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

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    Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore talk about climate change at a rally at Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSS01F

    Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally at Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida on Oct. 11, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Liane Golightly has finally decided who she’ll vote for on Election Day. Hillary Clinton is not a choice the 30-year-old Republican would have predicted, nor one that excites her. But the former supporter of Ohio Gov. John Kasich says it’s the only choice she can make.

    “I kind of wish it were somebody else, somebody that I could really get behind 100 percent,” said Golightly, an educator from Monroe, Michigan. She’s voting for Clinton, she said, only because she can’t stomach “childish” Donald Trump.

    Like Golightly, many young voters are coming over to Clinton in the closing stretch of the 2016 campaign, according to a new GenForward poll of Americans 18 to 30.

    Driving the shift are white voters, who were divided between the two candidates just a month ago and were more likely to support GOP nominee Mitt Romney than President Barack Obama in 2012.

    In the new GenForward survey, Clinton leads among all young whites 35 percent to 22 percent, and by a 2-to-1 margin among those who are likely to vote. Clinton held a consistent advantage among young African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics in earlier GenForward polls, as she does in the new survey.

    The new poll also suggests enthusiasm for voting has recently increased among young African-Americans, 49 percent of whom say they will definitely vote in November after only 39 percent said so in September. Just over half of young whites, and about 4 in 10 Hispanics and Asian-Americans, say they will definitely vote.

    GenForward is a survey of adults age 18 to 30 by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.

    Overall, Clinton leads Trump among young likely voters 60 percent to 19 percent, with 12 percent supporting Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and 6 percent behind the Green Party’s Jill Stein. If Clinton and Trump receive that level of support on Election Day, Clinton would match Obama’s level of 2012 while Trump would fall short of Romney’s.

    Overall, Clinton leads Trump among young likely voters 60 percent to 19 percent, with 12 percent supporting Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and 6 percent behind the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

    It’s not necessarily because they like Clinton, but is nevertheless a late sign of strength among a voting bloc that the former secretary of state has struggled to win over.

    “There’s a gray area with her, where maybe she hasn’t broken any laws, but she’s always skirting the edge, it seems,” said Galen Mosher, 30, a lighting technician from Sandy, Oregon, who voted for Clinton’s primary rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    Mosher, who is white, said he got behind Clinton once she won the Democratic nomination, because “at least she’s a step” toward the free college tuition and higher taxes for wealthy people that Sanders had proposed.

    The poll also provides evidence that Trump’s behavior toward women has hurt him among young voters, while Clinton’s characterization of a large portion of the New York billionaire’s supporters as “deplorable” did not damage her candidacy.

    The GenForward survey included interviews both before and after the release of a 2005 recording on which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women. But support for Trump didn’t shift among young voters overall or among young whites after the tape was released, suggesting the shift in young whites to Clinton came first.

    All of the poll interviews, however, were conducted after the first presidential debate, when Clinton told the story of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and Trump’s assessment of her as a “Miss Piggy” after she gained weight. Most young people across racial and ethnic lines say that Clinton’s accusations in that debate about Trump’s behavior made them less likely to support the GOP nominee.

    It’s not necessarily because they like Clinton, but is nevertheless a late sign of strength among a voting bloc that the former secretary of state has struggled to win over.

    Most young people weren’t turned off by Clinton calling some Trump supporters “deplorable” in September. Sixty-two percent of young adults, including 82 percent of African-Americans, three-quarters of Latinos and Asian-Americans and 51 percent of whites said they agree with her assessment.

    The poll also found that 45 percent of young adults have a favorable view of Clinton, while just 17 percent say the same of Trump. Conversely, half have an unfavorable view of Clinton and 77 percent have that view of Trump.

    Young whites say they have a more favorable view of Clinton now than going into the fall. Among that group, three-quarters have an unfavorable view of Trump now, up from 67 percent in September.

    The survey also showed young whites are slightly less likely to see Trump as qualified to be president, down from 30 percent in September to 24 percent.

    The poll of 1,832 adults age 18-30 was conducted Oct. 1-14 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

    The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

    Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

    The post Late in the race, Clinton gains ground with young voters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Voters cast their ballots during early voting at the Beatties Ford Library in Charlotte, North Carolina October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTX2PRVI

    Voters cast their ballots during early voting at the Beatties Ford Library in Charlotte, North Carolina on Oct. 20, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    ATLANTA — Donald Trump has warned for weeks of a “rigged” election, telling his supports to watch out for large-scale voter fraud — despite a lack of evidence that it exists. In the past few days, Trump has specifically raised concerns about people fraudulently voting using the names of dead people and cited research showing 1.8 million deceased people are still listed on state voter rolls.

    Here’s a look at Trump’s latest claim and what the facts show:


    During a campaign rally Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Trump brought up his concerns about voter fraud, saying “the system is totally rigged and broken.”

    He added: “According to Pew, there are 24 million voter registrations in the United States that are either invalid or significantly inaccurate, and when I say that, there are such inaccuracies it’s unbelievable. 1.8 million dead people are registered to vote. And some of them are voting. I wonder how that happens. 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state. These are numbers, folks, these are numbers.”


    The Pew Center on the States issued a report in 2012 saying the nation’s voter registration system was “plagued with errors and inefficiencies that waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections.” The report urged states to expand online voter registration and other online tools to allow voters to update their information, saying paper-based systems presented several opportunities for errors.

    Trump correctly cited Pew’s findings in that report, which found that approximately 24 million, or one of every eight, voter registrations were no longer valid or significantly inaccurate and that more than 1.8 million deceased individuals were listed as voters. He also was correct in noting that approximately 2.7 million people have registrations in more than one state.

    However, a majority of states have taken action in recent years to address concerns raised in the Pew report. In addition, the Pew report does not say that any of the inaccuracies led to a system that is vulnerable to widespread voter fraud.

    In an update posted last week on its website, the Pew Center said election officials have worked to upgrade their voter registration systems.

    It noted that 40 states now provide or have passed legislation allowing for online voter registration and 20 states have signed up for the Electronic Registration Information Center. That system is administered by the states and alerts election officials to cases in which a voter’s information may be out of date.

    The system has contacted more than 4.5 million people who had moved, but not updated their voter registration information, according to Pew.

    Ohio is among the states that participate in the program. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, has said voter fraud is rare and has pushed back against Trump’s claims the election could be compromised. An estimated 515,000 deceased voters have been removed from Ohio’s registration records since Husted took office in 2011.

    There have been isolated cases in which ballots have been cast in the name of a deceased individual, including two instances in 2012 in Husted’s Ohio.

    In one case, a 54-year-old nun pleaded guilty to a charge of illegal voting after acknowledging she filled out an absentee ballot on behalf of a fellow nun who had recently died. The other involved allegations that a 75-year-old man had cast an absentee ballot on behalf of his recently deceased wife.

    “We’ve been working hard to keep Ohio’s voter rolls as up-to-date and accurate as possible so that only eligible voters are registered and casting ballots,” said Joshua Eck, Husted’s spokesman. “As Secretary Husted commonly says, voter fraud happens — it’s rare — and when we catch it, we hold people accountable.”

    Experts say cases of voter fraud involving dead people are isolated. They also say it would be an inefficient way to rig a presidential election, given that the fraud would have to be conducted one voter at a time and would be effective only in places where the race is close enough that the outcome could be swayed.

    There are more than 9,000 election jurisdictions nationwide and hundreds of thousands of polling places.

    “Although entertaining, every time there are claims of hordes of dead people voting, those claims are debunked upon closer scrutiny,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law. “There has been no incident in recent memory in which people were able to impact an election by mobilizing fraudsters to impersonate dead people at the polls.”

    Weiser said a more pressing concern is that living people are sometimes mistakenly identified as dead and removed from a state’s voter registration database, posing a challenge to them voting legally on Election Day.

    The post AP fact check: Voter registration problems do not equate to fraud appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The shadow of a migrant falls on a sign with the population of "The Jungle" at the end of the first day of the evacuation and transfer to reception centers of migrants who were living in tents and makeshift shelters in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol - RTX2Q9YE

    The shadow of a migrant falls on a sign with the population of “The Jungle” at the end of the first day of the evacuation and transfer to reception centers of migrants who were living in tents and makeshift shelters in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    French authorities transferred 1,918 people voluntarily out of the makeshift migrant camp known as “the Jungle,” the U.N. Human Rights Council said on the first day of the mass evacuation.

    The number of people processed Monday fell short of their goal of 3,000 in the week-long operation to dismantle the camp, the Associated Press reported.

    Located 43 miles from Calais in northern France, the camp houses as many as 8,300 migrants, including at least 1,200 unaccompanied minors. The migrants, many who hoped to cross the English Channel into the UK, hail from Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, among other countries.

    “The informal camp for refugees and migrants in Calais known as ‘the Jungle’ is not an environment fit for human habitation,” William Spindler of UNHRC said of the camp’s closure.

    More than 1,200 police have been dispatched to monitor the evacuation, which relocated the migrants to centers across France where they can apply for asylum.

    Migrants started forming the camp as early as 18 months ago. The basic needs of the camp, which didn’t receive help from the state, were met by aid groups and volunteers.

    French President Francois Hollande, who is up for re-election next year, is hoping to seal the France-U.K. border and rebut his conservative rivals’ claim that he has mishandled the country’s response to Europe’s migrant crisis.

    Hollande has promised police forces will remain at the camp until it is dismantled.

    Migrants stand next to tents and makeshift shelters on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016.    REUTERS/Neil Hall  - RTX2QBQJ

    Migrants stand next to tents and makeshift shelters on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

    An aerial view shows white containters, tents and makeshift shelters on the eve of the evacuation and dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 23, 2016.    REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2Q2BW

    An aerial view shows white containters, tents and makeshift shelters on the eve of the evacuation and dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    A French policeman posts the official document that announces the dismantling of the makeshift camp called the "Jungle",  as a migrant walks past in Calais, France, October 21, 2016.   REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol - RTX2PWOJ

    A French policeman posts the official document that announces the dismantling of the makeshift camp called the “Jungle”, as a migrant walks past in Calais, France, October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    Sparks fly from a fire as migrants sit near for warmth at the end of the first day of the evacuation and transfer to reception centers of migrants living in the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2Q9XZ

    Sparks fly from a fire as migrants sit near for warmth at the end of the first day of the evacuation and transfer to reception centers of migrants living in the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    Migrants with their belongings queue as their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, starts October 24, 2016.       REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2Q5GO

    Migrants with their belongings queue as their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, starts October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    A coloured bracelet is placed on the wrist of a migrant on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer  - RTX2QB0Y

    A coloured bracelet is placed on the wrist of a migrant on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    French police stand near as migrants wait in front of a processing centre to be registered on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016.    REUTERS/Neil Hall - RTX2QBRM

    French police stand near as migrants wait in front of a processing centre to be registered on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

    An migrant walks on a ridge towards a double rainbow that appears over the makeshift camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 22, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol  - RTX2PZRF

    An migrant walks on a ridge towards a double rainbow that appears over the makeshift camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 22, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    Migrants with their belongings walk past tents at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016.     REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol    - RTX2Q5PK

    Migrants with their belongings walk past tents at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    A migrant carries his belongings on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016.    REUTERS/Neil Hall TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2QBT1

    A migrant carries his belongings on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, during the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

    Workmen remove debris as they tear down makeshift shelters on the second day the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016.      REUTERS/Neil Hall   - RTX2QD3H

    Workmen remove debris as they tear down makeshift shelters on the second day the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

    A migrant walks past a burning makeshift shelter set ablaze in protest against the dismantlement of the camp for migrants called the "Jungle" in Calais on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol - RTX2QD6C

    A migrant walks past a burning makeshift shelter set ablaze in protest against the dismantlement of the camp for migrants called the “Jungle” in Calais on the second day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    Migrants are seen in silhouette as they gather near flames from a burning makeshift shelter on the second day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    Migrants are seen in silhouette as they gather near flames from a burning makeshift shelter on the second day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    The post Photos: Thousands evacuated from ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in France appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Image by Kacper Pempel /Reuters

    Image by Kacper Pempel /Reuters

    Democrats and Republicans alike are “worn out” by political content and posts on their social media feeds, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

    More than one-third of users said they were tired of the volume of political content clogging their social media feeds, with 59 percent saying that the political discussions found there were also more “stressful and frustrating” than informative.

    In a presidential race marked by two of the most disliked candidates in history, such results might not be surprising.

    But unlike the partisan rhetoric online, users’ frustrations with what they are seeing on social media does not break down along party lines.

    “Republicans and Democrats are equally frustrated,” Aaron Smith, associate director of research for Pew Research, told PBS NewsHour. “There are not a lot of partisan differences.”

    Smith said people speak more openly and harshly about politics online than they do in person, which can quickly escalate disagreements about which candidate or policy is best.

    “In all the ways we measure, it is more intense during presidential campaigns, and this one is particularly intense in a lot of ways,” Smith said.

    About half of 4,500 users surveyed from July to August 2016 said they viewed the tone of the political conversations they saw on social media in a negative light. They said the discussion of politics online was angrier (49 percent), less respectful (53 percent) and less civil (49 percent) than in other venues.

    However, others said they still see value in using social media as a political outlet. One-third of politically engaged users think Twitter and Facebook are good platforms for alternative points of view.

    “Those that are politically engaged, compared to those who are less engaged, are more likely to see positives in how social media can help connect people and learn more,” Maeve Duggan, the study’s research associate, told the NewsHour.

    Users also aren’t always thinking about politics when they build connections online, Duggan added. Pew’s research found that half of social media users were surprised to learn which candidate their online friends favor in this presidential race.

    What people see also depends on which social media site they use most.

    “On both Twitter and Facebook, people are seeing equal amounts of political content, although Facebook is more personal and Twitter is more widely used for breaking news,” Duggan said.

    Some users are fed up and take action to guard themselves from political discussion. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said they changed their social media settings to minimize content they see about politics, while 27 percent have blocked an account because of someone’s political ideology.

    Just nine percent said social media is a helpful platform to learn more about political candidates.

    With Election Day right around the corner, don’t expect the political tone on social media to soften anytime soon.

    The post Worn out by social media election trash talk? You’re not alone appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Last week, we aired a report about new and old technologies being used to help clean up water runoff in the nation’s heartland.

    Tonight, a second report about water and the tensions between rural agriculture and urban areas over keeping it clean.

    From Detroit Public Television, David Biello reports, as part of the documentary “The Ethanol Effect.”

    DAVID BIELLO: In Des Moines, Iowa, Adam Mason is preparing dinner, washing vegetables with tap water.

    ADAM MASON: For a lot of folks, it’s easy just to turn on the tap and trust that you have clean water. There’s nearly a half-million Iowans who are drinking water and who are vulnerable.

    DAVID BIELLO: Part of the cause of Adam’s concern can be found 150 miles away from Des Moines in Storm Lake, Iowa. Storm Lake is located in Buena Vista County, home to some of the richest farmland in the country.

    Corn is king here, grown mostly for animal feed and ethanol. Corn doesn’t like to have its feet wet, and to keep the fields dry, pipes have been installed to drain water off the fields. And with that water goes the fertilizer, fertilizer laden with nitrate.

    BILL STOWE, Des Moines Water Works: We have eight units here constructed in about 1990-1992, before they became operational.

    DAVID BIELLO: Bill Stowe is the chief executive officer of the Des Moines Water Works.

    BILL STOWE: The big challenge cleaning up the water in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, the rivers that we take from, they’re surface waters going through 10,000 square miles of industrial agriculture upstream, is the effects of that industrial agriculture on water quality.

    We’re seeing water that’s so dirty, that we have to build facilities like this, which arguably is the world’s largest nitrate-removal facility, to be able to clean up the water to deliver it safely to our customers here in Central Iowa.

    DAVID BIELLO: Nitrate is a dangerous chemical in drinking water; it stops oxygen from entering the human bloodstream.

    The nitrate-removal facility is at capacity and aging, and it may soon be overwhelmed. The Des Moines Water Works wants to have the fertilizer runoff regulated as pollution under the federal Clean Water Act, and has filed a lawsuit against three rural Iowa counties, claiming that the nitrate they’re removing is a result of runoff from fields upstream.

    DALE ARENDS, Buena Vista County Supervisor: This is not Iowa nice.

    DAVID BIELLO: Dale Arends is a member of the Board of Supervisors in Buena Vista County. He’s named in the lawsuit.

    DALE ARENDS: This would change agriculture if Des Moines Water Works gets what they want. If they were able to come out here and tell us how much water we could remove from our soils to make them farmable, you would turn Central Iowa back into a swamp, which is what it was 150 years ago.

    DAVID BIELLO: For the lawsuit to be successful, a court must first decide if the fertilizer-rich water running off the fields comes from under the ground. If a court decides it is groundwater, then Bill Stowe and the Des Moines Water Works have a valid case.

    If a court decides the runoff is storm water running off the surface of the fields, then Des Moines Water Works has no case.

    Doug Gross is the legal counsel for the Agribusiness Association of Iowa.

    DOUG GROSS, Agribusiness Association of Iowa: This is like a prairie fire in Iowa, in that we haven’t seen anything like this for a long time, where one component of the state is really directly challenging the most important industry in our state, and has been since the founding of the state of Iowa, which is agriculture.

    DAVID BIELLO: Around the country, environmental activists are watching the lawsuit, and big ag has raised a lot of money to help the counties fight it. That’s because Iowa isn’t the only state feeling the effects of agricultural pollution.

    In the Great Lakes, excess fertilizer spills into Lake Erie near Toledo, where charter boat captain Paul Pacholski makes a living.

    PAUL PACHOLSKI, Charter Boat Captain: Within 24 hours of the water coming out a drain tile of a farm, it can be at the mouth of the Lake Erie. It’s called the nutrient superhighway.

    DAVID BIELLO: Great for algae.

    PAUL PACHOLSKI: Great for algae.

    DAVID BIELLO: That algae is toxic. It thrives on the fertilizer running off the farm fields. In 2014, a massive algal bloom shut down the city of Toledo’s water supply for three days. It’s also bad for Paul’s business.

    PAUL PACHOLSKI: Do you want to go to an area that you have got to worry about your health afterwards, or do you want to go to an area that is pristine and beautiful with the good clear water?

    DAVID BIELLO: Some Great Lakes states have begun to take steps to control fertilizer runoff, and Iowa has a voluntary program in place, called the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

    Bill Northey is Iowa’s secretary of agriculture.

    BILL NORTHEY, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture: Our nutrient reduction strategy started four years ago. The lawsuit started a year ago. So we were in process of engaging folks.

    DAVID BIELLO: So, would you encourage Des Moines Water Works to just drop the suit?

    BILL NORTHEY: I would be very glad if the suit went away. I think it’s a big distraction. I think it’s expensive. I think that money could be better spent on engaging producers and engaging urban areas on water quality.

    BILL STOWE: It’s the ag folks that really are driving this problem. And, in this state, we regulate, and some would argue over-regulate, cities and towns. But we leave unregulated industrial agriculture.

    And, of course, agriculture is the king of the block. Therefore, leave it alone, and hopefully a voluntary system will bring in conservation practices that will improve water quality. We say, no pun intended, hogwash to that, hasn’t worked, won’t work.

    DALE ARENDS: They have forced themselves to spend over three-quarters-of-a-million dollars. They have forced us to spend over a million dollars, and nothing has really changed.

    DAVID BIELLO: Dale Arends isn’t the only one raising his voice.

    NARRATOR: Bill Stowe forced a double-digit increase in water fees, while he is set to receive a $500,000 bonus.

    DAVID BIELLO: A group called the Iowa Partnership for Clean Water is fighting the lawsuit like a political campaign. It’s running anti-Stowe TV ads.

    The lawsuit could be tied up in court for years, maybe even a decade. That leaves the fate of Adam Mason and other customers of the Des Moines Water Works up in the air.

    ADAM MASON: It’s no longer whether or not we have a water crisis. Everyone acknowledges we’re in a water crisis now. The question is, how do we fix it and who’s going to pay?

    DAVID BIELLO: For the “PBS NewsHour, I’m David Biello in Des Moines, Iowa.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And to learn about technologies farmers in the Nebraska and Iowa are using to reduce agricultural contaminants in water, visit PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Who will pay for water pollution cleanup divides urban and rural Iowa appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    Editor’s Note: This conversation contains a racial slur.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yesterday, Charlotte television reporter Steve Crump accepted an apology from Brian Eybers. The two men were involved in a confrontation last week during which Eybers used the N-word. And Crump recorded it.

    Crump was on assignment in Charleston, South Carolina, reporting on hurricane recovery when he walked past Eybers.

    And a warning: The next two videos include use of the N-word.

    STEVE CRUMP, WBTV: What did you call me?


    STEVE CRUMP: What did you just call me?

    BRIAN EYBERS: I called you sir.

    STEVE CRUMP: No, you didn’t call me sir. You called me the N-word, right?

    BRIAN EYBERS: I did. I believe I did call you the N-word.

    You’re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) idiot. You’re ignorant. So, you really are a n—–, then.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, the N-word is one of the most contentious words in the English language.

    Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault its origins and use with Harvard Law School Professor Randall Kennedy as part of our year-long Race Matters Solutions series.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Professor Kennedy, thank you for joining us.

    RANDALL KENNEDY, Harvard University: Thank you.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: I don’t have to tell you we are dealing with a very contentious word, but it wasn’t always that way. So, take us back when it was more benign.

    RANDALL KENNEDY: It’s like many words. It has a mysterious — it sort of rises from the midst.

    So, for instance, in 1619, when there are reports about the first blacks brought to British North America, they are referred to as N-I-G-G-U-H-S. Well, it doesn’t seem that that was meant in a derogatory way. It seems merely descriptive.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: When did it become the kind of word that is so controversial today?

    RANDALL KENNEDY: Go back and take a look at what some black writers were saying in the 1820s, the 1830s.

    They make mention of how some white people would tell their children, if you don’t behave, we’re going to put you in the n—– seat. If you don’t behave, we are going to make you sit with the n—–s.

    That’s why we know that, by then, the word had become a slur.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, why are people, like, you know, a very successful, popular comedian like Larry Wilmore, who addressed the president with the word at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

    LARRY WILMORE, Comedian: So Mr. President, I’m going the keep it 100.

    Yo, Barry, you did it, my n—–.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But also a lot of the rappers and people, what don’t they know? They are using it as almost a term of endearment.

    RANDALL KENNEDY: The infamy of n—– is — it’s a word that has been used to terrorize people, to put people down.

    But it has also been used in other ways. It’s also been used as a way of putting a mirror up to racism. So, Dick Gregory titled his memoir “N—–: An Autobiography.”

    Richard Pryor had a number of albums, “That N—– Crazy,” “Bicentennial N—–.” Is he using n—– to put black people down? No, he’s using it ironically. He’s sometimes using it playfully. He’s using it often as a mirror to shame racism.

    RICHARD PRYOR, Comedian: And I don’t want them hip white people coming up to me and calling me no n—– or telling me n—– jokes. I don’t like it.

    RANDALL KENNEDY: Then you have got people who have the idea of taking n—– back.

    So, you have some people who say, well, n—– has been used to take us down. What we are going to do is grab this word and we are going to use it for our own purposes.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But do they know the history of it?

    RANDALL KENNEDY: Well, one of the reasons I wrote a book about this was because I got the sense that there were especially young people who were using the word who didn’t have an understanding of the history behind the word.

    So, I spent 40 pages just giving instance after instance after instance of the way in which this word has been used to hurt black people.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Hasn’t it also been used against other ethnic groups, Chinese, Mormons, Jews?

    RANDALL KENNEDY: It’s the atomic bomb of racial slurs. It is the racial slur that has been used in other contexts, so, for instance, Palestinians, the n—–s of the Middle East, the Irish, the n—–s of Europe.

    This is a term that has been generalized around the world. If you want to put somebody down, analogize them to the n—–.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Given the power of this particular word that we are discussing, the power of it to wound, what is the solution to that?

    RANDALL KENNEDY: I don’t think there is a solution, other than education.

    People ought to know that even if you are using the word without malevolence, even if you are attempting to use the word in an ironic way or as a term of endearment, there’s always the problem of mistake.

    So, I have gotten hundreds of e-mails over the years from white kids who say the following: I’m running around with my black friends, and we are listening to rap. Is it OK if I say n—– because we are shouting the lyrics of these rap songs?

    And I say to people often that it may very well be that you’re with your friend. It may very well be that you have no bad intentions. But if you are out in public, and especially if you are white, and you use this word, there is the problem of the person who’s right next to you who doesn’t know you at all, who doesn’t know what your intentions are, who doesn’t know about your friendship with your black buddy over here. But as soon as the word n—– comes out of your mouth, this person slaps you, or worse.

    Simple prudence would dictate that you use this term very carefully, if ever.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Some of these younger people using it are not using the full word. They are abbreviating it.

    RANDALL KENNEDY: There are some people who make a big distinction between n—a, which they say is OK, and n—–.

    Now, in my view, it’s important to know about that distinction, because some people put a lot of weight on it. I don’t.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, how should people who find it so offensive and who understand the hurt associated with it respond?

    RANDALL KENNEDY: What people should do is explain to their friends, to their neighbors how they feel when they confront the word n—– and why they feel the way they feel.

    So, a number of years ago, I was in a book store talking about my book “N—–.” And a man said to me: Professor, I have heard all that you have to say and, you know, your — all of your analysis about why it is that sometimes n—– should be tolerated. I have heard it, but I’m going tell you something. When I hear the word n—–, I remember when that word was used by people who wouldn’t allow me to vote and who put me at the back of the bus. And when I hear that word, that’s what I think about.

    That was very powerful.


    RANDALL KENNEDY: That was very powerful.

    And what I said to him was: Sir, I understand. I understand why you do not want to hear this word.

    And I think that people are going to have to talk with one another and share these stories and share these feelings. And I think that that’s the only way in which we are going to come to a higher, a deeper understanding of why people have the feelings they have with respect to this, the infamous N-word.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, Professor Randall Kennedy, I’m sure you’re going to get some reactions to this, but thank you for joining us and being as honest as you have been.

    RANDALL KENNEDY: Thank you.

    The post How the N-word became the ‘atomic bomb of racial slurs’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: You will probably be surprised to hear that hunger and homelessness is a growing problem for thousands of college students across the country, particularly among those who are the first in their families to pursue a degree.

    This is forcing some universities to figure out new ways of keeping low-income students in school.

    Jeffrey Brown has the story from the University of California, Berkeley, as part of our weekly education series Making the Grade.

    ANTHONY CARRASCO, Student, University of California, Berkeley: Oh, darn. These tortillas are not very good.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Every Sunday night, Anthony Carrasco prepares the food he will eat for the week ahead, setting himself a quota of one meal a day.

    ANTHONY CARRASCO: I can skip breakfast, skip lunch, and even skip dinner. And I have just saved myself close to $30 or $40. I, like many folks, come to college to get out of poverty. I really thought that was the end of the line when we got the admission letter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Anthony is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading public universities. And he’s the first in his family to attend college. It was hard to get in, and now hard to stay in, but maybe not for a reason many people have considered.

    ANTHONY CARRASCO: We were expecting long nights in the libraries and tough exams, but what we’re really facing is, you know, just, you know, sleepless nights worried about rent and really distracting lecture halls, when you just cannot stop thinking about food.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Today, almost a third of all students entering two- and four-year colleges are first-generation. They’re more likely to be minorities and come from low-income families. And by the estimate of one advocacy group, more than half of them lack reliable access to food. And that contributes to their lower graduation rates.

    Many years ago, I myself was a student here at Berkeley. I was fortunate enough to have the means so I could concentrate on my studies, my grades, and, yes, the fun side of college life. But more and more these days, many students find they have to worry about more basic needs, including food and shelter.

    A beautiful campus, world-class academics and now a new reality.

    WOMAN: Is there any stock on Friday?

    MAN: We’re going to restock on Friday, so everything is going to be here on Friday.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A campus food pantry, where twice a month students can stock up on staples. The University of California system has worked hard to bring in first-generation, low-income and what are called nontraditional students, such as veterans and those with families. But more work is required to help these students survive and graduate.

    RUBEN CANEDO, University of California Global Food Initiative: Twenty-five bags today.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Ruben Canedo is a first-generation graduate from Berkeley. He’s now a leading advocate for student food security, and oversees the campus food pantry.

    RUBEN CANEDO: What we’re doing on our campus is making sure that campus becomes basic need secure. You have the recession, you have the increasing cost of living, and students are caught in the middle of that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you see students falling through the cracks, I mean, having to leave school?

    RUBEN CANEDO: Absolutely. We definitely have students that said, you know what, at this moment, I can’t do this. And they left.

    And it wasn’t because of their academic challenges. It was because of the living cost of the area. They were saying, I can’t afford my rent and I can’t afford to eat. Therefore, I can’t stay here.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Berkeley, sitting in the midst of the notoriously expensive San Francisco Bay area, is among the most costly college towns in the country. Financial aid can cover tuition and books, but, sometimes, it’s not enough for rent or food.

    And for some students, there are barriers beyond money.

    TEJAE DUNNIVANT, Student, University of California, Berkeley: When you get here, you’re also coming into a higher level of academia that especially sometimes more nontraditional students are not used to.

    JEFFREY BROWN: TeJae Dunnivant is another first-generation student and a mother of five. After serving in the Army Reserve, she decided to earn a degree. But she’s struggled to catch up to her classmates.

    TEJAE DUNNIVANT: You’re reading all new material that you’re not familiar at all with. And so it takes a lot to be able to, you know, get that in.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Have you had times where you think you couldn’t get by, you might have to drop out of school?

    TEJAE DUNNIVANT: Yes. When I don’t understand exactly where to go to get the help, there are times like that. But now that I’m in my third year, I know where to go to get the help.

    JEFFREY BROWN: TeJae regularly meets advisers at Berkeley’s Educational Opportunities Program, a campus resource for disadvantaged students.

    YUKI BURTON, UC Berkeley Educational Opportunities Program: What’s going on? How’s the beginning of the semester been so far?

    TEJAE DUNNIVANT: It hasn’t been bad. I feel like I’m doing better at keeping up

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yuki Burton is another Berkeley graduate who now works to help those who followed.

    YUKI BURTON: I have students who are living day by day, again, in that surviving model and thinking about, how do I meet tomorrow’s need and tomorrow’s, and not thinking about my long-term wellness.

    Actually, just earlier this morning, a student who told me they are skipping meals, and they didn’t realize that they’d been skipping meals until they verbalized it with me in a session.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Having talked to so many students and worked with them, what separates those who make it from those who don’t?

    YUKI BURTON: Community and support. I think, to some folks, that sounds very trivial, right, like it’s not a concrete resource. But it’s really having a group of peers, of staff, of faculty who understand my story and who get it, that they don’t have to overexplain themselves.

    TAYLOR HARVEY, Student, University of California, Berkeley: The person that’s experiencing these things might be sitting next to you in class, and you might not even realize.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In her art class recently, Taylor Harvey told fellow students about her own plight. Taylor has worked since age 13 and spent parts of her youth in homeless shelters. She’s experienced tough times in college as well.

    TAYLOR HARVEY: I would stay in a homeless shelter, but it’s pretty unsafe for a young woman to stay in a homeless shelter. There are a number of students who sleep in their cars, because it’s cheaper, or sleep in university buildings, libraries, places that close at night, because it’s safer that way.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Taylor shares an apartment, for now, until school closes for holiday breaks or her financial aid is spent. And she’s now trying to raise awareness on campus of the homeless problem.

    TAYLOR HARVEY: We admit that we don’t know what the solution will be. But we know what our endgame is, and that’s to eliminate student homelessness, and to help first-generation college students stay in college and graduate.

    JEFFREY BROWN: This summer, the University of California system approved a new $3.3 million fund to help students access food on and off campus.

    The difficult situations many students find themselves in have forced Berkeley and other institutions to re-ask some basic questions.

    FABRIZIO MEJIA, UC Berkeley Student Equity and Success: If we are a public institution, what does it mean to educate the public? What does it mean to educate Californians? And what does it mean that education is an engine for social change?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Fabrizio Mejia is the assistant vice chancellor for student equity and success at Berkeley.

    FABRIZIO MEJIA: What it means for our institution, in particular, and the U.C. system is that we have to invest in the programs that are going to welcome the students in, that are going to get them through, that are going to get them to succeed at the level that we say is required for everybody across the board.

    JEFFREY BROWN: As more first-generation students pursue degrees, colleges and universities will have to address the challenges these students bring with them.

    From Berkeley, California, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

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    Author Paul Beatty poses for photographs during a photo-call in London. The author is the first American to win the prize in the award's 48-year history. Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

    Author Paul Beatty poses for photographs during a photo-call in London. The author is the first American to win the prize in the award’s 48-year history. Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

    Author Paul Beatty is the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for his book “The Sellout,” which satirizes racial politics in the U.S., announced today by this year’s judging panel.

    Beatty, 54, is the first American ever to win the award. The prize rules were expanded to allow writers of any nationality to be considered whose books were published in the U.K. Beatty’s satire beat out 155 competitors.

    Lead judge Amanda Foreman called “The Sellout” a “novel for our times,” whose humor “disguises a radical seriousness.”

    “Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl,” she added.

    The book’s African-American narrator seeks to resegregate a local school, among other controversial decisions, that skewers the country’s history of racism.

    A New York resident who was born in Los Angeles, Beatty told the NewsHour last year that the book, firstly, was criticizing himself.

    “I’m skewering things that I care about and things that are important to me and then just my own foibles,” he said, adding that the book explored the “absurdities in the way we talk about race, class, culture, education, politics.”

    [Watch Video]

    Beatty’s book “The Sellout” offers a satirical skewering of racial politics in America. Jeffrey Brown speaks with the author about not being afraid to say taboo things and the ways the U.S. is still segregated.

    Published last year, the book previously won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

    On top of a cash prize of 50,000 pounds, or more than $60,000, Beatty will receive a trophy and a special edition of his book. When Beatty was shortlisted before the final decision, he also received another $3,000.

    The post Paul Beatty wins Man Booker Prize with ‘The Sellout,’ a sendup of race in America appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Invited students attend an event to watch the televised U.S. presidential debate between Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan October 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Issei Kato  - RTX2PMTH

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The president of the United States is often called the leader of the free world. And with just two weeks left in the campaign, it can be relatively safely said that many eyes overseas are keeping close tabs on the race for the White House.

    Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant has been sampling opinion on his recent travels through Europe, and he sent us what he found.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: She’s playing chicken. Look, Putin…

    CHRIS WALLACE, Moderator: Wait, but…

    DONALD TRUMP: … from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

    DONALD TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

    HILLARY CLINTON: And it’s pretty clear…

    DONALD TRUMP: You’re the puppet.

    HILLARY CLINTON: It’s pretty clear…

    MALCOLM BRABANT: There’s little doubt that the world is watching the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with a combination of fascination and trepidation.

    In Greece, the land that invented democracy, hostility towards Germany has replaced anti-Americanism during the financial crisis. But in a nation that is Europe’s frontier with the Islamic world, leading foreign analyst Thanos Dokos is concerned about the possibility of a Trump presidency.

    THANOS DOKOS, Foreign Analyst: He will most likely be an isolationist president, which is never good news for the rest of the world.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: American-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq divided Europe. But one of George W. Bush’s staunchest allies in the coalition of the willing was Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He went on to become the NATO secretary-general. And he’s dismissive of this November’s Republican candidate.

    ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Former Prime Minister, Denmark: The American electorate have a choice between two very different candidates, one who made a clear statement that he doesn’t want the U.S. to be the world’s policeman, and another candidate who I know from four years of cooperation when she was secretary of state who has the will to lead the world.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: What do you think of her as a potential leader?

    ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: Well, seen from a foreign policy perspective, I have full confidence that she will be engaged, she will take the lead. And that’s necessary, because we know from experience that, if the United States retreats, or is perceived to retreat, it will leave behind a vacuum, and that vacuum will be filled by the bad guys.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: At the supposedly neutral United Nations in Geneva, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, has waded in with his take on the presidential contest.

    ZEID BIN RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: If Donald Trump is elected, on the basis of what he has said already, and unless that changes, I think it’s, without any doubt, that he would be dangerous, from an international point of view.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Russia’s relations with the United States have descended towards Cold War levels as a result of its aggression in Ukraine and devastating attacks in Syria on behalf of President Assad, not to mention American claims that Russia hacked the Democratic Party’s computer system and accusations that Moscow is interfering in the election.

    Donald Trump has said he could do business with Vladimir Putin, who was making conciliatory noises during this appearance.

    PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through translator): The American people will make the choice they consider necessary. No matter what the result is, we will work with any leader of the United States, whoever this president is, if, of course, the new U.S. leader wishes to work with our country.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But Putin said he was troubled by American reaction to allegations that Russia hacked Democratic Party e-mails.

    PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN (through translator): About a decade ago, they wouldn’t mention Russia at all. They would say it wasn’t even worth talking about Russia, because it is such a third-rate regional power and not interesting at all. Now Russia is problem number one in the entire election campaign. All they do is keep talking about us.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But Trump does have vocal European supporters, like Morten Uhrskov. Uhrskov heads Danish Unity, one of several new right-wing parties fighting for voters’ support. He dislikes Trump’s character, but supports his policies, despite the tycoon’s lack of foreign affairs experience.

    MORTEN UHRSKOV JENSEN, Party Leader, Danish Unity: He has said things there I don’t follow, like putting in doubt whether the Baltic countries should be defended. Of course they should, naturally. I’m a European. I’m concerned about Russia’s foreign policy, actually. So, yes, he has been incoherent, but bottom line is stop endless wars and use more on defense.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: But isn’t the key, though, to being the commander in chief the fact that you have got a character that is worthy of that position? And many people would say that he doesn’t actually have the character. You don’t like his character, so how can you support him when he’s supposed to be the leader of the free world?

    MORTEN UHRSKOV JENSEN: How could I support anyone other than Trump? I could not support Clinton, who wants to continue endless wars, as I said. And may I remind, he — you have Congress, you have the Supreme Court, you have the best advisers in the whole wide world.

    Yes, I know he’s inexperienced in foreign policy, but he will not be a dictator. It’s ridiculous when I hear people say he can press the nuclear button, things like that. It’s ridiculous.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Britain four months ago, as Brexit supporters celebrated an unexpected victory. Trump’s backers will be hoping that the U.S. will deliver a similar surprise result.

    NIGEL FARAGE, Former Party Leader, UKIP: If I was an American citizen, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me.


    MALCOLM BRABANT: The most influential foreign right-winger in Trump’s camp is Nigel Farage, former head of the U.K. Independence Party, UKIP, who convinced British voters to leave the European Union.

    NIGEL FARAGE: I think that you have a fantastic opportunity here with this campaign. You can go out, you can beat the pollsters, you can beat the commentators, you can beat Washington. And you will do it by doing what we did for Brexit in Britain.


    MALCOLM BRABANT: Greece is currently having a taste of an aggressive right-wing party. It’s called Golden Dawn. Here, one of its lawmakers lashed out at parliamentary opponent Liana Kanelli. Chain-smoking Kanelli has a reputation as one of Greece’s more colorful politicians, and she despairs of what America is becoming.

    LIANA KANELLI, Member of Parliament, Communist Party: I mean, what the hell is the personality of someone voting for him? And on the other hand, I think there must be a lot of men like Clinton in the states, that they would like to have a lady in their life like Hillary. She can absorb any marital or other problem.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: There’s a hoary old expression that, when America sneezes, people on this side of the Atlantic catch a cold. Many Europeans believe that the world was made a more dangerous place after George W. Bush’s military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Certainly, the current refugee crisis is seen as a partial legacy of those wars, because of the large numbers of Iraqis and Afghans seeking asylum alongside Syrians.

    Regardless of history’s judgment of Barack Obama’s presidency, there’s a popular view that his administration has done much to improve America’s international reputation. But the coming election has generated levels of apprehension not experienced for decades.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant in Copenhagen.

    The post What the world is thinking about the U.S. election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Arminda Murillo, 54, reads a leaflet on Obamacare at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, California, U.S. March 27, 2014.     REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo - RTX2PMAL

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And late today, The Washington Post reported that the Trump campaign has ended its joint fund-raising with the Republican Party. That could hurt the party’s get-out-the-vote efforts.

    And as we just heard, the state and fate of the health insurance law, or Obamacare, is front and center today. That’s because, as the new enrollment season for coverage is about to begin, the administration announced that premiums will rise by 25 percent on average for a benchmark mid-level plan through the federally run market.

    At the same time, choices are decreasing. One in five consumers will have a single insurer to choose from. It’s not a simple picture. Federal subsidies for most people getting coverage this way will increase.

    To help us understand more about it, and how this all plays into the campaign, I’m joined by two following this closely. Mary Agnes Carey covers the marketplace for Kaiser Health News, and Reid Wilson covering the politics of it for The Hill newspaper.

    We welcome you both.

    So, Mary Agnes, to you first.

    How many people are affected by this? What percent of the population overall?

    MARY AGNES CAREY, Kaiser Health News: Of all the people who buy health insurance, 5 percent buy on the ACA exchanges. Most of us get our coverage either through work or through the Medicaid program or the Medicare program.

    So it’s about 20 million people on the individual market. About two-thirds of those get marketplace plans. It’s important to them, of course, but you have to look at it in perspective with the overall numbers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And these are people who live across the country?

    MARY AGNES CAREY: Across the country, all 50 states. The federal government sells — of the health insurance exchange, there are plans are in about 38 states, and rest and the District of Columbia are state-run plans.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the range of — the percentage of increase differs from state to state?

    MARY AGNES CAREY: All over the place.

    For example, in Arizona, you had 116 percent increase in premiums, monthly premiums, $196 to $422. And we should say these are before the subsidies kick in. And these are premiums for a 27-year-old male. So we have to look at it from that perspective.

    Nebraska, we’re talking about a 51 percent increase. Ohio, a 2 percent increase. Massachusetts, actually a 3 percent decrease. So it’s really depending on where you live. If you live in an urban area or a rural area, that’s also going to affect the number of providers and the networks and that sort of thing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Reid, as we see, this is already having an effect on the presidential campaign. We heard Donald Trump a few minutes ago saying this is the end of Obamacare.

    REID WILSON, The Hill: And it’s played a role in Republican campaigns who are running for Senate and House seats around the country.

    In New Hampshire, Senator Kelly Ayotte is already up with an ad attacking Governor Maggie Hassan, one of the most watched Senate races in the country, over Governor Hassan’s support for the Affordable Care Act.

    What’s notable, though, is that the amount of advertising specifically around the Affordable Care Act is actually down significantly from earlier years. It’s almost as if public opinion on this matter has been baked in for the last five years — or six years really since it’s been debated. And there aren’t that many people who are willing to change their minds.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just because I know it’s complicated, Mary Agnes, but why has this happened?

    MARY AGNES CAREY: Well, it’s happened for a variety of reasons.

    Insurers may have gotten in early and underpriced their products to try to get more market share. And now they are going to have to even that out. We may have had — likely have had a lot of sicker people get in first. Everyone sort of knew that when they did the Affordable Care Act. The sickest people come first. They are the most expensive people.

    You also have an ability of some plans manage costs better than other plans. And so now we’re going to hear more about these things called narrow networks and other tightening of costs. And also some federal programs to help insurers balance out the cost of these really sick people, two of them are going away next year, and the other hasn’t necessarily worked as intended, so it’s sort of a combined effect.

    And different factors have a different effect depending on where you live.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So we talked to several people around the country affected by these rate increases.

    Let’s begin with a woman named Beth Plein. She lives in Maryland.

    BETH PLEIN: My name is Beth Plein. I’m 64. And I live in Cockeysville, Maryland.

    I am one of the small number of people who self-insures and doesn’t qualify for a subsidy, so my insurance premiums are very high, bordering on the unaffordable. I have actually tracked my insurance even in the years before the Affordable Care Act, and they were rising gradually, but after 2014, they were spiking dramatically.

    I started with a $548 premium. So I changed the plan, went down to a $411 premium with a higher deductible. And then next year, I don’t know what it will be. I can’t change it again, because this is the least expensive plan.

    I don’t know what can be done because it’s such a complex issue. At this point, you have to depend on the government to iron it out. So, hopefully, that’s what they will do.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mary Agnes, how typical is she?

    MARY AGNES CAREY: Well, we’re hearing more and more from these people who don’t qualify for a subsidy. It’s roughly in the ballpark of five to seven million people who are buying on the individual market or in the exchanges. They don’t qualify for a subsidy.

    And it’s really difficult, because while many people, something like 85 percent, of individuals on the exchange can get that subsidy that can help lower the premium, there are folks that don’t have that.

    And I received an e-mail this week from a small business person who said he felt like he had absolutely no hope for the Affordable Care Act for him to be able to afford the premiums. And, of course, we have this requirement for coverage.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Reid, we just heard her say, she said, I wish — she says it’s now up to the federal government to fix it. But what’s the likelihood that that can happen?

    REID WILSON: Well, the question really depends on what happens in November, two weeks from now, on Election Day.

    If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Democrats win the Senate, and Democrats win the House, well, there’s a real good shot that the Democrats will do something to repair the Affordable Care Act on a wholesale basis.

    But taking back the House is a really steep hurdle for Democrats, and we have seen Republicans in control of the House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act 50-plus times. This is — the Republicans in the House have been unwilling to even make technical corrections to the bill.

    So, unless there is some massive sea change within the Republican Party, which I don’t see happening, it’s going to be very difficult for even the smallest corrections to be made.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we also talked to a single mother with two children in Greensboro, North Carolina. This is one of the states where so many insurers have pulled out.

    NATALIE CUNNINGHAM: My name is Natalie Cunningham. I’m 30 years old. And I live in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    I have Coventry health insurance, where I pay just $9 a month. And the subsidy on it is $237. I recently found out that my insurer, Coventry, was not going to be part of the marketplace, Obamacare, anymore. And so now I’m at the point of, you know, OK, now I’m going to be switching to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but whether I will be able to afford it, because I don’t know how much the plans are going to go up, and they had already just about doubled at the end of 2015.

    Just going by what I can handle, because when you want to pick between buying school shoes or, you know, paying extra money into the health insurance plan, as a mother, sometimes, you have got to make those decisions and cut out the health insurance.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mary Agnes, why are so many insurers pulling out?

    MARY AGNES CAREY: Well, sometimes, they just didn’t make the money that they wanted to make or they have had a hard time managing the sicker folks who have come in initially, and trying balance out the risk pool.

    But what’s really interesting I think about this example is that it illustrates states where insurers are leaving the market causing some problems. She’s from North Carolina. In about — about 230,000 people in North Carolina are going to have a change with their plan because two or three insurers are dropping out.

    Alabama and South Carolina, there’s one insurer statewide. But one word of encouragement, if I could offer, is that her subsidy is going to increase as the plans increase in price. You mentioned this in your introduction.


    MARY AGNES CAREY: For that benchmark plan, that will also increase. So, she may find it not as unmanageable as she thinks.

    And, of course, for all of these consumers, getting on healthcare.gov, or your state-based exchange to shop, you might be able to go to a plan in that same category, whether it’s a silver or a bronze or gold or a platinum, and you might find something at a lower price that still works for you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that’s just going to take some time for them to figure it out.

    MARY AGNES CAREY: Absolutely.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, finally, let’s hear — this is a young woman who lives in Brooklyn. She happens to be healthy. She’s looking for an affordable policy.

    LAURA BRICKMAN: I’m Laura Brickman. I’m a 27-year-old who lives in Brooklyn, New York. I’m working as a freelance journalist doing video and print work.

    But, because it’s freelance, I don’t have an insurance plan through my employer. So, I’m currently uninsured. To me to buy a plan is a little bit frustrating, because I feel that I don’t use it personally, and the amount of money I would be spending on insurance is things that I could divert to non-health care issues, because I honestly don’t have many health care expenses.

    And so the chances of me really taking advantage of the plan are very low, I think. I don’t have any chronic health issues. The only thing I would use medical care for at this point is like a major medical emergency, which has not happened, fortunately.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Mary Agnes, this reminds us these tough choices for young people like her who know they do have to pay a fine if they’re not in the system.


    That’s really important to remember. For next year, it’s $695, or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater. And you have got to remember, even if you think, I can afford to pay that, you still don’t have health insurance, and you’re going to be on the hook if something happens to you.

    So there are some things that she can consider. There’s a catastrophic plan for people under 30. There are some other options. Again, you should really go to the marketplace and check it out to see if something works.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Reid, just finally, before we wrap this up, talk about what it is that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have said they want to do to either fix or adjust the Affordable Care Act.

    REID WILSON: Well, neither have offered a lot of specifics on the matter. Donald Trump has talked about allowing insurance plans to be purchased across state lines, which has been a staple of the Republican policy for quite a long time.

    Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has talked about the positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act, being able to stay on your parents’ insurance plan until you’re 26, some of the other positives that are broadly favorable, broadly popular across the country.

    But what’s clear is that the next president is going to have to deal with some kind of fix for the Affordable Care Act. The question is what will they be able to get through what is likely to be a divided Congress.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But the idea of unwinding it completely, which is what Donald Trump talks about, how practical?

    REID WILSON: That — just like Republicans going along with changes to the Affordable Care Act is unlikely for a Democratic president, unwinding the Affordable Care Act is going to be very unlikely for a Republican president, whether it Donald Trump or whoever comes next, because there is a significant Democratic presence in the Senate, and they’re able to block that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, this is a subject we have been talking about from the beginning of this campaign until right down to the end.

    Reid Wilson, Mary Agnes Carey, thank you both.


    The post How Obamacare premium hikes affect politics and your wallet appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump rallies with supporters at the Million Air Orlando airplane hangar in Sanford, Florida, U.S. October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX2QFHM

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Two weeks and counting. With 14 days to go, the presidential battleground is narrowing, and one state is emerging as critical to the result.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

    JOHN YANG: Today, the race for the White House seemed like a contest to be president of Florida. Donald Trump was spending his third day in that state, which he says is make-or-break.

    QUESTION: That is a must-win for you. Correct?

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: I believe Florida is a must-win, and I think we are winning it. I think we are winning it big.

    JOHN YANG: Public polls show that Trump and Hillary Clinton are in a close race in the state, which explains why they were just an hour’s drive apart. Clinton was making her case that Trump is unfit to be president.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: The first thing a president does is to take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. And I have serious doubts whether about Donald Trump even understands what that means. In America, we don’t say we’re going to keep you in suspense about whether we will respect the outcome of an election.

    JOHN YANG: Trump seized on the insurance premium spike in President Obama’s health care program.

    DONALD TRUMP: Obamacare is just blowing up. We’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, and I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare.

    JOHN YANG: Later, the manager of that Trump club said that most of the workers have company-provided insurance, not Obamacare. Clinton’s campaign spokeswoman rejected Trump’s call to repeal the health care law.

    As Trump questions the integrity of the election, the Justice Department said it be monitoring polling places around the country on Election Day. But their oversight will be curtailed this year because of the 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

    Meanwhile, Clinton scored another major endorsement today from a Cabinet secretary in a Republican administration. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he will be voting for her.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

    The post Prices rising, Trump rallies for Obamacare repeal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, U.S., October 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTX2QEQ0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. director of national intelligence voiced doubt today that North Korea will ever give up nuclear weapons. In a Washington speed, James Clapper said — quote — “The notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause. They are not going to do that.”

    The State Department quickly disputed his statement and insisted U.S. policy is both unchanged and realistic.

    JOHN KIRBY, State Department Spokesman: Our policy is to seek, to obtain a verifiable, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That is the policy. That is both the goal and what we want to see, and there’s a way to do that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama has repeatedly said the U.S. will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. But the communist state has stepped up its nuclear and ballistic missiles tests in recent months.

    Militants in Pakistan stormed a police academy overnight, killing at least 61 people. It happened in the southwestern city of Quetta. Most of the dead were police cadets and recruits. More than 120 others were wounded in one of the deadliest attacks on Pakistan’s security forces in recent years. Cadets told of being hunted down.

    ABDUL SATTAR, Police Cadet (through translator): Last night, we were getting ready to sleep when suddenly we heard sounds of gunfire, and the firing continued, volley after volley, two or three times. Then they entered the building and hurled grenades and kept firing. They looked under the beds, shone torches and fired on people under the beds.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, but so did a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban.

    The death rate for migrants crossing the Mediterranean has soared this year to three times last year’s rate. The U.N. Refugee Agency blames smugglers using flimsy inflatable rafts. It says the numbers trying to reach Europe have fallen dramatically. But despite that, the number of deaths is on track to top last year’s total.

    WILLIAM SPINDLER, Spokesman, UN High Commissioner for Refugees: At least 3,740 lives are reported lost, and we might see this figure rise in the next few days. And that is just short of the 3,771 deaths reported for the whole of 2015. This is by far the worst we ever have seen in the Mediterranean.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, in Northern France, workers today began dismantling a makeshift camp in Calais known as the Jungle. Some 6,300 migrants there are being relocated across France.

    Back in this country, the Pentagon ran into new criticism over demands that California National Guard troops return their enlistment bonuses. Audits have found nearly 10,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were overpaid in an effort to fill the ranks. Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted the National Guard suspend efforts to collect the bonuses until Congress can act.

    A federal judge in San Francisco has approved a record settlement in Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal. It’s worth nearly $15 billion. Under the terms, the company agrees to buy back 475,000 V.W.s and Audis or pay for repairs. So far, well over 330,000 owners have registered for the deal.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 53 points to close at 18169. The Nasdaq fell 26 and the S&P 500 slipped eight.

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    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a media briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX2K6ME

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a media briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 7, 2016. Photo by Joshua RobertsReuters

    WASHINGTON — A new fundraising email from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s political operation, over former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s signature, seeks money for Republican congressional candidates by calling the appeal “our very last chance to stop Pelosi and Hillary.”

    Indiana Republican Trey Hollingsworth says in one TV ad that he’s running for Congress to stop three Democrats — opponent Shelli Yoder, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — from imposing “higher taxes and government-run health care.” In another spot, the GOP-aligned Senate Leadership Fund attacks the Democratic Senate challenger in Missouri by saying, “It’s surprising how many ways Jason Kander is just like Hillary Clinton.”

    With polls showing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump facing a steep path to victory, GOP candidates are increasingly seeking voters’ support by saying they will check Clinton’s agenda.

    Some of the ads are being funded by a last-minute infusion of cash from the Senate Leadership Fund, a major super PAC focused on Senate races and run by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The group announced Tuesday it is spending $25 million for the final stretch in six key states: Indiana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Missouri.

    [Watch Video]

    The investment comes after public complaints from the Republican Party’s Senate committee that it faced being outspent badly by Democrats in the election’s final stretch. GOP outside groups are responding, including additional investments by the Chamber of Commerce.

    Republicans hope that a loathing for Clinton will drive voters to the polls who otherwise might stay home because of their aversion to Trump.

    Yet the value of the check-and-balance tactic is questioned by both parties’ strategists as voters express fatigue with gridlock and a desire that Washington address problems like the slow-growing economy.

    “The tightrope you walk is that assuming a Hillary win can potentially depress your base” voters’ turnout, said GOP pollster Jon McHenry. But he said with Clinton’s favorability ratings nearly as low as Trump’s, arguing you will prevent Clinton from getting “free rein” in Washington is “a potent argument for a lot of independents.”

    The tactic is popping up in spots around the country, among them:

    — A new ad by the American Action Network, which backs House Republicans, morphs a picture of Michigan Democratic House candidate Lon Johnson into Clinton and says both have “taken a fortune from special interests.” Another by the network that starts Wednesday calls Suzanna Shkreli, a Democratic candidate in a second Michigan district, “a rubberstamp for Washington insiders” as pictures are shown of Clinton and Pelosi.

    — In central California, the Congressional Leadership Fund supports GOP Rep. Jeff Denham by saying Democratic challenger Michael Eggman and Clinton back the dangerous nuclear arms pact with Iran, though “California families know they’re wrong.”

    — The National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign organization, says Democratic candidate Emily Cain “sides with Hillary, not with us” as she tries unseating freshman Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

    — An NRCC spot says first-term Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., “says he’s with us, but Clinton and Pelosi know he’s with them.”

    — And west Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd has an ad calling himself “the only candidate willing to stand up to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

    The reliance on the tactic comes with Republicans worried that a poor Trump showing could help Democrats capture a Senate majority and erode GOP House control.

    The email from Ryan’s political organization seeks contributions “to ensure the last line of defense for conservative values doesn’t fall into the clutches of Hillary.” After months of clashes, Ryan has refused to campaign for Trump and the presidential candidate has savaged the speaker on Twitter.

    Asked why Ryan was adopting the check-and-balance approach, spokesman Zack Roday said Ryan “is focused on beating Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, on Election Day” and “committed to preserving our congressional majorities.”

    GOP pollster Robert Blizzard said the tactic works best if tied to issues Republican voters find emotional, like boosting taxes or expanding President Barack Obama’s health care law. But he cautioned, “The easiest, most efficient, most effective way to defeat a Democratic candidate is to make that Democratic candidate unacceptable, unelectable.”

    Democrats say the tactic is flawed because it relies on two unlikely occurrences: Republicans repelled by Trump showing up to vote anyway, or people splitting their ticket between Clinton and a GOP congressional candidate.

    “The national tide is running very strongly against down-ballot Republicans,” said Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin. “They have to try to do something to change the national narrative of the election, even if it means throwing their nominee right under the bus.”

    AP Congressional Correspondent Erica Werner contributed to this report.

    The post As Trump falters, more Republicans say they’ll block Clinton appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Excessive drinking is responsible for one in ten U.S. deaths, the CDC found. Photo by Flickr user JOH_8513

    Women are catching up to men’s alcohol consumption, reserach suggests. Photo by Flickr user JOH_8513

    Women worldwide are catching up to men when it comes to alcohol consumption.

    Previous research has suggested that men are not only more likely than women to drink alcohol — they’re also more likely to abuse alcohol and to drink so much that they harm their health. But a new analysis published Monday in BMJ Open finds that gap could be narrowing.

    “Across the board, when we talk about any alcohol use, binge drinking, or alcohol-use disorder, generally males have a higher prevalence than females,” said study author Tim Slade of Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council.

    “But there’s a change in patterns of substance use — there’s a convergence between males and females,” Slade said.

    Slade and his colleagues culled data from 68 studies on alcohol use among men and women across the globe. The studies spanned from 1948 to 2014, running up a sample size of more than 4 million people. Many were longitudinal: 16 followed subjects for at least 20 years, while another five tracked subjects for at least 30 years.

    The researchers broke that data up into five-year increments to create birth cohorts. Then, they looked at three distinct data points: any alcohol use, problematic alcohol use like binge drinking, and prevalence of alcohol-related health problems.

    The gap between men and women on alcohol consumption — the question, do you drink at all? — shrank steadily over the last 70 years. Men born in the early 1900s were more than twice as likely to drink alcohol than women. Men born in the late 1900s are only slightly more likely to drink alcohol than women.

    The gap has also narrowed when it comes to the prevalence of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related health problems. That’s most evident among young adults, Slade said, which suggests health officials should keep tabs on today’s millennials as they age to monitor shifting alcohol use patterns.

    It’s not clear whether men are drinking less alcohol or women are drinking more, though some of the studies point to the latter. While the study wasn’t designed to evaluate what’s driving the shift, the researchers speculate that women’s changing roles over the past century might play a part.

    “It could be that increased participation in higher education and the work force came with increased pressure to drink,” Slade said. “It could be that women are under more strain or experiencing more stress. We’re not sure.”

    But the researchers agree on one takeaway of the new data: Public health campaigns to combat alcohol abuse should be designed to appeal to both men and women.

    “We can no longer think about alcohol-related problems as just problems for men,” Slade said.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Oct. 24, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Women are fast catching up to men in alcohol consumption — and abuse appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    One out of five children have a mental illness, and many schools do not adequately manage their needs.Photo by Alan Levine/Flickr.

    Some U.S. schools have canceled class on Election Day. Photo by Alan Levine/Flickr

    FALMOUTH, Maine — Rigged elections. Vigilante observers. Angry voters. The claims, threats and passions surrounding the presidential race have led communities around the U.S. to move polling places out of schools or cancel classes on Election Day.

    The fear is that the ugly rhetoric of the campaign could escalate into confrontations and even violence in school hallways, endangering students.

    “If anybody can sit there and say they don’t think this is a contentious election, then they aren’t paying much attention,” said Ed Tolan, police chief in this seaside community, which decided to call off classes on Election Day and put additional officers on duty Nov. 8.

    School officials already are on edge because of the shootings and threats that have become all too common. They point to the recent firebombing of a Republican Party office in one North Carolina county and the shooting-up of another with a BB gun as the type of trouble they fear on Election Day.

    Some of those anxieties have been stoked by Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election is rigged and his appeal to his supporters to stand guard against fraud at the polls. Some are worried about clashes between the self-appointed observers and voters.

    Parent Alpay Balkir said he is glad children will be home. His 8-year-old son is a student in Falmouth, where the high school doubles as a polling place.

    “If it’s going to be as chaotic as they say it’s going to be, it’s a good thing. Kids should stay out of it,” Balkir said. “I don’t know what the environment is going to be like.”

    [Watch Video]

    Schools are popular polling places because they have plenty of parking and are usually centrally located. It’s difficult to say how many school-based polling places have been moved this year, given how decentralized the voting process is across the country.

    But state and local officials say voting has been removed or classes have been canceled on Election Day at schools in Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

    “There is a concern, just like at a concert, sporting event or other public gathering, that we didn’t have 15 or 20 years ago. What if someone walks in a polling location with a backpack bomb or something?” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, co-chairman of the National Association of Secretaries of State election committee. “If that happens at a school, then that’s certainly concerning.”

    Despite the concerns, the National Association of Secretaries of State does not advocate having armed guards or police stationed at the polls because their presence could intimidate voters.

    Some of the pressure to close schools on Election Day or move voting is coming from parents. Sara Andriotis, a mother in the Easton, Pennsylvania, area, pushed for voting to be taken out of local schools.

    “We were mostly concerned because of the risk that it puts our children in,” she said.

    Easton Superintendent John Reinhart wanted to get voting out of schools altogether but was rebuffed by county election officials. So the school board canceled classes on Election Day.

    “If you take the personalities away and cast the emotion with the election aside, one has to ask the question: ‘Are our schools the best places for that activity to take place?'” he said. “I just think we’ve reached the point where we need to look at other locations.”

    That’s happening in Hall County, Nebraska, which got out ahead of the trend in May when it moved six polling places out of schools for a primary. Those changes will remain in place next month. Voting will be held at three churches and one community center.

    Election officials elsewhere say that schools are vital places for voting and that removing them as polling places creates logistical headaches and voter confusion.

    “We wouldn’t be able to conduct voting without them,” said Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association. She said voting in schools has not generally been a concern in Colorado but acknowledged there is likely to be more security this year.

    The post Fearing Election Day trouble, some U.S. schools cancel classes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    File photo of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

    U.s. Defense Secretary ordered the Pentagon to stop seeking repayments of enlistment bonuses. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

    BRUSSELS — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered the Pentagon to stop seeking repayments of enlistment bonuses given to California National Guard members who served overseas.

    His decision comes in the wake of angry reaction from members of Congress who demanded he relieve the burden on the Guard members. And the White House said President Barack Obama has warned the Defense Department not to “nickel and dime” service members who were victims of fraud by overzealous recruiters.

    In a statement issued during a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, Carter said effort to collect reimbursement should stop “as soon as is practical” and will continue until a process to help the troops deal with the problem is worked out.

    The post U.S. defense chief: Don’t seek repayment of enlistment bonuses appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity building at University of Virginia was the site of an alleged gang rape of a university student as described in a Dec. 2014 Rolling Stone article, which has since come under scrutiny. A police investigation, however, was unable to confirm the incident. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity building at University of Virginia was the site of an alleged gang rape of a university student as described in a Dec. 2014 Rolling Stone article, which has since been retracted. A police investigation was unable to confirm the incident. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    The former University of Virginia student at the center of a retracted Rolling Stone article said in a video shown in court Tuesday that she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, according to the Associated Press.

    The woman, called “Jackie” in the article, cited PTSD as the cause for not remembering details of her assault, which was described as a gang rape in the article by Sabrina Erdely. Police later found no evidence to establish Jackie’s story.

    The deposition video was shown as part of a defamation lawsuit brought by UVA administrator Nicole Eramo against Rolling Stone for the article that she claims cast her as the “chief villain.” Eramo is seeking $7.5 million.

    While the jury watched Jackie’s video, the media and public were only allowed to hear the audio, in which she repeatedly says “some of the details are foggy,” NBC 29 reported.

    “There have always been certain things I can’t remember and some things that I think I remember that I don’t know if I remember,” the Associated Press reported Jackie said in the video. “I stand by the account I gave to Rolling Stone. I believed it to be true at the time.”

    Jackie said she does not exactly remember what she told either Eramo or Sabrina Erdely in their interactions and felt pressured by Erdely to participate in the story.

    [Watch Video]

    Some of Jackie’s text messages were also read to the jury. In one message, Jackie told her friend that Erdely was on a “witch hunt” to find the man who attacked her and that she “never even fact checked things about that night with me.”

    Jackie also said she agreed to speak with Erdely on the basis that the article would not center on her rape and did not realize some of her first interview comments would be published, AP reported.

    “I was 20 years old and had no idea there was an off-the-record or an on-the-record,” said Jackie. “I was naive.”

    But according to NBC 29, Jackie sent Erdely a text message days after the article was published, saying, “I thought the article was really great … I’m still slightly overwhelmed but thank you for everything…I hope this will do a lot of good amidst all the insanity right now.”

    Jackie also said she had read part of Liz Securro’s 2011 book, “Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search for Justice,” NBC 29 reported. The story told in the book and Jackie’s story as reported in Rolling Stone have noticeable similarities, even by Securro, who was interviewed by ABC’s Amy Robach for 20/20 earlier this month.

    Erdely, the Rolling Stone reporter, testified before the court several days over the past week.

    On Saturday she recalled walking with Jackie past the fraternity house where Jackie said the gang rape occurred. Erdely said Jackie “broke down and had to leave,” NBC 29 reported.

    “I knew it was genuine,” Erdely testified.

    Two of Jackie’s friends mentioned in the article, Kathryn Hendley and Ryan Duffin, known as “Cindy” and “Randall” in the article, gave taped testimony on Monday, NBC 29 reported. Rolling Stone did not speak to either Hendley or Duffin for the article.

    “Jackie had a tendency to fabricate things,” Hendley said. She later added, “I understand what it was like to be lied to by Jackie.”

    Duffin said Jackie did not want to go to the police about her attack and spoke of “Haven Monahan,” a man Jackie claims took her to the fraternity house that night. Eramo’s lawyers found a Yahoo email account with the name created by Jackie, and believe she created the persona to pursue Duffin in a romantic relationship, NBC 29 reported.

    The trial is expected to last through the week.

    Eramo’s attorneys must prove Rolling Stone acted with “actual malice” in their writing, meaning they published what they knew was false, or with “reckless disregard” for the truth.

    The post ‘Jackie’ of retracted Rolling Stone story says PTSD fogged memory appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton attends a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton attends a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton appears on the cusp of a potentially commanding victory over Donald Trump, fueled by solid Democratic turnout in early voting, massive operational advantages and increasing enthusiasm among her supporters.

    A new Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday finds the Democratic nominee has grabbed significant advantages over her Republican rival with just 12 days left before Election Day. Among them: consolidating the support of her party and even winning some Republicans.

    “I’m going to pick Hillary at the top and pick Republican straight down the line,” said poll respondent William Goldstein, a 71-year-old from Long Island, New York, who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. “I can’t vote for Trump.”

    Overall, the poll shows Clinton leading Trump nationally by a staggering 14 percentage points among likely voters, 51-37. While that is one of her largest margins among recent national surveys, most show the former secretary of state with a substantial national lead over the billionaire businessman.

    The AP-GfK poll finds that Clinton has secured the support of 90 percent of likely Democratic voters, and also has the backing of 15 percent of more moderate Republicans. Just 79 percent of all Republicans surveyed say they are voting for their party’s nominee.

    With voting already underway in 37 states, Trump’s opportunities to overtake Clinton are quickly evaporating — and voters appear to know it. The AP-GfK poll found that 74 percent of likely voters believe Clinton will win, up from 63 percent in September.

    Troubles with President Barack Obama’s signature health care law have given Trump a late opening to warn voters against putting another Democrat in the White House. But even Republicans question whether the rising cost of insurance premiums is enough to overcome the damage the businessman has done to his standing with women and minorities.

    “Donald Trump has spent his entire campaign running against the groups he needs to expand his coalition,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who advised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s failed presidential campaign. Ayres called Trump’s campaign “strategically mindless.” Clinton’s team has overwhelmed Trump’s campaign in its effort to turn out voters.

    Even if Clinton’s support plummets in the contest’s closing days, or she’s unable to motivate strong turnout in her favor, it’s not clear that Trump could marshal the resources to take advantage and collect enough states to win the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House.

    Clinton’s team has overwhelmed Trump’s campaign in its effort to turn out voters.

    An Associated Press review of campaign finance filings finds that her campaign, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic parties in 12 states have more than three times as many paid employees as Trump’s campaign and the main Republican organizations supporting him. Clinton and Democrats had about 4,900 people on payroll in September, while Trump and Republicans had about 1,500.

    Both sides benefit from legions of volunteers knocking on doors and making phone calls to voters, as well as outside forces such as unions and super PACs pitching in on voter turnout operations. But key Republican groups such as the ones funded by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers are sitting out the presidential race because of their distaste for Trump, further extending Clinton’s likely advantage at getting out the vote.

    The strength of the Democratic turnout effort appears to be paying dividends in states where voting is underway. Nationwide, more than 12 million voters have already cast ballots, according to data compiled by the AP, a pace far quicker than 2012.

    In North Carolina, a must-win state for Trump, Democrats lead Republicans in early ballots, 47 percent to 29 percent. The Democrats hold an advantage even though turnout among blacks, a crucial voting bloc for Clinton in the state, is down compared to this point in 2012. Strategists in both parties attribute the lower black turnout in part to an early reduction in polling stations, though more sites are to open in the days leading up to Nov. 8.

    In Florida, a perennial battleground, Democrats have drawn even to Republicans in votes cast, reaching that milestone faster than in 2012. Traditionally, Republicans do well initially with mail-in ballots. But Democrats were able to keep it close, putting Clinton in position to run up the score during in-person voting.

    Clinton also appears to hold an edge in Nevada and Colorado based on early returns. David Flaherty, a Republican pollster based in Colorado, said the data signal “a Democrat wave in the making.”

    [Watch Video]

    With 15 days until Election Day, most polls show Hillary Clinton with a growing lead over Donald Trump, who is suggesting that the polls are rigged. Meanwhile, Clinton has shifted her campaign on focus on Senate races. Judy Woodruff speaks with Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report and NPR’s Tamara Keith about the election countdown, and how sexism has played a part in the election.

    Buoyed by support from white voters, Trump looks strong in Ohio, Iowa and Georgia, a Republican state where Clinton is trying to make inroads. But wins in those states would still leave him well short of the required 270 Electoral College votes.

    Trump’s top advisers have conceded in recent days the businessman is trailing Clinton. But they point to his large rallies and enthusiastic supporters as an indication he could be poised for an upset. Clinton draws smaller crowds to her events and has been perceived by some voters a lesser of two evils.

    “We have a couple of different paths to get to 270 and we’re actively pursuing them,” Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, told MSNBC on Monday.

    The AP-GfK poll suggests Clinton’s advantage is about more than just voter dislike for Trump. Clinton supporters are more likely than his backers to list their candidate’s leadership, qualifications for the presidency and positions on issues as major factors in their support.

    Although voters are still more likely to have an unfavorable than a favorable view of Clinton, her ratings have improved slightly in the past month. Forty-six percent of likely voters now say they have a favorable view of the former secretary of state, up from 42 percent in September. Just 34 percent of all likely voters have a favorable view of Trump.

    Trump’s unpopularity has opened surprising opportunities for Clinton as the White House race barrels toward its finish. Her campaign is actively competing for Arizona, a state that has voted for the Democrat in only one presidential race since 1952, and she is also spending money in Georgia, a reliably Republican state over the past two decades.

    Both states have been on Democrats’ wish lists in recent years given their increasingly favorable demographics, though the party had little expectation they might flip this year. Hispanics are a growing share of the Arizona electorate, while Georgia is on its way to becoming a majority-minority state.

    The real electoral map surprise this year is Utah, one of the most conservative states in the country. Utah’s heavily Mormon population has turned its back on Trump, providing an opening for third-party candidate and Utah native Evan McMullin to carry the state. Stripping Trump of six Electoral College votes Republicans have never had to worry about would further narrow his already slim path to victory.

    With so much appearing to lean in their favor heading into Election Day, the Clinton campaign’s biggest concern is that some supporters take victory for granted and don’t show up to vote.

    “Donald Trump said he could still win, and he could if our people get complacent,” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said.

    The AP-GfK Poll of 1,546 adults, including 1,212 likely voters, was conducted online Oct. 20-24, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 2.75 percentage points, and for likely voters is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

    Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t have access to the internet were provided access for free.

    Associated Press writers Hope Yen, Nicholas Riccardi, Thomas Beaumont and Chad Day contributed to this report.

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

    The post Clinton appears on cusp of commanding victory, poll finds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Sensitivity Warning: This report contains graphic images and symbols that are widely considered to represent hate speech.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The number of white nationalist groups has surged in the United States over the past couple of years. Experts say they have been energized by the divisive rhetoric of this year’s presidential campaign.

    The “NewsHour”‘s P.J. Tobia met with the leaders of one group and produced this report.

    And a warning: Some may find the imagery and symbols in this story disturbing.

    P.J. TOBIA: Late summer, in the hills of East Tennessee, a small group of white power activists hold a meeting. There’s merchandise, music, and a rewriting of history.

    MAN: Despite the mythology, Russian Jews were never oppressed in any way.

    P.J. TOBIA: Later, the group goes to a nearby town for a rally, in the center of it all, Matthew Heimbach.

    MATTHEW HEIMBACH, Traditionalist Worker Party: Because a white homeland shall be our homeland.

    P.J. TOBIA: Just 25 years old, the Southern Poverty Law Center has called Heimbach the face of a new generation of white nationalists.

    In 2015, he founded the Traditionalist Worker Party. They’re white separatists who want distinct homelands in the U.S. for whites and blacks. They want Jews out of the country entirely.

    Are you guys racists?

    MATTHEW HEIMBACH: The definition of racist is thrown around all the time in America, and it’s used almost exclusively just to determine any white people that want to be able to advocate for their best interests.

    P.J. TOBIA: But there were Nazis and all kinds of very strident anti-minority propaganda. Anyone with a Nazi symbol on them is going to be considered a racist, if not racially insensitive.

    MATTHEW HEIMBACH: And so our movement is moving towards being a European-style nationalist movement. And I respect all my comrades from other organizations. They might take a little bit of a different presentation than we do. And you can see what direction our movement is moving in. And I’m happy to be a part of that.

    P.J. TOBIA: This election season, Heimbach is supporting Donald Trump. In March, he was caught on tape shoving a young African-American woman as she was being escorted out of a Trump rally.

    When he’s not on the road preaching white nationalism, Heimbach lives here, the southern Indiana town of Paoli. Just steps from the town square, Heimbach moved his family to this two-acre plot. Matt Parrott, Heimbach’s friend and co-founder of the Traditionalist Worker Party, bought the land in a bank repossession.

    A handful of Heimbach’s other followers have joined them. Their plan? To build a community of like-minded separatists in this rural enclave.

    From the Ku Klux Klan to skinheads, white power groups are nothing new in the United States. But, in recent years, their numbers have grown, drawing disaffected whites who say they feel increasingly marginalized in America 2016.

    Heimbach sees overlap between Trump’s message and white nationalist ideology.

    MATTHEW HEIMBACH: He has shown us that the majority of everyday Americans support our sort of message. They’re tired of globalism, they’re tired of rampant capitalism, they’re tired of Wall Street being put first, instead of Main Street.

    P.J. TOBIA: At 34, Matt Parrott is one of the older members of Heimbach’s group. He’s lived in Paoli most of his life. He gave me a tour.

    MATT PARROTT, Traditionalist Worker Party: Everything’s winding up and closing down. All through here, you see business for sale, business for sale. Up there, that business is also for sale.

    When I was growing up, like, everybody’s dad worked in a factory. You would have the dad working in a factory and you would have the stay-at-home mom. And now both mom and dad are working some crappy service job that doesn’t pay benefits, oftentimes that’s just part-time.

    P.J. TOBIA: He blames this decline on global trade policies. Using a common anti-Semitic trope, he blames one group in particular.

    MATT PARROTT: The globalist trade and things like that are largely due to the global Jewish economic and banking interests.

    P.J. TOBIA: Parrott says that all of this has fueled both white nationalism and support for Trump.

    MATT PARROTT: He taps into a deep sense of foreboding in white America.

    P.J. TOBIA: Heimbach says this foreboding comes from new attitudes in America. Chief among his complaints? The increasing cultural currency of the Black Lives Matter movement and the notion of white privilege.

    MATTHEW HEIMBACH: I would dare anyone to go into the hollers of West Virginia, or Kentucky, or the communities that have been destroyed by globalism around this country, where the communities have literally been torn apart, and look in the eyes of white working-class men, women and children, and tell them that they have any power in this system whatsoever.

    CAROL ANDERSON, Emory University: Economic anxieties play into it. I think I would say that it’s more hyped than real.

    P.J. TOBIA: Carol Anderson is a professor at Emory University and the author of “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide.”

    CAROL ANDERSON: It is racism, pure, unabashed, unadulterated, as I say, USDA grade-A prime beef racism. Race is framing this discussion, even when it seems cloaked in language such as law and order or stop and frisk. That’s race.

    P.J. TOBIA: Race, combined with fear.

    CAROL ANDERSON: What we’re seeing is a fear in America that this America is becoming vastly more multicultural, vastly more diverse. It leads to a question about, what will happen to the resources of this nation, as they have to become more equitably shared and distributed based on merit, and not skin color?

    P.J. TOBIA: This is not just an American phenomenon. White nationalist groups have surged in Europe. Heimbach frequently meets with the leaders of European nationalist groups, like Greece’s Golden Dawn and the National Democratic Party in Germany. They all want immigrants kept out of their countries.

    MAN: You know what? Yes, make American great again, build a wall, kick these people out. This is my country. This all belongs to me.

    P.J. TOBIA: Trump has earned the endorsement of a number of prominent racists. Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke mentioned Trump in his announcement of a Senate run in Louisiana.

    DAVID DUKE: I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I have championed for years.

    P.J. TOBIA: In the run-up to the Iowa caucus, well-known white power writer Jared Taylor recorded this anti-Muslim immigrant robocall that went out to Iowa voters.

    JARED TAYLOR: We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.

    P.J. TOBIA: Hard statistics on white nationalist groups are difficult to come by. But the Southern Poverty Law Center says the number of hate groups in the U.S. increased by 14 percent last year.

    A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League said that anti-Semitic Twitter attacks on journalists spiked early this year. Words like Trump, nationalist and white appeared frequently in the bios of users publishing the tweets. White power Web site Stormfront sees a 30 percent to 40 percent increase in traffic when Trump makes news on immigration or Muslims, according to an interview with the site’s owner.

    Critics charge that Trump has been slow to reject the embrace of alt-right groups and racists, including David Duke’s endorsement. They also say Trump has echoed the language used by groups like Heimbach’s.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: This election will determine whether we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system. And our system is rigged. Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, and morally deformed.

    P.J. TOBIA: The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

    Heimbach and his followers say Trump’s rhetoric stops short of their ethnic ideology. Even if the candidate loses, they think this campaign has opened the door for what they hope will be a wider following.

    MATTHEW HEIMBACH: It’s about these ideas of nationalism, not globalism. That’s what we’re building towards. And Donald Trump is just introducing these ideas to a lot of new people. But we were here before, and we’re going to be here after.

    P.J. TOBIA: P.J. Tobia, “PBS NewsHour,” in Southern Indiana.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Online, we explore concerns about racial bias in policing and a decade-old FBI warning about white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post Why white nationalists hear a political ally in Donald Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Pentagon

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: But first: The Defense Department today tried to defuse a burgeoning controversy surrounding recruitment bonuses for soldiers.

    The Pentagon faced a mounting outcry for trying to recoup enlistment bonuses from thousands of California National Guard members. But Defense Secretary Ash Carter interrupted a visit today to NATO headquarters in Brussels to address the issue.

    ASHTON CARTER, Secretary of Defense: I have ordered the suspension of all efforts to collect reimbursement from affected California Guard members, and that suspension will continue until I’m satisfied that our process is working.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Over the weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported California Guard soldiers are being asked to repay bonuses of $15,000 or more. The payments were an effort to meet enlistment goals during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were intended for soldiers with skills in high demand, but recruiters doled them out improperly. Some of the soldiers say, it’s not their fault.

    SGT. 1ST CLASS BRYAN STROTHER, California National Guard: I had done everything that they had asked of me. These were promises that were made.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The push to take back the bonus money has also drawn angry reactions from Congress. Secretary Carter says he wants all the cases resolved by July 1.

    We take a closer look at this now with Los Angeles Times reporter David Cloud, who broke this story, and Sergeant 1st Class Robert Richmond. He reenlisted in the California National Guard in 2006 and received a $15,000 bonus, but then was told he needed to pay the money back.

    David, what’s happening now in terms of what the secretary of defense said today? What does his order do?

    DAVID CLOUD, The Los Angeles Times: Well, his order halts the recoupment of all of these cases right now, and sets up a process to essentially speed up the appeals process that many soldiers have gone through and have, you know, in a very frustrating way, you know, gone through years of efforts to try to get this recoupment stopped.

    So, the Pentagon is setting up a process to speed up those appeals.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: How did we get here? How did we get to the point that he had to say, stop this?

    DAVID CLOUD: It’s a long tale that really began in 2006, when the Guard and the Army as a whole needed troops to go to Iraq and to Afghanistan. So, they started paying large bonuses, and they started paying without a lot of controls.

    And, in fact, there was a fair amount of fraud in what was done. Soldiers didn’t know about that. They — most soldiers didn’t know about that. They took the money in good faith, completed their enlistments. And then, a decade later, they get a bill from the Pentagon or from the National Guard saying, you have got to pay us this money back. A lot of them are justifiably shocked.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert Richmond, you were one of those soldiers that had this happen to them. How much did this money mean to you when you got it? And, more important, what happened to you when you were requested to return it?

    SGT. 1ST CLASS ROBERT RICHMOND, U.S. Army Special Forces: Well, for me personally, the money meant something.

    For other soldiers, because I’m just one of many, it meant the world. These other soldiers, it probably was everything, that they relied on that bonus solely for this.

    For me, I partially relied on it. I had choices to go into the civilian sector, where I could earn a lot more money, even working as an adviser in a civilian capacity. But I asked if I was eligible for a bonus. They said I was eligible for $15,000 for six years.

    I knew for a fact that that enlistment would send me back to Iraq. However, it was enough. And with the camaraderie of being with my unit, it was enough for me to make the decision to go ahead and enlist for another six years.

    When they came back 10 years — you know, nine years later, actually, and said I have to pay this money back, I was in shock, in awe. And the more that it went on, I just felt betrayed. I felt it just — it lacked empathy.

    I felt like I was some sort of a criminal, and they’re — going to give it back right now, or they were going to ruin my life financially, turning me in. And it was very threatening.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: David, you said the government has already recouped, what, about $22 million of it. What happens to the people who have repaid sums of money that perhaps shouldn’t have?

    DAVID CLOUD: That’s a very good question and is one that will be difficult to untangle.

    There are soldiers I know, one in particular, who owed $46,000, and to pay that off, he and his family refinanced their home. So, they took steps that cost them money to pay off the money. To now go back and make them whole will not be an easy task.

    But it’s one that I think the Pentagon will look at. I mean, this has generated so much outrage in Congress and so much attention that I think people who, you know, did take the steps to pay the money back, even thinking that they didn’t really owe it, will in some sense be made whole.

    I’m not sure they will be made totally whole, but they will get some money back.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert, I see you shaking you head. One of the people that David spoke to in the story, she said, you know, go ahead, fine, take the money back, but give me my years back, too.

    Where does this leave you?

    SGT. 1ST CLASS ROBERT RICHMOND: Yes, it certainly won’t make me whole. You know, what I did in the military and what I did — you know, what happened to me, that — I signed a contract. I did that. That’s fine.

    If you gave me my $15,000 bonus back, that would hardly make me whole, because by — with what they did to me, they ruined my credit. They ruined my finances. I have so many financial losses as a result. And I’m just — I’m in the middle of the group.

    There are soldiers out there that have probably suffered so bad financially and emotionally that they will never be able to recover just by giving them their money back. It’s not even close.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: David, it seems — there seems to be some agreement right now in Congress to say, this is horrible. By coincidence, there’s an election two weeks out. And part of your reporting showed that Congress was notified about this a couple of years ago.

    DAVID CLOUD: Yes. That’s an interesting part of the story.

    I mean, when the story broke on Saturday, you know, in the days after, you had a lot of members of Congress putting out press releases expressing a lot of outrage about it, saying something needed to be done.

    As the story came out, it turned out the California Guard had gone to members of the California delegation two years earlier and asked them to pass a provision that would have helped allay some of these cases. The provision wasn’t passed at the time. Several members did initially propose it. It was dropped because it would have cost money.

    And this was a time when sequestration, across-the-board cuts in the military budget were happening. There was just a resistance to doing that sort of thing. So, nothing happened until it appeared in our newspaper.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert, you set up a petition online, and I’m assuming that even before that, you have been listening to and hearing from other soldiers.

    Give us a sense of how widespread this is. We are focusing on California right now, but there are National Guard members across the country.

    SGT. 1ST CLASS ROBERT RICHMOND: That’s absolutely right.

    When I first received my letter, I honestly thought I was the only one. And while I was calling people and asking questions, I came to find out there was nearly 17,000 soldiers affected, was the first number I heard. Then I heard it was 16,000 in California and at least 1,000 nationwide.

    Recently, by doing my petition, people write to me all the time because I have my contact information in there. I recently was reached out to by somebody from the actual Navy who is having the same issues.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Sergeant 1st Class Robert Richmond and David Cloud of The L.A. Times, thank you both for joining us tonight.

    DAVID CLOUD: Thank you.

    SGT. 1ST CLASS ROBERT RICHMOND: Thank you very much.

    The post How Pentagon efforts to claw back recruitment bonuses have affected soldiers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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