tv PBS News Hour PBS December 16, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: a federal judge ruled today the national security agency's bulk collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this monday, the ongoing push to curb gun violence as the deaths, the injuries, and the incidents continue to mount. >> ♪ i bet there's rich folks eatin' in a fancy dinin' car ♪ >> woodruff: and we close with a look at the man in black with a new biography on the storied life of johnny cash. >> his mission was to lift people's spirits the way his spirits had been lifted as a child. >> woodruff: those are just some of the stories we're covering
on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: a federal judge ruled today that the national security agency's bulk collection of
phone records is likely unconstitutional. judge richard leon said the massive round-up of calls was an unreasonable search and violated americans' reasonable expectation of privacy. but he put his decision on hold pending a likely government appeal. we'll have more on today's ruling right after the news summary. the u.n. made a record $6.5 billion appeal today for aid to tackle syria's refugee crisis. more than nine million syrians have fled in the past three years as a civil war rages. two million of them have escaped to nearby countries, including many who are now enduring unusually cold weather in tented camps. the u.n.'s high commissioner for refugees said the money would go chiefly to countries who've taken in the largest number of fleeing syrians. >> we are addressing the needs of a potential number of 4.1 million refugees at the end of 2014, projecting
the present trend until then. but but also of 2.7 million vulnerable people in the host communities. there is a tragedy in the plight of syrian refugees. but let's not forget that they would have no place to go without the generosity of the neighboring countries. >> ifill: we'll take a closer look at the syrian refugee crisis as it's affecting one of those host countries, bulgaria, later in the program. meanwhile, the war inside syria rages on with the death toll from yesterday's government air raids on opposition targets in aleppo, reaching 76. the victims included dozens of children. a new wave of violence swept across iraq today, from mosul to baghdad, leaving at least 65 people dead. suicide bombers and gunmen mostly targeted shi-ite muslims in their attacks, some of them on a pilgrimage. in one, a parked car bomb left mangled metal in the street outside an outdoor market. no claims of responsibility have been made in any of the attacks but they bore the mark of al qaeda militants.
the pentagon announced today two detainees at guantanamo have been transferred to their native saudi arabia. the men had been held at the cuban facility since 2002. no charges were ever filed against them. u.s. military documents allege one of the detainees was an al qaeda courier and both fought in afghanistan. president obama has pledged to shut down guantanamo, but has faced strong resistance from congress. the u.s. is boosting maritime aid to southeast asian countries, as tensions grow with china. secretary of state john kerry pledged more than $32 million, to help protect territorial waters in the south china sea. four countries have competing claims with china. during meetings with officials in vietnam, kerry did take the opportunity to criticize chinese moves in the east china sea, where they're setting up an air defense zone. >> the united states does not recognize that zone and does not accept it. china's announcement will not
change how the united states conducts military operations in the region. this is a concern about which we have been very, very candid and we have been very direct with the chinese. the zone should not be implemented. >> ifill: tensions over that airspace led to a close call between u.s. and chinese warships. china's "global times," an official government newspaper, today blamed the near miss on the u.s., saying the american navy was harassing the chinese squadron in international waters. the federal government is putting antibacterial soaps under the microscope to see if they actually prevent infection. recent research suggests chemicals in the soaps can interfere with hormone levels and spur the growth of drug- resistant bacteria. the food and drug administration is proposing that soap makers prove their products are more effective than regular soap and water. we'll hear more about that proposal later in the program. an ohio man was sentenced today
to 28 years in prison for orchestrating a $100 million navy veterans charity scam. john donald cody, who also goes by bobby thompson, defrauded donors in 41 states under the guise of his bogus charity: the u.s. navy veterans association. cody was also fined $6 million. his lawyers plan to appeal the verdict. stocks on wall street surged today, as they bounced back from last week's worst showing since the summer. the jump comes ahead of a two- day federal reserve meeting on the stimulus. the dow jones industrial average gained 129 points to close at 15,884. the nasdaq rose 28 points to close at 4,029. the academy award winning actress joan fontaine has died at her home in california of natural causes. fontaine became a major film star in the 1940s. she starred in two of alfred hitchcock's films, including his adaptation of daphne du
maurier's gothic novel "rebecca". fontaine was 96 years old. and peter o'toole, known best for his role in "lawrence of arabia," also died this weekend after a long illness. he was 81. >> ifill: still to come on the "newshour": the legality of n.s.a. surveillance; a time of transition at the federal reserve; the challenge of reducing gun violence; questions over the effectiveness of anti-bacterial soap; syrian refugees in one of europe's poorest countries and a new look at the storied life of music legend johnny cash. >> woodruff: in the first legal setback for the national security agency since the disclosures by edward snowden-- a federal judge ruled today that its phone metadata collection program is likely unconstitutional. u.s. district court judge
richard leon found that the program appeared to breach the fourth amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures and, that the justice department failed to show that the mass collection helped stop terrorist attacks. in a statement edward snowden reacted to the ruling saying, quote, today a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when expod-- exposed to the light of day found to violate american's rights. it is the first of many, end quote. joining me now to discuss the ruling, the lawsuit that prompted it, and what it means for the n.s.a.'s program is reporter josh gerstein of politico. welcome back to the program, josh. tell us about what was behind this lawsuit, who is behind it and so forth. >> well, it's really one of at least four lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of the edward snowden disclosures earlier this year about this mehtadata program that sweeps up information on billions, maybe trillions of phone calls that have been made over the last five years to,
from and within the u.s. this particular lawsuit was filed in washington, d.c. by a conservative legal activist, many people may remember from the clinton years by the name of larry claman. and he's just the one without happened to get a ruling on his lawsuit first before some of these other suits brought by perhaps better known organizations like the aclu made it to get some initial rulings. >> now the judge wrote along what is skroobds as a blistering opinion. what essentially is he saying is unconstitutional here? >> well, first he says that this is a search. what the nsa is doing does get into the private information of americans. the government's position has been that it doesn't get into really private information that you disclose this quine of information when you make a phone call, the phone company knows what numbers you're calling, how long the call is, and for decades the government supported by a supreme court decision from the 1970s has said that once
you reveal that information to a third party it's not protected and the government doesn't even need a warrant to look at it. and the judge here is actually departing from that decision and saying what the nsa is doing in terms of its scope and also in terms of the way people communicate these days it's just a different situation. and to compare it to picking up on a land line in the 1970s, it's just not similar. >> so what are you saying that is different from what previous courts have ruled. what is different about this data collection? >> well, he says the scope of it is one thing, to collect information on every american's telephone calls and all the calls he makes is different than going after one or two suspected criminals on a specific phone line. we're talking here about the fact that 99.99% of the information the government collects in this program is not connected to any crime. they're just ode phone calls. the above the says they need all this information so if they determine later there might be a tie to terrorism they can go back and look at
it. >> and he also is saying that there's no-- that the government hasn't provided any proof that this collection has stopped any terrorist attacks. >> right. he does say that it appears to him that it's ineffective. that maybe in some instances it does get the government information sooner on perhaps some types of terrorist investigations. but they've never shown to him anyway a case where this was the decisive factor that lead them to wrap up a terrorist plot. they wouldn't have found out about anyway. and frankly, that's also something the government's had trouble articulating up on top of capitol hill, just how many times has this program been critical. >> this is not the supreme court. it's not an appellate court t is a federal district judge, what is the significance. what will this mean? >> well, in terms of legal significance and immediate significance, i don't think it's very important from a legal perspective because as you say, the appeals courts will eventually weigh in and there's three or four other lawsuits, there are also criminal cases where this is coming up.
so one or more of those will eventually work their way to the supreme court and the supreme court will have to deal with this issue. but right now we have decisions being made at the white house and on capitol hill about what kinds of reforms should be implemented on this program. and i do think that the judge coming out and saying that he thinks it's unconstitutional and perhaps more problematic saying that it's ineffective, will influence that debate and might push forward some reforms that might not have made it across the finish line otherwise. >> what is-- you talked to a lot of people around this. what is the administration saying. i saw the nsa put out a statement saying we continue to believe what we're doing is constitutional. >> yeah, look, they believe it's legal. and they point to the fact that the foreign intelligence surveillance court which is made up of judges of the same rank as judge leon, 15 of those judges have authorized or reauthorized this program and found it to be constitutional. what the critics will say is look, that was not an open court proceeding as we saw in the statement from mr. snowden via glenn
greenwald, those were secret proceedings where nobody was arguing against the legality of the program. and now we're really having the first debate or battle where it's really joined between two sides arguing the legal merits. >> woodruff: so continue to watch. >> definitely. >> woodruff: josh gerstein, thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> ifill: federal reserve officials are facing a delicate dilemma once again this week: when is the right time to take a smaller role in an economic recovery that's clearly underway, but one that still has left many americans behind? "newshour" economics correspondent paul solman has the story. it's part of his ongoing coverage making sense of financial news. >> a candle also known as a taper, a candle shrinking, also known as tapering. and thus we introduce the decision once again facing the federal reserve and its
much anticipated open market committee meeting this week. to taper or not to taper. that is the burning question. for bond investors, for stock investors, for the economy as a whole. since the crash of '08 the fed has created several trillion dollars of new money to buy treasury and mortgage-backed bonds. will that buying finally taper off? we spoke with former fed economist katherine mann. >> paper means reduce the amount. so going from $45 billion to say 35 billion a month. >> billions of dollars that ever since the crash the fed's trading desk in new york has periodically injected into the economy by a process known as quantitative easing. creating great quantities of money to buy bonds, thus easing interest rates to boost the economy. so what does professor mann think the fed will do this week? >> i don't think the fed's
going to do anything. this is christmas season. this is not where you want coal in the stockings, so they are just going to not do anything. in fact, i don't think they're really going to do anything until later in the second quarter of 2014. >> and what are they going to do then. >> i think there's this nuance in the paper discussion that i think is important. tapering u.s. treasury purchases, but perhaps not tapering or delaying the paper of mortgage-backed securities. >> in fact, the fed has been buying these two very different kinds of bonds for two very different reasons. the treasury bond purchases were mainly meant to keep overall interest rates low. so people in businesses would borrow to spend, and thus grow the economy. the mortgage bond buying, however, was to revive the housing market. so how has it been going. >> the banks have not done
much in the way of lending. >> because the economy hasn't really recovered yet, says mann. >> so if you are a bank and you make a loan today, at a lower interest rate to a borrower, you know that that loan is not going to be worth it in a couple of years when the interest rates in general are higher. even if you give that business a floating rate loan. >> like a variable rate loan. >> right. >> so as interest rates go up, kind of generally, they will go up to that borrower's too, well, that borrower is now in a riskier situation then they were when you lent them at very low-interest rates. >> they might not be able to pay you back. >> might not be able to pay you back. >> the treasury purchases have, however, fueled a more controversial sort of growth. in the value of assets like stocks, says economist robert shiller who just won a nobel prize for his work
on markets. >> that's because investors don't see the alternatives in the dead market as attractive. so they pile into the stock market and did it up. >> stock equity markets, commodity prices and trading on foreign exchange, for example. those are collateral consequences of very cheap money that are starting to become more of a concern. so there's been this question about whether or not the qant tative easing strategy has disproportionately benefitted the upper-end of the distribution, wealth distribution who own stocks. >> so with a possible bubble in markets like stocks, and no real speedup in business investment or consumer spending, the fed may soon decide the treasury bond purchases are doing more harm than good. continuing to buy mortgage-backed securities, however, might still make sense. >> for the middle class, the bulk of the their wealth is in their health.
those purchases aid the housing market. that really helps the middle class. >> and that's because if the fed is buying mortgage-backed securities, it's keeping housing interest rates low, makes it easier to buy a house, easier to build a house, more work for the construction industry. >> and the third element, of course, is it supports the housing market overall which means everybody who currently has a house and has a mortgage, their house price goes up. and so they have wealth in their house, home equity. >> and then they might spend some of that wealth. >> they might spend some of that wealth. >> and so you mean that the fed will be tapering off its buying of treasury securities but maybe not tapering off its buying of mortgage-backed securities because it wants to continue to prop up the housing market. >> i think that's a definite possibility. >> and what would robert
shiller do were he to have been named the new fed chair instead of janet yellin, married to one of his closest friends and collaborators, fellow nobel laureate. >> i would have to think of some economic indicator that suggests that, that the economy is repairing itself. and the fed has given a suggestion that they will keep interest rates near zero until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%. and see that sounds like-- sound plausible. >> but with unemployment still at 7% and holiday spending yet to seriously heat up, few expect the fed to taper or put out it's not so brief candle as it struts and frets its hours upon the stage this week. >> ifill: the fed's decision will be announced wednesday.
that's also when outgoing chairman ben bernanke will hold what could be his last news conference on the matter. >> woodruff: as the cold and flu season approaches, one of the more common pieces of advice you hear is about the importance of washing your hands. increasingly, consumers have bought antibacterial soaps to help boost their protection. but today, the u.s. food and drug administration warned that those soaps may not be any more effective and they may pose some health risks of their own over the long haul. elizabeth weise covered this for "usa today." elizabeth, thank you for joining us. people have been using these soaps for years, what is it now that the fda is worried about? >> well, the fda has two concerns. the first is do these actually work, do they actually help people get fewer illnesses. and secondly, are they safe for long teferm, frequent use.
and although you might imagine that fda knows the answer to both those questions, it turns out they actually don't. and now they decided they want to know that answer. >> woodruff: and so now, and so they're saying they are going to do more testing. and what is it about its substances, the chemicals in this soap that has them concerned? >> well, the fda is not going to do the testing, they told the industry to do the testing. they basically said to the manufacturers of these hand soaps and body washes, you need to prove to us that these are safe and effective. and the concern is there's a chemical called triclo fha ne, it used as a surgical scrub in the '70s. and began to put it in pretty of all the soaps that you can find when you go to the grocery store. and fda is concerned because there have been studies, an they've all been in animals but there have been studies that have shown that this specific chemical could cause endocrine disruptions, most of these studies are in
rats and frogs where they see that the female animals have early puberty and the male animals have lower sperm count and also some concern that they might affect thyroid function. and the other concern fda has is this broad use of an anti-bacterial that the public is using, is that making, giving us a higher percentage of anti-buy-- nt biotic resistant in its world as a whole. >> woodruff: why weren't these tests requested before? >> well, these are over-the-counter preparations, so the fda-- the fda calls these generally considered safe, generally recognized as safe. and they've been considere considered-- for as longs they are around and the fda is coming back saying we are starting to see studies that are concerning us. we don't know. and we want you, the manufacturers it to do the studies now and tell us, prove to us that these are safe and effective and if they are, great. and if they're not, fda is
saying we need to you take them off the market or change your packaging and stop saying that they are protective against illness. >> woodruff: so in the mine time what should consumer does. should they continue to buy these soaps, these products? >> well, you know, the thing is when you talk to people at the centre for disease control, there's ample evidence that plain soap and water is pretty of the best thing you can use to protect yourself. and one of the things that the fda said on the press call today that was interesting, a lot of advertising you see around this is all about people with colds and blowing their nose and their eyes are running. well, those are colds, those are viruses, anti-bacterials do absolutely nothing for viruses. and that's the most common illness in the united states so even if you are using anti-bacterials it is not going to protect you against a cold so you might as well just use soap and water and safe some money. >> woodruff: common sense, good advice, elizabeth weise, "u.s.a. today", thank you. >> thanks so much.
>> ifill: now, to a debate that never seems to end. every time a shooter goes on the rampage in a public place, the discussion turns to guns, mental health and even to violent video games. the f.b.i. today said it helped disrupt or prevent nearly 150 shootings and other violent attacks in the past year, in part by directing potential attackers to mental health services. so there has been some progress, but there always seem to be new headlines. friday's shooting at a suburban denver high school was the latest violent jolt. well-wishers left flowers today at a growing tribute to student claire davis. she was shot at point blank range by a fellow student, 18-year-old karl pierson. davis remains in a coma in critical but stable condition in a local hospital. the latest shooting came as the nation was marking the first anniversary of the shocking
attack in newtown, connecticut that killed 20 schoolchildren and six educators. that massacre at sandyhook elementary school revived the long-running debate over the causes and solutions for a mass shooting like it. it also prompted president obama to say he would push for gun control legislation that was not a top priority during his first term. >> we can't put this off any longer. >> ifill: that appeal for congressional action came just after the new year. the plan called for overhauling the nation's gun laws while providing more treatment for the mentally ill. >> in the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at sandy hook elementary, more than 900 of our fellow americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun. so i'm putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the work of joe's task force. and in the days ahead i intend to use whatever weight this
office holds to make them a reality. >> ifill: among other things, the president pushed congress to bar the sale of ammunition magazines with more than ten rounds; mandate background checks for all gun purchases, including online and gun show sales; and provide new funding for mental health counselors at schools and in communities. but most of that went nowhere. the gun control legislation in particular met stiff resistance in congress. the national rifle association said the measures would do little to stem gun violence. the n.r.a.'s executive vice president, wayne lapierre: >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation, and to do it now to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school
in january. >> ifill: just four months after the shooting, any political support once again collapsed. president obama expressed his frustration in a rose garden appearance. >> as i said from the start, no single piece of legislation can stop every act of violence and evil. if action by congress could have saved one person, one child, a few hundred, a few thousand, if it could have prevented those people from losing their lives to gun violence in the future while preserving our second amendment rights, we had an obligation to try. >> ifill: gun control activists shifted their effort to the state level, winning a high profile fight in colorado where voters agreed to require background check for private gun transfers and to ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. but they lost battles too. according to "the new york times," more than 1,500 gun bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the
country since the newtown shooting. only 109 became law. of those, 39 tightened gun restrictions. of those, 15 focused on helping the mentally ill. the other 70 laws actually loosened restrictions on firearms. last week, the white house marked the newtown anniversary by pledging $100 million for improved mental health services and facilities. are we making any progress? for that, we turn to dr. jeffrey lieberman, president of the american psychiatric association and chair of columbia university's department of psychiatry. and paul barrett the author of "glock: the rise of america's gun" and a writer for "bloomberg businessweek." welcome to you both. dr. lieberman, since newtown, since aurora, virginia tech, since the navy yard shooting n each of those cases mental illness was traced on behalf of the part of the shooter
is there anything that's changed in that time? >> well, you're right, gwen, it has been like a tragic deja vu all over again with the serial mass violence incidents occurring. and unfortunately involving disproportionately people with mental illness. but i do think there's reason to think this time maybe different. because in the wake of these series of mass swri lent-- violent episodes there has been a greatary tension, a greater debate and more legislative action to try and address the root cause of the problem, which is the inadequacy and lack of quality comprehensive mental health-care services. this is really the best way to stem many of the problem os associated with the historic health care disparity in not providing good care to people with mental illness. >> paul barrett, is that the root cause? >> well, there are multi mel causes to these issues. and we're really talking about multiple issues.
the random mass shooter, the suicidal young man who wants to take out a lot of people as he goes down, is one issue. violent crime on the streets is another issue. but i certainly would agree wholeheartedly with what the doctor just said, that we should certainly hope that the newtown massacre causes people to realize that for years we've actually been going in the wrong direction on mental health. the states have been cutting billions of dollars out of mental health budgets and so the relatively modest increases we've seen in the last year are only beginning to make up for that fact. we have 90% fewer in patient psychiatric beds today than we had in the 1950s. so there is along distance to go even to get back to even. >> so let me ask you about-- go ahead, dr. lieberman. >> this is absolutely true. what we've taken are only baby steps in terms of
trying to remedy this problem. if you look at all violence in the united states, the mentally ill contribute a very small proportion, that if you look at these civilian massacres, these mass violent incidents which seemingly have no rhyme or reason, mentally ill persons are disproportionately affected. and if you look at all of these individuals, virtually all of them have been individuals who have not received treatment or who have dropped out of treatment. and that's because we have a fragmented and an inadequate mental health-care system and policy in this country. >> so paul barrett has time been wasted on gun control, something which seems to freeze up in washington or, and have people been focused on the wrong solution? >> well, i don't know about whether time has been wasted. but i certainly think that gun control proponents have tended to go back to the same solutions, perhaps not terribly productively. for example, the relentless
focus on particular weapons, you know, often we've been focusing on so-called assault weapons, i think has proved to be very unfruitful over time. and focusing on things like access to weapons, narrowly focusing on that issue, whether it's true improving the background check system or improving the identification of potentially violent mentally ill people and making sure they get into treatment, those are access issues. and i think if we focus more on the access to guns, you might be able to diffuse the second amendment complaint that someone in washington wants to come around and collect everyone's guns. >> dr. lieberman, does this raise, i don't know, is there a stigma attached to the mentally ill that they are more likely to be violent than someone else. >> there definitely is a stigma. because violence committed by people with mental illness frequently doesn't conform to our understanding of passion crimes or robbing for money or even
disgruntled employee who comes back to shoot up his supervisor in the office. mental illness is totally irrational, unpredictable. how do you explain a young man like adam lanza walk nothing an elementary school and killing little children who he had no relationship with. it makes no sense. this is what scares the public. but this problem has been a long time in cominging. it really stems back to present john f ken doe's community mental health act which attempted to provide a more civilized and humane level of care to people in the community as opposed to keeping them in the silence, that vision was never realized because our policies and commitments to making it real was never fulfilled. and what we see in these violent crimes is the tip of the iceberg of that. but the other elements of the iceberg are the 40% of the homeless who are mentally il, the 30% of prisoner inmates who have
mental illness and laundered into the criminal justice system. and the violent crime is simply the extreme consequence of this failed policy. >> ifill: paul barrett, where should this be addressed. if he state level, the local level, prevention that needs to be addressed first. >> i think it's all of the above. i think prevention is certainly a big part of this issue. i think trying to separate out the radioactive second amendment related debate from the potentially more specific and not necessarily specificly gun related issues of mental health that we're talking about here this evening, would be a huge step forward. i think that's an area where a lot of consensus could be found. and i think it has to be addressed at all levels. it has to be addressed at federal level with funding, state and local agencies will ultimately be the ones that have to carry it out and even nonprofit and private organizations that are part of the picture-- picture as well.
>> dr. lieberman, help me with something today, i read that the rate of mass shootings has increased but the rate of gun homicides is actually down. how do those two things coexist. how can that be? >> well, i think law and order has been a great success in many of our cities, crime in new york where i live is historic lows. and this has been a great success of our police force and our system of law enforcement. on the other hand, though, our treatment of mental illness has not gotten any better. an over half of the mass killings that have occurred in the last five years have been from untreated people with mental illness. but i think there has been some forward movement, the president and the administration are to be applaud for their focus on mental health care. vice president biden has become very much engaged. congressman tim murphy of pennsylvania introduced historic legislation in week on the anniversary of the newton tragedy to try and reform how mental health-care services are dliferbed. we need to have
controversyive-- comprehensive an proactive mental health-care services. and with a particular focus on youth. because youth is really the breeding ground for mental illness. >> ifill: paul barrett what do you see about the distinction between gun homicides and mass shootings? >> well, i think this is a crucial point. i think a lot of people who -- people who were mystified by why gun control proposals at the national level have not fared well over the last dozen to 15 years, ought to look at our overall crime rates. let's step to one side the aberrational school shootings just for a moment. that horrific phenomenon set to one side, this is a much safer country today than it was 20 years ago. violent crime rates are down by 50% since 1993. that is very, very significant. and that has destabilized the traditional liberal argument that more guns just equals mover crime in a very simplistic relationship. it's more difficult to say
that today because compared to the early 90s, for example, we have more guns but overall less crime. so we need to think about this in new ways. we need to look at places like new york city where crime rates are down drastically. ask what has happened in those communities, and how can we replicate those anti-crime programs while simultaneously going after the mental health issues we've been talking about this evening. >> as i said at the beginning this is a conversation that is never going to end. paul barrett, the author of glorx and jeffreylyermen of the american psychiatric program, thank you both some of. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: driven from their homes by civil war, syrian refugees are flooding across borders in numbers that have received a considerable amount of international attention. many of them-- thousands-- have fled to europe's poorest country-- bulgaria-- only to find that it is ill-equipped to handle the influx and sometimes hostile to their very presence.
jonathan rugman of independent television news traveled there recently and filed this report. >> in a small town in bulgaria, a refugee camp like no other in europe. over eye thousand syrians are crammed into housing meant for just 400. many of them have been live woing electricity or hot water for weeks. and because there aren't enough prefab huts some are facing went never bulgarian army tents. >> whatever the horrors of war they left behind, nothing prepared these syrians for european welcome as warm as this. this person was a teacher, now finding herself sharing a tent with three syrian families, many miles from home. >> i have family, so i'm-- all the time. it's not easy. i didn't say good-bye to my
family. and they came here. i said it would be much better. but i was wrong. >> would you want to go back. >> yes, i would go back today, before tomorrow. >> but there is no turning back. these families mostly kurds from northern syria have already paid smugglers 300 euros each to cross into europe from turkey. they can take up to a month to be registered as a refugee here. and then the bulgarians give them just one euro a day each with which to feed themselves. she told me she and her children had fled from jihadist groups, that their home was bombed. rashid was once a tour guide in damascus. his own tour of europe has not started well. >> we came here, it's different. not what we think or-- not what you can do here now.
>> you're trapped. >> yeah. >> rashid walked for ten hours to reach bulgaria. one of a steady stream of syrians caught here on heat sensitive cameras by gull barrian-- bulgarian police. here the border guards are waiting to ambush new arrivals. when they do the refugees can be seen cowhering as they are rounded up in the early hours of the morning. we joined a bulgarian border patrol. the guards say this route into europe has become popular since the greeks built a fence last year. now the bulgarians have begun building a fence of their own. they are catching ten times the numbers they did a year ago. rounding them up in this processing center which is full to overflowing. the u.n. has repeatedly described conditions for refugees here as unsafe and dire. but we weren't allowed to meet these brand-new arrivals.
the camps in turkey are already overloaded and the bulgarians say they too are in danger of being overwhelmed. turkey which is just on my right here, has taken in about half a million syrian refugees. bulgaria by comparison, about 5,000, but this-- at a time of austerity and the presence of some 5,000 syrian refugees has become one of the biggest political issues of the day here. in the capitol sofia, crowds have been protesting that the poorest country in europe can't take any more foreigners and that the border should be sealed shut. we have warned that the increase in legal immigrants would increase -- >> we'll start clashes and increase tensions. the social, religious and social unrest in bulgaria.
syrians now live with the constant threat of racial violence. in a hospital we found the brothers and sisters of 17-year-old all frei aleppo comforting him after he was punched and stabbed. his mother showed me the wound inflicted on the outskirts of the refugee camp in the capitol. when i started screaming he escaped. >> and then i went to the police at the check point. i told them that i had been stabbed so they called the ambulance and took me to the hospital. ali was attacked outside this derelict school which is home to some 800 syrian refugees. 15 members of his extended family now live and sleep in this one room. they say their home was hit by syrian jets.
so they crossed into turkey, and carried this old woman for much of their six hour trek to europe. >> we had four rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs. our home was a two storey building. at least the children can sleep here because they cannot hear the sound of bombing and warplanes. >> her children are two frightened to play with those outside. even though the camp is guarded by bulgarian police. so they play in the schools corridors which double up as dormitories. this used to be a classroom. now ten syrian families live in each one. there is no laundry, and no kitchen either. not even a sink to wash the dishes. bulgarians are poor, this woman said. they can't be expected to help us. other nations should. an avenue of homes screened off with the help of tree
branches, even though eu law demands a dignified standard of living for refugees. there is a barber though who says he has no regrets coming here, escaping the shadow of syria's civil war. but the camp's bulgarian commandant complains that there are no doctors, with ambulances several times a day ferrying off the sick. >> the capacity of the camp is full. but when a family with five to ten children arrive at midnight -- >> they don't have anywhere to sleep, i force myself to do the impossible, and accommodate them. >> yet none of this reflects well on bulgaria, accused of keeping conditions deliberately awful to deter more syrians from coming. >> we've got a situation leer where you have syrian ref go was are living with no heating, no electricity, no running water. no doctors in the camp. isn't that a disgrace for a european country?
>> at the moment we are work on the water and the electricity. but actually, we rely on solidarity of the your mean union. and in the possible relocation of some of these refugees. you should know that bulgaria is one of the countries with the lowest gross domestic product per capita. >> for me as a bulgarian i'm really a shake-- ashamed of the conditions we put these people. these are people that came from war. >> this is a poor country that is what the bulgarians would say. >> come on t is a poor country, that's right. but i pen we should be able to provide at least basic standards to these people, at least some hospitality and some basic things like, you know, feeding them, keeping them warm and giving them the medical, you know, attention they need. >> europe was a dream for these refugees, now seeking sanctuary here seems like a desperate gamble. and faced with conditions
like these, their journey west in search of a brighter future will surely begin again. >> ifill: finally tonight, the man in black. it's been ten years since the legendary singer songwriter died at age 71. last week his estate announced a new album would be released in march. the never-before heard songs were recorded in 1986. the audio tapes of the original recording sessions recently were discovered in the family archives. we get a look now at johnny cash, the man. jeffrey brown has our book conversation. >> from the recording studios in memphis ♪ i saw the weeping will owe how to cry ♪ ♪. >> california follow some prison ♪
♪ i hear the train a coming ♪ ♪ it's rolling and the bend ♪ ♪ and i ain't seen the sunshine ♪ ♪ since i don't know when ♪. >> to the famous last video he recorded before he died ♪ i hurt myself today ♪ ♪ to see if i still feel ♪. >> johnny cash crossed musical boundaries and influenced and moved several generations of singers, songwriters and fans even while he struggled with his own addictions and pains. all of this can be found in johnny cash the life, a new biography by robert hillburn who serveds achieve music critic for the los angeles times it for more than 30 year, welcome to you. >> thank you, jeff, nice to be here. >> brown: the man himself wrote memoirs, there is the famous hit movie, right, walked line. there's been other biographies, why did you feel it was necessary, what has been missed that you wanted to kaptur. >> well, i had known cash from the follow some prison days through the week before he did the hurt video, and i didn't think about writing a
biography until after his death. i thought he was an amazingly important artist, somebody who would be remembered 50 years ago but i wasn't going to write a biography. then i saw the movie, read the books about him, i didn't think they told his story. i didn't think they explained the artist ree of him and the struggle of his private life. i thought he deserved to have his story told. >> did he have an early sense of mission or struggle, was that apparent from the very beginning? >> yes, yes, absolutely. he came from-- one of the things is with fascinated by, all the people i interviewed, dylan, springstein, everything i can imagine important, he was the most mysterious to me. wheres did his artist ree come from, it comes from a cotton patch in arkansas. he centres a field of country music in the 50s that had no more ambition no one else had more ambition than a hit on the jukebox. but he had a mission. he wanted to lift people's spirits. almost like a minister in a way. he-- no matter how much problems you have, no matter how much suffering you have gone through, no matter how much you sinned, don't lose
faith there are better times ahead. >> brown: that you is part reflecting his own life, right. because the running theme here, the addicted personality, hurting himself, hurting other people, his career, an even his life in danger, several times along the way. >> well, that's the kind of bonus. i mean i didn't realize, i thought i knew johnny cash before i started the book. i was a hundred miles knowing johnny cash. the first thing you find out he gets the sense of artistry on the cotton patch, he an his family in the hot sun would sing gospel music and that would comfort him. he without go to church, all these destitute farmers in this tiny town would sing gospel music, they would lift his spirits. so his mission was to lift people's spirits the way his spirits had been lifted as a child. >> brown: you write a lot about the myth making aspect to if, right. the stories that he told about himself. and yet there's also this incredibly authentic johnny cash. >> the reason i think people connect with him. how do you put these two together? myth making and the authenticity? >> the best thing ever,
countries christopherson wrote a great song about cash. he is a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. that's exactly true, i took 700 pages to write what kris wrote in those four lines. and part of it was he's an thist. es a a story teller. rather than tell you i went to the market yesterday, will make a more dramatic way of saying it. that is part of storytelling. never let the facts interfere with a good story. now on the other hand, he was this idealistic person who was constantly battling these demons, so he felt the guilt of leaving if above his family, hi father never game hiv the love, his brother dies young, all these things are troubling and he starts taking pills to try to ease that pain and unfortunately he's an addict. other people in country muss eck used to take two or three pills a day to give him energy. we take ten and 20 and 30 pills a day, he was spiraling out of control. >> you talk about that famous moment in 1968 at
folsom prison, you wered only rock journalist there covering it, that was a moment he took many pills. >> to describe that why was that moment so important for him? >> well, he had-- the great thing even maybe he was a very smart man. he had an empathy for the underdog. he was always trying to lift people's spirits. he had played prisons before and saw the reaction of these prisoners because the prisoner knew they had had been in jail he had been in handcuffs, had never seen that, he wanted to do that con stert because he wanted to have the best possible audience, reaction on radio, the record company didn't want him to do that. in fact, they didn't-- the only reason i was there, jeff, was they didn't want to invite anybody because they were afraid he was going to be stoned and had to can sen-- cancel the concert. >> they didn't want to publicize it. >> and it turned out to be
legendary. >> fantastic. >> his record ca roar was kind of stuttering, he knew if i could only show, only capture on record the report, the feeling i have in that concert, and that did make him a superstar. that and the san quentin album and abc television show. >> in talking about his artist ree, you really focus ca lot on his works. he wrote these songs. >> yeah. >> and he had somehow words were important to him. >> yeah, he was always a good writer, in school he used to do other people's assignments. and may 50 centsment but he had this sense of poetry and songwriter and he was always best if he was writing about his own life, five feet high and rising, hey porter, sunday morning coming down, kristofferson wrote it but coempathize with that song, the man in black. when he tried to write a hit for the jukebox he wasn't nearly as good at it. he was much better when he was authentic writing about himself and that is what he always prized. authenticity. >> have you figured out, my last question here for now,
before we do the rest on-line, you covered a lot. he talked a lot of famous musicians, have you figured out why a johnny cash is who he is, and so many others aren't. what is it that separates the special life. >> he had-- he had a mission and he had a charisma, and the subject matter he chose to write about values an american life, the underdog, we're all underdogs in some way. we all respond to that we all felt that he was talking to us. a prison that needed american reservation, everyone felt he was one of them. so he was speaking to the heart of america, somehow, and it came through. >> all right, we will continue on-line. i want to ask you especially about june carter and their relationship. but for now, johnny cash, the life, robert hilburn, thanks some of. >> thanks, jeff, thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: a federal judge ruled the
national security agency's bulk collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional. the u.n. made a record $6.5 billion appeal for aid to tackle syria's refugee crisis. and suicide attacks and bombings and country singer ray price has died at the age of 87, according to a family spokesman. price had pancreatic cancer. >> ifill: on the "newshour" online right now-- how well do you know your political stuff? take our quiz to see if you can identify some of 2013's most memorable political tweets. then share your score with us on --rehe else-- twitter. find a link to the test on our homepage. and a new study shows that heavy marijuana use leads to abnormal brain structure, especially in younger individuals. find details of that report on our health page. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight.
>> nsa surveillance with president obama. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the "pbs newshour," thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful
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>> and now, "bbc world news america." >> this is "bbc world news america" reporting from washington. the u.n. launches its biggest humanitarian appeal ever to help those affected by the fighting in syria. we're on the ground in damascus. >> to end the humanitarian crisis, the gross abuses of humanitarian law, it will take a political solution. and a pleak through of that kind is nowhere -- and a breakthrough of that kind is nowhere in sight. >> a u.s. judge says the n.s.a.'s mass collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional, adding to an already heated debate. nd tonight we look back on the oscar-winning work and fierce rivalry with her sister.