tv PBS News Hour PBS December 14, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, president-elect trump talks jobs with the nation's biggest tech leaders, as he announces his pick for secretary of energy. >> sreenivasan: also ahead this wednesday, we sit down with white separatist richard spencer to talk about how he's energized white identity politics during this election. >> woodruff: and, technology versus tradition. the battle over building an ambitious telescope on a sacred hawaiian mountain. >> there's certainly an element of native rights issues, which is far bigger than astronomy. so astronomy, i think, right now, is certainly a lightning post for these bigger issues. >> sreenivasan: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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the federal reserve board's decision today affects credit cards, home equity loans and adjustable-rate mortgages. fed policymakers announced they've increased the benchmark rate by a quarter-point. several big banks followed suit, raising their prime lending rates to 3.75%. at a news conference, fed chair janet yellen said the central bank now expects to raise rates three more times next year, instead of two. >> our decision to raise rates should certainly be understood as a reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made and our judgment that progress will continue, and the economy has proven to be remarkably resilient. >> woodruff: we will take a closer look at the fed's decision and its potential effects, later in the program. >> sreenivasan: silicon valley comes to manhattan. donald trump received the biggest names in the u.s. tech
world today, and praised their innovation. it came after most of the digital leaders invited had backed hillary clinton in the campaign. john yang has our report. >> truly amazing group of people. >> reporter: today, president- elect trump reached out to executives from tech giants like amazon, google and facebook. >> we're going to be there for you. you'll call me, people, you'll call me. it doesn't make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here. >> reporter: during the campaign, he had a different message-- scolding the industry for sending jobs overseas. >> we're going to get apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries. >> reporter: earlier, mr. trump officially said he wanted rick perry to be energy secretary. he was the longest serving governor of texas, a leading oil and gas producer. he twice ran for president. during his 2012 bid, perry called for eliminating the energy department, but famously couldn't name it during a debate.
>> it's three agencies of government that, when i get there, are gone. commerce, education, and the-- what's the third one there? let's see. >> reporter: last night, at a rally in wisconsin, the president-elect defended his choice of exxon-mobil chairman rex tillerson to be secretary of state. critics say tillerson's too close to russia. >> a great diplomat. a strong man. a tough man. a man who's already earned an avalanche of endorsements and growing praise from our nations top leaders. rex will be a fierce advocate for america's interests around the world, and has the insights and talents necessary to help reverse years of foreign policy blunders and disasters. >> reporter: of the fourteen cabinet-level picks mr. trump has announced since the
election, ten of them are white men. so far, the president-elect has selected three women of color for top positions: south carolina governor nikki haley for u.n. ambassador; former labor secretary elaine chao for transportation secretary; and seema verma to oversee medicare and medicaid. the lone african american choice is housing secretary-designee dr. ben carson. yet to be announced by mr. trump: his choices for the secretaries of agriculture, interior and veterans affairs. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> sreenivasan: this evening, the president-elect announced he's chosen ronna mcdaniel to chair the republican national committee. she's the niece of mitt romney, and currently chairs the michigan republican party. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the united nations human rights commission warned that south sudan is on the brink of "all-out ethnic civil war." the african nation has suffered years of brutal fighting, with tens of thousands killed and more than a million people displaced. today, in geneva, u.n. officials
reported widespread atrocities and rapes, with some victims as young as two years old. >> a u.n. survey found that 70% of women in the camp, displaced persons camp in juba, had been raped since the conflict erupted, the vast majority of them not by unarmed, unknown men, but by police or soldiers. and a staggering 78% of them had been forced to watch someone else being sexually violated. >> woodruff: the commission chief urged immediate deployment of another 4,000 u.n. peacekeepers to south sudan. >> sreenivasan: in syria, there's word that a truce is back on in aleppo, after it failed to take effect this morning. instead, there was a long day of recriminations and fierce new attacks. ( explosion ) from early morning on, gunfire and shelling blasted eastern aleppo, shattering hopes of
those still trapped that their long nightmare might finally be over. the ceasefire brokered yesterday by russia and turkey was supposed to allow rebels and civilians safe passage to northern syria. the first buses even arrived to ferry them away, but they left, empty. u.n. officials, rebel groups and activists blamed syria's ally iran for imposing new conditions, including a simultaneous evacuation of two villages being shelled by rebels. >> criminal assad and the iranians broke the ceasefire and they are back to attack civilians and continue the genocide. >> sreenivasan: in ankara, turkish president recep tayyip erdogan faulted syrian forces for breaking the ceasefire. >> ( translated ): we were hoping to evacuate civilians and opposition forces from east aleppo but unfortunately, once again, rockets were fired. we are still following the developments to see if any >> sreenivasan: syrian state tv blamed rebel shelling. and, president bashar al-assad
rejected any criticism of his military, in a russian tv interview. >> it does not matter what they ask. the translation of their statement is for russia: "please, stop the advancement of the syrian army against the terrorists." that is the meaning of their statement, forget about the rest: "you went too far in defeating the terrorists; that shouldn't happen." >> sreenivasan: late today, the u.n. human rights office warned the syrian government and its allies have almost certainly committed war crimes with the renewed assault on aleppo. meanwhile, russian foreign minister sergei lavrov predicted thousands will be able to leave eastern aleppo, once it falls. >> ( translated ): i expect that the rebels will cease resistance in the next two to three days. and the minority that declines to do so, it will be their own choice. >> sreenivasan: in short order, and in washington, the white house charged that russia could have prevented all this carnage by enforcing a truce last month. >> russia couldn't hold up their end of the bargain; i know they have all kinds of explanations for why that may be the case--
most of them are rooted in, they're either unable or unwilling to control their client government. >> sreenivasan: tonight came new statements from rebels and the pro-assad alliance that the latest cease-fire is back on. they say evacuations will begin tomorrow, at dawn. >> sreenivasan: this evening, turkey announced it will join russia and iran in a summit on syria, later this month. >> woodruff: back in this country, it was anything but a warm wednesday across parts of the plains and midwest. arctic air triggered wind chill advisories for ten states, from north dakota to ohio. commuters in chicago bundled up to brave the colder-than-usual conditions, as wind chills in the city plunged to -15 degrees. the cold wave is moving eastward, followed by snow. >> sreenivasan: there's word of a huge new data breach at yahoo. the company now says hackers stole information from more than one billion user accounts back in august of 2013. it's separate from a 2014 breach
at yahoo involving 500 million accounts. >> woodruff: a chill wind blew over wall street, after the federal reserve forecast more rate hikes than expected next year. the dow jones industrial average lost 118 points to close at 19,792. the nasdaq fell 27 points, and e s&p 500 slipped 18. >> sreenivasan: and, the library of congress is out with this year's 25 additions to the "national film registry." they include the 1980s hits "the breakfast club," "the princess bride," and "who framed roger rabbit." also added, disney's "the lion king" and "thelma and louise." the movies are chosen for special preservation based on their cultural, historic or artistic importance. still to come on the newshour: the g.o.p. chief strategist on trump's latest cabinet picks; reconstructing the russian hacks leading up to the election; a look at the man behind the rise of neo-nazi ideology, and much more.
>> woodruff: president-elect trump has now named nearly all of his picks to serve in his cabinet, but some are not without their controversies. here to discuss some of those choices, and more, we're joined by sean spicer. he's the chief strategist and communications director for the republican national committee, and an advisor to mr. trump. sean spicer, welcome back to the program let me start by asking about the announcement today about governor rick perry, former governor of texas, as want secretary of energy. this is someone who we know has had close ties to the energy, and who during a primary debate forgot the name of the energy department when he was asked about federal departments he said he had wanted to eliminate. why rick perry? >> well, you look at his record in texas. he's the longest serving
governor in texas, created 2.2 million jobs, largely from finding resources in texas that he could harness to make sure people knot employed. you look at the number of jocks, not just that, but the wages that went up. i think when donald trump looks at the energy sector, he sees that as a place to really create wealth for this country and individuals to put americans pack to work with good of-paying jobs with benefits. he looked to perry as someone elected multiple times as texas governor showed a tremendous amount of support from the people of texas. >> woodruff: does the president-elect still believe, as he said on the campaign trail, that the science behind climate change is still not settled? in other words, something that most climate scientists say is absolutely correct. >> i think you just said it yourself "most." and i think that's where his head is at. he understand that there are elements of mankind that affect climate, but the exact impact of it and what has to be done to
change that is something there is some dispute about within the community, not just science but industry. look, the bottom line is he believes in clean air, clean water. he understands the need to preserve areas of this country to make sure we maintain the splendor and the environment but he wants to do so in a way that ensures we don't hamper economic growth and job creation. >> woodruff: let me ask you about another one of president-elect's choices, and that's rex tillerson, to be secretary of state. we heard, yes, a number of republican senators are on board, but several say they have concerns. marco rubio says his concerns are serious. john mccain said,"he has concerned concerns about what kind of business we do with a butcher, murderer, and thug, "which is how he describes vladimir putin. how do you respond to this? >> with all due respect, judy, that's not, not several. we'll continue to work with them and not just republicans but democrats. look i spent some time talking with rex tillerson. he's an amazing human being.
he's an amazing success story. he's a rags-to-riches success story. he lived nay one-bedroom house until the time he went to college and grew to become the c.e.o. of one of the world's largest companies. he truly is the embodiment of american dream. on a personal level, he is just an amazing person and i think when you look at his track record it in ba world-class businessman with relationships with over 200 countries spanning four decades. he's tough by all accounts. he gets the job done and largely is unbelievably successful. that's what we need, to bring his business experience and acumen and understanding of the geopolitical world we are in today to fight for america and put america's interests first. as more people get to know rex tillerson, they're going to be really proud of the choice donald trump made as our next secretary of state. >> woodruff: another russia story that we're following this week is the report out of the intelligence community, in particular by the c.i.a., that the russian-- that russian officials were behind the attempt, the cyber attack
against the democratic national committee and other prominent democrats, and that in fact it appears it was done in order to tilt the election in favor upon mr. trump. how do you-- we now have several senators, including the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, saying there needs to be a serious and thorough investigation. is the president-elect prepared to cooperate with this investigation wherever it leads? >> well, it's not a question of cooperate. if they want to have a hearing-- excuse me, hearing or investigation, they should. i'd like to sort of depact that for a second. you know, there's-- there's-- there's evidence that suggests that russian entityes were behind probing different sites and databases. there is zero evidence that they had any impact on the outcome of this election. donald trump won with 306 electoral vote, so there's a big difference between russia or other entities trying to hack a system or probe a system as is the case in-- in a lot of cases.
but there was zero evidence they had any impact on outcome. prior to the election, it was the u.s. government, the department of homeland security, in pthat was reassuring americans because our sho votinm is so disparate, there is no way anyone could have an impact on the election. so i really find it somewhat reprehensible, so many entities on left, and frankly, some in the media are trying to undermine the legitimacy of the election. prior to the election, it was made very clear, by all of them, that our electoral systems and voting systems were ironclad and that they couldn't be hack odor interrupts, particularly because of how we vote as a country in terms of various precincts and counties throughout the country that use different systems that are never actually attached to it. to turn back and attempt to delegitimize this election is frankly sad and pathetic. >> woodruff: with all due respect, and i want to ask you another question in addition. it is not just the media that is reporting that the c.i.a.-- >> no, it's the left. >> woodruff: the media, and
republican senators, including mitch mcconnell, who are saying there needs to be an investigation. but spike, i want to ask you one another thing, a man you know very well, reince priebus, who has been the chairman of the republican party, now named to be the chief of staff under president-elect trump, said in an interview today that he thinks there are going to be fewer press briefings. in other words-- >> no, that's not what he said. actually, no, no, no. with all due respect, judy, not to keep using the phrase over and over again. he was asked by a radio talk show host if all of the traditiontraditions and businesl were going to be kept, and he threw out a bunch of suggestions and said we need to rethink everything. do we need to do everything every day? does it need to be on camera. some of the stuff that frankly, your own colleagues and different academics institutions have questioned as well. so, please, don't turn that on us. we only cited several things that would be under considerationation-- and frankly, smuf of them the press
has been supportive of. >> woodruff: when will mr. trump hold a full news conference so that reporters who cover him can ask questions? >> well, he's made himself available multiple times to the media. he sat down with the "new york times," 30 or 40 reporters an hour and a half the other day. he's been down in front of the pool cameras several times this week. i think you should expect full press conference probably right after the holidays. >> woodruff: spike, adviser to president-elect trump, thank you very much. >> thank you very much, judy. >> sreenivasan: the recent reports that the u.s. intelligence community believes russia sought to help donald trump win the election through its hacking of democratic political organizations has rocked the country. as we just heard, president- elect trump dismisses the idea russia was responsible, or that it wanted him to win the white house. today's "new york times"
featured an extensive timeline of the hacking, and what it may have wrought. i'm joined by one of the reporters who wrote the story, eric lipton; and by dmitri alperovitch. he is the co-founder of crowdstrike, the cyber- intelligence firm that investigated the hacking of the d.n.c. eric lipton, i want to start with you. your reporting shows a really large gap between when the f.b.i. reached out to the d.n.c., and when president obama or the u.s. government attributed that these hacks were by the russians. what caused this? >> that's right. i mean, it was september of 2015 that the f.b.i. first reached out to the d.n.c. to alert an i.t. contractor who worked there, that there appeared to be someone operating within their system, and that operator was perhaps linked to russian hackers. and it was not until october of 2016, so more than a year later, that the administration, the intelligence agency formally issued a statement attributing that cyberattack to the russian actors. and so that's quite a long time,
and it was-- many, many months passed between when the f.b.i. first essentially called the d.n.c. and the time in which the d.n.c. in fact confirmed that the hackers were present. that did not take place until late april. so there was quite a they, and that delay occurred at a time when the presidential election was playing out. and then the hacked e-mails then became public and had an influence on that process. >> sreenivasan: dmitri alperovitch, within days of your company getting the contract with the d.n.c., you figured out who was behind this. how did you do it? >> well, the d.n.c. called us in, in may of 2016, in may of this year. they wanted us to check out these anomalous activities that they were starting to see on the naek and we deploy owrd technology called falcon on every machine within the company, within the corporation, and it allowed to us see everything that was happening on the serve esh and laptop and desk top of the d.n.c. there were two actors independently operating within
that network, and the tools they were using and other digital forensics, digital fingerprint if you will, indicators that we picked up, matched to the indicators that we had previously associated with these two groups. they are called fancy bear and cozy bear, that we affiliated with russian intelligence agencies. >> sreenivasan: as dmitri's software pointed out, this was not the first time russians had done this. it seemed to be an escalation. >> that's right. certainly during the obama and mccain race, there was hacking that occurred there, and there has been quite a number of federal agencies that have been attacked and infiltrated by some of the same players that went into the d.n.c. in fact, the director of national intelligence gave a warning in 2015, saying there was already evidence that there was-- folkes were targeting the presidential candidates for this year's elections. so there was lot of reasons to be on the guard for a possible cyber attack. and so you have to wonder why, you know-- that said, the russians, if in fact it was the
russians and everything suggests that it was-- are quite, you know-- quite skilled at infiltrating systems. but you do sort of wonder why there wasn't a higher state of alert at the d.n.c. to detect and stop an incursion. >> sreenivasan: dimightry, is the standard operating procedure for the f.b.i. and how they warn companies. it seemed in eric's report at the beginning, they were dealing with a low-level i.t. guy that was a subcontractor and that person didn't even believe it was an actual f.b.i. call. >> i think you have to appreciate that the f.b.i. does literally hundreds of notifications like this on a weekly basis. there's a lot of intrusions happening in our country have a variety of different nation states adversaries that the f.b.i. picks up in the course of their investigations. so most of the time they just don't have the resources to do more than try to call and notify a corporation. i think in this case, however, given the high-profile target, given that this was an election season, i think more should have been done, given the proximity
of the d.n.c. to the f.b.i. headquarteres, just about a mile away. someone could have gone to the d.n.c. and notified them in person. >> sreenivasan: eric, one of the stories-- you had a separate piece about this, but one of the things that got buried in this while we were all focused on the d.n.c. hack and perhaps the popodesta e-mails how some of the information made it into the house races, the hack into the d.c.c.c. >> that's right. at the same time the hackers got into the d.n.c., they share a building and actually have a connection between the computerss is of the d.n.c. and the democratic congressional campaign committee. so they were able to take tens of thousands of pages of documents from the d.c.c.c., which oversees the house races by democrats, they took these documents and then they distribute them to bloggers and the reporters in individual states. at key moments, like right before specific debates, before primaries, to try to damage the standing of the democratic candidates. all the documents that went out were related to, you know,
opposition research other and collections of documents from the democrats. those document dumps, you know, had real consequences on some democrats. so while the trump folks suggest this had no impact on the election, i think you could look at some of the house races, in particular, in florida, there was a particular house race where the party wanted one-- one woman who was running to be their candidate, and she lost after the document dump embarrassed her, and it became a subject of debates and news coverage. and that was-- that was consequential. and it didn't get much attention from the media because h we were so focused on other things. >> sreenivasan: are there enough measures in place to prevent this from happening again? >> i think every organization needs to assume that they are compromised. we see so much of these intrusionintrusions from nations and criminal groups that it's a daily occurrence for organizations, companies, and nonprofits and government agencies alike so everyone needs to be focused on doing compromise assessments to make sure their networks are truly
clean. >> sreenivasan: all right, dmitri alperovitch from crowdstrike, eric lipton from the "new york times," thank you, both. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. white nationalist groups say that donald trump's electoral victory was also a win for their brand of white identity politics. a man named richard spencer has helped to shape this racist ideology. he has gained notoriety in recent weeks for statements that most find abhorrent, but have increased his following. the newshour's p.j. tobia has the story. >> reporter: richard spencer wants to re-define what it means to be american. he's credited with coining the phrase "alt-right," adding an intellectual veneer to a racist movement based on a mix of white nationalism, neo-nazi beliefs and hard-edged populism. >> this country does belong to white people; culturally, politically, socially,
everything. we defined what america is. >> reporter: last week, he spoke at texas a&m university. >> look at the history of multi- racial nations. it's a history of conflict, it's a history of distrust and it's ultimately a history of blood and tears. >> reporter: tempers quickly flared inside the auditorium, while outside, protesters denounced his message of white identity politics and confronted spencer's supporters. the demonstrators tried to storm the meeting room, but were pushed back by police. during the presidential campaign, spencer and his followers were a small but vocal pillar of support for donald trump, mostly active online, targeting those critical of the republican nominee with ugly, sometimes anti-semitic attacks. media profiles of spencer followed, focusing on his privileged upbringing, education at elite institutions and sartorial choices. then came this event in november, celebrating donald trump's election victory in downtown washington, d.c. >> america was, until this past generation, a white country. >> reporter: it was a forum for
the national policy institute, a kind of white nationalist think tank spencer runs. his keynote address ended with nazi salutes. >> hail trump, hail victory! >> reporter: the holocaust museum, anti-defamation league and others denounced the speech as an anti-semitic attack. spencer says his racist provocations are purposeful. >> the alt-right has come a long way. donald trump as a, you know, as a step toward identity politics has a come a long way. it was a time to be a little outlandish, and so that's why i did that applause line, which was a bit naughty. >> reporter: a bit naughty? i mean, we're talking about-- people are sieg heiling. we're talking about an ideology that hundreds of thousands of americans died to extinguish. and it's a bit of fun? >> right. whenever anyone says that i care about my people, that i care about my identity, that i want to expand and deepen my identity, the first thing you always hear-- and it's become a
joke-- is "ah, adolf hitler, ah, the klu klux klan, ah, the southern confederacy." it's these boogie-men that are thrown at any legitimate and genuine movement for identity. and i think at some level people want to throw them back in the face of their attackers. >> reporter: when a journalist writes something that your guys don't like, you know, it's a picture of her superimposed in an oven. i mean, so you could see the concern there. >> it's pixels and words. >> reporter: and a swastika is just an image. but it's not just an image, man. i think you know that. i'm positive that you know that. i think you're just trolling. >> i'm not a very good troll. no, look, i-- there is a line to be crossed, and to a point where i won't defend anyone, and that is any kind of imminent, real, physical threat of violence. >> reporter: despite spencer's privileged upbringing and lifestyle, his are a politics of victimhood. >> if you're born in 1978, like i was, or 1988, or 1998, you've experienced being a minority,
you've experienced-- let's say, undergraduate life, where you've gone through some white guilt indoctrination. you've experienced trying to get a job at a major corporation, where you know that their hiring is geared almost totally towards not hiring you. >> reporter: those who know white nationalism best, say that spencer's message, newly packaged for millennials in sharp suits and clever memes, are in fact a very old product. >> at the heart and at the core of the alt-right, no matter what they say, it's all about race. >> reporter: frank meeink is former neo-nazi from south philly. as a youth, he hosted a cable access show called "the reich." by age 18, he was doing hard time for kidnapping and torture, but left the movement shortly after getting out of prison. >> every bit of it is about race, it all comes from that. and if you look deeper, it comes from fear. fear that the white race is losing this country.
fear that the mexicans are coming in. it's all about fear. they're losing something. >> reporter: he says this sense of loss has always been a part of the radical right. >> i always hear the same arguments: "well, they have bet, why can't we have white entertainment television?" all of television is white entertainment televi, so it's "they're getting something that i'm not and everything's being taken away from me." >> reporter: meeink now coaches youth hockey to steer kids in the right direction. he says if spencer does have influence in a trump administration, he'd use it to roll back affirmative action and diversity programs. and meeink doesn't believe that spencer's nazi arm salutes are merely ironic. >> it's not a joke when there's people whose family members were killed in the holocaust because of people doing that arm salute, because of people mindlessly following their hatred and their bigotry. that doesn't piss off liberals.
what it does is, it scares human beings who care about humanity. >> reporter: and despite all his high-minded talk of theory and history, sometimes when challenged, richard spencer resorts to basic insults. >> she's dancing, perhaps she'll lose some weight. >> reporter: spencer's dream is an all-white nation. in the near term, he wants to set up an office for his national policy institute, currently run from his home. the institute was established in 2005 with funds from william regnery ii and others. they hold conferences, publish studies, a journal and white nationalist blog posts. the southern poverty law center calls the institute and others like it "academic racist" organizations. >> now, we have a place at the table. so that is a major achievement. a lot of that has to do with trump, obviously. what i want to do is to start to influence culture more directly, influence policy more directly, certainly start to influence society more directly. that's going to involve professionalization. that is building real institutions here in the real
world. >> reporter: the trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story. nonetheless, spencer thinks america is ready for his message. >> the alt-right has gone from a movement that wasn't connected to the mainstream, to a movement that's now really connected to the mainstream. >> reporter: richard spencer has energized a tiny group of passionate followers. >> it's about re-awakening people of america, and getting white people to stand up for their roots and to quit being put down by things like black lives matter. >> reporter: with the election of donald trump, racist groups of all stripes are hoping their message will be more widely accepted, but the protests that greeted spencer and his followers at texas a&m are proof that "mainstream" may be a bridge too far for white nationalism. for the pbs newshour, i'm p.j. tobia, in college station, texas.
>> sreenivasan: today's interest rate hike by the fed marks just the second time it has raised rates since the 2008 financial crisis and the major recession that followed. so when fed chairwoman janet yellen announces a move like that-- even one that's widely expected-- it is still a big deal. jeffrey brown continues. >> brown: over the last year, the fed had signaled several times that a rate hike was imminent, only to back away as economic growth stayed sluggish. today, though, the move by the federal reserve board of governors was unanimous, restarting a move upward from historically low interest rates. why now? and what is the fed seeing? we turn once again to diane swonk, an economist with her own consulting firm in chicago. diane, welcome back. start there-- why now? what is the fed seeing? >> well, we are seeing some inflation, and the economy, the fed is sort of looking at things getting stronger, and it's an acknowledgment that the u.s. economy is stronger. i think they could have done it in september. there was a postponement to december. it's more than time for the fed to raise rates.
and in fact i think janet yellin also signaled very clearly that this is a turning point for the fed. they not only-- not are we just seeing a forecast of rate hikes next year. i think we're going to see much more than one. now, it only takes two to get more than one. i think we will get the three the the fed is expecting. >> brown: they're seeing an economy that is growing, perhaps even too fast, enough that they want to raise rate. that's after an election in which many americans saw an economy that was not growing fast enough for them. >> it actually isn't an acknowledgment that the economy is growing too fast. the monetary policy is still very, very easy. to think of it you think of it as the fed is not taking the punch away from the party. they're just not spiking it any more. they're worried about people getting tips oat side. some real estate bubbles they're very concerned about in the commercial real estate market. and although they didn't state it explicitly, the run-up in the stock market that we've seen since the election has a lot of attributes about a bubble and there is certainly going to be concerns about that within the circle of the fed. >> brown: the big question is
to what extent does the election of donald trump change the game, and change the economic outlook, and, therefore, the outlook for interest rates with tax hikes or stimulus, what did janet yellin say about that today? >> well, clearly, there are some within the fed-- there are participants at the meeting that actually did pout naught into their forecast. most of them did not, and i think she was very cautious to say the cloud of uncertainty regarding policy because the fed is in a situation where they've got to react to actual policy not promises of policy changes and the spectrum of what could happen are both bad gd, depending on whether they're protectionist policies that might raze inflation without boosting growth or whether they're pro-stimulus, pro-growth policies that will raise inflation by raising growth. the spectrum is very vague and we don't have any policies yet to react to. so i think that's very important. the other issue that's very clear, chair yellin made a real effort to assert the fed's independence without provoking
the president-elect. she was walking on eggshells-- this is what is is expected. this is what we're doing but didn't want to provoke president-elect trump because he did criticize her very much in the campaign, the people they're talking about replacing putting two seats into that are currently are going to be very hostile to chairmanielin. she even intimated she might stick around longer and fulfill her term. we've only had one fed chair ever that once they were different d.n.a. with their term as fed care, stayed on as governor. >> brown: he was, indeed, very critical of her, and as you said, she just has one year. and you're saying there is a possibility of some coming dispute open dispute. >> i think there's going to be a lot of open dispute. the two fed chairs that are going to be filled are going to be filled by people who don't like this federal reserve has done and they're going to be critical of it and be confirmed for being critical. there may be buyers' remorse later on, and they're going to
replace not only two fed see the. they're also going to have the attempt to replace the chair and vice chair within about a year and a half. president-elect trump is going stro a lot of impact on the fed at the same time congress is throok have oversight on be able to make the fed sort of acquiesce to political cycles instead of economic cycle glbz diane swonk, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and now to our continuing series of conversations with outgoing members of the obama administration. secretary of agriculture tom vilsack is the last original member of the obama cabinet. he is also the former governor of iowa. we began the conversation by looking ahead to his yet-to-be- named successor in the trump administration. >> i would say from an agricultural perspective, i have a little bit of concern pause some of the folks i don't know
are particularly supportive of the renewable fuel industry and the renewable fuel standard, which say big part of certainly midwestern agriculture. i'm hopeful that when we see his ultimate selection for ag secretary that we'll see someone who is a strong advocate for renewable fuels and what that means to midwestern producers and for that matter, now all over the country we're seeing more and more of the biofuels being produced from a variety of sources. >> woodruff: so renewable fuels. any other signals that you've seen him give as it affects agriculture policy, food stamp policy, a big part of what the department does? >> well, on a positive side, his designee-to-be ambassador to china, terry branstad from ohio, i think is a good selection. and the fact that governor branstad is a tireless advocate for agriculture. there's sort of a good-news opportunity there, i think,
especially with our number one trading partner. still yet to be determined about the impact on some of the poverty programs like snap. this is a very effective poverty-reducing program. we're seeing reduced rolls in snap-- >> woodruff: this is food stamps. >> food stamps, yeah. it will be interest to see what if anything is proposed. a lot of people don't understand the makeup of the snap population, food stamp population, 80% senior citizens, people with disabilities, children, and those actually in the workforce working. >> brown: it's interesting you say that because some congressional republicans are talking about overhauling it. we have yet to hear from mr. trump himself on that. >> i think there's a misunderstanding. the folks who are able-bodied, who are adults who don't have dependents there's a desire to make sure they get to work and they aren't basically game the system. but the reality, is they have a responsibility to either be involved in work or education and they're limited in terms of their benefits. so i think it's going to be a little more difficult than they might assume to overhaul that program. a working program.
>> brown: the election, donald trump did much better among rural voter voters than dead the democratic party nominee, hillary clinton. why do you think that is? what was it that he said, his appeal that wasn't there on her part? >> i think, actually, it goes far beyond one election cycle. i think the democrats have-- we really have failed to be in rural america in the sense of having our leaders spending time talking to folks in rural america. the president has been there, but other than the president and vice president, we have had not a whole lot of conversation in rural america. >> woodruff: including by hillary clinton. >> hillary clinton was there during the iowa caucuses, but i think the nature of the campaign makes it more difficult once you become the candidate. there's a messaging opportunity not just during the election season but before the election, the opportunity to underscore what government is doing in a positive way in partnership with rural folks. i think it's a messaging issue. it's being there physically, talking to folks, listening to
people, respect, and admiring what they do and making sure they understand precisely what the partnership is. i'll give you an example. very few people know that my department is responsible for 1.2 million home loans since i've been secretary. that's 1.2 million families living in homes in rural america that would never have home ownership if not for the department of agriculture's programs. we have to do more about educating people about the partnerships that does exist between rural america and their government. >> woodruff: you're saying it's prince tell a messaging issue, that the policies are right? because when you talk to voters in some of these areas, they're saying they just think washington, as it is today, just doesn't even care who they are. >> five eover 5,000 water projects have been financed by my department. we have invested billions of dollars in economic opportunity. we've supported over 100,000 businesses, supporting nearly half a million jobs in rural america. the unemployment rate has been cut nearly in half. the post rate has come down faster than it has in 25 years.
the food insecurity rate among children is its lowest in history. year, i think it is a messaging issue, judy. i think we have not done a good job of explaining to people in rural america what is actually happening, number one. and number two, we're not expressing appreciation and acknowledging the contribution that rural america makes. where does your food come from? where does your water come from? it all comes from rural areas. where does your military come from? nearly 35%, 40%, comes from rural america. it makes a tremendous contribution to this country. it just isn't recognized. >> woodruff: so how do democrats turn that around? >> i think first and foremost, showing up. making sure we focus not just on elections, not just presidential elections, but we begin the process of rebuilding the infrastructure of the party at the grass roots. we begin going out to all those rural can counties and begin having a conversation with rural voters and making sure that we hear their concerns, hear their complaints, and, also, educate them about what we are doing, making sure we focus on state
legislative races, not just senate, congressional, governor, and presidential races. i think it's important that we have a greater investment in infrastructure. >> woodruff: two final questions. as you prepare to leave the department of agcan culture what, do you think you've done that's made the most difference? the rural economy is significantly better. children in this country will be healthier in the long run because of the changes we made in school lunch and school snack programs. our natural resources, particularly our work lands, are more resilient, and more money is being invested in soil conservation and our forests will be in better shape if congress does what it needs to be to fix the fire suppression budget. i think we're leaving the department, we're leaving rural america, we're leaving the country, and particularly the youngsters of this country in better shape than when we found them in 2009. that seems to be the threshold question-- are things better than or worse than we were in 2009. we were losing 8,000 jobs a month, poverty ratees were
soaring. we had kids who were food insecure. today we have a lot less unemployment, less poverty, and a lot less kids who are food insecure. >> woodruff: what is the part of president obama's legacy that you think is most likely it to endure, given that we're about to turn the executive branch over to someone who has very different political views? >> well, i think president obama is going to be treated very, very well by history in terms of his ability to asset economy. and that's certainly true in rural areas. tbaern the unemployment rate substantially reduced, the poverty rate down, and in large part because of the investments made during the recovery act. a record amount of investment has been made in the infrastructure in rural areas. there's still work to be done, no question. but we're in much better shape than we were before, number one. and number two, i think certainly he has created an opportunity for america to understand that diversity is a blessing, diversity is a strength. it isn't necessarily something to be concerned about. and i thinkt understand of the
day, we're going to learn this country operates best when it celebrates or surrounds itself and appreciates diversity and doesn't shun it. >> woodruff: secretary of agriculture, tom vilsack, thank you for talking with us in your final month or two of being in that position. thank you. >> you bet, thank you. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, a most unusual battle between scientists and native hawaiians over the construction of a massive observatory. it is all about a plan to build the largest telescope on earth on a shield volcano. astronomers say it can offer unique sights to view the cosmos, but it would be created on what is also sacred ground. science correspondent miles o'brien has our report, for our weekly look at the "leading edge" of science and technology. >> reporter: for astronomers, it may be the ultimate focal point this side of outer space.
the 14,000 foot summit of mauna kea, on the island of hawaii, is home to 13 observatories that have rewritten the textbooks. astronomer andrea ghez is a frequent visitor, here to learn more about the black hole at the center of our galaxy. >> i feel like a kid in a candy shop. we've got lots to do, lots of interesting problems that we're working on, that's been enabled with advanced technology and further advances are just going to make that all the better. >> reporter: ghez uses the most powerful observatory here, the keck, which has two ten-meter- wide mirrors. but plans to shed more light on her star quest are stuck in a black hole of resentment and anger. it turns out, what's precious to the scientists is sacred to the native hawaiian culture.
>> there's no word for how i feel about that mountain in english. there's no word that would be deep enough to say how i feel about that mountain. >> reporter: pua case is one of the most vocal opponents of the $1.4 billion, 30-meter telescope, the t.m.t. it is the next big observatory on the horizon, and astronomers believe the summit of mauna kea is the ideal place to build it. >> this mountain peaks into the realm of the sky father, to wakea. it's where i go when i need to say my prayers, when i want to be heard, because i know my voice is closest to the heavens when i am there. >> reporter: their protests emerged at the groundbreaking on october 7, 2014. opponents successfully argued the approval process was illegally circumvented, and so the hawaiian supreme court revoked the building permit, forcing the project to start the long process over.
>> so, there's going to be 492 glass mirrors this size. >> reporter: gary sanders is project manager of the t.m.t. it is a multinational partnership involving science enterprises in the u.s., canada, india, japan and china. >> scientists, we love what we do. we adore it. okay? we just don't understand sometimes that those around us, while they might be please with it, even excited by it, may not adore it the way we do. that's a blind spot. >> reporter: observatories started appearing on the summit of mauna kea about 60 years ago. there was always opposition, but it blossomed in the late 1990s, when nasa proposed four smaller telescopes be placed beside the big keck mirrors to enhance its resolution. but the idea was scuttled amid local opposition. t.m.t. managers say they tried to learn from that experience. >> we tried as best we could to meet the concerns and actually,
to become part of the community rather than mere visitors of the community. so, when the opposition emerged, the additional opposition emerged as we began the groundbreaking and the construction, frankly, we were surprised. >> you let mount fuji stand. mount fuji is sacred. our mauna kea is just as sacred as mount fuji. please hear us! >> reporter: the t.m.t. project took shape while native hawaiians were rediscovering their cultural heritage. ♪ ♪ peter apo is a singer, songwriter and trustee of the office of hawaiian affairs, a state agency that aims to improve the lives of hawaiians. >> the t.m.t. issue is largely under the umbrella of what
hawaiians refer to as nationhood. that is a strong feeling, that the way hawaii became a-- the 50th state of the nation, beginning with annexation, was illegal. so the t.m.t. and other issues like it, really spring from this unresolved and unreconciled question of self-determination. >> there's certainly an element of native rights issues, which is far bigger than astronomy. so astronomy, i think, right now, is certainly a lightning post for these bigger issues. >> reporter: andrea ghez is focused on one of the big issues in astronomy, at the very heart of the galaxy. she and her team have proven the existence of a black hole there by tracking how stars orbit around it. but in science, the answers often spark new questions. >> almost everything we see there is inconsistent with our models, so it's making us scratch our heads.
but i keep reminding myself that we are only seeing the brightest things, and it would be like trying to understand the financial market, if you could only see the biggest transactions. >> reporter: in astronomy, the solution is to build bigger and better telescopes, and a mirror 30 meters in diameter would be a hundred times more powerful than the keck's, but it would be one of the largest moving structures ever constructed. the building will be 18 stories tall. >> the construction, the destruction, and the desecration to a sacred place to any mountain, anywhere. you can never change that. you can never go back. we know how grateful we are to be in this circle on this mauna today. and you lead us, great mountain, and you tell us what to do. and we align with you, in the heart. i don't even pay that telescope no mind.
because i know it won't be built. they know it won't be built. the ancestors will not allow it. >> reporter: so while the t.m.t. project pursues a new permit, it is also hedging its bets, choosing an alternate site in the canary islands. astronomers say that would be a huge loss for hawaii. >> it's a treasure to have something that's so valuable to our knowledge, that we can achieve. it can be best done here. >> one of the challenges that we have is that when you use the word sacred, it means no discussion. so they won't come to the table to discuss anything because there will be no compromise. the t.m.t. will not be built. so that makes it a little bit difficult to talk about anything. >> reporter: if the t.m.t. moves on from hawaii, mauna kea will still remain a powerful perch to study the cosmos for decades, but it could be the beginning of the end of an era of leading edge scientific discovery here.
( singing ) and it may be symbolic turning point in an uphill battle for a culture that feels forgotten and unappreciated. ( singing ) i'm miles o'brien for the pbs newshour, on mauna kea. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, "making sense" columnist phil moeller looks at a proposed bill to reform social security and advocates for the need to adequately fund that agency. also, we look at a new musical based on a tragic chapter of world war ii in england. all that and more is on our web site, www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening.
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