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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 14, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newsur" tonight, challenges abroad --- secretary of state antony blinken defends president biden's plans to meet with the saudi crown prince despite human rights violations. we discuss this, the war in ukraine, and other foreign policy concerns. then, views from the classroom -- educators share their perspectives on recent efforts to arm teachers and on the broader effects of gun violence in schools. >> never once did i think that i will have to learn to take safety measures. learn how to pack a wound that is bleeding too much. judy: and, under threat -- far right extremists target lgbtq communities during pride month. why it could be part of a larger, worrying trend. all that and more on tonight's
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"pbs newshour." >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no-contract wireless plans designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions. and friends of the "newshour."
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. newshour west. we'll return to the full program after the latest headlines. there's yet more evidence tonight of inflation rippling through the u.s. economy. the labor dertment says wholesale prices in may were up 10.8% from a year ago. a separate report last friday
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showed retail prices hit a new, 40-year high. president biden argued today that republicans have blocked his anti-inflation policies. they said his plans would make things worse. on the pandemic, an fda advisory panel voted to recommend that the cdc approve moderna's vaccine for children six to 17 years old. it would be the second vaccine for that age group. pfizer's also covers five-year-olds. the panel meets tomorrow to consider recommending moderna and pfizer shots for children under five. federal investigators say widespread pandemic relief fraud was largely preventable. auditors and inspectors general have estimated nearly $100 billion was stolen from monies intended for small busins loans, stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, and even funeral coverage. today, investigators told ngress that officials put speed ahead of fraud prevention in the trump and biden administrations. >> no one is suggesting in the ig community or oversight community that you wait weeks or y nths. i just think there are several
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steps that could've been taken that easily match some existing data, basic checks that could've prevented some of the fraud. because all the data shows that if you put a roadblock in front of a fraudster in the first instance, they usually won't come back and try another door. stephanie: federal agencies currently have more than 1100 investigations underway into pandemic relief fraud. the u.s. house of representatives gave final approval today to expanding supreme court security. it will ver the justices' families and senior court officers, under the legislation that's headed to president biden. the issue gained new urgency after a man was charged last week with trying to murder justice brett kavanaugh. in ukraine, ukraine's president zelenskyy said tonight his forces are suffering heavy losses ithe city of severodonetsk and the kharkiv region. most of severodonetsk is under russian control, and hundreds of civilians are holed up at a chemical plant under heavy shelling.
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britain's plan to deport migrant asylum-seekers to rwanda was blocked today by the european court of human rights. the policy had been criticized by human rights groups, church leaders, and, reportedly, prince charles. the first flight would have carried half a dozen migrants, who were ferried to the airport in police vehicles. prime minister boris johnson said it's about halting human trafficking. pm johnson: we have had to stop it. it's been extremely difficult to find a way of doing it that is humane. we've had to work within the scope of common humanity and compassion. that's the right thing to do. but we have to interrupt the business model of the gangs. stephanie: johnson's plan calls for deporting migrants who enter the country illegally. once in rwanda, they will be allowed to apply for asylum there, but not in britain. wnba basketball star brittney griner's detention in rusa was extended for a third time while she awaits trial on drug smuggling charges. the american was arrested at moscow's main airport in
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february after authorities claimed she possessed vape cartridges with cannabis. the u.s. state department says griner has been unlawfully detained. back in this country, the race for a key u.s. senate seat in nevada is headlining the day's primaries. in the republican contest, adam lalt, endorsed by former brown, a retired army captain and purple heart recipient. the winner will take on democratic senator catherine cortez masto in november, as republicans try to win control of the senate. more than 100 million americans from the gulf coast to the great lakes are under heat alerts through the middle of the week. excessive heat warnings covered much of illinois, indiana, ohio, and parts of other states today, including missouri, alabama, and georgia. in the western part of the u.s., excessive heat warnings impacted parts of southern california and large portions of arizona. record-high temperatures could
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be set in a number of cities. floodwaters across the yellowstone region, in montana and wyoming, started to recede today. heavy rain and melting snow had turned rivers into torrents, washing away houses and touching off rock and mudslides. roads and bridges were destroyed, leaving tourists and others stranded. the flooding also forced yellowstone national park to close indefinitely. over 10,000 visitors have been evacuated, leaving the park empty except for a small group of backpackers who still need to be evacuated. still to come on the "newshour," lessons the january 6 committee could take from the bipartisan 9/11 commission. lgbtq groups become the latest target of far-right extremists. an artist transforms his work after an accident on the job. and much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university.
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judy: the challenges for u.s. foreign policy during this fraught moment in history are many, from ukraine and russia, to energy production and the middle east, to the competition with china. all of those issues and more are in the portfolio of secretary of state antony blinken. i spoke with him earlier today. secretary blinken, thank you very much for joining us. let's start with ukraine. we know from what the ukrainians themselves are saying, what the reporting is, that they are now being massively outgunned by the russians. they say their weapons are not being replaced quickly enough or adequately. they don't have close to the amount of weapons and ammunition they need. the tide has turned in russia's favor? sec. blinken: no, i think, judy, what we're seeing is a very intense fight in the donbass in eastern and also in southern ukraine. there are significant casualties on both side it's horrific, and it's a result of russia's aggression against
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ukraine. there is a very intense effort that is ongoing as we speak to make sure that the ukrainians are getting what they need when they need it to deal with the russian aggression. and it's not going to be linear. there are, tragically, ups and downs in this. and, again, there are significant casualties on both sides. but there is a very, very significantly coordinated effort being undertaken to make sure that ukrainians get what they need when they need it. and that will continue. we have said for some time that, unfortunately, this is likely to go on for some time. and this is what we're seeing on the ground, but there's a big difference. the ukrainians are fighting for their country. they're fighting for their future. they're fighting for their freedom. it's unclear what the russians are fighting for, except to advance the whims of vladimir putin and the bizarre belief that ukraine is not a sovereign, independent country and needs to be subsumed somehow into russia.
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so, i am convinced and confident that, at the end of the day, ukraine's independence, ukraine's sovereignty will prevail. judy: and right now, though, the ukrainians say they are not getting what they need. what more can the u.s. do right now to help them? sec. blinken: judy, it's literally happening as we speak. some weeks ago, secretary of defense lloyd austin put together a group of about 40 countries in ramstein, germany, to make sure that all of the assistance that ukraine needed was being actively coordinated and getting in that group of countries is working every sile day to make sure it's happening. but, of course, there's tremendous suffering on the front lines on the battlefield. the ukrainians are feeling that. they're suffering from that. we're deeply concerned by it. but we're also working 24/7 to make sure that they get what they need. judy: well, as -- what we're hearing from experts, though, at the same time, is, no matter how unfair or repugnant it may seem, that it is now appearing inevitable that ukraine is going to have to make territorial
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concessions in the east. is that what you see, that they are going to have to bow to vladimir putin and give him that territory that he says he wants? sec. blinken: judy, ukraine's future is up to the ukrainians. it's up to the ukrainian people. and, ultimately, those decisions will be made by its democratically elected government, including president zelenskyy. he will have to determine what's in the best interests of his country and his people. and we will support that. we're not going to be less ukrainian than the ukrainians. we're not going to be more ukrainian than the ukrainians. but it is fundamentally up to them. and that's ultimately what this is about. vladimir putin is trying to take away from ukrainians the right to determine their own future. we strongly support that right. and we will look to the ukrainians to decide what's in their best interest. judy: let me turn you to the middle east, mr. secretary, president biden's july trip to the region announced today, including a stop in saudi arabia and a meeting with the crown prince, mohammed bin salman, who u.s. intelligence, as you know,
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has said had a role, masterminded the murder and the dismemberment of "washington post" journalist and saudi critic jamal khashoggi. the president had called the crown prince a pariah, and said that any meeting would be antithetical to what america stands for. he's now done a 180. how is this not a triumph of oil and energy over values and human rights? sec. blinken: when it comes to saudi arabia, there are a lot of different things at play. this has been a longstanding partner for the united states over decades, generations, a vital partner in dealing with extremism, in contending with the challenge posed by iran. we have about 70,000 americans in saudi arabia. at the same time, when we came recalibrate the relationship, not rupture it, recalibrate it, to make sure that it better reflected our interests and our values.
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when it comes to khashoggi, when it comes to the -- his murder, one of the earliest things that we did was to release a full report on what happened, including assessing blame for -- and responsibility for the murder, with the full imprimatur of the u.s. government, a report that i released. at the same time, we have a lot of -- we have othevalues at stake. one of them is making sure that one of the worst wars that we have seen in the last decade, one of the worst humanitarian situations in the world, in yemen, that that war comes to an end. saudi arabia has been indispensable in helping us to achieve something that many have not taken much note of, but is usually important. we have a truce now in yemen, the first one in eight years. and it's now been extended. we're in its ninth week. that's allowed humanitarian assistance to get to people who hadn't been getting it for years. some of the guns have stopped firing. and, as a result, we also have an opportunity, fragile, to get something sustainable, and to really be -- build an enduring peace in yemen. that advances our interests. it also advances our values. and saudi arabia is critical to that.
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judy: well, in this meeting, will the president confront the crown prince on the khashoggi murder? and, if not, why not? sec. blinken: well, i'm not going to get ahead of what's going to happen in saudi arabia. but i can say this. and, again, the president's been very clear. human rights will remain at the heart of our agenda, along with the other interests and values that we're trying to advance. in my own conversations with saudi counterparts and saudi officials, i regully raise human rights, including individual cases and more systemic challenges that continue to be posed in saudi arabia. i would expect the president do the same. judy: and one other follow-up there. in return for the u.s. retreating on this, it's been reported that the saudis agreed to increase oil production. is this the case? and, if so, how long do you expect that to continue? sec. blinken: we will engage the saudis on energy, as we have for years, especially at a time when we want to make sure that there's more energy on the market, so that, ultimately, prices come down. judy: let me turn you quickly to china. there are growing opinions out there, including retired navy
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admiral james stavridis, saying that it's less likely, they believe, that china would attack taiwan now, watching what vladimir putin has -- is experiencing in ukraine, and also with a look ahead to the 20th party congress later this year. do you agree that it's less likely that china is going to move on taiwan right now, anytime soon? sec. blinken: judy, i can't speculate on what china will do or won't do. and, ultimately, what we're doing is to try to shape the environment in which they're acting, so that that may have an influence on what -- on their decisions. but when it comes to taiwan, we have had a longstanding policy that hasn't changed. there was a status quo that existed. and we have been determined to see that that -- no one unilaterally moves to change that, that status quo. unfortunately, what we have seen over the last few years is china acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad, to include actions that it's taken with regard to taiwan that are potentially ngerous and
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destabilizing. china has to make those calculations. we can't make it for them. but what we can do, as i said, is to shape the environment. one of the things i think that china has to factor into any calculus is the response that we have seen to russia's aggression in ukraine, and so many countries coming together to stand against that aggression, both by making sure that ukraine had the support that it needed, and also making sure that russia paid a price for the aggression. judy: if china were to attack taiwan, would the u.s. militarily come to taiwan's defense? sec. blinken: we have been very clear that our commitment to help taiwan defend itself continues and will be sustained. we're committed to, as we have said many times, our one-china policy, but also to the taiwan relations act, and our responsibilities under the taiwan r aioelo ctnsma tke su to effectively defend itself and, ultimately, preferably to deter any aggression.
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judy: and a final question on iran. now that they have turned off most of the cameras monitoring their nuclear activity, does that mean the prospects for a deal with iran over its nuclear program and the u.s. are dead? sec. blinken: it certainly makes it even more difficult than it already is. the fact is, judy, that we spent a lot of time with our european partners, with china, with russia even over the last year seeking to get back into compliance with the so-called jcpoa, the iran nuclear deal. much of that work on the deal itself has been done. what's happened is that iran has basically sought to insert extraneous issues into this negotiation that have nothing to do with the jcpoa. it's also taken actions like the one you cited, in starting to remove cameras fm facilities, that would make it increasingly difficult to get back into the jcpoa, because those cameras are necessary for verifying the agreement. this agreement had probably the
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most effective and intrusive inspections and monitoring regime of any arms control agreement. if iran is taking those pieces apart as well, it's just going to make it more difficult to get back into compliance. judy: secretary antony blinken, thank you very much. a lot on your plate. sec. blinken: good to be with you, judy. thank you. judy: if congress and the president approve a bipartisan agreement on guns and school safety, it would provide new resources try to prevent school shootings, like the massacre in uvalde, and would likely mean new money for mental health care, violence prevention, and more training for educators. many educators want to see more action. stephanie sy picks up the conversation from there. sthanie: judy, teachers from around the country told our team of producers they have long been frustrated with the larger public response to shootings and
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school safety. and many have been particularly angry about the way this has played out in washington and state capitals. tragically, the shooting in uvalde reinforced and exacerbated many of these concerns. trina: i have been teaching now for 27 years, and i have never had such a stressful time teaching as i have now. jean: in the era of school shootings, every day is a nervous wreck sometimes. sarah: prior to the shooting at my school, it was always this kind of looming thing that happened in other places. and then, once it happened to us, now we're part of this terrible club of gun violence survivors. immediately after we returned after the shooting here, i still felt safe.
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but i did not sign up to have all of these added asks and responsibilities put upon me, outside of what i am contractually obligated to do. sari: a term i have been using a lot to describe how i'm feeling and other teachers, and people who work in schools and students acro america, we're all feeling like we are sitting ducks. abbey: to the person who tells me, you just need training and this is all you need to know, with the amount of ammunition that you can get and the power and lethality of the weapons that we have, it happens so fast. prior to surviving a school shooting myself, personally, i watched on the news. i knew that they happened occasionally. but i never really had this impending sense that it was going to happen to me. jean: i was teaching standing in
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a cafeteria one time when there was a school shooting. never once did i think, i'm going to have to take safety measures and learn how to pack a wound that's bleeding too much. i'm going to have to figure out how to turn my desk to a door anchor to kind of prevent someone from going in. this is something that was never taught in a class, that was never explained to any of the educators coming out during my era. tim: we have all run through the drills. they are very scary to do, but very important to do. trina: you want to know what it does to kids? i'm with high school kids. and the last time we had one, they -- the people who were checking the doors had a flashlight. and so we were in my room, in this back room, and we could see the flashlighthining through the shades. and i had several -- several kids just burst out in tears. and, honestly, i felt -- i felt like crying too. abbey: i don't think we should drag children through these horrendous drills. and we certainly shouldn't have
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them endure active -- active simulations that mimic real trauma and death, because this onus of gun violence is on the adults. and so how dare we put this on kids. sari: i'm so angry that i know how to have conversations with young people about school shootings. trina: i'm a teacher because, whether i like it or not, i can't help but see the good in people. and every one of my kids, i see the good in them. and i am being asked now to not do that, to look for the red flags, to see them as potential enemies, which goes against everything i am as a teacher. tim: that will be the day that i retired from teaching, if not only for me, if i was forced to be armed in the classroom. but even if other teachers volunteer to be armed, i would -- i would retire from teaching. sarah: if the shooter had gotten
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into my room that day, i mean, i don't have a gun, but, if i did, i wouldn't have been able to access it. i would have been shot and killed. trina: i would feel better prepared. if i felt that society cared more about teachers than they do right now. i have felt so much hatred towards teachers that i haven't felt, even last year, nothing like this. abbey: the teachers are not ok. they're not ok in uvalde. they need an incredible amount of care and support. they cannot be told that you just need to kind of suck it up and move on. and i don't think anybody actually says that to survivors, but that's how it often feels. jean: i'm 20 years into this. and i can tell you 20 years as an educator is hard, 20 years as a black educator is even harder, and the repercussions on my
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health, irreplaceable. stephanie: let's get into some of these concerns a little deeper, including whether to arm teachers in america. for that, i'm joined by becky pringle. she's the president of the national education association, the largest labor union in the country representing three million educators. ms. pringle, thank you for joining the "newshour." ms. pringle, you were a middle school teacher when the columbine shootings happened. in the 23 years since, mass school shootings have continued, despite efforts to harden schools or even to arm teachers. are you seeing a more earnest effort now in washington, with this bipartisan framework, that gives you new hope our schools can be made to feel safe again? becky: it's good to be with you again, stephanie. you know, i had been teaching for 23 years middle-level learners when, 23 years ago, we had 12 students and one teacher killed in columbine. and i will never forget the day after, students coming to my classroom, just like they did
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two weeks ago to teachers all over this country, asking, are we safe? is that going to happen here? and i said with confidence 23 years ago, oh, baby, this country will never let that happen again, and then virginia tech, and sandy hook, and parkland, and so many more we can't even name, let alone all of the gun violence on the streets of this country. i will tell you that i am so incredibly proud of the work that our students and educators and parents have done. because of their courage and because of their resilience and their resolve, i believe that we have been heard. and the bipartisan agreement that has been reached addressed some of our concerns, not all of them. so we will continue to push. but it does give them hope, especially our students, that their voices and their stories can make a difference and we can change what's happening in this country. stephanie: what is not in that
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bipartisan framework? for example, 18-year-olds are still going to be able to buy assault weapons. there is no assault weapons ban. what specifically would you be asking for that is not currently in the bipartisan framework? becky: we would absolutely and will continue to ask for a ban on assault weans. we also will continue to fight for raising that age limit. additionally, while the bipartisan agreement, we still have yet to hear all of the detas of it, we want to make sure that it goes far enough to close all of the loopholes when we talk about background checks. we also know that they are looking at -- looking towards states to pass red flag laws. we believe the federal government should act on that as well. and so there are other issues that, when the details come out, they will not, we don't believe, will -- they will include l of
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the comprehensive commonsense gun laws that honestly, americans support in this country. stephanie: one policy i know you do not support is arming teachers. and ohio's governor signed a bill yesterday that would give schools the option to allow school employees to be armed with only 24 hours of training. what is your reaction to that, miss pringle. becky: you know, stephanie, i talked to the educators, some educators from ohio, and they were in tears when i spoke with them last night, as a matter of fact, that their governor would gn into law anything that would put more responsibility on them. we know that our educators all over this country are focused on teaching and nurturing and supporting our students. for there to be a law that has them armed, which, of course, puts more guns in the schools, we know more guns equals more violence. and for them to bear that responsibility, it is absolutely, absolutely unconscionable, overwhelmingly
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do not support this. and let me tell you this statistic. in 2013, the state of texas passed a similar law. only 361 out of a possible nearly 370,000 teachers who are in the state of texas actually took them up on that. so we know that's not a solution. it's not. it is a false idea. that won't do anything. stephanie: yeah. just to be clear, my understanding of the ohio law just signed is that it gives teachers the options. so i just want to say that one of the perspectives from supporters of arming teachers is that it gives them the ability to protect themselves and their classrooms if they choose to be armed. is there any scenario in which you see, with the proper training, that a teacher should have that option? becky: you know, i have talked to teachers all over this country. and i will tell you, as a
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teacher who taught for over 30 years, educato always take that additional responsibility on. they alwayfeel like it's their responsibility to stand in the gaps for our students. so when laws like these are proposed, it puts that pressure on them that the society believes that they are the ones that should be defending our kids with guns. that's not ok to put that pressure on them. and we will continue to speak out against that. stephanie: i know there are a lot of parents speaking out against that as well. becky pringle, president of the national education association, thank you so much for joining the "newshour." becky: thank you. judy: the house select committee's investigation into the january 6 insurrection, which includes public hearings taking place this week and next,
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is one of the highest-profile investing nations of its kind since the commission on the 9/11 attacks nearly 20 years ago. that bipartisan group worked for almost two years, holding public hearings and eventually releasing its findings. it was chaired by former new jersey governor thomas kean, a republican. and he joins me now. governor kean, thank you so much for being with us again at the "newshour." let me just first ask you your reaction to the public hearing so far that the select committee has held and how the committee has gone about its work? thomas: well, we're finding out some information we need to know. and that's good. and it seems to me that their mandate isn't an awful lot different than ours. i mean, you have got to tell the american people the facts and try and make them clear, undisputable facts. and then i'd like to know, what do we do as a country to make sure this never, ever happens again? and that was the second part of our mandate in the 9/11 commission. and i think this committee should have that as one of the
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mandates as well. judy: well, we know that your commission was bipartisan, as we said, evenly divided between republicans and democrats. this committee is seven democrats, two republicans. we know the history of that, the agreement -- there just could not be an agreement reached on the republicans on the temme. how much do you think that undermines the credibility of its work, or does it? thomas: yeah, it hurts. it hurts badly, because that means 40% of the country at least is going to have some doubts about what they have to say, because they don't consider it -- they don't consider it a bipartisan commission. it's very -- we worked very, very hard on the 9/11 commission to make sure that republicans and democrats had equal say, that our report was going to be accepted by the congress and both parties, and that the american people would broadly accept what we had to say.
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but it was all based on the bipartisanship. so, if it's not bipartisan, 's going to be attacked. and when it's attacked, a good portion of the country is not going to find it credible. and that's a -- that's a great shame. and what i worry about, does that mean that, in time of crisis, the congress is now incapable of forming a bipartisan commission that's fair to both parties? because, if that's true, we have lost a lot in this country. judy: well, of course, it does have two republicans in liz cheney and adam kinzinger. but it does not have the approval of the house republican leadership. is there anything that committee can do, do you think, to come across in its work as fair and as producing a work product that the public should be able to respect? thomas: look, the committee's all we have got right now. i wish it was bipartisan, but
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they're going to tell us the facts. and we have got to judge for ourselves. we didn't have any blame attached in the 9/11 report, if you read that. we simply gave all the facts, and we felt the american people were intelligent enough to come up with the conclusions and blame who they wanted to blame. this seems to be a bit on the blame side. and i think that's a mistake, because what we reallyeed is all the facts, and the american people are smart. they can make their own conclusions. judy: do you think that speaker pelosi was wrong to deny two of leader mccarthy, kevin mccarthy's choices out of the five people he recommended for the committee? was that a mistake, do you think? thomas: well, i think she made a choice. i mean, she made a choice for unity, as opposed to bipartisanship. anthat's a -- i think it was the wrong choice, because i think -- i talked to -- i ve great respect for the speaker. and i have talked to her about this. and i think it was very important to have a bipartisan commission. it's not bipartisan. and i think we will suffer for it. we will suffer for it in the
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report. we will suffer for it and it won't unify the american people the way it should. we have got to have a good report on this, first time the capitol has been breached since 1811. and that was the british. i mean, we have got to find out exactly what happened, have confidence in those facts, and then, hopefully, decide how we make sure it never happens again. judy: so, the committee says that it is going aut finding the facts. it has been -- as you know, the witnesses so far have been mainly republicans. they have been people who served in the trump white house, the trump administration or the trump campaign. aryou saying the committee's work is fatally flawed because of the makeup of the committee, or is there something they can do to make their work credible? thomas: look, i think that this committee is very important. they have got to give us the facts and we have got to judge those facts. i'm saying that they're under a
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great handicap because the way the committee is now constituted, it's a constituted to bring blame, and only one party really in charge. and so it's very, very hard to get the kind of credibility that will unite the american people. and at this time, more than any other time in our history that i remember, we need unity. we need to bring people together. we need the republicans and democrats talking to each other about these important problems. and so i think the -- i wish the committee wasn't flawed in this way, because they're all we have. there's nobody else -- nobody else doing the work. judy: do you think it's possible that it will -- that it could end up with a result that is credible, that it could be seen as having done the job that it was supposed to do? thomas: yeah, i think it's going to be -- look, i think whatever they do is going to be positive, because we're going to find things out we didn't know otherwise. and that's going to be very important. so, i think, depending on how the report comes out, yes, they can make a tremendous contribution. i'm just saying it's much more difficult now. if it was bipartisan, it would
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be much easier. judy: and final question. do you think the justice department should pursue any facts that emerge from this committee's report? thomas: yeah, if they're criminal in nature, yes, absolutely. but, i mean, they ve got to -- the fact that the president was tached is alarming. i mean, that's -- to have a president that's detached from reality, that's an alarming fact. but it isn't -- it isn't something that's indictable. so, i think they got to have a little more than they have come out with so far. but, yeah, if it's criminal, it should -- of course, it should be reported to the justice department. judy: you're referencing a comment from the former attorney general bill barr, who at one point said he thought the president might be detached from reality. tom kean, the former governor of the state of new jersey, he was the chair of the 9/11 commission. thank you so much, governor kean. thomas: thank you very much, judy. judy: and a note that the january 6 committee has postponed tomorrow's hearing. so, the next public hearing will be this thursday. we will have live coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern
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here on pbs. that's on air and online. there have been several recent incidents where far right white supremacist groups have targeted lgbtq people. lliam brangham explores what is behind these troubling attacks. william: that's right, judy. two of those events happen this past saturday. in coeur d'alene, idaho, 31 men believed to be members of the white nationalist group patriot front were arrested as they traveled in a u-haul truck to allegedly riot and the local pride month celebration in town. in san lorenzo, california, a group of men believed to be part of the violent far-right proud boys entered a public library shouting homophoc and transphobic slurs and threats as parents and kids attended what's known as drag time story hour.
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earlier today, i spoke with harris mojadedi. he lives in thatommunity, workat uc berkeley. and he was part of a group of local leaders who denounced the proud boys. i asked him what he thought that group was trying to do that day. harris: cause terror. cause harm. there is so much misunderstanding and i think there's a lot of hate towards the lgbtq+ community that really probably comes from fear. but i think that was the intended purpose, was to stop the program and to say that this community is not inclusive and welcoming. and i think that was their intention. we're seeing a rapid rise in discriminatory policies across the country, but the san francisco bay area is not texas. it's not florida. and so the fact that this could happen right here in the bay area, it is cause for concern, because this is no longer an
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issue that's far away. this is -- it's home. it's in our backyard. it's our community. and that's really telling that this is a very sious issue, and it must be addressed. and this is the moment. william: can you give me a sense of how the community has responded to this? what kinds of conversations have you been having? what have you been hearing from people? harris: i'm honestly very heartened at the response, because it shows that we are going to fight for our rights, and we're going to fight for this community. san francisco bay area, it embodies what it means to be an inclusive area. and i -- right, i can be an out middofle my naim, rrative.ea and we'reoing to fight for that. we're going to fight to ensure that this remains a place for all to feel welcome, regardless of their identities. and so that's really what's at stake. william: so, for more on why
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these groups are targeting this community and how it connects to their larger world view, i'm joined again by j.m. berger. he's a writer and researcher who cuses on extremist ideologies. and he's written four books on the topic. j.m., great to have you back on the "newshour." could you just help us undetand what might seem like a disconnect for some people? why is it that these far-right white supremacist groups would be targeting this particular community? j.m.: thanks for having me. so, a lot of these extremist groups that are very strongly identity-based and focused on sort of toxic masculin identities are very focused on gender not as their primary interest, but as a secondary marker of identity. so, you see this in far-right groups. you also see it in jihadist groups such as isis, where people who have nonconforming or unexpected kinds of gender presentations or sexual practice, sexual orientation, they face -- really, it's a visceral kind of hatred.
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so, these groups will give you a rationale. they have justifications for what they do. they will talk about birth rates and gender, biological gender, and the sacred -- sacred duty to procreate. but, ultimately, i think this is much sort of deeper and more visceral kind of hatred. william: do you have a sense, is there a connection here? we saw these types of attacks, and we also saw the racist attack in buffalo. we saw tree of life and el paso in years before that. are those isolated acts, or are there connections here? j.m.: there are definitely connections here. the temperature of the far and violent extremist right in this country has been rising. and what we're seeing is a real interplay between these fringe movements, such as patriot front or the proud boys, and more mainstream kind of far-right outlets.
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what we see on fox news or oann, and some of these new right-wing media outlets, are reall really alarming levels of rhetoric directed at lgbtqia+ communities. and i'm using all of those letters because all of them are in the crosshairs here. really, the language that we're hearing from purportedly mainstream kind of outlets is alarming and violent. and i'm very concerned about where this is going. william: i mean, given that, that this has moved from the fringe, as you're describing it, to these more mainstream megaphones, that seems like it's going to make it very difficult to try to address them or to tamp this down or tamp it out. j.m.: it is much harder. so, i mean, a lot of the research and understanding that we have in this country about violent extremism is based on the idea that extremism is a fringe activity. so, a lot of the expertise in this area, including myself, to
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some extent, came up in the post-9/11 era of thinking about violent extremism as jihadism. and jihadists never had even a tiny constituency in this country. it w always a very marginal community. and so it was much easier to deal with, both from a perspeive of sort of law enforcement and public safety, but also in terms of social -- social safety, social hygiene, if you want to think about it that way. what we have now really is -- we're looking at numbers that are 10%, 20%, maybe even 30% of the country who are in some way sympathetic to these views that are very regressive and potentially violent, as far as race and gender identity and sexual orientation. and this is -- that's a big problem. it's metastasizing, and our ability to combat it is going to
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be really heavily dependent on a political process in this country that's very deeply broken. william: those numbers that you're describing of percentages of people who are sympathetic are shocking in some ways. as someone who has studied these movements, what is your sense, then, of the trajectory? where does this go from here? j.m.: well, you know, there's -- in my field, there are a lot of different views about what's going to come next, going from a very extreme view that there's, like, an impending new civil war in america to a more restrained view of the problem. but it's still very bad, looking at the trajectory of the country being something re akin to the years of lead in europe or more akin to post-construction, reconstruction era violence in this country. i think that it's almost inevitable that we're going to
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see increasing amounts of political violence and identity-driven violence, such as these attacks wwere talking about. and it's going to be a very difficult process to walk back from the precipice on this. and, really, i think what we see happen in the midterm elections in november and what we see happen in 2024 is going to be very determinative of how bad it gets. william: well, j.m. berger, always good to see you. thanks for this very sober analysis. thank you. j.m.: thank you for having me. judy: what happens to an artist when one of the very tools he uses, his hand, is changed in an instant? jeffrey brown visited a sculptor in new york's hudson valley who has had to pivot how he does his art and the art itself.
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the story is part of our coverage of the intersection of medicine and arts and our ongoing arts and culture series, canvas. jeffrey: for john powers, working in his studio is a process of discovery, as always, but now, as he pieced together a three-dimensional paper drawing, not as always. it was a year ago may that powers faced the greatest challenge of his life. john: i assumed it was a double tragedy. the people around me assumed it was a double tragedy. jeffrey: in the sense like, i have lost my thumb and i'm an artist. john: and i'm an artist. jeffrey: yeah. now 51, powers grew up in and around chicago. early on, he had an apprenticeship in a bronze foundry. more formal training came at the pratt institute and hunter college. he became known for shaping multimedia blocks into collages and large-ale installations, works such as lanchals, a 50-foot tower of welded steel in bruges, belgium, terminal, an
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eight-foot sphere made from polystyrene blocks, and, in many configurations, a 2014 gallery exhibition called +time. but last spring at his home in his hudson valley community on oscawana lake 90 miles north of new york city, he was using a table saw to make a piece for a fence. the saw slipped, and he st his ring finger and thumb. his index and middle fingers were very badly injured. john: i have grown up with people with hand injuries. but i have never seen anybody with like this configuration as particularly severe and strange. jeffrey: his wife, jennifer bostic, a graphic designer, heard the scream and call for help. jennifer: even in the 911 call, i said, my husband is a sculptor. he's an artist. he works with his hands. he needs a hand surgeon. jeffrey: after nearly a week in the hospital and the multiple surgeries that follod, nerves cut and reattached, a long
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period of recovery began, along with a rethinking of life, art and his own body. you're a sculptor. you'ren artist. you use your hands, right? john: yeah. jeffrey: you always used your hands. but how much did you think about your hands? john: i used to joke that my feet are like dogs. they're loyal. they obey. and i know they will be there for me. my hands are like cats. i have no idea what they do all day. you know, they're getting into trouble. they're like -- they're doing stuff without me. they're constantly exploring. so, i had a sense of my hands as characters in my life. what i didn't have the sense of was homuch they shape the way i think. jeffrey: how our hands think, especially the hands of an artist. powers says he's always approached art with what he calls a cultivated naivete, a
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sense of trying things without knowing where they might lead, without expectation of success. and that, he's convinced, is helping him navigate his way now. a see of humor helps. one of the first things he did, bury his thumb in a tiny coffin in his yard, complete with a thumb stone. john: let's get it all the way back. jeffrey: but the hard work of mind-body remapping with a new hand, a prosthesis, has involved trial and error and regular sessions at handspring, a clinic for upper extremity prosthetic rehabilitation in middletown, new york. debra: you can't do any in-hand coordination, right? john: very little. jeffrey: debra latour is an occupational therapist and wears a prosthesis herself. debra: many times, the health care practitioners will talk to people about the very functional aspect teaching them how to hold a fork and a knife and be able to cut their food, how to be able to complete their fasteners, to zip their jackets, especially if you live in somewhere cold, like where we
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live. but we oftentimes don't get to talk to people about the social function and about what they might experience, how to handle people staring at them, how to handle when people ask questions, or even insist on helping us when maybe we don't want the help, we want to do a particular task for ourselves. jeffrey: in new york city, powers is also working with dr. jacques hacquebord, the hand surgeon who was with powers from the early days. hacquebord co-directs the center for amputation and reconstruction at nyu langone. he says the mind-body connection is a particularly delicate balance for someone who uses his hands for a living, but that powers isn't just any patient. dr. hacquebord: havi a very structural sculpting background, he understands anatomy, he understands levers and pulleys.
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and that's what fingers are. fingers are some of the most complex sculptures that there are. they are functional sculptures. and so he just understands the anatomy without even knowing the anatomy. and i think he kind of looks at the finger and just imagines what the anatomy should be, and how it's working, and why it's working, why it's not, and what he can do to make it better. jeffrey: there's also the question of the look of this new hand, the aesthetic quality. if the body is now altered, what should it look like, or even, to t it in powers' terms, how can it be sculpted? this too has captured his imagination. he's chosen a prosthesis made by a washington sta company called naked prosthetics, which specializes in finger and partial hand amputees, one that clearly isn't a natural hand. john: i was offered very realistic silicone fingers, and
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that was really the only prosthetic i would have been offered 10 years ago. it's just thumb enough alike to be kind of creepy to me. i would rather look at the hand and go through the work and live it. this is a great comfort, but it doesn't hide the hand for me. and i like that. jeffrey: occupational therapist debra latour. debra: so, what one person thinks is beautiful or attractive, somebody else might not. people should not be afraid to tell their practitioners what they would like included in their device. i fully expect that john will be even more personalizing s own technology as time goes on, and as he becomes more functional and more adept with it, and en finds himself identifying more and more with it. so, in the rehab process, we may go from seeing these devices as being tools. for many of us who wear and use prosthetic devices, these devices become a part of us.
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jeffrey: the aesthetics of prosthetics is a focus for dr. hacquebord too. dr. hacquebord: what really attracts me to it is recreating function, normal function, but a new aesthetic, a different aesthetic, an appealing aesthetic, not a human aesthetic. we're not trying to recreate what we already have, because we can't. jeffrey: now powers is tackling the aesthetics question in his own way. he made castes of his hands, and sent digital scans to artists friends, inviting creative solutions for custom prostheses. he calls the project open paw. and, to date, he's received dozens of responses, all of which fascinate him. john: the idea of having these gaps in my hand and filling them with ideas, i wanted to see what my friends would do, because i know it's an interesting problem. i mean, if someone were to approach me with that one, i'd have a great time. i think i would. jeffrey: meanwhile, he continues
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to work on his own art. he's finishing this piece called reach, a commission by one of his anesthesiologists. and he has bigger things in mind. john: the idea is to have this be a proposal model for a ludicrously large sculpture. so, imagine that this piece will be eventually nine feet tall. your flowering ones look great. jeffrey: ambitions for a new art with a new hand, including a return to woodwork in the near future. for the "pbs newshour," i'm jeffrey brown in the hudson valley, new york. judy: fascinating, and so inspiring to all of us who are watching it. and on the "newshour" online, cities across missouri are cutting back on 911 service, turning over their services to other government entities or cutting back on staff, which reflects a growing trend across the country. read how some of these cities are making do. that is at . and that's the "newshour" for
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tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the "pbs newshour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> architect. beekeeper. mentor. a raymondjames financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well-planned. >> carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security, at >> the target foundation, committed to advancing racial equity and creating the change required to shift systems and accelerate equitable economic opportity.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions. this program was made possible by the corporationor public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> this is the pbs "newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] >> you're watching pbs.
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♪ -welcome to one of the most iconic parks in the world, new york city's central park. tonight, tens of thousands of new yorkers are gathered on the great lawn as they await to be serenaded by the international superstar, italian tenor andrea bocelli. i'm paula zahn, and, as you can see, the stage is set and the musicians are in place in anticipation of an evening that mr. bocelli calls his gift to new york city. and what a gift it promises to be. join us as "great performances" presents "andrea bocelli: live in central park." ♪ -major funding for "great performances" is provided by...