Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  February 22, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the politics of guns-- the n.r.a. backs the president's calls for arming teachs as a national bate over gun control heats up. then, the immigration status of first lady melania trump's parents raises questthns about a pao citizenship the president is trying to eliminate. and, data in the face of cynicism-- how one psychologist is using numbers to prove society is better today than ever before. >> fewer of us die of disease and starva illiterate, fewer of us are victims of violentrimes, fewer of us die in wars. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
6:01 pm
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, frenia, german, it and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or more information on >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, nad improved economic performance and ial literacy in the 21st century. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democ, tic engagemed the advancement of international peace and security. at
6:02 pm
>> and with going support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for publ broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: call, and response. the pressure to stop school shootings prompted new statements today froanthe presidenthe gun rights lobby. william brangham begins our coverage >> to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a gy with a gun.
6:03 pm
>> bra wayne lapierre, head of the national rifle association, gave nsfull-bore deof gun rights today, and a call to put weapons in schools. >> every day young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide-op soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. schools must be the most hardened targets in this country. >> brangham: lapierre addressed the conservative political action conference, "c-pac," near shington, and accused gu control advocates of exploiting the killings in florida. >> their solution is to make you, all of you less free. they want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security, the failure of family, the failure of america's mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the f.b.i.
6:04 pm
>> brangham: the n.r.a.'s spokeswoman dana loesch was also at c-pac. the directed her criticism at media. >> many in legacy media love mass shootings. you guys love it. now i'm not sayit you love the tragedy. but i ing that you love the ratings. crying white mothers are ratings gold. >> brangham: president trump today tweeted his support for the n.r.a., calling iters "great people and great american patriots." and, at a whithouse listening session with state and local officials, he talked again of arming teachers. >> a gun-free zone to a killer sodattsor the ice cream. >> brangham: the president said it should be teachers with military experience or specialized training: >> if they have the aptitude, i
6:05 pm
think a led permit for having teachers, and letting people know there are people in the building with guns, you won't have, in my opinion, you won't have these shootings because these people are cowas. >> brangham: mr. trump went on to lay out other ideas he said he now supports. >> we're gonna do strong background checks. we're gonna work on getting the age up to 21 instead of 18. we're getting rid of the bump stocks. and we're going to be focusing very strongly on mental health. >> brangham: the n.r.a. has opposed raising the age limits any rifles, including the a-r-15 used in the florida shootings. but the president predicted he'll bring them around. >> i don't think i'll be going up against them. i really think the n.r.a. wants to do what is right. >> brangham: the president has already asked the justice department to work on banning those bump stock devices, like the onessed in last years massacre in las vegas . but the bureau of alcohol, tobao, firearms and explosiv said today it is still reviewing whet can actually regulate bump stocks without congressional approval.
6:06 pm
meanwhile, republicans in are facing newidressure, as ced by last night's cnn town hall event in florida. senator marco rubio was the only republican lawmaker to take part, and he faced a barrage of questions, with some students pointedly challenging him. >> senator rubio, can you tell ac right now that you will not pt a single donation from the n.r.a. in the future? ( cheers and applause ) >> the answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. and i do suppoam the second dment. and i also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe. the influence of these groups comes not from money. the nce comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda. >> brangham: rubio has long been a vocal advocate for gun rights, but last night he conceded that he's rethinking some of his pa positions. >> i traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size, and after this and me of the details i learned about it, i'm reconsidering that position.
6:07 pm
i do believe that in this instance, it didn't prevent it wouldn't have prevented the attack but it made it less lethal. >> brangham: the town hall came an outpouring of student protests in tallahassee and around the country. today, former president obama praised the activists. he tweeted: "young people have helped lead all our great movements. how inspiring to sagain in so many smart, fearless students ng up for their right to be safe." back in florida, the latest funeral, for aaron feis, the football coach at douglas high. he was among the 17 rdered there, eight days ago. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: late today we learned the armed deputy assigned to douglas high school resigned. the sheriff says the officer never went into the building during the shootings. we'll hear a new set of student voices in the gun debate after the news summary. in the day's other news, four northeasternemocratic governors announced a coalition on gun control, dubbed "states for gun safety."
6:08 pm
they represent connecticut, new york, new jersey and rhode island, and they say they want to interce illegal guns and share intelligence. new charges today against two former trump campaign officials. former campaign chair paul manafort and aide rick gates face an updated indictment by the special counsel in the russia probe. it adds tax evasion and bank frinked to alleged money laundering and failing to register as foreign for ukraine. the charges do not relate directthe trump campaign. ayood warnings stretched t from texas to wisconsin, as rivers kept rising from rain and snow melt. ficials declared states emergency around lansing, michigan, and urged evacuations. the red cedar river was at its highest since 1975. and in south bend, indiana, record floods shut dn a treatment plant, dumping untreated sewage into the st. joseph river. the u.n. security council heard
6:09 pm
calls today for a 30-day cease- fire in the syrian war. human rights monitors say 400 people have died in government air strikes near damascus, this week alone. but the u.s. charged russia is obstructing action, to protect its syrian ally. >> the bombing attacksbeen relentless. the regime wants to keep bombing and gassing these 400,000 people, and the assad regime is counting on russia to make sure the security council is unable to stop their suffering. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the syrian army urged people to leave the eastern ghouta suburbs outside damascus, and demanded that rebels surrender. in nigeria, parents say an attack on a school has left more 100 girls missing. that's twice the official count. ko haram extremists attacked the school in northern yobe st monday evening. the girls haven't been seen since.
6:10 pm
four years ago, litants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town of ch north korea today named a provocative leader for delegation to the winter olympics' closing ceremonies, in south kim yong chol allegedly planned an attack on a sth korean warship that killed 46 sailors in 2010. meanwhile, vice president pence defended n standing for the north korean anthem at the olympics, two weeks ago. he also declined to acknowledge the noh korean leader's sister, seated behind him. he appeared at a conservative gathering outside washington, and said he has no apologies. >> the sister of kim jong un is a central pillar of the most radical and oppressive regime on the planet. so for all those in the media who think i should hood and cheered with the north koreans, i say the united states of america doesn't stand with
6:11 pm
murderous dictatorships, we stand up to murdous dictatorships. >> woodruf pence's office said this week he'd agreed to meet with north korean officials during the games, but the north canceled. pyongyang has denied it. missouri's republican governor eric graten was indicted for invasion of privacy, from an extra marital affair in 2015 he admitted having. he admitted using a compromising photo of the woman and threatened to black mail her if she talked about the relationship. t ard state a thate lawmaker has resigned in california over sexual misconduct allegations. state senator tony mendoza leepped down today before the legislature, contrby fellow democrats, could expel him. an investigation alleg he made unwanted advances to six women. mendoza charged he'd been sacrificed to appease the "me- too" movement.
6:12 pm
a florida eye doctor was sentenced today to 17 years in prison, for me fraud totaling $73 million. salolgen had been the nation's highest-paid medicare doctor. melgen had alsbeen accused of ibing new jersey senator bob menendez, but a separate menendez trial ended in a hung jury. and, on wall street, stocks were mostly higher despite a late-day sell-off. the dow jones industrial average gained 164 points to close at 24,962. the nasdaq fell eight points, and the s&p 500 added two. at the wintes today, a long drought ended for american women. the u.s. women's hockey team defeated canada for the gold medal, their first since 1998. american david wise took the gold in meeestyle skiing half-pipe. and, u.s. skiier mikaela shiffrin was silver medalist in the women's alpine combined.
6:13 pm
oustill to come on the newr: students speak out in support of gun ghts. the migration system president trump wants to cnge but has also benefited his in-laws. a psychologist's argument for why life today is tually pretty good, and much more. >> woodruff: on last night's program, we heard from two students who took part in wednesday's rallies tofor stronger gun control laws. tonight, we'reoined by two students who attended n.r.a. president wayne lapierre's speech at the conservative political "c-pac," this morning in washington. and ian parish is a sophomore at liberty university in lynchburg, virginia.
6:14 pm
and we welcome both of you to the "newshour". ian, i'm going to start with you. how would you say u have been affected by the events of the last week, the shooting at that high school in flolda and the reaction to it? >> so at first, like, when i first heard about the school shooting, i actually started crying, right, bause it is a tragedy itan o'sfne think owe could see happen. and in the days afterward, i think there's a mixture of emotions. i'm normally not someone who is very -- very emotional when it comes to news events or stuff like tha but i saw some text messages that some of the students were sending their rents and i was reading them to my mother, right, and that was one of those instances where i -- it broke me emotionally. so i think -- i think the entire nation is really in a state of mourning when it comes to that type of thing. >> woodruff: madison, what about you?t what haseant to you to see this infold and see the reactions to it? >> right.
6:15 pm
i really do sympathize with the students who were at the parkland shooting. we are a nation omoning right now, and we all -- we need to let it settle in. >> woodruff: for sure. there's already, though, a lot of conversation about what to do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. the president's been talking abit, other politici oans. ia of the things being discussed is saying you have to be older in order touy an assault type weapon. what do you think about that? >> i don't really necessarily believe in that, a i -- >> woodruff: because right now you can buy one at 18. >> yes. so i think if someone is going to commit a premeditated act like this, they're going to plan out and they're going to acquire the weapon in one way or another. we actually do know -- i believe i saw a headline where the gunman at parkland actually had -- well, i think it was smoke grenades in t aurora,
6:16 pm
colorado shooting, also likewise. the man had full body armorpe. thesle are going to go out of their way to get things to sort of promulgate these acts, so i don't think an age limit is very conducive to limiting gun violence, anyway. >> woodruff: so, madison, what any restrictions on being able to buy an assaulteapon whether raising the age or placing another barrier to that? >> right, so i believe if you rose the age, you woulind be pupeople at risk between the ages of 18 and 21. at 18, youe sent off into the world and given all these opportunities, you can fight for your count, you can vote, you can do all these other fun things that you haven't been able to do,ou know, in high school or middle school or elementary school, and now that lsyou're older, you havethe right to protect yourself and, when you're 18, you should be lowed to go out and buy a gun because you are on your own. >> woodruff: do you have one? i do not have a gun currentbuy i am a member of the n.r.a.
6:17 pm
and i have been for four months now. i grew up a house full of ans with just women and i learned oung age you can protect yourself using a weapon. >> woodruff: what about this background check question, ian? >> we already have background checks instituted here in the united states. i think a key thing that we need to talk cout and refere here is the gunman at parkland, he committed no prior crime, so even if we incase background checks, we're not going to see -- this man would still havo en this weapon because he does -- he hasn't committed a crime. so he's technically legally allowed and capable of a firearm. >> woodruff: unless there had been some way of monitoring his emotional and mental health which i think has become an issue. >> right. >> woodruff: the other thing i want to ask both of you about, madison, is the suggestion teachers should be armed. the president spoke about this today about how it makes more
6:18 pm
sense for teachers to have gs to protect their students and themselves. is yes. so thiomething i actually believe pretty strongly in. i would love to see more teachers armed. that doesn't necessarily mean every single teacher needs to have a firearm on them during school hours. even if just one teacher has a firearm on them in department scale, then that's just fine. my high schools setp by department so we have the math, the science, the english, t gymnasium had their own little department. even if just one person -- one teacher has a firearm in that department, it automatically reduces the risk of people coming in and being able to shoot -- >> woodruff: i've interviewed a couple of teachers on this program in the last few nhts. last night a teacher i talked to says me thinks putting a gun on the body of a teacher basically says you've given up on school safety and sends a signal to students that the classroom is just not a safe environment
6:19 pm
anymore. >> well, what i'd say to him, in all due respect is we, for some reason, we have a culturein this nation where we defend our airports, we have securityat our banks, we have security our government facilities, but, for some reason, we are not securing our most precious national treasures which are our children. so i disagree with the notion that arming -- somehow allowing teachers to be armed on the campus of an elementary middle ould school somehow w increase gun violence or say they had given up. >> woodruff: madison, i dont o raise, though, the question i hear across the board and that is people saying itpl means more p can get hurt, too, including those children in the school. so all due respect once again to the teacher who saidha i wouldn't want him as my teacher
6:20 pm
nor would i wanav him toa gun, if he thinks schools are that danrs any student would come up, that any student would come up and grab he gun, there is a serious problem with the teachers, then, if that's what they're going to say. >> woodruff: i think the question was it basically is sending a signal to students that the environment can't be made safe unless there are guns there anit takes t attention away from education toward security. >> there's no need for the students to know the teacher has a gun. there is reason why a student should know that the teacher has a gun. the teacher should be able to protect the students if that was ever to happen, but there's no reason for them to know. if you look at schools like in israel, there was one mass shooting there in a school and ey're heavily armed and it hasn't happened since. ow,, there's guns around but you are more safe with more good guys that have guns. >> wdruff: well it's certainly something -- it's being discussed right now, we know it is going to continue to
6:21 pm
be discussed and we thank both you for coming in to share your thoughts. madison, ian, thank you both. >> yes, thank you. >> woodrufious news media outlets reported this week that first lady melania trump parents have obtained green cans, allowing them to live the u.s. that raises questions about tether their legal perman residency here benefited from the very set of immigration laws that mr.rump wants to eliminate. and that system, known as family-based immigratis become a key sticking point in negotiations on immigration reform. our lisa desjardins takes a closer look at the policy now unr consideration. >> desjardins: judy, for a closer look at family-base immigration, and how it compares to the president's preferred "merit-based system," m joined by art arthur. he served for eight years as an
6:22 pm
immigration judge at the york immigration court in york, pennsylvania. he is now a fellow at the center for immigration studies, a group that aes for stricter immigration laws. and john c. yang of the group asian americans advancing justice, an advocacy group dealing with civil rights and immigration issues. >> not related to our john yang, by the way. let me start with you, john. the u.s. family based immigration, let's talk about hothis works,f you were to have a green card in this country, you are able to bring your s and unmarried children right now und. u law and if you're a u.s. citizen you can petition in addition to that to bring your parents, any married children you have and ur siblings. this has been in blais for many decades and resulted in a system where the u.s. has more family-based migration than any country in the world. why is that and how doe this shape this country? >> that's correct, and it's a very misunderstood part of our
6:23 pm
we've had this system in place for the last 50 years and it's really shape country in allowing this country to have a much greater diversity and dynamism in terms of the people coming here with new ideas and real work ethic. one of the important things to remember and dispel is what it is and is not. oftentimes people talk about what we consider an offensive term "ain migration," we think it's offensive and dehumanzing. they're saying there is an unlimited number of people that can come to the unit as you suggested, that's not the case. we're not talking cousins, uncles, aunts that can come to the country. we arealking immediate relatives, people core to that family >> woodruff: you think this is -- esjardins: you think th should be sharply limited. >> right, i would disagree itbr gs for diversity to the
6:24 pm
united states because the fact is you are getting relatives of the inviduals who are already here. so you're getting the same flow of individuals. in the last ten years, 70% of all immigration to the united states has been family-based, and there is no pejorative term when it comes to chain migration, it's been used since 1966 and, in fact, it's common parlance in immigration. the idea of bringing -- deciding who should be a unite states citizen and get to stay here permanently baseon family relationships rather than skills is an idea that's been discredited for a long time. barbara jordan, we celebrated her birthday yesterday, she passed away two decades ago but she herself said absent compelling national interest, immigration should be based on skills. >>oodruff: i'm going to ask you, john, you mentioned the statisc, about 72% of people who come to this country legally come through family connection. does thatot limiteople who
6:25 pm
don't have a family connection but something to offer? is this closing a door to perhaps some skilled workers as art is ash d arguing? >> absolutely not. we have different perhafpsor skilled workers, for people bringing new business to the united states, we obviously have refugee programs, asylum programs to help bring a full mix to the country. wh we're talkinabout what constitutes merit-based, that's the place we need to have a discussion because for us the notion that family is not merit, that there's nito mo having a parent over that will help take care of your kids when you are running a business, runs afoul of what we as americans have typically valued. i mean, if this notion of merit should be that you bring certain skills to the country, yobring certain connections or you bring certain wealth, that's not how thisountry was founded. if you look at some of the iconic american brands like lee vai straus -- levi strauss, he came here with nothing in his pocket, so to speak, but because he had a brother or sister
6:26 pm
already here and came to the country and built a wonderful brand. that's certainly the case with a number of companies here in the united states. >> desjardins: john arguing the desire in itself to come to america shows you have innovation in your blood. how would you defe a merit-based system. often i see countries like canada, they use english proficiency or education. how would you do it in a way that doesn't limit lower-income countries and doesn't sort of self-select for certain groups of people? >> well, the good thing about merit-based immigration is that you don't have to worry about certain countries. thct is the skills and abilities are spread around the wo cd. you know, be the bangladeshi engineer, theri ni doctor that comes to the united states. we want to bring people to the united states who are not only going to be able to support themselves but also contribute to the american economy and grow our economy. >> desjardins: atriteria are we talking about? >> people who have job offers that pay above the median wage.
6:27 pm
people who have education, people who have shown an t attachme our core principles and values. as barbara jordan he elf said, e talking about people who are able to not only support them flves and theirilies but also help to grow the american economy and help the americans already here, both citizens and lawful permanent residents. >> desjardins: we have a history in immigration debates that race comes up. how to you make sure this isn't a system based on racial preferences. >> that's the best part, it is race blind. it's based purely on merit. no one careskhat you l like or where you're from. people care what you can criebt to the american economy when you move to ab skillased system. >> desjardins: what do you think is at stake in this debate about family migratioaln. >> when we about merit-based immigration, what art is talking about and the reproposals that are out t actually reduce immigration by over 50%. so there's appit to our chi on that. number two is i would suggest
6:28 pm
that smerit extefar more to people that have over the median income, rather people who have parents that come over help support small businesses must be part the equation. d jardins: you want to limit immigration in general. >> the fact is most of the pee le who c the united states right now are competing vulnerable most members of society, the individuals who don't have the educational advantages or the work expce a lot of other people do. so by bringing in more skilled individuals who can help to grow jobs and the economy will provide jobs for the folks who are here, again not just american citizens but lawful theitted residents and aliens country r.j. a very importantet deba thank you for having a nversation about it with us, hn yang, art arthur. >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: stay with us,
6:29 pm
coming up on the nshour: an oscar-nominated film about the only u.s. to face criminal charges anaer the 2008 ncial crisis. and a brief but spectacular take on including women in the quest fopeace. there are many days when news events can be overwhelming and even lead to a pessimiic sense of the world, especially after tragedies like the shooting in florida. but it may help to take the much longer view, and that's the focus of a conversation our economics correspondent, paul solman, has tonight for his weekly series, "making sense." >> despite what you read on the news, humanity has been getting better off. >> reporter: that's right, better, psychologist steven pinker insists. >> all too often, something happens, there's a terrorist attack, there's a horrific killing, there's a market plunge, and all of a sudden it's a symptom of a sick society and of a downward spiral. >> reporter: but in his new
6:30 pm
book, "enlightenment now," pinker accentuates the positive, to the delight of superfan bill gates, who's dit his favorite book of all time, even produced a trippy video about >> i loved "better angels of our nature." i'm even more thrilled about your next book "enlightenment now." >>ter: "better angels" argued that violence has been plunging worldwide for centuries. "enlightenment now" says pretty much everything has. >> fewer of us die of disease and starvation, fewes are illiterate, fewer of us are victims ofnt crimes, fewer of us die in wars, fewer of us live under dictatorships. >> reporter: i'm doing this as e economics corresponden because the end goal of economs is welfare. and you're saying that overall, net welfare for humaind has never been better and is getting better all the tim >> it's neen better, whether it will continue to get better depends on whether we continue to seek human wellbeing
6:31 pm
as our goal as opposed to say, the glory of the nation or the race or the faith. whether we continue to develop science and technology, whether we continue to apply reason and not fall back on superstition and fallacies, which we know, as psychologists, humans are vulnerable to. and by the way, it is the economists who tend to be more optimistic. i think be tune with data showing that societies really do get richer >> for most of human history life expectancy at birth was pinned to about 30 years. >> reporter: pinker pushes h case with data, in the book and on the hustings, recently at the world economic forum at davos. >>hance of dying in a car accident has been reduced by 96% from the 1920s. we're 88% less likely to be mowed down on the sidewalk, 99% less likely to die in a plane crash, 95% less likely to die in an accident on the job, 96% less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning. >> reporter: well, but i mean, expectancy in the unite
6:32 pm
states has gone down now for two years in a row. doesn't that begin to t that we've crested? >> no it doesn't, absolutely not. the united states is just one country. and one of the reasons for the deceleration is the opioid crisis. the fact that it's a crisis doesn't mean it's going to last forever and we're neveever going to figure out anyway to make it any better. "> reporter: you write about" sweet commerce,"n idea that started in the 1700s, i guess. and how commerce basically begets pea, people getting along with one another and you quote a famous conserv economist, ludwig von mises, "if the tailor goes to war against baker, he must henceforth bake his own bread." therefore he doesn't go to war. you can't take the pursuit of self-interest,iberal democracy too far? >> oh, you could definitely take it too far, buyou can also take it not far enough, and empirically, commercial states,
6:33 pm
at least today, tend to be less warlike than protectionist states. >> reporter: but is it not arguable at least that we have moved so far in the pursuit of the fruits of commerce that we sort of lost sight of the t'operative aspects of it? >> tpossible. ha's certainly possible when you monopolies, when you have fraud, when you have resources that no one owns like the atmosphere where no one pays for the advantages they get from polluting it. i should also add i've spent a lot of pagesn what i consider to be the biggest threats to progress, theynclude climate change, they include the possibility of nuclear war, they include e possibility of economic stagnation, and they include the rise of authoritarian populism. indeed, i think it's only by acknowledging the darker side of human nature that we can single out what iis that we're trying to minimize. >> reporter:ut do you not keink that at the moment in
6:34 pm
history, the dimpulses of human beings aren't coming to the fore all over the world? ee they are, but they always have i mean, things weren't so great in the 1970s when yocivil wars raging all over the world, when you had the war in vietnam killing ten times as many people as die in wars today. in the 1980s when you had most of the world living in dictatorships behind the iron curtain or in military states of latin america and east asia. so yeah, there are threats, but the fact that there are threats now doesn't mean that they're worse now. they werpretty bad in the past too. in reporter: but you're basically plyour bet on liberal democracy and saying things have been getting better e d better. and the freedom host came th its 2018 report, and quote, "democracy faced its most neous crisis in decades in 2017 as its basic , including guarantees of free and
6:35 pm
fair elections, the rights of minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law, came ck around the world. 71 countries suffered net declines in potical rights and civil liberties with only 35 registering gains. 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom." >> couple things. first of all, i never use data from any website that has a button thasays, "donate." because advocacy organizations always cry crisis. there's certainly been a deceleration in democratization but you and i were alive in the in0s, there were 31 democracies he world at the time. now there are, depending on how >>u count, 105. reporter: whether you think pinker a prophet of progress or its p.r. shill, you dmire his book's purpose: >> it just puts the events of e day into context and i prevents people from becoming fatalistic thinking there's no point in trying to solve problems, because everything is hopeless, so why support-- >> reporter: i think there's a t of that now. >> i think that's a severe problem. that people become so cynical
6:36 pm
about our ability to deal withha problemsthey either withdraw from politics altogether or embrace radicalism, the calls to smash the machine, to drain the swamp, to burn the empire, to hand power to charismaticd-be dictators as, "only i can fix it." that's appeang if you think at the incremental technocratic solutions are failin it's only when you zoom out and you look at thhistorical trajectory you realize that some of these incremental measures really can work over the long run. >> reporter: but we're all worried about the here a now. that's what your readers like me are gonna be thinking when the hear this argument not to worry or not to worry so much. >> the book never says not to worry, in fact, quite the contrary, worry because the people who worried in the past leeto the improvements that see today. >> reporter: that's why it has
6:37 pm
to be enlightenment now. this is a call to arms, is that what y're saying? >> absolutely. progress doesn't happen by magic, it happens to the extent tiat we uh, embrace, what i id as the ideals of the enlightenment, reason, and science, and humanism. that's what gave us the progress that we've enjoyed and the imperative is to-- we dedicate ourselves to those ideals so we would enjoy more progress in the future. reporter: for the pbs newshour, this is economics correspondent paul solman, corresponding from cacbridge, masssetts. fi woodruff: much of the public anger after thncial crisis focused on banks and other large financial institutions. many asked whether those banks were considered "too big to fail" and their ecutives too protected to go to jail. one of the documentaries atminated for an academy award
6:38 pm
this year lookhat question, but as jeffrey brown tells us, through a ry different lens. >> brown: a number of bank including some of the biggest in the country, paid large fines. mot just one bank was indicted fogage fraud related to the crisis and it was a very small one, abacus federal savings and loan, located in new york's chinatown. the story of its prosecution and ultimate acquittal is told in the documentary, "abacus: small enough to jail," which had a theatrical run and also aired on 'ss' frontline. ow been nominated for an oscar for best documentary. filmmaker steve james joins me now. among his previous work, the films "hoop dreams" and "the interrupters." and congratulations on the oscar nomination. what attracted youo this story in the first place? what attracted me was here was a story of a bank that discore low-level fraud going on and acted to deal with it -- they
6:39 pm
fid the employee, initiated their own investigation and reported it to the regulators -- but when it got to the. d's office in new york city, the d.a. decided the bank itself, the president and executives in the bank were complicit andrg administrated the fraud and decided to prosecute them and connected this whoe case to the 2008 crisis saying this was indicative of what hapned in 2008. >> brown: you have this remarkable family and the story behind t bank. thomas sung who founded it in t984 in chinatown. tell us a e about the background of the bank. >> thomas sung was a lawyer who realized one day that, in his own community in chinatown, that people could make deposits at esnks and -- but not get loans to build buss or buy homes, and he decided that was something he wanted to tryano , so he became a banker and started abacus over 30 years ago with express purpose to
6:40 pm
serve that community and help build thatommunity. >> brown: so i want to show a bttle clip here because your film is about thk but also an immigrant family and a particularly immigrant community, chinese-americans in new york. >> it's about exone oratingur entire community, no matter what we do, be it selling or a bank doing business. i told mr. sung, i'm glad they pick on you because you're a fighter. >> the bank fell easy to the attack especially because it's a family bank but he doesn't realize tom is not easy to be pushed and irls, they are tough, smart, capable women. so courageous. >> although this is david versus goliath, david being abacus
6:41 pm
federal savings bank has a sling shot and that's their family of lawyers. >> brown: the daughters are lawyers and got involved with this. the argument of the family and bank is we're doing good on our community and you're picking on the wrongpl pe. you were sympathetic to that argument? >> i was very sympathetic to it and alsoe fact that they seem to do everything they could to try to root out the fraud themsees and they even cooperated with the d.a.'s office until they realized they were the target of the investigation. so nothing that they did bespoke a ba that was trying to orchestrate or hide fraud. >> brown: the cyrs vans who was -- vance mentioned in the clip was the manhattan d.a. and was the office that brought this, he spoke to you for the film. for the record, he still believes this was an appropriate .ase to brin >> he does i mean, we interviewed him after the case and he felt just as stroly after the verdict as he
6:42 pm
did while they tried the case, ani don't know, it bewilledders me, i think a little bit. believehe really did there was fraud going on, and was sincere. i think his judgment wasloud by the fact that there was ambition there to be the office that brought a caseinst a bank in the wake of the 2008 crisis and nowhere is that revealed more plai tly to men in the indictment in the announcement of it. he had the feds from washington behind him, and then he also orchestrated this chain gang of mostly ex-employees, lolevel employees, members of the chinese community chained together and paraded in front of the media. >> brown: but this goes to the larger context of the film, i fmean something we cover years on this program looking at the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. it's subtitled "small enh to jail" obviously playing on the "too big to fail." so the question you're raising is why just this bank and not
6:43 pm
other banks. >> yes, d if he had gone after bank of america, if the feds let ovm do that, they would still be in disy. i think there was a belief that this bank, because it was a chinese-american bank, there was omt going to be any kind of political fallout his. i think he really believed that this bank wouldoll overnd probably never go to trial. it's interesting, the big banks were all offred non-prosecution reements, they paid figure fines and it all went away. with abacus they didn't get that offer. a they were offered a felony conviction plus a fine andthey believed they were so firmly innocent they weren't going to a deal like t >> brown: as a filmmaker, when you're looking for a story to tell, were yoru stang off with the big story looking at the financial crisis and what happened with e banks, and this was your way in, or did you start with this small stoy?
6:44 pm
>> well, i started with the story of what looked to be like an unequal apication of justice in america, this bank being picked on. that was t initial hook, but the heart of the story is this family, as you mentioned earlier. the integrity, the commitment, the courage that they showed, it is really very much a human ese-americana chin family that pushes back and does not give in to this wrogful prosecution. >> brown: and how are they doing now and the bank doing? the bank's doing gre now. they lost money during the whole period of inctment and the trial, but they have rebounded sine. fannie mae, the alleged victim in this case, is now bac business with abacus. they're happy the trial is over, and things ar well. there are even people who have made depits at their bak that don't even live in chinatown in support of the bank after seeing the film which is really kind of sweet.
6:45 pm
>> brown: ab abacus: small enough toil, nominated for an oscar. steve james, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: and you can watch it online. >> woodruff: as we reported, the u.s. team won several medals last night, but as william brangham reports, none was more thrilling than when the women's hockey team won the gold medal against arch-rival canada. >> pore the past two decades the american team has been looking up enviously at their rival that finally changed last night with a game for the ages. i spoke earchlier to stine brennan of "usa today" who was watching the game in south rea. she's alo a comen fair to --r commentator n. you wrote, wake up america, while you were sleepingal something magappened last
6:46 pm
night. can you tell us a little bit about that gamh,e? >>y gosh. i've covered a lot of sports. this is one of the greatest things i've ever u.s.'s hockey, they won the gold medal, beat canada 3-2. there's such a history between the two teams, they're the two best teams in women's hockey in the world.v seems likery four years they play each other for the gold medal. u.s. won in 1988 and that iswo neveanother gold medal. canada's won all of them.ou 20-year t of the united states, this buildup to t rivalry and the game lived up to the billing in every way. u.s. up 1-0, canada swarms back, takes a 21 lead. u.s. ties at the end, 6 minutes to go. goes into overtime, 20 mines overtime. free wheeling, intngeresti fascinating play both sides. till tied, goes to shootouts, after five of the shootout shots, each side, 5-3 each,
6:47 pm
still tied and they have to go to a 6 and that's where the u.s.a. wins it. >> the united states wins gold! in pyeongchang! >> it was just rivetting and fun to watch and great playing. these two teams who respect each her so much and are so clo proximitywise, and to have this game played at the most important moment of their lives and the u.s. wins, for the first time in 20 years the u.s. wins a gold medal in women's ice hockey, that's as gooas it gets. >> brangham: i heard women say they were inspired by the win in 1998. did you hear that as wl is this. >> i did. every one sad that, they were either trying to win it for some of the older women, the veterans, incding the twins, obviously jocelyne lamoureaux
6:48 pm
had the last shootout goal at won it for the united states and the great save by maddie rooney when they had the chance to tie it up again. so you had older players with three ympics, and at that point no gold and two unsatisfying silvers to that point. and then you have the names that these women grew up with. you know, th were their re models. they were cheering for them back when they were playing in '98 when these women were little kids in their bedrooms and had posters of them in their rooms. so absolutely, we see this over and over again in women's sportv that now we a whole new generation of girls who grew up watchingthletes play team sports at a high level and the same exact scenario really for me as the 1999 women's world cp in soccer and how that has translated to so many women iing empowered and rvetted by that game who have now gone on
6:49 pm
to other great things in their lives 19 years later. and it's terrific to see in this case the girls next door happen to be wearing hockey skates, but 's that same story oveand over again, and the olympics bring us those title 9 stories, especially, involving women and the girls who root for ther >>angham: we tend to think of hockey as a largely male sport. is it becoming more popular with young women? >> yes, it absolutely is. obviously, it's a northern spoit an's always been very popular in the boston area and in minnesota and wisconsin, the great high school programs there, the great coheege programs and then of course canada, they're so good at it as well. but i was jt looking this up and over the last decade a 5% increase in participation, according to u.a. hokey, for girls and women, and especially om 18 and under. so these youth programs, they're starting. i know this, grew up my brother played hockey, we grew up in toledo, ohi not far from
6:50 pm
detroit, and i think i would have played hockey if it had been available back then and i had plenty of sports to play but i never had a chance. there is girls hockey girling throughout the midwest, great lakes states, the northern med west and in new england especiand i think something like this, the way this game washe played, attention to it, i actually think, william, the fact it was overnight, i heard from a lot of people who stayed up and watched it. east coast, you ha to stay up pretty late, obviously. in the west coast, it wasn't bad. i think people waking up to the news that something great happened and watching the highlights, even if just a few secondof the shootout, i think this is going to have a nice impact, and ihink these kind of touch-tone moments reallye occur re the olympics bring, in this case, girls to a sport they may not otherwise thought of even trying. >> brangham: christine brennan of "usa today," thank you so much. >> william, my pleasure, thank you.
6:51 pm
>> woodruff: next, we turn to another installment of our weekly brief but spectacular, seriere we ask people about their passions. tonight, we hear from author and activist swanee hunt. she is the founding director of the women and public policy program at harvard's kenne school of government and a former u.s. ambassador to austria. hunt's latest book is called "rwandan women rising." a er shock and awe in iraq, i went to meet with the general at the pentagon. i said, "you've got to bring in women now. they're so invested in having peace because of the cost to their children. they're your best allies on the ground." med this wonderful general, so polite, poured me offee, and he said, "oh, madam ambassador, thank you so much
6:52 pm
for coming by, and, you know, it's been a wonderful hour with you, ande will be sure, after we get the place secure, we'll be able to think about women's issues. and i thght, "what are you talking about? this is not cervical cancer. this is security i was ambassador to austria, and right nextoor, yugoslavia was falling apart. and ere was a genocide going on. and i-- i was tormented trying to figure out how to intervene, so i hosted negotiations-- 14 days. and it wasn't until i walked into the room at the white house where the peace agreement was going to be signed, and i thought, "holy cow. this is a room full of suits," and i di't realize that there were no women involved. i was invited then to go to rwanda.
6:53 pm
a few years after the genocide,o and ed around said, "how did these women come to be, eventually, 64% of the parliament?" like, no place in the world is near that. rwanda is a case where women have in fact come in and waged peace, and they have so much to teach us. not just people in conbut the united states. tht was not a women's movem by design. it was organicit grew out of the necessity. when you have much suffering in a conflict area, usually it's the women who are moreensitive to what's happening on the ground. like in colombia, it was the women involved in the peace talks who insisted that victims would be at the table. it might be a minority group, it
6:54 pm
might be people from a certain area of the region. i mean, that's the beauty of it, that the women, perhaps because they've been outsiders, they look for other outsiders to be there. we've got the research now. when women are significantly involved in a peace talk, there's a much greater chance isthat that peace agreemen going to last. my name is swanee hunt, and this is my brief buect tacur take on how women wage peace. >> woodruff: you can watch more brief but spectacular videos on our website,, also onln annotated excerpt from the book "killers of the floweavmoon." author grann's true crime story abt the murders of tive americans in oklahoma, which led to the birth of the iob.i., is the latest sele in our book club: "now read this." that and moris on our web
6:55 pm
newshour..or and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online andgain here tomorrow evening with david brooks and ruth marcus. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you anyou soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and mor15 babbel's 10-inute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on > nd with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was
6:56 pm
possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.yo than captioning sponsored by nnewshour productllc captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
martha stewart: if you can never get enough cookies, then you won't want to miss this season of "martha bakes". i'll be bringing you cookies from all over the world. join me in my kitchen, each week, where i'll share popular classicsvirom italy, scandia, france, the netherlands, eastern europe; even from down under. discover unusual ingredients, plus helpful tips for decorating and sharing. welcome to "martha bakes". tha bakes" is made possible by... for more than 200 years, domino and c&h sugars have been used by home bakers to help bring recipes to life and create memories for each new generation of baking enthusiasts. ♪


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on