PBS NewsHour full episode August 15, 2019

I’m Amna Nawaz.
Judy Woodruff is away.
On the “NewsHour” tonight:
Barred from entry.
Israel takes the unprecedented step of denying
entry to two members of the U.S. Congress.
Where does it leave the relationship between
the two countries?
Then, crisis in Venezuela.
Ambassador Carlos Vecchio joins us for an
update at a critical moment for the embattled
And, parenting by the numbers.
A new baby means a never-ending supply of
advice, but what actually works?
One economist breaks it all down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I try to go through all
of the studies, pick out the ones that I think
are most convincing and are giving us something
that is closest to a causal relationship.
AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour”.
AMNA NAWAZ: Israel is barring two Muslim U.S.
congresswomen from visiting Jerusalem and
the West Bank.
Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are both critics
of Israel’s policy towards Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed
his earlier decision to allow the women to
visit after President Trump urged him to deny
their entry.
Mr. Trump defended his stance before leaving
for a rally in New Hampshire a short time
They are very anti-Jewish and they’re very
I think it’s disgraceful the things they’ve
You have lists — this isn’t just a one-line
mistake, what they’ve said about Israel and
Jewish people is a horrible thing.
And they’ve become the face of the Democrat
AMNA NAWAZ: We’ll take a closer look at the
impact of today’s unprecedented decision after
the news summary.
Gibraltar has released the Iranian tanker
it seized last month under suspicion of transporting
oil to Syria, a violation of international
Authorities allowed the tanker to leave the
British territory, defying a last-minute effort
by the U.S. to claim possession.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
tweeted the U.S. request was a, quote, piracy
But he gave no indication that Iran would
release the British tanker it seized in retaliation.
In Philadelphia, the gunman in yesterday’s
hours-long standoff with police is now in
Thirty-six-year-old Maurice Hill has a criminal
record that includes firearms charges.
He has not yet been charged.
Hill fired more than 100 rounds at police
as they were trying to serve a drug warrant.
Six officers were wounded in the seven-hour
standoff before hill surrendered.
Today, the city police commissioner described
the harrowing wait.
For a long time last night, I know our collective
hearts were in our throats, not just at that
scene, but probably for many people not knowing
how this was going to end.
And I have to be honest with you, in the beginning
of that scene, being there, I did not think
it would end nearly the way it did.
AMNA NAWAZ: The six wounded officers have
all been released from the hospital.
A coroner said today that the gunman who killed
nine people in Dayton, Ohio earlier this month
had alcohol, cocaine, and anti-depressants
in his system.
Authorities also found a bag of cocaine in
his pocket.
Police fatally shot the 24-year-old gunman
at the scene.
Scientists say July was the hottest month
measured on Earth since record-keeping began
in 1880.
That’s according to the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration here in the U.S.
On average, July was nearly two degrees warmer
than the 20th century average for the month.
A deadly cross-border firefight broke out
between Indian and Pakistani forces today,
the latest escalation over the disputed region
of Kashmir.
Tensions have flared there since the Indian
government revoked the territory’s political
autonomy last week.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended
the status change today, during Independence
Day celebrations.
translator): The old arrangements during the
last 70 years encouraged secessionism.
They gave birth to terrorism and nurtured
And in a way, they made the foundations of
corruption and discrimination stronger.
And that is why we had to ensure that the
women in Kashmir get their rights, and the
rights available to the tribal communities
in the rest of India should also be available
in Kashmir.
AMNA NAWAZ: But few attended Independence
Day celebrations in Kashmir’s main city.
Nearly 4 million people in the Indian-administered
part of Kashmir are in their 12th day of an
unprecedented security lockdown and communications
translator): We are facing a lot of difficulties.
We are not celebrating Independence Day.
Everything is shut down here.
You won’t be allowed to go anywhere.
Everything is locked down.
AMNA NAWAZ: The U.N. Security Council is set
to discuss the tense situation in Kashmir
tomorrow, in response to requests from neighboring
Pakistan and China.
Back in this country, there are new questions
today about the circumstances surrounding
accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent
death by suicide in a Manhattan jail.
Several news outlets report today that the
autopsy, which has yet to be made public,
found that Epstein’s neck was broken in several
Such injuries can occur in a death by hanging
or in someone who was strangled.
It’s still unclear when the autopsy results
will be made public.
The House Judiciary Committee issued two new
subpoenas today as part of its investigation
into the Trump presidency.
The Democratic-led panel is requesting President
Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
and former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn
testify at a public hearing on September 17th.
Both played significant roles in special counsel
Robert Mueller’s report on the president’s
possible obstruction of justice.
A federal court in San Francisco has upheld
an order requiring U.S. immigration officials
to provide food, water and basic hygiene items
to children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A lower court ruling said conditions at the
facilities did not meet safety and sanitation
standards from a 1997 settlement agreement.
The Trump administration had appealed the
But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today
sided with the lower court.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
dropped out of the presidential race today.
That brings the number of candidates vying
for the Democratic nomination to 23.
Hickenlooper said he is now considering a
Senate bid, facing off against Republican
incumbent Cory Gardner who’s up for re-election
next year.
And on Wall Street today, stocks attempted
to claw their way back into positive territory
after suffering their worst day of 2019.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly
100 points to close at 25,579.
The Nasdaq fell seven points.
And the S&P-500 added seven.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: what’s
next for the U.S.- Israeli relationship now
that two U.S. congresswomen have been denied
entry; heightened tensions in Hong Kong as
China signals the potential for a crackdown;
Venezuela’s opposition ambassador on his country’s
ongoing political and economic crisis.
Plus, much more.
AMNA NAWAZ: We return to our top story, Israel
banning two Muslim-American congresswomen
from entry.
In a tweet this morning, President Trump said
Israel would show, quote, great weakness by
allowing the congresswomen to enter.
He added that the representatives, quote,
hate Israel and all Jewish people.
The president has targeted the two representatives
repeatedly, as part of a four-woman freshman
Democratic group that’s dubbed itself “The
Representatives Tlaib and Omar have faced
criticism in the past for their statements
on Israel, which some critics have called
anti-Semitic, and their support for the boycott,
divestment and sanctions, or BDS movement,
designed to pressure Israel to leave the Palestinian
lands and recognize their rights by targeting
Israeli companies, as well as international
companies, universities and other groups that
invest in Israel.
In 2017, Israeli lawmakers passed a law that
can bar entry to people considered advocates
of the international BDS movement.
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives
passed a resolution condemning the BDS movement
as one that, quote, promotes principles of
collective guilt, mass punishment and group
President Trump’s stance puts him at odds
with Republican congressmen, like House Minority
Leader Kevin McCarthy who was in Israel this
KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Speaking with the president,
he knows there are people who have differences
of opinion.
I think it would be healthy for anyone who
has that opinion, should come just as all
these members have, to see, and I feel very
secure in this, anyone that comes with open
ears, open eyes and an open mind will walk
away with an understanding, just as all these
members here do, that this bond is unbreakable.
AMNA NAWAZ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is in the middle of a close election
campaign, and critics say he can’t afford
to appear weak while facing criticism of Israel.
And now for reaction from a former top Israeli
Danny Ayalon served as deputy foreign minister
from 2009 to 2013, and as Israeli ambassador
to the United States from 2002 to 2006.
Ambassador Ayalon, welcome back to the “NewsHour”.
I want to ask you about what the Israeli Ambassador
Ron Dermer said last month.
He said the lawmakers would be allowed to
visit, quote, out of respect for the U.S.
Congress and the great alliance between Israel
and America.
That was last month.
What changed between then and now?
Yes, well, thank you, Amna.
I would say two things.
First of all, there was an invitation by the
bipartisan delegation, and we have had here
last week, basically 70 members of Congress
from both parties headed by both majority
and minority leader, and it would have been
much better for them to come then.
They refused.
And not only that, they have decided on their
own accord to actually ignore Israel, to go
only to the Palestinian side.
They are sponsored by an organization, Palestinian
one, which is called MIFTAH which supports
And I think that by the latest analysis, the
reason for this visit was just a clear provocation
and really to harm and hurt Israeli interests.
AMNA NAWAZ: I want to be clear about something,
You mention they had been invited previously.
You are saying if they had visited with that
other delegation, they would have been welcome
in Israel?
DANNY AYALON: By all means.
And, you know, Israel is a free country.
We’re a democracy.
We are not afraid of criticism.
If anything, you know, Israelis are the most
severe and fierce critics of themselves and
of our own government.
AMNA NAWAZ: You tweeted that the Israeli government
accepted the U.S. administration’s suggestion,
their recommendation, and that’s what led
to the ban.
So how is this to be seen?
Is this the Israel guy government taking orders
from President Trump and the U.S. administration
on who is allowed in and who is not?
DANNY AYALON: I believe that the main issue
was on the merit of the provocation.
However, what added I’m sure to the decision,
although from Jerusalem I hear otherwise,
but nobody can deny the president’s tweet,
once there is a request from the president
of our best friend and ally, you know, the
United States of America, certainly you have
to heed or you have to take into consideration
their request.
So, I’m sure this was also added into the
And you can here invoke what we call a waiver
because of national interest.
AMNA NAWAZ: Mr. Ambassador, as part of the
justification for denying them entry, Prime
Minister Netanyahu said that their support
for this BDS movement was part of that decision.
Israel has long held itself up as a bastion
of democracy in the region.
Doesn’t this send the message that anyone
who is critical of the government won’t be
DANNY AYALON: Well, Amna, there is a difference
between a criticism and undermining the very
legitimacy and existence of a state.
And democracies also have the right, I would
say the obligation to, defend themselves.
BDS, unfortunately, is not just calling for
boycotts and sanctions against Israel, it’s
not just criticizing any Israeli policy, which
is, of course, fair and legitimate, but actually
they are undermining the very existence.
The battle cry of the BDS movement is basically
from the river to the sea, Palestinian will
be free.
And if you look at the map, from the river
to the sea of the land of Israel, there is
no room for any other state, let alone the
Jewish state.
AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask you: Israel has also
welcomed people who have clearly used anti-Semitic
rhetoric in the past.
I’m talking about Hungary’s leader Viktor
Orban, also an Italian leader, Matteo Salvini.
Both of them have been anti-Semites in some
of their political language.
They were welcomed to Israel.
So, what’s the difference?
DANNY AYALON: They respect the country.
They promote cooperation with our country.
And if they did have anti-Semitic — any references,
of course, we would not — we would not condone
it and we would call them out.
AMNA NAWAZ: Former Ambassador Danny Ayalon
joining us tonight — thank you very much
for your time.
DANNY AYALON: My pleasure.
AMNA NAWAZ: For a lawmaker’s perspective now,
we turn to Representative Brad Sherman, a
senior member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee and a Democrat from California.
Congressman Sherman, welcome back to the “NewsHour”.
I want to ask you to respond to what you just
heard from Ambassador Ayalon there.
He says, look, both Congresswomen Tlaib and
Omar would have been welcome had they travelled
with that bipartisan delegation.
He saw this visit setup as a provocation.
What do you say to that?
BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Well, he’s trying to
put perhaps a better face on it, an Israeli
pride face on it.
The Israeli government were going to let my
two colleagues in until they were pressured
by Trump.
Now, it’s tough for any country to say they’re
bending to that kind of pressure.
But when you’re a tiny country with one
friend in the world, and you get that kind
of pressure from the president, and especially,
foreign countries tend to look at our executive
as the main source of our power, they don’t
fully understand the role of Congress under
our Constitution, when you’re under that kind
of coercive power, you respond to it.
The fault here is Donald Trump, because while
he claims to be a friend of Israel, he is
trying to delegitimize Israel or at least
hurt Israel with about half the population
of the United States, including those who
support the role of Congress, its oversight
and fact-gathering responsibilities.
So Trump claims to be a friend of Israel.
I call him a pseudo-Zionist.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, let me ask you about this.
There is a law on the books in Israel from
It allows them to ban entry to anyone who
is seen as a supporter of this BDS movement.
They have barred from entry other people before.
Is it different somehow now because it’s two
members of Congress?
BRAD SHERMAN: Israel has welcomed Muslim leaders,
Muslim officials from all over the world,
including those who are nominally in support
of the Arab boycott of Israel.
Israel rolled out the red carpet for President
Sadat when he came to Jerusalem at a time
when his country was at war with Israel technically
and certainly supported the boycott of Israel.
The Israelis have made the right decision,
which was to let my two colleagues in.
And they were forced out of that in a way
that is harmful to Israel by the coercive
pressure of the president.
But let’s also put in context, and I think
Danny did this well, this is not your regular
boycott movement.
I mean, I’ve got a friend or two who won’t
buy a Toyota because they want Japan to stop
harvesting whales or stop killing whales.
They’re not trying to force every Japanese
citizen out of Asia and to be killed or somehow
drifted into the Pacific.
But the international leaders of the BDS movement
are trying — not the try to get Israel to
change this or that policy, but to try to
remove every Jew from the Middle East.
Just as Hitler wanted a Jewish-free Europe,
this BDS group wants a Jewish-free Middle
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, let me ask you about that,
Do you believe your colleagues have the right
to support that BDS movement?
BRAD SHERMAN: I think that my colleagues support
changes in the policy of Israel.
I have no reason to think that they support
the idea of excluding every Jew and every
Israeli from the Middle East.
AMNA NAWAZ: Sir, before I let you know —
BRAD SHERMAN: But there are supporters.
AMNA NAWAZ: I do know your time is limited,
and I want the make sure I ask this of you.
Do you worry today’s decision to ban both
those members of Congress from entry will
have an impact on U.S.-Israeli relations?
BRAD SHERMAN: Israel has one friend in the
It cannot afford to have only one half of
one friend in the world.
Trump is a pseudo-Zionist who has forced in
the name of helping Israel, which is most
pernicious part of it, has forced the Israeli
government to take an action which will slightly
weaken Israeli support here in the United
I think we can recover from this, but it clearly
is not a day when the Israeli government was
able to do what it had decided to do, which
was to admit my two colleagues.
AMNA NAWAZ: Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman
of California, thank you very much for your
AMNA NAWAZ: In Hong Kong today, calm largely
But the city braced for more large protests
this weekend, as Beijing delivered more harsh
Chinese security forces mustered just across
Hong Kong’s border, and President Trump inserted
himself into the tense standoff.
Special correspondent Bruce Harrison reports
now from Hong Kong.
Soldiers marched amid a sea of paramilitary
vehicles parked near the border, dividing
China from Hong Kong.
Chinese military exercises today — a reminder
of Beijing’s thinning patience with its territory.
It’s another warning against protests engulfing
Hong Kong which target Beijing’s efforts to
whittle away at Hong Kong’s autonomy.
And today, the rhetoric from top Chinese officials
again matched the military flex.
Their moves are severe and violent offences,
and already show signs of terrorism.
BRUCE HARRISON: But Hong Kongers are preparing
for another weekend of demonstrations, which
have veered into violent clashes with Hong
Kong police.
Legal experts are warning Hong Kong’s government
may also call on Beijing’s army garrison stationed
in Hong Kong to intervene.
RESEARCH CENTER: If China commits to use force,
I presume it will use the force necessary
to quell things and one could —
BRUCE HARRISON: David Lampton is a research
fellow at Stanford University’s Asia Pacific
Research Center.
DAVID LAMPTON: So, I think Beijing has not
decided whether or not to use force, hopes
not to, but in the end, if it’s that or control
from the viewpoint of Beijing, I have little
doubt they would use the force they think
necessary to quickly subdue it.
BRUCE HARRISON: Today, President Trump expressed
confidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping
would find a solution.
TRUMP: I really would like to see China in
a humane way solve the problem in Hong Kong,
humanely solve the problem in the Hong Kong,
and I think they can do it very quickly.
I said yesterday, I really have a lot of confidence
in President Xi.
I know that they sat down with their representatives.
I have no doubt he would solve that problem
BRUCE HARRISON: But hopes for a dialogue may
be just that.
DAVID LAMPTON: The idea of Xi talking to protesters
probably from a Chinese pointed of view is
even a worse idea, because the Chinese have
some experience of that in 1989 when the then-Premier
Li Peng talked to the protesters.
One of the protesters, the lead one talking
with him came in in pajama, humiliated the
premier, and that probably even accelerated
the move on the protesters in Tiananmen.
BRUCE HARRISON: As the standoff between China’s
mainland and Hong Kong stiffens, many in Beijing
feel it’s only a matter of time before their
government cracks down.
ZHENG ZHIHUA, BEIJING RESIDENT (through translator):
The Chinese national government will not allow
you to do this, causing chaos like this.
You can tell people about your complaints,
but if you use these extreme means, then in
the future, you’ll run into trouble.
BRUCE HARRISON: Some Hong Kongers are growing
weary of the chaos, too.
TSUI CHE, HONG KONG RESIDENT (through translator):
What are the core values of Hong Kong?
They are democracy, freedom, fairness and
But is it democracy for the rioters to beat
me if I don’t agree with what they say?
BRUCE HARRISON: And the inconveniences, as
some residents call them, will almost certainly
continue this weekend.
A number of demonstrations are planned on
Friday and Saturday, including rallies of
students and teachers.
But it’s often been the marches through Hong
Kong’s streets that descend into violence
between police and protestors.
And another long march is scheduled for Sunday,
testing the patience of the local government
and Beijing.
For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Bruce Harrison,
in Hong Kong.
AMNA NAWAZ: Stay with us.
Coming up on the “NewsHour”: A long-denied
crisis comes to light.
The contaminated water of Newark, New Jersey.
The spirit of the times.
Faith leaders on the role of religion and
racism at a divisive moment.
And, parenting by the numbers.
What economics can tell us about how to raise
a child.
Both the leadership and the future of Venezuela
are in deadlock.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the U.S.
recognizes as president, has so far been unable
to oust the sitting president, Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro retains support within the all-powerful
Venezuelan military.
The two sides were at the negotiating table
earlier this month, when Maduro left
in protest of new U.S. sanctions.
Joining me now is Ambassador Carlos Vecchio,
who represents the Guaido government in Washington.
Ambassador Vecchio, welcome back to the “NewsHour”.
U.S.: Thank you for having me.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, last week, the Trump administration
introduced tougher sanctions.
I have to ask you, Maduro has survived previous
sanctions, protest, international pressure,
even internal attempts to oust him.
Do you think these new sanctions will have
any effect?
I don’t have any doubt that these will put
more pressure inside of the Maduro regime
and will help to force Maduro to further negotiation
to facilitate a transition in our country.
So, it is important to highlight that these
sanctions or this executive order is targeting
the Maduro regime, is targeting the inner
circle of Maduro and the people who are helping
Maduro to stay in power.
It’s not against Venezuelans.
The second point that is important in my view,
this executive order is protecting the Venezuelan
assets here to avoid the looting of our nation,
to preserve those assets in favor of Venezuela.
And also, it is important to mention that
this executive order allows transactions,
you know, related to food and medicines, and
humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan people.
So, it’s putting, you know, the pressure where
it should be.
AMNA NAWAZ: At the same time, though, sanctions
were what forced Maduro to say enough and
walk away from those talks.
Those talks offered some chance for a path
Is that path now gone?
CARLOS VECCHIO: I mean, if you put this in
I mean, Maduro has always used negotiations
as a way to manipulate the international community.
They have not agreed to anything on those
So, the important things in my view is that
to increase the pressure, not internationally,
internally, inside of Venezuela.
We have the majority of Venezuelans looking
for a change.
More than 85 percent of the people of Venezuela
are looking for a change.
We have a legitimate president in Venezuela,
Juan Guaido.
Juan Guaido has become the most important
person and popular in Venezuela in the last
20 years, without appearing in the national
So, we have the support.
AMNA NAWAZ: But let me ask you about those
They are ongoing.
Do you think they will lead anywhere?
Even though Maduro has left?
CARLOS VECCHIO: We need to force them.
We need to force them.
We need to conquer the power.
They won’t give you the power, because we
are dealing with a criminal state.
We are dealing with a criminal organization.
That is posh to keep in mind.
That’s why it’s important to put more pressure
on the Maduro regime.
AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask you about the military
support that Maduro currently has.
Last month, my colleague Nick Schifrin actually
spoke with Maduro’s former intelligence chief

AMNA NAWAZ: — General Figuera, who has since
rather defected to the U.S.
I want you to take a listen to what he told
my colleague Nick Schifrin then.
Having worked firsthand with Nicolas Maduro,
after telling him about all the eruption I
saw, I realized there was no will, too much
evil, and too much desire for power.
AMNA NAWAZ: Is there any way you think to
take away some of that military support toe
eventually further weaken Maduro?
CARLOS VECCHIO: Well, Figuera is one example.
AMNA NAWAZ: But he is just one.
CARLOS VECCHIO: A clear example.
But they have detained 200 military officers
in Venezuela.
They have been detained.
They have been tortured.
And we have been having contacts with many
middle and lower ranks of the military institution.
And they are Venezuelans.
They are suffering the same thing that ordinary
people are suffering.
And at the end of the day, they will support
the people of Venezuela who are looking for
a change.
It is important to mention also that we cannot
evaluate this as a single event.
This is an ongoing process.
We have been climbing a mountain every single
day, moving forward.
We’re very close to the peak.
I don’t have any doubt that we’ll conquer
freedom again.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, to that point, it’s been
going on for so long.
The talks do continue.
Are you concerned that the longer this goes
on, Maduro can just run out the clock until
maybe regime change as an interest goes away
in the international community.
CARLOS VECCHIO: We need to keep, you know,
our determination internally and also outside
of Venezuela with the coalition that we have
AMNA NAWAZ: But do you think you can keep
that up?
CARLOS VECCHIO: Absolutely, because when you’re
fighting for freedom — I mean, you never
lose momentum.
You know, freedom is there and we will prevail.
You know, I’m fully confident, because the
majority of Venezuela right now are looking
for a change.
In my view, we are in an irreversible process
of change that.
And that change will come.
And so, I don’t have any doubt and I’m fully
confident that we will prevail.
AMNA NAWAZ: Is full regime change the only
acceptable outcome?
Would you accept any — a new election, say,
in which Maduro is also allowed to stay?
CARLOS VECCHIO: So, what we want to do is
resolve the political crisis, which has been
created by Maduro.
And —
AMNA NAWAZ: Does that include Maduro?
CARLOS VECCHIO: And the only way to resolve
this is putting an end of the dictatorship.
It’s the only way to resolve that.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, that’s a no.
CARLOS VECCHIO: Otherwise — otherwise, the
humanitarian crisis will stay in Venezuela.
So, we need the take Maduro out of power.
We need to set a transitional government.
And we need to call for a free and fair election
in Venezuela.
That’s the agenda to resolve the political
crisis in our country.
And this is our proposal.
And that’s why we have been asking for the
support of the international community.
AMNA NAWAZ: In the meantime, I have to ask
you, I have been on the border between Venezuela
and Brazil.
I have met some of those families —
AMNA NAWAZ: — who traveled days without eating,
carrying their children and whatever else
they can.
Their children, many of them have only ever
lived in this state as it is right now.
They’re malnourished.
They’re going to suffer for the rest of
their lives.
What is your message to them the longer this
takes to unfold?
CARLOS VECCHIO: Well, this is a man-made disaster.
They have more than four million Venezuelans
to get out of our country looking far better
Maduro has created the largest refugee crisis
in this continent, and if Maduro continues
in power, will be the first one in the world.
You know, it will be even more important than
the Syrian refugee crisis.
So we need to stop this.
My message to them is that we are looking
for a change in Venezuela, that we’ll want
to set a transitional government in Venezuela,
and we would like to restore a democratic
system so that we will have the conditions
for the return of all Venezuelans to recover
our country.
That’s my main message.
And also, we need to understand that Maduro
is a threat not only against Venezuelans,
is against the entire region.
And if we want to have political stability
in the region, we need to conquer freedom
AMNA NAWAZ: Ambassador Carlos Vecchio, thank
you very much for being here.
CARLOS VECCHIO: Thank you, Amna.
AMNA NAWAZ: Worries and anger over contaminated
drinking water are growing by the day in Newark,
New Jersey.
In a case that echoes the water crisis in
Flint, Michigan, high lead levels have been
found in many Newark homes.
City officials have distributed water filters
since then.
But the EPA now says those filters may not
be effective enough.
That warning came after a handful of water
samples showed lead levels are well above
the EPA’s standard of 15 parts per billion.
The EPA says bottled water should be distributed
to all affected residents.
The matter is now being fought in court, which
Lisa Desjardins will discuss in a moment.
But first, our colleagues at NJTV have covered
the reaction in Newark.
Here’s Brenda Flanagan.
says she installed a PUR filter cartridge
from the city of Newark on her kitchen faucet
just a couple weeks ago.
It’s already blinking red, and she wasn’t
able to get free bottled water handed out
by the city.
The mom of two is deeply concerned about lead
in her water after tests showed these filters
failed in two other houses.
Officials are now planning a much broader
survey of homes with filtered water.
Have you had the kids tested for lead?
them today actually to Williams Street, instead
of getting in line for the water, I’m going
to get in line for the lead test.
JERSEY: If a parent is concerned their child’s
been lead-exposed, they should get their child
It’s the only way to know for sure, if there’s
been exposure.
The long term consequences for kids both developmentally
and neurologically are really staggering and
BRENDA FLANAGAN: Newark started distributing
filters last November, after officials learned
lead from corroded service pipes was leaching
into water supplied by the Pequannock system.
The city’s handed out more than 38,000 PUR
filters but never tested whether they were
working properly until this July and August
because they’re nationally-certified and endorsed
by the EPA.
Residents are confused.
it feels like it’s a band-aid they’re using
to, I guess, lull everyone to think that everything
is OK.
But it isn’t enough.
If the pipes need to be replaced, let’s do
We’re paying for water.
I’m a homeowner.
So, we’re paying for water we cannot use.
BRENDA FLANAGAN: Pequannock’s water system
connects to 14,730 lead service lines in Newark.
Administration sources say there’s no evidence
of systemic failure; perhaps it was a bad
batch of filters.
But they won’t know until they conduct further
tests, and they’re now developing a survey
The EPA ordered bottled water to be distributed
in the meantime, but the first delivery from
New Jersey’s emergency management stores apparently
displayed an expired best by date.
That held up distribution for a few hours
even though the FDA has stated there’s no
limit to bottled water’s shelf life.
10:00, they told me, after 11:00.
Now I’m back after 11:00, they told me,
after 1:00.
So it’s like all of this run-around.
BRENDA FLANAGAN: City officials are urging
residents to run their water.
That helps distribute the new anti-corrosion
chemical, which should be working by year’s
Williams worries about her younger son’s lead
EBONY WILLIAMS: It’s very hard for him to
concentrate on certain things and the symptoms
I’ve been reading up on lately– he’s following
that trend.
NewsHour”, I’m Brenda Flanagan.
This all led to the start of a federal court
hearing today.
The Natural Resources Defense Council brought
the lawsuit, accusing the city of Newark and
the state of New Jersey of violating safe
drinking water laws.
The NRDC says bottled water must be distributed
for all the city’s 285,000 residents.
Another member of the NJTV team on this story,
Michael Hill, was in the courtroom and joins
me now.
Michael, Newark has acted essentially because
they were sued.
Take us to the courtroom you were in today.
I heard the judge had some very strong words?
MICHAEL HILL, NJTV NEWS: She really did.
And this really boiled down today to corrosion
control at the treatment facility.
The experts or the environmentalists say it’s
not working well and it had been leading to
very high parts per billion to lead being
found in several homes.
Three of them, in fact, 18 parts per billion
in one home, 56 parts per billion in one home,
and get this one, 246 parts per billion at
a home this year in Newark.
That’s 16 times higher than the EPA actionable
Now, the expert more for the city says, wait
a minute here, those levels are high because
corrosion control had been an issue.
But those issues now are being resolved.
So, we’re seeing lead levels come down in
Newark because of better and more stable treatment
of water there.
So what’s the recommendation for homeowners
caught up in the middle of this?
The experts for the city says, well, just
flush your water 15 to 30 seconds at the tap,
and the experts for the environment said that’s
woefully too low.
He suggests five minutes, and he says that
really depends on the forceful flow of the
If it’s a slow force, five minutes may not
be enough.
If it’s fast force, two minutes may do the
Now, the judge did have some very pointed
As a matter of fact, some points today, she
took over questioning from both of the attorneys,
because she wanted answers about the effectiveness
of the corrosion control and then some simple
things, Lisa, such as is the water safe for
Is it safe for washing clothes?
Is it safe for washing dishes?
Is it safe for food preparation and so forth?
And the expert for the environmentalists to
those questions, yes, Lisa, it certainly is.
LISA DESJARDINS: Michael, let me get a couple
more questions to you on this.
We’ve seen this story continue to pop up in
city after city across the country.
We know tens of thousands of people right
there at least will be affected.
When you talk about something else I saw in
your stories, what appears to be an opening
rift, rich versus poor, and colors — communities
of color over this issue?
MICHAEL HILL: For some people, it certainly
I had a conversation with the New Jersey Sierra
Club director this week talking about this
And we’ve asked some lawmakers, as well.
If this were something taking place perhaps
in Montclair, in Westfield, in Short Hill,
some of the suburbs surrounding Newark, would
those suburbs still be dealing with this kind
of issue, we’re talking about two, three decades
down the road.
A lot of the answers that come up are absolutely
In fact, the Sierra Club says the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection is
responsible for making sure that the water
is clean, that it’s of good quality in New
Jersey, and it really should be on the forefront
of trying to get money to resolve this issue
in Newark, which is so widespread.
The DEP (AUDIO GAP) New Jersey was actually
in Washington, D.C., meeting with the head
of the EPA today — Lisa.
LISA DESJARDINS: And, Michael, one question
briefly, how long do you think citizens will
have deal with unsafe water?
Is it clear?
MICHAEL HILL: It is not clear.
These corrosion control issues have to be
resolved, and then there is a plan under way
right now in Newark.
It is kind of piecemeal some describe it,
an eight-year plan, $75 million, to replace
some of these lines that are going from the
street into individual homes, the homeowners,
of course, own those lines, and it’s a matter
of funding.
But it is — there is a program under way,
but some people say that needs to be expedited,
and, in fact, what Newark needs for this issue
is a Marshall Plan — Lisa.
LISA DESJARDINS: Michael Hill with the great
NJTV on this important story — thank you,
AMNA NAWAZ: In times of division, people often
turn to faith leaders for guidance.
Jeff Brown spoke to two such leaders about
how they see their roles in the current landscape
of polarized politics.
faith leaders have been long-time forces in
national politics and a number of evangelical
leaders have been vocal supporters of the
current administration.
Others tend to seek out what they consider
key moments.
Late last month, leaders at the Washington
National Cathedral released a very direct
public message labeled “A Response to the
It reads in part: As faith leaders, we serve
at Washington National Cathedral, the sacred
space where America gathers at moments of
national significance, we feel compelled to
ask: after two years of President Trump’s
words and actions, when will Americans have
One of its authors joins us now, Bishop Mariann
Budde leads the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Also with us to talk about the role of faith
leaders in this political climate, Richard
Land, president of the Southern Evangelical
Welcome to both of you.
Let me start with you, Bishop Budde, why did
you decide to speak out and why now?
OF WASHINGTON: The country has become accustomed
to speaking up each day to a daily barrage
of communication from President Trump via
social media, often abusive, slanderous and
These last few weeks, however, we felt that
he had crossed a threshold of
rhetoric that had become dangerously racialized.
First with his insults to the four women from
the House of Representatives, insinuating
they did not belong in this country, and second
with his critique of Representative Cummings,
spreading his attacks to the entire district
of Baltimore that he represents.
We wanted to say two things.
First, that this level of — this low level
of political discourse need not be our normal
for America, and second, that the president’s
words matter, and words such as the ones I
cited have dangerous potential to encourage
others, both to speak and then to act with
condoned violence.
That’s why we spoke.
JEFF BROWN: Richard Land, you have supported
the president on many policies.
Do you distinguish the policies from what
Bishop Budde is referring to as a dangerous
You know, if you look at the polling, 8 2
percent of white evangelicals voted for President
Trump, but if you talk to them, I would include
myself among them, probably 80 percent of
that, 82 percent, were not voting so much
for the president as they were voting against
Mrs. Clinton and against Mrs. Clinton’s policies.
And I think that distinction is made.
In fact, I have told the president that he
was my last choice in the primary.
I wince when I read the tweets.
I have said, I wish that his Twitter had a
clutch and an editor.
JEFF BROWN: You wince, but Bishop Budde is
calling for something much stronger.
I mean, why not speak out about the implications
or impact of such statements?
RICHARD LAND: I disagree with a lot of the
interpretations of Reverend Budde.
I think at this particular time, we need to
be as religious leaders not so much accusing
people of racism or xenophobia as seeking
to talk to each other, not at each other,
and not in an accusatory ways, and seeking
to lower the temperature and lower the rhetoric.
I have condemned racism my whole life, and
by the way, I’m old enough that I have known
real racists, and I know Donald Trump — and
he’s not a racist.
JEFF BROWN: Bishop Budde, what’s your response?
Is there not a tension in choosing to speak
out and take sides at a time when another
alternative would be to speak in a way, as
Richard Land suggests, to try to bring people
together, to lower the temperature?
MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE: First of all, I would
say the president of late and indeed throughout
his presidency has done almost everything
in his power to divide the country.
And while I understand and agree with Reverend
Land that we need to be talking respectfully
with each other, in a sense, I feel as a white
American Christian leader that it’s my responsibility
and the responsibility of others to acknowledge
the damage that has been done and not just
with the rhetoric, but with the policies themselves.
You see the rise of white supremacist groups
who have complete freedom in their own mind
to do what they say because of the president’s
actions, and for him to come out afterward
and to say that he does not condone hatred
is — it rings more than hallow.
JEFF BROWN: Let me let Richard Land come in,
because it is true, Dr. Land, that you have
never been shy about speaking out about policies.
So, why make this distinction between speaking
out forcefully on policies that you believe
in, but not speaking out and suggesting we
should tamp down when it’s a question of rhetoric
that, as we just heard, can have real implications?
RICHARD LAND: Well, I said — I said that
people should tamp down the rhetoric on all
sides, and by the way, I hold religious leaders
to a higher standard than I hold political
And I think religious leaders need to tamp
down the language.
And the implication that people who support
Trump are racist.
That’s — that is dangerous.
It’s inaccurate.
And it’s McCarthyism in reverse.
It’s projection of McCarthyism to say, if
you support Donald Trump and you support his
policies, then you’re being a racist.
That you’re — it’s implied that you’re
a racist.
That’s simply not true, and I would hope the
people who are saying it know that it’s not
MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE: Well, I would like to
— may I say something?
RICHARD LAND: I support Donald Trump primarily
because he has been pro-life.
Bishop Budde?
MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE: I think there is a real
distinction between calling someone a racist,
which is a personal viewpoint vis-a-vis another
person, and acknowledging that we have systematic
racism in this country that works against
and keeps certain people out of the benefits
that others have.
MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE: And so, I am not calling
the president personally racist, but I would
say that his policies and actions contribute
to the systematic racism of this country.
JEFF BROWN: All right.
I started with you, Bishop Budde.
So, Richard Land, the last word?
RICHARD LAND: Well, I would say, first of
all, yes, we have racism in this country,
but we’re a lot better than we were.
And in terms of so-called racist policies,
the black unemployment rate is lower than
it’s ever been.
The Hispanic unemployment rate is
lower than it’s ever been.
The president is doing enterprise zones in
inner cities, and he’s done prison reform.
JEFF BROWN: All right.
Richard Land and Bishop Mariann Budde, thank
you both very much.
RICHARD LAND: Thank you.
MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE: Thank you both.
Thank you.
AMNA NAWAZ: Raising a child is complicated
and it can be confusing, with advice available
just about everywhere you turn.
So, one economist and mother actually dug
into the data to help parents make informed
choices about raising their little ones.
Business and economics correspondent Paul
Solman has the story.
It’s part of our series, “Making Sense.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We’ve got to go to swim.
CORRESPONDENT: Raising kids, as every parent
knows, is a constant conundrum.
No, be patient.
The advice out there is more abundant than
But each parenting tip seems to get turned
on its head by the next one.
How many of you have been conflicted about
— seriously conflicted– about information
you’ve gotten about raising your kids?
Every single one.
just come up to you on the street and tell
you ways that you’re doing it wrong.
PAUL SOLMAN: Health economist Emily Oster
has taken a more scientific approach.
Once she became pregnant, she began applying
her statistical skills to the data.
The result was the bestseller, “Expecting
Now a mom of two, in the book
“Cribsheet,” she applies her economics training
to everything from breast-feeding to discipline,
to help parents make data-driven choices.
What’s an economist doing studying this?
EMILY OSTER: The skills that we have in data
analysis are just really crucial.
So, to give an example, something like breast-feeding.
So, we’re interested in the impacts of breast-feeding
on, say, kids’ IQ.
PAUL SOLMAN: And there is evidence, or supposedly
evidence, to suggest that if you breastfeed,
your kids will have a higher IQ.
The issue with basically all of those studies
is that the choice of breast-feeding is not
something people make randomly, on a whim.
It’s a — it’s a considered choice, and it
happens that it also differs a lot across
So, more educated moms, richer moms, married
moms, you know, people who are broadly what
we’d say higher socioeconomic status, are
more likely to breastfeed.
So, separating the impact of breast-feeding
on IQ from the impact of all of the other
differences on IQ is really hard.
PAUL SOLMAN: But Oster looked at a study of
siblings in which the same mother breast-fed
one baby but did not breastfeed the other.
It showed no statistical difference in IQ.
EMILY OSTER: I try to go through all of the
studies, to pick out the ones that I think
are most convincing and are giving us something
that is closest to a causal relationship.
PAUL SOLMAN: But one of the most robust findings
around breastfeeding is reducing the mother’s
risk of breast cancer.
There are some effects on the baby that do
seem to be supported in the data.
Reductions in gastrointestinal problems in
the first year, while the baby is being breast-fed.
Reductions in ear infection, reduction in
rashes, again, all kind in the beginning.
And then there’s actually a pretty sizable
effect on breast cancer risk for the moms.
On the flip side, many of the claims that
people make about the long-term health effects
of breast-feeding for infants, like reductions
in obesity later in life, reductions in other
diseases later in life, improvements in IQ,
those don’t seem to be supported in the — in
the best data.
PAUL SOLMAN: Comedian Amy Schumer became a
fan after reading “Expecting Better,” and
interviewed Oster on her salty podcast, “3
Girls, 1 Keith”:
AMY SCHUMER, COMEDIAN: I think what everyone
is most interested in, like, pregnant women,
they’re like, can I drink?
EMILY OSTER: You know, you shouldn’t have
a lot.
Like one small glass a day in the second and
third trimester.
AMY SCHUMER: Melon-flavored mad dog?
EMILY OSTER: No, definitely not.
PAUL SOLMAN: Oster’s mild drinking “OK” was
actually denounced by doctors, who say no
amount of alcohol is safe while pregnant.
And now, “Cribsheet” has been criticized by
the American Academy of Pediatrics for underselling
EMILY OSTER: But I haven’t actually been able
to get them to engage on discussing the merits
of the evidence.
You know, I’m definitely not a doctor, but
I also think that we can all read the evidence
together and it would be great to have those
PAUL SOLMAN: Oster doesn’t shy away from other
charged topics, like sleep and the decision
to skip the crib and co-sleep in the same
EMILY OSTER: You know, on the one hand, you’ll
have people telling you, like, this is the
natural way to sleep.
This is how everybody has slept for millions
of years.
PAUL SOLMAN: Family bed.
EMILY OSTER: That’s how your kids will be
EMILY OSTER: And also it’s easier, and everyone
will get more sleep and it’s great.
And then you have on the other side sort of
sometimes very, very harsh rhetoric around
you shouldn’t do this.
So, there was an anti-co-sleeping ad campaign,
which showed pictures of babies in a bed with
a giant knife.
PAUL SOLMAN: A knife because a kid would get
I think that it’s dangerous, like a knife
would be.
When I dug into the data, I think that on
the one hand, it’s — it does show that the
safest way to sleep is not with your baby
in your bed, that there are some risks to
On the other hand, if you do this and sort
of, as safely as possible, which means in
a bed with parents who are not smoking or
drinking or that has relatively few covers,
there probably is some excess risk, but it’s
— it’s small.
It’s, you know, on the scale of the kinds
of ris
PAUL SOLMAN: Still, the American Academy of
Pediatrics does not recommend bed-sharing.
Sleep training, or letting your baby cry it
out is another fraught subject.
Oster found it so tough, she had to let her
husband take charge.
EMILY OSTER: I just left the house.
Jesse just did it.
EMILY OSTER: Yes, I left.
PAUL SOLMAN: Where’d you go?
EMILY OSTER: The bar down the street.
PAUL SOLMAN: Sleep training is a bear for
And don’t babies feel abandoned when left
to cry?
Mightn’t that prevent them from bonding?
Not according to the data, says Oster.
EMILY OSTER: Kids, right after they sleep
train, they will sleep better.
And the parents will sleep better also, and
so when we look at, you know, randomized evaluations
that study the impacts of sleep training on
parental satisfaction or maternal depression,
we actually see pretty big effects.
PAUL SOLMAN: Yes, one thing you emphasize
in breast-feeding and in sleep training is
the effect on the mother.
EMILY OSTER: We’ve sometimes gotten into a
place where it seems like we’re saying, anything
you could do that even anyone has ever suggested
could have any tiny good effects on the baby,
you should do that, even if it is infinitely
costly for the family.
PAUL SOLMAN: Economist Oster says most parenting
decisions boil down not to right against wrong,
but costs against benefits, comprehensively
weighed, and including personal preferences.
EMILY OSTER: Particularly the question of,
like, stay at home mom versus working mom
sometimes feels like the kind of crux of the
— of the mommy wars.
My read is that the best data suggests it
does not matter for the kid whether you work
or not.
And so, I say, like, OK, here are some things
you can think about in a decision, like what
is the best thing for the kid?
What is going to work logistically for your
And also, what do you want?
I decide to work not because I have to, but
because I think that’s what works for my family.
PAUL SOLMAN: And after a while, taking care
of a kid —
EMILY OSTER: Would not be for me.
I love being with my kids, but you know, the
marginal utility is diminishing.
You know, the first hour is great, the second
hour is pretty good.
By, like, hour four, I’m ready to go to
That’s hard for people to say.
Like, somehow as a parent, there’s a sense
that you should be like, oh, I just my dream
is to spend every moment with my kid.
That’s not my dream.
I love my kids.
They’re the best.
But my dream is not to spend every minute
with them.
PAUL SOLMAN: But for lots of parents, I would
say probably the majority of working women,
it’s not so much that they like the job.
Economically, they have to.
If you have more money, more resources, you
can make more different choices about parenting,
we have sort of gotten into a place where
sometimes we’re arguing about, you know, who’s
the best kind of parent, around these pretty
minor things that don’t matter.
And I worry that it distracts us from thinking
about, how can we make better policy for poor
families in the U.S.?
PAUL SOLMAN: Like paid family leave, for example.
EMILY OSTER: It’s very clear that there are
benefits, including reductions in infant mortality,
from having paid parental leave, that is not
accessible to a lot of people in the U.S.
PAUL SOLMAN: In the end, by mining the data
and making her results broadly accessible,
economist/mom Emily Oster has one overriding
objective — to make parenting just a bit
less stressful than it inevitably is.
For the “PBS NewsHour”, this is business
and economics correspondent, parent and grandparent,
Paul Solman, in Providence, Rhode Island.
AMNA NAWAZ: On online now, you can watch today’s
discussion at the annual forum of the Harvard
University Hutchins Center for African-American
This year’s
theme is “Divided We Stand: Can We Overcome?”
You can find the link to the event on our
website, that’s PBS.org/NewsHour.
And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight.
I’m Amna Nawaz.
Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour”, thank
We’ll see you soon.

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