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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 10, 2020 8:00am-9:01am PST

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12/10/20 12/10/20 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> 270 million people are marching toward starvation. failure to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic that will dwarf the impact of covid. amy: as global hunger surges i miss the cover 19 pandemic, the world food program is awarded the 2020 nobel peace prize.
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we will hear part of wfp head david beasley's acceptance speech, then look at joe biden's decision to pick tom vilsack to head the u.s. department of agriculture again. then to ethiopia. clubs the situation in ethiopia, think it is boring and volatile. controliraling out of with an pollen impact on civilians. amy: the ethiopian government is blocking international observers into the tigray region after ethiopian prime minister abiy ahmed launched a military offensive that has displaced tens of thousands of civilians. it was just a year ago today that the ethiopian prime minister won the nobel peace prize. this way ofelieve life will be death and
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destruction. amy: is ethiopia now on the verge of civil war? all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. the united states has suffered -- recorded 3100 24, 19 deaths wednesday, shattering every daily world record since the pandemic began. 107,000 people across united states are hospitalized with the disease, also a record, and more than 220,000 new infections were reported in just 24 hours. more than one third of u.s. residents live in areas where intensive care units have either filled to capacity or are running critically short of icu beds. forecasts published by the centers for disease control and prevention predict as many as 23,000 new covid-19
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hospitalizations a day could follow the christmas holiday weekend unless public health measures like social distancing and mask wearing are widely adopted. in alabama, former republican state senator larry dixon died saturday of covid-19 at the age of 78. his widow, who also tested positive, reported her husband's last words were "we messed up. we let our guard down. please tell everyone to be careful. this is real. and if you get diagnosed, get help immediately," he said and then died. on capitol hill, the house of representatives approved a one-week extension of federal funding in order to give more time for lawmakers to reach agreement on a coronavirus relief bill. senate republicans have failed to pass a new stimulus package since the house passed the $3 trillion heroes act last may.
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germany reported 25,000 coronavirus infections wednesday, a record, with over 1000 deaths in just the past two days. chancellor angela merkel pleaded with germans to limit social contacts over the holidays as she called for a new lockdown to stop the spread of covid-19. it hurts me. it really aches in my heart. and if the price of these niceties is our fatalities are at 590 people a day, then this is not acceptable and so we have to tighten this. amy: the gern chanceor's plea came as several european countries hard-hit by a fall wave of covid-19 have shown significant progress flattening their infection curves after re-imposing tough new lockdown measures. in the united kingdom, regulators have warned hospitals against administering the pfizer-biontech covid-19 vaccine to people with a history of
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strong allergies after two people had reactions to their jabs on tuesday -- the first day of vaccinations in britain and northern ireland. the u.k. has enough doses of pfizer's vaccine for 800,000 people and has ordered enough to vaccinate 20 million more people. meanwhile, canada has approved pfizer's vaccine and could begin immunizations as soon as next week. in the u.s., a food and drug administration vaccine advisory committee is holding an all-day meeting today to review the pfizer vaccine. depending how the committee votes, the first u.s. doses could be delivered on friday. here in new york, governor andrew cuomo promised state officials will not share the immigration status of vaccine recipients with the federal government. cuomo said -- "if undocumented people don't get vaccinated it compromises their health and it compromises the whole program." in the united arab emirates, health officials say a large
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clinical trial of china's sinopharm vaccine shows the two dose-vaccine i86% efficacious at preventing covid-19, and appears entirely effective at preventing severe disease. public health officials reviewing the claims caution they need more information about how the vaccine trial was conducted. attorneys general from 46 states joined the federal trade commission wednesday in a pair ai-trust lawsuits against facebook, saying the social media giant used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition. the lawsuits call on facebook to spin off whatsapp and instagram, and are demanding limits on future mergers and acquisitions by facebook. new york attorney general letitia james announced the states' lawsuit wednesday. >> by using its vast troves of data and money, facebook has
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squashed or hindered with the comfortable received as potential threat. they have reduced choices for consumers. they stifled innovation. integrated privacy protections for millions of americans. amy: president-elect joe biden has selected katherine tai to serve as u.s. trade representative. if confirmed by the senate, tai, who is asian-american, will become the first woman of color to hold the cabinet-level post. as the top lawyer for the house ways and means committee, tai pressed the trump administration for stronger labor protections in the u.s.-mexico-canada agreement on trade. she also prosecuted several u.s. disputes against china at the world trade organization. president-elect joe biden has formally nominated retired four-star army general lloyd austin to be defense secretary. austin, who would make history as the first black defense secretary, spoke alongside biden
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wednesday. >> america is the strongest when it works with its allies. over the years, i have worke hand-in-hand with our diplomatic colleagues and partners around the globe. initnessed firsthand what we are able to call this. amy: austin now serves on the board of raytheon as well as a partner in the venture capital fund pine island capital alongside biden's nominee for secretary of state anthony blinken. austin can only be confirmed if he secures a waiver from congress due to laws designed to preserve the civilian control of the military. several democratic senators including richard blumenthal, tammy duckworth, jon tester, and elizabeth warren have indicated they would oppose granting a waiver to austin. blumenthal said, "a waiver of the seven-year-old contravenes the basic principle that there should be civilian control of a non-political military." three years ago, 17 democratic
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senators voted against giving a waiver to general james mattis when he was nominated by president trump. the trump administration appears set to move ahead with a $23 billion arms deal with the united arab emirates after a bipartisan effort in the senate to block the dl failed. critics said the arms deal could further destabilize the middle east and worsen the humanitarian crisis in yemen. the deal includes the sale of f-35 fighter jets, reaper drones and other military equipment made by raytheon and other u.s. weapons manufacturers. philippe nassif of amnesty ternatiol critized the arms deal saying -- "today's vote could be the first act in a domino effect which ends in human tragedy as this country provides capabilities which risk being used to injure and kill thousands of yemenis and libyans in their homes, their schools, and their hospitals." in iraq's kurdistan region, at least eight people have been killed over the past week as
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security forces clamped down on protests over unpaid salaries. the semi-autonomous region is facing a financial crisis tied to corruption and a plunge in oil prices due to the covid-19 pandemic. in eastern afghanistan, gunmen shot and killed television journalist malalai maiwand as she was on her way to work in the city of jalalabad thursday, making her at least the 10th afghan media worker killed this year. maiwand's driver was also killed in the assassination. no group has claimed responsibility and the taliban has denied involvement. in ghana, incumbent president nana akufo-addo was announced the winner of a contested election which has led to at least five people being killed in related violence since monday. earlier today, ghana's opposition rejected the election results and vowed to take steps to overturn it. it was the third time president akufo-addo faced off against former president john mahama for the presidency.
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the national oceanic and atmospheric administration warns in a stark new report that greenhouse gas emissions have radically transformed the arctic in just the last 15 years. the 2020 arctic report card warns of dwindling sea ice, accelerating arctic wildfires, summertime temperatus topping 100 degrees fahrenheit, and rapidly melting permafrost that's releasing vast quantities of heat-trapping methane gas. on the whole, the arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the globe. the state of new york has announced plans to do best it's $226 billion retirement fund from most fossil fuel companies. the new york state common retirement fund is the third-largest public pension fund in the united states. new york state comptroller tom dinapoli said the fund would divest from the riskiest oil and gas companies by 2025 and decarbonize by 2040. the decision follows years of
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organizing by the divestny campaign, which was launched after hurricane sandy. bill mckibben, co-founder of 350.org, hailed the decision. >> this is one of the really great important moments. this is the biggest pension fund to divest yet. it comes from the state that has been at the heart of the global financial system. that is it is smart money. it comes after the long effort of the comptroller to engage with these oil companies and try to knock somsense into them. amy: president trump has asked the supreme court to side with texas attorney general ken paxton in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate millions of votes for president-elect joe biden. trump a suit any states and asked the supreme court to block the states from voting in the electoral college. 17 republican attorneys general have backpack -- back the
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external air lawsuit. trump's last ditch effort to overturn election result, as paxton and several other republican attorneys general are set to meet with trump for a private luncheon today at the white house. all 50 states and the district of columbia have now certified their presidential election results. on monday, electoral college voters will meet in their respective states to formally cast their votes for president. president trump's top campaign attorney rudy giuliani left georgetown university hospital in washington wednesday after four days of treatment for covid-19. giuliani told new york radio station wabc he received the same drugs president trump got during his battle with coronavirus in october. giuliani's special treatment followed similar care administered to trump allies chris christie and ben carson -- both of whom received experimeal antibody therapies for severe cases of covid-19. the drugs, produced by eli lily and regeneron, are in such short supply that many states and hospital systems have set up a
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lottery system to determine who will receive them. meanwhile, jenna ellis, another trump campaign attorney who worked in close contact with giuliani, has tested positive for covid-19. federal officials are investigating hunter biden, focusing on his taxes and business dealings in china. investigators had not disclosed any new information about the probe until recently because of justice department guidelines barring overt actions that could affect an election. hunter biden maintains he has done nothing wrong. in minnesota, the minneapolis city council passed a buet today that redirects about $8 million from the police department. the funds will go towards violce pvention, menl heth respons and oth services butoes not reduce the number of police officers and maintains new hiring targets after mayor jacob frey thatened tveto any staffg ductions. the budget is a far cry from the
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city council's pledge this summer to dismantle the minneapolis's police department at the height of racial justice protests following the police killing of george floyd. in california, the freshly sworn in los angeles district attorney george gascón announced plans for sweeping changes to the criminal justice system during his inaugural address this week. gascón called for ending the death penalty, ending cash bail for minor offenses, and reducing the prison population by quickly re-sentencing prisoners who are serving excessive terms. he also promised to end harsh penalties for children arrested for minor drug offenses. the painful truth is that the disadvantaged kids at get caught 10 to go to juvenile hall while kids in wealthier communities good rehab. amy: george gascón is a former police officer who previously served as the district attorney
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of san francisco. he ran as the progressive alternative to eight year incumbent jackie lacey who critics say too often sided with police and had come under fire more recently after her husband pulled a gun on black lives matter protesters earlier this year. johns hopkins, the 19th-century businessman and namesake of the prestigious hospital and university in baltimore, maryland, enslaved at leasfour black people before the civil war. the revelation, made by school officials this week, was based on newly unearthed census documents and counters the popular narrative that hopkins was an abolitionist. in other education news, connecticut has become the first state to require high schools to offer courses on african-american, black, puerto rican, and latinx studies starting in 2022. connecticut governor ned lamont said -- "increasing the diversity of what we teach is critical to providing students with a better understanding of who we are as a society and where we are going."
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and those are some of the headlines. a judge in lebanon has charged lebanese caretaker prime minister and three former ministers with negligence in connection with the devastating august 4 explosion at the port of a root. the explosion killed over 200 people, injured to thousand, and let more than a quarter million residents homeless. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. i am joined by my co-ht nermeen shaikh. hi, nermeen. nermeen: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: just before our live broadcast, the world food program received the nobel peace prize in an online ceremony, due to covid-19 restrictions, for what the nobel committee described as "its efforts to combat hunger, for its
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contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas, and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict." thwod food pgramme ithe rld's laest humatarian ornizationealing wh hunger d food surit and it now waing thathe combition of colictclimate isis, a cod-19 cou push 27million opleo the brk of starvati. e exetiveirecr david beasle acceptethis ye's nobel pee prize ard on behalff the ornizationrom s headquters in me. >> on behalf of the secretary-general of the united nations, our board, our sister agencies, our credible partners and donors, and on behalf of 19,000 peacemakers at the world
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food program, including those who came before us and especially those who died in the line of duty and their families who carry on and on behalf of the 100 million people we serve, to the norwegian nobel committee, thank you for this great honor. also, thank you for acknowledging our work of using food to combat hunger, to mitigate against destabilization of nations, to prevent mass migration, to end conflict and to create stability and peace. we believe that food is the pathway to peace. i wish today that i could speak of how working together we could end world hunger for all the 690 million people who go to bed hungry every night. but today we have a crisis at hand. this nobel peace prize is more than a thank you. it is a call to action. because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and
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military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse -- 270 million people are marching toward starvation. failure to address their needs willause a hunger ndt ic and if that's not bad enough, out of that 270 million, 30 million depend on us 100% for their survival. how will humanity respond? it tears me up inside. this coming year, millions and millions and millions of my eagles, my neighbors, your neighbors marching to the brink of starvation. we stand at what may be the most ironic moment in modern history. on the one hand after a century of massive strides in eliminating extreme poverty, today those 200 million of our neighbors are on the brink of starvation that's more than the entire population of western europe.
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on the other hand, there is $400 trillion of wealth in our world today. even at the height of the covid pandemic, in just 90 days, an additional $2.7 trillion of wealth was created. and really need $5 billion to save 30 million lives from famine. what am i missing here? a lot of my friends and leaders around the world have said to me, "you've got the greatest job in the world, saving the lives of millions of people." them --re's what i tell "i don't to bed at night thinking about the children we saved. i go to bed weeping over the children we could not save. and when we don't have enough money nor the access we need, we have to decide which children eat and which children do not eat, which children live, which children die. how would you like that job."
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please, don't ask us to choose who lives and who dies. in the spirit of alfred nobel, as inscribed on this medal -- "peace and brotherhood" let's feed them all. food is the pathway to peace. in the co-"food is the pathway to peace" that is world food program executive director david beasley accepting this year's nobel peace prize award on behalf of the organization from its headquarters in rome on today, international human rights day. when we come back, we look at the hunger crisis with ricardo salvador of the union of concerned scientists. we will also ashim about president-elect rides pick to head the u.s. department of agriculture, which could play a key role in feeding millions of americans facing food insecurity during the pandemic. and then we will look at the
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crisis in ethiopia. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "birmingham sunday" written by richard farina, arranged for chorus by gene glickman. lifelong activist and music professor gene passed away last weekend at the age of 86. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. we look now at the growing hunger crisis and how the world food programme -- this year's nobel peace prize recipient -- projects 270 million people may be pushed into starvation amid the combination of conflict, climate crisis, and covid-19. here in the united states, the group feeding america predicts more than 50 million people in the country could experience food insecurity before the end of the year, including one in four children. we are joined by ricardo
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salvador, director of the food and environment program at the union of concerned scientists. welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. can you start by responding to the world food program winning the nobel peace prize today and the comments of its director david beasley saying food is the pathway to peace? is very of all, this apt recognition for the organization. however, i think the executive director would also agree the best circumstance would be there would be no need for an organization like the world food programme. it is heroic because it is essentially does -- delivering emergency pewter populations that have no recourse. but we need to be asking ourselves how is it that in the 21st century when the planet as halfle is producing almost
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as much in terms of calories we need to feed everyone that there are some people that are in such dire circumstances as he described. we must always do that work. we must support that work. we must congratulate the people that devote your life's do that. but i think a more important calling is to prevent the incidence of hunger on the planet, which is entirely doable. to your question, the formula that food is the way to dry peace x he should be more properly understood in reverse. while we have so many hungry people on the planet when there is no need for that is tha it is a deliberate decision that human beings make. or, yemen, it was a delivered strategy to disrupt the food system specifically to weaken the country in the pursuit of the war between proxy saudi arabia and iran.
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it is important to understand that hunger does not always happen because of natural disasters, which is a mental model that most of us fall back upon. it is often the result of things we do to each other deliberately. todayn: ricdo, also when beasley was speaking, t he of the rld food programme , he said food is the pathway to peace. pieceo pointed out in a in the guardian even before the pandemic, in 2019, twice as many children died of malnutrition and hunger than have died in total from theandemic so far. that is over 3 million children died last year from hungernd malnutrition. can you talk about what yo think the underlying causes of this are? you hint at it earlier. what are the problems with the global food system that creates
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this kind of systemic hunger in happy to post of the most important thing to understand about the modern food system is a creation of about the last 70 years. it is a business model. it is a wonder of global logistics. it is not a phanthropy. it cost a great deal to invest in the production between the distribution, transportation logistics, all of the blinking lights that make it so for those of us that have economic and political power that we can conserve our needs. it can literally be delivered in an instant. reachf us are within ar of anything it can manufacture and deliver. qualifications i described. you need to have economic and political power to make that --
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[inaudible] hungry.millions who are another way of hearing that, the global food system that relies on wealthy people to interact with it actually does not serve hundreds of minds of people on the planet. arereason why these people not served is that you provide your food and one of two ways. you either grow it for yourself, meaning have access to land and you can apply your labor to produce your own food, or else you generate cash income from some other activity and interact with the local food system that does it for you. if you are hungry, it mea you have no access to land or you're not able to produce your own food and you also don't have access to the capital, to the cash required to be able to interact with the food system. the questions are, why is it that some people are not able to produce in their own backyard on
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their own land enough to feed themselves? the answer to that is that often it is the folks interacting with the food system come the second category of people i mentioned, that are the explanation. those of us that enjoy coffee, tea, the products of most of the tropical part of the world, are utilizing tropical land, are utilizing the resources of other people. in our mind, we believe as comparative vantage. we are trading for these artifacts. but in fact, most of the time it is a very desperate people that are not able to fight back against millionaires investing in land leases in order to produce industrial crops such as those for biofuels or luxury crops of the global north. it is important to understand these are deliberate human decisions. tactics that look like
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investment decisions to other people but have the perverse result of commiserating and making other people hungry in different parts of the planet. nermeen: could you talk about at in the context of what david beasley also said, the stgering figures, $400 trillion of wealth in the world today and additional $2.7 trillion added or just 90 days at the height of this pandemic -- the connection between equality and the kind of resource appropriationhat you have been speaking of? i will add a few more statistics. globally, the value of the food system approaches $5 trillion. it is a very high value add business proposition to take the raw products most of us would not know to do with -- for instance, raw corn, raw soybean or livestock -- enter that into
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the edible bites most of u expect from the food system that we are austomed to. those of us could have only known the food system over the last 70 years know all of those rglae. it is very psie system. nearly $5 trillion i described says things are going to stay this way. planetans people on the who are displaced, who formerly owned land and produced for themselves but have been displaced from banana plantations, cocoa plantations, tea plantations, bioenergy plantations, and so on, these are populations of people that do not have the political power often don't enjoy the support of their own governments in order to assure their food sovereignty and their own well-bein continentample is the of africa. the majority of us are accustomed of a stereotypical image of somebody suffering from hunger by going onto the internet and finding images of
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desperate people on the african continent. we are conditioned by those images to think of the continent as a basket case when it comes to economic developing and agriculture. the continent of africa could not believe you to self, it is, producing more calories than you did to beat his own population. just one country. sudan wasn't could be a breadbasket for the entire continent. but what is occurring is governmentare maki land lease deals with foreign companies or other nations, namely china, so the production of africa is literally appropriated to meet the needs of other countries that have the to compete for that land and for the production of that land against the interests of native africans. ofs is just another instance the principle that i keep repeating that hunger does not just happen to people. it is not just the climate change has occurred. it isn't just there is but an tempora catastrophe such as a
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typhoon, hurricane. it is that we deliberately make decisions to deprive other folks of production that they require to take care of one of their prior needs, which is to provide for their nursemaid. it is a matter of power. a matter of there is democracy for people to be able to fight for their own rights within their own country. the abstract notion of hunger to be translated into very weiberate power plays that all can interact with, we can all shift. amy: ricardo salvador, what can the pandemic teach us about treating hunger? >> a disruption that has been global in this partilar instance, but let's go to one of the hotspots of hunger in the world right now that i mentioned already, the countryf yemen. it is the civil war that is a proxy war being fought by iran
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and saudi arabia. it has gone on for five years. the u.s. is part of the war, backing saudi arabia, providing armaments and moral justification. it is a country that would not be able to provide for its own food. it is primarily a desert country. 80% of its food is imported. if you disrupt the economic system as the war has done prior to the pandemic, that means people are going to be vulnerable. there will be no actual flow of food. the pandemic is acerbated the poin where essentially the 85% of food that s to be imported to meet the demand of the internal population has been disrupted just logistically, just because of the war the food cannot get in. and so there are two things you don't have access to food. what is the way i dcribed, physical access. i've given you an example of where decisions made by people, let's go to war and let's
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specifically disrupt the food system of yemen so it can be vulnerable and we can win the war -- the penitential act. for the other way he could not have access is because you don't have the capital. you don't have the cash. the fundamental thing to remember always in these situations is you must provide access of people can meet their own needs. itself asic exacerbated total abilities across the planet. -- vulnerabilities across the planet. often this has tipped them over the edge. it is occurring not only in the global south but something that exists within global north. there are populations the size of say sudan, 50 million total population, the number of food insecurity embedded within the united states. amy: i want to look now, speaking of the u.s., about how president-elect joe biden's pick to head the u.s. department of
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agriculture, the usda, could play a major role in that issue of hunger, feeding millions of americans facing food insecurity during the pandemic and how the incoming administration responds to the climate crisis. ricardo salvador, you recently co-authored an op-ed in "the new york times" headlined "goodbye, usda, hello, department of food and well-being." you wrote this before biden's pick of former iowa governor tom vilsack as his secretary of agriculture instead of ohio congressmember marcia fudge, who he chose to head housing and urban development . environmental and civil rights groups had urged him to pick fudge to head the usda citing her dedication to preserving its antihunger programs like snap, supplemental nutrition assistance program, which makes up about half the budget.
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as many as one in four americans use at least one of the food aid programs. fudge supporters include south carolina congressman jim clyburn and other key backer of biden who said "it is one thing to grow food, but another to dispense it and nobody would be better that than marcia fudge but biden chose bills became ceo of u.s. dairy export council after he left government, group backed by the dairy industry." if you could talk about the significance of the usda and 's role. been vilsack makee first don't i should is it has been reported wide in the media that will be the pick of the administrati. i want to note tre's been no official announcement. there's still hope it coul be
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influenced. your point, there were the implications of this. we are living in a historical moment. it isn't just the pandemic we have been discussing has been disruptive, the pre-system as well as other systems across the planet, but we are also in the middle of an attack on democracy around the planet. it is also that we are living at a time when the public at large is beginning to doubt the foundations of modernity, which is a scientific approach to things. and also we are at a time where there is a massive racial reckoning which is connecting the history, the foundations of today's modern economies to exploition. at this historical moment, any change in administration is an opportunity to strike in a new direction. going back to secretary of the past is not the way to strike in a new direction. that is status quo. i need to be clear that while i acknowledge it is a difficult
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did as secretary vilsack good a job as one could do the time he was in, the blemishes on the administration have to do with the issues that have to change about that department. there was manipulation of data in reports is a administration sued purporting african farmers had been better served during his administration. we now know that was not true. by the way, the significance of this is that this is a department that has had to settle legal lawsuits for billions of dollars, acknowledging they actively discriminated against african-american and native american, let next come and women farmers. who does that leave they have 1862? theng since farming population in the united states is dominantly white, and actually white, 96% white. in the 21st century, we cannot have an institution with the profile of serving preferentially of a very small
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sliver of the entire population. its original agreement was to be a people's's department. this was at a time 1862 the date of the founding when the majority of the population were rural and when there was a significant number of people livelihood their from farming itself. it did not -- he did make sense at that time her primary stakeholders would be farmers. but it is 2021. the united states, normally 2 million farmers -- normally, julian farmers still apply that trait. we all depended on them but the country's 320 million people and we all have a stake in the food system. it determines whether we are healthy or not, determines whether we are susceptible to the covid pandemic. so the stakeholders in usda are distant staffer
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agribusiness. whom i mr. vilsack respect but has come from four years of working for agribusiness as you just noted. that is not the profile of somebody that is not -- serve a much broader set of public interest. which you listed. we all have a stake in having physical and economic access to a nursing system that is openable and only in terms of who gets to eat, but of who gets to farm, who gets to participate in the business of food and agriculture. nermeen: before we conclude, you point out in the question of fo insecurity in the u.s., 10% of households were already food insecure before the pandemic. that number has now doubled. you also say 75% of americans are clinically overweight or obese, making them more vulnerable to covid-19 in addition to public health
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problems. could you explain the difference between food insecurity and this phenomenon in america, which in the u.s., the richest country in the world, what it reveals about the food system here and the failures of the usda as it has been constituted? >> yeah, clinically, or suffering om hunger when you have caloric deficiency or some other nutrient deficiency that is affecting her ability to thrive. it will stunt the growth of children, for instance. this is one of the ways we measure that hunger is occurring. food insecurity has just profound effect. we define that as basically the rcentage or time you spend worrying about where your next meal is going to come from. if you're in that population, obviously, this will take a major mind sharing will not be
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able to flourish because the primary concern is how you're going to be able to meet your nutritional need, or food needs. the fact that in a wealthy country like the united states, we should have about 10% of the population and now about 20% of the population that are dealing with food insecurity should be a national shame. the situation should not occur. would it reveals in answer to your question has to do with who these people are. when you look at who they are, what think you discover is there disproportionally what in the united states we call the people of color. this means other than the descendents of northern europeans that settled the country a few hundred years ago. -- ato summarize, almost lot of history. this population distribution represents modern structure of the nation, its laws, its government, its business models essentially were set up for those settlers and their descendents and everybody else here has a history of either
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having been here and being displaced or else having been brought here in order to perform brutal menial labor. some say the publishing as having access to land or government programs, credit, this to the best education and well-being, and another set has experienced the opposite, being driven off land, their ancestors experiencing genocide. people not having excess to government programs, the phones, credit, real estate. the only get access to second-rate education. therefore, that means our losing wealth across generations. if you go back to the formula for hunger i described earlier, this tracks poverty. the poor people in the united states are disproportionally people of color. the white poverty rate in the united states prior to the pandemic runs about 9%. the poverty rate among people of
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color in the u.s. is double that. at least double of that. this is where you find primarily the majority of the hungry people in the united states. it has to do with the history of the nation. as i mentioned earlier, we are living in a moment of racial reckoning and need to overcome that by aressing the inequities that make some of us or and therefore make some of us especially susceptible to food insecurity and hunger. i will repeat, these are the results of actual human decision. appropriate someone's land, kill people, his laypeople, make some people who were essential for the food system to work undocumented so we can exploit them and abuse them. these are things we can change and must change. amy: this is an ongoing conversation. ricardo salvador, thank you so much for being with us director , of the food and environment program at the union of concerned scientists. recently co-authored an op-ed
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published in "the new york times" titled "goodbye, usda, hello, department of food and well-being." up next, our guest says ethiopia is on the verge of civil war. we will talk about what is happening in the tigray region. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. ago today, ethiopian prime minister abiy ahmed was awarded the nobel peace prize for ending the two-decade state of war between ethiopia and eritrea, with many hailing a new era of peace in the region. we turn now to look at how just one year later, abiy ahmed's military has displaced tens of thousands of civilians in an ongoing military campaign in the northern tigray region. thousands have died since ethiopia declared war on the tigray people's liberation front more than a month ago. at least one massacre has been reported. earlier this week, ethpia rejected calls for an
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independent investigation into thviolence, with a top governmentfficial sang ethiopia "doesn't need a babysitter." this comes amid a communication blackout and as ethiopia admitted federal troops fired at and detained u.n. workers in the northern tigray region for attempting to enter areas they say are forbidden. on wednesday, u.n. high commissioner for human rights michelle bachelet spoke out about the conflict, describing "gross human rights violations." >> the situation in ethiopia i ,hink is worrying and volatile and as i had warned, it is spiraling out of control with appalling impact on civilians. in the tigray region itself, despite is continuing government claims to the contrary. numerous reports of ethnic defiling of tigray residents. reports of dismissal from jobs
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including an of the civil service, harassment of journalists. amy: well, for more, we go to london where we're joined by awol allo, associate professor at the keele university school of law in the united kingdom and a global fellow at princeton university. in 2019, he nominated abiy ahmed for the nobel peace prize. his recent piece in al jazeera is headlined "how abiy ahmed's ethiopia-first nationalism led to civil war." welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. you have changed your views in this last year of the menu nominated for the nobel peace prize, who won it last year. can you talk about the situation of a put in your times because what headlined today on the front page says "finish him: get the opens on the run describe ethnic slaughter." talk about what is happening. ethiopiaunfortunate over the course of the last two ofrs moved from an moment
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into aeight optimism total civil war that threatened to destabilize not only the country but also the border of africa region. think a number of people who saw the way in which things were changing in ethiopia when t prime minister came into power had exactly the same views i had. this was a very transformational figure who is committed to the ideas of peace, consolation, justice. because he consistently talked about these eas. speech he gave two months of coming to office. madenk the commitment he to strike a deal or some sort
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time, mosta at that thought it was a bold move that deserved recognition of some sort. -- abviously, there were lot we did not know. there was a lot i think the prime industry itself was not quite clear about in terms of -- [indiscernible] it wasn't clear if the prime minister had the policy of ruling out war and violence. , could youol allo give us some historical context for this conflict?
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the tigray people's liberation front, they dominated for decades the ruling coalition in ethiopia. they constitute only 6% of the population. what is the source and origin of the conflict between the abiy ahmed central government and the tigray people? >> the difference between the -- there s aily struggle over power from the moment when the prime minister came to office. that difference over the course of time into an ideological difference. when the prime minister came to movement --rotest the office of the prime dashcam tohat meant an end.
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happy.rticularly -- were not particularly happy. [indiscernible] political differences over the course of me evolved into an idol logic difference. this is something that most of clearly.now quite bek came to power, seemed to someone who believed in the kind of multinational arrangement that existed in the country, which was a kind of affirmative action system put into place to address the and equities of the past. more and, consolidate more power, signaled to
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centralize power going to move toward a unitary kind of system where original states would have less and less authority compared -- having been pushed from the they wantedow -- original autonomy. the fact original autonomy is them aned gave ideological kind of pattern terms of taking on the government because that is something that is supported by the vast majority of tigray people, especially -- [indiscernible]
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at the same time, incompatible with the mobilization that existed and the country. fill your ability to win democratic election. the permit is to removed a few individuals from the cabinet. the prime minister decided to postpone the election. it was posoned [indiscernible]
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you can see other differences to thea series of events military confrontation. nermeen: we are in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic. could you talk about what the effect of the ongoing conflict has been on the health care system in the tigray region and the highest profile to grain abroad is that present head of the world health organization dr. tedros, who has been accused by ethiopia military chief of siding with the tigray region? fortunately, the pandemic doesn't seem to be impactthe same level of
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as it is having here in the western part of the world. maybe because it has to do wit -- this is a debate as to why the pandemic is not having the same impact in africa as it is in the northern hemisphere. -- the pandemic itself discussed much in the public domain. the fact the war has been -- information blackout. the hospitals and health centers in tigray original states have , i received any supplies think that is having considerable impact on the ability for health providers to --vide care for those expressed by humanitarian
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agencies working specifically on health care issues. amy: we have to leave it there but we will certainly continue to follow the situation. awol allo, associate professor at the keele university school of law in the u.k. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]÷÷
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