PBS NewsHour full episode November 25, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: Pro-democracy forces
in Hong Kong deliver a stunning rebuke to Beijing at the ballot box, as leaked documents
reveal the brainwashing faced by China’s imprisoned Uyghur Muslims. Then: questions of military justice. The U.S. secretary of the Navy is out after
the Pentagon and White House clash over the proper punishment for a Navy SEAL accused
of war crimes. Plus: aging Italy. As the country’s birth rate plummets, anxiety
soars and the era of the big Italian family comes to a crashing stop. ANGELO MAZZA, University of Catania: Eventually,
the population could extinguish. And when baby boomers will retire, you know,
you’re going to have a small amount of individuals taking care of a larger amount of the old
people. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: A federal judge in Washington has this evening ordered that President Trump’s former White House counsel Don McGahn must obey a congressional
subpoena and appear before lawmakers. He had been called to testify about the Mueller
report. The ruling late today also has implications
for Trump aides who have refused to testify at impeachment hearings. Separately, the chair of the U.S. House Intelligence
Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, said today that his panel will report soon after the
Thanksgiving recess. He said the evidence — quote — “conclusively
shows” that the president tried to force Ukraine to aid his reelection campaign. The president today defended his actions in
the Edward Gallagher case. The Navy SEAL was acquitted of murdering an
Islamic State militant, but convicted of posing for the photo — for a photo with the body. Last week, the president rejected forcing
Gallagher out of the SEALs. Instead, he will retire from the Navy. Today, meeting with Bulgaria’s prime minister,
Mr. Trump said he is sticking up for Gallagher and those like him. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
He was a great fighter. He was the — one of the ultimate fighters. Tough guy. These are not weak people. These are tough people. And we’re going to protect our war fighters. And I have been given a lot of thank yous. JUDY WOODRUFF: Amid the uproar, the secretary
of the Navy, Richard Spencer, was fired on Sunday. Today, his boss, the secretary of defense,
Mark Esper, accused Spencer of dealing secretly with the White House in the Gallagher matter. We will discuss all of this after the news
summary. The U.S. Supreme Court refused today to order
a new trial for a Baltimore man featured in the hit podcast serial. Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering an ex-girlfriend
in high school. He is serving now a life sentence. Syed’s lawyers had argued the podcast series
found new evidence that warranted a new trial. The high court rejected the appeal without
comment. A Chinese woman convicted of trespassing at
the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate will be released next week and deported. Yujing Zhang was sentenced today to eight
months in prison, but she’s already been jailed nearly that long. She illegally entered the Palm Beach resort
in March and lied to federal agents afterward. The head of Iran’s hard-line Revolutionary
Guard threatened the U.S. and others today over last week’s protests in his country. Hossein Salami accused the United States,
plus Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia, of fomenting demonstrations over a fuel tax hike. He spoke at a rally of tens of thousands of
government supporters in Tehran, and he warned that the regime will answer its enemies. MAJ. GEN. HOSSEIN SALAMI, Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Corps (through translator): Wait for our response. If you cross our red lines, we will destroy
you. We will not leave any move unanswered. We will not remain indebted to any superpower
and will settle scores with all of them. Just wait. JUDY WOODRUFF: Amnesty International says
that at least 140 people have died in a crackdown on these protests. Tehran has not given an official number. A grim new warning today on climate change. The World Meteorological Organization reports
that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached a new record. The U.N. agency says that concentrations of
carbon dioxide are 50 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution. The group’s head warns that current efforts
to reverse the trend are simply not enough. Russia’s athletes may be facing a four-year
ban over doping. They would have to compete as neutrals, including
at next year’s Summer Olympics. A committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency
made the recommendation today. It said that hundreds of positive drug tests
are missing from a Russian lab — from Russian lab data. A final decision is due next month. Back in this country, the newest entry into
the Democratic presidential race made his first campaign appearance. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
announced on Sunday. Today, the 77-year-old billionaire was in
Norfolk, Virginia. ®MDNM¯MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, Presidential Candidate:
I will be the only candidate in this race who isn’t going to take a penny from anyone
and will work for a dollar a year, just as I did for 12 years in New York City Hall. I have been using my resources for the things
that matter to me. I was lucky enough to build a successful company. It has been very successful, and I have used
all of it to give back to help America. JUDY WOODRUFF: Bloomberg becomes the 18th
candidate vying for the Democratic nomination for president. McDonald’s agreed today to pay $26 million
in a settlement with employees in California. A long-running class action lawsuit alleged
that the company denied overtime pay and timely breaks, among other things. Nearly 38,000 people would be compensated
if the settlement wins court approval. The ride-sharing giant Uber has lost its license
to operate in London for the second time in recent years. City officials said today that unauthorized
drivers got past Uber security and carried out thousands of rides. The company will appeal today’s decision. It says that facial recognition technology
is addressing the problem in Britain and in the U.S. Two major players in online stock trading
are joining forces. Charles Schwab announced today that it is
buying TD Ameritrade for $26 billion pending, federal approval. On Wall Street today, that buyout and hopes
for the China trade talks pushed stock higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 190
points to close at 28066. The Nasdaq rose 112 points. And the S&P 500 added 23. And a U.S. military dog named Conan got a
White House welcome today. The Belgian Malinois starred in the raid that
led to the death in Syria of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group. Today, President Trump presented the animal
that he called probably the world’s most famous dog. Conan was injured during the raid, but has
since recovered. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Hong Kong’s
protesters go to the polls — what does it mean for the pro-democracy movement?; the
military clashes with the president over an accused war criminal; Amy Walter and Tamara
Keith are here to break down the latest political headlines; plus, much more. After months of protests in Hong Kong, yesterday
brought an extraordinary rebuke of Chinese authority by Hong Kong’s voters in local elections,
and another startling revelation about Chinese government persecution of Uyghur Muslims. Amna Nawaz takes a look at both stories. AMNA NAWAZ: Newly elected pro-democracy legislators
walking today through debris from last week’s fiery clashes at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University. Sunday’s landslide election made clear the
grassroots protesters have the overwhelming support of Hong Kong voters. Pro-democracy forces won control of 17 of
18 district councils in the first election since the unrest began six months ago. LEE WING-TAT, Democratic Party Legislator:
It is a genuine referendum of the people in Hong Kong. The candidates from the Democratic government
allies won this election. Democratic Party hope our chief executive,
Mrs. Carrie Lam, receives the message, because the votes make a clear voice of the Hong Kong
people. AMNA NAWAZ: The increasingly-unpopular Lam
is backed by Beijing. She said in a statement that the government
will — quote — “seriously reflect on the results.” The district councils have little power, but
Hong Kongers calling for democracy say the outcome is a turning point. KELVIN WONG, Student (through translator):
I am happy about the election result. A victory in the district council election
is the first step for Hong Kong democracy. I am still reasonably optimistic about Hong
Kong’s future. AMNA NAWAZ: But, in Beijing, China’s communist
government insisted today that its one country/two systems policy remains firm. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): Stopping the violence and restoring order is the paramount task
for Hong Kong at the moment. Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s affair is purely China’s domestic
affair. The Chinese government’s resolution of protecting
China’s sovereignty, security, development and interests is firm. AMNA NAWAZ: Hong Kong activists say the election,
with record voter turnout exceeding 70 percent, was a resounding rejection of that policy. JOSHUA WONG, Pro-Democracy Activist: People
orderly and peacefully lining up outside the voting station early in the morning just because
they hope to get the vote, which represented we deserve democracy. AMNA NAWAZ: Meanwhile, in Washington, the
bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act awaits action on President Trump’s desk,
after easily passing both the House and Senate. The bill would impose sanctions on Hong Kong
officials who abuse human rights. But the president has suggested it could also
affect trade talks with China. Let’s explore the stakes in Hong Kong with
Susan Shirk. She’s the chair of the 21st Century China
Program at the University of California, San Diego. She returned from a trip to China this week. Susan, thank you very much for being with
us. I want to ask you about what we just saw. There’s now no doubt, we heard, about where
the public sentiment in Hong Kong lies. So, from the perspective of the Hong Kong
government and from the Chinese government in Beijing, how does this change the calculus
for what they do next? SUSAN SHIRK, University of California, San
Diego: Right before I came to the studio, the official media in China had not yet reported
the outcome of the election. They did finally report there was the election,
but they really haven’t reported the results. And there’s some indication from people on
the ground I have heard from that they have been talking to journalists, Chinese journalists,
who say that, in fact, the Chinese leadership was surprised by the outcome of the election,
and then they are now scrambling to figure out what to do about it. It’s really remarkable that, despite these
large-scale protests that have gone on for months, they still were surprised by the outcome
of the election. AMNA NAWAZ: So how do you think these election
results changed the dynamic? SUSAN SHIRK: If Carrie Lam resigns to kind
of take responsibility for the outcome, that might defuse the protests for a while, as
people wait and see what more Beijing will do to meet the other demands, including some
progress toward more direct elections. And, of course, if Carrie Lam has to be replaced,
then that also raises the issue of how you select the chief executive. AMNA NAWAZ: Susan, you heard in the piece
there some people were referring to this as a turning point. Do you believe that it could be that, this
could bring about some real change? SUSAN SHIRK: Well, you know, it’s a test of
Xi Jinping’s pragmatism. Is he really very dogmatic? Did he really believe his own propaganda? Did the internal channels from the liaison
office in Hong Kong actually, fearing to give him bad news, give him an unrealistic view
of what was happening in Hong Kong? If he’s pragmatic, then it to seems to me
he’s likely to do — try to find a way to respond to some of the protesters’ demands,
at least by getting rid of the very unpopular Carrie Lam. Really, this is kind of a fork in the road
for Xi Jinping. Is he going to double down on control and
indoctrination, or is he going to be flexible and give a little bit in the direction of
more direct democratic election of Hong Kong political leaders? AMNA NAWAZ: And, Susan, that is the latest
from Hong Kong, but I do want to get your take on a different topic we’re also covering
today. I would like to shift now to mainland China,
where leaked Communist Party documents show the internal workings of internment and reeducation
camps used to detain a million people. The China cables are the first official glimpse
into the structure and ideology behind these camps in Northwest China’s Xinjiang province,
where at least one million Muslim Uyghurs and members of other minority groups are detained
on industrial scale. The documents show that the Chinese government
officials designed the camps as brainwashing centers on a massive scale, with multiple
layers of security. Among the other revelations: Camp inmates
could be held indefinitely. Camps are run on a points system where inmates
earn credits for compliance. Weekly phone calls or monthly video calls
are the only contact allowed. And preventing escape is paramount. The Chinese foreign minister said documents
leaked earlier this month to The New York Times were fabricated. GENG SHUANG (through translator): They are
also sensationalizing these internal documents by using poor tactics, like taking them out
of context and grafting them onto another, to undermine and tarnish China’s efforts on
anti-terrorism and depolarization in Xinjiang. AMNA NAWAZ: Foreign affairs correspondent
Nick Schifrin sat down with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien over the weekend at
the Halifax Security Forum. ROBERT O’BRIEN, U.S. National Security Adviser:
We have over a million people in concentration examples in Xinjiang. I mean, that’s an outrage. President Xi has the power of writ in China. What he says goes. And those camps should be closed. They should be dismantled. But it’s not just the camps. It’s the surveillance infrastructure that’s
been built in the region. AMNA NAWAZ: Susan Shirk, as we reported, that
is the second trove of leaked documents to be published in just over a week, the previous
batch by The New York Times. Going through the documents, what do we learn
in terms of the involvement of President Xi Jinping in these camps and these efforts? SUSAN SHIRK: Well, The New York Times’ story
makes explicit that there’s no evidence, no statement in these documents that Xi Jinping
actually ordered the establishment of the camps. What he did is start a campaign to try to
crack down on terrorism in 2014, after a number of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and, of course,
terrorist attacks outside of China as well. And he — so, he launched this very harsh
campaign of indoctrination to try to undertake thought reform of Uyghurs and other ethnic
groups in Xinjiang. So, he himself — we don’t have the document
yet in which he ordered the camps, but, certainly, the establishment of the camps, which was
done by provincial officials — at least, that’s what the documents tell us — was a
response to this campaign launched by Xi Jinping. And what’s really remarkable about the campaign
is it shows that Xi Jinping still believes in this Maoist notion of thought reform. He really believes that this kind of intensive
brainwashing can change the way people think. AMNA NAWAZ: What does it say to you that these
documents are even being leaked at all, the fact that these are seeing the light of day? SUSAN SHIRK: Well, it shows that not everybody
in the Chinese bureaucracy and the party and government bureaucracy agrees with this very
heavy-handed, repressive police state approach to governing China. In fact, the documents, from the standpoint
of a China watcher, are really fascinating, because they show that some of the local officials
objected to this approach. And, in fact, some officials released people
from the camps because they wanted to make sure that they met their economic growth targets. And without the labor power, they weren’t
going to be able to do that. So I think, you know, from outside, China
looks so monolithic, but, in fact, I think there are a lot of different points of view,
and not everybody agrees with the direction Xi is taking the country. AMNA NAWAZ: That is Susan Shirk of the 21st
Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego. Thank you for being with us. SUSAN SHIRK: My pleasure. JUDY WOODRUFF: War and crimes, the two came
to a head this weekend with a divide between the military and the commander in chief. William Brangham has the story. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: At the center of all of
this is the case of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a highly decorated Navy SEAL. Previously, he was accused of murdering a
wounded ISIS militant in Iraq in 2017 and of shooting at civilians. A court-martial acquitted him on those charges,
but did convict him of posing in a photograph with the dead militant’s body. Gallagher was demoted for that. But the controversy since has been whether
the Navy should mete out any further punishment, like whether he should keep his status as
a Navy SEAL and keep the emblem of that force, a pin showing an eagle carrying a trident
and a musket. The president has routinely championed Gallagher
and said that he wouldn’t allow the Navy to punish Gallagher anymore. And then, last night, the secretary of the
Navy, Richard Spencer, was forced out of his post by the secretary of defense, Mark Esper,
over his handling of Gallagher’s case. Here to walk us through this controversy is
Nancy Youssef. She’s a national security correspondent for
The Wall Street Journal. Welcome back to the “NewsHour.” NANCY YOUSSEF, The Wall Street Journal: Great
to be with you. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Gallagher’s case is over,
but then Rear Admiral Green, who oversees the Navy SEALs, decides he wants to have Gallagher
out of the service. He doesn’t want him to be a SEAL anymore. Pick up the story from there. NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, he wants is to say that
the military should review whether Chief Gallagher should have the distinction and the honor
of being called a Navy SEAL after this case. And so he calls for a review board. And that’s where peers come forward, look
at the case, and decide whether he should be able to keep something called the trident
pin, which sort of signifies publicly and on your uniform that you’re a member of one
of the most elite forces in the United States military. And I think that’s what Admiral Green was
trying to get at with this review process. And that, after the fact that the president
had restored his rank and brought back his pay, was sort of the last outstanding issue
vis-a-vis this case. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And so then how did — explain
the process by which the secretary of the Navy is out. NANCY YOUSSEF: And so what happened was, there
was really concern within the United States military leadership about the prospect of
restoring Chief Gallagher’s rank and pardoning two other service members who are also accused
of committing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The feeling was that, once you did that, and
had an outside intervention, it potentially undid the — or threatened the sanctity of
sort of good order and discipline that is so critical to the military. And the other fear was that if the U.S. didn’t
prosecute those accused of killing civilians in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, it would
send a negative message to key partners. And so he was pardoned — excuse me — he
was — his rank restored. And Secretary Spencer was among those who
was really against the outside intervention. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So the Navy secretary is
pushed out by the secretary of defense. And in his letter sort of acknowledging resignation,
he says this — quote — “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates
the sacred oath I took.” But the secretary of defense’s problem, it
seems, with the secretary of the Navy was something other. It was about a back channel he was doing with
the White House. Can you explain that? NANCY YOUSSEF: Sure. So, the secretary of defense, Mark Esper,
came out today and said that the U.S. military leadership had agreed that they would allow
the process over his trident pin to proceed, and that he learned two days ago that Secretary
Spencer had tried to come up with a back-channel deal in which the — Chief Gallagher would
be allowed to keep his pin, regardless of the findings of the panel. And Secretary Esper said that he lost confidence
in Secretary Spencer because he was usurping the existing process. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And in the middle of all
of this, of course, then Eddie Gallagher goes on FOX News, which has been his champion all
along and championed his case from when he was back in the brig, all the way through
to his court-martial. NANCY YOUSSEF: That’s right. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And Gallagher is kind of
remarkably very, very critical of some of his superiors. Let’s take a listen to what he said. CHIEF PETTY OFFICER EDWARD GALLAGHER, U.S.
Navy SEAL: This is all about ego and retaliation. This has nothing to do with good order and
discipline. They could have taken my trident at any — any
time they wanted. Now they’re trying to take it after the president
restored my rank. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Later, in that same interview,
he went on to specifically, by name, criticize his superior officer, Rear Admiral Green. I mean, again, for people who don’t appreciate
this, how unusual is it for a sailor to say those things about his commanding officer? NANCY YOUSSEF: It’s extraordinarily unusual,
because there’s a chain of command, and you’re not allowed to criticize your superiors in
a one-on-one setting within your company, your unit, and let alone on FOX News. But I think it really gets at how much this
case depended on him behind becoming a cause celebre on FOX News. Sean Hannity had taken a personal interest
in — but for that, it’s not clear that this case would have gotten the kind of attention
that it did. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lastly, what are you hearing
amongst the military community more broadly about this particular case? Does this have a lasting impact, or is this
just a one-and-done? NANCY YOUSSEF: No, I think it does have a
lasting impact. Like most things around this case, it’s become
very polarized. You hear people look at Chief Gallagher as
either a war hero or a war criminal. You hear about concerns about the enduring
impact of what happens when the military justice system can be undone with outside intervention. There are concerns that perhaps other service
members will come forward and ask for an outside intervention and seek to undo the rulings
of the military court system. And so there’s a real wait-and-see approach
in terms of what the after-effects are, the second- and third-order effects. There’s an expectation that they will happen. And yet there are those who think that this
was the president’s prerogative, his right to do, and all falls within the proper chain
of command. And so, like most things around this case,
it has led to really polarized reactions even within the Pentagon. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nancy Youssef of The Wall
Street Journal, thank you so much. NANCY YOUSSEF: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: Italy’s birth
rate falls to historic lows — is this the end of the big Italian family?; on the “NewsHour”
Bookshelf, “The American Story: Conversations With Master Historians”; and how art can help
fight the isolation of Alzheimer’s. Will the latest entrant to the crowded race
for the Democratic presidential nomination shake up the standings, as the impeachment
marches ahead? Our Politics Monday duo are here to examine
it all, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and host of public radio’s “Politics With
Amy Walter” and Tamara Keith from NPR. She co-hosts the “NPR Politics Podcast.” Hello to both of you. So we have a little bit of news this evening
on the impeachment, the tug of war between the president and the Congress. And that is, a federal district judge ruled
the president’s former legal counsel Don McGahn should, must testify before lawmakers, before
the Congress. We assume there will be an appeal, Tam, but
this could set a precedent for other White House and administration officials to be required
to go testify before the Congress. We don’t know. We haven’t heard what the Intelligence Committee
report is. We know the Judiciary Committee is next. But all this raises, again, the question of
the public’s perception of this and where do we go. So, Amy, to you. What are we seeing in terms of the needle
moving at all in how the public is reading this? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: So,
we have had two weeks of hearings, which produced a lot of fireworks and a lot of coverage,
but it really hasn’t produced a lot of movement in the polls. We’re basically where we have been since,
well, October, basically, since before these hearings began. If you go and you look, FiveThirtyEight.com
has a great tracking measurement of all the polling that’s been done on the issue of impeachment. And if you go back to the day before the public
hearings began, support for impeachment was at 48 percent; 45 percent said they didn’t
prove approve of impeachment. Today, it’s 46-46, which is essentially, in
the world of numbers, very little movement to just sort of statistical around the edges. So what we’re seeing, I think it’s folks that
— who are already deeply engaged, who are paying attention to this are paying attention
to it because they were already sort of committed to whatever outcome they would like to see. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Tam, how much does this
matter to members of the House of Representatives, who are back in their districts, presumably,
this week, maybe heading toward a momentous vote? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Yes. I mean, if they are hearing about it from
their constituents, then that could affect behavior. But what we saw right before they left town
is someone like Will Hurd. He’s a congressman, R retiring, is what I
like to say, Republican retiring, has sort of the freedom of a retiring Republican. And he’s always been sort of more moderate
and also has been fairly outspoken about his concerns with President Trump. As the hearings were winding down last week,
he came out. He’s on the Intelligence Committee. And he said that he wasn’t persuaded that
this was impeachable, certainly proper, but not impeachable. If Will Hurd is there, then Republican Congress
— members of Congress are not feeling pressure. Another example is Elise Stefanik, who at
times has charted a more moderate course. She was closely allied with Paul Ryan, who
had his issues with President Trump. Well, she became a star for the hearing for
sort of pushing President Trump’s viewpoint and position in those hearings. So these are two public examples of Republican
members of Congress who are not persuaded. And if House members, if these sorts of Republicans
are not tempted to vote against the president, then there’s no way that senators are going
to feel pressure. JUDY WOODRUFF: Quickly, it just looks like
the two sides are far — growing farther apart. AMY WALTER: Growing farther apart, or maybe
they are just feeling more committed to their position or just as committed as they were
before this began. The Republicans, though, who should be concerned,
and probably are concerned right now, are in the Senate, on the Senate side, where you
have Republicans up for reelection in blue states like Colorado and Maine and increasingly
purple Arizona. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we will see. And they’d come into play after the House
voted on impeachment. AMY WALTER: Absolutely. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, to the 2020 Democratic
race. We have a new entrant as of this weekend. He is none other than the former Mayor of
New York City Michael Bloomberg. And he’s out with a splash, Tam, $31 million
in ads across the country. Here’s an excerpt of the first ad they’re
running. NARRATOR: And now he’s taking on him to rebuild
the country and restore faith in the dream that defines us, where the wealthy will pay
more in taxes and the middle class get their fair share. Everyone without health insurance can get
it, and everyone who likes theirs keep it, and where jobs won’t just help you get by,
but get ahead. And on all those things, Mike Bloomberg intends
to make good. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Tam, they’re running that
ad — that’s just a short version of it — in something like 46 of the 50 states. We have got a map here. Every state that’s yellow on that map, they’re
running. TAMARA KEITH: That’s the whole country. JUDY WOODRUFF: And spending 2-plus million
in New York City alone, $1.6 million, I think, in Los Angeles alone. This is $1.9 million. I’m sorry. This is huge. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. So, this is going to test some things, some
ideas in politics. One idea in politics that emerged after President
Trump won with far less money than Hillary Clinton was, oh, well, maybe money doesn’t
matter. I guess we will find out whether money matters,
because he is in the process of trying to buy some love and attention. The other question, though, is, traditionally,
you can’t skip the first few states and think that you’re going to somehow have momentum
after that. Ronna McDaniel, who is the chair of the RNC,
the other day was saying that people who plant their flag in states after those first few
states often find that momentum overtakes them. JUDY WOODRUFF: He’s counting, Amy, on money
overcoming a lot of this. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Right. He’s counting on a couple of things. It’s really good that you pointed out Donald
Trump, because he also went against conventional thinking, because even in the primaries, he
didn’t spend that much money. He was counting on his name I.D. and his ability
to dominate the media landscape, right? Every minute of every day, he was being covered
by cable news. And he took up all the political oxygen. And all the traditional ways of campaigning,
go and organize, host these meet-and-greets with voters, it didn’t matter. JUDY WOODRUFF: It was called free media, is
what we call it. AMY WALTER: It was all — he just sucked all
of that up. Now, if you’re Michael Bloomberg, it’s a little
bit different. Obviously, you’re not getting free media. You’re paying for it, and the theory being,
if you spend an amount of money like we have never seen before, ever seen before in American
politics, that, by the time that we hit… JUDY WOODRUFF: You can repeat that again. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: That we have never seen before
in American politics. By the time we hit post-South Carolina, so
the very beginning of March, the theory being the process has so just sort of obliterated
the field, right, nobody’s really a front-runner, everybody has all of this baggage, and they
can turn to somebody who’s just been on their airwaves and on their smartphones for the
last couple of months telling them how great he is. Oh, all these other candidates look bad, say
Democrats, they have gotten beaten up? Why don’t we turn to Michael Bloomberg? That’s his theory. It’s a big, big gamble, but that’s what he’s
counting on happening. JUDY WOODRUFF: But is there any history of
somebody coming in late and making it work? TAMARA KEITH: Not in this particular way. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Not in modern history. JUDY WOODRUFF: Not since we have had these
early primaries. AMY WALTER: That’s right. Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ah, $31 million in one week,
and there are a couple of weeks to go, a couple of months to go before we get to the post-early
primaries. AMY WALTER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will watch. Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank you both. AMY WALTER: Thank you. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: Family sizes have been steadily
shrinking around the industrialized world for decades. And Italy is a prime example. Just a generation ago, four children was the
norm. Today, the average family has fewer than two. And as special correspondent Christopher Livesay
reports from Sicily, demographers warn that the shrinking population could drag the country
into an unprecedented economic crisis. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Little Saverio is just
13 days old, born here in the Sicilian town of Nicosia. GIACOMO DI MARTE, New Father: It’s special
for the hospital, and very, very special to us. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Special to them because
it’s their first child. Special to the hospital because he’s the only
newborn here. The birth rate here is so low, the maternity
ward has risked closing, says Dr. Maria Rosaria Vena, who oversees it. DR. MARIA ROSARIA VENA, Maternity Ward (through
translator): It’s a bit sad to see all these empty beds, because, when there aren’t any
births, we feel like we’re wasting hours of our time. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: How many births were
there last year in total? DR. MARIA ROSARIA VENA (through translator): About
200 births, whereas, when I started working here 20 years ago, there were about 400 every
year. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: So just in the span of
20 years, half of the births have gone? DR. MARIA ROSARIA VENA (through translator): Yes. That’s why there’s always the risk they could
shut us down. To justify a maternity ward, you have to have
a minimum 500 annual births. But the nearest other hospital is a very long
and difficult drive away. If they close this hospital, some mothers
would end up giving birth on the side of the road. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Across the hall, I meet
20-year-old Lorena Scriffignano, the only expectant mother in the ward. LORENA SCRIFFIGNANO, Expectant Mother (through
translator): I don’t have any friends who are pregnant. It’s really hard to raise a family. I don’t have a job. And the father has to drive an hour and 30
minutes to work. So he’s going to be away a lot. And my child isn’t going to have many friends
his own age. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: It’s a scene repeating
itself across Italy. Census figures show the national population
is steadily shrinking, the first time that’s happened in 90 years, due in large part to
the declining birthrate. The average Italian family today only has
1.2 children, says Angelo Mazza, a professor of demographics at the University of Catania
in Sicily. There’s that idea of the Italian family with
lots of kids. I mean, what could be more Italian than that? ANGELO MAZZA, University of Catania: I’ll
tell you that fertility rates have been going down from the mid-’60s. To replace the population, every woman should
make at least two babies during her life. I mean, that’s logic. And 1.2 is kind of far from two. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: So why are Italians just
not having as many children as they used to? ANGELO MAZZA: Well, it is not because they
don’t want to. They feel that conditions are not good enough
to have two babies, because you need to get a job, a proper job. And it may happen that this doesn’t give you
enough time to fulfill your wishes, your reproductive wishes. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Italy’s economy has been
reeling since the 2008 global economic crisis. The youth unemployment rate stands at a staggering
35 percent, prompting young people to both hold off on starting a family and leave in
search of work. Last year, more than 150,000 Italians emigrated
abroad. Factor in the plunge in pregnancies, and you
have the only major European economy with a population forecast to decline even further
over the next five years. Take, for example, the town of Acquaviva Platani
in Sicily. Today, it has only 800 inhabitants, down from
roughly 3,700 in the ’50s. Founded four centuries ago, the town’s narrow
streets and position high atop a hill once made it difficult for invaders to pillage. Today, young people find it difficult to live
and work here, says Mayor Salvatore Caruso. SALVATORE CARUSO, Mayor of Acquaviva Platani,
Italy (through translator): There’s hardly any industry. A number of young people have gone to live
in the north or abroad either to study or to work. It’s hard to imagine young couples coming
here if they don’t have work. Today, the majority of the population is elderly,
so there are hardly any births. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: How many births are we
talking about? SALVATORE CARUSO (through translator): I believe,
last year, there were five or six, and we will have around that this year too. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Over the years, he says,
vanishing families has meant shrinking class sizes, forcing them to combine age groups,
and, in some, close schools. But if people aren’t having children anymore,
does your town run the risk of eventually dying? SALVATORE CARUSO (through translator): There’s
a gap of 10 to 15 people every year between births and deaths. So it’s certainly possible. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Walking the empty streets,
I meet some of those few young people still living here. They all share the same part-time job, one
of the few left in town, caretaking for the elderly. ALESSANDRO, Italy (through translator): It
would be nice to raise a family in my hometown. But I don’t know if I have a future here. I really think I will have to leave. I don’t want to see my town disappear, but,
in the end, we have to look out for ourselves. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Italy is second in the
world only to Japan for having the highest concentration of senior citizens. If more young people leave, it’s a vicious
circle for the town and country. ANGELO MAZZA: If we have less children today,
we’re going to have less parents tomorrow, and even less children and so forth, you know? CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: So what are some of the
problems that we might run into? ANGELO MAZZA: Eventually, the population could
extinguish. And when baby boomers will retire, you know,
you’re going to have a small amount of individuals taking care of a larger amount of the old
people. Things are going to be even worse in the next
10 or 20 years. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Only 10 or 20 years? That’s right around the corner. ANGELO MAZZA: Yes, that’s the emergency. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: It’s an emergency? ANGELO MAZZA: It’s an emergency, yes. It’s a real emergency. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: But solutions exist,
he says. The government could incentivize childbirth,
much as neighboring France has done, by investing more in day care, longer parental leaves,
and tax exemptions to parents. ANGELO MAZZA: They have now almost the same
population that Italy does. You know that they have 65 percent more children
every year there. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: In France? ANGELO MAZZA: In France, yes, than in Italy,
65 percent more. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Sixty-five percent more? ANGELO MAZZA: Yes. Yes. Yes. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: The other solution, migrants,
mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. They have been steadily arriving in Italy
for years, offsetting much of the decline in population. Last year, however, Italy began to ban migrant
ships and enact other measures to lower immigration to the country. If Italy continues to block migration from
outside Europe, then half of the population will die out by the end of the century, according
to the E.U.’s statistics agency. Back in Acquaviva Platani, Alessia Boscarini
manages a cafe, where she’s recently given her shrinking town a bump of hope. ALESSIA BOSCARINI, Cafe Manager (through translator):
He’s due in just a few weeks. His name is Alessandro, our first. It’s very exciting, because there are so few
babies born from our town every year. This will only be the fifth this year. It’s such a big event that the town rings
the church bells every time a baby is born. CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: But with that birth several
weeks away, the bells remain silent, as they have for most of the year. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Christopher Livesay
in Acquaviva Platani, Sicily. JUDY WOODRUFF: In 2013, billionaire investor,
businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein set out an ambitious plan, to moderate a series
of conversations with prominent historians in front of an audience of bipartisan lawmakers. The goal? To make members of Congress more knowledgeable
about the past, so they could better deal with the country’s future. Rubenstein is now sharing the best of those
conversations in a new book, “The American Story.” A note: David Rubenstein’s philanthropy includes
public television and the “PBS NewsHour.” I spoke with him recently. And I began by asking him if work with lawmakers
and historians has achieved its goal. DAVID RUBENSTEIN, Author, “The American Story:
Conversations With Master Historians”: We have Republicans, Democrats and people from
both houses coming. We get about 250 to 300 people participating
in each interview. They have a reception. We ask them to sit with people from the opposite
party in the opposite House, so they get to know people they don’t otherwise know or otherwise
get to talk to. There’s no press there, so there’s not pressure
to do anything. And they have an interview that they can watch
and then they participate in the interview by asking questions. And they’re just like any other audience. They bring their dog-eared copies Robert Caro’s
book or David McCullough’s book. They want them autographed just like anybody
else. So the real reason for this is not just the
era of good feels, but the thinking is this. People who make the laws should know our country’s
history. And our country’s history should be known
by everybody in the country, particularly the lawmakers. Right now, we don’t teach history very much
in the United States. We don’t teach civics very much anymore. And, as a result of that, you get surveys
that show, for example, three-quarters of Americans cannot name the three branches of
government. And one-third Americans cannot even name one
branch of government. It’s a sad situation. JUDY WOODRUFF: It is a sad situation, when
you see those statistics. And from this book, David Rubenstein, you
talk to historians of 10 different presidents, but then you talk to other great American
leaders. I mean, there were so many things that stood
out to me, talking to historian Jack Warren about George Washington, and how he was the
right man for the moment. Why? DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, remember, George Washington
three times turned down power. After he won the Revolutionary War as the
leading general, he went back to Mount Vernon, said, I don’t want to be the leader of the
country. Second time, he presided over the Constitutional
Convention, but he didn’t really want to lead the country. He went back to Mount Vernon. And the third time, he was elected president,
and he didn’t really want to be president. But he served. And each time, he basically said, I’m going
to do what I can for my country. And he was the indispensable man. If we had not had George Washington, I’m not
sure we would have won the Revolutionary War. JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s so striking in so many
ways. And I’m jumping way ahead. Franklin Roosevelt. You press Jay Winik on why Franklin Roosevelt
didn’t intervene in World War II to stop the Holocaust any sooner. The answer was kind of stunning. I mean, he says it was Roosevelt’s decision
not to intervene any sooner. DAVID RUBENSTEIN: That’s correct. I don’t think it stemmed from anti-Semitism. I just think it was a combination of many
things going on in the war. I don’t think even he knew how much impact
he could have, had he been willing to bomb the railroads that were then going to Auschwitz. So I think what I try to do in this book is
try to say, here are some of the interviews from the greatest historians in our country. Don’t read this book alone. Read the books themselves. Basically, I’m digesting the interviews. And I think they’re very readable, but you
should read the entire book. JUDY WOODRUFF: Most of the great leaders you
write about, of course, are man. In the chapter where you interviewed Cokie
Roberts, our dear friend, the late Cokie Roberts, who passed away not long ago, because she’d
written several books about the founding mothers. What did you take away from that, David Rubenstein,
about why women haven’t gotten more attention in history? DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, in the early days
of our country, women were not allowed to vote. They weren’t allowed to hold — own property. If you were married, you couldn’t own property. And, obviously, you couldn’t be an officeholder. So how did they exercise influence? Well, they tended to do it through their husbands. And very often, their husbands were away. So they wrote elaborate letters. And the letters between John and Abigail Adams,
there are about 1,000 of them. And when you read them, you realize that Abigail
Adams, although she had maybe a second grade education, was every bit as intelligent and
literate and well-written a person as her husband, John, who was trained as a lawyer. So the letters from these women are one said
Cokie Roberts dug into. She found many that nobody really knew had
existed. And you saw that the women had a lot of influence
on the men. JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s so much here. David McCullough telling you early on in the
book — he, of course, the great historian of John Adams — he said: “The best and most
effective people in public life, without exception, have been the people who had a profound and
very often lifelong interest in history.” Do you make a connection with today and President
Trump? DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, I think many people
who understand history are at an advantage. But because of STEM, we have taken civics
and history out of our curriculum. JUDY WOODRUFF: The focus on science and math,
right. DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Yes. People are concerned about competing with
the Chinese. That’s a very legitimate concern. But I don’t think people should only take
STEM courses and not take history courses. Right now, over the last eight years, history
majors in the United States have gone down by 34 percent. So there are fewer people majoring in history. And the result is, very few people know about
our history. JUDY WOODRUFF: Have you thought about which
great historian is going to be in a position to write about President Donald Trump? DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Our mutual friend Michael
Beschloss would say it takes maybe 40 years after a president is gone for a historian
to really be able to get hold of all the documents and really come up with some judgment. So I think it’s probably too early. The person who’s going to be the great historian
who is going to write about that president probably is in grade school right now. So it’s probably going to be a while. I think people your age, my age are not going
to be the great historians probably to write that. But I think it’s just too early to say. And, of course, we don’t know what’s going
to happen to his term. Most presidents are judged as successes if
they get reelected, even if the second term isn’t that successful. And many second terms are not that successful. But I think, until you know whether President
Trump’s going to be reelected, I think it’s difficult to say whether his first term is
successful or not. JUDY WOODRUFF: Last question. There are two, maybe three billionaires right
now running for president of the United States, of course, President Trump running for reelection,
Tom Steyer, maybe Michael Bloomberg. What about David Rubenstein? What do you think about running for office? DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, I think that, right
now, I’m doing the best I can in what I do. I think the country has enough people who
are billionaires running for president. I know many of them. They are very qualified in some ways to be
president. But I think my best use for the country is
doing what I’m doing right now. And what I would rather do more than anything
else is talk to you about this book. JUDY WOODRUFF: David Rubenstein, the book
is “The American Story: Conversations With Master Historians.” Thank you very much. DAVID RUBENSTEIN: My pleasure. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Nearly six million Americans
are living with Alzheimer’s disease. For many, this diagnosis is the start of a
life with limitations, but as an art program in Minneapolis shows, a life that can still
hold great joy and meaning. The story comes to us from Kate McDonald of
Twin Cities PBS, as part of our ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas. WOMAN: Welcome to the Walker Art Center. We have a beautiful day today. We’re going to explore the sculpture garden
together. KATE MCDONALD: Taking a tour of outdoor sculpture
would not have been a normal activity for most of Marv Lofquist’s life. But when the retired chemistry professor was
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago, he began to appreciate art in a new way. MARV LOFQUIST, Tour Participant: I like to
contrast between the dark coat and the whitish face. If I got upset every time I didn’t remember
anything, I’d be upset all day. I can’t remember what I said five minutes
ago. But I think then you turn around and say,
just enjoy what is there right now. I can look at things and start to appreciate
them in ways that I never would have thought I would. KATE MCDONALD: Lofquist is among the more
than 1,000 people who’ve participated in Contemporary Journeys, a program designed by the Walker
Art Center for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, along with a partner, often a family member
or friend. ILENE KRUG MOJSILOV, Teaching Artist: This
artist loved to collect bones, wood pieces, stones, rocks. KATE MCDONALD: Ilene Krug Mojsilov helped
found the program in 2009 and leads the tours once a month. Mojsilov says that people with dementia are
uniquely open and without inhibition when it comes to interpreting what they see. ILENE KRUG MOJSILOV: Oh, Marv, you’re demonstrating. Very good. MARV LOFQUIST: Yes. Shake your hand. Give me your hand. (LAUGHTER) ILENE KRUG MOJSILOV: One thing I learned from
this group is, there’s always someone that contributes something fresh and new that I
haven’t considered before. This group is totally in the moment. It makes me more sensitive to the world at
large. What’s missing from that coat? (LAUGHTER) ILENE KRUG MOJSILOV: Cool. Cool. KATE MCDONALD: Tour guides make adjustments
for the needs of the participants. They discuss only the artwork that is right
in front of them and keep conversation in the present. ILENE KRUG MOJSILOV: That’s what’s so cool
about art. What you each bring to the sculpture is important. Your ideas are important. KATE MCDONALD: But does art therapy work? It’s not as easy as determining if a drug
is effectively working. The Walker asked public health Professor Joseph
Gaugler to assess the project. JOSEPH GAUGLER, University of Minnesota: You’re
talking about outcomes, quality of life, well-being, more humanistic outcomes that sometimes you
can always measure with a scale. Art therapy approaches can really help enhance
the personhood of the person living with dementia. People with memory loss can still continue
to express thoughts, feelings and emotions in a healthy way. KATE MCDONALD: In addition to looking at art,
the program engages participants in making their own art, inspired by artworks they have
seen on the tour. ILENE KRUG MOJSILOV: This is your space. You’re going to make a sculpture park. Art-making, I think, amplifies the experience. It’s a way to activate cognition, and is what
jazzes me too. I’m looking for meaning in life. And I think care partners and our participants
are looking for meaning too. KATE MCDONALD: Art-making can also decrease
the stress, agitation and isolation often associated with memory loss. Elaine Lofquist is Marv’s wife and care partner. They met in high school and have been married
for 53 years. ELAINE LOFQUIST, Care Partner: Doing something
with Marvin just alone is fun, and we enjoy doing that. But having an activity that we can go to with
other people is even more beneficial for us in terms of not feeling isolated. MARV LOFQUIST: I think self-isolation is one
of the worst things you can do in any situation, but especially with memory loss. I don’t want to be sitting there and not feeling
like I can’t participate, cannot contribute. Getting a group like we had together to look
at some artwork or talk about some things, that’s what I still want to keep doing, is,
what can I find enjoyable? What can I find that’s meaningful? JOSEPH GAUGLER: As more people, unfortunately,
get Alzheimer’s disease, you’re going to start, I think, seeing the seeds of really an advocacy
movement of people with memory loss stating that, I’m still here, and my values, my thoughts,
preferences matter. MARV LOFQUIST: How can we turn some of the
negativity around Alzheimer’s and say, let’s just accept it, and deal with it, and enjoy
what we can? ELAINE LOFQUIST: And that is
what art does. It’s for the people, no matter where you are
in your walk in life. MARV LOFQUIST: For a chemist, not too bad. (APPLAUSE) KATE MCDONALD: For “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Kate
McDonald of Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis. JUDY WOODRUFF: Such a wonderful idea. Let’s hope it catches on. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.

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