PBS NewsHour full episode October 30, 2019
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PBS NewsHour full episode October 30, 2019

November 6, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: California burning. Winds pick up in the Golden State, fueling
already dangerous fires, as a power company falls under greater scrutiny over its role
in the crisis. Then: As migrants continue to make the perilous
trek to the southern border, new figures reveal the staggering number of children taken into
U.S. custody in the past year. And clinical trials may revolutionize treatment
for a broad swathe of illnesses, but who stands to benefit? Tackling the diversity problem in medical
research. DANA DORNSIFE, Founder, Lazarex Cancer Foundation:
In this world of drug development, where everything is happening at a sprinter’s pace, we’re not
taking the time to overcome that divide. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” Major funding for the PBS Newshour is provided
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Macarthur Foundation. Committed to building a more just, verdant
and peaceful world. More information at Mac found dot org. And with the ongoing support of these institutions. This program was made possible by the corporation
for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your local PBS station by viewers like
you. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: There is no rest for the wildfire-weary
in Southern California. A fire that exploded to life before dawn threatened
thousands of homes today and a presidential landmark. Stephanie Sy begins our coverage. STEPHANIE SY: A new day, a new fire outside
Los Angeles, this time in Simi Valley, where winds of 70 miles an hour fanned the flames
toward the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Smoke surrounded the site, but the center
escaped damage. Whole neighborhoods spent anxious hours watching
the fire’s march across dry hillsides, as helicopters and tanker planes dumped water
and chemicals to slow the fire. Firefighters had sounded the alarm overnight. JAIME MOORE, Los Angeles Assistant Fire Chief:
The worst winds that Los Angeles has seen in the last two to three years. STEPHANIE SY: Indeed, the National Weather
Service issued rarely used extreme red flag warnings, signaling severe fire danger over
wide stretches of the state. In Northern California’s wine country, the
Kincade Fire continues to burn. Trees across Sonoma County were painted red
with fire retardant yesterday. And by this morning, power blackouts remained
in effect for hundreds of thousands of PG&E customers in the north. Officials said some of the blackouts could
last for days. Some of those forced to evacuate or coping
with no electricity say they’re becoming habituated to the havoc. NICK STAUER, Evacuee: I hate to say it. We’re experienced. WOMAN: Yes, hate to say that. NICK STAUER: You shouldn’t be experienced
in something like this. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Enough is enough. STEPHANIE SY: But Governor Gavin Newsom insisted
today that blackouts must be short-term. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM: We will make sure that there
are brighter days in the future. We, I assure you, are not allowing any of
this to be the new normal. And this will not take 10 years to fix. I can promise you that. STEPHANIE SY: The dangerous winds are expected
to calm by tomorrow, but the tinder-dry conditions will last for the foreseeable future. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Stephanie Sy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stephanie will be back with
more on what’s happening in California right after the news summary. In the day’s other news: The Federal Reserve
cut short-term interest rates for the third time this year, in a bid to strengthen the
economy. The quarter-point cut was expected. But Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that
further reductions are on hold. JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: I
have given you a sense of what our outlook is. It’s for moderate growth, a strong labor market,
and inflation near our 2 percent objective. If something happens to cause us to materially
reassess that outlook, that’s what would cause us to change our views on the appropriate
stance of policy. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Central Bank had raised
rates four times last year. On impeachment, there was new fallout from
Tuesday’s testimony by an Army lieutenant on the White House National Security Council
staff. Alexander Vindman was on the July phone call
between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. In his closed-door deposition, Vindman said
the White House summary of the call omitted references to former Vice President Biden
and corruption in Ukraine. Reaction today broke mostly down party lines. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I have read the transcript. And if you add his corrections, it doesn’t
change anything for me. There were a lot of people on the call, and
these are the only corrections I have seen. And, to me, they’re — they don’t change the
substance at all. SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): What he’s raised, though,
is an important issue. And that is whether or not the summary of
the transcript is complete. And the fact that it went to a secret server
very quickly tells me there are political forces at work here that didn’t want the world
to see what was in the amended transcript. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, U.S. House impeachment
investigators asked former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify next week. Committees conducting the inquiry heard today
from two Foreign Service officers. They hear tomorrow from Tim Morrison, the
top Russia expert on the National Security Council staff. A senior administration official tells the
“NewsHour” late today that Morrison has resigned ahead of his deposition, but that he — quote
— “has been considering doing so for some time.” The number two official at the State Department
says that he doesn’t know of any attempts by President Trump to have Ukraine investigate
the Bidens. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan testified
today at his Senate confirmation hearing to be the ambassador to Russia. He said he was unaware of any pressure on
Ukraine. But New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez pressed
the point. SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Do you think it’s
ever appropriate for the president to use his office to solicit investigations into
domestic political opponents? JOHN SULLIVAN, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Nominee:
Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent, I don’t think that would
be in accord with our values. JUDY WOODRUFF: Sullivan said he had known
that Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, worked to remove the U.S. ambassador
to Ukraine from her post. Marie Yovanovitch was recalled last March. Sullivan said he didn’t think that she had
done anything wrong. The Pentagon today released video of the Saturday
raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The images show Special Forces assaulting
his compound in Northwestern Syria. Later, bombs destroyed the site. U.S. officials say that al-Baghdadi blew himself
up, and two children died with him. They initially had said that three children
were killed. In Syria, state-run media report that government
troops have clashed with Turkish forces in Northeastern Syria. It happened near Ras al-Ayn. That’s a town that Turkey seized from Syrian
Kurdish-led forces this month. Meanwhile, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan said that some Kurdish fighters are still in a so-called safe zone along the border. He warned them to withdraw, or face a new
Turkish assault. Facebook says that it has removed dozens of
pages and accounts that were part of a Russian disinformation campaign in Africa. The company says they were linked to a Russian
oligarch accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And in Washington, FBI Director Christopher
Wray told a congressional hearing that Russia means to meddle again in next year’s election. CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI Director: Some of the
things that the Russians have tried in other countries, we expect them to try to do here
as well, which puts the premium on the point that I was making before about our working
with — on the foreign influence side, working with the social media companies in particular
to really get them to keep upping their game as part of the defense. JUDY WOODRUFF: In its announcement, Facebook
said that it took down nearly 200 accounts, with more than one million followers, across
eight African nations. Twitter announced today that it will ban all
political advertising on its service starting November 22. The company said that such ads on social media
make it too easy to spread messages. By contrast, Facebook said this month it will
not fact-check political ads. Chicago and its teachers union may have a
deal to end a school strike. The union says that it will submit a tentative
agreement to its members tonight if the city agrees to make up lost school days. Teachers have been on strike 10 days, demanding
better pay and smaller classes. And on Wall Street, stocks got a bit of a
bump from the Fed’s interest rate cut. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 115
points to close at 27186. The Nasdaq rose 27 points, and the S&P 500
added nearly 10. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: California
burning — the danger grows as the wind picks up; the alarming number of child migrants
detained by the U.S. over the past year; 2020 Democratic hopeful Julian Castro on why he’s
seeking the presidency; and much more. It is a very difficult day yet again in much
of California. Fires are burning throughout several regions. Power is out for hundreds of thousands of
people, and some are becoming worried that this kind of routine could be the new normal. Stephanie Sy is back to look at those questions. And she joins us from the “NewsHour West”
bureau in Phoenix. STEPHANIE SY: Judy, firefighters are working
furiously to contain fast-moving brushfires in Simi Valley and other parts of Southern
California. In the northern part of the state, progress
is being made against the state’s largest fire, the Kincade Fire. But life has been severely disrupted because
of forced power outages that have become frequent. Michael Wara has been following all of this
closely. He’s the director of the Climate and Energy
Policy Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. And he joins me now from Oakland. Michael, thank you for your time. So you’re in Northern California, where I
understand, even though the threat was great in the last few days, they have gotten a better
hold on that Kincade Fire. The urgency right now is really in Southern
California, with those infamous Santa Ana winds creating a lot of fire dangers there
tonight. Are dealing with these conditions basically
an open-ended challenge now for the state? MICHAEL WARA, Stanford Woods Institute for
the Environment: I think it’s fair to say that they are. The emerging science on the issue of these
kind of dangerous late fall events is that, as the climate warms, we’re likely to see
more and more of these very dangerous moments in the late fall, where it’s very difficult
to control fires. STEPHANIE SY: Michael, even with these fires
burning in Southern California — and one of them is actually burning close to the Ronald
Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley — we don’t see the same kind of blackouts
there that you have up north. Why is that? MICHAEL WARA: That’s true. We have seen a smaller degree of safety blackouts
being utilized by the Southern California utilities, although I think that may change. Two of the fires that have occurred in recent
weeks in Southern California appear to have been caused by utility lines that were left
on. And so it may be the case that, moving forward,
we see a more extensive utilization. To some degree, Southern California utilities
have made investments over the last decade or so that make them more resistant to the
high-wind events. High-wind events like Santa Anas have been
a more common feature of the Southern California landscape for longer than the Northern California
weather that led to the Kincade Fire. STEPHANIE SY: How is it that forced power
outages for millions of people has become a go-to response during risky fire weather? MICHAEL WARA: Well, I think the problem we
face in Northern California is that we built a power system, poles, wires, power plants,
that was safe to operate during the 20th century. And we have — we have, unfortunately, encountered
a situation where the conditions really have changed, at the same time as more and more
people are living in the dangerous areas. And what that means is that, instead of having
safe and reliable power, now we have a choice between safe or reliable power. And California is really just beginning to
grapple with the consequences of that. STEPHANIE SY: What about the precision of
the blackouts? A number of people pointed out to me when
I was reporting from Northern California that, despite the power outages, the Kincade Fire,
which was likely started by a transmission tower that was left on by PG&E, still happened. MICHAEL WARA: Yes. I think the PG&E is still learning how to
do power shutoffs in a most effective way, in a surgical way, rather than kind of with
a — with a scalpel, rather than with a hammer. And they are still learning which lines they
need to turn off, which lines are at risk. By contrast, some utilities — San Diego really
is a standout in this — have been working for over a decade to improve their resilience
to high wildfire risk periods of time. And so they’re able to turn off power only
where the conditions are most risky and leave it on where things are safer. STEPHANIE SY: This is really hitting people
in their pocketbooks, Michael. And not everyone can afford a generator or
to install solar panels. Who should be responsible for a backstop for
people during a blackout? MICHAEL WARA: Well, I think that’s a really
important question to ask. The reality is that we’re likely to have these
kind of power shutoffs at least for the next few years. And so we need to think about keeping the
lights on, even for low- and moderate-income people who cannot go out and buy a generator
that costs a couple of thousands dollars. I think there’s an important state role here,
perhaps a federal role, in ensuring that the impacts of the climate change are not disproportionately
borne by those who can least afford it. STEPHANIE SY: The CEO of PG&E says that California
residents should expect up to a decade more of these blackouts before they can get their
equipment in order. And the governor of California, Gavin Newsom,
said today that he wouldn’t allow PG&E to take 10 years. So, what can be done? MICHAEL WARA: I think there are possibilities
for accelerating the effort. They depend on returning PG&E to a better
state of financial health, so that the company can actually make the investments that are
required to fix the problem. But there are also important limitations on
how fast the work can worry, mostly because we just don’t have enough skilled linemen
to send up the poles to make the changes that are necessary. It’s a very large system, 125,000 miles of
overhead line. So making it safe is going to take years,
hopefully not 10 years. I think there are things that can be done
to accelerate the process. Especially the kind of slow process of approving
these kinds of investments tend to occur at the utility commission. At the same time, I think that we’re going
to need to think about solutions for customers, for small businesses and the communities that
are heavily impacted, for residents that are most likely to be blacked out that involve
backup power of one sort or another. STEPHANIE SY: There is no question that patience
is wearing thin after three weeks of these power shutdowns. Michael Wara, the director of the Climate
and Energy Policy Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Michael, thank you. MICHAEL WARA: Thanks very much for having
me on. JUDY WOODRUFF: We have a clearer picture tonight
about what’s unfolded at the U.S. southern border over the past year. New numbers reveal a record number of migrants
apprehended there in fiscal year 2019. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that
total was more than 850,000 migrants, more than double the year before. That includes a record number of unaccompanied
migrant children detained by U.S. border officials. For a closer look at those numbers and the
turmoil at the top of the agency responsible for securing that border, I’m joined by Amna
Nawaz, who has been following this story for us for a long time. So, Amna, eye-popping numbers. What do we know about what’s driving it? AMNA NAWAZ: Yes, it’s a stunning number. We have been reporting on this for a while. We know, for most of those families, they’re
coming from Central America, from three countries, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, largely
fleeing economic instability and violence. But take a look at how these numbers break
down, Judy. When you look at that one big eye-popping
number, about 300,000 of those migrants were single adults. The largest group, however, was family units. That was almost 500,000. That’s adults traveling with children. And then this unaccompanied minor children
— number, rather, over 76,000. Two things to point out. That family units number, that is what has
been taxing the system. Our system is not designed to handle families
and children in that way. And that unaccompanied minors number, that,
of course, is children arriving largely unaccompanied. That’s also a record. That’s higher than any number even that the
Obama administration had to manage. And they had their own surges they managed
in 2014 and 2016. A lot of people are asking, what happened
to all those children? It’s important to point out, they go into
the care of another government agency. And that agency said they have also had a
record number of sponsors coming forward. That’s vetted family and friends who come
forward to claim the children. So most of those children are now with those
sponsors. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, again, this is a — and,
again, you have reported on it. This is an agency, a system that was never
designed to handle families, to handle children. These numbers appear to be unsustainable. What’s going to happen? AMNA NAWAZ: Well, look, it’s absolutely unsustainable. It’s unfair for the Customs and Border Patrol
officers on the front lines. It’s unsafe for a lot of the families coming
through the system. But it’s important to point out those numbers
have been coming down in recent months. If you take a look at the southwest border
apprehensions over the last five months, may of the last fiscal year was a high point,
over 130,000 migrants crossing. That came down month after month, until September,
last year, the last month of this fiscal year, down to about 40,000. That’s a low for the entire year. Why is it coming down? A combination of a couple of things. One, the Trump administration has put into
place a lot of new policies that prevent people from coming into the U.S. And they have struck deals with those countries
of origin to keep people from leaving. That’s kind of set off a whole another whole
set of concerns about, you know, whether people are allowed under human rights law to leave
their country or even to pass through Mexico on the way here. We know it’s also unsafe in a lot of those
Mexican border towns where they’re now being held. Just over the weekend, there was a 2-year-old
boy who was killed in a hit-and-run. He and his family were waiting to legally
enter the United States. And according to the National Organization
for Migration, he’s the 20th child to die at the U.S.-Mexico border in the last year. So, it’s not good conditions people are being
forced to wait in. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, so concerning. And, meanwhile, while all this is going on,
Amna, the agency that oversees all this, the Department of Homeland Security, one of the
largest agencies in the federal government, hundreds of thousands of employees, they have
had an acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan. He announced this month, earlier, he’s leaving
the job. What do we know about what’s next? AMNA NAWAZ: Yes, his last day is supposed
to be tomorrow. He will likely have to stay because the president
has not yet named a successor. He’s run into one problem under the Federal
Vacancies Act, which is that someone can’t hold two acting positions at the same time
under DHS. The top two candidates for this role, Ken
Cuccinelli and Mark Morgan, are both acting heads of DHS agencies at the moment. They’re ideologically aligned with the president. And one of them may end up getting the job. But, right now, it’s a difficulty because
of the Federal Vacancies Act. But when you spoke about the turmoil at the
top, it’s worth a look back. Under this president, there have already been
four heads of DHS, John Kelly, Elaine Duke, Kirstjen Nielsen, Kevin McAleenan. We do not know — for the broad mandate DHS
has, beyond just immigration, we have no idea who is going to be running it next. JUDY WOODRUFF: To go from acting to acting
to acting. What do we say? Amna Nawaz, thank you very much. AMNA NAWAZ: Thanks, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: Beirut and Baghdad
on the brink — the latest from the protest movements in Lebanon and Iraq; how a lack
of diversity in clinical trials threatens the effectiveness of medical research; and
the latest pick for the Now Read This book club, Adam Winkler’s “We the Corporations.” Julian Castro made his debut on the national
stage in 2012, when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention
as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He later joined the Obama administration as
the secretary of housing and urban development. And, today, he’s one of 17 Democrats vying
to win his party’s presidential nomination. Joining us now from his home town of San Antonio,
Julian Castro. Welcome to the “NewsHour.” JULIAN CASTRO (D), Presidential Candidate:
Great to be with you, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I want to start with a
question I have been asking every one of the candidates. And that is, why you? Why are you in a better position, why are
you more qualified than everyone else to be the Democratic nominee? JULIAN CASTRO: That’s a great question, and
probably the question that those of us on the campaign trail get asked the most. Look, I think that people are looking for
three things this year. Number one, they want somebody with the right
experience to be president. They want somebody with a strong, compelling
vision about the future of our country. And, of course, they somebody that can beat
Donald Trump. I’m one of the very few candidates with strong
executive experience. I have actually been in charge of something
and gotten things done. I was mayor of the seventh largest city, my
home town of San Antonio. And I served as secretary of housing and urban
development under President Obama, managing a department that had 8,000 employees, a $48
billion budget, offices across the country. So I have a strong track record of executive
experience. I also have a strong, compelling vision for
the future. I want to make sure that everyone counts in
this country, not just 37 percent of the country that this president considers his base, but
everybody. And I have outlined a blueprint for everybody
to be able to prosper in the years ahead. And I can beat Donald Trump. JUDY WOODRUFF: A number of things I want to
ask you about. One of the issues you have stressed is immigration. You favor decriminalizing border crossings. What does that mean? Does it mean open borders? JULIAN CASTRO: It doesn’t. It means that crossing the border without
permission would still be against the law, but we would treat it like we used to treat
it for more than 50 years under Democratic and Republican presidents, when it was considered
a civil offense. The reason that I believe we need to go back
to how we used to treat it, and do it effectively, is that, when Trump came in, he weaponized
one particular section of the law that was passed in 1929, but wasn’t enforced for more
than five decades. And he’s using that misdemeanor crime to incarcerate
migrant parents and to take them away from their kids. What I have said is that I believe we can
have accountability, we can have a secure border, but we can do it with common sense
and compassion, instead of cruelty. And I don’t want that tool to be in the toolbox
for a future administration, like a Trump administration, to separate families. So I’m trying to end family separation, but
still keep an orderly immigration system. JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of your opponents disagree
with you. Joe Biden says people should have to wait
in line. Governor Steve Bullock of Montana said the
other day this would lead to an explosion of people at the border. My question is, would you offer them free
health care once they came across? JULIAN CASTRO: Well, I mean, let’s just get
something straight. Under Donald Trump, our immigration challenge
has actually gotten worse, not better. A couple of months ago, we had 144,000 people
that showed up at the southern border. We have had more people that are coming because
he didn’t do what I have said that he should do, which is, for instance, a 21st century
Marshall Plan for Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, so that people can find safety
and opportunity at home, instead of having to make the dangerous journey to the United
States. We need to engage in some preventive action,
so that we won’t see so many people show up at the southern end of our border. With regard to health care for undocumented
immigrants who are already here, I believe that everybody in this country should be able
to access health care. Now, why do I say that? Number one, if you’re a taxpayer out there,
you may hear that and wonder like, you know, what are you talking about? You are already paying for people’s health
care in this country. It’s called the emergency room. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. JULIAN CASTRO: People show up in the emergency
room, and that’s most costly way that we can do health care. If I were president right now, I would allow
folks, if they were undocumented, to buy into the exchanges… JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. JULIAN CASTRO: … so that they’re contributing
something into the system and they’re able to get preventative care. I think that’s smarter and a cheaper way to
do it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me just ask you several
other things. Health care for all of us, your proposal is
to automatically enroll everybody into a Medicare plan, but give them the chance to opt out
if they want to keep their private insurance. Joe Biden has kind of the mirror image of
that. He would have people have to opt in if they
want to join Medicare for all. Why is your proposal better than his? JULIAN CASTRO: The difference is that my plan
would cover everybody, whereas Joe Biden’s plan would leave 10 million people uninsured. If we’re going to go through all of the battle
that’s involved in reworking our health care system, it makes no sense to leave 10 million
people uninsured at the end of the day. So, if we’re going to do it, we need to do
it right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Staying in the race, you made
a pretty, I think it’s fair to say, desperate appeal for money about nine days ago. You tweeted out a message saying, if you couldn’t
raise $800,000 by October 31 — that’s tomorrow — that your campaign would be silenced for
good. Are you going to make it? JULIAN CASTRO: I believe that we will. We’re not quite there yet. But we have gotten grassroots contributions
from all over the country, people putting in $5, $15, $25. I’m very proud that I have one of the highest
rates of small-dollar contributions. I think our average contribution last quarter
was $18. So it’s Americans from all walks of life. You know, I’m not taking any PAC money, any
federal lobbyist money, any money from big oil and gas, energy executives. It’s powered by the people of this country. I believe that we’re going to make it. And then we’re going to fight like crazy over
the next two weeks to try and get on that debate stage in November. And so I’m going to be in Iowa on Friday at
the Liberty and Justice dinner. I’m going to be in Iowa for a few days and
also in some of these early states continuing to work hard. JUDY WOODRUFF: The New York Times ran a story
today noticing that, even though the Democrats are fielding the most diverse group of candidates
than ever this year, that the candidates who seem to be at the top are all either white
men three of them, Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg, or a white woman, Elizabeth Warren, and that
the candidates of color, you and others, aren’t there. Do you have a theory about why that is? JULIAN CASTRO: People tend to gravitate, right
now at least, toward this idea that you have to go with a safe choice or a certain profile
of candidate that they think can win in Pennsylvania or in Ohio or in Michigan. But I think we should actually turn that over
on its head. The last time that we actually won big was
with Barack Obama, because he assembled an unprecedented, diverse, young, working-class
coalition of people that rose up, that got off the sidelines, and into the voting booths. I’m confident that I can do that if I’m the
nominee. JUDY WOODRUFF: Julian Castro, seeking the
Democratic nomination for president, thank you very much. JULIAN CASTRO: Thanks, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And our interviews with Democratic
candidates continue on Friday, when I travel to Iowa to sit down with former Vice President
Joe Biden. Tonight in Baghdad, security services killed
at least two and wounded hundreds of protesters who are challenging the very foundation of
the government. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, there is a caretaker
government today, after the prime minister resigned yesterday. Nick Schifrin is here with a look at the protest
movements and what’s next. NICK SCHIFRIN: Iraqi and Lebanese protesters
each took to the streets for local reasons. But they are united in arguing that their
governments are broken. In Iraq, the spark was the firing of a popular
general. But listen to this Iraqi demonstrator demand
fundamental change. MAN (through translator): The Iraqi people
are not looking forward to reforms. We want the resignation of this government. NICK SCHIFRIN: In Lebanon, the spark was a
lack of services and a tax on a popular app. But the protesters’ catchphrase is now “All
of them,” as in, they want all politicians to go. WOMAN (through translator): From the beginning,
we said, all of them means all of them. We are staying in the squares until they all
go down. NICK SCHIFRIN: Meanwhile, the presence of
Iran looms large in both countries. For more, we’re joined by journalist Pesha
Magid in Baghdad and special correspondent Jane Ferguson in Beirut. Thank you very much to both of you. Pesha, let me start with you. We have now seen a month of protests and extraordinary
violence on the streets, 240-plus killed. What’s keeping people in the streets, despite
all that violence? PESHA MAGID, Journalist: I think that people
have just gotten to a breaking point in terms of the corruption of the government and the
poverty that is present throughout Iraq. Twenty-five percent of Iraq’s youth are unemployed. And for them, you know, it’s either they protest
or there’s nothing for them in their future, they think. NICK SCHIFRIN: So, Jane Ferguson, we have
fundamental calls about economic fears in Baghdad. We certainly have seen very similar aspects
in Beirut. We saw the prime minister, Hariri, resign
yesterday. Does that answer protesters’ demands? JANE FERGUSON: It answers the protesters to
a certain extent, in the sense that they are jubilant that they have been able to bring
down the prime minister himself. But politics in Lebanon is very complicated,
because it’s not just one person. And that’s why, as you say, the protesters
have been saying, all of you, all of you. What they mean is, they want all of the political
elites to step down in this country, because it is a complex web of sectarian and divided-up
power here in the country. And getting rid of one leader will not bring
down the system that people here really want dismantled, a system that has caused widespread
corruption, a financial crisis, and for basically the quality of life in Lebanon to be extremely
low for many people. So, it’s a start. But the protesters are saying that they will
come back out onto the streets if they don’t see cabinet ministers replaced with technocrats. They want to see those old faces that they
consider symbolic of their past removed, so that they can be replaced with people they
see as less corrupt and more representative of the population. NICK SCHIFRIN: Pesha, some of what unites
these protesters across these two countries are the economic fundamentals that both of
you have been talking about, but also that they go beyond traditional sectarian divisions,
including some that Jane was just talking about. Why have economic fears in Iraq become more
important than sectarian loyalty? And why does that mean that so many are calling
for Iran’s influence to decrease in Iraq? PESHA MAGID: Well, I think we have to look
at who the main people who are protesting. They’re very young. They’re from a generation that don’t see themselves
as ruled by sectarian differences. The main thing that concerns them is that
they don’t really have any opportunities. They don’t have a good education. They don’t have any work. So, for them, they say, we don’t care if you’re
Shia. We don’t care if you’re Sunni. We just someone who is Iraqi to govern Iraq. And when it comes to Iran, Iran influences
the current government very much. And many people believe that Iran’s influence
on the government has led to some of the corruption which has created the economic situation within
Iraq. So, throughout the protests, you see people
saying, get out, get out, Iran. We want someone Iraqi to come and rule Iraq. NICK SCHIFRIN: Jane, you talked about the
complicated system of government in Lebanon. Of course, sectarianism, as you suggested,
is written into the government itself. How do the protests and Prime Minister Hariri’s
resignation going to affect Iran in Lebanon and the Iran-backed Hezbollah group? JANE FERGUSON: Officially, what the group
has been saying and what we have been hearing from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah,
is that they support the protesters in principle. They support their calls for less corruption,
their calls for reform in the country. But they have also been saying that they shouldn’t
be blocking roads, that they shouldn’t be causing disruptions. And what we saw yesterday were extraordinary
scenes in Beirut, where hundreds of Hezbollah and their allies Amal supporters pouring into
the streets, defying the police, racing towards these protesters here and attacking them with
sticks, bottles, even rocks, beating people up, and essentially tearing apart the protest
camp that had been set up. Hezbollah has a lot to lose if this government
were to collapse completely, because those protesters keep saying, all of you. That include Hassan Nasrallah, the head of
Hezbollah. Now, he’s not technically in the government
in Lebanon, but people want all of those political leaders to step down. For Hezbollah supporters, that’s a step too
far. Hezbollah are experiencing to a certain extent,
you could even call it something of an identity crisis because of these protests. They have always viewed themselves as a party
of the people, of the working man, of the downtrodden. But now they are — whether they like it or
not, they’re seen by the people as a political elite. Hassan Nasrallah is seen as a political elite. NICK SCHIFRIN: Pesha, some of the fundamental
reforms that the experts say are necessary in Iraq, cutting public sector payrolls, nurturing
the private sector, liberalizing oil profits, is the government capable and willing to actually
institute some of those reforms? PESHA MAGID: That’s a hard question to answer. I would say that what a lot of protesters
here have been saying is that the government has had about 16 years to institute those
type of reforms, and have utterly failed up until this point. And many of the people in government have
been the same politicians in different positions for around a decade or so. And they have not yet been able to institute
reforms. And despite Iraq being a very, very oil-rich
country, the basic services are still lacking. And it doesn’t seem likely that, as you said,
the very bloated public sector could go away any time soon. NICK SCHIFRIN: And Jane, just quickly, in
the time we have left, expand out a little bit out for us. For the region, what’s the impact of these
protest movements and that these two governments are being fundamentally challenged right now? JANE FERGUSON: It’s a big statement for the
region, Nick, in terms of what people want, and the fact that they are defying sectarianism,
they’re defying traditional politics. And what we’re hearing is a louder and louder
voice that is, to a certain extent, reminiscent of the Arab Spring of 2011 and 2012, but different,
in the sense it’s more focused on economic reform. What we’re seeing now is a younger generation
that have lost patience with the results of corruption and sectarianism. And they’re a lot more focused on what they
want, which is a more modern and acceptable standard of living for young people. NICK SCHIFRIN: Jane Ferguson in Beirut, Pesha
Magid in Baghdad, thank you very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: The country’s diversity is
becoming ever greater, but medical research that could benefit the populace is not keeping
pace. A recent review of government-funded cancer
research studies found that all racial and ethnic minorities were considerably underrepresented. It also found that fewer than 2 percent of
these clinical trials focused specifically on the needs of minorities. There’s growing awareness of the problem,
and there are some new and promising efforts to correct it. Special correspondent Cat Wise has the story. It’s part of our regular coverage about the
Leading Edge of science and medicine. BRITTANI POWELL, Clinical Trial Participant:
Seventy questions. CAT WISE: Brittani Powell wasn’t supposed
to be here in 2019 on the campus of Sacramento State studying to become a doctor. In middle school, she was paralyzed. Her doctors told her that treatment for the
large-scale cancerous tumor pressing into her spine had failed, that she would likely
be dead within months. Her only hope, a game-changing clinical trial
that her mom found in Santa Monica, nearly 400 miles from home. BRITTANI POWELL: And the issue became, how
are we going to get there every week just for the loading dose? Because, for the first month, we had to go
once a week, and then, after that, we’d have to continue to go once a month. And at this time, she’s out of work, and we
don’t have any extra funds to continue to drive down there and to support the household. DANA DORNSIFE, Founder, Lazarex Cancer Foundation:
So, this is Brittani. CAT WISE: Brittani and her mom needed some
help, and they got it from this woman, Dana Dornsife. She runs a nonprofit in the Bay Area called
the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. The organization fills a gaping hole in the
cancer treatment world by paying for the travel expenses a low-income patient needs to get
to a clinical trial. WOMAN: It says you are looking for assistance
with parking, tolls and gas; is that correct? CAT WISE: And that simple fix may help solve
another gaping hole in medical research, says Dornsife. DANA DORNSIFE: Unfortunately, many minority
communities are grossly underrepresented in clinical trials, because they can’t afford
to get there. In this world of drug development, where everything
is happening, you know, at a sprinter’s pace, right, we’re not taking the time to overcome
that divide. CAT WISE: Brittani Powell is now-cancer free,
thanks to the clinical trial. But she was lucky. According to the Food and Drug Administration,
only about 30 percent of clinical trial participants for cancer drugs come from minority groups. The rest are white. In an era of precision medicine, when drugs
are being developed for and tailored to specific segments of the population, diversity is essential,
because some diseases and drugs impact racial groups in different ways. George Ocampo has been part of the Lazarex
push to reverse those numbers. He couldn’t work during five grueling rounds
of chemo for pancreatic cancer. A clinical trial for a new treatment, two
hours from home, didn’t seem like an option. Lazarex has footed the bill for his trips
to the University of California, San Francisco, the gas, tolls, parking, and hotel stays,
while he participated in the trial. They also pay for airfare for those traveling
longer distances. Those seemingly small interventions have helped
Ocampo and other patients access cutting-edge care they otherwise wouldn’t have received. GEORGE OCAMPO, Clinical Trial Participant:
And, hopefully, it gets FDA-approved, and then it will be a drug that will be here for
a long time. CAT WISE: A randomized controlled trial of
Lazarex’s interventions found the financial assistance can have a big impact. Minority participation in Lazarex-backed studies
at USCF and the University of Southern California was 78 percent, compared to national statistics
for minority groups in cancer oncology trials. The FDA’s recent report found just 15 percent
were Asian, 4 percent were black or African-American, and 4 percent were Hispanic. Lack of diversity is a problem that extends
well beyond clinical trials. Basic research has also been long dominated
by people of European ancestry. DR. DANIEL WEINBERGER, Director, Lieber Institute
For Brain Development: This train is speeding out of the station, and the African-American
community doesn’t seem to be on it nearly with the representation that it deserves. CAT WISE: Daniel Weinberger is the head of
the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore. The train he’s referring to is, once again,
the revolution of precision medicine. DR. DANIEL WEINBERGER: This is how we store over
3,000 samples of human brain tissue. And this keeps expanding. This is a major enterprise. CAT WISE: This institute, which has an affiliation
with Johns Hopkins, has built one of the world’s largest collections of postmortem human brains
devoted to understanding mental illness and brain development. So far, most of the brain research here and
elsewhere has been centered on people with European ancestry. That’s because their genomic code is newer
and simpler than other groups, including people with African ancestry. Earlier this year, a study found that a full
10 percent of the African genome is missing from the famous reference human genome mapped
by scientists at the turn of the century and that is widely used as a baseline for researchers. DR. DANIEL WEINBERGER: It was like a wakeup call. My, my, my, 10 percent missing? How is that possible that this has been overlooked
to this degree? CAT WISE: The Lieber Institute has collected
some 500 brains of African-Americans in recent years, but there hasn’t been the funding to
study them specifically. Weinberger says that lack of research is a
big problem. DR. DANIEL WEINBERGER: We have known for a long
time, for example, that many medicines used to treat psychiatric disorders are metabolized
differently in African-Americans. And many of the studies have shown that they
don’t respond as well to some medicines, in part because they’re metabolized differently. And unless we understand that, we’re not going
to be able to make the personalized insights that we can make so far in the Caucasian genome. CAT WISE: But going about this kind of research
on the Johns Hopkins campus is sensitive business. This is, after all, the institution that harvested
cells from Henrietta Lacks without her consent in the mid-1900s, creating an immortal cell
line that is still used by researchers today. Events like that and the rumors that followed
led to mistrust of the medical establishment which remains high today. REV. ALVIN C. HATHAWAY, Senior Pastor, Union Baptist
Church: Johns Hopkins has this kind of spirit hovering over it that you didn’t want to walk
by it at night, because they were using people for spare body parts. CAT WISE: That’s Reverend Al Hathaway, senior
pastor of the Union Baptist Church, and one of the most influential voices in the city
of Baltimore. He was skeptical, too, of a group trying to
collect brains. REV. ALVIN C. HATHAWAY: As I began to work with
them, what I realized was that the funding is kind of slanted towards a European data
set. So I said, well, wait a minute, that’s not
really biased. That’s just accessibility. And so I didn’t see it as, like, something
that was structurally wrong. I saw it as something that we could correct. CAT WISE: In collaboration with the Lieber
Institute, Hathaway and a group of fellow Baltimore clergy members have created the
first African-American neuroscience research initiative. Their goal is to help the institute use the
specimens already on hand to fill in genomic gaps and create a publicly accessible data
set that would speed both research and medical innovation. But even as they push forward, all those involved
in the project are proceeding carefully, knowing that science has been used in the past to
emphasize racial differences in harmful ways and exploit minority communities. As more becomes known about genomic differences
between racial groups, some are concerned that could happen again. DR. DANIEL WEINBERGER: No genome is without its
advantages and its disadvantages. This is true of every genome. This is just a matter of identifying them
and coming up with ways to make them less debilitating. CAT WISE: Back in California, George Ocampo
is back on his feet with the support of his wife, Trisha (ph). WOMAN: We held each other for a few moments,
and then he stopped and said: “Trisha, look at me. It’s OK. We’re going to get through this. It’s just another bump in the road.” CAT WISE: More than three dozen friends and
family members came out for a recent cancer fund-raising event. MEN AND WOMEN: Team George! CAT WISE: With a hashtag on all of their backs
#NoOneFightsAlone and the hope that research of the future will move closer to that goal
as well. For the “PBS NewsHour” I’m Cat Wise in Hollister,
California. JUDY WOODRUFF: As the month comes to a close,
it is time for the latest conversation of our book club, Now Read This, in partnership
with The New York Times. William Brangham has that. And stick around for what to read in November. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The 2010 Supreme Court ruling
Citizens United shocked the country, effectively granting corporations the same free speech
rights as individuals and further opening the floodgates of money into our elections. Many saw Citizens United as a dangerous new
development, one that blurred the line between citizens and corporations. But UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler demonstrates
in his book that it was just the latest in a very long line of victories, largely overlooked
by history, where corporations fought for and won sweeping civil rights protections. “We the Corporations” is that book, and the
Now Read This choice for October. Adam Winkler, the author, is here. Welcome. ADAM WINKLER, Author, “We the Corporations”:
Thanks so much for having me. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I have to admit, this book
really was a revelation, to find out so many of these things that we didn’t — that I really
had no idea about in particular. And many of our viewers, it seems, after reading
this 200-year history of corporate rights being enshrined in law, made many of them
mad. One of them wrote in saying that her blood
was boiling at what you had documented. Could you just briefly sketch out the kinds
of rights that corporations have won for themselves over the decades? ADAM WINKLER: Sure. I mean, corporations have been fighting and
winning constitutional rights in the Supreme Court for over 200 years. And even though the Supreme Court over the
years didn’t really protect the rights of women or racial minorities, up until the 1950s
at least, throughout all that time, the court was often siding with corporations. And corporations were granted the right to
sue in court in the early 1800s, were granted rights of rights of equal protection and due
process in the late 1800s. Corporations today have won most of the criminal
protection rights that are in the Constitution, as well as in more recent years rights of
freedom of speech and freedom of religion. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We all remember when Mitt
Romney made that comment about, corporations are people too, my friend. And people on the left ridiculed him for that. But, as you document, there really is this
long legal history where the courts have viewed corporations as people. Can you explain how that happened and why
that happened? ADAM WINKLER: Well, no issue was more controversial
in the wake of Citizens United then this idea of corporations as people. But the idea of corporate personhood is actually
deeply embedded in the law. And it’s just the idea that a corporation
is its own independent entity in the eyes of the law, and it’s separate and distinct
from the shareholders or the employees or the investors in that company. And that’s why, if you slip and fall at a
Starbucks, you have to sue the Starbucks company. You can’t sue the individual investors. Corporate personhood enables us to hold corporations
accountable when they commit crimes or torts. When we sue BP for the oil spill in the Gulf,
we’re relying on corporate personhood to give us an identifiable body that we can sue and
hold responsible. I think what’s gone awry, perhaps, in the
Supreme Court in recent years is that the court has extended rights that don’t seem
to fit the business corporation of today, things like a right to influence elections,
or freedom of religion, and giving corporations the ability to opt out of certain kinds of
laws, things that just don’t seem like they’re part of that long history and tradition of
corporate personhood. For instance, in the Hobby Lobby case, the
Supreme Court says a corporation has religious liberty and then says, well, we need to protect
the religious liberty of Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This was the case — for
people who have not followed this, this was the Green family, who said that the Affordable
Care Act requirement that they provide contraception to their employees violated their personal
religious beliefs. And you’re saying that that — that the court
misconstrued that idea in that case? ADAM WINKLER: Well, what the court did is,
it pierced the corporate veil. It didn’t base the right — the case on the
rights of the corporate entity, but on the rights of the family behind the corporation. And when we understand that in terms of what
corporate personhood really should mean, which is a strict separation between the business
entity on the one hand and the people behind the business, we can see that Hobby Lobby
actually rejected the principle of corporate personhood, rather than truly embraced it. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You write at the beginning
of your book that you don’t mean this to be a condemnation or even really a critique of
this growing corporate rights. But the cover of your book does have a wadded-up
copy of the Constitution on it, which implies that the Constitution has been damaged here. How do you weigh that? ADAM WINKLER: Well, it is an arresting image
on the cover. And so we love that. (LAUGHTER) ADAM WINKLER: But, in some ways, you might
of the metaphor as being the opposite, that the involvement of corporations in American
constitutional law has had some bad effects. And Citizens United may be a perfect example
of that, of expanding corporate influence over elections, where corporations don’t belong. But, at the same time, corporate rights have
also had a positive effect in some examples. So, for instance, in the 1930s, when newspaper
corporations were trying to fight back against censorship imposed upon them by Huey Long,
the demagogue governor of Louisiana, they only were able to fight back against that
censorship because they had a First Amendment right of freedom of the press. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A lot of readers asked questions
that seem to struggle with this idea of, is this trend, is it irreversible? Do corporations now have these rights and
that that’s never going to change? What is your sense from studying the long
history of this? ADAM WINKLER: Well, there is a movement afoot
to amend the Constitution to eliminate rights for corporations. And more than 19 states have endorsed some
kind of constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. And if that amendment really gathers steam,
then we might see corporations actually lose some of these constitutional rights that they
have gained. But I think we have to approach that issue
with some nuance and at least some hesitation, in the sense that we don’t want to deprive,
for instance, The New York Times Company of its right of freedom of the press. And we don’t want to deny any other company
that has property rights over its inventory. And the government can’t come and, for instance,
seize Coca-Cola’s recipes and make its own Coca-Cola without paying just compensation. So we want to think about the role that constitutional
rights do play in limiting government power. And, sometimes, that means protecting corporations. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The book is “We the Corporations:
How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.” Adam Winkler, thank you very much for doing
this. ADAM WINKLER: Thank you. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We will continue this conversation
online, where you can find it later on. But, before we go, I want to introduce our
Now Read This pick for November, the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. It’s a novel about trees, our relationship
to the natural world, and about activism and resistance. It’s called “The Overstory.” It’s the 12th book from National Book Award
winner Richard Powers. As always, we will hope you will join us and
read along with others on our Web site and Facebook page Now Read This, which is the
“PBS NewsHour”‘s book club partnership with The New York Times. JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” online right
now: The Trump administration has touted its efforts to build hundreds of miles of new
border wall by the end of next year. We take a closer look at what has been done
so far and whether the new designs adequately address the changing nature of immigration. That’s on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. 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. Major funding for the PBS NewsHour has been
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