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but the true benefit is to have friends, to have relatives, to be known for who you are and to know others to know who you are. and that's only possible for a small number of people. >> host: our last phone call will come from texas, the town of corpus christi. caller, you're on. caller: yes, is there a genetic difference and intelligence and how does that impact reasoning. >> host: is there a difference in genetic and intelligence? >> guest: you know, i don't think so -- and i'm not an expert on this issue. my general ideas that overall most human beings who have an intact brain are within the same range of intelligence. however, it is really up to them -- and, you know, i defended free will in my book called "initiative" and i still defend freedom of the will for
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human beings. i think that in order to make sense of the enormous differences between human beings including the qualitative differences, the good ones, the bad ones, the mediocre ones, you have you have to accept that most people give direction to their intelligence. their intelligence is an instrument and not an end in itself. >> host: well, as we close out here we've shown a lot of your books. and we talked about your difference methods of communication. but you're blogging regularly on the internet. >> guest: actually, no. you know, that's not accurate. i put my columns on the blog but i don't blog too much because i don't have time for blogging. >> host: i wanted you to tell if they would go to your blog site. >> guest: they would find my columns of which there are at least five every week commenting on contemporary events,
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cultural, political, ethical, commercial, what have you. i write for the "orange county register" a regular column every other wednesday. and i get published in many other newspapers. i also getting published on websites. and so that's what i write for and it's not really a chore. it's more like a vocation for me now. i like doing it and, you know, i'll probably keel over at the keypad and say bye-bye, you know? >> host: speaking of that it's time for us to say bye-bye. >> guest: well, thank you for having me. i really appreciate it. it was lots of fun. >> host: thank you for spending three hours for us and to our viewers, thanks for all the questions to >> thank you so much for your time. >> thank you.
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>> hello from los angeles on this beautiful opening day of may. you're watching booked tv second day of live coverage of the los angeles times festival of books. we will be bringing you all sorts of nonfiction authors both in call-in programs and panel sessions. over 150,000 people are expected here over the course of today's. this event, which is called the largest literary event in the nation. out tell you what's coming up. the panel about loss angeles and out of you more about the details. following that, a call-in program. the truth about obama care, what they don't want you to know about our new health care law. following that, a panel session called democracy and its discontents moderated by celeste freeman of witness l.a., scott martell is one of the panelists. then walter mosley will be here. he will be in ag call-in program to talk about his new book about american democracy called 12 steps toward political
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revelation. our next panel session is inside paper hall called the living constitution. includes john dean, harvey weinstein, and allen, a founding dean of the university of california irvine school of law moderated by jim newton who is editor at large of the l.a. times. right now it is time for a panel session about los angeles called los angeles this in memory, moderated by a columnist for the l.a. times. the panelists include william deverell, leo braudy, lawrence culver, and d.j. waldie. live coverage by book tv from the los angeles times festival of books begins shortly. thank you for being with us. [inaudible conversations]
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>> welcome to los angeles. thank you all for being here. sometimes i think -- and here is the paradox. there seems only to be a mess and not much memory about los angeles. that is paradoxical because this is a place that may have worked harder than any other major city in america to craft its own mythology and its own image. the panel of people up here, all of them are experts in what it is we're talking about today. the work of william deverell, you know extensively. he can tell you anything about southern california history backwards and forwards. i'm often glad to welcome him on my radio program. thank you for being here. >> thank you. [applause] [applause] the latest book of his, a companion to los angeles. it will be out with all the other books and authors in the book signing area. on my right, d.j. waldie, the
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author of holy land. when i first read it i thought, holy cow. a tremendous book. his latest, i guess you can say that, produced by diane keaton, a love song in pictures and words to southern california. on my left, leo brody of usc. c'mon. this is our cheering section. leo's first book that made such a big impression on me was a friendly renown, the history of fame. his latest book is about the hollywood sign. i did not been my copy and the modestly did not bring yours. the hollywood sign. >> a beautiful blue cover. >> there it is. everyone knows what the hollywood sign looks like. and our visitor who, in fact, did some of his scholastic work here in southern california, the university not to be named. >> ucla. [laughter]
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>> ucla. the frontier of leisure, southern california. he has his own. the shaping of modern america. we're going to have about 59 minutes at the end. i can enforce my rule because i have a hat. this goes for the panel. i can put shock and on into this whole engagement. i would like to take as from the idea of myth and memory to the concept of southern california, how it became a self creating an self-fulfilling place. i want to start with leo brody. if there is any image that has burned itself into that california it is hollywood and the hollywood sign. coca-cola never tried so hard to destroy something that of the people identified with. >> absolutely. the sign itself, of course, was not considered to be significant in the beginning and all. it was a gigantic billboard for hollywood land for real estate
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development, and it was very much not connected with the movie business. almost in a self-conscious way in. they did not want to move the people here. hollywood itself was born as a place that was a temperance community. it was for rich people who wanted to attend their gardens and compete with pasadena. so in terms of the tournament of roses. it outlawed any kind of smelly or noisy industry. it frequently had when it did have rooming houses of which there were very few it and signs that said no jews, dogs, or actors allowed. [laughter] this so the idea, the connection that had happened over the decades of the hollywood sign with hollywood with the movie business is almost a kind of happenstance. it is a kind of myth that is created in that way by over the years people looking at it. in fact, let's say the land part was finally taken down in 1949.
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so the beginning, not very recent. it happened over the course of the last 50 or 60 years. the late 70's it was reconstructed. it became the sign that it is now. the previous sign was patchwork and falling apart constantly. it was supposed to be temporary. that is one of the interesting things. as you were talking about, the way that it has become the emblem of hollywood and to a certain extent of los angeles. to the world it was totally temporary. no one cared. i can only liken it to the eiffel tower which was also supposed to be temporary and which everyone thought was ugly. various artists and writers. they signed a petition saying get this out of the center of paris. now it means paris. >> and wasn't it zola who had lunch there every day. >> the only place in paris i don't have to look at the damn thing. and it's true.
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and one thing that he loved, i have one of his foes which is of those from the second page of the eiffel tower looking down at the ground trying to get rid of the tower itself. >> of course the mythology of hollywood is not the only myth that california crafted. a late comer. you look at some promotional maps of southern california and there is a dot on los angeles. the white spot. they meant that in some cases literally as well as politically. maybe you can expand on some of the multiple layers, the layers of mythology about california, many of them by california itself. >> in some ways was angeles has profited so magnificently by making it all seemed so easy. the notion that this metropolises exists within the warm embrace of nature and that it is easy to do because the sunshine, typography, geology. but los angeles is a place that will dissolve into existence by
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shoving nature around, really ambitiously. so our flood control projects, the building projects, the architectural projects, those really tested the limits and sometimes to the detriment of the structures themselves, tested the limits of putting this many people in the basin this big. and so los angeles history is certainly one of a kind of mystical embrace of nature. just beneath the surface pull it back a little bit. los angeles comes into being by the late 19th century to our. by one of the most aggressive campaigns of a kind of muscular control of nature. of course that is the tension, a proper band that you can stretch so far in nature will find inevitably ways to step back. we still persist in this notion of los angeles so calmly embraced by nature. it's not true. >> and as you say, we have thought -- fought against nature. images of southern california with the mountains and the
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beaches. but most people and most of the infrastructure was built in defiance of that. >> yes. it is not so different than other places. you have this many people anywhere and he will have an impact upon nature. los angeles public relations vehicle for this propaganda and selling of itself because after all laws angeles does something. hollywood finds a perfect iconic representation. they have done something that other cities have not yet figured out what to do. it advertised itself. advertised los angeles has the attraction. it worked magnificently. yes. a lot of that is just an endless series of individual institutional and corporate tensions about how you live in this place. >> i was going to introduce d.j. waldie last because i was jealous of what he recently wrote, that that did not do it myself. a wonderful piece talking about los angeles in the hands of absentee landlords. sam -- sam bell of chicago,
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major league baseball running the dodgers. was interviewing charlie back, the police chief at the time that word came down that major league baseball take over the dodgers. we looked at each other and said consent decree the way that the police department was run. now we have the dodgers run by remote. he was talking about los angeles. here we have a city that creates its own mythology, but it has now been left in the hands of the people. >> well, what is left behind by the remnants of the methodology? selling of los angeles began in that. of the mid-19th century after the original mexican landlords of los angeles, the owners lost there property. those properties were sold day and goes. there were sold to the banks in san francisco. l.a. was owned by remote control in the middle of the 19th
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century. others selling us off to others has been a part of the narrative of los angeles until today's dispersal of damaged goods to hedge fund managers in terms of the l.a. times art to the major league baseball in terms of the dodgers. fairly characteristic pattern of our lives. part of what we are talking about today is what the heck is that the case? why do we persist in imagining that los angeles is primarily a product to be sold to somebody else? that is an major concern of my work as a writer. thinking about how issues relate to how our lives are shared. this was famously called a fragmented mitropoulos, and it remains a desperately fragmented metropolis lacking in some of the coherent and cohesive social blue, severe blue that other parts of this country finds
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normative. >> is that why it is so easy for business entities are others to come in and essentially picked us apart in pieces like jumping a stolen car? >> well -- >> there is your image for los angeles. you heard it here first, guys. [inaudible] >> i believe, as bill does, that the path does provide a window into our present discontents. the character of los angeles is framed in the late 19th and early 20th century. the builders of los angeles to migrate otis, chandler, and all of those figures as last year our memory. all of those players in the making of laws angeles regarded this place primarily as a consumer product to be packaged, sold, and walked away from.
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>> while. and the consequences of that are something that warrants exploits in his but because the idea of the frontier of leisure, leisure sounds very positive. even a little bit passively engaging, but in fact there was a backlash that ended up making laws angeles a very segregated city in a lot of waste. the leisure created a new kind of aristocracy which became a race and property aristocracy in lieu of the old swords and the idea that resort living was in opposition to the public parts and facilities at other major cities. >> that is exactly right. los angeles is arguably the most successful tourist attraction in history. it will itself from a small town of a few thousand people into the second largest city in the united states. as bill coverall said, it pushed nature around. there were pushing people around. the mexican inhabitants of the region, native american
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inhabitants. the history and culture as well, but those two could be reshaped into appealing tourist, of -- commodities. on the one hand los angeles sold leisure fares as something that was very appealing. you could live in a city where you could go to the beach, mountains, or desert, live in a bungalow with your own yard, enjoy warm weather and planted palm tree and celebrate the fact that the liberated yourself from iowa. [laughter] and all that was in essence democratic, this idea that people could aspire. but wrapped up in that was likewise the effort to make leisure restricted controlled. for example, all the people in los angeles county pay taxes to buy a plan for public beaches. yet african-americans could visit almost none of them. other ethnic and racial groups faced hostilities as swimming pools, parks, beaches, and certainly resorts. >> and in public pools there would be days where blacks and
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latinos could swim, and that would be the day that the pools would be drained and cleaned. >> plans, a big public swimming pool. they referred to that as international day. then the pool was cleaned. >> we privatized leisure as much as we have elevated it. >> yes. at the that is exactly right. leisure came to be something that was controlled largely by private resorts, hotels, and it was encapsulated in the idea of the private family and home. the idea of a backyard swimming pool rather than the city slowing pull. that was a very appealing idea, but also worked. >> people came here for that one paradise, who needed a public park when you had one in your backyard. orange groves that everyone could visit and a lecture on oranges if you had a tree in your backyard.
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>> bring them this back into this as well because i think more of a dialogue. we have been talking about the history, negative history of los angeles. there is a dialectic between the myth and reality. and so the kinds of things that happened after world war ii with returning veterans, the opening up of some of the previously restricted areas, which, i think, is because of the continuity, the solid continuity it continues, the idea of coming to this place where you can have that piece of nature for yourself. the way the sign is set up in the rugged landscape is almost an embodiment. if you know, you can come here, have all these things. so as long as people believe in the men's there is an interesting tension between that and what is actually happening on the ground. maybe the myth overcomes that and becomes another reality. >> the consequences of this idea of coming year to turn your back
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on public engagement but, to make it all about you about. >> well, i would say to finish up at one comment, we tend to think of myth and reality at opposite ends of the linear spectrum. the geometric shape is wrong. it is a circle. the met is never mythical. the reality is never true. they are constantly in dialogue with one another. one person smith is another person's reality. los angeles is a great big mix of all of that. the privatization of los angeles is certainly not the only place in the country in the teens and twenties and thirties, discovering that private activities are attractive. so the backyard swimming pool, the fencing of los angeles residential neighborhoods. we can trace that privatization imposed by looking at the suburbs. there is dialogue with your neighbors, but there is a fence
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there. so this impulse is powerful in los angeles. is a vision and certainly very powerful in the post world war two time during the cold war where people do retreat to their domestic space. there is no question. security systems in houses go way up in the 1950's. people want to be in that domestic space, they want to privatize. los angeles offers than that because they can be outside. >> and i remember i did the last interview with the former mayor of los angeles, and he said in the 50's he traveled. people would say los angeles, is that anywhere near hollywood? you have the center of gravity, but at the same time you have what bill is talking about, the deliver its interviews of los angeles. i bet if you ask everyone in here where you live they would say west hollywood. they would say san pedro. it would not say los angeles because the identity of community cannot really go to a
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city that is more than 400 per miles. >> that is probably true. the argument about size of the municipality has been the one that this country has argued about for more than 200 years. i suppose if all of us left this room and got on a bus together and began driving eastward or becky's to you would say that you came from some specific neighborhood in this city of los angeles or some town in the county. and eventually you would say i come from a lake which is that other nebulous partly mystical partly factual place that we all live in. i don't live in the city of los angeles, but i do live in l.a. and that place has roots in the realities of 20th-century los angeles, but private -- not so much private, but smaller history, localize history that a
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characteristic and unique to those places. what bill and leo and lawrence have been talking about, however, is when we move out of the late 1930's and 20th-century into the marketing of a small house on a small lot in suburban los angeles, we see how the myths and realities have changed. the people who bought houses in lakewood in 1950 and 51 and 52 were not necessarily buying into a methodology of los angeles. they were buying into relief from the years of depression and war. they saw the small houses on small lots as a refuge from what had been in many cases difficult and in brutalized lives like my neighbors, many of my neighbors who had grown up in oil camps in bakersfield and migrant farmworker camps in the central valley. a little house and lakewood was not meant to them it was of the
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realization of their most deeply held logging. and los angeles deliver that. it delivered that to millions of people. >> fall on that point, did the sense of new, equal, and just, and fair in essence of flattening out hierarchical or class distinctions in the way that john was talking about. how did it marginalize of the people in doing so? >> that is an interesting question. it is strange how the myth that los angeles was selling, people here were selling and inventing and broadcasting around the world through hollywood among other means, like have a saying, on the one-handed offered this more democratized kind of life. it was mass suburbia. suburbia and the 19th century was something for rich people. here was the idea that everyone could live in their own house. and that's was the realization
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of a dream for a lot of people who have lived lives of such a vacation and now found themselves in a place of such abundance in many ways. at the same time that very same serbia, those very same houses were controlled by incredibly restrictive racial housing covenants that limited access of this suburbia to many other kinds of people. that continued long after the supreme court overturned racial housing covenants. realtors associations, white homeowners associations maintain the color line for a long time. >> the famous california initiative, there was one where california voters voted to give themselves the right to discriminate against anybody they did not choose to sell their houses to which ultimately had to get to the supreme court. and on the point of hollywood that people keep bringing up, it seems to be the 800-pound gorilla meth. if you go anywhere people will
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say as the 2,000 people live here, how many movie stars do you know? and people say, what is it like? they don't mean what is it like to live in greater los angeles but hollywood. then it is a little bit offensive to think that everybody here is in that part of the industry when there is so much that goes on. other industries and businesses and concerns, some interlocking, some entirely separate. if he did devon diagram hollywood may not be a big part of that, but it becomes this massive overhanging mythology that does influence even people who don't have anything to do with hollywood. >> the doubleness of branding in general. branding makes you more visible, familiar. but it is also incredibly reductive at the same time. but i think, you know, one of those things about branding in terms of los angeles, it's interesting that this effort to create a mythology about this incredibly sprawling place, this
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great, successful effort to do it was really a model. i've remembered i was a teenager reading science fiction talking about one place. where boston and new york and philadelphia expanded so much. they were becoming one amorphous thing. los angeles, in no way, led the way to that kind of here is an amorphous carbon world. how do we represented and representing it by brands, representing it by the hollywood sign as a kind of brand, the beginning of that. even though it has very little to do, the kind of activities, the many different kinds of activities. it is shorthand. >> and on the memory pointed, southern california is famously negligent when it comes to memory. i know when i wrote my book about the l.a. river people were surprised that there was a river. and so the beauty and yet some
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of the dismay of most of the california and l.a., people come in and invent themselves but at the same time they cut themselves off from knowing the history that may be too burdensome were they may be indifferent to. >> in that regard i think there is a difference between memory indonesia. there is an and the equality. >> we oftentimes forget the history of this. but it is of course not the place without history. it is steeped in history like any place that human beings have inhabited from time immemorial. but los angeles has done is to structure a certain kind of memory that in the absence structured memory takes up the place. so we remember a time that was sunny. the george washington of the west. >> in a skirt. >> right. we remember a certain lifestyle
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of the 19th century or the late 18th century that is a scrim of commercial and political and cultural and racial and ethnic willfulness. so what we forget is that los angeles comes of age as an american place with a landscape that is bloodied by the mexican-american war and by a trajectory of racial and ethnic violence that is punctuated through the 19th century and the 20th century, dark and gramm. and so the memory is really put to work, but constructive memory in big place of real memory. >> let me get a quick comment before i go to you. have other places tried so successfully to obliterate or to launder their history? if you look at boston. >> i think so. typing so. i am one of those people that things about los angeles in a way that we have to be careful about making it stand as its own
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place so exceptional and outside of human history. there are exceptional qualities every place. new england, for instance, from the moment of the settlement by colonists to the end of the 18th or 19th century, that is a landscape of dire and deep native white conflict. and that is not really part of the story in the ways in which memory is constructed. so there are patterns the los angeles has learned from, and los angeles does it brilliantly. more successful than chicago which is the great city of brides of the 19th century. los angeles leaves chicago behind by doing even better. >> i was going to point out that we have been talking a good deal about the creation of mythology or the enforcement of the nation or the substitution of memories are the creation of false memories as if it was something done mainly by hollywood were by collusion with hollywood type methods to read it is important
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to remember something that was mentioned in passing. the political structure of los angeles, specifically the political structure of the city of los angeles is collusive in this process as well. in the 1920's and continuing for the city of los angeles deliberately, the leaders of the city of los angeles, rarely the mayor's or even city council, but the leaders devised a system of local government designed to put all of us if we were residents of el a far away from the messy business of political and civic life. other people would do that for us. the technocrats of the 1920's would take care of that. the dwp would take care of that. and we are now the beneficiaries of that technocratic utopian view that government can be remote and perfect.
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what a curious -- >> and untouchable. a blind mask behind which government would do its job with corporate efficiency and all of us on the other side would simply be the beneficiaries of this well-run corporate view of civic life. well, that is impossible. as bill says, if the true memories are driven out false memories will take their place. if true politics is driven out we have what we have today which is something other than that. >> is that what you think has left us so vulnerable when we have the centrifuge of political power so thin and spread out and invisible that you have in los angeles county 88 cities. no wonder we can't give regional transit because we have to give 88 groups on board in addition to all the other agencies. >> i use the word advisedly, the word loyalty which i still, the great philosopher of american
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experience. he spoke of the need for people to be loyal to imperfect places. the imperfect place was grass valley in northern california. a place invented by rapacious miners in their followers. but it was possible to even grasp valley in, people could be loyal. the argument that we have been talking about to a degree here today, is it possible given the mythology and history and our false memories and hopes, is it possible to be loyal to los angeles? >> and to his definition as well. in what we are discussing, the idea of who gets marginalized and how, as bill was talking about, once you destroy culture we tend to mythologize it all over again. and so that happened with the culture as you write about in the book. then you have groups that were neglected groups that or underserved were overlooked who
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manifested themselves elsewhere. for example, the gay groups to have made palm springs and a headquarters and the idea of this whole desert kate culture that is now aulos a perry, almost a cartoon of the original culture. of course african-americans and latinos. >> when i picked the title for the book and use the word frontier i mean it in both senses of the term meaning both possibility end of the other hand danger and violence. the frontier in american history is usually not a carefree, happy place. at the same time it is a word that is synonymous with up to the impossibility. that is true among groups you're talking about, paul springs, the resorts. it does have this very unique history that becoming a day tourist destination and community residential community. another career by writing about and about that in some ways has
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the most remarked to have remarkable projections of all of the indians whose preservation occupied large chunks of the actual city of palm springs. they spend all of the 19th century, the later 19th and 20th century just trying desperately to hold on to that land and not be forced out by a white city government. and then through a manifestation, the frontier of leisure the casino industry, they are known not only some of the most powerful players in palm springs, but a very powerful players in california politics. it is important to remember how this can -- you know, this is about -- you know, repression and restriction. ..
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>> it was wanting to have your own plot, your house, and your yard and land there too. the kind of collision between what you called a kind of entrepreneurial individualist, california that doesn't want to have very much to do with neighbors except maybe barbecues, and the california
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that is trying to somehow create a koa cohesive civil society and there's a connection between the overhangs of the past that made you free, the things you wanted to come here for and the problems you face in the present. >> maybe of a consequence of the individuality. >> sure. >> i want to ask you about the perception of los angeles, and, of course, there's waves and waves of immigrants coming in for different purposes, but how that influenced what we become and how we are perceived. >> i think a vast number of people around the country and certainly around the world still view los angeles as a landscape of rejuvenation and reinvention so i went on a field trip to lax
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with my student ease and i said look at the people arriving here. it's complicated, but partly by the things because a lot of people don't come for the reasons they used to come. they used to come because they were poor or needed to escape some aspect of their life and came because they thought america or los angeles, southern california, over the generations would rejuvenate their families. they worked hard so their children and grandchildren could have a home. that worked for people. once you entered the hollywood, fame, and money into the equation, it gets complicated. everybody who comes here to start life anew, there's one who comes to get famous. that's a hard road needless to say. this myth is so seductive and alluring because of the landscape, the beach, the sun, the palm trees, and partly because it works for some people. it's really astonishing and has
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a tight hold on all of us i suspect, but to any myth like this there's an underbelly, darkness, grim stories that have to be factored in. >> leo next. california has been a high-risk, hi-reward state, and california rewards that with the people getting off the planes and bus, i'm going to make it big. it's like the nba. every kid in high school a thousand of his colleagues fall by the wayside and don't make it in the big time. >> it's a narrow funnel in the same way, but unlike the nba, they're all coming to a particular place to do it. on the upside, there's a lot of pretty people in los angeles. [laughter] all of you, by the way, all of you. [laughter] you come and have those dreams, and you don't make it, you meet other people, friends, get a married whatever it is, and you
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settle here because there's still something about the place itself. even in the 19th century was gold. in the middle and later was health, and now it's some kind of more idea of self-enhancement. >> i drew the map, silicon, silicone. [laughter] >> you can do it yourself. >> oh, but does it still appeal so much here as it does to people who come here or do the scales fall? >> i think they do to a certain extent. there's a certain fascination, but also a certain, you know, we're tired of the hollywood sign to a certain extent. it's there. the history of the sign, all the people really interested in preserving the sign were people from the outside. they tended to be people who came here when the sign was reconstructed in the late 1970s. it was alice cooper, hugh he
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hefner. there's a sense of the outsider investing significance in the symbolic io donnic places and images much more than the insider. hardly anybody in that first reconstruction, hardly anybody in the movie business gave money to it all -- at all. the second time more money was put up by people in the industry, but they're outsiders. we've come down a generation since then. >> you can start lining up at the microphones for your questions for the panel. make sure they are questions, not announcements, and do not ask for the long firm bit certificate. [laughter] >> in some ways los angeles and california generally plays out a
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larger american experience with immigration. we tend to think that the huddled masses arrived in new york and stayed. the muddles masses that stayed represented those who never could go back. the united states did go back. they made their nut here, and they went back to their villages and towns in europe, and they left. southern california is the characteristic landscape of mid westerners and southerners certainly in the great suburbs like the one i live in, and many of them have left. we talked about people who arrive for fame or rejuvenation, perhaps for those two persons coming for fame or rejuvenation, one of us is left in the past 15 years back home to missouri or kansas or southern illinois. in part because their connection to the place allowed them to do that, and also in part because
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back home is home. >> does that change the myth then that they -- >> indeed it does. it also shouldn't disstress us there's this shift of demographics in southern california as if people voting with their feet were fleeing because what's the matter with that place? immigrants move around a great deal. i'm not surprised that many of my neighbors who were from the border south moved back to the border south. that's where their families are in fact. >> i think when we think about the history of the los angeles, all the images of it to employee a hollywood metaphor, it's always sunshine. either it's the most perfect utopia that existed or the most perfect distopia. that might be the version you
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get wops in awhile -- once in awhile, but the reality is in between. the real city is in between. when you walk on the beach in february, it's perfect on a clear warm day. when you sit in the traffic jam in the 405, by, it's a long way from perfect. [laughter] the real city found in the extremes is a faze nateing place and fascinating to me because a wrote a book about it, but it's wonderful there's so many people here too. >> maybe in a moment we'll get to the point how other cities clash against los angeles and aren't so nice for some reason. maybe we can ask you where you're from. >> i'm from hermosa beach. >> not the city of los angeles. >> noit quite. i -- not quite. i wonder if you can comment on how consequential oil was in los
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angeles both in its extraction and consumption. >> will, maybe you want to take that one? >> huge. everybody hear the question? >> the significance of oil in production and consumption in california. you've seen the oil well in the median. >> there's a gigantic pool of oil off the coast of the pacific and when los angeles found that in the 20th century began to stick giant straws in it and suck it out, the city and the community and the region and the county accommodated that site of oil on the beach as part of progress in a way we wouldn't. it would disturb us. they loved it, most of them. >> they sold them as postcards. >> absolutely. the sheer economic might of oil not only in the creation of individual fortune that was more or less sometimes philanthropic, sometimes not, but the
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productive expect and fueling the oil endlessli important in california. >> there's a big scandal where people got taken. >> let me add wop other note to today's explore nation of history you didn't know maybe. prior to the start of oil exploration in los angeles, there were very, very few sources of energy in california. in fact, in the 19th century, there's fuel driven industries made in australia were imported to los angeles as fueled to run the steam engines of the city because there was hardly wood left at that point and no coal in the northern tier of the state. oil made it possible to convert a sleepy village into a power
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house, and that was the making of los angeles in the earliest 20th century. >> today there's still an oil well in beverly hills high school shielded by a arty tower. >> if you can pass out the door, walk down the street, you see the memorial library built in honor of the great oil man in the 20th century involved in the murder suicide, although we are still not sure which is which. >> the father with the teapot dome scandal. >> and the mangs is just right up the street tennessee >> next question. >> can you speak about ark tech -- architecture all the way from the first european architects, the openness, the showman up to
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gary today, and now what i think is not applauded enough is our contribution in the way of art schools. people flock here from all over the world. >> right, here, here. i may pass that off to leo who probably knows more than i do about it. >> let's hear from both. >> well, let me just say that in the making of the golden image of southern california, painters had an enormous role to play. the laguna beach painters and others, the mountain painters, even the desert painters projected to audiences worldwide both in their exhibitions and in their reproductions of their art work on everything from plates and dishes so it projected a story of california as the perfect melding of domesticated nature and every day life.
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>> well, also i would say that a lot of the early modern art was shown here in the 20s even, places on the boulevard, and there's still a kind of -- that was european art, and european modernists to the great extent, but the first real school of california painters tepidded to stay in southern california after world war ii, and after that people like ed moses and there's a great documentary called "the cool school" about them, and that's, you know, also related to what you said before, the question we skipped over about the images that other cities have. the idea that modern art could only happen in new york, let's say in the post-war period and that it only had to be abstract expressionism was challenged very much here to great effect, and i should mention, of course, the bay area people, and there's
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a kind of post-war movement. a lot of the people had been in the war, came back here and stayed in northern and southern california and created a kind of california art that was not in opposition, but very different from what was going on in new york. >> question from over here. >> hello, panel. running with the theme of liquids in los angeles, i'm curious, and i would like some comment on the mythology of the relationship between owen's valley and los angeles. >> okay. that's a great question. this is the water source. bill, maybe you want to. >> inevitable style in the early 20th century, los angeles decided its own river is not appropriate so runs it out to the see by paving it and runs out of river and gets another one. >> we waste water to buy water. >> that's it. it's part of the cultural and
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environmental and political dna of l.a.. chinatown's brilliant, wrong historically, but who cares. [laughter] >> that's the hollywood again. do you want to make a quick comment because you live down river. >> yeah, i mean, as true as bill's comment is, it is alaska worth remembering the water still comes from the los angeles river, not all goes to the sea wasted. secondly, the -- also worth remembering that owen's valley water is city of la sin, not necessarily all of ours. [laughter] if you don't, yes, indeed, if live in the -- if you don't live in the city of los angeles, you don't draw it from owen's valley, but from other sources, or if you live in
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the swampy southeastern corner of the county also paveed over, all of the water comes from underground, and more of that comes from snow melt from the mountains through the spreading grounds in irwindale, and others is reclaimed water, processed, and pumped back into the ground. it's important to know where the stuff under your feet comes from so you have a complete picture because otherwise all you have is chinatown. [laughter] >> the river goes to the eastern edge of malibu, but we have this definition that bill eluded to and gather water to flush it into the ocean and spends millions upon millions of dollars to get water from elsewhere. if we replenished our own ground water, we would be better off in
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saving money. over here. >> thank you for taking my question. first time pledge this year. >> thank you. >> my question is really for all the panelists. recent census data says los angeles is the most segregated city west of the mississippi 10th in the country. how do these competes narratives of other communities of color, and not just color, but sexual orientation, demography, religion, what have you, how do these inform and contradict the los angeles hollywood mythology? >> everyone here wrote about that. i'll ask lawrence to answer first. >> sure. this is what we've been talking about today and what surprises me is often when i talk to people about the history of segregation or housing in los angeles, people are surprised. you know, they think this is
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something that happened in atlanta, but somehow did not happen here in a place that was taken from mexico in 1848. [laughter] and then, you know, where the local population was viewed as sort of this easily available labor force for all those or orchards and construction and immigration is an integral part of the city, and now it's segregation by class as much as race. >> class is the dirtiest word because we don't believe it exists. >> exactly, but it does. >> just to agree that segregation by skin color is real, but becoming less the driving characteristic of a place definition in the los angeles area than it really is class, the economics of property ownership. >> it's curious because we hear of los angeles in some people
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calling it a third world country, and that now refers less that race and ethnicity because we are a majority minority population than the class drift and income drift that's there. another question here. >> hi. >> hi. >> after all these deep topics i feel trivial asking this, but when did the hollywood land drop and why? >> it was falling apart. the maintenance stopped and then it was buffed so much it was ragged there, and the department of parks and recreation wanted to tear it down as a public menace like the watts tower awhile later. they want to destroy the past side of things, but the chamber of commerce said they would take over the sign. 1949 is the moment when it loses its billboard quality and starts
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becoming iconic. >> how did it happen that just the word land fell down not just the whole -- >> [laughter] >> okay. woodlands or -- >> they knocked it down. in 1941 also there's kind of this whimsical reason. >> that block buster movie of 1941, you mean? [laughter] >> two, we talk about the southern california, people abuse the hollywood sign, the pranks over the years using it as an advertising medium. >> laying other words over it, and the first one was hollyweed in 1976. >> didn't last long. >> it didn't, but interesting to me because it was done by an architecture, a public sculpture
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student in northridge who had an assignment to do public art, and that's what he did. [laughter] >> wow. [laughter] >> his name was danny finegood, took two pieces of white and black material and turned hollywood into hollyweed to celebrate the fact that weed was decriminalized by the legislature. >> did he get an a? >> he did. [laughter] >> next to the last question. >> okay, for the panel i'd like them to address the myth of reinvention, but i think it's the second largest city in the country, and even the third, i grew up here and everyone i knew reinvented moved to new york, seattle, or fries because religion involves moving, so it seems to be a given to the panel that the idea of reinvention which is early 20's, and even
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1970s major into culture i think it's certainly -- is it exaggerated and for pat, question on intellectual life. we have book festivals, largest in the country, huge book market, big academy here, why is the myth still silicone even though we have high-tech here. >> excellent question. we can speak to those. >> well, i think i agree with you a bit about reinvention and mobility, but a lot of folks in los angeles reinvent themselves from moving from region to region in los angeles. there's migration down the cost into the county of los angeles or further out into anybodying counties so a lot of that reinvention class based moving out of an apartment and buying a house or occupation or other movement, that still takes place a lot, and we can find reinvention in all the american
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history. >> the quick point for your excellent question about intellectual life here, this is the biggest book buying market in the country, but you still got the center of gravity for power and money in new york and in washington back to the point we started with and don talking about how southern california is picked off by a lot of other forces and just personally i find intellectual new york has a parochial sense of intellectualism and the art in the 50s, california not given credit for what it accomplished is because you find that specific gravity and different zip codes and area codes, and at some point that gravity shifts and the fruits and nuts end end up here, but the fire power, the capacity for los angeles to be the governor, the driving force of this is the story of the 21st century.
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>> in keeping of the theme of reinventing los angeles, i grew up here in highland park, and i new lisp in verdes. i lived through the riots, i was the judicial assistant in the original jenni beating trial and sat through the whole trial about the riots. my question is the same things that led to both of those periods of civil unrest, the economic disperty, the lack of educational opportunity in the jobs, if those conditions have not changed, and if you could briefly discuss have they changed for the better? if they don't change, are we looking at another period like that? >> a question about the two civil periods of civil unrest, the two riots and rather we're riding for a fall again, don? >> i don't know the answer to that question, and i hesitate fearfully to prognosticate to
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make forecasts on it. i understand the point that these factors in our every day life have not changed dramatically in the last 30 years, and do we face another period grotesque or hisk period -- horrific period. i don't know. what we have to ask is why this town sets itself on fire unlike other cities in the country? [laughter] >> other forces start it on fire too. >> talking about the manmade ones. >> the capacity to set ourselves on fire indeed. >> and metaphorically as well. let's start with lawrence culver who has been here and no longer living here and you can talk about us about why we are still here with all the things we talked about with the draw backs and disadvantages. it's not just the beech -- beach or the mountains, but what
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keeps us here? >> it turned into a real place and 5 huge -- a huge self-contained economy, a huge global presence in terms of its media visibility, so it was is a city where people come to have a career, to have a life, and that's perhaps less exciting than reinvention, but more real, and just to tie that end, you know, we've talked about reinvention, but the downside means you can forget the past, and the standard narrative in los angeles is this relentless change, reinvention again and again, and yet, look at los angeles as a story consistency, a city that's founded in 1781 by a group of india and colonists from mexico and now the second largest mexican city in the world after mexico city itself. you can see a story of things staying the same, not
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reinventing again and again. >> leo, topside academic, you can go anywhere. >> what keeps me here is the variety. it's the biggest small town i've ever lived in. [laughter] the kinds of things you can do here. i like the different cities, those ungovernable things and different places there too. when i think about the cultural life in new york, at least there's the lens of the "new york times," it seems parochial and rules oriented. it seems rules oriented, and i think people here are breaking the rules and going out on their own, and that's the legacy and that kind of individualism that that has a bad side as well, and in terms of burning ourselves down, i think of it as the phoenix. [laughter] >> oh, nice save. >> we burned ourselves down and recreate. >> real quickly from don and phil. >> why am i still here?
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for good reasons and bad. i have fallen in love with this place and i cannot bear to leave the place i love. [applause] >> top that, bill. [laughter] >> i can't top that. i'm a history nerd, and i see history everywhere in this place, and so i love that. >> thank the panel please. the signing area -- [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> that was live coverage of a panel called los angeles myth and memory. you're watching booktv's live coverage of the festival of books, and you're looking at c-span's digital bus on location with us as booktv covers the festival. we also have our bus here as an exinlt so if you live in the los angeles area, plenty of time still this afternoon to come down to the campus of the university of southern california and see the festival. here's some authors who visit us, and we look forward to see you. we have panel sessions throughout the day and in
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between the panel sessions, authors of new nonfiction books. let's introduce you to the latest guest joining us here on the campus. this is sally pipes, and she's written her third book about health care in the country, this is the truth about obama care. how long have you been interested in health care as a professional interest? >> probably, susan, for about 25 years. i grew up in canada, worked in the phraser institute, and we worked on the growing waiting list in canada, then in 81 came to the u.s. and got involved in hillarycare and obamacare, just totally involved in it. >> in the book you acknowledge that the american health care system was in need of reform, and in 2009 when this really began to take up the scene. what do you see as the major problem with the american health
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care? >> well, you know, everybody wants affordable, accessible quality health care. that's the goal for everyone. the president, of course,mented universal coverage and bend the cost curve down. we spent about 17% of our gross domestic product on health care. i would like to see the health care system reformed. my vision though is not increasing the role of government in health care. we have about 50% of health care is in the hands of government today, and i would like to see that reduced and to empower doctors and patients. get away from increasing government, and of course, under the affordable care act, this legislation is really growing the role of government in our health care system. it's not going to achieve universal coverage or bend the cost curve down as the president said he wanted to do. >> we're here to interagent with you about health care and her book, and other books included
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miracle cure and the myths of the american health care published in 2008. you can send us your questions by e-mail, and that is at you can also phone us. phone numbers are on the screen and you can tweet us, it's at booktv. loathes of ways to get -- lots of ways to get involved and look forward to your questions on this. one of the things i learned is some of the interesting cross roads for the development of american health care, and just as a way of teaching people about how our system changed over time, i want to go through a couple with you and you talk about them. >> sure. >> one was as you point out october 26, 1943irs ruling, and can you talk about how that reenforced the current health care system? >> well, you know, during world war ii when raging price controls were in, employers had a hard time attracting new employees because they couldn't
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give them wage increases and the government decided they would give employers a benefit if they offered health care, and employees, of course, would get their health care with pretax dollars, so the government got us into this mess in the first place, and now they are getting more and more into it, and i would like to see that changed. you know, we don't get our long term care insurance, and we should -- 64% of americans get their health care through their employer, and we need to change that to build a market-based health care system because if you lose your job, your health insurance, you go into the individual market, and you buy were health insurance with after tax dollars. we don't have a level playing field. >> people who support the single payer system look at that same fact that it's employer-based saying that leaves us out of it if we lose our jobs or are unemployed for other reasons. you see the same circumstances from a sircht per -- circumstance from a different
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perspective? >> i would like to move away from employer-based insurance, but if the government wants to do something it's to change the tax code to individuals get their health care are pretax dollars as well. we need a competitive market in health care, and i think the president, himself, really wants a single payer medicare for all health care systems which is the system i grew up in in canada under, and, of course, you know, when the government controls it, you have government saying we'll spend 10% of gross domestic product on health care, and there's long waiting lists. few people in america realize today that in canada the average wait for seeing a primary care doctor and treatment is 18.2 weeks. that's over four months. that is going to happen if care is rationed. the older you are, the more your care is rationed. our seniors are rationed under obamacare because the president, of course,ments to cut $575
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million. >> use his tore -- another historical point you talk about is the legislation signed by harry truman in 1946, the hospital construction act. how did they change the health care system? >> well i think, you know, it changed the health care system a lot. in california, for example, doctors cannot be employed by hospitals. we built community hospitalses, private hospitals, but under obamacare today, private hospitals can no longer be built, and doctors are not able to deduct if they don't take medicare paicialghts. there's a lot going on in the whole system and that was harry truman, you know, was one of the people who got us into this mess, and now we're in it in a much greater extent. >> we have calls for you, let's get to the public and involve them with this. a viewer watching from new york.
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you're on with sally pipes. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, i just wanted to ask the question that you posed to her when she sat down initially which was what does she think is actually wrong with health care, what can she do to come up with that answer, not so much about the health care reform act is saying. >> well, as i said, we want affordable, accessible quality care and how do we get there? instead of increasing the role of government through subsidies, taxes, controls on insurance companies, we need to change the tax code that we talked about empowering doctors and patients. we need to get states to do medical malpractice reforms. the cost of defensive medicine in this country today is about $210 billion according to price waterhouse cooper. the president said, you know, doctors are, you know, doing all these tests because they want to
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line their pockets with money. of course, that is not the case. they are afraid of being sued. we need states to do medical malpractice forms and demand mandates, and all of these things that add 20%-50% to the cost of insurance. you know, i think health savings account where they do empower doctors and patients. we need to remove the regulations and controls on those, and, of course, under obamacare what's happening is more regulations on sha and can't reduce the over-it-counter meds and others are reduced from $5-$2500. that's what i would like to see. >> the diagnosis of what's wrong, if you think the bill should be affordable and successful that our health care
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costs too much and not enough people can access it. are those some of the problems you see right now? >> right. 64% of the americans get health care through their employer. 50% of people are on medicare, medicaid, s-chip, and the va system, and then the census bureau says there's 57 million americans unensured, but there's 9 million americans chronically ill without health insurance for two years or more. those are the people we need to help, and one of the things in the 50.7 million that's very important is about 14 million of those people are already eligible for medicaid and s-chip and have not signed up. the president wants to add 18 million more people to medicaid, and the people that are already on medicaid find they can't get a doctor because docks won't take them. that's going to be an increasing problem under this system, and we know the congressional budget
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office has shown that about 23 million people will still be uninsured in 2019 when, you know, the obamacare really becomes effective in 2014. that's when the big cost driver comes in expanding medicaid and state-based changes come into being. >> next question from texas. you're on the air. >> caller: hello, you talked about the one thing utah going to talk about with cutting back half a trillion dollars and forcing rationing. was the intention of the obamacare program was to eventually so staid l the insurance companies they can no longer to make a profit and forced into single payer? also, if we are forced into rationing, is it something like the british program, the nice prm -- program where they determine how much care you get based on your
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age and ability to contribute to society. thank you. >> those are two very, very good questionsment i think base of the controls put on insurance companies already such as children being able to stay on their parent's plans until age 26, the beginning of the end of the annual limits. there's a lifetime cap, free preventive care, all of these things are adding already to the cost of insurance. i think, you know, kathleen, the secretary of hhs, has said she's going to keep a list if she thinks any insurer increases premiums by more than 10%, they may not be allowed to be a part of the exchanges. there's not a government insurance program in the affordable care act but what happens is private ensurers are crowded out of the insurance market and then it's the goal of getting a public insurance plan and leaving us all in a medicare for all or a single payer system
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where it's like canada with waiting lists and a lack of care and resources on technology. also research patterned off nice in u.k., the national institute for health and clinical excellence, of course that program that don, the administrator by recessed appointment, he loves nice, he calls it a national treasure to pattern. what it does is the government determines what health procedures and treems are cost -- treatments are cost effective compared to medically effective. i think this 15 member group of bureaucrats to be part of the effectiveness board, they are also going to determine what is cost effective as opposed to medically effective which ends up in rationed care. government decision makers decide what kind of health care we get, not the private sector. >> we have a tweet for sally pipes. this viewer tweets texas has
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regulated medical malpractice awards and seen the same increase in physician premiums in states that have not done so. >> well, i disagree with that. in texas in 2003, the state capped noneconomic damages and punitive damages at $500 and $250,000. we have seen in texas because of the change, 16,000 new doctors going into the state of texas. premiums have fallen in the state, and it is the way to go. california has the law, and we also have lower premiums. doctor, neurosurgeons and ob/gyns around the country like virginia, pennsylvania, nevada, they have got out of the practice of medicine, and who does that hurt? the patient who needs the surgeon and ob/gyn.
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capping damages is the way to go. >> next phone call from las vegas on with sally pipes. go ahead, please. >> caller: hi, i'm calling because it's easy to sit this, but i was permanently disabled from the earthquake. i lived in california for 40 years. i was in three earthquakes. the last one permanently disabled me. if it wasn't that i was with motion picture and had a mention, i'd be out in the cold, and what do you suggest we do about people? i have two questions. the first question is i think government should be more involved in health care because i see what these doctors can and will try to get away with, anded second question i have is what do you propose? you're talking about after --
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you're talking about prior to medical trauma or something happening with taxes and medical taxes and things like that, insurance, but what do you do if a person is in the midst of his life like i was at 44 years old, and all of the sudden, i was struck down permanently. >> caller, let me jump in because we understand your question. >> you know, everybody in this country is entitled to health care under a federal law called empower, so nobody is denied access to an emergencyroom, community hospital, or community clinic, but going back to your point, i mean, if insurance were not tied to an employer, but it was your insurance, you would be covered, you know, over the course of illnesses, and as we get older certain things happen and we need health care, but in the meantime i think if the federal government wanted to do something, one of the things they could have done was to beef up the state-run high risk pools
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from $25-$50 billion so people who are not employed like yourself, you can get insurance in a state high risk pool. today, most of the pools are closed, and it's very difficultment i understand that, you know, certain people are having troubles, you know, getting health insurance, but this way we would be able to get insurance through one of these high risk pools, and, of course, insurance of your own it goes through life like switzerland. >> health care is rationed now in the u.s. by how much we can afford. how is that a good system? >> well, health care is rationed. the question is do you want your health care to be rationed by the private sector, by the market or want it to be rationed by government so in a country like canada when the government took over the health care system in the 70s, they determined what
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percentage would be spent on health care. it's 10.4% and the demand for health care in a country like canada is greater or even in britain, so people -- because that's all that's spent. the budget that's afforded so people go on a waiting list and government determines how long your wait will be whether you can get access to care. i think america is a country based on entrepreneurship. we want the private sector to be determining how we get health care, what level of health care we get, and if government gets involved in it, it's less waiting list rationed care and lack of access to the new equipment, the new demography, all the new treatment and medical devices that are developed in america, not canada or europe. you have to have a market. we want research and development to happen. you have to be able to have a profit motive. >> 15 minutes left in our half hour with sally pipes.
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our viewers there's all kinds of sights and sounds and planes over head and carts rolling by, and now there's a group of muslims in noon day prayer, so if you hear sounds, that's all part of the techture of the festival of books so welcome to the experience with us here. next a call from colorado. you are on the air. >> caller: yes, ma'am. a couple of things. i deal with this all the time, dealt with them for years. i have not found that canadian who would trade their system for our system. i think ms. pipes is a hack for the tea party organization. >> caller, let me just say, you can criticize, but you don't need to be up culting to people, so not found a canadian yet to trade in their system. >> there's two things. one, when you polka canadians in
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general, they like their health care system. when you polka canadians who get treated by a specialist, the numbers are bad. 17% of canadians are waiting to get a primary care doctor. when the president says we need more doctors in primary care to lower cost, canada, you know, has a huge waiting list for getting primary care doctors. a lot of canadians come to the united states, pay out of october for treatments because they're on a waiting list too long in canada. look at the chap in ontario who had terrible headaches, went to the doctor, told it would take, you know, 8-10 weeks, four months even. he went to the states, paid out of pocket, had a brain tumor, went back to canada and was told it's another four months to get another appointment. came back to the states to buffalo, new york, paid out of pocket for that treatment, and is suing the canadian
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government. he said i'm alive today because there was an escape valve in the united states. the woman who was expecting quadruplets, there was not a single unit in calvary. she was flown to montana, a city of 55,000. her babies were successfully delivered and she said thank heavens for the united states and my quads were delivered. when he needed heart surgery, he couldn't get it in newfoundland. he then came to the united states to florida, to miami, to the hospital, paid out of pocket. he then found that when he came out and the med ya was against him. he said it's my heart, my health, and my choice. americans want a choins in how -- choice in how they get their health care and don't want to wait as people do in canada. >> this is from someone called
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citizen of the world who writes sally pipes loses the argument. medicare advantage is the private insurance, and it's a failure. >> well, i disagree with that. there's a quarter seen seniors on medicare advantage. they like it. the results from people on medicare advantage have been very high. the president has said he wants to eliminate ultimately medicare advantage starting off with $2 o 2 -- $202 billion in cuts. it's a private program where seniors get their insurance through the private sector. very, very popular. i disagree. seniors are concerned about the fact that as i said earlier, $575 billion is cut out of medicare in ten years. the care will be rationed first by our seniors, and, of course, in canada, that's how they cut
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costs. my mother passed away in canada because of her age as a senior, she could not get a an appointment. when she was employer-based hajing in november 2005, she went to the hospital in an balance, spent two days in the emergencyroom, two days in the lounge waiting for a bed in a ward. got her tests, but she passed away two weeks later. it's cheaper to deny care in a country where government controls the dollars. we do not want that in america. it's not the american way. >> this is sally pipes' book. you with critical of the democratic party calling expansion of health care a democratic obsession, but what is your view of the republican's increase of the drug program? >> of course, right now, paul ryan has a budget plan, the republican plan, and president obama spoke a couple wednesday's ago on how to cut the costs and
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expand the vise reinvention board and control what drays and hospitals are paid. he wanted to really bring in price controls on pharmaceuticals to reduce the cost under medicare part d, the pharmaceutical plan. i think seniors need access to drugs and i think the private market is the way to go, and by putting price controls, it's going to a, reduce the ability of drug companies to research and develop and produce new drugs. it costs $1.3 billion when you have an idea until a drug or bilogic makes it through the process. very, v. expensive, but it's done in america, and i think we don't want more and more government control over what kind of drugs our seniors can get. medicare part d is working, less costly than predicted, and, you know, it was brought in by president george w. bush in 2004. >> stanford, connecticut.
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on for sally pipes, good afternoon. >> caller: good afternoon. a quick comment and a question. i think -- [inaudible] what made this country great is the consumer -- [inaudible] it seems obvious to me through employers who pay for service on the government we deprive ourselves of the feed back. when i look at the future, my question is where's the natural advocacy for consumer driven health care? who are the constituents you see sign the fabricating for that. thank you. >> right, well, consumer driven health care, there's about 11 million americans with health savings accounts. put money away each month in an account, it accumulates tax free, use it when you need to for your health care, and it has to be combined with the high deductible insurance plan. it's more popular among young
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people. more and more companies with the health of insurance going up offer consumer directed plans, i myself have a health savings account. we need to educate people on, you know, health care is srb it should not be first dollar coveragement people with employer based coverage have no idea what the cost of health care really is. if you pay part of the premium, if you pay a co-pay of $20-$30, that's not what health care costs. when people think it's independencive or free, they use more of it. when you put consumers and doctors in charge, they then are much more careful about how they spend their money. doctors or a lot of doctors are in favor of consumer driven plans. the tea party movement which has been terrific in america, these are average american people who do not wants government making decisions about their health care. they don't want the post office
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being the way they get their health care. >> another tweet. this is from carolyn m.. people pay out of pocket even with a nationalized system, there's still a private market layer. >> that's not true in a country like canada with a true single payer system. the provinces that run the health care system, they are the only providers of health care. it's illegal in canada for a doctor to charge a patient. now, there's a number of private clinics in canada that rose, they are legal, but the use of them by patients is being very good because when people are on long waiting lists for care as i mentioned, 18.2 weeks is the wait, these people are getting mri's paying out of pocket for them. it is illegal, and it's interesting in the province of quebec, the supreme court ruled in june 2005 that the ban on private health insurance and private health care in the province of quebec only was
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illegal because canadians are entitled to life, liberty, and the security of the person as madam chief justice said. access to a waiting list is not access to health care. you can hold up your care card in canada, but if you can't get a doctor, what good is that care card? >> couple minutes left, and this might be the left call from california. you're on, caller. >> caller: hi, -- >> hi. >> hi. >> caller: i can't believe what i heard. it's my sincere wish that you have someone on with a book that opposes this woman's views. i worked in and retired from mental health -- community mental health and from the health insurance industry. this woman has not answered even the first man's question about what she would recommend be done.
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the only thing she has said is a tax exemption. it is criminal that you would have this woman on to promote her book, and i would like full disclosure of who's she is being paid by have this woman on without an opposing view is criminal. she has not answered the first question. >> thank you, and i'm sorry that you don't like me or my views. you know, the polls show between 54%-62% want this health care legislation replaced. the elections last november were against this government incursion in the health care system. i grew up under a single payer system where government controls the dollars spent and who gets treatment, so i think that it's true that the american people do not want this. there was not a single republican who voted for the affordable care act which was
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passed and signed into law on march 20. i talked to doctors into changing the tax code, reducing state mandates, there's 2100 across the country doing medical malpractice reform at the state level and expanding the -- removing regulations on health savingsing thes, so i have given a lot of thought and a lot of solutions to how we do achieve affordable, accessible quality care in the country without empowering government and reducing us to a system like canada with a national health service in britain where there's tremendous wait and people denied care. >> her book, the truth about health care, selected as a main selection of the conservative book club, and it's available in book sellers wherever you currently purchase your books. thank you for being with us here in language. >> thank you. >> we have another panel session coming up.
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[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. welcome to democracy and discontent. the specific and in the larger sense. my name is celeste's fremont. i am privileged to be talking to 314 authors, three terrific
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books that each in their own way speak to the issue of when governments misbehaves and acts in a way that they claim is defending the government and the democratic process. might not be. barry siegel down at the far end is the author of "claim of privilege." this is his sixth book including three volumes of narrative nonfiction as three novels set in an imaginary county on the central coast of california. barry is a pulitzer prize-winning former national correspondent for the los angeles times. he directs the literary journalism program at uc irvine which is, i think, still the only such program in the country
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that allows students to major in narrative journalism and full disclosure by sometimes tearfully teaches there. next we have scott martelle in the middle who is the author of the "the fear within". he is also a veteran journalist, a former staff writer for the los angeles times, worked at newspapers all over the country. he was an active participant in the 1995 newspaper strike. he, again, it teaches journalism at chapman college. this is his second book, and it is just now coming out. it is something -- both of these are wonderful books that i urge
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you to pick up. third we have russell, the author of a renegade history of the united states, also written out of the jumbo, jimmy hoffa, and the remake of the american working class. a historian and a cultural critic. he teaches american history had occidental college. he is a frequent contributor to the daily beast and a whole list of other publications on-line and in print. he is also on the history channel, out desert, fox news, and the daily show with john stuart which always bears mentioning. what i would like to begin with is i'm going to ask each of the authors to tell you about these wonderful books which i have had the advantage of reading. then also i want to know how they came to their topic.
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these are all three extraordinarily adventuresome topics, but the mystery is often house someone decides, yeah, you know, this is at. this is how i'm going to spend the next two or three years of my life. how do you grab that red and start pulling and decide this is the book you want to do? i would like to begin with barry. tell us a little bit about "claim of privilege" and how you, you know, found the story. it is amazing. >> thank you. as you know, former writers for the l.a. times. [laughter] in the festival. secret handshakes and everything. our own club. yes. let me try to distill my 400 pages into a couple minutes. the take you back and tell you a little bit about the story.
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1948. dawn of the cold war. takes off in georgia. on board with the air force officers are three civilian engineers from rca. the mission is to test secret navigational equipment. they never get to. the plane soon after takeoff, engine catches fire and goes into a spin and crashes across georgia. three of the four civilian engineers died, for survivors. three of the four civilian engineers on board died in the crash. there were those san after file lawsuits against the u.s. government. it is an unusual -- the government only a couple years before that had passed the federal act allowing them to file that kind of a negligence suit. during the course of discovery they, of course, their lawyer asked for that air force accident report, the
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investigation into the accident. the government refuses to turn over. it claims that it contains national security secrets and can't be handed over. coast to a trial in the u.s. district court, very brave federal judge, william kirkpatrick says, no way, you have to turn it over. government cannot on its own decide what it can withhold and what it doesn't. give it to the widows. government refuses. government refuses even to hand over the report to the judge to examine in private in chambers. instead appeals to the u.s. court of appeals where another very brave and eloquent judge also commands the government to turn over the accident report. again they claim state secrets. again there refused handed over. it goes to the u.s. supreme court which in march 1953
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reversed the previous two judges and in a landmark decision u.s. forces reynolds, for the first time officially recognizing the state secret privilege in this country. you have probably heard about that in recent years. has been used quite a bit, particularly by the bush administration post september 11th. the obama administration is using it to decide when they will withhold documents. let me just quickly--- / board to 50 years after this litigation. they never got the ax the report. the widows settle for a lot less than they would have if they could have gone to trial with the accident report, but they settled for a much reduced amounts. fifty years later, the year 20001 of the daughters of one of those dead engineers who never knew her father, seven weeks all the sides to go looking for evidence of what he was doing on that plane as a way to get to
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know where -- know him and to you was. she goes on the internet and discovers that all of these accident reports from way back then have been declassified. by clicking a button and sending a check for $67 you can get the accident report that her mother and the other with us could not get 50 years before. >> the miracle of the web. >> she orders the exit report. it is said to her. very disappointed as she starts to read it because she wants to read it to find out what secret things her dad was doing on that plane. guess what? there were no secret things mentioned in the accident report. there was no reference to this secret navigational equipment on the plane because it was never turned on before the accident. of the accident report was was of vivid chronicle of negligence, maintenance negligence and carpet confusion. >> what the mistakes and errors in judgment. >> so she finds the other
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offspring and one widow and decides to go back to the supreme court in the spring of 203 to seek redress and to reopen the case 50 years later. so i'll stop there. they now take up a very unusual petition to the u.s. supreme court seeking to reopen this case on a claim of fraud saying that the government committed fraud on the u.s. supreme court back in 53. you can find out the rest when you buy the book. >> and i no you're going to -- i mean, the fact that this led to the rise of state secrets, this amazing case had not been written about. how did you locate it? what made you say, this is it. >> this is interesting. my point of entry was neither knowledge or interest and state secrets. i got interested. as i often do when i'm trying to look for something, and scanning
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the horizon, what i might write about next. i happen to see it in a law journal, national law journal publication. a report about the filing of this unusual petition in 03. some families who were trying to reopen a 50 year-old case on the basis of fraud being committed against the supreme court. they had just filed the petition in april. i just thought, that's all i knew. i thought, that sounds interesting. and that -- my point of entry into this narrative was not from a political point of view or anger at the government or the worries about democracy. to be honest with attracted me was it sounded like a hell of a story. the
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the dawn of the cold war and watched the intersection of the personal and the public affairs at the same time. that was my point of entry. >> and you subscribe to things like the national law journal. looking for -- i mean, when we talked it is something that larry told me. there are all these trows of reformation if you go looking. lawyers are full of great information. thanks, barry. scott, you are up next. tell us a little bit about "the fear within: spies, commies, and american democracy on trial" and have you, again -- this is another amazing case that has never had a complete airing until you decided to do it. >> kind of interesting. the l.a. times. i cut -- i taught a course at tci. also, my book hinges on the same supreme court that his book ends on. we are joined at the head.
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>> you shearson justices. >> yes. no easy summation. the smith act came into force in 1940. the alien registration act. the government was trying to keep track of non american arrogance because they were afraid of fascism and of the essence. this is shortly after. people were concerned about the fifth column of support of fascism in the u.s. buried in that was a line that made it illegal to advocate or keep the necessity of advocating the overthrow of the u.s. government which is an arcane way of saying it was illegal to say the government should be turned over. the blade and first amendment conflict in that era of cold war. i can see the gray hairs and the audience. even if you knew one or it was like a child molester.
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so these guys were essentially persecuted for political beliefs. the evidence against them was speeches, things they had written, class's that taught. none of them have ever engaged in a specific device specific acts that could be perceived as a move toward revolution. one of them was the sitting new york city council member. these guys were running for president. overt members. the trial lasted nine months. the longest-running criminal trial in american history. to the jury seven hours to convict these guys. it was such a rancors trial that the jets to the defense lawyers and to prison for contempt of court. >> but he did it at the end of the trial. >> yes. >> the judge's name was medina. he did it at the end. he didn't want to punish the tort lawyers in the middle of the trial because he was afraid of creating a situation where a mistrial could be called.
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>> in other words, protect himself. >> and at the risk of recruiting lawyers with 3-year olds, if you punish somebody you do it as it's happening, not at the end. you remember last week, i'm going to punish you now. it went to the court of appeals and the supreme court. a hot war between capitalism and communism. the events in court, a 6-2 verdict agreeing to uphold the conviction. they all went to prison. sentenced to five years. some of them skipped bail. eight, nine years. there were reports of 300 people who were indicted. effectively a green light to the federal government to prosecute people who were members of the communist party. fast-forward to 1958, i believe. a case out of california, one of the later indictment cases. the supreme court agreed with
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the majority the first time around, but then he saw what they had unleased and realizes they have screwed up in a monumental way. trying to find a case that could use to revisit and not overturn it. define ways to do a back door. two other cases came down the same day that effectively ended the prosecution of people simply for being communists. by then the damage was done. people were hiding. because they had sentenced the judge's -- i'm sorry, the lawyers to present also for contempt the people who were indicted had a helluva time trying to find a lawyer who would take their case. in that era if you were seen as a communist you had trouble. fast-forward to the present. if you are accused of terrorism in this country now, try to find a lawyer to defend you. distinct parallels. my first book called blood
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passion was about the low massacre. i am a journalist. i read a lot. huge curiosity. i saw a reference to the ludlow massacre. it happens 1914. i mentioned the death that occurred was in the context of a strike in which upwards of 100 people had been killed. i thus, why do i not know that? open guerrilla warfare between coal miners and state militia that did not end until federal wilson sent troops to disarm the national guard. i know about that. >> you run across those. >> and that was the case. i knew about it. the broad context of the mccarthy era, but these guys did nothing but thought in the land of the free. >> i knew nothing about this. >> my job here is done. >> exactly. we are informed.
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thaddeus russell rode a renegade history of the united states. this is definitely not the history that you read in high school or in college or nor is it the same as the wonderful work done by howard sen. it is a very different kind of history. it feels, again, completely essential ones i read it. so you have a different challenge. you were not looking for a narrative. you discover that thesis. so, talk about the book because it is another one of these wonderful volumes that we could be here for an hour discussing. how you came to that thesis. >> thank you. so if you are over 60 you know that american history books contained only a few kinds of people and tell about the 1960's. these were presidents, senators, generals, maybe inventors and
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what color were they? all white, all men. that is the old, of a recall the old history of top-down. and then along came the 60's generation and 1970's generation. what they did was they replaced those of white guys with a new set of heroes essentially who were people similar to some of the people in scott broke, labor leaders, civil rights leaders, feminists. i came of age in the 1970's. i was raised by a socialist revolutionary in berkeley who grew and smoked pot. is this on c-span? [laughter] >> mentioned nudity. >> yes. thank you very much. i was taken to new beaches when i was a child. this is berkeley. >> is not wearing pants right now, in fact. [laughter] >> funny you should mention that, scott.
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now, i am wearing pants. the book is not wearing pants, as a matter of fact. this book is actually -- this is funny. it's true. it's an attempt to take the pants off of american history. it is. [laughter] and so that generation, that new left generation, the left liberal, some call it the progressive, took over and replaced the old, bad white guys with this new crew of characters i was trained for my surroundings to go along with that. when i enter graduate school of was going to do that, be a social historian, writing history from the bottom up instead of the top down. i began studying those social movements, civil-rights, labor, feminism, except truck, socialism. i found, to my despair, that in terms of cultural values. >> they got on your nerves.
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>> stop taking my punchlines away. in terms of cultural values that the new group of heroes like to an awful lot like thomas edison and george washington and andrew carnegie and the rest of them. but what marxist would call bushwa values which plays in particular, the protestant work ethic. not that you should work to get the bmw but you should work are no matter what. and the nuclear family, essentially anti. only sex with her married spouse is appropriate. in the form of non merrill sexes wicked. i know you are now running through your mind, martin luther king believed that? and the answer is yes. across the board. not only did they believe it, but their mission was not just to change the world around them, but the bad guys. it also to change their our
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constituents. you will find in the history of all those movements concerted efforts demoralize among their own constituents, make women and black people and workers and poor people really into of standing bushwa good american citizens. and so that is one way in which this book is very different -- and i already see people. just me, is there. that is one thing i do that has been a challenge to the people he trained me. then the second thing i'd do is i look below the stratum because that is really not the bottom. civil rights leaders, those are not ordinary people. they tended to come from backgrounds. that tended to be people who were not ordinary americans. one of the things as a graduate student at columbia, big columns
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and very uptight professors. i always thought this is not america. when i go out onto the streets this is not, it does not look right to me. there is something missing. one of my aspirations, he calls it history from way below. i call it history from the gutter up. so i thought what about really bad people, non-political people, people that don't go on strike, people here just live their lives pursuing their own desires and pleasures and that's it, essentially amoral people who don't read manifestoes who have no apparent politics, at least none that we can see, people like drunks, people who tend early factories in america, this was the norm. i showed up to work when they wanted to, left on the wanted to
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and drank beer all day long. it was such a norm that employers were expected to provide alcohol. what did they do for us? well, they invented the weekend. [laughter] the idea, the idea that we should have a break from work like the weekend did not exist in official american culture. it just wasn't a concept until late in the 19th century. these drugs, and these were mostly white man. some women, and some of my favorite people on this earth lived and worked in the low mills. two-thirds of them were discharged for being horribly disorganized and -- >> and the prostitutes. you got some great prostitutes. >> and going to pour water on you when a second. and then how about slaves. well, unfortunately this is the most controversial and
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provocative chapter in the book. i argue against what is the dominant narrative of slavery which is that it was the system entirely of oppression and victimhood. now, many historians have argued in many ways that they created a distinctive culture of their own. i go farther than that. he created the vacation? slaves. the number of slaves who left permanently was tiny. the number of slaves who left the plantation for days or weeks and sometimes months and even years was huge. there were the first people who left because they did not feel like working anymore and then there would come back. this was such a norm that it was so common that even the masters could do very little about it. more often than notlaves were not punished for what was called truancy. the leading doctor, the medical expert in the old south, a guy named samuel r. wright, he invented a disease called rabbit to mania which was only for people of -- only people of
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african descent had this disease. so people often make the lowest prices. that paragon. the hardest workers, they had a good family men and women. well, no. here's the point. simply by doing that, by breaking those moral codes, those puritanical moral codes, simply by living against them they opened up freedom for all of us to this day. so that is the big argument in the book. look to the bottom of society in history and you will find a lot of things that you generation now and could not imagine living life about. so those are the two big arguments. i will let celeste finished talking about my book. [laughter] >> its enthusiasm. >> i know. thank you. >> as you know, will get to it a
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little bit later on. but engaged with the prostitutes when we circle back around our last few what their contribution was. it is completely extraordinary. so all of these books obviously have contemporary analogs, contemporary resonance. once again i would like to go down the line. some are immediately obvious and some you have all touched on. but beginning again with barry, you mentioned the fact that obviously we are dealing with an extraordinary use of state secrets in the last 10-15 years. but there are other residences. i mean, both your book and scouts book were -- to place originally and a time where there was tremendous -- there
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was the red scare and this tremendous perrin aria about and other out there that was going to destroy the republic. but one of the residences that you saw in particular. >> the parallels deepens and developed as i was trying to understand the story. i think this is important. history from the bottom up. this is what i am interested in trying to do, tell the story and the particular. i wanted to try to understand first of all how these judges, the said the justices, how reynolds came to be. and i think we make the mistake of casting this in an entirely black light. these developed out of context. the context, of course, the dawn of the cold war, judges.
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and exactly the same set of judges and our two cases. it was the events in court. a lot of things going on. an enormous sense of apocalypse. soviet union had just done the bomb bay, red china was arriving. east germany, mccarthyism. when i go back, one of the things i want to do, i actually wanted to see the headlines and the front pages of major newspapers on the days when these justices were writing there very important opinions. i wanted to try to imagine what they were reading in the breakfast room as they were drinking coffee before they go in and not the constitution. political man living in a real-world obviously, and there is a context. obviously that was the context. it is apparent in the language of their opinion that they are very scared about -- particularly their eye is on
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international affairs. in their eyes the fate of the earth is hanging in the balance. it does shape -- it makes -- the lower level judges here resisted were pretty great guys because their with living in that world to. obviously as i like it that it resonates. we are writing post 911, looking at the uses of the state secrets, privileges' many years later. and you could hear the echoes the of the justices from 1953. you could hear the same kind of language, the sense of apocalypse, the dire threat to the country driving the ever expanding use of this state secret privilege, the fact that it is also a tool that came to be used to cover up a lot of negligence.
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driving the rhetoric, the rhetoric driving it, not very much of a parallel. i've found that one of the fun things about writing history, trying to do a historic narrative is that often it can eliminate the present. that is what this story was doing for me. there are consequences to what happened back then. multiplying use, you know, post september 11th it is for guantanamo bay, detainee's, her rendition. all these people are trying to defend their rights, habeas corpus action is being blocked by use of state secrets. it affects all of us. when new york times reported about the secret wiretapping and eavesdropping of millions of americans for lawsuits were filed from 04 different lawsuits were filed against the government and the phone companies.
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all were blocked by the government's indication of the state secrets privilege, essentially by invoking that privilege. no one who was trying to suit could prove that they had been eased up on because they could not get the evidence. if you could not prove you were you struck on you had no standing to file a lawsuit. so they were all blocked. i found one of -- i found looking back in the past was a wonderful way to understand the present. >> barry, this one more thing if you could speak to it quickly. i was struck when i read the original account that led to the accident. they had pushed protest with the plane that was accident prone bet didn't have proper heat shield installed with the crew that had never worked together. all of these things that were a product of we have to get it done because of greater things are at stake.
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and that, i found residences with that. >> of course those are the state secrets. >> how they screwed up. >> the maintenance problem. i mean, in all fairness trying to put it in context this is just after the close of world war two during the demobilization after world war two. they were flying aging be-teenine. they did not have parts to replace them. the crews were greatly reduced and spread them. there was that sense of what they were trying to do. but there were trying to test was a secret navigation system that would have been the predecessor to guided missiles. they were very much worried about the soviet union being able to reach the continent will united states, and they were desperately trying to develop a guided missile program, and this would have been the first step. they were putting people, putting unfit crews into
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deteriorating planes in an urgent push to develop this kind of a system. negligence is what caused the crash. the other big thing that they needed to hide, the reason that it was so important to hide it is that they had civilians on board, civilians that they have not trained on where the escape exits were on the plane. a great deal of them, embarrassment. but again, just to emphasize coming out of context, you know, i hesitate in telling the story. there is complexities. this happened for reason. there were living at that time in a particular set of conditions. for me as a storyteller, what i really like to do is understand the complexity, understand the world in which something was happening. it is usually a complex three-dimensional world and not a flat black and white one.
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>> well, it reminded me, again, of young men and women being sent to a rock without the proper armor. in the beginning without the proper equipment by people who felt they happen intended no one getting hurt. scott, the same question. i mean, i was constantly making notes in the margins for about where it pointed beyond itself to what we are seeing, a lot of the things we're seeing now. >> interesting to hear him talk. i highly encourage you to buy all these books. but what he's writing about now is that context. you know, in his case the government lied essentially to cover up its own failures. i mean, notably none of this stuff involved secret tests. it was all covering up the maintenance reports. the indictment of the leaders of
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the communist party began with a boss investigation into aspiring in manhattan. a woman named elizabeth bentley had come forward. she was about to get killed by the kgb. went to the fbi, told everything that she knew, gave them permission on two or three spiring said nbc. the feds were investigating that case. the way they investigated it was to convene a secret grand jury. then they started subpoenaing of the people that she named. not surprisingly when somebody gets subpoenaed and showed up in the grand jury room they either live or took the fifth amendment. they couldn't get the indictment of the spy circle that they were going for. they did abeyance which. 1946, they went after leaders of the communist party. this being a secret grand jury investigation everybody was writing about it, new york times and all the papers of the day.
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increasing pressure to do something about these malls and the government. date in switch. and what they have in common with the day is the choices that individual political figures make under pressure to save their own careers, save their own backsides. and then to achieve policy goals. they would not be able to get that by essentially play on a level playing field. >> credit things are at stake and we have to break the rules while pretending that they aren't. you know, it's human nature. >> it is. you kind of hope that people in high government offices will think or act differently. i think what's key here, the human dimension, as human nature. our readers were making the same decisions now. both parties. >> i tell my students when you look at government, particularly city governments it has all the emotions of high-school but with
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a lot more of state be read a lot more. huge challenge to two sets of conventional historic was dumped. most of the reviews i read, love this book and you will be shouting at it. so, did you have any pause realizing that some of the stuff you wrote about both the civil rights era and reconstruction, that you're going to make a lot of people mad. was that difficult? did you, you know, i'm going to do it. >> prostitutes. >> or the prostitutes. >> wicked have a vote. good man. >> or, you know, how did you discover? >> i will say i gave a talk a couple of months ago in the college in oregon.
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i give the big process talk. this woman was sitting there glaring at me through added. she raised her hand. you're arguing this because you what prostitution to be cheaper so that you can get some more easily. i said, no, that's absolutely true. cheaper horse. you're right. whirrs and thailand can really get expensive. we aren't going to do prostitutes? ago, making people angry. so, some of you may know this if you read the huffington post. i was essentially fired for her -- basically one of the chapters in this book. i've been speaking for five years. a permanent position came up. i presented my work. my colleagues of me to that
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point. my glasses were large and everything seems to be going fine. they didn't know what i was actually saying in the classroom. you ever notice that, no peer review in teaching. there is never someone they're watching what you do. a very odd industry in that light. and so what i was actually doing, they gave me the intro which was, by the way, for columbia, of columbia and undergrads. so i was absolutely just devastating the minds of an entire generation of youth who are now our leaders. so i had to give a talk. the faculty. so my main focus, primary research faugh, most of this is what we call synthetic meaning that i use other people's research and make my own argument. the civil rights stuff is what i have been working on. so i gave that talk. yes. half the faculty love did in half the faculty said he must
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go. and the people who did not like it happened to be very famous professors. i was let go. the good news is that i then sold the book. i could actually leave academia for a while. yes. so people -- and i love it. what are your politics? who are you? and it is obviously completely into a conservative. i mean, the book anyway. so true conservatives, i mean, i have no interest in them and they have no interest in me. let's agree and move on. it is really actually a critique of what is called progressivism, in particular progressive academic thought. and you will see. if you are a liberal in particular your skin will start to age about ten pages instead. all i ask is that you stay with me. some of my very, very favorite
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reactions have been i hated this guy's gets at first. then i finished it. i saw the argument all wrapped up and i get it by the end of it. so i require patients. psychological. it's not boring, but it's going to be a challenge to most people. most people's politics. so that's that. i mean i guess i consider myself to be a radical man of the left, but i am very much would i would say giving a loving critique, a loving challenge to people on the left. and that's that. you still don't want to hear about prostitutes. >> do it. i mean, the level. >> i was just going to say, i can wrap my head around this whole idea. your wrenching at the tenth page. >> that would be the second sexual innuendo that scott has made tonight. anyway, not that i'm keeping
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track. >> from the state of montana. very proud. >> yes. so if this were the 19th century every single woman in here i'm pretty sure would have been a whore. do you know what i mean? so it was not okay. >> explained. >> not a case in the 19th century for respectable woman to go out in public along without a male shopper around. the only people who did that or prostitutes. not okay in the 19th century to show any part of your body except from your chin up. prostitutes for the first women to do that with no shame in public. it was not okay for women to earn high wages, especially higher than man. the average wage of a prostitute was $40 a week. what does that mean? it was exactly double what white male unionized construction remained. that was the lowest paid prostitutes. it was a really not a cool thing problem in town property and have the power associated with
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property. jesse owned huge parcels of land in that city. she was so wealthy that after the 1906 earthquake she and other men's clothes, fed, and house tens of thousands of people with the money they made in their business. it was super not okay for women to defend herself and the 19th century. men were supposed to do that. every single madam that we know about and most of their employees as well that only owned guns but knew how to use them. there is story after story of women prostitutes and batons in particular using guns to protect themselves from cystic customers are cops. not only that, they often employed local police officers to protect the brothel and themselves. so, these are women with enormous power. the last thing that makes you all whores in the 19th century is that it was not okay to wear makeup, only prostitutes were makeup. makeup was invented by prostitutes. the color red, and in particular
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the red dress was called the scarlet shame of the street walker. who wears the red dress these days? every first lady in the last 40 years. they are extremely proud of it. so in 2005 laura bush, this was one of the few things she actually did, she launched the ladies red dress collection which was like the charity for heart disease and dug up and give a talk about the history of wonderful red dresses worn by all the first lady's. so, it's nice to see that prostitutes style crosses party lines at least. >> and contraception. >> thank you. i'm so glad you're here. so i will finish. they construct made birth control illegal essentially until the 1920's. imagine that. condoms or essentially illegal in this country. condoms, of course, continue to be distributed and purchased.
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it was done in two ways. one was on assimilated german jewish immigrants in new york city and philadelphia establishing factories in the basements of tenement buildings. the usually employed law wives and children and neighbors to make condoms and diaphragms. illegal in underground, and they always had these factories right next to the red light district. the most famous for, the most popular producer of condoms during this time was a guy named julius schmid whose townhouse factory was right next to a town square. of course all of their customers were prostitutes. and after it became legal schmitt became the largest manufacturer of condoms in american history. if you ever use -- i want to see a show of hands. if you ever used a ramsey's, sheik kamal or four ex-con and you have on assimilated jewish criminals and thousands of forced the bank.
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it is funny, but i mean that. they kept sexual freedom alive for us. the best part about them. these of the heroes in my book, none of them had shame about it. that is what makes you a renegade. that is what gets you into my book, not having shame about violating these repressive moral codes that many of us now think are horrendous and per tentacle. >> you guys are going to love these three books. i promise. there is so much more i am told that this is about the time that i should open stuff up for questions. you do need to step up to the microphone if you want to ask a question. there is so much more that they have to say about kraft, how
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they brought history alive, which you can see that everybody did. you know, so you have a question, sir? >> sure. >> all right. >> is the microphone working? testing, one, two, three. >> in them going to ask you all to keep their questions short. as you can see, there is a lot here, and we are going to run out of time. >> mr. russell, i'd just like to commend you for your courage on that piece you wrote last year in july. the one that was titled does israel make us safer. you had a lot of courage. in fact met general patraeus even conveyed the same. you can go to the website, america-hijacks not,. >> i quote him in that piece. >> i had e-mail exchanges with them earlier this year, and that never made the news.
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>> the one thing he and i agree on. >> exactly. >> testified, rode a classified papers saying that the u.s. -- this is going to -- the u.s. support of israel is actually increasing in the terrorist organization. >> that is exactly right. if you like the pretext for war, the most respected intelligence writer in america. his pretext for work, you can look up the terrorist motivational index. >> i want to stay on topic. that is a really interesting one, but it is referring to an article that not everyone has read. do you have a question in their summer? >> basically i wanted to thank him. what do you think about how general patraeus and what he said about getting attacked in theater. the bottom line is why isn't that being covered in our media. >> i would love to do that, but
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that has nothing to do with my book. >> had these conversations with us at the signing table. >> of did that. >> we need a whole panel for some of these other issues. does anybody else have a question? if not , if you do. in the meantime, barry, how did you find your opening? you have a really interesting opening of your book. >> well, thanks for asking me a story about storytelling and rather than the book. as i said at the start, what draws me in to any story, anything i've ever written is a good tale. once upon a time something happens that trigger something and something begins. i'd much rather tell a story than pound the table and deliver so my story begins, my story
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began with the arrival of this unusual petition at the u.s. supreme court. i followed -- i followed a law clerk from a law firm in philadelphia as she takes the train into washington and carries the boxes of petitions to the place where you delivered them through specific side doors and the supreme court and it took awhile because it is hard to get inside, the view of the workings of the court, bud davis able to follow the petition once it went into the supreme court which room it went to, who opened it, the junior clerk who initially read it and decided it had no validity and so they sent it back to the law firm, not ruled against it, never got to see the justice palace and the back saying that this is not a legal filing. the protest by the law firm, the clerk getting back on the train,
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bringing the petition back to the supreme court. this time of landing on the desk of a more senior clerk. that is where the story began. that was the precipitating a moment that take everything into action. for me it was a natural, a natural place to start the story. and i don't mind confessing that it was also my way to pay homage to a book that i am a great fan of, anthony lewis gideon strumpets, if you go back and look it starts with a manila envelope with the handwritten petition arriving at the supreme court. i always wanted to about him. using that same kind of an idea. status of my book begins. >> it is a great moment that slams you right into the narrative. from then on your office. and we have some questions. >> yes. is that it? thank you very much for the
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panel. i have a quick question. in terms of spending history, how do you think the broad use of the internet and all the information out there is going to change, especially in mr. russell's case where you can access anybody's block, anybody's, you know, random thoughts potentially for decades and centuries from now. >> anybody? >> can i? >> yes. >> a good question, and there are two halves. the contemporary writing. looking back on what we are doing. it will be a huge challenge for historians because there's so much regards -- regurgitated garbage. on the other hand, a book on the history of detroit. the internet was a don said for that. obscure history books on the early history of detroit. you get to usc, mich., and an arbor.
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i'm looking at the pds of a book from 1882. so in that way it is great for the future. it's going to be. >> this is a very good question. i worry about the history. it's history. redding historical narratives. obviously there are incredible things you can get by pushing the buttons. but we could get them, it's just much easier this way. what i worry about is, i know how much, for instance, in my book came from pouring through handwritten journals kept the letters that people wrote back and forth. bill to the archives. this is the stuff. william kirkpatrick. a lot of correspondence between people. yes, i get people to hand me over e-mail's much later in the last decade. people don't write e-mail's in the way that they write letters. i don't know how we are going to write history in the future when
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we can't go look at the treasure trove of letters that people right back and forth. >> yet there is the irony that one of the major turning points in your book occurs because the daughter could find those documents online. the mixed blessing. >> one of the curious things is the problem with the internet, the inherent problem is when you're looking for something, you find it. a lot of great research's serendipity. immensely improved by the american red cross files on the national archives. i had no idea they existed. i wasn't looking. these files. you don't get that on the internet. >> thank you. >> a great question. thank you so much for that. >> are there any congressman working to modify the state secrets doctrine? >> yes.
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thank you for reminding me. there has been a bill before the book. the senate and house of representatives wrote. it has been lending its way through committees the way that these things do. there is an attempt, this piece of legislation attempting to modify the use of the state secret privilege and mandate -- >> can you say which congressman? >> i can tell you that it was teddy kennedy in the senate. >> ron paul. and sure he had nothing to do with it. >> in the senate. i can't remember. bipartisan. they had hearings. of course i don't know where it is right now. we were watching. at the time they had hearings. they brought to those hearings be offspring, characters in my book. it would have -- the aim was to
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set some very strict parameters about when they can invoke and how they invoke. instead of that building, the obama administration came in and announced on there on that they were simply going to impose much stricter guidelines about when they could, when and how they could invoke it. in fact, that didn't happen. they did not invoke the state secret privilege, just about as much as the bush a administration. i have decided this is not an issue about left or right politics. this is whoever is in power. the issue is the power of the executive branch. when you are in that executive branch you want the power. >> excellent question. go for it. >> okay. mine is in the same vein as that. i was going to ask how you thought the state secret privilege should be changed to make it so that there is less of an arbitrary nature about it.
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but since you have sort of -- i would like you to sort of a just that, but also, how could the legislature force the executive branch to give of secrets that it feels are necessarily secret. >> you're leaving out the third branch of government, the judiciary. really it's a failure of the judiciary because they often roll over. day just rubber-stamp it. the way they answer your question, it's simple. it is exactly what the judge in my original wanted to do. he just wanted to examine the documents in chambers. he would look at it themselves. he wasn't going to give it to the widows. he wanted to look at it and make a judicial finding as to whether state secrets are contained. the problem is most judges don't want that responsibility.
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>> i am going to interrupt because we're down to our last 45 seconds. forgive me, i see two people with what i know are wonderful questions. i urge you guys to come to the signing because we would love to hear what you have to ask her, and i want to hear the answer. indeed they do, everyone. the authors will sign books after words. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. the[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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we are going to continue the theme of democracy and discontent with it with our final guest from our call-in said. walter mosley, the novelist is the creator of characters has written a book that reminded me of little bit of the pamphleteers the renaissance of the revolution.
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>> guest: i love this guy. >> host: what did you do with this book? >> guest: you know, i have a deep distrust of specialists and experts. as we understand it, if you are smart enough and educated enough to be an expert in something, then you're brought up by the appropriations so mainly what to do is why, you tell people things against their best interest even though you're the smartest and most capable person to tell them the truth. and so i decided i would write a book from my more pedestrian standpoint about how one can reclaim citizenship in the united states by understanding certain things about themselves, and by going through it will step kind of program that would free us from those things that are changing us and addicting us to certain ways we live in america. >> host: and you explain you know of addiction, the 12 step
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program from your life experience. >> guest: well i'm really not the expert there but i do know about addictions and i've smoked three packs of filter lists cigarettes for the longest time, and i was a very deeply troubled alcoholic. >> host: one of the freeze is i wrote down that your analysis of the state we are in is we are no longer citizens. what do you mean by that? >> guest: a lot of people complain that americans or not enough americans vote or people aren't voting or whatever, but i think that one of the reasons people aren't voting is because we actually feel that our vote is less influential than the multinational corporations dollar, and i believe that that's true. i believe that we live here, we vote here, but we are not really given a real choice, and we
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haven't really been able to identify ourselves and to separate ourselves from the needs of corporations, big business and also big government as it deals with big business. >> host: walter mosley is with us for an half an hour and we will mixing your calls, e-mail messages and tweets and look forward to them. here's more of the diagnosis of the state we are in as he sees it. most of us in modern-day america are sick, we suffer deep emotional displacement from the line is we are told and the subsequent lies we tell ourselves. i'm fine, doing well, part of a healthy space policy. i'm helping my children become whole, helping individuals, none or at least little of this is true. so what does society look like to you? >> guest: what it looks like to everybody. we do a lot of eating fast food, we get educations that don't really help us become full
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well-rounded people. we involve ourselves in a political where we think things will happen but we know they are not going to happen, so we are actually kind of schizophrenic. we are doing something that we say well i hope this is doing well but i know it's not going to do well, like for instance saying i will elect a democratic president and then we won't be fighting war anymore. i will elect a black president and there won't be racism anymore. all kinds of notions we have the we know aren't going to work but we hope for the best, we hope things will work out and finally we will be able to retire and make a living wage, we will get equal medical care, everybody will be treated in a way that is just and right. >> host: what is your prescription of this? >> guest: a lot of it is we have to figure out who we are, where we are, we have to figure out the class we are in and what is the difference between democracy and capitalism and how those very different structures
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separate in really important ways and in those important ways it is almost like the american citizens get drawn in quarter. we have to figure out who we are and what we are, and a lot of that is questioning ourselves, questioning our educational system and we want in our everyday life. >> host: are you hoping this dialogue begins within individuals or in a country of 300 million plus? are you seeing some other place where this discussion will have an? >> guest: everything has to start with the individual. one of the big problems that we have in america is we let's say in the presidential election or any other e election if you vote for the person you want to get elected then you feel o.k. now - elected the person who's espoused what i believe, what i want, now i can just step back and let them do what they said they are going to do but we forget about all of the corporations and people they pay
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to influence america and how america votes. very often as every day work being people with the elected officials in the doing aren't, are often not in our best interest and that's one of the biggest problems that we have. we have to understand salote i have to be involved every day so it has to start with individuals but we have to work together because individuals alone are not brinton the difference whether the individual is an everyday working plumber or president of the united states >> host: are all corporations that? >> guest: the system of capitalism is based on making profits of the labor of work. that is if not checked it's bad for people. i'm not going to see people and corporations are mad. they are just another part of the puzzle.
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i'm not want to see the businesses themselves are bad. they're just another part of the puzzle with the structure itself is problematic. it's like his white sugar that? no, but it's bad for you. it's not evil it's just white sugar but it's not good for you you better not just be eating white sugar or you won't live very long. >> host: beginning with a call from vermont, and he wore on with walter mosley. >> caller: i heard you lived there as well and i wondered if you have any stories. >> guest: i am sorry i didn't hear that one. >> caller: if you studied writing and if you have any stories that you can share with us. >> guest: it's so sada, he was the writing teacher when i was there and i didn't study with him. i'm sorry, i didn't start writing until i was in my mid-30s and went to goddard
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college when i was in my 20s, so, no, though i would have -- i miss not doing that. >> host: do you go back and speak to the students? >> guest: i've been back to talk to them and to read their stuff but i don't -- i didn't study writing. >> host: next is built you washington. you are on with walter mosley. go ahead. >> caller: hello, yes, i am old, i am a nam vet and i just wanted to mention or comment on the contrast between the serious issues we have going right now today that are mortal and bad and people are daunting but the basic issue that we are hotly debating when we have somebody debating an issue is pretty much exactly what i encountered in 1967 when i got out of vietnam i had been wounded and i went
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right in to the college scene on the west coast, and i mean it was hot on the west coast and -- >> host: and what is the issue were debating back then that you're still debating now? >> caller: the basic -- the foundation of what really is c'mon, like the speaker just commented on, capitalism is for all the things good coming essentially separated workers from the surplus value that they have created often with physical damage of their health and that's what we were talking about 40 years ago, 50 years ago. the same thing. and we have to stay on that. >> host: thank you. thanks for the call. >> guest: thanks very much. >> host: is this something that has been debated without any progress in 40 or 50 years? >> guest: i think it has. and one of the problems that i think people have is that we
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have -- we start to talk about separate. like my muscular system could somehow exist separately from my skeletal system but somehow separately from my organs. the issue is you can't completely get rid of capitalism because it is an economic system and it's not an economic system that can be defined a way but there are other systems that have to work with it and i think that a lot of america suffered and the whole world has suffered is rather than try to get our various systems to work together and aligned together this against that like socialism is against capitalism and democracy and what ever and coming you know, i am saying we need to work together and meet the system and people to work together.
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>> it's closer to utilitarianism and fascism than it is to the space process. can you explain more? >> guest: capitalism is basically i need the structure, the people, the whole of the workers in order to make as much profit as possible for the business, for the corporation, for the company. i don't have to worry about your health, i don't have to worry about your well-being. i don't have to worry about how long you live, i don't have to worry about you once you don't work for me anymore. i can find your you whenever i want. all of these are just using the individuals not treating them as if the have intrinsic values. the only value is the profit and the labor that you can make. so of course that's absolutism. it's not any kind of sense of
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what's your part if you don't like a job you can quit that's it. >> host: writing a book to sell to the public is taking part in the capitalistic -- how do you square the -- >> guest: like i said before you don't have to have this but you might want to control system for instance you might want to say yes, you should be able to get profit on anything you sell, but what you sell it is necessary for the livelihood or the life of people like for instance an apple maybe you can get away with charging a thousand dollars for an apple but that should be wrong. you can make 10% on an apple. as much as you want on platinum bling i don't care how much profit to make but when it comes to an apple or gasoline people actually need to get to and from work if it has to do with clothes and staying warm in the winter these are things you need
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to control, not capitalism is still going to work you have to make a profit to meet the business work with if you control profit capitalism will adjust itself to that. >> host: next is a call from ohio. hello, col. >> caller: hello, mr. mosley, how are you this afternoon? hauer you, ma'am? >> host: thanks. your question, please? call trustees six >> caller: as for his political revelation wouldn't it be good to go to the local level and maybe have people maryland and i don't know it is around the country but in my area for instance we have something called the precinct committee people on both the democratic and the republican side that go and basically make the rules and make the decisions about how the local political parties run and in turn that is how they endorse candidates for the local, state and national level. what if we were to get people involved in the committee type
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of wave doing things and then you get more of the american pit of beast in the political party and then one more thing i have is all the stuff going on as part of a social media and the internet, wouldn't it be likely that some day we can possibly get big business out of politics because with all the free social media and the information that we have at our fingertips, wouldn't that be a little more connecting with people for the politicians to get the point across? >> guest: the second thing that you're seeing is interesting because i think that our form of project is really outdated. we are executing the 19th century within the 21st century. we could have a kind of like a national parliament that the devotee as a citizen would be a member of. we could literally fought for the vote every day. i'm not sure if it is possible but we might be able to think
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about and i think that we need to modernize and half-hour politics work along with our technology. i think that's one thing that's absolutely true. the other thing is yes, people were working a local level, they would only do it if they felt that it made a difference and i just want to -- this is a criticism of the language that you're using when we talk about the democratic and the republican party, i don't really see them as political parties or as representatives of people but i see them as more of a public interest corporation. these are organizations that have to raise a great deal of money in order to impact the power making systems of the united states. i would like to circumvent the republicans and democrats if people are working together on what's interesting, with their interests are between each other and not what your interests are as they are dictated by the parties. >> host: what you think of the tea party?
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>> guest: in a lot of ways the tea party talks the talk and i am interested in them as far as trying to organize and reorganize and rather than identify ourselves as one group with one set of morals each person says what is the most important thing to me and see how we all get together on that. all people are working class people and have the same things they're interested in, interested in living wage and aging with dignity and their children getting a good education and able to retire one day and living a life that is safe for themselves so it doesn't matter. where you come from, with the so-called race to come from, what engender you are and age you are we have a lot of things in common and if we are able to vote on those rather rantings we are arguing about which the republicans and democrats and the tea party talk about them
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against this and that i met with am i for? if i can get us together what we are for we can work together. >> host: does this have to do with our ability to move forward? >> guest: if koppel. i believe if we limit what america's and roads if i was able to find what america's the end you'd in find every american is worth more than a million dollars. once americans realize we are worse, if i tell you listen, you are worth $3 million then you have an infected tooth and can't afford to go to the dentist you can say i'm worth $3 million i can't go to the dentist, how come i can't keep a good education?
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how we are dealing with the debt has much more to do with corporate structure than it does what we are and what the value of the great nation and in national balance sheet. >> guest: and we can say to pay that off we are going to have to for the next seven years nationalized gas or if you can see natural gas or if you can say with some, the oceans of the borders of the united states with hundreds of chileans and what's with those oceans so i can get some of that value and have it in my life. i feel we make up a lot of the stuff, it's like making up bernie madoff. he exists but there's a lot of people who'll stole our money and let us money on property that we knew wasn't what we were paying for and that we were
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going to lose that money one day. there's a lot of criminality in american economics and a lot of it is based on a series of lies that nobody else is saying anything else but i think that we are worth a lot more than we believe we are. >> host: the next question is from los angeles. right here. hello, walter. this is victor. i'm sorry i didn't get a chance to see you today but now i have another book to track down. but listen, it seems to me we get sidetracked over issues to perjury, involvement of willson under the bush a administration, and it makes me frustrated as far as who was running things because we aren't addressing issues like to state it, anything from tax reforms,
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medical. i'm just getting frustrated like to stated earlier. is it even with my trouble to vote? >> guest: i am not an expert which is a good thing. i'm going to be lying to you, but because i'm like a regular guy i might be able to say something that is true i met with a group i was with a group of the most progressive thinkers in the united states in new york, the congressman and president said we have to bail out the corporation and i said to them listen, why don't we just figured out of this gigantic bailout amount is and take every taxpayer in the united states to meet less than $40,000 just split up among them, give the money to them and what they spend it whenever they spend it on it's okay. they can spend it on their kids'
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education, or they can spend it on gasoline, it doesn't matter because at least the money would go through them before getting back to the bank. even this group of incredibly progress of left political thinkers says no, no, no, we can't trust the individuals, we can't trust people, we have to give people who know how to spend that money. that's how we need to do the bailout. they want to give it to somebody else who's an intermediary. i think we can take care of ourselves, we can run this country, we on the whole have most of this in common that we need to trust ourselves and the system that makes choices trust the citizens and therefore the citizens feel they are not well represented and that's true, we are not. from chicago. hello, caller. >> caller: picking up on what you just said, the head of the
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fall when all of this stimulus stuff was going they had this ungodly amounts of money they were going to spend to give, you know, everybody either a rebate or something and it cost them like 6 billion to get everybody $50. i'm thinking why does it cost 6 million to deal with 300 million? i was in the same sort of feeling that you were, like if every american got a million dollars it would cost them less than what they seem to be moving all this money around and then every american gets a million dollars and zero outs and spend then that is a huge stimulus and it's not costing of that bureaucracy. the costs so much money to hand out so much less money. the only think about voting that i've had in a poll might start it in half and finished is likely it is feeling more like an act of defiance than an exercise in power but i'm not when to stop voting. i'm still going to have even if
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i go to the polls in defiance i'm going to be doing it. >> guest: voting is a good exercise, but one has the question and we need to question ourselves every day is it working, is it helping, is it enough because to be part of the space polity voting is the first step, not the last. most people in america see that's the last, i voted for barack obama, george bush, and now they are going to do what i want. it's never true. it's something we have to do. >> host: we have a big debate going on in this country about the state of american education. you have a set of suggestions for the universal education that all 18-year-old men and women of normal intelligence should have achieved at the end of a public-school education. what does that look like? >> guest: there's certain things people in america -- i don't remember them scientific literacy, we need to understand the technology that runs the
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world. everybody should be able to describe a fault or feeling they have in an essay. we should be able to know our history in such a way that we question it, to say listened, morning, making mistakes. people who came before me were learning and making mistakes. how did they learn, what is our history, where are we going? the simple common sense notion of what an education is. also, i think we have to kind of vote away from the great because of the grading system causes us to not think more than the cause is to think. there are some things you need to test and in order to understand altar where you need to be bush's of the equation. title -- puts the answer you need to be able to solve the the question and it has nothing to do with solving the equation, you need to be able to answer the test but you also need to be able to take chances, be able to think for yourself, you need to be able to think creatively and
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artistically, and it's a very simple, i know i have like ten points there, i also want to say that in the plans i give it is a place that you leave from. other people have different ideas and i find it interesting dialogue. host could you speak about teacher competency. >> guest: i think the teacher should be able to understand. i mean, the interesting thing is that number one, the competency of a teacher is they are confident will how many students were in the class? 107. the teacher probably no matter how smart they were they probably were not confident. if the number of students was ten or 12 than i can start to be able to talk about individual confidence. but we need to have a big investment in how we've run schools. also certainly the most important thing that a teacher has to do, a teacher has to have a deep concern and care for their students. if they don't, if they are not in that position they shouldn't be in that position. >> host: riverside california, you are on.
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>> caller: good afternoon. all of this is talking about voting, and everyone seems to be missing the main pool about devoting themselves. it's brought up people just kind of run over it like it's no big deal, old news or something, that the right wing dominates the voting machines here and in the 2010 election i was watching c-span and they had even republicans on their disgusted with their candidates saying they were going to vote democrat and then we had that a grand slam and the lead up to that election right wing politics were saying how they were going to take it and the sand that and they were just a little too small to and lo and behold, you know, the miraculously occurred. now why are democratic leaders on top of this because as long as they keep getting themselves
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in we are going to have that laws and that is where all of this is coming from and it's getting worse. >> host: thank you >> guest: i don't know what to say. >> host: she's worried about voting machines if we cast our vote as not accurately capturing the will of the people. >> guest: i worry about technology and it's true when you have issues with the voting machine, when the people's vote isn't properly represented, that's always an issue. however, i think there are deeper problems. i think that the deepest problem that we experience is that the people we elect end up working for people who can spend the most money on influencing them either in general are very specific ways. so even though i am worried about the voting machines, but i
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am more worried about is our continual involvement because as i said before, i think of voting is only the first step. we have a lot to do from then and one of the big problems i think barack obama has and the reason people are angry with his the voted for him and now he's going to do it. i talked to all these people before the election. he's going to get elected and the war is the and to be over. law beagle the war is double. but that's more powerful than it is his. >> host: we have one minute left. when you see the next election and the debate coming with you to the election is going to be centered on? >> guest: i think they believe, a lot of it will be centered on issues of people criticizing what i'm saying, barack obama is a socialist or the big government is squashing of the economy of america. the big fight will be about the
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economy in america which is a sad thing because we are killing people in afghanistan everyday and in iraq and there's these offers propping up. what i'm saying through the book where i would approach it is we need to change ourselves. we need to change the way we see the government and we need to be involved at least 90 minutes every day in the policy to make a difference because nothing else is when to matter except us being involved. it doesn't matter who's elected or in power but the people in the united states are involved every day in what they think is best for themselves and their fellow citizens, then we will have a better country. >> host: this is the book we are talking dhaka, "twelve steps toward political revelation," available in bookstores for you by your book. thanks for being here today. we have one more panel session is on the same thing it's called the living constitution and has a los angeles festival of books.
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it's the final telecast from here moderated by jim newton, editor of large and the "los angeles times" and among the panelists are john dean and henry weinstein. thanks for being with us. >> a deterrent large and for the paper i'm pleased to be able to welcome you to this exciting and important panel which we have in title the living the constitution. we are fortunate to have with us today three of the smartest thinkers about the law, the politics and society, two of whom happen to be among my closest friends. [laughter] we will sort out by the end who they are. [laughter] in the center is erwin chemerinky professor of law at the university irvine law school before becoming the first of the school, he was on the faculty at duke law school for four years and before that he worked on this very campus where he was a member for 21 years. he manages to be professor and practitioner and frequently
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argues cases in the appellate court including the united states supreme court. he's the author of seven books the most recent of which is just frankly triumph, a personal story and analytical power house and the conservative assault on the constitution was published last year by simon and schuster. he wasn't asleep a great deal. immediately to my left, he teaches at the university of california irvine and was a staff writer at "the los angeles times" for 40 years specializing in labor and politics and i will read this the way that he wrote it and making trouble for the management was his good friend, jim newton. [laughter] he's a graduate of the university california berkeley law school and member of the california bar. he currently serves on the board of the nonprofit journalism organizations, fair warning which is devoted to consumer muckraking and the voice of orange county which aims to improve the coverage of government and other issues in
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orange county and on a personal note i should say i for to the "los angeles times" for 21 years and i've never had a more principled or decent colleague. and then finally, john dean, he was 31-years-old when he became the council of richard nixon in july of 1970. prior to that he served as the chief minority counsel for the judiciary committee at house of representatives as well as associate director of the reform commission and associate attorney general of the united states. he's a graduate of received his jd from georgetown university law school. he's written a number of books including blonden mission and lost honor that reflect his time in the nixon white house. his most recent book how the republican rule destroyed the legislative executive and judicial branches completes a trilogy of analysis of the force of modern government. it's safe to say that the trilogy is it under boesh's might stand. [laughter]
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the only real difficulty we have in this panel today is we tend to agree more than we disagree with it. that meant me in a slightly uncomfortable position being the devil's advocate but i hope he will bear with me. i thought i would begin by having each of our panelists talked about the constitution and the changes in the course and implications has for the lives. henry would like to go back and times henry will go first and then erwin and jongh. >> the one thing you didn't hear in the introduction but some of you may know is jim rhoden fabulous book very much relevant to this topic called justice for all for the nation which is the book among other things out, talks about the supreme court and what i would consider it's probably greatest period, to unabashedly cannot and say that now and sitting to my left is erwin who's written a book of
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the considerably less good position from my point of view. i want to go back to the beginning as jim said and the topic is the lifting constitution and i say we have a living constitution and thank goodness because the original constitution has some significant will read as most of you know women were not allowed to vote under the constitution, and african-americans were counted as 3/5 of a person at the time comes to the constitution had some very, very significant falls at the beginning even the wood was called we the people not everyone was part of we the people in 1987, and it took the constitution and the we've had it allowed slavery to continue to set up a situation which basically after a number of years led to the civil war. and the constitution that i come and a number of you i know and love didn't come into full being
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until well after the civil war met with the enactment of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment to that board slavery and the specific provisions for the due process of the law and equal protection and didn't bar people from voting simply because the fact the had once been slaves. one thing i've learned is just because something is in the constitution even in its original version or under amendment doesn't mean that it automatically takes effect and to take the 15th amendment as one example as many of you know we have the 15th amendment in the 1870's and well into the 1960's african-americans throughout most of this house were denied the right to vote and it's absolutely ludicrous when they can register like how many words were the constitution or how many bubbles were on a bar of soap or other things he would consider absolutely
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inconceivable set up deliberately and it took the blood of a number of civil rights workers over a number of years and the protests led by martin luther king and john lewis, so we finally passed the voting rights law which gave some meaning to the constitution. getting another example of why it takes a lot of work to make the constitution work in 1954 the supreme court and its greatest decision brown v. board of education said that the schools were to be desegregated, separate but equal schools were enough. that was 1954. three years later call i mean, they're had been massive resistance throughout the south. you can read a lot about this in jim's took and president eisenhower, the subject of the next book had to send fund united states army into little rock so that little african-american children could simply go to school. one thing about meter the constitution or court decisions
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are automatically self affect trading. there has to be political will to make the reality. and i want to talk about just one case from the supreme court came out this term that i think shows everything or a lot of what's wrong in the current supreme court and it's the case called townson versus louisianan. john thompson was an african-american man accused of murder and robbery in 1985. shortly after the charges were brought they discovered that blood that was found on the victim's didn't match thompson's blood. he wasn't told of this and he was convicted. then because of the fact he already had a conviction he didn't testify on his own behalf on the murder trials and he was sent to death row. many years after he went to death row in fact it was 14 years i believe, a private investigator found blood records
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that showed that john thompson could not have committed this crime. courts in louisiana then overturned his conviction on the ground the prosecutors acted improperly and he eventually got free. thompson then filed a civil rights case in the federal court in new orleans' louisiana, a jury returned a verdict of $14 million on his behalf. basically $1 million for each year he had spent on death row. that decision was upheld by the very conservative fifth circuit court of appeals in new orleans but it wasn't good enough for the supreme court. and in a really horrific decision the overturned the decision fight-for saying that the type of the violation i should back up the second there is a noteworthy supreme court case from 1963 during the that says a prosecutor has an affirmative duty to turn over any evidence that could possibly
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exonerate a defendant. they never gave this information to thompson or his counsel but the supreme court said was even though there were other brady violations in the new orleans district attorney's office, they were different types of violations and therefore there wasn't a pattern and practice. yes, that's what they actually said. it's a quite extraordinary decision, one of the worst decisions i've ever read and john thompson now working on behalf of the other wrongfully convicted persons is out $14 million moscow. when president obama k2 office he said one of the qualifications wasn't intellectual rigor but empathy koppel the conservatives miaskovsky and said the head empathy for the prosecutors but not the defendant and the annunciated a doctrine that paraphrases the story basically being a prosecutor in new orleans means you never have to
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see your story. [laughter] [applause] >> i sat next to this man for ten years. [laughter] erwin? >> it's an honor to be on this panel with people like my ear so much. between 1968 and 2008, a republican presidents meet 13 successful nominations to the supreme court and democratic presence only had two picks for the supreme court during that time. they were all a far right of the political spectrum. individuals like gindin and scalia and clarence thomas was concerned since the mid 1930's. every republican president since richard nixon in 1968 has expressly set out to remake the constitutional law in this record and a conservative direction. it's easily cited that a very
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large extent they succeeded. now we don't realize it because it doesn't happen all let once, the supreme court received case by case not every single ruling has been on the conservative direction. the primary targets of conservatives overturning roe v wade, overruling the school prayer decision, and yet if you look at the sweep of constitutional law you can see that virtually every area conservatives had one. the consistently favored the interest of business over consumers, employees. henry tells a story and i want to start with a story, too. the client was sentenced life in prison with no responsibility for 50 years for stealing $153,000 of videotapes in california. he received a sentence under the
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three strikes law even though he never committed a violent felony justice stevens pointed out prior to california three strikes law, no one in the history of the united states ever had been sentenced to life in prison for shoplifting. i won on his behalf of the federal court of appeals. but in the supreme court reversed fight-for and said it's not cruel and unusual punishment to put a person in prison for life for shoplifting. how could it be that a nation that believes in its constitution, prides itself on the humanitarianism could have such a ruling? this case isn't typical so when you look at almost every area of the constitutional law, you see how much the cortes moved doctrine to the right. the book jim mentions a talk about because of the supreme court, the public schools are
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increasingly separate but equal because of the supreme court there's a tremendous growth in unchecked presidential power. because of the supreme court, the wall that is separating church and state is all but obliterated the conservatives on the court reject the notion there should be a wall that separates because the conservative justices and the congress the rights of those accused by crimes were tremendously reduced. the result is that even innocent people are likely to be imprisoned without recourse and all of us have a lot less privacy and the constitutional rights. individual liberties are eroded by the supreme court. there is only one set of various where the court has recognized new rights for the last four years and that's the second amendment right of gun owners. perhaps most insidious of all
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industries of decisions most recently this week closed the courthouse door to individuals with serious injuries. what we say a word about the case from this week we are vanishing. it involved a couple that bought a cell phone from at&t. at&t was advertising free cell phones at the time. they signed the agreement as we all do when we get our siltstones. they didn't realize the recalls that says any dispute with at&t they have to go to arbitration. they decided to file a lawsuit against at&t because they charged them $30.22 in taxes despite claiming the cell phone was going to be freed. the joint class-action suit against at&t. that's what class actions are all about. we have a large number of people each who lost a small amount of money, overall for talking about
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an enormous gain. however, at&t says the case should have to go to arbitration because that's what the contract called for. there's a federal law in the arbitration act that says contractual provisions calling for arbitration to be enforced but it says exeat where the state law would provide the arbitration agreements are not enforceable. there's a california supreme court decision that says an arbitration clause isn't enforceable when it keeps somebody from being able to afford a class-action suit because class actions are a remedy the party central to arrive justice and the federal court of appeals ruled in favor saying under california law this is indian enforceable arbitration agreement. the united states supreme court fight-for the first, justice scalia wrote the opinion for the court and basically ignored the part of the statute that says
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arbitration isn't enforceable when the state law says it's not and state law said it's not. texas pressed concern about, i will put him, the class-action suits on corporations. justice breyer made the point no lawyer is going to take a case for $30.22. but the reality here is even the injustices will go on remedied. this is nothing better than a decision by the conservative majority to favor business over consumers. and i mention this week typical what we see closing the courthouse doors. [applause] >> john? >> weigel we all agree and come out the same place with the court is doing my focus has been primarily on why they're doing
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it and held the are accomplishing it revive been much more concerned over the years with the process by which president succeed in getting the courts what they want. recently i did it panelings in francisco with two of my predecessors or successors i should say, one was white house counsel for bill clinton, and greg was obama's during the time they selected the justices so we had a chance on the record and off the record to compare notes. the process i must say is striking. it starts with nixon in a very deliberate and calculated fashion to stack the courts including the highest courts but what's become a lower court with justices who think like that president kennedy had
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increasingly implemented the department of justice and the white house programs to make sure the record and put on the bench people they can run through the process and get into the seats when they become open and have a pretty good idea how that a judge or leader justice will proceed. i find this system little insidious. it's below the radar. we are right now experiencing a tremendous backlog and vacancies in the middle level and lower courts. the high court positions are filling quickly because the visibility. obama found a good job in selecting the justices to put up their and fighting the fight he needed to fight but there is no real balance on the court, there's no liberal wing of the court, you go from center to hard right if you will in the court today. i think the more experienced constitutional scholars and i would disagree there's no left
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side of the court to fight for many of the progressive ideas often important as well. so the process itself is troublesome to me. i have apologized for my role in the process and helping bill rehnquist get on the court in a book called the rehnquist choice which i don't think their family keeps on the shelf anymore. [laughter] and there's quite serendipity the way that he got there but that's another story for another time. today it's highly calculated there are people and erwin and i were discussing before the panel started how we are losing a lot of good people to the judicial system today because of the fact mdrc and underpaid one of people here they are getting six-figure salaries and they say but to complain about that? the fact is the person who will come as their law clerk one year out of all school when it's a
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higher court will immediately go to a small firm and be making two or three times that of the judge they worked for years something wrong with the system when the clerk is able to make that kind of money into the judge on the bench is fighting to keep his kids in school or get them in school and it's a system we have to at some point correct or we are not going to get very good people other than the handful of those who median are wealthy enough to sit on the bench onto the bench. and i think that those who come out of the business community and have had backgrounds in business and commerce tend to have more than often those who labored in the academy and what have you. although they are certainly often better paid than those on the bench so that's a fundamental problem i keep looking at and being surprised at is the system that will
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result in us getting the kind of justice that is needed in the country as diverse as we are. with those thoughts we will proceed to q&a. [applause] select the title of your book is the conservative fold on the constitution. why should we see what's happening today as a conservative assault any more than what happened in the 1950's and 60's when it was a liberal assault on the constitution? what makes to one more difference above and the other? >> it's what you see the constitution being about. i believe the constitution exists to protect minorities. you don't need the constitution to protect the majority. the majority can always do that still think the constitution is to protect minorities and make sure the checks and balances get enforced. what concerns me about what the supreme court has done the last
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few decades bending the protection of minorities. the example of schools having mentioned brown v. board of education which i think is the epitome of what the supreme court should be about. then look what the supreme court done with regard to education. the decision after decision the supreme court has limited the ability of the court to bring about desegregation. the most recent decision in 2007 parents involved in community schools the supreme court said the elected school words can't use race as a factor for sending students to school to achieve the segregation. chief justice roberts said he believes diversity in the classroom isn't a compelling government interest. so dozens of the desegregation programs that were successful were adopted by popular schools have to be eliminated. this is abandoning the equal protection. to back to the example i
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mentioned, cruel and unusual punishment. i think the eighth amendment is there to say there's certain things the government can't do to people even if the majority wants to i think putting people in prison for life for just shoplifting by any notion is cruel and unusual in the supreme court expanded that. so the reason i think it's different and say what the conservative criticism would have been is i think the conservatives now have lost sight of why we have the constitution and abandoned the basic principle. >> to add one thing to that is the basic thing the war cord was expanding the right to education and the right to have a lawyer if he were a poor person, the right to have equal voting districts, and i might say the right of people of different races to marry without which one of the conservative justice systems and the clearing
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couldn't be married to his own wife. [applause] >> i hope he's watching. [laughter] erwin, can i follow on one more point and then turn to you, john. when you talk to the light sentence and the obviously it strikes any normal person i think as appalling, but the fulfillment of the street to the country strike law. in your view is there any person of strikes the will justify is it just that it's three? >> the supreme court said if punishment is punishment of crime and the supreme court set there's been a test that we use to return and that. first you have to compare the gravity of the harshness of the punishment to convince them to your stealing 150,000, the punishment was life to 50 years. you look at the other punishments when he committed
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his crime the punishment for rape was a maximum of eight years, the punishment for second degree murder was a maximum of 16 and so in that sense it seems grossly disproportionate. you look to what is the punishment for this offense and other states? as i mentioned, no one in the history of the united states had ever been sentenced to life in prison for shoplifting. now you're right media few did 14 or 15 times we have to continually increase the punishment but i don't think what you ever did for shoplifting. as the mckeithen a practitioner and we want it to paul crisford again but i wonder if he could talk about how the judicial selection worked in the white house and the observations on how it's worked since. >> i must say it's gotten much more organized and systematic in the years since i was there. nixon has been looking and
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talking with other white house counsel looking at what their presence did. today it's very organized and it's a system that is in place where they are making surveys and looking for people who might be potential nominees if an opening were to occur. this happened in the very loose way in the nixon years but not in a very systematic way. the rate that when rehnquist nixon was laid on the line and had listened to a couple of suggestions from within the chief justice warren burger who transmitted suggestions and nixon was anxious to put a woman on and the was pressured premier li coming from his wife and daughters who said it was time now to at least have a woman and john mitchell's wife, martha, was putting pressure on the trade general to have a woman, and nixon in listening to the tapes of the era was quite
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baffled by the fall of putting a woman on. he said in some of the conversations i obviously wasn't in the room and heard later through the tapes at one point nixon and saying you know how awful would be to have a woman on the court would be like putting a woman in a space ship with men sending them off in space. [laughter] then he said finton ghats i have no women on my cabinet it's so bad the women would make it any worse. [laughter] so he didn't exactly have an unbiased view of the situation, but he got far down the road to select a woman out here no less on the superior court that i vetted. she was on the bench until shortly after she passed of way a few years ago and would have far exceeded the term of bill rehnquist had she been selected. for the reasons that she was
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defeated is the american bar association gave her a highly negative vote. one years later looked at the credentials of sandra day o'connor verses mildred lilly, mildred was actually more qualified to be on the bench than sandra day o'connor who turned out to be a wonderful justice. so, nixon got down to the 11th hour and was down to howard baker as one person he offered the post to and the other was lewis powell who in one of nixon's beside finer moments made the conversation with lewis powell persuading him it's actually hearing him is better than reading the transcript. he was very persuasive, paul was concerned he had that i set and nixon was good at persuading him thinking he would make a good justice in bringing him around
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to make the selection. but howard baker couldn't decide whether he wanted to be on the bench or not. he was talking to other sitting justices and a visiting the chambers to decide if he wanted to be on the court, as is sitting with his family and what have you. while that process was going on a suggestion i have met along the way, bill rehnquist got in front of him and was number two in his class at stanford. he'd taken a beating on several earlier suggestions including no less than a senator robert byrd. robert byrd had gone to night school, nothing wrong with that, but had barely made it through night school and never passed the bar. but nixon thought he would be an ideal selection because the democrats and the senate could not have turned him down and he thought this would be a wonderful smoke bomb or stink
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bomb to roll down the aisle of the senate and force them to vote for this nominee who was totally unqualified to be on the bench to the would be required to accept. anyway, while visiting nixon decides rehnquist looks pretty good. when he learned he was number one of his class of stanford there was just no doubt that this was the man he wants to select and he asks john mitchell as the attorney general to go back to howard baker and withdraw the nomination which insure he was quite relieved don. so it happened in a less than organized way. the vetting process was bad. i got a very bad call. nixon was holding it so close to his vest he wasn't telling anybody on the staff who he selected not even the chief of staff bob haldeman which was highly unusual. so rehnquist went through no vetting and as a result in his confirmation process, he made some dreadful mistakes that have
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haunted his tenure on the court ever since. .. >> many sessions to prepare a person to go on the bench. that has actually been good and bad. you don't get full answers or learn much about the nominee. it is like a candidate out on the stump to stays on message and 60's if they stay on message. that seems to be the way to get
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on the court today is to stay on message and don't really give any answers. >> i am curious about the interview. that same last point, the nomination and confirmation process has become an weather that has changed the character of the court. >> so long as the president and the senate are the same political party the confirmation process is largely asia raid. that is what we have seen with regard to taken, so the my york, robert, and the leto. all four of those nominees the senate was the same political party. in none of those they considered the possibility of a filibuster. the confirmation hearing is a chance for the senators to pander to their constituents. they try to ask questions of the company -- nominees to get the nominee to say something outrageous. the nominees are much too smart to do that. they never make that mistake. and so what you have is several
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days of this going on. as joe biden said, it is an exercise in theater, and that is exactly right. everyone knew that john roberts would be just as conservative as he turned up to be. the republicans said, oh, there are open-minded. we don't know what they will be when they are on the court. everyone knew. i think the only time when you have a meaningful confirmation process is when the senate is a different political party. we saw that with robert bork and the beginning of the nixon years . and it is a pretty sad state of affairs when the confirmation process for a supreme court justice produces the most memorable line of one of the nominees this year being asked what she was doing on the day -- the night before christmas. she said, like all jews she was going out to have chinese food, something i can talk about from
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my own experience. on a somewhat more serious note the thing that is really sad about what happened in the confirmation process is that it could provide a wonderful form for educating people in the country about what the court is, what the court does, what it ought to do. people have gotten so cautious about being attacked that they say. at the of this was really on display in particular with president obama's first nominee, justice so, your who was eminently well qualified and has done a fine job on the bench so far. when she was asked a whole series of questions about, you know, what judges do and what she would do, you had this sense, she said what the judge does is apply the law to the facts. i mean, as if you were asking somebody how you solve the problem of two plus two.
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it sounded like something that was very mechanistic. in fact, when something gets to the supreme court it has normally does in there because it is a significant issue that lower courts have differed and it involves value judgment. you have to absolutely have a sense that being a supreme court justice involves wisdom and thinking. that is kind of the great tragedy of the current confirmation hearing. >> one of the good things in the bork hearings where there were honest, open differences of opinion with full discussion of many of these issues. for those of us who follow these things, they were really quite remarkable hearings. bork did not hold back. of course he was not confirmed either. that left its own message, but there was no hesitancy to express positions at that point. >> i was going to add, we are focusing just on supreme court nominations. it is worth saying a word about
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the lower federal court. the reason is the supreme court hears such a tiny percentage of cases. last year the supreme court for the entire term decided 73 cases. this year will probably be about the same number. everything else is left to the lower federal courts. one difference between republican presidents and democratic presidents is republican presidents use much more of an ideological litmus test for lower federal court judges than democrats. if you look year, reagan, bush, and bush compared to clinton and obama, the republican nominees have overall been much more conservative than the democratic nominees have been liberal. also, what we have seen over the last couple of years in the obama administration is that the republicans have used the filibuster far more for the obama nominees than democrats have ever used for the republican nominees. in fact, when the democrats were using the filibuster against the
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republican nominees the republicans threatened to eliminate the filibuster, got the democrats to agree to confirm freedom of conservative portions. however, the republicans and the last year have done an unprecedented way of using the filibuster and individuals with impeccable qualifications have been blocked. the republicans blocked him simply because he testified against samuel allegis confirmation. wonderful magistrate judge from san francisco. the republicans blocked him because in the early stage of his career he was an aclu lawyer. apparently they are getting away with this time after time, keeping eminently qualified people from being blocked just on the suspicion that they might be to leave -- liberal. has created a tilt in the lower federal courts that is also worth noting. >> i would add one thing to that. it has become much more partisan and hostile in recent years.
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i don't want to say that there was necessarily some great golden era in the past. however, president eisenhower when he came in beside the good nomination that he made on the supreme court, he nominated some absolutely fabulous republicans to be on the federal appeals court, to a phone are among my greatest heroes. they really put teeth. they were the front line shock troops of doing civil rights cases in the 60's and stuff like that. they were put on the court in the mid-50s. you know, he was basically a kind of fancy person from new orleans, crosses burned. by the time richard nixon became president somebody suggested that he would be a great nominee for supreme court. john mitchell said over my dead body. >> that me put on the record also on this issue of filibustering, the republicans have always said this started with the democrats. that is absolutely untrue. it started with the republicans.
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when lyndon johnson named for this to become chief justice the nixon campaign but the word out quietly to the senate republicans that this was not a good idea. nixon thought he was calling to win and wanted to be able to fill the chief justiceship. and now steve was leaving. and what was ultimately done was that he was filibustered. no question about that. i have heard people like orrin hatch stand up and say, we didn't start of this. well, that's just untrue. it was started by the republicans who very effectively used the filibuster to block when johnson's nomination and then selling the seat. >> we're going to turn to you all for questions. if any of you have questions and want to line up, we will come to you. let me ask one more.
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it is often said, particularly in the context of abortion, but sometimes gay rights as well that these rights would be more secure if one by the political process rather than judicial fiat. i wonder if you all agree with that? would abortion be -- with legalized abortion be more accepted had it been won through the conventional political process? >> it was not going to be won through the political process. in 1973 when roe v wade was decided to have decided only four states legalized abortion. in half the state's abortion was allowed only in case of rape or incest and in the other states it was not allowed an all. there was no national movement. if roe v. wade is overruled today about half the states have laws on the books now that would make abortion a crime. the michigan supreme court has said if it is overruled abortion will immediately be illegal in michigan because of a law that
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remains on the books. let's take the example of marriage equality for gays and lesbians. there are few states. the rest of the country gay and lesbian still don't have the right to marry. no indication that will happen through the political process. this goes back to, we have the constitution. we have the constitution to protect the rights of minorities, the gays and lesbians, equality under the law. that is why the constitution is and the courts are there to enforce it. [applause] >> one at a time, one added comment. at the time of brown there were obviously states in the north that had integrated schools, but there was no way states in the south would integrate their schools without a decision from the supreme court. even after that it took many years. in theory if you do have the will of the legislature to do something, yes, that probably in
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theory would make it more acceptable. the thing is, with a lot of these big issues they get to the supreme court precisely because of the fact that people are having their rights denied and the legislature will do something about it. >> many states outlaw corporate, -- corporate contributions as well. the supreme court has weighed in with citizens united in a rather striking ruling that has brought untold numbers of anonymous money into the system which everyone said would not happen and is, indeed happening. the worst that everyone could have imagined his stemming from it. yet, you know, there are a lot of conflicting state laws on that issue right now. >> we are going to come out to you for questions. please to ask a question. tenting to make a speech, but we would prefer to hear from these
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folks. >> speaking of cruel and unusual punishment, private first class bradley manning who is suspected of helping with the leaks has been held for ten months under conditions of prolonged solitary confinement, sensory deprivation, forced nudity and harassment by his guards. my two questions are, one, what does it say about brock obama as of president and a constitutional scholar that he approves of this? secondly, do you feel if he is guilty of the charges against them that bradley manning is a criminal or a patriotic whistle-blower? >> well, the first thing i'll say is that based on that information that i have, and i don't claim to have all the information. i think that his treatment definitely has crossed a line of the eighth amendment, and that is why i was one of, i don't know, several hundred law
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professors who signed a petition protesting the treatment. he was recently moved. i hope the conditions are somewhat less odious. i find a way that manning has been treated, mind you he has only been accused of a crime. he has not been convicted of a crime and is clearly being treated considerably worse than some people have already been convicted. i am very disappointed with what i will have to say my government is doing, particularly considering i campaigned for the president and restates. i don't consider him a criminal. >> i agree. last week he was removed from solitary confinement and put into a medium security prison. ten months too late. we aren't here dealing with somebody who is a danger to other inmates are a danger to the present in the way that solitary confinement is
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justified. that just seems to be punitive this. he is in the military being charged for the court-martial offense, but it doesn't matter. the military still has to operate under the constitution. it is inexplicable to me other than just retribution. >> i am going to try to understand why some of the decisions mr. obama has made scene so contrary to the positions that he took as a candid. many of them have been in the -- index, most of them have been in the national security area. i certainly understand that there is a real national security committee that operates in washington. there. not really a wide spectrum of opinion in this community. they have sort of made up their mind as to how the world should run, and they have a tremendous influence on presidents, particularly those who do not
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have a deep background in national security, and so i see time and again from guantanamo and the inability to close it to the treating of many, looking like the same old national security community speaking in doing it the way they think it should be done and the president not really having enough background or experience to take this community on, which he needs to govern and keep the country safe. so i think that is part of the problem. >> my question is for mr. dean. you were on the panel, and the issue arose regarding the supreme court decision for corporate money on the campaign. your comment was too early to tell. before you made reference that there has been significant effects. can you give us examples where the money is starting to have an effect on the campaign? >> rudd, we can see what
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mr. perot did in the off-year election raising about $000 million as he raced for the off-year election, most of the anonymous. we see that the discomfort that is putting on the obama administration right now when a group of former white house staffers and other wealthy people are forming their own organization to counter that. now a number of people, particularly republicans are accusing obama of hypocrisy saying that all campaign contributors should be identified. well, it is hypocritical, but it also is amazing that republicans would say you can't do what we do. and i think what is going to happen. the other day i was looking at something on the independent counsel law. both sides were in favor of that law and tell it cord everybody sufficiently that nobody wanted that lot. it is now expired.
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that may be what will happen with the and the spiraling race of raising money. this year and told obama will likely raise over a billion dollars on the side to run the race. that is just phenomenal to me. a lot of that money is going to be anonymous and a lot of it is going to be corporate. they have a vested interest. we will see. just the dollars being spent our evidence of what citizens united has done. >> i want to tie this to a larger discussion that we have been having. since richard nixon ran for president of every republican nominee has railed against liberal judicial activism. if you read the 2008 republican platform, there is a whole section that attacks liberal judicial activism. i'm not sure what that means. just a phrase we use, decisions we don't like. but if judicial activism means
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anything i think it would support overturning what the elected branches of government have done, overruling precedents and ruling broadly when a narrow ruling might suffice. that doesn't necessarily mean it is bad to do so. i think about citizens united. it seems to me tremendous conservative judicial activism. struck down ala overwhelmingly passed by congress and signed by president bush overruling the president. the court ruled very broadly when and narrow issue. think of others. >> reaching out to get it. >> that's right. we mentioned in passing the second amendment from 1791 to 2008. no law had never been filed to violate the second amendment. the same five conservative justices who now tries struck down federal and state and local gun-control laws. school desegregation, school
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boards, going about bringing about desegregation, overruled by the supreme court. so, what you see is the real judicial activism now is all very much in a conservative direction. yet somehow there is rhetoric about liberal judicial activism. >> her staying on that theme, what we are facing with citizens united, would you consider this to be a danger to democracy as it stands right now? what is to protect us, what is the barrier between as becoming a full blown oligarchy, corporate autocracy bordering on fascism? how do we prevent something like that from happening? how do you put the toothpaste back in the tube? >> that is a big question. i will say that you should keep your eye on the entire area of campaign finance and disclosure.
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a very skilled lawyer named james parker brought the citizens united case has now got a bevy of legislation going on in other parts of the country. i personally think in the next few years your likely to see almost all campaign finance and disclosure laws walked out. i would just give you one example of a potential problem. last year there was a decision. the decision, the supreme court that i actually applauded. a company called massey energy were they gave $5 million in a campaign and the supreme court said that was just too much for a judge to sit on the case where he had received -- there were massive campaign contributions. now, if, in fact you wipeout disclosure laws picture this. most judges, particularly state judges are elected unlike federal judges. you could have secret money coming into election races and then have judges sitting on
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cases involving parties who had given them money in secret. that is a very dangerous thing. >> quickly, i think that citizens united is a threat to the democratic political process. corporations could give money if they created political action committees to raise money for shareholders or anybody else. citizens united means corporations and unions take money right from the treasury, unlimited amounts of money. i think it will have a tremendous effect on who chooses to run. there are still things that can be done. the supreme court 821 upheld the disclosure requirement. the congress and the state's create stricter disclosure laws. senator shimmer proposed an interesting idea, the companies that contract with the federal government should not be able to spend money on election campaigns. a person goes to work in a civil service job. they're not allowed to engage in partisan political activities.
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he says up live the same thing with regard to companies that contract. you can do things at the state level. all states, all corporations are incorporated at the state level. part of their corporate law the states could say that corporations can spend money on election campaigns only with consent of the shareholders. some have already done this to union and we should do the same for corporations. finally, reluctance to use words like fascism. we are such a long way away from that in this country. mindful of some of what senator williams douglas said. we will lose freedom of once, step-by-step, incrementally over time. we have lost a great deal of freedom because of the supreme court. [applause] >> thank you for taking my question. i wanted to find out with regard to the bush stories and a
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unitary executive that the new conservatives are pushing for three dick cheney and colin powell. the crowd, the jewish institute for national security affairs want to control the pentagon. you can read that on the biographical book. the washington post editor. i wanted to find out what the lasting consequences were with regard to that unitary executive position that was pushed for for the obama administration? we heard that obama said things about not signing statements. we saw one come out recently from an. lastly it was with regard to with what muhammed said about pursuing the bush administration for war crimes. my friend has written the best book on how he got into iraq with the same neocons and has allowed release dated have these pushed this -- >> do you have a question? >> what are we going to do to prevent the coming war with iran? thank you.


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