tv PBS News Hour PBS November 14, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> sreenivasan: the republican controlled house of representatives approve a bill to greenlight the controversial keystone x-l pipeline. good evening. i'm hari sreenivasan. judy woodruff is on assignment. also ahead, defense secretary chuck hagel calls for an overhaul of america's flawed nuclear weapons program. as atlantic city's boardwalk empire shows signs of collapse, the city doubles down on hopes for survival. >> ten years ago the people in atlantic city, the casino folks, were considering themselves geniuses because the city was making $5.2 billion a year. it's-- it's sort of like you know the rooster thinking that he makes the sun come up in the morning. >> sreenivasan: plus, comedian
jon stewart on his directorial debut of the serious film, "rosewater." >> there's sometimes a misperception, i think, of satire, that it is clownish in the sense-- no disrespect to clowns-- but that it's "baggy pants." it's not. it's a way of expressing ideas and synthesize information that you truly believe in, just using the tools of satire. mark she'ds and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> sreenivasan: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years.
bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: the long- delayed-- and much fought over-- keystone x-l pipeline is back on congress' to-do list. it won a new vote of support today in the u.s. house, and headed for the senate, propelled by the mid-term elections.
parts of the massive pipeline already exist and new parts are being built every day, including this pumping station in hartford, missouri. now, the republican-controlled house has approved the final phase of keystone for the ninth time. it's never gotten through the democratic-controlled senate, but that may be changing. keystone is a key issue in next month's runoff between democratic senator mary landrieu of louisiana and republican challenger, congressman bill cassidy. it's their bills that are being voted on. the pipeline, owned by canadian energy company transcanada, would carry oil from canada all the way to the texas gulf coast, where refineries can turn it into gasoline, diesel and chemicals. in house debate, texas republican ted poe and others argued it's a vital alternative to importing oil. >> the keystone pipeline from canada to texas will bring as much crude oil as we get from saudi arabia. it will bring energy security and national security. it will bring jobs. the pipeline will make middle
eastern politics and energy irrelevant. >> sreenivasan: environmentalists warn that extracting oil from canada's vast tar sands is too expensive and toxic. the pipeline has also drawn protests from some landowners in montana, south dakota and nebraska who fear the 875 miles of pipeline will pollute land and water. a 2010 pipeline break in michigan's kalamazoo river was the largest inland spill in u.s. history. it took two years to clean up, with money from an oil liability fund that oil companies pay into. but house minority leader nancy pelosi says the house bill gives transcanada a pass on contributing. >> transcanada will be exempted from paying into the oil spill liability trust fund even though the tar sands component of what they're transmitting is highly corrosive. god willing there would never be a leak but if there is they are totally off the hook.
>> sreenivasan: that debate will carry over to next week, when the senate takes up keystone. north dakota republican john hoeven says supporters hope to muster the 60 votes needed now, or next year, when republicans take control. >> if we don't get 60 votes on tuesday, in the new congress we will have 60 votes. and if you just go through the election results, not only did the american people speak, but when you look at the candidates, we have 60 votes for the bill. then, it's up to the president. >> sreenivasan: president obama has repeatedly delayed action on keystone, and today in myanmar, he again voiced serious misgivings. >> i have to constantly push back against this idea that somehow the keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill or is somehow lowering gas prices. understand what this project is, it is providing the ability of canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the
gulf where it will be sold everywhere else. >> sreenivasan: the president stopped short of saying he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. >> sreenivasan: the president also challenged republicans on another issue today: immigration reform. it's been widely reported that he may announce plans to shield five million people from deportation as early as next week. house speaker john boehner warned yesterday that republicans will fight the move "tooth and nail", but the president was undeterred. >> i indicated to speaker boehner several months ago that if, in fact, congress failed to act, i would use all the lawful authority that i possess to try to make the system work better. so, they have the ability to fix the system. what they don't have the ability to do is to expect me to stand by with a broken system, in perpetuity. >> sreenivasan: the president made his remarks after meeting privately with myanmar's opposition leader, aung san suu kyi.
he praised her efforts for democratic reforms, and said a law barring her from running for president "doesn't make much sense". suu kyi was a political prisoner for two decades before her release four years ago. from myanmar, the president traveled to brisbane, australia, for a summit of the world's leading economies. but tensions are brewing there between the host country and russia. president vladimir putin touched down in brisbane today following news that four russian warships have taken up stations off australia's northeastern coast. australian prime minister tony abbott accused putin of trying to reclaim the "lost glories" of the soviet union. in iraq, government officials claimed new success against "islamic state" fighters. state television reported iraqi troops-- backed by allied sunni fighters-- drove the militants out of beiji and away from a strategic oil refinery. the "islamic state" group seized the town during a summer offensive. in economic news, europe showed modest improvement in the third quarter and narrowly avoided falling back into recession. that's due in part to greece, where a grinding, six-year
recession has officially ended. prime minister antonis samaras hailed the news. >> ( translated ): i promise you today that growth will continue at an even faster pace. no greek will miss out on this growth. in spite of the misery in which many speculated, hope is back. greece is back. >> sreenivasan: the greek economy is now 25% smaller than it was in 2008. wall street had a lackluster ending to its week. the dow jones industrial average lost 18 points to close at 17,634. the nasdaq rose eight points to close at 4,688. and the s&p 500 moved a fraction higher to 2,039. for the week, the dow and the s&p gained about half a percent. the nasdaq rose one percent. a justice department official is defending federal marshals for collecting cell phone meta-data to track fugitives. "the wall street journal" reported the program uses devices on small planes to mimic cell phone towers, gather data and locate the user. a justice official insisted today the marshals are not
interested in tracking the cell phones of ordinary americans. and european scientists watched and waited today, hoping the spacecraft that landed on a comet can keep working. it's apparently sitting in the shadow of a cliff that's blocking sunlight needed for its solar panels. the lander did manage to drill ten inches into the comet's surface, but it may not have enough power to transmit the data to earth. still to come on the newshour: overhauling america's nuclear arms program, c.d.c director tom frieden on a new wave of ebola cases in west africa, the decline of the casino business in atlantic city, mark shields and david brook on the week's news, and, satirist jon stewart directs a serious film. >> sreenivasan: earlier today, the nation's top defense official said there are "systematic problems" in the management of america's nuclear weapons stockpile, adding that without billions of dollars for improvements, the safety and
security of the force could be undermined. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner reports. >> our nuclear enterprise is foundational to america's national security and the resources and attention we commit to the nuclear force must reflect that. >> warner: defense secretary chuck hagel announced the shake- up after two reviews that began in february. they found the country's aging nuclear infrastructure, including facilities, silos and its nuclear submarine fleet, has decayed markedly and will cost billions of dollars to fix. >> the internal and external reviews i ordered show that a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces over far too many years has left us with too little margin to cope with mounting stresses. shared a single specialized
wrench that's been shipped from base to base. and blast doors atop 60-year-old silos that no longer seal. these lapses were atrinitied to a culture of micromanagement sp bureaucracy that left top-level officials unaware of problems and personnel shortages and poor career advancement opportunities in the infrastructure force. a series of embarrassing incidents led to the reviews. a series of embarrassing incidents led to the reviews: in 2007, six nuclear warheads, still attached to missiles, were flown across the country in a violation of safety rules. in 2013, the air force decertified 17 launch officers in north dakota for poor performance. and this year, a cheating scandal involving nuclear launch officers erupted at malmstrom air force base in montana. the head of the nuclear wing there resigned last march, and nine other officers were removed. in the meantime, the navy had its own exam cheating scandal, involving reactor training instructors.
today, hagel said the pentagon took its eye off the ball in recent years, and has to act quickly. >> but if we don't pay attention to this and if we don't fix this, eventually it will get ot a point where there will be some questions about our security. >> warner: estimates are the "fixes" would cost nearly $10 billion over the next five years. to give the air force nuclear ranks more clout, hagel authorized putting a four-star general in charge, instead of a three-star. the secretary later flew to minot air force base in north dakota to meet with nuclear personnel manning a minuteman 3 missile unit. >> sreenivasan: we take up the proposed overhaul now with bruce blair is a research scholar at princeton university. he was once an intercontinental ballistic missile officer in the air force. he's also co-founder of global zero, the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons. and david trachtenberg, he focused on nuclear weapons at the pentagon during the george w. bush administration and served on the house armed services committee's staff.
he now has is own consulting company. >> bruce, do you agree that there are systemic problems with what we consider a nuclear force? >> oh, absolutely. we've had systemic problems for decades, going all the way back to my service. and i think the report did a fine job of identifying the short-term problems in aging hardware and personnel and offering fixes to those problems at a reasonable cost, which i think was projected to run around $8 billion over the next five years. we, obviously, have to maintain properly and man properly our existing nuclear arsenal, or else risk catastrophic failure in security or safety. >> sreenivasan: david, do you agree there are systemic problems? >> i think the report was a good
step in identifying problems that need to be addressed and i welcome the administration's addressing them. the difficulty i have with the particular findings of the report is that they suggest kind of a culture and an attitude of neglect that has been apparent, not just within this administration. within previous mrpgzs as well. however, i think it's been much more pronounced during this administration for a variety of reasons. and i think the difficulty that the obama administration has is basically trying to square the circle between arguing the need to maintain the robustness and efficacy of our nuclear deterrent while at the same time advocating for the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. >> sreenivasan: bruce, that seems to be kind of a big philosophical difference here. >> well, these problems have been long standing. i stay in touch with many former missileers, going back to the 80s and 90s and 2000s, through all the administrations, and the problems have really
been pretty much the same throughout this entire period. my basic problem with the report is its attempt to link moral and leadership of our nuclear arsenal to the need for long-term, massive modernization of our nuclear arsenal, which i think is a-- is wrong, wrong headed and misguided for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that massive nuclear arsenals don't deal with the real threats that keep presidents up at night worrying, like nuclear terrorism and cyber attack on our financial institutions, et cetera. this modernization is simply unaffordable. i mean, we're really talking about a lot of dough here, on the other of $1 trillion over the next 30 years. and i don't think that when the budget battles really get under way that the land-based rocket force will survive the process. i think that they will probably be jettisoned and they should
be. >> sreenivasan: david, will the recommendations in this report about increasing funding, about changing certain things around, and really spending that money over the next 30 years, that will make the cirches? >> well, i hope it will make part of the difference and will address at least some of the problems. where i disagree with what was just said is that i believe nuclear modernization is essential, and i do believe that it has-- nuclear modernization has been deferred literally for decades to the point where we have reached the stage where things break, problems exist, and need to be remedied. unfortunately, our nuclear keternity needs to be kept resilient. it needs to be kept robust. we do live in a dangerous world. that did not change with the end of the cold war. if anything, arguably, the world today is more dangerous than it was then. our nuclear weapons provide our ultimate deterrent. they not only defend the united states and deter aggression against the united states, but they're also used to extend that
deterrent to allies as well. so they have a fundamental role to play in our national security. many administrations have sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and policy. unfortunately, again, i believe the problem this administration has had is sort of trying to square a circle, to argue that we need to maintain the efficacy of our nuclear deterrent on the one hand, while on the other hand, arguing that what we want to do is get rid of nuclear weapons. i think it's somewhat counter-productive to say the least. and i think-- >> hari-- >> i think given the state of the world today, and some of the actions that we see on the part of other actors out there, i think moving in that direction would at this particular point in time, i think that's completely ill advised. >> sreenivasan: briewrks just a few seconds. >> i was just going to say we've been pursuing these parallel tracks of reduced reliance on weapons and at the same time
modernizing them for a long, long time. i think center hagel had it right two years ago when he teamed up with the former head of the strategic forces general jim cartwright in calling for deep cuts in the nuclear arsenal over the next 10 years, including the elimination of the entire land-based rocket force, the i.c.b.m. force. that would take care of a big piece of the problem we're seeing out in the field. >> i actually think secretary hagel had it right today in expressing strong support for the maintenance and preservation of the strategic nuclear triad on which our nuclear deterrent is based, contrary to the recommendations of the global zero movement. >> sreenivasan: bruce blairk david trachtenberg, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: now, the continuing fight to combat ebola. hospital officials in omaha, nebraska are preparing for a new case this weekend. the patient is a surgeon who is
a national from sierra leone and a permanent resident of the united states. he reportedly was infected while treating patients in sierra leone. all eight americans treated in the u.s. have survived. thomas eric duncan, a liberian national, died in dallas. nearly all of the more than 5,100 killed by ebola have been in west africa. jeffrey brown has more. >> brown: the situation in sierra leone continues to be dire, with 435 new cases in just the past week and now mali is the latest country in the region to be hit with an outbreak. at the same time, infection rates in liberia, the main focus of the disease in recent months, appear to be slowing. new reports out today from the c.d.c examine all this. its director, doctor thomas frieden, joins me now. dr. frieden, welcome again. there have been these recent positive signs in liberia. is that how it looks to you? and if so what, has gone well that might have offer hope elsewhere? >> we're seeing proof of principle that the strategy of
reducing ebola by helping to ensure safe care, safe burial, community involvement, contact tracing, that works. we're seeing decreases in at least two of the counties in liberia that were hardest hit. but we have much farther to go than we've already come. we're nowhere near out of the woods. >> brown: nowhere near, and flesh that out a little bit for us. in liberia, in sierra leon it conditions. we just mentioned mali. how concerned are you about it spreading still? >> we're having real challenges in every place that has ebola in west africa. in liberia, we're seeing about one new cluster each day. and our staff and others are having to travel to rere-moat areas to prevent each of those clusters from becoming a large outbreak with dozens or hundreds of cases. for the past four decades, we've evaluated and helped stop one outbreak every year or two. now it's every day or two, just
in liberia. in sierra leon, we're still seeing widespread transmission. in guinea, we've seen now the largest increase in the whole history of the epidemic there in guinea. so big challenges in guinea. and we're deeply concerned about mali. in mali, we already have a cluster of cases with hundreds of exposed people who need to be tracked. so making sure that we do everything possible to get the situation in mali under control so it becomes the next nigeria, which stopped a cluster, rather than the next liberia, which had a countrywide epidemic is the crucial thing to be focusing on now. and that's fla whatour staff are doing. >> brown: what about here in the u.s.? what can be said at this point? is it possible to say it's under control. >> well, at this point, there's no one in the with ebola. that's the first time it's been the case since early september. we have learned a lot about how to treat ebola, how to ensure
people caring for people with ebola do so, minimizing their risk of infection, and i think people have a better sense of what's needed goinged for. at c.d.c., we're working very closely with hospitals throughout the country to have them prepared and one thing that we've done that's gone extremely well is to work with state and local health departments, which are now tracing every person returning from the affected countries in west africa, checking in with them every day, and if they develop fever, even if from flu or some other infection, getting them safely transported to a health care facility and safely evaluated. >> brown: you know there were a lot of-- there was a lot of anger. there were a lot of questions early on over u.s. authorities and questions of competency, including you, yourself. were there issues, problems of omission, of communication of competence in those early days? and do you think we're passed that? >> well, i wish we had known then what we know now.
but when the first person ever to have ebola in the u.s. arrived, we based our decisions on the best available data. when new data, new experience became available, we updated our guidance. we updated our practices, and that's one of the reasons we've had no further spread of ebola within the u.s. >> brown: and so what happens now? what lessons-- what's the key lesson that you've learned from that? >> we have to keep up our guard. we won't get the risk of ebola to zero in the the u.s. until we stop it in west africa. and ebola is hard to fight. it requires intensity. it requires speed and flexibility. and that's why we've put 170 people on the ground in west africa. it's the largest response in c.d.c. history. they're working, traveling by helicopter, by dugout conew, going to remote villages to stop ebola at the source because that's most important thing we can do to protect americans.
>> brown: dr. thomas frieden of the c.d.c., thank you once again. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: casinos in the u.s. rack up billions of dollars in profits each year. but as they pop up in more states and are expanding in places like new england, classic gambling spots suffer. case in point, atlantic city. our economics correspondent pul solman has the story, part of his ongoing reporting, "making sense" of financial news. >> i got laid off at showboat, august 31. 28 years. >> we're actually fighting for our lives out here. >> reporter: workers in atlantic city, new jersey, protesting a threatened slash in pay and benefits at the latest casino under siege here, the trump taj mahal. what will you do if the taj closes down? >> i don't know, i don't have
idea, because no job. so what do i do? >> reporter: four casinos closed already this year, thousands unemployed, and now the taj, unless its 3,000 or so workers and the city make concessions. hotel union president bob mcdevitt. >> the average wage is about 12 dollars an hour. what makes these middle class jobs is the healthcare and the, and the retirement plan. >> reporter: it was an economic strategy forged to restore the city to its heydays, says mayor don guardian. >> atlantic city's been around for 160 years, it's been a destination. >> reporter: first as a health spa, with rolling chairs to ferry the feeble. >> then we built beautiful, victorian hotels to attract the rich people from philadelphia and new york and that worked for about 40 years. >> reporter: into the 20th century, that is. >> then we decided to ignore prohibition, that was very successful. >> reporter: so successful that when the game of monopoly was popularized in the 1930s, its board was laid out, as atlantic
city. >> and this is park place and we're walking right up on our boardwalk now. >> reporter: further inland, the still upscale marven gardens, the still downscale mediterranean avenue. atlantic city was, after all, a city, with its share of poverty, crime, corruption. post-war, it suffered white flight, urban blight. in 1976, new jersey voters approved casino gambling to revive atlantic city. and for a long time it seemed to work. >> every year you either had a new casino, a casino hotel or casino garage that opened up. it gave tons of jobs to anybody that wanted them. minimum education, you work 60 hours, you make a hundred thousand dollars, you had benefits for you and, and the family. >> reporter: no surprise, says tom ballance, who runs the borgata, the fanciest casino in
town. for nearly two decades, the next closest legal gambling was in nevada. >> when people decided that they wanted to gamble, if they were east of the mississippi, they were coming to atlantic city. >> reporter: but gambling, once the best bet in town, is a monopoly no more. otto graham, who pushes today's equivalent of the 19th century rolling chair, says his business has stalled as casinos have sprouted elsewhere. >> new york, pennsylvania, connecticut, delaware, maryland, they're all over now. and now you could go online. you don't even have to leave your house. you can sit in your bedroom, living room, and go online and gamble. >> how do i convince a person who lives closer to philadelphia park or aqueduct in new york, to invest an extra 60 or 90 minutes traveling and an extra $50 or $75 in gas and tolls to come enjoy an atlantic city experience? >> reporter: the borgata's answer: invest in iron chef restaurants, night clubs, entertainment. a jersey shore makeover, a la las vegas. over at the golden nugget, says general manager tom pohlman:
>> we built a $10 million, 5- star spa, we're a 4-diamond resort that completely re-did all our rooms. >> reporter: and, like the borgata, they put a premium on customer service. linda miller is a regular from long island. >> i like this place. i like the dealers. i like the whole atmosphere. i love the craps table. >> reporter: but many, if not most, of atlantic city's casinos just milked their cash cows. in a city rife with economic forecasters, though, monopoly forever? did no one consult izabella? >> did you know, a goal without a plan is just a wish? >> reporter: but, how could a plan to compete have come as a surprise, as neighboring states moved to legalize gambling in the mid-2000's? again, hotel union president bob mcdevitt. >> ten years ago the people in atlantic city, the casino folks, were considering themselves geniuses because the city was making $5.2 billion a year. it's, it's sort of like you know the rooster thinking that he
makes the sun come up in the morning. >> reporter: and why not believe the short-term illusion if you're raking it in? until, of course, the day you're not. and when your casino is squeezed, one option is to squeeze the employees. by pulling health benefits, for instance. >> how am i gonna take my kid to the doctor? we have only two weeks notice our health care going to be discontinued. >> i work with girls who have cancer. i work with girls that need medication. and it's just, it's absolutely outrageous. >> reporter: another option for a collapsing casino: local property tax concessions from the city. but the mayor is holding firm on the taj. >> everyone has to pay property taxes. i have senior citizens on fixed incomes. they don't get a break. i have people that lost their jobs that worked for casinos, they have to pay their property taxes too, and certainly we brought businesses into town for two reasons, to pay taxes and to provide good jobs for, for our residents.
>> reporter: but the city has far less of both, with tourist traffic down more than 25% in less than a decade and casino revenue down nearly 50%. so was it crazy to wager atlantic city's future on casinos as opposed to, say, an airport like the huge one in newark, new jersey? urban planner alan mallach studies such questions. >> an airport is a powerful generator, spin-offs, other companies, distribution centers. a casino, a lot less so. >> reporter: that's because most of the casino money goes to the owners, to workers who live out of town, and to the state of new jersey, which collects the gambling taxes, not atlantic city. >> even though the casinos were drawing in literally billions of dollars, very, very little was trickling out to the rest of the city. >> reporter: just look at once- pricey pacific ave, right behind the boardwalk casinos. >> you'll see a bunch of cash
for gold places, you'll see some pawn shops and then you'll see a lot of the kind of low end stores, dollar stores and things like that, that you see in any poor struggling city in the united states and not much more. >> hi mr. mayor. >> how ya doin, guys! >> reporter: the very popular republican mayor is working hard to turn things around. >> you'll see a doubling and tripling of conventions in atlantic city in 18 months to, to three years. then what we need is research and development companies coming here and to be creating jobs that are beyond just tourism. >> reporter: but if the taj shuts down, there go its tax payments to the city, and its jobs. so, as izabella might counsel the mayor. >> enthusiasm could overcome your better judgment. >> reporter: and she might even extend that warning to new casino ventures everywhere these days, visions of more good jobs and higher tax revenues notwithstanding.
i'm paul solman, reporting for the pbs newshour from atlantic city. >> sreenivasan: president obama strikes a climate change deal with talk of executive action on immigration as congress returns to take on keystone. to analyze it all, shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. and, mark, since you look like you're climbing out of the banks of charles river behind you in boston, i'll start with you. this deal-- the climate deal that was struck at the asian summit with the president and the chinese president, xi. big deal? >> i think it's a big deal. let's first understand you don't cobble together something of this significance on the spot or over the weekend. they've been working on it for months, and i think credit-- or blame, i guess in some quarters-- has to be to the president, john kerry, the secretary of state, to john
podesta, for whom it's been a priority at the white house. i think it's significance because one of the principal arguments against moving on carbon emissions has been that the united states, to act unilaterally, that would let china off the hook. and now with the united states and china, the two biggest polluters globally moving together, it puts pressure-- it blows the cover of those other countries. it puts pressure on india and other places. >> sreenivasan: david? >> i hope so. first, it's a big deal because we reached a major agreement with china. u.s.-china relations have been deteriorating, not because of anything the u.s. has done or barack obama has done because of what china has done. they've gotten more aggressive on fronts, in the ocean, and there were dangers the u.s. and china could have a much more hostile relationship. it's good to see some positive agreement. it's good to see goals. and i guess my question is what exactly-- what's changing? china promised in 15 years or a little more than 15 years to set
some targets. no interim targets, just some big target a chunk upon of time away from now. we've agreed to set targets, but what policies are actually going to change? will there be a carbon tax? how aggressively the china move to get away from coal to natural gas and other cleaner forms? who knows. but at least they set a deal. it's a precedent but it's a hollow in the middle. >> sreenivasan: because of the lack of targets do you think congress will be easier on them? >> it depend what the means are. will we get a big global climate deal? clearly, it makes more likely. the big global climate deal was pretty much dead. but as mark said, when the two largest polluters are on board, that at least creates a little life. will congress ratify that? no way. we're not going to do that. so we're not going to get a big global climate treaty. but at least nation by nation,
you can begin to see cheena actually moving toward cleaner forms of energy which they have to do both for economic reasons but also so they can breathe in their cities. >> sreenivasan: mark, do you think there will be push-back in congress? >> i think there will be if you have been-back in congress, especially with jim inhofe, the new chairman of the environmental committee in the senate who is essentially an arch-foe and denier on climate change. but i think two things. china is under the begin. i mean they're under the gun at home, as david put, their own air. they had to close down the industrial plant 400 miles away to clean up the air just so they could have the economic it's asian economic conference there in beijing. that's how bad it is. and let's be very blunt about it-- they're going to be competing now on alternative energy, which i think as the president pointed out is good for the united states as well. if there's competition in that area, it can only be good under
humankind. >> sreenivasan: shifting gears about energy, let's talk about the keystone x.l. pipeline. the house voted on it today. it's likely to get to the senate floor on tuesday. is it purely political? it was motivated by the race happening in louisiana. >> it's purely political in the the timing. there's nothing wrong with politics. it's interest groups trying to get their interests advanced so the timin time is political. i think the president's opposition is purely political. there is a big state department series of reports, giexwantic reports on the effect of the keystone pipeline. they found economically it could create thousands of jobs, not huge amounts of job, and the economic damage they found would be none. the oil will be pumped or not pumped depending on the price of crude, not depending on whether we have a pipeline. it's either going to be pumped and sent through hundred of thousands of train cars or be sent in a more environmentally friendly way under the ground. so the environmental rationale for the pipeline seems to be
strong. the economic rationale is not huge, but it's significant. and so if you follow the science, if you follow the research, the case for the pipeline is overwhelming. the president is not doing it to secure his left base, because it's a good fund-raising tool for a lot of people. not for very good reasons. >> sreenivasan: expwhroork this has to be the most thoroughly researched, meticulously studied idea, this pipeline, in the history of humankind. it's been slow walk to the point of a standstill. and now it's going to come to a vote finally in the senate because mary lan land raw, who n a run huff off for her senate seat in louisiana has pushed it and is going to demonstrate her own independence from the white house and clout, leadership-- however you want to put it-- and the the senators who want to vote against it will get a chance to vote against it. and people who want to vote for
it will vote for it. and i think the president will veto it, and i think that will be the end of it, other than it won't be built, and it will not be a major issue in the 2016 campaign but i do think that the argument basically, politically is on the side of those who want to build it. >> sreenivasan: something that will likely show nupt 2016 campaign is immigration. the president has said he plans to use an exclusive order to deal with immigration. we don't know exactly what day that will show up. but do you think there's a chance for comprehensive immigration reform without an executive order, or does an executive order actually decrease those chances, david. >> i think it decreases. the i support president's position the substance of it. a lot of what it does is will keep families together. on the substantive side of it, i think it's fine. on the politics of it, the effects on our country, i think it's a terrible, terrible idea, a ted cruz stick in the eye of any chance we would have on
bipartisanship. the republicans were saying reasonable things after the victory-- we want to start out small. let's pass legislation on things we agree on. they weren't major pieces of legislation but they were pieces. would be nice to pass a law. we haven't passed a significant piece of legislation in this country for, like, four years. it would be nice to do something just to get something done. i think this very aggressive way the president has led with a very difficult issue makes that much less likely. second, i do think it takes immigration reform much less likely over the five, 10 years. i think the republicans were eventually going to have to get around to it. verily they know they have to get around to passing this thing. that makes it much less likely. i think it's constitutional over-reach. basically five million people, maybe six million people are going to be affected by this. i think constitutionally, for the sake of our system, when you have something that majory redefining the status of five million or six million people i think it should go through the legislative process. iust just think it's a major change in american policy and it
would be nice to go through congress rather than with the sfght a pen. >> sreenivasan: mark? >> i think it's always nicer to go through congress. i just point out after the 2012 election, republicans went through a period of deep introspection. they concluded as a party they had to do something on this issue, that they had-- were seen as anti-immigrant, not only to latinos, but also asians and other minorities in this country. and so they didn't do anything about it. they-- some republicans joined the 68-32 majority in the senate on june 27, 2013, to pass a really comprehensive immigration reform bill. and john boehner, the speaker of the house, said negotiations with the president couldn't bring it up fair vote, couldn't bring it up for a vote. it had the votes to pass in the house but it wouldn't pass with the majority of republicans. the house voted 54 times to repeal obamacare, 54 times, but they couldn't vote once on
immigration. obamacare was never going to go anywhere in the senate, the repeal of it, that is. and this is something that could have become law. and the president had told the speaker that-- in private conversation that he was going to act. he didn't act before the elections because, quite frankly, of democratic senators in red states were concerned about it. it's not the first president to do it. ronald wilson reagan in 1987 unilaterally moved to protect 200,000 nicaraguans from returning to the sandinista regime. so did president kennedy and president johnson and president clinton and president bush. so, you know, i think it wasn't going to happen anyway. i agree with david it would be nice to have harmony, but when the principal priority of your opposition is to repeal the signature legislation of your administration, obamacare, you know i think the homes for that are probably pretty unrealistic.
>> sreenivasan: mark, what about the fact if this comes through an executive action, that it could be rescinded by the next president. >> that's the key point. i mean, any time either side advocates executive action, republicans did it under president bush, and democrats are certainly doing it under president obama, it's with the understanding that "a," you're expanding executive power, and usually at the cost the of the legislative power in regular order. but you're also risking it's going to be repealed. but i think, quite frankly, and i think david would agree it's unlikely whoever is elected in 2016 would set about repealing that law, that act. >> sreenivasan: david, the topics that we're all talking about in the context of the results the midterm elections that just happened. do you see a general pattern here? is this part of a more concerted strategy from the white house saying, "here's the two years we've got left. here's what congress looks like. here's what we can do and let's
just start going out and doing it." >> there are a couple ways to interpret that and i think suspect all these things is part of the thinking. there are a lot of things we want to do, we held back for political relationships. as you said, let's get it done, we believe in it, let's do it. the second more cynical strategy is the republicans have a strong incentive to get stuff done. anybody who wins elections wants to get things done. if you can obstruct can it help you. there's a tit-at that time, and the problem is we're stuck with that, we're stuck with world war i. the third fact factor here is money. my newspaper has a story on the powerful-- the $300 million the immigration groups have pumped into some of the immigration reform. the keystone pipeline is a big fund-raiser. so every politician is thinking about how do we keep the donor base going? i wouldn't say that's the major element here but that is certainly an element here? >> sreenivasan: mark, we have about 30 seconds. >> i think there's no question
the tension on immigration is between the republicans in the senate and the republicans in the house. mitch mcconnell's on record saying, "flower no circumstances will we shut down the federal government, will we default on the federal debt, the national debt." the speaker, with as he calls him, 16 knuckleheads in his caucus, probably more after the election is in a position where he says he can't take anything off the table and he has members talking about impreevment. there's no question there's opinion mischief created in the republican reasonings by the white house. >> sreenivasan: mark shields and david brooks, thank so much. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, jon stewart finds humor and humanity in a most unlikely place, and in a very new way. jeffrey brown is back with a look at the new film, "rosewater." >> you must not just take his
blood but take his hope... >> brown: in 2009, maziar bahari was held for 118 days, in solitary confinement, in a tehran prison. a very real ordeal dramatized in the new film, "rosewater". bahari was a canadian citizen who'd returned to his native iran as a journalist working for western media organizations. his assignment: to cover a momentous election that would end in mass demonstrations and mass arrests after reformer mir hossein mousavi's challenge to president mahmoud ahmadinejad ended in a defeat widely condemned and discredited as fraudulent. the film shows how bahari, played by actor gael garcia bernal, met and interviewed protaganists on both sides, before being arrested and charged as a spy. he then endures interrogation by a man known only as "rosewater".
one bit of absurdist "evidence": an actual appearance in a tehran cafe bahari had made on the comedy central program, "the daily show". >> who is the number one enemy of the united states? >> al qaeda. >> it is also our number one enemy. >> are you going to back up and go out of frame that way. that connection, and the courage and even humor shown by bahari even in the face of torture, drew the real-life host of the daily show, jon stewart, to the story, and to his first foray into directing a feature film. the two would become good friends, and then collaborators. they told me about it when we met earlier this week at the newseum in washington. >> it was compelling in the generational aspects of it, his family, the fact that his father had suffered a similar fate under the shah, his sister had suffered it under khomeini, he had suffered under khamenei-- here are, these are regimes that are, some western allied, some
enemies of the west, all using authority to suppress their people. >> and when they arrested me the questions were not about what i was doing, it was, you have to tell us why did you put this politician in touch with the british embassy, why did you put this politicians in touch with the cia, and i didn't know what to say. so in the absence of evidence to implicate me they brought forward this ridiculous evidence, including my appearance on the daily show. >> if someone wants to weaponize something innocuous, they're going to do it, whether its, you know, something banal that you've given them, or something else. >> brown: but you sit here now, and you're laughing. i mean, it's absurd, right? >> of course >> i mean, it was as if they had read kafka and they thought it's a good manual to run a regime like that, and then they thought it's not absurd enough, so let's just add a little bit of monty python to kafka. >> brown: in his more familiar day job, of course, jon stewart
tackles all kinds of topical issues. but the humor is very much in your face-- it's a comedy show, after all. >> the democrats got taken out back and old-yelleer'd from the he took three months off from the daily show to shoot his film, most of it in jordan, including in a real prison. was it hard for you to play it straight? >> no, because the humor of it, so much of the humor of it, is what appealed to me. maziar's ability to, you know, in some ways he's the canary in the coal mine for things that i believe, that even in the darkest time humor is one of those elements that you can retain your sense of humanity with, that can give you some comfort, and act as some defense. there's sometimes a misperception, i think, of satire, that it is clownish in the sense-- no disrespect to clowns-- but that it's 'baggy pants'. it's not. it's a way of expressing ideas
and synthesize information that you truly believe in, just using the tools of satire. >> brown: so you didn't see a >> brown: in the film, we see bahari at work, interviewing the opposing sides. and then, imprisoned, feeling he'd been forgotten and abandoned. not knowing that his family, employers, and political figures were waging a strong public campaign to get him released. just days after that finally happened, his wife gave birth to their first child. he would write about it all in a memoir titled, "then they came for me". >> in the film we see that i humanize my interrogator who is brutalizing me. >> who is also not presented as a monster. >> exactly, and not because of altruistic reasons. because of very selfish reasons. because if i regard him as a monster, i cannot defeat him. like many people who live in the west, when i'm stuck in the subway or the metro in dc, and
it's hot and it's crowded, i say, 'oh, it's torture!'. but then, coming through that ordeal, i know that's not torture. there is a real torture that you can go through, and being stuck in a metro, it's not torture. >> it's not pleasant. he's not saying it's pleasant! interview you did, you said, i >> brown: i read in another interview you did, you said, i consider the daily show and this movie a conversation that we are having with the culture and with people. >> yes, that's right >> brown: what's the conversation about? >> the conversation is about the space between the public face of our leaders, versus the private strategies that produce that face, the facade that's placed over it. the conversation is about corruption, whether it comes to governance, or whether it comes to media. the conversation is about, you know, what is activism? this particular conversation is about the cost of oppression, and not just to maziar but to all the journalists adn bloggers and activists who are being held. >> brown: it's interesting, you spend a lot of time lampooning journalists on your show, and then you made a film where you're really honoring a
journalist. >> right. which seems completely logical. >> brown: it does? >> well, absolutely, because the satire comes from a place of urging, it comes from a place of an ideal, it's, the humor only works as a counterpoint to seeing something that you feel is not at the level where you know it could be, of opportunity squandered. >> brown: and you now devote your life to press freedom issues? >> parts of my life. we have... >> he also goes out to eat some... >> i mean, i am one of the privileged people who work for the western media, people knew my name. many of my friends and colleagues in iran and in different countries, they do not have that international profile, so i have the responsibility to talk on their behalf and try to raise their profile. >> brown: and you have gone back to your day job. >> still have my parking space, yeah. >> brown: and are you going to
keep that, does this... >> why, what'd you hear about my parking space? am i losing that? >> brown: has this changed your thinking about your own future, about what you'd like to do? >> it reinforces the idea of it as a longer journey, that it's not so much, you know, it's a continuing to work on projects that i'm interested in, and believe something is important to talk about. >> brown: jon stewart, maziar bahari, thank you. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: we have more of jeff's interview, including jon stewart's take on thimportance of satire in his storytelling and how he came to direct "rosewater." find those clips, on "art beat." >> sreenivasan: again, the major developments of the day: house republicans approved the keystone pipeline project-- again-- and sent it to the senate. president obama voiced serious doubts, but stopped short of saying he'd veto the bill. and defense secretary hagel ordered beefed-up spending and major reorganization to revitalize the nation's nuclear forces. on the newshour online right now: could increasing the
percentage of women on corporate boards have a trickle-down effect on the workforce? ten years ago norway passed a law mandating this type of a gender quota, but a decade later, the results surprised some economists. read about that on our making sense page. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill is preparing for "washington week," which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> they call the weeks after the election the lame duck period when nothing gets done. but there's a lot happening in washington these days on almost every imaginable topic, as congress and the white house dare each other to be the first one to blink. we'll cover it all tonight on "washington week." >> sreenivasan: on pbs newshour weekend, megan thompson reports from iowa on superweeds-- herbicide-resistant plants that could threaten american agriculture. >> simple use of one herbicide
recurrently in the system is going to inevitably result in weeds that evolve resistance to that herbicide. >> professor mike owen is a nationally recognized weed expert at iowa state university in ames. >> it is a widespread and a significant, from an economic perspective, problem across the midwest, and dare i say, across agculture in general. >> owen says it's no mystery why this happened. it can alling explained by evolution. in iowa, one of the weeds that has evolved to be resistant is called water hemp. >> this is waterhemp, a weed we have in southwest iowa has that's become more tolerant. this plant, when it's mature, can get five, six feet tall. where it's very heavy, you can have yields cut in half, 50% losses >> sreenivasan: that's saturday's signature segment on pbs newshour weekend.
and we'll be back, right here, on monday with a look at how burn pits, used to dispose of everything from batteries to vehicles on the battlefield still haunt u.s. soldiers. that's the newshour for tonight. i'm hari sreenivasan. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour.
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