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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 25, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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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. >> ifill: the crucial midterm election campaign of 2010 headed into its closing days today. president obama hit the road again, with control of congress and key state houses still up for grabs. the president kicked off the last full week of the midterm campaign in the democratic stronghold of rhode island. >> it is great to be here in rhode island. >> ifill: mr. obama has been on the campaign trail nearly nonstop. barn storming from battleground to battleground in a five-state swing last week that wrapped up saturday in minnesota. >> i need you fired up! because in just ten days you have the chance not just to set the direction of the state, but also help
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determine the direction of this country. >> ifill: republicans who polls show are leading or tied in a number of critical races have brought their own star power to bear. in florida where the governor's race is a toss up, republican national committee chairman michael steel and former alaska governor sarah palin were the draw at a weekend rally saturday in orlando. >> that momentum is with us but now is not the time to let up. now is the time where we dig deep. >> ifill: the battles for the house and the senate have become a critical test for the national parties and both sides claim the advantage. steele and his democratic counterpart tim kaine offered starkly different assessments this weekend. >> the voters are tired of the fact that the federal government has not listened to them over the past two years, has moved in its own direction at its own rhythm. and they want to pull back on that and i think you're going to see a wave, an unprecedented wave on to surprise a lot of people. >> the polling is moving.
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we haven't really seen since labor day polls moving against us. almost all the polls have been moving for us. now we still have some work to do. but what democrats tend to specialize in is the ground game, the turnout, the more people turn out, the better we do. and we're seeing strong trends at the presidential rallys and early voting. >> ifill: the end game hinges on turnout, especially in 31 states where early voting is already under way. and newshour political editor david chalian joins me now for the latest. we heard tim kaine talk about early voting. we hear all this talk about early voting in all of those states, significant? >> it is significant because it's some metric to look at other than polls right now. both parties look very closely at are their voters that they have identify as key to their success actually getting this vote in early so that the partys can, what they call, bank those votes and worry about the rest on election day. but, it is a mixed picture what we are seeing. we are certainly not seeing the enthusiasm gap that we've talked so much about. we don't see some massive
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outpour on the republican side of the early vote. it kind of depends what state you are in, in florida, in colorado, states with key race. we do seat republicans edging out but a state like nevada that has that marque reid-angle race it is almost dead even. so that is not quite reflect hag that enthusiasm gap we are seeing nationally with the republicans having that edge. >> ifill: if there is a wave as the republicans say there is going to be, which are the-- who are the people who each party is watching most closely on that? >> well, they have to get their partisan, their most committed supporters to the polls first and to doubt we see that is what barack obama has been doing nonstop. he's going to democratic strongholds and trying to rally that base. but this is a story about independence. we cannot forget for all the talk that you and i have had about tea party enthusiasm and all of this energy on the right and how drummed that up conservative wing of the party is, elections in america are still about independent voters. and take a look at this poll out today from gweground "polit4
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percent are leaning republican, 30% are leaning democratic. that is a 14 point edge among independents for republicans. compare that to 2006 where you see a huge swap of independents, 57% to 39% went for the democrat and in 2008 barack obama bested john mccain 52% to 44% among independents. it's not just about the base, you have to win the middle and we see independents swinging big time right now for republicans. >> ifill: so as we watch vice president biden and president obama go around the country, i think i read vice president biden has made a hundred of these trips, is this who they are going after. >> the independents? no, i think they are trying to drum up as much democratic support. they're not trying to find the universal of persuadable voters any more. now the democrats are just relying on bring those people that showed up in 2008 to the polls because they know they have lost the argument with independents. they see the same poll numbers we just saw. take a look at the map and the country of where vice president biden and president obama will spend
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their final k578 pain push. you see obama in the lighter blue states there. illinois and iowa, new york today rhode island, new hampshire, connecticut, these are blue states, gwen. they're not talking a lot of persuadable voters. >> ifill: they're not even trying for the purple states any more. >> not some of. that is a map about trying to get your most hard-core supporters out. >> ifill: so what is it you are watching most closely. if you have to pick a handful of those states coast-to-coast, what are you watching, therefore we should be watching? >> well, on the house side i'm watching both the 48th district that john mccain won where a democrat currently serves. because in this environment it will be hard for those democrats to hang on to what might be a republican-tilting district, as well as those freshman and sophomore democrats that won on the wave in '06 and '08. if they can hang on without a wave in their parties direction. so on the house side that's what i am watching. on the senate side, pennsylvania, illinois, nevada, colorado.
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those are four states that i'm watching very, very closely. >> ifill: california,? >> california is quite interesting because it's one of these races where if you talk to democrats and republicans they totally don't agree at what they are looking at. there is absolutely no agreement. democrats think barbara boxer is doing okay and the republicans think that carly fiorina is in a real race and maybe their best chance in 20 years to win a senate seat. >> ifill: judy woodruff will tell us all about it later this week. thank you, david. >> sure, thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, modifying loans and foreclosing homes, the release of iraq war military documents, a reporters notebook from mozambique and funny stories from a king of hollywood comedy. but first the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> the chairman of the federal reserve weighed in on the foreclosure mess today. thousands of foreclosures have been frozen, amid questions about legal documents and other issues.
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and fed chair ben bernanke said in washington the central bank is getting involved. >> we are looking intensively at the policies, procedures and internal controls related to foreclosures and seeking to determine where the systemic weaknesss are leading to improper foreclosures. we take violation of proper procedure very seriously. >> sreenivasan: on wall street, questions about foreclosures hurt bank of america again. its stock fell another 2.5%. the dow jones industrial average gained 31 points to close at 11,164. the nasdaq rose 11 points to close above 2490. more families were left mourning in mexico today after a weekend of new drug violence. at least 10 people were killed at a drug rehab center in tijuana last night. gunmen burst into the center and made the victims lie on the floor, then shot them. and in ciudad juarez, 14 people were killed friday night when gunmen stormed a birthday party and opened fire. the cholera outbreak in haiti that's killed nearly 260 people may be stabilizing. health officials reported today that some 3,000 people have become sickened by the bacterial disease, but they also said the rate of new cases is slowing.
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so far, only a few cases have appeared in the capital, port- au-prince. more than a million earthquake victims are living in makeshift camps there. in afghanistan, president hamid karzai acknowledged his office receives money from iran, and he insisted the u.s. has known about it for years. karzai confirmed a "new york times" report that iran is literally providing "bags of money." he said his chief of staff takes the cash on his orders. >> this is transparent and this is something that i have-- i have also discussed with even when we were at camp david with president bush, this is nothing hidden. we are grateful for the iranian health-- the united states is doing the same thing this reproviding cash to some of our offices. >> sreenivasan: before karzai's statement, iran had dismissed the allegations. a canadian man has pleaded guilty today to killing an american soldier in afghanistan.
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omar khadr entered the plea today at guantanamo bay, cuba. the killing happened in 2002, when khadr was 15 years old. he now faces a military jury for a sentencing hearing. longhaul trucks, school buses, and large pickups in the u.s. will face gas mileage and emissions standards for the first time. the federal announcement today affects new vehicles beginning with the 2014 model year. the goal is to cut emissions and fuel consumption up to 20% by 2018. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn once again to the ongoing foreclosure crisis, as newshour economics correspondent paul solman looks at a government program to get struggling homeowners into more affordable mortgages. the story is the fourth in paul's ongoing series on the mortgage crisis, part of his regular reporting, "making sense of financial news." >> reporter: how to fix the foreclosure crisis? the key answer was supposed to be president obama's 75 billion dollar home affordable modification program.
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and announced early last year. >> and this will enable as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. >> reporter: under half, mortgage principal usually stays the same but the interest rate can be dropped to as low as 2%. the terms expend-- extended to as much as 40 years. the catch, if your payment still exceed -- 1% of income, you are denied. so far barely half a million americans have received permanent loan modifications, out of the millions the program was supposed to help. and the approval rate is now shrinking. no surprise if you listen to the folks we interviewed and we had plenty more to choose from. >> it's a nightmare. just trying to get a simple answer from these people. >> you call them at breakfast and by the time you reach somebody it's time for your midnight snack. >> i can easily understand how people just go bonkers.
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>> i wish you all the best. >> it amps to product banks that service mortgages by offering them $1,000 per loan modification. it may not be enough. >> we're at this now 16 months and our eligibility has not even been determined. >> reporter: sa a and lee applied to their service chase for a half modification when sarah was laid off, lee's hours cut back. >> the first person who was assigned to our case would not return our phone calls. and since that time, we have had nine different representatives. >> you try to contact them. you don't hear back from them. you call the general number, you find out you have been reassigned to somebody else. >> reporter: from the get-go the braun's documented their efforts. some would say compulsively. >> there's been countless numbers of time by he has documented where we've been told you're denied because su have not provided the documents requested. when in fact we have never received a request. >> reporter: meanwhile the brauns now make the mortgage
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with the help of family. >> you think are you getting help. >> reporter: lorraine had nothing to fall back on when she lost one of her two jobs last year. in january bank of america said she qualified for the standard three month trial modification. four months later, she called about the perm meant mod. >> they said it's still under review. keep sending those paymentsment so i did. june 27nd i got a letter from bank of america stating that i couldn't qualify under the making homes affordable and come july-this year, i hadn't heard anything still as to what my options might be. and i called again. and she said well its stale under reviewment and i said well i just got a letter from your law firm stating that you are going to auction off my house august 27th. so how can it be under review. >> reporter: she was able to get the auction stayed until november 26th. but now owes even more in arrearages and fees.
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>> so i'm roughly i would say approximately about $23,000 behind. >> reporter: turns out she even pays for ads the bank puts in the paper announcing she's in default. >> this is the ad that they charged $700 an ad. >> notice of mortgage sale of real estate, $700, bank of america, law offices, you pay for. >> it ends up getting tacked on to what i end up owing the bank. >> reporter: her sister mary helped their brother james apply for a modification through wells fargo. after he lost his job. the loan was even backed by the va. >> i worked with my brother consistently probably two, three times a week he was at my house. he was sending things certified, faxed, every single week a letter went to wells fargo and to the veterans loan servicing administration. >> reporter: but foreclosure came before modification. >> they began eviction proceedings on him and he had a move out date of april
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15th. and he passed away. he had a heart attack at the end of february and after that happened, his widow couldn't get out of bed for about three or four weeks after that. and she was under court order to get out of the house by april 15th. and i said look, you can give her another month or two. what's the difference. they said no. i couldn't believe it i was floored. >> you are put under a lot of stress when are you trying to-- i'm getting emotional. when i think of my brother. you get put under a lot of stress, trying to get help. and it's not there. >> the house is now empty. it's up for sale, for about $60,000 less than what he owed on it. they have had a couple of auctions and they have had no luck. in selling it. and he was willing to work with him and stay there and right now right off the top they are taking a $60,000 hit.
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>> reporter: attorney kevin costello represents homeowners in cases against jpmorgan chase, wells fargo, and bank of america, a newshour underwriter, arguing that when servicers drag out the half trial process then reject the homeowner they're breaking a contract. >> i think it's clear that servicers have not invested the time, the energy and the resources in creating an infrastructure within their shops to adequately discharge their dutys under the program. it may be that the financial incentive isn't enough. there are all sorts of fees that mortgage servicesers are collecting while the limbo for the homeowner drags on and on. >> reporter: according to a recent report by the national consumer law center, servicer fees based on a percentage of outstanding balance provide incentives to increase the loan principal by add its delinquent amounts and junk fees. don madden says he was surprised to see his loan
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grow after he was rejected from-- by bank of america. after a six month trial that cut his payments from 1400 to $650-- $656. >> now on the mortgage statement that i received it's telling me that i have six months delinquent mortgage. >> reporter: you are six months delinquent. >> delinquent mortgage. >> because of the six months in which you paid the 656. >> correct. h ls the difference between the 656 and the 1400. ú ña retroactively. >> no, it was never stated in any of their paperwork. >> reporter: the main problem, according to attorney costello,nq servicers haven't been pressured to make permanent modifications. >> what stick is the federal government bringing to bear against servicers who are failing to comply. the data is there that folks are to the getting permanent modification was appear to be entitled to them. what is treasury doing to enforce the rules of hamp
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against servicers. >> we don't under the law have the authority to require servicers to be part of the program. and we cannot find the servicers for not complying. >> reporter: until his recent retirement herb allison oversaw treasuries tarp program which funds hamp. >> these are voluntary programs. we have to strike a fine balance between getting very tough with them and making sure that they are active and involved in our program. >> reporter: we asked for interviews with the three banks involved in the cases we've reported. bank of america was the only one to grant us interviews on camera. >> it never gets easy. >> reporter: joseph brown came to bank of america last year after a career in carpentry. >> a lot of times we have a lot of different specialties, departments that handle various cases. so i mean that could lead to the misrouting and of course the frustration. >> reporter: rebecca maron says nationally the bank has added 10,000 loan servicers in just the last year. more than doubling capacity. it now handles 14 million
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loans, most inherited from an acquisition, countrywide financial two years ago. at 25 locations. this one is in california. two floors the size of football field its cramed with cubicles. >> we have several thousand people here, associates in simi valley centre, most of which are working on loan modification sluices for our customers. >> reporter: more over she says the bank has made many of its own modifications after a denial. though the terms aren't usually as good. >> january of 2008 we have done over 680,000 modifications for customers. and of that, 80,000 of those are hamp modifications. >> reporter: the latest numbers, 700,000 modifications including 5,000 more in-- which is now up and running. >> but in the early start, building the process, adding new technology, underwriting capabilities and building capacity was challenging. >> reporter: jpmorgan chase
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which declined an on camera interview said the industry was taken by surprise at first. once the president announced ham they wrote us our call oul-- call volume exploded. wells fargo has yet to respond at all so we asked bank of america trisha who has been modifying loans for four years, was her bank overwhel will. >> no, we take control of our cat calls and customers and try and get the help they need and be the one point of contact for them. >> reporter: but then why do so few applicants get modified? for one thing customers regularly misrepresent their finances when they first apply over the phone says maron. like the very customers we spoke with. >> you have a discrepancy between what the customer stated up front and what we were able to verify in those documents. >> reporter: we relayed the response to lorraine awaiting for foreclosure and don madden rejected. both vehemently denied the bank's claim saying they can prove they submitted everything in print right
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away, accurately. >> absolutely. i have the paperwork right here. >> reporter: last week, bank of america told madden his mortgage had been lowered 40%. the brauns, however, got rejected by chase shortly after the bank was told we were reporting their case, 18 months after the braun's first applied. >> brown: today the treasury department reported that more than half of the homeowner enrolled in the hamp program have been disqualified. also today, there were new developments in the ongoing foreclosure mess. for an update on that part of the story we're joined now by binyamin appelbaum of the "neww york times." we saw in our news summary federal reserve chairman ben bernanke weighing in today. tell us, what specifically is he looking at? >> what he has said is the federal reserve is reviewing the opinion ree of foreclosure. they are looking at the way that banks process foreclosures to ascertain how banks make sure that they're foreclose on the right people and that they have the right to take those home.
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>> and whether people were kicked out of their homes who shouldn't have been. >> well, that is what they are hoping not to find. >> brown: hoping not find but we still don't really know the extent of that. >> we don't. we know there have been isolated instances in which people lost homes and programs shouldn't have but we have no idea how many common it was. >> brown: how much authority does the fed have. what could it do if it finds problems. >> the fed has a great deal of authority over banks. they can both force banks to make reforms to their process, to make sure that it is working the way it is supposed to. and potentially they can take punitive action against banks that are found to be in violation of those requirements. >> brown: now this fits into a lot of investigations now ongoing. government investigations, federal government but also at the state level. a number of attorneys general, correct? >> yeah, all 50 of them, actually. and this is in large part a state issue. the foreclosure process is governed by state laws. many of the violations that are alleged to have occurred would have occurred in violation of state laws. and so those attorneys general investigations are really sort of where the
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action is right now. >> brown: and where, where do they stand, do you know at this point? or how long does this process unfold? >> yeah, we don't know how long it will take but we do know that some of those investigations already are unearthing some interesting things. the attorney general in florida has released a series of depositions with employees of law firms in florida who say that they were involved in forging signatures on foreclosure documents, filing documents that they knew were incomplete or that said things that they didn't know to be true, that they were basically involved in this robo signing process and this fast, fast, fast foreclosure process. >> brown: in the meantime bank of america one of the key players we saw in paul's piece came out this weekend and acknowledged that it had found at least a fewer rohrs. >> uh-huh. >> brown: tell us what they found and are saying. >> bank of america initially said we are going to pause foreclosures and take a look at our process. and came back pretty quickly and said we looked. our process worked. we don't have any problems. we're going to get back to work. the bank has now said no,
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wait a second there are some instances in which we made what it characterizes as minor technical errors. names in documentation, but the bank has continued to insist that what has not happened is any instance in which a homeowner was wrongly foreclosed. >> brown: and some banks, some of the larger banks have now resumed processing foreclosures? >> they have started to do that, right. bank of america has launched the process of resubmitting documentation and about 100,000 cases where they are now going to proceed with foreclosure. >> brown: now another on the meantime here, is you have some large investors pressuring the banks. this is sort of on the other side, right, to take these mortgages off their hands. explain what is gos on there? >> well, basically, you know, each time there is a homeowner that thinks the bank doesn't have the right to foreclose on them there is on the other side of that coin an unhappy investor who thinks that they own that home and would like it. and so what you have got is a growing number of investors basically saying the banks in constructing these mortgage securities in managing these mortgage securities were supposed to be getting us our money.
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and to the extent that these problems with foreclosures are threatening our investment, we want our money back. >> brown: and these are big players who are we talking about. >> we are talking about the federal reserve actually has joined, the federal reserve bank of new york is a participant in this effort to sue bank of america. we're talking about blackrock and some of the largestest investors in mortgage securities in the country and even fannie mae and freddie mac, the two largest gorillas of mortgage investments. >> brown: so for them it is not a question of who owns the mortgage, but whether the sales were done properly and who should be holding the back. >> right. i mean they basically know that they own the mortgages. they bought them from the banks. their concern is that the value of those securities has declined sharply and they are saying, basically, this wasn't just, you know, a bad bet that went wrong. this was mismanaged, this was sold to us on false pretenses. we deserve a refund. >> brown: and how big a risk is that to the banking industry as a whole? >> in financial terms that is probably the much greater
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risk. >> brown: much greater. >> much greater. even if some homeowners begin to successfully avoid foreclosure that doesn't add up to a lot of money very quickly. but a couple of cases from investors, this suit against bank of america concerns $47 billion. there are tens of billions of dollars in other securities that could very easily be pulled into this. that where the real money is, is in these investor suits against the banks. >> brown: and the government in all this continues to try to figure out how to handle it, right? i mean on the one hand wanting to make sure the process works right and on the other on the other hand immediate needing this housing market to work itself out. >> it's interesting. we're sort of exactly where we've been for three years now which is if the government is walk the tightrope between on the one hand trying to keep the banking industry working and reviving the economy, on the other hand, trying to hold it as accountable as possible. >> brown: you're talking to these guys every day. you see them trying to work this all out. >> they're trying. they haven't done it yet but this is a struggle. they're not sure how to
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handle it they're not sure in the first place what went wrong here, how badly did it go wrong and how many cases there a problem. people are still really trying to wrap their heads around the nature of this thing. we don't yet know what the problem is. >> brown: all right, binyamin appelbaum of the "new york times", thanks very much. >> my pleasure. >> ifill: next tonight, providing health care in one of the world's poorest countries. ray suarez has just returned from mozambique, where he's been reporting for our global health unit. >> suarez: good to be back what are you doing in moz -- mozambique. >> it provides a compelling portrait of what the poorest countries in the world are trying to do to save their people both from preventable disease, from disease that can be treated cheaply with the right kind of responses, and to the particular challenge of hiv and aids. >> ifill: hiv and aids is really what you were focused
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on. what did you see, what kinds of clinics, what kind of stresss are on the health system in mozambique. >> suarez: well, mozambique as a country can afford to spend only a little bit on its public health infrastructure and in providing drugs to its hiv sufferers. so there is heavy dependence on the united states and its-- program and heavy dependence on the global fund to fight aids, tuberculosis and mall aria. mozambique responded to the change eng, raferpdz up to the people diagnosed who can go on anti-viral drugs to save their lives but there are pipeline problems and future supply problems that are anticipated because of the number of infections is rising everyie. >> ifill: when you say pipeline problems you talk to the people, you talk to the caregivers there are people who can't get their hands on the anti-receipt ra viral who can distribute it. >> suarez: until this month if you presented yourself to a clinic and going on
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anti-retro viral you would get a month wort of the drug and be told to come back and get your next month of medicine. the day we were at the largest clin anything the mozambique capital, the patients were told they could only get a week's supply of medication which means they have to come to the hospital, lose a half a day or day of work, wait on hours of lines and come back four times as often. and doctors are worried that that will mean they will take their drugs less faithfully and the drugs will be less effective. >> ifill: how much is the united states responsible? you mentioned the u.s. backed program but how much are other contribut contributes-- countries contributing. >> suarez: the global fund to fight aids, tuberculosis and malaria set out a goal for the 2011/2013 funding cycle and then just now just in the recent past days had a donor's conference and fell billions of dollars short in pledges for replenishing the global fund. that means right now we know
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there won't be enough money to provide all the drugs necessary for all the drugs for all the people who want to go on anti-receipt ra viral therapy. right now the united states tax pay certificate keeping alive half of all the poor people in the world who take anti-retro viral drugs. the united states is saying the rest of the world needs to put up more so the united states isn't bearing that much of a burden on its own. >> ifill: and the u.s. burden this say program begun by president bush and continuing unabated under president obama. >> suarez: what the obama administration has decided to do is level off the funding for anti-retro viral drugs and put more emphasis on creating more capacity and more expertise in national health systems and concentrating on women and their young children, pointing out that you get a lot of payback for investing in the medical care of women and children. and right now a lot of aids activists are saying yes, we understand why you want to
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do that but we're really frightened that if you do, the world won't step up and eventually we'll have to tell people who are hiv positive, sorry, there are no drugs for you. >> ifill: finally, ray, is there a war at all for these resources between hunger and aids or malaria tooub turb, it's all-- tuberculosis t all the same pool of money. >> when you visit a country like mozambique you realize how much these are interrelated. i tried to ask that we have a young medical director, one of two doctors in a district where he is caring for 200,000 people. and he says i can't pull out one disease and say it's more important than this other disease. my people don't have clean water. that contributed to diarrhea diseases which weakens them when they try to fight off diseases like tuberculosis and malaria and other things that are endem anything that part of the world. it's very heavily interconnected and it's hard to just pick out one and say if we get this one licked
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we're really on the right road. >> ifill: i can't wait to see your report. thanks for doing. and that 33 hour trip home. >> ifill: thank-- . >> suarez: thanks a lot, gwen. >> brown: now a filmmaker on learning >> brown: now, a filmmaker on learning to be a comic, having success in hollywood, and not wearing suits. >> brown: if there is a king of comedy right now in hollywood you could argue it is judd apatow. 42-year-old writer, director and producer is the force behind films that combined have earned $1.5 billion in recent years. including megahits like "the 40-year-old virgin" >> are you a virgin? you're a virgin! >> i am-- shut up. >> brown: and "knocked up" >> i have something i really need to till. i'm pregnant. >> with a baby? >> brown: his leading characters might be young men who can't or won't grow
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upfq. the humor, well, sophomoric. >> already? >> yeah. >> i'm sorry. >> brown: but the formula is working and apatow insists his movies do have a serious purpose. >> i feel the responsibility to make things which on some level have something positive to say. so although there is a lot of people that are acting immaturely, we say, but to me what it is really about is to try to figure out how are you going to be a good person and how are going to fit into society. >> brown: you do care about that. >> well that's all i care about, really. i just think it's funnier to start with people in the worst possible place. >> brown: apatow's latest pursuit is actually quite high mind. a book called-- called "i found this funny" a collection of his favorite works by writers from past masters f scott fitzgerald and flannery o'connor to
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contemporary humorist david sedaris and steve martin. the proceeds benefit a nonprofit writing and tutoring program called 826-national. when we talked recently at his modest los angeles office, apatow admitted that he himself came to love reading only as an adult. >> i was a big t, have kid. when i was a kid i would go home at 3:00, and watch tv straight through to the end of letterman at 1:30 in the morning. i was the i would watch jerry seinfeld and jay leno and study them as if it was tolstoy. >> brown: apatow is indeed a serious student of comedy and that too began as a kid on long island when he managed to pick the brains of leading comedians appearing at a local club. >> i started a radio show where i interviewed comics. and i interviewed leno and seinfeld and john candy and father gudi and gary shandling all when i was 16
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and they told me what to do. here is how you get on stage. here is how you write a joke. here is how you come up with an idea for a sitcom. and they thought it was for the radio but they didn't realize it was only for me and i wasn't even airing almost any of the interviews. >> brown: if as apatow says his comedy obsession helped get him through the pain of growing up, it's that very pain that is the obsession of his professional comedy. his breakthrough came as producer and writer of the tv show freaks and geeks, a funny and sometimes agonizing look at teenagers trying to cope and coexist in a suburban high school. >> i'm sorry, did i crush your twinkies. >> brown: the show was cancelled after just 12 episodes but developed a cult following and lives on on cable and dvd. >> i was just bending down to talk to him and i accidental-- accidentally leaned on it. >> a lot of the turning points happened in high school and in college and defines a lot of how you see
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the world and how you decide to defend yourself from the world. some people, you know, their defense mechanism is i'm really smart or i'm sexy or i'm the leader. and other peerjs you know, they hide or they make jokes and we are all figuring out what our plan is going to be. >> do you know how i know you're gay. >> how,. >> because you macramed yourself a pair of jean shorts. >> brown: and those young men in his recent movies glued to video imgas avoiding relationship and responsibilities, they're still trying to figure out who they are going to be. >> most people are really fighting to not be adults. and when it happens, it's a big transition. and a lot of that is just awful. it's awful to have to get a job and you know, really be responsible for other people and it is funny too. like we're all kind of little idiot kids trying to act like we know what we are doing. look at you, are you in a suit. are you trying to look like you know what you are doing. >> brown: yeah, yeah. >> and dow. >> brown: is it working.
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>> it's not, it's not working. >> brown: of course judd apatow may not wear a suit but he is a grown-up. a family man who runs a successful business, a stressful demanding business. and he remains unapologetic about criticisms that his comedy aims too low. >> there are people who want noel coward and people who want superbad. and i just think all entertainment and art is just a grab bag to pick what you like. >> brown: and don't expect serious drama any time soon. >> i don't think i'm going to get so mature that i lose touch with whatever wounded part of myself that feels the need to be funny. i'm already old enough that i realize that's not going to happen. i wish-- . >> brown: this is you. >> i wish it did happen. i wish there was a moment where like i feel great and all my wounds are healed and now i will do drama. but it's not happening. i still feel like a weird kid who is about to take a punch in the face. so i think it's permanent. >> brown: judd apatow a next
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film called bridesmaid is due out in the spring. his story collection, i found this funny, has just been released. >> ifill: vi >> ifill: tens of thousands of documents about what happened behind the scenes during the iraq war are now part of the public record. the release is the work of the wiki leaks website, which has done this before and promises to do it again. margaret warner has the details. >> warner: the release of nearly 400,000 classified u.s. documents on the iraq war reverberated again today. much of the focus was on reports of iraqi police and soldiers torturing and abusing detainees. sometimes while american troops turned a blind eye. state department spokesman p.j. crowley was pressed today to respond. >> we have not turned a blind eye. you know, our troops were
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obligated to report abuses, you know, to appropriate authorities and followup and they did so in iraq. a lot of the things that we've done in iraq, you know, during our time there has been to partner with iraqi forces, conduct human rights training. >> warner: the leaked documents which span the years 2004 through 2009 added fine grain detail to what has already been reported. among the disclosures, more iraqi civilians died than previously acknowledged. killed mostly by other iraqis. the logs document 66,000, and outside estimates say the new data pushes their count to more than 120,000. iranian involvement in fomenting violence in iraq was more extensive than widely recognized before. the architect of the document dump was julian assange who runs the anti-secrecy group wicke wickee-- wikileaks.
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he spoke saturday in london. >> the first casualty in war is the truth. but the attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends. >> warner: in july, assange released 77,000 reports from the afghan war. then and now the pentagon decried the release of so much classified information. spokesman jeff morel warned that america's enemy, especially in afghanistan, could learn much from the documents. >> the fact that our enemies will be now able to mine perhaps up to a half a million classified documents which could reveal how our forces operate in the field, how they respond in certain combat situations, the capabilities of our equipment and so forth. >> warner: publication brought immediate fallout inside iraq. prime minister neari al-maliki charged it was meant to undermine efforts to form a government and his spokesman denied a report of abuse by iraqi forces.
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>> all the rest are done lawfully and there is no proof of what some media are trying to do for political purposes, especially now as iraq is in the midst of forming a new government. >> warner: that question of abuse of iraqis by iraqis and what the u.s. should do about it as it hands-off security responsibility to local forces has surfaced before in washington. it came up in november 2005 with marine general peter pace then chairman of the joint chiefs and his boss at the time defense secretary donald rumsfeld. >> it is absolutely responsibility of every u.s. service member if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it. >> i don't think you mean that you have an obligation to physically stop it. it's to report it. >> if they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place they have an obligation to try to stop it. >> warner: the wikileaks documents show that americans did attempt to
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stop abuse at times and did report it on many occasions. but investigation and prosecution was left to the iraqis. and for more on lessons from the weaked-- leaked >> ifill: for more on lessons from the leaked documents, we get two views. retired army colonel peter mansoor led a u.s. brigade in iraq in 2003 to 2004, then returned as executive officer to commanding general david petraeus during the 2007-2008 u.s. troop surge. he's the author of "baghdad at sunrise," and now teaches military history at ohio state university. john mearsheimer, a west point graduate and former air force officer, is a professor and co- director of the program on international security policy at the university of chicago. welcome, gentlemen, colonel mansoor, begin wuing, what are the lessons that we get or what do we learn from this trov of documents about the iraq war that we didn't know or fully appreciate before? >> i don't think the documents provide any new
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information if you have paid attention to the good reporting out of iraq. most of what's been revealed has been reported before but what the documents provide is a lot of the detailed granularity that was perhaps absent in sort of the general reporting from the theatre. >> warner: and prove ser mere shimenter what struck you? >> well, i agree with peter that what these documents are very good for is filling in the details. we had a rough understanding of what was going on in iraq and we had certain intuitions. for example i think most people felt that there was a good reason to think that iran was supporting the shi'a in iraq. but we didn't have a lot of hard evidence of that. and what these document does is provide evidence. but i would say as far as the specifics are concerned t does make it very clear how horribled violence has been in iraq since we invaded in 2003.
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and it also is quite clear from the document that the united states has played an important role in making that violence happen. not only dot documents show that american soldiers and airmen have killed large numbers of civilians, it's also clear that we did not do much at all to stop the iraqis from torturing and murdering prisoners. this was a huge mistake on our part. >> warner: let me go to colonel mansoor on that particular point. this report, all these documents which are really unedited kind of field reports, does lay out in excruciating detail the brutalityity, torture, beating, sexual abuse of iraqis by iraqi security forces. first of all, while american troops often looked on, why didn't american troops intervene in those situations more often? >> well, there are a couple
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of reasons. one is iraq was the sovereign state. and we didn't have necessarily the legal authority to stop the iraqis from doing their business. the other reason though, i think there was a huge disconnect between our strategy which was to transition security responsibilities to the iraqi security forces, and the reality on the ground which was those security forces were fundamentally incapable of securing iraq. and in some cases were complicity in the sectarian violence themselves. so our troops perhaps were disincentivized from reporting or from acting on what the iraqi forces were doing because their own strategy said we were supposed to, our way out of iraq was to support these forces. >> warner: what, do you agree professor mearsheimer that this indicates something about the cost of the sort of surge and transition strategy that we're now following in afghanistan, where you surge
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in a lot of u.s. troops, you try to secure things enough but then you pretty quickly start handing off responsibility. >> i disagree with peter. first of all, iraq was not a sovereign state. the united states invaded iraq and we basically ran eye back-- iraq for many years, including many of the years in which these abuses were taking place. we were in charge. secondly, it's quite clear from the documents that numerous cases are found where americans were reporting these abuses. the problem is that people further up the chain of command both the military and civilian individuals didn't do anything to stop it. there is no question that the americans knew what was going on. it's not like this was happening in the dark and we only suspected it and didn't really know about it we knew about it and we didn't do anything to stop it. we effectively turned a blind eye. this was strategically foolish and i think morally
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bankrupt. >> warner: colonel mansoor. >> well, you could see going back to the strategy when the strategy changed in 2007, and we began the surge strategy with thebb fundamental priority to protect the iraqi people, that all of a sudden the blind eye was not turned to these abuses. general petraeus engaged the iraqi government. and the worst of the sectarian actors, the iraqi national police, every brigade commander was fired and two-thirds of the battalion commanders were fired and some of them more than oncement and we were able to help clean up that organization which today functions which, much, much more smoothly and with far fewer abuse than it did from 2004 to 2006. >> warner: so colonel, what about professor mearsheimer's point that at least '04 to '06 that iraq really wasn't a sovereign state? >> well, we can debate the legal definition but we gave iraq its sovereignty back on the 28th6 june 2004, and it
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did have a sovereign government by the legal definition of the term. >> warner: so professor back to you, and let's push this forward now firmly into afghanistan. what lessons can we take from this from what we have learned as we are in the midst of this surge and transition at that time gee in afghanistan that might at least minimize the human toll of a war and occupation and transition. >> well, it seems to me from looking at these documents and reading all the press reports, that this kind of wanton violence just goes hand-in-hand with civil wars and with counterinsurgencys. i mean anybody who studied the history of counterinsurgency knows that those who are engaged in that kind of warfare invariably commit all sorts of crimes. so i would think that what this tells us about afghanistan is that as we increase the number of forces and as we begin to move more and more against
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the taliban, what we will end up doing is killing more and more civilians. and afghanistan will end up looking a lot more like iraq. don't see much hope at all that we'll learn any positive lessons from what we have done in iraq and then apply those positive lessons 20 afghanistan. >> warner: colonel mansoor is this violence indemic to counterinsurgency as the professor says? >> well, these are very difficult wars. and it is war. people die in war. and because they do, every insurgency has an element of civil war to it, he is right in that regard. but i would have to take exception to the fact, to his statement that we haven't learned anything and that civilian casualties in afghanistan will you know -- undoubtedly increase in the years ahead because we have learned a great deal from the iraq war under general mcchrystal, a policy began whereby our troop was actually take more countriesings on the battlefield in order to
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protect civilians. and what we have seen in the last year that the number of civilians criminaled at the hands of the coalition forces in afghanistan has dropped dramatically. so i think there has been lesss learn beed and they are being applied. >> warner: final word from you professor mearsheimer. there has been a change of strategy at least vis-a-vis the civilian, the civilians being put at risk. >> well, there are a couple of points to be made, margaret. first of all the american military has always been a firepower heavy military. and many of general mcchrystal's support were complaining about the fact they weren't using enough firepower and i would be willing to pet a lot of money that as the war goes on in afghanistan we use more and more firepower as a way of preserving american lives. and the end result is that more and more afghani civilians will die but even when we try to use force in a discriminating way, take the predator aircraft that we used, kilter rests from
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the sky, all of the evidence is that we're killing about 10 civilians for every single quote, unquote, terrorist that we kill. so what you see is that we're killing lots of terrorists and i bet five or six years from now or the next thump of documents comes out from wikileaks we'll see much of what we have just seen with regard to iraq. >> warner: very brief final thought from you colonel, about -- >> again, i think what the documents show in an unfiltered way is the messiness of these kinds of wards. but there are wars that the united states has engaged in in the 21st century and the kind of wars we're likely to engage in in the next 2, 3 decades. and we can't just wash our hands of them. we've got to be able to engage and fight them effectively. >> warner: colonel mansoor thank you very much, john mearsheimer, thank you. >> again the major developments the crucial mid-term election campaign of 2010, head mood its
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>> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. the crucial midterm election campaign of 2010 headed into its closing days. and afghan president hamid karzai acknowledged his office receives money from iran. and he insisted the u.s. has known about it for years. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: watch more of jeff's interview with producer and director apatow on art beat. find ray's dispatches from his reporting trip to mozambique. see an interview with science writer annie murphy paul about her new book "origins." it looks at how a pregnant woman's behavior affects her baby. and on our patchwork nation site, the latest poll numbers in ethnically diverse, middle income districts show some good news for democrats this election season. all that and more is on our web site, gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll talk to the owner of an american company that helped rescue the chilean miners. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you for joining us. good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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