tv PBS News Hour PBS February 10, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> sreenivasan: good evening. i'm hari sreenivasan. gwen ifill and judy woodruff are in milkwaukee, wisconsin preparing for tomorrow night's democratic debate. on the newshour tonight: two clear winners emerge from new hampshire, but what does this mean for the rest of the presidential race? also ahead, we kick off a three part series from egypt. tonight: silenced by fear. five years after the revolution. >> they know he's a symbol for the revolution. he's paying the price now. for what? for saying the truth. for opposing the oppression. >> sreenivasan: plus, a play that tackles the economic downfall of union workers in the once prosperous redding, pennsylvania. >> i decided that i want to go about finding the source of this
trauma and figuring out how we as americans had come to that point where we could be living so close to poverty without recognizing it on a daily basis. >> sreenivasan: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> here's to lifelong friendships and partnerships of all meaningful kinds. here's to love that lasts year-in, year-out. for more than five generations, lincoln financial has helped people plan for the future because this is what you do for people you love. lincoln financial, you're in charge.
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>> sreenivasan: the first two presidential contests of the year are in the books, and on both sides, it still looks wide open. tuesday's stunning results shook up the field again, and left a couple of names by the wayside. the rest moved on, hoping clarity will come soon. a day after new hampshire, the republican field hit the ground running in south carolina, battleground for their next primary, february 20th. fresh off last night's big win, donald trump planned a rally in the palmetto state tonight. and, on nbc's "today show", he announced he'll release his tax returns "over the next few months". >> they're going to be surprised by how little i pay. i fight like hell to not have to pay a lot of taxes. and you know what, every politician probably does. i watched others where they say "oh, i want to pay taxes" and i fight like hell not to pay taxes.
i hate how government spends my money. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile, john kasich sought to build on his surge to second place in new hampshire. the ohio governor has mostly avoided attacking his rivals, but said he'll answer if they start attacking him. >> i'm not going to be a pincushion or a marshmallow but i'm also not going to spend my time trying to trash other people. i'll tell you why, because if this message works, it's fantastic. in new hampshire, i had millions and millions of dollars spent against me. you know i told them last night, the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning and i feel great about it. >> sreenivasan: texas senator ted cruz stumped in myrtle beach today, after officially being awarded third place in new hampshire. he'd won in iowa just a week earlier. >> everyone said a conservative couldn't compete in a more moderate new england state like new hampshire. those predictions proved wrong. this is a national campaign. and one of the most important conclusions coming out of these
first two states is that the only candidate who can beat donald trump is me. >> sreenivasan: jeb bush finished fourth in new hampshire, but now hopes to score his first win of the year, in south carolina. the bush campaign released a new radio ad today, that features his brother, former president george w. bush. >> we need a strong leader with experience, ideas, and resolve. there's no doubt in my mind that jeb bush will be a great commander-in-chief for our military. >> sreenivasan: the other floridian in the race, senator marco rubio, stumbled to fifth in new hampshire. he said today he still expects to win the republican nomination. >> every nominee of both parties has a test, or more than one, and it's a ride that you've got to fight through. i'm the only one that can quickly unite the republican party and take our message to new voters. that's been consistent in the polling and you've seen it all over the country. i feel strongly about that. >> sreenivasan: the new hampshire results also winnowed
the g.o.p. field today. new jersey governor chris christie and carly fiorina dropped out of the race after poor showings. as for the democrats, they're looking ahead to their next contest: the nevada caucuses, ten days away. fresh off his landslide win last night, vermont senator bernie sanders moved today to broaden his appeal beyond his mostly white base. he met with reverend al sharpton in new york to discuss issues affecting the african-american community. and later, he took his message to abc's talk show "the view". >> we have a lot of support within the african american community. but i think most importantly, i think the reason we'll do well is our views on criminal justice in this country. and that is we have a broken criminal justice system. why should we in america have more people in jail, largely african american and latinos, than another other country on earth?! [applause] >> sreenivasan: for her part, hillary clinton was mostly out of public view, after acknowledging last night she needs to do better appealing to younger voters, in particular. the two democrats are now
preparing to share the stage tomorrow night, as pbs hosts their next presidential debate in milwaukee, wisconsin. gwen and judy have already arrived to prepare for the debate. they join us now from the helen bader concert hall at the university of wisconsin, milwaukee. gwen, judy... are you excite? >> ifill: we are excited, hari, especially to do this on the weekend of the big iconic new hampshire primary. the results there were so interesting and we will be talking to two other candidates who made the most news, hillary clinton and bernie sanders, of course. we have many, many questions for them, but, of course, if we told you that we then would have to kill you, so we're just going to keep it to ourselves until tomorrow night. >> woodruff: you know, hari, every one of these debates has been different, i guess that goes without saying, but because they've taken place at a different moment in the campaign and, you know, you have to say, this is a pretty important turning point because bernie sanders managed to come off with
a commanding win from new hampshire as gwen just said. so we expect this to be an enlightening encounter. >> ifill: do you have any questions for us to ask, hari? >> sreenivasan: sure, there's a facebook group that have been working on it a lot. people are very interested and have been following you closely. >> woodruff: what we've seen, hari, i noticed in the exit polls yesterday in new hampshire, people were asked how many of them were affected by the debates, and a large percentage of voters said they paid attention to the debates in one way or another it affected their vote. >> ifill: you know, this is going to be the first commercial-free debate we've had this season and public broadcasting has a special responsibility to bring a keeper view to this and that's what we're hoping to do. we're hoping people come away learning more about what their choices are. that's what these debates are about and what they have been successful about so far this year and we want to do our part.
>> sreenivasan: jude uhy and gwen on the eve of the debate. thanks. >> thanks. >> sreenivasan: in the day's other news, the u.s. justice department filed a civil rights lawsuit against ferguson, missouri. that's after the city council vetoed to revise parts of a consent decree on police and court reform. the decree grew out of the killing of michael brown by a white officer in 2014. local officials cited the cost of compliance, but u.s. attorney general loretta lynch rejected that argument. e agreement being reviewed that was discussed was pains takingly negotiated by the department and the city's own team. that was the agreement that was to be decided upon. the city was well aware that by deciding not to accept it that they were choosing litigation. this is their choice. >> sreenivasan: ferguson mayor james knowles said earlier that the city was prepared to fight it out in court, if need be. federal reserve chair janet yellen sent new signals today that the central bank means to go slow on additional interest rate hikes.
at a house hearing, she said the fed's open market committee is keeping a close eye on global economic weakness and turmoil in world markets. >> the f.o.m.c. anticipates the economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate. in addition, the committee expects that the federal funds rate is likely to remain for some time below the levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. >> sreenivasan: the central bank raised interest rates in december for the first time in nearly a decade. its next decision on rates comes next month. in nigeria, officials are blaming the islamist boko haram group for deadly new bombings. two women blew themselves up in a refugee camp, killing at least 58 people and wounding nearly 80. the attackers struck northeast of maiduguri, the largest city in northeastern nigeria, and the militants' home base. nato is moving to beef up its presence in the baltics and eastern europe to deter possible russian aggression.
alliance defense ministers met in brussels today and agreed to set up new outposts in the region and bolster troop numbers. the measure also calls for regular war games and a rapid- reaction force. russia has warned any such move will threaten european stability. u.s. policy on syria came under fire on multiple fronts today. syrian rebels and the governments of france and turkey all complained of weakness in washington's actions. jonathan rugman of independent television news is on the ground in turkey. >> reporter: russian air strikes like these in the town of tal rifat yesterday have sent rebels fighting president assad to new levels of despair and thousands the russians are not talking about a cease fire till march 1, hoping these men will take much more territory before attempts
at peace talks begin again. showing me a map of aleppo under siege is political chief of one of the largest syrian rebel groups armed and fund bid the c.i.a. but he says the americans have deprived his men of anti-aircraft missiles to defend themselves. >> the americans are doing nothing. we tried to raise our voice, but it was no use. they know what's going on but until now they're not using their pressure for a political solution and how are we going to achieve this political solution while the russians are destroying it? >> reporter: france's foreign minister has also had enough. today, laurent fabius announced that he's stepping down. president assad is gaining strength, he said, complaining of a lack of commitment from the american side. the turks feel the same way. president erdogan has accused washington of causing a regional
bloodbath by supporting kurdish groups in syria, which he regards as terrorists. with injured syrians now filling turkish hospitals, the turks may be tempted to intervene themselves, to defend both civilians and rebels and push back the kurds. >> sreenivasan: turkey also rebuked the united nations today for insisting that it take in thousands of syrian refugees from aleppo. the turkish prime minister said that would amount to aiding in "ethnic cleansing". back in this country, the u.s. senate moved to impose new sanctions on north korea, after its recent nuclear test and satellite launch. the legislation targets the communist state's ability to access money for nuclear warheads and long-range missiles. a similar version already passed the house. and wall street struggled to a mixed finish after oil prices sank again. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 100 points to close at 15,914. the nasdaq rose almost 15 points but the s&p 500 slipped a fraction of a point.
still to come on the newshour: how candidates hope to sway the south's more diverse electorate. where leaders of "the arab spring" are five years later. the c.i.a. deputy director warns of imminent terror threats. and much more. >> sreenivasan: we look ahead now to thursday's democratic presidential debate, and the next phase of the campaign for both parties coming out of new hampshire. joining us are susan page, washington bureau chief for "usa today." and reid wilson, chief political correspondent for the politics and polling website "morning consult." >> let's start with the republicans first. how meaning with was trump's win? >> pretty meaningful. he won among nontraditional republican voters, independents who voted in the republican primary, people voting in a republican primary for the first time, so he is clearly drawing new people into the republican
coalition and that raise as possibility at the he will change what it means to be a republican. >> sreenivasan: what about kasich coming in second? >> kasich essentially saved off the end of his campaign. the problem going forward is he's likely to be living hand to mouth for the rest of his campaign. he spent the rest of his war chest in new hampshire because it was do or die there. now that he raises money in the wake of a surprisingly good showing, the first time we can say 16% is a surprisingly good showing, he'll essentially be spending every dollar he can on television ads to introduce himself to voters in south carolina and if he makes it out of there alive to voters in nevada and on to the super tuesday states. >> sreenivasan: rubio admitted yesterday or day before in his concession speech saying this is my fault, this is my debate performance, it won't happen again. was that a singular event? >> i think we know from the exit polls of voters that debate
loomed large and last-minute decisions made by voters clearly that hurt rubio. we thought he was on a second or third path, that didn't happen. the next debate, he's going to have a lot to prove. it's not that he's damaged beyond recovery but he's definitely damaged. he needs to prove he can be more self-assured, confident and spontaneous in the next debate. >> sreenivasan: speaking of that, jeb bush. >> jeb bush, this result in new hampshire was about the worst thing that could have happened for the business lane republicans who were trying to find one candidate to coalesce around. looked like rubio coming out of iowa, he finished fifth in new hampshire. jeb bush only barely ahead of him. now they have a new contender for the crown in john kasich who will at least stick around and try to win the voters going forward. so this means a divided business lane of the republican party. ted cruz has his avenue especially among evangelical
voters who play a huge role in south carolina and trump has his fans, new folks that come into the process. it's hard to see how the big end coalesces before we get to the southern states. >> sreenivasan: how much does the war chest matter at this point? jeb bush, a fair amount of support. ted cruz, perhaps you've picked up some. >> how much good has that done jeb bush so far in he spent more than anyone else on ads and organization. in the big states, less campaigning, the tv ads could mean more but this has not rescued jeb bush. this has been a campaign of momentum, enthusiasm, anger and not one where money talks. >> sreenivasan: ted cruz seemed to spend the least amount and a pretty respectable showing in new hampshire, not where his base is. >> he spent about $18 per vote which is a bargain in this state
when jeb bush is spending $1,200 vote including the super pac. cruz's lie ahead in the only in south carolina but in the march 1 supertuesday primaries, a lot of southern state are voting, alabama, mississippi, georgia, virginia, texas, oklahoma, all places where conservatives play a huge role and especially evangelical conservatives. >> sreenivasan: today which heard fiorina and christie deciding to leave. surprised? >> no. if they hadn't left, i think they were already irrelevant to the conversation going forward. that the the situation ben carson finds himself in. he may or may not drop out. it doesn't matter. he's been discounted. we're down to about five who matter and we'll see what happens going forward as we head into the bigger states at a faster pace. >> sreenivasan: still a crowded field. it's not a two-person or three-person field. >> it is. as we're talking about the early
states, susan brings up an important point about the pacing. the early states are less about collecting the delegates you need to win. the early states are about building momentum into the later voting states where voters are just now starting to tune in and pay attention and those voters who haven't been paying attention before have seen now bernie sanders win big in new hampshire and donald trump win big and ted cruz surprisingly iowa, those are the names getting most attention. >> woodruff: democrats, bernie sanders, does it translate into a win in nevada or south carolina? >> we'll find out if it was a big win. this was stunning for a candidate who has not actually been a democrat before to win the democratic primary in new hampshire over the person we thought was likely the frontrunner and nominee by such a huge margin. that's historic. he has a lot of money.
he's raising a ton of dough. that means he may not have the fate some new hampshire winners have had which is where they can't explode and capitalize on that victory. he's in a position where his finances mean the race on the democratic side is guaranteed to go into the spring. >> sreenivasan: how does he translate his support in new hampshire and iowa into a far more racially diverse population in the rest of the country? >> a huge challenge for him and an opportunity for hillary clinton who has a far deeper bench base and history with african-american voters who dominate in south carolina, with hispanic voters who dominate in nevada. sanders, how far, is getting the opportunity to introduce himself. in just about 20 hours after the polls closed in new hampshire, his campaign said they raised something like $5 million, which that's a good month for some candidates. sanders is going to have the resources necessary to keep his message on the air in south carolina which hasn't seen a lot of advertising spending yet in nevada and beyond. >> finally, what's the clinton camp thinking today?
>> well, i think they are distressed by a showing they hoped maybe they would keep it to single digits. that didn't happen in new hampshire. also, you look at what voters told us in the exit polls. they don't find her honest or trustworthy. she has a huge deficit when it comes to younger voters. these are issues she's going to have to address in the next couple of weeks if she's going to prevail. >> the exit polls were a disaster among the clinton campaign. among the voters who said they wanted an honest and trustworthy carnet, sanders won 90% of the vote, even among voters who clinton said shared their views, 40% of those voted for bernie sanders. it's hard to see any silver lining for the clinton campaign coming out of new hampshire a state that effectively launched bill clinton into the white house. >> reid wilson, chief political correspondent for the politics and polling website "morning consult," and susan page, washington bureau chief for "usa today," thank you. >> thank you.
>> sreenivasan: five years ago today, egypt stood at the edge of tectonic change. the protests that began january 25, 2011 in cairo's tahrir square would soon cause the military-led ouster of longtime president hosni mubarak. it was the culmination of the so-called "18 days," and a highpoint of what became known as "the arab spring." in 2012, egyptians elected mohammed morsi of the muslim brotherhood president. the next year, he was deposed by the military and its top general, abdel fattah el-sisi. sisi was then elected president in 2014. it has been five years of upheaval and tumult. and today, the picture from cairo is much changed from those days of protest. special correspondent nick schifrin begins tonight our series of three reports, "five years on." >> reporter: take me back five years ago.
>> all egyptians are happy! >> ( translated ): i cried. i was ecstatic. we laughed, jumped, hugged my colleagues, shouted. we did everything. >> reporter: how exciting was that time? >> reporter: five years later, the revolution's protagonists still revel in 18 days they call utopia. but today, the square that toppled a dictator is empty. there are no celebrations. and no protesters, because protests are illegal.
>> reporter: today, egypt is tense. above cairo's streets president abdel fatah sisi and his government keep a close watch. they have forcibly muted almost all opposition. when a state tv anchor criticized him, she was suspended. when a comedian spoofed police by blowing up condoms like balloons, a politician called for him to be assaulted, forcing him to go into hiding. adding to the fear, an italian student was found dead last week, his body tortured. in total, 40,000 political prisoners fill egypt's jails. hundreds, perhaps thousands more, have disappeared into secret prisons. the government crackdown peaked last month in downtown cairo. this has long been the epicenter for people who oppose the government. and this used to be full of cafes.
you can see they have all been closed now. clearly designed to send the message that nobody was allowed the space to meet or organize. in today's egypt, is there freedom of speech? >> reporter: mustafa meher is the brother of ahmed meher, one of egypt's best known activists. ahmed meher helped lead the revolution. on the streets he became an icon, mobbed wherever he went. >> dear ahmed meher, we call for your immediate and unconditional release. >> reporter: but today, meher's admirers can only write him letters. two years ago, he and many of the revolution's leaders were arrested for protesting a new law that banned protesting. he has spent every day since in solitary confinement.
amal sharaf worked hand-in-hand with meher. will ahmed see any of these? reham ibrahim is meher's wife. >> they know he's a symbol for the revolution. he's paying the price now. for what? for saying the truth. for opposing the oppression. >> reporter: reham and meher have an eight-year-old daughter, meral. last month, after visiting her dad in jail, she drew herself crying. >> reporter: so what's her name? >> tala. >> reporter: tariq el khouly was also a member of the april 6 movement. he painted the group's flag and
demonstrated in tahrir square. he protested with meher, but khouly gets to celebrate his daughter's birthday in person, because he chose a different path. so, we're in your office. and this is a photo of you and the president. what is the significance for you of this photo? >> reporter: tariq el khouly might still call himself a revolutionary, but he's not protesting anymore. he's a member of parliament. >> reporter: the opposition complains that space has been co-opted because even president sisi praises the revolution. el khouly defends the president by arguing lawmaking is the revolution's next step.
>> reporter: but what kind of government? and what are those parties' priorities? >> reporter: abdel rahim ali is a member of parliament in the same coalition as tariq el khouly. they are supposed to check presidential power. but he and hundreds of colleagues hastily approved sisi's campaign. rahim ali broadcasts that support. he is a popular tv anchor who indicts the government's opponents on national tv. that's a recording of ahmed meher's private phone conversation. ali airs tapped phone calls, in order to paint revolutionaries like meher as disloyal, western spies.
>> reporter: your critics accuse you of mccarthyism. >> reporter: ali supports the kind of nationwide surveillance he performs in his own office. the main target of his disdain is the most organized opposition: the muslim brotherhood. three and-a-half years ago, the brotherhood's muhammad morsi became egypt's first democratically elected president. when the military overthrew him, and when sisi took power, the brotherhood was labeled a terrorist group. they're the government's primary culprit, even for natural disasters. when heavy flooding killed seven people in alexandria, the government released this video of alleged muslim brotherhood members and accused them of clogging the sewers.
>> reporter: but right now, thousands of muslim brotherhood members are in prison. and the leaders who aren't jailed, are in exile. >> reporter: amr darrag is the most senior muslim brotherhood leader not in prison. he skyped with us from istanbul. >> reporter: and that means muslim brotherhood supporters still in egypt, need to hide. 22-year-old mahmoud -- not his real name -- comes from a brotherhood family. in 2013, he protested against the military takeover, demonstrations that ended with a massacre of brotherhood supporters. today, he stays quiet. he would only speak if we hid
his face. >> reporter: and the secular activists aren't free either. they stay inside, knowing they lack public support. >> reporter: perhaps the only activists keeping the faith are the very ones the egyptian government has silenced. in 2013, pbs newshour interviewed ahmed meher. >> reporter: we played the clip for maher's family.
>> sreenivasan: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: the supreme court halts president obama's landmark climate change plan. and "sweat," a play that doesn't shy away from hard work. but first, yesterday america's top intelligence officials were on capitol hill to discuss their updated assessment of worldwide threats to the united states. among their top concerns: cyber attacks, the islamic state group, the war in syria, north korea's nuclear activities and a resurgent russia. we're joined now by david cohen, the deputy director of the central intelligence agency. he's been at the c.i.a. for one year, after five years at the treasury department overseeing sanctions implementation and efforts to combat terrorism financing. so when i rattle off those lists of concerns that the community has, what are the top three that keep you up at night? >> well, i think that was a list of six and i think all six of those keep us up at night.
i mean, obviously, we're spending a lot of time focused on the threat from i.s.i.l. we're also very much engaged in what's happening in syria and iraq, the threat from russia, and just this past weekend, we saw north korea launch a rocket after a nuclear test they conducted about six weeks ago, so all these issues are, you know, top of the list for us at the agency. >> sreenivasan: given the time you spent a lot of time at treasury looking at sanctions, especially in the political climate, there is quite a conversation happening about iran after the nuclear deal. >> sure. >> sreenivasan: so looking at it now through your lens at the c.i.a., what intelligence do we have, how are we so confident we can catch iran if they were to cheat? >> well, the joint comprehension plan of action that was agreed to over the sum harris within it a -- has within it a whole
series of measures that would allow the i.a.e.a. unprecedented access to the nuclear program from the uranium mills and mines through whatever enrichment facilities they have, centrifuges, an extraordinary window into what iran is doing that the i.a.e.a. will have and the international community will have. that's one very important part of it, but we have also been very much focused on iran's nuclear program for a number of years, and, so, we'll be able to, obviously, supplement what the i.a.e.a. is able to discover through our own efforts as well. >> sreenivasan: what about the money that's sort of been freed up past the deal? we've heard even secretary of state kerry after the deal saying i can't account for every dollar or where it goes. at the c.i.a., are you seeing evidence any of those dollars that have been freed are going to fund terrorism organizations?
>> look, one of the major reasons that iran entered into the nuclear deal was because of the sanctions and because of the huge economical that had been created over the years by the sanctions program. so i think it's our assessment that iran is intending to use the sanctions relief, the vast majority of the sanctions relief that it will be obtaining to repair its economy, to try and deliver some modicum of economic growth to its people. we will be watching very carefully how iran is making use of that money. we're watching it very carefully. >> sreenivasan: let's talk a little bit about i.s.i.s. or i.s.i.l. we had a report we saw just today from fighters trained by the c.i.a. saying they feel abandoned on the battlefield especially in light of recent events. how do you support that? >> well, look, i'm not going to
get into that the c.i.a. may or may not be doing with respect to the battlefield in syria. i will say that the russians, in particular, since they have come in to syria last fall, you know, came in saying they were there to fight daish, to fight the terrorist, have spent most of their time trying to bolster assad, and what that has meant, you know, is helping the syrian regime to bomb the moderate opposition in syria, which has been putting pressure on the assad regime. that is not fighting daish, and it's taking a toll on the moderate opposition, but, you know, the state department has a program to work with the moderate opposition, others around the world, frankly, in the middle east and beyond are
working to try and support the moderate opposition. they have been taking it on the chin recently, but they have also been quite resilient. you know, this conflict has been going on now for, you know, close to five years, and the moderate opposition has, you know, faced first the syrian regime. they faced hezbollah working with the syrian regime and faced the iranians working with the syrian regime and now facing the russians working with the syrian regime, and they are a resilient bunch. >> sreenivasan: all these things lead me to say we are living through incredible geopolitical instability right now and part of the reason we're aware of that is because of the spread of digital technology. one of the concerns coming from the intelligence community you're not getting enough help from the technology company. if you find a suspect somewhere overseas that has a social media presence, are the facebooks,
the googles, the twitters of the world helping you i in any way? >> look, i'm not going to get into sort of the particularities of how if you find a suspect who is on social media how we're able to tap into that. there is an ongoing conversation with the media companies, some of which we're involved in, but also, you know, the f.b.i. and others in domestic law enforcement very much engaged in this conversation. we set up this new directory specifically because we have recognized that we need to do a better job of leveraging and operating in the digital domain. i mean, i think your viewers know this as well as we do that increasingly we live our lives online. increasingly, the information that we have access to is digital information, and we, as the central intelligence agency, felt we needed to do a better job of both harnessing the
digital information that we have of thinking about how we operate in the digital domain and making sure that we are making use of digital technologies to the greatest extent possible. >> sreenivasan: finally, i've heard one of the things that you say to the new folks being sworn in is that this is an agency that's governed by law, right, and wasn't of the practices that's very difficult for americans to swallow is drone strikes that kill targets overseas and, at times, there are civilian casualties as well. a lot of people are going to say, you know what? that seems like extra judicial killings. doesn't seem that's following what american law is. should the c.i.a. be in the drone strike business? >> look, i'm not going to comment on whether the c.i.a. is involved in any of those sorts of activities. i will say, however, that the embrace of the constraints on what we do, domestic law,
international law, is something we are quite happy to have and to operate within a system of laws, and what makes the c.i.a., what makes the united states different from many countries around the world is adherence to the rule of law. as you said, hari, when i swear in new officers, one of the points i make to them is that we operate within a legal construct, we operate within the laws, not fighting against it, but willingly, happily embracing the fact that what we do is governed by law. that's core to the c.i.a., it's core to what this country is all about, and it's not something that we chafe against at all. >> sreenivasan: david cohen with the c.i.a. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you.
>> sreenivasan: in a surprise move late yesterday, the u.s. supreme court stepped in to put the centerpiece of president obama's climate change agenda on hold, pending the outcome of judicial appeals in the lower courts. william brangham has that. >> brangham: in an move that's been called "unprecedented," the supreme court has temporarily blocked major environmental regulations that were designed to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. the high court's split decision means the rules, which were put out by the environmental protection agency, can't go into effect until legal challenges against them are settled. the coal industry and a consortium of states have sued to stop the rules, calling them quote "a power grab". to help us understand all this we turn to coral davenport, who has been reporting the story for "the new york times." so, coral, before we get to what the court ordered, let's talk about these regulations. these are not a set of arcane set of rules. these seem pretty fundamental to the president's environmental agenda. >> yes, the recommendation that
was put on hold is at the heart of president obama's climate change agenda. in his second term, president obama likely wanted to build a legacy around addressing climate change. he just got back less than two months ago from a meeting in paris where the first ever universal global accord on climate change was signed. one of the reasons or one of the cornerstones for the success of that accord was the fact that the u.s. had acted on this specific policy. so this is, as you say, not some small, arcane policy. this was set to be sort of the cornerstone of what president obama hoped would be the first major climate action by the united states. >> brangham: the coal industry in 20-something states have been suing to block these rules. what has been their argument against them? >> the reason to block the rules is if the rules were to go into effect, they would target, as
you say, emissions from coal-fired power plans and shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and most certainly freeze the market for coal. so where coal mining or coal-fired power plants are a big part of the company have been fighting tooth and nail from the beginning. the legal argument -- their legal argument is that the rule is so broad and so creative that it's sort ofñr an over-interpretation of the existing law of the clean air act, that it violates the constitution. these are their legal arguments against the rule. >> brangham: so the supreme court steps in and says, no es rules until the legal challenges against the rules are settled. is that what's unusual about this, the timing of when the court stepped in?
>> yes, it's very rare for the court to issue a statement like this and almost unprecedented for the court to halt a regulation before there's even been any kind of court or legal action. so there will be oral arguments in a district federal court in june, but essentially, you know, the supreme court is halting implementation of the rule before it's even had its first day in court. that's what is so surprising about this, and i can tell you that even the plaintiffs in this state, the coal states and toll fired power plants who sued for this actually called this result amazing. even they were surprised the supreme court did this. >> brangham: you touched on this a little earlier, in fact you reported today that the supreme court's move could prove to be a major blow to the paris
agreements that this administration and hundreds of other countries agreed to. explain how that would work. how does domestic ruling affect international global treaty? >> well, the accord, not quite a treaty, the accord, what's important about it is it's the first ever universal climate change deal. every country on earth has signed on to this deal with a commitment to take action at home on climate change and, hiss historically, the reason no such deal has been possible before is because of lack of action by the united states. so once president obama put this regulation in place, he met with his counterparts, he met with the other world leaders in china, in india, around the world, and he said, look, we've got this policy in place, this regulation is being implemented, the u.s., the largest historic carbon emitter in the world is
acting and because of the nature of climate change, you know, it's a global problem, you can't have a solution unless really all the players are on board and, so, president obama used this regulation as leverage in, you know, getting a deal and getting other countries on board. if this rule is not enacted, if it is ultimately struck down by the supreme court, it takes away that leverage, it takes away this will major -- this major action by the world's largest economy and, so, already in new delhi and beijing, there are questions about, well, if the u.s. might not be able to meet its commitment, you know, there are questions about, well, why should other countries do the same? no one is threatening not to move forward with the accord yet, but what analysts in those other countries are saying is they're going to look ahead to the final supreme court decision. if the supreme court moves all the way ahead and strikes down this rule, it really could
imperil this paris agreement that was celebrated with such fanfare less than two months ago. >> coral davenport of the "new york times," thanks so much. >> great to be with you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: finally, a new play tells the story of an industrial pennsylvania town in transition, and a way of life slipping away. jeff brown recently sat down with the pulitzer winning playwright to talk about how her latest work came into being. >> brown: the year is 2000. the setting: a bar in reading, pennsylvania. as friends, co-workers at a steel plant celebrate a birthday. but as time passes, there is little celebrating. rather, a sense of loss: of jobs, friendships, loved ones, a way of life. >> the union don't have a lot to say, those jobs aren't coming back.
but if we do this right, we'll protect your jobs. >> i decided that i want to go about finding the source of this trauma and figuring out how we as americans had come to that point where we could be living so close to poverty without recognizing it on a daily basis. >> you need to shut up and drink your beer. >> brown: there is humor in lynn nottage's new play "sweat" but at its core, it's a harrowing look at workers have been impacted at large forces in american life. >> three generations on the floor. loyal as hell, i never imagined working anywhere else. i get injured. i'm in the hospital for nearly two months and i can't walk, can't feel my toes. >> brown: the characters live amid the decline of the rust belt, the consequences of nafta and new technology, the weakening of unions. >> the bar is the place where the truth happens most often, because you have the lubricant that loosens people's tongues. >> brown: the bar in the play
itself is based on a real one in reading, a city once a symbol of industrial power. home to the reading railroad company, so famous from "monopoly" and in its day, one of the richest corporations in the world. by 2011, though, reading was cited as the poorest city in the nation, with more than 41% of its citizens living below the poverty line. the statistics drew nottage and her research began. >> i got in a car with someone i was working with and we drove the 2.5 hours to reading from new york city and just began to explore it. i always begin by saying that i'm not a reporter and i'm not there to fix anything. i'm just there to listen and to absorb. and it may result in something and it may result in nothing at all. but i find that for a lot of people there's this palliative effect of just sitting down and talking, and having someone who's nodding and listening and appreciative of their stories. >> brown: and did some of these interviews, or whatever you want
to call them, gathering of stories, end up in the play? >> absolutely. after about a year-and-a-half, i encountered a group of steelworkers who had been locked out of their factory for 92 weeks. this was a group of sort of burly, sturdy people who normally, given where i live and given what i do, i wouldn't have the opportunity to sit down with. but we're sitting in a circle and they began to tell their stories. and the majority of them had been working in steel factories for between 25 and 30 years. >> brown: many stories later, the result is "sweat", a co- commission of the oregon shakespeare festival and arena stage in washington, d.c., where the play is now running. here, tracey, a central character, looks back to what she sees as the good old days. >> my family's been here since the 20's, okay? they built the house that i live in. they built this town. my grandfather was german, and he could build anything. cabinets, fine furniture,
anything. >> brown: nostalgia comes as security is slipping away. and machines, and jobs, literally disappear overnight. tracey's friend, cynthia, fulfills her dream of a management position after many years on the factory floor. only to find herself cut off by co-workers as layoffs begin. >> are they trying to squeeze us out? >> guess what? >> brown: for kimberly scott, who plays cynthia, the themes hit home. >> i was raised in a union household. >> brown: you were? >> yes. one of the first things i learned to read was the united transportation union newsletter. my dad worked on the railroad for over 30 years. when i went to graduate school, i remember a day when i was going to school and i had to cross the union picket line to get into class. and it was traumatic. i remember calling my mom
crying, "what do i do, what do i do?" and she said, "baby, you're there to get an education, you do what you have to do." >> brown: as changes come, no one is spared. not chris, cynthia's son and his best friend jason, who also works at the plant. not stan, the bartender, or his young helper, oscar, from a latino family, who decides to cross a picket line to improve his lot. with tragic consequences. lynn nottage says after all the research, she started her writing at the end of the story, with these four men. >> the image that i had was the last image of the play in which you have four men for who come from very different backgrounds, standing on the stage, in a moment of extreme crisis and trying to find the vocabulary to communicate across the divide. that's what i began with, and i thought, "how do i get there?" >> brown: nottage is best known for her 2009 pulitzer prize winning play, "ruined", which examined another crisis: violence against women in an african civil war.
where does the compulsion come from for you to do this kind of work? >> it comes from curiosity. it's one of the things that i always told my students, is to replace judgment with curiosity. >> brown: i mean, because people usually come in with judgments? >> people enter with judgment. i think that judgment becomes a wall. and rather than being passive and sitting back and allowing that curiosity to sort of die, i reach out and ask the question. so i think that's why i travel. and that's why i go in search of characters. >> brown: "sweat", drama that takes on social and economic issues now part of the presidential campaign, is in washington through february and is then expected to move to new york. from arena stage, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> sreenivasan: on the newshour online right now: in 1995, newshour's margaret warner profiled a brash young
congressman from ohio, who was charged with coming up with the plan to balance the country's budget. yesterday that same republican surprised everyone in new hampshire with a second-place win. watch that original report on john kasich, on our homepage. and don't call them ghost towns. these massive chinese cities are just too new for anyone to live there yet. see the empty skyscrapers and the birth of a new metropolis in a photo essay on "art beat." all that and more is on our web site: pbs.org/newshour >> sreenivasan: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, tune in at 9 pm eastern. gwen ifill and judy woodruff moderate the pbs newshour democratic presidential debate in partnership with facebook from the university of wisconsin, milwaukee. i'm hari sreenivasan. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by bnsf railway.
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