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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  September 5, 2013 5:30pm-6:31pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama arrived in russia for a summit with world leaders, a meeting overshadowed by tensions around a strike on syria. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we hear from former national security advisor brent scowcroft and former diplomat chris hill. and we continue our talks with members of congress about syria- - tonight, democratic congressman alan grayson. >> woodruff: then, from western massachusetts, a story about a county taking "going local" to a whole new level by printing
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its own money. >> it's about community support. it's about shopping local. it's about sustainability right here where we live and we work. >> brown: the internet's making its way into our cars, our refrigerators, even our toilets. hari sreenivasan asks: does that make it easier for hackers to disrupt our daily lives? >> woodruff: and, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's the story of superman through the ages. >> there is no more symbolic character than superman, who created the archetype of the superhero. and everything that's come after him that's touched on the idea of somebody who dressed up in a weird outfit and fights for the powers of good, comes from him. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: the u.s. push to punish syria over chemical
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weapons use dominated the g-20 summit that opened in russia today. the president hoped to advance his policy in the face of stiff opposition from the kremlin. president obama arrived in st. petersburg knowing his host, russian president vladimir putin, is a central obstacle to action against syria. the two men exchanged a handshake and pleasantries, but little else, underscoring the palpable tensions between them. those were already evident in june when they met at a conference in ireland, and since then things have gone from bad to worse. the president said as much yesterday in sweden. >> we've kind of hit a wall in terms of additional progress. but i have not written off the idea that the united states and russia are going to continue to have common interests even as we have some very profound differences on some other issues.
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where we've got differences, we should be candid about them, try to manage those differences but not sugarcoat them. >> brown: a key difference came when russia granted asylum to edward snowden, the national security agency leaker. that prompted president obama to call off a formal meeting with putin during this trip. the russian leader suggested yesterday it doesn't matter whether they like each other. >> ( translated ): president obama hasn't been elected by the american people with the purpose of being pleasant to russia, and your humble servant hasn't been elected by the people of russia to be pleasant to anyone. we work, we argue about some issues. we are human, sometimes one of us gets vexed. but i would like to repeat once again that global mutual interests form a good basis for searching for joint decisions. >> brown: on syria, though, putin said it's "completely ridiculous" to conclude that the syrian government was behind a chemical attack outside damascus last month. so far, russia has blocked action by the u.n. security
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council, and today samantha power, the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., said that leaves "no viable path forward" at the world body. >> even in the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norm against chemical weapons use, russia continues to hold the council hostage and shirk its international responsibilities, including as a party to the chemical weapons convention. >> brown: meanwhile, back in washington, there were more closed briefings for senators and house members as the administration pressed the need for a military strike at syria. the argument was bolstered by former defense secretary robert gates, who came out in favor of the president's policy. still, a number of lawmakers remained uncertain, including republican senator susan collins of maine. >> i am firmly undecided at this point. this is very serious. it's a very difficult issue. you have to look at the impact on israel's security. we have to look at the signals
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that it sends to rogue states like iran or north korea if we don't act. but we also have to consider the possibility that our acting would cause a further escalation of the violence in the region. >> brown: two other republicans, louisiana's david vitter and utah's mike lee, announced today they're opposed to using force in syria. but democratic senator dianne feinstein, chairing the senate select committee on intelligence, said she's convinced by the evidence that it's time to act. >> its enough for me. see, i think the prohibition on chemical weapons is well founded. and after you watch exactly what happens, you can see why that's so. because they have tons and tons and tons of this stuff. they have one of the largest-- if not the largest-- storage base of chemical weapons in that part of the world. >> brown: a senate vote is expected next week and an
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associated press survey found today that 40 senators are undecided on how they will vote. 34 support or lean toward military action and 26 are against. even from st. petersburg, aides said the president has been calling lawmakers in search of more "yes" votes. he's expected to continue lobbying both congress and world leaders before returning home tomorrow night. >> woodruff: for more on the challenges ahead for president obama at the g-20 and here at home, i'm joined now by: former national security advisor to both presidents gerald ford and george h. w. bush, general brent scowcroft; and christopher hill, a former diplomat who served as special envoy to kosovo while the u.s. intervened in that conflict in the 1990s. gentlemen, welcome to you both.
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general scowcroft, to you first. first, let me just understand where the two of you are coming from. do you think an attack on -- a strike on syria right now is the right thing to do for the united states? >> we have put ourselves in a position where one can argue it is because of the chemical warfare convention. but we have not sought help from anybody to enforce a chemical warfare convention. it's not a u.s. treaty, it's an international treaty that says these are terrible weapons of mass destruction and should not be used. we have been unilateral in this. we haven't formally gone to the u.n. we haven't formally gone to nato. and so, yes, if we're going to enforce it. but if we're going to enforce it we should do it as a part of unity. >> woodruff: ambassador hill,
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how do you see it? is this the right thing for the united states to be doing right now? >> i think it's the right thing in the absence of any alternatives at this point. we need to take a stand on the use of chemical weapons, weapons that have been banned for some 80 years, weapons that were never even used in world war ii and so these have been used by syrian forces and i think we do need to take action. but i completely share with you that we have not done enough internationally and in trying to talk about it in terms of only weapons and in terms of only chemical weapons without discussing the syrian conflict is really something that people don't really buy that distinction. and the problem with the syrian conflict and with our -- with our activities there is we have had really no diplomacy to try to work through what it is that syria should be in the future. and what really disturbs me lately is the fact that not only do we have a crisis in syria but as a result we are emergeing
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with a kind of crisis in our relations with russia and with some other major states. so we really need to step up the diplomacy, to have a way forward on syria. you know, even if al-assad gets hit by a bus tomorrow there has to be a future in syria and we need to do a much better job of working with the international community to identify what that future should be. >> woodruff: general co-kroft, president obama right now is meeting with leaders of these other countries. given the lack of outreach that you and ambassador hill described, what are the arguments. what should president obama be saying to these other leaders at the g-20? >> well, what he should be saying now is that the chemical weapons convention is a worldwide convention against a horrible weapon and everybody needs to stand together to do something about it. then the next question is what to do. and i think, you know, the administration has not been very
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specific about what to do and i think if we're going to do something it has to make a difference. because if it's a slap on the wrist that merely strengthens assad, makes the united states feel good. so if we say we're going to do something about the chemical warfare convention we need to do something and it these make a difference. >> woodruff: and does what you're hearing from the administration sound like it more than a slap on the wrist. >> they've been, i think, remarkably silent about what kind of attack there will be. they have, with some reluctance, agreed to no boots on the ground but that's about the only restriction they talked about. >> woodruff: ambassador hill, from your perspective what should the president be saying right now to these leaders? he's gathered with the leaders of the g-20, the group of 20. what should he be during what argument should me with making that he hasn't snead.
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>> i think he should make precisely the argument that general scowcroft just outlined plus he should be saying that this syria conflict if left unattended is going to have more such outrages, it's already metastasized to the rest of the middle east, it's affect manager of our interests in that part of the world and that therefore the united states is going to work with like-minded states on coming up with a diplomatic way forward. whether it's coming up with some kind of plan for syria that is syria should remain within its international borders, syria should be some kind of federal estate. this has nothing to do with whether the parties in syria could agree this at this point. it these do with the u.s. being diplomatically committed to working with others, to find a future for syria. i think what a lot of countries looking for is if you're going to use military -- if you're going to use weapons, bombing in the context of -- in dropping them on a country, it can't just
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be in terms of the -- of an international agreement. it also has to be done in terms of what the political way forward is. and that's where we have essentially told people that we're washing our hands of syria. that we want assad to go and that's that. but i think many people and, indeed, many leaders in that g-20 have real suspicions about what this opposition in syria would look like, what are their plans,? how could they ever take over syria and ensure that it would be a better place than it is today? >> judy, it's remarkable how different we have approached syria from the way we did in libya. in libya we got a u.n. resolution authorizing the use of force to protect civilians. we got a nato alliance to apply the force. and we got the local regional organizations-- the arab league-- to support it. that was perfect. now, what we didn't do in libya
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and we're doing now is go to the congress for authorization. >> woodruff: but isn't the idea of getting the u.n. on board impossible given the relationship between the -- russia and syria? >> it is pretty much. in impossible right now. although even the russians, i think, would be reluctant to be visibly opposed to supporting the chemical weapons convention. but i think ultimately the u.s. and russia agreement on syria is the best try stop the fighting. >> pelley: but are we talking about something that's purely theoretical here, ambassador hill? because we just saw the reporting from st. petersburg. the president, vladimir putin, we know those relations are frosty right now. the idea of depending on russia supporting any u.s. action, wouldn't that be tantamount to
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not doing anything? >> well, i don't think we're going to get any russian acquiescence or russian support, certainly not in the time frames we envision. but i think we need to give some reassurances to russians and elsewhere that we're going to be diplomatically engaged. i really think as heinous as this al-assad has been, i think we ought to avoid talking about simply disposing of him as the . i think we need to talk more about how the parties in syria need tongle them around a table they'll start throwing things at each other-- so what you do is try to get them around some ideas. you need to shop some ideas. in kosovo we had a contact group. in bosnia we had a contact group. those conflicts were not ones that were solved through military action, they were political plans in which military action was there to support. and what we don't here is any kind of political way forward except to say assad must go and
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i would argue that just saying assad must go is not going to solve the problems of syria. >> woodruff: general scowcroft, are you saying it's too late to get this kind of diplomatic architecture together? >> well, it's very late. but i would remind you that for a while we and the russians had useful discussions about syria. and then assad seemed to be doing better and the russians didn't see any need to make a deal. but i think we still need to try because we can't solve the syrian problem by ourselves. the best thing i think, the best outcome possible, is to stop the violence to try to resolve the issue without the horrible violence going on now. but we're in a very tough position. >> woodruff: just quickly, ambassador hill, do you have a sense that there's still a chance to pull together some
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sort of diplomatic architecture, whatever the word is, that would backstop -- that would back up any military action? >> i do in the sense of if we're committed to a diplomatic approach-- and by the way the president has hinted at this in recent public statements-- so i think if we started that i think that would be a step in the right direction. i think people would like to see what we have in mind. i hear people say the time for that was too two years ago and it's too late. but as things are going right now, this conflict is going to be around two years from now. people will say "well the time for it was two years ago." so, yes, i think it's something we can do but i think we have to make it the centerpiece of our strategy rather than just talking about providing weapons or dropping bombs. >> woodruff: ambassador chris hill, general brent scowcroft, we thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> brown: we have more on syria from democratic congressman alan grayson. also coming tonight: a "small is beautiful" local currency; our cars and homes on the web; and a
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biography of the man of steel. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> reporter: the interior minister of egypt's military- backed government survived an apparent assassination attempt today in cairo. a suspected car bomb blew up near his convoy, wounding at least 22 people. our margaret warner is in cairo, and i spoke with her earlier about the incident. margaret, welcome. what's been the reaction to this attack among the people in egypt? >> kwame, it is a huge story here. it led the evening news, it's playing in an endless loop. the scene of the bomb blast, the base of that building sheared off all the way up to the fourth floor. there's a lot of commentary about how alarming this is. this is the first assassination attempt or attack on any member of this new interim government since the military deposed the elected leader mohamed morsi of the muslim brotherhood two months ago, that this clearly
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looked like a very professional job, this was a big bomb, pros did this attack. and, third, that the target of the attack was the man who's been driving the crackdown on the muslim brotherhood, that is the interior minister that has killed more than a thousand morsi supporters and rounded up untold thousands more. and, in fact, the interior minister predicted, he said "i think this is not the ending but the beginning of a new wave of violence." we happened to be interviewing the deputy prime minister at the time and he said if the crackdown did drive some members of the brotherhood or islamists to start another insurgency of the type this country saw in the '80s and '90s he said "we won't tolerate it and anything we do to crack down on it will be justified." >> holman: so, margaret, we are seeing reports here of the muslim brotherhood officials making statements saying that they condemn this attack. what's to be made of that have? >> kwame, we happened to go to .
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a long time brotherhood figure who issued that statement condemning it flatly denied anyone from the brotherhood was involved. when i said "who do you think's involveed?" but interestingly he and the interior minister both agreed, this is avery dangerous thing to have happened in this volatile atmosphere right now. this that this count i have so polarized that acts, major acts of violence by one side can easily trigger a vicious cycle, more violence on the other side. >> holman: our margaret warner in cairo. thank you. a two-month hunger strike by california prisoners ended today after legislators agreed to consider reforms. at its height, more than 30,000 inmates at two-thirds of the state's prisons have refused to eat. they were protesting the solitary confinement gang leaders and others, sometimes last manager years. legislators now have promised tonight, the view of a house
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wal-mart workers and supporters protested across the country today, the latest in a series of such actions. they gathered in 15 cities to demand better jobs and higher wages. they also said they want the company to take back employees allegedly let go for protesting. >> i want wal-mart to stand up and do the right thing and reinstate the illegally fired workers. i want them also to improve our working conditions, improve the poverty wages they put us through, and provide health care for all their workers. >> reporter: the demonstrations were the most extensive since some wal-mart workers staged "black friday" walkouts last november. the company maintained today that the "vast majority" of its employees do not share the opinions of the demonstrators.
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google argued today that it should be allowed to go on scanning the contents of g-mail accounts to help target advertising. the online search giant asked a federal judge in san jose, california, to throw out a class-action lawsuit that seeks to end the practice. google insists the scanning of e-mails is automated and that no humans are reading the contents. wall street managed small gains for the day, but investors mostly marked time ahead of tomorrow's report on unemployment and jobs. the dow jones industrial average gained six points to close at 14,937. the nasdaq rose more than nine points to close at 3,658. the smithsonian's national zoo in washington announced today its two-week-old giant panda cub is a girl. the cub is still nameless but appears to be in good health. zoo keepers said she was born to mei xiang, who was artificially inseminated last march. tests show the father is tian tian, also living at the national zoo. giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. those are some of the day's
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major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we come back to syria and the debate in congress over a military strike. we've had one-on-one talks this week with two senators, michigan democrat carl levin and nebraska republican deb fischer. tonight, the view of a house democrat leading the charge against using force. florida representative alan grayson serves on the foreign affairs committee. i spoke with him from capitol hill a short time ago. well, thanks for joining us. let's get right to it. why would a limited strike against syria be a missnake. >> several reasons. first, it's not our responsibility. it's not our responsibility to act unilaterally. secondly, it's not going to do any good. it's not going to change the regime. it's not going to tend civil war it's not even going prevent a new strike and use of chemical warfare. third, it's expensive and fourth it's dangerous. it could easily spin out of control. >> brown: a key argument from the president has been that chemical weapons are simply different. the use of them must be punished it must be stopped.
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what kind of message do you send to the syrian government and to other governments, including iran? >> as one of my colleagues said, if you want tow send a message, use hallmark not missiles. i think that logic applies here. listen we have to stop thinking in terms of messages and start thinking about what is our responsibility as a country? we have responsibility a responsibility to 20 million americans who are looking for full-time work. we have a responsibility to 40 million americans who can't see a doctor when they're sick. when my constituents in central florida hear that we might spend a billion dollars on this strike they're appalled. the country up in arms about even the possibility of this. we've set up a web site called www.don' within a short time 50,000 people have signed our petition against the resolution. when i talked to other members, i find the e-mails and letters and phone calls to their offices are running 100 will have 1 against this resolution and there's an effect. according to the recent numbers, 20 members are in favor of this,
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183 against. why because the american public understands it's simply not our problem. >> brown: do you propose then no action? what is the role of the u.s. today in a case like syria? what is our role as leaders in the globe? >> for instance, we could go to the u.n. we could go to nato. we could go to the international court of justice. we're a member of it. we could do all sorts of thicks to relieve the humanitarian suffering of the two million refugees in other countries. the president said he would arm the rebels three months ago, so far not a single gun or weapon has been delivered to the rebels despite the fact that president said it three months ago. there's all sorts of other alternatives that don't involve sending missiles and bombs on a so-called humanitarian war. >> brown: but in a humanitarian crisis is there ever an instance where -- i want to see how far you take this. is there ever a case where you could make the case for military action by the u.s.?
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>> yes, genocide. and in that case there would be enormous international reaction and enormous international support. you notice how with 196 countries in the world no one else wants to touch this problem. >> brown: what about the prestige and the credibility of the united states and the president himself? do you worry about that? >> no, we don't earn credibility by doing things that are stupid and counterproductive. we have to get over that idea. if it were a question of our credibility then, in fact, i think our credibility is stronger by making wise choices here. we can not go to war at stake of anybody's credibility. >> brown: but of course this is in the your own party. he's talked about -- he said "my credibility is not on the line, the international community's credibility is on the line." is he wrong about that the? >> yes! the international community has spoken. we are the only ones contemplating anything like this. if we don't do this attack, no one else will. the british on exactly the same
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evidence decided against doing exactly this specific thing. the international community has decided that when it works, it works multilaterally and not simply by lobbing missiles and bombs into a war zone with effects we cannot even possibly anticipate. >> brown: what about the international community long ago coming out against the use of chemical weapons saying that they are somehow different? >> honestly, i don't even know what that means. i mean, it sounds like many of the cliches that i hear coming out of the mouths of administration spokesmen. the fact is this, people understand it's not our problem, it's not gonna do any good, it's expensive and it's dangerous. if you want to get us into a third war in the middle east, this is the way to do it. >> brown: so what do you think going on with the president then. what are his motives? is it principle? is it politics? what's going on? >> oh, i don't question the president's motives at all. i think president is a person of good spirit making a very serious mistake in this regard and since we live a democracy we
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can do something about it before anything bad happens. i'm delighted that the president came to congress and he's willing to see that when push comes to shove 20 members of congress think it's a good idea and 183 think it's a terrible idea. what's what democracy is all about and that's the message we're sending to the world that we are a vibrant democracy and we can think things through without taking abrupt action that ends up being counterproductive. >> brown: what happens to the president from your own party if he lose this is vote? what are the implications for him? for his stature? for his ability to get things done in the rest of his term? >> with all due respect, that's irrelevant. we cannot decide whether to go to war on the basis of those kinds of considerations. it simply doesn't matter. i will tell you this: i think this time would be much better spent for his own future and the rest of his term and for america that we'd start to think about the fact that three weeks from now there's going to be a government shutdown and five weeks from now the government runs out of money when we reach the debt limit. it's appalling to me-- appalling
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to me-- that we spend two or three or four weeks debating whether to create a whole new category of war called human taryn war rather than dealing with our own problems and try to solve them. >> brown: i take it you think the president was right in coming to congress, snofrjts yes. >> brown: so what do you think -- where do you think the vote count is now? do you think you have the votes to stop this? >> well, it's not even a speculative thing at this point. you can go to the huffington post, you can go to the hill magazine, you can go to the for fire dog lake web site. you can go to the "washington post" web site. they're all saying that the count at this point is roughly 10-1 against the president's position. democrats roughly 4-1, republicans much more than 10-1 against the president's position. >> brown: congressman, if the president were to lose this vote but go ahead anyway under executive powers, what would you think then he? what would be the implications, the consequences? >> it's not even worth talking about. president obama has established
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a certain tone ri the first five years of his presidency. i trust he take the advice of congress and that will be the end of it. that's what i expect to happen. >> brown: congressman alan grayson of florida. thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: now, trading in ben franklins for norman rockwells. economics correspondent paul solman visits one new england county that prints its own money. it's part of his on-going reporting, "making sen$e of financial news." >> reporter: the berkshire mountains of western massachusetts, home to the historic red lion inn in stockbridge, operating continuously since 1773, back when the tab might have been settled with newly minted so- called continentals, revolutionary currency. 240 years later, i can pay by united states dollar, of course, or credit card. paul solman.
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what's my bill? >> right now, you have an outstanding balance of $148.10. >> reporter: $148.10. but the inn offers another option. but i'm going to get berkshares... >> oh, perfect. >> pay with. that's okay? >> absolutely. >> reporter: berkshares, an alternative, small-is-beautiful, local currency born in 2006 and now accepted by some 400 businesses in berkshire county. the process begins at five area banks, one conveniently right next door to the red lion inn. among them, the banks have about a million berkshares in their vaults, circulated only when someone like me steps up to the window. can i trade dollars for berkshares here? no questions asked? no fuss, no muss, and you buy berkshares at a 5% discount, getting 105 berkshares for every $100.
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700. for my $700, to cover our crew costs for several nights at the inn, 735 berkshares. i'm back. >> hi. >> reporter: hey, with berkshares. and thus, you get a discount at every place that accepts the local currency, because at the bank it takes 105 berkshares to buy back $100. the main purpose, then: >> berkshares is just a way to keep money within the community. >> reporter: brian butterworth is the red lion inn's director of sales. >> we don't make money off of it or lose money off of it. >> reporter: but wait a second. i just got a 5% discount. that's not good for the red lion inn, is it? >> we take your berkshares at the same value as u.s. dollars and we spend them as u.s. dollars. and it stays in our community because there's a geographical limit to where you can redeem berkshares. >> reporter: and in keeping with the small is beautiful philosophy, the limit is about ten miles outside berkshire county's borders.
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>> but we don't enforce who can take berkshares and who can't. >> reporter: alice maggio runs the berkshares program out of the schumacher center for new economics in great barrington. e.f. schumacher was the author of "small is beautiful." but maggio admits small can also be parochial. >> you can see local currencies as isolationist and secessionist. >> reporter: protectionist. >> or protectionist. >> reporter: but she hardly thinks berkshares represent a threat to global trade. >> we used to have this system in this country, we used to have local currencies everywhere. that's what wed like to see again is this, regional currencies that work for their region and then a national currency. why not? you need that too so that you can trade across the country, or even an international currency. >> reporter: in a remarkably apt application of the phrase "think globally, act locally," there's a mini-boom in local currencies worldwide, especially in europe. the chiemgauer in southern germany. in france, the pays basque eusko and toulouse sol-violette.
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the bristol pound and the brixton pound in the u.k. but while thinking globally, we too were acting locally, and thus more interested in the currency of berkshire county. so, alice maggio took us for a tour of our options. first stop: the magic fluke, a local ukulele manufacturer. >> hello! ♪ >> we make a great solid body ukulele where we actually took the trees down and kiln-dried the wood. >> reporter: co-owner phyllis webb, a woman some might describe as from an earlier era. >> right here in sheffield, we've been able to find some wood for our fret boards, and we in our new violin, we'll be using an injection molder right here in pittsfield, so not far away. >> reporter: ideally, the magic fluke pays in berkshares for the parts to make its instruments. >> we do sell all over the world, but we hire local people. it's good for our country to keep manufacturing here. it's about community support,
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it's about shopping local, it's about sustainability right here where we live and where we work. >> reporter: now, the berkshires are known for a certain kind of lifestyle which attracts what you might call cosmopolitan locals. >> two macchiati. >> i came on a july 4th weekend 25 years ago and fell in love with the area. and it took me ten years to move here full-time. this is francois. how are you? >> reporter: jean francois bizalion, a native of arles in the south of france, used to be a fashion editor, now runs his own gourmet shop in great barrington. >> we take berkshares from our customers when they purchase food or items off the shelf, and we also pay some of the vendors locally with our berkshares. >> reporter: so, is it more a political act on your part or a self-interested act, in the sense that you'll get more business if there are more people circulating or owning berkshares? >> it's a bit of both. we're trying to encourage local
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industries and possibly put a s having the same effect when they e you means here as a smallss "liberal political," or sort of "left wing political." is that fair? >> yeah, it is fair. left wing, maybe; liberal, yes. >> we come because of the berkshares. >> reporter: and so it went everywhere we visited, at establishments that have been doing business with berkshares since day one and with recent converts that alice maggio was just signing up. >> my name is ari zorn of zorn core fitness. i signed up for berkshares today. i think it's a beautiful thing. >> reporter: a locavore latte lover's liberal dream come true? this isn't partisan, says brian butterworth, a republican. >> there's also a conservative appeal, as well, because of some concerns with the money system as it is right now in the united states.
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>> reporter: tom's toys also fails to fit the stereotype. anything that's made locally? >> local new england local or u.s.a., but not in great barrington or berkshire county, no. >> reporter: in fact, most of the toys tom levin showed me for my grandkids-- like most toys everywhere-- were, yes, made in china. still, levin sees himself as doing his part to save main street for tourists and locals alike. is berkshares the answer to the threat to retail from the internet and chain stores? >> i would say it's part of the answer, you know. the answer is also to create awareness among people that if they shop online, 100% of what they spend goes into the same cyberspace that they're sending their order. if they shop at a big box store, 65% of what they spend leaves the community. >> reporter: but in the end, do consumers really care? legend has it the very first
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berkshare transaction took place across this counter at rubi's coffee shop. owner matt rubiner says the berkshare movement was something of a fad at first. then... >> it went through kind of a fallow time, but now were beginning to see more and more. >> reporter: and alice maggio is working hard to add even more businesses, is eyeing a scheme to issue more berkshares as so- called productive loans to local businesses by fronting them the currency to start up or expand. ultimately, she also hopes to untie berkshares from the u.s. dollar. >> that is our goal, is to create a currency that holds its value, as opposed to a currency like the dollar that's inflating constantly. so, at that point, people will want to use berkshares. ♪ >> reporter: and for folks in places like berkshire country, under the cloud of both deindustrialization and globalization for decades now,
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the hope is that here comes the sun once more. >> woodruff: online, read more of paul's conversation with alice maggio about the evolution of berkshares and her vision for the local currency. >> brown: now, new technology presents new concerns over privacy in unexpected places. an ever-expanding array of appliances and household devices has made our lives easier and sometimes safer. now connected to the web, they're becoming known as the "internet of things"-- baby monitors with cameras, home thermostats, even refrigerators. these so-called "smart devices" are programmable and easy to access remotely, both by their owners and, as it turns out, by hackers. yesterday, the federal trade commission cited one seller of web-enabled video cams for its
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inadequate security protections. it found that a breach in the company's software allowed hackers to post links to the live video feeds of its customers' security cameras. hari sreenivasan takes the story from there. >> reporter: is kashmir hill, a senior editor who writes the technology and privacy column "not so private parts" at let's start with putting this case in perspective. the f.t.c. ruling yesterday, is this limited to one company or are there are lots of other companies that have this weakens? >> it's not limited to one company. there are several device makers who are making products that are connected to the internet now and many have security vulnerabilities. not only as trend that -- not the only company that has vulnerable devices. it's not the only camera company just a few weeks ago another company out of china called foss-cam had a baby monitor in a
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texas family's home that was hacked by somebody who came in and started saying nasty things to a two-year-old until the father rushed in and unplugged the baby monster. >> sreenivasan: that's horrible. now you said? one of your articles that there's even a search engine to help people find this. >> there is a search engine called showdon called google but where google crawls for web site this is crawl it is internet looking for connected the devices and it's found all kinds of things. it's found cars that are connected to the internet, the cameras that we've heard about. building control systems for google's headquarters in australia and power plants and water filtration companies. there are so many products now that are connected to the internet because it's so useful to check on them or control things from afar. a lot of times these products are designed without good security so somebody can in some cases go in and control those devices or access their streams.
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>> and you've been one of those people. you hacked into a smart home. tell us a little bit about that. >> i have been one of those people. i was talk to security researchers about some research they had done around home automation systems and there was one particular product made by a company called instian that had no -- once a person connected it to their home it has no authentication system. you don't need a password to access it. and in some cases the systems were showing up in google search results, you didn't even need shodon to get to them. so i had a list of eight homes around the country where i was able to get in and turn on lights, turn water pumps on and off, potentially open garage doors. in one case i called this man in portland who had one of these
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systems and i asked him "do you mind if i see if i can turn your lights on and off?" and i did. and he was shocked. he had no idea that anyone on the internet can getting access to his system. >> sreenivasan: what can someone do? there are so many devices around us that are connected most of us might not be as conscious about the privacy settings or the security settings on each of these devices and the services that we're using through them. >> these devices are really convenient and there are a lot of benefits to them. you know, the big responsibility is with the vendors and companies that make these products. they need to make them with good security so that consumers aren't put in this place where they're vulnerable. there are things that consumers can do. one, make sure that if you have a device that connects to the internet that you can access from somewhere else that it has some kind of user name and password attached to it. if it comes with a default user name or password you should change that because hackers can figure that out very quickly. in one case a hacker -- an
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anonymous user went through and connected to 400,000 devices on the internet using default user names and passwords. so that's not secure. and if you're a very savvy user you can set up a virtual private network through which your device connects to the internet so somebody searching can't find it. but i think that is above the technical levels of most consumers. are. >> sreenivasan: so is this something where technology is far ahead of any legislation to protect us or regulations? >> at this point, you know, when you buy -- let's say you get tires from a tire company and those tires are defective in some way and it causes you to crash, you have the ability to go after that company. at this point, we're not quite there with software. we're still trying to figure out what the kind of privacy and security responsibilities are for companies that are providing and making these kinds of
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products. the decision by the federal trade commission to, you know, go after an i.p. cam maker that created vulnerable devices is telling and so the hope is that companies will avoid making these vulnerable products to avoid getting in trouble with the f.t.c. and and the hope is that public shaming, appearing in negative news reports, will help but i don't know that the law has really caught up with the possibilities here. >> sreenivasan: kashmir hill, thanks so much for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the life story of the world's first superhero. newshour political editor christina bellantoni is our guide.
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>> reporter: there's something about the man of steel. superman has endured for 75 years, captivating people of all ages through. scrappy crime fighter to american icon, the character reflects the changing world around him, but superman stay throws one ideal: helping others. the hero's evolution is the subject of a new book: superman, the unauthorized biography by glen well con. he covers pop culture by npr and joins me now. why do superheroes and comic back characters resonate with america and how do they evolve with our society? >> well, it might say these characters are our modern myth bus it's true. they exist on a symbolic level and there's no more symbolic character than superman who created the archetype of the superhero. everything that's come after him, that's touched on the idea of somebody who dresses up in a weird outfit and fights for the powers of good comes from him. >> reporter: and turning directly to superman, you
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chronicle his journey from his comic book debut april 18, 1938 to silver screen and call him the most recognizable figure of the superhero genre. is it just lon jeff any >> it's because he created the archetype and because his costume is primary colors, red yellow and blue. and he was the one who everybody who came after him was imitating or reacting to. but he does evolve. that's the thing about the characters. when i was researching the book i wanted to show what has stayed the same about this character over 75 years and what's changed. and specifically what do those things that have changed about him say about us and what of the fact that a certain part of him has stayed completely the same for 75 years say about us as well. basically the only thing about him that hasn't changed at all in 75 years is his motivation. at first glance it's a hero motivation. he puts the needs of others over those of himself and he never gives up. both of those things are present you have a superman story.
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when one or more of those things is missing it doesn't feel like superman because that's who this character is. >> reporter: the motivations for his good deeds, you wrote he was once decidedly anti-mill taristic, far removed from the uber patriot he would become. how did truth, justice, and the american way become his motto? >> well, when created by siegel and shuter they wanted him to be a progressive character and he starts off going after people we consider the 1%. corporate fat cats, crooked politicians, manufacturers who created shoddy goods that were unsafe for the public. >> reporter: coal miners that had unsafe practices. >> absolutely. he was trying to upset the status quo and doing it in a rough way. he was not paragon of virtue choou we see today. he was a tough guy. but world war ii came along and softened those hard edges. suddenly he went from attacking the status quo to vigorously defending it. so when world war ii began he was basically a children's comic
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book character. but because of the patriotic imagery and his use as a patriotic symbol throughout the war, by the end of the war he was an american icon. >> reporter: and specifically on that world war ii shift you saw him used in war propaganda from the united states government. >> he was helping to sell war bonds and telling people to plant victory gardens. absolutely. he was doing that on the cover of his books, not necessarily in the adventures because the editors and writers were cognizant that if you show superman going over to europe and bashing some nazis around you would be trivializing the sacrifices of the american g.i.. so they wrote a story in the comic strip where clark kent goes to enlist but he gets so excited that he accidentally reads the eye chart in the next room and fails his exam. so he had to stay home and fight saboteurs but, yeah, he stayed home side during the war. >> reporter: one of my favorite details is the aesthetics. superman's costume and look has changed so much over the years. i love that.
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>> well it started off as -- they were inspired by very popular figures of the time, circus acrobats and trapeze artists. so that's where the tights come from. you needed something that would allow for freedom of movement but something that the people in the back rows could see so you wanted to outline the form but you wanted it to pop so you had garishly colored outfits. the cape was there to convey speed because he started as a creature on the page and the only way you can convey how fast somebody is moving-- especially back then before they had the iconography we have today in comics of speed lines, you draw lines to signify that, before that they needed a cape to flutter and flap. you could almost hear it snapping in the breeze in those first few images that we know of superman. certainly superman "s" which is now a very recognized symbol throughout the world-- took a long time to evolve. if you look at it over the course of 75 years, it's still evolving. there's still tweaks we make to
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reflect the style of the time. so it's constantly in some kind of state of change. what they've done is taken away the tights andedt with a weird armor. they've taken away the red pants-- the red pants will return-- but they took away the red pants but kept a big old chunky belt. a belt not holding anything up. so everything about this character, the spit curl, the pants, the belts, the boots constantly cycles in and out of fashion. it always will. >> reporter: is the message coming from the comic books one that reflect what is we're thinking or from the creators trying to send a message to society? >> well, there's the character of superman and the idea of superman. the character is constantly it rated and reiterated because he doesn't have what makes a story a story. he doesn't have an ending. he's part of an open-ended narrative. which means he keeps churning over, they reboot and kill him bring him back and taking away his red pants and bringing them back. but there's the idea of superman which is bigger than that. so the character is owned by d.c. and warners, the idea of
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superman, which is more powerful pure than that, which transcends the media that deliver him to us is owned by the world. and that's why we constantly look to him and look to have him inspire us. >> pelley: glen weldon, the author of "superman: the unauthorized biography," thank you. >> thank you. >> we'll continue this discussion online. you can find a slide show of superman through the ages and a look at the science of superheros from spider-man's silling to the flash of speed. and we want you weigh in: is your favorite comic book character? that's all at >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: president obama arrived in russia for a summit with world leaders, a meeting overshadowed by tensions over a possible military strike on syria. administration officials again briefed members of the u.s. senate and congress. but a number of senators remained undecided, and there were signs that oppositi is growing in the house.
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and the interior minister of egypt's military-backed government survived an apparent assassination attempt in cairo. >> woodruff: online, "hangout" with the newshour tomorrow. kwame holman will tell you how. >> reporter: join us tomorrow for a google hangout with hari sreenivasan. he will talk with two of our correspondents about upcoming stories: one, a profile of composer stephen sondheim; and the other on gas exploration off the coast of israel. the hangout starts at 11 a.m. eastern time. find the instructions on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, judy? >> brown: gone our honor role of american service personnel killed in the afghanistan conflict. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here in silence are seven more.
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>> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. but before we go, we mark a milestone and look ahead to the future. 30 years ago today, the newshour debuted as a one-hour program with robert macneil and jim lehrer, along with yours truly as chief washington
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correspondent. and this weekend, we branch out again with saturday and sunday editions. pbs newshour weekend premieres this saturday, september 7. join hari sreenivasan for a 30- minute look at the top news stories with the same in-depth, independent coverage you've come to expect from the newshour. that's pbs newshour weekend, premiering right here this saturday. check your local listings. and that's not all-- gwen and i will be here on monday to kick off the new weekday pbs newshour! i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thanks for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and...
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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. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> you are watching dw coming to you live from berlin. this is the "journal." >> our headlines for you at this hour -- >> the g-20 summit gets under way with the divisions over the syrian crisis. >> egypt's interior minister survives an assassination attempt and calls the attack a start of a new wave of terrorism. >> and a city that knows how to party gets some business done, too. berlin business week gets under wa


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