tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 22, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT
♪ >> from new york this is democracy now! >> when you look at the video it harkens back to yesteryears. things we thought we had overcome in america. it looks like it is a lynch mob chasing a young black man. when they kill him there is no accountability. they go home and sleep in their beds at night.
amy: jury selection continuing in georgia in the trial of three white men accused of murdering ahmaud arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man who was chased down and shot to death while out for a sunday jog. we will speak with his aunt and one of the family's lawyers. then as president biden campaigns for his build back better agenda we will take a close look at how democratic senators joe manchin of west virginia and kyrsten sinema of arizona are fighting biden on everything from taxing the rich to expanding dental care. pres. biden: here is the thing. mr. joe manchin is opposed to that, as is i think senator sinema. amy: then to pfizer's power. public citizens reveal how they slowing covid-19 vacnation to
inease their profits during the pandemic >> they use their monopo on a lifesaving vaccine to drive coessions from desperate governments. it places interests before public health imperatives. amy: all that and more, coming up. ♪ amy: welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a warning to our audience, our top story contains descriptions of graphic violence and sexual abuse. a damming report reveals the scope of the humanitarian crisis at the u.s.-mexico border. human rights watch is shedding light on over 160 harrowing reports of abuse faced by asylum seekers at the hands of u.s. immigration officials over the past five years. the internal reports, obtained after filing a public records request, were made by asylum officers within u.s. citizenship
and immigration services, using testimonies that detail the brutal conduct of customs and border protection, border patrol and immigration and customs enforcement agents. this is pa of a video accompanying the report published by human rights watch. >> he put a gun to my head and said shut up or i will shoot you. >> he told me i enjoyed when i encounter people like you. >> they call us dogs, tras >> they say because my child was a u.s. citizen they were taken from me. amy: in one account, a man from honduras said a border patrol agent told him that he would be denied asylum in the u.s., and when the man refused to sign paperwork, the agent said he woulbe sent to jail, where he would be raped. another incident involves a border patrol agent or cbp
officer who forced a migrant girl to undress and then inappropriately touched her. in a statement, human rights watch warned, "assaults, sexual abuse, and discriminatory treatment by u.s. agents are an open secret within the department of homeland security." in more immigration news, a spokesperson for texas republican governor greg abbott says national guard troops deployed to the southern border have helped texas law enforcement officers detained over 7700 migrants. they're among more than 70,000 asylum-seekers who've been arrested by texas law enforcement since abbott launched the anti-immigrant program, operation lone star, back in march. in related news the attorneys general of texas and missouri have sued the in a bid to force the u.s. to resume order wall construction along the u.s.-mexico border. the group human rights first has tracked over 7600 reports of kidnappings and brutal attacks against asylum seekers who were blocked from applying for refuge in the u.s. or expelled under title 42 since president biden took office. many of those barred under the trump-era policy were haitian
asylum seekers. in haiti, the leader of a gang suspected of kidnapping 16 american and 1 canadian missionary members is threatening to kill the hostages if the $17 million ransom is not paid. $1 million for each person. this comes amid the worsening economic and security situation in haiti. on monday workers went on a general strike to protest gang violence and insecurity following the kidnapping. meanwhile demonstrators blocked , the streets of port-au-prince thuray to protest widespread fuel shortages. >> we are protesting because we want the party to listen to our demands. if we cannot work we cannot fulfill our responsibility. we are citizensorking for the community. there is no gasoline and our children are hungry. amy: a new report by the
people's vaccine alliance found that only about 260 million of the 1.8 billion covid vaccine donations promised to poorer nations by drug companies and wealthier countries have been delivered to date. that's just 14% of what was pledged. gordon brown, the world health organization's ambassador for global health financing, said rich countries are on pace to have almost a billion spare vaccines stockpiled by february. > scenes available in one half of the world and deny them to the other half of the world is one of the greatest international public policy failures imaginable and it is a moral catastrophe of historic proportions that will shock future generations. amy: the who estimates between 80,000 and 180,000 health care workers have died of covid-19 from the start of the pandemic through may of this year. just 2 out of 5 health care workers worldwide are fully vaccinated. we will have more on the vaccine
and equity and profit over people later in the broadcast. the british medical journal the lancet warns in a new report that, without dramatic action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the climate crisis is on track to become the defining narrative of human health in the 21st century. the lancet warns of the spread of mosquito-borne diseases; and growing mass migration due to flooding, drought, intense storms, wildfires, and soil and water salinification. on thursday the biden administration warrant climate catastrophe -- warned climate catastrophe has the mass displacement of populations and competition over dwindling resources driving political instability around the world. meanwhile a major leak of documents published by greenpeace reveal how brazil, argentina, australia, japan, saudi arabia, and opec tried to water down a key united nations scientific report ahead of the cop26 climate talks in glasgow. in one comment, a senior australian government official
rejected the conclusion that coal-fired power plants should be phased out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. this is john sauven, executive director of greenpeace uk. >> they deleted the fact that they are a major coal producer. this is particularly bizarre because i think australia is the fifth largest coal producer in the world and is the first or second, but indonesia is the largest coal exporter. it also has a big coal industry in terms of the power from coal inside of atraliatsel there are no plans to actually phase out coal during the next three decades. i think that it is quite extraordinarthat australia should say please delete this. amy: back in the united states, the house of representatives voted on thursday to declare former trump aide steve bannon in contempt of congress for defying a subpoena from the
house committee investigating the january 6 capitol attack. the vote was 229-202. nine republicans joined democrats in support of the resolution to recommend the justice department open a criminal prosecution of bannon. this is house majority leader steny hoyer. >> steve bannon's refusal to appear even when subpoenaed is a, a demonstration of his contempt not only for congress but his contempt of the constitution and his contempt for the law. it is unacceptable and obstructive to this process of uncovering the full story of that day's attack on the capitol. amy: on january 5, one day before the violent insurrection, steve bannon predicted that january 6 would be a game-changer in u.s. politics, telling his radio audience, "all
hell is going to break loose." if convicted, bannon faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. johnson & johnson is under fire for using a legal trick to avoid liability over its asbestos-laced talcum powder, which has been linked to cancer. thanks to a texas loophole, j&j spun off a separate company to absorb nearly 40,000 lawsuits, and then filed that entity for bankruptcy, putting all those cases on pause pending a bankruptcy settlement. j&j heavily marketed its baby powder to african american women for years with the knowledge its product contained asbestos. in new mexico, actor alec baldwin was questioned by police after he discharged a prop firearm on a movie set, killing the director of photography halyna hutchins and injuring director joel souza. the cast and crew were filming a
western called "rust". the news was met with shock by hollywood and an outpouring of tributes for the 42-year-old hutchins, a rising star in an industry where women cinematographers are still vastly under-represented. halyna hutchins was from ukraine and grew up on a soviet military base in the arctic circle. earlier this week, hutchins re-posted a photo on instagram of the "rust" crew on set with a message of solidarity for the iatse union struggle. and senate majority leader chuck schumer has endorsed india walton in the race to become the next mayor of buffalo, new york, calling her an "inspiring community leader". walton, who identifies as a socialist, stunned the democratic establishment in june by beating four-term incumbent mayor byron brown in the democratic primary. despite this, brown is now waging a write-in campaign in the november 2 general election,
and other prominent new york democrats like governor kathy hochul and congressmember brian higgins, who represents buffalo, have refused to back walton. as has the new york democratic party. india walton appeared on democracy now! earlier this week. >> buffalo is 65% democrat. anyone who runs a succeful campaign for mayor here pretty much has to be democrat, but the values of our current administration are not the values that i believe democrats hold, which is putting people, workers, and families first. amy: you can see the rest of our interview with india walton at democracynow.org. and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in georgia, jury selection is beginning this week in the trial of three white men accused of murdering ahmaud arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man who was chased down and shot to death while out for a jog last
year in the suburbs of brunswick, georgia. many have compared his death to a modern-day lynching. a warning to our views and listeners, this segment includes graphic descriptions of violence. on february 23, 2020, gregory mcmichael and his son travis mcmichael saw arbery jogging, grabbed guns, and pursued arbery in a pickup truck. their neighbor, william "roddie" bryan, joined the pursuit in his own truck, recording the video on a cell phone. the mcmichaels claim they were attempting a citizen's arrest of ahmaud arbery. travis mcmichael fired two shots, killing ahmaud arbery. the elder mcmichael was a former glynn county police officer and investigator for the brunswick judicial circuit prosecutor, jackie johnson. she was recently indicted for directing police not to arrest travis mcmichael, and then
steering the case to a sympathetic prosecutor. it was a third prosecutor who ultimately filed the murder charges in the case after the video evidence became public sparking widespread outcry. we are joined now by two guests. lee merritt is a civil rights attorney representing the family of ahmaud arbery. thea brooks is the aunt of ahmaud arbery. thea has been leading rallies outside the glynn county courthouse in georgia since monday. i want to thank you so much for being with us. our deep condolences on the death of your nephew. i know that he lived with you at the end of his life and you have been monitoring closely what is happening in the courtroom. can you talk about the kind of community support?
people have come all over the country to brunswick to see what is happening in the courtroom. thea: let me clear up, he never livewith me. i heard you say that he lived wi me, but he never lived with me. the support coming to brunswick has been amazing. people have ralld from all over t world. the support and being the eyes and ears to focus on what is goinon at hand and help support us and push us through to get justice for ahmaud arbery. y: i wonder if you could talk about that level of support and what it means. i was reading a story about how the judge was responding to the defense attorney demanding that all of the signs be taken down outside. the judge noting that the
courthouse grounds are a public space and suggested the objecting defense attorneys draft a legal motion "walking me through the first amendment rights you seek to infringe upon and how you intend to do this." can you tell us about the scene outside and the signs that people are carrying, the t-shirts that people are wearing, and why you feel this has captured the attention of so many? thea: the signs outside of the courthouse are really what they are. signs that say justice for ahmaud. find the man who killed ahmaud guilty. anthen there are support signs. you see these so many other places. you saw it in minneapolis. you saw it when ilando castile was kill. you see it in otherlaces not
understanding with the ise is in brunswick, georgia, but i understand that we face a lot of injustices here and this is anher part of the injustices that we face. the signs are support. i don't see with the issue is. these people came from washington, pennsylvania, virginia, all over the world to be here to support. when they file these types of motions it makes me questioour judicial system and the things that we are still facing today. amy: can you tell us about ahmaud? tell us who he was. describe this young man who was cut down in the prime of his life. thea: ahmaud and i spent a lot of time together in his younger years. as he got older his mom, she moved to another part of brunswick and we kind of lost connection.
a couple of months before ahmaud was killed we spent a lot of time togetheat his house. his mom was working in texas. we never missed a bt. if i ran into him on his jog, if i saw him when hwasorking, he was still a bright young man. he had a beautiful smile. he was amazing. he always offered, he was a giver. he would see me and say can i buy you lunch? do you have money, if not i can give. i always told him, you can keep your money and i will buy lunch. was such an amazing young man. he was bright. he had a bright future. he had a dream. he loved to rap. he loved to spend time with his cousins who were like his brothers. he loved his brother and sister.
most of all he loved his mom. his mom was everything to him. she was a jew in his eyesight. he was an amazing young man and that is something they took away from us. you don't find many times when you can say that the other peopleoming up are remarkable people. no matter what they do in their past they are still great people. ahmaud was loved. that is all i can say about him. he was loved. he is the child that everyone would want. amy: we also have lee merritt, the family attorney for ahmaud arbery. this story is not often talked about as a story about law enforcement. they talk about three white men, the mcmichaels' father and son team and roddie bryan, but the
mcmichaels who hunted down ahmaud and ultimately killed him, the elder mcmichael was a former glynn county police officer and investigator for the runs rick judicial circuit prosecutor jackie johnson who was indicted for directing police to not arrest the son and steering the case to a sympathetic prosecutor. can you take us through this prosecution, lee merritt? lee: yes. you said take me through the prosecution? amy: yes, talk about the connection to law enforcement and how long it took bring charges and the final release of that video, amazingly, by the third man who has been arrested. lee: in february of 2020 this all happened. it took 74 days before anyone
was arrested. thatas only ter one the defeants decided that this video would help to clear up some of the rumors that re going on about how ahmaud was murdered. he released it under the direction of his attorney to a local radio station. by then they contacted the den appointed prosecutor in the case. we were on our third prosecutor. to get the case before a grand jury to arrest these men. when the video was released e georgia bureau of investation got involvedecause of the national outcry. it went almost immediately ral. then the dominoes began to fall. amy: the fact that gregory mcmichael was in law enforcement, was a police officer, was an investigator,
and then that connection to jackie johnson, who herself, brunswick judicial circuit prosecutor, has just been charged. lee: greg mcmicel worked in law enforcement for decades. his most recent job that he just retired from the year previously was an investigator for jackie johnson that then glynn county prosecutor. right after ahmaud was murdered, before he received medical care, gregory mcmichael was on the phone th hisld boss saying that he nded help that was jackie johnson's responsibility at the point -- that point to let the attorney general of the state know that there was a murder that took ple in her region and she didn't have the jurisdiction because of her conflict to deal with it. instead, she moved the prosecution, as you mentioned, to a sympathetic prosecutor, george barnhill.
she continued to put her thumbs on the scale of justice. she let law enrcement kn these n should not be arrested, instructed them not to rest the mcmichaels. since the the community is so small -- we e learning how smallrom the jury selection process -- but the community, george barnhill, for example, his son also worked for jackie johnson and there were a lot of inappropriate relationships that were allowed to continue despite obvious conflicts. amy: can you talk about the citizen arrest law that the mcmichaels used asn excuse to stop ahmaud, which has been appealed by georgia state lawmers? how es that change the defens lee: citizens arrest law, an old civil rights era l on the books that ultimately was
designed to ke black people out of traditionally white neighborhoods. that is how it had been used. in order to successfully avail themselves of that they would have to first prove that they witnessed ahmaud during the course of a crime, a felony, or that he committed a crime or felony within their immediate knowledge. they said that they saw ahmaud running and they d a gut instinct that he may have been involved in taking items out of the car -- i'm not sure of the criminal statute. but taking items out of the car. it is a defense they are still fighting for. of note, the people of georgia elected to remove that fense from the books. it is still available for the mcmichaels and mr. bryan for his defense, but ultimately the law is no longer available.
amy: thea brooks, can you talk about how often you and ahmaud were in that neighborhood of brunswick? the division between whites and blacks? informal segregation? thea:hmaud not only dogged in that community. ahmaud jogged all over glynn county. that was his thing. he jogged a lot out that way because that is where he lived. if you would have been able to get out of the neighborhood on the road that he was jogging on to escape thoseentlemen, all he had to do was jog across the hiway and he would have been in his neighborhood. i found it at one point i thought it would be safer when he was jogging through the neighborhoods because the main highway that lds to h route is a very busy highway.
it is considered highway 17, which we call 82 here. there are a lot of tractor-trailers and actually a truck stop. it is a very busy highway that leads to interstate 85. you would think that jogging and neighborods would be a safer place to jog because of the traffic and how heavy the traffic is out there. ahud's daily dog, unless -- jogged daily unless it was pouring the rain. buhe jogged every day. there's a lot of injustice in glynn county. we've seen it in many other cases, not just ahmaud's case. this community is in some ways areas that still, just like ahmau's situation, that we go and we did questioned for being in the neighborhood because it
is a predominantly or all-white neighboood. when we go into these neighborhoodthey do questio it, as i myself sometimes run into it even on my job, because i am the only person of color on my job. there are questions about me even being here. we deal with it on a regular basis. it is something that now people are paying attention to. amy: theunning community has come out in support of ahmaud. tons of run for ahmaud t-shirts ansigns. thea: yes. that is happening all over the world. when ahmaud was killed, when the video dropped, you saw signs and t-shirts, signs in yar, peop wearing shirts every day. this week a lot of people ha turned their photos on febook, their pfile photos, the
pictures of ahmaud in support. the i run with aaud. there is no longer a campaign called iran with ahmaud -- i run with ahmaud. people are now just predominantly continuing to run for ahmaud on their own. amy: lee merritt, can you talk about how jury selection is going, what you see, and you have the new hate crime laws that have been passed by the georgia state legislature. what role will display in the trial? lee: the jury selection process will bdifficult. it is always a challenge to find neutral jurors. in places like glynn county for one of the most high profile cases in georgia if not out of the country, it is impossible to find someone in that small
community who has not heard what happened to ahmaud. the prosecutors and judges have accepted as a reality that they will be dealing with jurors that are not blank slates like we prefer. the jurors who have come in, many of them went to school with the accused. at least one of the jurors who to my surprise was actually qualified to sit on the jury works in t office of jackie johnson, was hired by jackie johnson, campaigned for jackie johnson after the murder of ahmaud arbery, and knows greg mcmichael personally, who i refer to casually as greg. the court says somebody with that many connections, whose job it was -- he was basically the custodian of the records. that means a lot of the evidence that we review was filed by her. the fact that she was qualified
to sit on the jury, i'm sure that they will remove her from the jury, but the fact that she was not disqualified is beyond me. so far they have been able to get together 23 qualified jurors over 600 subpoenas, jury summons that were sent out. of those 23 the magic number they are trying to get to is 64. then the process of selection actually begins where they can begin selecting and striking jurors. amy: with the video documenting that the mcmichael's use the n -word after killing ahmaud, how do you see race playing this? lee: the video did not document that the mcmichael's used the n-word. roddy brian offered into
evidence during the preliminary trial that the mcmichael's used the word. race will be central because the prosecution, rightfully so, has acknowledged that race is at the center of these m's action they will claim that they targeted him because they suspected him of crimes of going intohe open dwelling. weill hear from them what we've seen already, that many people are seen on camera going into the open dwelling. amy: you mean the house that is being built? lee: correct. the house that was still under construction. many people were seen on camera going into that dwelling. ahmaud had been there more th once. he had never committed any crimes there. he was the only person criminalized for just being on the premises. we believe, and we believe the evidence wilshow, that he was targeted because of his race, these men were racist, and there
are social media posts and text messages that center around race. even after ahmaud was killed, some of the banter between mcmichael and the community was celebratory concerning the fact that they killed a black man in that community. amy: thank you for being with us. lee merritt and thea brooks. again, our deepest condolences. as president biden campaigns for his build back better agenda we look at the records of joe manchin and kyrsten sinema fighting by then at every turn. stay with us.
amy: "let me go" by sault. during a cnn town hall on thursday night president biden defended his domestic agenda, but acknowledged key aspects of his build back better plan is in jeopardy due to two senate democrats: joe manchin of west virginia and senator kyrsten sinema of arizona. with the senate evenly split, biden needs support from both of them to pass the plan through the reconciliation process. biden's initial proposal called for $3.5 trillion over 10 years to vastly expand the social safety net and combat the climate crisis. but after facing opposition from machin and sinema, biden has reportedly lowered the topline price tag on the package to $1.75 trillion, half the original bill. manchin, who has millions of dollars in the coal industry, has also demanded democrats strip out funding for the clean electricity performance program,
a critical climate initiative to replace coal and gas-fired power plants with renewable energy sources. on thursday cnn's anderson cooper questioned biden about healthcare provisions in the bill. >> its not a reach, and it is not that costly if we allow medicare to negotiate term prices. here's the thing. mr. manchin is opposed to that, as is, i think senator sinema. opposed to all three. they don't want to further burden medicare. amy: president biden talked
about senator cinema's opposition to his domestic agenda. pres. biden: she is smart as the devil, number one. number two, she is supportive of the environmental agenda in my legislation, very supportive. she is supportive of almost all of the things that i mentioned relating from family care to all of those issues. here she is not supportive is she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or wealthy people. amy: in fact, five advisors to senator sinema quit yesterday saying that she is putting the profits of her donors over the service to the people. joe biden made news when he appear to support overhauling the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation. he was questioned by anderson cooper. anderson: when it comes to voting rights you would entertain doing away with the filibuster on that issue? correct? pres. biden: and maybe more.
[applause] amy: both senators manchin sinema have opposed reforming the filibuster. joining us from west virginia is stephen smith, co-chair of west virginia can't wait. he ran for governor of west virginia in 2020 placing second in the democratic primary. and joining us from chicago is branko marcetic, staff writer at jacobin magazine. in march he wrote an in-depth profile on senator kyrsten sinema for jacobin headlined "how kyrsten sinema went from lefty activist to proud neoliberal democrat." he's also the author of "yesterday's man: the case against joe biden." you certainly cover a lot. let's start with kyrsten sinema. she was a campaign manager for ralph nader in arizona. talk about what is happening now. you have all of the advisors
quitting saying that she is putting the profits of donor over people. talk about what she stands for. branko: i mean, sinema has really sho to stand for the interests of the corporate sector, the wealthy. this is not a new development. in the house she was one of the lawmakers who tried and did repeal fancial reform laws. she went after obamacare. trng to repeal taxes on medical technology makers. she tried to get rid of individual mandates anvarious other de-regulatory actions. it is all because she is trying to, i think, trying to appeal to these interests because they fund her campaign and she has been lavishly rewarded. she is one of the few democrats
who gets the chamber of commerce endorsement. she won the chamber of commerce award seven years in a row because she got over 70% of the score from the chamber of commerce work. i think that's what we are seei now, sinema is really listening to her constituents, and her constituents are not the people who voted her in. that is not who she considers her most important constituency. sh considers. she is most reonsive to them. i think what we are seeing with some of the advisors quitting is the path that she is taking is starting to see a real backlash. it has been building for a while, but now it is reaching a boiling point that may end up hurting her in the long term. amy: that famous image of her in the well of the senate voting
against raising the minimum wage , john mccain famously gave a thumbs down in the well of the senate. she did too. explain that moment. he was doing it to save obamacare. branko: that is a key thing to remember. she has fashioned herself as a renegade, a maverick in the style of john mccain. the reason he was nsidered maverick is becaushe was -- and i think that this is overstated -- but nonetheless he was seen as more sensible republican. a republican who for instance would n elect to throw millions of people off heah care or in favor of reining in campaign donations. other things that are traditionally more democrat. mccain was someone who rightly or wrongly had this image of
defying his party to do things that were in the interest of most working people. sinema on the other hand is very much doing the oppite. she is seen as a maverickor writing fororporate interests. it is a topsy-turvy inversioof what mccain was doing. it only harkens back to her career in a very superfici way in the sense of spurning your party in a very visible and high-profile way. ultimately, it is a very performative thing from sinema that she is doing. amy: can you talk about her career? now you have her going from her donor fundraisers to the white house to negotiate with biden. she began by attacking wealth inequality many years ago. branko: she was a socialist is what she called herself when it
was very unfashionable. i think for me sinema reads as a cautionary tale of what happens when politicalmbition comes the be all and end all. so far no one has found any glaring conflicts of intert that she has. she is n particularly wealthy, she is not enriching herself, asidfrom just getting her salary. she is not -- there is no other kind of element of corruption here. it see to me from looking at her career that this has beea matter of her moving rightward every step of the way, little by little, until she got tohis point. at first i think she was doing thiss a matt of performance and presentation. i think at this point that performance has become the real thing. you start out prending to be
one thing because you think that it wil appeal to a certain constituency, and after 10 or 13 years that really becomes the thing that you are. amy: specifically in terms of her relationship with big-money corporate wall street donors, politico reported that sinema raised over 1.1 million dollars between july and september with 90% of the campaign donations coming from outside of arizona. $100,000 of contributions came from people or entities linked to the drug war financial services industries. top donors included gilead, $2900 came from the eli lil y ceo, the chair and ceo of bristol-myers. anko: there you have it. it is a very banal and
depressing point, but it's true that money almost always wins out in washington. part of this might also be the probleof the fact thabiden split these two bills in part and slow down the momentum of his presidency by trying to get this bipartisan by hi which i think was largely pointless. this has allowed business groups to favor the much smalr bipartisan infrastructure bill opposed to the $3.5 trillion one largely because of the tax increases. perhaps having them together would have neutralized some of that opposition, i don't know. i think because they are split, because my have gone by with nothing happening, it has allowed people like sinema to become a little more brave in their opposition, and at e same time allowed lobbyists and donors to come in and wedge
themselves in and pry these two particularly vulnerable democratic senatorspart from the rest of the caucus. it is an unfortunate situation. amy: speaking about this issue of the personal profit of these senators, i want to turn to stephen smith with west virginia can't wait. a lot has been made that it is an ideological difference that manchin has with people like senator sanders, calling senator sanders' dream and entitlement society and saying he is opposed to that. we started the conversation yesterday that he is making millions of dollars personally over opposing, for example, stripping out renewable energy. he started coal companies in the 1980's in west virginia. his son has taken over and he
has the money in a blind trust. his brother is deeply involved as well. talk about senator manchin's interests and who exactly he is representing in west virginia. stephen: thanks for this question. it is a secret that the rest of the country is finally catching on to that we've known in west virginia for decades. senator manchin and the rest of our congressional delegation has never represented the people of our state. that is what we are up against. you don't win higher office in west virginia because you are a servant of the people. you win because your daddy was a politician or you are rich. you look at his personal wealth, his top donors are the investment firms and corporate lawyers. there are not a lot of investment bankers or corporate lawyers in my neighborhood, or most neighborhoods here in west virginia. but manchin and the rest of
our delegation in west virginia are symptoms of a deeper disease that dates back to the founding of west virginia where our state has always been owned and operated by large, out-of-state institutions, corporations, interests. that is where politicians are beholden. to defeat that we need our own machine, a machine that replaces greed and corruption with generosity, accountability, and a neighbor-to-neighbor spirit that defines how we experience west virginia. amy: what doesn't the country know about joe manchin tt you know in west virginia? stephen: it is important to see things from the point of view of folks on the ground. the national media gets caught up in the person of joe manchin and the psychologist -- psychologizing and sport of
politics. on the ground in west virginia is pain and death everywhere you look. my hometown is home to the most concerning hiv outbreak. in response, democratic and repubican politicians came together to criminalize the people fighting against that. we see historic rates of overdose deaths. one every two days in my hometown. we are losing our neighbors. in response to that pain and death most of us here try to do everything we can to fight back. that is what west virginia does. it is what neighbors do, what good neighbors do. what the senatordo when they see this pain and death is they think, how do i profit? that is what is fundamentally going on. politics in west virginia has never been left versus right, red versus blue, it is the people suffering and dying
versushe people trying to profit off that pain. amy: i remember when senator manchin's daughter, the head of the company that makes epipens, they increased the cost of the epipens massively in one fell swp. what so many people need in this country. stephen: the apple doenot fall far from the tree. that is why we have to be smart about how we respond. the only way -- history tellus its not just about manchin, but the last century and a half a we virginiaistory, the only way to persuade an establishment litician is to work like hell to replace them. the only time in manchin's career when he has moved even a little is when his political life was threatened. that threat has to be fearless, it has to be permanent, it has to be homegrown. that is what we are building,
west virginia can't wait. we have 100 10 pro-labor working class candidates, we turned up and down the ballot, 18 elected officials in office and we provide them with policy and legal support, mental health serviceses, personal security if they need it as they face attacks from white supremacists. we have citizen journalists who we are sponsoring so we have some media accountable to the people. we are organizing slates across west virginia of candidates and issues where we are building local platforms not just by going door-to-door, but meeting with people who don't have a door to go home to and sending surveys into local jails and prisons. we need a government that is accountable to the people and led by the people who have been excluded. that only happens conversation by conversation, town by town, and county by county. amy: i joke yesterday who is the
president, president joe biden or president joe manchin? given that he has to get all 50 senators, every senator is in a sense the president. i want to go back to branko, where are the progressive senators on this speaking out? stephen: you saw with sanders --branko: you sell with sanders that he has been taking the fight directly to manchin. he had an op-ed in west virginia not attacking manchin directly, but it was clear what he meant. i think the democratic caucu has to be a lot more aggressive right now. we have seen in the past that when it comes to getting progressives on board with certain lislation the democratic leadership has bn very open to turning on the screws andressuring them to
support it. have a little mo pressure put on manchin from the rest of the democrats. the other factor her is that there are not that many progressives in the senate, a least.it is a very lonely place to be a prressive. that is the other half of this equation. chuck schumer has moved to the left and gotn some other people, but at the same time it the same people who were in power years earlier when politics w very different and are still very much stuck in that older playbook. amy: you say that schumer has very much moved because othe threat of aoc perhaps challenging him in the next election for senate. we will have to leave it there for now. we will link to your pieced how kyrsten sinema went from lefty
appears to have restrict access to those very vaccines. the people's vaccine alliance since 14% of the 1.8 billion doses rich nations promised to donate have been delivered so far. germany said that it expected to miss its target to donate 100 million doses this year in part because of legal restrictions imposed by vaccine manufacturers. some of these are detailed in a damming report by the consumer group public citizen called "pfizer's power" that looks at contracts with united states, albania, brazil, chile, the dominican republic, and peru offering a glimpse into the power that pfizer has two silence governments, throttle supply, and maximize profits in the middle of a global public health crisis. we are joined by a policy researcher and author of this new report.
lay out your findings. zain: we are in the worst public health crisis over a century and pfizer has used a monopoly over a lifesaving remarkable vaccine to extract concerning concessions from desperate governments around th world. we detail six examples. i should say that the contracts are mostly the sam but there are variations. almost all of the contracts contain, for example, a provision that allows pfizer to control, essentially, at is said about the contract most almo all of the contracts contain a provion that says if there are -- if there is a vaccine shorge,fizer gets to unaterally decehat the priority of delivery is and the cotry will simply accept the terms. there are provions about
donationsand pfizer gets say if country can either donate pfizer vaccine orven accept a donated pfizer vaccine. there are all kinds of things. amy: they cannot take donated vaccines? you have countries in the western world, even if there are issues of vaccine hesitancy, the majority of people have been vaccinated. you have countries where you are talking about in the single digits. can you talk more about this? that they are not allowed to accept donated vaccines? we are talking to zain rizvi the author of the new report "pfizer's power." i think we might have lost them and we are trying to get him back up. it is an important report on how pfizer has silence government
while maximizing profits during the pandemic. it goes on to talk about the brazilian government accepting a contract with pfizer that contains most of the same terms that the government once deemed unfair. brazil weighs sovereign immunity -- waive sovereign immunity, no penalties for late delivery, resolving disputes under secret private arbitration under the laws of new york, and indemnified pfizer for civil claims. brazils contract says that it could not make any public announcements concerning the existence, subject matter, or terms of the agreement or comment on its relationship with pfizer without pfizer's prior written consent. it sounds like pfizer is far more powerl than any of these countries. zain: and that is the tragedy, right?
governments around the world have propp up pfizer by awarding government-granted monopolies and enabling a system of international intellectual property protection that empowers pfizer. you have pfizer becoming king in a sense, and that is outrageous in this pandemic. amy: we will end this discussion, but we will continue and post it online after the broadcast at democracynow.org. zain rizvi is a law and policy researcher for public citizen and author of the report "pfizer's power." that does it for our report. democracy now! is currently has a director of finance and two full-time openings a director of finance and administration and a human , resources manager. learn more and apply at democracynow.org. democracy now! is produced with renee feltz, mike burke, deena guzder, messiah rhodes, nermeen shaikh, maria taracena, tami