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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 20, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> yang: good evening. i'm john yang. judy woodruff is away. on theour tonight: a chan in values. the leaders of america's largest corporations endorse a new vision for business, saying social concerns are as important as profits. but can they practice what they preach? then, casualties of war. we a on the ground in gaza, where a generation lives with the lastin plus, the beat of his own drum. hip hop artist common on trauma, aforgivenes making it as a rapper. >> one of the things i'm learning through the process is to be kind to myselfyou know, and not just judge everything i do when i make mistakes.
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i try to learn from mistakes and acknowledge where i was wrong and move forward. >> yang: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kevin. >> kevin! >> kevin? >> advice for life. life well-planned. learn more at ordering takeout. >> finding the west route. >> talking for hours. >> planning for showers. >> you can do the things you like to do with a wiregnss plan desi for you. anwith talk, texdata. consumer cellular. learn more at >> babbel. a language program that teaches spanish, french, italian, german, and more.
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>> and with the ongopport of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> yang: president trump acknowledged he is considering tax cuts, but not, he says, response to recession fears. that was just one of the topics the president talked about today during an oval office meeting with the >> we're looking at various tax reductions, but i'm looking at that all the time anyway, tax reductions. payroll tax is something that we think about, and a lot of people would like to see that, and that very much affects the workers of our country. >> yang: we'll hear more from the president when we talk to white house correspondent yamiche alcindor, after the news summary.
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wall street gave ground today, after a batch of disappointing corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average lost 173 points to close at 25,962.e sdaq fell 54 points, and the s&p ipped 23. in syria, the dominant militant group in idlibnce retreated from a key town, in a new blow to rebel forc the insurgents, linked to al q sheikhoun under heavyn n mbardment and air strikes. as they did, syrvernment troops entered the town, backed by russian air support. idlib is the major rebel bastion in syria. in afghanistan, hundreds of people paid tribute day to the dozens who died in a suicide bombing in kabul. many gatred in mosques, while others visited memorials to the victims. some criticized government officials, including president ashraf ghani, for failing to put an end to the violence. >> ( translated ): the president and his chief executive must resign.
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they cannot serve the nation, and they should apologize to the people. ghani promised to bring security during his campaigns before becoming the president, but he couldn't. we have had the highest number of civilia term.lties under his >> yang: the islamic state group claimed resplity for saturday's attack on a wedding celebration. it came as the united states pursues peace talks with the taliban. meanwhile, the state department announced chief negotiator g zalmay khalilzad is headck to qatar to resume those talks. dozens of migrants made ate attempts today to reach the southern italian coast. the migrants, most of them from africa, have been stuck on a rescue ship for 19 days, as italy refu dock.let the vessel at least 15 jumped overboard today, hoping to reapedusa island. more than 80 remained on board, in worsening conditi hours later, a sicilian prosecutor ordered the ship seized, and the migrants evacuated to shore. meanwhile, italian prime minister giusente resigned after his far-right coalition
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partner qu the populist government. interior minister matteo salvini and his league party have pushed the hard-line policy against rigrants. now, with his popu rising, he wants new elections. conte accused salvini of being irresponsible as the interior minister sat next to him in the italian nate, and shrugged off the criticism. >> ( translated ): my dear minister of interr, by starting this government crisis, you are taking a great spsibility towards the country. you have asked for full powers to rule the country, and i have heard you calling the people in the squares to support you. >> yang: conte's government lasted jusonths. if italy's president accepts his resignation, the country could see elections as early as october. still to come on the newshour: amid a backdrop of rising income inequality, american business leaders announce a philosophical shift. on the ground in gaza, where
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gunshot wounds have become a part of daily life. tricks of the trade with the .ormer c.i.a. head of disguise. and, much mo >> yg: the trump administration continues to tout a strong economy and dismiss fears of a potential recession. ialn the ffice this afternoon, the president was asked trade policies his new tariffs in escalating trade war with china is having a negative impact on the u.s. economy. >> i am doing this whether it's good or bad for your statement about, "oh, will we fall into a recession thr two months?" fact is, somebody had to take china on. my life would be a lot easier if i didn't take china on. but i like doing it because i have tdo it. >> yang: our yamiche alcindor is here to help explain the white souse's thinking. he president said that the-- the economy's doing great. but he's also thinking about ways of boosting it a little bit, and then seemed to acknowledge the his own tr policies may bring a recession,
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a short one. what's going on? >> the economyhas been the shining example that president trump has been able to point tom scandals and controversies. he's been able to say, look, even though you don't "like water for chocolate" my rhetori or racist tweets or women aultedng i sexually a them, at least the economy is doing well. what is happening now is there are signnothe e could be slowing and that's making president trump and republicans hry, very worried. as a result,s essentially make the case, "china made me do all this. the farmers frustrateed in the midwest because their markawets have gon as the trade war with china has dragged on. it's not my fault. china made me do this. the republican party is really trying to find a message to help them if ere is a recession. also, for republican lawmakers they've been able to point to the economy and say, "i know i don't "like water for chocolate" president trump's racist tweets or maybe i don't "like atter for choc the fact that he separated thousands of immigrant families, but again, the economy is doing well and wooshed think things are going well." mb bems starting to cru
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and this is the president trying to save his presidency and save face. >> yang: another topic was his stand he backgrounds, gun control. let's take a listen to what he said. >> we have very, verytrong background checks right now, but we have sort of missing areas, and areas that don't complete the whole circle. and we're log at different things. and i have to tell you that it is a mental problem, and i've 00 times. it's not the gun that pulls the trigger. it's the person that pulls t trigger. >> yang: immediately after el paso and dayton, o seemed be saying that he expected the senate to-- congre to act on stricter gun control. but now he seems to be back off? >> tre's no question president trump has completely pulled back his support for background checks. and it comes down to three letters, n.r.a. that group has had a strong hold on republicans. they backed president trump, and now we at the pbs newshour canf
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m the president called wayne lapierre, the head of n.r. t that afternoon, aold him university background checks are completely off the table. that's a complete 180 from what the president was saying just two weeks ago. he said there would be tremendous support for commonsense background checks. that hw. gone away no and the president essentially siewgz talking points from the n.r.a. he said there's a slippery slope owhen it comes gun legislation, and if they start messing with background checks,e crats might take away the second amendment. on the white house lawn just a few weeks ago, he said this isn't about the n.r.a. or republicans orrats. that's completely changed. i think it it will be very interesting once congresses c back to see what the president does. we have a pretty clear sign. the n.r.a. is on the phone with the white house and they are completely changing t thee. >> yang: white house correspondent yamiche alcindor, thanks very much. >> thanks. >> yang: for decades, maximizing
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profits for stockholders has been the driving goal for corporate america. but there's a growing populist backlash as more and more americans led to great social inequality. this wee nearly 200 of the country's most prominent companies issued a joint statemat represents a major philosophical shift. the c.e.o.s said that corporat t leaders shoue into account all stakeholders: that means employees, customers, suppliers and society in general. o that's the focthis week's "making sense" segment. and for it, we t steven pearlstein, pulitzer prize- winning columnist for the "washington post," professor of public a university, and author of the book, "can american capitalism survive?" steve, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> yang: a year ago you wrote in your column that tone decito declare maximizing value for shareholders as the sole purpose of ai corporatios the source of much of what has gone wrong with american capitalism. how big a deal is this shift? >> well, it's a big dl ot so
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much because what the roundtable says has any legal force on any ofts members. it's important because it signals a shift in attide in norms that's already occurring. it's a sort of c something that's happening that's, i think, the pendulum swinging back inhe right direction after having swung too far in favor of shareholders. so it's important for this sort of signaling value and for the signaling to other kinds of businesses and other businesses that this is now a new norm, and gnaling to the other stakeholders to begin to, i think, assert some of their influence and their leverage. yang: now, after you wrote that column, jami dimon, the chairman of j.morgan chase reached out to you. what happened? >> we know each other and i was having breakfast and picked up the phone and said,
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"that was the stupidest column i ever read." and i said, good morning, jami. how are hu?" and ve a frank discussion. at the end of it i said, "lookw, don't you have a dinner somewhere. you can come here, i'll host ono here, wiel it in new york, and you have some of your guys and i'll have some of the other journalists there." and the reason was he thought we journalists were misportraying this issue that he said, "we don't run our companies in the ruthless profit-maximizing way that you suggest." and i said, "first of all, i'm not sure that's always the case ven if it were why don't you say that shouldn't be the norm." and he didn't really have an answer for that. and at's sort owhat-- what eventually we did have this meeting in new york and nhis office and we hash things around. and i think, you know, we acknowledge that, no, they don't all run their companies in a ruthless way 100% of the time. and hecknowledged that mbe
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they needed to think about reframing the purpose of a corporation. >> yang: you say this move-- this shift has been going on for a while. so why now? why makehis formal declaration now? >> well, several, but one o which is the political environment where, you know, you have the two leadg-- or two of the three leading democratic presidential candidates going around saying the big problem is corporate greed. and they probably overstate the case and are pretty harsh about theirul pt complaint. but, you know, that's added to fact that for years business and hesiness leaders have beeld in lower and lower regard by the public. and think, you know, they have had a period of time, john, as you know, for the last 20 years, where they're-- their allies in the republican party have prettu controlled things in washington, particularly in the congress. and they're looking at a period of time where that might not be the case. so i think they probably need to establish some credibilityn
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the public marketplace because theye been playing an inside game for the past 20 years quite successfully. t they probably have to start playing an outside game and they need to establish legitimacy with the public for, you know, the views that they have. >> yang: and are the-- thare also getting pressure from within, from lazy? >employees? >> yes, i think that's the other thing. i'm not a big fan of social media, but social media has made them extremely sensitivo the reactions of consumers, consumer boycot threats. they read their social media very carefully. i think this an is perhaps the most important thing-- companies are in a battle for talent,r top talent. and there are a lot of young people-- ink t this as a college professor-- who won't go work for a company they think is a ruthless profit maximizer. they also need that to recruit tant. >> yang:, they're getting pressure from below, but so many
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of the incentives at the top, you know, compensation, bonuss tied to hitting stox prices, hitting quarterly earnings marks. how much is really going to change? the incentive structure has chaneyd. in fact, e tried over the years-- and this is something under criticism. they have made the stock-rated compensation much more long-term. so it isn't qrterly anymore. and, you know, i think those improvements hav there. but, you know, they can still do ally well under these compensation things by changing things a little bit. and, you know, it's a sort of collective action problem. theyll know, frankly, that they needed to change the way they behaved. the problem wat no one could do it because if one did it and t t others didn'ten they would get called out, and their stock price would geted hammand they would be criticized by wall street.
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stow one of the reasons"l somethine water for chocolate" the roundtable exists is for them to do it collectively so it's a sort of al protection society. they can do what they think is the right thing and not get called out individually fo >> yang: you mentionedly the political environment. the two democratic candidates, the democrats may take congress back. why shouldn't we justee this as a p.r. gimmick, as trying toe out ahead of an issue, of trying to-- trying to look good? >> well, to me, that's progress. when the corporate community tries to get out ahead of something "like war chocolate" that and acknowledges that they may have overdone things and-- then that's a win. i mean, i don't know how-- yit isood for p.r., but if they don't follow through, if we continue to see companies that say, i'm giving up my american cizenship so that we don't have to pay u.s. taxes anymore because our shareholders are making us t," if companies say, "we're going to crush our
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ur shareholdee o are making us do it," they won't be able to get away with that anymore. >> yang: steven pearlstein of the "washington post" and george mason university, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> yang: for many months now, palestinians in gaza have regularly protested their conditions along the border fence with israel. rnose protests have often violent, resulting in deaths and permanent injuries. militant palestinians ha a lobbed rocke gunfire at israel, especially targeting the soldie at the border. t some international observers say the response of late has taken a sturbing turn. special correspondent jane ferguson was there last year when the conflict firs ratcheted up, and turned recently for another look. >> reporter: in gaza, soccer is a crucial f life. for many, it's an escape from the hardships here.
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with few prospects for a job, it's a way for young men to pass the time, and a way to still feel human even after devastating injuries. playing with one leg is not easy, but then, nothing about life is in gaza. >> ( translated ): beforthe injury, i loved playing soccer. but after my injury, it became difficult. this team, i can return to it, and i love the sport. from this sport, we get an outlet for our feelings, and that's necessary for everyone. >> rep 7,000 have been shot by the israeli army while taking part in ptests along the border of gaza in the last 15 months. zens of those have lost limb. ahmed did everything he coul, to save his lavelling to turkey and egypt to try to find a surgeon who could do the job. he says he'll never forget the day he was shot. >> ( translated ): i was taken
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to the h such a large number of injuries mi had to wait 24 hours f operation. orter: that was may 14 last year, when gazans took rt in a "march of return" protest along gaza's border with israel to demonstrateor the right to siturn to their family's ancestral homes inde israel, homes their forebears fled when israel was formed in 1948. the gaza stp has been under blockade by israel since june 2007, when has took control of the territory, violentlye victing the palestinian authority. it is one of the most densely populated places in the world, nearly two millioneople packed into a sliver of land 25 miles long and five miles wide. unemployment is at a staggerg 52%, leaving young men like this feeling they have nothing to lose. the day after ahmed was shot, the trump administration formally moved the u.s. embassy to jerusalem, recognizing jerusalem as the capital of
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israel. palestinians have long declared that jerusalem would one day be the capital of their future state. until that point, offi u.s. policy on claims to the city had always been neutral and a subject for final negotiaterns. we were e on that day as s tens of thousandrched towards the border fence. 73 palestinians were kille00and over 2,5njured. in the makeshift field hospitals, the wounded arrived at an alarming rate, almost all shotn the leg by snipers. israeli sharp shooters hit so many, the hospitals couldn't cope. i never forget this day because it was bloody. >> reporter: dr. adnan al bursh was the lead surgeon on duty that day in gaza's main hospital. >> my department, in that day, we did about 85 surgeries in one day alone.
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myself alone, i done 28 surgeries in that day. i started surgeries at 9:00 a.m., and the last surgery was at 1:00 a.m. after midnight. so, really, it was tough fatigue, and it was lack of instruments and la antibiotics and lack of medicati even anesthesia medication for the patient. >> report the end of his long, exhausting day, dr. al borsh fel and a colleague took this picture. it's the nature of the wounds that most disturbed dr. al borsh. despite fighti lives through three wars in gaza, he had never seen anything like this before. >> the entry point, or the entrance from the bullet, it was one centimeter; and e exit, it was more than 15 and 20 centimeters. ion its way, it take bone take arteries, it take vessels, it take nerves.
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so, its future is uncertain, really. i think, because such bullet which was used when entered into the body, it explodes in the body, and it takes everything in its way. >> reporter: so, even if the limb is saved, it will never be of use and will need surgery after surgery to avoid amputation. at a nearby clinic run by doctors without borders, young men with similar wounds fill the waiting room daily. it's hard enough to find a job in gaza, where most work is manual labor. these young men will struggle nomore than ever. the bullet wounds were so devastating, some medical grievous. dust and dirt from the protest site means nearly half of them have serioection in their bones. >> ( transl very difficult to treat. even the best resources in the world would be overwhelmed, and
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it would be impossible to manage the complexity and the volume of the injuries. >> reporter: waleed al ramlawi was waiting to see a doctor and showed ugehis leg. the quare of skin patched up where the bullet tore out large chucks of g. "utuntil now, my wound has recovered, and it has been ten months," he told us. >> ( translated ): i have had more than one surgery, and nothing has been achieved. >> reporter: waleed and his friends say they were unarmed, protesting near the border fence when he was shot by a sniper. >> ( litranslated ): the isr were dealing with us as though we were an army. they were not dealing with us as eful protestors. we had no weapons, just our bodies. >> reporter: human rights groups say this is a war crime. saleh hijazi heads amnesty international in israel and palestinian territories.
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>> the willful cause of injury and willful cause of death is a war crime. and so, in both instances, what we have found, both in terms of the killings and the injuries, that israel has vi international law. many of these killings appear to be willful killiers and ore a war crime. >> reporter: the israeli army denies this. they would not grant an interview to tshour but released a statement saying: "for over a year, the israeli defense forces has been operating against violent riots and terrorist activities under their auspices, which include shooting at soldiersattempts to penetrate into israel, attempts to damage the security infrastruc re, burning tires, throwing stones, throwing molotov cocktails and grenades in oer to harm i.d.f. soldiers. " but in a damning report released in march, a united nations independent commission of inquiry disputed that, saying the israeli military sniping at protestors was unlawful and unjustified, a referred to the international
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criminal court at the hague. the u.n. noted that some protestors threw stones and lit kites on fire to send across the fence, but the majority were peaceful civilians. israeli soldiers, the commission said, shot and killed children, paramedics, journalistand the disabled, fully aware of who they were. israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu rejected the report, saying it was motivated by "an obsessive hatred of israel." despite the dangers, protestors still show up here every single friday. the israelis have reinforced the borders along here, and they still shoot the protestors who make it too close to them.s on ty, the numbers are down to just a few hundred people, mainly young men and boys inching towards the fence in a dangerous game of chicken. most of these kids have never trseen the outside world, ped iny strip of land under blockade by the israeli government a ruled over by the militant group hamas.
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flaming kites are still sometimes sent across the fence, causing israeli farmers crops to burn. the most cynical here encourage the smallest to approach the oading israeli guards. israel says the protests are organized by the militant group ethamas, but the people we here deny that. >> ( translated ): i come every friday, and i would come every day if the protest was day. we in gaza have nothing to do, no work. all of these people around don't have a single shekel because we are living underhe siege. and the siege is constant. >> reporter: for as long as the protests continue, so will the bloodshe to save lives.efforts >> as a doctor, as a surgeon, i try to help my people by my experience, by my hands.
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to live without disability, without pain, without suffering. when i see a patient who was going to amputation and i save his limb, i become happy, really. i become happy because this patient has a wife and has sons and has relatives. >> reporter: the lasting legacy of these demonstrations is thousands of you and women crippled, a generation deformed. a generation that coinues to suffer, trapped inside this cruel conflict. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in gaza. >> yang: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: hip-hop artist common on music, activism, s newly released book.
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jonna mendez is one half of a legendary espionage power couple. she and her husband, tony, met as american spies the soviet union and took turns as the .c.i.a.'s chief of disgui before tony died earlier this year, the couple wrote a book about living undercover at the height of the cold war. their work is now enshrined in a permanent exhibit at the international spy museum in washington, and that's where nick schifrin caught up with jod her trove of cloaks and daggers. >> schifrin: for 27 years, across cold war hot spots, jonna mendez wundercover for the c.i.a. but while the blonde from kentucky was always d, the master of disguise was never caught. >> with disgrpse, we just sed anyone's dreams. i mean, we some had amazing successes. >> schifhe "we" were jonna and tony mendez, spouses and stars of the c.ioth former chiefs of disguise. they were married foalmost 30
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years, before he died last year. tony had creative energ that that he spread around like fairy st. i give him credit for the really innovative ideas that we worked with.but i take some responsibiy for seeing that th happened. we were a good team. >> schifrin: their team s part of the c.i.a.'s office of technical service, or o.t.s. they built the tools of espionage: t disguise kit, the cameras that could hide anywhere, the shoes with a secret microphone, the underwear to pretend to be pregnant-- secrets used in soviet moscow, now at the international spy museum in washington. >> we're not trying to say o.t.s. won the cold war. but the tools that we provided to our case officers, that let them get out on the street, that let them in fact meet face to face with some of our russian sources, made an enormous difference. >> schifrin: the first challenge was right outside the embassy's gates, on the streets of moscow. the russians were always tailing them, so they got a lielp from their friend jack.
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>> jack in the box was every h.o.v. commuters' dream. as a pop-up dummy that would emerge out of various things. >> schifrin: everywhere agents drove, aoviet car would follow. so, the mendezes created a gap. as the americans turned a corner, the soviets were blind just long enough for the american agent to jump out of the car, and jack in the boxo pop up in his place. >> it looked like a person. it was three-dimensional. it wore real clothes, it had a face, it had hair. it could look extly like the person who had just left that seat. >> schifrin: in pop cultur spies have slick catchphrases, like bond... >> bond. james bond. >> srin: ...and explosions, like bourne... ( explosion ) >> schifrin: ...but mendez says there's only one s who gets it right. >> the male star in "the
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fuamericans" had this wond ability to put on these nothing disguises and then he became nothg. >> how have you been, martha? >> he became almost invisible. he was perfect. ( elevator dings ) but if hon the elevator with you and got off two floors later, you would never remember that he'd even been on the elevator. he just could disappear into his disguise >> schifrin: that disappearing act is what she perfected at the height of the co, for american agents and their russian assets. moscow became so dangerous, it was a "denied area," meaning c.a. officers couldn't mee russian informants face to face. in cold war moscow, every face was wa so jonna and tony gave their colleagues more than one. >> we didn'tto use masks in any other place. but we needed them in moscow a because it wolution that was almost forced upon us. wiout disguise, our case officers would have been totally stymd. that was the intention of the k.g.b. they wanted us to be unable to
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collect intelligen. >> schifrin: mendez went to the white house, disguised in her own handiwork. >> a woman who worked with me, who gave me her face as a farewell present. >> schifrin: so this is a real on's face? >> yeah, that's her. >> schifrin: in moscow, they followed a set of informal guidelines, which tony wrote down and turned into the "moscow rules," the name of their new book. rules like, don't harass the opposition. >> don't mess with them. somethinbad will happen to you. maybe you're going to get beat up in front of your own embassy. and medevac'd the next day with a broken clavicle. >> schifrin: their most sacred mission? keep soviet agents alive. >> there's sometng so personal about the russian side of it. taking care of those people, that was bically what our office did. we provided them with the technoo be safe. with tradeaft and methods of communication that would allow us to keep a distance between us and them, so we wouldn't contaminate them. >> schifrin: one of their best assets, alexander ogorodnik,
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codetrigon, a soviet diplomat who shared thousands of sensitive cables. he hid fm the k.g.b. with mendez's help. >> he was the first one i know of who said, i'll take these o risks, but i'm not goingt them kill me the way they want to do it. if they arrest me, i want an l. pill. that was a cyanide pill . >> schifrin: that pill was hidden in a pen. when he was caught, he went to write a confession-- and bit n.wn on the he died in seconds. >> people look at poison pens in pop culture and th go, do we really do that? well, yeah, we did. >> schifrin: that's when tmeonez broke one of his own moscow rules. he mourned trigon's death. >> the rule is, never fall in love with your with your agent. and itidn't mean fall in love. it meant almost like a doctor- patient relationship. don't ever let it get personal. tony was so attached to trigon. and when they lost trigon, it was tragedy. >> schifrin: tony was the central character in the movie "argo," about how he rescued americans hiding in tehran after
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the 1979 hostage crisis, by disguising them as a canadian film crew. >> you have to know your resume back to front. >> you really believe your little story's going to make a difference when there's a gun to our heads? >> i think my little story's the only thing between you and a gun to your head. >> schifrin: he was part spymaster, part ringmaster, had the flair of a magician and the eye of an artist. he carri painter's this >> we used to say that y p could haveblem, an operational problem, and you could have a meeting and solve it, get tony inemake sure he's at the ta because everybody knows that artists think just a little differently. >> schifrin: and mendez helped c.i.a. think differently. this painting commemating his work hangs on the wall at langley headquarters. w important are the lessons that you and tony learned and wrote about? >> one of g lessons is that you do nothing alone. it's a team... it's always the team. and this book is trying to call out at o.t.s. team.
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the people behind you or beside you, or maybe even the peopl hat you were supporting that were in front of you. but everyone in o.t.s. knew that you don't do anything alone. >> schifrin: jonna mendez and her husband never did anything alone, and they never stopped living by the moscow rules. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. >> yang: now, a conversation with a rapper from the south side of chicago, who's branched out beyond music and has a new book and album that explores his own personal history. amna nawaznterview with common is part of our ongoing arts and culture series, "canvas." >> naz: he's one of the est names in hip-hop, kn 'sr the rhythm and rhymes created over a 27-year career in music.
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over the decades, common the rapper has add actor, activist, and author to his resume, and the awave followed. he's won an oscar, grammy and golden globe for "glory," hee powerful tme song he co-wrote with john legend for the 2014 film "selma." ♪ ♪ ♪ hands to the heavens no man, no weapon ♪ formed against, glower is destined ♪ >> nawaz: he's also appeared in movies and on tv, including "the chi," a series about southside chicago, common's hometown. >> it took me 12 years in statesville to find my way. >> nawaz: lonnie rashid lynn, better known as common, first emerged on the rap scene in the '9 in 2000, his first major-label album, "like water for chocolate," broughg success, and his 2005 album, "be" was a commercial hit, leading to one of several grammy awards. as his fame has grown, common
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has used his growing platform to become more politiy a frequent guest at the obama white houss faced criticism from republicans. he's performed at the march for our lives gun safety rally. and, he's been outspoken when it comes to the trump administrationli immigration es. through it all, common continues to msic. his new album, "let love," accompanies his new memoir, by he recently came by the newshour to talk about both. common, welcome to tshour. >> i love hearing that. thank you for having me >> nawaz: i want to ask about lour memoir now called "le have the last word." there is an accompaning album comingut with it, too. what was it about this stage of your career,his stage of your life that made you want to sit down and write this book? >> well, ih tk a lot of what we see going on in the world, "like water for chocolate," the divisiveness, thenxiety, a lot of the-- including the attacks and things-- i really wanted to
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put-- instill something that was hopeful, instill somethinthat could be solution oriented, and something that has beenn antidote for me, a resource for me to overcome, yoknow, tough times in my life. i wanted to share that worrying people because so many of might have conversations was based around aiety. and so many of the conversations having wit and i was "like water for chocolate", "hey, we can do it. i got hope. we can do it a people. as human beings. let's find the common place for us and, "like water for chocolate," start from there." >> nawaz: it's also a very intensely personal book, this memoir, right. and i was reading that your daughter actually inspired a lot of what you shared in here. tell me about that. >>ah, well, we had a conversation, my daughter an.d i she really challenged me as a father where she told me pleracs she didn't think i was, "like water for chocolate," showing up as aather. and, you know, initially my
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emotion was, "wait, but i love you." i was hurting, defensive, and evth somgs, angry about some of the things she said. but somewhere during that course of the conversation, i just looked at her and said "this is my daughter. let me listen to her." i knew iutanted to write a love, but not just romantic love. when that incident happened, it just gave me, "like water for "a chocolate," more thing to talk about how it can be an action, how it can be a practice. >> nawaz: as a child you suffered a very serious trauma. you wstere mo when you were nine years old. >> yeah. >> nawaz: what did it take for to you get to a place ere you felt liek you could talk about that. >> i felt if i decided to talk about it, it would be healing for me other ands. other people experienced sexual
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abusst molestation, physical abuse. and i knew as a black man, me talking about it would give a gateway and an openi for other men, black people, brown people, you know, just to awbl to talk about it. and i bring us, you know, black people into the equation, because for us, in our culture, it's not really discussed. like, when tsehings happen, it's not talked about as much. how do we solve this? how do we, like, stop the cycle? so i really knew that if i told my story aind told it a way that really just raw and truthful and still acknowledge that i'm in the process it would allow other human beings to come out and talk about it and hopefully ba part of the healing. because my ultimate goal isto stop the cycle. >> nawaz: do you feel like you're still going through that healing? ere do you feel you are right
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now in your personal journey? >> i feel like i'm in a great place of forgiveness. thm still learning how acted my life in different ways. and, you know, one of e thing i'm learning through the sprs to be kind to myself, you know, and not just, like, be-- judge everything i do. and irake mistakes, just to beat myself doin, like and try o learn from the mistakes and knowledge where i was wrong and move forward. as a human being, you hold guilt. you hold shame. and i just try to make sure i'm being loving to myself, and in the process deal with each emotion that i have. and i think overall, i feel like this is bigger than me anyway. >> nawaz: you have never been afraid of tackling the tough stuff in your career, whether it's about your own personal jourys -- you mentioned your own criminal justice reform. work you tweet a lot about
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immigration detention. you were tweeting about the ice raids recently, injusticese ou ing on around you. where does that come from? do you feel a sense responsibility to pay attention and be engaged? >> yeah, i think-- you know, i grew up o the south side of chicago, a community which i l reale, and that community is like many other communities that suffer fm being marginalized, being treated less than, havi lack of opportunities and resources. so when i see somebody b deing pushn, i just relate to it, and i don't like it, meaning, like, when i see what's going on with the people that's trying to get int into the couny and fas being separated, it's just not fair life. it's not good humanity to other people. up. have to speak it's my duty as a human being, as an artist. and not on speaking now. to me, my speaking has to become acand that's what i'm in
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more involved in. like, ith have-'s why i went to the prisons. that's the organization i'm a part of, wheree do social activism in different spaces, including immigration as one of the space where's we are now, like, in the process out how can we be a solution to this issue? >> nawaz: it's fair to say music is still your first>>ove. t's my first love but i love, like, acting, just as much as i love music i'm not going to deny that. i love acting. it's funaz >> nyou did say something in your book i wanted to read to you, though, about rt of the roots of where your music comes from, can which is freestyling. you say, "i have been rapping for more than 25 years now i would rap for flee. i would rap if i lived on the streets. i would rap if i were a preacher or a prisoner or a politic'an." you say s your release, but sometimes if you can't do it in the studio you jushop in the car and you go and you do. you really do that? you get in the car and freestyle? >> that's actual how i te
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my songs, like, i get in the car and i, like, put onea a, and say my rap out loud, start freestyling whatever lines i like. i do believe it's a divine expression, meaning i'm only creating when i'm at my-- when i'm in, ke, a pure place and i'm feeling like-- i'm not thinking too hard. it's just coming out. it's just flowing. thlie's no way toe, try to describe the process besides-- e ca you the steps, but i can't really tell you how it's done. >> nawaz: common i can't thank you enough for coming by. the new book is "let love have the last word." k you for your time ♪ sometimes she might ask if i can come here and rap off facts ♪ even sitting in the booth, even when i talk about facts i spit truth. ♪ that's what i do, i spring truth to power ♪ i came to do this at the s newshour."
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>> yang: and we'll be back shortly with how the mayor of los angeles se
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>> yang: we close tonight with a look at the personal side of politics. "te latest episode of our facebook shot moment when"
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or out today. in it, the mf los angeles tells steve goldbloom how he came to see homelessness as a humanitarian crisis. here's a preview. >> when i was 14, i started volunteering on skid row here in los angeles. people who were sleeping at at time in cardboard boxes, folks who i was giving socks to and talking to for the first time and engaging with them. elthink i couldn'tve that in our city of so much, there that way.e who live i took that with me to college in new york where i did a lot of work rebuilding housing and helping fores who we experiencing homelessness come home and then came back to l.a. i think recognized that this was a humanitarian crisis, not just in america but in work ti t d around the world, that war, economy, sickness, lack of a social safety net, or just people's own indifference is what causes people to stay on the streets. >> who are e work, working every day to call out of the
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problem ofss homeleness. >> people are beautiful andli compted. and people aren't homeless for one reason. they're experiencing trauma that might come from war or the foster care system or sexual and mestic violence, or losing your job or going through a h divorce,aving a mental health crisis, addiction. all of these things canre conspi together and result in somebody experiencing homelessness. but what solves that: one person who stays with somebody, even when they doubt that the solp is there, when they question whybody even cares anymore, who stays with them until they know their name, know their story, and help them write a new chapter off the streets. >> how are you working with the city to reduce the use of l.a. county jail as a mental word? >> the largest mental health facility in the united states of america is los angeles county jails. here in the city of l.a., we're prioritizing, helping peoplewe gets 2jobs working for estate and other public agencies when they come out of ils,
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because nothing stops recidivism better than a job. in california you have a two-thirds chance ogoing back behind bars when you get out if you don't have a job. we know how we can stop this cycle. >> yang: you can find all episodes of this series on facebook. watch "at that moment when show." and we have a developing story tonight. philadelphia's police commissioner, richard ross, is tysigning. the mayor made the announcement in a statement citing new allegations of sexual harassment a racial and gende discrimination against others in the department. the "philadelphia inquirer" reported ross was aware of the allegations but act on them. so far, no specific details aboun the claims have bmade public. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm john yang. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. thr all of us at the pbs newshourk you, and
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we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the p b newshour haseen provided by: >> babbel. a language program that teaches spanish, french, italian, german, and more. al consumer cellular. >> finanervices firm raymond james. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york. iopporting innovations in educ democratic engagement, and the advancement cu international peace and ty. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals.
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public bro ccasting. and tributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access gup at wgbh >> you're watching pbs.
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