Weakly vaccinated regions of U.S. see new jump in Covid cases
The show weeknights at nine eastern on. Msnbc the letter is dated. Today went out today. Went out under the letter. The oversight committee in the house of representatives and it addressed to the ceo of a cyber ninjas man named doug logan the oversight committee in congress has now sent this letter they send it to a rented mailbox at a ups store in sarasota florida. Because that's the company's official address you make do with what you have got to send it somewhere. It starts quote dear mr logan. We are writing to request information about safer. Ninjas participation in a quote audit. They've put the word audit in quotes an audit of nearly two point. One million ballots cast in arizona in the twenty twenty election. We are concerned about your company's role in this highly unusual effort given cybernetic apparent lack of experience in conducting election related audits reports that the company engaged in sloppy an insecure audit practices that compromise the integrity of ballots and voting equipment and were questioned by the us justice department and evidence that you and other individuals funding the audit have sought to advance the big lie of debunked voter fraud allegations about the twenty twenty presidential election. Americans right to vote is protected by the constitution. It is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government. The committee seeks to determine whether the privately funded audit conducted by your company in arizona. Protects the right to vote or is instead an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories undermine confidence in america's elections and reverse the results of a free and fair election for partisan game. What you really mean the So-called audit in arizona in which the republicans in the state legislature hired this group cyber ninjas which appears to be just this guy doug To do some kind of operation on the ballots and voting machines from the largest county in arizona. It's live for months. Now at this intersection of clown show ridiculousness and actual consequential threat to american democracy. Because the whole thing is aimed at essentially undoing the presidential election result in use state and thereby undermining americans faith in the credibility and indeed the finality of our election results. But now based on this letter released by the oversight committee tonight sent to that ups store in florida. We know this fake audit is the subject of a new congressional investigation. The oversight committee wants to know about all the weird stuff that doug logan has been doing to the arizona ballots like shining ultraviolet light on them searching for bamboo content in the in the ballots because of some conspiracy theory that fake ballots had been flown in from asia and obviously asian ballots would be made from bamboo. Also they want to know about cyber ninja. Ceo doug logan and his own social media posts about the election about it being rigged against donald trump. how trump must have gotten two hundred thousand more votes in arizona than was officially reported and want to know about the report doug logan wrote about the voting machine. Company dominion alleging that its machines rigged the election. Four joe biden on behalf of dead hugo chavez in venezuela or maybe it was actually china. It's kinda hard to follow the letter from. The oversight committee concludes quote for all of these reasons the committee requests that cyber ninjas produced the following documents by july twenty eighth and then include this comprehensive list of documents and communications they want cyber ninjas funding sources. Its procedures for conducting this. Whatever it is they're doing and arizona Documents and communications about the various conspiracy theories fueling their work like they put it in their bamboo laced. Ballots smuggled in from asian countries watermarks placed on the ballot that are visible with uv. Lights yet need documentation about the bamboo. Jimmy documentation about why your magic watermarks. Only work with uv. Light when everybody else's watermarks just work when you hold them up and of course part of the point of an investigation like this from the oversight committee in congress is just to gather evidence to investigate and report on what's going down in arizona. The american people can understand it. If there are laws being broken in arizona as the justice department hinted that in the letter they sent to the arizona. Senate republicans earlier this year. Well if the committee finds evidence that laws are being broken can make referrals to the justice department but of course another goal of a congressional investigation is to determine whether there is congressional action that needs to be taken. The committee ends. Its letter tonight with this quote. The committee is particularly concerned that your company's actions could undermine the integrity of federal elections and interfere with americans constitutional right to cast their ballot freely and to have their votes counted without partisan interference. The committee intends to study the need for legislative reforms to ensure the rightist protected before during and after election and that third parties. Do not interfere with this right. Tell me more of course when it comes to protecting voting rights and the integrity of elections before during and after the election there is already very substantive legislation pending in the congress. The question is not what the legislation should be your whether it's needed right now. Frankly the practical question is whether the democrats in the united states senate are going to get it together to pass their voting rights legislation or not republicans are not going to support democrats could do it alone if they can get it together to do so. President biden gave that full-throated double barrelled speech yesterday on the need to act to protect voting rights. The need for the senate to act to pass the for. The people act passed the john. Lewis voting rights advancement act. He didn't make any mention of the thing that is standing in the way of democrats passing those bills. Which is the senate filibuster rule which has been used by republicans to block park us on that and everything else even though they're not in the majority in the senate republicans have blocked the for the people like once already using the filibuster. They will keep doing it as long as they can. Unless the democrats in the senate all of them agreed to change the filibuster rules. So that you can't use the filibuster on voting rights anymore. They could make that sort of a change but until they do that. These voting rights bills are going nowhere. President biden did head up to capitol hill to meet with democratic senators today It's not clear whether biden's big speech or his meeting with democratic senators today Translated into any sort of active furtherance any further discussion with them today. About actually getting those bills passed according to at least one senator in the room. They didn't talk about the filibuster rules. Today's meeting what they did seem to be working on and in fact celebrating today. Is this latest move toward actually getting a bill done on the on the issue of infrastructure. You've seen lots of headlines about this late last night and today what does this mean in the grand scheme of things. How close is this latest apparent breakthrough to there being a real piece of legislation. That actually gets passed. That ultimately ended up changing americans lives right that remains to be seen. There've been a lot of what felt like breakthrough moments on infrastructure. We're definitely still not there. But the democrats have basically agreed on now Sort of a working bill that they agree or agree on amongst themselves and if they agree on it amongst themselves to the extent that that agreement encompasses all fifty democratic us senators. They may be able to pass that on their own without republican votes at all so i mean potentially this could be it. But there's still many hurdles and water features left in this particular steeplechase and of course that's separate and in a separate from and in addition to the bipartisan infrastructure. Bill much smaller bill. That's still being endlessly negotiated between son republican senators and some democratic senators in the senate. We have yet to see if anything actually comes of those negotiations. I'm not holding my breath but the democrats only bill. They can use a budget technique to pass that with zero republican votes in the senate as long as all fifty democratic senators can hang together and they do have at least a framework agreement to do that to the tune of three point five trillion dollars. Progressives are pretty excited today about the top lines of of this proposed bill the deal that democratic leadership announced late last night includes big changes big policy advancements that would have a big material impact on millions of americans lives things like a what's called a clean energy standard that requires utilities to sharply increase. The proportion of energy they generate that comes from things like solar and wind. It would expand medicare so that medicare would start to cover dental and vision and hearing which would be huge for the tens of millions of americans on medicare it would get health insurance to an additional two million americans by expanding medicaid even in republican states that refused to expand it themselves. It would fund universal pre k for all american kids and affordable childcare coast to coast. It would provide two years of free community college to anybody who wanted it big stuff that would have a big impact on lots of american families and at the very moment that this plan is coming together happening tomorrow is that millions of americans who have kids are about to start getting checks or direct deposits in their bank account from the federal government and this is part of the cova relief. Bill that democrats passed in march With zero republican votes zero republicans for this unified republican opposition. Democrats were able to do it without any republican support and it's now going to pay off literally four millions and millions of american families with children. These are direct payments. It's two hundred fifty dollars per month per child three hundred dollars per month per child if your kid is under the age of six and this is the first payments are due to start arriving in americans bank accounts tomorrow but then it will go on for month after month an estimated nine out of ten children in the us eligible for these payments experts. Think the program could cut child. Poverty in america in half in one fell swoop among seventy million kids in america. Nearly nine in ten will qualify for this monthly payment families who qualify have started receiving a letter explaining the payments. And how they worked. The letter is signed by president biden lest you forget who made these payments happen so those those payments go out tomorrow. All of this stuff is in motion. All at once with the senate and session stuff's going to move it sort of got to move now and so it's been very busy in washington also a very busy day at the white house today today. We got a big announcement from the white house that we have been waiting for for some time. It answers a lot of questions. It raises a lot of questions to president biden as you know has promised to pull all. Us troops out of afghanistan by next month. Almost all of them are gone already. You were also probably aware that. There is the further issue beyond us troops of us allies in afghanistan thousands of afghan citizens who worked as translators and interpreters for us forces during the war translators and interpreters who are still in afghanistan now and his lives are at grave risk. Because you forces leave. They of course are targets for the taliban specifically because they helped american forces. those translators are eligible to get special visas that would allow them to start new lives in the united states the country for which they sacrificed so much the country that promise to keep them safe if they provided that help and the country that now owes them the chance to start a new here because of what they did for our soldiers that said the us immigration system being what it is The process for getting all the way through the visa process can take a very very long time and even though the biden administration has sped it up since they have been in office still. It's time that those. Us allies don't have as the taliban takes over more and more and more of afghanistan. As the risk gets more and more grave and present in the past the us has successfully been able to help allies and refugees from previous wars by evacuating them out of their home countries and taking them to an interim location third location while they wait for approval to come to the united states. The territory of guam for instance has a long history of operating. Is that kind of temporary home for people. We need to evacuate for their own safety. The current governor of guam has said she is ready to open the doors there and do that same thing for these afghan translator she gave us impassioned impassioned remarks here on the show just the other night explaining how the people wom stand ready and it's the right thing to do for these people who helped our country we have been waiting for the white house and the military the administration more broadly to announce what the plan is to get these translators out because time is so short today we finally got a substantive announcement from the white house about that. This is from a senior white house. Official quote at president biden's direction. The united states is opera is a launching operation allies refuge to support relocation flights for interested and eligible afghan nationals and their families who supported the us on our partners in afghanistan and are in the to get special visas to come to the us slights out of afghanistan for those allies. Were already in. The pipeline will begin the last week of this month the last week of july for operational security. We won't have additional details on when flights depart but we will meet president biden's commitment to begin flights this month. The white house also announced the name of the person who is leading this effort of the state department. It's ambassador tracey jacobson. And she's a three-time chief of mission and tajijistan turkmenistan in kosovo. She's apparently leading an effort with a along with representatives from the defense department and the department of homeland security to get this done. So that's also something. There's a plan. There's an official operation to get these translators to safety there. Someone in charge of that plan. Who were allowed to know the name of and all of those details in the announcement and give us more information that we had before. But you know there's still a lot left out and as they say it's understandable that some of these details are left out on purpose for operational security but the basics. Still sort of loom as unanswered questions. Where are these translators going to go. Once they leave afghanistan earlier this month reuters reported. The administration was considering sending these translators to three central asian countries so nearby to afghanistan. They mentioned khazakstan as you. Stan was becca stan. The fact that the person leading this effort at the state department is a former chief of mission to zeke. Stane suggests that may in fact be the plan. Maybe a pentagon spokesman said today in a press conference that the us is also looking at that. The us has look looking at using locations abroad But when asked for clarification later by a reporter who asked specifically whether the us was considering any locations within the continental united states to bring the translators the pentagon spokesman kirby said this possibility of us military installations being used. is that be considered. I would say we're looking at all options bob. All options are being considered that would include the potential for for For short term use of space. Us installations but no final decisions. Made right now. All options are being considered bob so They may be headed to another country. They may be headed to military installations in the continental united states. Some combination of the to the question of us territories like for example guam. Still out there. In addition to the question of where they're going. There's the question of how get they're. The only flights out of afghanistan right now are out of the capital city of kabul but afghanistan is a big country and internal travel is not that easy. This is interesting today. The association of wartime allies which has worked very hard on this issue to the translators out. They put out a report that says nearly half of the us allies these afghan translators and interpreters. Nearly half of them who are still in afghanistan. Right now live in areas outside of kabul which raises the question of how they get to kabul to get on one of these. Flights could have to pass through taliban-controlled checkpoints in taliban-controlled areas in order to get there. Is there also a plan for getting those allies to safety. If that requires internal travel within afghanistan to get to these military or otherwise. Us airlift flights out of kabul. Is that going to happen. Are people who are not in kabul expected to get themselves. They're on their own. Also who's eligible for this half gang. Translators is this operation gonna try and save the statement from the white house. Today is careful to point out that this operation is focused on people who are already in the pipeline terms of being approved to come to the us for the past few weeks. The us embassy in afghanistan was closed altogether because of a covid outbreak. Which means they haven't been open for anyone in that country who wanted to apply for that visa. The us ambassador afghantistan just an ounce. This week they were reopening the embassy just this week specifically for. Us allies want to apply for the special visas to get out and come to. The us will people who were only able to start applying this week and in the coming days. Be part of this operation. Like i said. There's a lot of questions still to be answered and in terms of saving lives and doing what is our moral responsibility here. All the devils are in all of the details joining us. Now somebody who's been working on this issue and watching it very very closely. Major matt zeller the us army veteran. He's co founder of the group. No one left behind which advocates for bringing afghan interpreters safely to the us majors. Good to see you. Thank you for coming back on the show. Let me just ask you to update me. Let me ask you if. I missed anything if i've summarized what we know as of today as you understand it. I e e hit all the points Very very well. I would only add the following which is why didn't we do this before we withdrew our forces. We have made it so much harder on ourselves by trying to do it now at the eleventh hour four months ago we had all the assets in place to evacuate people in the areas that you're talking about last night i was interviewing a gentleman for our podcast wartime allies by the name of sharieff. We spoken with him in a previous episode. This gentleman has suffered everything his mom dad and siblings have all been murdered by the taliban at some point in the last decade is now down to him and his wife and his kids he'd fled from cancer. Heart akaba when he realized that he had left all his documents back in. Canada are now the reason why he pled was 'cause they taliban two weeks ago murdered his dad at his doorstep and they just ran out of the house so a couple of days ago he did the impossible. He flew back to canada art by bombing. A ride on an afghan military transport. Which is the only flights flying in the country. He gets into canada heart. He gets back to his house. he gets his documents. He's under friends motorcycle yesterday. Trying to drive to the airport and cantu are when the afghan military gets attacked by the taliban on the road that connects the airport to the city. The afghan military gets over. Want running killed the taliban then turn on him. He flees on motorbike. They shoot him off the motorbike he gets injured and he's calling me from a friend's house telling me that at this point his only option was to hide in disguise himself like woman hiding a burqa and hire taxi and attempt to drive from canada. Heart back to kabul. Which you know. There's got to be what thirty taliban checkpoints at this point between kindergarten. Kabul this guy had been in an interpreter for steal the seals for the army special forces at the most elite levels. He is absolutely a dead man if they catch him and he has already had his visa denied once in the past because somewhere in his file. It says that he has some derogatory information that he's never been allowed to see he can't contest and he has no means of being able to effectively deal gates so again this we have no idea. Is this guy going to be put on a plane. If he somehow mixed back to kabul. Why didn't we pull these people out at the time when we had the means to do it rachel. That's the thing that. I keep asking myself about this now that we are or the. Us government says that they are trying to do this as you say very late in the process with many fewer assets on the ground with the danger that much more heightened with the passage of time the way they talked about doing it today what they said about the structure by which they're trying to do it. How would you have them improve it. How would you Given that it's happening now. Even they say it should have happened before. What else would you have them do that. They didn't announce. Today i would first off tell people where exactly are folks going right. You know people. Why aren't they just bringing everybody to guam is beyond me i get. There's some turn that they don't want to have various people somehow ended up in the united states. We couldn't deport them. But you know the end of the vietnam war. We didn't screen anybody. We just put them on. Boats put one hundred and three thousand people on boats and we brought them to guam because it seems to be at least back then we had some type of moral content and character that were lacking now. We have all the same legal authorities to do that which we did then now but we don't seem to be wanting to exercise the other thing. I would be really concerned about is. How are we going to communicate this message to the afghans without inciting panic. You know the white house seems to keep saying that they don't wanna see something similar to saigon. Well how are you going to communicate that to afghans because right now all you've done is inside panicked that nobody knows where in the process they qualify you. You've raised it so well. If you just apply for visa this week you're going to get on a plane or is it at some point later right now. I had an individual. Who wrote me from helmand. I don't even know if this person is still alive at this point but couple of weeks ago. They wrote me and they said hey. I've i've been serving for an interpreter for twenty two months. Currently the qualification to get a visas twenty four months. The us army just left the base. I'm on what am i supposed to do now. I'm too much short. Does that person gets to get on a plane. Even though we know they won't qualify By the way that standard that time standard was written by stephen miller when he was one of the staffers. Jeff sessions before jeff sessions left to become trump's first ag. It was one of his parting gifts on the way out of the senate. He wrote it in two thousand fifteen in the deal that was made was that everyone had to agree to this larger time. Increase if if only if they agreed to that which he allowed for more visas to be passed that year. I would love to see the congress. Get rid of that standard. Maybe the us army veteran co founder of the group. No one left behind. Obviously this is evolving. And we're still getting more information out of the administration as we. Can i know that you as you say are not only following this closely. But you're in close touch with people who are directly affected. We're going to have you back in in coming days to keep talking about this as we learn more and as this starts to hit the ground. I can't thank you enough for covering the thank you so much. You're sitting by doing this while not at all or just talking about what people doing all right. We got much more ahead. Our world is facing some big challenges. Chuck todd breaks them down a deep dive into a new topic. Instead of covering all the big stories. We're going to cover one single subject. Impacting american politics exploring and explaining the critical issues that affect our future meet the press reports. All episodes of season two are now available on demand on peacock. Hey it's chris as we can my podcasts. Why is this happening. I'll be talking with palestinian american scholar and author and historian rashid khalidi on the state of palestinian politics. In this moment a two state solution is not going to happen. At least not until changes inside israel lesson until the status quo is a one state solution. That's the state of his. There's one population register israel controls. You cannot come in. you cannot go out you can register child. You cannot marry anywhere within that territory unless they approve. There's illusion of a palestinian authority. Which is a mirage in terms of real sovereignty jurisdiction authority it exists it. Perform some governmental services on sufferance by permission but its main job is to keep the palestinians down to provide security for israel as it continues to occupy colonist. That's this week on. Why is this happening searched for. Why is this happening wherever you're listening right now and subscribe. Here's the headline in the kansas city. Star tonight springfield facing overwhelmed. Hospitals asks missouri to fund alternative. Care site the county health director and springfield missouri today convened a press conference along with officials from the hospitals there to ask for immediate help. Two hundred thirty one patients are currently in the hospital being treated for covid. Nineteen which is the highest number. We have seen cox health and mercy are rejected to see additional hospitalizations in the coming weeks based on the rate of spread that along with the increase in severe illness in low vaccination rates will cause the need for beds to outpace hospital capacity in the coming days with that need in mind. We need help. Yes a we're trying to create panic but it is a serious situation that we have in southwest missouri. Worry i think we all have is the ability to take the stress off. A hospitals was that we had other hospitals in our state that had capacity. They're filling up people. Keep asking the question whether it's a crisis we deal in crisis everyday. That's a medium that we work in. We manage crisis. We work in crisis. This is particularly intense will manage it but we are at our capacity right now and We're adding staff and we're we'll get stronger and better. But i'm afraid this time of the curve were behind. I don't think will catch up and so the consequences could be more dire. And that's what support from the governor. This requested. the governor's office might help us. We've got be rapidly. It can't be it can't be weeks it's gotta be days. That is not footage from last year. That is tonight hospital on county. Health officials in springfield missouri tonight announcing hospitals in springfield. Full the tide of cove patients is still only increasing. They are asking the state to come in and open an alternate alternate care facility. Presumably some kind of emergency field hospital in springfield because the icu's are full. The ventilators or maxed out the staff is maxed out the beds. There are at capacity again. This is now. We've been watching over the last couple of weeks. As hospitals in southwest missouri have been sounding this alarm announcing that they were hitting new records opening new covert units. Making public appeals for respiratory therapists to come from other parts of the country to come help in springfield missouri. It's just a bad combination there right now. This aggressively contagious delta variance finding very fertile territory in missouri is largely unvaccinated population in southwest missouri. Nope county has more than thirty five percent of its population vaccinated. And if you widen the lens a little bit beyond just springfield the situation actually looks a little rougher just outside springfield missouri to the southeast is a small rural county howell county There's no good sized cities there. It's a real place very white very conservative. As far as i can tell that county made national news precisely. Once in the past fifteen years two thousand eight. When somebody put up a racist billboard of then presidential candidate barack obama wearing a turban that county not surprisingly very conservative rural southern missouri. In the ozarks down near the arkansas border. They've got particularly low rates of vaccination there and how county they don't have a lot of health infrastructure. It's just not that big a place and you get really sick. And how county missouri. What they do is they send you to springfield about an hour and a half two hours away but again in springfield right now. They're full and springfield. They're begging the state to set up some new pop up. Emergency hospital and please. They need it within days. They can't wait weeks that needs to happen now. And it's it's one thing to see that desperation in the city of springfield is their covert numbers. Go through the roof. So another thing to realize that all the less populated counties and communities the less resource counties and communities in that whole part of the state they were all counting on being able to send their folks to springfield when the virus started ripping through those largely unvaccinated communities as. Well what do you do. If you're in that situation. Few days ago viewer missouri santos a public plea that had just been posted on facebook by ozarks healthcare. How county begging people in the county to be vaccinated. We also showing understanding that people don't want to do it or at least that they're worried about being seen doing it at so in howard county missouri. the big-hearted quick thinking health authorities. There have come up with something. They are now offering discreet vaccine appointments. They're making it possible. Basically for people to get vaccinated in secret posted on facebook quote. We know excuse me we understand. Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. Choosing to get vaccinated has been put in a strange light for some getting a vaccine may mean losing friendships but it is a choice that can impact so many lives other than your own if you have questions about the vaccine any questions. We're here to answer them. If you need to schedule your vaccine we are here to help. And then get this. If you are afraid of walking into a public area where you might be seen getting your vaccine. We will work to accommodate even more of a private setting for you to receive your vaccine. Howell county missouri. That post was then shared by the local county health department. It is it is desperate in that part of the country right now and if it means people need secret private vaccine appointments to get vaccinated with nobody knowing. That's what they're doing. Local health authorities will do that for you but the widening the aperture on the story sort of gets you to each new story here right crisis in southwest missouri and springfield with hospitals now being overrun. They're at capacity with the numbers. Still spiking crisis in all of southern missouri as the virus runs rampant there and there's nowhere to ship patients in part because springfield has no room at the end. Why than the aperture a little further. This is the headline in the kansas city. Star yesterday vaccination rates in some kansas city area lower than in hard hit springfield so yes southwest missouri springfields in crisis coping with this rabid delta variant that infects unvaccinated people so easily but head up the highway to kansas city. Missouri triple the size of springfield in the city itself. The kansas city metro areas two point. One million people. They've vaccination rates in many parts of that metro area there even lower than what they've got in springfield which is the city that is already overrun and begging for help. And hey kansas city here comes delta with a bead on that rich densely-populated target of mostly unvaccinated people. And here we are with no mask rules. No social distancing requirements everything wide open. No mitigation measures in place at all. Here comes delta to a metro area with two million americans in it. That's the dynamic at work right now. That's why newspapers in missouri are so furious with the republican governor in missouri. Right now right. Who's not quite a covert denier but close. He's been busy blaming the hospitals and springfield for example for them being overwhelmed. Broader that though. It's also the challenge for the biden administration to try to move every community of every stripe toward every possible action that could increase vaccination rates and prevent the imminently preventable deaths of thousands. More americans you widen the lens on this and you start to see how this affects other places right chicago for example so worried about what's going on in southern missouri. That if you want to travel to chicago from missouri or arkansas you're unvaccinated the city of chicago nelson yesterday Quarantine for ten days or have a negative covid nineteen test again as a condition of your travel to chicago. We just keep keep widening the lens. Right if we've learned anything in this miserable pandemic viral dynamics do not care about human labels and borders unless you suppress the virus everywhere people or vulnerable anywhere. We recently stopped using geographic labels for different variants of the coronavirus but then delta variant that is wreaking such havoc right now it first emerged in india right with their raging wildfire of an outbreak and it may have been easy for americans to see what was going on in india as a sort of sad faraway foreign story but now that variant borne in india is the one that is ripping through the ozarks and southwest missouri. And it's not like west plains missouri. And how will county is a big hub for international travel from india. It's just that this is a global pandemic. it doesn't go away anywhere until it goes away everywhere and the only way it goes away by getting people the vaccine and as this thing rips through more unvaccinated populations it produces more and more deadly variants. That's then spread to every corner of the globe. If you widen the lens all the way out throw it all the way open. It is clear that it is not just the sort of poetic pie in the sky. Notion that humanity needs to all pull together at times like this it is self interest for every community and every country no matter how far away those other places might see or whether or not we are friends. It is self interest for every community and every country to suppress this thing everywhere. Which means vaccines everywhere. And here's the thing you widen the lens that far and that sort of new kind of despair takes hold doesn't it feels impossible. We can't even get missouri vaccinated. How are we supposed to get the rest of the world vaccinated too big a job. What do we know about doing that. Anyway i mean look at the headlines right now about africa for example they are just now. Nations are just now getting into their worst experience of the pandemic yet. They didn't have a terrible twenty twenty compared to us but their twenty twenty one terrible one point three billion people on the continent of africa. They are one percent vaccinated right now. That feels just too big a challenge. Right what can we do about that even if we can get over the hurdle of understanding that we need to do that. How how on earth what. We're gonna talk about here on the show tonight is that it turns out. There is a surprising. Good news can do answer to that. A huge largely unheralded american bi-partisan success that lurks in our very recent past that offers us the best understanding of what we can do next. It's here to help is next. Hey everybody it's savannah guthrie and and we've got some great news to share that. Today's show is now available. Wherever you get your podcast. Can you believe that right. Now you can get your daily dose of news and the headlines and the day's top interviews from us right here every single morning. We have what you need to start your day and it's available every day. Wherever you get your podcast not subscribe and follow today to start listening january. Twenty th two thousand three It was time for the state of the union address. Republican president george w bush was in office and he was about to launch the disastrous war in iraq That was the state of the union address. Where he said that made up thing about saddam hussein getting uranium from africa which was total horse hockey. But he said it. That's what that speech is remembered for. But this also happened to that same night that same speech today on the continent of africa. Nearly thirty million people have the aids virus including three million children under the age. Fifteen there whole countries in africa were more than one. Third of the adult population carries the infection. More than four million require immediate drug-treatment. Get across the continent. Only fifty thousand eight victims. Only fifty thousand are receiving the medicine. They need tonight. I propose the emergency plan for aids relief. A work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of africa. President george w bush state of the union. Two thousand and three. He's remembered for the iraq war. He set in motion in that same species remembered for a lot of really terrible things about his administration. But that other thing that he announced that is something different something that is worth learning about now and reminding ourselves about now given of course the new pandemic that we're in journalist. Emily bass has written about this in her new book to end a plague. She says this quote with a scant handful of sentences. Bush launched the largest disease specific foreign aid effort in the history of the country and the world and the years to come members of congress would call the president's plan the most effective foreign aid since the marshall plan the legendary post world war two effort to rebuild europe. The program known as far the president's emergency plan for aids relief would meet the goals that bush set in the state of the union ahead of schedule and then go on hitting or surpassing them across three presidencies. An eight different congresses. Far is america's most sustained and effective fight against the pandemic of the twenty first century into end to play bass chronicles in detail. How this plan came to be how activists forced the issue. How politicians of all different stripes decided. They wanted to make it work. How good public policy people figured out how to do it in a workable way. How science advanced enough that it could be leveraged into this mammoth and successful effort to save literally millions of lives to bring new hiv infection rates. Down in an astonishing in astonishing numbers in multiple countries. Thanks to america doing this incredibly unlikely thing getting it together to get expensive new drugs to the far reaches of the world which was very unlikely at the time but we did it and of course. It's exactly the unlikely and difficult thing we need to do. Now for the pandemic were in now. Emily bass writes resilient in the face of flatlined funding and political headwinds. How far is america's singular example of how to fight long-term plague and win. She writes quote. It's conceivable to think of pep foreing other problems to do. So though america has to see it as a national asset not a work of mercy but a source of self preservation in a world where pandemic anywhere threatens us. All joining us. Now is emily bass the author of this new very very helpful history which is called to end a plague. America's fight to defeat aids in africa full disclosure. Emily's also an old friend who i haven't seen in a gazillion near since we used to work on at least a little bit of stuff together. Emily congratulations on. This book is really nice to see you. It's really nice to see you to rachel. Thank you is it. Fair to look at america's sort of ambitions and the need to act on kovic vaccines through the lens of what america was able to do in pep far. Obviously they're different pandemics with different dynamics but is this sort of a map for how we can successfully what seems so impossible hundred percent a hundred percent. I mean there are many differences but there are also crucial similarities and one of them is. We've have with far with that clip. That you showed in the head scratcher moment of a man is about to plunge us into wars some of which are just ending now in the sense of withdrawal of us. Troops is a president who makes it a priority to put significant amounts of money towards a target driven pandemic response. So there's a target you know. Bush says two million people need to get on treatment. And i'm gonna fifteen billion dollars and we're going to do it in five years and of course it happens less time he does that. Because there's an activist movement that impels the prices to be dropped okay and that activist movement is at work right now. Thirteen people were arrested today blocking traffic in order to fight for access to covid vaccine. Some of those same people Low these many years ago. We're getting arrested. Because the trump the prices of the drugs were too high. The eight strokes were too high presidential leadership activist engagement ambitious targets a clear plan and lots of funding. We can do that. And we haven't yet done that for global. Kobe does the structure that was set up To put in motion but to keep it in motion for as you say three presidencies eight different congresses. The american public stopping paying attention to the problem for most of that is that structure. Something that the covid vaccine effort could be channeled through or is it a model that should be used to set up something parallel separates. So there's two things one is. The pet doesn't have a head right now. It sells and that covid pandemic has really set back. Hiv aids as well and pet is a flagship programme that needs ahead so pet for itself. The program that fights aids needs ahead does pep far take on the broader pandemic response. I don't think so but it is absolutely helping in these african countries which are undergoing such a disastrous murderous and preventable but pep proper provides the blueprint right for what we do need. Which is an empowered head. That can has a direct line to the president and that can coordinate the whole range of agencies that do work so this isn't a program or entity that wanna see sitting in usa id our agencies or cdc or the department of defence. You wanna see it. Someplace with empowered head directly able to get to the president with the power to coordinate all of these agencies. that's what pep did these agencies. Don't love working together right. They really don't so you also have a lot of money that brings everybody to the table and keeps them there. Emily bass journalists aids activists the author of to end a plague. America's fight to defeat aids in africa. Telling the history in detail of a as you say what ought to be seen as a national asset something we ought to be proud of and we ought to build on and we ought to celebrate a lot more than we do especially at a time. We need to be doing something quite like this again. Emily bassus great to see you. Congratulations thanks nice. To see you too. Thanks rachel right back. We've been talking tonight about what's going wrong on cove in some parts of the country and also some reasons to be hopeful about what our country can do to fight the pandemic. Here's some news today. That's more the former more on the what's going wrong side of things Florida's republican governor ron. Disentis is up for reelection next year. His reelection campaign just dropped what they're describing as exclusive new merchandise. It includes a t shirt that says. Don't vouch my florida or if you prefer a dog fetching my florida beer. Cousy which is hilarious. Yeah sure we can all agree Here's the thing though. The governor of florida is now selling both of these items and his campaign store while his state is currently experiencing nearly four times. The national average of new coronavirus cases florida currently ranked second in the whole country. In new daily cases. Their death rate is double the national average. They ranked fourth nationally in covert hospitalizations. But hey at least your beer will stay cold while you insult the very idea of infectious disease expertise. That'll show him watch this state. Watch the state that is going to do it for us tonight. 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