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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  November 14, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PST

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this is "gps," the global public square. welcome to all of you from the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. today, the prices americans are paying at the pump, the car lot and cash register are up,
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up, up. consumer prices spiked more than they have for 30 years. >> everything from a gallon of gas to loaf of bread costs more. >> why is this happening and can we stop it? i will ask larry summers. then cia director bill burns went to moscow earlier this month and talked to president putin about russia's military buildup close to its border with ukraine. just what are russia's intentions? is another invasion imminent? fiona hill will weigh in. and the heartbreaking scenes of the poland-belarus border. migrants stuck in a no man's land, locked on both sides. it is all part of a clever and cruel tactic by belarus to destabilize europe. i'll tell you what he node to know. first, here's "my take." the joint agreement between the u.s. and china on enhancing
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climate action was rightly seen as a step forward, but for now, a very small step. it did not have the kinds of specific targets that marked the 2014 agreement negotiated by the obama administration that preceded the paris support which today should have been signed by 193 countries and european union. but it did suggest the largest dialogue between the world's two largest economies and greenhouse emitters. years after estranged relationships, it highlights the u.s. policy going forward. should it be focused on solving the largest and most challenging global problems, or should it be focused on competing with china? azurery friedman notes in
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"the atlantic," president biden spoke at the u.n. general assembly in september. >> it's a fundamental truth of the 21st century, our security, our prosperity and our very freedoms are interconnected in my view as never before, so i believe we must work together as never before. >> when thinking about the cutting-edge issues of the future such as climate, pandemics, cyberwarfare and cybersecurity, it's difficult to see how much can be achieved without some kind of collaboration between the united states and china. and yet biden has also promised that his administration would pursue a policy of extreme competition with china. he's embraced many of donald trump's policies toward beijing on trade, technology and taiwan. the continuation of each of these approaches may have tactical benefits for the u.s., but as friedman points out, they could be a tension with the strategy focused on repairing and rebuilding the international system. that latter path is the only way to tackle growing common challenges that countries cannot
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possibly address individually. now for the previous administration, there was no tension between these two approaches because it did not believe in the liberal rules-based international order. for trump, the open trading system, america's alliances, focus on human rights, these are all scams that allowed other countries to take advantage of the united states. he eagerly embraced a very different approach in which washington would narrowly push through its own advantage, often itself breaking rules and violating norms. you see right wing populists from trump to russia's putin to hungary's or bon to turkey's erdogan all realize the constraints are on the ability to act as they wish when they wish. they would prefer a world of nationalism and protectionism, and if that means the unraveling of globalization, open trade system, european union, even nato, so much the better. but joe biden comes out of the
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tradition of american foreign policy that built this open rules-based international order. in an interview with me on cnn last week, jake sullivan, the national security adviser, clearly laid out the goal of u.s. policy towards china. >> the object of the biden administration is to shape the international environment so that it is more favorable to the interests and values of the united states and its allies and partners to like-minded democracies. >> he elaborated on what the international environment should look like. >> a open, fair, free international economic system and where basic values and norms that are enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights are respected in international institutions. >> now, can both of these objectives be pursued at the same time? in 2019 sullivan and kurt campbell, now his top aide on
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the indo-pacific at the white house, co-authored a foreign affairs essay that tried to thread the needle intelligently, arguing the key will be to get right, the balance between cooperation and competition, with china. the essay, which might hold the key to biden's china strategy lays out the policies in the political, economic and other realms. but it's difficult to imagine any white house being able to move in a nuanced, sophisticated way on an issue that has become so incendiary as china. in their essay, sullivan and campbell reject a simple analogy to the cold war but argue correctly one can learn lessons from that long struggle. they stretch the crucial importance of rebuilding america's strength at home with the government making large-scale investments in science, technology and infrastructure as it did in the 1950s and 1960s. they talk about the importance
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of allies. to my mind, the central lesson of the cold war is what allowed the united states ultimately to prevail was not toppling some pro moscow government in africa or latin america, intervening militarily in vietnam or siding with right wing dictatorships in central america, it was building an open international system that secured peace, prosperity and freedom and allowed all countries that participated to thrive and prosper. with that central achievement of american foreign policy to be sacrificed to gain some temporary tactical advantage against beijing, it would be a mistake and, indeed, an historical tragedy. go to for a link to my "washington post" column this week. and let's get started. ♪
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president biden said on wednesday that reversing inflation is a top priority of his. this came after the bureau of labor statistics wednesday's announcement that consumer prices were up 6.2% over the prior year. that is the biggest increase since november 1990, more than 30 years ago. on this program and elsewhere, my next guest has long been warning about the inflation risk in america today. larry summers was treasury secretary under president clinton and president of harvard. larry, you've heard janet yellen, the white house all say that they're still not convinced they have an inflation problem, it's temporary. how do you respond? >> look, they forecasted inflation would be 2% this year in the president's budget. it's three times that. they said in the summertime after they had been initially wrong that inflation would be
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back to normal by the end of the year. then they said early in the fall that inflation would subside early next year. now they're saying that it's going to subside in the second half of next year. sooner or later i'm sure it will subside, but my judgment is given the inflation momentum that has built up, that it's going to take some significant policy adjustment or some unfortunate accident that slows the economy before inflation gets back to the 2% range. >> what do you mean when you say a kind of dramatic, significant policy action? are you thinking of something sort of like what paul volcker
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had to do to break the back of inflation in the early 1980s? >> we're not talking about the kind of interest rates that paul volcker engineered, but we are talking about a more aggressive approach to monetary policy than the fed is now talking about. there's a lesson, fareed, from the experience of the 1970s, which is the difference between higher and lower unemployment is 2% or 3% of the people being unemployed. the difference between higher and lower inflation is 100% of the people feeling they're being robbed of purchasing power by higher prices. now, i can explain and i do in my economics classes, that higher prices mean higher wages so the two go together so it doesn't have that big an effect on people's standard of living. but that's not how most people think about it. i think inflation had a lot to do with electing richard nixon. i think it had a lot to do with electing ronald reagan. i think for many people inflation is a test of whether the country is under control. and i think it's, therefore, very important for an
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administration like president biden's, for a fed like chairman powell's, that want to project a sense of competent control to be addressing the inflation issue. >> so, larry, explain to us if you're right, why is it that inflation is rearing its head now? for the last 30 years, everyone who has predicted high inflation has been wrong. you, yourself, used to write about a year or two ago about the basics of what you call the secular trend in the economy was stagnation, was low growth, not likely to trigger inflation. what changed? what happened to change your mind? >> so i've never projected inflation any time in the last 30 years. what changed my mind was that
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this year we had a fiscal stimulus program equal to 15%, 14% to 15% of gdp in an economy that was only a couple percent short of its capacity. and so if you inject that much demand with that little a capacity margin, it figures you're going to get inflation. and the only time we did anything like it was during world war ii or during the korean war when we got inflation. >> now, your biggest concern was about that massive covid relief bill that passed. do you share the same concern about the infrastructure bill and the other bill that might go through congress? >> i don't, fareed. i would change those bills but if i had to vote up or down on
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them, i would vote up. there are two big differences. first, those bills spend less over the next ten years than the massive 2021 bill spent over one year. second, those bills, unlike the 2021 bill, have tax increases that cover the expenditures and in addition include specific public investments that will raise the condition of the economy to produce more and lead to further tax revenue. so it's a completely different picture. >> in a sense you're saying the mistake was made by spending that $2 trillion, that's the mistake that has to be remedied. you're not advocating voting down these two bills? >> no.
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i think it would compound the error we made last spring when we supported much too much money giving away. if now we rejected investments in expanding the economy's capacity. it would compound the error we already made if we were to vote down this bill. much better to fight inflation by supporting a strong and independent fed doing what it needs to do, much better working towards tariff reduction, working towards making sure that we procure efficiently, making sure that we support widely available energy, doing what the white house is doing and focusing on congestion, the ports and reducing shipping costs. those are the right steps to contain inflation. we will sacrifice our country's future, we will grow the most
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important deficits we have, the education deficit, the infrastructure deficit, if we don't pass this bill, and we won't make any meaningful contribution to reducing inflation if we vote down this bill. >> larry summers, sobering words. thank you, sir. next on "gps," countless country songs have been written about the freedom of being a trucker on the open road. but apparently, the job isn't as mythic as it once was. america has a huge trucker shortage, and it is a major part of the supply chain crisis. that story in a moment. ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark. but with our new multi-cloud experience, you have the flexibility you need
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industry's largest trade association says the industry is short 80,000 drivers. this is creating the biggest kink in the supply chain, according to an article this week in "the new york times" co-written by my guest ana swanson. ana, welcome. so everyone is trying to figure out why truckers, why is this the big shortage, even when apparently they're trying to raise wages? >> yeah, that's right. in my reporting about the supply chain, it just kept coming back to this one bottleneck, which is the trucking industry, congestion at ports or warehouses and shortages in stores. speaking with some truckers and people in the industry, the problem really seems to be that it's the working conditions in this industry have really fallen out of favor. for a job that doesn't require a college education, trucking is decently well paid. the median salary is about
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$47,000, and wages have increased 20% since the beginning of 2019. but still truckers talk a lot about the conditions on the road, whether it's long working hours, discomfort of sitting in a truck or sleeping in a truck, a lot of time spent away from family. so workers have a lot of choice in the economy right now about what kinds of jobs that they're willing to take, and that's a great thing for workers, unfortunately, it does have consequences for the supply chain and for the broader economy, both in terms of lowering economic growth and leading to inflation as well. >> yeah, i don't think we completely understand just how grueling the hours are and the conditions. i read i think maybe it was in your piece that often you would find husband-and-wife pairs who were willing to do it together because it was so complicated. >> yeah, there's a practice in the industry called teaming, where they'll put multiple people in the cab of a truck
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together to drive longer hours, and you can imagine if this is with a complete stranger, it can be really uncomfortable. if it's a husband-and-wife team, that could be maybe a nice situation, maybe, but it is long hours on the road. issues with dirty and potentially dangerous facilities that people are having to stop over. so the industry is trying to tap into other pools of labor like younger people, women, people of color, but they're really having trouble attracting people at a time when workers have so much choice and the preference is to go to college and get a four-year degree. >> so paul krugman, "the new york times" columnist, tweeted out a chart in which he sort of tried to explain what the basic reason was, and it's a chart looking at truckers' wages over 40 or 50 years. and it's essentially a straight down line. in other words, while recently wages may have gone up a little,
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over the last 30, 40 years, many blue collar, non-college jobs, wages have really gone down a lot. >> yes, this is a chart of wages indexed to inflation. it's a measure of how much real spending power these people have and the answer is not very much. it's really declined since the 1970s and 1980s. there are a lot of reasons for this. a lot of people trace it back to the deregulation of the trucking industry in the early 1980s which made truckers more independent contractors. the broader point is really there are a lot of below-wage, lower-wage workers in our economy that we found in the pandemic that we really again on, whether it's home health aides or nurses or truckers or waiters and these people are both really burned out and really finding in the current economy they have choices in terms of their jobs, and the question is, are we willing to pay for that?
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are we willing to pay for their wage increases? because people are often very positive when they talk about wage increases, but they're very negative when they talk about inflation, and in economic terms, those are the same thing, two sides of the same coin, right. >> is there any technological solution? will we see autonomous driving trucks any time soon? >> people have been talking about autonomous driving trucks for a long time. they're still not right on the horizon, but i think in the longer run that could be a deterrent to younger people getting in this industry. maybe in five or ten years, they will be automated out. i do think if you continue to see this kind of shortage, trucking companies will put more investment into automation. so it could be something on the horizon. a lot of people also point out we have something that is quite similar to self-driving trucks, which is freight trains and the new infrastructure legislation that the white house and
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congress has passed does invest more in freight trains. so perhaps over the longer run, that will help to ease some of these bottlenecks. unfortunately, it's not a short-term solution in the coming months. >> ana swanson, pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. next on "gps," secretary of state blinken issued a stark warning to russia this week. he told moscow not to make the serious mistake of rehashing its 2014 invasion of ukraine. when we come back, russia's military buildup that inspired that warning. ents, start today with a full exam and x-rays, with no obligation. if you don't have insurance, it's free. plus everyone saves 20% on their treatment plan with flexible payment solutions for every budget. we're here making smiles shine bright so you can start the new year feelin' alright. call 1-800-aspendental or book today at
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the director of the cia traveled to moscow recently and spoke to president putin about russia's military buildup close to ukraine. this week the secretary of state publicly warned russia against making a serious mistake there. the concern is that russia might invade again. the kremlin called such concerns an empty, groundless escalation of tensions. fiona hill is a top russian expert who worked in the senior bush, obama and trump administrations. she's now a senior fellow at brookings and author of "there is nothing for you here." fiona, first explain to us, what is the nature of this buildup and why is it worrying the
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administration so much? >> well, there's a lot of concerns about the scale, the size of the buildup and the fact that we've actually seen some of these maneuvers before, usually at times of tension where we had similar concerns that russia might move in. if we think back to 2008 when the russians actually invaded georgia after a similar period of tensions, we saw a lot of military maneuvers, there had been a major exercise on the borders of georgia and the caucuses region, for example, and when there have been a russian incursion into ukraine or in terms of encouraging conflict within ukraine, we've seen these military maneuvers. so there is, again, a great deal of concern for all of the obvious reasons when you see troop buildup and certain indicators. but the other thing is it's the timing. there's a lot going on right now.
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we also have a crisis in belarus, on the border of belarus and poland, and alexander lukashenko, the besieged president of belarus. and belarus has been under siege from russia since the outbreak of warren buffet going back to 2014. so this has a long tail to it now. and ukraine is trying to stabilize the economy with the discussions with the imf and getting a new tranche of loans to ukraine. and they just hosted general austin and the u.s. defense secretary in talks about his close relationship with nato and reviving a lot of the military ties and exchanges with the united states, that got russia's attention. we have a major gas crisis with europe right now. putin has been trying to put
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pressure on europe to open up the nord stream 2 pipeline, which has created a lot of scandal and tension with the united states as well. you can see there's an awful lot going on. there's a lot of complexity here and all of these divisions between not just the europeans and united states but within europe itself. there's a fight with poland, germany is in the midst of a changeover from chancellor merkel to a new coalition government. this seems to be exactly the prime time for russia to stir up trouble with ukraine or put ukraine on the back foot. >> in your book you describe the kind of chaos of trump policy towards russia. do you think there is a smarter way to go in terms of deterring russia? what should the west, what should washington do? >> well, we have to be in lockstep with all of europe and we also have to speak with one voice ourselves in the united states, which seems to be a bit of a tall order right now.
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this is also a perfect time for putin because we're fighting among ourselves in the united states about every conceivable issue, and russia remains kind of a domestic political football in the united states after 2016. so it's very difficult for all of us to speak with one voice about these issues. but the only way to push back is for the united states to be in lockstep with the european union. and within the european union itself, of course, poland, which is now being targeted by belarus and alexander lukashenko with the flow of migrants and the threats to cut off gas because the gas pipelines go through poland, is a dispute in the european union over the european union laws. poland has been insolvent in its own solvency. so we need to have poland, all of the united states on the same page and try to push back against these efforts which are
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so obvious now, completely complacent and brazen, we have to push back collectively and have a collective response. >> putin wants to make sure this new pro western democracy in ukraine is not going to work, is going to be crippled. is he succeeding? it seems very tough for ukraine. >> yes, this is for him actually fairly easy, sow discontent, fuel discord and rev up tensions. you're absolutely right, he doesn't want it to succeed and he wants to make it very clear to everybody else he thinks of ukraine just as a satellite state, a proxy state. he's talked about ukraine as being the subservient state, the bustle of germany and france right now because they're in charge of trying to do the peace negotiations. he constantly refers to ukraine
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as being a proxy to the united states. and our domestic mess about ukraine during the trump administration didn't help either when ukraine became part of our domestic politics. so it's incredibly easy for putin to basically frame ukraine as a failed state. and everything that he's doing is trying to demonstrate that at this particular juncture. >> fiona hill, thank you very much for that. sobering words. next on "gps," the forgotten continent in the climate change conversation. it may be the one most at risk from it. where in the world? find out when we come back. marley? first you will see the past. excuse me! coming through! ugh! and then...the present.
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cropped out of the picture by the associated press when they supposed with four activists from davos last year. she said africa is the most affected by the climate change. her latest book "the bigger picture: my fight to bring a new african voice to the climate crisis." and she joins me now. vanessa, welcome. explain what got you interested in activism, and climate change. you come from uganda. is that right? >> yes, in 2018 i started to research the challenges people are facing in my country and i realized the climate crisis was one of the challenges and greatest threat facing the lives of so many people.
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and the footage of the floods and landslides, when i realized how much of an issue and threat it was to my country, i decided i would start speaking up. and through that i was inspired by greta to start the climate for our future and create awareness of what was happening. many people are losing their lives. many people are losing their businesses. many people are losing their homes, and thousands more losing their farms as the global temperatures continue to rise. >> now, as you know, vanessa, while all that you say is true and vivid and real, when the leaders of poor countries talk about these issues, what they often say is look, we have to have the ability to provide
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cheap energy for our people, and cheap energy right now means coal, it often means oil, and large parts of africa and india and china continue to build coal-fired power plants, burn oil and wood. and the president of uganda, your own country, said something to the effect, look, if you don't allow us to do this, you are not allowing us to move people out of poverty. what do you say to that argument? >> developing countries are facing very strong pressure to transition to renewable energy or to have more sustainable cts or sustainable communities or sustainable countries. and many people feel like they have to use coal or oil or gas to develop their economies. that is why it is important for
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the developed nations to provide climate finance, climate finance that will help and assist developing nations to easily transition to a sustainable world without having to burden their own people. i want to talk about the 100-year climate pledge that was promised to vulnerable countries but it's late. we are still waiting. the countries of the climate crisis have to face these disasters, they have to face a challenge of transitioning. the pressure of transitioning of the fear of leaving their people poor or people homeless, and yet the developed world isn't ready to give climate finance for people on the frontlines, climate finance that will help all of us transition to a more sustainable world. >> what you describe is
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necessary but it feels like it's going to be very hard to get the developed world to provide the kind of funds that will really make a difference. india has asked for $1 trillion. the technologies that would allow for the wide scale deployment of renewables in large parts of the developing world, which means again cheaper than coal, again will take time. it feels like we don't have the time that it's going to take to get all of this in place. does that get you worried? does that get you dispirited? i guess in a sense what i'm asking is given this time pressure, are you still hopeful? >> yes, i am still hopeful. i come from a country that has one of the fastest changing climates in the world, and honestly, i just cannot give up. it can be depressing seeing climate disasters and see leaders not doing anything and
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to continue to organize, but i think hope is one of the things that keeps me going, to believe another world is possible and we can be able to do that if we continue to mobilize and organize. >> vanessa, thank you for that message of hope and thank you for your work. >> you're welcome. next on "gps," there are masses of migrants piling up on the border between poland and belarus. it turns out this is all part of a clever anti-europe strategy. we'll explain when we come back. is to be on a journey. and along the ride, you'll have many questions. challenges. and a few surprises. ♪ but wherever you are on your journey. your dell technologies advisor is here for you - with the right tech solutions. so you can stop at nothing for your customers.
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and now for the last look. these are familiar sad scenes, migrants stranded at the edge of europe barred by entering by razor wire and border guards with guns. the current crisis is at the eastern border with belarus where an unexpected surge of thousands of migrants recently arrived. what is going on? why are the migrants there? in this case there appears to be a specific culprit for the
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chaos. belarus itself. poland and the eu has accused the government of luring eastern migrants into belarus with the false promise of access into the eu, in other words, pushing them to cross into poland illegally. one described the situation at the border as a trap set by the b belarusian authorities. belarus denies the allegations, but observers say their government has good reasons to do it. it wants to stoke unrest in europe as payback for eu economic sanctions which were in the aftermath of the opposition.
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last year he brutally put down huge protests against his rigging of national elections that august. in may of this year, a belarusian jet forced a plane to land so authorities could arrest a single reporter, and he has continued to provoke the european union and has been able to do so for a simple reason, he has the full support of vladimir putin of russia. as "the new york times" reported in september, the two countries have come closer and closer to a fu full-blown merger. to bloomberg columnist, he says the situation at the border amounts to the weaponization of
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migration and hybrid warfare, there could be no doubt that llou kau san co and the putin are close, and they met last week and reportedly discussed the matter, and the pair has met in person half a dozen times in the past year alone. putin already demonstrated his appea appetite. his alliance with shiancoe now offers him the closest yet, and poland has borders with three german states and authorities have warned they counted at least 5,000 crossings with the connection to belarus. the perceived threat of out-of-control migration played a key role in the destabilizing
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rise of populism. or taking a page out of the book of the turkish president who has unthreatened to unleash mass migration in order to distract from the eu. authoritarian governments who control the flow of migration to europe will use that weakness to their advantage. those who will suffer the most from such cynicism is, as always, the migrants themselves. thank you for being part of my
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to receive fifty percent off installation. and take advantage of our special offer no payments for eighteen months. thank you for joining me this sunday. i am fredricka whitfield. a manhunt is under way right now for five inmates that escaped jail in south georgia, and all have a history of violent crimes and two are murder suspects. we are following all of this. how did they escape? >> they were all able to get away in a white kia van. we are working on the details of