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Hong Kong's Leader Is Shouted Down; Backlash Mounts Against NBA Star LeBron James Over A Manager Critical Of China; Charles Barkley Talks About LeBron And Chinese Controversy. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired October 16, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone and welcome to Amanpour. Here's what's coming up. Hong Kong's leader is shouted down and
backlash mounts against Lebron James for backing the NBA over a manager critical of China. Basketball great Charles Barkley on sport and the
JOE BIDEN, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I went on the floor and got you votes; I got vote for that bill.
AMANPOUR: Elizabeth Warren's turn in the crosshairs. What the largest democratic debate yet means for the 2020 race going forward. And.
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR: This was a journey of evolution that I did not plan and I did not even play my success actually.
AMANPOUR: The integrative medicine grew Deepak Chopra sits down with our Hari Sreenivassan talking about his journey and his 89th book, "Metahuman:
Unleashing Your Infinite Potentials."
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. The effects of the Hong Kong democracy protests are showing up far beyond that
Chinese territory, taunting the all powerful President Xi Jinping who warns of crushed bodies, and today forcing the Hong Kong executive Carrie Lam to
abandon her annual speech and driven out of the legislative hall by opposition lawmakers.
And the fallout from the confrontation continues to plague American basketball. Lebron James widely considered the best player ever to grace
the court, is facing the kind of anger that he is really not accustomed to, because he intervened in the political firestorm that has engulfed the NBA
since the Houston Rockets general manager tweeted support for Hong Kong protestors. The NBA called his statement regrettable and said it had great
respect for the history and culture of China, but has highlighted just how much American business must play by Beijing rules to get access so, this
comment by Lebron landed him in hot water at home.
LEBRON JAMES, NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: We all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when
you're not thinking about others and you're only thinking about yourself. So I don't believe - I don't want to get into a word or a sentence feud
with Daryl but Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand.
AMANPOUR: Anger back in America and also in Hong Kong where protesters burned his jersey and staged this not too subtle display of where they
believe his loyalties lie, so Lebron had to do some damage control, saying that he's not discussing the quote, substance of Daryl Morey's comments.
Now Charles Barkley is a 16-season veteran of the NBA. He's played for the 76ers, the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets and he's now a commentator
for TNT and is joining me from Philadelphia. Welcome to the program, Charles Barkley.
CHARLES BARKLEY, RETIRED NBA PLAYER: Hey, thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So it is extraordinary how this has legs. It's going on and on this sort of controversy with Lebron in the middle of it right now, but let
me ask you, when Daryl Morey made that seven-word tweet that ignited this firestorm between China and the NBA, is it something you would've expected?
Did you think it might have this kind of reaction?
BARKLEY: Well I think it did because of a couple of reasons. The Houston Rockets are probably the most important team in China because their
greatest player, Yao Ming, is a living legend over there. So and the Rockets have probably been the most - they've probably made more money,
involved in more deals in China, so I think that was the really thing that started this whole brush fire. You cannot go over there and make all that
money, have the greatest player ever whose a legendary in Houston and your team be profitable and prominent, and I don't think you can insult those
people like that.
AMANPOUR: It is really interesting to hear you put it that way, and we will talk about that in a second, but first I want to ask you, because you
rightly point out that Yao Ming is yet another of the things that has made basketball so massively popular in China and obviously the Houston Rockets.
But give us an idea, the sense of how China became such a basketball worshipper. The game was brought to China in the late 1800s by American
missionaries, and now all these years later, there is 300 million people there who watch it, or rather who play it.
BARKLEY: Listen, you can just say that number, basketball is very powerful in China. They've been a great strategic partner for the NBA and the
players. I know that Dwyane Wade, Klay Thompson have shoe deals in China.
But listen, the NBA, it's part of our partnership and it's interesting because America, if you have been watching television for the last few
months, we do a lot of business in China, a lot of business in China. You heard President Trump talk about it constantly for the last few months, and
I don't understand why people don't understand, we have to work with China and they're partners with us, plain and simple.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you then, because obviously the counter argument to that is that China is so powerful and as I said, Beijing rules account
for how any businesses, whether they are American businesses, sports franchises, Disney, whatever it might be, have to deal and get access to
I think some people in the United States get a bit fed up that China, you know, has the rules of the road. The "New York Times" said in case after,
case American executives have yielded to Chinese demands to tailor their words and products or to apologize even for unintentional slights. The
reward is continued access to Chinese customers. The price must be the erosion of American credibility as a beacon of free speech.
And Charles, Barkley you spend your whole career, your whole public life being a fierce proponent of free speech. You have spoken many, many times
on sometimes controversially because that is your right but you do have a different view, a more nuanced view when it comes to China.
BARKLEY: Well, I don't know if I have a nuanced view, I understand we are business partners. You don't get the pick and choose. When you make --
become in a partnership, you don't get to pick and choose on what parts you want to pick out for your benefit. We made the deal with China -- the
entire United States, the entire United States and the NBA, so we don't get to play selective amnesia and pick and choose. We made the deal. We are
business partners and you have to take the pros and cons like that.
AMANPOUR: Well why do you think Lebron felt compelled to speak out? I mean, he is obviously kind of saying what you're saying. His original
sound, when he was asked actually a question he said, look, I'm not going to get into a war of words with Daryl Morey, but I don't think he was
educated enough to understand the ramifications of what he did and how it would hurt so many people. I mean that is kind of what you are saying, but
why do you think he put himself in the middle of this?
BARKLEY: Well, number one, he is the most popular player; he is the best player we got. Listen, I don't think Daryl Morey was wrong. I just think
you can't insult the entire country when you go over there making money and that's what -- the Rockets, like I say the Rockets are probably the most
profitable team in China, so you can't insult people and then try to make money. I feel bad for Lebron because you know all these people are saying
Lebron took the money.
First of all, I have no problem with a guy looking out for his financial interests, but in the big picture, he should represent the NBA at Nike. It
ain't just about his money. You got the greatest player in the world, the most important player in the world, if he goes crazy on China, yes he is
going to lose some money but also the NBA and Nike are going to lose a lot of money, and we are talking about tens of billions of dollars. So I think
it is really unfair that people are trying to say Lebron had to do that because -- not just because of his money, but like I, say we are talking
billions with the NBA and we're talking more and more billions with Nike and he is the number one guy at Nike.
AMANPOUR: Interesting, we saw him sort of backpedal a bit when he faced this backlash, because at home, people were saying hang on a second, you
too are selling out to Beijing's rules and he backtracked a little bit saying that no, he is not arguing with Daryl's substance, and Daryl didn't
mention China, by the way. He just said let's support freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, so he backtracked a little bit. But -- but the
good news, of course, is that China has now quietly, at least we're not making a big deal about it, but it has now started playing or showing
again, the Houston Rockets games. So it is always a bit of a push and pull with China, isn't it? You do something they don't like, they rap you over
the knuckles and then business as usual starts up again.
BARKLEY: Well, listen, that was always going to be the bottom line, literally and figuratively. It's easy for everybody to say LeBron should
say, blah, blah, blah. But we're talking hundreds of millions and billions of dollars. Like I say, the NBA, we've been in China for a long time. The
entire United States been in China for a long time.
But LeBron would represent himself and people can say he's selfish, I have no problem (with him) protecting his own money. But also he has to protect
the NBA and Nike, so it wasn't just about him. That's the thing I have a problem with, everybody's jumping on LeBron.
LeBron, he's in a fight that he had nothing to do with. He had nothing to do with it. But he's able to -- if I don't stop this fight, we're going to
ruin our relationship with China and the NBA was benefits to all this and the players.
But also, Nike's probably the biggest player in this whole thing. Because I'm pretty sure with all the product Nike gets made over there, it's
probably a lot more than the money we make NBA related.
AMANPOUR: Well it look like it is from China's perspective being somewhat resolved now, as I say, they're putting the games back on - back on their
But let me ask you this, is there a little bit of hypocrisy here? Because we're saying one thing about how the NBA should behave, vis-a-vis China and
another thing about Colin Kaepernick, the NFL, taking a knee and his right to be political as well. Do you see a little bit of hypocrisy there?
BARKLEY: Well first of all, sports are a hypocrisy. We are a walking hypocrisy. You get guys who get in trouble, as long as they can play we
going to give them second chances.
Listen, people don't want to know all the bad stuff about sports. I love sports, but it's full of hypocrites. And if you're a great player and you
do things wrong you're going to get several, several chances. If you're a guy who messed up and can't play, you're going to be a bartender. That's
what this thing is.
But the bottom line is always the bottom line. Colin Kaepernick tried to do an honorable thing. And I don't think he's ever going to play, he's been
blackballed. But let's -- the one thing we can't do, let's don't try to act like this thing is all great. This thing is about money to the owners,
it's about money to the players and that's the way it is.
AMANPOUR: Well Charles Barkley you lead me very, very, very nicely into another very important aspect of this. And that's the NCAA and college
basketball players and college athletes.
We know that college players don't get paid and there's been a bit of a -- an issue over many, many years about the fact that they don't get paid.
They do get scholarships, they do -- well they should get an education. But they don't get paid for playing.
And yet Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, has just signed a bill that will allow college athletes to hire agents and get endorsement deals.
And actually he signed it on an HBO show with LeBron standing by and I'm just going to play a little bit of the sound-bite when he made this
signature in this announcement.
NEWSOM: They're a little panicked because they recognize they're vulnerable. People are hitting this, not just in California, but all
across the country because the gigs up. Billions and billions of dollars, $14 plus billion dollars goes to these Universities, goes to these
Colleges. Billion plus revenue to the NC two A (sells) and the actual product, the folks that are putting their lives on the line, putting
everything on the line, are getting nothing.
AMANPOUR: So where do you stand on this Charles Barkley? Because I understand and it's caused quite a division between some players and
obviously the NCAA.
BARKLEY: Well let me say this. Number one, as a black man I get offended when people act like getting a free education is not a big deal. Getting a
free education, especially -- and most of these kids are black. I think getting a free education is big deal.
Secondly, I don't know how you do it to be honest with you. Are you playing the basketball team, the football team, are you playing the girls
lacrosse, the girls soccer, girls diving team? I don't know, because you're going to have to play everybody because of Title 9.
BARKLEY: So that -- they talk about a lot of money but because there's only two programs making money realistically. Football and basketball, but
they pay for all the other sport. But like I say, you're going to have to pay everybody.
As far as this thing in California, listen, I think it's interesting. I'm not sure how it's going to work because it's great if you're a star because
you're going to be making extra money.
But on a football team they've got a hundred players, probably only five are going to be making money.
I think there's going to be a lot of resentment. Because if I'm an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman and nobodies buying my jersey,
they're buy the quarterback and the running back because those are the glory positions and they're making an extra $300,000 or $400,000 on their
likeness and also they pull up in a nice car because they got a commercial, I think that's going to bring tremendous resentment from team to team.
I want these players to get whatever they can. But everybody acts like their simple, they just pay these players. And I think -- I think it's got
to be -- I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but I don't think it's going to be as easy as they say it is.
AMANPOUR: It certainly does sound complicated the way you lay it out. I just want to ask you one thing. I don't know, did you get a scholarship,
did you get -- you speak very passionately about having been given a free education, which is so important. How did it affect your life? I think
you played for Auburn. And what about.
AMANPOUR: .so many athletes that we hear about, whether football or others, who think they're going to get a great education but actually, even
if they're not very good, forget being paid. Sometimes they emerge from these schools without even knowing how to read or write. But -- they're
not being taken care of, even their education because they're being used for these sports.
BARKLEY: Well Christiane, the -- my biggest regret of my life is not taking my education more serious. Not that I needed it but the people
around me, I wish I could -- we all could have been better students. It didn't -- it didn't harm me whatsoever because I made it to the NBA and
played for 16 years.
But it's only going to be -- its going be less than one percent of these players across the board who go on and play in professional sports. And I
think these colleges got to do a little better.
But also there's got to be some personal responsibility. As a student you've got to know -- as a student athlete, excuse me. At some point
you've got to know that you're not going to play any pro ball. And you know pretty quick to be honest with you.
But if I could go back in my life and do one thing different, I would push the student around me to other players and say hey, we don't know if we're
going to make it. Because those guys that make it and their life didn't turn out as good as mine because I was able to play in the NBA.
But like I say, as young black men, will always stress education. Because like I say I wish everybody could play in the NBA or the NFL, but you have
to be realistic. Out of all these college players, less than one percent of them go on and play pro sports and they need to get that free education.
Because you've been around and you know a lot of successful people like I do. A lot of our friends are still in debt from college. And so to get a
free education is a big deal.
BARKLEY: Because a lot of my friends who got regular jobs are in -- they still in debt.
AMANPOUR: And obviously people are still worried that the NBA is making billions off these kids. And as you know, they have called this, what
Gavin Newsom the Governor, has done, unconstitutional. They plan to challenge it and perhaps they won't let some of these schools in California
play in the games, the NCAA says. Could it -- could it rebound?
BARKLEY: Well I -- no, well first of all, I think -- I think -- see another thing, they did a little trick which I think doesn't take effect
until 2023. That was just a way - it looked politically correct, but the NCAA got to make some changes. That's why they put that thing so far away.
Because you see now, there's about 10 other states trying to do the exact same thing. But like I say, I always want the best for the players, but
like I say, they make it sound like it's going to be easy to pay all these players. Because what's going to happen, once all the moneys generated by
the football or the basketball team.
Once they start paying these players, their going to kill these other sports. Because the football revenue and the basketball revenue because of
TV, they're the only sports making money. But they pay for all the other sports. So are we willing to sacrifice all the other sports? That makes
me feel sad in my heart, even -- listen, I want to take care of the players, but if we're going to butcher all the other programs, I don't
think that's fair either.
AMANPOUR: There's so many facets to this. Charles Barkley, thank you so much for talking us -- talking to us tonight.
Now, Vice President Mike Pence is on his way to try to reign in Turkey's assault on American allies in Syria. While in the White House, President
Trump continues with what many consider an incoherent response.
TRUMP: The Kurds actually are pulling back substantially from Turkey. And Syria is pulling in. Syria probably will have a partner of Russia, whoever
they may have. I wish them all a lot of luck.
AMANPOUR: Oh, it sounds a lot like washing your hands of a problem there. Foreign policy was a major focus of Tuesday's Democratic Presidential
Debate, and so too was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's surge in the polls has made her the chief target for her rivals. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've put out nearly 50 plans on how we can fight back and how we can rebuild an America
that works. And a part of that is we've got --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Senator.
WARREN: -- to stop Americans from going bankrupt over healthcare --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Klobuchar, do you want to respond?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes I do. And I appreciate Elizabeth's work, but again, the difference between a plan and a
pipe dream is something that you can actually get done.
BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we need be focused on lifting people up. And sometimes I think that Senator Warren is
more focuses on being punitive or pitting some part of the country against the other.
JOE BIDEN (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tell people what it's going to cost, how you're going to do it, and why you're going to
do it. That's the way to get it done. Presidents are supposed to be able to persuade.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just to clarify, Vice President, who are you saying is being vague?
BIDEN: Well the Senator said -- she's being vague on the issue of -- well, actually are being vague on the issue of the Medicare for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: As even those exchanges made clear though, it was a nice of substantive policy debate and vision for the future. So, what does it mean
Joining me from Washington are Brittany Packnett Cunningham, she's an activist and co-host of the "Pod Save the People" podcast. And Mehdi
Hasan, who's columnist at the at The Intercept.
Thank you both for joining us.
I want to ask you, Brittany, what you thought of the general tone, and I guess I'm asking you, because there was a lot of talk about the inequality,
the have, the have not's, and we've just come off that discussion with Charles Barkley taking about so many, particularly black athletes and kids
on college having to fight whatever way they can, scholarships or whatever, to get a decent education. What do you think and were you satisfied by
what any of the candidates said, in terms of education or closing the wealth and income inequality gap?
BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, ACTIVIST AND CO-HOST OF PODCAST: Well, I think what last night was, was a start to that conversation, but it most
certainly wasn't broad enough.
I think that Cory Booker, Senator Booker, was the only person to actually mention the sin of poverty and there was a lot of talk about the middle-
class rebuilding it and reestablishing it, and that's a necessary conversation.
But until we get serious about ensure that there is a line that no one falls beneath, that that is both a moral necessity and an economic
necessity. Until we take that seriously, the conversation is not broad enough.
We also saw Senator Warren be very careful to make the distinction, not only to her opponents, but to the American people, about the difference
between wealth and equality and income and equality. And it's an important distinction.
Too often we hear journalists and candidates, alike, use those as interchangeable terms and they're not. Income is about wages, wealth is
about what you possess after you pay all of your bills and your ability to withstand the obstacles that life throws your way.
We see all the time the income inequality is actually less than wealth inequality is, that's why it can be true that a white high school drop-out
can more wealth than a black or Latin ex-college graduate.
So, I think that this conversation needs to continue and we need to make sure that it's happening broadly enough to include things like housing,
education and the living wage in the larger solution to close the wealth gap.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to come back to more domestic issues in a moment, but because we also talk about foreign policy, we see what President Trump is
doing today, Mehdi Hasan, I mean, literally going back and forth like a penjulum in his response to what's happening in Syria and his green light
to Turkey and now with the allies, the Kurds on the back foot.
I wonder what you thought of how that issue was tackled in the debate last night, and foreign policy in general. I want to play a sound byte from the
debate for you, because you had two of the candidates, Tulsi Gabbard, who is against American intervention, Pete Buttigieg, also a veteran, who was
slightly more nuanced about the power of American forces in the world. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A small number of specialized, special operation forces and intelligence capabilities were
the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we're seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.
Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that for the first time they feel ashamed -- ashamed of what their country has done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: This Mehdi, and even Brittany, may sound like foreign policy, but it's actually very, very important to American domestic and security
policy. How do you think these issues were handled by the Democrats, Mehdi, who are vying to be the next president and who will have this on
their plate, whether they like it or not?
MEHDI HASAN, COLUMNIST, THE INTERCEPT: Thanks Christiane. I'm so glad that they were able to have at least some discussion of Syria. These
presidential debates, as you know, tend to gloss over foreign policy, because the networks think the viewers are not interested.
The irony is that anyone who becomes president of the United States has far more freedom abroad than they do at home, and often presidents are defined
by their foreign policy legacies. Think of people like Ronald Reagan, even Barack Obama with the Iran deal.
So, I'm glad that they were able to discuss one aspect of foreign policy, Syria. You saw Pete Buttigieg there talking about the shame that Trump's
decision has brought on America.
The problem is, of course, is that Donald Trump is so extreme and out there on this issue of the Kurds in Syria, he's united his own Party, for once,
with the Democrats against him, it that it was easy for all of the presidential candidates, all 12 of them, ridicously 12 of them on stage, to
come out and slam Trump and support the Kurds. Even Tulsi Gabbard, who's been a massive critic of American involvement in Syria, said that he
betrayed the Kurds.
What that does is, it doesn't allow for a more meaningful debate about, well what do you do about Syria? What do you do about the Middle East as a
whole? What do you about your alliance with Saudi Arabia or with Israel and the whole failure to get a two-state solution there? What do you do
about the rise of China.
So many issues still unexplored and the irony is, Bernie Sanders, in 2016, he was the radical on domestic policy. Much of the Democrats have moved
left on domestic policy, economic policy since then and now he's the one candidate who's actually quite radical on foreign policy, but we didn't
really get into it.
For example, he's the one candidate, Chirstiane, who says he will U.S. aide as leverage over Israel, no other president should -- no other presidential
candidate in my lifetime has every said that.
He did, though, go after Joe Biden on Iraq towards the end of the debate, and I'm glad he did, because Joe Biden had the nerve to say that the
American position Syria was the most shameful foreign policy decision of his lifetime. No, it wasn't, Joe, invading Iraq was, and Joe Biden
AMANPOUR: And he -- yes, and even in his own administration when he was vice president, one of the most shameful actions was not crossing the
redline when his president laid that red line.
I want to ask you, Brittany, about, I guess, the fact that Elizabeth Warren seems to be surging. She -- her position is that American forces should be
out of the Middle East, but in general she's very progressive on, obviously, so many of the domestic issues and she was -- I guess everybody
was lining up to try to take her down this time. Last time it was lining up against Biden, this time against Warren. How do you find the tone and
did she take any major hits?
CUNNINGHAM: I think this is fascinating, because to watch Elizabeth Warren surge, we have to recognize that it has happened without any really
significant debate moments. That it's been a steady climb versus kind of a highlight versus a low light.
So, we've seen her steadily climb irrespective of a particular performance in a particular debate, and so I think that it's not just the fact that
she's polling so well, but that she's doing so well consistently and that there's a steady rise that is making some other folks nervous.
So, we know that when you get on that debate stage, that part of the strategy is to g after the frontrunner. And now that there are multiple
frontrunners, they had to share the load there and they had to make sure that if Joe Biden took some hits the last time, that Elizabeth Warren got
some confrontation this time.
I don't think that she particularly suffered. I think that she really held her own, especially toward the end. I think that there were some really
challenging moments for her, especially the back and forth between her and Vice President Biden around the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
But, I think that she held her own. I think that she was steady, and I think that what voters like to see from her is that level of consistency.
That she is clear, that she is focused and that her message hasn't changed.
That seems to be what's resonating with voters. That seems to be what other candidates are worried about and we'll see how that comes out in the
poll numbers here after this last debate.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you both, because obviously you both watched, and as obviously so many people did. We said that there seem to be quite a lot
of substance, the 12 on stage, and it's a very big number, it wasn't so much a total constant game of gotcha and sound bytes and who's going to get
viral and this and that. There was substance and actually by and large, and I think you both pointed out, there was -- there was respect amongst
the candidates on the stage last night.
HASAN: Except one moment, Christiane, which you mentioned at the start and Brittany's referred to as well, which was the exchange over the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau, the CFPB, which Warren helped create.
There was a bizarre moment towards the end where Joe Biden started shouting and jabbing his finger at her saying, I got you the votes for that bureau,
which, by the way, isn't true. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank who were behind that legislation say Biden wasn't the prime mover of -- in that fight.
And then it -- when she said, I thanked President Obama and didn't thank Joe Biden, he then said, you did a great job, very patronizingly to the
senator to his left and she kind of stopped, paused, and said thank you. And I just think to myself, how can you get away with stuff like that in
Joe Biden, I wonder how his team watched these debates and talked to him afterwards, because he keeps making these gaffes. Last night he confused
Iraq with Syria and then with Afghanistan. He said he wanted to abolish capital gains tax before realizing what he meant to say he wanted to raise
capital gains tax.
He is a candidate who was the front runner. I hope he now isn't the front runner. I hope Warren keeps that title or at least Sanders does and between
Warren and Sanders, there is actually a meaningful debate about what progressives do next. We see Pete Buttigieg swinging hard because he sees
that Biden is on the ropes and he can take the mantle of being the moderate non-Warren and non-Sanders candidate.
AMANPOUR: Before I get to you weigh in Brittany, I just want to play this exchange in question. Let me just play it and then we'll talk more about
BIDEN: I went on the floor and got you votes; I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it so let's get those things straight too.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST AND DEMOCRATIC DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator Warren, do you want to respond?
ELIZABETH WARREN, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am deeply grateful to President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed
into law, and I am deeply grateful to every single person who fought for it and who helped pass it into law, but understand.
BIDEN: You did a hell of a job of your job.
WARREN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well anyway, we've sort of discussed it, certainly with you Mehdi. I guess what did you make of that Brittany in terms of the
substance of the evening?
BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, CO-FOUNDER CAMPAIGN ZERO: You know, I'm really thinking a lot about what Senator Booker said when he set up frankly
as the adult in the room, even before that moment and said, we need to make sure that though we may disagree, we do so in a way that allows us to move
forward together, because we saw, as democrats, what happened when we did not do that in previous years. As has already been stated, there are a lot
of people on that stage, and I believe that voters are really looking for two things. One, they are looking for the herd to be thinned; twelve is far
too many. It is more than we had in the previous debate.
People were not looking to move up from 10, they were looking to move down from 10 and most certainly were still looking to see 5 or 4 candidates on
that stage so that there can be more time for real substance and for us to figure out the real differences between the candidates. I think
the other thing that voters are looking for is for the candidates to be leaders in deciding on how the party will conduct itself. We cannot have a
split decision that leads to people being unable to be unified in defeating Donald Trump.
What I was seriously frustrated by was the fact that in all the substance that we heard and we finally also heard about reproductive healthcare which
is so important, we didn't hear anything about voting rights and all of the policy discussions are really for naught if the Democratic Party does not
take seriously the challenge that we have seen digitally and in a real life to the power of the vote. We have seen people of color, poor people,
elderly people be disenfranchised over and over and over again. We saw it specifically in 2016 in states like Florida and Georgia.
We see folks like Tom Steyer with enough personal wealth to fully fund Stacey Abrams fair fight in Georgia but deciding instead to be a candidate
on that stage. How can he and others actually make a different decision and move the country forward and ensuring that everyone has the right to the
ballot box. We know that our election has been tampered with digitally and if the democratic party is serious about taking back the White House in
2020, they have to be just as serious about protecting the franchise.
AMANPOUR: Well it's really interesting, of course, and vital and of course the African-American vote is going to be one of the most important votes,
so to that end, Brittany, I wonder can you reflect on the fact that despite two major, you know I mean two prominent African-American candidates in
Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, it is Biden that has the majority of the African-American vote according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll; 50
percent of the vote for Biden, Warren at 18, Harris 7, Sanders 5, Booker no - I mean no. Look at that. There's not even a register there for him.
What does that mean what does it mean for the turnout and for the enfranchisement of this very important demographic obviously?
CUNNINGHAM: You know, we often remind general public that black people are not a monolith, and so the fact that we have such a diverse Cadre of
candidates right now means that it's giving people more choices than they've ever had before, and that is both significant in how it can move us
forward in the future, but it also means that black voters, black people have different choices and more choices to make. When we look beyond just
the initial poll numbers though we see, again, that black people are not a monolith.
We see young black voters moving differently than older black voters.
We see millennial and Gen Z black women and having a lot of affection for people like Elizabeth Warren, people like Bernie Sanders. That is a
different conversation than the conversation that is happening perhaps with some black boomers who are Team Joe Biden. Right? So there is a nuanced
conversation happening in the back community and we consistently recognize that this is a conversation about policy that will affect black people and
not just who is standing behind the podium declaring that policy. So we want to make sure that we've got someone that we can trust. We want to
make sure that we've got someone who says one thing and doesn't do another but actually means what they say and says what they mean. We want to make
sure that somebody will follow through and consistently listen to black people when they give feedback, when they push their policy and their
agenda, and when we make sure that candidates are being responsive to all areas of our community.
We also have to recognize that there are money faults in even more marginalized faces among the black community -- black college students who
are dealing with debt, black LGBTQ folks who are dealing with intersectional oppression. We want to make sure that all of those
conversations are at the table. I think that black people are being very wise right now, black voters are being very wise in ensuring that we are
not giving away our vote and simply handing it over the most familiar person or a black person or anyone who people might assume would be the
choice that we would make. We're taking our time and making a nuanced decision.
AMANPOUR: And talking about issues that weren't raised, I'm sure both of you, Mehdi, what do you make of the fact that Jay Inslee, former candidate,
governor, no longer a candidate but weighed in on the fact that not a question was asked about the climate. And he said it not once but three
times. Not one single question about the climate crisis but yet this the existential crisis of our times.
HASAN: I agree with him and I think CNN and the "New York Times" made a mistake in not having at least one a question on the climate crisis.
Brittany is right to say there wasn't a single question on voting reform which threatens democracy in this country. Well climate crisis threatens
our very existence on this planet. I know that CNN did have a town hall with the candidates where they talked climate change, credit to CNN for
that but in a major presidential debate with these 12 candidates on stage to not to discuss that I think was a mistake.
There were a few other things I'd like to have seen discussed as well. The war in Yemen for example, we're talking about foreign policy where the
U.S. has a direct involvement in the killing of kids much more direct than in Syria for example. We didn't see that mentioned even though Bernie
Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and others led a senate campaign to end U.S. involvement in that war. Over a three-hour debate, yes. A lot of us would
like to see a lot more issues raised. I think Brittany is right to say when the herd is thinned, we might be able to do a bit more of that but
yes, journalists, news organizations need to take responsibility too to really raise the level of debate, really ask the tough questions. Last
night there was a lot of substance but there were, you know, some big holes as well.
AMANPOUR: And of course it did take a woman, Senator Kamala Harris, to raise the very important issue of women's reproductive rights. We will
hopefully have you back for the next time. Brittany, Mehdi, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight.
And now for our next guest, he has become a household name in the field of alternative medicine and Oprah is among his meditation followers. Deepak
Chopra is also a bestselling author and a new age wellness guru. He has just released his 89th book. It's called "Metahuman" in which he unfolds a
path to higher consciousness and our Hari Streenivassan sat down with him to find out why unleashing your full potential is important to every aspect
of your life.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The name of the book, "Metahuman."
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR: You're right.
SREENIVASAN: What does it mean?
CHOPRA: So the word "meta" means beyond and in this case human means the condition socially constructed human mind. What is reality before social
constructs or interpretation of experience? When you have children, a child is born it has no identity. You know it doesn't have a name, no
nationality, no economic status.
SREENIVASAN: It doesn't know its gender. It doesn't know its race, right?
CHOPRA: No history. No gender. No nationality. And then the process of social construction and identity begins and you then assume that's your
identity but that's a provision of identity. The name, the social construct, even the body because your body is not a noun, it's a verb.
It's a process and so you start fertilize a woman then you're a zygote and then an embryo and then a baby and then a toddler and then a teenager and
now this and an old person and then gone. So what is it behind all this social constructs and the conditioned mind?
SREENIVASAN: So if all of this is not real or if that's not the reality. I mean you're almost describing - it's like "The Matrix" that would.
DR. DEEPAK CHOPRA: It is the matrix, but .
DR. CHOPRA: . but people have said this before. OK. We can .
SREENIVASAN: In the veil of my .
CHOPRA: Yes, the veil (inaudible) we can shine the German philoso [ph]. We are asleep, life is a dream but once in awhile we wake up enough to know
that we are dreaming. So right now we're having this conversation, if I asked you what happened to your childhood, you'd say it's gone. But what
happened to you yesterday, it's gone. What happened to five minutes ago, it's gone. What happens to these words by the time you hear them they
We are looking at the past, even perceptionally we are looking at the past. All the time. But the reality is infinite possibilities before we
construct it. We literally construct our experience of what we call everyday reality. Our conscious conceives, governs, constructs becomes
that which we call the physical world. Including that which we interpret as the physical body. Because it's a process, it's - it's an activity and
that activity, perceptual activity whether seeing or hearing or tasting or smelling or sensing in any way.
CHOPRA: That's in consciousness alone. So we, as humans, are a particular species that has unique modes of knowing, unique modes of perception,
unique modes of ex - of experience that we interpret as mind, body, universe. Now that's very convenient to have these constructs. Granted
[ph] main time, why not Botswana main time, right. Money, Wall Street, political systems, colonial empires, nation states. These are all social
SREENIVASAN: But they're still important. I mean these social .
CHOPRA: Very important in navigating experience, but .
CHOPRA: . interfere with our creativity. So when you --- when you today when you talk about technology, when you say disruptive technologies, which
means somebody, somewhere an artist or a scientist broke through the conditioned mind. Otherwise 99 percent of our, even our language, is just
recycling old concepts.
SREENIVASAN: So, someone's listening to this and saying you know what this is perhaps the sort of luxury of being much further up in the masos
hierarchy of need. You're talking about self actualization. How does somebody who's struggling with the basic of shelter and food and water,
what value do they get with such introspection, with coming to a conclusion or reality that well perhaps my perceptions are dominating this. I don't
know, what am I going to get if I transcend into metahuman?
CHOPRA: There are two schools of thought on that. One is you can not actually talk about self actualization or self transcendence to a person
who's struggling with survival.
CHOPRA: Or safety. And there is a hierarchy, survival, safety, love, belongingness, achievement, self esteem, creative expression, our conscious
self actualization. So don't even talk about this. But there's another school of thought and this part of actually very much every religious and
cultural tradition. In Christianity they say seek first the kingdom of heaven everything else will come spontaneously. And the kingdom of heaven
is this higher seat of consciousness. And if we don't, as they say seek the highest first, the highest knowledge. So you start from somebody [ph]
transcendence and then you, it's a top down approach.
CHOPRA: The other's a bottom up approach. And what I found is that actually if you live a creative life and if your life is centered around,
what we call platonic values, truth, goodness, beauty, harmony, love, compassion, joy, equanimity, that's a natural outcome of getting in touch
with yourself. And then as a result of that natural outcome there's also a new kind of creative expression. So I can't answer your question, where
should one start. It depends on the person and where they are in their stage of evolution.
SREENIVASAN: And when you look out at the world today, it seems that we are increasingly in a for selfie culture. Right in the sense that I will,
there'll probably be a social media post with a photo of the two of us. But it - it's like there's a world of presentation, representation,
misrepresentation it's constantly running around us. How do you get off that cycle?
CHOPRA: Well if you don't off that cycle, Hari, I think we're risking our extinction. We've come the edge of the precipice right now and it could be
any one of a number of factors. It could be a nuclear accident, it could be biological warfare. We have technology right now to get rid of human
civilization 20 times over. And it's not just the U.S. everyone from Pakistan to India to Iran to North Korea to Russia, China everybody has
these ambitions of being the dominant power. It's almost like we are in the midst of a collective insanity right now. And it's driven by
narcissism, it's driven by greed, it's by selfishness, driven by power mongering, influenced peddling [ph], cronyism, corruption, buying over your
enemies to support you and your personal motivations.
If this not insanity then we are declaring our own insanity. And we need to face this right now. If we don't we'll be the seventh extinction, you
know. The universe will continue but humans will have been a failed experiment (LAUGHTER) in evolution.
SREENIVASAN: What do you think explains the political divide today? Is this a reflection of divides that are in us? Is it us electing the leaders
that reflect that?
CHOPRA: Our leaders, doesn't matter who they are, democratically elected, autocrats, monarchs, they are symbolic expressions of our collective
consciousness. If you don't like your leader then you can't actually blame the leader, we have elected these leaders. Sometimes legally, sometimes
illegally. But still the very fact that they're there, they are representing symbolically our conditioned mind. At this moment what I see
is kind of a reaction to transformation. America for example is changing and the demographic is changing as a result of that there's a lot of fear
England has been inundated by immigrants, the natives, if I may call them that, are reacting with fear. It's like in a way it's a - it's a reaction
to colonialism, the fear. And so the point is, what's the creative solution? And the creative solution is ultimately on discerning that
regionalism, isolationalism, and extreme nationalism and any of its expressions, whether it's as a result of racism or bigotry or hatred or
prejudice, this is going to doom us. Because the world totally inter [ph] dependent right now.
You fight with the Chinese and the Chinese will screw you too. You - you right now if we do not understand that the global economic and political
systems are so entangled and so intertwined that the best solution to our problems today has to be a global solution. It can not be extreme
nationalism coming out of fear.
SREENIVASAN: Perhaps indelicate questions, but, look people are going watch and say how do you reconcile your success, your wealth and you preach
humility, you sort of preach a detachment from material stuff. But you've succeeded. You are able to have the luxury of time. You have homes that
are millions of dollars. That's great for this guy, but how does this all translate to me, right?
CHOPRA: So you know when I came to this country in 1970, as an intern after medical school, I couldn't leave India with more than $8 foreign
exchange regulations. I had an uncle in London who lent me $100 so I had $108 Indian mythology, that's .
SREENIVASAN: Auspicious number:
CHOPRA: Auspicious number, so I thought I'd do something auspicious with it. I went to Paris and I spent it all in one night at the Moulin Rouge.
So when I came to the United States I had zero. I had to make a collect call to my hospital to pick me up from JFK because I didn't have money for
a taxi cab or there was no Uber or even for a bus ride.
CHOPRA: So I started with nothing and are you asking me to apologize for my success, the American dream? I did -- I just followed my passion. That's
all I did. I trained in internal medicine. I struggled as a resident and doctor to the point that stress was driving me crazy - smoking cigarettes,
getting drunk on weekends and taking care of patients. Very stressful life with patients in the ICU, 30 patients in the office, answering to relatives
every moment, consoling peole whose child had died or a parent had died and I realized I wasn't helping them because I wasn't even helping myself so
there was a transformation and so from endocrinology to neuroscience to mind, body medicine, integrated medicine, now metahuman, this was a journey
of evolution that I didn't plan and I didn't even plan my success actually an now I'm at a stage where I'm in the process of slowly dismantling all of
My whole focus now is on nonprofit, on creating an academic understanding of what we call fundamental reality or consciousness or the hard problem of
consciousness of actually helping give birth to many people, to a whole new paradigm in medicine and healing and creativity and problem solving. So
that's my major occupation at the time with my foundation which is a 501C3. I have slowly given up my business to other people to run and I have the
luxury now of course of contemplative self inquiry but it wasn't like this throughout my life. It was a gradual evolution to where I am today.
SREENIVASAN: So what do you say to those people who are still in that place that you were in. they are struggling whether it's the smoking or
whether it's the stress. They might not be doctors. Right? Especially in the United States there are people who feel politically forgotten, they
feel culturally left behind. They feel threatened to their way of life, all of that adds to this anxiety, whether these are social constructs or
CHOPRA: There are enough reasons in today's ecosystem of relationships and politics and society, enough reason to feel victimized.
SREENIVASAN: Sure. So where do you start?
CHOPRA: Well first of all if you really want to create a better life for yourself, then you have to stop being a victim, otherwise you're reacting
and becoming a prisoner of the past. So having gone through this hourney myself, I would say to anyone struggling, get good sleep. Learn to manage
your stress. Get exercise. Watch your diet. Make sure you have friends and family and the social support system and once in a while get in touch
with yourself and be in nature. If you can start this journey just even by simply asking yourself a few fundamental questions, who am I? What do I
want? What's my purpose? What am I grateful for? You start living these questions. In my case living the questions moved me into the answers. It
wasn't even like I was planning anything. I was not driven by driving ambition, exacting plans, hard work or even a planned journey in my life.
It just happened.
SREENIVASAN: This isn't the Deepak Chopra of maybe 15 years ago who was trying to help you improve your golf game with feel good self help books.
Is it something where - is there an impatience, is there an urgency now that you feel in trying to get people to understand this?
CHOPRA: I'm 73 years old. I'm at peace with what I've gone through with my life. I'm totally at peace. I have no grievances, no resentments.
At this moment, no resistance even to what is and no anticipation and no regrets but I do feel that we have a responsibility to our children and to
our grandchildren because if we continue the way we are continuing then they don't have a future.
SREENIVASAN: Deepak Chopra, thanks so much for doing this.
CHOPRA: Thanks for doing this Hari. Thank you very much for having me.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: At peace and still with a sense of responsibility for the future, and his new book, "Metahuman" is out now. That is it for us for
now. Remember you can listen to our podcast, see us online at anytime at amanpour.com and follow me on instagram and twitter. Thanks for watching
and goodbye from London.