tv PBS News Hour PBS December 22, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: the war in yemen reaches a devastating milestone. one million cases of cholera is recorded, making it the worst outbreak in history. then, a big year for the small screen. a look at the most groundbreaking shows, and unforgettable tv moments of 2017. >> to me, this was the year of "are you kidding me?" and the great surprise of the pop culture realm was the oscars this year, where-- >> the mistake. >> the mistake!
>> woodruff: and, it's friday. mark shields and david brooks take on the republican's tax bill victory and review congress as it heads home for the holidays. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president trump signed the republicans' $1.5 trillion tax overhaul into law today. he marked his first major legislative victory in the oval office, and said the numbers will speak to americans, despite polls showing the bill is seen unfavorably.
>> i think its selling itself. it's becoming very popular but i think it will really, you'll see something when they open up the paycheck. that's when you're going to start to see it. by signing it now, it kicks in this year. >> woodruff: the president also signed a spending bill to keep the government open into january. it includes additional money for missile defense. afterward, mr. trump flew to florida to spend the holidays with his family, at his mar-a-lago resort. he will stay there until new year's day. members of congress headed to their homes for the holidays after passing that government funding bill last night. but the senate balked at voting on a disaster relief bill worth $81 billion. lawmakers also put off action on protecting young immigrants from deportation, and providing long-term health care funding for poor children. democrats are pressing republicans not to wrap up investigations of russian meddling in the 2016 election.
house minority leader nancy pelosi sent a letter today to speaker paul ryan. in it, pelosi says, "political haste must not cut short valid, investigatory threads." a number of republicans are saying, however, it is time to finish the probes. it turns out that russian hackers targeted at least 200 journalists, publishers and bloggers, starting in mid-2014. the associated press reports today that they were the third- largest group hit, after diplomats and democrats. u.s. intelligence agencies say the hackers acted on behalf of the russian government. the u.n. security council voted today to impose tough new sanctions on north korea. they curb the north's oil imports and force its overseas workers to return home, cutting off a source of hard currency. the u.s. drafted the measure, and ambassador nikki haley said
its unanimous approval shows the level of international outrage. >> should the north korean regime conduct another nuclear or ballistic missile test, this resolution commits the security council to take even further action. it sends the unambiguous message to pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishment and isolation. >> woodruff: the resolution was triggered by north korea's latest missile launch last month. new fighting erupted today between israeli police and palestinian protesters in gaza and the west bank. gaza's health ministry said two palestinians were killed when security forces used live ammunition and tear gas. the israelis said they responded to "violent riots." protests began after president trump recognized jerusalem as israel's capital. in spain, catalonia's bid for independence appeared to gain new momentum after separatists won a majority in regional
elections. jonathan rugman of independent television news reports from barcelona. >> reporter: it looks like spanish victory, when in fact, it's the opposite. one pro-spain party took 25% of catalonia's vote last night, but that's not enough to form a government, so the single biggest political force here was putting a brave face on defeat. instead, a ragtag bunch of independence parties has confounded the might of the spanish state. their vote is slightly down on two years ago. with their leaders jailed or in exile after spain imposed direct rule, the turmoil of the last few months has barely dented them. and so carlos puigdemont, the deposed catalan president, is likely president again, though he didn't tell his party workers here last night if he would dare return. mr. puigdemont was accused of
running away to brussels, but catalans dreaming of independence have shown they don't care. this morning, he said he would meet the spanish prime minister anywhere but spain, and that he wants his old job back. >> despite all the force come from the spanish state, violence, oppression. despite this, we are stronger than ever. >> reporter: and spain's prime minister is weaker than ever, weakened by a regional election he himself called. the divisions are huge, he said, ruling out independence once again. >> ( translated ): i will make an effort to maintain dialogue with whatever government comes out of these elections in catalonia. but i will also make an effort to see that the law is followed. >> reporter: what is staggeringly absent here is any sense of compromise. spanish unionists are still banking that the sun will set on the dreamers, the more turmoil they seem to create. for now though, the
indepentistas believe they are on the up. "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," the saying goes, and theirs is a dream refusing to lie down and die. >> woodruff: that report, from jonathan rugman of independent television news. back in this country, a published report finds an exodus from the federal environmental protection agency since president trump took office. the "new york times" says more than 700 employees have left, including more than 200 scientists and nine department directors. the report says that most will not be replaced, as administrator scott pruitt scales back the e.p.a.'s work force. several former miss america's are calling for the pageant's c.e.o. and others to resign over vulgar, sexist emails. they circulated among c.e.o. sam haskell and board members, and targeted former winners with
sexual slurs and other demeaning comments. the organization's tv partner cut ties with the pageant overnight. the digital currency "bitcoin" plunged again today, to just over $13,000 in value. it had surged this year from about $1,000 dollars to nearly $20,000, but it is down nearly 40% this week. meanwhile, stocks slipped in quiet trading. the dow jones industrial average lost 28 points to close at 24,754. the nasdaq fell five points, and the s&p 500 slipped one. and, hall of fame sportscaster dick enberg has died of an apparent heart attack at his home in san diego. enberg's career spanned 60 years, calling super bowls, olympics, final fours, baseball and football-- with his signature cry of "oh, my!" the san diego padres even stamped it on the field when he retired last year.
>> guess it'd be the obvious what i, i should say now, but it's already out there on the grass. oh, the heck with it. i'm going to say it anyway! ohh, my! ( cheers and applause ) >> woodruff: he left a mark. dick enberg was 82 years old. still to come on the newshour: the u.s. confirms multiple ground operations in conflict- ridden yemen. a pattern of sexual harassment at ford auto plants. immigrants seeking political asylum, separated from their children. and, much more. >> woodruff: the war in the middle eastern country, yemen, grinds on, well into its third year. houthi rebels control much of the country's northwest, including the capital, sanaa, while a saudi-backed government
and al qaeda hold sway elsewhere. william brangham has the latest on the u.s. role in this conflict. >> brangham: in december alone, according to the u.n., 136 civilians were killed in air strikes by the u.s.-backed, saudi-led coalition. one airstrike cost this man in northwest yemen dearly. >> ( translated ): they targeted my house while there were 18 to 20 guests. the whole family was inside, as well as all our cattle. everything is gone, there's nothing left. >> brangham: and on tuesday, the houthi rebels, whom the saudis are fighting, fired another ballistic missile from yemen towards the saudi capital of riyadh. the missile was intercepted by the kingdom's air defenses, and the saudis claim it was manufactured by iran, which is backing the houthis. this was the second failed attack on riyadh by the houthis in as many months. the trump administration has also repeatedly called out iran about its involvement in the conflict, a point driven home dramatically by u.n. ambassador nikki haley last week. >> these are the recovered
pieces of a missile fired by houthi militants from yemen into saudi arabia. the weapons might as well have had "made in iran" stickers all over. >> brangham: meanwhile, the yemeni people continue to suffer. this week, according to the red cross, the country registered its one-millionth case of cholera. health officials say it is the fastest spreading cholera epidemic in history. and at the same time, millions of yemenis also live on the brink of famine, a crisis that's been worsened by the saudi blockade of ports and border crossings, which has limited food and humanitarian supplies. on wednesday, the saudi-led coalition announced it would keep the houthi-controlled port of hodeidah open for a month to allow aid into the country. the port had been closed for most of november. yesterday, deputy assistant secretary of state tim lenderking welcomed the news. >> the first thing we want to see is ships actually moving into hodeidah port, offloading,
providing fuel, water, supplies for the yemeni people, filling the hospitals with fuel so that medical supplies can be dispensed. four u.s. cranes will be on their way very shortly to hodeidah. we want to see them installed. we want to see them playing a central role here in offloading ships. >> brangham: while the u.s. is the largest donor of aid to yemen, u.s. arms manufacturers, with approval from the u.s. government, also supply the saudi-led coalition with bombs, and u.s. military jets refuel those coalition bombers and fighter jets. on thursday, u.s. central command announced that it had also carried out "multiple ground operations and more than 120 airstrikes" in yemen this year, those apparently against al qaeda leaders. last summer, the trump administration announced the potential for billions of dollars of new arms sales to saudi arabia, arms that will no doubt add to the civilian death toll. which, according to the u.n., is over 5,000 and growing.
for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: to help explain the complex situation in yemen, i'm joined now by james jeffrey. he served in several senior positions during his 35-year career as a diplomat, including u.s. ambassador to turkey and to iraq, and as president george w. bush's deputy national security adviser. he's now at the washington institute for near east policy. and, stephen seche. he was deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of near eastern affairs at the state department of state, responsible for u.s. relations with the gulf states and yemen. he served as u.s. ambassador to yemen from 2007 to 2010. he is now at the arab gulf states institute in washington. and we welcome both of you to the program. ambassador seche, i'll start with you. why has this war dragged on and on? what is driving it? >> to a large extent, the reason the war continued in this fashion is because it sits in a corner of the globe which has
nod produced the kind of migration in europe that the war in syria has. therefore the alarm raised about the war in yemen is far diminished than that of the conflict in syria. so that being away from the public eye and not creating that sense of prolonged and protracted threat worked to a disadvantage and all the people of yemen suffered in the back pages of the newspapers and not as much coverage on television. >> woodruff: is this a war between the factions in yemen or a proxy war between saudi arabia and iran? >> both. only about five yemenis and ambassador seche understand what's going on in many groups inside yemen, but rather like syria and lebanon and iraq, this is part of an overall conflict in the region between iran on the one hand and saudi arabia, the u.s., israel and most of the rest of the region on the other. >> woodruff: what's the main grievance, ambassador seche? the saudis are saying iran is
threatening the region. the iranians are doing what they're trying to do through the houthis who are also shia, the shia militia there. who has the upper hand in this argument? >> i think it's important to start with the fact that the houthis who are a part of yemen's fabric of society have serious long-standing grievous with their government and with the saudis, for that matter, too. so this is kind of where the houthis are coming from and they're trying to grab their part of yemen and its power structure. the saudis feel alarmed and with reason by the fact the houthis have taken over the a lot of the military weapons in yemen and territory and exercise a real threat that saudi arabia finds intolerable and i agree it probably is. >> woodruff: it started more internal, ambassador jeffrey, but has grown to be this more regional war. >> right, but, i mean, you have to point fingers. the main reason it's grown to be that is the iranian strategy to
infiltrate into failed states, and this is a good example of it, lebanon was in the 1980s, find groups not always shia that it can support and then create subgovernments and sub militias within societies, i saw that very personally in iraq, that are more loyal to tehran than their own capitals of beirut, damascus, baghdad or sanaa. >> woodruff: ambassador seche, do the iranians pose the threat the saudis and others say they do in the region. >> i'm not so persuaded is iranians are the engineers behind this. this is a homegrown revolt with the houthis. the iranians and saudis have gotten more involved and i think of the two rivals are seeing yemen as an arena where their interests can be served. but the humanitarian that's occurred is direct result of three years of saudi airstrikes.
15,000 airstrikes conducted over yemen, a country smaller than the state of texas, over a three-year period. >> woodruff: why has this grown to be the humanitarian crisis it is, ambassador jeffrey? it's one thing for two sides to fight each other but the civilians have taken the hit, for the most part. >> in almost every conflict i've seen in the middle east, the conflicts are actually fought out not in the desert but in the populated areas and all sides use unrestricted air strikes to make up for typically a lack of infantry troops. the saudis in these airstrikes killed according to the u.n. report in october some 3,000 civilians. that's a big number but it's not all that different than what we've killed in the conflict against i.s.i.s. and iraq and syria in the past three years. >> but the u.s. is part of this coalition with the saudis that helped lead to the civilian
casualties. >> right, and the reason for that, though, is the saudis and the u.s. fear, the two sides aren't equal, iran, and saudi arabia. iran is a long way from saudi arabia. hezbollah had their own legitimate grievous against israel and their own governments, but they became a front for iran. they have over 100,000 missiles aimed at israel. it's an existential threat. the saudis fear for good reason the same thing in yemen. >> woodruff: but you're saying that fear is overblown. >> i think the fear is genuine. i think it is not equate the fact that iran has come in here to try to become the arch enemy they are already of saudi arabia, but the houthis need to be dealt with as a nationalist movement on their own. the ironies are taking advantage, exploiting a situation which has been created to their benefit. low investment and high reward for the armies here. the saudis need to fipg out what to do to distract themselves
because they're getting dug deeper in the muck of this war and they have a lot of things on their agenda that need attention and resources. >> woodruff: do you believe the saudis will see a way to extract themselves? >> they haven't demonstrated that interest yet nor have the hoots. both sides need to realize the only way they have their interests served is negotiating out of it. there is no military victory. the saudis can't win it and the houthis just need not to lose it. >> woodruff: do you agree the saudis can't win with is this. >> absolutely, steve has the right way forward. the only problem, the saudis can't do this if they're going to face a future with hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of long-range missiles in the hands of houthis with iran aiming at capital riyadh up. >> woodruff: where do you see this going then? >> i see the united states finally coming up, which we haven't yet, with a real policy of trying to deal with iran in the region, the whole region not just yemen or syria then telling the saudis, look, we have a
program, we understand any solution has to exclude keeping a lot of iranian missiles, ie, a repeat of what we have in southern lebanon today, but quid pro quo you have to deal with the houthis. >> woodruff: but that would involve, ambassador seche, the u.s. coming down harder on iran. >> on iran and also saudi arabia, and i think we've seen recently that the white house and the state department have become a real strenuous campaign of putting some pressure on riyadh which paid up a. saudis just announced they're going to allow the port in huday to be reopened and let the cranes in. so if the u.s. gets aggressive and apply pressure, the saudis respond. at the same time iran needs to be brought into this because they play a role and we can't ignore that. we have to find a way to constructively engage the parties with an interest and bring them to the table together. >> woodruff: ambassador stephen seche, ambassador james jeffrey. good to have you both, very
tough subject. thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: now, a disturbing investigation about a culture of harassment at a pair of ford auto factories. ford's c.e.o. made a public apology yesterday for the alleged misconduct. the story raises questions about what is happening to some blue- collar workers. hari sreenivasan explores why it is proving difficult to change the underlying culture. >> sreenivasan: ford already had dealt with a federal investigation, lawsuits, settlements, and changes at two chicago factories, to deal with racial and sexual harassment going back decades. this week, the "new york times" chronicled how abusive patterns with female workers had returned to these plants. the reporting team spoke with dozens of women about what they had faced recently and in the past, including suzette wright. she first worked at one of the
plants in 1993, and eventually quit. >> every time i would have a new instance of something sexual happen, because i had already seen the ramifications of saying anything, i would stay in there and take it. and every time, each time that i was taking it, again and again, it just felt like more of me diminishing, just getting smaller. >> sreenivasan: susan chiro is one of the two reporters who did this investigation for the "times," and she joins me now. you work with katherine on this your partner from chicago and new york. what was the culture you two documented? >> when we talked to many, many workers, they told us men would grope them, make lewd sexual remarks about their bodies, and if they complained, they'd face ostracism, threats, and a lot of hostility both from their co-workers who were worried the plants might close and from their bosses.
>> sreenivasan: we have an example of that kind of fear. shirley thomas-moore had this to say. >> it's hard when, every day, you come in and, if you say something -- and something is done -- it gets worse. so that's why a lot of women do not complain. they don't say anything. there was one particular situation with this young lady. she finally got enough gets to go up there and report it, but before she could get down to the line, it was already known what she went upstairs for. so who's telling it? she was taken off that job and put on a harder job. >> sreenivasan: in response to your reporting, the executives at ford put out this statement, i'm sorry for any instance where a colleague was subjected to harassment or discriminatory conduct. there's no room for harassment at ford motor company, we don't want you here and we'll move you out for behavior like this. there will be retaliation -- no retaliation for anyone who speaks up and no one is above
the rules anywhere in the hire arcky. are these incidents an anomaly, episodic? >> ford thinks of them as episodic. some would argue systematic. we certainly know that there was a huge ongoing pattern of abuses, there was a kind of a lull in the early 2000s after the first set of lawsuits and after independent monitors moved in, and then, as economic pressures mounted, the auto industry was in bankruptcy, and then recovered, and a whole new surge of hiring came in. it certainly worried some workers never left. >> sreenivasan: ford has a human resources department, the employees have a union. why was this culture tolerated for so long? >> i think there are many answers. the union turns out to be in the eyes of many workers part of the problem instead of the solution. the union has a hard task. they represent the men who are
accused as well as the women who accuse the men. but at the same time, women said many, not all, union officials sometimes harassed them or discouraged them from complaining. >> sreenivasan: as you mentioned, this is not ford's first instance of this. considering that they've had this problem before, what happens now? >> well, i think there are two things. i think the other point is that ford could have moved much more aggressively and much more consistently, but now they have this new settlement and monitors are going to move in again and oversee compliance and ford has been putting measures in place. so i think the great test is going to be can a culture of sexual harassment really be controlled for a permanent time. >> sreenivasan: what's been the response of the women who were in print with their photos, with audio that clearly the boss read about, what if they said about you and your reporting now? >> i think that they welcome
attention because they feel attention will help them dwell solutions. some of them wanted us to go further and name a lot more people. you know, we obviously had to apply our journalistic standards to what we felt comfortable including. but i think they welcomed the apology but they wanted to see action. >> sreenivasan: these are not women who normally get the attention the #metoo movement shed a light on. >> that's right. one of the women said to us that, as she saw harvey weinstein and the whole #metoo movement, she wanted to start a twitter campaign called #what about us. so i think these women do feel their plight has been ignored, was not a part of the conversation, was our motivation to try to understand as reporters what women in blue collar or service industries away from the limelight were enduring. >> sreenivasan: is there a feeling of why they felt empowered to speak now? >> well, i think the women
involved have been speaking out in the last several years, not just this minute. the complaints have been going on for several years. i do this this is a moment where i think some women are hoping that change will be more permanent. >> sreenivasan: susan chiro of the "new york times," thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: the "new york times" and the "washington post" have reported that the department of homeland security is considering new rules to deter those entering the u.s. illegally-- separating children from their parents. under current rules, families are kept together, unless immigration officials determine that parents do not have sufficient documentation for
their children. from pbs station kpbs in san diego, jean guerrero reports on one family already undergoing the traumatic experience of separation. >> ( translated ): i feel powerless not being with them. not being able to hug them, kiss them, play with them. >> reporter: at least four central american men in this otay mesa detention facility say officials took their children from them after they arrived at the border asking for asylum. immigration and customs enforcement says the agency separated the children for their safety, because smugglers often pair children with non-parents. the agency says the men didn't have enough documentary proof they were the fathers, and that officials are trying to verify familial relationships with the help of the consulates. but jose demar fuentes says he gave customs officials at the port of entry his el salvadoran
i.d. and his son's original birth certificate. kpbs has seen copies of both documents. >> ( translated ): i wasn't going to come to a strange country that isn't mine, to present myself with a child, without documents. >> reporter: immigration officials sent his one-year-old son, mateo, to a office of refugee resettlement facility in texas, more than 1,500 miles away. fuentes traveled from el salvador to the u.s. with his partner, olivia caceres, and their two sons, mateo and andree, in a caravan of asylum seekers. they were on the road for more than a month, traveling on mexico's infamous train, la bestia. the family says they were fleeing gang violence and extortion at home. we visited fuentes' partner, olivia, at a migrant shelter in mexico, where she's staying with andree until they learn more about what's happening with mateo. >> this is the first document they give us in the hospital, so i kept it. he had the original birth certificate of the boy.
>> reporter: she says the family split up in northern mexico because they were in a rush to get mateo to the border. the boy was weak and dehydrated after weeks of traveling. the couple didn't have enough money for the four of them to get to the border right away. >> ( translated ): the priority was always mateo. his health. andree is older. he says, "mami, don't go, mami." mateo is fine with his dad. >> reporter: the couple didn't think us immigration authorities would separate a father and a one-year-old child, but they were wrong. they thought the duo would either be detained together or released on parole. leah chavarria is an immigration attorney. she says families seeking asylum are less likely to be released on parole under the trump administration. >> now what i see is they're leaning toward detain, detain, detain. and if there's no place to detain a father and child, they're going to detain them separately. >> reporter: chavarria says family detention centers are currently focusing on women and children. she says the separation adds to
the traumas of violence they're fleeing in central america. in the migrant shelter in mexico, andree plays with other children whose parents also brought them from central america. they sing songs they learned on the journey. >> ♪ why do they kill us? why do they take our lives? ♪ >> reporter: mateo's mom, caceres, says she's been repeatedly calling the facility in texas where officials sent mateo, but that all she's received is a single call back letting her know the boy is fine. the office of refugee resettlement has declined to comment on the boy's case, citing privacy concerns. ice has the discretion to let the father out on parole at any time, but under the trump administration, the policy has been to detain for at least six months. caceres says the boy has a right to be with his father, that fuentes is the best caretaker. >> ( translated ): everyone knew him in the caravan because, once when mateo was very sick with a bad fever, all night jose was
holding him and pacing with him. >> reporter: caceres says she's heard that u.s. officials take good care of children and that she's trying to focus on that, to stay positive for andree. back in the detention center, fuentes says caceres tries to keep him calm over the phone. >> she gives me strength. how am i, do i eat, do i sleep, to relax, that everything's going to be fine, that mateo's in good hands, that she's taking care of andree. >> reporter: fuentes graduated from the catholic university of el salvador with a degree in journalism. >> i like to know stories. i like to write. >> reporter: but before he could pursue his dream of becoming a journalist, he and his wife began to fear for their lives. the couple says gangs were extorting them for money they didn't have, and fuentes's close friend was killed. fuentes says he wanted to be a good father because he never knew his own. he was raised by his mother, who
died a few months before he graduated. >> ( translated ): she told me she was proud of me. it's sad to have the family fragmented. one person in one place. my mother in the sky. my son, i don't know where. olivia with andree. >> reporter: he says he's placing all of his faith in the institutions of the u.s., and hopes he'll be reunited with his family on american soil. for the pbs newshour, i'm jean guerrero in san diego. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks. that is syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. gentlemen, welcome. three days before christmas, congress has just gone home. david, the president says this tax bill that they passed is a
great gift for the american people. he said today corporations are going wild over this, they're showering their employees with bonuses. but the polls show people are still skeptical. what are people to make of this? >> yeah, well, i have not been a big fan of this tax bill for a whole number of reasons, one of which i think was revealed today. when you look at the independent caseys -- intricacies of it, for instance we have the employer-based health system because of a minor change during world war ii. this has all sorts of minor things. because we had no hearings, because we had no expert review or no time to look at what's in the bill, it has dozens of minor changes that could have massive effects. it doesn't make sense to work for a company when you can declare yourself a corporation and pay the corporate rate so that could have massive effects ton economy, so it's hard to know what the effects of the tax bill will be because i think
most are unintended. >> woodruff: are people scratching their heads, worried? what do you see, mark? >> people have concluded, at least strong initial judgment, judy, that it is a bill that favors corporations and the very well off. and that is a conclusion, at peter hart the pollster says, when a negative judgment is formed, it's very difficult to overcome that, and that is the perception. most people don't have the option of declaring themselves corporations. that comes to a level of affluence and influence not available to most american families. and i think what david cited is a good example. >> i don't think it will be a political loser for the republicans. 80% of the country get a break out of it of vair quick sizes. some significant. if you have a couple of kids, the child deductible tax credit
doubles and becomes refundable so you actually get a check in the mail. a lot of people will be seeing that and surprised to see that. so i don't think it will be the total loser that it looks now. i think the polling, people don't know what's in the tax bill, they just don't like trump, he's associated wit, they think the republicans favor the rich. but this bill, you spend a trillion and a half dollars, you can give a lot of money away. >> 1986, which was the last reform tax bill, ronald reagan, passed bipartisan overwhelmingly, and popular. as president reagan refused to sign anything that was not deficit neutral. judy, historic. that year, 1986, the republicans lost control of the senate, lost nine senate seats, democrats increased their majority in the
house. in 1981, after president reagan signed his then historic first tax cut, the same thing, republicans suffered. david's point is that they get a couple more bucks, they get 20, 30 bucks more in my check, but i'm going to be regaled and inundated with stories of millionaires walking away, of special interests, of wall street getting it, and it becomes very relative. i'm starting to feel duped because all these wealthy people are getting windfalls. >> i think republicans will do bad in the midterm but not because of the tax bill. in '86, revenue neutral, in '81, there was a recession. so you can vote on a lot of things in general. when you run up big deficits and give money back to people, they like it. people say you should worry about the deficit or the
distribution effects, that's not been my experience of how people responded. they say, hey, got money back. >> woodruff: you brought up the midterm elections. but, david, your point is the tax bill will not affect republicans in the midterm that much? >> who knows. midterms are still a year away. i think the reason people don't like the republican party is not because of the tax cut, it's because they don't like donald trump, they don't think they're function fortunately a zillion other reasons. i think the opinions about donald trump are dictating polling about everything else. >> woodruff: mark, the democrats go into this election at a disadvantage when it comes to the numbers. there are more democrats who are up for reelection, a number of them in states that donald trump won. >> that's right. >> woodruff: in the senate. so -- and they're behind in the house. so how do you see this right now? >> i think both history and the polls are very much in favor of the democrats, and the wind is at their back. the republicans just passed this
historic tax bill without a single hearing, without a single democrat. it was totally unpartisan, and showed what the republicans care about. they're leaving town gleefully, self-congratulatory with 8.9 million american children in a state of anxiety and suspension about whether they will have medical coverage. children of immigrants, daca recipients, in this country, 900 of whom are in the united states military today, and they don't know whether they will be allowed -- they have had a green card fast track to citizenship from military service in the past. they don't know under this administration whether they will be allowed to remain in the country let alone serving the united states in the military. but they show the priorities, judy. the priorities was the tax cut. i just think, going into the election, they're just in
terrible, terrible shape. the democrats, history should be against them in the senate, but right now republicans are apprehensive, even about maintaining senate control. >> there is multiple targets here. that's not what i think they're in terrible shape. i think they're in terrible shape -- you know, we've talked about this before, there's the thing called the generic ballot, which party do you want to control, and usually if one party is plus nine, they're due for a tidal wave of support, and the democrats are plus 13 or 14. that's just massive. now we're a year away and the democrats have a problem, their vote is all clustered, more than the republican voters, but looks like a tidal wave election, if it was today it would be a tidal wave election and the kind where democrats would not only carry swing states, maybe arizona, but states you don't even imagine. scott brown won in massachusetts in a way you don't imagine. >> like alabama? (laughter) >> so weird things happen in years like that. >> i agree with david.
the liability the republicans have is their problems are not curable or susceptible to cure with an initiative or a new policy because the face of theroom party is donald trump, and to quote our friend peter hart again who's done focus groups for emery university of trump voters, the words that trump voters use to describe donald trump are childlike, troubled, immature, narcissist, embarrassing. >> woodruff: these are people who voted for him. >> these are people who voted for donald trump. the point i make, judy, is he's very pleased with himself. he's pleased with his temperament and personality. i think we got that at the celebration, at the signing of the passage of the tax bill at the white house, and -- but i think there's no way this is going to change. if he's the face of the republican party, that's an enormous albatross. >> people don't judge legislation the way policy economists do, but people are really good at judging character, and maybe not last
november, but in general. so they've take an look and especially suburban voters and women have taken a look at this guy for supporting roy moore who by the way behaved gracelessly in the last week, and they've made up their mind, and trump has kept his core white rural base. >> woodruff: you're saying it's not fixable for republicans? >> i always hesitate because i have been surprised in the past, but the people who i think are disappointed and non-trump voters seem very set in their opinions. they've made a character judgment about this guy and a character judgment about the way he's running the country. >> and the intensity and the passion is observe the side of the democrats by every measurement. they are more interested, care more, and in real estate, the three elements that matter are location, location, location. in midterm elections it's turnout. right now turnout will favor the democrats. >> woodruff: especially if you look at alabama and virginia.
>> absolutely. exactly. >> woodruff: so we are a couple of days from christmas. i have to ask both of you, want to ask both of you, in this season of giving, is there somebody you can think of out there in the political or the larger world who you would like to give a gift to, to whom and what, david? >> well, i've had a series of conversations with people who work in government, some career people and some trump employees, and what strikes me among all of them is they're really sad. they're very sad and they need happiness. so i was thinking what makes everybody happy? i think it's dancing penguins and louie armstrong. penguins dancing to louie armstrong songs. >> woodruff: just to be clear, you're talking about people who work for the federal government as civil servants? >> and trump employees. everybody is unhappy on both sides and with each other. there's a wave of depression. >> woodruff: but there's a serious point they're having a tough time? >> career people have found it
hard to serve in a administration they don't believe? and the trump crowd have found found it hard to serve without camaraderie. it's tough for them. a lot came here, wanted to serve the government, soft of believed in the agenda, and they find the career who they are appointed with are not that administration set the done tony. >> woodruff: mark. i'll had to david, it's tough to work as a public employee for a government led by an administration that doesn't believe in you and what you do. my own present offering would be to doug jones who won the alabama senate seat. in his victory statement, judy, he thanked people individua indy and he was so gracious and generous, he never demonized anybody, he never skewered his opponent, and he said, this is about bringing people together.
i think it was a wonderful example and i just want to say thank you, doug, and bring that same spirit to washington because lord knows we need it. >> woodruff: uplifting note on which to end this conversation, as i wish both of you a wonderful holiday and merry christmas. >> thank you. >> woodruff: mark shields, david brooks, thank you. >> woodruff: and before we go, a helpful guide for those of us who may do a little binge- watching during this holiday season. it is part of our year-end look at some of the most interesting work in different fields of the arts. tonight, jeffrey brown showcases the best of tv and video. >> trying to pin down the best tv of the year is ever more difficult in this age of streaming and unlimited channels for a flavor of the year we turn to a pair of critics who somehow try to keep up with it all. eric deggans and jen chaney. she writes for "new york
magazine"'s pop culture site vulture, welcome to both of you. eric, one on your list was "the deuce" from hobb. >> it was done by david simon creator of "the wire" and it's a detailed look of how the porn industry grew from becoming this sort of illegal venture in the 1970s around times square to a more legitimate business controlled by the mob. franco gets attention based on actual people at the center of this. i was transferred by maggie jillen hall who does an amazing job of playing a prostitute who decides to change her fortunes by becoming a director in porn films as porn is transforming from something sold illegally under the counter in brown paper bags in book stores to something
you can see in peep shows and movie inerts and buy openly in book stores. >> brown: let's take a look. so what are you offering? next time i get my as kicked, i can cry on your shoulder. what's the cut you take for that? >> there won't be no next time, you come with me. i'm going to have your back everywhere you go, baby. >> brown: all right, jen, you also had an hbo show on eric's list, big little lies. what did you like about it? >> i loved the series. it was my favorite of the year. what i liked about it was you had these amazing female actresses, reese witherspoon, nicole kidman, in the story that put women front and center. it was about the politics between moms in monterrey, sly and funny, but as you watched each episode, it got deeper and
deeper into the characters. >> brown: and darker. there's a whole story line about nicole kidman's character and a domestic violence situation that i thought was really insightful and powerful look at that type of situation. >> brown: we have a short clip from that one. >> the dress i bought you. my dress, shoes, new friend jane chapman. she came to my rescue when i was trying to save young lives. a whole story. i'll kill abigail. this is chloe and the boys. >> can you believe they're in first grade? >> i know. take a lot of pick schiewrs. >> hi, maddy. james, bonnie, nathan. hi. oh, i love this. thank you, may it in peru. of course you did. >> brown: eric, how about one or two others briefly that struck you this year. >> well, my top pick was actually another show that talks a lot about women pushing against a patriarchy," the
handmaid's tale "on hulu, talks about a dispopian society where theocracy is taking control of the united states and has subjugated women and forced some women to become breeders for the leaders of that country. elizabeth mass is amazing. samira wiley is amazing in it. again, given the themes of the moment, given what we're talking about now with sexual harassment and assault, it's an amazing story about how women are pushing back against a patriarchy that takes over america. >> brown: jen, do you have another one? >> "the good place" which is an nbc comedy, and i think it is great because it's both light but also really intellectually rigorous in that it deals with philosophy. it's about a woman who ends up in what she thinks is heaven but has not been a very nice person on earth but is trying to keep maintaining the fact that she should be there. and there's a big twist at the end of the first season that it
won't reveal for people who haven't seen it but changes your entire understanding of what "the good place" is but in the second season surprises over and over again. >> you pervert! >> brown: one thing that got attention is late night and the coverage of politics, right, bringing politics into television. you told us before we started about the jimmy kimmel moment on healthcare. tell us a little bit about why that struck you. >> to me kimmel was viewed as someone who kept politics at arm's length in his comedy, but when he was touched personally, he had a son who had a health problems and multiple surgeries after he was born, and it brought him in contact with the healthcare system, he realized some of the things happening in politics weren't quite right, and he called it out on his show with detail, with humor. he was somebody who knew what he was talking about. he wasn't someone known for being a political fire brand but
when he decided to make his voice known, he was very effective. >> if your baby is going to die and he doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money your make. whether you're republican, democrat, something else, we all agree on that, right? (applause) >> brown: is there a moment for you when the country was hit by stuff like that? >> to me this is the year of "are you kidding me?" i felt all year long in politics on television and social media, i was constantly surprised about what i was seeing. the great surprise in the pop culture rounds was the oscars. >> brown: the mistake. we saw la-la land win and then all of a sudden they didn't. >> no, i'm sorry. mistake. moonlight, you won best picture. this is not a joke. >> this is not a joke. i'm afraid they read the wrong thig. >> this is not a joke. moonlight has won best picture?
moonlight, best picture! (cheers and applause) >> even that had a political subtext to it because it was moonlight, this film about an african-american gay man coming to terms with that and really living his life the way he should be and a lot of people were rooting for that so when la-la land seemingly won, it was, like, oh, and it was meaningful moonlight did. >> one more subject, eric. we've talked about this year to year as things change. and this was the evolution of television. this was the growth and power of netflix, though, does continue, is that right? tell us what you're seeing happening. >> well, netflix really stepped up this year. they had a major release of a tv series almost every weekend throughout the year. something like three dozen new shows debuted over the year. they spent $6 billion on original programming. they're projected to spend more next year and you get the sense that in the media world some of
these mergers we're seeing, at&t buying time warner, does my thinking about buying parts of 20th century fox, you wonder if part of their strategy is trying to compete with in effect which seems to be trying to offer everyone everything from standup comedy, documentaries, movies, tv series, to old tv series you can watch as reruns, and can the rest of the media world compete with netflix or will netflix get to the point where it becomes the dpoogle of television? >> brown: jen chaney, eric deggans, thank yot both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: i've been writing those down. and on the newshour online right now: what makes a movie into a great christmas movie? we have five non-traditional movie recommendations for the holiday season. that's on our website,
www.pbs.org/newshour. and we will be back, right here, on monday with the best of the u.s. military's musicians singing and playing "carol of the bells." that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend, and a very merry christmas. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour.
gwen: we're the history detectives and we're going to investigate some untold stories from america's past. elyse: this week, were these beautiful pistols used in a duel that changed california history? [ gunshot ] tukufu: is this picture a long-forgotten masterpiece by one the nation's greatest-ever ilstrators? wes: and could this rusty, old bayonet be a rare relic of custer's last stand at the battle of the little big horn? ♪ watchin' the detectives ♪ i get so angry when the teardrops start ♪ ♪ but he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart ♪ ♪ watchin' the detectives