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U.S. to Help Finance South Africa's Transition from Coal; Mayoral Campaigns Stress Law and Order in Setback to Activists; Political Discourse Hits Toxic Levels in America. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 07:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Look, it is a loss. I think it's even sadder that it is a self-inflicted one.

Jim McCarthy, really appreciate you coming on to talk about this. Thank you.

MCCARTHY: Not self-inflicted. The mayor imposed it upon us.

KEILAR: It's a decision by your union members, and that is very clear. Jim, thank you.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.

KEILAR: As crime rises, crime is rising in American cities, mayoral candidates are adopting a law-and-order message, which may be setting activist movements back.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, why your Thanksgiving meal is going to be more expensive than ever, and why you maybe want to think about buying it now. I imagine, refrigerating it?

KEILAR: I know, right?

BERMAN: Put it in the fridge.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer live here in Scotland, where President Biden is currently attending the Global Climate Summit to deal with the urgent, urgent crisis.


And just in, the United States, the United Kingdom, and European Union have all agreed to pay for South Africa's gradual transition away from coal. South Africa relies heavily on coal for its power and its economy, but it has come at an enormous cost to the climate. Per capita, the country is one of the worst polluters on earth. The deal announced today is aimed to change that, and it's a pioneering example of wealthier nations helping others break away from fossil fuels.

Let's discuss with our chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, who's joining us right now.

So tell us what the latest is, Bill. Tell us about this major announcement.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, well, the president yesterday not only apologized for the United States stepping away from the Paris accord under the Trump administration, he vowed to quadruple the commitment to poorer nations develop. And this is a really interesting specific case of South Africa, really a poster child for sort of environmental injustice. Systems built during apartheid now, as you mentioned, so reliant on the dirtiest of fuels. This will cost many billions of dollars, split between the E.U. and the U.K.

BLITZER: And there's more big news on the climate front today. The Environmental Protection Agency back home is planning to propose a new rule, Bill, targeting methane gas leaks. Tell us how significant this development is.

WEIR: Well, this is huge because if you think of carbon dioxide as a blanket of average thickness sort of around the planet, keeping the heat in, methane is a blanket that is as thick as an NBA player is tall. It's 80 times more potent in the short term. It's easier to control. I think we have video. You can't see it or smell it unless you use a special infrared camera. And the amount of methane that is leaking just from like the Permian Basin in Texas is enough to heat seven million homes for a year.

So this new regulation would require oil companies to detect and capture, which is actually a good business model because it's just wasted fuel. But that would go a long way. It's as much sort of heat- trapping pollution as all the cars in the United States in 2019. They think they can cut 41 million tons of methane. And you can't fix the entire climate crisis until you tackle this methane problem, which is better known as natural gas.

BLITZER: Yes. They're making some incremental progress here in Scotland. There's no doubt about that. But there's a long, long way to go.

Bill Weir, thank you very much, thanks for all your excellent reporting.

I'll be back with Kaitlan Collins in just a little while to discuss the fallout of the Biden domestic agenda while he's here overseas.

Brianna, the fallout has been significant as you know, especially the announcement yesterday from Senator Joe Manchin.

KEILAR: Yes, it certainly has been, Wolf. We look forward to that throughout the show. Thank you so much.

Dramatic surveillance video capturing the moment that a man hurled a Molotov cocktail into a Brooklyn deli, setting it on fire. This is video from inside the deli that shows Molotov cocktail, sending this wall of fire through the shop. One employee seen there running through the flames, while another person hopping there from the counter to break free. The workers say that the disgruntled man was following through on a threat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was threatening, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to burn this store, I'm going to burn the building down." It was so fast, you wouldn't believe it. I was there working in the deli. I had customers. Out of nowhere, we just heard the glass and fire in my face.


KEILAR: The video taken from outside shows the moment that this attacker lit the Molotov cocktail and threw it inside. It also shows a suspect light a second one to throw inside but a Good Samaritan knocked it out of his hands.

BERMAN: So across the country, mayoral candidates who once championed significant reductions to police department budgets are now pledging to restore law and order.

CNN's Athena Jones with the story.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last spring --

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

JONES: Demonstrators took to the streets nationwide, demanding law enforcement everywhere be held accountable for unequal treatment of minorities.


JONES: Some calling to defund the police, a slogan many Democrats worried painted the party as weak on crime. A year later, concerns about rising crime are driving a significant shift in attitudes nationwide about police funding. 47 percent of people in a recent Pew poll now saying it should be increased. Up from 31 percent in June of 2020. Crime and policing have dominated races from Buffalo to Atlanta.

FORMER MAYOR KASIM REED (D), ATLANTA MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I believe that we need to hire 500 to 750 additional officers.


ANTONIO BROWN, ATLANTA MAYORAL CANDIDATE: If we're going to address crime in this city, it's not going to be based on how many officers we put on the streets of Atlanta. JONES: Reformers sometimes on the defensive. In Cleveland, where 12-

year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police in 2014 while playing with a toy gun, voters now set to decide on a ballot measure dubbed Issue 24 that would establish a civilian commission with final authority over much of the police department's policies and procedures. Mayoral candidates at odds over the issue.

KEVIN KELLEY, CLEVELAND MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Issue 24 would result in hundreds of officers leaving the job.

JUSTIN BIBB, CLEVELAND MAYORAL CANDIDATE: When you have more community voices around the table, you get better accountability. We have to try something new. The current system is broken.

JONES: Meanwhile, in New York City --

ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYORAL CANDIDATE, NEW YORK CITY: For 22 years, I was the voice of reform in policing.

JONES: Democrat Eric Adams, a former police officer, has made ensuring public safety central to his campaign, while also arguing for reform.

ADAMS: We must have a police department that we trust and that would -- is going to do its job of keeping the people of this city safe.

JONES: Activists caution the reform movement has always been about much more than police department budgets.

JUSTIN HANSFORD, LAW PROFESSOR, HOWARD UNIVERSITY: Police reform is about technology. Police reform is about accountability. Police reform is about transparency. Police reform is about changing the system using all these different techniques, not just one technique. What racial justice advocates and Black Lives Matter advocates are calling for is law and order.

JONES: And while federal policing reform efforts have stalled, cities like Philadelphia are forging ahead with local ones. The city council last month approving a ban on police stops for low-level traffic violations. A move aimed at reducing racial disparities in a city where blacks are stopped at much higher rates than whites.

Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Athena for that report.

Joining me now is Jemar Tisby, the author of "How to Fight Racism" and the founder of The Witness, a Black Christian Collective.

Dr. Tisby, thank you so much for being with us this morning. What are we seeing here do you think in this mayoral races? Is this the pendulum swinging?

DR. JEMAR TISBY, PHD, AUTHOR, "HOW TO FIGHT RACISM": I think we're seeing a couple of things. First of all, we have folks who are reading the headlines about a spike in crime rates but, unfortunately, they don't dig much deeper than those headlines. While it is true enough there has been an increase year-over-year in crime rates, they're nowhere near the highs that we've seen in the recent past. And so overall, crime is still down.

We also need to account for the fact that we're living still in a pandemic, and especially in 2020. You had a lot of desperate people who were turning to crime and breaking the law because they thought that was the only way for them to survive. But I think on a deeper level, when it comes to the chance for potentially transformative change, people get nervous. They don't know what to expect.

And with policing, even with all its problems, folks think, well, at least it's familiar. I know what I'm getting. And when we're talking about deep systemic changes that policing requires, that's harder for people to imagine. It's much easier to say, "law and order" and "spend more money on police departments" than it is to consider, well, how do we address poverty? What do we do about underfunded public education?

How can we invest in preventive measures so people have the care they need? And so we need to continually encourage people to move beyond this narrow paradigm of policing that we've inherited and help them reimagine public safety all together.

And lastly, I'll tell you this, when it comes to electoral politics, the political calculus may have changed for some politicians. But you know what hasn't changed? Tamir Rice is still dead. Breonna Taylor is still dead. George Floyd is still dead. Human beings whose lives we know through hashtags.

And so whatever we do about policing in this country, we have to always keep sight of the fact that real people are being harmed. Real people are being killed, and it cannot continue. We cannot shrink back from meaningful reforms for the sake of political expediency.

BERMAN: Certainly a lot at stake. No question about that.

And Dr. Tisby, you and I are both fans of the new limited series "Colin in Black and White," which is about Colin Kaepernick, largely in his words in ways we haven't heard from him in a long time. He says something in here which is interesting, where he compares the NFL draft, more or less, to the slave market. Listen to this.


COLIN KAEPERNICK, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Let me tell you something. What they don't want you to understand is what's being established is a power dynamic. Before they put you on the field, teams poke, prod, and examine you, searching for any defect that might affect your performance.


No boundary respected. No dignity left intact.


BERMAN: So how apt do you feel is that comparison?

TISBY: Well, obviously, it's not a one-to-one comparison. You have NFL players who are voluntarily participating and playing. You have, in some cases, folks getting paid millions of dollars. And a lot of these players have dreamed about becoming pro since they were kids. But there are some similarities. It's about the commodification of black bodies and the use of black bodies for a profit.

You're looking at black athletes being evaluated based on their physical attributes and their ability to perform labor for profit and that's gripping and troubling imagery but it's intended to show, I think, the historical continuity of racial capitalism. And so, in some ways, it is like the auction block, where black humanity is just reduced to the labor that a black body could perform. This imagery is meant to demonstrate that even with more than a century and a half since abolition of race-based child slavery, we're still dealing with the commodification of black bodies and black labor.

And of course in the case of Colin Kaepernick, we can clearly see that when a black person is perceived to be a liability to the bottom line, well, they can be discarded, just like an object or a piece of property.

BERMAN: I will say, you don't have to agree with Colin Kaepernick on this or other things, but he does create discussions and make people think, which I think is a big part of what he is doing, to be sure.

Jemar Tisby, thanks so much for being with us.

TISBY: Thank you.

BERMAN: Huma Abedin speaking out on the e-mail scandal that rocked the last days of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president.

KEILAR: Plus, why potential jurors in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial are not showing up, as race becomes a central issue in the death of the black man killed while jogging.



BERMAN: I think it's safe to say that the political discourse in the United States right now is not kind. Right?

KEILAR: Not kind.

BERMAN: There is a lack of kindness.

KEILAR: The opposite of kindness.

BERMAN: There is a rise in toxicity. It's just there and the question is what do you do about it? What do you about it as a person? How can you live your life when there is so much rage flying around everyone?

We're lucky to have a friend who has written a book on just this subject, Kirsten Powers, CNN senior political analyst and "USA Today" columnist. She is author of the new book that is out today called "Saving Grace: Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered and Learn to Co-Exist with People Who Drive You Nuts."

I've been waiting for this because I remember talking to you about it two years ago.


BERMAN: And I was just excited to get my hands on it this weekend and read through it because I feel like we all need some help here on how to navigate this.

POWERS: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: And you say the answer is grace.

POWERS: I do. And I say it as a person who has been where everybody else has been where I hit the -- and also I just hit that wall and it said, this is unsustainable. I can't keep doing this. I can't keep being in a constant rage all the time and hating, you know, half of the country and I settled on this idea of grace, which I think a lot of people have a lot of -- they have -- a lot of people when they think of grace, they think of rolling over, being nice, letting people do whatever they want, and that's not what grace is.

And so I use the Christian paradigm, but you don't need to be a Christian to use this, which is unmerited favor. And so it's just the idea of looking at other people and seeing the humanity in them, and you see that not because of anything they have done, not because you like them, not because they think like you do, but because you just recognize that like this is another person, who is allowed to not be me without being demonized.

And so, you know, to me the opposite of grace is demonization. And so when you use grace, you look at the person, you discerningly say, this is not OK. I am not saying we shouldn't be calling out things that are wrong. I am not saying that we can't be angry. Angry -- being angry is good. You should be angry when you see injustice. You should be angry when you see people doing things that are harmful.

But what do we do with that anger? And I think that that's what a lot of people are wrestling with.

KEILAR: You have this journey where you talk with a lot of different people about how to come to this point. And I will say is just in time for Thanksgiving, right? Where so many people come together and they will be with family members that maybe they don't agree with. How can they put this perspective into practice?

POWERS: So I tried to make the book very practical because when I settled on this idea of grace, so I said, well, how do I get from here to here? What are the actual practical steps? And I think when you think about a Thanksgiving dinner, one of the things that I found was the ultimate tool is boundaries. And so rather than going down the road of demonizing the person or maybe even dehumanizing the person, which we see a lot in our culture, it's to use boundaries.

It's basically to say maybe you're going to set some boundaries around dinner. Maybe you're going to say ahead of time, like here are the things that we're going to talk about and here are things we're not going to talk about. And -- or let's talk about it. But here are some boundaries about how we can talk about it. You can't speak to me with contempt. You can't yell at me. You can't generalize about things and these kinds of things.


I also think if you adopt a posture of grace, you see your family member as more than the thing that they believe, right? That they're not just that. That they are other things. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't be upset about what they believe. It just means that there are also other things and, you know, your mom who is saying some things that are upsetting you is also your mom who, you know, taught you all of these wonderful values, who was at all your little league games and all these things.

And so if we can try to see the humanity in other people, I think that that can lead us to having better conversations and I have a whole chapter on embracing healthy conflict. How do you have these conversations in a way that is healthy and that both sides can walk away and say we may not agree, but I felt heard and I felt seen? And maybe someone actually does change their mind at some point.

BERMAN: In 20 seconds or less, because the control room will show me no grace, how --


BERMAN: What do you get out of it if everyone else doesn't do it? If it's unilateral disarming? What's in it for me if no one else is doing the gracing?

POWERS: That's a great question. That's a great question. And I think that honestly the biggest beneficiary of this is you. And so there is a reason MLK said hate is too great a burden to bear. Because who bears it? We bear it. So when we're hating other people, when we're judging other people, we're the people who suffer. We take on all of this and then we sit and we marinate in it and we talk about them and we lay in bed at night and we -- I should have said this and that.

And the other person is like sleeping like a baby, right? So I think it is something that first and foremost helps us more than it helps other people.

KEILAR: It corrodes the container that carries it. I remember George W. Bush saying that.

POWERS: That is a great, great way of putting.

KEILAR: I'm totally stealing it.


KEILAR: George W. Bush I think said that. I think it was at his dad's funeral. And it was just something that rings so true.

POWERS: Yes. Or it's like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, right?

KEILAR: That's right.

POWERS: We're really the people who get hurt when we engage in this kind of behavior.

KEILAR: Very excited about this book "Saving Grace." Kirsten, thank you so much for sharing it with us.

POWERS: Thank you.

KEILAR: It's so special.

POWERS: Thank you for reading it.

KEILAR: Kristen Powers, of course.

So coming up, a big step forward in the case of Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse.

BERMAN: Also, will inflation eat up your Thanksgiving turkey budget? You can't even fight with your family with the new guide posts that Kirsten Powers sets up because it may be so darn expensive. That's next.