tv Democracy Now LINKTV January 27, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST
01/27/22 01/27/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> does president biden fly to honor his pledge to nominate a black woman to the court? >> the president has stated reiterated his commitment to nominating a black woman to the supreme court and certainly stand by that. amy: liberal supreme court justice stephen breyer is retiring after nearly 30 years on the bench, giving president
biden a chance to fulfill a campaign promise to nominate the first black woman to the high court. we will look at possible nominees, buyers legacy, and the future of the court. plus, we will look at the "the lords of easy money." >> the fedas pmped over 3.5 trillion dollars directlinto thwall street banking system at the sameime it is held inrest rates at ze for over seven years. this has stoked the divide tween the very, very rich and everybody else, andt has crted these massive asset bubbles that are starting to crash right now as the fed tries to withdrawal the stimulus. amy: as the federal reserve signals it will raise interest rates in march, we will talk to author christopher leonard about -- leonard. he says the that has broken the american economy. and we will talk to a top cuban scientist about how cuba's developed its own covid vaccines despite the 60-year-old u.s. embargo.
all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. justice stephen breyer is planning to retire from the supreme court after 27 years of service. breyer's retirement gives president biden his first chance to nominate a supreme court justice but will not change the ideological makeup of the court's 6-3 conservative majority. at 83, breyer is the court's oldest justice. he faced intense pressure to retire ahead of november's midterm elections while democrats still control the senate. on wednesday, senate majority leader chuck schumer said biden's nominee would receive a prompt hearing. as a candidate, biden vowed to appoint the first black woman to the supreme court. we'll have more on the retirement of justice breyer and who might replace him after headlines. russian officials said they are not optimistic after receiving responses wednesday from the u.s. and nato over demands made by russia that nato halt its
eastward expansion. the u.s. and nato did not reveal the content of the letters but secretary of state antony blinken confirmed the u.s. and its allies did not agree to curb its expansion but offered a path forward for negotiations with moscow. >> we make clear there are core principles that we are committed to uphold and defend, including ukraine sovereignty and the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances. amy: meanwhile, the military buildup continues on both sides of the russia-ukraine border, where some 100,000 russians troops have been massed for weeks. earlier this week, the u.s. put 8500 troops on heightened alert to deploy to the region if needed. in congress, top progressive democrats pramila jayapal and barbara lee called on the biden administration wednesday to pursue diplomacy amid the escalation tensions, warning there is no military solution to the crisis. the biden administration has approved a weapons sale to egypt valued at over $2.5 billion.
this despite voicing concerns over human rights abuses by the government of president abdel fattah al-sisi, which the u.s. government has used as justification for withholding $130 million in military aid. state department spokesperson ned price was questioned about the weapons deal tuesday. >> what is the point of holding -- withholding 100 $30 million in foreign military finances when you're just going to turn around and sell them $2.5 billion in weapons? >> if we have anything to add on that on the report you're referencing, we will let you know. amy: meanwhile, a dozen house democrats penned a letter calling on president biden to stop servicing saudi warplanes used in deadly attacks against civilians. the democrats cited the recent airstrikes on a migrant detention center in yemen, which killed over 70 people. new jeey congressmember tom malinowski added in a tweet that the "continued servicing of
these jets could make the united states complicit in these likely war crimes." in syria, kurdish-led forces backed by u.s. helicopter gunships have recaptured a prison in the northeastern city of hassakeh, ending a week-long battle that began when islamic state fighters attempted a jailbreak. the fighting left more than 180 people dead. the siege ended after members of the u.s.-backed syrian defense forces cut off food and water to the jail for two days. more than 700 and prison children, some as young as 12, were reportedly used as man shields during the siege. last year, a united nations report found conditions inside the jail amounted to torture, with prisoners packed in overcrowded cells, denied access to sunlight, medical care, and proper nutrition. the united nations is calling on countries to allow humanitarian aid to flow into afghanistan, where an estimated 23 million people face acute food shortages. secretary-general antonio gutteres told the security
council on wednesday that more than half of afghan citize are facing extreme levels of hunger, with some families forced to sell their babies so they can buy food. >> six months after the takeover by the taliban, afghanistan is hanging by a thread. for afghans, daily life has become a frozen hell. amy: they you and secretary-general said $1.2 billion from the world bank-administered afghan reconstruction trust fund should be freed up immediately, and humanitarian aid groups should be allowed to operate in afghanistan without fear of breaching sanctions imposed after the taliban takeer six -- last august. the world health organization says nations reported 21 million new coronavirus cases last week, the highest weekly toll of the pandemic. this comes as the financial times reports the covax initiative to bring vaccines to poor and middle-income nations is unable to accept new donations because it has nearly
exhausted the funds needed to buy crucial accessories including syringes. covax recently delivered its one-billionth vaccine dose. the group's goal was to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. yale epidemiologist gregg gonsalves tweeted in response -- "this is why the charity model of vaccine delivery cannot work. share the technology now for mrna covid-19 vaccines. pfizer and moderna are prolonging this pandemic with their greed," gonsalves tweeted. the united states reported nearly 3900 covid-19 deaths on wednesday, the highest daily toll since last winter's surge. hospitalizations remain near record highs, though the number of reported daily infections is falling rapidly. spotify is removing neil young's music from its catalog after young demanded the streaming platform drop podcast host joe rogan. rogahas a history of promoting baseless conspiractheories
about the pandemic and untested treaents for covid-19 and he's repeatedly spread misinformation about vaccines. in an open letter, neil young blasted misinformation on spotify's podcasts and said -- "they can have rogan or young. not both." on wednesday, spotify sided with rogan, and began taking neil young's songs off-line. the joe rogan experience is the world's most popular podcast, with an estimated 11 million listeners per episode. in 2020, rogan signed a deal with spotify reportedly worth over $100 million. in california, the city of san jose has passed a first-of-its-kind ordinance requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay a yearly fee. the measure was introduced last may after a city tnsit worker fatally shot nine co-workers before turning the gun on himself. san jose mayor sam liccardo compared the legislation to laws requiring car drivers to carry insurance. >> those were not complying with
this simple regulation will face consequences. and with the help of some state legislation, they will suffer forfeiture of their guns as well. amy: the group gun owners of california has promised to sue san jose to block the ordinance from taking effect next month. meanwhile, gun control groups are condemning illinois-based gun maker wee-one tactical for producing a smaller version of the ar-15 assault rifle and marketing it to children, with promotional materials that feature cartoon skulls and baby pacifiers. the violence policy center responded -- "that a gun-maker has embraced imagery of dead children to promote gun ownership by youth surreally illustrates how detached this industry is from the death and injury that result from its products." the biden administration has canceled leases for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northern minnesota. environmentalists are cheering the decision, which they say
will protect pristine wilderness in the boundary waters region near the canadian border. and high schools students in granbury, texas, are fighting back against school officials who are pushing to ban hundreds of books dealing with social inequality. this is high school senior isabella guzman, who joined fellow students in speaking out at public meeting earlier this week. >> i am queer, i am brown, and i'm proud of that. i am aware of the censorship of my people. i think it is horrible. i don't think that little children should be shocked or disgusteby our identities, and i think it is disgusting that even in 2022, we still have to have this discussion. amy: the crackdown in texas schools as part of a growing conservative-led trend to censor books on race, colonialism, sexual and gender identity, and other issues in schools and libraries across the u.s. earlier this month, a tennessee
school board voted to ban "maus," the pulitzer prize-winning graphic novel about the holocaust by art spiegelman. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined remotely by my co-host nermeen shaikh. hi, nermeen. nermeen: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: liberal supreme court justice stephen breyer is retiring after serving on the court for over 27 years. breyer's retirement gives president biden his first opportunity to pick a justice for the high court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority. at 83, justice breyer is the court's oldest justice. he had faced intense pressure to retire while democrats still controlled the senate. on wednesday, senate majority leader chuck schumer said biden's nominee would receive a prompt hearing.
as a candidate, biden vowed to nominate the first black woman to the supreme court. in the court's history, there have only been four female justices and two black justices. on wednesday, white house press secretary jen psaki was asked about biden's plans. >> i have commented on this previously. the president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a black woman to the supreme court and certainly stand by that. for today, again, i'm just not going to be able to say anything about any specifics until, of course, justice breyer makes any announcement should he decide to make an announcement. amy: the names of several possible nominees have already been floated, including ketanji brown jackson, a u.s. appeals court judge who once served as a law clerk for breyer, leondra kruger, a california supreme court justice, michelle childs, a u.s. district court judge in
south carolina, and sherrilyn ifill, a civil rights attorney who heads the naacp legal defense and educational fund. vice president kamala harris has also been mentioned as a possible nominee. to talk more about the retirement of justice stephen breyer and the future of the court, we are joined by two guests. dahlia lithwick is senior editor and senior legal correspondent at slate.com where she hosts the podcast amicus. her latest piece is headlined "the deep irony of stephen breyer's bare-knuckled exit from the supreme court." elie mystal is the nation's justice correspondent. his new piece is "the supreme court vs. the earth." his forthcoming book is "allow me to retort: a black guy's guide to the constitution." elie, your response when you heard about justice breyer retiring and your tweet offering,, some suggestions. >> it is about time. breyer has had a long and
distinguished career, serve the nation with integrity, and it was time for him to leave and i have to say that is not my doing. that is mitch mcconnell's doing. he has promised essentially to not replace the supreme court justice should republicans take back the senate in 2023. we know he is not bluffing because he stole the seat from barack obama when obama nominated merrick garland, so we have to assume mitch mcconnell will be true to his word, and that means the timeline for breyer to retire was now. he had to get out of the way so that hiseat would not be lost to mcconnell's machinations. i am glad breyer did the right thing. moving onto the replacement, as you mentioned, biden promised to nominate a black woman for the first time in the history of the supreme court. there have been 115 justices on the supreme court since the founding. 108 have been white men.
i think if we are worried about identity politics, it is the white guys have been picking white guys to be confirmed by white guys who may have been too focused on the race and gender of their nominees instead of looking for the most qualified candidate possible. if biden keeps true to his campaign promise and only looks within hisrically disadvantaged groups, he will find a wealth of experienced qualifications at intellects, even if he limits himself to the category of black women. some of the leading contenders, as you mentioned, could how do brown jackson, harvard law school judge who >> for -- who clerks for breyer. she is, the leader inhe clubhoe right now but there are others. editor of the law review, one of
the re eloqut advocates you'll ever meet, shall childs -- michelle childs, labor expert which seems kind of important just at the moment given the attack on labor, especially in the osha mandates case. district court judge from south carolina. south carolina saved joe biden's campaign. she has the support of jim clyburn. she went to the university of south carolina for law school. she would be the first person on the supreme court with a law degree from a state school for i can't remember the las time that happened. not just race and gender diversity, but professional educational diversity with michelle childs. ose are just a few of the plethora of people who biden could pick even if he focuses just on black women. nermeen: dahlia lithwick, your response to hearing justice breyer will retire?
he served for 27 years. your piece is called "the deep irony of stephen breyer's bare-knuckled exit from the supreme court." why is it deeply ironic? >> well, because in some sense i think justice breyer is the last of a dying breed, maybe the last to know he is the last of a dying breed. but he has really dedicated his nearly 30 years on the supreme court, but certainly, the last five years, to the proposition that justices are not partisan, they are not political, that they are all dedicated to something much higher than bareknuckled politics and that he really devoted himself as recently as this fall when he wrote a book about it, gave a major speech about it, said that we are not politicians.
i think the irony i caught that was in the midst of protesting that we are not partisan, this is not a political institution, he made a very political move and stepping down when he did. he did not even wait until the spring the way most justices do. i think he is well aware that if you waited until june or july, mitch mcconnell could have attempted to do something to scuttle biden's nomination and setting someone before the 2022 midterms. so this act of saying simultaneously we are above all this and justices don't think this way and this is not a political calculation, at the same time that i think certainly in my career this is the most overt flagging of the fact he needs to go now come as elie said, mitch mcconnell has made it plain that if the senate goes to republicans in 2022 mcconnell
already said he won't seat a biden nominee in 2024, possibly 2023. this is said irony on an institution i think he idealized beyond politics and at the same time it has come so clear that politics drove him outight now. nermeen: you interviewed him just last winter. did you anticipate his decision? >> i did. i mean, was very clear when i interviewed him and those who have interviewed him since tha he was certainly thinking about his retirement, but also it was clear to me that -- again come over the course of the last year , that he did not like the idea of being pushed out. and the more liberal groups tried to push him out, you may recallthe were people who interrupted the book club
telling him to leave, there was a truck driving around the supreme court telling him to leave this fall. so the more he got pressure, particularly from the left, the more he felt like he was going to make statement and stick it out because even though this had happened -- stayed on too long to affect who would replace her, he was not going to be a sacrifice. clearly, he did sacrifice himself. i think in a really deep way, this goes to a pattern we see even the term with the court, tanking poll numbers, lowest public approval. we havevert idols on the court over trivial things like wearing masks. i think more and more justice breyer and a profound since
beginning to give up on his dream of a bipartisan cooperative -- amy: it is an unbelievable number, 115 supreme court justices. of them, only seven were not white men. that is pretty amazing. seven, either african-american or women in all the court's history. elie mystal, i want to ask about what the approval process could look like. you have the car out of the filibuster. they do not need a super majority, just the majority. but harvard professor laurence tribe has said there is a precedent for saying that the vice president could not break the tie. having said that, someone like judge brown jackson was just approved, including three republicans -- lindsey graham,
lisa murkowski come as well as who's in collins. she apparently is one of the top choices that people are saying president biden is weighing, not approval just took place. can you talk about what you know this and maybe dahlia as well? >> i've seen a couple of right-wing people spreadi that around based on an interpretation from the federalist papers. that the vice president can break ties in the legislative sense but not an appointment sense. that theory is off-the-wall cky doodle and never tested. i would point out this, who is going to check her? o is going to tell her no? john roberts? under obama would've been like, send merrick garland's to the court and wait for john roberts
to kick him out and i was at the exact same thing to anybody who tries to pull this federalist aber -- papers dodge to stop biden from having a nominee. i do not think it will get that ntentious and i know this could come back to bite me all sound naïve if i'm wrong, but i think the biden nominee is going to get 52, 53 votes. collins, murkowski, and graham actually alread voted fory jackson brad in the past -- brown jackson in the past and another that was recently confirmed to the circuit. there is precedent on that. manchin and sinema have been pretty good about voting for biden judges. i don't expect a lot of pushback. i don't -- look, in part because
-- i will close with this. if we're talking about the front runners, talking about a brown jackson or cour, credentials are so capable. there is no hint of scandal. i don't think you're going to find out that brown jackson tried to rape anybody in high school. i don't think going to find out that bwn jacksonerjured herself in testimony. we have impeccable credentials. i just don't think there is another for republicans to really come at this person with that is going to make this nomination all that difficult even given our crazy politics even though i would look like an idiot three months from now. amy: even the former house speaker paul ryan is related to ketanji brown jackson. she is back to jackson, the twin brother of the husband of paul ryan's sister-in-law.
>> look, the republicans -- you never go wrong underestimating republicans, right? but i think this nominee will go through with more than 50 votes. d if it comes down to 50/50, i don't see a real constitutional way to stop her from getting on to the court with kamala hais breaking the tie. nermeen: elie mystal, in 2017, the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell changed the rules so this up in courtominee could be confirmed by just 51 votes. uld you talabout th significance of that? what was it before, why was changed? second, the fact that biden installed five african-american women on federal appeals courts and almost all recent supreme court nominees have been federal
appeals judges, could you talk abouthat -- both of these issues? >> the first is just we have seen because there was massive, massive obstruction to barack obama's nominee on feral's appeal -- federal appeals court, so harry reid took the position to get rid of the filuster for those nominees. that meant as soon as we have the obstruction thatlie talked about where the decision was taken that even though there was nearly a year left in his term, president obama's pick for antonin scalia a's vacancy was going to get neither hearing or even courtesy meetings from republicanenators. and once that obstruction happened, democrats filibuster the nominee. they just got rid of the filibuster. and that is the world we now live in. you can get a supreme court
justice seed with a fair minority of votes. that is what elie is describing is likely to happen. i think the thing that is really remarkable about the biden administration and gets not nearly enough attention is his salute zealous commitment, not just to getting judges under the federal bench, breaking numbers, doing it so quickly, and really this has been important -- again, i don't think we understand how important. he has been from day one committed to putting judges on the federal bench who are not just diverse, extraordinarily diverse. we have seen records shattered in terms of jurists who come from different racial, gender, lgbtq backgrounds. there is been a real push. it also urgently important to him to put out the kind of people who never got a look in prior administrations.
people who come from voting rights activism, people who come from labor organizing, people who come from public defenders and other backgrounds who never would have gotten traditional nod. itas been really important to him not just with record-breaking numbers of women of color and other groups that took off and get a look, but really important to put up people who are not typically prosecutors or those who clicked on the court. one of the things about ketanji brown jackson is she actually comes from a background of being a public defender. that is the kind of person we needed for years. it obviously affects the quality of justice is that come down from the federal bench. that isppppppppppppppppppppppppt
biden putting the perscsc -- he getting up at t e person fororrd today when he and brill bebebe totogether at t e white h h hou. anansc the legacy y j jtice breyer david rota sa3s breyer h ded with p pitioio takenenyy the e e c cmber of cocoerce, the majoty of timememein prtice that hahameant breyer cently votot to restri regegegatoror cto oppppe estate mining band. it meaea breyer but into shield mpana's f fm liability when they face allegatitis of huean rights abuses ababad. it mea brerer voted t t limit u@er debt p ptection"
it is alal p p phcice as well as fiercely anti-death penalty, elie m mtal breyer h h a c cplicated legaga, as alalst all the preme urt justices do. you have a solid liberal but a moderate version of that. and that moderation, i think we have said that centrist-leaning, i think we see it most often from him issues of corporate responsibility and general kind of laissez-faire attitude toward big business, which is problematic in certain ways but in other ways he has been the fiercest advocate against the death penalty i think on the court that we have had since marshall, since thurgood marshall. he has been a strong pro-choice advocate. he has been a strong environmental advocate. people are complicated. breyer has a comforted legacy.
look, would take nine stephen breyers over one gorsuch. you see the most firebreathing leftie? no. i don't think biden is going to replace m with the most firebreathing leftie i can think of, either. it wasn't the obama strategy, quite frankly. i don't anticipate biden's nominee being attacked from the left too much, but i don't anticipate biden's nominee being as left as you could go. amy: finally, your headline "supreme court versus the earth." we ia bad situation right now. unfettered 28, the supreme court will hear a major case where it will try to limithe epa's
ability to regulate carbon emissions, greenhouse gases from power plants. that is amazing to me because clean air is in the name of the law. but if you understand where conservatives are coming from, they have a generations long ideological crusade against the administrative state which includes things like the epa, which includes as we saw last month, osha, and that is why the conservatives were willing to overturn the osha vaccine or test mandate, that is why they will likely stop epa rulemaking before it even started, which is another kind of weird thing for them to do. because they are on an ideogical crusade. onthing people have to understand is if you let conservatives control the supreme court for the next 30 years, that is the next 30 years when we get zero meangful climate legislation because the conservative supreme court will simply not allow it will stop so
if you care about climate, care about the planet, better start caring about the supreme court because if you don't control the supreme court, you will get nothing on climate. amy: eli mystal, the nation's justice correspondent. his forthcoming book is "allow me to retort: a black guy's guide to the constitution." dahlia lithwick, slate.com senior editor and senior legal correspondent. we will link to your piece as well "the deep irony of stephen , breyer's bare-knuckled exit from the supreme court." next up, we talked to a top cuban scientist about how cuba has developed its own coven vaccine despite a 60-year-old u.s. embargo. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. cu has also announced it will soon apply for approval by the world health organization fo one of its vaccines, abdala, which has been shown to be highly effective. this all comes as cuba prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of the u.s. embargo which has severely curtailed cuba's response to the pandemic, making it harder to import critical medical equipment and supplies. the embargo began on 7, 1962, by february president john f. kennedy and it has continued under 11 u.s. presidents since then. we are joined now by dr. mitchell valdés-sosa, the director of the cuban center for neuroscience. he has played a key role in cuba's response to the pandemic. welcome to democracy now! can you talk about how cuba has dealt with the pandemic? it's plans to give out hundreds of millions of vaccines? your reporting cuba this month
between seven-day averages of one to four jets daily? -- deaths daily? >> first, thank you for having me on the program. i enjoy your show very much. i watch it frequently in cuba, so thank you for this invitation. i think cuba has really faced the pandemic with trepidation. we were worried because we saw the news around the world of people dying in intensive care units being overloaded, new variants coming -- appearing and sweeping around world. i think the key to the cuban response is the close coordination and collaboration of all the actors, everyone involved. what happened is all the
research centers mobilized and started redirecting their work, for example, in the case of my center, a center for research on neuroscience, we study development disorders, alzheimer's disease. we decided to set that aside for a moment and start collaborating in preparing for the response of the pandemic. one of the things that happened is several senator scott together and we started -- several centers got together. it was difficult to get ventilators and even spare parts for ventilators that have been bought before the pandemic. some from europe. what is happening is the company supply somebody does something to cuba and it is bought off by a u.s. company.
this is a truman the difficult situation and many areas of medical attention. something that is interesting because it shows the two side of the relationships between the u.s. and cuba. one of the ventilators we started manufacturing is an open source that was put on the internet by m.i.t.. this is very generous. this happened all over the world. people started sharing solutions for the pandemic. i think that pandemic really brought out generosity in people, solidarity. that is a very interesting aspect. we took the design from m.i.t., adapted to cuban conditions, started building the ventilators. this is a good side of the coin. on the others, we could not by any of the parts in the u.s. and had to change part of the design and we had to go to sources far
away and sometimes at much higher prices. this is incredible that in a moment the whole world was mobilizing to face this tremendous menace that was killing people around the world, the u.s. administration did not lift any of the more than 400 sanctions that were slapped on cuba during the trump administration. plus, this decades long embargo. it did not budge an inch. i think we were successful -- if you look at the rates of people that died in cuba, a people that were infected at different moments, cuba has been very successful compared every country in this continent. i think we achieved this because there was a massive response of the population supporting all the measures the public health system started orienting.
and every resource and at the country was mobilized. to finish the story about our ventilators, we managed to manufacture 250 ventilators that were delivered to hospitals all over cuba. immediately, we started working on a second ventilator. the second design was also open sourced. they managed to collaborate. cubans that live in the u.k., they got the funds. they bought the parts, the components. scented to cuba. we got help from the european union and the world health organization, and we managed to start manufacturing another 250 ventilators. it was something done with collaboration from any research centers. people working very hard, working night, working weekends. i think we managed to help the
health system managed this very difficult situation, which became much tougher after the new variants came up. first delta and then omicron. i think that will interesting aspect of this work is how cuba in less than a year managed to develop three vaccines. the embargo is really crippling because you need to manufacture vaccines, production facilities, you need different fermenters if you're going to make it through genetic generic you need chemicals, you need all kinds of supplies. embargo is not only that we cannot buy in the u.s., there are two additional add-ons which make things difficult.
one is the european or japanese suppliers get scared off. we have negotiated with trying to buy materials from people in europe, and they say, well, we could sell but we would get into trouble with the u.s. we have big contracts in the u.s. that is one of the effects of the u.s. embargo. the second is that even though we sell products, cuban products abroad -- we sell products abroad but to buy raw materials to be able to manufacture subsidized and very low-cost medicines and products that are sold to the cuba population. and when we try to bring the fun ds to cuba, try to use them come all the bank operations are hampered by u.s. regulations. the embargo has a very strong effect, a very noxious the fact
of the development of anything. despite this, in one year, cuba managed to develop three vaccines and now there's a fourth vaccine on the way. the interesting thing is that the rollout of the vaccines was very, very effective and very easy. i say the cuban population, the cuban people have great trust in their health system. they don't see it as something that is separate from them. they collaborate with it. it is not a moneymaking machine. public health in cuba is free for everyone. yeah family doctors in every neighborhood. people trust their doctors. we are puzzled will we see the news abroad that there are people that distrust the vaccines, that people don't want to get vaccinated. in cuba, there is no vaccine mandate by people just line up and are really anxious and
enthusiastic to get vaccines. we have over 80% of all the population with full vaccination program, everybody has been vaccinated. and now we are rolling out a booster, additional booster vaccine. over 50% of the population has received a booster. in our center come in addition to redirecting our work to manufacture ventilators, we also set up a vaccination center. we gave over 6000 shots. the doctors and nurses that work volunteered and were working very hard. people would call and come with enthusiasm. i think the important thing is there has been years of working up trust in science. people feel the future of the country is really connected to science. they see the scientists that develop the vaccines as heroes.
even some of the most popular songwriters, musicians have written songs about the vaccines and the doctors. i think this is part of a really consistent message of all society. when you see on cuban tv anyone talking, it could be the president, it could be a minister, it could be a teacher, a sportsman, everybody is masked up. this has been a consistent message to all the population. and every day the ministry public health on television reports how many cases there are come if there are any deaths. this problem of giving the public informed and charging straight and really getting information has been very useful. i think we have been successful in controlling the pandemic come although it has been incredibly difficult and we have had to manage it in many ways, to work
around all of the effects of the virus. nermeen: doctor,espite the effectiveness of the vaccines that cuba has developed, they have not yet received approval from the world health ganization. could you explain why you think that is and what steps cuba is taking to ensure that approval comes? because cuba has also made commitments to donate vaccines or give vaccines to low income countries and who approval is important for that. >> the who approval is very important and cuba is in conversations with the who to obtain this approval, but it is not, let's say, a barrier because the regulatory body of every country has the right to decide which vaccines it uses.
the equivalent of the fda in different parts of the world are accepting the cuban vaccines, for example, in vietnam and venezuela and recently in mexico, they have approved using the cuban vaccine. cuba is working with the world health organization and finishing the new production plant -- the latest technology. transferring production of vaccines to this new facility so it will have all the possible ease of receiving an inspection by the world health organization and finally being approved. this does not impede -- it is not an absolute barrier because other countries can use the revelatory bodies and are doing so so countries are now receiving cuban vaccines.
we think at the beginning of this year we will have this approval, that this process will be finished. this new production was just finished. it is top-notch. it is the most advanced technologies for production of a biotech product. we are sure it is about to be successful in the inspections that are needed for approval by the world health organization. that does not limit the possibility of helping other countries. that is going on now at this moment. nermeen: doctor valdés-sosa, could you explain what plans cuba has for technology transfer to allow other countries to manufacture cuban vaccines? >> this is going on. cuba has now reached an agreement with the institute in iraq and they are now producing
the cuban vaccine. cuba is negotiating with other countries and is open to share its technology so it can be used wide. one of the concerns we had when the epidemic began is we knew that there would be a shortage of vaccines to reach everyone. it is absolutely clear if we do not vaccinate the whole world population, there's going to be the risk -- it is a must certain that new variants will rise and some will be able to circumvent and to get around the fences that previous vaccines have achieved. cuba is very open to this. we are part of the global south. we understand that medicines and vaccines are not a commodity, something to get rich with. it is something to save people's
lives. we are in favor of sharing technology and of working with people around the world. amy: dr. mitchell valdés-sosa, thank you for been with us, director of the cuban center for neuroscience. next up, we will talk to business reporter christopher leonard, author of "the lords of easy money." he says that that has broken the u.s. economy. back in 30 seconds. ♪♪ [music break]
in the first century of its existence, the fed expanded the pool of base money, what the economist cald the monetary base, e fed expanded that to about $900 billion. that is $1 trillion in printing money over a century. but then after the crash of 2008, between 2000 8-2014, the fed print 3.5 trahan dollars. that is three to have centuries worth of money printed in three short years. that money is not a neutral force. when the fed creates new dollars, it doesn't create them in a checking account of normal people. it creates new dollars specifically and by design it creates new dollars on wall street in the bank accounts of 24 select institutions. they are the folks you suspect, j.p. morgan, goldman sachs, wells fargo. that is ere the fed is creating these new dollars. so the fed's policy over the
last decades have stoked the world of wall street. it has pumped trillions of dollars into the banking system. thereby it has inflated these markets for stocks, for bonds. and that drives income inequality because just the tiny 1% at the top of our wealth ladder controls 40% of all the asset, whereas the bottom half of americans, those of us who earn a living by getting a payche rather than by owning assets, the bottom half of americans only own about 5% of all the assets. so the fed's policies have been reached the very rich while leaving the middle class behind. now find ourselves in this position that is quite dangerous moment in 2022 where we're seeing price inflation start to increase dramatically. so the fed is being forced to
tighten the money supply and try to back off the seamless programs it has created. the real risk here i think for everyone in america is that as the fed does this, as it pulls back on the stimulus and hikes rates, it is going to cause those asset markets to fall. to put that in common parlance, it is risking creating a financial market crash as the fed is forced to hike interest rates. to make, one of the key probms with this is that over the decade of these easy money policies, the middle class has really been left out. once again, it will be the middle class that is going to have to pay the bill if we see another financial market crash. nermeen: chris, could you respond to what we see everywhere in the media, namely that inflation rates now are almost at 7%, higher than they have been since the 1980's?
i mean, that level of inflation also impacts the vast majority of americans adversely. what other steps could be ken to reduce inflation? >> so it is just fascinating -- and one key thing i would really like to point out that i learned while reporting on this book is we should i think think about two kinds of inflation. there is inflation of prices, which is what we're talking about right now. that really sharp increase in their price of food, fuel, television sets, cars. that is price inflation. but then you have inflation of assets, which is what the fed has been pushing so hard for decades. that is a rise in the value of homes and stocks and corporate bonds. so we've actually had run away asset inflation for a decade, but we have not seen price inflation. we are starting to see it now.
as you point out, price inflation can just, frankly, be devastating for the middle class if wages do not keep up with the increase in prices -- which, unfortunately, is what we are seeing now. wages are creeping up a little bit but we are seeing this runaway in prices, which presents us with a terrible dilemma. to be blunt, the federal reserve is sponsor bowl for the price inflation -- responsible for the price inflation to a certain degree by pumping all this money into the economy. your question is, how cayou fight it and whacan you do? amy: have 30 seconds. >> unfortunately, one of the few ways to do it is to hike interest rates, which is going to create damage to our economy. many other important measures will take a lot of time such as improving the supply chain are cracking down on monopolies. we are going to see interest rates hike and it is going to be
a bumpy ride. amy: we clearly have to come back to this conversation. christopher leonard is a business reporter and the author of the new book called "the lords of easy money: how the federal reserve broke the american economy." that does it for our show. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
announcer: on this episode of "earth focus"... we visit oil-rich communities in california's san joaquin valley and along alaska's arctic slope, where residents are asking tough questions about the consequences of fossil fuel extraction. it's been the bedrock of their economic livelihoods for decades but is now fracturing communities and threatening the planet. [camera's shutter advancing]