disneyland. she had heard exciting things about it but she really couldn't comprehend the magnitude of such a place. figuratively speaking when ying ma and her family emigrated to the u.s. from china she thought she was heading to disneyland. what confronted her with a far cry from the magic kingdom. it wasn't the foreign language and culture that proved the most difficult. rather it was the shocking racism isolation and disdain that she encountered in our own backyard of oakland. ying ma's stories a perfect example of what made america great. the courage to confront hardship and abuse, determination to move past it and gratitude to a country that made it possible for anyone to succeed and discover one's self-worth. i highly recommend that you read the personal account of her amazing journey in her book, "chinese girl in the ghetto" which she will be selling and
signing tonight. ying ma has indeed come a long way from the inner city of oakland. she received her undergraduate degree from cornell and a law degree from harvard. she has served -- thank you. excuse me. she has served as a visiting fellow at the hoover institution of war revolution and peace, practiced law, manage corporate communications at senior.com which is the first mainland china-based internet company to list on the nasdaq and served on the first professional staff of the congressional u.s.-china economic and security review commission. she has also written articles for "the wall street journal," the international "herald tribune," the law just -- los angeles times, "the weekly standard" and others. currently ms. ma is a senior vice president of sdb partners a strategic advisory firm and she
is a policy advisor at the heartland institute, a free-market think-tank. it is my pleasure to introduce ying ma. [applause] >> thank you all. thank you so much. rita thanks reymond for that very kind introduction. i want to say thanks to all the volunteers who made this event happen, a special thanks to rita for all of her hard work and coordination in recent months and howard thank you for having me here. it is an honor for me to tell you a bit about my book and my story but whenever i talk about my book i have a tendency to think of another author and that author is presidenpresiden t barack obama. as you may recall, the liberal
media raved about barack obama's writing abilities in the 2008 election. back then, senator obama's resume was really quite short and his supporters often would say with a straight face that he was just marvelous because he wrote to marvelous books about himself, and at first i thought this was some kind of a joke. but then when senator obama actually became president obama i realized that it was no joke at all. and i decided that i needed to get with the program and start believing in the dream barack obama world of yes weekend. so i thought what i needed to do was to write two books about myself and maybe i too can be president of the united states. [applause]
so i sat down and wrote a book about myself called "chinese girl in the ghetto." when people ask me what the book is about these days i usually tell them that it's about my family's journey from communist china to inner-city oakland california and it's about my journey of getting to know freedom. but, what i'm really thinking and usually what is really on my mind is that i need to hurry up and write another book about myself. and when i do then maybe i can go to all those places that barack obama has been able to go. yes, we can. [laughter] i am joking of course. i was not born in this country so i can't become president. [laughter] [applause] but donald trump sure kept my hopes up for a very long time.
he kept telling me and everybody else that barack obama wasn't born in this country either. so, when barack obama finally released his birth certificate in the 2012 elections i was pretty devastated. all my hopes for the white house were dashed. it's a feeling that i'm sure senator marco rubio will become quite familiar with in 2016. in any case when it became clear that writing another book wasn't going to do anything for my political ambitions i decided to focus on telling people about the book that i have written, and i think it's a book that was worth writing for its own sake and let me tell you a little bit about it. my story is an immigrant story, a legal immigrant story. [applause] i was born in china at a time when the country had been
devastated by decades of totalitarian communist rule. my family lived in an apartment that had no running water, no modern toilet facilities, no washer, no dryer and none of the other amenities that we take for granted here in the west. and in fact we lived in a place that was considered to be quite modern and quite in be able for folks in china because we lived in a city, and we did not have to do backbreaking farm labor. back then everyone could leave china for america -- to everyone who couldn't leave could lead to matter. when my family had the opportunity to come to america we took it. we moved to oakland, california and knew almost nothing about
it. we showed up there because we had relatives and we wanted to be close to our family members. yet, instead of finding an america where the streets were paved with gold, we found crumbling schools, unpaved streets and racist people. that was because we had arrived in inner-city america, the heart of the welfare state. one by one the horrors of the better -- ghetto show themselves to us. poverty and urban decay plague our new city. storefronts had shattered windows. streets were pockmarked with potholes. bridges and how most were splashed with graffiti. the streets downtown even near city hall were often streets that smelled of. homeless men and women aggressively panhandled and they
accosted tourists and residents alike. crime plagued our new city as well. drug dealing seemed much more prevalent at times the unemployment. muggings to place in plain sight and gunshots rang at night regularly interrupting my tv watching. racism also ruined my town. asians and it didn't matter if we were chinese, vietnamese, korean or latinos or japanese we often only have one name and that was china men. that was the case at school, on the streets, on the bus and seemingly everywhere and anywhere. on the sidewalk teenagers have a habit of entertained themselves by creeping up behind a frail and elderly age an immigrant and frightening them by screaming at the top of their lungs their worst imitation of the chinese language. more often than not racial slurs
were backed by the threat of violence and sometimes followed by violence itself. and because the racism of the perpetrator simply did not fit neatly into the politically correct narrative that our culture so often prizes, mainstream america paid no attention or simply looked away. in the ghetto, there was a general breakdown of law and order and an overwhelming absence of personal responsibility, and a widespread sense of entitlement. the welfare state was prevalent and it was supposed to help. it only made the place even more dysfunctional. they provided food stamps but it did not stop hunger. it offered welfare checks but it could not promote economic growth or jobs. it excuse laziness, turned a
blind eye to gang banging and condones the break down of the family unit. worst of all it instilled a sense of entitlement and subjects and it took away their right, smear to their smeared their dignity and sap their initiative. thankfully for my family we didn't versus a in the welfare this was in part because we spoke almost no english when i showed up in american we have no idea where or how to apply for welfare benefits. we didn't even know that welfare benefits existed for people like us and back then they definitely existed because this was the day before welfare reform of 1996 and poor illegal immigrants in this country did not have to have been here for five years before they became eligible for government money. maybe we didn't take advantage of these welfare programs simply because we just weren't that right.
we never bothered to inquire about these benefits because it didn't occur to us or it hadn't occurred to us that coming to the united states meant that we should just hold up their hands and ask our federal and state government for money. but perhaps arguments was actually a blessing in disguise because that meant that we had to fight her way out of poverty the old-fashioned way. we worked. we had limited financial resources, so my parents worked at menial jobs for long hours in the beginning for less than minimum wage. we were clothing from goodwill or handed down from relatives. we used to second, third or fourth hand furniture and at first my brother and i each slept on half of the bed. he slept on the box springs and i slept on the mattress. i think he insisted back then
that i got the better end of the bargain. there was hardship and shared sacrifice. our mother who was once a well respected schoolteacher adored by your kids, became a seamstress at a sweatshop. the father who was once a senior mechanic trailed by a group of apprentices became kitchen helper for a chinese owned restaurant where the owners regularly verbally abused him. the children study day and night instead of hanging out on the streets. using drugs or otherwise poorly behaving. our family said for homeownership instead of splurging on long vacations, fancy clothing or even better snacks. because my parents couldn't speak english and as might rather and i ever learned english much more quickly than they did was taken to the
hospital when they were sick. we filled out job applications for them when they were looking for work. we accompanied them to the unemployment office when they were laid off, and we heckled with the utilities companies with usually adults many years older than we were when they overcharged us. through it all we did not demand that the government level the playing field, giving us handouts or freebies. we accepted that life was unfair and that not everyone can be born rich or even born in this country. we certainly didn't occupy public buildings or parks. we didn't on the streets. we didn't violate city ordinances. we did not destroy public property or steal private property even when things didn't go our way. and we thought it was wrong to feel entitled to government for
other people's money. we also didn't demand that america somehow give us preferences in the form of racial and ethnic quotas. in fact being asian and california pretty much meant that we didn't receive any of those quotas of preference but racial quotas and preferences were certainly doled out quite lavishly to sons and daughters of her's and other middle-class professionals who belonged to racial categories that were far more in fashion in our society. regardless, in the end we prevailed. we prevailed over the welfare state. we got out. certainly we didn't do it alone. the kindness of the american people has always impressed me and i think it's something all immigrants to this country. we remain grateful to those who opened a helping hand and a warm smile.
recently when i was reading an op-ed in "the wall street journal" written by governor jeb bush, i thought of my families journeyed to get out. in his op-ed governor bush said today the sad reality is that if you were born poor, if your parents didn't go to college and if you don't know your father and if english is not spoken at home than the odds are stacked against you. you are more likely to stay poor today than at any other time since world war ii. what struck me about governor bush's op-ed was that all except one of his prerequisites for being condemned to poverty, fortunately i do know my father but i was born poor. my parents didn't go to college. and english was not and still is not spoken at home. the odds were stacked against me.
it sounds like president barack obama has been eager to hide on those for political purposes. the narrative he has been peddling for the past four or five years the little people at the bottom of our society don't get a fair shake. according to him millionaires and billionaires are the richest 1% have edged out everyone else from opportunities for success. america's economy has become a cause for the privileged youth and in less government, barack obama's government, intervened heavily in the economy the poor and the middle-class middle class will never prosper. in this paradigm in mr. obama's paradigm i had no business getting out of the ghetto at least not without receiving a welfare check. this is because mr. obama doesn't just paddled the benefits of a welfare state, he really peddles the welfare state tally --
mentality. if that solves individuals of personal responsibility. it consigns them to grievance and it encourages and even justifies their sense of entitlement. since the election of last november, republicans have been hyperventilating about how much more effectively mr. obama and his party can relate to the urban poor and minorities. he seems willing to point out that the odds are always stacked against the poor. it's not supposed to be. that is why you work harder, you pursue your opportunities more aggressively and you learn to do -- be more nimble and entrepreneurial. this is a reality that conservatives think we should not be ashamed or afraid to point out.
in the conservative paradigm and our paradigm free men and women make choices. you take responsibility for your life and the extract ourselves for less than stellar circumstances. that is how i got out of the ghetto and that is how i got out of the ghetto despite the odds. unfortunately the welfare state doesn't just exist in the ghetto. the ghetto is plagued with big government, racial strife and a breakdown of law and order but if you were to take away the latter two, if you were to take away the high crime rates are the racial strife big government is all over in this country. we find the welfare state everywhere. the welfare state really is and just about welfare. it's about government intrusion from the top and an entitlement mentality from the bottom. we live in a country where collectively we spend more money
than we have and where the takers would like to take more for the makers. we have a president who takes every opportunity can to lambaste the successful and tell americans that fairness and progress can only occur when those who have the money give more of it via higher taxes. taking and spending other people's money is what barack obama likes to call our shared commitment to each other. and americans agree with him. at least enough of this agree with him to elect him as president last year. unpleasant as it is their reality is always difficult to convince people to say no to free money. it's always difficult to opt for the uncertainty of free markets and free enterprise and to walk away from government subsidies.
i may have emerged from that ghetto without having received welfare benefits but it was purely an accident. if i had known that welfare programs existed, and that my parents qualified for those welfare programs i would have brought them myself to the relevant government offices, filled out the application, served as their translator and interviews with nameless bureaucrats and at age 10, 11, 12, 13 whatever it was i would have made sure they got some free money. i never had to do an event in oakland but certainly like other poor people i had friends and family who did avail themselves to government benefits. and if my parents were to qualify for welfare programs today i would still be the first to help them apply. the truth is most people find it very hard to say no to free
money and most of us simply don't. we all respond to monetary incentives. of course, know note that there is no such thing as free money. the government is funded by people who work, people who create wealth, people who pay taxes and it is funded via money we borrow by a national debt approximately $17 trillion. we also know that barack obama's welfare state does not just hand out welfare checks or food stamps. it also hands out amnesty for illegal immigrants, free contraceptives for women and racial preferences for minorities. if you are at the receiving end of those goodies is very hard to say no. so the key is not to be giving out those goodies in the first
place. i know i'm supposed to provide an uplifting story tonight that the truth is we simply cannot defeat the welfare state on our own. in the grand scheme of things it makes very little difference that my family and i made it out of the ghetto without receiving welfare benefits. we got lucky and we were able to escape the tentacles of the welfare state. to truly defeat the welfare state however we would have to defeat the welfare statement l. emp would have to roll back the policies that incentivize dependency and foster a sense of entitlement. and when we do that we will have a real story to tell. about defeating the welfare state and that would be a truly great story. but until then, i would merely be few with this quote from my book. it's from the introduction. in china i could not avoid the randomness, the ambiguity of the all-encompassing weight of
authoritarianism but in the loving embrace of my family and the on plunging loyalty of my friends i remained up beat cheerful and happy. in the ghetto i forgot what it meant to be joyful but even in that ghetto people have a chance to walk away from some of the worst attributes of society into its finest riches. it is this belief that lies at the heart of my journey of getting to know freedom. and i hope that in the end freedom will defeat the welfare state and its entitlement mentality. thank you. thank you very much. [applause] >> i will introduce the q&a process. see for those of you who would like to follow my work my web site is ying ma.org, that's ying ma.org and you can find my
writings there as well. >> thank you and for those of you who've been here before you know for the q&a what we we will do is we'll have people passing out cards and they will taken them to the person in the back who will read them for the speaker. so if you have questions raised her hand and we will get your card. thank you. >> are you ready for the first question? >> yes, i am. [inaudible] >> not necessarily. i think that, i think that for people of my generation in china no matter how happy they were in china if they were given a chance to come to the united states they would calm.
and having gone through what i went through in oakland i don't regret coming to america. i think that one lesson i would draw is that freedom isn't supposed to be easy. just because you show up in a free society, a wealthy free society doesn't mean that there are any guarantees. and so success is not going to be there waiting for you. i think for people who live in communist countries like the former soviet union or instance they would much rather have the opportunity to fight for their success than to be confined to a lifetime of mediocrity and hopelessness. so i think it's hard to be an immigrant no matter what. it's hard to leave your friends and family and leave the society that you are familiar with and they think that for kids leaving china today or any other country that is going to be the case the matter what.
but in this country i think the opportunity has always beckoned and continues to duck in all kinds of people. >> do you have any ideas on how this ghetto life might change to become less dysfunctional? >> well since i left i think oakland has seen some improvement. oakland today isn't the same city that used to be paid is it's still dysfunctional on many levels and we saw that are in occupied oakland. i think policies that promote economic growth, policies that are business-friendly, i think does help a lot. i think community groups and adults who actually teach children not to think within entitlement mentality helps as well. i think there are lots of things. i think part of it is that the government in oakland tends to be very anti-free market and it
has not always been all that strong on line order. those things are very important if you want a stable environment but at the same time you can't rely on the government to do everything. so part of the problem with oakland as fact, at least when i was growing up there, the mentality was until you get to the root of the mentality and teach kids not to think that way things are going to change all that much. >> a follow-up to the comment you just made is how would you tell someone who is trapped in this mentality get out of it as a friend of theirs? >> i would say a few things. number one, don't make any excuses for yourself. when you grow up in a poor environment and an unsafe environment and when your family doesn't have a whole lot of resources it's very easy to make excuses.
it's very easy to say i can do this, i can't do that and i can't go places because my family simply hasn't provided for me. or you know my people are oppressed. don't make any excuses for yourself. that is step number one. step number two, don't lay mothers. there are certainly bad people out there and there are always going to be people who don't necessarily wish you well but there are so many people who will always be there to lend a hand, and if you have the right attitude people will help you. people will give you a break but you have to start by not blaming others. what i saw so often in the ghetto was that people started blaming others, blaming history. pretty soon you become quite self-destructive. the key is to get away from that. and then of course the third thing which really isn't anything new, that one has to work hard. you have to take advantage of the opportunities that you have
because more people to have opportunities. that really is just how it is. i grew up in a communist country before. everyone had the same number of opportunities, which was not very many. so the key is in a society that does provide opportunities, you have to take advantage of it and you have to apply yourself. >> how long did it take for your family to get a visa to get out of china? >> it took approximately four to five years. in fact, i wrote an article on foxnews.com called a legal immigrant story and you can find it on my web site. in that story i describe how incredibly hard it was to jump through the hoops to actually do everything that america asked us to do in order to come here legally. what's interesting is these days you constantly hear people say
that well, our immigration system is broken. we wanted to come here legally but we couldn't order there were just too many obstacles. the truth is lots of people actually stand in line and wait for a very long time and they chewed out because they respect the rule of law and expect their country that they wish to adopt as their home. and the story i wrote for foxnews.com titled a legal immigrant story i talked about that process and i talked about how hard it was. i remember seeing my mom come home from the american consulate. she came home crying and i knew that i was days denigrating america had to wait a little bit longer. so i think in our debate about comprehensive immigration reform we should absolutely not forget those people who are legal immigrants illegal immigrants and not let people talk us into forgetting this distinction
between legal and illegal immigrants. [applause] >> how did you get from a poor inner-city education to cornell university? >> i was very nerdy. i read a lot. i -- to when i first came to this country i didn't speak english so i spent my summers reading chinese level -- novels and they were very good novels but my parents if they knew what was in those novels they would have said they were inappropriate for my age. they were written by famous novelist and a shove. and i spent my summers reading those novels. one because i didn't have access to books like that in china when i was growing up back then under communist rule. people weren't allowed to read anything colorful or exciting.
you read a lot of things that have a lot to do with communism and why communism was great. and as i got a little bit older and once i began to learn english and ended up spending a lot of time reading english books. it was terrible for my eyesight but the great thing is that books take you to all kinds of places that you can't even imagine and once i started digging into the books i realized there was a whole new world outside of the ghetto and i was eager to get out as soon as i could. the one way for me to do that was to study as hard as i could and i was elected. >> what are your thoughts about the gang of eight amnesty bill currently discussed in congress? >> well, i didn't seem too fond of the idea of marco rubio running for president earlier so
i think that probably gives everybody a chance. i think well first of all i hope it fails. [applause] at least i hope it fails in its current form. there were all kinds of efforts by different senators recently to try to make amendments to the gang of a proposal and to make it better, to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms but those amendments were all shot down so in its current form it's a disaster. it is what has gotten out to a 1000 pages long. i actually wrote another article about this. it's called immigrating to america is not an entitlement and is addresses many of the flaws. [applause] and it addresses many of the communist perceptions of what immigration is about.
i have a number of disagreements and i suspect those of you in the audience do as well. i think that my number one disagreement with the bill is that it provides provisional legal status to approximately 11 million illegal immigrants who were in this country before any significant and meaningful measures of enforcement actually took place, before the border is actually secure. i think that's a huge problem. but in addition to that given that i've gone through the immigration process, i suppose i have a little bit of a problem with people saying that well america's immigration system is broken and hence we get to come here illegally. well i am sure that many of you here believe that our tax system is broken too and that you all believe that you don't want your tax dollars to go toward bloated welfare state. but it doesn't mean that you all
of a sudden just stop paying your taxes and if the irs were to come after you you would say well i believe our tax system is broken and hence i have stopped spinning. that is however the situation we have with our immigration system. it is broken in everyone acknowledges that. let's fix fix it but simply bece of the fact that it's broken suddenly all of these people have a claim to be here because they just want to, because they aspire to be american. i have a number of other disagreements with it but i will for you to my article. i think the title tells you how i feel about this issue. >> how do you explain the chinese immigrants who come here presumably and immediately join and vote for a liberal democrat? some of our most progressive politicians are here --
[laughter] >> i would say a few things. i am actually -- i am not convinced that people who escaped tyranny from china come here and immediately start voting for liberal democrats. some of them probably do when they become citizens that i haven't seen enough studies that say that these folks, the anti-communist folks in fact are more likely to vote democrat than they are to vote republican. what i do know is that oftentimes when you get to a second or third generation chinese-american they do tend to be less conservative than -- than their parents parents because the immigration experience is farther away from them. the hardships that their parents or their grandparents had to go through aren't as relevant to them and many of these kids you know, apply themselves and end up dead very good colleges.
at these colleges what happens is they end up being brainwashed by liberal professors. [applause] so i think that is part of the problem. what is also part of the problem is that folks who tend to be very politically active in the asian community, a lot of the activists tc particularly on the national level tend to be a lot more liberal than the people you meet on the streets, then sorted your average asian-american particularly more recent immigrants. for whatever reason these asian-american activists have decided that unless they adopt the rhetoric of the left-wing, the rhetoric of identity politics, the rhetoric of etymology that somehow they have failed but many of these activists don't necessarily. >> the native languages of their respective communities. they don't necessarily know all that much for it details of the
people or the difficulties of the people they claim to represent and in many ways you know you can see a parallel between the asian community in the black community. lots of folks would say that jesse jackson or al sharpton probably don't represent their point of view. somebody like former representative allen west in fact has quite a bit. in the asian community an issue that is not as pronounced i think because the community probably isn't as politically active as a whole but there is also that disconnect from those national self-appointed spokespeople, a disconnect between them and your average asian-american citizen simply because you know simply because the former doesn't understand the latter and the latter tends to be a bit more conservative. the third thing i would say is i
think immigrant communities tend to be more pragmatic and because china has undergone 30 years of economic and liberalization it's not the same communist country as it used to be. it still is very repressive in many ways but i think for a lot of younger chinese, they don't necessarily know those awful days, at least they don't know intimately the awful days of the cultural revolution and the days of starvation under chairman mao. so sometimes they actually can be very nationalistic. instead of bearing hostility toward communism they might feel very nationalistic towards china. and i think overall the community may not be as ideological as for instance the cuban-american community.
when people are less ideological and more practical if you give them our promise them a whole bunch of goodies they are likely to respond that way. so if mitt romney says i'm going to cut the size of government and i'm going to get no reform entitlement programs you now and i'm going to do tax reform that the other side says well that just means he's going to cut your benefits and take away medicare and so on people respond to that because there a lot of folks who thinks they are pocketbook issues. part of it is that they could very well swing the other day if you have someone who actually is a more charismatic political candidate, someone who can speak more directly to their concerns. so i have given you a whole bunch of these i guess. [inaudible]
>> i think immigrants, i think they are all over the bay area. obviously it's full full of immigrants. there a lot of community groups. i think community groups -- that whenever a particular group is close to the local level i think they tend to understand the needs of the people in that community are better. i mean there are lots of things you can do. when i was a kid living in oakland one of the things i'd done a bit of the most from was a program called the arthur ashe tennis program. this was something founded by arthur ashe who was a tennis star. he was the first african-american to win wimbledon and the kind of this program for inner-city kids to learn to play tennis. to give them something to do so that they wouldn't be out on the streets and to have coaches teach them sportsmanship and
self-respect. that was where i learned to play tennis. the folks who taught in that program, they didn't get paid all that much. if they were to give private tennis lessons i'm sure they would have made a lot more. that was something i'd been at -- benefited from quite a bit. i think there'll kinds of programs like that. there are ways to tutor folks. there are ways to, even if you were to say donate clothing or money, there a lot of groups out there that are there to serve the immigrant communities. you know and their needs range from everything from food to clothing or sometimes two translation help, to things like maybe sometimes they need legal services and can't afford them. it's a wide range of services and i think there is no shortage
of groups in the bay area to try to help. i think getting involved with one of those groups is one way to do it. another way is i think a lot of times that perhaps doesn't even require participation in some sort of organization. i think just being kind and the indecent to somebody, trading and immigrant just like you would treat one of your friends, i think that often goes a long way to make an immigrant feel at home in this country. and i think that would be a good place to start. >> to you have any ideas on how to encourage young people and ghettos to seek role models from successful people and other individuals with backgrounds that might help them? >> you know what? i would say especially to people in the ghetto, there are role models everywhere. i think our culture is just gotten so politically correct that we often make it seem like if somebody does not share your
color or your ethnicity or your cultural background that somehow you can't look up to them. we are constantly saying we have to provide a role model for a particular community. we have to find people of that race, that gender, that ethnicity. i think it's great to find role models of any ethnicity or culture or race. i think that is where young people -- the one of the things that adults or authority figures to who deal with young people a lot what they shouldn't do is to inculcate in young people's heads that somehow the only people you can look up to must look like you were sound like you. that is simply not the case. when i was growing up in oakland one of the instructors who was the kindest to me was an african-american instructor. he taught me in fifth grade and unfortunately he has passed away since then. i remember this was my second
year in the united states. i knew how to do math really well but i didn't speak english all that well. he noticed that i worked really hard to learn and i carried this pocket of dictionary with me everywhere so if any time i encountered a word or a phrase i didn't understand i would look it up and say with a see with the chinese translation was. he went out of his way you know to help me acclimate to american society but also to encourage me to do better. didn't better to me that he was in chinese. it didn't matter to me that he was alive. he used to tell -- in the class that i had with him, most of the students in my class were black and he used to tell the black kids all the time that they needed not to slack off and they need to stop making excuses. they needed to work harder. it was great that they have a role model like him but just because you don't have a role
model that shivers -- who shares your color that doesn't mean somehow you should stop looking. i have seen all kinds of folks who have been willing and able to mentor with an ache ethnicity or cultural background. i think the mentoring goes both ways. people who mentor you have to be willing to do it that you have to be willing to open yourself up to people who wish you well and want to help. the first step is to allow those people who may not look like you or sound like you to do that. >> the you have two or three specific -- for the city of oakland to improve itself traded. [laughter] >> know. >> you know it's interesting i actually hadn't thought about that.
i haven't lived there for a while and i know the city has changed quite a bit. and i remember that under mayor jerry brown i actually do remember a number of improvements were made and i appreciated those improvements. i sort of feel perhaps i have been gone for so long that this question probably would be better answered by a resident of oakland who actually has to deal with the city government as well as other aspects of the city. i would say that, i mean for me when it comes to making changes in inner-city areas i think it's very, very crucial for those areas to become business-friendly, to encourage
small businesses, to encourage entrepreneurship. i have to go back to the mentality here now and the mentality amongst the cities residents is fostered not just by government but also your families, churches, your communities and your schools. so for those cities that have inner-city areas that require a lot of help, getting to the root of that mentality is very key. >> many immigrants have dual citizenship and allegiance to the country from which they came. our system recognizes dual citizenship. do you think they should change? >> i think at the moment dual citizenship isn't allowed for everybody. dual citizenship is not allowed for people who immigrated to the
u.s. from china for instance. usually i think dual citizenship is only allowed for those countries that are friendly to us. if you are a dual swiss and u.s. citizen most people would likely think you are going to be harmless. and you know, my understanding is that if your home country as a country that is considered to be hostile to the united states for the most part the government won't actually allow you to hold dual citizenship. you either stick with the citizenship you originally had for you renounce it and then become an american citizen which make perfect sense to me. [inaudible] [laughter]
>> well, i would go back to what i said earlier. if things ring spinning enforcement mechanisms is very key. until you do that the rest of the talk is pretty much just talk. if you're not going to enforce our borders. if you're not going to deport people on a meaningful basis. for instance right now there is a union within the immigration send customs enforcement unit and those officers complain that what the obama administration won't let them do are two things that are very crucial to their jobs. one is to actually detained folks who are here illegally and two is to deport them. the obama administration has kind of adopted this policy that once you you were here unless you have committed some sort of serious crime i mean the administration is not going to
spend that much time deporting you or spend too many resources on things like that. and so what you have is an immigration policy -- policy that is not doesn't have a whole lot of teeth. when people don't think that there is severe punishment or severe consequences to coming here illegally, then obviously we have a broken system. i do believe that you should make this country far more favorable to skilled immigrants overseas. there are far more people that would provide a lot of help to our economy and who would provide their skills and their expertise and every year folks like that to get get what is called an hp one visa, those visas, there are small "send them and usually all the employers in a country that would like to hire people like
that, they run out of visas like that at the very beginning of the year. that was the case this year. they sort of hit the limit of those visas in january i believe. so i think it actually makes a lot of sense to make it easier for scientists and others with high skills to actually come here and provide their expertise and help our economy grow. i think that we need to get away from the identity politics that is often being played on immigration policy. unfortunately it's very hard to do because many illegal immigrants currently the largest group of illegal immigrants in this country are hispanics and the largest group within that are mexicans. it's often very hard to separate the two but the key is we actually need to have people who
would you willing and not afraid to say that just because we want to enforce our immigration laws and just because we want to secure our borders does not mean that we are a bunch of racists. and i think that is actually a tone that republicans are constantly talking about, how we got the tone wrong in the last election. one thing we should do is to set the right tone and the tone is we should stop actually letting people characterize conservatives as a racist just because they want to secure our borders. i think rule of law is something that conservatives have always cared a lot about and we shouldn't give up on that debate or seed that debate to the other side just because we lost an election. and by the way even if we did have the hispanic vote in the last election obama would not have one. anyway, i think that there are
lots of folks out there who have thought very intelligently and thoroughly about the immigration issue but what we do have right now is obviously a system that doesn't work very well and we also have a proposal that is very imperfect. so we need to get beyond that. >> have you ever considered running for office? >> didn't you hear me earlier? i was thinking about running for president. that is why i wrote this book about myself. [laughter] and then of course since i'm not a natural-born citizen, i can't do that anymore. >> as conservative should we stop using the term illegal immigrants? >> no, absolutely not. [applause]
steve what do you think -- who actually vista statistics say obama got 70% of the asian vote and that is obviously not just chinese but chinese filipino japanese korean whatever. so what do you think would be the appeal to winning these people to the conservative republican side? >> yeah i have been asked that question a number of times since the last election. i don't think anybody has done an extensive polling or in a substantive studies in the asian community to ask people why they voted the way they did. so i think everybody who has talked about it really is just taking a guess. i offered a few educated guesses. one of which i mentioned earlier which is that a second or third generation asian-american often
have a tendency to be a bit more liberal or mudd's more liberal than their parents or grandparents. i think in governor romney's case, my guess is that it's quite possible that his very tough rhetoric on china and that of turning off a lot of folks in the chinese community and like i said earlier these days there are a lot of chinese immigrants who are very nationalistic about china. and there are also lots of americans who disagree with governor romney's proposals on what to do with china. i don't agree with him 100% on many issues but i think if you are somebody who is very nationalistic about china or your heritage and you hear one of the political candidates constantly talking about china and getting tough with china. i have no doubt that governor
romney was talking about getting tough with the chinese communist regime that often voters don't make that distinction. they might think that governor romney is being anti-china and they might think well maybe he is anti-chinese so that is simply a guess. i think somebody would have to do a study and actually ask folks why they voted the way that they did. and then in addition to that, as i mentioned earlier governor romney also promised that he would roll back big government. i voted for him and was certainly counting on him to do that but the immigrant community is not insensitive to monetary incentives. as i said earlier there lots of immigrants who do avail themselves of government duties. these days most people are not, i guess are not as ignorant as my parents or my family was when we came here. people know where to go to find
free money and people know where to go to apply for welfare benefits. people know what to do to make themselves appear eligible before government bureaucrats when they need to apply for means tested benefits. and i think that many of those people probably do float and when they hear that one candidate is going to roll back big government they probably think that you know that would affect their pocketbooks and that would mean fewer benefits for them. and i know that many people feel the asian community probably is more inclined to be conservative that is hard-working and industrious and in many ways it is true. just because that is true doesn't mean that people don't want free money or would say no to it. ..
some chanted the to our charismatic, articulate, viable and conservative, free-market thinkers and we need to take back the white house, we need to take back the senate. if the government continues to be run by people who are big government types the welfare state will become ever more bloated, we will be staring down a path that greece is currently
on and our society will become a huge entitlement state. i would say i am -- i would like to be optimistic. i would like to think there are viable conservative candidate who can articulate a message without compromising on their principles and i think there are lots of governors out there right now who filled that void, the key thing to do is to start winning some elections and then weakened turn things around. >> communism is 0 world power. what do you think? >> i have written about that too. i think what people say, folks like president obama anthem
liberal columnists like thomas friedman of the new york times as well as other big government types of persons the financial crisis hit, they have been advocating heavy government spending, they want more stimulus spending, more infrastructure spending, more funding for renewable energy projects, they want all kinds of things and when they got pushed back from free market types and folks who believe in limited government they started using china as their example and started using china to goed conservatives into a sort of this position of having to adapt their rhetoric. china as many of you know has grown dramatically in the past three decades. they began undertaking economic growth in 1978, open up their economy to the world, but it is still a communist country, a it
is build politically fat suppressive and a lot of things are still run by the state which is why commentators these days like to refer to china's economy as a state capitalist economy and folks like barack obama for a long time kept pointing to the roads and bridges china was building and saying why are we sitting here watching the build these roads and bridges and other big infrastructure projects while our infrastructure is crumbling? he also says why are we sitting here not willing to give our renewable energy companies funding while china is shoving money in these companies's directions and china has gone to the point that now dominates the solar industry. for liberals china is kind of when they look at the chinese
government they see something they would love to have which is the ability to spend freely without accountability to voters. it is very exciting to them. there is no meddlesome congress, there aren't any tea party types. when i have written about this topic, what the research shows is china started growing dramatically largely because it introduced a more free-market mechanisms into its economy, not because it became more statist so the chinese economy today is much freer than what it was 32 years ago when they first started their economic
liberalization revolution, and numerous chinese reform minded folks whether in government, in academia or just small and medium size enterprises in china they all recognize that the hand of the government is in fruiting and interfering with the economy and it creates all kinds of inefficiencies these days, creates or supports monopolies that benefits lots of state-owned enterprises and it suffocates certain industries and what a lot of reform minded chinese officials and economists advocate is they would like to see further economic reform. this is something the new chinese leadership has been talking about. this is something they would like to see too. they believe in order for their economy to grow in the long run, to really get to of modern first world economy they will have to
implement some changes, barack obama, he has talked a lot about becoming more statists like china about what a lot of chinese recognize is they need to become more free-market oriented so i would say, this is something i say all the time. we shouldn't listen to barack obama. [applause] >> gee you believe many first-generation chinese, the most conservative ones do not vote? >> i'm not sure. here in california we make voting easy for chinese immigrants. there are ballots that translated into chinese so even if you don't speak the language fluently you can go get yourself a chinese ballot and fill in the circles.
obviously that is not the case in other states with smaller immigrant populations. i would say here in california is very easy for immigrants to vote. so many things are liable, multilingual, whether immigrants actually vote or not is a different issue. haven't seen the polls sell i am not totally sure about the voting rates within a particular immigrant population. i am sure like others in america, there are lots of people who don't vote. it wouldn't surprise me of a lot of what first-generation immigrants don't those either. >> do you think america is still free? >> i think lots of things are relative. when people ask me that question i usually ask compared to what?
there is an index of economic freedom. every year on kong and singapore come out at the very top of the. compared the hong kong and singapore our economy isn't nearly as free but when it comes to political freedom or other measures we are much more free than modern day china, we are much freer than russia for instance. i would say -- i continue to refer to our society as a free society. there are always for our markets to be free, i think there is a lot of government intrusion the interferes with that but in recent years as a result of the financial crisis and economic intervention that has taken place, economic activity has gotten less free, certainly with
the passage of obamacare but i remain hopeful that some of those things can be rolled back. [applause] >> you come from a city that neighbors hong kong. how does the united states freedom of economics compared with hong kong? >> hong kong has an extremely free economy like the set earlier, hong kong constantly is ranked by conservatives or free-market research institute says the do the number one or two for est economy in the world, when you talk about it that way and our economy definitely is less free compared to hong kong's. >> thank you. >> thank you, it has been an honor. >> thank you very much.
signing books over here in the corner. [applause] >> we would like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback, twitter.com/booktv. >> story begins with this failed artist and architect, a health hitler, who had applied to the vienna academy of fine arts, was rejected. art became a weapon of propaganda for the nazis as he rose to power and the story begins in may of 1938 with hitler and nazi leaders's first visit to italy beginning in rome. they walked through the coliseum with mussolini accompanying them, and looking at this wonderful sculpture and after a few days they made it to florence. they only had ten hours the two
were allocated to visit the great museums of florence following this introduction of the fuhrer alongside benito mussolini. they walked through the quarter starting at the palace and crossed over and made it to these museums, hitler felt like an artist walking among artists, having a chance to see masterpieces he had only seen in books or studied in galleries. he was fascinated with all these things and it really showed him the part of what was possible concerning his dream of building a museum in his home town known as the lind museum or the fuhrer museum, made drawings and sketches working on it in the period following 1938 and ultimately led to this scale model intending to rebuild the entire town and that the center would be this cultural mecca.
in september of 1939 was not the germany's invasion of poland, museums throughout europe closed, works of art were packed up and moved outside the cities out of fear of damage from allied bombings, works at the louvre were evacuated in a matter of ten days, hundred thousand objects. the same took place in 1941 following the blockade. in italy the works were moved on multiple occasions to villas and castles in the countryside, works that couldn't be moved like the iconic david by michelangelo were entombed creating a scene with the adjacent slaves by michelangelo, the italian museum officials concerned that a bomb might land on the academia destroying the ceiling and they could only hope this break entombment would deflect the falling roof and
save the sculpture. the united da vinci's most important work, the last supper painted on the north wall of the refectory, the north wall of this dining hall was protected with sandbags and wooden scaffolding held in place on both sides of the wall out of the same and in fact that fear was realized in august of 1943 when a british bomb, part of the effort to firebomb the cultural center of milan, landed in the courtyard and obliterated the cloister area, blowing out the east wall of the refectory, the dining hall on the right and leaving the last supper exposed to the elements behind this wooden scaffolding. it would be some time before italian officials could build a new roof and it would be two years before the monument officers would arrive and begin the effort to supervise the removal of the sandbags and scaffolding to determine whether or not the work of art actually
would survive, whether the wall would stand. this was the scene shortly after the bomb fell. you can see the sandbags on the side of the scaffolding costs for. this diagram provides an even more clear perspective showing sand bags on both sides of the north wall. the same point in tonga and the n.y. times released a newspaper article letting everyone know that a group had been formed to try to create a new kind of soldier, a soldier charged with saving, not destroying and their official group name was monuments, fine arts and archives section. the responsibility was to try to help allied air commanders year bombing away from these kinds of cultural targets and avoid these close calls and the destruction. by the time they had. on the ground they were charged with attempting to try to affect temporary repairs to churches
and monuments and other important structures, trying to avoid building by troops and ultimately as they reached some cities that suffered severe looting by the nazis they became architect in -- art detectives chasing down the most important masterpieces' worth billions of dollars all the way to the end of the war. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> jonathan alter reports on the 2012 presidential election and how president obama's reelection team utilize and alex to open a deep gash that aided in the president's victory. this event from the commonwealth club of california in san francisco is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the commonwealth club of california where you are in the know. i am a professor of regal