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tv   2019 Brooklyn Book Festival  CSPAN  September 22, 2019 1:59pm-4:00pm EDT

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program tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern, check your program guide for more information. >> a look now at some event booktv will be covering this week on monday we will be at the gerald ford presidential museum in michigan for garrett graff's history of september 11, 2001.on tuesday at the loft in portsmouth new hampshire philosophy preceptor, professor michael lynch will examine how the internet has changed people's attitudes toward the truth. thursday look for us in cleveland at the 84th annual nfc wolf book awards that recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. some of these events are open to the public, if you are in attendance, take a picture and tag us at booktv on twitter, facebook or instagram.
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>> an offer conversation on immigration begins now. live from the brooklyn book festival. [inaudible background conversations] >> good afternoon.
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and welcome. i maryellen fullerton, i teach law here at brooklyn law school and my specialties include immigration law and refugee law. it's a particular honor for me to be able to moderate the panel we are here for this afternoon, not my homeland but my home. before we begin, the book festival has asked me to let everyone in the audience know a couple things. one, the books by the authors in this program will be can be purchased from barnes and noble's outside directly after this program is over and the office will be available to sign the book. also, dave asked me to let all of us know that remind us at the end that we need to leave promptly so the next channel can come into this room. turning to our discussion. i like to find out among the panelists and when we get a chance at the end to hear from
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the audience, i'd like to find out why we are here. i mean that in multiple ways. while we are in this room at 2:00 p.m. on sunday, september 22. what drew us to this particular discussion, how we came to be in brooklyn today and maybe most importantly, why we are here in this country the united states and what the challenges are of being here now. our panel, not my homeland but my home, is built as a candid conversation about the trepidation, anger and hopes are panelists have personally experienced and discussed with other immigrants and refugees. that's what we are going to have, a candid conversation. i will start by saying a little bit about why i'm here.i'm here because my grandfather, 100 years ago came as an unaccompanied minor at 16 years
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old. from ireland. i'm here because i been studying refugee law for multiple decades and i always have more to learn. i want to learn from our panelists today who have delved into those in great depths. i'm here because i went to tijuana in mexico last month along with my colleague stacy o and another asylum law professor here at brooklyn law school to help central american refugees were bottled up in mexico. under the trump administration remain in mexico policy. the procedures are going forward in san diego immigration court but they are not allowed into the united states while that's happening. i am here because the honduran families that i try to help last month were in tijuana because they had fled with
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their 10-year-olds and their eight-year-old who had been harassed and assaulted by gang members. i'm here because i'm a watch in anger in fear and hope as a distant memory right now and i know our panelists will address this and more. i want to introduce our panelists in the order in which they will speak they will each speak candidly to you we've agreed on roughly 10 minutes each. we will have time at the end for questions and answers from the audience. our first panelists, the one sitting closest to me is dni yuri and this wonderful merit of nonfiction book she will be signing today the ungrateful refugee. she is the 2018 paul engel prize winner the o. henry prize
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winner in 2015 and she's also the 10-year-old girl who became a refugee in 1989. with all the pain and the loss and the determination and the ambition that was involved in that experience. the second panelist is susan kirkland. an acclaimed photographer and author who has written for multiple audiences starting with her appellation families photo essay in the 1980s that led to assignments with many major news magazines and newspapers. then she expanded in the 1990s and 2000 she began writing books that spoke to children about a wide variety of topics. then to young adults and she spends time with teenagers on death row.
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north support adult literacy and so many more. he is new york state's first mexican-american elected official in brooklyn's first openly gay officeholder. and as i said, after the three panelists began our conversation we want to include you and hear from you. without further ado i'm going to turn the program over to dni
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yuri. >> thank you all for being here and thank you for having me. thank you so much maryellen, susan, for being here. i will use this 10 minutes let me watch myself here. to talk to you a little bit about why he wrote the book and also some of the things that happened to me as a child and then later on. i guess the whole arc of having been a refugee for 30 years now. i was born in iran right when the revolution happened in iran in 1979. we were a muslim family, a middle-class family of doctors and we had a very sad old life, not just in the city of istanbul also a village nearby where my father had lived and grown up for generations and generations. it was all just very rooted and comfortable and lovely. but then the revolution happened, i was born and shortly thereafter there was a iran-iraq war which went on for eight years and pretty much colored my childhood. it was more the bombs and the
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sirens and all that. then when i was six years old my mother decided to convert to christianity suddenly and the story of that i won't go into it, it's in the book but she suddenly decides this is her empowerment and her rebellion and her entire identity. and she became a christian and decided she also wasn't going to do it quietly. she went about just advertising her apostasy to everybody as if a cross was hanging in her car window and she was carrying traps and all these things and of course very soon she caught the attention of the moral police was arrested and was about to be forced to become a spy against the underground church. she refused so they threatened to execute her and it was in those circumstances through a series of like extreme luck and coincidence we escape. we spent 16 months as refugees actually the first and part of
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that was in dubai. we spent that as undocumented immigrants. i think it was there i became interested in other people stories i was nine years old and already been displaced for a year and here were all these people who had come out of these lives were rich and full of love and drama and all kinds of passions and here we were thrust together and forced to wait, the waiting itself after
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16 months of refugees were exempted from asylum and sent to oklahoma where i grew up. i spent so much of my energy and whatever talents i had just trying to become american. just trying to shed this past as an iranian. the word refugee met we were believe that our story was believed but here i was trying to shed it move on to become an american and i think i did that over several decades i did that but then several decades past and i had a child in 2015 i became a mother for the first
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time and as much as i had finally begun to feel comfortable and accepted and welcomed then suddenly i had this little girl who's placed in the world was uncertain and then the election here happened. and brexit vote in the uk happened when we were living at suddenly i felt as though everything i was sure about was not so sure anymore. i was also certain that i was no longer just interested in my own story because that's one thing that being a mother does to you. trying to find ways to relay them in the western way. i put this book together in
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three parts, the book had my own memoir, it has the story of our escape and how i became american and all the things i struggled with but also it has stories that i gathered in these refugee camps and among the refugee communities in europe and one that i think shows something particular that i want to say about our lives, things that you would not necessarily know and then there is an essayist portion where talk about some of what i think has been framed wrong in the conversation today.i think that's ãband some of those things have to do with, i feel like as we talk about the refugee crisis and refugees and everything may suffer, we focus very much on particular things like their physical needs and whether or not we will open the doors for them or what they are going to add to our economy. what we don't talk about are
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things like what happens to the identity in those years of waiting? what about dignity? what about shane? what happens when you take people who are productive and have a sense of self-respect and a place in the community and then you drop them in a place where they have to do nothing but wait for maybe years at a time where they are not allowed to work, their children are not allowed to go to school, where we are constantly telling them they are burdened to society and that whatever kind of acceptance they get will be conditional. what happened to that person? after a while they begin to internalize that and accept that and it takes many decades of love and welcome and community in order to build back to the identity they once had which might not even be able to be possible. i guess i want very much to show that all those small indignities and all the little calculations we met privately that we don't reveal to the outside world because there is so much shame and trauma. then of course there are questions of how is it that our laws are so out of step with
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the actual human side of this. for example, you have asylum officers who are incentivized to catch contradictions and to send people away and they have no understanding of all the cultural aspects of storytelling. how do people tell their stories when they go to a new place and when i have this life-changing thing they have to relay they tell it in their own storytelling tradition. i just wanted to open up some of the questions and invite the reader to engage in those for maybe the first time. >> before susan ãit is so engaging i was saying to dino that i've been talking back to her book and i'm very happy to have her here in person so i can talk back to her and you can too. a wonderful very engaging very deep book. susanb >> can you hear me? thank you again for being here.
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and for inviting me to this wonderful panel. and here today like mary ellen because hundred years ago my grandparents who i adored came here escaping death, destruction, and no opportunity in russia and the ukraine. i'm also here today because in 2014 i was giving a reading at the brooklyn book fair and maryellen attended she pulled me over to the side and said, it's time you do a book on immigration. we've known each other a long time and i know that when maryellen speaks, i listen. so i started working on what immigration was today. what i found that i thought was so interesting were some of the stories and the conversation those having with young immigrants were so similar to the ones i had when i was a child with my grandparents. it was the same line and i felt there was a relationship, there was a real line there.
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that's why i wrote "we are here to stay". i decided to focus mainly on the dreamers because technically this book is called a young adult book and it's about the same age as the people who would be reading the book. i thought that most of them were undocumented and came here mostly with their parents when they were very young. they were really not at fault for being here. they also were typical american kids of various ethnicities. they were raised in school here, they were organized. they were activists. and they were kind of the rock stars of the immigration community. i thought, this is great, all they really need is a microphone and i had the microphone. we originally called this book out of the shadows and it was written through a series of interviews and photo shoots and
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then i put their words together into a narrative. so the narrative is written in first person because i thought it brought about a greater intimacy between the reader and the subject. it also gave them the opportunity to define themselves in their own terms. there book. there's a little glitch in the book. originally this book was called "out of the shadows, their chance to come out of the shadows, then there was an election. the day after the election, frankly, i was completely hysterical. i called my editor and said, we can't do the book. we were literally days away from going to print. we took the book, after the president of the publishing house banged her head against a wooden desk a few times and said, gather it all up, we took all the materials and we locked it in a drawer and there it sat for two years. but the dreamers wanted a
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platform. they were defiant and they were not going to ãbthey wanted their stories told.frankly, these stories have to be told. we figured out a way to protect them as best we could and still have the stories. we took out their names. we took out the photographs we left a blank frame with a caption because that's what was there originally. we change the title to think what we are here to stay" and left their profiles intact. what i would like to do is just read a few pieces from it because it is their story, not mine. i thought it would be more appropriate to hear them. if we are talking about defiance and shame and resilience, i picked certain paragraphs that will do that. this is from ass and i'm sorry i can't give you her real name at this time. "there is something i need to say when many of those involved in the undocumented youth
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movement for food refer to having american identity we don't mean that we like apple pie, watch baseball or celebrate certain holidays in the same way the traditional white american families do. we mean that by coming here at a young age and by receiving a k-12 education, we have learned to navigate the web of institutions or systems that were not designed to include or consider undocumented immigrants. we learn to do this all on our own. k-12 schooling is important because it functions as an assimilation engine. our integration is a very different experience from that of our parents. who only had the opportunity to work and not go to school. my siblings and i speak english fluently. we got to school here almost our whole lives. but that doesn't mean we'd obtained an american identity. i think what i'm trying to say
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is, we'd obtained a marginalized american identity because identity is so tied to race, language and culture. it's a marginalized american identity that is not remorseful. it does not abandon my latin dad or colombian this which is incredibly center to i am. nevertheless, being undocumented doesn't define me. i don't want documents or for that matter fact that i got shot to be my signifier. ultimately, i'm just a person". and this is g talking about getting his daca identification. it was really cool when my brother and my daca cards came in the mail. he is in arizona. to celebrate we went out to eat. we had hamburgers. we were happy and excited about our new opportunities. but there was one glitch, the same day president obama gave
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us daca, then governor of arizona jan brewer signed an executive order that prohibited anyone who received deferred action do the presidents action from getting state benefits including a driver's license. it felt like being punched in the face. we won the battle getting some type of legal status but then from behind got hit with a cheap shot we weren't expecting. when the governor did that i thought, i can work but how am i going to go to work? if i drive without a license and breaking the law. it was a no-win situation. it's hard to knowingly break a law of the country you want to be a part of. we broke the law by letting our visas expire and now i had to break the law again, there was no way i was going to miss school. i needed to driver's license to get an education and i needed a license to drive to work and help my family. i was hoping my family but i was also breaking the law.
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it was tough living like that. and then to just give you one more example of what it was like when the dream act, as i said, the dreamers were pretty organized in the dream act was voted in 2010 in congress, i want to give you a feeling of what it was like for the dreamers who were watching this law take place. and this is why. i can't tell you her phone name but she's ãbi went to dc with a busload of about 200 students, dreamers, to watch the vote in the visitor section of the senate chamber.we were filled with hope and anticipation. dreamers from all over the country gather together it was the first time many of us were meeting each other. there were so many people from so many different places and cultures and yet we were all connected by the same
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situation. we made it clear that whatever happened we would keep on fighting. the senate chamber is really intimidating. we were up in the gallery looking down on the senators who were deciding our future and yet we couldn't speak or intervene in any way, all we could do was hold our breath and one another's hand. many of the students were caps and gowns as a symbol of our aspirations and in place of our voice our bodies became the statement. the room was thick with tension. the bill had already passed in the house and this was it. i felt the culmination of my work in the past decade and the work of others who had fought for this bill for over a decade. we sat through the debate, we heard some of the senators say all sorts of terrible things about us. these people are criminals, they are illegal. i was so shocked to hear this. and we could not defend ourselves. we had to be quiet. we were literally holding hands
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and crying in silence while those people were shopping our dreams out the door. we had 55 votes but we needed 60 to stop a filibuster. the dream act failed to pass, it was devastating. after the vote we were all crying, this is the closest we had come and still it wasn't enough. when the dream act didn't pass congress, which is supposed to be the most representative body of america it felt like a confirmation that the citizens don't want us here. i wondered why i had to put up with all this, should i go to suge knight go to a place that really wants me? should i go to a place where i don't have to hear, deport them all, we hate you, go back to where you came from. i thought about going back to columbia after i graduated even though the united states is a country that has done amazing things for me the country that kate gave a great education i can't function as a full citizen here. why shouldn't i pursue
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opportunities. at the same time, i consider myself from queens. i love my neighborhood so much, i would miss my friends, i would miss speaking english all the time. there's so many things about the united states you don't want to leave. this is my home. it was a terrible time. that gives you a sense of who these kids are. >> i am going to look on the absence of our third panelist as a boom for us. we have more time to talk. i'd like to start the questions and i would like to as moderator take my prerogative to ask each of our panelists one question and then throw the
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questioning opening to everyone in the audience. susan, let me start with you because you spoke most recently, when i read your book, one of the things that most amazed me, even though i've been doing this work for 30 years, was the wide variety of places and situations from which the youth see you spoke to came from so many different countries came to united states in so many different ways. and they are so many different individuals. can you talk a little bit about that and how you found how you identify the individuals you ended up having in your book. >> sure. basically, this is a self starter book because everyone who came, or people who volunteered, the people who volunteered, i didn't turn anyone down. it's kind of an affirmation that we all have good stories. and all of us are individuals.
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what i did was work with various organizations, an organization in brooklyn called atlas, diy. and then one in la and another organization in arizona who worked with undocumented teenagers and young adults. people in their 20s. through the people in these organizations, they were able to identify various people from various countries who had different situations so that i wouldn't have everybody walking across the desert from mexico. the people in these organizations would go today are undocumented teenagers and tell them what i was doing and
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ask if anybody wanted to participate in the ones that did or would call me, we would have a conversation and that started the ball rolling. the initial people who came who started the book were maryellen's daughters good friend at college because she brought her over one night to talk to me about the dreamers we wanted to see whether it was appropriate for me to do the book, whether with there was enough material and we sat around our kitchen table well into the night. we completely raided the refrigerator there was nothing left afterwards and we just talked and talked. i just fell in love with everybody, with her, and knew that we had to the book. one idea led to another to another to another. that's how the book came to be. >> thank you. i encourage you not only to buy this now but when the law
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actually does change to buy the new addition which we will have susan's fabulous photographs in it. and dena: my question to you is somewhat similar in that i was so taken in your book by the number of refugees you met and connected with in your journey in more recent years and i also was in taken by you are entitled, the ungrateful refugee i wanted if you could talk to us about how you chose that title and what you hope to convey and how it connects with those many people that you met and talk about in your book. >> sure. the title i think one thing i always end up having to explain that it is it really about gratitude, it's about expectations and about a particular kind of obligation that refugees and migrants put on themselves and have put on them by the native born. one of those is the obligation
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to posture gratitude. that one in particular makes me upset because gratitude is something that every single migrant and every single refugee feels. sorry. i got real comfortable. gratitude is something that they all feel anyway and i think it's impossible to come to stories like that, come to such ordeals and end up in a country where you are safe and no matter what your situation to not become completely overcome with gratitude every day. 30 years later i still marvel at some of the things that are taken for granted in my day-to-day life. .... >> were born much, much unluckier than others so how is it in order to get -- to regain
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a place in a community in a society, all the things we need as humid we have to go through a gauntlet of hostility of people who were born unlucky. i've never met an ungrateful refugee and have never been one but i don't think that gratitude can be channeled towered particular person. it's private and often shown in the most beautiful, miraculous ways between -- within families and between the closest people that are around these newcomers who conclude them and love them and bring them into their community. that's what i meant by that. the reason i title the book that, is because the book is entirely about all of those things that make us kind of burn a little bit, make us sad, make us feel that our dignity is being taken away, but maybe well-meaning people are doing unintentionally. and i think so much happens unintentionally between people who mean well, who come from
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very different cultures. my mother joked, this joke of kind of gone around the -- between us that isn't it funny the middle east produces so many of the world's refugees when we come from such prideful cultures and this is just the biggest an section you can endure. i think to go from being a proud educate irany, to being a refugee, has to be the greatest fall in self-regard because we regard ourselves pretty high. and so that's what i wanted to talk about. and i think that's -- as i was going choose the stories and i was going into the camps, i was looking for the ones that illustrated that sort of thing, what the shame do to you, what are all the little indignant's and i should say ailes went with a charity -- i went with other charity that was focused on the issue. at the charity called refugee support and their entire mission
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is to provide aid with dignity bus the founders of this organization met in the ungoal where people were -- it was contracts and people had to fighter and bartar and they were and they had respect some self-dignity and had to bureau through -- bureau through piles clothes. they stated a chaired call the refugee support and take all after the donated food and clothing clothing and they m up in beautiful grocery stores in refugee camps and then give each refugee 150 points departmenting on whether they're pregnant, adult, kit, and you can come and shop, and you can decide what it is that you will eat, somebody else doesn't tell you, you only get eggs and bread. you can decide to blow all of that on chocolate if you want to
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but nobody does. so, the entire mission of that group was about dignity and so for me it felt really appropriate to go back there and i guess make that a starting opinion. >> wonderful, and i can't recommend the ungrateful refugee enough. it's so engaging, and on this and so many other points. let us turn to you. questions from the audience. and let me start right here in the front row, the second one in the second row. >> thank you. i was wondering but what you spoke about, the waiting and how to make people feel more dignified, and other than getting rid of it, which would be great, but doesn't seem to be happening anytime in the near future, what would you suggest be done to make waiting less horrible. >> yeah.
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i think there's a part of this that can't go away because to have the feeling that somebody else has this power over you and you can't start your life after a while is hard on its own put one big thing is we need to lou people to work. to wait for all that time is bad enough about to wait while you lose your skills and your sense of self-sport and your skins of purpose. it's human. two years away from your profession is enough time for you to lose that profession, and these people are sitting there, feeling useless and they want to help-want to be useful. so the laws keeping asylum seekers from being able to work, they seem designed to grind tremendous into the ground. another thing is that if we are part of the world that -- the portion of the world that yo it's resources, we're keeping them waiting. what if they're waiting to be allowed in perhaps we owe their
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children some education. and i know that this is very difficult because there's turnover in the camps, conditions that need to be addressed that go way -- more basic than education but i think it's -- it has to be a priority and there are many, many charities it and need ted addressed in a much larger, more public way. and one thing i saw is that even the camps where the tried to bus people into local schools, met with hostility from the local parents, issues of logistics and language, so i think there's a lot to address there. >> some good places to start for sure, our second question. >> i expected the discussion would be what it is. i'd like to make three brief points. the first is that i don't think this is as much an immigration problem as a for policy problem. had this country initiated the
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equivalent of a marshall plan going bag to the first world war with the mexico central and south america we wouldn't be having the problems we're having today. we would hey built their economies so we would have a much more prosperous country. the second opinion is when you immigrant to this country with financial resources and education resources, support network resources, the chinese family circled the jewish federation and south asians, all well-connected. you don't have problems embrating. it's when you come without those resources that you have enormous problems. the third is that this country has an massive underemployment problem. you have heard about the gig economy. people are truly struggling to go from one contract to the next, and not they good from friday, one contract ends and monday a new contract ends, they
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struggle like anything. but the southern states, arizona, new mexico, are minimum wage states, and these people are under enormous pressure when they see all these immigrants coming in, it's pushing americans -- native born americans out and they feel resentment. the working class is loyal to donald trump because he at least gives lip service to fighting for them; that he is saying they have been screwed, and they feel they've been screwed, since the rusting over the rust belt, and people who come from immigration issue backgrounds, they need to appreciate the broader context of this. it's a very come mex problem. an economic problem and we're not solving it just by saying we should have open borders and let the immigrants just flow in however they like. things will explode. >> i wouldn't call it screwed. i you're born in a country where you're not being threatened to bev killed every single day.
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i think screwed is not the right word to describe a native born american who is at least safe, but thank you. >> we can have longer conversation at another time about the broad implications political implications but today let's talk but the stories and the complex feelings people are having who are immigrants and refugees, and we have another question over here from the front, and all of you in the back, in the middle, i want to see your hands, too. >> i have a question for dina. how do you think we can help -- you visited a lot of refugee camps. how do you think the most productive ways for people here and around the world to hundred people in those camps effectively? >> thank you for the question. that's a wonderful question and i think it depends how much time and resources you have to give,
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how old you are, how much you can travel. if you are willing to travel, and volunteer, and sit with them and be part of one of these charities that help them out, then by all means and go and do that and see what is going on so you can get context and show them that there are people there who are still loving and caring. then you can bring back real information. you can bring back concrete stories to people who say, oh, well, that's just their problem. they were been in those countries. what about us? to those people you will have concrete stories and pictures. if you have the ability to advocate within your own community. if you're young, you have access to social media and get the stories on the internet, show them to your friends. it's a new refugee or immigrant comes into your community, you should -- you should know is they are so afraid, and so full of shame, and so afraid to reach out for friends but the most -- the biggest thing they need is
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friendship and community. so you need to go and knock on their doors be like, i'm here and i would like you to be part of this community. so i think for the people who are, i guess, the most, i suppose, tied up, who can't go out and travel, that's the biggest thing. welcome people, and to welcome people in a different way than just giving them charity, to actually try to see them as somebody equal. so maybe find something you have in common with them. and try to build a friendship in that way, or ask to taste their food, show them your food, just all the ways you would make a new friend, and you're young. at your age i had so much trouble in school so if you see that, go and be your friend. >> susan? >> i've just finished a second book on immigration and it has to do with immigrants from
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around the world who are refugees who are resettled in america, in nebraska of all places, and when they -- when the immigrants i met arrived in nebraska, there was a welcoming group waiting for them. they knew their names, they had balloons, they had signs, and they said, it made all the difference. they were coming to a place they didn't speak the language no idea of the culture, some didn't even know what the united states was. and here they are arriving and then there was this big welcoming group and there were kids who came, school kids, parents, families, and it was just the most beautiful thing to see. when i went for the first time and met a refugee family, i went to -- it was so overwhelming, the joy of the two cultures coming together. it was -- i didn't expect it, and when i went to meet the man who was arriving from
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afghanistan i went to shake his hand and i just burst out crying. i thought, you have to be professional. come on, and i would try to talk to them and just burst out crying because it wag overwhelming and then a month later i called him and said do you want to do were interview. he said i know you, your kept crying. and it was so important to do that. so if you have a chance to meet with refugee families or their kids in your school, help them, show them how -- where you buy books, where you hang out, what you do let's go to the movies together. let's park on -- let's work on language. you'll get more out of it than they will because it is so rewarding to meet these people. they're great. >> and let me just put a little legal spin on this. what susan is talking about and i believe dina alsoer andins is the u.s. refugee re settlement program which we'll hear in the next week or so what the trump
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administration is considering for this year, but under president obama, the last year he was in office, it was 110,000 refugees from abroad being resettled in the united states. under this -- under trump this past year he cut it to 30,000 and the news is that it may be cut to zero or maybe 10 how to for the coming year. oover 18 you need to vote. and i saw another hand up. there you go. here comes a microphone for you. >> the whole microphone for me. sound spectacular. i just wanted to say that there is a good opportunity for brooklyn and for people who live in other bureau -- bureaus, they have the brooklyn library has a
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program called conversation, a special program helping english language learners to study english and all are looking for volunteers. so i believe this is a good opportunity. so go into internet, one thing, but many immigrants or refugees have the problem that their english knowledge is not good enough to use internet resources. that's how you can help them and this is great fun. >> just speaking of education, one moore thing i want to say. you're right that english is a massive obstacle and one thing i just remembered but the camps is the donations come in do not help with that because books are heavy so these camps don't get any. they get teddy bears and dozen of teddy bears're kid. so don't send teddy bears, since books if you can afford the
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shipping. >> dina can you elaborate more? i was struck with the comment but the relief workers and how essentially inappropriate so many of the donations are. done perhaps out of good will but not thinking very carefully. could you address that a little bit. >> i think there's a lot of donations of expired things. there's donations of things that are inappropriate, like cases of catsup when there's not the protein to put it on. if people donate clothes that are huge because -- stores will send the clothes that didn't sell and these are sizes that are not very common. middling eastern men are shorter so they need small, men's sizes, always running out of small men's sizes. and so those men, their clothes and shoes are threadbare. so, don't send the things you don't want because it's likely they don't want them either.
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i if you want to be helpful books my average size things for men and women and children. everybody sends little girls shoes. there's too many. because it touches to us see little girls shoes and that's so sweet but think about the balance of who they and are what they're getting. people send jackets so that's nice. people send too many teddy bears and soft toys. this is astonishing. people had taken these teddy bears and mounted them on the walls like decorations, and which is a kind of grotesque thing, like impaled teddy bears. but they need books and one thing i've been working on, i want to try to find a way to send used e-reeders, like full of books over. sorry, sir. and that's got to be worked out but if you have a used
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e-reader, send them to camp. e-mail me and i'll tell you which camp to send them to. >> that's a great idea. >> one last question and then we need to close for today. we have here in the front. >> i have a sort of petty question. you -- the doctor talk about used an expression that the president -- that obama, the president, has used and a lot of ooh people have used in talk about daca. they talked about people who come through no fault of their own. that expression bothers me, implies there was someone had a fault there. who is -- is that true? and whose fault is it and isn't there a better way of saying this? >> that's a very important point. i i agree. and thank you for setting me straight on that. you're right. what i was trying to imply was
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when you're four years old three-quarters years old you do not make the decision to come here. and that way it was not a fault -- their fault to come. however, one of the things that people in this book, every single one of them says how grateful they are to their parents because it's their parents who are the most vulnerable, their parents are the ones who are risking everything so that these kid will get a good education and do well in a country where they'll be safe. so, you are correct, that is the wrong way to put it. what would be the right way to say it. any suggestions. >> i wont say choice because these people don't have choices. adults don't have choice either so i would say the literal people who came as a child. that's it. there's no judgment, no fault no choice, nothing. >> thank you. thank you for saying that. >> and i think that's a good point to pause in this conversation because it will clearly go on longer today, longer than today.
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but i do want to remind everybody here that our authors will be signing book at the book signing table outside brooklyn law school and you can get a copy of these very engaging-important contributions they've made and i hope the youens will join me in thanking our authors for their hard work. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> we're half wave through the with live coverage of the
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brooklyn book festival. we'll continue in just a few minutes with a look at the trump administration. >> here's a look at a recent booktv program, it's judge jeanine pier row of fox news talking about liberal reaction to president trump. >> who now that law and order would be under attack. who knew that the fundamentals of throughout and justice would be under attack, that the thin blue line that separates the civilized from a barbaric society would be as thin as it really is and he was so right about that. and that is the kind of thing i've become talking about my whole career. things need to have consequences. in that regard, i agree with him. i think most people agree with him. and that is why this outsider was elected president. because when he speaks, whether it's politically correct or not, and i don't think it is politically correct, and i think that was refreshing for many
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people. he makes sense. he speaks and thinksed the way many americans do and in spite of everything in the criticism, the truth is he is delivering on his promises and he makes sense to most americans, and i suspect before you even answer the question, that -- before you ask the question, the 2020 -- you'll see that most americans still agree with that man. >> from the book, you write the following: for over two years the presidency of the united states has been under siege. our commander in chief has been subjected to unprecedented maligning by the mainstream media, high level obama administration officials and disappointed, disground eled and deranged democrat because they despise the president we put in the oval office. >> can you explain earthquake that's what i said. want know back it up. >> go for it. >> okay. from the day the president took
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office, from when hi was president-elect, the hate and the venom coming from the left was unlike anything i have ever seen. and i want to make one thing clear. this isn't but democrat and republican, this about american versus unamerican. it's about right versus wrong. it's about respect for the president, respect for the office, respect for the american flag, respect for our system of justice, and this man has not gotten one day in the oval office without incoming and what am i talking but no talking about the protests, when they started with madonna saying i thought about blowing up the white house, and cath any griffin with the head of donald trump as though he had been beheaded and johnny depp saying when was the last time an actor, a assassinated a president and from day one it was impeach 45, and on the left they were saying, we're not going to the
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inauguration. we're not going to show up. he is no good. the man won fair and square. this wasn't an issue that had to go to the courts to be decided. he won the presidency. he won by the electoral college, which is in the constitution and that is the end of that. but they weren't happy with that. they were so upset they couldn't drag hillary clinton across that presidential finish line that there revenge and venom was something like i'd never seen before, and then everyone around him, his family wasn't safe. his daughter-in-law, laura trump, who eric's wife their first time she was pregnant they're saying i hope she has miscarriage, i i hope she falls down. when did america turn into a people who were so angry at someone simply because he won? and i think the fascinating part of this and having known the president for so many years, is that when you would walk done the street with the president,
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20 years ago, before you even thought but being president, hard hats loved him. police loved him. you go to dinner with him. he would go into the kitchen and always take care of people in the kitchen. he was kind. he would take pictures. he was just a good man. all of a sudden -- and he was a guy they wanted quotes from. cameos in a movie. wanted to be with him. and the singers, r&b, everybody wanted to be in one of his hotels, his casinos, and then all of a sudden he runs for president as a republican and he is public enemy under one? what changed? one thing. he got into politics. and the man that they loved and adored all of a sudden became the enemy, and that is why i talk about the white house being under siege. i talk about the fact that everything he does he's accused of bag racist, misogynist. 90% of the president about him is negative.
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he didn't even get a honeymoon period of one day. you look at melania trump, his wife, and i knew her before they married. we would go out with them before they actually get married, and she is a lovely elegant woman who is intelligent, who speaks five languages, and all of a sudden she's stupid according to chelsea handler, this and that. it is -- they are under siege and yet the man gets up every day, he is the tip of the spear and he goes out and what he does is he fights for america, and what he has done is he has won. unemployment is the lowest it's been in i don't know -- a sister? african-americans, asians, hispanics, lowest unemployment in history. we have had a 3.7 unemployment. we have get a gdp with obama said 1% after the new normal. he hit 4%, then 3% and there was
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negotiations going on. he is taking on china. but everything is negative about him. >> our guest is judge inanyone pir lo o from new york we'll get to your phone calls in a moment. does the president bear any responsibility for the tone of sets? he has been a very divisive president, very critical on twitter so when you talk but the partisanship in the country doesn't the white house bear some responsibility? >> look, the president passed it clear what wasn'ts to do is keep us safe, he wants to get jobs, he wants to make sure that the border is closed. no one has a right to come into this country. it is a privilege. it is something that we grant people. and when he doesn't want people coming into this country unless
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they get in line, like everyone else, for the simple reason that we need to vet them, we need to know who they are, we need to know what they have to offer us, like everyone else who ways in line. then he's a racist now. why -- >> why do it as name-calling? >> what name calling? >> when he is giving monikers to the candidates or he's talking about members of congress that should go back to where they came from? that tone. >> no. but you don't -- you didn't finish the quote. should go back and then come back and do it here. you didn't finish the quote. he didn't say go back to they came from, they could go back and then come back and do it again here. and that is the problem. he is accused of being a racist. but at the same time, they never finish the sentence, at and explains he isn't one. the man is the least racist person i know based on his history and what i've seen him
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do with people. so to answer you question directly, die think he is responsible? or, i don't think he's responsible. a man who has passion, a man who calls things the way he sees them and also man who is not going -- not going to daigh any gruff. going to counterpunch. that's w.h.o. he is, straight talking, hard pushing new yorker. >> you, watch the fuel booktv program with jeanine pirro at about >> our live coverage continues from brooklyn, next step, it's an author discussion on the trump administration. [inaudible conversations] >> hi, everyone.
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get started in a moment. take your seats. can you hear me? [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. thank you for coming on this supposedly autumnal very beautiful sunday. i am apply and with gab have been coeditor of the new york review of books since march. it's a real honor to be here today with such insightful thinkers and contribute are to the review on this minor question of how to deal with our president. before i introduce our guest is want to let you know their books are oregon sale today. they can be purchased from barnes & noble outside the
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building at signing table one. they'll be signing them and after our brief q & a, i'm supposed to remind arch to please leave the room answer the event is over, peaceful transfer of power is the idea. our subject is impeachment versus election. how to confront a lawless president. and our teamed pan ye are david cole. david is the author of engines of liberty, how citizens movements succeed. he is a national legal director over the aclu and the george j. mitchell professor at georgetown university law center. a award winning author and the he league affairs account for the nation, lives in washington, dc. and then gordon reed, author omost elsewhered of the patriarchs is the charles warren professor of american legal history at harvard law school and professor of history and the
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faculty of harts signs at hard war. won the pulitzer price for the hemingss of montz mon sell low. her honors include -- conclude arthur fellowship, the national humanities medal. the national book award and the women of power and book ward. to her right is bren derek awe ore of the impeachers the trial of andrew johnson and the dream of a just nation, aguide book and cautionary tail tale for our times and a stunningly well attached look. her other books include ecstatic nation, and white heat, finalist for the national book critic circle award. her essays and review appear in many publications including the new york review of book. she teached in msa program in the columbia university. so, first question for -- an
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easy one to pose. should president trump be impeached? david, i want to start with you. in may you wrote a piece for us on the mueller report called an indictment in all but name. can you explain what you mean and how your thinking has changed. >> thank you for including me. i think back to last time i was at the brooklyn book festival bob silvers was here overseeing the panel, and sometimes feel like his spirit lives on. one of the most remarkable things about bob, the editor of the new york review of books for some 50 years, was his uncanny ability to somehow predict that a story that he asked you to write on day one, and gives you no deadline whatsoever to turn in, would be incredibly timely when it eventually appeared in the magazine.
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and that's how i feel about this panel. in some sense this panel when they -- when emily fir reached out i thought, aren't we over this question? hasn't -- i mean, hasn't time run? and yet here we are with new evidence, new allegations, new reasons for concern about president trump's conduct. i'll say first i'm speaking in my personal capacity. the aclu where i'm the national legal director has not taken a position on impeachment. we have taken a position on president trump. it's called we'll seal you in court. -- we'll see you in court. we have sued him over much. pel constitutional violations. [clapping] >> just quickly list some of them. a long list but the highlight the census, attempting to but a citizenship question on the census in order to bring down responses from immigrant
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communities. we sued him and won in the supreme court. this summer. family separations. the incredibly cruel practice of separating mothers and fathers from their children as an attempt to deter people from applying for asylum with sues him and the courts enjoined that practice. the jane doe abortion case, probably the second most cruel practice only the trump administration 0 which was to deny young pick up documented women in federal custody access to a medical facility if they sawing to use access to that facility in order to obtain an abortion which is their constitutional right weapon sued him. the courtes enjoyed that practice the detention of american citizen as an enemy combatant without charges, withouts trial, without access to a lawyer. we suedes him and he was forced
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to release the american citizen. the asylum ban which barred people from applying for asylum if they didn't come in at the -- at a legal border checkpoint despite the fact that statute governing asylum says everyone who faces persecution abroads can apply for asylum whether they came here lawfully or unlawfully. we sued him and the courts enjoined that practice. the border wall. he asked congress for billions on dollars to nil border wall. they said no and he went ahead and started spending that money. we sued him. the courts enjoined the border wall. that case is now on appeal. and then finally the transgender military ban, ban he reintroduced without con silting with the joint chiefs of staff. we suedes him and enjoined that and it's been stayed pending appeal but the appeals continue. i have no great respect for this
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president. i think he's the worst president in the history of this country when it comes to civil liberties and civil rights. and maybe i don't even have to say when it comes to civil liberties and civil rights and clearly obstructed justice. the indictment in all but name that emily revved to was a resue of the mueller report, and making clear that in all but name it was an indictment, robert mueller concluded he doesn't have the authority to actually indict a sitting president because of a justice department interpretation to that effect, and so he didn't feel it would be fair to actually conclude formally that he obstructed justice but he laid out all the facts, and had he not been barred from making such a conclusion, he clearly would. so, this is a president who could be impeached to be sure.
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could be impeached. he has committed high crimes and emailses, obstruction of justice of an inquiry into interfering with the election, clearly impeachable offense, but the question of impeachment is not a legal question or it's not only a legal question. there's a threshold legal question. has the person committed a high cream or misdemeanor but ultimately it's a political and pragmatic decision. not a sort of you must impeach if someone has committed a high crime or misdemeanor. it is, rather, does it make sense to pursue impeachment and that depends on the politics of time. they gave this power not to a judge, in a court of law, but to congress, and they said the house will make the decision to indict. the senate will convict and only by a two-thirds vote. so, i can say right now, absent some new blockbuster disclosure,
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president trump will not be impeached. why? because there's no way in heal hell two-thirds of the senate will vote item peach hump hump. the house might vote to impeach him on partisan line but the senate will never vote to convict so i think you have to ask yourself whacker would be the effect if the house went ahead and impeached, we had a trial, a show trial, essentially, and in the senate, in which president trump would absolutely for sure come out as the winner, and he would be able to claim victory, castigate the democrats for engaging in partisan witch hunts just like he did robert mueller, jin up his supporters -- gin up his supportersers and very possibly alter the results of the 2020
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election. so, do i think he's committed impeachable offends? is. die think ehe should he impeached? i'm with nancy pelosi if independent accountability is essential but it comes in many forms and the form i'd like to see it in is a 2020 election that repudiates everything he stands for. [applause] . >> annette you have written brilliantly but presidential power and abuses of power. how does trump's behavior on the world stage, norm breaking in so many form and definitions affect the question of impeachment. >> certainly draw attention to the power of the presidency, and things we never thought we would see happen, we have seen happen. some people hate that and there's some people who fund the norm breaking actually exhilarating, what was before was stultifying and programattic
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and phony, people -- some people, i don't happen to be one of them -- see this as a refreshing change. now, the latest revelations about the ukraine and the calls and so forth, this is whole new territory. i was reading something toy where someone was making the point we have not seen that before, and there's a lot to sort out with it but it's certainly as add a new dimension to the question whether or not the president should remain in office if they feel is a threat to the united states, typically think of outsiders as potentially occupying that role. don't think of the president in that vein. he definitely has broken norms. and the interesting thing to me is someone who writes about the early american republic is this whole episode has made me think but the founders and what they put together. the strengths and the weaknesses of the system of government.
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they couldn't obviously not have anticipatessed everything but they could not have -- well, some degree there was concern but parties, and the power of parties as affecting judgment, that people would become too wedded to their parties, too wedded to what they would have called faction, and not do what was right and that even if that it maintain -- never thought it would extends to foreign policy because the whole thing was politics stop he edge of the water. that's not true anytime evidently and appears a number of americans go along with that they don't think it matters if americans enlist the aid of foreign people to help them in their elections. so, this has been a lesson for me in sort of changed the way i think but -- thinking about the founders and the founding generation and system they constructed. the weaknesses and strength ask right how the focus has been on the weaknesses of it.
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>> considering the sort of superlative situation that you and annette are describing, you don't find there's any sort of fecklessness or evasion of responsibility in nancy pelosi not calling for impeachment? not staging a vote? >> no. i think it's -- again i think it's a political question. not a question of principle. it's a question of politics. it's a question of what is the best way to move forward? what is the best way to hold this president accountable? is it by diverting a huge amount of attention and north a process we know will end in his acquittal? and give him yet another thing to gin up his supporters? or is it by focusing on the bad things he does, which one can do, without going through an impeachment process, investigating those bad things which one can do without through
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an impeachment process, talk about the things we would do that the -- those who oppose him would do affirmatively if the election come out the other way, and focus on regaining power both in the executive branch and possibly in the senate, in that way. she maded the judgment that putting the i word on this process doesn't add anything on the side of the democrats because they can do just as much investigation, they can demand just as much in terms document, they can hold him in contempt, et cetera, as much, and it gives him a process that he can portray as, here they are yet again coming against me, knowing that he will be acquit down the line. will say this one caveat, which is should -- we -- all we have now are reports about this
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whistleblower's complaint which we haven't actually seen, depending on what we see, things can change, absolutely, but given where we are now, it doesn't seem to me to make sense to put a big i word on the process and hand him in a way a kind of gift for the election of 2020. >> i think she's worried about the weaker members of congress, the people who are in districts where they barely made it over, and the possibility that there could be some sliding back if their people are galvanized, if the republicans are galt vannized -- galvanized and it's a political calculation, she feels a primary responsibility to her members and trying to keep them in office. it's one thing if you're from a state where it doesn't really matter what nadler does. he's much more likely to get in troublefor not doing it than doing it so he's not a good litmus test for this
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politically. has to be those place in marginal districts where they might lose if this is brought up. so it's odd because theirs a criticism of republicans for not -- putting party over country, but you see it on the democratic side as well, and again, back to what i was saying before but thank you system and the construction of the system. doesn't steam -- doesn't seem to be a way for people to make principled judgments. great britain -- uk in a mess, but it's interesting to see the difference between the conservatives, the way they handled their situation and said we love you bit this is a bridge too far, and left and we don't see that here, and i think it's structural problem here, the structure of the government. >> you mentioned your thinking often of your -- about founding fathers and i thought we could talk but historical precedence
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for this. brenda you wrote a book hutty first impeachment of an american president which happened at a nontran tranquil moment, right after the civil war. people released from slave si and 7 then thousand killed in battle. lincoln was assassinated and hi vice president, andrew johnson, moved into the office. can yousky expect to the overlaps between johnson and trump? i read marvelous notion that johnson himself talked about being a martyr and compared himself to jesus christ being persecuted. >> seems to work all the time. >> also said he would be the moses for african-american people. >> exactly. and charles sumner said if you -- just don't be there pharaoh, which is seemed to be in that case. the parallels are kind of striking, i frighteningly so in many ways because andrew johnson was accused rightly in my
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estimation, of abuse of power, of obstruction of justice, of flouting the laws of congress, of just being kind of breaking norms as annette was saying, although at the time there were really norms in the making because as emily said, the war had just ended, and there was a peace to be fought over, and it was actually fought on the streets and in the countryside because so many people, particularly black people, and union loyalists, were being murdered. johnson turned a deaf ear to the cries that were coming into him. but what was -- two things that are interesting. there are enormous number of parallels, almost frightening, almost as if -- when i fin inned the book am i writing about
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trump 0 johnson? so similar. the other similarities to do with the timing, because johnson was facing an election or at the country was facing an election, and the impeachment started in february of 1868 and some of the last dies the impeachment occurred just as the republican national convention was taking place in may. there are salient differences at the same time, which is to say that the republicans who are not the same republicans as today. they were the party of lincoln, they were hoping to get and they did get grant nominated and it was no way either party, whether it was democrat or republican, ways going to nominate johnson even her to he thought he would be. a very important difference is the fact that, yes you have an election and also have somebody waiting in the to wings who theoretically could unite the
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republican party. and defeat the democrats, and then sort of enact the military other reconstruction acts that congress had been trying to carry through, execute. the other important thing is congress. in an end -- even though republicans held the majority in congress, they were very loathe too impeach president johnson. tike several times and took johnson actually violating a law that had been passed to hamstring him. not to entrap him as some people said but actually to make sure he didn't fire people close to him in his cabinet that were trying to execute the laws of the land that had just been passed. so once he actually violated a law, congress, that is the house, voted overwhelm throwing impeach him. you can impeach a president, conviction is something else
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again. and conviction didn't happen in the senate, and as many reader odd profiles in courage, john kennedy or ted sorensen's book of 1966, depending on you pointed of view, think of the person casting the deciding book as a hero, profile in courage, and red e.r.a.s today, probably everything in the panel and anybody in the room who knows anything abouted mopped ross knows he's not a profile in courage by any stretch. so, it was very close. and i think the lessons to be learn is, one, how difficult it is to impeach a president, even a president who is desperately loathed. that's number one. number two, because the house really tried and failed. they had launched, which is interesting to me these impeachment investigations and the judiciary committee and when people talk today but we're
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having an impeachment inquiry, an impeachment investigation, nobody whos what that means. in 1867 it was a way of trying get the goods on andrew johnson but also a way of putting impeachment to the side. people didn't really want to alienate people. it and was only when johnson actually made a specific act vice-president vie lited and was clear violation, understands. >> it wasn't something like abuse of power which is hard to prove that it voted. the second thing is that they senate, even though republicans have majority, you need two-thirds, it failed in the senate so i think thoser very important lessons but there's a third lesson, too, for those who are hoping for an impeachment and that is, i don't think -- i understand where everybodying coming front -- i don't think politics and principle are necessarily different from one another. i think we think of politics as
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being something that is -- that borders on the seamy if it's not spirally seamy. people say you're doing that for political reasons. the implication is you don't have high-minded principles. i think in fact certainly in the 19th century in 1868, for many, many of those who wanted to get rid of andrew johnson, politics and principle were the same thing, they were acting politically which to them meant principally and they failed, and they were willing to take that risk, but also i say the risks were different because you have a grant waiting in the wings and that changes everything. so it's very important. >> they're different as well because johnson followed lincoln, martyred president. he was elected in this situation you have -- he was an accidental president. people called him an accidental
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president. people asked me did he have a base? and there wasn't the same at all. he wasn't able to dot that even though hoe eighted very much the way trump acts at his rallies. so they're really very interesting parallels but one has to be careful making them too close. >> here we have a pence waiting in the wings. >> in a sense that's the good news because i don't think he would be elected. >> does seem worth note that two american presidents have been impeached and neither removed from office. >> it's a tough thing because people see itself as undoing an election, even though it's not in the johnson -- there's the notion that he is kind of with lincoln and people vote for that and she about there, and that's kind of hard to too when there's a remedy and the remedy is to, as -- to vote the person out if you don't think they're psychologically i think it's a very difficult thing to do.
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and i think that's important in terms of not just the people in congress but the more general people that david and annette were talk about, people on the margins who may vote one way or another, the people who aren't necessarily in the progressive wing of the democratic party and i think that is really very important as well, to consider that because it does seem like a usurpation of power. that's no doubt in my mind by either of them to impeach seems a very radical act. as mark twain says, sound the toxin, i don't note what a toxin is but you better sound it anyway. >> annette i wanted to quote a beautiful piece you wrote for the new york review. a couple of years ago but the white supremacy violence in
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charlottesville. you knew i knew instant low why anyone holding tick i torches felled their need to make the case cor white supremacy but wake toward the statue of jefferson. he founded. do you have sense beer going back in history? >> going back in history? >> i don't think you can go back in history. >> apologize for my phrasing. back in history. >> these -- in terms while e white supremacy. >> perhaps that there was all this talk under president obama of the kind of post racial -- >> oh, yeah. think these are feelings and thoughts that never went away. they've been there from the very beginning and i do think to some degree to a great degree because we had the first african-american president, this is a backlash against that, and what happened in reconstruction, we saw afterwards anytime there's an advance for
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african-americans, there's a retrenchment and people want to try to take things back, and a lot of what we're seeing is a response to having had a black president. i know that people say, well, there are folks who voted for obama and then voted for trump later on, but that's a sort of i think a very primitive understand offering the way race works, that it's possible for people to have vote for them and then opposite he becomes president and they see a black first lady and black family and their cousins and everybody, wait a minute, we didn't vote for this. this is different. i don't think those feelings ever went away. they come in cycles, and when you have the two steps -- what we took be forward having an from from president, there's going be a move to go back. so i do think that people are trying to turn the clock back. felt uncomfortable what if happened and this is a reboot of
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ideas that have been out there, sentiments out there that people felt ashamed perhaps to voice but now don't feel asometime voice them. >> so it's not back. it's just a continuation a cycle. >> a very measured response we're seeing in journalism and magazines. there's a real struggle to find ways to discuss the sort of -- to not sound historical or heber bolick, i have a sense this is sometimes behavioral like we have never seen before. >> i grew up in texas. so i've seen this behavior before. you're right. there's a -- >> the language this president uses and there's still you see democrats clinging to a kind of notion or decorum and -- >> and a time that is not very
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-- i see what you're saying, it's different because we -- it seems different because we just haven't been used to it. people talk about dog whistling and now the frequency is not so high. you can hear it loud and clear and that's the difference. the feelings have always been there. the willingness to express them have not always been there, in the past, in the past 10 or 20 years, they we there are in the 19th century its what the first era of reconstruct was fought about and actually the language that people spoke was horrendous, and violent, and the acts were violent. people were being killed during peacetime everywhere, basically. so, it was white supremacy or steroids and wasn't until that
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grant got in office and began to break the back of the klu klux klan but that was white supremacy and these mr. mill -- mill litats organizedded in south and the west of white mobs who were bent on killing white and black people particularly black but white as well. ... >> but black people were supposed to exist in america
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not as citizens.this was a white person's country. he said that. it was explicit. and he wouldn't even allow civil rights. where are even talking about the vote, talking about civil rights. he campaigned and went on sort of a rally against it. passing went and became the 14th amendment. but it was civil rights legislation that both moderate, liberal and radical republicans were united on. >> so the question of citizenship based on race is very much back. who can be an american? are you an american if you're not white? certainly johnson put that on the table. it's been on the table since the beginning. >> turning to the future. we hope. do you find there are any
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democratic presidential candidates who are addressing this particular shrewdness? >>. [indiscernible] >> i - - you know, i'm of two minds about the election. depends on the day. the one mind i have, which i've had basically since the day trump was elected. is that trump could not have gotten elected almost any day before november 8 of 2016. and probably could not have gotten elected anything after. he just lucked out that the election was on november 8, 2016.what do i mean by that? until comey came out with the clinton email thing. the focus was on the "access hollywood" tape and he was going down. people were separating from
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themselves in drones. without question, hillary clinton would have won the election. why on any date after november 8? because trump didn't win the election. democrats lost the election. trump got the same number of votes essentially, this is rough. the same number of votes as romney and mccain in the two prior elections but they lost. he won. it wasn't that there was some surge of support for the republican candidate above where romney and mccain were. it's the same number. that's how many of the the president republican presidential candidate gets. what happened was, hillary
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clinton got less than obama did. so he won and she lost. immigrants didn't turn out to vote. some of them were turned off by her connections to wall street and a lot of people thought it was a done deal. of course she was going to win. i was recruited to take the aclu john by the director on the premise, you've been litigating constitutional rights. under a conservative supreme court. i signed on the bottom line. we all thought hillary was going to win. donald trump thought hillary was going to win. collects i didn't think that. >> everybody but - - and i don't think that will happen again. so i think obama - - in this sense, democrats will not stay home. obama was an incredible get out the vote person for democrats.
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absolutely. but he will not be as good. a get out the vote person for democrats as donald trump. to vote against donald trump, oh my god. look what happened in the midterms. i am confident and we can put anyone of us against donald trump. then the next day, look at all those candidates and i think they all seem vulnerable. >> it's interesting that you think he shouldn't be impeached. is that because you think democrats can win?>> absolutely. >> if he was going to win, then maybe - - i don't - - if he was going to win, then he clearly wouldn't be impeached. i am quite confident that democrats will turn out.
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this is the lesson of 2016. if you stay home and think, oh my god, they're both bad. i like to bernie. i'm not going to vote. this is what happens. you pay the cost and we will for a long time. but i don't think democrats will make that mistake again. >> i hope you're right. seriously, you can ask my husband actually been i was very convinced that trump was going to win. you are right. he lost the popular vote but he won the electoral though. he is in office. i felt once you leave new york city and the new york area and even in massachusetts where i was spending a lot of time in the industrial northeast of massachusetts. which is very depressed. people would be going to the rallies and they were very excited about trump because he seemed to be thumbing his nose at established norms as you were saying before.
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and it was really terrifying. also, i think the power at the time, particularly fox news. we are people were getting their information, can't be ignored. i hope you're right. but i do know people stay home if they don't like x or y. when you say either of us can be elected. i say cynically, not me or emily because there still a resistance to women running for hire office. the highest office. all of those issues concerned me. which really make me feel very much like david. that we better watch out for impeachment cousin of the
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backfiring. even though i do believe you can impeach. donald trump will be impeached, he just will be convicted. you think of what the value of that is. i'd like to ask the question. - - if the ãi should say, god forbid, trump is be elected in 2020, wouldn't he be impeached then? there's no time limit on impeachment. the list of abuses that david read earlier that are going to continue if not get worse are not going to disappear. so it seems to me, we talk about impeachment online right now as if it's do or die moment. has to happen right now or it's never going to happen. but i'm wondering, it may be that nancy pelosi actually is right and playing a longer game
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than any of us have any awareness. so i just threw that out there. >> you're absolutely right that you could in theory do it after. i think it would be tougher because at that point, his actions would have been ratified by the american people by reelecting him. the second time? so it's hard to imagine a world in which he is sufficiently popular that he gets reelected. >> could be an electoral situation. i think you're absolutely right but it's something that plagues me, really. >> it's theoretically possible that it could happen. i didn't think he would win but i thought he might win because i thought the media really likes trump. one thing i saw, i go to laguardia and i'd look at the television and he would be - -
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waiting for him to go on, showing him. talking about what he said afterward. i'd get off my flight and there he would be. i never saw bernie or hillary. there is a love-hate relationship. in terms of their business model or whatever, they love him. he puts eyeballs on the screen. on the page, whatever. on this notion of everybody thinking it's a done deal or begin to doubt. if you see someone who's on television all the time, just an incredible amount of free advertising. he does the media and he does this very well. he knows narrative. how to sell a story and they respond to that. if he has that in the bath and even people claim they don't like him, it's going to be difficult i think. because he is good on
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television. he knows how to do it. >> i want to leave time for q and a. you are right about the role of artists and writers in politics. because we are at the brooklyn book festival here. the brooklyn courtroom that feels disheartening to an extent. mark twain and the - - are all in your book. >> and walt whitman. >> what do you think the role of artists and writers is today? >> it's very similar actually been those people, particularly mark twain is fascinating because we think of a later twain. this is an early twain when he was a political journalist and one of the most farseeing and insightful political journalists that there was. covering what was going on in
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washington in the early part of the trial until he got so disgusted, he left. washington altogether. i think journalists like twain and artists have a bigger role to play, precisely because of what annette was just saying. because the media is so prevalent. because there is so much social media. because people can talk and write and organize and also breast from the 24-7 coverage of trump. they can - - covers themselves which i think would be enormously helpful. so i think, definitely. >> any questions? let's start with you, sir. where to begin? >> the question is what happens if trump is defeated and refuses to leave office? i think if trump is defeated -
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- i would say this, he has lost lots of battles. and he has gone on with those losses. he hasn't given up fighting but he's gone along. if the court joins what he does, he seeks review and goes up to his supreme court which he thinks will always role for him because he put gore search and brett kavanaugh on. and sometimes it doesn't sometimes it doesn't. and it doesn't, he abides by that decision. in the asylum them case. when we got the injunction, they went to the supreme court and the judge denied the request for a stay of the injunction. chief justice roberts joining the four liberals to vote in our favor. and he didn't violate the terms of the court order. he followed the terms.
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if the people reject him, i think he has to leave. i don't think he can stick it out if the people reject him. the big question is will the people reject him? that's where we should be focused. and then if we have that problem, we will see him in court. >> i wanted to go back to the conversation that david and brenda were having about law, politics and principal. of course it's politics in the sense that it's not reviewable in the job of the political branches. but they do still have to enforce the constitution. there's a question that's been cropping up lately. is there some actual obligation to say, if this is not an impeachable offense, then nothing is. then really there's no purpose
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in having impeachment in the constitution at all unless we do this. is there a dorm creation or obligation for congress in making that point? emphasizing brenda's point. talking about the impeachment as a separate issue from the conviction. >> it's very complicated. one of the people i frankly admire was a representative from pennsylvania in the house. before the civil war and after. his name was thaddeus stevens. when he was accused both in his own time and later of being just political point he would say look, impeachment is just a
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political process. not a legal process. it's a principled process. but he wasn't nacve about it and he realized there were risks. and one of the risks or to the party that he wanted and other republicans wanted to stay in power. when he was accused of just wanting down, he said of course you want power. to execute laws that will be in concert with why we fought to this war. which was not just to abolish slavery but the pernicious effects of slavery which is white supremacy and racism. so that's what i mean about that. your point about making a principled stand is idealistic and wonderful and i love it very much. at the other side of that political principled question
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is how to save really, the country and the ideals of the country. it may be in this particular case in 2019, with an election coming up, that impingement is not the way to do that. even though it may be a principled action. even though i hear what you say. one have to think of, as david within, backlash, basically. >> i think what is critical is that there be accountability. when a president violates norms, that there be accountability so that the lesson we take is that this is not how a president should act. accountability can come in many forms. think about george w. bush who authorized torture. seen as one of the 3-4 worst things a government official can do. up there with genocide. torture. a lot worse than obstruction of
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justice. he wasn't prosecuted. no one was prosecuted. but there was accountability in the sense that people engaged as citizens. people put tremendous pressure on the president and ultimately he had to suspend that program because it was not sustainable once it became public. because of a soft, informal accountability. sometimes we focus on, he should be in jail or impeached for them. there are lots of ways to hold someone accountable and what's critical is the lesson of history is, you don't act like president trump or president bush. it's determined not by impeachment or jail sentence,
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but by us as citizens point whether we accept it, sit back and let happen or whether we engage and push back. through writing, through organizing with various resistance efforts. but engage. i think the thing that gives me hope. i have not seen the level of engagement on the side of civil rights, civil liberties and constitutional norms. i've never seen this in my lifetime and that is what gives me hope. he's now what sparked it but it can end it and make sure we have the right lesson collects - - >> thank you so much. i don't think we have any more time. thank you so much to my esteemed panelists. [applause]
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>> brenda, matt and david will be signing their books at signing table 1 outside the building. barnes and noble is selling the book. brings bring your name cards to the table.the next issue will have pieces by 2-3 folks appear so please check it out and thank you again. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> we have the next program
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from the brooklyn book festival that continues in just a minute on the discussion on the role of race in the 2020 election. [inaudible conversations] >> before the next author discussion begins, we want to show you another booktv program on a similar topic. this is liberty university professor, ron miller. he examines the role of minority conservatives play in the discussion about politics and race in america . >> when i wrote the book, i was on the outskirts of washington d.c.. and i find because of the proximity to the center of power that that has an influence on your perspective and view of things. all of those things, sort of made the book not a memoir. explanation of how someone could grow up in a family as i did. a family with very conservative values but liberal political
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allegiances. and becoming a political conservative. and also became how i viewed issues through that political lens. coming into our current situation at liberty university. number one, it's an epidemic perspective. since it's a christian institution, the theological perspective came into play as well. i have political solutions in the book. i look to more spiritual solutions. particularly since the community i've dealt with here, not just at liberty but at - - has given me a different perspective about issues and challenges that people are facing what they need to do to overcome them. >>, talk about, initially in
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the book, what were some of the topics you were tackling? and why did you name the book the title you gave it? >> this title was probably the one very provocative thing that makes it stand out that i call it sellout, with the tagline, musings from uncle tom's porch. it tends to be the reaction, as a black man, when you say you are conservative or a black woman for that matter. some people react poorly and those kinds of things come out. i used to joke that when you say your conservative, you inherit names your mother never gave you. i decided to on the name and use it as a way to start a conversation. particularly about the phrase, uncle tom. if you read the novel, it means something totally different. in fact, the author - -
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intended for uncle tom to be a - - [indiscernible]. i found it fascinating that it dissolved into what it has. so that was the purpose and using that. yet a few eyeballs on the cover and go forward with that. >> what were some of the issues you were talking about and your perspective on the well-being in dc and how did it change moving here? >> like i said, the book is largely a memoir. talking about how i arrived personally at the temperament of the position, the ideals i did. and i give you stories and things that would lead into those. i talk about the areas that seem to be really troublesome when i talk about the black
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experience in america. i talk about education, economic well-being of the black community. the family structure. all of those things and what might view was and what i thought the solutions were from a political perspective. what has changed mainly is that i acknowledge because of my upbringing, a lot of the things i experience are not the experiences of a lot of black people in these communities. i was raised in a military family. two-parent family. my parents are still married. they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. integrated neighborhoods and schools. gated communities. [indiscernible] so i grew up in a very protected environment. i think over time as my focus becomes less political and more
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spiritual. i thought to myself, what would my life have been like if i had been born in west baltimore, maryland to a single mother or ferguson missouri or any of these we see on the news. what if the father figures i had were there teenagers down the street who gathered together as a gang. what if my time in school was spent trying to survive much less learn anything. so i started to say, i can't discount experiences that are not my own. in fact, you may disagree with what i say but these are my experiences. i think that applies both ways. from my perspective, is that while i still believe in the
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power of new solutions and our our ability to charge and overcome circumstances. i understand that's not as easy to do when you start off at a deficit. and i also understand too, that all of the laws and political solutions in the world don't mean anything if there's an art heart to change for life change. i conclude with the idea that i feel like i didn't go far enough with it and some things in writing that i've done since then. i really emphasize the idea of taking it out of the realm of the political. particularly, in today's era where politics has become so fractious and we are so polarized.i think it's a place where solutions can be found. talking about something as long-standing as the relationship between blacks and
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whites in america. we are approaching almost 500 years since the first slaves were brought to the shores of what is now the united states of america. people think jamestown but in fact, there were slaves that landed from a spanish galleon in the carolinas in the 1500s. but that was the first time they were on the american continent. so we've been dealing with this for a long time. we have laws on the box. ever since the emancipation proclamation, with laws and amendments to the constitution. we've had guidelines, executive orders, you name it. but we are still struggling with this, all these years later. i really believe it will take a spiritual solution and from my perspective, it's going to take a spiritual community, a christian community leading by example. i believe the church can do it but they've done a poor job to
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this point. i think that's where i put my emphasis a lot less on the state house or the white house and a lot more on the church house. if politics has done one thing to harm discourse, it's created this concept of the other. whenever there is an other, that other becomes the enemy. it's easy to demean them, dehumanize them and set them apart. unless we start relating to the fact that there is an inherent godlike in all of us. it breaks down our ability to put others on the other side and to demonize them. >> you can watch the entire interview with liberty university professor, ron miller online at simply search for his name at the top of the page. [inaudible conversations]


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