tv PBS News Hour PBS August 20, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
y captioning sponsored b newshour productions, llc >> yang: good evening. i'm john yang. judy woodruff is away. on the nshour tonight: a change in values. the leaders of america's largest corporations endorse a new vior business, saying social concerns are as important as profits. but can they practice what they preach? then, casualties of war. we are on the ground in gaza, where a generation lives with the lasting wounds of conflict. plus, the beat of his own drum. hip hop artist common on trauma, forgivenes rapper.king it as a >> one of the things i'm learning through the process is to be kind to myself, you know, and not just judge everything i do when i make mistakes. i try to learn from mistakes and
ackndge where i was wrong and move forward. >> yang: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kin. >> kevin! >> kevin? >> advice fe. fe well-planned. learn more at raymondjames.com. >> ordering takeout. >> finding the west rout >> talking for hours. >> planning for showers. >> you can dthings you like to do with a wireless plan designed for you. with talk, text d data. consumer cellular. learn more at consumercellular.tv babbel. a language program that teaches spanish, french, italian, germ, and more.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> yang: president trump acknowledged he is considering tax cuts, but not, he says, in response to recession fears. that was just one of the topics the president ta about today during an oval office meeting with the president of romania. >> we're looking at various tax reductionsbut i'm looking at that all the time anyway, tax reductions. payroll tax is something that we think about, and a lot of people would like to see that, and that very much affects the workers of our country. >> yang: we'll hear more from the president when we talk to white house correspondent yamiche alcindor, after the news summary.
wall street gaund today, after a batch of disappointing corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average lost 173 points to close at 25,962. the nasdaq fell 54 points, and the s&p 500 slipped 23. in syria, the donant militant group in idlib province reaeated from a key town, i new blow to rebel forces. the insurgents, linked to ea qaeda, pulled out of khan sheikhoun under bombardment and air strikes. n government syr troops entered the town, backed by russian air support. idlib is the major rel bastion in syria. in afghanistan, hundreds of people paid tribute today to the dozens who died in a suicide bombing in kabul. many gathered in mosques, while others visited memorials to the victims. some criticized government officials, including president ashraf ghani, for failing to put an end to the violence. >> ( translated ): the president anchief executive must resign. they cannot serve the nation,
ey should apologize to t people. ghani promised to bring security during his campaigns before becoming thedent, but he couldn't. we have had the highest number of civilian casualties under his rm. >> yang: the islamic state group claimed responsibility for saturday's attack on a wedding celebration. it came as the united states pursues peace talks with the taliban. meanwhile, the state department announced chief neor zalmay khalilzad is heading back to qatar to resume those talks. dozens of migrants made desperate attempts today to reach the southern italian coast. the migrants, most of them from africa, have been stuck on a rescue ship for 19 days, as italy refuses to let the vessel dock. at least 15 jumped overboard today, hoping to reach.ampedusa isla more than 80 remained on board, in worsening condition hours later, a sicilian prosecutor ordered the ship seized, and the migrants evacuated to shore. meanwhile, italian prime minister giusepp after his far-right coalition partner quit the populist
government. interior minister matteo salvini d his league party have pushed the hard-line policy against migrants. now, with his populaty rising, he wants new elections. conte accused salvini of being irresponsible as the interior minister sat next to him in the italian senate, and shrugged off the criticism. >> ( translated ): my dear minister of interior, by starting this government crisis, you are taking a great re country.ty towards the you have asked for full powers to rule the country, aave heard you calling the people in the squares to support you. >> yang: conte's government lasted just 's months. if iresident accepts his resignation, the country could see elections as early as october. still to come on the newshour: amid a backdrop of rising income inequality, american business leaders announce a philosophical shift. on the ground in gaza, where
nshot wounds have become a part of daily life. tricks of the trade with the former c.i.a. head of disguise. and, much more. >> yang: the trump administration continues to tout a strong economy and dismiss fears of a potential recession. in the oval office this afternoon, the president was asked if his trade policies his new tariffs in the escalating trade war with china is having a negative impact on the u.s. economy. >> i am this whether it's good or bad for your statement about, "oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?" tothe fact is, somebody ha take china on. my life would be a lot easier if i di't take china on. but i like doing it because i have to do it. >> yang: our yamiche alcindor is hehelp explain the white house's thinking. so the president said that the-- the economy's doing great. but he's also thinking about leys of boosting it a li bit, and then seemed to acknowledge that his own trade policies may bring a recession,
a short one. what's goingn? >> the economy has been the shining example that president trump has been able to point to amid scandals and controversies. he's been able to say, look, you don't "like water for chocolate" my rhetoric or racist tweets or women alleging i sexually assaulted them, at least the economy is doing well. whno is happeninw is there are signs the economy could be slowing and that's making presidst trump and republic very, very worried. as a result, he's essentially make the case, "china made me do all the farmers frustrateed in the midwest because their markets have gonheaway as trade war with china has dragged on. it's not my fault. china made me do this." the republican party is really trying to find a mesge help them if there is a recession. also, for republican lawmakers they've been able point to the economy and say, "i know i don't "like water for chocolate" pretident trump's racist ts or maybe i don't "like water for chocolate" the fact that he separated thousands of immigrant families, but again, the economy is doing waelnd wooshed think things are going well." that is starting to crumb bemth
an is the president trying to save his presidency and save face. >> yang: another topic was his stand on background checks, gun control. let's take a listen to what he said. >> we have very, very strong background checks right now, but we have sort of missing areas, and areas that don't complete the whole circle. and we're loffing at ent things. and i have to tell you that it is a mental problem, and i've said it 100 times. it's not the gun that pulls th trigge it's the person that pulls the trigger. >> yang: immediately after el paso and dayton, he seemed to be saying that he expected the senate to-- congress to act on stricter gun control. but now he seems to be back off? >> there's no question president trump has completely pulled back his support for background and it comes down to three letters, n.r.a. that gro has had a strong hold on republicans. they backed president trump, and nowth we ae pbs newshour can
confirm the president called wayne lapierr, the head of n.r.a. that afternoon, and told him university background checks are completely off the table. that's a complete 180 from what the president was saying just two weeks ago. he saierd would be tremendous support for commonsense background checks. that has gone away now. and e president essentially siewgz talking points from the n.r.a.s he said therea slippery slope when it comes to gun legislation, and if they startth messing ackground checks, democrats might take away the second amendment. wn just aite house l few weeks ago, he said this isn't about the n.r.a. o republicans or democrats. that's completely changed. i think it it will be very interesting once congress csees back twhat the president does. weve a pretty clear sign. the n.r.a. is on the phone with the white house and theyre completely changing their tone. >> yang: white house corresopondent yamiche alci, thanks very much. >> thanks. >> yang: for decades, maximizing
profits for stockholders has been the driving goal for corporate amica. but there's a growing populist backlash as more and more americans believe that goal has led to great social inequality. this week, nearly 200 of the country's most prominent companies issued a joint statem major philosophical shift. the c.e.o.s said that corporate take into account all stakeholders: that means employees, customers, suppliers and society in general. that's the foc of this week's "making sense" segment. and for it, we tn to steven pearlstein, pulitzer prize- winning columnist for the ngton post," professor o public affairs at george mason university, and author of the book, "can american capitalism survive?" steve, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. yang: a year ago you wrote in your column that the decisions to declare maximizing value for shareholders as thele urpose of a corporation is the source of much of what has gone wrong with american capitalism. how big a deal is this shift? >> well, it's a big deal ot so
much because what the roundtable saysas any legal force on any of its members. it's important because itgn s a shift in attitude in lready occurring. it's a sort of confirming something that's happening that's, i think, the pendulum swinging back inigthe direction after having swung too far in favor of shareholders. so it's important for this sort of signaling value and for the signaling to other kinds of businesses and other businesshi thatis now a new norm, and signaling to the other stakeholders to ben to, i thinert some of their influence and their leverage. >> yang: now, after you wrote that column, jami dimon, the chairman of j.p.morgan chase reached out toou. what happened? >> we know each other and i was having breakfast and somebody picked up the phone and said, "that was the stupidest column i
ever read." and i said, good morning, jami. how are you?" and weave a frank discussion. at the end of it i said, "look, y don't you have a dinner somewhere. you can come here, i'll host one here, wiel do it in new york, and you have some of your gud ys ll have some of the other journalists there." and the reason was he thought journalists were misportraying this issue t he said, "we don't run our companies in the ruthless profit-maximizing way that you suggest." and i said, "first of all, i'm not sure that's always the case, bueven if it were why don't you say that shouldn't be the norm." and he didn't really have an answer for that. and that's sort of what-- what eventually we did have this meeting in new york and nhis office and we hash things noound. and i think, you we acknowledge that, no, they don't all run their companies in a ruthless way 100% of the time. and he acknowledged that m tbe
they need think about reframing the purpose of a corporation. >> yang: you say this move-- this shift has been going on for a while. so why now? why make this formal declaration now? >> well, several, but one of which is the political environment where, you know, you have the two leading-- or two of the three leading democratic presidential candidates going around sayi the big problem is corporate greed. and they probably overstate the case and are pretty harsh about their populist complaint. but, you know, that's added to fact that for years business and business leaders have been ld in lower and lower regard by the public. and i think, you know, they have had a period of time, john, as you know, for the last 20 years, whe they're-- their allies in the republican party have pretty ch controlled things in washington, particularly in the congress. and they're looking at a period of time wre that might not be the case. so i think they probably need to establish some credibility in
the public marketplace because they've been playing aen ins game for the past 20 years quite successfully. sbut they probably have rt playing an outside game and they need to establish legitimacy with the public for, you know, the views that they have. >> yang: and are the-- are ey also getting pressure from within, from lazy? >employees? >> yes, i think that's the other thing. i'm not a big fan of social media, but social med has made them extremely sensitive to the reactions of consumers, consumer boycottsor threats. they read their social media very carefully. and it also-- and i think this is perhaps the most important thing-- companies are in a battle for talent, fr top talent. and there are a lot of young people-- i think this as a college profr-- who won't go work for a company they think is a ruthless ofit maximizer. they also need that to recruit talent. >> yang: so, they're getting pressure from below, but so many of the incentivest the top,
you know, compensation, bonuss tied to hitting stox prices, hiquarterly earnings marks. how much is really going to change? the incentive structure has changed. in fact, thtr've d over the years-- and this is something under criticism. they have made the stock-related compensation much more long-term. so it isn't quarterly anymore. and, you know, i think those improvements have en there. but, you know, they can still do really well under these compensation things by changing things a little bit. and, you know, it's a sort of a collectiion problem. they all know,nk f, that they needed to change the way they behaved. the problem was hat no one could do it because if one did it and the others didn't,hen they would get called out, and their stock price would get hammer, and they would b criticized by wall street.
stow one of the reasons something "like water for chocolate" the roundtable exists is for them to dit collectively so it's a sort of tual protection society. they can do what they think is the right thing and not get tilled out individually for it. >> yang: you medly the political environment. ic candidates,at the democrats may take congress back. why shouldn't we just see this as a p.r. gimmick, as trying to t out ahead of an issue, of trying to-- trying to look good? >> well, to me, that'srogress. when the corporate community tries to get out ahead of something "like wate tfor chocolatt and acknowledges that they may have overdone a thin-- then that's a win. i mean, i don't know how-- yit is good for p.r., but if they don't follow through, if we ntinue to see companies that say, i'm giving up my american citizenship so that we don't have to pay u.s. taxes anymore because our shareholders are making us do it," ifmpanies say, "we're going to crush our
unions because our shareholders are making s do it," they won't be able to get away wit thhat anymore. >> yang: steven pearlstein of the "washington post" and george masonha university,s so much. >> thank you. >> yang: for many months now, stinians in gaza have regularly protested their conditions along the border fence with israel. those protests have often turned violent, resulting in deaths and permanent injuri. militant palestinians have lobbed rockets and gunfire at israel, especially tgeting the soldiers at the border. but some international observers say the response of late has taken a disturbing turn. special correspondent jane ferguson was there last year when the conflict first ratcheted up, and returned recently for another look. >> reporter: in gaza, soccer is a crucial rt of life. for many, it's an escape from the hardships here.
with few prospects for a job, it's a way for young men to ss the time, and a way to still feel human even after devastating injuries. playing with one leg is not easy, but then, nothing about life is in gaza. >> ( translated ): before the injury, i loved playing soccer. but after my injury, it became difficult. but in this team, i can return to it, and i love the sport. fr this sport, we get an outlet for our fees, and that's necessary for everyone. >> reporr: 7,000 have been shot by the israeli army while taking part in protests along ththe border of gaza ilast 15 months. dozens of those have lost a limb. ahmed did everything he could to travelling to turkey and egypt to try to find a surgeon he says he'll never forget the day he was sho >> ( translated ): i was taken to the hospital, but there was
such a large number of injuries i had to wait 24 hours fory operation. >> reporter: that was may 14 last year, when gazans took part in a "march of return" protest along gaza's border with israel to demonstrate for the right to return to their family's ancestral homes inde israel, homes their forebears fled when israel was formed in 1948. the gaza strip has been under blockade by israel since june 2007, when hamas took control of the territory, violently evicting the palestinian authority. it is one of the most densely populated places in the world, nearly two million pple packed into a sliver of land 25 miles long andmiles wide. unemployment is at a staggering 52%, leaving young men like this feeling theyave nothing to .o the day after ahmed was shot, the ump administration formally moved the u.s. embassy to jerusalem, recognizing jerusalem as the capital of
israel. palestinians have long declared that jerusalem would one day bet he capital of their future state. until that point, offial u.s. policy on claims to the city had always bn neutral and a subject for final negotiations. we were there on that day as tens of thousandmarched towards the border fence. 73 palestinians were killed and over 2,500 iured. in the makeshift field hospitals, the wounded aived at an alarming rate, almost all shot in the leg by snipers. israeli sharp shooters hit so many, the hospitals couldn't cope. >> i never forget this day because it was bloody. >> reporter: dr. adnan al bursh was the lead surgeon on duty that day in gaza's main hospital. >> my department, in that day, we did about 85 surgeries in one day alone. myself alone, i done 28
surgeries in tha i started surgeries at 9:00 a.m., and the last surgery was at 1:00 a.m. aidnight. so, really, gu was tough fa and it was lack of instruments and lack os antibiotd lack of medication a even anesthesia medication for the patient. >> reporter: at the end of his long, exhausting day, dr. al and a colleague took this picture. it's the nature of the wounds that most disturbed dr. al borsh. despite fightiug for lives ththree wars in gaza, he had never se anything like this before. >> the entry point, or the entrce from the bullet, it w one centimeter; and the exit, it was more than 15 and 20 centimeters. on its way, it take bones, it take arteries, it take vessels, it take nerves.
so, its future is uncertain, really. i think, because such bullet which was used when entereinto the body, it explodes in the body, and it takes everything in its y. >> reporter: so, even if the limb is saved, it will never be use and will need surgery after surgery to avoid amputation. at a nearby clinic run by doctors without borders, young men with similar wounds fill the waiting room daily. it's hard enough to find a job in gaza, where most work is manual labor. these young men will struggle now more than ever. the bullet wounds were so devastating, some medi grievous. dust and dirt from the protest site meansy half of them have serious infection in their bones. >> ( translated ): so, they are very difficult to treat. even the best resourwos in the world be overwhelmed, and
it would be impossible to manage lexity and the volume of these injuries. >> reporr: waleed al ramlawi was waiting to see a doctor and showed us his leg. the huge square of skin patched up where the bullet tore out large chucks of his leg. "up until now, my wound has not recovered, and it has been ten months," he told us. >> ( translated ): i have had more than one surgery, and nothing has been achieved. >> reporter: waleed and his friends say they were unarmed, protesting near the border fence when he was shot by a sniper. >> ( translated ): the israelis were dealing with us as though we were an army. they were not dealing with us as peeful protestors. we had no weapons, just our bodies. >> reporter: human rights groups say this is a war crime. saleh hijazi heads amnesty international in israel and palestinian territories.
>> the willful cause of injury and willful cause of death is a war crime. and so, in botances, what we have found, both in terms of the killings and the injuries, that israel has violl ed internatiow. many of these killings appear to be willful killings and thefore a war crime. >> reporter: the israeli army denies this. they would not grant an interview to theewshour but released a statement saying: "for over a year, the israeli defense forces has been operating against ent riots and terrorist activities under cltheir auspices, which ine shooting at soldiers, attempts toenet io israel, attempts to damage the security infrastructure, burning tires, throwing stones, throwing molotov cocktails and grenades in order to harm i.d.f. soldiers. " but in a damningeport released in march, a united nations independent commission of inquiry disputed that, sing the israeli military sniping at protestors was unlawful and unjustified, and should be referred to the international
criminal court at the hague. the u.n. noted that some protestors threw stones and lit kites on fire to send across the fence, but the majority were peaceful civilians. israeli soldiers, the commission said, shot and killed children, paramedics, journalists and the disabled, fully aware of who they were. israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu rejected the report, sayings motivated by "an obsessive hatredrael." despite the dangers, protestors still show up here every single friday. the israelis have reinforced the borders along here, and they still shoot the protestors who make it too close to them. on thiday, the numbers are down to just a few hundred people, mainly youngnd boys inching towards the fence angerous game of chicken. most of these kids have never seen the outside world, tr ped in a tiny strip of land under blockade by the israel government and ruled over by the militant group hamas.
flaming kites are still sometimes sent across the fence, causing israeli farmers crops to burn. the most cynical here encourage the smallest to approach the fence, goading israeli guards. israel says the protests are organized by the militant group hamas, but the people we m here deny that. >> ( translated ): i come every friday, and i would come every day if the protest was ery day. we in gaza have nothing to do, no work. all of these peoe around don't have a single shekel because we are living under the siege. and the siege is constant. >> reporter: for as long as the protests continue, so will the bloodshed, and also the efforts to save lives. >> as a doctor, as a surgeon, i try to help my people by my experience, by my hands.
ive without disability, without pain, without suffering. when i seeient who was going to amputats n and i save mb, i become happy, really. si become happy because t patient has a wife and has sons and has relatives. >> reporter: the lasting legacy of these demonstrations is thousands of young m and women crippled, a generation deformed. a generation that continues to suffer, trapped inside this cruel conflict. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in gaza. >> yang: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: hip-hop artist common on music, activism, and s newly released book.
jonna mendez is one half of a legendary espionagr couple. she and her husband, tony, met as american spies in the soviet union and took turns as the c.i.a.'s chief of disguise. before tony died earlier this year, the coupte a book about living undercover at the height of the cold war. their work is now enshrined in a permanent exhibit at the international spy muse washington, and that's where nick schifrin caught up with jonna and her trove of cloaks and dagg >> schifrin: for 27 years, across cold jonna mendez worked undercover der the c.i.a. but while the blrom kentucky was always pursued, eve master of disguise was caught. >> with disguise, we just surpsed anyone's dreams. i mean, we some had amazing successes. >> schifrin: the "we" were jonna and tony mendez, spouses and stars of the c.i.a., both former chiefs of disgui they were married for almost 30
s, before he died last year. >> tony had creative energy that that he spread around like fairy dust. i give him credit for the real innovative ideas that we worked with. but i for seeing that they happened. we were a good team. >> schifrin: their team was part of the c.i.a.'s office of chnical service, or o.t.s. they built the tools of espionage: the disguise kit, the cameras that could hide anywhere, the shoes with a secret microphone, the underwear to pretend to be pregnant-- secrets used in soviet moscow, now at the international spy museum in washington. >> we're not trying to say o.t.s. won the cold war. but the tools that we provided to our case rs, that let them get out on the street, that let them in fact meet face to iace with some of our russ sources, made an enormous difference. >> schifrin: the first challenge way'right outside the embass gates, on the streets of moscow. thians were always tailing them, so they got a little help from their friend jack.
>> jack in the box was every h.o.v. commuters' dream. it was a pop-up dummy that would emerge out of various things. >> schifrin: everywhere agents drove, a soviet car would follow. so, the mendezes created a gap. as the americans turned a corner, the soviets were blind just long enough for american agent to jump out of the car, and jack in the box to pop up in his place. >> it looked like a person. it was three-dimensional. it wore real clothes, it had a face, it had hair. it could look exactly like the person who had just left that seat. >> schifrin: in pop culture, spies have slick catchphrases, like bond... >> bond. james bond. >> schifrin: ...and explosions, like bourne... ( explosion ) >> schifrin: ...but mendez says there's only one spy who gets it right. >> the male star in "the
americans" had this wonderl ability to put on these nothing disguises and then he became thing. >> how have you been, martha? >> he became almost invisible. he was perfect. ( elevator dings ) but if he got on the elevator with you and got off two floors later, you wouer remember that he'd even been on the elevator. he just could disappear into his disguise >> schifrin: that disappearing act is what she peted at the height of the co war, for american agents and their russian assets. moscow became so dangerous, it was a "denied area," meaning c.i.a. officers couldn't meet russian informants face to face. in cold war moscow, every face was watched. so jonna and tony gave their colleagues more than one. >> we didn't need to use masks in any other place. but we needed them in moscow, because it was a solution that was almost forced upon us. without disguise, our ca officers would have been totally stymied. that was the intention of the k.g.b. they wanted us to be unable to collect intelligence.
>> schifrin: mendez went to the use, disguised in her own handiwork. >> a woman who worked with me, who gave me her face as a farewell present. >> schifrin: so this is a real person's face? >> yeah, that's her. >> schifrin: in moscow, they followed a set of informal guidelines, which tony wrote down and turned into the "moscow rules," the name of their new book. rules like, don't harass the opposition. >> don't mess with them. something bad will happen to you. maybe you're going to get beat up y in front r own embassy. and medevac'd the next day with a broken clavicle. >> schifrin: their most sacred mission? keep soviet ents alive. >> there's something so personal about the russian side of it. king care of those peopl that was basically what our office did. we provided ith the technology to be safe. with tradecraft and methods of communication ould allow us to keep a distance between us and them, so we wouldn't contaminate them. >> schifrin: one of their best assets, alexanr ogorodnik, code name trigon, a soviet
diplomat who shared thousands of seitive cables. he hid from the k.g.b. with mendez's hel >> he was the first one i know of who said, i'll take these risks, but i'm not going to let them kill me the way they want to do it. if they arrest me, i want an l. pill. that was a cyanide pill . >> schifrin: that pill was hidden in a pen. when he was caught, he went to nfwrite a sion-- and bit down on the pen. he died in seconds. >> people look at poison pens in pop culture and they go, do we really do that? well, yeahwe did. >> schifrin: that's when tony mendez broke one of his own moscow rules. he mourned trigon's death. >> the rule is, never fall in love with your with your agent. and it didn't mean fall in love. it meant almost like a doctor- patient relationship. don't ever let it get personal. tony was so attached to trigon. and when they lost trigon, it was tr >> schifrin: tony was the central character in the movie "argo," about how he rescued americans hiding in tehran after
the 1979 hostage crisis, by disguising them as a canadian film crew. >> you have to know your resume back to front. >> you really believe your little story's going to make a difference when there's a gun to our heads? think my little story's the only thing between you and a gun to your head. >> schifrin: he was part spymaster, part ringmaster, had the flair of a magician and the eye of an artist. pas arried his disguises in this >> we used to say that you could have problem, an operational problem, and you could have a meeting ansolve it, get tony in, make sure he's at the table because everybody knows that artists think just a little differently. >> schifrin: and mendez helped c.i.a. think different. this painting commemorating his work hangs on the wall at langley headquarters. how important are the lessons that you and tony learned and wrote about? >> one of e big lessons is that you do nothing alone. it's a team... it's always the team. and this book is trying to call out that o.t.s. team.
the people behinor beside you, or maybe even the people that you were supporting that were in front of you. but everyone in o.t.s. knew that you don't do anything alone. >> schifrin: jonna mendez and her husband never did anything alone, and they never stopped livithe moscow rules. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. >> yang: now, a conversation with a rapper from the south side of chicago, who's branched out beyond music a a has a new bo album that explores his own personal history. amna nawaz's interview with common is part of our ongoing arts and culture series, "canvas." : he's one of the biggest names in hip-hop, know for the rhythm and rhymes 2's created ov7-year career in music.
over the decades, common the rapper has added actor, activist, and author to his resume, and the awds have followed. he's won an oscar, grammy and golden globe for "glory," the powerful theme song he co-wrote with john legend for the 2014 film "selma." ♪ ♪ ♪ hands to the heavens no man, no weapon ♪ formed against,lower is destined ♪ >> nawaz: he's also appeared in movies and on tv, including "the chi," a series about southside chicago, common's hometown. >> it took me 12 years in statesville to find my way. >> nawaz: lonnie rashid lynn, better known as common, first emerged on the rap scene in the '90s in 2000, his first major-label album, "like water for chocolate," broughanbig success, his 2005 album, "be" was a commciadg has used h growing platform to
more politically vocal. a frequent guest at the obama white house, hs faced criticism from republicans. he's performed at r e march for ves gun safety rally. and, he's been outspoken when administration's immigration policies. h it all, common continu to make music. his new album, "let love," mpanies his new memoir, the same name. he recently came bthe newshour o talk about both. common, welcome to the nshour. >> i love hearing that. thank you for having me >> nawaz: i want to ask about your memoir now called "let love have the last word." there is an accompaning album coming out with it, too. what was it about this stage of your career, this stage of your life that made you want to sit down and write this book? >> well, i think a lot of what the world,ng on in "like water for chocolate," the divisiveness, the anxiety, a lot of the-- including the attacks and things-- i really wanted to
put-- instill somethin hopeful, instill something that could be solution oriented, something that has been an antidote for me, a resource for me to overcome, you know, tough times in my life. i wantedo share that worrying people because so many of might have conversatedions was b around anxiety. and so many of the conversations are i was having with people. and i was "like water for it.colate", "hey, we can d i got hope. we can do it as people. as human beings. let's find then place for us and, "like water for chocolate," start from there." >> nawaz: it's also a very intensely personal book, this memoir, right. and i was reading that your daughter actually inspired a lot of what you shared in here. tell me about that. >> eah, well, had a conversation, my daughter and i. she really challenged me as a w fathre she told me places where she didn't think i was, "like water for chocolats" showing up father. and, you know, initially my
emwas, "wait, but i love you." i was hurting, defensive, and even some things, angry about some of the things she said. but somewhere during that course of the conversation, i just looked at her and said "this my daughter. let me listen to her." i knew i wanted to write about love, but not just romant love. when that incident happened, it just gave me, "like water for "r chocolate," more thing to talk about how it can be an actionan, how ite a practice.s >> nawaz: child you suffered a very serious trauma. you were molested when you were nine years old. >> ye >> nawaz: what did it take for to you get to a place whue yo felt liek you could talk about >> i if i decided to talk that. about it, it would be healing for me other ands. other people experienced sexual
abuse, molestation, ju physical abuse. and i knew as a black man, me talking about it would give a gateway and an opening for other men, black people, brown people, you know, just to obe awbl t talk about it. and i bring us, you know, black people into the equation, because fo in our culture, it's not really discussed. like, when tho, things happ it's not talked about as much. how do we solve this? how do we,e, stop the cycle? so i really knew that if i told my story and told it n a way that really just raw and truthful and still acknowledge that i'm in the process, ilot would other human beings to come out and talk about it and hopefully be a part of the healing. because my ultimate goal is to stop the cycle. >> nawaz: do you feel like you're still going through that healing? where do you feel you are right now in your personal journey?
>> i fel like i'm in a great place of forgivs. i'm still learning how this acted my life in different ys and, you know, one of the things i'm learning through the sprs to be kind to myself, you know, and not just, like, be-- judge everything i do. and i make mistakes, or just to beat myself doin, like and try o learn from the mistakes and acknowledge where i was wrong and move forward. asuman being, you hold guilt. you hold jushame. and try to make sure i'm being loving to myself, and in th eachcess deal emotion that i have. and i think overall, i feellike this is bigger than me anyway. >> nawaz: you have never been afraid of tackling the tough stuff in your career, whether it's about your own personal journeys -- you mentioned your own criminal justice reform workt you tweet a out immigration detention.
you were tweeting about the ice raids recently, injustices you see going on around you. where does that come do you feel a sense of responsibility to pay attention and be engaged? >> yeah, i think-- you know, i grew up o the south side of chicago, a community which i realni love, and that comy is like many other communities th suffer from being marginalized, being treated lss than, having lack of opportunities and resources. so when i see somebody being pushed down, i just relate to it, and i don't like it, meaning, like, when i see what's going on with the people that's trying to get int into the couny and falies being separated, it's just not fair life. it's not good humanity to other ople. so i have to speak up. it's my duty as a human being, as an artist. and not only speaking now. to me, my speaking has to become action, and that's what i'm ioln
more id in. like, i have-- that's why i went to the prisons. that the organization i'm part of, where we do social activism i different spaces, including immigration as one of the space where's ware now, like, in the process of figuring out how can we be a solution to this issue? >> nawaz: it's fr to say music is still your first love. >> it's my first love but i love, lik ae, acting, justs much as i love music. i'm not going to deny that. i love acting. it's fun. >> naw: you did say something in your book i wanted to read to you, though, about sort of the roots of y wheur music comes from, can which is freestyling. you say, "i have been rapng for more than 25 years now. i would rap for flee. i would ra o if i liv the streets. i would rap if i were a preacher or a prisoner or a politician." you say 's your release, but sometimes if you can't do it in the studio you just hop in td he car u go and you do. you really do that? you get in the car and freestyle? >> that's actually how i write my songs, like, i get in the car
and i, like, put on a beat, and say my rap out loud, start freestyling whatever lines i like. i do believe it's a divine expression, meaning nly creating when i'm at my-- when i'm in, like, a pure place and i'm feeling like-- i'm not thinking too hard. it's just coming it's just flowing. there's no way to, lik te, tryo describe the process besides-- i can tell you the steps, but i can't really tell you how it's done. >> nawaz: common i can't thyoank enough for coming by. the new book is "let love have the last word." thank you for your time ♪ sometimes she might ask if i can come here and rap off facts ♪ even sitting in the booth, even when i talk about fts i spit truth. ♪ that's what i do,pr ig truth to power ♪ i came to do this at the pb newshour."
>> yang: and we'll be back shortly with how the mayor of los angeles sees homelessness as a humanitarian issue. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's a chance to oour support, which helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> yang: and for those of you staying with us, scientists have been experimenting with a wild oridea-- looking to nature inspiration in the design of new machines and robots. the goal? to improve devices and medicine and much more. miles o'brien has this encore report for our bakthroughs series on the "leading edge" of science and technology. en>> reporter: in the neveng hunt for new designs that jump, pump, or run faster and better, scientistsre finding inspiration when they look out the windows of their labs-- or in the mirror.
>> almost everything that we are trying to do in engineing is actually really in some ways trying to replicate the beauty and the intricacy and the complexity of what we find in nature. >> reporter: bioengineer rashid bashir and his team at the university of illinois are developing so-called bio-bots that move using real muscles, activated by flashes of light. bashir sees lot of potential applications, like toxic clean-up or tiny clot-busting bots to treat people with heart disease. >> what we are doing is trying to recapitulate what exists in nature. so now the idea is that well can we start to learn some of those design rules, how can we build non-natural systems with these living cells? >> reporter: bashir's work is part of an accelerating trend. welcome to the odd-- and yet miliar-- world of bio-inspired design, or bio-mimicry. >> biomimicry is innn
r:spired by nature. >> reporanine benyus is a teologist and writer who popularized th, writing a book on the subject in 1an7. >> take meand turn it into plastics. >> reporter: she remains in the vangua of the field. >> you have novelty and sustainability. that's why a lot of inventors are now turning towards bio- mimicry. am reporter: physicist seth fraden ig them. he directs the bio-inspired soft materials center at brandeis university. here, they want to understand the fundamentals of how living things move. >> we're talking about blurring the boundaries between the animate and the inanimate. >> reporter: he and his collaborator zvonimir dogic are working on artificial cilia, tiny hairlike projections on the surface of cells they work together in sync to move fluids. while these cilia are microscopic, they could lead to the development of more
sophisticated materis to carry out more complicated tasks, like wpes that need no pumps. >> why canhave tubing that insumes energy, that flows energy throuthen contract? >> reporter: is it alive? >> no, it's not alive. it's just a simple machine, but instead of having an external pump that's composed of many dead components, it's composed-- a fluid composed of millions and millions of individual components, and under certain conditions, all of these machines go in a certain direction and push fluid with it. eporter: kostya kornev a his team at clemson university are also looking at nature's means of moving flui they are focus on the mouth, or proboscis, of butterflies to inspire a breath-through in materials science. kornev and his team want to make synthetic fibers with similar
properties. eventually, they want to build"" micro" siphon that would suck up or dispense tiny drops of fluid. such a device would have wide- dinging applications, like new l tools. >> so you can think about, even poking the single cell, taking a little droplet from, say, the nucleus. or if you can go to the brain and do the surgery on the brain. >> reporter: roboticist sarah bergbreiter is thinking along the same lines. she and her team build tiny robots inspired by insects, which can be impressive jumpers. fleas can leap 200 times their body length. >> swhat we can do is compre this and store energy in the rubber bands and release them for a jump.
>> reporter: bergbreiter sees a day when micro-bots could carry cameras and sensors intomall geaces for surveillance, perform micros, crawl into cracks to monitor the structural safety of buildings and bridges, even deploy on search and rescue missions. >> my picture is always-- you have a bucket full of these small robots. afyou dump them into rubblr a disaster, and they have just y,ough energy to find somebody and say, "ig over here." >> reporter: driven by demand for more sustainable designs and she builds her robots using 3d printers this bgeoning manufacturing technique enables engineers and inventors to think out of the design box that has existed since the advent of the industrial revolution. near boston, at 3d printing usartup desktop metal, they are g artificial intelligence to do the designing. engineer andy roberts tells the machine what stresses will encounter, and the software does the rest. >> this is a nature-inspired tol that is intended to make it eacreate these crazy
reaped parts here. in this one, wrowing three different stems towards a common target. while they look like three organisms right now, they will join together and fusea bingle one. thisty to simulate these random and cumulative forces that you see in nature all the time tends to give these parts a more resilient overall behavr. >> reporter: check out this a.i.-designed skateboard. >> i've triggered the growth of thed design from a single se cell on this base plate right down here. >> reporter: so when the machine is told to design a machine, it makes something that looks like it belongs in nature. oh, the irony! >> ultimately, the truly biomimetic idea is that you're functionally indistinguishable from the wild land next door. >> reporter: but it does stand to reason. after all, nature has been perfecting designs for 3.8 billioyears. for the pbs newshour, i'm miles o'brien in boston.
>> yang: we close tonight with a look at the personal side of politics. the latest episode of our facebook show "that moment when" is out today. in it, the mayor of los angeles tells steve goldbloom how he came t humanitarian crisis.a here's a preview. when i was 14, started volunteering on skid row here in lo people who were sleeping at that time in cardboard boxes, folks who was giving socks to and talking to for the first time and engaging with them. i think i couldn't believe that in our city of so ech, th are people who live that way. i took that with me to college in new york where i did lot of work rebuilding housing and helping folks who were experiencing homelescome home and then came back to l.a. i think i recognized that this
was a humanitarian crisis, not just in america but in work that i did around the world, that war, economy, sickness, lack of a social safety net, ojust people's own indifference is what causes people to stay on the streets. >> who are the work, working every day to call out of the problem of homelessness. >> people a beautiful and complicated. and people aren't homeless for one reason. thatre experiencing trauma might come from war or the foster care system or sexual and domestic violence, or losing your job or going throug divorce, having a mental health crisis, addiction. all of these things can conspire together a result in somebody experiencing homelessness. but what solves that: one personho stays with somedy, even when they doubt that the help is there, when they question why somebody even cares anymore, who stays with them until they know their name, know their story, and help them write a new chapter off the streets.
>> how are you working with the cityo reduce the use of l.a. county jail as a mental word? >> the largest mental health facility in the united states of erica is los angeles county jails. here in the city of l.a., we're prioritizing, helping people gets 2k3we9 jobs working for estate and other public agencies when they come out of jails, because nothing stops recidivism better than a job. in california you have a two-thirds chance of going back behind bars when you get out if you don't have a job. k w how we can stop this cycle. >> yang: you can find all episodes of this series on facebook. watch "at that moment when show."ve and we have a ping story tonight. philadelphia's police commissioner, richard ross, is resigning. the city's mayor made the announcement in a statement citing new allegations of sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination against others in the department. the "philadelphia inquirer"
reported ross was awarof the allegations but didn't act on them. so far, no specific details about the claims have been made public. and that's the newshour for tonight. onm john yang. join une, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ro babbel. a languagegram that teaches spanish, french, italian, llrman, and more. >> consumer ar. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the ford fodation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie cooration of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagent, and the advancement
of international peace and security. at carnegie.or >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored bydu newshour pions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
hello, everyone, welcome to "amanpour and company." this week dipping into the larchives andooking back at some of our favorite interviews of the year. here's what's coming up. the world weeps for notre dame as hundreds of millions pour in to rebuild. ♪ why it's so cherished and glol reaction including from speaker of the house nancy pelosi. my exclusive interview with the most powerful i woman washington. she's here in dublin with a stern warningut for britain a brexit and the good friday peace