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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  August 30, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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kitchen and then give them these driving intelligence tests. and these people tell of after they tell you they're proud of themselves, drive better. very quickly on making them feel for capable. it has an impact on how you behave. okay, to conclude, how we conduct, how we build our markets, our laws, our policies, our regulations depends enormously, sometimes implicitly, on assumptions we'll make about how people choose what motivates them, what they can and cannot do, and we see a number of examples if you make those assumptions slightly well, intuitively compelling but slightly wrong, you miss possibilities to improve well being much more than we've been able to do so far. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. well, sir, we'll turn to you.
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>> okay, thank you. >> thank you. >> well, within the last year two events took place which were quite significant for that small, dedicated world of happiness researchers. nicholas car cozy -- sarkozy, the president of france, and david cameron, the prime minister of england, both announced that from now on the government was going to produce regular statistics on the happiness and well being of their people. this was a new step, and it, obviously, wasn't just to publish more extensive statistics, but there was some implication that these statistics would be useful in making policy. so you have prime minister cameron's stating memorably it's time we spent less time putting
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money if people's pockets and more time putting joy in their hearts. so with those two actions, the possibility of using happiness research to guide or influence public policy was transformed from a kind of gleam in the eye of a few happiness researchers into something quite possibly relevant to our own world here in the united states and in other advanced countries. so i thought i'd talk a little bit today about what if we did that, what if we looked at happiness research. is this a good thing for us to do? is it really feasible? what difference would it make to public policy? and on the whole would it end up being a good thing? now, the case for taking happiness of people into account
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in public policy i think in principle, at least, is overwhelming. number one, opinion polls suggest that happiness is the most important goal that people treasure above all others. of wealth, above fame, above power, they want to be happy. and, certainly, if happiness is the thing that people want most, that ought to count very heavily in a democracy. but better yet, we also have a good deal of evidence to show that people who feel that they are happy, more happy than normal or more than average, that good things happen to them. they live longer, they are less prone to depression, they abuse alcohol and drugs less, they tend to earn more money, and there are some causal relationship, it's not they actually earn more money,
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apparently, in part because they are happier. and third, and i think somewhat surprising to me, but i think still another reason for taking account of happiness in principle is that the evidence that we have suggests that happy people are more likely than less happy people to do good things for society. they're more likely to have stable marriages, they're more likely to be rated as good employees by their employer, they're more active in civic affairs, they tend to do more for other people, to be more helping individuals than those who are not so happy. so if you could put all those things together, you do the thing that people are most interested in, you do something that's good for the people themselves, you do something that's good for the rest of society, that's a very potent case for taking happiness into account.
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but then you begin to get in some practical questions. for one thing is the kind of evidence that we have about what makes people happy really reliable enough so that you want to use it in making real world decisions that affect the people's lives? and here this is a question anticipated by happiness researchers, and i'm not one myself so that i can speak somewhat objectively about it. but they've gone to considerable efforts to try to see whether the reports that people give in the response to surveys about how happy are you, how satisfied you are with your lives, those responses seem to correlate reasonably well with things that are happening in the real world. for example, they correlate reasonably well with what their spouse's, their best friends, their children think about the
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happiness of individuals. so you've got confirmation from people in a good position to observe. so there's also a good deal of indication, as i said a moment ago, that people who say they're happy, things happen to them in life that are consistent, what you would expect from more happy people. and they live longer, they make more money, they get drunk less often, they abuse drugs much less often. so that's somewhat confirmatory, and there's some advice about people who say they're happy, they smile more, whether parts of their brain associated with pleasure light up more. and i'm not going to speak about that because dan knows so much more about it than i do. happiness researchers seem to feel on the whole that also
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helps establish the fact that what people think about their own happiness has some reliability. beyond just an unsubstantiated personal opinion. so all that is somewhat encouraging. does it mean that happiness research is certainly true? no. but that's not the relevant question. the relevant question is whether the findings of happiness researchers stack up reasonably well with the other kinds of evidence that policymakers customarily use in making decisions in washington and in your state capitals. and here i would say with some confidence that it does, that i think if you, for example, politicians today rely very heavily on opinion polls and focus groups about what people think will make them happier in the future in terms of public
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policy. and dan here to my right wrote a whole book about the numerous fallacies in people's thinking about what their predictions about what will or will not make them happy or unhappy. so i would certainly feel that happiness research is going to provide a more reliable indication of what the effects will be than just asking people what they think what kinds of policies will make them happier. and also if you look at other things that the government relies on for making policy and say is that evidence of more reliable and happiness research, i think if you look at things like poverty statistics, unemployment statistics, if you look at the gross domestic product as the leading indication of the well being of the public, all of those measures are filled with
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imperfections. and so when i, when i compare happiness research to the kinds of things that policymakers are using every day, i think happiness research is probably well over the bar. now, does that mean if happiness research is good enough to be relied on or looked to by policymakers, does that mean that we are going to be able to approximate that wonderful world that was described by -- who is still a leading apostle of happiness in government -- jeremy bentham, great political philosopher in edge bland in the 18th century who determined the government should maximize happiness. and this should be done in a very scientific way. when the proposal is made for a new happiness pressure, what you should do is measure the amount of happiness that will be added
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by the legislation, subtract any unhappiness that will result from the legislation, and if there's a significant positive of balance in favor of trade and happynd, you pass the legislation. will happiness research allow us to do that? almost certainly not. and for that i give you a quick illustration to illustrate the point. what would happiness research do for you in helping president obama decide whether to get out of afghanistan and how quickly? well, you could probably total up the effect on happiness if you got out immediately, lowering expenses, fewer casualties, it could be used for other things, lowering the numbers of people wounded or suffer from various kinds of post traumatic stress. all that could be done, but that clearly wouldn't be enough to
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make you render a sound decision. you'd want to know what's going to happen in the long run. is al-qaeda going to come back? is the taliban going to take over? what are the implications for pakistan which sits on a mass of nuclear weapons? well, those require predictions that no happiness researcher could possibly make or anyone else. so one of the problems with using happiness research and why it's not a complete guide to policy is that many policy measures involve future consequences and their effects on happiness, and you can't predict what those consequences will be. another reason is, and immediately somebody in thinking about getting out of afghanistan would say, well, what about the afghans? i mean, what effect is this going to have on them? then you get into an interesting question, does the happiness of afghans count as much as the happiness of americans when people sit in washington
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deciding on policy measures? well, that again is not something that happiness research can resolve. that's really a matter of values. and then some other people will say, well, look, you know, it's really wrong to get out of afghanistan and leave them in the lurch. after all, we're partly responsible for the situation that they're now in. that's a moral question. and, again, no amount of happiness research is going to tell you what is moral and what isn't. so it's pretty clear that happiness research may help in some measure, but it's not going to give you that magical world of jeremy bentham and provide a clus of -- calculus to resolve all policy questions. second thing that comes to mind is that there are a lot of things that affect happiness very strongly, but government simply doesn't know how to
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affect. for example, it's pretty clear to me at least that probably the most important factor affecting people's happiness at least in a country like the united states really has to do with the quality of their personal relationships; their marriage, their children, their friends, the groups that they're associated with, and that's something government does not know much about. and to look at, for example, one interesting case that came up recently was a survey to try to find out in canada what are the happiest provinces. and so they did an elaborate study, and the results came out in a rather surprising way. they found that the most kind of progressive populace states like british columbia and ontario were not the happiest states. that among the happiest states were some of the maritime
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provinces which were really the poorest and often considered the most backward provinces in canada. unfortunately, they did the study in such a way that you could break down what accounted for that surprising result. and what they found was, of course, the states that were more prosperous, that helped. that gave them a boost overall. but the boost that the average incomes gave these provinces like british columbia was much more than offset by answers to other questions of which perhaps the most dramatic, the one that favored the maritime provinces the most was do you have more than two people that you can rely on if you're in trouble? and on those questions like those, the maritime provinces scored far higher. so much so that that lifted their average level of overall happiness above that of the richer, more prosperous, more
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famous provinces of british columbia and ontario. and i think it is, you know, that unfortunately at least at the present time we don't know much about public policy measures that can really affect human relations. as my former colleague, the late great daniel patrick moynihan said, and he studied families all his life, if you think that government knows how to make stronger, more cohesive families, you know more about government than i do. and be pat moynihan knew a great deal about government as well as a great deal about families. so there's one area which maybe we can learn to do a few things, but we certainly do not know very much about how to improve human relations. and there are others. one thing that clearly has an effect on happiness are big wars. if you just think of, say, the
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vietnam war and you try to tote up how much unhappiness that caused to us, to the vietnamese and how little positive result we got out of it, that's, you realize that war is one significant contributing factor to overall happiness. and yet we don't seem to be able to have a very good battle average on which wars to get into and which do not. i'm not going to get into the thick of the iraq and afghanistan, but you can ask yourselves are we likely to get enough positive results on people's well being to offset the obvious unhappiness caused by all the death and destruction and the expenditure of money and the displacement to people in the other countries that wars of that kind bring about. even unemployment, something we do know a fair amount, and we've had some success in reducing unemployment. unemployment is one of those relatively few things that can
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happen to you in life that doesn't produce only momentary happiness. it produces in many people a long-term unhappiness. so it's something you really would like to hold to a bare minimum. and yet as the current crisis this we're going through in terms of unemployment points out, we still have a lot to do to avoid this kind of catastrophe in people's lives that is not just a matter of losing your job and losing money, it's much more importantly a blow to your self-esteem for which you often do not recover even if you find another equally well-paying job. now, does this mean, you know, with all these limitations that public policy has nothing to gain from looking to happiness? well, that would clearly be an extreme. and it's clearly untrue. if you look at the happiest countries in the world and compare them with the unhappiest, the happiest are
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countries like norway and denmark and iceland and switzerland and holland, you compare them with the least happy countries in the world, zimbabwe, haiti, somalia, it's pretty clear that all the countries that are really happy have really quite successful governments and a high level of trust in government. and the countries that are at the bottom of the happiness scale all have very dysfunctional governments. so, clearly, government must make a substantial difference. and it very, very clearly does. so if you then ask why is it that the united states wasn't listed among the few happiest nations, actually we do quite well. we're in the probably 20 happiest countries out of the 160 we have evidence for, but we're not at the top. we're usually 12th, 15th, 17th,
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something like that. so it's fair to ask what is it about us that keeps us there being number one in if happiness? and if you compare us to these countries that i mentioned, i think some pretty clear answers stand out. one is that these are countries in which there's a much greater trust in government, and according to the surveys of people who look very closely at these things like the world bank, their governments are rated as more effective than ours. and that we know from research makes a surprisingly big difference. the quality of government and your faith in government and your sense of an effective government makes a big difference to people's happiness. another thing is these countries get into war much less than we do, so war comes back into the equation. they're also provided considerably better security
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against the great hazards of life, of, you know, falling ill without any health care or running out of money in your old age, things like that. these countries have very different ways. not all by standard welfare state methods. nonetheless, they provide a fairly high measure of security and relief from some of the major worries of life. and then, too, they have less mobile populations, stable community relations probably flourish more in these countries than they do, they do in the united states. we have big cities, people come and go at unusual rates, and there's for that reason a strain on the development of close, stable personal relations. not so true in these other countries. so if you look at that, you get some sense of what government might do that would affect
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happiness. one thing you would start with is really trying to make government function better in this country. you would try, those of you who heard that really excellent address last night by my colleague, larryless cig, which is really on the effects of campaign finance in this country and the wide sense that people have in america that the legislation is not passed with their welfare primarily in mind, but policy is really determined by who has money to contribute. and that, clearly, contributes to low level of trust in government, and that affects the average happiness of the country. so there are a whole lot of things in campaign finance reform, the independent ethics commission, redistricting done more objectively, many -- getting rid of earmarks, all of those things make, would make, tend to make a difference.
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and then simply having a more effective government. our government does not rate at all as all that effective. having once sat on a national commission about improving government, a whole series of things we can do to make the civil service in this country a better and more effective organization. so that, that would clearly be a place to start. ways of trying to reduce the insecurity that comes from be the way the unemployed are treated, the fact we have 40 million people who are uninsured for health, the fact that people run a greater risk in this country of running out of money in their old age either due to the need for long-term care, or they simply run through their savings, or they don't have an adequate pension. all of those things that could
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be reduced significantly, and that would probably be helpful if you looked more at happiness research. that's the kind of thing you would also look to. and finally, one thing that happiness does, happiness research does do that is quite suggestive for policymakers, it identifies certain kinds of things that produce lasting unhappiness that seem to fly under the ray car screen otherwise -- radar screen otherwise. they don't get the attention, the resources the emphasis in medical school that you would expect given the importance they have to individuals who suffer from them. one is depression, clinical depression. a second is chronic pain. a third, of all things, sounds kind of very trivial, sleep disorders. actually the nobel prize winner danny connorman looked at things that determine how happy you are the next day and found that the
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most significant determinant of how happy you are the next day is how good a night's sleep you had the night before. and millions of people in the united states suffer from veep disorders -- sleep disorders of one kind or another, and yet very little money goes for research on this, very little attention paid to it in medical schools. similarly in depression. millions of people suffer from clinical depression in the united states, and yet when i talk to the leading experts that we had at harvard on depression and its treatment, they gave me the following rule of thumb; of every six people who suffer from a clinical depression in the united states, one is treated correctly, two are treated incorrectly, and three are not treated at all. well, it would, obviously, be asking too much of any government to have a perfect record in doing the best that medical care can do for every single depressed person in the united states, but surely public
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policy could do something to improve upon those dreary statistics where only one in six is given reasonable treatment. so i think in the end, i think happiness research will not solve everything, it's not completely reliable, but it could, i think in significant ways, help to clarify the priorities and the objectives that public policy might be expected to take that would have a significant and lasting effect on average happiness. and that would be some considerable gain. now, are we likely to do that in the next few years? i think very unlikely, but happiness research will be actively used to that extent. it's a new concept. americans are not familiar with it, and in a democracy that's a serious handicap. public policymakers are not used to this kind of research. the research itself is still in
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an early stage. there's a lot of things we don't know, there are a lot of findings that haven't been replicated and verified, there are a number of important issues like what is the importance of increasing people's incomes on happiness? the evidence is still in some conflict on that. so there's a lot that we need to do to improve upon the quality of the research we have. but from what we do know i think it is fair to say that as time goes on and the research gets better and we discuss it more and we read more about our relative standing in average happiness with other countries, it's going to become more and more a plausible thing to do. so i would guess that you will see in the longer term more use of happiness research in policy making. is that going to make the country better? well, that depends on predictions about how well the government will perform and the use of this evidence, and my
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crystal ball on that subject is no better than yours. so with that i will subside, and thank you very much. [applause] >> it's hard when you're supposed to discuss with two people, and they seem to agree with each other and with you. it doesn't leave a lot of discussion. i'm going to give you the argument i would make if i were, maybe if i were a neoclassical economist. so what i'm hearing, i think, is broad consensus that, a, it's very reasonable for policymakers to be concerned about human happiness;b, why would we not use data to more effectively promote happiness? and psychologists say this to each other all the time, and we say aren't the economists dumb because they think policy should just be promoting economic well being. isn't that short-sighted? but the desense of that is, of course, if you make everybody rich, then they all get to
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decide for themselves where their happiness lies. if they want to sleep better, they can spend their money doing that, and if they would rather eat chocolate, they can spend their money doing that. why is that argument wrong, that we shouldn't be in the happiness-producing business, we should be in the business as policymakers of producing the means by which people can pursue happiness themselves? is that argument wrong? >> yes. [laughter] >> well, good. because i don't believe it either. [laughter] then why is it wrong? >> well, um, i think it comes back to the basic question what ought to be the real objective of public policy? should it be to help people become happier, or should it be to maximize their freedom to make choices, and then it's up to them? and even though we know that they often make imperfect choices that do not turn out to make them happy, nonetheless,
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it's their choice, and that's what we should be doing with government. well, i guess i don't really believe that. i believe that happiness is a more important goal for people than just giving them, people the right to choose. i don't mean that giving the right to choose isn't important. in fact, the research does show that personal freedom is a significant contributor to happiness. but it also seems to show that in the end people would rather be happy than just have more money. and for that reason and because i do think we're trying to promote the greatest happiness that we can, i think we can use the research because it sounds to me like we'll get further to our goal that way than just giving people a lot more money. >> yeah.
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i mean, i agree. i think, first of all, giving people money is not an easy thing to do. there's only so much money we can give s so we still have to worry about those who don't have enough. and i think the government has a real responsibility. i think the ethical weight on government involvement when your model is not one where people know it's good for them, but one where they are easily misled and make errors, the ethical argument for government involvement is much more powerful. so i used to get an ulcer for years in the fact that citibank was allow today send you your credit card bill and suggest june 21st as a default payday which happened to be on a saturday and say, okay, get a $35 late fee which for some people is a blow. ..
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then comes the decisions we actually make and from a lot of evidence, a lot of in your book we do it badly. so going back to gilbert there is data we spend a lot of money on bigger houses and faster and better cars. which is fun for 10 minutes before we forget we have them. having somebody arrange life in the way that is conducive to that is totally very helpful. >> whenever i hear you talk about your work or i read it, my reaction is, my god this is so simple and it could
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have such big and sanguine effects. what is standing in the way of us doing any of this? i think this is a question for both of you. we have research. it is not perfect. it can't tell us whether to withdraw from afghanistan. it is better than nothing. it does give us information. what is standing in the way of using it in public policy? >> this happened in the former session thinking good thoughts and being happier. i think life stands in the way. life is complicated. our attention is very limited. we don't have much of an attention span. even when we know good to exercise and diet and close your eyes and think about children and change the structure of your brain we have too many things to do. we know if you have a trainer or agenda weights for you three times a week you go to the gym more often. i was wondering whether can introduce what we call it, compassion gyms? you know, you come to the office this morning. 9 to 9:15 there is
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compassion gym. people would like it and do it but not if you don't arrange for you to go through it naturally. we don't have enough attention span to stop everything and do it unless -- >> we talk about people might not do it. i'm asking what is standing between the world of policy i makers and world of researchers like you a they're not dying to hear everything you're discovering and put it on standly to good use? >> because policymakers don't go to work every morning saying how can i make americans more happy? they go to work and say, what do my voters think and, to use the phrase, that one congress, veteran congressman gave to a young congressman quoted last night by larry, the advice was, lean to the green. in other words, pay attention to what this is going to do when you come up for re-election you have to raise money. now neither of those, you know, just looking what
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people say they want, or what is going to offend your donors the least is necessarily going to come up with the point that you say are self-evident to all good researchers. on the other hand, this research is still new. it may be that, people's sense of what they need might be educated more as this research becomes better known and more widely discussed. >> empirical research is not part of what government does easily. if you take us seriously a lot of policy decisions require pilot testing. empirical testing. how will people respond to the idea? will it help or not? government is not structured to do quick, powerful studies. they don't work that way. there is a joke, being proximately right or precisely wrong. often the government wants
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an answer, economist says take it down half a percent. with you it depends, take it down 100%. what you do with it depends. we can't do the research. it is hard. it is not structured that way very often. >> i i know we're running short of time. i want to give others a chance to ask questions of our speakers. if you have some there are microphones on both sides of the room. don't jostle each other trying to get to the microphones. be orderly, give everyone a chance. you're coming to ask a question. rearranging the microphone. yes, please. >> [inaudible]. >> i think so, otherwise no one can hear you but us. >> hi, my name is general any. -- jennie. it is not well-thought out but a combination of thoughts in my head from
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larry less sick's conversation last night and happiness thing we came from before. one of the things larry was saying that he felt that the reason why policy-makers are really paying attention to the top 5% of the people who are giving the most money to fund policy, and that politicians are spending what, 30 to 60% of the their time really on keeping these 5% happy, and, so then you have the other 95%, and also the lower class and the middle class, who, when they're thinking about how they're going to spend their hard-earned dollars, they're not really thinking in terms of oh, let me give that $35 i have, not to a late fee but instead let me give it to a political campaign because there is no trust in government.
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then going to the happiness seminar that we just came from, i think it was, somebody said over there, in order to effect that change you have to first be able to perceive it and believe in the benefit and for people to actually step up and begin effecting change. forgive me for rambling because it is not 100% thought out. i guess what i'm wondering is, how do you get people who are not that top 5%, who are the middle class and lower class, to feel and see and believe in a benefit enough for them to step up and to be part of that game, therefore so that we, so that they can influence researchers and policymakers to actually listen to others who are not part of that 5%? >> you can't throw up your
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hands. >> it is a complicated question. one thing that comes to mind alongwith lack of intuition about what work best for us comes a lack of introspective access to the aspect that we're not doing things well. most people are not fully aware of the mistakes they're making how they could do things better. how best to use those $35. those things, like research discuss shows we're doing it wrong. might be very compelling but i think in everyday life people rarely notice this was $30 badly misused. in some sense it is very hard to get the demand unless people are aware of it. most peoples lives are too complicated. they're on automatic pilots. they're trying to arrange it so kids survive in their school and their marriage survives. hard to notice on daily bases is the mistakes we make that could have been done better. it makes it very difficult.
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>> greatn 30 so we have left, i wonder if you comment, do we have problem about the national narrative? >> louder? >> i'm sorry, do we have a problem with our national narrative. we talk about right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not happiness. and it strikes me that the idea of government being responsible for creating happiness is just very far away from the sort of core way we talk. >> gee, i don't -- >> not on. >> i agree that, you know, what the declaration of independence says that, is the pursuit of happiness but, i think if you ask most lawmakers is, promoting the happiness of your constituents a foreign concept? is it out of keeping with the american narrative? no, you would say that is
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one of the things i like to do. now that doesn't mean policy will always follow that because there are a lot of other forces that bear on public policy but i think most people, that i know, that sit in policy-making positions would certainly say no it is not irrelevant but we'll make people happier but it is quite a significant element. one is until relatively recently there is lot we didn't know about what policies would actually affect happiness. as i say we do have a system in which considerations apart from the happiness and welfare of the people do enter into a very significant extent. i mean certain things that, you know, if you ask why is it that we have, by far the most expensive medical, health care system in the world and yet we're the only advanced country in the world with 40 million people or a large segment of the
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population who isn't even covered by health insurance? now, that is not because lawmakers came to washington feeling, hey, you know, what my constituents would really like is have a large segment of people uncovered and have health outcomes no better or not as good as many other countries in the world and yet pay 50% more than any other country. yet that's where we are. partly through ignorance of how to produce the kind of health care system that would work the best. it is a very difficult subject and partly because there are a lot of very powerful interests that are trying to achieve other objectives. but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep trying to refine our sense of what really would produce more happiness because i think, you know, that is a factor. and if we can make that clear, we improve the odds somewhat that legislation will take that more into account than it otherwise would. but we shouldn't expect
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policymakers to suddenly change their minds and redraft the laws and, look entirely to dan gilbert for guidance. no, that won't happen but it will have overall a, could have i think a salutary effect in changing the mix somewhat of considerations that ultimately affect the kinds of laws we have. >> the sign of a good discussion is that you're out of time before you're out of discussion and i'm afraid i'm being signaled we are out of time. please join me in thanking eldar shafir and derek bok for stimulating us [applause]
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♪ . [inaudible conversations] >> coming up in about 15 minutes on c-span, labor secretary hilda solis. she is the at national press club this afternoon here in washington. she will be talking about job creation efforts in the u.s. again you can see live coverage of that 1:00 eastern. it's on c-span. at 2:00, it's a look at domestic emergency preparedness. fema's chief counsel will be joined by fire department officials from los angeles and virginia. they will talk about that. that will be live right here on c-span2. and a little bit later the atlantic council will host a discussion on afghan security. speakers include the depthty commanding general for regional support in the nato training mission in that country. you can see live coverage at
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3:00 eastern. that will be on c-span. >> am i might surprise you we think good things come in twos. live coverage of senate on c-span2. >> you can watch live events online at >> or you can see them whenever you want at the c-span video library. >> c-span2 has northern fix books every week owned on "book tv". >> every week aepd explore american history tv. >> listen to us on your i phone. >> or on your blackberry. >> join us on facebook. >> or on twitter. >> washington your way. >> created by cable and provided as a public service. >> coming up next we take you to denver for the annual western conservative summit. syndicated radio talk show host dennis prager was the keynote speaker at the reagan centennial luncheon. this is response toward by the colorado christian university centennial institute. the lunch chon speech is
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about 15 minutes. [applause] >> well, wow, --. wow!. thank you, thank you, very much. very intimidating when you get the standing ovation before you speak. [laughing] you really better deliver. well, i can actually spend a good part of my time thanking everybody who has made this possible. forgive me by the way, i have a slightly hoarse voice. i don't know why but i do. isn't it a annoying you get anything in the summer? if you get it in the middle of winter. nobody should get a cold in the summer. it is wrong, just morally wrong. any way, be that as it may the brain is functioning and that's what matters. i just want to say that senators armstrong and andrews, you have don't something wonderful with
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this institute and with these weekends that you have created. i want to thank you and salute you. it is an honor to be part of this all-star cast. i often say on my radio show, i make no judgement on this but i will be somewhat self-revealing here, there are two types of people -- you always have that, two types of people, right? here's, here's one of the two types distinctions. there are those who want to be a star, and there are those who want to be on an all-star team. and you need them both. i have no, i have no judgment here but i far prefer being part of an all-star team. and that's what i am when i come here, and thank you for having me and the rest of the all-stars that you bring. it is a very, very big deal. [applause] let me, let me tell you, that the great battle is a
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moral ideas battle. the congressman who said those very kind things about me and, of course brian taylor of my beloved kmus, they have spoken and you have heard about ronald reagan and you heard the congressman say, that he needs someone to translate this prager-speak liberallees. i do. that's the interesting, i should now say i speak five languages. that is a very good point. no, it is actually a very good point and a very important one. i was raised speaking liberallees. i'm classic. i am the stereotypical liberal. brooklyn, new york. columbia, university. jewish. what else is there?
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[laughter] it is like redundant. and i speak liberal ese fluently. that is why, one of the reasons hopefully if i am effective it is because i know their language and part of the langage is, to be liberal is to be kind. to be conservative is to be stingy. to be liberal is to be compassionate. to be conservative is not to be compassionate. and the list goes on. the self-esteem of the left is enormous. that's why they founded the self-esteem movement, one. silliest movements they have ever founded and there is competition for that title, you must understand. silliest liberal movement is a very large group of nominees. [laughter] but the self-esteem movement and a lot of conservatives
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bought it. you have to raise kids with self-esteem and zoo forth. turned out the atlantic monthly, a liberal, thoughtful liberal magazine, had a very powerful article recently how devastating for children to think highly of themselves without doing anything of merit to think highly of themselves. my older buy when he was 10 he got a trophy for, well, i won't say for what. that is the punch line. he got a trophy at the last game of his baseball season. he came in last. his team came in last. which is good prager sports tradition. [laughter] and he came in last. so i said, david, what's the trophy for? and he thought and he thought and he thought. said, for playing. you got a trophy for playing? does it say that, to david prager, for playing? they didn't win. by the way, even the kid who didn't play got a trophy.
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[laughter] i want to tell you i got no trophies as a kid. my older brother did because he was good. he was a real athlete. this is part of the idea of the left. they have very high self-esteem. our task is to win the moral, rhetorical battle. to show that the nanny state, the welfare state, is not a compassionate and good thing. it is heartless. government ultimately is heartless because nobody is there. you knock on the door and a bureaucrat answers if you get any answer. there was a time in america when you knocked on the door and the church down the street answered. the rotary club answered. the kiwanis club answered. there were more associations
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in america than in any other country or all other countries combined. the state has obliterated them. catholic charities does not any longer function in massachusetts and in illinois. in the area that they had been the greatest activists in and that is adoption. because they had this odd belief that you give a child for adoption first to a healthy, married man and woman. if they're not married, they didn't qualify for first choice. if it was two men, they didn't qualify for first choice. it is not anti-gay anymore than if you're not married it is anti-heterosexual. or if you're single it is not anti-heterosexual. it is not anti-anybody. it is odd belief catholic
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charities had if you have a child who nodes a home, your best chance, no guaranties in life, but your best chance is with a married man and woman. but that is bigotry now. that is considered bigotry in illinois by state law. it is bigotry. and in massachusetts, so they are no longer in the business of adoption. that's, that's what the state does. the larger the state. we're here honoring ronald reagan. he changed my life. i will never forget his inaugural address and he said in this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem. i did not know that. i feel silly. i do. i feel silly. i wasn't a liberal but i didn't know that. by the way, which therefore made me a liberal. the issue is the size of the state. the great moral dividing line is about the size of
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the state. and i am here to make the case with 10 arguments that the bigger the state, the smaller the citizen. it is a phrase that i came up with and i, we have bumper stickers with that phrase. it summarizes the conservative position which is the american position. that doesn't mean we love america, they don't love america, none of that nonsense. has nothing to do with love. there is such a thing as normtive american values. a big state is not a normtive american value. it is a european value. the left in this country wishes to be sweden. the right in this country does not wish to be sweden. that's it. and in a nutshell that is the difference. we do not look to western europe as a model. by the way just a little
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tiny example of the enormous moral battles that two on here. that, you know, those of you who hear my show know a motto of my show is i prefer clarity to agreement. here is a clarifying difference between western europe and the united states, or at least western europe and american values. this evil monster, breivik, who murdered now 77 people, most of them kids, do you know what his maximum sentence will be? 20 one years in prison. that averages out to about two months per murder. that is a statement of how they look at murder in western europe! that is a statement of the contempt they have in my opinion, for human life. your death is worth two months in prison.
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it's vial. we who believe if you commit premeditated murder, you do not deserve to live value life more than they do. [applause] in the united states you can get more time in prison for tax fraud than for murdering 77 people in norway. what does that say? very important little distinction. it is not more moral to have such a nothing punishment. the man, the german fan, remember that? who stabbed monica seles the tennis star in the back, ruining her career. came over and put a giant kitchen butcher's knife in her back. never served a day of life
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in a german prison. they understood his issues. that is the liberal mind. i could, if i had the time, actually i do have is the time, it is called my radio show. i have three hours a day and sometimes it is not enough to speak about the moral defects of liberal position but what must be understood is, most of the time, not all the time, by any means, and further left you go the meaner the spirit, but many liberal people are utterly decent people. by the way, they can't say that about us. they can't. the moment liberals acknowledge that a conservative can be as kind and well-intentioned as they, they have cut the rug from under them. they have removed it from under them. they must belief we mean poorly. i will never forget we play on my show clip after clip of liberals saying just matter of factually how bad
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conservatives are. the howard dean, the former head of the democratic party, said, for example, unlike, unlike a conservatives, we liberals don't go to bed at night, we go to bed at night worried about kids who can't, who don't have enough food. we don't care about kids who don't have enough food. that is how he believes. i'm paraphrasing a larry king question where he just said, what is it about conserves they have such a problem with kindness? and i like larry. i was on "larry king" a dozen times. you know he means well. that is, if they didn't believe we were mean-spirited they couldn't stay liberal. they have to believe they mean better than we. we don't have to believe we mean better than them. we have to believe we do better than them. we measure morality what happens. not what is intended. [applause]
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very, very, very big distinction between us. so let me give you these 10, and i could give you 20, 10 failing of the progress sieve policies on the character of a society. number one, the bigger the government the less citizens do for one another. makes perfect sense. americans knew you help your neighbor, you help your parents, you help your children. which just knew that and we always did. so the question is, who does it? if the state won't do it, the church will, the synagogue will, the volunteer club will. the free loan society will. i mean it is endless. it is endless. the glee club will. the bowling club will. the sisterhood will. the brotherhood will. they're all diying base the
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state destroys the alternatives. there are no such alternatives in western europe. if you want to help your parents, you go to the state. not to mention that we have this notion now, we take for granted that the state he had indicates our children. why is that, why is that superior? that was not the original american ideal. the state, so the bigger the stated, the less we do for one another. that is why americans with the same exact socioeconomic status as western europeans, give far more charity and volunteer far more time . .
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>> so it will collapse like every ponzi scheme does. it's not meant to be a ponzi scheme. by the way, i have the author of a biography of ponzi on my show. ponzi was a good guy. he just got messed up so yet to keep collecting money to pay the other people who paid in early. he didn't mean bed. ponzi turned out to been someone of the saint. i'm not kidding. i'm not kidding. he heard of a girl who was in the fire, and he gave his own skin for her skin grafts. a total stranger.
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ponzi is the quintessential liberal, means well, and creates something destructive. that is what liberalism is. means well and destroys. does it mean to destroy, but remember, one of my models, being left means never having to say you're sorry. number three, let me just say one word about number two. i live in california. california is broke. it's not only broke, it's broken. liberals broke it. nobody can argue, no one, no one with a shred of commitment to honesty can argue conservatives broke california. liberal policies in a state where they can do whatever they want. have broken the golden state, the state people went to to get
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rich. you know go there to get more. you leave to get rich. it's very sad. it's a beautiful state. very sad. number three, citizens of liberal welfare states become increasingly narcissistic. do you know what the big worry of the western european is? it certainly isn't how do i protect countries like america worries about protecting countries, right? 37,000 americans died saving south korea from becoming like north korea. how many germans died saving south korea? how many french? how many italians? how many spaniards? we die for others. do you know what the big concern of western europeans, all western europeans, vacation time.
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they riot over vacation time. they riot over what age is the retirement age. riots take place over these issues. this is narcissism. it doesn't matter what is happening in cambodia. it doesn't matter what is happening in syria. i want my vacation time. and that's it. that's the big concern. i want a four-day work week. i want it all paid for. european union has now added under its list of human rights, are you ready? i couldn't make this up. the right to travel on vacation to a foreign country. it is not in the list of human rights. it is not a privileged. it's a human right. number four, the liberal welfare state makes people disdain work.
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they look at us americans as much to hard-working. i know a dear young woman, about 30, how old? 30? was made a good american friend of ours. and has fallen in love with a united states. and she told me that in germany there's a simple law. if you owned a store in berlin, and distal dorf, anywhere. and you want to keep it open and our law to make more money, you cannot. it's not fair to the guy who was closing at five, so you can stay open until six. the idea that people should work hard, and, of course, what is happening as result is, no hard work is really venerated. not the hard work of producing children. western europe isn't replicating itself. the more liberal you get, it's
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not a matter of wealth. that's only part of the story about why people left. religious people have more children than secular people. what is the? you see a big fan and a united states u.s. one of the family. they are mormon, catholic, evangelical, or orthodox jewish, correct? did you ever see a family of nine kids and parents are democratic activists? [laughter] i really wonder if there's one in the united states of america. any hard work is disdained by the left. only the hard work of having the government expand, then they are prepared to work really hard. they will knock on your door. number five, nothing guarantees more the erosion of character than getting something for nothing.
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to be used to getting something that you didn't pay into. michele bachmann was entirely right in saying every american must be even a dollar in federal income tax. it is corrosive, it is corrosive -- [applause] the human character to pay nothing. 47% of americans do not pay a penny in federal income tax. i have the bizarre notion that there is more wisdom in the bible than in "the new york times." this is a very big dividing line between me and others. the biblical notion is every israelite gave half a shekel, everyone. if they were too poor, they will borrow it. there's no dignity in not paying it. that's what the label doesn't understand because human dignity is not a big deal on the left.
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equality is big but not dignity. there is no dignity in having others pay for you. it is humiliating. in jewish life is one of the ironies of life that jews are liberals. this is one of the big battles and my life. but, you know, what i tell jewish liberals? why don't you preach what you practice? [laughter] jewish liberals live utterly conservative lives. utterly. education, emphasis on marriage. jews are so big on marriage, you know that. as soon as it used sees a single human being, you know, i think i know somebody for you. i think i know somebody. [laughter] i never forget i do my word of honor, i took two young handsome catholic priest to a passover of mine many years ago. every woman at the table was thinking, you know, i know, that
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he would be. i kept taking them. celibate. celibate. [laughter] they didn't care. single, single. and ongoing celibate, celibate. know, it's a real irony jews live, they work hard, they defer pleasure. they emphasize education. everything -- and when it comes to policy, they adopt the opposite view. that's why i say to my fellow jews who are liberal, preach what you practice, and a lot of liberals would be like that. it is very bad to get something for nothing. it is very bad, 47% of our society determines what the other 53% will pay. can you imagine a bowling club that ran that way? not everybody, everybody is a member of the club and those of you who don't pay a nickel towards jews, you decide how
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much the others to do they will pay any dues. can you imagine that? it's inconceivable that a bowling club would run that way. we run the united states of america that way. plus the issue of the thing, getting something for nothing is a very, very bad thing. number six, the bigger the government, the more of the corruption. this is perhaps, it's almost never mentioned and it might be the biggest of the 10 principles and speaking of. the bigger anything is, the data of business, that everything is the more likelihood, the greater likelihood of corruption. let me tell you one very major thing that no one likes to talk about, do you know who has committed greatest evils of history? big governments. big secular governments. hitler, mao, stalin, all big
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states. why would anybody trust a big state? is amazing how many colors have imbibed a college message, market would think about religion anything else in history. all, really? know, more people have been killed by governments do anything else in history. edges in a 20th century alone and none of them were religious. you don't learn that in college. comes as a shock to my listener. yeah, gee, i never thought of that. why is big government, why doesn't the government have a bad reputation? why? not only that, well, they say big corporations are corrupt. fine. i never argue. we are not big corporation fans. we are economic freedom fans but we are not big corporation fans. big corporations are not conservative. ge is not conservative.
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none of us just know that. the head of ge is a big time pro-democrat liberal. this notion that invented this notion that big business is conservative. it never was. they did so much business with lennon that there was a statement that lenin and his bolsheviks had western companies with one another to sell us the rope by which we will hang them. a very famous race of london. but when all is said and done, no big company has a police force. the government does. no one has been arrested by coca-cola. you can be arrested by the big state, which i will talk about as an example later. number seven, the welfare state corrupts family life. that's the biggest single part of the problem in the inner-city.
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where women begin to look to the state for husband instead of to a man for husband. the big state has a terrible impact. instead of bombing these two people to support a family, i don't have to bond with anybody. i just go to the state and it will support my children. and not only that, the more children i had out of wedlock, the more the state will pay. has a very corrupting impact on family life. number eight, the welfare state inhibits the maturation of its young citizens into responsible adults. when i was a young man, when i was a boy, i knew i didn't meditate on it, i knew it, my task is to marry, supportive wife, and supportive family. that was it. no longer. no longer. boys do not have that dream. asked women dating, they'll tell
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you, boys don't have that drink. including voice of, including voice of the men were. the command was produced by something in society. they didn't come out of nowhere. but the idea of a boy dreaming of supporting a family that's much of. that's john wayne-ish. we don't want that. well, you got your wish. you don't have that. that's exactly what you don't have. i play on my show the longest, loudest sustained applause i have ever heard. you know where it's from? a college in the washington area where president obama spoke and announced, and now you can stay on your parents health insurance policy until the age of 26. had he announced a cure for
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cancer, i don't believe the applause would have been as great. it was hysterical applause. and i just thought about myself, this is not bragging, believe me, i would not have applauded if i were in college. i wanted to be independent and 21. i wouldn't have applauded that i cannot be depended into 26. by the way, i bet if he announced until 36 they would have screamed in applause. the notion of independence is not a negative. it is a positive. so the next time your daughter asks where are all the men, tell them the democratic party and its policies got rid of them. and that's the truth, ruth. [applause]
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number nine, as a result of the left's sympathetic use pacifism, and because almost no welfare state can't afford a strong military, european countries rely on america to fight the world's evil, and even to defend them. they have no budget for defense. it's all spent on making sure people can have fewer hours of work and have more vacation time and have more benefits and more benefits and more benefits. and who will fight evil? america. anyway, they deny there is evil. there really isn't evil. evil is an american turbojet no idea how many french and german experts and scholars i've had all my reviews show who just say, you know, especially when president bush was president they would say you americans like to talk about good and evil. we europeans, we don't talk about good and evil.
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that's very america. and they are right. it is very american. it's entirely right. we do talk about good and evil. that's why we alone have tended to fight evil. not the europeans. it's a very big deal. that's another, and that's a phenomenon of the left. you don't fight evil. you fight carbon emissions. it's very important you know that. i always say my grandson, i finally have a grandson, when my grandson of the other grandchildren will grow up to say, what did poppy dennis fight? because in his time, i agree there was a great division. he thought they should fight islamist terror and communist evil and others thought that they should fight global warming. which did grandpa fight? i hope that my grandchildren
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know which one i thought. but this is clarifying the differences. i don't know how a person of the left can differ with what i just said. they will add well that's because we consider global warming the great evil. there's always a new great evil that has nothing to do with evil. that has to do with expansion of government. that's what it has to do with. the united nations just came out with a major statement that people of no reason to live on more than $10,000 a year. with global warming we should redistribute all of the west income to africa and asia. that's all. and finally, which is about good and evil, the worldview of the left is not to divide the world or see the great battles between good and evil, but between rich and poor. and here's my phrase, equality,
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therefore trumps morality. i will give you an example. if you know the united nations ranks the united states and cuba has essentially tied in health care, we are 36, there are 37. now, in most hospitals in cuba from everything i have read, it's hard to get an aspirin. why would someone be so foolish as to rank the united states and cuba as want a part in health care? because the left doesn't really care about good and evil. it cares about equality. and since almost no one except the highest communist party leaders can get any quality health care, health care stinks for all cubans. that's good. because it's equal. equality trumps other values. better that everyone have lousy
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health care than some have great health care and some have less than great health care. that's the mindset. it is a resentment of distinction of any quality. not good and evil. why is the left then always tempted by communist tyrants? why? the left doesn't like mass murder. why had they been tempted? why do they make trips to visit fidel castro, why did they make trips to visit venezuela? why did they make trips to visit the soviet union in its beginnings? because of equality. good and evil are not the primary concerns of the left. equality is a primary concern. very, very different visions. they don't have the same vision for america that conservatives have. they don't. it's not a matter of difference in means.
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there is a difference in teens. -- in and. let me give you three examples and then i conclude about the government intervention that you may not know about. san francisco has banned soda. no public place may sell soda. okay? did you know that? did you know that they are now considering a ban on selling pets? including goldfish. the left considers the ownership of an animal to be immoral, and san francisco is the most leftist city in the country, outside of berkeley, and that is the type of law. they have more and more laws to patrol peoples lies. maryland, high school graduates in maryland must now, in order to get a high school diploma,
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show proficiency in environmentalism. they still won't be able to write a sentence correctly, they will have no music or art in their curriculum, but they will have seen al gore's film and virtually memorized it. this is as i said about our education system and especially our universities, our universities are left wing seminaries. what's -- once you understand that you can send your kid. but please understand where you're sitting your child. the university wishes to produce a committed secular leftist. the only difference between the christian seminary and the university is that the seminary admits its goal, and the colleges don't. that is my only resentment of the universities, that they deny that that is their intention. that maryland would deny that
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that is its intention even though nadja must be proficient in environmentalism. do you think that anybody who is at all skeptical about man-made carbon emissions bringing the world to catastrophe will be allowed to speak at a maryland high school? it's a rhetorical question. and, finally, california, then under the leadership of the left in its state legislature has just passed a law signed by governor jerry brown that there must be in all california high school textbooks and elementary school textbooks, they must have dedicated pages to the contributions of lgbt, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered to american and california history. now, i'll tell you what i
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resent. i don't resent the lgbt part. i resent that tampering with history. i don't want any affirmative action in a textbook. the purpose of a textbook is to tell history and truth, not make people feel good about themselves. [applause] it would be like demanding that a history of the nba have a special section on japanese players. or as a remember as a kid, my funnies bar mitzvah gift, great jews in sports. [laughter] i mean, there have been but okay, that's not our first achievement. great. and i didn't care. that's the thing. i remember, i was a conservative
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i guess before i knew it. i didn't care. you know, whatever jewish pride i have, and a very deep jewish pride, go to the fact that abraham was the first that would give the world the 10 commandments. and think that benny leonard was a boxer and hank greenberg it 58 home runs does. it doesn't. what am i going to say? now if anybody excluded been a letter from a boxing but because he was jewish, that's despicable. if anybody is really not discussing lesbian contributions to the revolution, that's wrong. they didn't give one example. show me a cross-dresser we miss in american history. no, that's transgendered. that's part of transgendered. and you should have absolute right to cross-dress. that is not my point at all and i'm not making fun of those, if that's your thing, that's your
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thing. your wife has to like it. that's my only -- it's hard for me to imagine, but whatever works works. my point is only how absurd we have become. that's what it means. if there's nothing about transgender, that means two things. transgender, means those who have undergone surgery to change sex an advantage with that at all. for those who maintain a biological sex addresses of the other sex. where had they been missed in textbooks? that means they will make up stuff to show kids how important the transgendered and bisexual and the gate -- and i don't want is for jews. i do want any law you must have x. amount of attention to jews in textbooks. there should be one governing principle in a textbook. tell the truth.
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that's all that matters. that is all that matters. [applause] let me tell you how bad it's gotten. let me tell you how corrupting the left is of everything they touch, everything. i am a very very, very big afico of classical music. i conducts orchestras in southern california periodically. brought a lot of people hopefully to love classical music. i know a lot about it. "the new york times" last year listen to the 10 greatest composer. which is always a fun exercise. doesn't matter. he didn't include haydn or handle, "the new york times," a correspondent in the top 10. which was bizarre given that he included others. okay, who were fine but not better than haydn and handle. but he said why. too many austrians.
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anthony thomas e., look it up. there's even affirmative action there. too many austrians. so it's not really a list of the 10 greatest composers. if the 10 greatest composers who were not only austrians. now, what do i care if all 10 are austrian? was the hell do i care? don't want to the 10 best musicians are? no burmese, not one person from south america. they corrupt everything because truth, that are right wing lies, left wing players, left wing truth and right wing truth tellers, but truth is that the left wing value. feeling good is a left wing value. we want to make hungarians and french feel-good. they were off the list of haydn
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and handle were on the list. that's what it's about. it's utterly corrupted, but it's so inundating of our society, it's so daily. u.s. it could not take a mint off its plan, do you know this story, two months ago a man boarded a plane on usair. and he was wearing only panties and abroad. -- a broad. you're all laughing. you didn't have to sit next to them. i don't know what the hell you're all laughing about. , lack of sympathy in this group. [laughter] why didn't usair taking off? i mean, isn't there some concept of propriety left? know there is a. they would have been sued for bigotry. for some sort of the full be. by the way, i don't know if the man was gay, and if i had to bet, he isn't.
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it has nothing to do with sexual orientation. it has to do with propriety. but that's where we have come. they were asked, usair spokeswoman was asked why didn't you remove the guy from the flight. she said because we have no dress code on usair. and they don't. they probably don't. dress codes is considered very conservative. dress codes in high schools is only conservative. even though grades and conduct improve whenever kids have to wear a school uniform. it's a very great battle, my friends, and the only place still battling it is the united states. western europe gave up. the left one. this is the last stand. and this battle is taking place obviously right this moment in washington, d.c..
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there is something immoral about spending more than you can afford to spend, isn't are? but for only one -- [applause] for only one party is a considered and a moral issue. that's the difference, and it is a huge difference. and we have to know it because the fight is ultimately one of who does more good, and there is no question in my mind which one does. thanks very, very much. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. >> dennis prager, inspiring as always. there's not time for general
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questions, but to conclude our theme of tribute to president reagan, dennis, send us off as if you're closing a radio show perhaps, send us off with a closing thought about president reagan. >> i want to tell you a funny story that my wife brought to my attention on a biography of president reagan. it's classic. because you heard me say this on my show, i suspect you don't know this. every conservative is called stupid by liberals. everyone. the more prominent you get, the stupider you are described. right? everybody. you know, they don't call me stupid. they call me names. i always tell people i'm the on air, i can say this, if you google dennis prager and that's all you get a thousand hits i just want you to know. [laughter] i get called, but not stupider
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stupidest very rare. dice and i'm not not prominent enough. but i'm not running for office. ronald reagan, if you recall was called a dummy. remember? what are the most eloquent president we ever had. who could speak spontaneously far better than our current president. no insult intended is just a fact. but is called stupid so they had a dilemma. it turns out that he wasn't a dummy. he was quite bright. so what did the left do? a professor of history at stanford named bernstein, is that right? oh, perfect. that's great. we have it. a terrific new biography. the next speaker foley gave us this book. so listen to them. he's terrific. at aei. arthur brooks gave this to us when we visited him in washington. this is a biography by peter
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wallison. so where is it in this? left page. okay. scholars puzzled by this contradiction have reached for some highly unlikely explanations. historian barton bernstein, for example, a professor of history at stanford, have speculated that perhaps reagan learned as a young man to hide his intelligence, because it was not valued in the midwest world in which he grew up. [laughter] is that amazing? that is how -- they can't deal with the idea that we might be as intelligent as day, or as kind as day, who is was tension as they. ronald reagan was well-intentioned, kind, good, hated evil, love small government, love this country. and that's the reason we looked to him the way we do.
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thanks a lot. [applause] >> thank you, thank you. >> dennis prager, the great, the one, the only. dennis prager, thank you. >> coming up in about 25 minutes we will go live to the woodrow wilson center here in washington for a look at domestic emergency preparedness. and from this one is "washington journal" a discussion about the nation's flood insurance program and the damage caused by hurricane irene. >> host: we will go up in your quirk robert hartwig is joining us. h the president of the insuranceng information institute joining us to talk about national disasters and interest. let's begin with come you heard from charles watson that the
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thsured losses could be about 3 billion. what do you make of that figure? be $3 billion. what does that tell you? caller: that hurricane irene -- guest: of that hurricane the rain is much less expensive than we thought it could be. not only for people that sustained a bit of damage different from what they might have, but also from the insurance and global insurance industry, 2011 has already been a colossal year in terms of catastrophe losses in the united states. we are talking not just about the tornadoes that occurred, but such events as the japanese earthquake, or the major earthquakes in new zealand. host: the deductibles for insurance having gone up, changing how they work, can you explain that more? bill losses are less, can you
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explain -- the losses are less, can you explain how the policyholder is paying more? caller: in new york -- guest: in new york a hurricane deductible has been in place since 1993. they came into common use in the wake of hurricane andrew, after 1992. the point is, this is really the first time, in many cases, that a hurricane deductible might have been triggered in the southeast and in the gulf coast states. again, as mr. watson mentioned, if you have a home insured for $200,000, a hurricane deductible that is 2% of the insured value, you have a 4% deductible against a $1,000 deductible. for some states, those will be triggered for hurricane irene.
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in some other states, where the wind was lighter, where there was not a hurricane that made landfall, a standard deductible will apply. i think that that is a relatively minor factor. the principal factor here is that hurricane irene was simply not that strong. host: from "the washington times," this morning, they talked about certain areas not being covered. that there is generally no coverage for the home or personal belongings themselves when it comes to rising water, including water seeping up from saturated ground, and homes from beaches and flood surges. inland areas were amongst those hardest hit by the rains.
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guest: that is correct. this distinction between flooding and water intrusion, associated with wind driven rain, has always been a distinction in homeowners insurance policies. flooding has never been covered by homeowners' insurance policies. the national flood insurance program has been in existence since 1968, providing subsidized coverage to people across the united states. many, if not most people in coastal and low lying areas around rivers and lakes, have coverage. there are pockets where people do not. in vermont, for example, that is one of those where the flooding was uncharacteristic. unfortunately, the experience of katrina shows that people that wake-up and see the ocean often
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do not buy flood coverage. host: more on this story -- new lumpfis host: it refers to you here, mr. hart wwig. host: we can put that website up on the screen for our viewers.
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starting at $129 in low-risk areas, explain that. guest: again, most flood insurance in the united states, at least four homes, is sold through the national flood insurance program. a program that has been a round since the late 1960's. the cost of that coverage is very reasonable. use all the numbers. we are talking about areas that are vulnerable to flooding. these are properties that have already been designated as likely to flood. this would include homes sitting on the beach. so, there is a lot of criticism of this program. certainly, it does not carry its weight. the premiums that are charged are not actual larry it --
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actuarial, they do not reflect the risk. the consequence is, of course, if you decide to allow people to live on rivers and beaches, and you subsidize people to do that, ultimately the program is going to run deficits. the national flood insurance program is running a deficit today that is carrying over from katrina. it is quite likely that the losses from last week will run into the red again. host: we are dividing the lines differently. we want to hear from coastal residents this morning. we want to hear from those that have homes along the coast. 202-624-1111. if you live in the mountain, pacific area, 202-624-1115.
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coastal residents, 202-624-0760. why will this be in the red? guest: the rates charged by the program are not adequate to cover the losses that the program sustains on average. in order to bridge that gap, in order to bridge that gap, premiums need to be higher. these are how private insurers operate. if private insurers operated like a flood insurance program, they would be bankrupt. the only reason that program continues to exist is congress says that if you are overage, tack it onto the deficit. we will get grandmothers on social security to subsidize it. that is ultimately what winds of happening. there are calls to reform the
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program. to charge rates that are more accurately reflecting the risks and eventually denying coverage to so-called repetitive loss companies. the federal government has paid to rebuild some houses two, three, four times, they are just sitting in harm's way. no one would build homes in these areas if it were up for the fact that of assam gave you a free one every couple of years. host: what is the average claim pay out of these programs? guest: usually it is going to be several thousand dollars. that is going to cover people that is going to cover people for water intrusion that does damage to the would the, the dry wall in the structure. just as it is for homeowners
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insurance, most claims do not involve the total destruction of a home. but when you have flooding, oftentimes floods' impact an oftentimes floods' impact an enormous number of of storm surge will hit most of the house is on the beach. a flood will get everyone that lives along the banks. you will get thousands of claims simultaneously. that is exactly what is happening with hurricane irene. host: we were touching on the national insurance program, saying that it has had a short- term extension since 2008 because the two sides cannot agree on how to overhaul it. the program has accumulated $18 billion in debt.
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there are a couple of proposals to overhaul it. . let the make of the two proposals? guest: they are fairly similar. the forgiveness of the dead. again, that is one of these questions right now. where do you draw the line when it comes to the whole debate about this core responsibility -- fiscal responsibility? this program could probably generated profit for the federal government if run properly, instead of being a burden. host: how do you do that?
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guest: private insurers do it every day. you charge a premium that reflects their risks, covers the expenses, and turns a profit. many insurers have done this and have been in business for hundreds of years or more. it is not rocket science. ises actuarial science. it is simply not practiced in washington, whether flood zone grants, or other programs that require actual oral -- actuarial expertise, like social security. all of these run on an actuarial deficit. the private sector, doing exactly the same thing, cannot do that by law. do that by law. >> the senate banking committee will pick up their legislation as early as next week. tampa, florida, you are our first phone call. caller: the raids represented and are not representative of
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coastal property. if the government is having trouble subsidizing floods, and the first problem is that private insurers could not, go back to private insurers and have them covered basic amount of flood coverage, 20% of the property value, and in catastrophic losses, bring the national program on top of it. privatize don't we this market in whole or in part? that sounds like a great idea. blood is covered by private insurers in many european countries. here's the problem. in a place like florida, where the cost of homeowners insurance as very often become a political football, and where individuals running for the office of governor in that state run on a plank of we are not going to
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allow them to charge a rate that reflects their risk, this has caused a disaster in the standards don't -- standard homeowner's insurance there. the government is the primary insurer there with private insurers pulling back. this could happen for flood insurance. the state could say, we have the authority to regulate the rate. it will it cost $400 on average to ensure a home against flood in florida. you can only charge $250. you can imagine what will say. insurers will say thanks, but no thanks. unless they have permanent assurances that they will be allowed to charge a premium their flex the risk, there will be only limited interest in this market. host: ruth has a home in wisconsin.
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-- oregon. caller: i used to live in tulsa, okla. that had flooding in the early 1980's and went on a huge program to control the flooding. they had one other flat after that. they took more measures to control it. i had a tiny condo in the flood plain. the one-year that i did not have insurance, i got this really interesting letter from the government on heavy-duty, glossy magazine-paper, that ought to be insured. i wondered, what the hell are they doing sending out letters on such heavy stop? and how much money are they spending monitoring insignificant little people like me in a tiny little condos that don't cost anything? that would be my problem. host: i have no idea how much
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they spend on paper stocks. but they do have a marketing program and it seeks to encourage people to buy coverage who would benefit from it. the ads are on television, even here in new york city, i see them in the subways and the newspapers. from a public policy perspective, it makes sense for people to be protected against this type of risk. people do make decisions such as you did that one year to not buy the coverage. the problem is -- here we are. it is a conundrum. we're going to have to become used to long term austerity measures. but at the same time, was a disaster strikes, people demanded that the government devotes all kinds of resources, even if there were a means by which they could have mitigated
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the disaster. people who do not buy flood coverage, deliberately, they look at the river out there door every day, and it is a beautiful place and they would never want to live any well -- anywhere else, and then the water is over their kitchen sink, they will demand that government provide them some sort of aid. this is inevitable. we ever record number of federal disaster declarations. people looking for grants and loans, even people who argue that the government should be much smaller demand that the government come in and bail them out in fact they fail to purchase something like flood coverage. this is a problem we have in america. we want smaller government except when it comes to ourselves. we need to ask very serious questions here about who we are going to bail out if there are means by which people could protect themselves.
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getting back to the question, i am not opposed to the flood program promoting itself to increase awareness. it is going to do that, it should not promote itself to sell each incremental policy at a loss on average. it makes more sense to do that when you are at least covering your costs, and not potentially burdening taxpayers. host: here is the flood insurance program by the numbers. this is from the "wall street journal." robert hartwig, here is a tweet from a viewer. guest: again, the private insurance sector does this every
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day all across the country. not just with respect to hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms, wildfires, and other parts of the world -- flooding in fat. can the federal government to this -- is not rocket science. is actuarial science. they could do this. howard -- our governments in general good at providing property insurance? no. the track record is abysmal. there is no example of a federal-run property insurance company that has ever run in the black or even on a break-even basis over extended period of time. alternately, their rates charged are not determined by actuaries and other people responsible for breaking even or turning a profit. they are determined by politicians. if politicians do not know the first thing about charging a risk-appropriate premium for a
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policy or any type of policy for that matter. the issue becomes political from time to time. the rate does not charge. could the federal government do it? yes. will it ever likely to it? probably not. host: from james parker. guest: internally the national flood insurance program employs actuaries, very good people who make these estimates. make these estimates. but at the end, the program is that part of fema, a part of dhs, which reports to congress. its hands are tied. there have been innumerable proposals supported by private insurers to reform the flood program for many years. you could have the best and brightest people in the world running the flood insurance program, but to the extent that the program is not allowed to reflect its actual interest
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costs in the rates it charges, it means the program is going to run a deficit in many years. host: an e-mail from kentucky. dennis joins us from san for cisco. you are on the air with robert hartwig. caller: this is not rocket science. and i am a -- i am in a home close to the day. if we have global warming, [unintelligible] i am paying $2,000 per month. not by choice, but meyer mortgage requires it. mortgage requires it. i hope there is a national lottery that [unintelligible] i am doing this to protect my house for the future.
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you make this whole program sound like a sham. it is not. it is not a sham to screw the american public. host: an e-mail from biloxi, mississippi. guest: well, unfortunately the writer is incorrect. it is certainly the case that could train at caused the
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largest deficit in the history of the national flood insurance program. but by no means was the only deficit myriad hurricane ike caused enormous flood damages in 2008. and the year is not over, we have all enormous losses from a rain -- irene, and we have at it flooding along the mississippi and other rivers. wait until the accrual of those particular events. it will wind up in the red for the third times in six years. that is half the time. if a property casualty private insurer were to do that, it would be seized by regulators. that simply cannot happen. i will take issue with the caller that the program does not need to operate at a profit. if it does not need to operate or even break even, i guess it is ok to run at the deficit.
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if we extrapolate that to everything else, then the government will operate at a large deficit. when it comes to providing this type of benefit to the public -- remember, one of the reasons why this program exists is that private insurers who might want to compete with it cannot. the rate is subsidized. as i mentioned, in other parts of the world, they do sell coverage for flood and managed to make a profit on it. is it more expensive? yes. but whether the earlier caller in san francisco bay, i do not know whether that particular caller buys earthquake coverage. if he does, that is a type of coverage that is not subsidized by the federal government. yes, it is costly. as is the cost of insuring home
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on a mountainside in arizona from the wild fire. the government has determined that is going to provide flood coverage as it has for the last 43 years. we're not arguing the program be abolished. simply that it should be put on an actual early sound basis. this need not cause any disruption in the market. rates could gradually move their over time. what this would actually do is send a signal about risk when it comes to future development. we have had an explosion in homes being built in places like the coast of florida. or places that were hit by hurricane ike in 2008, the peninsula down and taxes are parts of galveston island. but the parts of cape cod and the islands, much >> to exist there. if the cost of insurance truly reflected the risk of building a house there, would we see so
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many vulnerable structures? the answer is probably no. and so again cost needs to reflect risk. >> host: mr. hartwig, just quickly if you could just tell us about the insurance information institute. who do you represent? >> the insurance information institute is an trade association with the most of the insurers operating in the united states funding the organization. so the point here is simply to echo sentiments of many insurers that have been frustrated through repeated efforts to try to reform the program, to no avail. in general, insurers are not advocating that the program disappear. and many insurers would probably still hesitate, as i said earlier, to provide flood coverage unless there are a lot of regulatory obstacles that are removed in this marketplace. but in general, the industry
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supports smooth functioning insurance markets and recognizes the need for markets of last resort. so there will always be very difficult to insurance properties, old properties that have been around for a century or two that are located in certain areas. and the federal government flood insurance program could provide a place where those homes could be insured. >> host: and these are the 10 most costly insurance disasters in the u.s. history with hurricane katrina topping that list at about 41 billion when it actually occurred, at the time it occurred if 2005. go ahead, kenneth. >> caller: yeah, i heard mr. hartwig say earlier that they've rebuilt these homes, two or three maybe four times. what's my understanding if you're in a floodplain -- i read this several years ago down in florida and we've been here 23 years. if you've got acaccumulated
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damage over 50% of the value and they will no longer schiffer you and the electric companies are supposed to pull your electric. i'll take my answer off the air. >> guest: that caller is correct. it does happen but it's my understanding that it does not always happen. this lost property issue is a vexing one. and it is true -- and i don't remember all the specific details, but, yes, over time you have losses that are equal to or exceed 50% of the insured value of the home, in a fact, you could you may not be able to get coverage in the future. the point here is that taxpayers wind up being at risk. and clearly, this property is at risk. at the same time, we do continue to have this repetitive loss property, repetitive property loss type issue.
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and it's probably not what's accounting for the bulk of the losses. it's just something that sticks out and i think -- and i know very much irritates people who understand that they are subsidizing this program. so, yes, it makes a lot of sense to in effect -- it winds up being a penalty but it's effectively what a private insurer would do. if your house winds up having a fire every other year, there's no way that it could be privately insured. these events are supposed to be more like acts of god, occur randomly and very unfrequently rather than frequently over time. >> host: we have sebring, florida, go ahead. >> caller: yes, good morning. thank you for taking my call. first of all, i'm in the middle of the state, although i'm almost at sea level still, so 60 miles in is still pretty close compared to this hurricane that just passed that was 100 miles
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and hit a lot of properties. my question and my concern is, number 1, when we had the triple hurricanes come through, there was a lot of us who lived in the middle of the state who wanted flood insurance, we couldn't get it. counties are not allowed to even have -- let people get flood insurance if they wanted it. that was one of my concerns, first off, and i didn't discover that until the situation came up. and realized that we're vulnerable, no matter -- there's going to be a lot of people vulnerable too because we can't even get the flood insurance when we want it, number 1. and number 2, i think that the insurance companies -- >> you can see "washington journal" in its entirety on we'll hear from fema's chief counsel as they talk about domestic preparedness. the panelistless look at how increased use of mobile technology and social media like facebook and twitter are communicating community
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preparedness on natural and manmade disasters. this is hosted by the national alliance for public safety gis foundatio foundation. >> good afternoon, we're ready to get started. i want to thank you all for coming today. welcome to the wilson center. my name is leah shanley and i work at the center science and technology innovation program. our program is dedicated to helping government, businesses and the public anticipate and manage new technologies and their impacts. we have today our director, dave. i don't know if you want to raise your hand. we're less than a week away from a historic hurricane and perhaps a rarer east coast earthquake. so for those of us the vital roles first responders do and
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what we need to do in those instances is very fresh in our memories but it's not just the job of the pros now even average citizens armed with smart phones have a role to play during manmade and natural disasters. the worldwide response to the haitian earthquake and the japanese tsunami provide proof that these technologies and the citizens who use them are playing an increasingly important role in emergency response and recovery. it's pivotal to overstate the sea change we're witnessing. citizen power situational awareness was on display in dramatic ways, haitians sent sms and text messages calling for help. via the internet volunteers from around the world translated and mapped these requests. first responders and traditional relief organizations to translate citizen-based information and it comes with strings attacked in forms of new policy questions and today we'll
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focus on the reliability of citizen generated information for disaster management. this will be the first in a series of monthly panels organized in collaboration with the national alliance for public -- public safety gis foundation and other safety partners which will address the public policy challenges that these emerging technologies present. with that i'd like to turn the program over to our moderator. please help me in welcoming vice chairman mr. napoli who will introduce our panel. [applause] >> >> thank you very much, leah. it's certainly a pleasure to be here. i'm looking forward to the next two hours as we walk through this very, very interesting subject. as leah notes, we have a very distinguished panel of both -- representing both government and industry. i'd like to introduce them both briefly now and then you'll get a much more full introduction to them when each of them has an opportunity to speak to you. i'll start out to your right --
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or to my left and your right. chief charles werner is a fire chief of the fire department here in virginia. to his left is xenophon yo gikas. to his left is jodi kramer who is with the federal emergency management agency and to her left is deborah shaddon. thank you for being with us. to her left is governor jim gerrin ger and we have edward rob rob an attorney with robinson & robinson lcc and to his left martin valentine with usaa insurance. we thank automatic of you for
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being in the audience today as we begin. you heard the national alliance mentioned very previously. we want to talk about who we are. as you can see we're a nonprofit organization practitioner led and that's very important. many of the members on the panel and in the room are practitioners who have worked with us and spent some time in some of the leadership teams and practitioner network that we have around the country. as you can see, we've done regional leadership teams and have those established in nonfema regions. 3,000-plus practitioner networks spread across those regions over the last few years. we represent 800-plus state and local agencies and represent them in a way that they have come to many of our working group sessions and many of our training sessions. and we're happy to have those and we coordinate with other public safety and gis organizations so we're certainly pleased to be here. why are we here today? you can see from the slides that
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are in front of you, all types of different emergencies, domestic and international, manmade and natural disasters all have begun to see social networking and social media become a large part of these incidents. certainly here in just the last 10 days or so, in the part of the country that we're sitting in, as leah referenced we started to see that. we're faced with all types of different incidents, again, in this area of the country, it's almost -- brings a smile to your face, unfortunately, in a disaster but when you look at the types of incidents these folks have had to deal with, chief werner here in virginia. whoever thought in the dc virginia who would thought we would deal in rapid sedgwick county session with an earthquake and a hurricane. and we need to worry about the day-to-day emergencies as you see on the slide every day structure fire, the every day heart attack, the every day law enforcement incident. again, talking about each of
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these and how social media is beginning more and more each day to play a part in these responses and in the information flow around those. fundamental consideration is that technology is used in a major incident must also be used on a day-to-day incident. it's very difficult to gear up for public safety agencies to be able to deal with social media if they're not doing on a day-to-day basis and so we think it's very important that social media is something that these public safety agencies can engrain into their day-to-day operations for their small events that i mentioned so that when when the larger events occur it's not something they're trying to do on the fly so we'll talk more about that as we move through the agenda today. let's talk about a few examples of those types of things. the map you see in front of you as noted is joplin, missouri, and the recent outbreak of tornadoes. this is an awareness -- this is an example of a situation of an awareness map that was stood up to support those efforts.
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the map pulls in multiple layers of information including topographicic information and a few other layers of data that can be used and are used in certain incidents. this also includes some multiple feeds from location referenced or geoshatially and other information and you're starting to see more and more of that on maps that are both by official agencies and nonofficial agencies. if you can and it pay be difficult on the slides, a flickr feed of photos that had been taken of photos that had been uploaded by a mobile device up in the area. you'll see two or three icons. you can see several dark red icons from another type of crowd source information that is a little unique but not totally unique but a little unique but it is not completely unfiltered. there's a basic level of vetting that goes on before some of the
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this information is posted. the message here is this maps which incorporates multiple levels of geoenabled crowd-sourcing information serves as one tool that was used by both responders and certainly by the citizens in the joplin, missouri, area. >> it served as one tool in the toolbox providing heightened situational awareness for those responders and to some extent for the citizens in the jurisdiction. next you see is a fire map and an example -- a couple of examples that we want to show out. these are two different maps in two different wildfires in colorado earlier this year. they represent two different types of crisis maps and i want to point out that's going to be important as we discuss what we're looking at on these slides. what you see is the difference in the fire perimeters which are the darkest red area on the two maps. on the far right the fire perimeter is not provided using authoritative data. it was drawn by citizens using
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social media based on information they were hearing, things they thought, what they thought they saw, perhaps they were driving around and posting this information. they indicated what they thought the fire perimeter was and what they thought evacuation areas might be, which would be the larger red polygon on the left map, the map 1. it was initially created by a general citizen which was interesting but then published as a collaborative map where other citizens and volunteers could add to that map. they could post their own and publish their own information to that map. again, without verification so individual citizens were taking what they thought they were seeing, obviously, they were standing in a location they were using their own eyes and their social media devices to post this up and then posting what they thought they were seeing. the interesting part of this map is that it was then consumed by a news media agency and was again posted with the news media adding their own data and their own information to this map. so what we ended up with was a
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map that received 2.5 million views from the general public that had no verified information on it. and that is an issue we'll talk about more as we move through the rest of the afternoon. the relevance of map note as i noted is raises questions. who would be liable from harm resulting from a general citizen using this map. for instance, they used what they thought was authoritative information on this map and went into an area where the map indicated was not an evacuation area but was a clear area and was not -- and was subsequently injured. that's going to be an issue we talk about and obviously we have a couple of attorneys on the panel today and we hope we'll hear from them on that and hear from some questions from you on those issues as we move forward. map 2 as you'll note was assault fire was the name of the fire and also in colorado as we noted. produced by the emergency response agency and it included
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a map that included the fire perimeter and was published as such from an authoritative source using infared interpretation of the perimeter. it also indicates as you can see from some of the icons on the map structures around the area of the perimeter which were at risk based on preincident planning. the local fire service agency and law enforcement agency had done preplanning on this area which had a high probability of fire so they had preplanned that and on this map indicated those icons of those structures they thought was in danger which was good information for the local citizens in that area. it also received substantial views given the population as served. so what we're seeing here is one map that the accuracy is in question and another one from an authoritative source and that's what we want attack about as we move through here today. the core questions based on examples such as we just saw and others are, what are the potential liabilities as you see in the first bullet?
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these two map examples show multiple geoenabled crowd source information feeds and poses the core questions you see on the screen. these are very complex questions. and that's one of the reasons for the start of this session today is to start to identify and ask those questions and then get experts to start to talk about that and get the dialog started in both the emergency management community and certainly within the social media community. what we want to do is try to address strategies and begin to address strategies to help address these questions in a way that can reduce risk and liability exposure. and also uphold our collective duty to prevent harm among all citizens and all persons. very quickly, i'll talk -- read through the questions. what are the central liabilities as we know that are associated with producing or using any type of crowd source or volunteer information product in response to an emergency? and that liability includes a couple of things posting maps such as we noted earlier which do not necessarily have
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authoritative information on them. that information could be accurate but nobody has vetted that information. as importantly, the liability of local resources and local response agencies using information that's being posted in that way. certainly, there are more eyes and ears out there to provide information but can you verify that information to make response decisions on and movement of resource decisions on. what can the emergency response community rely on, crowd source information, volunteer geographic information or crisis mapping products for? again, that question of how do local response agencies favor response agencies and even federal response agencies start to deal with this onslaught of information if you will this large amount of information that's coming in to them and how do they vet that and deal with that in this era of dealing with this and it may take someone to
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start to vet the feeds as they come in. and then the last is what strategies can be employed to reduce risk and liability exposure? the objective today as leah indicated this panel discussion is the first in its series to get the dialog started as we started to lay it out here this afternoon. today's panel and subsequent panels in september and in november must serve as a starting point for expert practitioners to inform the development of a coordinated strategy and provide practical guidance on how the emergency response community can engage with volunteer and technical communities and use its crowd source and volunteer information. especially, that which is locationally relevant or gee osourced. now, the key terminology. we want to provide a couple of
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definitio definitions. the issues we're discussing here today are new. and i know some of you will say well, it's not that new and certainly it's not. but the response communities are just starting to grapple with the issues that we're talking about here today. so it's new in the respect that people are trying to put definitions to some of the issues that we're talking about. no one in this room are an expert of one or all of these things. we got emergency experts we got crowd expert. so that's the reason for the dialog. we want to be sure we're operating with common understanding and we're providing basic definitions of key terms. and certainly this is not the final on all these terms and all these definitions. this is to start that dialog. and we want to make sure that we do that. the definitions provided here and for the purposes of today's event only that we recognize and may be variations of these
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definitions as we move forward. over the next few months. and a copy of these terms and definitions are also in the packet that you all received when you arrived. some additional key terminology, and we'll talk briefly about these because these become very important. and the first you see volunteer and technology communities. independent people that informally convene with their skills and expertise to be in service at the time of crisis. certainly many in the room and many that are on the call with us today are parts of that community. the other is emergency response community or the erc, official government agencies and sanctioned volunteer organizations that provide public services and public safety, emergency management and home planned security events. now, the agenda for today, obviously, we've been through and welcomed the introductions.
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what we then will have remarks from our panel of experts. following that there will be a moderator discussion, a q & a among those in the room and we'll also be taking questions with us participating via the webcast. we want those that are participating via the webcast to please submit questions to us via email at commonsl a staff person will be taking those questions and providing them to me during the discussion period and we'll read those that we can get to during the time period and we'll allow the panel to address those. without further ado, let me introduce to you our first speaker, chief charles werner. i mentioned that chief werner is a fire chief of the charlottesville fire department in virginia. charles werner is a 37-year
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veteran of the volunteer and career fire service. he celebrated his 33rd year with the charlottesville, virginia, fire department and presently serves as its fire chief. chief werner is a certified chief fire officer dez fortunate and a national fire academy fire executive graduate. he received numerous condemnations during his fire service career. he currently serves on the charlottesville albemarle county university of virginia emergency communications 911 center management board. and on the board of directors for the national alliance for public safety gis foundation. he serves on several state and national public safety communications and leadership committees including vice chair of the u.s. department of homeland security safecom executive question and part of the gis virtual executive committee, international association of fire chiefs technology council, virginia statewide interoperability
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executive committee and the fcc emergency response interoperability council. he's the recipient of numerous awards including a three-time recipient of the virginia governor's award for fire service excellence, the virginia fire chief's presidents award and international association of fire chiefs presidents award and fire chief magazine 2008 career fire chief of the year. he's also a nationally published author with over 70 published articles and served on the editorial advisory boards for firehouse magazine, and urgent communications. chief charles werner. >> did i pay for that? [laughter] >> and from which consternation i've been thinking about social media and i know that some people are sitting here cringing that i'm going to say this, but i've come to the conclusion that social media is evil. it has no redeeming quality and that public safety should be able to turn it off and turn it on as we see necessary.
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let that resonate a little bit, let that soak. quite the contrary. since becoming the fire chief in 2005, i have seen where there are situations that we are -- in situations where we're overcapacity. i've seen four wet microbursts which is one step below a tornado with huge tree-wire damage you know what that intermingling means, power outages, road blockaging, a lot of discomfort for people that live in the community. i've been through two recent major snowstorms of -- and some have never experienced before of great magnitude with similar type situations. and then more recently an earthquake -- sorry, i don't like that thing where the ground moves under your feet. but all these things have one thing in common, is we're at a point of what i would call convergence where we have technology, we have
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applications, and we have connectivity, which creates a new anomaly both good and bad from -- in one perspective, i see the opportunity that if we utilize the technology correctly, if we engage the members of our community more effectively, we can create what i believe could be called a resiliency corps, similar to a citizens corps but it would take this technology and exchange information to the community as too what would be valuable for us as public safety to be able to see. so rather than me necessarily sending resources and windshield surveys driving around neighborhoods and getting damage if i can instantaneously getting information from credible people knowing what they need to do with an application that would make this an easy operation and geocode it in such a way that i could see this stuff geospatially it would make a whole new situational awareness more quickly.
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in addition to the microbursts which we have roads down and trees -- roads closed and trees down and electrical wires entangled, imagine that you're responding as a first responder to minneapolis to a bridge collapse. now, i know when we get dispatched to calls we are not anticipating that the entire bridge just fell. but as the conversation happened earlier this morning, in some ways with the right engagement, i might get more information from a 13-year-old with a smart phone than some people that are trained to do -- to provide information. now, imagine if we have an engagement of our communities to provide information in such a way that we cannot not only receive information, increase our situational awareness, understanding the impact and be able to -- with the responsive equipment that we need to cover the call, turn it around in a situation where you need assistance as public safety from situations that have become a magnitude, much grander than we have resources to cover, major
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trees down, we might need transportation of critical medical people to a hospital during a snowstorm, et cetera, reverse the crowd-sourcing kind of idea to put out the call for help for people that you have already vetted in a way that creates this two-way more synergy to recover. in other words, resiliency. i think that the other part of it is, you need to be able to use these technologies in such a way that you understand it, and that you can also engage when there is misinformation. you have to realize that some people don't want to do good. some people intently want to do harm but there's also a challenge because we continually see new social media solutions, applications. and one of the problems that we as public safety have, we don't necessarily have the staff to
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keep up with the constant migration of new things. we've seen the continual change of applications. so what i challenge the social media companies is to work with public safety to create a portal, to create an interface that allows us as public safety to have a credentialed entry into those portals that provides the ability for us to make an entry in one location, that is then shared with multiple social media formats so it would be a for all future applications in such a way that allows us to be proactive and already be able to engage in those applications. additionally, for social media to work more directly with public safety in a way that we can develop the applications that will create these applications that will continue to grow. this is not something necessarily that the government needs to get into as far as establishing. it's about the private sector. it's working with social media, coming up with solutions that are mutually beneficial that will continue to sustain itself.
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i think the opportunities are great for us to work with social media to engage our communities and be able to deal with misinformation as fast as possible and thank you for the opportunity from the wilson center to be able to have this conversation. >> thank you very much, chief. as noted we're going to hold questions until the end of each -- until each panelist had an opportunity to make their remarks and then we'll have an open discussion at the end with questions for each. our next speaker, captain yo gikas from the los angeles city fire department. captain gikas is a 24-year veteran from the los angeles department. he was appointed to the rank of captain in june 1998. he also held the positions of firefighter, chief officer staff assistant and dispatcher. he has currently assigned to the operations control division. captain gikas is currently assisting four technology
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interoperability programs having multiagency and multijurisdictional impact and these include a program which is a gis-based system which is to deliver critical information to emergency response personnel. a hazmat sensor integration and interoperability project, the area wireless and reconnaissance project which was a predeployed monitoring system. in the united states the department of homeland security science and technology director first responder resource group support virtual usa initiative. and he served on that since its inception. he served on the alliance public safety gis foundation southern california regional leadership team. his professional experience includes commander of the fire department's urban search and rescue company where he handled all aspects of technical rescue including swiftwater and science and space operations, and firefighter rapid intervention. he previously held a position of
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commander of the fire command and control systems, impure aided dispatch and 800 megahertz network. throughout his career, captain gikas' responsibilities including performing analysis, design and development on numerous projects involving mission critical systems. previous assignments also included the advanced technology unit of the los angeles fire department's technical planning association and the u.s. department of homeland security project arch angel in developing automated critical asset management system. he attended the university of california los angeles and california state university at northridge earning a bachelor of science degree in business administration. he's a certified hazmat technician as well as a communication specialist and a technical specialist for fema's fema task force one. captain gikas. >> thank you, rand. i appreciate you leaving all of that stuff on man of the year. i didn't want to show up the chief.
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[laughter] >> thank you for the opportunity to be here. i have to echo the chief's thoughts tremendously. this is an incredibly exciting time. i can't imagine a more exciting time to really be alive, to be sitting in a room with a group of folks like yourselves talking about this subject. when we look around and rand's display there and the chief's remarks, we are sitting on the cusp of really dramatic change, i think, with the technologies we have that support on a day-to-day mission -- they're supporting the fire service, first responders, even our military. some of these technologies, whether they would be social media or gis. they're direct support maybe in the background a little bit. but when i say i'm excited to be here and excited to be alive on this stuff, i look at our soldiers that are across the ocean, and they're able to stay in touch with their family because of the technologies that we've developed here. that's astounding that we can see what happened in japan
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almost real time live. the disasters that were referenced. that's an incredibly exciting time. as we start down this road, and i don't want to interfere with anybody that's actually headed down this road, i know there's been discussions about social media. i think some places where it's actually being used quite extensively. but i was asked to speak a little bit about -- let's talk about where we are today, right now. i'm a platoon commander of a 911 center, 26 firefighters on duty every day, sworn firefighters that are dispatchers. we take roughly 2,000 calls a day for help, that come in via 911, via radio, via other agencies and we dispatch between 1,000 and 1100 incidents every day and we take 500 or more people to the hospital every single day. so in our current work flow -- and we talk about acquisition of information, that's where the decision's being made right now to deliver a resource, to send a
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resource. what are we going to do with a call that comes in as the chief mentions some are false alarms and some are malicious but for the most part some are legitimate calls for service. in an example of crowd-sourcing that we currently deal with today if you look at it this way, we have an accident on the freeway. in the state of california, when a 911 call comes in from a cell phone, and that's about half of our calls now are cell, on a freeway, the system is smart enough to recognize that the call is on the freeway and it will route that call to the highway patrol. and that call gets routed to us as the responding agency and there for medical service for a traffic accident. and we go through a structured triage, if you will, of that call. a small interrogation of the person that's calling. and maybe in this particular example i actually have the person that was driving the car and they're injured and they were able to dial 911 and they got ahold of one of our dispatchers. so first thing i know i have a first party caller.
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that's about as truthful as i'm going to get in the business we have. hopefully, they know where they are or, you know, the 911 system -- the wireless system can help me where they are. but i'll contrast, maybe a neighboring car and maybe there's a bunch of cars sitting by and someone else decides to call. this is not far from the norm. any traffic accident we're going to get 1, 2, 3, 20 calls for the name accident but now i have a second party caller who's standing right near this injured person and i can interrogate them and i can ask them questions about where they are and what's the extent of the damage and what's the status of this injured person but we also -- besides from sending we want to render aid over the phone until we can get there. so i have a second-party caller but i also have another call coming in. and this call is a little further back. the guy is angry. he's stuck in traffic but he sees smoke up ahead so he's telling me this, and where is he? well, it's very common on a
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freeway. they know where the offramp is, they just passed because that was the sign they saw. now i have a third-party caller can't really tell me very much but he can tell me he sees smoke and he's stuck in traffic and he's not even sure if there's an accident. then there's the fourth-party caller which is another agency, a trusted agency the los angeles police department, the highway patrol, another -- another fire entity nearby. so if you look at those third and fourth-party callers as kind of crowd sourced, which is what they are, they are currently coming from a vetted channel. they are coming from 911 channels and we're going to act on them and we're going to talk to the attorneys -- we're going to send some type of response versus what we're talking about today. it's fascinating is now we're going to start monitoring a map or a twitter site or what not and how are we going to process that? where are they coming from? what can i gain from all that and how do i send a limited amount of resources to that? so that today -- that's what we
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face every single day, as i said 2,000 times a day. i was also asked to give some examples of community resiliency, where these volunteer programs do successfully work. and we have many examples. i think the brightest shining example we had is called the community emergency response team or c.e.r.t. i think that's a fairly successful program. probably everybody in the room knows of that. that was started right in los angeles if i could brag for us a little bit. what do we have there? we have a community of volunteers, and they've volunteered to give their time and help their community be resilient in times of disaster, there aren't enough responders to go around. we've proven that over and over again. it's going to be the community that takes care of itself ultimately and through some basic training and some organization, we're able to turn the population into a working force that can assist -- assist us or assist themselves and maybe we can assist them. one of the big issues there with that team -- or the c.e.r.t.
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program is we have personnel assigned to managing it day-to-day. fire captain or two or firefighters. and it's structured. we have basic training. people meet a standard. we have identification through helmets and vests and things. contrast that with the social media or the tweets or whatnot and we start to lose a little bit of the organization that goes with a paramilitary organization and operation like the fire department is. so i hope i've provided you a little bit of that real day-to-day. this is what we do today stuff. but at the same time, i can sit here and tell you there's no doubt in my mind with the entrepreneurial spirit of america and the brains that we have, that we're going to take these technologies and we're going to apply them to what i do every day, and that is going to ultimately provide a better service. and our service is really core. it is to protect life. and mitigate any possible
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injuries or minimize injuries to any people, and i think with these kinds of technologies and as the chief mentioned, the advanced warning or the advanced information that we can get, helps support better decisions in a faster way, which typically in disasters and injury, time is the enemy. so i think we're headed in the right direction here and i thank you again. >> thank you very much, captain. excellent examples that you put out and hopefully we'll have the time to discuss some of those as we go forward with questions a little later. our next panelist is jodi kramer who has been with the emergency agent since 2005. she's currently the legal advisor to fema's social media program. as well as fema's web governance committee. she's also a program manager for fema's office of chief -- of the chief counsel's i.t. projects.
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prior to joining fema she worked as a contractor on policy issues for several government agencies. in addition, she's worked as a contractor working on content development and governance on websites such as, and the center and several public sector websites. jody, thanks. >> back in 2007 our external affairs office came to our counsel's office and wanted to set up a youtube set and we kind of laughed at them. and said why do you want our videos out there on the public? and eventually after six months of negotiating with youtube, we were able to set up our first youtube site and then they started to want to use twitter. and my bosses at the time and i went back and forth saying what is this tweeting thing.
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we couldn't decide if it was a twit or tweet and why would they want to be tweeting? and we started our twitter site -- we actually have, i think, 15 or 16 sites live now twitter feeds, one for each of our regions plus our administrator tweets. i think he was tweeting hourly during the hurricane and the earthquake. and right when we started setting this stuff up, we had a session with one of the other social media companies and they actually said to us, we're not sure if we want the government on our site because you guys will take over. that was their concern. and right in the middle of doing this, i actually went on vacation. believe it or not fema employees get to take vacation in november after hurricane season is over. and i was in europe. and my public affairs officer was sitting in washington and in the middle of this someone started a terrorist attack in
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mumbai. and i'm watching on cnn international 'cause i was getting ready to go out that night and he's sitting in the office and i'm emailing him, and we're watching this thing unfold from the tweets. and cnn was basically reporting the tweets. and they didn't have anyone on the ground. they didn't have a clue of what was really going on and the terrorists were actually sending out misinformation via twitter. and cnn was reporting this as fact. so people started going into buildings that were being held by the terrorists. and that brought us all around in a circle of how do we trust what's put out there? and, obviously, we know if information is coming to us from one of our state or local partners, it's verified. and there are other trusted sources. if cnn has a camera up there, well, maybe we can verify that. we're not too sure.
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during katrina they kept showing that picture of a body in the water. and it turned out it was a m man -- manakin sometimes it's not always a fact. you have to be careful what is verified information and what is unverified information. but i can tell you those who were here during the earthquake last week, i was one of the many people who eventually evacuated and was stuck in a 3-block radius with thousands of other government employees standing there watching, you know, fire trucks go by. and everyone pulled out their smart phones. they were trying to send out a call. and the circuits were completely busy. but the people who are tweeting about it in washington tweeted to the people in new york who found out about the earthquake before it even hit new york. that is unbelievable. that the message that twitter goes faster and we went back to
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the office and we pulled out some of the media monitoring sites and we were able to get all the tweets that were going out about the earthquake, about irene, et cetera, in 2 seconds. and it's that type of information that if you can get multiple sources, then you can send out one of the first responders who can then verify it. but these one-on-one, we can color code map and say it's verified, it's unverified and that will help us reduce some of the liability. we started looking into this. and one of my first concerns was especially talking about geotagging is i almost freaked out because i'm thinking the government is going to track where people are at a specific time and place. well, great, we're the department of homeland security. how is that going to look? can you picture all the -- we have these people who tend to go
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off on conspiracy theorists? who think we're tracking them anyway? all these people think that we're going to sit there and create some database of where you were at this time and place that you took the photo. so i actually talked to one of the fourth amendment experts to make sure that we didn't have a violation by this geotagging information because we were a little concerned being homeland security and possibly taking that information -- even if it was sent to us because now we have a privacy issue. we have a reports issue of how how long do we keep this information? and if someone puts in the freedom of information act request can they sit together and piece together where you are at a specific time? and that's a real privacy issue that we have to think about even talking about public safety. we always think of public safety as during the incident itself. but if someone starts to know people's partners of where they're sending reports from and where they're located, that can
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lead to other cybercrime issues that we have to be aware of. one of the other things as a lawyer that, you know, i think about is copyright issues. when someone puts a photo up on flickr and then we take it and paste it into something else, are we infringing on their copyright? and are they going to sue us for copyright infringement? and most of the program people are saying, well, they put it out there, so it's public. and, unfortunately, under the digital millennium copyright act the second you type something or take the picture, there's a copyright attached. so we actually have photo policies on all of our social media sites that tell people they're giving us is license to use it. so we've been able to use language for endorsements. we're very concerned about endorsements the idea of showing which convenience stores are open so people could get supplies. we think that's a great thing.
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but then are we endorsing chains that are open? so we've used little tricks like language and things like that to allow us to use these tools. so thank you for having me. >> thank you, jodi. an excellent perspective. we look forward -- i'm sure you're going to get a few questions as we get through the question and answer session so thank you very much. our next speaker is deborah shaddon. she's a core team member and infrastructure working group for crisis commons. deborah shaddon is an i.t. enterprise architect at cna insurance and an active volunteer for crisis commons where she serves as a member of the core team as acting infrastructure group lead in chicago crisis camp lead. ms. shaddon has more than 20 years expertise lead in integration, application and technology architecture, visualization and strategy, new
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technology introduction and risk management performance and quality of service engineering, open source frameworks and practices and agile development. she has served as lead architect on many projects ranging from 10,000 to 10 million. in 2010 she supported the support efforts in haiti and chili and tennessee and a blizzard in the midwest. she also organized chicago's first random hacks of kindness event in december 2010 and works to build local partnerships between the volunteer and technical community in traditional relief organizations such as the red cross and c.e.r.t. which we've heard about. she holds a master degree in software engineering from depaul university. welcome, deborah >> thank you. i have a presentation, so thank you for inviting me to be on this panel today. i think i represent -- i'm a
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typical volunteer member of the volunteer technology community. i work -- i have a deep degree of enterprise issues and being an architect for 20 years working for an insurance company but i'm just one of many types of volunteers in my community. there are other i.t. professionals like me. there are people that are academics. that like to research this area. there are folks that are students that want to participate. and, of course, we partner with -- to the extent we can members of the emergency response and humanitarian agencies. so i represent crisis commons, which if you go -- next page, please. this is a global network of volunteers who use creative problem-solving and open
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technologies to help people and communities in times of crisis. we are a group that organizes crisis camps events. these events allow us to get together our communities both virtually online as well as in certain cities, new york, for instance, is hosting a crisis camp event tomorrow night. and it allows us to collaborate and brainstorm and crowd source and innovate and do all those great things that we can in our way to serve our communities. and most of us are familiar -- most folks are familiar with us through the efforts of supporting haiti and chile where over 90 days, eight different countries, 50 events, 2,000 volunteers across the world participated in crisis camp events and contributed their skills and time to helping of those efforts.
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a lot of work was done in mapping. and mapping, obviously, is an important element of situational awareness in emergency response. and a lot of the crowd source efforts around mapping is one of the things we'll talk about today so i have a few slides to talk about that. crisis commons is one volunteer technology community. we work with many other volunteer technology communities and recognize them. here are some of these communities. all of those are open source, open data, friendly communities that pull together folks with subject matter and/or volunteer technology expertise to work on their specific problems. this is a mapping platform that is open source. and was used most recently in
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irene, but has many applications. other open volunteer communities just to introduce a few of them open street map and i talked about that that was a really critical effort in support of haiti. random hacks of kindness was mentioned. this is really a collaborative effort between several large companies like google and most of the and the world bank, a look to bring folks together for 24-hour, 48 hour hack-a-thons where we get a problem statement and hacking for humanity, which is good hacking. we work on problem statements in the humanitarian crisis response space and see -- it's a competition of sorts. and through those competitions people can win and parlay that into possibly some other future endeavor. next slide.
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crowd source and mapping. so we talked -- this is one platform for crowd-sourcing. and it's a fairly simple concept and a lot of people can participate in this that are not technical. you would need access to the internet or other resources. but, you know, out there we're asking people, you know, what is needed? or people are reporting what is needed. and the source of some of these resources are not necessarily the mapping platform itself. maybe the internet is being curated for twitter feeds, for instance, which was mentioned earlier or facebook or other mechanisms where people are reporting situations -- information about the situation that they're in, needs that they have. things that they're seeing. creating this sort of citizen perspective of the situation. those then can be reported into
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this platform and there are some levels of verification that can happen where reports can be validated and verified. and then that bubbles up into a social media sort of situation-oriented report. next page. this is actually a screen print from this morning of -- this is, if you were to go there. this is citizens reporting information to sort of help other citizens. there really wasn't an expectation that this was going to directly be used by emergency response organizations. we have other mechanisms in the media to do that but it is one other perspective. this one was sort of thrown out there as a citizens can report information and create this sort
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of map and there are categories of that information such as damage, warnings, weather that help to make this more user friendly. and this map is built on the shiti platform. next page. so there are some challenges in this space. and particularly with the reliability of that debate and a lot of who is submitting this data and what are the sources of this data. verifiable sources of data. we are talking about people being able to post from verifiable sources. youtube and twitter, for instance, can be verifiable accounts. so if those are sources of information, there's usually a level of trust above that. however, those are not necessarily the people on the ground. those may be the people retweeting or reposting information and so there's also
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this level of trusted sources. certain communities, for instance, standby task force which is part of the larger crowd mapped sources look for relationship, for instance, with the u.n. they established a relationship with some of the libya mapping where they became sort of a trusted source of some of that information and the reason they're trusted is because these folks have sort of adopted a common methodology so they're predictable. they've looked to sort of garner some training so they've got a base level of training. and, therefore, those relationships are a lot easier to establish and trust can be created. and training i mentioned. i'm also a member of the chicago emergency response c.e.r.t. team. so one of the things that we do in c.e.r.t. as a nontechnology
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volunteer is, you know, we're officially affiliated with the city of chicago. now, when we respond or participate in drills or participate in events we can -- there's sort of a level of trust established. you can see the person. the person shows up to your class. but when you're dealing in the internet, sometimes it's hard to establish direct trust because you can't necessarily see that person. so there needs to be sort of these levels of verifiability to trust the data, who is submitting the data and where that data is coming from. and the other -- one of the other concerns then is about quality of data. and these are really just sort of general i.t. concerns in general, a lot of systems deal with this. but timeliness in of data, completeness of data, has data been validated? and, you know, whether this data
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has implicitly or explicitly been created and could it be wrong? so there's the -- i'm geocoding my location but maybe, you know, i goofed and i'm really three blocks over, you know, i didn't really mean to do it but the information's wrong nonetheless versus the malicious attack of data which happened with the mumbai attacks. so certainly, you know, whether that data could be wrong both implicitly and explicitly. and accuracy of the data sources. generally verifiable accounts where that data comes from news media sources that are trusted tend to be -- that are out there tend to be better-trusted sources of data. they built up that trust over time. next slide? ..
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not southwest as in one street, which the bottom is the gps has it wrong in the car. so even data that you pay for and you buy can be wrong with regard to geolocated data. the promise of the crowdsourced data, open street maps is the middle piece that i have here. that actually is correct in terms of my new address. if it was wrong, as a crowdsourced platform i could go in and corrected, and there's a sustainable sort of community around the fact like the wikipedia of maps where of something is wrong and i see that information is wrong i can
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choose to go in and corrected as part of a larger crowd. we don't have to wait for a new release from the vehicle, the company where we bought our car, which takes eight hours to download just to get the map updated her go so, certainly you know, we tend to think that if we are going through trusted sources of that data, that the david must in fact be perfect but there are certainly situations where even that data can be wrong. next slide. and, so some of the of the approaches and the crowdsource base is looking at verifiability and reliability and include things like introducing multiple layers of validation. i am not the only one who gets to say that for 12 southwest is the address. someone else can validate that and verify it. the sorts these sorts of triangulation approaches work best to sort of create this
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perspective of data. training and trust, standby task force, humanity road is voluntary technology communities have some robust training in place that kind of elevate them to a level of trust. cross multiple source validation, not just sms data, not just data that comes than from the internet but maybe all their multiple sources of that data including manual ixi. we put up a crowd map which is one of do you sheedy for the crowd blizzard in february, and we actually had some people reporting some incidences on that site and we actually had some of our volunteers going and knocking on some doors for some elderly assistance. that is the best way to validate that information is right. and, automation.
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certainly technology itself can aid in this, but can help to aid in you know the algorithm that can exist to validate that the data is correct and then, sort of looking at the lessons learned and the after actions after sort of each event and what worked and what didn't work and using that in taking those lessons and adopting that back into a methodology that can be improved upon. and of course the combination of all of these things helps to make data more validated and more trusted. and to risks and liability concerns, there certainly are some risks to the volunteers who are out there collecting all of this data. we are not necessarily affiliated in the way we are affiliated with cert and therefore we likely are not covered under the good samaritan
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act, formally and officially. we have attorneys that can present some perspective on that so that puts us as volunteers at risk and we don't necessarily think about that when we are out there just trying to do good, but it does put some of our volunteers at risk. it would be great to be able to have some sort of mechanism where the virtual volunteers who are doing this sort of crowdsourcing of data that is used in direct response could in fact be protected. and, dem community, if that data is bad than it could compromise both preparedness and response and the public. is the public making decisions based on bad crowdsourced data? don't go here because that road is a lot worse is it really might be the next road over so these are some of the concerns with the potential of bad data. so, hopefully we can have more dialogue on these today.
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thank you. >> thank you very much deborah. excellent perspective and we appreciate the address correction so it's a housewarming party weekend all arrived at the correct address. [laughter] our next speaker is governor jim geringer former governor of wyoming and director policy for esri. the governor received a b.s. in mechanical engineering from kansas state university and spent 10 years active and 12 years reserve service in the united states air force working on unmanned space programs to the department of defense and nassau. projects include remote sensing satellites, the gps system, map star, the mars viking lander, the national high energy astrophysics observatory and others. upon leaving active duty who served in the wyoming legislature from 1983 to 1994 including six years each a mouse
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in the senate. the governor served two terms as wyoming governor from 1995 to 2003 during which time he focused on improving education through standards, accountability and technology modernizing wyoming's economic base to extensively include technology. changing how natural resource agencies among state federal and local governments work together, establishing community-based health and family service programs and implementing strategic planning and information systems. while in office he chaired the western governors association, the education commission of the states, was the governor on energy policy and served on a variety of national and regional technology initiatives. he was a member of the committee on america's climate choices under the national academies, served on the mapping sciences committee under the national research council. current member of the community resilience committee under oak ridge national laboratories, nassau advisory committee for the global positioning satellite
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system, the board of governors of the park city center for public policy, the current chair of the board of trustees of the western governors university. he joined environmental systems research institute in the summer of 2003 as director of policy and public sector strategies to work with senior elected and corporate officials on how to use geospecial technology replace these decisions in business and government. governor, welcome to our panel. >> thank you rand. i think i've figured out the reason for these lengthy introductions, is to establish our authenticity and authoritativeness. it must have something to do with the data we are talking about today. it is a test embarrassing to those up here but welcome nonetheless. i want to offer the observation as an opening that discussing social media for public safety and emergency response or crisis response whether it be social media or volunteered geographic information or volunteerism in
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general, it is not new. within the last half-century we have had things such as the civil air patrol who reported incidences of spotting what could be unknown aircraft that could have been invading our country. we have had social media going way back to when alexander graham bell first invented that little device that evolved into a partyline. if you want to know what social media exchange was the first facebook was the partyline. [laughter] boasted it was monitored rather than, well let's not get into that too far. but when it comes to the types of things we are discussing today, i put the geographic and information in one category and the social media information in another category at the risk of oversimplification in this way. gis and gis data or geo- referenced data is that, this data. someone needs to do something with it, some activity needs to be done on it is social media
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introduces our two key things, emotions and passion and that has changed the nature of how we respond. the big difference between 50 years ago and today is volume and velocity. how quickly it comes at you and then how large a quantity it may come at you. those are the things we are not quite prepared for today. and in addition to the emotions and passion, one of the risks of using that type of information was observed by mark twain so it goes back even further. mark twain said rumors will be halfway around the world before -- before truth gets his shoes tied and we still deal with that today. i'm going to have to go through some of the slides very quickly but let me hit a couple of highlights early on. somewhere in here. i don't know who to attribute this to. does a slight scent to me that i
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use it to illustrate how quickly something can happen. in the public safety and emergency response world we see the first 72 hours of their most critical. that is when everything is happening locally. i want to introduce a new element to that, the first 24 hours that can become extraordinarily impacting because the first responders to any incident are the victims, the ones who are involved in that incident. they typically are the ones who are first to take any kind of action so we'll call that the zero hour. within the first six hours you have the micromedia such as twitter coming on at mainstream media. this particular illustration uses a newspaper. eisenman is an on line newspaper because the apprentice and going to be out in six hours. more likely is going to be some type of video media, television or otherwise and within 12 hours the sharing will be going on very substantially through all the various social media we are talking about and within 24 hours people are blogging and editorializing about it. so those are the newer elements that have to do with volume and
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velocity as well as the wide variety of things that are in there. if we can go on to the next one. we are typically in the remote sensing community and gis community aware of well-known sources of information for geographic reference. it might be satellite days, gps and other imagery sensing satellites from a seaborne and airborne to fix ground stations and the like. what we are not used who are the activities that can occur such as -- please go on. when everyone is a sensor. this is a representation using a little bit different idol. this is the referendum in sudan held earlier this year and how many people took an interest early on and where they were located based on the two leads that were exchanged during that time. i use it as an illustration that we talk about an event being localized because everything
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happens in a local area but all of a sudden it is impacted by whoever has connectivity, in this case literally around the world. what is really dramatically affecting volume and velocity and the engagement of the public is the smartphone, so there are two things that are dominant here. one is access to the internet and the other is the usability of the smartphone which means it is able to use the internet and access any number of social media platforms and engage the public or become a sensor. everyone of them as pretty much everyone of them -- has a camera and many of them have audio as well so you can provide feeds from almost any citizen anywhere in response to, as a commentator on or as a victim or a first responder and many of the people who are officially trained as first responders within various elements of the public safety domain will use the same devices so if something is change the face of how we operate.
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it is a game-changer. i will put two of the slides up to illustrate the types of standard ways of thinking and the emergency response community. from mitigation to preparedness to response and recovery which are the four key elements of how we react in a public safety or crisis circumstance. as we consider what is going on with the use of now volunteered geographic information and the social media, variety of platforms that are out there, our workflow is going to be altered in how it moves forward. i don't think the basic principles will change such as the information ahead of times you can mitigate the impact of a certain event. the hurricane predictions that went on, the analytics that publicly are better modeling that ever before on a hurricane that has already been cited for the preparation, having maps and an agreed-upon method of displaying information by an official source. it becomes a great challenge
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when there is no clear structure. the illustration that ran to use early on of one map generated by crowdsourcing and the other map generated by an official agency. you will always have both. you need to be prepared to deal with that. crowdsourced volunteer generated information, all of those are useful especially to fill in gaps and particularly early on but there has to be some way of designating which is a trusted source of a people will know what the limitations are on any of these activities. so the bottom shows what typically is the greatest challenge within any organization. that is prying data out of silos. we are talking about today we are getting too much information voluntarily. we don't know how to manage is where in the past it is saudis then we can get the data out of those silos. they don't corporate and they want to sell me their ticket. i think we are challenged on
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both fronts till today but i put this up to say we will have to change these workflows as far as these concepts to accommodate that. the the next one illustrates the same type of thing that breaks it down into those areas. we are talking primarily data management as we talk about the sources of information but that then leads to how do you handle that analysis? how do you verified? how do you impose limitation on the reliability of the data? you may use it knowing some limitations are there but that is what risk management is all about. than the situational awareness, believe that creates the opportunity for the greatest awareness that we have ever had the opportunity to experience and of course in the last one field operations now, you can rely on information in real-time rather than waiting for time lapses and the dating those things. why don't you flip through these very quickly and i will comment on them as we go through. this is the common operating viewed by an official agency for
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the deepwater horizon. the unified command of all the types of things where people input information. it is the other purposes that comes up the last that we are dealing with now. real-time rather than once per day was the first time that was used in a circumstance. as we go onto on to the next one, and just keep paging as i comment quickly, field impact reporting. this is an official field impact report where volunteer generated information would be different. please keep going. the joint unified command. fema has done and operated their own youtube site so they can convey information to the public. when you are filtering social media there is a variety of ways that you can use analytics to do this through to knowledge he rather than having a personally review. you look for key words and look for time stamping and look for geography. both twitter and we have a geo- reference to referenced to them. please keep going.
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on the sudan statistic there is something very revealing there. the location information for 95% of the tweets came from the users twitter profile so there is a caveat there. what is in their profile may not be exactly where they are. they could have been from a latitude longitude in their profile. only have half a percent are actually geo- tagged so there is an illustration of the types of things you have to assess as you go into it. only 11% are original information in the balance were either re-tweets are updated or referencing to other sites and searches. please go on. now we will go through these fairly quickly. it has to do with what we call a heat map in the gis industry and it is the aggregation of several social media messages all at once so this one -- then go down to the next one. it is the property damage. please go on. hazards.
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evacuations and power outages and the next several if you could just keep going our power outages over a sequence of days. what it does is it illustrates how you can aggregate some of this information to give you heat maps and it is an illustration of the type of thing you can do to focus the priorities and allocate resources. this is just another example. i think you have seen enough of those so we will go on. this is from the earthquake disaster response 2.0. again illustrating connecting with neighbors. craig fugate commented, he got that are situational awareness before he got official word from the san bruno explosion. i'm sure he was caveat appropriately by the legal department on how much you should say about that, sir, but he is an avid reader. i will put it that way. he tweeted during our user conference. please go one.
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this is just the national level exercise in the matter at fault in the area in middle america. we learned a lot there about the effectiveness of social media and how people followed along. even when the field teams were dispatched to search and read these -- rescue teams were dispatched and they were tweeted about so the community knew when they were coming. we have provided public information map templates free of charge on our side. go on to the next map. their several made available including all kinds efface map information and it is an illustration how the private sector has volunteered for free and a number of resources, templates and information that can be used so that the public can become involved. the big difference is the volume of information, the velocity of information and how the public wants to be involved, so in terms of the policymaker, which i have served in our role from time to time, in today's situation compared to say not too many years ago where a
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hierarchy controlled information and dispense it as needed and was able to control everything that went in or out of the disaster situation. i would offer these comments because there are no secrets anymore. don't assume that you can hide information and don't even try to hide information. random acts of kindness will find you like no one else. i'm sure they will. any individual who is willing or able has the power to expose what were private in the past. you can expect as an on scene commander or incident commander what you do and say will be blogged about in real time. it has to be ready to reconcile contradictory practices or decisions that are going on. every newscast is going to have an instant expert advising on the appropriateness of the decision-maker for the charge where they pay thad allen or major general on array, the
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president or any governor so it puts the burden on all of us to ensure any are authentic. it changes our workflow. we discover with the social media being what it is today that one-way messaging is not going to work anymore. he don't just provide information. the public wants to be engaged in dialogue and they want to be actively involved. for all the talk about how technology will isolate us from each other has been it anything but. we should invite contributions from the public. we want to build goodwill and trust. if you don't build trust in a crisis situation you will have anarchy and that is the greatest grists that we have in the industry of providing support to public safety, so don't communicate strictly through press releases and scripted interactions. it just doesn't work anymore. a system or listing is critical to remaining responsive. i think i will let it go at that and saved my other comments for the question-and-answer session. thank you. >> governor thank you very much
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for bringing your experience and government education and the private sector as we grapple with this issue. thanks very much. our next panelist is edward robson an attorney with robson and robson llc. he is a practicing attorney with robson and robson based out of pennsylvania. mr. robson advises closely held businesses of all types nonprofit organizations municipalities and local government agencies. he also represents local public safety agencies including volunteer fire companies and ambulance organizations, dicing them on a variety of managing including internal governance standard procedures, equipment purchased in contract negotiations including first amendment issues and personnel policies. he is also authored several published articles on social media policy for local fire departments and the risk and liabilities for local public safety agencies relating to their employment policies and social media policies.
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since 2003 mr. robson has served as a volunteer emergency medical technician with a rattner fire company located in wayne, pennsylvania. prior to joining robson and robson as a practicing attorney he interned with the honorable j. curtis joyner again i district court for the eastern district of pennsylvania and was a law clerk for the honorable howland w. abrons in court of common pleas of philadelphia civil division. mr. robson is a graduate of villanova university and received his j.d. cum laude from villanova university school of law where he was the editor of the villanova sports and entertainment law journal. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. so, i would suggest that the law has not had an opportunity to evaluate this. it has not weighed in quite yet. i think that liability surrounding technical volunteer communities is all over the place.
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i think it creates some interesting, what i will call exotic legal issues. first amendment issues, choice of law issues, jurisdiction issues, privacy issues but at the end of the day, i think the number one issue is not going to be exotic but the mundane. i think it is going to be state tort law. is going to be negligible from people who are injured from misinformation or by failure of the technical and volunteer community response with the failure of the emergency response community to respond to a call in social media. so, i think the question becomes, what duty does the technical and volunteer community owe to the general public when they are operating in their capacity as technical
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volunteers? and, generally speaking, we all have a duty to act reasonably and not to put people in unreasonable harm. the question then becomes, what is reasonable? for the technical and volunteer community? that is a difficult question. i think you know, at this point, it would seem that we need some level of filtering to verify at least in a simple sense that he arrested the of information coming in before it goes back out. >> the other question, which i think is interesting is to what extent can the technical volunteer community be held liable for their failure to act? generally speaking, you know, you have no duty to act and you
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have no duty to rescue. restatement of torts puts a colorfully. if you are sitting on a dock, smoking a cigar, watching somebody drowned in a lake you can continue to sit there and finish your sigar without liability. the law generally doesn't impose an affirmative duty to rescue or two acts. courts are somewhat uncomfortable with this notion for a variety of reasons and they have carved out a variety of exceptions. you know one exception is you may have a duty to respond if you have created the danger. so, you know, one situation i would envision is a piece of information coming in regarding a bomb in a public place.
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without verifying it, the technical volunteer community re-tweets it, since it out and causes a panic. they then learn that that is not accurate and do nothing to resolve the situation. i think there is a liability there. another situation where a duty to act may arise is, if there is a special relationship between the technical volunteer community and the general public. and courts recently have, when looking for special relationships, they will look to the published dependence on the organization on an individual. so, as the public becomes more dependent on these groups, we
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need to consider what effects that may have in creating a liability for failing to act. so, i guess the long in the short of it is, i would suggest that technical volunteer communities should sit and finish their sigar. i think there is a role to absorb the data, organize it and make it available, but to the extent you undertake rescue and the sense of directing responders actively or suggesting people go one way or another, i think there is the potential for additional liability there. the second thing i would like to touch on is the emergency responder community. now unlike volunteers, these organizations do have a duty to
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act that goes by statute and common law. typically it hasn't been an issue as to when that duty arises. somebody calls 911. now, with the advent of social media, and crowdsourcing and other things like that, the question arises, well what happens when somebody tax 911 or what happens if somebody puts a twitter feed or a facebook onto a municipalities fire departments web site? in the past, i think you could make a reasonable argument that it is not reasonable for that citizen to expect somebody to respond. i'm not sure that is true any more. so, i would suggest then that emergency service organizations be very clear about when they believe that duty arises.
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they can do that with disclaimers on their web site but the conservative approach i think would be to alert citizens at every point of access in the department so for example, if you know somebody texts 911, they should receive a text message back that says we will not respond, hang up and call 911. that should help define the emergency response communities duty and help that liability. that fell like about 10 minutes to me so i'm going to yield my time back to the chair. >> thank you very much. great perspective of the legal side and of course her experience in emergency response to thank you very much. our next panelist is martin valentine. marty valentine is a senior underwriting portfolio manager for usaa property and casualty insurance group.
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usaa provides insurance, banking investment and retirement products and services to a .4 million members of the u.s. military and their families. mr. valentine these efforts that help usaa members learn how to build disaster resistant homes and make more durable communities. he is an expert and loss mitigation and catastrophic risk management with more than 21 years of experience. mr. valentine works closely with the federal reliance for safe homes which most of us know as flash and the insurance institute for business and home safety. to promote strong, well enforce building codes and loss prevention programs that protect homes and families. he is the cochair of the insurance institute for business and home safety residential reliance committee and serves on a fortified for safer living task force. mr. valentine earned his mba from saint leo university and holds it b.a. in finance of the universe itself or do. is a chartered property casualty underwriter and holds an associates and management
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dedication. marty. >> thankthank you. appreciate that. we have some first responders here that have talked to us a little bit but as an insurance professional i want to share my perspective on us being the second responders and i think hurricane irene was an example of that and is the first responders are staging their activities in the insurance companies are right behind them trying to stay out of the way of the responders, but using a lot of the same information so the power of the tech knowledge and the spatial analysis and aggregating data and validating information which my fellow panel members say is extremely important. when i get my perspective from a risk management perspective and insurance perspective so i just want to share with you some thoughts on risk management and how gis to allergy can apply to making decisions more precise if you will. the work that i have had the opportunity to do with ip h.s.
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flash goes back to resilient communities which we have heard about. how do we make communities safer, stronger? we have better response time and we also want to have the links that are more resilient to storms. the science is not behind building a structure that is indestructible but you can greatly increase the chances of returning to something instead of coming back to just flat land, so that is something that is very important to the community and also from an insurance perspective. precision transparency, again spatial analysis. when you are looking at multiple data layers, you can get it from the public sector and also you have the opportunity to apply your business rules to determine more precision around how you manage your risks and just a level set on risk management. i take the perspective of you are identifying a risk, you are assessing a risk and prioritizing a rousseau as an example, if you take a look or think about the united states
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and you think about some of the natural disasters we have had this year, we had record-setting tornadoes across the country. we have had snowstorms snowstorms in the recent past. obviously we have our wildfires that we have to respond to and the hurricane season is just starting to kick in as we have seen her. so it is important from a risk management perspective, when you think about you have to make decisions and more than 50% of the u.s. population lives near a coastline. how do you manage your portfolio and how do you spread that risk if you will? gis helps do that. again, ways to do that -- take a look at, we saw some slides of neighborhoods or maps if you will, and even to bring it closer in this room here, so a traditional underwriter risk manager would group this entire room as a risk, homogeneous group and it would be a yes or
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no, same price, everybody the same price. more precision analysis, information technology i can charge an individual individual price for putting this room and also make a decision, an individual decision for everybody in this room. it might be yes and it might be maybe in a mite be no. the maybe might be i can ensure you at this price if you are willing to take some mitigation action if you will. so, that is turning the tables and it is making things more flexible and providing more alternative solutions to customers and again i think most of us consider ourselves to be special so i don't necessarily want to say the same price as someone else and i feel like i take care of my home better than others or maybe i missed safer driver. maybe i'm not that is the way i feel so price me accordingly. we often talk about visuals are very compelling so having the rooftop level view of something allows folks like me and others in the risk management business
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to really see how close the house might be to the coastal storm in with a particular heat maps michelle in terms of risk when you look at data layers and you consider storm surge and wind damage and things like that. when i can see up close it is rather than looking at an old atlas map maybe we used to do back in the day it really helps to say yes and no two things that are really close together. again that is me speaking as an insurance professional but he wants to -- we would like to think that visuals are much more compelling and i tend to agree with that and it also helps us understand risks. how do you incorporate the gis into your infrastructure of your business? some of the key components to think about art can you make it scalable across the enterprise? your own particular enterprise. you need to need the meat of your key stakeholders. you want to make sure it is an enduring model and make sure it is multidimensional and very flexible. you need to simplify the
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complex. a lot of information comes in and we have heard that and how do you filter that out so you can make a decision and a very timely manner. that is easier said than done. and then, here is something to think about. transparency. what if you get to the point you are fully transparent and use self underwrite? now that is really validating information. you probably need to get a verified stage on that and an underwriter has trouble trusting without verifying. there is an opportunity for insurance to take the next step in that. so, i will leave my remarks about and i appreciate the time. >> thank you very much for that perspective. and thanks to all of our panelists for a great opening remarks. [applause] i think many of you probably
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have questions. hopefully just in opening remarks some of those questions have been answered or at least pointed in our direction or apps for the research but let's take questions and we will start with questions from the room and then let me reiterate again for those of you joining us by webb, said major questions by e-mail to comments lab ed wilson orb. so, in the room, yes, sir? >> i'm daven blankenship and i was curious ms. shaddon in your remarks talking about how the volunteer, voluntary geographic information is collected in your community providing that, i was interested into things on your insight into how first responder should utilize the information that you have provided. are you provided that with the intention for the community to use that and then mr. robson, if
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you wouldn't mind commenting on you know sort of elaborating on what you talk about, if that is being provided and i met fire department using that. how do i limit my exposure to liability so the question above the mechanics of using what is available and using that wisely and effectively in my community but not burying ourselves in lawsuits. >> okay, thank you and i will start. i do believe that the idea of collecting this data through these virtual volunteers is to create those situational awareness reports. it is one perspective. it is not the only one and i think we heard some of that. it can be another tool. i do believe that you know we do have an interest in trying to establish those relationships
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more formally so some of the data we collect, which we think would be useful, could be used. one of the ideas we would like to explore for instance is when the public is out there collecting the data from your perspective and you know it can be different whether you are fire or police or oem. what are the ways that data should be curated and categorized? we tend to take guesses at what we think they categorization's need to be. shelters, damage, but maybe there is another way to take that information that would be more useful and have a more direct impact directly to the community and i think that is still an area where we are looking to evolve and explore. >> the short answer is, i am not really sure and the reason i say that is because i am not aware of any case that has never been litigated. i'm not aware of any law
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directly on that point, so in some sense it is a little bit of a guess. the analysis here though i think is whether you have an reasonable. i don't think it is particularly different from any other claim against the fire department. so, i guess the first thing i would suggest is to be reasonable. so have some procedure for vetting out or some information. have it written. don't make it up as you go. make sure people are following it. i would suggest documenting your use and documenting where it is coming from. and go from there. it is a risk and it is very hard to evaluate at this point, but certainly a policy that has been reviewed that has some input from obviously an attorney but
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also from your chief officers, from your administration. you guys will be the experts in the field and i think that is worth something in court to say well, we analyze this. this is what we believe is an our mission we gather to make a record of data and document the policy and make sure people are following it. that would be my suggestion. >> go ahead. >> the follow-up on that is i am curious and talking about that if they are curating information and creating trusted sources and is this evolves very quickly and as that is getting better and better say of public safety agency handling irene or katrina or something much more small scale like a wildfire san bruno gas leak, this information is curated and available to the public in a resolution fashion and speed that has good fitness.
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do i incur liability or is there a problem if i ignore that, if it is available and i responded as usual but that is a better source of information than perhaps i have? baby that is unanswerable but that is a question. >> that is a great question, the can of worms. i mean i guess, again, i would have a policy on it. particularly for you know i have the information and then don't respond. got to have a policy there and have got to alert the public as to what that policy is. i mean when you talk about a duty to respond, courts look at dependency and what people's expectations are. if nobody expects you to respond to the text message or twitter feed or whatever, i think that helps. i think that helps reduce liability but i wouldn't want to venture a specific guess on that. it is a risk you know and i don't know how to answer better than that. >> thank you deborah and thank
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you. yes sir in the back. i'm clarence wardell and i work with cna which is not an insurance company but center for naval analysis outside of d.c.. i work in the safety and security team have had the opportunity lead research efforts with crisis and comments. i had a question to follow fun we were talking about -- you started talking about this issue of liability for the volunteer technology communities and the example that you gave was agreed tweet of misleading or misinformation, false information and that perhaps opening up the community or particular our organization to some liability but i guess i would push you a little bit further and i'm just really curious, and i'm glad we have broke this out into different liabilities for the various communities because i do think there are any questions. but i'm curious as to why did she take that step to liability for the community as opposed to the individual who initially place that information out
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there? recently i was watching a twitter feed through hurricane irene in the recent earthquake and i saw a specific individual, special individuals and maybe had 1,100,000,000 followers, several occurrences of individuals retreating the information and later later going back and apologizing after he it was led as misinformation so i'm curious as to why did you stop at that that community aspect and not place liability on the individual? >> there may be liability for the individual. i stopped there from a purely pragmatic reason, that most attorneys have no interest in suing an individual. so to the extent there is an organization that is financially liable and has some type of insurance, they very much more
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important target than a single individual and it is an interesting question because in the speaker materials there was a question as to whether it would make sense to limit liability with some sort of corporate structure, and that is a difficult question. i mean you want to form a 501(c)(3) c. gets texts deductions and at the same time you may be putting a target on your back. as opposed to sort of an informal group of folks who get together. a something goes wrong they just disappear and there is no one to sue. so, you know, i guess there are some different ideas there but the reason i jumped to the community aspect was purely practical. i just don't see too many claims going out against individuals. >> excellent question. thank you. any other panelists? >> just to offer a little bit --
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bit different perspective. understand the impression of legal of vice and why you needed and i have saw that often but i put itself in the place of the first responder, that the two gentlemen that are here. they have a call to respond. it is in the interest of the human response we have in all of us, so every time i have a device from my attorney general or earlier people who were saying you had better be careful and you shouldn't do that in this is the way we could say no, i would say my obligation is to find a way to say yes. so i would couch it in the same terms. you need the wisdom of a chief, the captain who can say in the context of the situation, this smells or this one is a legitimate response so the wisdom of years and the experience of professionalism makes a big difference on top of the legal part of it. you have to make a choice. how much is in the public interest in how much is in the private interests? so would only add to the need for the legal opinion by saying
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you also need to balance that with finding a way to say yes. >> excellent, thank you. yes, a question on this side. >> john nystrom. my first question is for you chief werner. what reliability issues associated with crowdsourced and volunteered information impacts your ability to use it in daily operations, meaning you know having no users in your community that are interacting with you daily, not just during an event? and the second one for you ms. kramer are the liability issues you talked about and the recommendations to leadership and others not to use these things, the support tools and turn it off until it is figured out and how can we get past those issues? >> to start a think the value of us having people that we have credible contributors, let's
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just use a community response team is an example. may be the first level of resiliency are people we might create. one, the interaction that takes place on a regular basis creates the relationship of credibility, makes the information that comes to me as a public safety responder much more effective, whereas if you just get a plethora of tweeds as you notice once you look at hurricane irene, when i was looking through social media you see everything from things that are pre-irene, pictures, to post irene pictures to pictures that have nothing to do with irene or maybe another irene. so, i think that relationship really changes the credibility and the value of that inner workings on a daily basis. >> and, you know we have never said don't use anything. the approach we have always taken is, i'd make sure that i
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know how to use technology, so i work with our program to play with the tools or we fully turn everything on. one thing that most people don't realize is a lot of lawyers are legal literate, so a lot of -- it takes having the program person understand the technology, getting them an account, sitting them down and making them use it so they can understand how it works. you can spot the issues and come up with a solution. some of the times you can't turn every tool on, but the approach we have always taken is we turn on immediately what we can turn on and keep evaluating and keep looking at how we can make it work. so, for example the first intake photos on our facebook page. as we realize okay, we will moderate, we will put the photo
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license up there so then we can then add that as it goes along. so we start basic and then we be keep reviewing it and analyzing to get to the next step in that may take us more days or more weeks to get there. so it is involving process as the technology advances. >> excellent. thank you. >> i wanted to add, you know we talked a lot about the organization and the responsibility, trying to separate the two. i would say that the crowd is out there in the crowd is creating this data. people are looking at this data. these emergency response organizations and theme are looking at the data. what we are trying to do is fill the gap and to close the technology gap. not to necessarily be this island off doing this work independently. just like cert volunteers can help staff augment the emergency responders for crowd control, we can help many of the volunteer
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technology communities, we can help to close the technology gap and that means from an information perspective, technology competency perspective to help train and educate folks in these communities about how technology can help. and that is more the informal sort of relationship as opposed to formally we create a map and you use it so i think a couple of different perspectives to consider. >> excellent, thank you. i was going to give you the least a minute to defend those technologically literate attorneys. >> we can follow one twitter. >> i think the credibility of who you are tweeting with and who you are receiving tweets from his very helpful in the sense that since i've been sitting here i've been reading the tweets from different places and there is an issue. first of all let me give a disclaimer. had no validation of any information provided to you in this conversation. but there is an issue with a suspicious package in miami
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airport. i've seen david blankenship has been giving regular updates out to what has been taking place in this meeting here to people that are following him. i've seen where my local tv station has called for volunteers to help fulfill a drill that is happening september 19 and i have seen the updated twitter that has come out from fema about tropical storm and i have looked at the map to see what the map is taking and it looks like it is jogging north and i've got my fingers crossed. i wanted to say a thing about the validity and the credibility makes it difference in the information you are perceiving. >> additional questions from the audience? es? >> jen from the national institute. i had a question for ms. kramer and i'm hoping more may chime in as well. chief porter mentioned a
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technical service, and it is my understanding that the federal government has some different users agreements with twitter and facebook and i guess i was curious as to how you may see those user agreements changing and those user agreements helping resolve the question. >> i actually negotiated for the first one, so the user agreement differences between the general terms of service and the government version are basically changing about three clauses. the one clause that the government can't sign is the indemnification clause because that is an open-ended liability and it violates appropriations law. so we just changed back to represent the federal claim at, which covers that are go then, most of those agreements say that any agreement will be held in the state of california, and obviously due to sovereign immunity the federal government can't be the state court so we asked them to go to federal
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court are going than one of the other issues that comes up all the time is a confidentiality clause and under the freedom of information act we are liable to release information so he put a clause in there that says we will pursue it to foia. those are really the three issues that come up all the time other than the one that we will change this at any time which obviously there is no point in renegotiating and we are going to change it into minutes of those are really the things that are what we do as a government attorney to make those changes. we have been very successful in negotiating those with a social media companies. it takes a while to explain these indemnification clause issues, but once i get on the phone with the attorney for 15 minutes we are usually good. so the hard part is some of these companies only have five people, and their attorney is $500 an hour, and they don't want to talk to the government
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and pay $500 an hour to make that change. that is the biggest problem we have. >> thank you jody. and the other panelists want to comment on that? seeing none we will move on to additional questions from the audience. yes, on this side. >> good afternoon. i am carlo woodson. i'm a practitioner turned strategist turned policy so it is good that there were some recommendations from the panel to develop policy and procedures ahead of time to help baby reduce the amount of liability that we might undertake. so my question is kind of twofold. does anyone on the panel have suggestions as to an approach on how to develop some of these policies, maybe some best practices and policy development
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and do you see any differences and those strategies of policies from the federal government to the state and local government? >> jody first. >> theme i actually developed a web 2.0 policy and got signed in december. i think we are one of the first government agencies to actually have a web 2.0 policy. is more on the creation of web 2.0 tools and the use of web "-- by 2.0 tools plus some of the employee usage in the personal capacity which is more of a concern for us. so we have actually been working on sops's for every tool we use and working with the program to work together to put together these policies, to make sure that everyone follows the rules and they are basically procedure based, that you have to -- a big thing is we start working with one team so when we work on the tool that our public affairs
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office and our chief information officers involved in our cybersecurity office is involved because we are afraid of an attack, or privacy office, records office and their legal office and that we all, i call that we identify all the issues and tell you what is wrong with it and then tell you how to fix it. so that is kind of our procedural policy at looking at how to use each tool and then coming up with specific solutions for the tool it self. >> i guess what i would like to add is when you are looking at the policies you are going to put into the social media one of the things that is probably not a good idea to do is to try to define each and every social media application that is out there. it is more to be specifically general and a way that you cover policy as to how it is created, the sharing of information in the use of photographs etc.. i will say the department of homeland security has also developed a communities of practice web site for public
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safety to go into and actually see a number of examples of social media from other places and also on the social media working group, which also provides information as far as general guidelines about social media and how public safety can take advantage of using social media. the thank you for the question. any other panelists have observations? >> i would say one of the key things is to decide which information you could derive from social media or on the other hand volunteered geographic information. in the gis community we have standards. we have opened spatial consortium so that is the type of thing that makes gis data definable, usable or at least its capacity to be put in that category. the other thing that is introduced in the mentioned earlier passion and emotions. how do you quantify or standardized that? there needs to be a policy on how does that influence the decision-makers? that is going to influence people who have a public
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responsibility, governor or a fire chief or somebody like that so the policy would be how do you deal with this type of information? what do you should you make of it and could you make of it? .. >> not a question, but a statement. one of the things we've seen with social media is that the inappropriate use of social media to give out information that are very sensitive. there's a moral issue, there's a credibility issue, there's a
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sensitivity issue. and the point here is, the warning is if you don't initiate the policies and educate the people, as the governor has mentioned, you very quickly can go from heros to zeros. >> thank you. additional questions? yes. >> hi. i have a question. um, let's see here, i'm not quite sure how to -- [inaudible] um, i guess this goes back to a couple questions and points that were raised during this panel, and, um, as was recommended almost is that a structure be developed for the volunteer and technical technology communities like the citizen emergency response teams and research. and this is kind of a two-part question both to the response agencies, i think also to those folks from the legal perspective. obviously, the emergency response team is a formal, sanctioned part of fema. so what would be involved to
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either absorb the bntc into that, the formalize their role, or setting up a separate structure either that can support public safety agencies at the local level or support through the federal system? >> um -- [laughter] i'm not our expert on our citizens corps program, but from my knowledge -- someone correct me if i'm wrong -- the national focus of the organization is headquartered at fema, but even of the -- each of the councils is centered within the communities. so while information and training go up and down and fema provides the training structure that the citizen corpses themselves, the local affiliate are not a part of fema. now, saying that, i don't believe we would need statutory authority to make a technical
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part of citizen corps, and that's probably a programmatic issue to address that from happening, and it may or may not be in the works. i haven't talked to them about that. i know there are citizen corps people that are very engaged in the web 2.0 activities, and we've been looking at how to engage that community in additional communities and looking at how to create communities for the preparedness community both from the individual and the organizational perspective. one of the things we just launched is a national preparedness month community which is a pilot to, of organizations that are involved in national preparedness month which is next month, um, activities. so that could lead to more communities of trust and sources to go into, um, situational awareness. >> so i could just add, so from
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my perspective, and this is just one perspective, and i hope to have my facts correct, but, um, through the cert communities within the state of illinois, and i believe it's regulated at a state level, um, you know, which is one of our domestic, um, concerns because there's the national law and then the state laws. but at the state level cert volunteers within the state of illinois are protected under the volunteer laws of the state of illinois. if they stay within their confined training, um, if they tend to go outside of their training, then they do put themselves at additional liability and risk and not only themselves, but, um, their organization. so i think what one of the proposals was to consider, you know, is there some level setting of training that sort of educates the volunteers that can provide them with, um, the tools and the knowledge, um, and the skills to act as a, um, trusted
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sort of source gaining some of those responsibilities and then being protected under the volunteer acts if we remain within our training. on the flip side of that, um, i really love your find a way to say yes. that's going to be my new tag line on twitter today. so, um, find a way to say yes, you know? sometimes if we try to put ourselves in these boxes, i think that, um, one of the perspectives we'd like to think is that there's an opportunity for innovation and for things that we haven't thought about doing, but with that comes risk; personal risks, um, organizational risks. i think after haiti the community of the 2,000 people, everyone just had sort of a collective sigh of relief that nobody was getting sued, nobody was, you know, had put anybody in harm's way that, you know, we know of, that, um, our actions actually furthered, um, the effort.
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but through that there were also some sort of envelope-pushing moments of new technology ideas that people didn't even think about that were brought forth and sort of, um, you know, so not only was there no training, it was, it was, um, a moment of innovation. and so i think that we look to both work and respond within this defined training and box, and i think there's a certain responsibility and accountability that should come with that. i also think, though, to the extent that we can try to find ways to innovate and push those envelopes and boundaries as well. >> excellent, thank you. you have a comment? >> yeah. if i could add, you know, i don't think there needs to be a, necessarily a formal structure, where do you put this group. we have volunteers of all types. we have individual families that have volunteered to come in and cook food when workers are out working, we have the red cross, and we have the community emergency response teams.
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so where to put them operationally or organizationally i don't think is such a challenge. in fact, what i think i need to hear is we need an attorney full time. [laughter] but as far as operationally, by the time it, you know, if we get past what i'm going to call by day to day life and get into something that sounds like it's a little more expanded, these disaster or long-term things, we have, you know, convergent volunteers, spontaneous volunteers, we have all kinds. what's needed is a way to manage them, and that, i think, is incumbent upon us and the organization that's going to use them -- the fire department in my case -- to have a method of i don't want to say funneling, but necessarily funnelly this capability and this capacity because it's huge. i echo the governor. the stuff is flowing way too fast. it's not processible. i don't even want to open our
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door to say we can handle anything because it would overwhelm us. how do we cure rate that data, process it? it's not manageable at this point, so i think the place to start is much like we did with the cert program. we've got to give some kind of structure to this, in essence, limitless stuff that we're talking about and boundless. as i mentioned earlier, i'm fascinated by it. it puts some new challenges. i echo the governor once more, he talked about work flows. the work flows here is what we're talking about changing for the fire service, how do we respond when we have somebody send us some type of a request for help? i'm looking at it a little more day-to-day than i am in this populated heat map thing. how would i respond to all of these messages if we opened up and put our shingle out and said, okay, we can accept all this now? we don't have enough people the process the number of messages the chief himself said he's been reading. it's just, there's just no way to do it that i can think of at
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the moment. i think the innovation part we're talking about here is some of these smart folks out there in the computer world that can develop these algorithms to automatically process these things. i came across one the other day where we've taken satellite imagery, and we can, using algorithms, we can search for things that don't belong in the ocean; sinking ships or what not. just through computer analysis. and that's been translated over to searching the wild land for, you know, different color light spectral kind of foot print, if you will, that says, hey, something's burning out here where it should be just green trees. i think something like that is what's needed for somebody in my world to be able to process the amount of information we're talking about. and we're going to need somebody to coordinate that, much like we have volunteer coordinators now. >> thanks. the chief has a comment, then we'll go to ed. >> i think one of the things that i'm seeing and hearing is that the technology, the
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applications, the convergence, all this is making things happen. it's coming. it will find a way. so the point i want to make is as we're looking at these things, we have to get social media involved now in the process of next gen 911. that's where we're headed. how fast is it coming, what's the volume, how do we maximize it, how do we get the information to first responders automatically as this feed comes through, this is all what's happening in our world of technology, and we either need to be proactive about it, or we're going to be reacting to the information that comes that we're unprepared for. and i think that's critical. >> i don't think the analysis is, you know, find a way to say yes. the answer is yes. i mean, the train has left the station. saying no is irrelevant. um, i think the question is, how do we manage that, what's the structure, um, and, you know, to
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a certain extent all you can do is reduce the risk and then, you know, i'm going to get shot on the whale, but that's what insurance -- on the way out, but that's what insurance is for, right? is. [laughter] you can't live in analysis paralysis. you'll never get anything done. it's going to happen. so, you know, of course. um, so, you know, all you can do is reduce and insure. >> thank you, ed. i really don't want to wrap this up, but i think i've pushed us about as far beyond our agenda as they're going to allow us. but this is great dialogue. so i'll give the opportunity, does anybody have one last final burning comment or question? yes, sir. >> not terribly burning, but i did just want to put it out there for situational awareness. i believe, if i'm not mistaken, there was a pilot program within fema called net guard that i think recently -- i don't know what the results or outcomes of
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that was, but it started looking at how do we kind of translate that structure from the cert teams and start leveraging a sustained i.t. technical volunteer community, and just kind of for situational awareness. >> governor? >> one final word, and that is we're looking for ways to distill things down to where in the final analysis judgment can be applied. there is no automated, automatic system using technology that will give you the answer. technology can enable choices. judgment has to be applied. that's why you have an incident commander, someone in charge. so that's what we're trying to focus it toward. >> i think those are great closing words. um, leah? >> thank you, rand. that was a terrific start to our monthly series. um, and speaking of the series, i want to mention that we have three more sessions in the works including one on private sector innovations for emergency
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communications. we've also got one of the chief scientists for did you feel it on citizen-based science for earthquakes. and a follow up to this session on reliability and liability of -- [inaudible] about international disaster management context. so with that i'd like to, again, thank rand, the panel, and also rebecca for all the hard work helping us put this together. she did an amazing job, so thank you. the session is now over. [applause] >> and for those of you that want to stick around and talk a little bit, there are some refreshments around the corner. you're welcome to stay and ask the panel -- [inaudible] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> all this month on c-span2 booktv in prime time. more tonight with author james glick on his book, "the information." then hitler's berlin in the book "in the garden beast," written by eric larson. and finally, gretchen more michiganson about the financial crisis. booktv in prime time all this month starting at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2.
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>> watch more video of the candidates, see what political reporters are saying and track the latest campaign contributions with c-span's web site for campaign 2012. easy to use, it helps you navigate the political landscape with twitter feeds and facebook updates from the campaigns, candidate bios and the latest polling data, plus links to c-span media partners in the early primary and caucus states. all at 2012. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ [inaudible conversations] >> now, students from are around the country take part in a conference looking at the legacy of ronald reagan and the workings of the federal government. the closeup foundation and the ronald reagan centennial commission organized the gathering. speakers include the former chief of staff to first lady laura bush and a former assistant attorney general. from the national archives, this is an hour.
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>> good afternoon. i'm stewart mclauren, executive director of the ronald reagan centennial celebration, and the centennial celebration is sponsored by the ronald reagan presidential foundation. this week in d.c. we have convened in partnership with closeup a weeklong conference titled, "ronald reagan: closeup." we have 102 students from all 50 states and the district of columbia that are with us this week in the washington, d.c. focused on getting to know their government, learning about ronald reagan and focusing on the theme of civil discourse. during this session today, we will hear from three perspectives on how our branches of government work together on a daily basis is. and while the interface of the branches of government in our country is not always harmonious, for 235 years the united states has stood as a strong example of democracy in our world and the transition of power successfully and of
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working together to achieve the benefits of the good of our country and for our place in the world. our panelists today, and we have an extraordinary panel with us today, anita mcbride, michael allen and rachel brand. anita mcbride has a long and distinguished career in the american politics and government. she is currently a fellow with the american university's center for congressional and presidential studies and serves on the j. william full bright foreign psychological hardship -- scholarship board. she was chief of staff to first lady laura bush from 2005 to 2009. also under president george w. bush, mrs. mcbride work inside the state department in the bureau of international relations and its white house liaison and also served as special assistant to the president for white house management. mrs. mcbride's white house service spans three
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administrations beginning with the reagan administration in 1984, and from '87 to '92 she was the director of white house personnel for presidents reagan and george h.w. bush. michael allen currently serves as the majority staff director for the house intelligence committee. during the administration of president george w. bush, mr. allen was senior director for counterproliferation and senior director for legislative affairs at the national security council. he also held senior legislative affairs roles during the bush administration with the white house homeland security council and the department of state. rachel brand serves as the national chamber let gaition center's -- litigation center's chief counsel for litigation. before assuming this role, she was with the firm of wilmer heal, and prior to that she served in government for nearly eight years as assistant attorney general for legal policy at the u.s. department of justice. and associate counsel to the president at the white house.
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to begin our conversation today, i'd like to hear from our panelists a little bit about their views from experience or perhaps from their study of history about how ronald reagan worked with his white house staff and worked with his administration in dealings with the congress over the eight years of his presidency. anita, i know that you knew him personally and worked if the white house, and share something with us about your observations about how ronald reagan comported himself in civil discourse in dealing with other branches of our government in washington. >> thank you, stewart. thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here and be with all the students. i love talking about this topic. ronald reagan gave me my start in politics. it's because of him that when i was able to vote, i registered to vote, i worked on the campaign of ronald reagan as a volunteer. there was something just so inspirational and so positive about the way he approached our country. and it inspired me to get involved, and i hope you can
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feel that same way about candidates that you will see in your future that want to lead our country. it was that optimism, i think, that drew me, but drew others and drew people from a variety of parties or multiple sectors around our country. they felt that ronald reagan cared about the nation. and in dealing with the congress most specifically, i mean, you referred to the poll today that was in politico that 85% of the american people think we are at such a low level of civil discourse in our country. and i think about president reagan who, who is arch enemy politically on policy issues was the speaker of the house at the time, tip o'neill. yet that never blended into how he spoke about him personally and vice versa. there was, there was a personal relationship between the two of them that was quiet, that was in private quarters, that was over a drink perhaps in the office
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behind the oval office or up in the residence where they could talk about their -- they found a common ground, and they shared an irish ancestry, and maybe they developed a relationship over jokes or an understanding of each other's background and of the same time, you know, period they were contemporaries. but they disagreed viscerally on policy. yet they really never let that bleed into how they spoke about each other personally. and president reagan was just an on themyic -- optimistic character and comported himself in that way, never spoke ill of other republicans and was very careful to not speak ill of those who maybe disagreed with his policies. he just stood firm on his policies, and they were principles that he believed in greatly, and people knew where he was coming from. i think in dealing with the white house staff that was the, um, we took direction from his leadership, and we comported
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ourselves the same way he did. i mean, that may be not for everybody, but for the majority of people. and for a young person like me, um, that's where i cut my teeth. i think that's how i have tried to conduct myself over the three administrations that i've worked over, maybe my colleagues who i worked with might say differently, but, um, i think that we did, um, you know, i learned from him, and i've carried that to this day. >> michael, rachel, how do you feel about civil discourse today and the state of affairs in our city and, perhaps, something anecdotal or from your studies of history with president reagan and how he conducted himself working with congress. >> stewart, thank you for having me today, and i want to thank the national archives and closeup for having me here today. i guess the most notable thing about ronald reagan and civil discourse is how much time he invested with the congress in his first term. it's not unlike the situation
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that president obama finds himself in today where the, his party controls the senate, but his party does not control the house. and that's the situation president reagan found himself in 1981. and i think the most interesting thing about what, that explains the legislative prowess, the legislative power that reagan showed was that he invested time with the congress this first 100 days. i looked this up last night. he did 169 meetings with members of congress causing some to joke that we've seen more of ronald reagan in the first 100 days than we saw of jimmy carter in the last four years. so when he was able to invest that amount of time with them and build the rapport and lay a foundation for civil discourse, i think that helped pave the way for his momentous legislative achievements, especially the tax cut bills that he put through early, early in his first term. um, so it's something that all legislative affairs offices can
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learn from, and those of us who have had to work with the congress from the white house perspective and even down the road here should study his sort of model. i guess the last thing i would sort of point out about why he was so popular in the congress was because he was popular in the country. i think he was able to drive a message across the country so that some of the democrats who at that time were called boll weevil democrats that were in states that ronald reagan carried in the 1980 election were afraid to vote against him. they were afraid that their constituents would hold them responsible for that, and so he was able to tap into his sort of immense political prestige and charisma and translate it into legislative success which is what, ultimately, all presidents need in order not only to get reelected, but also to safeguard the american people and to win re-election. >> i think anita covered the
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relationship that reagan had with congress, with his staff. the thing that's amazing to me and, by the way, i think it's great that you guys are all here. when i, i was a little hesitant when i heard this was going to be a historical retrospective about reagan because i was younger than you all when reagan left office. but my first memory was on my grandparents' house in iowa hearing them talk about the reagan and carter campaign. so it's good that you guys are here and that you're paying attention to politics at a young age. i think you'll be happy you did. the thing i've always admired about reagan despite, you know, getting into politics after he had gone was his courage and his strength and his optimism. and it's really a thing to take away, i think, that civility, being nice, good relationship does not mean you can't be strong and you can't push for the things that you care about. you look at reagan, i mean, he took on tax cuts, he took on the
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cold war, he took on the, you know, the air traffic controllers, whatever it was, he was strong, he was not ashamed of pushing for what he believed in the. but he was able to do it in a way that didn't have to resort to incivility, so that's pretty remarkable, i think. >> i know we have questions from some of our students. there's a microphone on either side. if you want to make your way to those microphones if you have a question. one question for rachel, i know that the judicial appointment and confirmation process is an important confluence of the three branches of government in our country, and given your experience in the confirmation process of several judicial nominees during the bush administration, did you look at the historical impact of previous nominations, particularly some in the reagan administration, and draw lessons or conclusions from those about how to work effectively with the senate in the confirmation process? and work with those appointees as well? >> right, yeah. just for the audience, i was in the justice department when
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chief justice roberts and justice alito were nominated and can confirmed, and part of my job was to help look at candidates for the supreme court, and once those folks were nominated, helping them get confirmed. and, yeah, i mean, before we even knew we had a supreme court vacancy, we were getting ready just in case somebody retired from the supreme court. yeah, i went back and talked to white house counsel from previous administrations, dr. fred fielding who had been in the reagan administration, and we did look. reagan had four appointments to the court, three new appointments -- kennedy, o'connor and scalia, and he elevated rehnquist to chief justice. and all of those you learn lessons from mistakes that were made, you look at, you look at the things that congress is interested in then, and a lot of those issues still carry forward. in the case of the senate, some senators have been at this for so long that the people who were in the senate back when reagan was making nominations are still there now. so you're looking at the kinds of questions they asked and taking lessons away for what might be asked during the
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current -- >> do you think that process is more or less contentious now than it was at that time? >> well, i mean, the first, you know -- [inaudible] who's heard of robert bork and knows about the bork hearings? nobody? no, okay. okay, i've got one over here. so reagan first nominated robert bork to the supreme court. he was a very conservative scholar, law professor, very prominent but very controversial in some of his views. and, um, the term borking has now become a verb, and it stands for doing away with somebody in the confirmation process, voting them down, sort of destroying their nomination. and that came away from the very contentious hearings that robert bork had in the senate. that was very contentious, and that was probably shortly after, well, i would say that was one of the first hearings that had a lot of tv coverage which i think really cricketed to the con -- contributed to the contentiousness of it. but i guess i can't say hearings now are more contentious was you
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can go all the way back to george washington to find contentious. george washington tried to make a chief justice, appointed him and could not get him confirmed. nixon had two supreme court nominees go down in the flames, but it's not -- it's tv-covered now, and it's in the press more now, it's a 24-hour news cycle, but it's not a new phenomenon. >> we're joined by our friends at c-span, and we're grateful for wider exposure of this program across the nation. what role does the media play, or how does the president and the congress use the media against each other to advance their agenda or their perspective or their side of an argument, and how did ronald reagan do that effectively or ineffectively if you believe so? >> well, the -- >> no, go ahead. >> -- media plays a huge role. you know, i guess in re began's time it was primarily dominated by the nightly newscasts. nowadays, of course, there's a lot written and said about how
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the internet and the diversification of news sources has changed politics. but in those days it was the newspapers and the major broadcast networks. i think one of the things that's interesting about the way the sort of media dominates the conversation in washington particularly in the congress is that a lot of them key off what's on the front pages of the new york times and the washington post. and so if you're interested in politics and want to get up to speed quickly, you want to make it a habit of reading these two newspapers. they, um, they drive the rest of the reporters, what they ask about all day. they drive what the members of congress are most interested in and what the congress is going to ask of the white house. and it's something that the white house has to manage constantly all day and, indeed, we've got huge staffs not only back in the reagan days and the bush days, but, of course, the obama days, in some cases dozens of people whose job it is just to deal with the media and chase
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down deferent stories and try -- different stories and try to get the president's message out. on reagan, you know, you've heard the old phrase, he's the great communicator, and he was able to dominate the media and identify with people and the common man better than many politicians which is part of the reason he was so, you know, goes down in history as one of our greatest presidents. >> he understood the power of image. he understood the power of communication. i think, you know, for all of the, um, negative rhetoric about president reagan or governor reagan about having been an actor, some of those skills really did help him and he knew the power of language and knew when to go to the american people and was able to work fairly effectively with the media when the president wanted to address the nation, and, um, you know, did it at very pivotal times whether it was bringing a message of comfort after
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different periods of grief in our country or when there was a particular, um, policy that he wanted to sell. because he really believed in one thing, that it was the people that he was working for, not anyone else. and really understood that. >> that's true, thank you. let's go to some or our students. over here. >> hi, my name is brian russell, i'm from maine. my question is for mrs. mcbride. i was just curious, with your experience with first lady laura bush, i was just wondering how much effect she has on public policy and how often she's involved with the day-to-day politics that go on in the white house? >> thank you for asking that question, i really appreciate it because it is what i'm actually doing in my post-white house life now, spending a good portion of time at american university developing a course of study around the role of an american first lady throughout our history and their impact on politics and policy and
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diplomacy. and i think over, throughout our history first ladies have really been a solid partner to the chief executive. but like, um, everything else as there's more media coverage and more attention, um, we begin to expect more in current times out of our first ladies, that they really do take on an active role or are an advocate for issues that are of concern to the country. and they're best at it when they do take on something that is authentic and genuine to them, and that is in complete concert with what the goals of the particular administration are. and mrs. bush did that very well. she used education as her platform, um, to travel the world on behalf of the president's efforts on global aid, malaria, really linking literacy to health. major programs that through the generosity of the american people, um, the president launched, and she was an advocate for and continues in her post-first lady life to this
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day. actually, i'm headed to dallas in about an hour, we'll be launching a women's initiative at the bush institute so that mrs. bush can continue some of this work. so i, um, i think first ladies can be very effective. um, it's an unofficial position, it has no salary. i hope that never changes because i really think that gives a first lady a lot of flexibility to do what she wants to do, and she's best -- again, if it's authentic and in concert with the president. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. let's take another one from this side. >> my name is chad thomas, i'm from kansas, and my question is really to whoever decides to take it. based on your guys' experience in washington, what advice would you offer our generation to improve the public's negative perception of civil discourse in american politics? >> good. do one of you want to start? >> why are you looking at me? [laughter] >> well, you know, one of the things that i -- i'm not sure this directly answers your
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question, but one of the things i found very frustrating when i was in government was how little it seems to me that people understood how government works. and perhaps as a result of that you would see media stories covering events, like covering the supreme court or covering aspects of the supreme court confirmation process that really kind of muddied the water about the role of the courts, for example, versus the role of congress or the executive branch. and i think that it's great that you all are educating yourself in how the government works. it would be great if more people would do that because i think that, in turn, would improve the discourse, the media coverage, the whole sort of level of politics would improve if people would be better educated, more involved. so i just commend you to do that and loop in your class mates and get everybody involved in doing that. >> thank you. >> anita, did you have something on that? >> no. i was just sort of, i was thinking about when rachel was talking about the confirmations that she worked on for supreme court and how the discourse
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isn't around, how we treat people who are willing to go into public service and in these cases public service for life, and to be treated the way that robert bork was treated whether you disagreed with his policy or not, those were personal attacks. and i remember the hearing of justice alito and watching that on the television in my office, and mrs. bush was upstairs in the residence. and the point where martha alito started to cry. and i remember being furious that we'd gotten to this level, and i called mrs. bush upstairs, and i said, are you watching this? in and she said, yes. i said, it's just ridiculous, and she said, well, i'm going to call her. and she did, and you may remember that. and just to tell her, look, try hard. this is politics. try not to let it get to you personally. you know who sam is, you know who you are. and just -- and this is coming from a woman who the person she
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loved the most in life, her husband, took the slings and the arrows every single day. but yet it was a remarkable to me that she never once said a bad word about anyone in the public or in private and would always say i know who george is, we know who we are as a family. this is politics. i wish it wasn't this way, but i'm not going to bring myself to that level. and i think if we had more people who understood our government and how difficult it is to do these jobs, but how important it is, um, and realize just how much work it takes, you know, maybe wouldn't treat the people willing to step up to the plate quite as bad as we do. >> you talked about the contentious but special relationship and friendly relationship that president reagan had with speaker o'neill during those days, and it seems that many of our debates take place through the media and out in the public and on public
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display. what do you think about maybe, michael, now that you're entrenched in the hill as also having been in administration, how do you think that is today? do you think that there's -- what is the flow back and forth of communication, what's the respect back and forth? is there a lot of direct person-to-person contact from the white house and the executive branch with members of congress and the congressional staffs? or is it all through the media where we see their interpretation and their lens played on it? >> you saw president obama and speaker boehner went to play golf this weekend, so that was sort of important, you know, for the country to see, that the two of them were meeting face to face. but, you know, one of the things that i don't think is sort of appreciated or known by a lot of folks is just how many people each president has working the hill for them. i mean, presidencies can rise or fall based on whether they have success in congress or not. and each president has, for lack
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of a better word, you know, sort of lobbyists or as we call them legislative affairs folks. and we had over a dozen in the bush white house, in the obama administration they have the same thing. and it's the job of these people to go up and actually be assigned to members of congress, hang around on the hill, um, if you were sort of at the west wing when congress was in session, it looked like you might not be doing your job because your job was to be up representing the president on the hill, getting to know the members of congress and being able to report back to the white house any developments that would have affected the president's agenda. and so you just can't underscore enough the importance of staff in supporting the modern presidency and being able to, um, get the people up to the hill, some of the senior policymakers and the national security council or the domestic policy council as the case may be to actually talk to members of congress about their ideas and to be seen listening and to
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listen to the members of congress and try and work in some of their suggestions. and that's important in building legislative coalitions. and all presidents have to do it. >> it dose, it goes both ways too. i mean, i was a policy person at the department of justice, and, you know, there's a very close relationship between the administration and in congress the party of the president. so, you know, when we were in office, the republicans on the hill both in terms of us going up to the hill and saying, okay, we want the patriot act reauthorized, and let me explain to you what's in the patriot act, how does it work, why, what the press is saying about it is not true, you're dispelling all these myths that are afoot in the public and the press, and you're working with them on legislative language, how to draft the bill, so forth. but people on the hill are also coming to the department of justice saying, you know what? i really want to do a bill on meth. in iowa, meth is a big problem, we want to, you know, whatever
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the proposal is, they all come to doj and say you are experts in drug law, how do we draft it? so it's very much a two-way street. >> let's take another question from one of our students. >> hi. i'm from washington state, and this is for anybody. what are your opinions in many regards to the current political rift between the democrats and the republicans? >> the political -- what was the question again? >> the political rift. >> do you want to take that, michael, since you're on the hill and see it a little bit more directly? >> well, there are always rifts between the parties, and, you know, there's a lot said about how the american people want their members of congress to find solutions, and that's true. but at the same time you also want spirited debate. you want people to, um, serve the diversity of ideas so that this is sort of the marketplace of ideas that we always talk about.
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and it's happening on the hill every day where people are floating their suggestions and trying to work through to find the best solutions they possibly can. but, um, i think it's true that at times it seems like the rhetoric gets a little out of control and drives otherwise good people from getting in the or staying in politics. it becomes a big problem, but you have to sort of distinguish between differences over substance which we should embrace and differences in sort of tone and civility. which is something that doesn't always work, doesn't work well and doesn't look good as we try ask work through the solutions. >> take one from on this side. >> my name is justin from hawaii. my question is, in this discussion we've addressed civil discourse on the home front, but looking at it from an international point of view, because reagan was already an effective communicator, you know, during the cold war why do you guys think he still continued to increase defense
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spending and really, you know, prof size the military industrial complex? even though he had those skills, why did he need to fuel that fire? this. >> do you mind if i take this a little bit? just, you know, i'm glad you asked that question because i was a young staffer in the white house in 1984, my first job was reading the mail that came to president reagan. and collecting a sample that went with him every weekend to camp david that he would respond to personally. and i would say at the time where president reagan had proposed putting the pershing missiles in europe as a protection, as a defense. don't forget, this was still the time of the cold war. the president had intelligence that the soviet union was crumbling, and we had to really trust our leaders, the commander in chief, i think, when they are faced with the intelligence that nobody else sees. but really, um, made a decision
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that showing the strength of the united states would be a deterrent for the soviet union to strike against the united states when he knew they were not capable. so it was, the seen as a war-mongering decision. the president did believe in the strength of the military strength of the united states as being capable for waging peace, not war. so i think it was a controversial decision, but again, those core principles that president reagan believed in, and one was rebuilding the defenses of the united states of america and its military knowing that the position that it played in the world as a leader and a
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protection for other country as well. >> thank you. >> you mentioned president president reagan's strong convictions and beliefs, and you didn't see him waver from that. how does that play out on the hill when you have a president who is strong and clear and direct in their convictions, and even though it may differ or be on the other side of the party, how does it, does it make the opposition stiffer, or are there ways that you can work with the other side as you were talking about, michael, president reagan was able to accomplish much of his agenda with the democratic congress much of the time. so how do you do that effectively? it's not always done. so what was it about president reagan or any leader who has those very strong ideological beliefs but is yet able to accomplish an agenda like president reagan was able to accomplish? >> well, one thing that i found interesting about president reagan is, you know, of course, he took office in a big election
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in 1980. he didn't control the house. there were many democrats in conservative districts around the country, and he made the decision early in his first term that he wouldn't campaign against some of these so-called boll weevil democrats because he made the judgment that the long-term interests of the republican party would be in the legislative success. and so he knew he could help recruit them to vote for his tax cuts, to vote for his budget. and so because he made sort of a tactical judgment there, i think that made it easier for some of these democrats to come over and vote against their leadership and vote for the president of the other party. i mean, this is sort of the big challenge that each white house has to deal with, and that's how to put together a majority in each chamber, especially in the house. and sometimes you need 60 votes in the senate, and that's a way you could do it. you have to do the, you have to
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do sort of the total package, if you will. you have to have good relations on the hill, you have to spend time with them, um, but most of all you need to be able to connect with the american people so that members of congress will feel like if they vote with you, they're voting the way their constituents want, and it makes it easier for them. >> how important is personality in a president in dealing with the congress or in the dealing with the press? is that a, is it, it takes intelligence, it takes experience. but is personality important? president reagan had a great sense of humor, he loved to tell stories. there's just been a wonderful book published called "the notes" that is in print form the president's handwritten anecdotes, jokes, stories that he kept for decades in a book that he used as he developed his remarks. and that's a real skill. anita references his years in
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acting and broadcasting. how important is that in politics when so much is media-driven, to have that kind of personality that's camera-friendly, but also people-friendly? not everybody has both. >> a lot. likability is important, i think, in all of you are o live -- all of our lives. humor draws someone to you. you know, it was one of the things that, you know, we struggled with for president bush, those of us, of course, that knew him well and worked with him well and knew how funny and likable, you know, that he was. yet it was difficult to have that projected in the media whether it was through print or whether it was through television even, radio. there was an impatience about president bush that was conveyed , and the press always reported on him that way. he came into office saying, you know, being told the american
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people being told somebody that didn't read a book and wasn't well read, yet he was a voracious reader and had a great command of language, knew how to use words to have an impact. yet it was never really conveyed that way, and i think that was very us from frustrating. >> let's go to another student. >> hi, i'm from maryland. last night we talked about forums of debate and procedure, and the two were about debating with civility and respect. and my question is which do you think is the most effective to insure lasting progress? >> i think you have to have it all. >> passion, respect? maybe miens the emotion. i think sometimes emotion is distracting. i mean, if you're going to be a good advocate in any context whether it's in a presidential
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debate or anywhere else, you first have to know your facts. if you don't have any facts behind you, you're not going to convey anything except for bluster maybe. but then you have to be able to communicate those facts passionately, compellingly, i think leading into the last question, it's very important to be able to advocate them in a way that regular people can connect with. so as i've been watching the various presidential candidates in this cycle talk about things like small government, it's kind of hard to explain why does small government benefit you? why does it benefit me? except in if an esoteric, political science kind of way. if you can articulate those with anecdotes, with things that people connect with. and that's what reagan was so great at. he'd have these funny little lines that the most horrifying thing to hear was i'm here from the government. you can have passion and
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accessibility and connection with regular people, i think that combination is critical. >> thank you. on this side. >> hi there. my name is skyler, and i'm from stanford, connecticut. thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. my question the is for all of you. how do you believe civil discourse is either facilitated or inhibited by the american system of checks and balances? >> i'm from bridgeport, connecticut, so it's nice to see someone from connecticut here. well, i think, you know, with all of its faults our system of government is still the finest in the world. i really do believe that. and i thought about this coming, you know, over here today, and there was articles that were in the politico newspaper, you know, talking about america in decline, and i think one of the articles was written by a member
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of congress. and i thought about how that kind of language from be anyone, particularly from someone in government would really, i think, upset president reagan, and i think it would anger him because if anything, he really believed in america, he believed in americans. i think that's what was, you know, just so, um, likable about him, too, and you wanted to believe in your country, you wanted to be proud, you wanted to accept that we're not perfect and we do have, you know, this imperfect system. it is the finest in the world. so i think our system of checks and balances is incredibly important. it's what keeps us honest. it's why in our, in our country we or around the world we are looked at as a nation that can elect and transition and inaugurate its presidents peacefully,. >> i think that's a wonderful example particularly to emerging
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democracies around the world who are really struggling on how to set up their system of government so that it doesn't end up being corrupt and that it does serve the people in the best way that it possibly can. >> i think that checks and balances necessitates some level of civility because if president didn't need the congress and the congress didn't need the president, there'd be a lotless reason for them to be civil. the courts are different because you don't have the same unfiltered dialogue. you deal with it in a much more formal process. but, you know, if congress could just pass laws with no presidential signature, why would they bother to build much of a relationship with the president? is they wouldn't need to do that. >> thank you. >> thank you for the question. let's take one more from the same side. >> hi. i'm from miami, florida. um, you guys previously all spoke about how ronald reagan was very optimistic, and he really didn't speak badly about anyone which made him very effective. so my question is do you feel
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that lack of civil discourse negatively affects government's decisions that are intended to benefit the nation as a whole? is. >> what do you think? >> >> yeah. the question is, you perceive, i guess, that there's a lack of civil discourse, and the question is whether that negatively affects people. >> yes. >> sure, i do think, well, there's sort of principles, and then there's civility, and you've got to have some. you're not going to give up principles just to be civil. at the same time, you need to find a balance between the two. anita? >> no, i think that's a great answer. i think i've -- >> thank you. >> thank you. >> my name's joe from the state of south dakota. mrs. mcbride, you worked with laura bush, so you know what kind of impact she had on the white house. and i guess my question was what role did nancy play in making ronald reagan a great president? >> well, they were a true
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partnership, and i think it was, you know, as a young staffer, you know, in the white house i was very much aware of mrs. reagan's presence. it was very clear to all of us that she was there as a protection for her husband. she really felt she had, um, her antenna there in support of her husband. people that were around him. so i think she had an enormous influence. i think she also was able to very effectively use the, um, diplomatic tools at her disposal to help present president reagan on the world stage whether it was through their, um, large number of wonderful state dinners where people, important relationships to us around the world were hosted in a way that was very respectful and that was beautifully done. so i think she's used the tools
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at her disposal to really help put her husband in the best light that she possibly could and using the venue, the stage of the white house around the world was one very effective way where she did that. >> she was also a great champion of the just say no campaign. >> yes. she had issues. >> working with young people around the nation. >> that's right. and foster grandparents. so things that she did, of course, to help her husband, she also brought things with her from california that she had worked on like the foster grandparents program. and she also was a brave, you know, woman to laugh at herself and take, she took a lot of ridicule from the press in her first year, and yet she turned that around, and the press began to look at her a little bit differently when she showed up at a major washington event called the gridiron dinner, and she was dressed in some


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