PBS NewsHour full episode August 19, 2019

By | August 31, 2019

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Good evening. I’m William
Brangham. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: power in numbers.
What’s next after more than a million demonstrators march through Hong Kong amid threats of a
military crackdown? Then, our Politics Monday team breaks down
the White House’s take on fears of a recession, gun safety legislation and the latest moves
from the Democratic primary trail. Plus: Community healing takes center stage
— how a work of theater is pulling back the curtain dividing police officers and people
of color. LESLI MONES, Co-Founder, The August Wilson
Red Door Project: We had one, you know, story on one side, and one story on another, the
police story and the story of people of color. And then we’re like, well, this is really
one story that needs to be connected. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: New York City has fired
the white police officer involved in the choke hold death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner,
back in 2014. Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” galvanized
a nationwide protest movement. Today, New York’s police commissioner said
Officer Daniel Pantaleo caused an irreversible tragedy. Garner’s daughter said the fight
for justice is far from over. They spoke at separate news conferences. JAMES O’NEILL, New York Police Commissioner:
The unintended consequence of Mr. Garner’s death must have a consequence of its own.
Therefore, I agree with the deputy commissioner of trials’ legal findings and recommendations.
It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police
officer. EMERALD GARNER, Daughter of Eric Garner: Eric
Garner was killed five years ago. It took five years for the officer to be fired. I
don’t want another Eric Garner. I will do everything in my power to never see another
Eric Garner. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In 2014, a grand jury refused
to indict Pantaleo on state criminal charges. And last month, the U.S. Justice Department
declined to charge him with federal civil rights violations. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a
new law today, prompted by police killing of minorities. The new standards allow deadly
force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent death or injury to an officer or
to bystanders. Law enforcement organizations backed the measure after winning concessions
on the law’s wording. Attorney General William Barr has removed
Hugh Hurwitz as acting director of the federal Bureau of Prisons. That follows the suicide
by Jeffrey Epstein at a federal detention center in New York. Epstein was being held
on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. Barr gave no reason for today’s move, but
he had complained of serious problems at the prison. In Afghanistan, attacks in the eastern part
of the country today wounded at least 66 people. Officials said at least 10 explosions struck
the city of Jalalabad. That followed Saturday night’s suicide bombing at a wedding in Kabul
that killed 63 and wounded nearly 200. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility
for the Kabul attack, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed revenge today in a televised
address. ASHRAF GHANI, President of Afghanistan (through
translator): Unfortunately, the enemies of our country are very cowardly and weak that
they carried out a brutal terrorist attack on a wedding party. They targeted a completely
civilian place and attacked our children and women. And in a brutal way, they shed the
blood of our countrymen. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All of this came as Afghanistan
today marked 100 years of independence from Britain. Airstrikes in Northwestern Syria struck a
Turkish military convoy today, fueling new tensions in the region. Syrian officials accused
the Turks of shipping guns to a rebel town in Idlib province, which is the last rebel
stronghold in Syria. Turkey said the convoy was bound for a Turkish outpost inside Syria. An Iranian supertanker sailed for Greece overnight,
after being held for a month in Gibraltar. The British territory had detained the tanker
for allegedly shipping oil to Syria, in violation of European sanctions. Iran denied any such
intention. U.S. officials wanted the vessel seized again, but Iran warned of heavy consequences
if that happened. The United States has flight-tested a medium-range
cruise missile for the first time in more than 30 years. It came two weeks after the
U.S. and Russia withdrew from a 1987 treaty that banned such weapons. The Pentagon says
Sunday’s test involved a Navy Tomahawk that carried a conventional warhead, flew 300 miles
and struck its target. Two Democratic members of Congress condemned
the Israeli government today for denying them entry. In her St. Paul, Minnesota, district,
Representative Ilhan Omar urged other lawmakers to go in their place. Michigan Representative
Rashida Tlaib tearfully explained why she refused to visit her Palestinian grandmother,
after being granted an exception. That exception came with strict limits on
any public statements. REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Through tears,
at 3:00 in the morning, we all decided as a family that I could not go until I was a
free American United States congresswoman coming there not only to see my grandmother,
but to talk to Palestinian and Israeli organizations that believed that my grandmother deserved
human dignity as much as anyone else does. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Israel says it barred official
visits by Omar and Tlaib over their support for the boycott Israel movement. Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir appeared
in a court today in Khartoum to face corruption charges. A police detective testified that
Bashir admitted receiving millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia over the years. Meanwhile,
the country’s military and pro-democracy leaders announced a new joint ruling council. In economic news, President Trump urged the
Federal Reserve today to cut interest rates by at least 1 percentage point. And Wall Street rallied, as tech and financial
stocks surged. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 249 points to close at 26135. The Nasdaq
rose 106 points, and the S&P 500 added 35. And in Paris, work to repair Notre Dame Cathedral
resumed for the first time in nearly a month. But this time, workers took protective measures
and wore disposable clothing to prevent lead contamination. Cleanup crews also scrubbed
nearby streets. The April fire at the medieval landmark melted hundreds of tons of toxic
lead. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: nearly two
million people take to the streets in Hong Kong — what’s next for the pro-democracy
push?; fears of lost medical care after Planned Parenthood is forced to give up millions of
dollars in funding; speaking with a survivor of child sexual abuse, as New York makes it
easier to prosecute offenders; and the crowded Democratic primary field battles, jostles
for political support and fund-raising dollars; plus, much more. Twitter and Facebook today announced the suspension
of more than 200,000 accounts. The companies believed they were linked to the Chinese government
and were allegedly spreading disinformation. That alleged social media influence campaign
was designed to tarnish Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement, which showed over the weekend
the power it wields in sheer numbers out on the streets. Special correspondent Bruce Harrison reports
from Hong Kong. BRUCE HARRISON: Despite weekend downpours,
it was the sea of umbrellas that flooded the streets of Hong Kong. Underneath, nearly two
million Hong Kongers in a sweeping show of force for democracy in the Chinese territory. The wave of demonstrators kept a relative
calm, a rare batch of protests absent of clashes with police. Hong Kongers welcomed the placid
change. MAN: This kind of demonstration is very useful,
because it is peaceful, and it is it will do no harm to others. It is a way to express
ourselves to the government. BRUCE HARRISON: The Hong Kong police sang
their praises, too. TSE CHUN-CHUNG, Chief Superintendent, Hong
Kong Police Public Relations: The protest that took place on Sunday shows, if protesters
are peaceful, rational and orderly, the police will not and have no reason to intervene.
Violence only begets violence. BRUCE HARRISON: But despite the despite the
momentary tranquility between demonstrators and Hong Kong authorities, Beijing escalated
its military presence this weekend in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong’s border with the mainland. And, today, China’s Foreign Ministry again
blasted the protest movement. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): It has been more than two months since the demonstrations and violent
criminal activities took place in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s legal system, social order, economy
and livelihood have all been seriously impacted. It turns out that the so-called democracy
and freedom without the rule of law and order will only lead to anarchy. BRUCE HARRISON: Yesterday, President Trump
warned that if mainland frustration were to become force in Hong Kong, it would jeopardize
a U.S. trade deal with Beijing. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
No, I think it’d be very hard to deal if they do violence. I think there’d be tremendous
political sentiment not to do something. So I hope, because I think we can end up doing
a very good deal. BRUCE HARRISON: Meanwhile, some Hong Kong
businesses are embracing the democracy movement, like this bakery, which is showing support
with traditional Chinese delicacy mooncakes, featuring pro-democracy slogans. Customers
think it’s a small way to support something bigger than themselves. SANDY LAM, Hong Kong (through translator):
We just want to fight for what Hong Kong people deserve. Our generation didn’t do our job,
and this caused a burden to the younger generation. I think young people now have a clear mind,
and they know exactly what they want. BRUCE HARRISON: But Beijing has its supporters
in the semiautonomous territories, too. Counterprotesters this weekend said they have had enough. YI WEI, Hong Kong (through translator): We
cannot tolerate this kind of action anymore. You can express your political opinion, but
you cannot put it into violence. You cannot affect other people’s normal life. It’s the
bottom line. BRUCE HARRISON: While there’s optimism Sunday’s
protest marks a turning point away from the often violent demonstrations, the peace here
is still very fragile. Protesters say the current detente provides
the government a rare window to answer their demands, but, if not, the street clashes may
return. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Bruce Harrison
in Hong Kong. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: While it can get lost amid
much of his larger agenda, President Trump and his administration have taken a number
of steps to restrict reproductive health care through the federal government. Planned Parenthood has been a central target. As Yamiche Alcindor tells us, new rules could
mean a big change in how much money it and other groups receive. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In the U.S., more than 1.5
million low-income women in the U.S. rely on Planned Parenthood for reproductive health
services. Many use the group’s clinics for birth control, pregnancy tests and STD screenings. But access to this care could be at risk.
Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion counseling are facing
a deadline to comply with new federal funding rules. In February, the Trump administration
announced the policy. It would bring important changes to what’s known as Title X, the government’s
only federal funding program dedicated to family planning for lower-income women. In order to get that funding, Planned Parenthood
and other groups will not be able to provide referrals for abortion services. The rule
led to fierce backlash, and then lawsuits, including from Planned Parenthood. The group
serves about 40 percent of the country’s four million Title X patients. While the decision is being appealed, Planned
Parenthood officials say they will pull out of the program. ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON, Acting President, Planned
Parenthood: We believe that the Trump administration is doing this as an attack on reproductive
health care and to keep providers like Planned Parenthood from serving our patients. We will
not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Nearly 4,000 clinics nationwide
received Title X funding in 2017. Later this year, a federal appellate court
is expected to hear the case. For some further insight on the potential
impact, we turn to Sarah Varney of Kaiser Health News. She has covered this for the
“NewsHour.” Sarah, thanks so much for being here. Millions of women are going to be impacted
by this new Title X rule. How might that affect access to abortion and access to other medical
services provided by Planned Parenthood and these other groups? SARAH VARNEY, Kaiser Health News: Well, as
you mentioned, Planned Parenthood provides medical care to about 40 percent of the four
million women who are in the Title X program. But the impact of this is likely to be much
greater. So today’s announcement really focused on Planned Parenthood withdrawing from the
Title X program, but a handful of other states have also announced that they’re going to
withdraw. So, Maine, Washington, Illinois, New York and Maryland have all said that,
rather than abide by these new rules that the Trump administration has put out, that
they will no longer accept Title X money as well. So the impact of this is going to be much
greater than just the women and some men who go to these Planned Parenthood clinics. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: You’re talking about the
impact. How might this new Title X rule also impact Planned Parenthood’s ability to operate
clinics across the country and patients seeking services? And how might these groups make up the money
that they’re going to lose from Title X? SARAH VARNEY: So, in terms of sources of funding,
Title X makes up about 19 percent of the budgets for Title X clinics overall. So you can imagine that’s going to be a pretty
significant loss. Planned Parenthood today on a conference call would not say how they
were planning on making up the money. It’s clear that, at least for the short-term, these
clinics are not going to close right away. Most likely, what you will see — I have been
talking to people who run these programs in different states around the country today,
and what they generally say is that women will start to pay more out of pocket when
they go to these clinics. So, right now, Title X is, by its nature,
designed to serve low-income women. There is a disproportionate number of women of color
who gets services at these clinics. So, in a sense, many of these clinics might start
charging them more to come see their physicians and nurses. Some of these clinics may be forced to lay
off medical staff. And so, therefore, the wait times for accessing these services will
be much larger. And we will also probably see a change in
the types of services that women are able to get. So one of the things that’s really
been interesting on the last couple years is, after Obamacare came into play, and it
mandated that birth control be a covered benefit, so you no longer had to pay a co-pay, many
more women started getting these long-acting birth control methods like IUDs, which historically
had been quite expensive. They can be up to $700. So we saw a lot of low-income women moving
on to these longer-acting methods of birth control, which are very effective, in some
cases almost 100 percent effective. So now you can imagine a woman going to a Title X
clinic. She no longer is going to be able to get that reduced price or free price for
an IUD. And then, at the same time, the clinic won’t
have the money that it needs to go out and stock those IUDs. So you’re going to end up
with a situation where many women will no longer be accessing these kinds of longer-term
birth control, which we know have reduced unintended pregnancies and teen pregnancies. We actually saw this play out in Texas a number
of years ago, where we did, in fact, see the unintended pregnancy rate go up. And, in fact,
the abortion rate went up there as well. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: What can you tell us about
how these groups with religious ties, how they might benefit from this new Title X rollback
from the Trump administration? SARAH VARNEY: Well, there’s one particular
group called the Obria Medical Group that is really positioning itself to take over
from Planned Parenthood and provide a national network of clinics in this new administration,
in this new era of women’s reproductive health care. It’s called the Obria Medical Group. And they
do not provide any type of birth control, with the exception of the fertility awareness
method, so no pills, no IUDs, and no condoms. They do, do STD testing, Pap smears, those
kinds of things, but they don’t do any type of birth control, traditional birth control,
or abortions. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And that group wants to
see itself as the new Planned Parenthood. Tell me about how this new Title X rule factors
into the broader agenda from the Trump administration to take on the access to abortions in Planned
Parenthood. SARAH VARNEY: Well, this is really part of
the Trump administration and particularly Vice President Mike Pence really making good
on a promise that they campaigned on, which was to really remake women’s reproductive
health care in the United States. So it’s not just about turning off the spigot
to access to abortion, but it’s really changing the types of birth control that women are
on, the types of education that children receive around birth control. So there’s been a big
shift towards abstinence funding. We have seen a number of additional religious
protections for medical workers. And we have also seen a rollback of an Obama era rule
that required that employers offer birth control to their employers. So this is really part of a much broader agenda
that this administration has been implementing ever since it took office. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thank you so much, Sarah
Varney of Kaiser Health News. SARAH VARNEY: Thank you. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: People who have been sexually
abused as children often find it takes years to come to grips with what they have endured. By then, more often than not, they’re blocked
from taking legal action against those responsible because of state laws that limit the time
when such lawsuits can be filed. But, as Lisa Desjardins reports, just last
week, New York became the latest of more than a dozen states to change those limits. LISA DESJARDINS: New York state’s new law
is particularly sweeping. Now individuals can file civil lawsuits over childhood sexual
abuse until they are 55 years old. The limit had been 23. It also allows anyone of any age one year
to file a case from the past in a so-called look-back window. This allows for a flood
of lawsuits, including against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and, in the case we
will discuss tonight, Rockefeller University in Manhattan. This year, the school acknowledged the late
Dr. Reginald Archibald sexually abused children in his care at the university’s hospital,
touching and fondling them for no medical reason. He often took photos of them naked. The number of children abused is potentially
in the thousands. Archibald worked in pediatrics for four decades, starting in 1940. He died
in 2007. Jennifer Freeman is an attorney with the Marsh
Law Firm, which is representing some 550 plaintiffs in these new lawsuits. One of those plaintiffs is Gail Coleman, who
saw Dr. Archibald several times as a child, starting in 1974, at age 11. Thank you, ladies. Jennifer, let me just start with you. This is a historic law. What is the potential
scope of this? And what could this mean for abuse survivors? JENNIFER FREEMAN, Attorney: This truly is
landmark legislation. And it means that anyone at any age can truly
come forward in this special look-back window and get their child sex abuse claims addressed. LISA DESJARDINS: What happens to them, though?
They still must go through the traditional procedure, is that right? The steps will go
through court. JENNIFER FREEMAN: That’s absolutely right.
You still have to prove your case, no matter what. And that involves telling your story.
That involves getting documents, such as, with the Catholic Church, the secret file,
or the Boy Scouts, the ineligible files, and the documents that Rockefeller University
has already identified. LISA DESJARDINS: Gail, what does this mean
for you, this opportunity? GAIL COLEMAN, Plaintiff: This means that finally
I can hold Rockefeller University accountable for its role in what happened to me. They left me alone with a pedophile. And even
their own investigators have found that people complained to them years before I walked through
that door. And they made a choice. They chose to protect Archibald, instead of protecting
me and the thousands of other children that he molested. And there need to be consequences
for that choice. LISA DESJARDINS: There was even a grand jury
case in 1960 against Dr. Archibald, and the university knew about it, still dismissed
it. One thing I notice about your lawsuit, some
of these plaintiffs prefer not to be named and used initials instead. But you were named.
And here you are in public. Why was it important for you to be fully named
and public about this? GAIL COLEMAN: I think it important for survivors
to come forward. So often, we don’t because we feel shame.
But we’re the victims. We didn’t — we don’t have anything to be ashamed about. The shame
really belongs with the people who molested us and with the institutions who let it happen. And I think, the more that people talk about
it, the more clear it becomes what the scope is. And that’s how we start protecting children
in the future. LISA DESJARDINS: And it takes so much to talk
about. I am really especially interested in this case, because I done think if has gotten
a lot of national attention. In New York, of course, it has made a lot
of headlines. But I’m curious, what do you think people should know about Dr. Archibald?
You called a monster when we were talking just before we started. GAIL COLEMAN: He was a monster. He abused the fact that we, that I — I was
a child. I was 11 years old. And he was a doctor. And he was a well-respected doctor.
And as a child especially, it is very hard. When a doctor is holding out what he is doing
as for medical purposes, it is hard to believe that it is not true, even if it doesn’t feel
right. He abused his position. LISA DESJARDINS: He left children often alone,
while telling parent there was someone else with you, and apparently lied to the parents
as well and the university. But the university did have some knowledge.
He has now passed away. He’s long since dead. What do you want to happen here? What do you
hope these lawsuits do? GAIL COLEMAN: I hope that these lawsuits will
hold Rockefeller University accountable. And I hope they do it in a way that is so consequential
that other institutions are going to have to take notice and are going to have to make
sure that they have policies and procedures in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen
to any other child on their watch. The other thing that I want from this lawsuit
is, he took pictures of me. And I want to find out what happened to them. Are they still
out there? Who has seen them? And are the negatives still out there? If they are, I
want them back. I just don’t know. And the fact that they may still be out there,
that is an ongoing revictimization for me. It means this isn’t just in the past, when
I was a child. It is still happening to me. LISA DESJARDINS: And this is the case for
hundreds, thousands of people that he saw. As we talk about what difference this could
make for children in the future, what kind of message this sends, Jennifer, this is a
man who passed away. Some of these institutions are facing possible bankruptcy because of
just the amount of lawsuits. Their — the insurers are worried about being
able to pay all these claims. What do you think this does? How does this protect children,
these lawsuits? JENNIFER FREEMAN: This will, as Gail said,
encourage or require the institutions to protect children, to make sure that they are not alone
with a child, to make sure that background checks are properly made, to make sure that
procedures are followed, and also make sure that people are just aware that these things
can happen. In any — unfortunately, in any youth-serving
organization, there has to be attention to this. LISA DESJARDINS: The idea is that, ultimately,
the financial consequences could be so enormous, that all the institutions need to take notice
of this problem. JENNIFER FREEMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. LISA DESJARDINS: I have a bigger question
about power. In all of these cases, we have seen institutions that have been venerated,
authority figures who are also venerated use that power to prey on children or to cover
up people who have preyed on children. How does this get at that culturally? Do you
have hopes that there could be cultural changes from this as well, Gail? GAIL COLEMAN: I do. I think that the more people who come forward
and the more clear it becomes how broad the scope of child abuse is, child sexual abuse,
hopefully, as society loudly condemns it, even children will feel more comfortable coming
forward, and they will feel that they will be believed. And, as I said, the shame, the embarrassment
is profound, but, hopefully, that will become less. LISA DESJARDINS: Has it started to become
less with this process? I know you are just a few days into this. But how is it feeling
even this week? This is something you probably didn’t imagine
could happen. GAIL COLEMAN: Well, that’s right. It has been
very helpful that, through this process, I have met other survivors. It’s been very helpful
to talk to them. And the other thing is, the more we are learning
about Rockefeller and what they knew and how early they knew it, I am just becoming angrier
and angrier. JENNIFER FREEMAN: It is true that, if they
had done the right thing as of 1960-’61, when the grand jury investigation was going on
— they had a grand jury subpoena. They should have taken notice. If they had
done that, approximately 90 percent of these victimizations would not have happened. LISA DESJARDINS: Jennifer Freeman, Gail, I
have to thank you both so much. It’s a very important conversation. Thank you for keeping
it on the national radar. GAIL COLEMAN: Thank you. JENNIFER FREEMAN: Thank you very much for
listening. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We turn now to the 2020
presidential campaign, where Democratic candidates who’ve struggled to break out of the crowded
field are trying to refocus their campaigns. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren today
publicly apologized for the first time for how she handled her own past claims to Native
American ancestry, that as she addressed a Native American presidential forum in Sioux
City, Iowa. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential
Candidate: I know that I have made mistakes. I am sorry for harm I have caused. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Elsewhere this weekend,
other candidates worked to reach minority voters. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was
in Hartsville, South Carolina: PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
South Carolina, you have got a thumb on the scale of presidential politics right now. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Three leading candidates
campaigned across the state this weekend, trying to shore up black support in this key
early voting state. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced
a sweeping, progressive criminal justice plan ahead of his weekend swing through South Carolina.
The Sanders plan ends cash bail and civil asset forfeiture, bans for-profit prisons,
abolishes the death penalty, legalizes marijuana, and creates a prisoners bill of rights, which
includes ending solitary confinement and guaranteeing felons the right to vote. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire: JULIAN CASTRO (D), Presidential Candidate:
I’m running for president because I believe we need a new vision with new leadership. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A handful of 2020 hopefuls
pitched themselves to first-in-the-nation voters at a Sunday picnic. For his part, President Trump made clear he
believes a possible economic downturn is the gravest threat to his reelection. Yesterday,
before leaving his New Jersey golf club, he downplayed those fears. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I don’t think we’re having a recession. We’re doing tremendously well. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And, today, he blamed Democrats
for stoking the concern, tweeting: “Democrats are trying to will the economy to be bad for
purposes of the 2020 election.” And that brings us to Politics Monday. I’m here with Tamara Keith from NPR. She also
co-hosts “The NPR Politics Podcast.” And Joshua Johnson, also from NPR, he’s the host of “1A.” Welcome to you both, Politics Monday. It’s
nice to have the public media gang around the table here. (LAUGHTER) JOSHUA JOHNSON, National Public Radio: The
way it should be. Power to public media. (LAUGHTER) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Joshua, let’s talk about
— we saw some of the leading candidates and what they were up to this past weekend. But there are still a dozen-plus candidates
who are trying to break out, to get their head above water, to get their name known. What do you make of the different efforts
that these candidates are trying out? JOSHUA JOHNSON: Well, it is kind of hard for
me to draw comparisons, because 2020 is going to be so different from 2016. You have got these debates, which have already
started to have a little bit of a built-in attrition effect, where fund-raising and individual
campaign contributions are going to play a factor. So we will see some attrition from
that, if people just aren’t able to marshal enough grassroots support. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Right. JOSHUA JOHNSON: Also, we’re in a different
calendar. Iowa, New Hampshire are typically important,
but California is part of Super Tuesday. And as a former San Franciscan, and I’m really
interested to see if people on the West Coast are able to say, uh-uh, we want to pull the
party in this direction, and blow the whole field up with one set of votes. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Right. That would be huge,
California. JOSHUA JOHNSON: It would be. And, also, the Democrats are trying to learn
the lesson of 2016 and make sure every single demographic that they have an inroads in shows
up to the polls. The last thing they want is to have a series of edge cases in 2020
that allowed Donald Trump to be reelected. So, part of it, it’s just retail stuff politics
of trying to get people to like me. And I think part of it is also just getting Democrats
to say, no matter who the nominee is, I will show up in November. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tam, we saw a couple of
big proposals out of Bernie and, to a lesser degree, Elizabeth Warren over the weekend. Again, issues — they seem to be wanting to
make this an issue-driven campaign. Is that really the strategy? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Certainly
for the primary. All the candidates — almost all of them have
a lot of plans. If even — you go to Andrew Yang’s Web site, he has, like, 100 different
proposals on different things. Elizabeth Warren, her campaign slogan is essentially she’s got
a plan for that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Right. TAMARA KEITH: Bernie Sanders, of course, had
this criminal justice plan that he came out with. And so, yes, this is a campaign where, in
the primary, they are talking about plans. But here’s the thing about the general election.
President Trump has shown virtually no interest in policy details at any point in his presidency,
and certainly in his campaign. So the idea that there could be a debate where
they would stand up there and really trade ideas… WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Hash the complexities of
climate change or something. TAMARA KEITH: It’s not going to happen that
way. But in terms of sending a signal about what
you care about in the Democratic primary field, a way to send a signal to voters that you
care, that you feel what they’re feeling is to have a plan for that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Joshua, one of the things
that the president seems to be signaling too is that he does seem to be nervous that an
economic downturn could imperil his chances. I think, at a rally last week, he said something
like, if you all don’t reelect me, the economy is going to go in the toilet. JOSHUA JOHNSON: Your 401(k)s are going to
go belly up. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Exactly. JOSHUA JOHNSON: Yes. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That is the axiom of politics,
that the economy determines who wins the presidency. Do you still believe that that’s true? JOSHUA JOHNSON: Well, kind of. It’s not just the economy. And I agree with
Kai Ryssdal that the stock market is not the economy. It’s the way that institutional investors
view the economy. I think it’s more about prosperity. Remember
what Donald Trump’s whole ethos, his whole image was in 2016: I’m a billionaire. I’m
a businessman. I know how to get stuff done. I’m going to make deals for the American people.
My prosperity becomes your prosperity. Make America great again. So, insofar as his base feels like it is yet
prosperous under a Trump administration and can continue to prosper, regardless of the
tariffs and the negotiations with China, everything else, he’s probably still OK. I think it has more to do with sentiment.
Abraham Lincoln once said, with public — with public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without
it, nothing can succeed. So, as long as the sentiment is there, as
long as the feeling that, we’re still going to be prosperous, yes, he tweets too much,
yes, I wish he wouldn’t spar with the media so much, but I’m still doing OK economically,
he may be just fine, despite all of these indicators. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Is that your sense about
this too, Tam? TAMARA KEITH: Yes, a lot of Trump voters I
talk to say that very thing. Like, he could tweet less. I don’t like some of the things
he says. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Soften the edges a little. TAMARA KEITH: But look at my 401(k). Well, if your 401(k) — if you looked at your
401(k) last Thursday, the same day that he had that rally that I covered, then you might
be a little bit concerned. And if there is really a recession coming
— and there’s no way at this very moment to know that — and at the moment there’s
historically low unemployment and all these other things — that is a real — a recession
is an incredibly hard thing to run on. And that is why he is concerned. That is why
a White House official told me that they are — the official didn’t say that this is why
they are doing it, but a White House official did say that they are considering other potential
tax cuts. And that — the reason the president is badgering
his own Fed chairman on Twitter demanding a rate cut and quantitative easing is because
the president is concerned about what a potential economic downturn, slowdown or recession could
do for his reelection chances. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I want to turn to the issue
of guns. We’re just two weeks after El Paso and Dayton.
In the immediate aftermath of those tragedies, as we have seen so many times, there was talk
of background checks and red flag laws, and let’s take those high-capacity magazines out
of circulation. But now it already seems, 14 days out, that
that talk is starting to dissipate. The president was asked about this just the
other day. Let’s take a listen to what he had to say. DONALD TRUMP: Congress is working on that.
They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things.
And we will see. I don’t want people to forget that this is
a mental health problem. But just remember this, big mental problem. And we do have a
lot of background checks right now. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Joshua, it seems like we’re
already moving to sort of sequester this as not an issue that we’re really going to worry
about, or talk about, or legislate anything about. JOSHUA JOHNSON: Well, this — we have come
to this before. I mean, remember the mass shooting in Las
Vegas, and we talked about banning bump stocks. There are also a few different factors here.
One is that the students from Parkland are not quiet about this at all. They’re still
working behind the scenes. So I think the grassroots piece of this may manifest. Two is the fact that there was such a strong
racially hateful component to the El Paso shooting, which brings up all these other
cultural fault lines that also have to do with the president and his rhetoric. So that
makes this a little bit hotter. The third one is the mental health component.
There’s no evidence to substantiate that people with any kind of mental health issue are more
likely to commit murder. And then, when we talk about mental health, where’s the threshold?
Are you talking about someone who’s been diagnosed, who’s being treated, who’s being medicated? For what medication? Are you going to screen
people beforehand? Does that mean they can buy certain kinds of guns? What kinds of guns?
Do you take the ones they have? I mean, I don’t talk about this much, but
I take medication for anxiety and depression and have since the beginning of the year. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Right. Should you be denied
access to a gun? JOSHUA JOHNSON: Right. Am I not allowed to
own a firearm because I take Klonopin and Wellbutrin? And then why? And then how do
I appeal it? It just — it begins to become a rabbit hole
that may have legitimate policy answers. But is that really where we want to go? And is
that where the debate falls apart? If you are a strong supporter of the Second
Amendment, is that the hole you want to end up in? Or do you want to focus on your right
to own a firearm? It just feels like it has the potential to degenerate into details,
and then everyone ignores gun violence again, until someone else dies. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Joshua Johnson, Tamara Keith,
thank you both. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. JOSHUA JOHNSON: You got it. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We began the show with the
Eric Garner case and the firing of a New York City police officer, which became a flash
point for larger issues involving law enforcement around the country. Portland, Oregon, has had its own history
with racial discrimination and tension with the police. There’s a new effort under way to address
those issues. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports on
a theater company’s attempt to change the city’s racial ecology through the arts, so
to speak. It’s part of our ongoing series on arts and
culture, Canvas. CAT WISE: On a recent morning, an old fire-station-turned-playhouse
was packed with theatergoers. But this wasn’t a typical theater crowd. It was a who’s-who
of Oregon law enforcement, police officers, FBI agents, district attorneys, and judges.
They were joined by prominent community and civil rights leaders. KEVIN JONES, Co-Founder, The August Wilson
Red Door Project: Thank you so much, all of you. I’m a little overwhelmed just by — just
looking out and seeing who is in the room. CAT WISE: Kevin Jones and his wife, Lesli
Mones, are the co-founders of The August Wilson Red Door Project, a Portland-based arts organization. KEVIN JONES: This is Bob or Robert Day, retired
deputy chief of the Portland Police Bureau and our partner in crime. (APPLAUSE) ROBERT DAY, Former Deputy Chief, Portland
Police Bureau: We really believe that there is some opportunity here and some work to
be done, both on behalf of the black community and on the criminal justice system. CAT WISE: Over the last few years, the three
have formed an unusual partnership to spark new conversations and ways of thinking about
race relations in Portland. And they’re using the stage to help bridge the divide. MAN: When you’re talking about issues of race,
you can’t just say that we all go through the same thing, because we don’t. MAN: Stopping you because you are black is
against the law. Hey, profiling is against the law. And are you saying — are you saying
I’m breaking the law? CAT WISE: The performance that day was a collection
of first-person monologues from two different plays. One is called “Hands Up.” It was written
by African-American playwrights about their life experiences and being racially profiled
by the police. MAN: They slammed me to the ground. One of
the officers had his foot on the back of my neck. Another other officer pointed a gun
to the back of my head and said, “Move one inch and I will blow your (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
head off!” Oh, I went into survival mode. I tried to
convince them I was one of the good ones. CAT WISE: The other play is called “Cop Out,”
and it too tells personal stories of police officers and the challenges they face at work
and when they take off the uniform. MAN: I used to think that nothing about being
a cop would shake me up. But when you arrive on scene and watch your partner pull an infant
out of a microwave because his meth head father couldn’t stop the kid from crying, your lens
gets colored. CAT WISE: We were there for the first time
the monologues were performed together. LESLI MONES, Co-Founder, The August Wilson
Red Door Project: We had one, you know, story on one side, and one story on another, the
police story and the story of people of color. And then we’re like, well, this is really
one story that needs to be connected. It’s where these stories intersect that is
the — I guess, for us, it’s the greatest chance of finding truth. KEVIN JONES: We’re not dividing the story
into two sides, right, the good guys and bad guys. On both sides, we have a group of people
who feel that their stories are not being told, that they’re being vilified, that they’re
being shunned, that — and nobody wants to really hear their story. CAT WISE: But those stories are being heard,
and they are powerful, poignant and at times painful. “Hands Up” was originally commissioned in
2014 by The New Black Fest theater group in New York, following the police shooting death
of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. MAN: I would like to start with a show of
solidarity. If you would all please raise your arms straight up in the air. CAT WISE: During a monologue called “How I
Feel,” the audience is asked to keep both hands raised during the entire performance. MAN: Hands up. MEN AND WOMEN: Don’t shoot. MAN: Hands up. MEN AND WOMEN: Don’t shoot. CAT WISE: More than 12,000 in the region have
seen “Hands Up” in the last few years. But the producers also wanted to tell the stories
of police officers. They contacted Deputy Chief Day, then head
of the police training division, and asked for his help. KEVIN JONES: His voice quivered. And he said
to us: “You could do that? Wow, that would be amazing.” CAT WISE: Playwrights from around the country,
many of them black, interviewed officers and wrote monologues about their experiences.
They also spent a day going through police training. LESLI MONES: They showed us what they face
day to day. And it changed me. I was blown away by the kinds of instantaneous decisions
they need to make. And I felt the vulnerability in what they do. WOMAN: The only reason I carry a gun is for
protection, primarily mine, sometimes yours, sometimes, in highly specific circumstances,
like an active shooter, or — no, that’s about it. (LAUGHTER) CAT WISE: For 66-year-old Jones, some of the
monologues hit close to home. He’s had more than 100 encounters with law enforcement,
ranging from being questioned to arrested. But he says his views of the police have evolved. KEVIN JONES: That was what was in the back
of my mind when I said to Bob Day three years ago that I want to tell you your story, because,
in your story, I’m going to find my story. I’m going to find the commonality. And then you know we will become closer, and
I will see you beyond your whiteness and you will see me beyond my blackness. And we will
be two human beings. CAT WISE: That newly forged human connection
has had a big impact. ROBERT DAY: It’s changed my life. My relationships
are different. My world view is different. CAT WISE: Day, who retired earlier this year,
spent nearly three decades with the police bureau. ROBERT DAY: We’re touching on sort of the
third rail conversations of race and policing. And I think they are conversations that are
happening in African-American families in homes and communities, and I know they’re
happening in police communities, because I have heard them, been a part of them, I have
seen them. But they’re not happening publicly, and they’re
not happening generally across with each other, because of the sort of high-voltage nature
of them. So, the theater allows us to put it all out there. We can speak what has been
left unsaid. ®MDNM¯
BRYANT BENTLEY, Actor: We get calls from newly settled white residents about suspicious behavior
all the time. We get there and see it’s an older black male, and he’s just walking to
his mailbox. CAT WISE: Actor Bryant Bentley understands
the complexities on both sides. He performs roles in “Hands Up” and “Cop Out.” And in
real life, he’s worked in law enforcement and has also been racially profiled by police. BRYANT BENTLEY: What I want is really for
everyone, put a mirror in your face, and have a self-check, do a self-checking, and really
ask some serious questions. And I know the hardest thing for someone,
even a black person to ask yourself is, am I a racist? CAT WISE: Those involved with the project
believe what they are doing may be a model for tackling other issues that divide Americans.
And they’re hoping to perform the combined monologues around the country starting later
this year. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Cat Wise in Portland,
Oregon. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And we will be back shortly. But, first, please take a moment to hear from
your local PBS station. (Break) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For those stations staying
with us, we want to bring you an encore from our Facebook series, “That Moment When.”
We know that humor often comes from pain, hard truths can sometimes be really funny
and for some comics, dark moments from their own lives can sometimes lead to laughter.
A few months ago, the comedian and writer, Patton Oswalt gave us a very intimate look
at grief and how he dealt with a terrible loss. We look back now at what Oswalt learned
from his young daughter after the sudden death of his wife. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: When you’re just starting
out as a comedian, what does it feel like, that stretch of time when you’re talking
and the audience is just looking at you like this? PATTON OSWALT: That stretch of time feels
like, for one, instant dehydration and dry mouth and then you start speeding up because
you think, well if I talk faster the time will go faster, but then now there’s way more
dead space on stage because you’re eating up your time quicker. When you get older and you’ve done it long
enough, you go for the punchline like a gun you’ve had hidden. But when you’re you’ve done it long enough you go for the
punchline like a gun that you have hidden, like, oh, wait till they, they don’t know
that I’m armed and I’m gonna get ‘em, but when you’re early on you are going for
that punchline like you are jumping into the darkness and hoping there’s a tree branch
there because you have not gotten to the point yet where you know exactly what’s funny
and what isn’t. But you can always tell a very young comedian
because a lot of their stuff is about, i’m going to point out what’s dumb about the
world, and here’s this dumb thing that happened, and I said something clever, and then as you
get older it becomes, Oh, God, listen to how I screwed this thing up. (music) STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Welcome to That Moment When.
I’m Steve Goldbloom. Patton Oswalt is a stand-up comedian, Emmy-Award
winning television writer, and the author of two best-selling books. His Latest project
for Hulu, Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K, features one of the most egomaniacal villains in the superhero
cannon. Oswalt was very gracious with us as he reflected
on his life. We spoke about his relationship with grief after the sudden death of his wife
in 2016, on raising their young daughter, and on finding love again. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: You lost your wife a few
years ago. PATTON OSWALT: Yea. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: When did you decide to talk
about it onstage? PATTON OSWALT: Michelle passed away on April
21, 2016. I think four or five months afterward, I was just, I didn’t know what else to do
with myself. I was so just functioning. I was just a series of tasks that I completed
everyday. That’s all I was, no personality, nothing. So I’m like, well the thing that I do is
I do standup. so I started going onstage and I started talking about it, and you know,
there were nights when I was trying to talk about it and couldn’t find what the humorous
angle was or how dare I even try to find the humorous angle, but then it went right back
to the basics of being an open-micer. Go on stage over and over and over again until you
can make this make sense. If I wasn’t a father to Alice, I feel pretty
strongly that I would have become an alcoholic or a drug addict after Michelle died. There
wouldn’t have been any point to take care of myself, to get up, but you know, I had
that little girl, so I’m like, I’m gonna take care of this little girl. That’s my
job. Watching Alice bounce back from her mom passing away, she has taught me it’s okay
to walk away from stuff that’s not working. Instead of sitting there and dwelling on it,
the seduction of depression tricks you into thinking this is the more comfortable way
to be. Don’t go out, don’t interact with people, safer inside, safer in the dark, cocoon
up, cover up. No, you know, that’s the lie. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: I’ve heard you describe
grief as something where it’s like, I’m waiting for you. I’m waiting for you just
when you’re ready to go out. And I’m wondering, how has your relationship with grief evolved? PATTON OSWALT: Grief is always depicted as
like clarifying vengeance. Like when you go through this horrible thing, you suddenly
start working out, becoming a warrior. It’s like no, grief is gaseous and bloated. It’s
not this dark antiheroic thing. It’s really sad. I think a lot of times, what leads people
to way darker places with grief and depression, is they think that, well, if I can’t get
rid of this, then what’s the point of living? Well, I think you have to sort of wink at
the darkness sometimes, and acknowledge that you have it inside of yourself. I just accept
that grief is there and depression is a thing that I have and if you can kinda go, okay,
you’re inside of me and you’re not getting out, and I’m clearly not getting rid of
you, so what do you need, depression? What do you need to get through the day? ‘Cause
I gotta do A through D, and if you don’t let me do those, then you’re not gonna be
able to go out in the world as much as you want. There’s gonna be a lot of things you’re
gonna have to live with, but you can find ways to trick it, wink at it, cajole it, fool
it into letting you live a fuller life. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Can you tell me when you
realized that you were ready to go on a new adventure and you know, commit yourself to
someone else? PATTON OSWALT: Weirdly enough, because my
wife passed away and then my friend’s sister passed away and then another writer friend
of mine passed away, like, there seemed to be all this death around me, and I was talking
to Susie Essman, and I was like, “Am I this avatar of death?” And then she went, “You’re
not that important, sweetie.” Like it kinda jolted me out of it. It was really freeing
to hear, you’re not that important. It’s not about you. It was almost a year later,
and my now-wife, Meredith Salenger, and I were both invited separately by a mutual friend
of ours to a dinner party. Last minute, I couldn’t go ‘cause I was traveling. Meredith,
who has, we have friends in common on Facebook, sent me a Facebook message saying, oh, you
missed some amazing lasagna last night, and I wrote back, eh, story of my life, and then
we just started messaging on Facebook. We didn’t even talk on the phone or meet for
three months, but every night, I would log on, and we would just start chatting back
and forth, back and forth, for hours a night. I had one of the things that I missed the
most about being with someone you love, which is someone to just talk to in the dark at
the end of the day, and so we very much fell in love with neither of us trying to fall
in love. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: What are things you do to
keep Michelle’s memory alive? PATTON OSWALT: My daughter said, “When your
mom dies, you’re the best memory of her. Everything you do is a memory of her.” I
don’t get so worried about, on the anniversary of her death or on her birthday, are we gonna
do something, because we do something every day. Every day that Alice draws something
cool or helps a friend or has a new adventure, that’s a memory and a tribute to her mom.
That’s it right there. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You can find all episodes
of this series on Facebook watch @ThatMomentWhenShow. (BREAK) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Now: A Detroit artist is
making beauty out of abandoned spaces. Special correspondent Mary Ellen Geist reports. It’s part of our Canvas series. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Scott Hocking wants to transform
Detroit’s empty spaces into something extraordinary. SCOTT HOCKING, Artist: A lot of the artworks
I do are playing with that idea of taking something you have a stereotype about or maybe
a stigma, transforming that into something else so that it becomes loftier. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Hocking has spent the last
two decades creating sculptures and site-specific works by salvaging industrial materials from
Detroit’s neighborhoods and using abandoned buildings as his canvas. SCOTT HOCKING: Early on, wasted material was
free, I was broke, but then later it just became clear that I wanted to use this material
because I really would like to try and change people’s thinking about things, and maybe
change their perspectives on what they think of as wasted material, and decay, and abandonment. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Hocking’s installations
look like ancient monuments or temples, and are closely tied to the creation, decline
and rediscovery of the city he has lived in his entire life. For his latest work, Hocking has transformed
an empty riverfront warehouse into an installation entitled Bone Black. SCOTT HOCKING: This place was built on the
river and the use of boats. There’s a phenomenon in Detroit which I have been photographing
for 20 years now, which is people take their boats that they can’t afford anymore, they
don’t want to deal with anymore, and they dump them. I call them shipwrecks. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Hocking moved 33 shipwrecks
into the warehouse, and the exhibition takes its name from a pigment made by charring animal
bones. SCOTT HOCKING: It’s probably one of Detroit’s
oldest industries that no one ever has heard of. MARY ELLEN GEIST: The warehouse, the boats
and the pigment combine to create an installation that gives a viewer the impression of standing
on the bottom of a body of water looking up at boats floating overhead. The materials from Bone Black will be transformed
one more time when the exhibition ends. SCOTT HOCKING: The thing that started these
kinds of projects is that they were dumped illegally and they’re trash. So, a huge part
of these kinds of projects for me is that, when everything is done, these boats will
all be properly disposed of. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Hocking says he knows he
will lose his ability to create large-scale installations as Detroit’s empty spaces are
developed. And that may be the next transformation in Scott Hocking’s work. SCOTT HOCKING: This time is about to go. I’m
not out of spaces yet. But there’s just not that many left like this now. MARY ELLEN GEIST: For the “PBS NewsHour,”
I’m Mary Ellen Geist in Detroit, Michigan. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And that’s the “NewsHour”
for tonight. I’m William Brangham. Thank you, and good night.

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