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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  March 21, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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so more students can be ready for anything. i'm trying to do some homework here. this is "gps", the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world, i'm fareed zakaria coming to you live from new york. we'll start today's show with america this week enraging both beijing and moscow. russia recalls its bast after president biden said vladimir putin is a killer. >> you think he's a killer. >> mm-hmm, i do. >> and the u.s. and china begin high-level talks. >> i'm hearing deep concern about some of the actions your
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government is taking. >> with an exchange of insults. >> the united states does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to china from a position of strength. >> two of america's toughest relationships just got tougher. i'll talk to richard huss and distanty and admiral james stavridis. and so at the start of the pandemic, everyone predicted the greatest strategy would occur in the developing world. but, in fact, the poorest countries have suffered relatively few covid deaths compared to the rich ones. what explains this mystery. the new york sid plays doctor detective and will tell us what in the world is going on. but first, here is my take. during his visit to asia this
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week, secretary of defense lloyd austin outlined his key concern. >> and while we were focused on issues in the middle east, china has modernized his military and so our goal is to make sure that we maintain a competitive edge over china or anyone else. >> welcome to the new age of bloated pentagon budgets, all to be justified by the great chinese threat. what austin calls america's edge over china is more like a chasm. the united states has nearly 20 times the number of nuclear warheads as china. it has twice the tonnage of warships at sea, including 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, compared with china's two carriers which are much less advanced. washington has over 2,000 modern fighter jets compared to beijings roughly 600 according
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to sebastian roblan. and the u.s. deployed this power using a vast network of some 800 overseas bases. china has three. china spent about $250 billion on this military which is a third as much as the united states. michael o'hanlon noted that if china were in nato, we with berate it for inadequate burden sharing since its military outlays fall below the nato 2% minimum. at the height of its imperial might in the late 19th century, great britain adopted a two-power standard. its navy had to be larger than the next two put together. u.s. military spending remains larger than the next ten countries put together, six of which are washington's close allies. america's intelligence budget alone around $85 billion, is much larger than russia's total
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defense spending. and yet the u.s. never images that this kind of spending could ever be seen by other countries as worrying or threatening. in requesting even more money for his region, the head of the indo pacific demand admiral davidson remarks on china's defense spending. >> i cannot for the life of me understand some of the capabilities that they're purting in the field unless it is an aggressive posture. >> but fact that washington is spending more on the military than it did at the height of the vietnam war, even accounting for inflation, should threaten no one? in any case, the size of military spending is a misleading indicator of strength, far more important than the objective sort and the political military strategy used to achieve those objectives. the u.s. is probably out-spent the taliban by about 10,000 to one in afghanistan and yet
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washington has ensured that they rule the country uncontested. if the united states defined his goals carefully and has a consistent political and military strategy to achieve them, it can succeed. without the millions of troops and trillion dollars will not guarantee victory. bigness is not a substitute for brains. consider two contrasting exercises of power. america's f-35 fighter jet program, the double by cost overruns and technical problems will ultimately cost taxpayers $1.7 trillion according to a document obtained by bloomberg. china will likely spend a comparable amount of money on the belt and road initiative, a ambitious set of loan and aid for infrastructure projects across the world aimed at creating greater interdependent that are important to bnl. which do you think is money
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better spent? the pentagon operates in a realm apart from any other government agency. it spends money on a scale and wastes money on a scale that is almost unmanageable. every government agency is required to audit its accounts but for decades the pentagon simply flouting this law. in 2018 it finally obeyed paying $400 million for 1,200 auditors to examine the books yet it still could not get a clean bill of health. after pentagon accounting, the auditors were unable to pass the pentagon or flunk it. they could only offer no opinion explaining the military's empire of hundreds of acronym accounting silos was too illogical to penetrate. the defense department has failed to pass two more ordinances. having spend nearly two decades fighting wars in the middle east without much success, the pentagon will now revert to the favorite kind of conflict, a
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cold war with a nuclear power. it can raise endless amounts of money to outpace china even if nuclear deterrence makes it unly there will be an actual fighting war in asia. there might be budget wars in washington but those are the battles the pentagon knows how to win. go to for a link to my washington post column this week. and let's get started. it was a remarkable week for washington's relations for moscow and beijing. we'll get to russia in a motion. but first, on thursday, secretary of state tony blinken and jake sullivan hosted their chinese counterparts in alaska. blinken in his welcoming remarks to the foreign delegation made clear he would press china on
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the uyghurs and honk kong and taiwan and then they leveled criticisms about america's internal affairs. each person was to make a two minute state and his lasted 16 and tony blinken went back in what rebuttal. joining me now is jamts stavridis from a new novel that images a future war from china, it is called china 1934 a war and richard house was director of policy planning at the state department and now president for the council on foreign relations. welcome all. richard, let me start by asking you, you staffed many summits and meetings like these, participated in many and have watched many. what did you make of the one in anchorage? >> look, fareed, this is the most, as you know, important relationship of this era of history. there are profound disagreements
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between the united states and china economically, strategically, on matters of human rights and the rule of law. this relationship is going to take the most deft handling if these two countries are not going to end up in some sort of confrontation or relationship or where cooperation is recolluded and i would say anchorage is not a good start. and that is diplomatic. that is a terrible start and mishandled. way too much public strategic dial ago. we know we have real disagreements but we know talking about them in public forces people to take out postures that are for more absolute because they have to play to the home crowd, to the gallery, it makes exploring the possibility of compromise that much more difficult. we've really got to dial it down in public. this applies to both sides. make it private. make it regular, make it sustained and see if we can't lower the temperature and just maybe, not just rule out
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confrontation over an issue like taiwan, but find some o-- our yeahs where we could make progress such as north korea, afghanistan or climate where they've agreed to set up a follow-up working group. >> jim stavridis, how do you see the summit and do you think that it does feel as though we've been moving toward an ever-more confrontational posture on both sides. >> i'm with henry kissinger on this one, fareed. he said over a year ago, we're in the foothills of a cold war. we're continuing to ascend that mountain. not in a full blown cold war. we're old enough to remember what the cold war was like. it was millions of troops facing each other, two vast battle fleets playing hunt for red oct
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around the world but we're edging in a bad direction. i agree with richard on the tactics, it doesn't feel good right now. here is the bottom line, what we need and has been lacking is a plan, a strategic plan for facing china. and this means kind of taking a page from richard's comment a moment ago, it means confronting where we must. we're not going to seed the south china sea to china. it means confronting on human rights. look at the cover of the economist this week, but it also means cooperating wherever we can. i think climate is a terrific place to think about it. bottom line, we need a plan, we need to get our allies in the game. and we need to get final -- we need to get the u.s. inner agency kind of pulling together, not in different directions. >> richard, let me come back to you for a second before i get to zanny. i'm looking at the gamut of issues and you raise some of them but it does seem to me, if
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you want to actually get something done in myanmar and maybe restore the previous government, if you want to get something done on iran, you know, not just climate change but even the pressing problems of today, china does seem pretty crucial. do you think there is any discussion on those issues or is the possible confrontation we're seeing matched with the private freezing of the relationship? >> well this discussion of these things privately even in anchorage, what there hasn't been in progress. and look even if the public side of this has been handled better, fareed, i think progress would have been difficult. but you're exactly right, north korea, 90% of the trade goes in and out through china. china is now bailing out the iranian economy with oil purchases. again, they are critical. myanmar, they could subsidize this military government. so we could just go around the
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world and we could basically say we need china involved at times constructively. it is not going to be easy. xi jinping's china is more repressive at home and it is wealthier and stronger and more assertive. so this is going to be difficult under the best of conditions and my point is two, one is diplomatically we have to get this under control and second of all we have to put our own house in order. in some ways the most effective tool vis-a-vis china might not be how many wars we have in the south china sea, it is whether the united states is politically and economically competitive. >> zanny, you have a cover story on china and you're tough on china but you come out eventually for engagement with china because you point out just how dominant it is in the world economy right now. >> yeah, absolutely. and i am slightly less tough on
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last week's meeting, the anchorage meeting than james and richard. i think that this is a deliberate recalibration of u.s. policy to be more open in confronting china on his authoritarian and aggressive nature on human rights, on cyber attacks on taiwan, but at the same time there is a desire to work in areas of mutual interest and i think that in some ways both sides got what they wanted from that meeting which was to play to their domestic audiences, the question is whether you could then pull off a more strategic coon theive report and sounding tough on the other stuff. it is going to be a balance, but i think it is too early to r right -- to write this strategy off and i think there is a thinking in the administration, whether they could pull it off
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and to get the allies on board because we made it clear you do need engage in china. this is an e pock defining challenge between the west and a rising china. it is going to define the next few decades and we have to get this right but i think it does mean standing up for human rights and calling out for things that threaten western values but this is a country that is the world's second biggest economy in which we have engage so i'm not sure so that the biden administration has gotten it as wrong as richard seems to think, w. >> we'll have to leave it there and just to close at the height of the cold war the united states and the soviet union traded $5 billion worth of goods and services every year. the united states and china trade $5 billion worth of goods and services every day. next on "gps", we'll talk about russia and another week of
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words. president biden said that putin is a killer. putin then challenged biden to a debate. what in the world is going on? >> fareed's take, brought to you by fisher investments. clearly different money management. find why investors like you switch to us. that's why we're a fiduciary, obligated to put clients first. (money manager) so, what do you provide? cookie cutter portfolios? (judith) nope, we tailor portfolios to our client's needs. (money manager) but you do sell investments that earn you high commissions, right? (judith) we don't have those. (money manager) so what's in it for you? (judith) our fees are structured so we do better when our clients do better. at fisher investments we're clearly different.
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is it? joining me again, james stavridis and zanny and jim house. and biden seemed to respond in a spontaneous way. was that okay or should he have been more disciplined and it feels like into -- if you're going to call the president of russia a killer, it should be a thought through plan rather than an off the cuff response to a reporter. >> as we said a moment ago, there is a re-set and a recalibration going on and i think putin is a special case in this regard because strangely and mysteriously, he was treated with kid gloves, him personally, by president trump. so i think this administration wanted to put a shot across the bow as we would say in navy terms right away. now whether calling him a killer is exactly the right thing to do, i'm kind of reminded of that
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great book of leadership, the godfather by mario puza when don said don't make the mistake of your enemies, it signaled a toughness on russia and particularly on vladimir putin and i think he is a special case because he has killed. he's killed at the micro level, former kgb agent in the united kingdom as zanny knows very well and on british soil he tried to poison navalny and killed at the rack row scale in syria and ukraine. so to me i found it honest and refreshing when he was called the killer. >> zanny, how do you think europeans reacted to that? >> well, i think that is going to be -- there was very little publicly as you know. and i agree, i think it is accurate and in some sense refreshing to hear president biden actually say that.
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the problem in europe is, as you know, the europeans are somewhat split and some are much closer to russia and very concerned about extreme hostility toward russia from the united states. so i think this feeds into a broader european slightly skepticism about the whole recalibration by the biden administration. it is very, very obvious that the europeans are not leaping up to be sort of -- put themselves behind the biden administration with regard to china or russia. so it is going to cause him quite some challenges to get the europeans on board. >> could you say a little bit more on china. the europeans are hesitant to come on board on china, why? >> because the europeans, remember, just before the biden administration took office, they signed a trade and investment deal with china against the express, private wishes of the incoming biden administration. and although the europeans are
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talking about, yes, yes, it is appropriate toward china they have been relukts ant -- reluctant to embrace the choice to china and make clear there is a joint approach. as richard has said on your program before, it will never work unless the west works together. the u.s. can't do it alone. china is the biggest trading partner of far more countries than the united states is. the reality is the only way to influence china is if the western democracies work together in tandem and yit is nt clear that the europeans are willing to kind of sign up. >> richard, what about the business with russia? is this a refreshing degree of candor from biden or does it complicate negotiations with russia? >> so let me did he the skunk at the garden party.
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the issue is not whether putin is a killer. he is. but saying whether that publicly advances things. i think it makes it more difficult for president biden to sit down with him. how do you sit down with a killer. and also the united states doesn't have that much influence, whether it is with russia or china on the human rights issues. we could broadcast our feelings but mr. navalny is going to rot in jail for quite a while and mr. putin will continue doing what he's doing in ukraine and in syria, that shows the gap between our rhetoric and our ability to deliver. so it is not simply to signal. the question is does this help us to get russia to do what we want in a ukraine or in georgia or the middle east. does it get mr. navalny out of prison sooner? does it get it yet another nuclear arms agreement that would perhaps capture a greater set of weapons? i'm not so sure.
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again, it is a question of tactics. and i'm simply raising the question that i'm unpersuaded this is the way to go. it reminds me about woodrow wilsons about covenants at the time of world war i and afterwards. it didn't work so well. the diplomacy is done in a smoke filled room and then when you have the compromise and the agreements then you bring it into the public view. >> stay with us. while the white house is celebrating america's vaccine rollout, europes han been rather poorly executed. it is also created an opportunity for the far right and for populism there. we'll dig into exactly what is going on. still a father. but now a friend. still an electric car. just more electrifying. still a night out. but everything fits in. still hard work. just a little easier. still a legend. just more legendary.
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and we are back with james stavridis and distanty and richard haas. you explained to us very nicely the series of screw-ups that led to the problems with europe's vaccine rollout as if to prove that our crazy people on both sides of the continent now they've gone ahead and put up suspended astrazeneca because of what appears to be a confusion between correlation and causation. it is true that some people who have taken astrazeneca has had problems and it is not clear they were caused by astrazeneca. but any any event, further comments on this but also is this undermining the kind of centrist leadership in europe that had seems a bulwark against populism. merkel and macron is looking bad, the far right has made gains in germany and in the netherlands in the election last
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week. what is going on? >> well, the main thing is that it is a real mess. and a very, very worrying. cases in europe are rising. there was a official saying they're rising exponentially. 20 million people in france have gone into lockdown. the variants are rapidly spreading across europe and less than 10% of germans have been vaccinated compared to 50% of adult britons. the european commission haggle the over price and liability with the drug companies. but then more recently, the sort of mess up about astrazeneca has been extraordinary. first of all, european politicians, particularly macron, poured cold water with no basis on efficacy of the astrazeneca vaccine.
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he said it was quasiineffectively over people over 65 which was no evidence and more than 16 european countries temporarily suspended the vaccine as there was an increase in cases of blood clotting when there is no evident that it had anything to do with the vaccine at all. there were amount of blood clots that happened were no different than what you would expect and the u.k. more than 10 million people me included have had this vaccine and they're fine. so it was a frankly a crazy thing to do because the europeans said it was the precautionary principle, but in fact by suspending the vaccines even for a few days, more people will have died because more people will have gotten covid than otherwise would have and perhaps more important they have fostered this sense of suspicion within europe about this vaccine. i looked at a poll in france where 60% of french don't trust
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the astrazeneca vaccine and one of the main vaccines that they're relying on. >> they're in a real pickle. and they're threatening to ban the export of vaiccines that isn't exporting to them and so it is a real mess. is it going to help the far right? i think that is not clear yet. but what is certainly clear is that governments in europe are furious with the european commission and people in europe are furious with their governments and tif they don't get this under control, there is a lot of lives lost and it effects the rest of us, none of russ are safe until this is under control across the border and across the globe and to have the richest parts of the world failing so miserably is a real, real problem. >> jim stavridis, i must ask you to be brief on a divided disunited angry europe is no good for united states or the world any way.
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it makes cooperation more difficult. >> it does and i meant this for four years as supreme commander of nato. you have 28 nations and different languages and culture and history. look, the vaccine has been a tail of three cities, if you will. china has handled it perfectly, if you will. because they have all of the authoritarian tools. europe probably the worst because of the 28 different speeds of the bicycle, u.s. probably somewhere in the middle. but to your point, if we want our allies, partners, friends, the greatest pool of democracies in the world exist in europe, if we want them with us, in front of china, if we want them with us in front of russia, if we want them with us on climate, we have to pull for them to pull together. >> jim stavridis, richard haas, and zanny, always such a
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pleasure. thank you. next on "gps", a true global mystery, and a doctor new yorker writer who plays detective and sets out to solve it when we come back. of a button might seem... excessive. unless... getting lost is the whole point. ♪ ♪ i've always focused on my career. but when we found out our son had autism, his future became my focus. lavender baths always calmed him. so we turned bath time into a business. and building it with my son has been my dream job.
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removes germs in seconds, moisturizes for hours. soft, smooth. new dove handwash. in the early months of pandemic, after covid had raged through new york city, i talked about my fears for what might happen in the virus raged in the same way in the horribly slum in mumbai, india. you see there is a population density nearly 30 times that of new york. but my fears turned out to be unfounded as the new yorker reported recently, as of mid fall, the slum had only a few hundred reported deaths. one-tenth of what was expected. he writes that an on a national level, india's death rate is about one-tenth of americas. indeed, the third world as a whole has suffered much less than the first.
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the question gripping epidemiologists is why. the doctor has been investigating the mystery. he's the author of the emperor of maladies that won the pulitzer prize. welcome. first describe for us the magnitude of the misprediction. we were all expecting this virus to rage through the developing world in and country after country, it is india and nigeria and africa, there just aren't those many covid deaths, right. >> absolutely. so the magnitude is quite impressive. again, we have to make a distinction between the fact that virus is actually present as far as we can tell, the virus is moving through the third world. it is moving through low income countries. nigeria, india, pakistan, bangladesh, most places are
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reporting that there is virus moving through the countries. what is different is that the number of deaths is surprisingly low and there have been several models that were created early in the course of the pandemic, models that try to predict how many deaths would occur in india or pakistan and most of those models, the predicted models, are ten-fold off to 100-fold off in deaths and that is really surprising. >> and what do you think is the leading cause? what is the leading explanation for this mystery? >> so, it still remains i would say a mystery. but there are possibly many causes. and one of the things that i try to do is to dissect the causes one by one by one examining them and then either putting a yes or a no as it were to those causes. the most obvious cause is that most of the low income countries
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have younger populations. so just to give you one example, the median age in india is 28. the median age in the united states, italy, spain is in the 40s. so clearly that is one factor. but it cannot be the only factor, just to give you one example the median age in mexico for instance and the median age in some other countries badly effected is similar to the median age in countries like india, pakistan, et cetera. so one explanation is that most ever these countries, these low income countries have younger population and they do get infected but they don't usually die from covid so that is one explanation. >> what about heat? you sometimes hear people say well there must be something about the hot weather that in africa is somehow sort of burning away the virus. i sort of look at texas which could get very hot and is it doesn't seem to be -- doesn't apply here. >> heat doesn't seem to be a
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reason of explanation. what might be a reason of explanation is that what heat allows you to do or forces you to do is vent late. and when you ventilate, people are generally outside and they have crowded spaces and windows and doors are open, there is a lot of natural ventilation and maybe that is contributing but we really don't -- we don't know whether that is a factor or not. heat by itself doesn't seem to be a factor. >> that would make sense because in a texas everyone is indoors because the air-conditioning is ubiquitous. >> exactly. and they're indoors in malls and in places like environments where they are being constantly exposed to recirculating air. now one thing that is very important and i should remind you it is an interesting factor, in high income countries, there is a phenomenon in which the air
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particularly are housed together so in nursing home, long-term nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, et cetera, and a full one-third of the deaths can be attributed to deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in other countries and there is a much lesser of the so-called warehousing of the elderly. they live in multi-generational families but they don't live in large nursing homes typically. i give the analogy, there is a famous agatha christy novel called "the murder on orient express" and the trick is the famous detective finds out in the end there is not one culprit but many culprits. you think about murder mysteries as having a single culprit. i think that the discrepancies in the covid deaths across the
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low income versus high income countries is like the murder on the orient express. there is not one culprit but a multitude of culprits. >> pleasure to have you on. thank you for that. >> thank you very much. >> and we will be back. with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. life... doesn't stop for diabetes. be ready for every moment, with glucerna. it's the number one doctor recommended brand that is scientifically designed to help manage your blood sugar. live every moment. glucerna. ♪ ♪ be right back. with moderate to severe crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be. is she alright? i hope so. so i talked to my doctor about humira.
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and now for the last look. the biden administration manages to pass the massive $1.9 trillion covid relief bill. but as experts have pointed out, it was able to do this ome because the democrats used an obscure legislative tool called reconciliation. if that hadn't happened, the bill would have failed even though the final vote was 50-49, a majority in favor. why in because almost all legislation normally needs 60 votes in the 100-seat senate.
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in america in 2021, the senate doesn't observe the founding tenant of a democracy. majority rule. instead, it abides by supermajority rules, as the economist notes, some country including germany and india require supermajorities in their case two-thirds of the parliament, but only two amend the constitution. in denmark, you need a super majority to transfer some parts of government over to an international body like the european union. the united states is the rare country that requires a super majority for nearly all legislation. it is all because of a feature of the senate that has faced sharp criticism this week, the filibuster, the principle that allows legislators to hold up bills indefinitely, by debating them on the senate floor. it comes from the dutch word by the way for free booter, or pirate, the idea being that the
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person is obstructing the legislative process for his or her own personal gain. you need the 60 votes, three-fifths of the chamber and in the split the require for a super majority is the form of minority rule. how did we get here? the answer could be find in a new book by adam gentleson, once an aide to majority leader harry reid. the book is called "kill switch: the rise of the modesh settlement" and he notes that the filibuster was not in the foundation of the government. one the first uses was in 1841 when john c. calhoun and his cronies talked on the senate floor for 14 days to kill a piece of legislation. the bill in question was about banking. but what calhoun and his cronies were really up to was protecting the slave holding south against the power of the north. almost 80 years later, in 1917,
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the filibuster was expanded when a new rule was introduced if you wanted to stop a senator from performing this talking trick, you have to produce a super majority, at that time two-thirds of the senate. from the 1920s on, segregational senators exploited this rule to kill civil rights legislation. anything that might dismantle that race-based power of the south was filibustered. gentleson points out that from 1877 until 1964, only civil rights bills which were sadly few and far between were killed by filibusters. this was invented into the to protect our democracy but to degrade by by providing rights to black americans often against the wishes of the larger public. but it took several decades to turn the filibuster from a tool of obstruction to a persistent feature of the senate. in fact, it took one man, mitch
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mcconnell. in senator's mcconnell's first six years as minority leader, use of the filibuster averaged out to 92 times per session, that is double the average rate of the previous 25 years. today gentle sson writes it doesn't have to happen through debris, just send a letter with the intent to filibuster and it is done. this just adds to the senate problems. fewer than 1 million people in the wyoming have the same representation that 40 million californians do. there is no other upper chamber in the group that is so unrepresented except the appointed house of lords in britain which is next to powerless. as wrote in week in "the washington post," abolishing or reforming the filibuster could incentivized republicans to work with democrats.
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and foster true bipartisanship. if a bill is going to pass, whether you stand in its way or not, why not influence its future and take some credit for its passage. ending the filibuster is about more than any individual piece of legislation. by abolishing this crazy destructive rule, america could begin the process of healing its polarized politics. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. >> want a daily dose of fareed and his team, get it with fareed's global briefing, the newsletter with the best insight and analysis on global affairs. go to to sign up. dana-farber cancer institute discovered the pd-l1 pathway. pd-l1. they changed how the world fights cancer. blocking the pd-l1 protein, lets the immune system attack,
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hi, i'm brian stalter live in new york and this is "reliable sources" where we examine the story behind the story. and figure out what is actually reliable. this hour we're going to exam pin some of the short comings in the coverage of the atlanta shootings. connie chung is here with her analysis. plus tv networks heading south sending drones and reporters to the southern border. what is the full story about immigration in the u.s. congresswoman ilhan omar will be here with her answer. plus whatever happened to second chances. the story of teen vogue, my new reporting about the alexi mccammond controversy is