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Loss of Freedom; Fossil Fuel Giants on Capitol Hill; Facebook Under Fire; Infrastructure Negotiations Continue; Interview with The Atlantic Contributing Writer Kim Ghattas; Interview with "The Washington Post Global Economic Correspondent David J. Lynch. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired October 28, 2021 - 13:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): After four decades of deception and delay, it is time for the fossil fuel industry to finally change its ways.

GOLODRYGA: As fossil fuel giants testify on Capitol Hill, I ask environmental journalist Mark Hertsgaard, is this a game-changing moment?


FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK PRODUCT MANAGER: The current system is biased towards bad actors.

GOLODRYGA: Facebook tries to chart a new course. But can it rehabilitate what critics call its toxic global influence?

And from Hong Kong to Afghanistan and beyond, Lebanese journalist Kim Ghattas tells us what the loss of freedom feels like.

Also ahead:

DAVID J. LYNCH, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The pandemic has been a stress test for our economy. It's been a stress test for the way we organize our supply


GOLODRYGA: "The Washington Post"'s David Lynch tells Hari Sreenivasan how demand is overwhelming U.S. supply chains.


GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, who will be back next week.

Well, it's crunch time for the climate. Today, U.S. President Joe Biden is heading to Rome for the G20, a pit stop on the way to the COP 26 summit in

Glasgow, where the world must hammer out a climate plan to avoid catastrophe.

Right now, the United Nations warns that the planet faces a 2.7-degree temperature rise if -- this century if further commitments are not made.

It's something they say would be devastating. Adding to the pressure for Biden, however, Democrats are at a pivotal moment in the passage of their

infrastructure bills worth trillions.

The president releasing his framework for the package and emphasizing how significant this legislation would be in the battle against climate change.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This framework also makes the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis ever, ever

happened, beyond any other advanced nation in the world, over a billion metric tons of emission reductions, at least 10 times bigger on climate

than any bill that has ever passed before, and enough to position us for a 50 to 52 percent emission reductions by the year 2030.


GOLODRYGA: Today, Biden told lawmakers that his own presidency is on the line. But talks do continue. So will this deal actually go through?

Joining me now is congressional reporter Lauren Fox.

Lauren, the president really needed this momentum as he heads overseas. And he stressed that the framework includes historic investments for this

country. What he didn't say, however, was whether he had the full backing of his own party, and that is significant. We are hearing ripples within

the party.


I mean, today, the House Progressive Caucus met privately after Biden came and spoke to the entire Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives.

And coming out of that meeting, the leader of the congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, told reporters that the plan is still to vote no

if a bipartisan infrastructure bill comes to the floor without an assurance that right behind it is going to be that Build Back Better plan or that

larger social safety net bill.

That's a problem for House leadership, and specifically a problem for the president as he goes abroad and really wanted to have something in hand to

tout. Now, does this start to evolve or change throughout the day?

Obviously, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is gifted at getting the votes that she needs. She is consistently able to find the votes on the floor of the

House of Representatives if she brings something to the floor. But it's a big if right now.

Despite the fact that House leadership has made it clear that it is their intention to bring this bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor, there

is no guarantee right now that it would have the votes to pass, in part because progressives say they need more assurances from those moderate

senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, that they would actually support the framework that the president laid out to them today.


And on that point, our own colleagues Annie Grayer and Daniella Diaz report that some of those progressives in the House, Cori Bush says she feels

bamboozled and that Senators Manchin and Sinema have not been -- quote -- "good-faith actors." Congresswoman Tlaib says hell no on a bipartisan

infrastructure vote today.


How significant are these biting words?

FOX: Well, we can do the math right here.

The House speaker can only afford to lose three Democratic votes if she brings that bipartisan bill to the floor. Right there, you have counted

three people who are saying that they would not vote yes on this piece of legislation if it came to the floor.

And the Congressional Progressive Caucus is dozens of members. So it's a huge problem right now for leadership. And it's a huge problem, really, for

the president, because, for a long time, the president has privately tried to get votes by cajoling, by entertaining folks over at the White House, by

trying to listen.

Today, he really made the hard sell: Look, I need my caucus with me.

And, clearly, even after that, it is not making a difference among the House Progressive Caucus, and it's a major problem.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, it is. There's a big difference, as you and I both know, in the language here between bamboozled is how Congresswoman Bush describes

it, and President Biden himself describing this as a compromise of sorts.

I know you will be covering this for us in the ensuing hours. Lauren, thank you so much for joining us.

And, as President Biden departs, the U.S. Congress is grilling the fossil fuel giants. The CEOs of Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron are testifying

virtually about whether they knew their products were fueling climate change.

Joining me now with more on the latest developments is journalist Mark Hertsgaard, the co-founder and executive director of the news consortium

Covering Climate Now. He's been on this beat for decades. And he's joining me now from San Francisco.

I think it's telling that you have been on this beat for decades. And, Mark, the question is, is this now a game-changer? You look at the

president trying to sell this bill now, his Build Back Better bill. And, yes, he saying that there have been cuts, and there have been cuts made

bringing it down to about $1.85 trillion.

The largest spending, however, does go towards $550 billion to fight climate change. And I'm wondering, from your perspective, as he goes in to

the COP 26 meeting, whether this will give him some of that momentum that he's been desperately searching for?


It depends actually what is in the bill that passes. There's been a lot of speculation in press reports about what is in, what is out, a lot of trial

balloons being floated by various different parts from the progressives to the centrist Democrats.

But I think we are in danger of losing sight of the real issue here is not just that there are certain Democrats who are uncomfortable with parts of

the president's climate legislation. It's that the Republican Party has for decades now been in lockstep unanimous opposition to doing anything about

climate change, except lying about it, just like the fossil fuel executives who are testifying today on Capitol Hill.

They have been saying for decades that climate change isn't real, that the science is a hoax, et cetera, et cetera. And those talking points on the

part of Republican politicians on Capitol Hill have been coming directly out of the playbook of Exxon, of Chevron, of BP, of Shell, all these

executives who today are finally being called to account for this record of deception that is a large part of the reason that the world now faces what

scientists call bluntly a climate emergency.

GOLODRYGA: And I know that you have been following these hearings.

And something that stood out to us was just a rather simple question, a direct question that came from Congresswoman Maloney when she asked the

representatives from the oil companies, does anyone on the panel disagree with the statement from the United States and the Defense Department that

climate change is an existential threat to our existence?

They responded with silence.

I mean, I have to say, maybe I'm naive. But I thought we were past this point that many had publicly at least acknowledged the role that fossil

fuels played in climate change.

HERTSGAARD: Yes, it's interesting to see how these executives are answering these questions. They are really earning their multi-multi-

million-dollar pay packets today, because they're in a difficult spot.

The documented record of their companies' lies is voluminous and detailed and devastating. We know going from internal records brought out, by the

way, by terrific investigative journalism back in 2015 by "The Los Angeles Times" and Inside Climate News and the Columbia Journalism School, went

back into the archives of Exxon and eventually the other companies.

Their own scientists were telling them back in the 1970s, early 1980s that climate change was not only real, but threatened -- quote -- "catastrophic

impacts" that -- quote -- "would affect a substantial portion of the Earth's population."

And what did the oil companies do with that knowledge that they had inside? Did they share it with the rest of us and try and figure out a way out of

this approaching problem? No, they did quite the opposite. They kept it to themselves. And, worse, they then lied to the public, to the press, to

policy-makers, saying that this is not real climate change, this is a hoax, et cetera, et cetera.


Well, today, these executives are being forced to accommodate -- or, rather, confront that record. And I think that's why they stayed very

silent when they're -- when Representative Maloney asked that question, because not only do they have their own documents on the record in the past

saying quite the opposite.

But, remember, all of these companies are now facing multibillion-dollar lawsuits from, for example, the state of New York, the state of

Massachusetts, the state of Minnesota, the city of Baltimore, dozens of other jurisdictions around the world.

So these CEOs are worried about what I say here in Congress, which by the way, they're under oath, if I lie here, I'm in trouble legally, and it

creates a problem for these other lawsuits that they're facing.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, I interviewed Keith Ellison from Minnesota, who was bringing that state's lawsuit, just a couple of weeks ago on this very


And I think it's important for us to take a step back and look at what led to these hearings today, because a lot of it was centered on leaked

statements from an Exxon lobbyist, who had subsequently been fired for how the industry and how the company had responded to and dealt with climate


Let's play that.


KEITH MCCOY, FORMER EXXONMOBIL LOBBYIST: Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we

join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that's true.

But there's nothing -- there's nothing illegal about that.


GOLODRYGA: So let's go from that to what we heard from Exxon CEO Darren Woods today. He flatly denied in his opening remarks that the company

resorts to climate denialism.

He said: "Exxon does not and never has spread disinformation regarding climate change. Its public statements about climate change are and have

been truthful, fact-based, transparent and consistent with the views of the broader mainstream scientific community at the time."

How do you square the two? And what do you make of that statement from the CEO?

HERTSGAARD: Look, from the time that these companies got busted by the investigative journalism of 2015 -- and I can say this from personal

experience -- Exxon's P.R. people have been insisting on the same line: We don't lie. We have never lied.

And to buttress that, they point to the fact that Exxon scientists did publish in the '70s and '80s in obscure scientific journals, they published

scientific papers, talking about the relationship of CO2 and global warming, et cetera, et cetera.

That is highly disingenuous, however, because, at the same time that they were publishing in those obscure journals that, what, maybe a couple

hundred scientists read, Exxon is running advertisements in "The New York Times," on all the big networks that talk about how global warming is


In fact, one of the things that they had, they thought, I'm sure, a very witty line, that you must be a Chicken Little if you think there's

something to -- something real about global warming. So it's just -- it's - - I'm, frankly, surprised that Mr. Woods said that today, because that is very, very close to an outright lie to say that Exxon's statements have

been in line with science.

That may be true for their scientific journal contributions. It is definitely not true for what they have been seeing out in the public realm,

where all the rest of us live, with advertising and so forth.

GOLODRYGA: But here's what else he said, which I believe many climate experts would unfortunately agree with.

He said that he acknowledged climate change and the need to reduce emissions, but we currently do not have the adequate alternative energy

sources. And you look at what even President Biden and his administration are doing at times when there is a deficit in oil supply throughout the

world and gas supply. We're seeing prices go up.

The administration itself has reached out to OPEC to pump more oil. We're seeing President Putin in Russia hold oil really hostage and from other

neighboring countries there and natural gas. So what do you say to that response? Because as much money as these companies are investing in

renewable energy and what have you and technology, it's just not there yet.

HERTSGAARD: I, quite frankly, just disagree with that.

First of all, these companies have not...

GOLODRYGA: On a large scale, you disagree with that?


HERTSGAARD: I disagree that Exxon or any of these oil companies are investing significant sums in alternative energy, renewable solar, wind, et


You would believe that if you follow their advertising, but if you look at their actual investment expenditures, it's less than 1 percent of their

total R&D budget. Their business plans call for increasing oil in the future, increasing oil production.

However, you are right that there is a short-term bottleneck in the energy markets around the world. And that is a problem. But to say that we do not

have the technologies to get to a climate-friendly future, that's simply not correct. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the

scientific report that came out this August, you will all remember, that was a big deal at the time, they made it clear we have almost all the

technologies we need to zero out emissions over time.

You can't do this overnight.


HERTSGAARD: But you have a plan over the next 10 years, which Biden's plan does, to bring those down.

We will never get there, though, if we continue to allow the oil companies, their business plans, which call for increasing production over time.

That's not going to work.

GOLODRYGA: Quick yes-or-no answer, Mark, is this their big tobacco company executive moment?

HERTSGAARD: Well, the hearings are happening right now, folks, live. You can watch them on YouTube. We won't know the answer until it's over. We

will see.

GOLODRYGA: Mark Hertsgaard, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

HERTSGAARD: My pleasure.

GOLODRYGA: Well, next to Facebook, whose CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, today is outlining a new vision for the embattled company.

But experts are warning that it hasn't done enough to address its past problems. Facebook is in hot water after a whistle-blower turned over

internal documents and testify that the platform is choosing profit at almost any cost.

Joining me now on this is Adam Conner, the vice president for technology policy at the Center For American Progress. He previously headed up

Facebook's privacy and public policy team.

Adam, welcome to the program.

I believe you left Facebook in 2014. Is that correct?


GOLODRYGA: But I know that you have been following all of the latest developments, which is why we want to talk to you about what's happening

and internally within the company.

It seems every single day there's a damning new leaked document and allegation. And I want to go to the larger picture, because this is what

even the whistle-blower Frances Haugen said drove her to speak out. And it was the dangers that Facebook poses not only to users in the United States,

but in -- particularly other countries around the world, countries like Ethiopia, countries like India.

That wasn't garnering as much attention perhaps as it should have been. But can you talk about the dangers that the current algorithm and the way the

business model is structured poses on these countries, as many of the users are fomented by a lot of divisions internally?

CONNER: Yes, that's a great question.

And I think one of the things that has gotten a little bit lost in the coverage of Frances Haugen's leaks and her testimony is how U.S.-centric a

lot of this coverage has been. But I think, as you're seeing as more documents are kind of coming out, more stories coming up, this is not just

a U.S. story. Facebook is a global company.

And the problems, in particular, that we see in the U.S. are often much greater outside of the United States and given far fewer resources. I think

there was one story that really highlighted that 90 percent of the effort spent on, for instance, fighting mis- and dis-information, particularly

around democracy and elections, is U.S.- and English-focused, and just ignoring vast swathes of the world.

And I think that one thing that we would hope to see, as these documents become released, is that journalists in other countries, governments are

able to really understand and examine and ask questions about how Facebook is impacting their country and their people.

I think Maria Ressa just won the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering and really brave work on the impact of Facebook on the democracy and people in

the Philippines. And I think it is really critical that we not just tell this story about the United States, but about how it's impacting the world.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, Frances Haugen said that: "I genuinely fear that a huge number of people are going to die in the next five to 10 years or 20 years

because of choices and underfunding."

One story that may be something that many Americans and viewers around the world recall was Facebook's role in Myanmar and the radicalization of the

violence, right, against the minority Rohingya population there.

And that even caused Mark Zuckerberg to issue a rare apology for Facebook's role in inciting all of that ethnic violence. Yet that was in 2018. And we

don't hear any apologies similar to that from Mark Zuckerberg.

And I'm curious, as somebody who worked with him and knew him, why that is.


CONNER: You know, I think that is a really interesting question.

I think one thing we see over and over again, and the documents that have been released is how little we know about this very large company, this

public company that's a publicly traded stock, and how much of this is the public face is presented to the press and to government, vs. where you see

substance matter employees really speaking up and leaving because what they see, in terms of the algorithm, in terms of some of the decisions that are

being made and the investments and choices that are being made, are not adequate to the scope and scale of the problem.

And I think that there are two ways to look at this. Facebook would have you believe that they are doing more than they have ever done. And that is

probably true. But is this really the best that can be doing to stop this problem?

And given what happened in Myanmar, given what happened on January 6, given what we know is already a very perilous threat, as we saw today, around

coronavirus misinformation and disinformation, it's hard to imagine that argument is going to carry.

And I think what we see here is just increasingly leadership at the company that seems to really be digging in and ignoring critics. And I think that

really matters. And I think it matters why Frances Haugen went to the SEC, because Mark Zuckerberg, due to the dual class stock structure, really just

has so kind of leadership and ownership and an inability to be pressured, because he controls the company.

GOLODRYGA: And what we also know thanks to testimony from Frances Haugen and other whistle-blowers is that there were alarm bells going off

internally within the company that employees were sounding the alarm and expressing concern about the fanning of violence and rhetoric in these

other countries.

And they reported as much, and yet nothing seemed to be done. And what I can't understand for the life of me, Adam, is how a company with a --

valued at nearly $1 trillion, I believe, and 72 percent of the users are outside of North America and Europe, how their response can be, we don't

have enough people who speak the languages in those countries, and we don't have enough resources to allocate to those countries.

How do you square the two, given that it's one of the largest companies in the world?

CONNER: I don't think you can square the two. And I think it's been clear for a long time that, when they say, when Facebook says, we have 40,000

people working on integrity, whatever that means in their definition, the question is not, is that more people than they had before?

The question is, is that anywhere close to adequate to solve the problem? And I think many people would agree that it's not. And I think one of the

things that we hope will come out in some of these documents is not how many people Facebook has working on these problems, but how many people did

they request to have working?

Are there requests for 100,000, 200,000 people, that leadership said, no, that's too much, that's too expensive, because I think that's really where

you're going to see the values really put into effect.

GOLODRYGA: And one thing we also don't know is something that the authors have "An Ugly Truth," the book that just came out about the company, is, we

didn't know what the denominator was, right?

They would throw out these huge numbers about the posts that they had been able to take down in these chat groups and sites. And yet we didn't know

how large that was and how to compare it to the actual total, because they never delivered the actual total.

I want to play for you sound from Mark Zuckerberg, because we heard from him as they reported their earnings just this week. And we should note they

recorded a 30 percent increase in revenue. But here -- for the third quarter. Here's what he said in addressing the latest allegations.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FACEBOOK: Good-faith criticism helps us get better. But my view is that what we're seeing is a coordinated effort

to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company.


GOLODRYGA: What do you make of that?

He didn't deny the documents. He didn't say that these allegations are just false. He said that they were painted in sort of a selective light. But

that's different from saying they're just wrong.

CONNER: You know, I think it has become increasingly clear over the last few years that any criticism, even good-faith criticism, has fallen on deaf


I think you can look at the stories, for instance, out of Myanmar, of the human rights activists and others who raised the alarm time and time again

and were ignored. And so I think it is clear that even good-faith criticism isn't something that is having a tremendous impact on Facebook leadership.

And I think you see that these employees, the ones who are speaking up internally, the ones who are trying to make change and are being ignored or

overruled or having to leave, this leak is really one of the last tools available to try and bring some attention and hopefully change here.

And so whether or not it impacts Facebook leadership is I think a different question now that these are documents are in public. It gives a road map

for governments to ask questions, for media company -- or for media entities and the news media to ask more questions.


And I think, really critically, it also gives us all a chance to demand transparency. Transparency is really the first step to being able to be

more informed in order to regulate, which is clear that is going to be needed.

GOLODRYGA: And none of that you have just listed suggested that it's time for a name change.

And, Adam, I don't know if you recall, but you and I go way back to 2008, when I was working at a different network.

CONNER: Very far.

GOLODRYGA: And it was -- Facebook was partnering with the network leading up to the 2008 elections. So, you know, as I did back then, just working

with you for those few weeks, how important that brand, that Facebook name was to Mark Zuckerberg and the company.

And it's just a bit bizarre that now, out of all times, instead of addressing some of the issues that you just raised, in particular,

transparency, he's focusing on a name change. What do you make of that? And is this just a way of avoiding the bigger issue at hand?

CONNER: Yes, Bianna, it is.

It has been a while. And I think you and I and others at the time had really powerful hopes for the ability of technology and democracy to

provide really strong benefits. And I think, unfortunately -- and I have great regrets -- that didn't always pan out as well as we would have seen.

And I think the answer at the end of the day is, you can't run away from these problems. Facebook wanted to be a two billion-plus platform, heading

towards three billion people on it. And that came with problems created by two or three billion people. And now they are having to deal with that.

And they don't necessarily want to. And so the answer is, maybe we can change the name and the focus will go away. But I think you and I both know

that's not going to really make a difference at the end of the day.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And as you and I both know, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what Mark Zuckerberg says, and he runs that company like a

country, for better or worse.

Adam, it is great to see you. We were just babies then. So don't think I was aging you.


GOLODRYGA: Thank you for joining us.

CONNER: Yes, I appreciate it. It's always good to see you.


CONNER: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now from the perils of misinformation to democracies on the retreat, something my next guest, the journalist Kim Ghattas, is seeing

the world over.

In her latest piece for "The Atlantic," she focuses on three places that once had real hope for democracy, only for them to be dashed, Hong Kong,

Afghanistan and Ghattas' home country of Lebanon.

She writes: "In these places, people feel betrayed by their leaders, the world, the West, by their own optimism, even as they watch stunned the

erasure of the life they thought possible after decades of progress and perfect and uneven progress, but progress nonetheless."

And Kim joins me now from Beirut.

Kim, this was a really difficult piece to read, because you could just sense your emotion and your disappointment and heartbreak at what was

happening in your own home, home country, home city. And the way that you related it to Hong Kong and Afghanistan brought a different global light to

what is happening in so many parts of this world.

Why was it important for you to write this piece now?

KIM GHATTAS, CONTRIBUTOR WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Thanks so much for having me, Bianna. It's great to be on the show.

You're absolutely right that was painful to write this piece. It was very emotional for me. But also I think it struck a chord with a lot of people

who read this piece from Beirut to Hong Kong.

I really feel that we're in a moment which transcends the problems that we're facing in Lebanon, which are quite tremendous. It transcends even the

situation in Afghanistan and the specificities of Hong Kong. This is really, I think, a story of a global unraveling of some of the liberal

values that people thought were only going to continue and progress forward when a new world order came into being in the 1990s.

And it has been painful to see how Lebanon has gone from surviving or overcoming a civil war, spending three decades rebuilding, only to have

this progress taken away from it for various reasons that we can get into.

And sitting in a room watching my own country implode, I was fascinated by the headlines coming out of Hong Kong. And it almost felt like I was

reading about my own country. And what I like about doing these stories that transcend borders is, as I said, that they strike a chord elsewhere.

I was contacted by a young Chinese who knows Lebanon, who knows Hong Kong, and who told me that reading the story really touched him, because he was

hoping, growing up in China, that his country's future would be Hong Kong, and his hopes have been dashed as well. And I found that incredibly


GOLODRYGA: And you're seeing in all three places people are fleeing.


And you list some stunning statistics in this piece, an estimated 40 percent of Lebanon's doctors, 30 percent of its nurses are gone. The

American University of Beirut has lost 15 percent of its faculty. Hong Kong has lost over 1 percent of its population.

We all saw thousands of Afghans desperately trying to flee the country it as the Taliban was trying to convince some to stay because we need, you

need, those countries need, obviously, its best educated and professionals to stay behind in order for the country to survive. What is the mindset

there in Beirut now as you are there right now and you list everyone else that appears to be fleeing?

GHATTAS: It is really the brain drain that we're seeing in these three places that is going to change the heart of these countries, these cities.

The heart of the society and I refer to some of the writings that others have done as well where they describe, you know, Lebanon, as we know it is

gone, Hong Kong, as we know it is gone. The progress that we had seen in Afghanistan has been erased. It's these departures that are really

difficult to stomach because it does tell you something about how difficult it is going to be to rebuild or to hold on to what is still here.

Lebanon's situation is different than what is happening in Hong Kong. Lebanon is going through an economic and financial collapse that was

brought about by intense corruption and also, the regional geopolitics, which, you know, Lebanon sits at the nexus of a very complicated

geopolitical game between Saudi Arabia, Iran and the U.S.

So, Lebanon has its own reasons why it's collapsing and why it's seeing the progress unraveling. And why it has gone from, in essence, having the

living standards of, let's say Southern Italy or Greece to being, you know, pushed into being something closer to Venezuela. And that's very different

from what Hong Kong is going through.

Hong Kong is not witnessing a financial or economic collapse, but it's seeing the erasure of freedoms. It's in the strangle hold of a form of

authoritarianism. So, although Lebanon, Hong Kong and Afghanistan are very different, I see that what is the common experience between the three is

the unraveling of liberal progressive values and the authoritarianism of different kind being imposed on these places. The authoritarianism in

Lebanon of corruption and regional politics. In Afghanistan, the authoritarianism of religion. And in Hong Kong, the authoritarianism of

communism and of China.

GOLODRYGA: And in terms of what's happening in Lebanon alone, I mean, you mentioned the civil war, the 15-year civil war, where over 100,000 people

were killed. I was surprised to read in your piece that some are saying present day situations for them is even worse at times than even during the

civil war. And garbage isn't being collected.

Obviously, there was a devastating blast in 2020 that hasn't been accounted for yet. We saw ensuing fighting just the last few weeks among rivals --

rival groups within the country there. I want to play sound from one man who said that he is just fed up with not even having the basics like



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's affecting me. My house is on the 11th floor. I can't go up or down. Sometimes I sleep in the car until

3:00 or 4:00 a.m. so there might be electricity. What can we do? Look at the life we're living, like garbage.


GOLODRYGA: How does the country move forward? I mean, just today the United States sanctioned three people in Lebanon. Two were businessmen, one

was a member of parliament.

GHATTAS: You know that sentence, Bianna, that you mentioned that people are saying, you know, this is worse than the civil war, that really stayed

with me because I really wondered how is that possible after everything we did go through during the civil war, and I lived through that. How could

that be worse? At least there's no (INAUDIBLE), no snipers.

But you know what is worse sometimes than living through war or living through chaos is living through progress and seeing the possibility and

having it yanked away from you. And I think that's the despair that people are feeling. That's the Sisyphean task that they feel they are faced with

to have to start all over again.

How do we move forward? I think that aside from the economic and financial issues, which are deep, the real problem in had many of these places is a

control of impunity. You mentioned the post blast which took place last year in Beirut, for which no one has been held accountable for. In fact,

those that -- the judge who was investing the post blast is trying to question are trying to counter sue, are trying to do everything to stop

this investigation from going forward.


This lack of accountability, this continued impunity in this region, in Lebanon and in the wider Middle East, but also to some extent in Hong Kong

and now, in Afghanistan, is what really goes to the core of people's efforts to build a better future. And that's what people are asking for.

Also, in Iraq, also in Sudan, it is accountability, it is rule of law and it is governance. But it's a tough fight.

GOLODRYGA: I was just struck by photos, I believe, I saw in "The New York Times" just during the recent -- most recent fighting in Lebanon. As you

mentioned, you described attributing it this judge who was ruling in this blast that has yet to hold anyone accountable for. And that led to the

rival factions leading up to the violence. There was a photo of police and military guarding school children who were just in sheer terror, crying as

they just were trying to leave a schoolyard with their backpacks, and it just shows you, you know, what so many around the world don't see on a

daily basis, that what looks like normal life, one minute you're in a school building, the next you're being shielding by the military and police

is what soi many there are now being coming witness to and living through every single day.

GHATTAS: And that's what's so hard for people is that those children have parents who is live through the civil war. And who thought it was over and

they could move forward and they could build a better future for their children. And that's why it's so heartbreaking.

Similarly, to Afghanistan, again, Afghanistan was in a very different situation than Lebanon. It had already -- it was -- you know, the progress

there is very different than the progress made in Lebanon over the last few decades. But it's that sense that overnight things can change and regress.

And it's this collapse around us that is so hard to deal with. Where do you get the hope to move forward?

But again, a lot of people are staying because they do believe in their countries. If you have the choice, you stay. No one is faulting those who

leave, of course. These are very personal choices. But some is people are staying and doing their best to find ways to move forward.

But again, on the issue of the port blast, the violence that we saw two weeks ago in Lebanon had to do with efforts to stop the investigation into

the port blast. Namely, by the group Hezbollah Shia militant group in Lebanon, which says it has nothing to do with the blast, but is doing

everything it can to stop the investigation. And it's this continued lack of accountability, as I said, and impunity that goes to the core of what

people are trying to fight for in these countries. And it's a reminder for us here and for everyone that democracy is fragile and it's fragile


GOLODRYGA: And it's a reminder that you end your piece with for President Biden directly as approached this democracy summit in December. You say, if

anyone leaves places that are in turmoil, who rebuilds them? It's a really chilling but important point to make.

Kim, it's a wonderful piece. Thank you so much for highlighting this. We really appreciate it.

Well, we turn now to the supply chain crisis crippling the U.S. Think overflowing ports, trucks queuing for miles, empty shelves and the rising

price of goods, all this as the holiday season inches closer.

David J. Lynch is a correspondent at "The Washington Post" and his new piece digs into the chaos unfolding in the shipping lanes and the economic


Here he is talking to Hari Sreenivasan about where it all within the wrong and if it's fair to lay the blame at Biden's feet.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks. David Lynch, thanks for joining us.

All right. Let's sort of go through the links in this chain, as you do in one of the stories you have written, and it's fascinating. I think most

people don't recognize how kind of perfectly timed everything has to be to get where we expect it to get. So, kind of begin -- kind of when somebody

makes a product, let's say it's overseas somewhere, where does the product go to first on that chain?

DAVID J. LYNCH; GLOBAL ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. Well, if you think about a factory in China or Vietnam, it comes out of the

factory gate on a truck and it heads off to the port. You know, it could be the Port of Yantian or Ningbo in China. And it's loaded in a shipping

container, the standard metal rectangular box that we're all familiar with and they really revolutionized global trade over the last several decades.

And it's loaded aboard, one of these massive container ships that can hold tens of thousands of these shipping containers. And then, the boat heads

off from Asia towards the West Coast in the United States.


SREENIVASAN: And in that process along, you've already started to chronicle significant pressure points in the system. Talk about, for

example, the containers. What does it cost now to get a container to haul your stuff, considering there's so many out there waiting outside of ports?

LYNCH: Yes. The cost and availability of containers has become a problem over the past year, year and a half. And the system has really sort of been

overwhelmed by both the pandemic and the changes in American consumption patterns that have resulted from that.

So, if you think of the supply chain, normally it flows like a river, it moves in a very fluid way. These products come out of Asia and they cross

the ocean, the boats sail right up to the dock, they are unloaded and then, the next link on the chain, the trucker picks it up and takes it off to

union site. But at the moment, none of that synchronized operation is working the way it should. And it's because it was optimized or set up for

the economy of early 2020, and we don't have that economy anymore.

We are buying -- all of us collectively are buying more physical products during this work from home era. We're all buying furniture and laptops and

lamps and computers and iPhone and we're spending less comparatively at restaurants and ballparks and concerts and airline tickets. And so, that

change in consumption patterns has really ramped up the demand on the pipeline, on the supply chain in a way that it simply can't handle.

And you see that in the cost of containers, in the cost of moving them across the ocean, which from Asia to the U.S. doubled between July in the

end of the year after having already doubled between January and July. So, for a lot of importers, this is really becoming a crisis because the cost -

- their freight costs, in some cases, exceed the value of what they are shipping.

SREENIVASAN: I also want to ask, how much has the expectation creep as consumers that we have built into this system, how much of that is that

contributing? Meaning, my interest in having something in my hand in two days is primarily a function of how Amazon has trained me that I can have

almost anything in two days.

What kind of a strain does that put on this whole system, because I wasn't used to having everything in two days by nature?

LYNCH: Right. Well -- and it is sort of a two-way process because not only do you want to have that product shipped directly to your front door, you

know, you don't want to go down to Macy's or L.L.Bean and buy your new shirt. You want the new shirt sent straight to your door. So, that means

when the shipping container, in the old days, the road used to go straight to that retailer. And then, it would be disassembled and put on the shelves

and you would have to g pick it up.

Now, before the container gets to the retailer, it has to be stopped at a separate facility and that box is broken up, instead of the box going to

L.L.Bean, it's now going to a hundred or maybe thousand different addresses. So, it complicates things on that end. And then, you also have

the expectations of a consumer that when the shirt arrives at your house and you pull it out and you try it on and say, gee, actually, these stripes

make me look fat or I don't like this color after all or the sleeves are too long, now, I want to send it back.

And so, that's put a lot more demand, again, coming from tens, hundreds, thousands of individual locations instead of the comparatively rare

occurrence of it coming from the retailer, right? Because you would have gone in, tried it on at Macy's or Nordstrom's of L.L.Beans and recognized

there in the store that it didn't fit and you would have left it and walked away and somebody else would have bought it. But now, you want to be able

to ship it back yourself, and so, that's put added strain on the system.

SREENIVASAN: You know, we had heard in the news that the president had asked for kind of 24/7 operations at the ports down in Southern California.

Is that helping? Did that work?

LYNCH: Well, it's important to be precise about what this means. Because the administration has billed this as 24/7 operations at the ports. And

that's not really what's happening. There's been a pilot program that's Port of Long Beach at one terminal. There are multiple terminals. Think of

it like airport terminals for passengers. There are terminals at the port for cargo.


And one of six, I think, terminals at Long Beach is operating 24/7, and that's four days a week. So, it's really 24/4. At the Port of Los Angeles,

which was the new announcement a couple weeks ago, the details of that still haven't been within released. So, it's not clear how many of those

terminals are operating 24/7.

So, put those details aside for a moment. Even when the terminals are running flat out or are open, let's say, around the clock, that doesn't

mean anything is happening at 3:00 a.m. If you're a truck driver, you know, and you show up at 3:00 a.m. even if we assume you can find the chassis

that you need to pick up the container, where are you going to take it at 3:00 in the morning? You know, the Walmart distribution site might not be

open. The Target site might not be open. And time is money for these truckers. So, they can't afford to pick up a container, even if it's easier

at 3:00 in the morning, and then go kill two or three hours somewhere else waiting to drop it off.

SREENIVASAN: You even chronicled the story of a trucker who has had so much idle time on his hands, that -- well, tell me a little bit about the

guy that you met.

LYNCH: Yes. A very nice guy, Alvaro Ramirez (ph). We met out in Joliet, Illinois. Veteran truck driver. And owner/operator of a big rig. And he

needs to make six or seven turns or round trips a day between customer warehouses and the local rail yard, which is a big facility run by Union

Pacific out there outside of Chicago. This is a critical hub in the whole freight chain.

But with the congestion being what it's been at the rail yards, which is, you know, another link in the chain, congested all the way back to Asia, he

was downed to one or two turns a day. So, he switched to driving the night shift to make it a little bit better, but he's still killing so much time

that he's watching Conan O'Brien comedy bits or listening to podcasts. And then, at one point it got so bad he started watching YouTube videos of how

to dance the salsa to improve his social life.

And he said he started knowing nothing about it. And by this point he's quite accomplished salsa dancer because he's been wasting so much time in


SREENIVASAN: In your reporting, did you find that labor or shortage of labor had any part to do with this?

LYNCH: Yes, you hear that a lot, particularly in the trucking business, which is a situation, I think, that predated the pandemic concerns over

adequate numbers of truckers. But it's really come into focus in this period. And, you know, the trucking companies will tell you, they're just

have difficulty attracting the next generation of truckers, that there's a lot of guys my age or maybe in their 50s who are out there and are used to

the lifestyle and have made a good living at it over the years, but the younger cohort, the 20-25-year-olds, they are not as interested in this

type of work.

And particularly, their time on the labor market is red hot. And there are plenty of opportunities for somebody, you know, to work in other fields if

they are inclined to. And for a lot of folks, they are thinking particularly when you think about Mr. Ramirez, you know, wasting all that

time in line and seeing his wages suffer, you know, that doesn't help attract people.

SREENIVASAN: You know, it seems the pandemic has kind of, in so many different aspects of our life, revealed flaws that we have sort of papered

over. I mean, besides the pandemic, were there other forces that were contributing to all of the stresses that were in the system and are we just

kind of seeing this now?

LYNCH: Yes. I think that's the right way to think about this. The pandemic has been the stress test for our economy. It's been a stress test for the

way we organize our supply chain cans. And it has illuminated some weaknesses and some weaknesses that are particularly glaring when measured

against the experience of the best ports outside the U.S., places like Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Singapore in the fast east.

And, you know, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, has been quite vocal about this and has made the point that over

the past decade or so, the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports of the United States have gotten a lion share of the investment, leaving the West Coast

with comparatively less.


There are specific projects that could have been done in the past that would have helped during a time like this, even recognizing how unusual or

how historic this moment is.

SREENIVASAN: When you look at the supply chain, it's so massive and it has so many moving parts. I guess, one of my questions is, who is ultimately

responsible? I mean, is it commerce secretary because it includes ships and -- the transportation secretary because it includes infrastructure? I mean,

whose lap does this fall on?

LYNCH: Yes. That's a really good question. One of the things that I was struck by just in the reporting that we have done over the past couple

months is, you know, for all our talk of the supply chain, and I do it all the time, we're doing it today, there's no supply chain. The supply chain

is a collection of lots of different supply chains. It's a very fragmented system in some ways in terms of a responsibility you're asking about. There

are numerous players, numerous links in that chain that tend to operate as if they are all by themselves.

And so, one of the lessons that I think that folks are drawing from this experience is that the individual players, the cargo carriers, the shipping

lines, the terminal operators, the port executives, the truckers, the warehouses, the retailers, the railroads, everybody who has got a piece of

this action, so to speak, they need to do a much better job at sharing information, at being on the same software applications, at planning

operations together, that's something that a lot of the professionals in the logistics world say really does need to be improved.

SREENIVASAN: You know, ultimately, we have a tendency to say, OK, the buck stops with the president. Is there anything that the president can do here?

LYNCH: Well, that -- you know, that's a really good question and it's a question that's preoccupying the White House right now because, you know,

the reality is going back to some of what we discussed about the siloed nature of these individual components in the supply chain, they are all

private sector actors. And the president or, you know, the secretary of transportation or commerce, they can't order the cargo carriers to do

anything. They can't order the terminal operators to stay open.

So, there are things that the administration, I think, can do around the margins and they have done that thus far. John Porcari who is the ports

envoy that the president named a couple months ago, a very well-regarded guy in the industry, a long-time Maryland transportation official and has a

lot of expertise here, you know, he's been using the convening power of the federal government to bring everybody together on these massive Zoom calls

and has set up a number of working groups to try and identify solutions at the margin.

I think it's important, you know, politically that the administration be seen to be responding to these concerns. But, you know, the reality is that

there isn't a heck of a lot they can do or the president can do that will have a dramatic short-term impact.

SREENIVASAN: What are we likely to see as consumers heading into the holiday season? Because we know that retailers depend on the sales between

Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years to make up the bulk of their revenue. If there's such a glut in the supply chain, what can we expect?

LYNCH: Yes, I think this is a critical time period for retailers over the next eight weeks or so. And I think -- you know, I wouldn't want people to

panic or to think that, you know, our store shelves are going to look like Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall or something. This is not

that apocalyptic predicament.

I think, you know, at the margin, we might have trouble finding specific goods that you want and specific sizes or colors or the hot new toy or the

hot new electronic instead of just being able to get it, you know, at the drop of a hat, you might have to make repeat visits to the store or keep

refreshing your browser time after time. And, you know, it's quite possible you might not be able to find 100 percent of what you want. So, I would

have a plan b for your list for Santa.

But I do think it's important to keep things in context because despite all the manifest, breakdowns and dysfunctions that we're seeing and they are

important, and in some cases, they are severe, at the end of the day, a record amount of cargo is moving through the system. It's just not moving

as fluidly or as quickly as we might like.


SREENIVASAN: David Lynch of "The Washington Post," thank you for joining us.

LYNCH: Anytime.


GOLODRYGA: And finally, tonight, we have been talking about the global struggle for democracy. Well, in Japan, these t-shirts are part of that

fight. They are designed to encourage young people to vote in Sunday's general election. In recent years, only about a third of the youth vote has

turned out. But activist, Momoko Nojo, is hoping her bright No Youth No Japan clothing can change that and foster a new movement in the country.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York. We'll see you tomorrow.