field practices to improve water quality in Northeast Iowa. One new tool is something you can’t see. It’s called a bioreactor.
CHAD INGELS, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: The water from this field would normally dump right out into this ditch behind us. But we have it go through this structure. And there’s a set of gates on the inside that diverts it in the bioreactor that is underneath this grassy area. And the bioreactor is just a trench that is 100-feet-long and 30-feet-wide and it is filled with wood chips.
ARIANA BROCHAS: As the nitrate-laden water passes through the wood chips, microbes turn the nitrates into harmless nitrogen gas, which makes up most of our atmosphere.
CHAD INGELS: I think almost every field needs some kind of practice, whether it’s a bioreactor, no-till, just better nitrogen and phosphorus management.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Craig Cox with the Environmental Working Group in Ames, Iowa, agrees that every field needs some sort of management. But he says voluntary measures don’t work.
CRAIG COX: Otherwise, the water would be in a lot better shape than it is.
ARIANA BROCHAS: In the last decade, the federal government has spent more than $3 billion to support measures that reduce water pollution from Iowa farms. The Environmental Working Group monitored the use of two conservation practices over a five-year period and found the net gain was negligible.
CRAIG COX: Here’s the good news story. We got a new buffer. But here’s the bad news story, right? We had a buffer, and now we don’t have one anymore.
ARIANA BROCHAS: Cox says some standard conservation practices should be required of all farmers, but Dick Sloan says his field practices can’t be mandated on his neighbors.
DICK SLOAN: People have a natural negative reaction to regulation. Anybody would. It’s not just — farmers are just so much like everybody else. It’s going to take time for them to question what they’re doing.
KEN SEIM: Farmers are very independent, but the reality is, if we won’t be stewards ourselves, someone will have to help us be a steward.
CRAIG COX: This is a solvable problem. It’s just everyone has to do their part.
KEN SEIM: One thing I always tell people when I work with them, if you can make me better at what I’m doing, I’m in.
ARIANA BROCHAS: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Ariana Brochas in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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Rampant anti-Semitic tweeting targeting journalists has plagued the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new report released by the Anti-Defamation League.
There have been 2.6 million tweets “containing language frequently found in anti-Semitic speech” from August 2015 to June 2016, the report said. Of those, more than 19,000 “overly anti-Semitic” tweets were directed to at least 800 journalists.
Written by the ADL’s Task Force on Harassment and Journalism, the report noted a jump in anti-Semitic attacks on Twitter around the time the presidential primary season ramped up.
ADL also said the attacks tended to come from Trump supporters, adding that “this does not imply that the Trump campaign supported or endorsed the anti-Semitic tweets, only that certain self-styled supporters sent these ugly messages.”
“The spike in hate we’ve seen online this election cycle is extremely troubling and unlike anything we have seen in modern politics,” ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement summarizing today’s report. “We are concerned about the impact of this hate on the ability of journalists to do their job and on free speech,” he said.
Greenblatt added that the organization hoped its report hastened efforts to address the “surge of hate” on social media platforms like Twitter.
“We have to identify it, which ADL has done with this report,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS, said of the rise in anti-Semitic writing on social media.
“We clearly have issues we have to work through as a country because all of this hatred is coming to the surface, which has been hidden for many, many years now,” Hetfield said.
Twitter has deactivated 21 percent of the offending accounts, the report said. ADL said it was giving Twitter a list of additional accounts that are still active and sending out anti-Semitic messages.
Twitter’s current policy prohibits hateful conduct toward any user on the basis of religious affiliation. However, the company also disagreed with the specifics of the report.
“We don’t believe these numbers are accurate, but we take the issue very seriously,” Twitter’s press office told the NewsHour in an email. “We have focused the past number of months specifically on this type of behavior and have policy and products aimed squarely at this to be shared in the coming weeks.”
This report comes a few months after more than two dozen Jewish community organizations co-signed an open letter denouncing racism, xenophobia and violence.
The letter was released after Donald Trump sent out an anti-Hillary Clinton tweet that superimposed a six-pointed star — resembling the Star of David — atop a pile of cash.
“The hate that is existing in social media right now is also the result of the rise of the ‘alt-right,’” said Ryan Lenz, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch editor.[Watch Video]
Donald Trump is appealing to voters who reject mainstream conservative ideals. These members of the so-called “alt-right” have typically taken their frustrations to the internet, rather than to the polls. John Yang interviews the Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti and The Washington Post’s David Weigel about the alt-right’s “hierarchical” tendencies and potential impact on conservatism.
The ADL noted that two-thirds of the 1,600 accounts targeting journalists were “disproportionately likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, or part of the ‘alt-right,’ a loosely connected group of extremists, some of whom are white supremacists.”
“The alt-right is a particularly internet-savvy, tech-savvy group of young, smart, aggressive white nationalists” who have taken advantage of the communication tools of the internet and the anonymity those tools provide.
“The rise of hate on the internet also comes out of the legitimacy that this campaign season has given young white nationalists and young neo-Nazis and racists,” Lenz added.
The report added that its findings does not mean that “conservatives are more prone to anti-Semitism.”
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HARI SREENIVASAN: We turn now to our series on issues shaping this election.
Tonight: What will our next president do about this country’s justice system?
Hillary Clinton has pointed to reducing racial bias and over-incarceration.
Here she was at the first presidential debate more than three weeks ago.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: It’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated.
So, we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.
HARI SREENIVASAN: For his part, President Obama has stepped up the use of his clemency powers in the last year. In 2016, he’s shortened some 590 sentences, almost all of them for nonviolent drug-related crimes.
That’s not how Donald Trump has described the effort. He told an audience last weekend that the White House is, in his words — quote — “steadily dismantling the federal criminal justice system.”
Here’s more from that event in New Hampshire.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: President Obama has commuted the sentences of record numbers of high-level drug traffickers. Can you believe this?
Many of them kingpins and violent armed traffickers with extensive criminal histories and records. Hillary Clinton promises to continue and expand this approach, turning our streets back over to gangs, drug cartels and armed career criminals that we’re not going to get out of our country.
And I want everything to be law and order and justice and everything perfect, everything perfect.
HARI SREENIVASAN: We dig in to the issue of law and order in this campaign.
Again to Lisa Desjardins. She recorded this conversation yesterday.
LISA DESJARDINS: To discuss all this, we’re joined by Leah Wright Rigueur. She’s a professor at Harvard focusing on American history, race, civil rights and the presidency. And David Harris, professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, he studies police behavior, law enforcement, and the law more broadly.
Welcome to you both.
DAVID HARRIS, University of Pittsburgh: Thank you.
LISA DESJARDINS: David, I want to start with criminal justice reform. The idea generally is that perhaps we have too many people in prison for too long. Where do these two candidates stand on criminal justice reform?
DAVID HARRIS: Well, Mr. Trump has not said much about mass incarceration.
His platform of criminal justice seems to center on the idea of law and order generally, on getting tougher, in particular using stop and frisk and various kinds of racial profiling.
Mrs. Clinton has a different take on these things. She’s very much putting on the forefront of her campaign the idea of getting rid or cutting back on mass incarceration, and particularly on improving the relations between police and the communities they serve, particularly people of color.
You heard her in the first debate talking about implicit bias. This is one of her main planks in her criminal justice platform.
LISA DESJARDINS: Leah Wright Rigueur, we heard Donald Trump over the weekend even say he thinks the idea of commuting some of these drug sentences might be hurting the opioid crisis, in fact, bringing more drug traffickers onto the street.
Can you comment on where he is and also the past history of both these candidates, Clinton and Trump, when it comes to crime in America?
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, Harvard University: So, I think the approach that Donald Trump is taking is, in fact, breaking with the new direction of the Republican Party, which has been to take a gentler approach on issues of drugs and even on mass incarceration.
He built himself as the law and order candidate. But what law and order means largely for him is watching, is surveying, surveillance, control. And it’s really about an intervention of the state on behalf of controlling crime.
That is radical in some ways. And he’s really marking himself as a kind of new, souped-up Richard Nixon. Now, the interesting thing here is that Trump’s history really does play into this. The most obvious example is the Central Park 5 case, where he called for kind of harsh draconian law, imposure of law and order, on men who were later found to be innocent.
But what is interesting is that, even after they were found to be innocent and after the courts ruled in their favor, he still doubled down, and, in fact, last week doubled down on where he was standing, doubled down on his approach on how these men should have been treated.
The interesting thing here is that, where we have with somebody, a candidate like Hillary Clinton, who still is kind of risk-averse when it comes to law and order things, where we have seen some growth with her, right? We know her — and many people know her, are familiar with her because of her language around super predators and the mass incarceration in the 1994 crime bill.
We have seen a willingness on the part of her campaign to shift in a direction of more progressive policies. Not so much with Donald Trump, who seems to have doubled down even harder from where he stood many years ago.
LISA DESJARDINS: It’s so interesting. We have two candidates that, at different points, have been tough on crime, but now they seem to be going in different rhetoric directions.
David Harris, I want to ask you about one of Donald Trump’s ideas. He says we need to increase police power and increase police numbers. What do we know about what that does, and does that work?
DAVID HARRIS: Well, these are two different things, police power and police numbers.
We know that, in a police department, having more officers can allow police to serve communities better. But it depends very much on how they are used, how they are deployed and how well they are trained. So, numbers by themselves don’t make a difference.
Increasing police powers, that’s a whole other thing. And I think we have been through an era, from the 1980s forward, where police power, especially in crime on the streets kind of issues, police power has been increased and increased, and discretion has been opened and opened and opened some more, to the point that police have very great power.
They have very great power to stop people, to frisk people, to make traffic stops and turn them into drug investigations. All of these things are signs of very great police power. And we have reached a point where I think most people acknowledge that there need to be some limits.
LISA DESJARDINS: But, in some cases, more police on the street does help. It’s just how you deploy it; is that what you’re saying?
DAVID HARRIS: Yes, very much.
I mean, you can put numbers on the street, and it may help, but numbers alone never make for success. It’s how you use the resources you have, including, most importantly, your human resources, your police officers. If they are well-trained, they have good communication skills, they relate well to the community, you can really build something. You can build relationships.
And that’s where all good policing starts, with relationships with communities.
LISA DESJARDINS: Finally, in the short time we have left, I want to ask you all, this is a daily topic for many Americans. But I have been amazed there has been very little headlines in terms of the political campaign about these ideas of crime and justice.
How important are these when it comes to the conversation right now about crime and justice in America, Leah?
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR: So, they’re incredibly important.
And I think this is part of — at least for Donald Trump, this is part of a larger conversation that he is having that is largely about control. Right? So, it’s not just about — he manages to connect this idea of law and order and about policing to other ideas like rigged elections, right, which is a very troubling — very troubling area that he’s moved into.
I also think it’s worth considering how Hillary Clinton thinks about and how her campaign has really thought about policing inequality injustice.
And so I mentioned before that she’s been risk-averse in a number of different ways. And we have seen some of these tensions between social and movements political movements that have come off, off the ground, but, at the same time, I think we have seen kind of pushing and a willingness or an ability to move and shift on these important issues.
LISA DESJARDINS: All right, David Harris of the University of Pittsburgh and Leah Wright Rigueur of Harvard, thank you both for joining us.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR: Thanks for having us.
DAVID HARRIS: Pleasure. Thank you.
HARI SREENIVASAN: We know you care about the issues this election. Find all of our coverage on where the candidates stand on various topics, from climate change to ISIS, on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And we turn now to preview tonight’s debate with representatives from both campaigns.
We start with Donald Trump supporter Dr. Ben Carson. I spoke with him a short time ago, and began by asking what Donald Trump needs to do tonight in face of declining polls, including in key battleground states.
DR. BEN CARSON, Donald Trump Supporter: I hope he’s going to spend a lot of time talking about the issues that really concern the American people, the economy, jobs, education, immigration, our standing in the world and how we relate to the various problems that are going on in the world.
And then I hope he will probably also highlight some of the things that have come out, you know, in recent weeks about Hillary Clinton that many in the news have not bothered to report on.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you referring to the WikiLeaks stories?
DR. BEN CARSON: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what specifically?
DR. BEN CARSON: Well, I don’t think there’s been a lot of emphasis on, you know, the fact that she and her staff have kind of savaged, you know, Bernie Sanders, have talked about Catholics and evangelicals in a way perhaps not becoming to the leadership of this country, where we’re supposed to have freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re told that Donald Trump is inviting several guests to the debate tonight, including the mother of a State Department contractor who died at Benghazi, Libya, and also a woman who for the first time is going public accusing former President Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her in Arkansas in 1980.
Is this where you think the focus should be tonight?
DR. BEN CARSON: I would love to see that kind of stuff put off to the side.
That’s why we have a legal system, so that those kind of things could be redressed. And it goes for both sides. So, I would much prefer to see a talk on the issues, because the issues are gigantic, and the solutions are incredibly divergent. And yet I doubt that the average person on the street could tell you the difference between the two, because we just haven’t heard the discussion.
We just hear about all these other things.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, did you urge Donald Trump not to invite these individuals? We know he’s also invited the family members of individuals who were killed by undocumented immigrants. He’s invited the half-brother of President Obama, who is supporting Donald Trump.
DR. BEN CARSON: I didn’t have anything to do with who’s invited and who’s not invited.
But we certainly have talked about the issues. And I think that’s really what the American people deserve to hear about, you know, particularly when we’re talking about the future. We’re talking about our children and our grandchildren. We need to be talking about their financial foundation, and we need to be talking about safety for them.
And we need to be talking about ways that we can decrease the tension in our society, because a house divided against itself cannot stand.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we know one of the things Donald Trump has been talking about repeatedly on the campaign trail lately is that this election, he says, will be rigged. He’s talking about rampant voter fraud. Do you expect that to happen?
DR. BEN CARSON: Well, I do know of many instances where things have not been good, and not just recently, but this is going back for quite a period of time.
And it’s always baffled me why we don’t try to fix it. You know, for instance, when it comes to the ballots, it’s such an easy thing to just photograph a ballot as a person comes in, so that you have a backup system, so that if something comes out, and it’s variant to what you thought it should be, you have a way of checking it.
These are easy things to remedy if we really want to do it. For some reason, we don’t want to do it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, one of the reasons I’m asking is because his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said this morning in an interview on CNN that she doesn’t think that there is going to be widespread voter fraud. So, which is right?
DR. BEN CARSON: Well, it really doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. What does matter is that we decide that we’re going to fix it.
We can send a man to the moon, but we can’t verify something as simple as an election? Of course we could do it, if we had the will to do it. So that, to me, makes a lot more sense than any of the arguments on one side or the other side. Just fix it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Carson, we heard Donald Trump say in a speech just in the last few days that if he doesn’t win this election, that the United States loses its independence. He talked about dire circumstances if he doesn’t win.
Is that how you see what’s at stake here?
DR. BEN CARSON: Well, I have heard both sides, you know, make that claim.
And, you know, certainly they’re entitled to their opinion. I’m hopeful that the American people are wise enough to guide us through the difficult times that lay ahead for us. We’re going to have difficult times either way because of the amount of debt that we have incurred, because of the radical Islamic terrorists who want to destroy us.
There are a lot of problems that aren’t going to go away regardless of who’s elected that we are going to have to deal with.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Ben Carson, joining us from Las Vegas at the debate site, we thank you.
DR. BEN CARSON: Wonderful to be with you. Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we turn to Robby Mook. He’s the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.
And welcome to the program.
Again, Robby Mook, first of all, we know Hillary Clinton is doing well in the polls, so what does she need to do tonight? Can she just sort of rest on her laurels and sit back and not take any chances?
ROBBY MOOK, Clinton Campaign Manager: Well, not at all, Judy.
First of all, our campaign doesn’t take anything for granted. We run like we’re 20 points behind no matter what. But, more importantly, this debate is a terrific opportunity for Hillary to speak directly to the American people in an unfiltered way about the real plans that she has to make a difference in their lives.
This election is supposed to be about the American people, supposed to be about their future. And the candidates are supposed to be on that stage proving that they can actually make a difference and actually improve people’s lives.
And so that’s what we hope that this debate is about. Hillary’s come prepared to the last two debates. She’s going to come prepared to this debate to have a substantive discussion of those issues.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We know, Robby Mook, that Donald Trump has invited a number of individuals to be his guests tonight, including a woman who is coming forward the first time to charge that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her in 1980.
He’s invited the mother of the man, the State Department contractor who died at Benghazi. How will she handle this if it comes up in the debate?
ROBBY MOOK: Well, first of all, Judy, as I said, Hillary’s come to these debates consistently prepared to talk about the issues. Donald Trump has not.
We saw him pull a media stunt before the last debate. He’s clearly trying to use the tickets he’s given to invite special guests to pull more stunts. And we’re just not going to get into that and Hillary’s not going to get into that. I think the American people deserve to hear substantive answers to real questions about real policies, real solutions, and what these people are really going to do if they get the job as president.
So, she’s not going to get thrown off her game. And Donald Trump gets to run the campaign that he wants to run. That’s his right. Hillary is going to focus on what matters to voters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, in connection with that, the Trump campaign has been talking a lot, Donald Trump himself has been bringing up this — the FBI report that came out in the last few days that shows that there was a conversation between the State Department and the FBI about whether to lower the classification of one of Secretary Clinton’s e-mails in exchange for providing more FBI — giving FBI employees the chance to hold more jobs overseas, a potential quid pro quo.
If that comes up, is she going to have an answer to that?
ROBBY MOOK: Well, I think she is going to have an answer about what her policies would be as president on this issue.
I think, first and foremost, this is an interagency dispute or interagency conversation that was going on. The State Department has denied there was any sort of quid pro quo. So has the FBI. So has the White House. They have said this is just not true.
And, again, it’s very commonplace for agencies to have disagreements over classifications. That’s what was happening here. And I’m going to leave it to those departments to talk about that.
And, obviously, as president, Hillary would have a role in determining how things are classified. And if she’s asked about that, she will be ready to answer that question.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Something else that’s come up in the last day or so, Robby Mook, are these videotapes prepared by James O’Keefe. Our reporter Lisa Desjardins just did a report a few minutes ago on the program about them.
We know some individuals have been fired from their jobs as a result. Essentially, it had to do with working to rig elections, rig voter turnout, and also arrange to disrupt Donald Trump’s rallies.
How is your camp — how do you see this evidence that clearly something was either done or was at least talked about during this campaign cycle?
ROBBY MOOK: Well, the person in question is a long discredited conservative activist who claims to be a journalist.
Look, what’s really disappointing here, Judy, is that Donald Trump is losing this race, and he is trying to blame everyone else except himself for his loss. And so he’s setting up a situation in which he can claim that the election was rigged and that people didn’t actually vote against him.
The fact is, the longer this election goes on, the more that people hear from Donald Trump, the more of the racism, the bigotry, the disrespect towards women, the more they learn about his past, the way he’s treated women, the more that people are leaving him.
The fact of the matter that he’s struggling to win the state of Utah right now really says all that we need to know. This election is not going to be rigged. Republican secretaries of state are the ones running this election, by and large. Republican secretaries of state are the ones coming out saying, this is not rigged, asking Donald Trump to stop speaking this way.
The fact of the matter is also that we’re seeing higher voter turnout than we saw in the 2012 cycle, particularly when we look at vote by mail in states like Florida, North Carolina. We think this is going to be the biggest election in our history. We think more people are going to vote than ever before. We just heard that the voter rolls passed 200 million people in this country. That would be historic, if that’s the case.
I think Donald Trump should worry more about trying to win people’s votes and let the voters go to the polls and make their voice heard in this historic, high-turnout election.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, we are hearing from Trump supporters that they expect him to bring up again something he did raise in the first debate.
And that is, Hillary Clinton has been in the public arena for 30 years, and yet, his words, taxes are up, terrorism has spread, jobs have vanished, and so on. What is her answer to that question?
ROBBY MOOK: You know, I hope that Hillary gets a chance to talk about her record and her history on that debate stage, because I don’t — I would put her record of accomplishment up against anyone’s, and in particular Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton has spent three decades fighting for kids and families ever since she left law school and went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund. She fought to get health insurance for every American. When she lost that fight, she kept working with Republicans and Democrats until she got the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers eight million children in this country. She negotiated a historic reduction in nuclear weapons with Russia.
If we look at Donald Trump’s record, this is a man who was sued repeatedly for racial housing discrimination. He has a record of not paying his contractors, not paying low-wage workers.
And then we just saw over the last two weeks women speaking out that they were demeaned and disrespected. If Donald Trump wants to have a conversation about the history of these candidates and who’s been fighting for working people, who’s been fighting for the rights of women, we welcome that discussion. Hillary Clinton is going to win that hands down.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we will find out in about two-and-a-half-hours.
Robby Mook, who is the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, thank you, Robby.
ROBBY MOOK: Thanks, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And for more on tonight’s debate, we are joined by our debate night team, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.
And we will show you when we say your name.
DAVID BROOKS: Looking better already.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All of you are looking really good.
So, Mark, given this atmosphere, what do you expect tonight?
MARK SHIELDS: It amazes me.
I mean, just to review the bidding, Donald Trump won 41 contests. He won every big state, save that of John Kasich’s and Ted Cruz’s home states. I mean, he was — outpolled nearest rival by 2-1, as the anti-establishment candidate, the candidate of change, the candidate of the forgotten Americans, the overlooked Americans, taking on the established wisdom of the conservative hegemony in this country.
And he has dropped it. He dropped it all. And he’s just been in the weeds and just on terrible stuff. There’s been nothing — he’s allowed himself to become the issue in the campaign, instead of making change and his opponent, who says he’s been in the arena for 30 years.
So, I don’t know what to expect, in answer to your question. To me, it’s pretty — Ben Carson said it well. The election is about the voters. And, if anything, the Trump campaign has not made it about the voters over the last two weeks.
HARI SREENIVASAN: David, is there an undecided voter left that these folks are going to go out and make this case? This is their — this is one of the largest stages that they have all season, all year long. Right?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. If there are any undecided, they’re not bright enough to find the remote control, so they are not going to watch the debate, because they can’t find it.
No, there may be some. And, actually, the one thing, as Trump has made himself the subject of this campaign, unlike the primary season, the polls have moved. And so that means, whether they’re decided or undecided, there are people who are willing to be driven away by him.
And that’s because they think, I will vote for the guy because he’s a change agent, but I think he’s kind of a jerk. But as the jerk factor rises, those votes do shift.
I’m sort of more concerned this debate less about the two candidates than just about the whole country. The campaign has been so degrading, and so many people around the country are just in such poor spirits. It’s as if we suffered a revaluation or a re-norming of what’s acceptable.
And I hope — at the same time our standards are being degraded by this campaign, some people are reacting the other way and saying it’s time to reestablish some sense of decency. And I’m just hoping the debate doesn’t degrade us any further, not as much of who helps, who goes up a point or two in the polls.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Given all that, Amy, what does Hillary Clinton need to do tonight?
AMY WALTER: Well, I completely concur with what David said. And I think that’s exactly where she needs to go.
The very first debate, her goal was to sort of get underneath Trump’s skin, make the focus about him. And he played the part brilliantly. Right? He took the bait. He went into these rabbit holes. He completely exploded, then, of course, the next day, continued to unravel with the tweets against the Miss Universe.
The second debate was really — for her was just holding strong in the face of a very aggressive Donald Trump, in the face of the press conference that came before him featuring the women who had made allegations against her husband.
This is the chance she has to close this campaign with a positive message and a positive vision for the country, to give people a reason to vote for her, not just to vote against Donald Trump. And she’s going to come under fire. There is no doubt that Donald Trump is going to once again make an aggressive push to put her on the defensive.
She’s going to have to answer that. But I think, to close the deal here, she needs to make people feel comfortable with her as president and comfortable with how she’s going to bring this country back from what has been an incredibly divisive campaign.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Mark Shields, is there any incentive that either of these candidates have to take the high road? Because it seems that, with social media, with these sort of on-stage moments, they’re rewarded for going lower and lower.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes, I think there is.
And I think it is because the proximity closest to Election Day. If I were Hillary Clinton tonight, I would say, if in fact I do lose, I hope that I will have the grace and decency and the sense of patriotism that the man said eight years ago when he lost, and he said, I had the honor — this is a quote — of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country we both love. I wish tonight Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.
That sounds — it sounds almost biblical, Shakespearian in its eloquence. That was John McCain in 2008. I think, if Hillary Clinton is capable of doing that tonight, I mean, of sort of taking it, reminding us of what we have done and what we have been able to do, after really heated, heated campaigns.
I agree with David and Amy. It would be great to have better politics. When we get a report like Lisa’s, that’s evocative of 1972 and dirty tricks. That’s what it is. It’s trying to — if in fact it’s valid, it’s to provoke a reaction and to start a political strife-fest.
DAVID BROOKS: It should be said Hillary taking the high road, there are two problems with that.
One is, to her, the high road has always been just a laundry list of programs. There hasn’t actually been a vision or even something personal and emotional. It hasn’t been that high. It’s been prosaic.
The second thing is — and we’re reminded of that in Lisa’s report — is that we have taken Barack Obama’s non-scandal administration for granted. And that has never been the nature of Hillary Clinton’s campaign or life, at least for the past 30 years.
There’s always been a wave of scandal, and sometimes involving her, but often involving people around her. And for some reason — and, again, we don’t know the complete substance of these allegations, but that kind of behavior is the low-rent sort of behavior that sometimes, you know, wouldn’t be strange — well, it’s even an insult to Dick Morris, who she brought back into the White House.
But that has been…
MARK SHIELDS: She brought him twice.
DAVID BROOKS: Twice.
And so that’s just been part of her group. And so that’s — the moral injury in this campaign is not all on one side.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Amy, that’s something that she’s gotten accustomed to having to talk about, isn’t it?
MARK SHIELDS: Well, and that’s exactly what Republicans want Donald Trump to focus on tonight.
Look, if you’re a Republican not involved with the Donald Trump campaign, you are just hoping that what Donald Trump does is put the focus back on her, put her on the defensive, remind people about the years of scandal, what it would feel like to have another Clinton in the White House, remind them of the ’90s and the current scandals with Hillary Clinton and the e-mail server, and to help stop the down-ballot drop.
The greatest fear that Republicans have right now is that Donald Trump, as his numbers have fallen, they’re terrified they too are going to lose seats down-ballot.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re going to reassemble all of you at 9:00 Eastern.
And so we will be back right here with Mark, David and Amy for our special live coverage of this final debate. Again, that starts at 9:00 Eastern.
Plus, we will be providing debate analysis and fact-checking on our Web site. That’s PBS.org/NewsHour.
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