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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  November 21, 2016 10:00am-3:01pm EST

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>> and a look at trump tower in manhattan. the president-elect return here last night after spending the weekend at a golf course in new jersey where he held meetings with potential cabinet members. of interviewing potential secretaries of defense and state the president-elect is close to making his pick and transition officials say his policy team will be in place ireland next week to begin working with the obama administration on the formal transfer of authority.
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follow the transition of government on c-span as donald trump becomes the 45th president of the united states and republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. we will take you to key events as they happen without interruption. demandive on c-span, on at or listen on our free radio app. >> coming up today on c-span, the administrator of the epa will be speaking at the national press club live at 1:00 eastern time. at 3:00, a discussion about the politics of the arab world with former secretary of state madeleine albright and national security advisor stephen hadley. eastern, live from the
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council on foreign relations, the conversation about presidential transition with chiefs of staff from the obama, bush and clinton administrations. >> hero featured programs thursday on c-span. nebraska senator ben sasse on american values, the founding .athers followed at noon with former senator tom harkin on healthy food and the rise of childhood obesity in the u.s.. >> from everything from monster burgers with 1400 calories to 20 out -- ounce coke's and pepsi's. epidemic of childhood obesity. wikipedia founder jimmy wales
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talks about the evolution of the online encyclopedia and the challenge of providing global access to information. there is five to 10 really active users and another 20 to 30 that they know little bit and they start thinking of themselves as community. look at the years long effort to repair and restore the capitol dome. at 8:00, justice elena kagan talks about her life and career. to haves a great thing done. it taught me an incredible amount but it also taught me what it was like to be a serious historian and to sit in archives and i realized it wasn't for me. >> followed by justice clarence thomas at 9:00. >> genius is not putting a two dollar idea. it is putting a $20 idea on a two dollar sentence.
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at an exclusive ceremony in the white house, president obama will present the medal of recipients,1 including michael jordan, bruce springsteen, and bill and melinda gates. listen on the free c-span radio app. >> this week on newsmakers, we are joined by congressman adam smith of washington, but top democrat on the armed services committee. in studio, we have two reporters with us, jeremy herb of politico and kevin baron of defense one. >> welcome. the first question i have for you is, why did the democrats lose the presidency? >> there is no one answer than that.
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this election was decided by 12,000 votes in michigan, 10,000 votes in wisconsin, it was razor thin and i will point out the democratic candidate got more votes just like democratic candidates for congress got more votes nationwide than the republicans despite the fact that we got more seats. so there are a whole bunch of different issues. the biggest challenge that we have is we have an electorate that has been growingly hostile towards elites in general. the media, business leaders, political leaders, all the approval ratings for those warmer -- those former opinion makers. the people were looking for something different. along for whatever reason, this was a clear outsider end of thed at the day we had a candidate who was known byate insider,
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anybody, in politics for 30 years, but certainly secretary clinton had been a prominent national figure for a long time and was the ultimate insider and what ever you can say about donald trump, he was the ultimate outsider and a lot of people just wanted something different. there are deeper issues in terms of how the democratic party appeals better to the working class, and there are challenges there. we have to look at these results and figure out how we can change our message and change what we are doing in terms of public policy to appeal to those folks. too. is positive news i don't want to take up the entire time with this question but i want -- we want younger voters. we have growing populations we need to take advantage of.
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people million fewer voted in this election than in 2012. i have no doubt that the secretary would have one so why didn't they? they weren't excited about the candidate or the party? we need to give them a message and give them some policy proposals that will get them excited and out to the polls. anti-elitism, this national security community, the people in town, whether they are formerankers or officeholders, secretary of defense little people, almost entirely, they were against trump. the gop staffers were either silent or against him. what is your take on why that didn't make a difference to the electorate and what does it mean for what is going on now? what transition is he trying to find? the first question is what i said earlier. the more you look like a candidate the insiders don't
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like, the more voters are going to like you. the moment donald trump was troubled was when he attacked john mccain. "i like people who don't get caught." i thought he was done. back on monday, the other side met with john mccain and others and trump's poll numbers had gone up after that. anything that made it look like he wasn't an insider helped. every major known figure, colin powell, whoever, said "i am not with him" just helped with his message. experience does matter in this business. having some knowledge of the world, having relationships matters a great deal. president-elect trump is going to not quite be flying blind but pretty close to it in terms of
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people he brings in. i think it is dangerous, the particular foreign-policy philosophy seems to be emerging with people like michael flynn, people like mr. bannon. their philosophy is "alliances don't help us." they don't like nato or the alliances that we have formed. it seems like they would rather work with an autocrat like putin than they would with our nato allies. and also, they think we haven't done enough not just to attack that -- but not enough to attack muslims in general. that seems to be done message. they talk about banning them from coming into the country. i think that could be a recipe for the clash of civilizations that we have been trying to avoid. i am very worried about the philosophy emerging amongst the people who are going to be
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advising president-elect trump on national security. >> we have jeff sessions for attorney general and congressman pompeo for cra. -- for cia. know you have worked with congressman pompeo on the benghazi committee. >> we were not exactly working together on that committee. i do have those concerns. i think those people probably fit into that same worldview as mr. bannon and general flynn. i think they have -- i think the key to our success, going into the 21st century, is to build alliances, to build partnerships. we cannot go it alone. we have to promote values under the rest of the world is going we doire to and if we say business with an autocrat like
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putin as we would with nato and mr. bannon has been harshly critical of chancellor merkel for allowing take thisn, if we isolationist approach and we want to work with people who are going to be anti-islam, i think that is a recipe for a must more -- a much more dangerous world. >> are there any names for secretary of defense that you would find acceptable? i don't think so and it is hard to know what to believe in terms of the names that have been thrown out. certainly, senator cottonwood not be good with regard to that -- cotton would not be good with regard to that. the way it is shaping up is pretty frightening. >> let me unpack some of the realities of campaign rhetoric versus governing.
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yesterday,otton:, said "he defended nato." he didn't sound so blustery as a campaigner or someone like even general flynn, who was a former dia head with lots of combat experience. the reality of working with , what would really have to happen for the united states to turn its back on nato? there are intricacies that are so much deeper than campaign bluster. >> i don't think these people know exactly how it would work. that, too, is scary. i have got a lot of work on counterterrorism, i was close with general mcchrystal and his calm --en he was at so
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in afghanistan, and there is aspects of what they say that make sense. we do need to take the fight to al qaeda but we also have to understand that the broader issue is an -- we have got to work with moderate muslims. people like bannon and flynn would laugh at that sentence. they would say there is no such thing. yes there is. the overwhelming majority of them want nothing to do with the terrorists. these terrorists have killed more muslims than they have any other religion. if our rhetoric is all muslims are bad, we must take them on, then those partnerships fall apart and we become more divided. i don't know what their shift is from their campaign rhetoric to actually governing and i think the scarier thing is neither do they.
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can you predict what that might mean for that war with isis? >> i am a little bit worried that the council on foreign said, the-- as i republican foreign-policy for the last eight years has been simple. whatever president obama does, it is wrong. not a foreign policy or a national security strategy and when you look at syria and iraq, they are in a very difficult situation. madenk president obama has the right choices, not over committing forces, not making it look like a western power was coming in, but by working with whatever partners we can find. we worked with turkey and the kurds. we are trying to work with the iraqi government but the iraqi government pushes sunnis to the side. we have slowly taken about half the territory that daesh had.
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mosul is not going to be easy but eventually, it will fall. --are on the outset arts we're in the outskirts of the capital. i would like to see the general approach that the president has taken continue, but what is donald trump going to do? is he going to say what president obama was doing was right? probably not, but how is he going to change it? his rhetoric would have you believe that he was going to go from pulling everybody out to sending 100,000 troops in. anator mccain has advocated much more robust presence to make this more of an american fight and i think that would be a huge mistake. i think you have to understand that you have got to find partners in the muslim world and lead.em they don't want a western nation
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to come in and tell them how to live and fix their problems and fight their fights. does donald trump understand that? does michael flynn understand that? i've got more confidence in the latter but it is a more -- it is a low bar to jump over. i am worried about what they are going to do in terms of putting together a strategy. four months from now they are still going to be saying it is all hillary clinton's fault and president obama's fault. republicans haven't taken responsibility for anything in very long time. so it is worse. >> how do you think the american people understand that? >> that is my job. i am responsible for that? >> this rhetoric seems to be popular, look at brexit. look what happened here. what do you say to the american people who don't believe you when you say it is dangerous? >> i just did.
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in a globald up clash of civilizations, in a war with the muslim world that could drag us into all manner of different conflicts and make us much more vulnerable to terrorist acts. push more people into the arms of groups like daesh and al qaeda and make us much more vulnerable as a country and turn us into an even deeper perpetual state of war. if you don't find a way to fight the ideological battle as opposed to the military battle. i have met with the foreign minister of saudi arabia, just a couple of days ago, and saudi moderate,not the most advanced country but they are trying and what he explained to me was they are now educating women and they have more schools for girls than they have ever had, they are trying to integrate. there are people with extremist
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views and if they push too hard, too fast, they run the risk of a backlash. there are people we can work with in jordan. turkey is a little bit messy at the moment that there are still people we can work with there and there are tens of millions of individual muslims that want a more moderate choice. so i would tell the american people that is why it is frightening. if you push this battle, if you make it to tribal, too "us versus them" we are in a much more active war than we are now. >> does this go back to the anti-elitism reason why trump one? -- some been executed certain -- it is a different but lastow than iraq, year, statistics came out about
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the amazing increase of the number of westerners killed by terrorism in the last year, a 600% increase. people feel, in their homeland, they are less secure now than they were watch for years ago, >> i don't think that is true. i think we face a grave threat but if you could have predicted after 9/11 that 15 years later, knock on wood, we would have survived 15 years without style, youack, 9/11 would have been happy with that outcome. the problem is what has happened now. you always have dangerous people. crazy peopleays out there, they're always have been, there have been shootings and sociopaths for a very long time. the problem is the sociopaths have decided that they will
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claim they are with daesh. the guy in orlando, i don't know if that counts in your statistics that was he really doing this in the name of islam is extremism? just a violent crazy guy who shot a bunch of people like the guy in colorado or the ones that columbine or at virginia tech? now it is given all of these crazy nut jobs a label to grab onto. if you go back and look at their history, these people weren't even religious. even the people who did the attack -- i'm spacing on the name, i'm sorry -- charlie hebdo . yes, they were muslim and claimed allegiance to daesh, but in their histories they were drug addicts and alcoholics who never went to a mosque. they wanted to commit a violent
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act and decided to hitch their daesh. al qaeda or it absolutely matters in terms of how we approach it. >> if the public perceives we are unsafe -- they don't have the dexterity, perhaps to break it down the way you just did so it is another extremist attack. >> there is no question. like is dangerous in a whole lot of different ways. we have a high school just north of my district where some kid had a breakup with his girlfriend and went in and shot and killed four people. the man didn't have anything to do with terrorism. we have had lockdowns at my daughter's high school over bomb threats. it is part of the broader information age. and how individuals now have vastly -- feel, vastly more
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empowered and this feeling that deletes are always wrong, so they lashed out in a variety of different ways. that is a problem that goes beyond terrorism and beyond dae sh and al qaeda. but we have to fight the broader ideological war, and we have had success in containing the actual leadership of these groups, these lone wolf radicalized individuals that simply go online and believe all the crazy stuff they read and go off and , isome ink, that, i think the biggest challenge regardless of how we approach these other issues. that is a very difficult one to contain. >> let's turn to some issues in washington. the president-elect has said he wants to raise the defense budget. that is one of the clear promises he made on the campaign and he's got republicans in
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congress agreeing with him. you stop that as democrats who want to keep this dollar for dollar domestic defense you have had? >> first, understand that the very clear campaign promises that donald trump has made our inconsistent -- that will be a charitable way to put it. they are actually impossible to accomplish in the world we live in. theas promised somewhere in neighborhood of $5 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years. he has not promised a specific dollar figure on the fence -- on defense but he has promised to build more ships and spend more on nuclear weapons. isyou add it all up, he promising something like a 33% increase on the defense budget. so you are losing a lot of revenue by cutting taxes dramatically. if you cut taxes you get more revenue and there is only one problem with that, it is actually untrue.
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he has also promised to spend more on infrastructure. and he is concerned about the deficit. it does not add up. so before i start worrying about increasing the defense budget and all these other things, i am going to see how he goes from the phrase that currently can be set on television -- i can come of an alternative -- anyway the campaign stuff that cannot possibly happen to what he actually does. are they going to do reconciliation bills that massively cut back? it does not add up. we have got to wait and see what they actually propose. >> you have said you want to do away with sequestration and budget caps for both. do you think that is still a good idea? the budget caps have
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artificially restricted our ability to spend money on certain critical areas. infrastructure is a big one. we have collapsing bridges and roadways and energy grids that need to be upgraded. personally, i would raise taxes. we have cut taxes in the last 15 years to help pay for some of this and bringing in what it used to for a variety of reasons, we are not collecting sales tax because of online sales because we won't pass the marketplace fairness act. i think the budget caps are harmful to our infrastructure. >> would you support the overseas contingency? because itrather not is dishonest. you pretend that the overseas contingency account isn't really counting against the budget caps, but it would be more
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honest with the american people to get rid of the budget caps and have everything capped against the budget and not pretend that there is something like free money. i think we should lift the caps and be more honest. >> what are your number one priority is into the next session? >> the biggest continues to be counterterrorism. to make sure we are giving the special operations command in particular and everything else that is critical to confronting that threat. i'm worried about north korea and russia and china and iran but there is only one group of people that gets up every single day hoping to kill as many americans as they possibly can and that is daesh and al qaeda and like-minded groups. to win thetrategy ideological war and protect the
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american people from those terrorist attacks. >> one thing you have been fighting for a lot of years. how do you think that is going to change now? >> i can make that prediction. we are down to about 60 inmates in guantanamo. i know the republicans would like -- some republicans would like to send more inmates but once upon a time, john mccain and a lot of other folks were in favor of closing guantanamo so we will have to see. candidate trump has been all over the map on a variety of different issues. what president trump does, we will have to see. >> is there time in this administration to close it or bring that number down even more? >> not to close it. we are down below 60 and i believe there are still around 20 that have been deemed eligible for transfer.
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so we could possibly bring the numbers down little bit more. there is not time to close it. the law is very clear on that. >> you mentioned the generals fighting. what i telling you that they need? >> isr. intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance. the ability to get the intelligence. the battlefield has spread. once upon a time we had those assets primarily in iraq, primarily in afghanistan. we supplemented the war in yemen. there is always been a concern that in east africa and in molly -- in mal, we don't have sufficient coveragei. >> why don't they have it? -- therethey have it
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is a finite amount of money in the world. i can get into the personnel costs and how many ships we are going to have in the navy and nuclear modernization which is a place where we could save an enormous a lot of money to better fund these other priorities. we have been building out our isr capability rapidly. but there is a lot of space in the world that we need to cover. >> thank you very much, top democrat on the armed services committee. we are back with our reporters, kevin baron and jeremy herb. kevin, let me begin with this uncertainty with the new it ministration coming in and the names that have been floated by president-elect donald trump. what does uncertainty mean for the national security apparatus? >> the pentagon has used that word about the budget.
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they can't plan for the future, can't plan six months ahead, much less developing weapons 20 years down the road. but right now, all we are hearing from leaders are we don't know what comes next and it is a worrying thing every day. they don't know who the people are going to be, what their theories are going to be, what leadership styles, whether that -- whether the country is going on some big picture campaign moments. have you heard from the ranking democrat that his concerns about the names that have been floated so far by the trump administration for some of these is that concern shared across -- in the pentagon and the cia and the national security agency? >> i think there is concern among the republican establishment about lieutenant general flynn, his ties to russia.
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what people are watching is who is going to be his secretary of defense. names, they are considered acceptable. to be potentially going romney's defense secretary but there were others who don't necessarily have those ties, that he is not going to extend any sort of all of branch -- olive branch to them. he is going to need some of them to actually run the mechanics of the national security team. >> and where does adam smith need to try to get along with the trump administration? what about their work on capitol hill that they have to do in order to oversee and fund the national security efforts across the board? >> it depends on the congressman's goal. if he wants to be obstructionist and defend everything the democrats ran on, nothing changes and they stay to the rest of luck.
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tothey find common ground push elements forward it will be the very basics we have seen the last few years, the budget number but it won't be the bill. along.eople cannot get they don't want to get along. different because he is in the house and not the senate so the leadership question is more of a senate issue. there are 50 people in the pentagon that have to go through confirmation for that. know what the house can do if anything other than put up a lot of rhetoric in the fight for issues like guantanamo. for things like supporting isis and the special operators, and these basic levels of the money, -- that theyorth noting have done it 50 years in a row and he works with a republican and chairman mccain and on the
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democratic side, it is going to be interesting to watch how this republican chairman deals with president trump. a statement warned that he couldn't cozy up to putin and that is telling that we are not necessarily going to see a rubberstamp depending on what trump does. >> what is on the table? where does defense spending stand? >> they still have to resolve this year's bills and it is not going to happen until president trump is inaugurated. a policy bill should be wrapped up in december but the spending bill, which actually funds are authorized, it is going to continue into march. that will give the trump administration a chance to put their own stamp on the current fiscal year as they prepare their first budget. i think we are going to see a big fight over spending. >> what are you watching for from this new administration?
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>> i am watching to see how the of beingmpaign theme anti-elitist and anti-washington plays out for national security. when it comes to congress, if donald trump wants to continue he could get the american people to turn on congress. "they are stopping everything they wanted me to do." kind of benefit goes on, i think trump has a lot of ammunition and congress could be scared. the republicans of congress -- and if they ran hard stance their and push back and say this is thereality of governing, are real issues in serious divisions and it takes time, they might score some points and make life very hard for donald trump and it could be very concerning.
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all the issues require a much more unified american front. >> i am watching for how serious he tries to put his promises on the fence into action. he has promised more defense spending and infrastructure spending and cutbacks. something is going to have to give. the defense ministry is so far, pretty happy with the promises he has made that we will see if they come to fruition. >> will he let it continue the way it is or is he going to change something dramatically? >> thank you for being on newsmakers. >> in the presidential transition, a tweet from jake aerman who writes that democratic congresswoman from hawaii had a meeting with donald trump today in new york during speculation that the president-elect might be considering democrats for his
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cabinet. we are just outside trump tower in new york city. britainreported great is also considering inviting donald trump for a state visit. according to prime minister theresa may's official spokeswoman, an invitation for a state visit is one of the things that under consideration following the election of a new us -- a new u.s. president. >> with donald trump elected as the next u.s. president, melania trump becomes our nation's second foreign-born first lady since louisa catherine adams. influence about the of presidential spouses from c-span's book of first ladies. it is a look into the personal lives and influences of every presidential spouse in american history. it is a companion to c-span's well regarded biography tv series and features interviews
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with the leading 54 biographers and first ladies, published by affairs" is available in paperback. >> coming up later today here on c-span, the administrator of the at thel be speaking national press club live at 1:00 eastern time. at 3:00 a discussion about the politics of the arab world. we will be hearing from madeleine albright and former national security advisor stephen hadley. he will be at the brookings institution. live from the council on foreign relations, the conversation about presidential transitions with former white house chief of staff from the obama, bush and clinton administrations. >> follow the transition of government on c-span as donald
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trump becomes the 45th president of the united states and republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. we will take you to key events as they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span. watch on-demand at or listen on our free c-span radio app. up next on c-span, a conversation about what to expect in a trump administration foreign-policy. we hear from journalists, authors and a college professor, all speaking recently at the city club of cleveland. this is one hour. >> good evening. i am stephanie damsky, director of programming, and it is my
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privilege to welcome you to the special edition event discussing foreign-policy issues facing our 45th president. these events are presented in collaboration with cleveland council of foreign affairs, the northeast ohio consortium of middle eastern studies and our primary media partner, wv i see pbs. i would like to introduce our moderator, producer tony ganser who will introduce our panelists. >> thank you. . am tony ganser the most exciting parts of evenings like this is when you get up and ask questions or share comments or what have you after a discussion so we will talk for a while to cover as much around on the foreign-policy challenges facing our next president but if we miss something and you want to focus in, feel free to address that. i was like to start by letting our panelists say a few words
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first. .> i am katie lavellan i always like to point out that i grew up in cleveland on the west side so i was very happy to be able to get a job and come back home. foreign-policy so a lot of my expertise. it is also derived from experience because i worked in the u.s. embassy in darfur and tanzania. i try to focus on the practice of politics and the study of it. >> i am an author and journalist. east, mostlyiddle iraq and syria. "no good book called men among the living." it follows the lives of three
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afghans, one is a taliban fighter, one is a u.s. backed warlord and one is a housewife and it describes their experiences over the last three years and how their lives intersect. addition, i am finishing my phd and doing my dissertation in a few days. >> [applause] >> good evening. forest, and cleveland second hometown and i have been near the second-longest. and was 274ichina left for the united states. -- 27 before he left for the united states. my research areas will be asian development in
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developing countries. and my research mostly focuses , u.s.t asian politics china relations and the chinese political development. so i look forward to discussions. >> as you see, we have a broad range of expertise here and we will need every ounce of it cover this topic. ingraduate degree was international relations and world order and all of the things that i have read in the last two days tell me that my education may not apply anymore because the global system will collapse with the results of the election. do you think that is true? >> no. what i think is important that you are pointing out is that the pressure is on the global system , coupled with what happened with the election, also what is
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going on in other parts of the world, not just the conflict regions but also with respect to them credit movements and the frustration that a lot of democratic constituencies feel with the old postwar order, the united nations, the world bank, the ins -- the imf is bubbling below. it --the world as we know has it fundamentally changed just because of the election results? >> no. well, the world has fundamentally changed. i don't think the world is going to end, probably. >> [laughter] >> i think it is important to elite inhat the ruling this country are actually doing, which is -- it is not just one person. there is a set of institutions any run this country and
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president has to last of those institutions and there is a give and take in that process. look over the last 50 or 60 years of american power imperativesset of undergirded the power, which is the united states would act in its interest and reorder societies and countries in what it perceives to be interests. that has been a uniting factor between democrats and republicans. will the new president up and that? probably not. strategy and tactics will be changed. we can talk about if that will be the case. but going to what you are saying, iraqis and syrians see american power as ultimately there to protect american interests.
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>> how do you read the results to say? whether the world is going to really be different or remain the same, it really depends but one thing i think is that the world is entering an uncertain. period.tain france -- friends from asia asked me whether the united states is going to relinquish its leadership in the world and by going back to america, to the so-called isolation phase. int america has experienced the two centuries ago. china has a tremendous interest here. some people, even speculate that the united states would withdraw from the rest of the world, china is going to take it over.
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i don't really think that is the case. certainly, there are a lot of actions waiting to be taken by the president-elect and we will see what will happen. >> there was a lot of talk from president-elect trump about how hard he would deal with china. that he would just get better deals and he would strong-armed china into doing what he wanted. what was the reaction from china to his actually winning the election? i assume it is not worry? >> you can see from the president's congratulations. usually, china does two things when there is a new president. first, they send a telegraph congratulating the election and then they follow with a call. that happened when george w. bush got elected and president
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obama got elected. , the chinese person picked up the phone and talked a wild but this time, there is no call. it is just a telegram. the cautious attitude that china is having towards donald trump. obviously, he said a lot of things about china and the chinese government does not really know how to communicate with him yet. but i think they will, eventually, extend an invitation to him to talk over. >> katie, i want to talk about nato for a second because donald trump has said that he would want the members of nato to pay up before we would abide by our responsibilities as allies of
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these countries. how plausible to you think it is that we would renege on our nato commitment? >> if we stop and think about this, we won't really know whether or not we are reneging until something happens. but it is not until an army crosses a border and we see whether or not nato reacts or doesn't react that we're actually going to say "you didn't pay up." one of the rules we say in foreign policy or political studies is that you don't live american troops out there in the heat of battle or the heat of the moment. it seems like president trump is actually going to over react rather than pull back. that is little hard to believe. i think he will probably modify what he says because it is another pattern he seems to have with respect to nato that he would want to renegotiate the alliances.
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but it is unclear how far he will actually take that statement once he is actually office. >> i think the only time article five was used was for the benefit of the united states. on the war on terror. >> that is absolutely correct. so we used to say nato was to keep the americans in and the russians out and the germans down. no one ever said that publicly but that is what people always said about nato and you are absolutely right. no one expected that will be the one time it was enacted. >> so spending time in afghanistan, is there any reaction that you can tell yet to trump winning or his rhetoric? >> absolutely none. i have no idea. to be honest, i don't even think he does. i heard recently that during the campaign, his people reached out to a number of gulf states and
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said "what ever you here, that is just for the campaign. don't worry." operator butis an i think it would not be surprising -- i expect him to be a lot more practical from the elite point of view in dealing with a lot of these relationships once he comes into power. times the obama administration has dealt with the war against isis, even though the united states and its allies are now defeating isis, isis is on the ropes. it has lost numbers in major cities. it is being defeated in mosul. there are plans underway for a , and operation in syria isis is losing. so the strategy of defeating isis militarily is it is working just fine.
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he was running a campaign on how he would do things differently. i would be shocked if anything changed in iraq in terms of american policy towards isis. i would be shocked if anything changed in afghanistan. talks,ve rejected peace avoided peace talks, they are propping up the afghan state and the afghan army and the state and army are not strong enough to defeat the taliban and the taliban and not strong enough to defeat the afghan government so you have this war in perpetuity and that is fine for the u.s. because that is a war that is not taking up a lot of u.s. resources. we don't have a lot of americans dying in afghanistan. as long as the government stays whylace, i see no reason trump would change our policy.
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>> well, because he said that he would. he said all sorts of things on the campaign trail but now he is in the oval office and i think that is why i wasn't surprised although it was interesting to hear what a number of embassies were saying. they heard from the campaign, saying "he said all sorts of thing on the campaign but don't listen." >> one challenge is in syria. if he is going to further extend the u.s. involvement or be more friendly towards assad. because assad is a friend of russia. is the united states going to withdraw from that part or continue to get involved? or find a middle way to move the -- totion and the assad
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move closer to reconcile. >> there have been a number of contradictory statements from the president-elect but you can add a few of them up when it comes to the middle east if you choose to. i wonder if we choose to. if we are going to selectively deal with our nato allies, we are only going to do things which directly influence our interest, there is selfishly focused on america. some analysts have said this opens the door for russia in syria. maybe we just step away and say our partner is russia, they are going to help deal with this mess. do you not think that is plausible? >> absolutely. let's talk about syria. surface, >> american policy has been to overthrow the assad regime but we haven't him
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at all. the united states blocked antiaircraft weaponry and antitank weaponry until 2013. when i was in syria, talking to people who are resisting, they are desperate for weapons to defend themselves against the genocidal onslaught they are facing from a shark al-assad. al-assad.shar weapons started to send or allow weapons from qatar and saudi but mostly to fight isis. obama, in thent washington post, said that he directed the pentagon to increase the targeting against the al qaeda franchises syria, who are integral in the rebel
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movement and a major opponent to assad. the united states has given a few weapons to the rebels but kept an important game changing weapon away. and attacked isis and al qaeda. there will be a shift in front on this but the shift will be that he will basically drop the pretense of supporting the other side. the weaponsoff going in and allow russia to finish the job. mine, a germanof television executive, said after the election that america has officially lost its moral authority in the world and that somebody else is going to step in. i think syria is a perfect example of the situation where, on humanitarian grounds, there
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was a disaster occurring and it has been occurring for years but in terms of direct american interests, things that we get in that sense, there isn't any. it is just the humanitarian crisis. so how do we square the circle? what we have heard from the president-elect, the american first approached that would keep situations like syria and many parts of the world? >> in the moment we think about the change in the administration but when we look at the grand sweep of u.s. foreign-policy that goes back to the founding of this country we actually see more continuity than we see change. who the president is or what they have said on the campaign trail or what party is in office, we have seen alliances with russia as a major moment in both our histories. to, looking for
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the united states and russia to agree on the syrian question is not a surprise. along the same line there has been this argument that we are this moral authority but it is easy to be the moral authority when you just beat nazi germany. when you make yourself the moral authority, you leave yourself open to charges. the moral question in my lifetime has always been wide-open. and inclusivecome for other countries to play a moral role. most americans would welcome that involvement and not feeling we have to go it alone. i hope that happens. asia, china has been acting as a regional hegemon really and the united states has tried to coalesce allies around china to counterbalance the pacific. but america up a withdrawal or
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, must anotherlf nation heads against what america may or may not do? i think the challenge for president-elect trump is that, is he going to continue obama's rebalancing towards asia? and getting the u.s. military forces, particularly the navy into the south china sea and strike alliances with the surrounding countries like the philippines and japan and south korea? start theoing to trade war with china and engage china in a more negative way? andink that is a challenge if he is interested in the
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business relations with china, thinke might also have to of whether he is going to continue this rebalancing towards asia. already, some of the obama admin should -- the obama initiative has been backfiring recently, and the u.s. -- he just turned 180 degrees to seek help from china. so what does the united states -- it is wise to play some unfriendly asian countries against china, that kind of tactics whether that is wiser not, it could backfire. thatost important thing is a lot of asian countries do not want to see america leave countries like singapore, for example. that's takes a stance
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malaysia is doing the same thing. asia asia,king about who is going to really be the leader in asia. i'm not sure china is ready for it. even the united states decides to withdraw. china would be happy to see its tremendous influence in the south china sea, but whether he leadership, ioral think, is a long way for china to go that way. forceis a driving economically, no doubt about that. that may be the route china may take to continuously bring the economic benefits through trade with the asian countries but militarily china was happy to
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see that united states or donald trump to move away from this asian rebalancing. and making a more extended military influence and presence in the wake of the change of u.s.-asian policy. >> i may be trying to thread a needle here but tying some of these issues together, i guess the point i want to emphasize is words matter in foreign-policy and even if there is ambiguity in what president-elect trump has said at one time or another in the same interview about what he would do in a region of the world, it seems like there is this presumption we are still in a moment when the united states is the superpower that matters and we can do what we want. but the rest of the world does not necessarily have to deal with that.
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they conform their own regional alliances or hedge with other powers. i want to open it up to all of you. how do we deal with this uncertainty when there is ambiguity in what is going to happen but other countries may be prepared for the worst. >> absolutely words matter but it is important in the world we live in now and not the diplomatic world that used to exist. the words do not just come through the embassy anymore. now they come through twitter, facebook. at the same time, we worry about president-elect trump's twitter account sometimes. i think we also understand the apparatus of the united states government in diplomatic functions is quite wide, indeed and foreign-policy professionals understand this. they have to deal with leaders of other countries sending out twitter messages and sending out
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things that can be contradictory or confusing. while words matter, they come from so many different sources now that they take a different role. the same way all of our media does. >> absolutely, that is why you will see different words come out of the white house then the campaign trail from here on out. generally, the question of america retreating versus being a global actor or moral leader, i would argue that all states only focus on their own interests. the debate is not whether to do that or not, the debate is how to focus on its interest, how to actualize its interest.
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is this done through active military campaigns, is it done through diplomacy, or other ways? that is strategic debate. there is no debate in public discourse about america's role in the world in terms of the moral role. no debate about that. from donald trump to hillary, it has been united that we need to defend american interest, had we -- how do we do that. if you ask iraqis or syrians or afghans, they would look at you strangely if you said america was the moral leader in the world. they would find this very odd. afghanistan today is a divided country. half of the country once the u.s. troops to be there and have the country roughly once the u.s. troops to leave. even those who want u.s. troops to stay there there is a pragmatic reason why. that is the only force keeping civil war from happening, what
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they don't think the americans are immoral actor. nobody in that part of the world thinks america is moral. that is something that is said here. we have to come to terms with that, i think. >> i think this world without the u.s. leadership, the u.s. leadership of the world has you know since world war ii, played such an important function in maintaining generally the absence of global war. if we look at the 1993 when the united states invaded kuwait, you know, iraq, imagine if the united states did not go in there and drive saddam hussein from kuwait. who would do that? i actually often ask this question when i lecture in china, with the chinese government do it, russia? i don't think so. world, despite the united
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nations and all of these regional arrangements, still i think you need leadership. this leadership not only in terms of playing a police role but also in other areas whether it is humanitarian or the role of economic growth. i think the united states is still the largest market in the world and without the u.s. market a lot of countries, including china, will not necessarily see what they have achieved so far. certainly democracy is a another way again that the united states is championing. i do not think europe will take up that role in championing or the promotion of democracy in the world. so all of these i think points
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towards this important i think role that the united states is going to play. i think if donald trump really wants to withdraw the united states into this cocoon of isolation, that will cause extreme anxieties from all over the world, and in particular asian countries. , i think the asian countries are looking for continuous involvement of the united states both militarily, security-wise, and economically and that part of the world. >> another refrain we have heard from trump is he is going to rip up some of president obama's accomplishments. you look at the iran deal which trump has lambasted the entire time. the climate agreement, which china would probably pull out of that the u.s. is wavering at all. trade acts all over the world.
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there are a lot of things that are on paper that can be undone or can be started to disappear very quickly. how do we come to terms? the are very different topics, of course. >> you know, i think the two things that are really going to be different going forward, i don't think it is just president-elect trump. i think it is u.s. policy when we look at the role we will play in the world. our trade and immigration. i tell my students, immigrations is not even in the books, it is not on the map. pollyou pull -- republicans, americans, critical concern for the country right now. they will register immigration. i think from the war in syria you have the same concerns about immigration spreading across europe. i think all democracies are going to have to ask fundamental questions on what the defense are on who will be the recipient of benefits and who is not.
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those are fair questions for people who pay taxes and any industrial democracy to ask. the second has to do its trading and whether or not we're going to continue to think of trade is a universal good. those are very serious questions we are not addressing, either political party, and need to be rethought. we have not really paid attention to people who have suffered and who have not been beneficiaries of globalization and once again, all global democracies have to think about all of their citizens. >> i agree with that, and if you look at the question of immigration it is very interesting because the trump empire, the business empire of donald trump relies on undocumented labor of course. like american capitalism relies on undocumented labor. where i live in new york city, there is not a single restaurant
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you can go to where the kitchen staff are not undocumented. not a single one. this is the sort of bedrock of the economy. these are captains of industry and people who run these businesses, who hire undocumented workers, and know this. donald trump, i'm sure, knows he is not going to start paying nine dollars or $10 or $11 an hour for someone to wash wishes. he is going to get someone and pay them one dollar an hour. if they complain, he can threaten to call ice on them and have them deported. employers need that leverage to turn profit. so why is he doing this? he seems to be against his own very interests as an employer. i think that speaks to the core of what this rhetoric does. whipping up this xenophobia and racism is something that actually enables people like him and the business community to continue to hire undocumented laborers at keep them
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marginalized because that keeps them from being expelled from the country. at the same time, donald trump is no champion of ordinary working people. he uses this rhetoric but i would be shocked if he actually did something to -- i would be shocked if he built a wall. i would really be surprised. i would be interested to see how that would happen. what is much more likely and plausible that this is useful rhetoric to get people who themselves are perhaps dispossessed, cleveland is a perfect example of what is happened in this country over the last 30, 40 years and scapegoat people. that is where your problems are. in four years, he will say it needs another four years. so vote for me again. >> we are a renaissance city. i just wanted put it up there. i mean, we're coming back. [applause] >> i want to open it up for
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questions. if you have a question, come on up here. don't be afraid. we will address them politely. i want to ask a question about businesses. i was reading a piece in the new today and they were saying presidents are not bound by the same conflict of interest statute as cabinet and white house staffers which means technically he could retain control of the trump organization even though he said he would give it to his siblings. i thought that was interesting. the trump organization has had fascinating deals in countries like turkey, azerbaijan. katie, with your experience i will give you this easy question. how do you deal with that with a president that controls a corporation as he does? conflicts of interest?
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>> it is not just any corporation because he cannot just turn control over like people of done in good faith, to turn it over to a blind trust when what you are selling is your name and brand. it is impossible. journalists raise these questions consistently. i will be shocked and pleased when his audit is finished and we see his tax returns and we can evaluate what foreign countries would pose the most conflict of interest. once again, we would welcome that. i don't know. this is the great unknown. what the future holds. but absolutely, he could not do it even if he wanted to. he would have to take the company apart for the years he is president to do what other presidents have done. >> if this is true, are there any safeguards to prevent a commander-in-chief from enriching himself personally
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while in the office? >> in fairness to president-elect trump, the charges have been leveled at previous government officials and their connections to companies involved with the war in iraq, for example. blind trusts presumed to have profited greatly. correct me if i am wrong but in iraq, the number one country was great britain. the number one country with contractors. so there have been other government officials with questionable relationships with businesses. this one happens to be particularly egregious but hopefully because it is egregious, people of good faith who have the ability to vote will ask the questions and keep pressing our officials and do something about it the next time we have an opportunity to vote. >> we have four years of things to ask about here. >> thank you for the super
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interesting conversation. thank you for raising the issue of american leadership. i am wondering, how do you think the next president should define american leadership in the world and what should be his top three foreign-policy agenda items when he takes office and who do you think you should appoint as secretary of state? >> you want to start for us? [laughter] >> well, i think for the leadership question, the american foreign-policy we often say is the product of bipartisanship. so since world war ii, the american foreign-policy has consistently reflected some of these leadership qualities whether it is leading to free trade, whether it is promoting
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democracy or engaging humanitarian or even security and all of this. donald trump does not have to create even more leadership positions. all he needs to do is to continue some of those bipartisan foreign policy, you know. but one area i would like to see, although i think it could be a challenge for him, is the leadership in promoting more and environmental protection throughout the world. the fight against global warming. i am not sure he could've done that because obviously he is for the coal energy and he promised all these coal miners in west virginia jobs. with regard to this pressing global warming issue, that really requires american leadership.
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so, i think his daughter would be a good secretary of state. her charm, her articulation. i just hope she could be more versed on foreign-policy issues. >> i think the model of american leadership is one i would like to see that america acts as what it holds itself up to. you mentioned democracy promotion. thousands of protesters in the streets of bahrain is part of the arab spring and the u.s.-backed saudi arabia and an invasion to crush the uprising against democracy. i could give examples for hours. saudi arabia's bombing yemen, killing thousands of civilians. saudi arabia is targeting
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hospitals. targeting hospitals. the united states is sharing intelligence as this is happening. not just of american acquiescence, but approval. the leadership i would like to see the united states actually upholding democracy around the globe instead of pretending to upholding democracy and picking and choosing which democracies touphold because it wants keep its interests. >> thank you. [applause] >> i have two questions. i will pass on the economic fair trade question and ask you the nastier one. the military question. first, europe. mr. trump has said he wanted to defund and pull out of nato but he has also prodded them to pick up terrorism.
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which they have done. what has been his effect on nato? the uglier one deals with china's influence over north korea and threatening to pull back. president-elect trump has been talking about providing missiles to japan, south korea, and possibly taiwan as a way to force china to rein in north korea. i would like you to comment on my belief if he retreats from that area, will there be the effect of japan, south korea, and australia getting together with possibly singapore to form a nuclear arms protection group? >> thank you. you want to take nato first, katie?
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katie: let's think about this. we are in a transition and i cannot read president-elect trump's mind but i do know what the obama administration has just finished after eight years and one of the stunning differences in the obama administration is president obama introducing the nation of restraint. restraining ourselves in some foreign-policy situations can be its own form of action. choosing not to intervene in the war in syria, he defended with the idea that restraint is its own policy goal there. by the same token, president obama has introduced the notion of leading from behind. being a force but not always bring me force out front. it is hard for me to believe that just what i know about donald trump, he is not going to want to up more of a leadership role than president obama has taken.
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so, we all hope that his advisors and he modify some of the language and some of the direction he spoke about in the campaign but i think that sometimes people forget what the world might look like when the united states does step back and earlier when you said, we don't have any interest in syria, i disagree with that on the grounds that they are not just humanitarian. the humanitarian crisis has spread throughout europe and our allies are under a lot of strain. it has threatened the eu, nato, our allies in europe that we care about and have business relationships with. so resolving these problems is going to be an issue and it is hard for me to believe that president trump is not going to want to be the first one out there leading them any more than president obama. >> can you talk about the influence on the north korea situation? >> obviously, the current north
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korean policy, whether it is on china or the united states, it does not work. the koreans continuously expand its nuclear programs. however, the chinese concern about north korea obviously is if the west press is so hard so that the regime collapses, then millions of refugees coming into china's borders. that is why the chinese government recently sent more humanitarian aid to the flood and etc. there is a really concerned that in china, in north korea, that the united states will unilaterally take action against north korea because they are concerned that the united states is not going to see north korea actually develop nuclear arms. i am not sure that the president-elect has the north korean policy. but from the obama
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administration i am sure there is a plan to either engage in some kind of nuclear surgery or further press the north koreans for giving up the nuclear weapons. so that will be a challenge for the president-elect. how he's going to deal with north korea. i think he probably most likely will press more on china to do more and because he has said several times that the chinese should take care of north korea because that is in the chinese sphere of influence. if he does that, it probably is a better approach. the question is, to what extent can he press the chinese, right? that is the issue. obviously the question is whether a failed north korean
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policy would affect japan, south korea, or other asian countries. i think the impact will be serious and most likely japan will just go alone and develop nuclear weapons because japan can literally develop a nuclear program overnight. and the south korea might also seek some security measures. so that means the so-called northeastern asian alliances will break down. so that is very serious. i do not know that donald trump has thought about it. he probably needs a good advisor on that. [laughter] >> i did read that donald trump said maybe it would be a good idea for north korea and japan to have nukes which is going against what we have seen for decades.
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>> i want to thank the city club for offering this because we brought up some amazing topics that restore my faith in democracy because these conversations are so important. you brought up some disparate points talking about america as a moral authority versus the vulnerable populations in syria. you also talked about promotion of democracy when i am not 100% sure of democracy as it stands is the form of government that i think protects the people because i do not know how we are protecting the minorities. right? any minority, even white men if that is the minority you want to talk about. because they are obviously super-angry and they voted for donald trump. so with that being said, all of these pressures you are talking about religion, vulnerable
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populations, economics. many countries with many views on how this goes and this guy is ready to go off the wall on twitter at any minute with whatever he is thinking at the 3:00 a.m., right? my question is, we have a very vulnerable crisis that is not only occurring in syria but has been occurring for generations in palestine. you've got israel and palestine as nations that are religious-basis democracies. and not how we believe democracy should be whether it is a breakdown of religion and state. so i wonder how you think donald will deal with that hot button issue. >> i think it actually donald trump's first call was in -- to benjamin netanyahu.
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i think someone said the idea of policy and state is finished now with donald trump in power. that is how he will deal with that issue most likely. ironically, not just because there are anti-semite people in his movement as well. looking at trump broadly what is in that part of the world in israel-palestine, israel is american special ally. moving towards policy and statehood but at the same time , the israeli state is armed by the united states, funded by the united states. i think that relationship will intensify. what is happening inside israel is very interesting because the ascending right-wing a over the last 10-15 years and i feel that
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donald trump is going to bolster that right-wing sentiment and it is very dark times for palestinians and israelis as well because the only solution i believe ultimately is democracy. everybody gets one vote and they decide how they want to run their country. that does not exist in israel right now. you have to have a background to have rights in israel, so it is a really dark time unfortunately and i think donald trump will make that worse. >> i am glad you raised this issue, what you mean by democracy. i wanted to use this for my position. when i said american leadership and democracy, i did not mean the united states would go around imposing a system on other countries because we don't
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need more electoral college system, right? [applause] >> by promoting democracy i met promoting democratic principles of freedom, equality, rule of law, participation. these are the principles i think a lot of developing countries need. with that principle they can come up with their own systems. but it is very important to uphold those principles. >> thank you for joining us tonight and presenting your views and thoughts. it is been a great conversation. i want to talk about donald trump's comments are about vladimir putin and russia as a country he can deal with. we seem to get this idea every time we get a new president that the existing alliance structures that america has is great but we are not getting enough from our allies, we want more. if we go back to 2003, president
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bush had a lot of frustration with his european partners and tried to find new alliances and work with russia, china. in the end, i think he found that well, you know, there are reasons we have not worked very well with them in the past because there's not a lot we agree on. but i would like to take the president-elect's ideas for a moment and ask all of you, where are there opportunities for establishing new or better strategic alliances around the globe? where are their possibilities for either a new and improved relationship where we could take this idea and grow something? >> one thing i would say i don't know if it is a direct answer to your question -- we think about the election and all, but what drives foreign policy is reactive and for americans, one of the defining moments after the end of the cold war was
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9/11. i think what changed after 9/11, we are a country with two oceans on either side and secure borders on the north and south. for the first time in our history we were in an unprovoked attack. our whole sense of security and our well-being was threatened in a way that americans had never been threatened before and when we think about european history, it is the exact opposite. the end of the cold war around the same year, around 9/11 was a moment when you're up for the first time was secure and europeans were feeling like they were not worried about a european country invading and so when using about the opportunities what does concern me is the whole idea of the european union is thinking about rearming, a common defense budget, and the threat that russia poses. i think it is important to realize the insecurity reforming there is the same way the security is forming here.
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i guess what i'm saying is looking at these as the disturbing trends and then trying to understand how we are going to live in the world that we are not going to go back to that world we had before 9/11 when we are not going to be subject to unprovoked attacks because it is just a world of change. >> thank you. >> thank you guys for coming. it is a real honor to have great events like this in an unusual context. we talked about the moral authority to lead the world and you talked about trumps business interests but sort of an interesting situation right now is a president-elect that has two pending trials against him that he could be easily convicted of. i am not trying to pre-judge but hearing on the news that they have very solid cases. if we have either a president-elect for -- or
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elected president or a president power that is convicted, i suppose to think back to the clinton years when we had a big conversation within the congress, do we lose the moral authority to lead if we have someone that is, you know, being censured or impeached. but if we have a convicted felon, you know, he could potentially pardon himself and so on -- that is a fact. he could actually pardon himself. he could not it out of impeachment but the idea of thinking about having a convicted felon as a president is an interesting thing in terms of putting us on the level of berlusconi or dictators that cannot be brought to trial but of course we take them down a peg or two in terms of what they, you know, can be -- >> thank you. >> i thought about it. i have actually thought about that because of the serious
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nature of the charges against him regardless of whether or not they prove to be anything. i guess the example i would look to is president nixon. what happened with president nixon is that the republican party went to the president and said, we are not behind you if you go through this impeachment trial. that is different than what happened to president clinton. the democratic party did not react the same way. we can talk about the party differences but what we will not know is what president-elect trump's relationship is going to be with the republican party going forward. it looks like it is going to be pretty bad to me. i think the republican party has a lot more to worry about than the democratic party for reasons that have nothing to do with what we are talking about tonight but i don't want to roll out the possibility there are not really good republicans who in an impeachment trial or at
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these charges are approved and come to be true, would not say that same thing because they did in the past and i think people have those kinds of concerns. once again if they do not, we have midterm elections and we are still a democracy and those are the kind of people we should throw out if they do not stand up for that. [applause] >> we've gone a little long but to close i wanted to say right after the election i got word from friends overseas. one was from somalia who said a government official they are laughed at him when he heard about the election results. a friend of mine from germany and morocco asked me what happened. they could not understand what happened in the election. they were very confused. what we have heard tonight is the world does continue to turn and we need to stay informed, engaged, and keep an eye on the process and hope for the best.
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so thank you all for coming out. thank you to the panel. have a good night. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] follow the transition of government on c-span, as donald trump the 45th president of the united states and republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. we will take you to key events as they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span, on demand on, or listen on our free c-span radio app. >> a look outside trump tower on fifth avenue in manhattan this morning here among those meeting
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with donald trump inside, according to a tweet, former texas governor and presidential candidate rick perry, former house speaker newt gingrich, oklahoma governor mary fallin, and a elaine chao, who served as labor secretary under george w. bush. also this morning, former massachusetts senator scott brown enter the elevators. he is reportedly under consideration for secretary of veterans affairs. later today on c-span, 6:30 i look at presidential transitions past and to come, with former white house chief of staff's from the obama, clinton, and bush administrations. and the gina mccarthy will be speaking at the national press club. we will take you there live at 1:00 eastern. some of our future programs thursday, thanksgiving day, on c-span.
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nebraska senator ben sasse on american values. the founding fathers and the purpose of government. >> there is a huge civic mindedness in american history but it's not compelled by the government. -- atlowed at nuven with noon with tom harkin. >> everything from monster thick burgers with 700 grams of fat to , 12 toe coke and pepsi's 15 teaspoons of sugar, feeding an epidemic of childhood obesity. founderthe wikipedia talks about the starting of the online encyclopedia and the difficulty to gaining access. there is a small community there, 10 really active users, another 30 that
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really know a little bit, and they start to think of themselves as a community. and an inside look at the year-long effort to repair the capitol dome. justice elena kagan flex on her life and career. >> than i did my senior thesis, which taught me an incredible amount, but it also taught me what it was like to be a serious historian and to sit in archives all day, every day. i realized it was not for me. >> followed by justice clarence thomas at 9:00. putting a twoot dollar idea in a $20 sentence. it is putting a $20 idea in a two dollars sentence without any loss of meaning. and an excuse of ceremony at the white house, president obama presents the medal of freedom, our nation's highest civilian award, 221 recipients -- to 21
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recipients including michael jordan and bill and melinda gates. >> ucla and harvard recently hosted their third annual food policy conference in los angeles. this year's theme was regulating food marketing to children. , part of the conference where we heard from law professors and public health experts. >> we are now going to give it and move from science to law. we are very fortunate to have three law professors who are at the top of their game today with us. , berkeley,g ucla harvard law school's, and led by our moderator jennifer pomeranz, who i will let introduced the panel. she is the clinical assistant
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professor at the college of public health at new york university. jennifer: thank you, michael. .e have a very exciting panel we will be getting into different legal issues, the first amendment and ftc authority and then specific policy options by stephen sugarman. we will start today with jacob gersen from -- i'm sorry, we will start with eugene volokh. he will be setting the framework for the first amendment and it is opportunities and restrictions on marketing, restricting food marketing to children. then we will go on to jacob gersen. he is professor at harvard law school. then stephen sugarman, professor at berkeley school of law. thank you.
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>> [inaudible] i am going to talk briefly about the first amendment issues are raised here and then i'm sure we will have lots of opportunities to discuss some of these legal questions in more detail in the q&a. 1975, 1976, the supreme court first concluded commercial advertising is constitutionally protected. it's interesting to see how the political valence on this has shifted. on the court and in some measure in the public as well. back then, it was very much a liberal cause page justice brennan was a major leader in this, soon to be joined by justice blackmun, who had been moving in a more liberal direction. justice marshall was usually on
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board. the moderates, powell and stewart, usually work, too. the bacon center was justice rehnquist. often, but not always joined by chief justice burger, o'connor, and sometimes justice white. flipped inissue has the court and among the public as well. generally speaking, the most frequent -- recent commercial speech case we have was the five conservatives and justice sotomayor a arguing in favor of broad protection. three justices arguing in protection of a narrow one. all of the justices basically from the left, ginsburg, brian, kagan. has -- excusee me, the legal rule has also changed over the years.
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in the mid-1970's, it looked like commercial speech would get a lot of protection. from the early 1980's to the mid to late 1980's, it looked like the court was retreating from that, chiefly driven by the conservative wing. since the 1990's, there has been more more protection for commercial speech. by commercial speech i mean commercial advertising. that is what that label means. it is not all speech sold in commerce. test seem togal remain what it was before, which is to be protected, commercial speech has to be not false, not misleading -- and their interesting questions what that means -- and not proposing an illegal transaction. once we propose the speech is true and proposes a legal transaction, the government can still restrict it if it has a substantial enough interest and the law directly advances that
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is no mored extensive than necessary to serve the interest. that is the formal legalese, and it tells us virtually nothing. what counts as substantial enough, and more to the point, what is more extensive than -- those arens legal terms that may sometimes help guide legal analysis but don't actually resolve problems before the court in any material way. the work is done by the precedents, by the particular holdings of cases, and the other doctrines announced at times, what counts as direct investments as such. here is where we can get more directly to the question of food marketing and then bring the question of food marketing to children. the most helpful way of articulating modern first amendment commercial advertising doctrine is that the government cannot restrict advertising
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because it is afraid that it's recipients will be persuaded to make foolish choices. int was the decision virginia pharmacy back in 1976. that is something the court retreated from in the 1980's, but one that too, and most forcefully in the 2000's and 2010. that is expressly stated by the court in the decision, and before that in the thompson decision. that is an important principle to keep in mind. if you look at this formal legal rule, you could say we have an interest in preventing people from drinking, let's say -- from drinking too much. and we want to completely ban alcohol advertising. would that directly advance the interest? you can talk about it but the actual working principle, the principle that is doing the job, is this other principle, which is you cannot restrict
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advertising for a legal product simply on the grounds that you are afraid the advertising will be too persuasive. you may require disclaimers. that is one way which commercial advertising is different from other kinds of speech. but you cannot ban it for fear that it will lead people to make decisions that are bad decisions. that is the general principle. of course, one question that arises with regards to general principles is are there exceptions for peoples whose judgment you don't trust? or you distrust the judgment of most people? one obvious category for that is children. it turns out the supreme court has never told us what kind of restrictions in advertising aimed at children are institutionally permissible. but it has mentioned two important things. one outside of the commercial advertising context but also outside of hike politics. his is in the context of video games. supreme court rejected the notion that the government has a
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materially free hand in restricting speech to children on the grounds that children don't know any better. instead, the court applies the same test for restriction on violent video games being sold to children as it would have applied restrictions by lynn videogames sold to adults. in principle, it was open to argument that they were just so dangerous and harmful, they ought to be restricted nonetheless. in principle, it is open even for adults. in practice, it may take different kinds of evidence. but the court found even the evidence of the children insufficient. it demanded very high level of proof that the majority of the find to beot adequate. interestingly, that decision was split in an interesting ideological way. the majority consisted of three liberals and two conservatives,
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and the dissent consisted of three conservatives and one liberal. the majority was justice scalia whoed by justice kennedy, had a long view on the court of first amendment protections generally. stevens, atburg, the time, and suter. the dissent was justice breyer from the left, chief justice .oberts, alito, and ro that is the context of commercial advertising. we also have from the court the decision where the court struck down -- a complicated case -- but for relevant purposes, struck down billboard advertising of tobacco. basically made it impossible to advertise tobacco in virtually any area of this jurisdiction.
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was, younale for it put it on a billboard as opposed to the pages of some adult magazine -- does not mean the same thing, a magazine aimed at adults. but of kids can see it, lots of adults can see it. you cannot restrict the speech available to adults in any broadway -- broad way simply to shield the children. that is something the court had developed before. it applied it to commercial advertising as well. that is an important point because a lot of the kinds of restrictions in advertising to children i have seen, whether it has to do with food, violent video games, and the like, you look at the restrictions in advertising to children and things like advertising in any medium were at least 35% of the audience is children.
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if 35% of the audience is children, 65% is adults. the court has strongly signaled that you can restrict speech to adults at least in a substantial enough way in order to shield the children. that is an issue that will have to be dealt with. how much is too much? hard to tell. what if it is an audience of 90% children and what if there is still lots of advertising that reaches adults? the court may say that is enough, that leaves enough channels to communicate to adults. but that is a legal issue. let me close with one other thing -- to other related things looming over this question. advertising of tobacco. tobacco is totally prohibited for children. on top of that, certainly, many people, fortunately -- i have always been one of them -- just completely issue tobacco -- esc
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hew tobacco altogether, particularly for their children. my feeling is very few people do that to sugar or white bread. maybe they should. but that is not where our culture is at, not where judges tend to be at. there, it seems to me, more than any other areas, the dose is the poison. you should not be guzzling gallon after gallon of coca-cola, but if you have it every so often, that is fine, so overall portfolio of eating is good enough. that, in fact, for many of the recipients, even for child recipients, this is not only legal but also maybe not harmful, and if the kids do but their parents, they will say, one bar, fine.
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we will control how many you have. but these are not the things that should be totally cut off. i relet people may have different views, but my sense of conventional wisdom -- let's say not just science but government-linked science having to do with food has not exactly covered itself in glory over the last 50 years. whether has to do with the food pyramid or the recurring questions about salt, questions about coffee, alcohol, a lot of things. there are certainly people who think that lovely looking donuts aremuffins out there actually pretty bad for you, and others would disagree. the bottom-line line is, this is something that affects judges. judges do not like the idea of the government playing the nanny, telling us not just what to do, but what to think and what to like by restricting what people can say to us.
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they are open in some measure to that when it comes to children because they do need nannies, but the suspicion is many people prefer the parents to be the nannies. but the market looks like this is not -- you should not be using crack cocaine, little doubt about that. but, well, people have different views. some people want more dessert, some people want less desert. we are not really sure how much is too much. the harder it will be to persuade judges what they would otherwise see as first amendment violations. [applause] >> thank you, eugene.
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our panel is a law panel. i think that means we are trying to address three questions. what are the sources of law for legal authority to address food marketing to kids? what kinds of legal tools or , at the state's disposal or at our collective disposal? and what are the restrictions on exercise of that authority? sources, mechanisms, restrictions. the professor has talked about some of the constitutional restrictions on the state's ability to regulate speech in general, and more to the point, commercial speech. i want to largely set those issues aside, no note, the state of the doctrine as such. the government does restrict commercial speech all the time without running afoul of constitutional limits. the question is in what context and in what ways is that constitutionally permissible? that is the background.
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now it is impossible to discuss this issue in this country, the agency, the federal government agency response to food advertising to kids without being in the shadow of the thatlled rulemakings occurred in the 1970's. it is fair to describe the aftermath even today for the federal trade commission as the kind of agency equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder. this was a bad period for the agency. they were engaging in rulemaking to address marketing to kids, largely on the part of health and hygiene. case,ly easy scientific foundation, and the political hullabaloo that resulted was the sky had collapsed. it culminated in the enactment of a statute.
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or in any substantially proceeding on the basis of a determination by the commission such as constituting an unfair act or rectus -- practice affecting congress. for those of us that study agencies and administrative law in general, this is rare. it is hard to get congress to do anything. to get congress to uniformly pass a statute telling the agency not to engage in the very thing they are doing happens, but it is not at all a norm. one conventional understanding of this statute is that it is a jurisdiction-stripping statute. so sometimes on we discussed the issue come it is said the ftc no longer has authority, no longer has authority to issue a rule or regulation addressing food advertising to kids.
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i think this is just incorrect and i want to say a quick word about why and particular are cicely the things the agency has legal authority to do, even if there is not political authority, legitimacy, or will to do so. as many of you know, administrative agencies like the ftc, fcc, fda, are restricted themselves by three sources of law. first, the constitution. if congress can undo it, then the agency cannot do it. the agency cannot run afoul of the constitution anymore than the congress or president can. second, so-called enabling, organic statutes. the ftc gives them authority and specifies what they do and how they may do it. third, the administrative procedure act, the bible for the bureaucracy, which contains a set of required procedures and
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mechanisms the agencies must use to do certain things. the apa classifies everything the agency does into two categories, rules and orders. means the whole or part of an agency's statement of general or particular applicability and future affect. a rulemaking is just the proceeding that must be used to issue a rule. order, the whole or part of a final disposition of an agency matter, in a matter on our that a rulemaking, that is to say, if it is not a rule or rulemaking, it is in order. an order results from an adjudication. you can imagine when the agency is making a general rule, they are acting like congress, making
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a general policy that has legal binding on the world. when they are issuing an order, they are acting like a court, consideringconsidering parties . usually in a backward looking way. rules and orders. yes, this is very exciting. [laughter] what did you learn today? well, mom -- [laughter] so what did you -- what does that mean? there is no issue to a new law law. unfair practice or but there are things they could reach 95% -- 90% of the goals. so for background and oversimplification, there are two basic doctrines. the fairness doctrine and the
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deception doctrine. that requires the conduct here, as it adds to kids is unfair and therefore illegal if it is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers, consumers cannot reasonably avoid it. by it is not outweighed offsetting benefits to consumers or competition. that is the basic unfairness. an ad or product claim label is deceptive if it is likely to mislead a reasonable consumer and the claim is material. so just looking at the statute, what can they do? they could issue a rule on food advertising to kids, not using the unfairness doctrine but using the deception doctrine. thoroughly allowed. secondly, they could issue a rule classifying food advertising to kids as unfair,
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using the unfairness doctrine, but using substantially different and presumably new and though there would shortly be litigation, the agency would get deference over whether substantially similar in the statute allows for or does not allow for the agency to do this. and we have supreme court preference on point now. third, the agency could issue a nonbinding guidance document. essentially announce it. theagency interprets deception policies to preclude advertising to children of a certain age or certain products. to be unfair and deceptive. legal force have no in itself but it turns out that when you are a federal agency with enforcement authority and you announce that, you think the statute requires this particular
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conduct, a lot of people start changing their conduct. i'm not a fan of this mechanism in general. on the record. but you know, i am honest. force, the agency could proceed through case-by-case adjudication. againstal actions individual advertisements to kids. urging, claiming, showing they are unfair or deceptive. we clearly still have that authority. and at first cut, the problem is that you go case-by-case, product byproducts, company by company. you get a cease and desist order. given the volume of advertisements and products we are talking about, it looks like an absurdist version of whack of mold. as though it is not surrealist to start. the only reason that might be wrong has to do with a weird bit
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of an administrative law doctrine. in the 1940's in litigation courting the fcc, the said if the agency has both rule-making authority and adjudication authority, which not all agencies do, they can announce general policy, binding general policy using other mechanisms. so agencies like the fcc regularly announced new general binding policy in the context of individual enforcements or adjudications. if the fcc, in an action against a single advertisement or company were to conclude an entire class of food advertising to kids was unfair, i think the conclusion either could be or would be binding, generally on other ads, parties and on the and the future. all of which is to say that agencies that had the lead on this issue historically have
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plenty of legal authority here. and what it lacks is political will or desire to utilize it. ok. lacking, as will is it understandably might read, what does law do? usually, we try to take advantage of the national desires or incentives of the regulated parties rather than fight them. it is hard to go around to tell companies to stop doing things that make them a bunch of money. presumably, they pushed back. so another thing we do is facilitate the process of companies suing each other, in order to stop these practices. one way to do that would ea statute. abouttatute is mostly trademarks but it turns out another provision says that protecting persons under aged in
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commerce against unfair opposition. it creates civil liability for anyone who, in commercial advertising or promotion misrepresents the nation, characteristics or geographic orgin of their goods services and another company's goods and services. and without going too far into that in detail, the idea is that if you make a false claim about a product in a commercial , where false doesn't mean false but it is misleading or confusing. and that statement has an in audienceto deceive the then there is liability. and you can sue. now this is not a citizen suit provision but competitors can sue. so you imagine lawsuits in which companies are suing each other
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for advertising to kids covered by the act, which would be a relatively straightforward legal case. and i think even i could win that case. and only people in this room will remember that it was an act like this that was at the issue of palm wonderful versus coca-cola. alleging that coca-cola's description of its project, a juice project, was deceptive and the supreme court said yes, that's fine. so it does something but it doesn't do everything. what else might we do? act allows for citizens to sue you and you do see class-action lawsuits for advertising campaigns that are confusing or dissent to or fraudulent in this way. upon ourthey depend
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the merits of the claim and the claims to of the start. so if a class aggregation system is working well than those suits remain viable. now what this leaves us with is a question about remedies. something is legally prohibited, the right question to ask is, what is the remedy? what is the remedy? what happens if i don't comply with the law? and in a lot of these cases will be talk about cease and desist orders, the remedy is that somebody says stop it. that is the remedy. tellkid misbehaves and we them to stop and faye stop. but that allows for recurrent misses of conduct you are trying to regulate and it is an inherent problem with that kind of legal remedy. not so damaging, frankly.
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when people pay for the injuries they cause, that system works pretty well. or at least, differently. in a similar vein, hopefully we can -- work it into the discussion later on. the other night, as i was working on this stuff, i was imagining, as i often do, a conversation between myself and marshall aliens. -- and martian aliens. laughter] i don't know. what do you want for me? childhood obesity is a huge problem that is devastating society and it has almost become the norm domestically and internationally. and we're pretty sure the problem is that kids eat a lot of food that is bad and not eating food that is good. aliens -- that sounds awful.
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what do you do about it? we are having a big political fight about it now. some people want to make it harder for companies to advertise to kids on tv and internet and others think advertisers should exercise self-restraint. -- so you are saying there is a really dangerous product out there that kids are putting into their bodies and the big fight is about whether to make it harder to talk about? the dangerous product? so you are talking about talking about the harmful product? on our planet, if something a systematic harm, our company allows them to sue. and we provide disclosure that it is dangerous. and when it is dangerous when used in the way that is provided by anticipated sellers then we just ban it.
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when conduct causes injury or a product causes injury, we try to regulate the conduct. conducttalk about the or discussions about the conduct. aliens -- good luck. i will close with this quick anecdote. my wife said as i was heading off to the conference, what is it about and i said it's great, it will be about food advertising to kids. she said isn't that a little narrow? and at first i got really defensive. [laughter] no, your narrow. i said, are you kidding? we aren't even able to make a dent between all the work in the legal issues, we won't get anywhere in a daylong conference. but i got a little less
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defensive, not until the plane right here but on the plane because i think it is narrow in some sense. because we are talking only about the way that we are allowing harmful and dangerous products to be advertised or marketed or talked about. and given the scope of advertisements we are seeing on tv, on the internet on games and in mobile apps, everywhere, i wonder if some of our attention might better be spent at next year's conference on the underlying products themselves. we know a lot. foods are goodch and bad for us and why. and maybe some of our attention should be spent on how to get more into the marketplace and them outes and some of of the marketplace and out of bodies, as well. thank you. [applause]
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>> i didn't pay jacob to set me up this way, but i would have, if he had asked. [laughter] several years ago, the government went after the tobacco industry for violating the racketeering act. an act aimed at the mafia, and they went after the cigarette companies and a judge found the actcco industry violated an which is a really serious charge. i think it was 10 years ago, she found that they violated it and she was stymied by her bosses and in the d.c. court of appeals as to what she could order as a remedy.
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so she decided to try to have them undo some of the bad things they did. terrible marketing. so they were going to have to publish all of these advertisements and so on showing how bad they had been and ask for forgiveness or something like that. and i don't think anything has happened. itsindustry carried on fight against this all these years. and i have to say i wrote at the time that it is interesting that she would focus on this as a remedy, as we just talked about what is the remedy, she had the power of absorbing the entire industry under the law although, it probably would have just been taken over by japan tobacco instead, but she could have put philip morris and reynolds and them out of business.
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donei said she should have was, she should have ordered the industry to reduce tobacco smoking prevalence rates by one third. that would arguably upset the horrible market practices they had. if we didn't have this practices, we would've had a third less smokers. so how about they reduce the damage? this is what i will talk to you in a moment about with what i think we should do with respect to current food advertising to kids. i didn't do the kind of serious morning that the early speakers did. i did my own kind of research. acarefully, on a promise of two dollar reward, cross examined my seven-year-old granddaughter. and i asked her whether or not she watches television and she does look at ipads and so on and does she know anything about
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junk food products. and sure enough, to my surprise, she knew about always terrible products that we have heard about this morning. but as far as i can tell, she doesn't eat the products. but what i've learned is that it doesn't really matter. she is eating equally bad other stuff that she gets inside you to eat that is bad. watching commercials. so i now know that when i go shopping with her to the berkeley bowl and she asks us to buy her ice cream filled japanese ice cream which is caused by bad food advertisement she has the watching on television, i didn't realize that. so it is clear that there is a to of call now for us having do something about the avalanche of advertisements. it is sickening to see them. calls from public health
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leaders, like a number of the speakers here today, and what eugene said is overwhelming. not toe to be careful cast this as the nanny state. we you know better will use triesment and then repair that as being a nanny state. i think it is much better to say that it is parents your demanding these changes. parents want to be empowered to control their kids lives in some respects. , whyust like we say that do we not allow people to sell cigarettes to people under 18 or to sell alcohol, it is because parents don't want their kids to have this stuff sold to them and realistically they can't be affected to follow their high school kids around all the time. and so we pass a law saying that you can't sell this stuff to them. it empowers us to get where we want. to mature expose them
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and exposure to alcohol, we can do it but we don't want you. we want the government to help us as parents to be better parents. and i think this is how we ought to put it here. they want help. not to tell parents what we should do but the question is, what do we want as parents? and i think what we want is to with this and to be able to make better choices. we want to be empowered to have our children to actually eat healthier meals. i think there is a big difference there. on focus should not be combating the marketing. the focus should be on the ultimate goal, having kids eat in a more healthy way. that is what we should look at. so i think what we are to do wavesponse to this title
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of junk food marketing to kids is to enact rules that parents would want, which will lead us to have substantially healthier eating by our children, by requiring our food retailers to sell less junk food that is eating my kids. you have to imagine this. the way to think about this is to think about the climate change strategy that we have which is called about cap and trade. forget about the trade for the moment. basically, the cap says that you have to have less carbon emissions. that's it. every year, less and less. lower the cap lower and lower down. for automobileme gasoline. every year you have to increase the amount of miles per gallon your fleet gets.
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inse are strategies which less than of industry to do what but withint government constraints. you guys figure out how to make the cars work at better miles per gallon. you are better at that than us. follow these rules. you figure out with public utilities had to have less carbon. you have to have less and you figure it out. upon the outcomes. that is what we are aiming at. i've been saying this for a while now. we should say to the food industry, the retailers, by which i mean the walmarts and the safeway's, the cost goes and chainsood supermarket and restaurant retailers in a , you have tohare reduce the amount of junk food that you sell let his eat my kids. that is what you have to do.
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demands regulation could these kinds of changes over time. so for example, a firm like walmart might have to be faced with the reality that for the next five years, every year, they have to reduce that by 5%, the amount of food they sell that is junk food and is consumed by children. so maybe it is five years or seven years, a 25% reduction in the amount of junk food they sell that is eaten by kids. and their competitors would have similar targets, although not exactly the same targets. we would measure how much junk , howgets eaten by kids much is sold by them now. and the ones who have done a better job and you have a healthier package or blend of foods would have lower reduction begets and they would
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rewarded for selling healthier food now. and the ones that have worse records now would have higher targets. and this would also have the effect of, over time, more of a coalescence towards the same through all this change as you how much they would sell of their product. that would be junk food eaten by kids. time, we an amount of would do a domestic reduction in the american diet by having a dramatic change in the amount of junk food that is actually sold that is consumed by children. respond to way to the avalanche that we have heard , this title wave of advertising of this kind of objectionable food to children. -- this isn't difficult to determine. with barcode technology, once we
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agree upon -- we can decide. and what are the bad foods? what are the bad foods that will be labeled junk food and we do have to get an agreement on that but we will figure out what that is and will have the agreement and then we say ok, that's it. those are the ones you have to reduce. and it will be embedded in the barcodes. and that will be measured. and the firm's well-known exactly what they are selling and so on. and walmart would be great at this. they're smart and they know how to run their business well. they could easily figure this out in sensible ways about how to change the mix of what they sell. they would have an annual reduction to meet their quota. -- if wef we reduce reintroduce the cap, they might be able to reduce it more than their target and if safeway is lousy, they could sell their an netto safeway and get
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industry reduction to meet our national goals of let's say 25% reduction. now, and taco bell and garden andand all of these food retailers and restaurants would have the same kind of targets for them as well. imagine aeven potential safe harbor strategy that if walmart's goal turned out to be 5% a year for junk food turned to kids, if they reduce by 6% a year the amount wejunk food they sold total, automatically deem them as qualifying for reducing the amount they sold to kids without having to monitor whether it is children's eating reduction or adult as well as children. then my be a good proxy. and it would be good for adults as well. to have less consumption of this
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food. now, how would they do this? this is theme that point. they would figure it out. the business would be good at this. there are lots of things they could do. walmart could introduce new products that are much healthier. they can eliminate them from their stores. junk food products that they no longer need to sell. they could get their suppliers to reformulate the products in ways that we have heard about already this morning. they could change the package size. they get package sizing differently. they could get the portion size different. they could engage in marketing changes. they could change where they are positioned in the store. they could change where they advertise when they start advertising healthier things. there are a million things they could do and they would figure
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it out. ofy could change the prices things. raising prices on junk food that they have an lowering prices of junk food. there are all sorts of combinations of things and they figure out what is the best way --do this so they get consumers might be relatively unaware of the fact that at the end of the year, they took home market baskets, shopping baskets of food products for them and their family that were healthier. because these are small changes. small changes incrementally are substantial. substantial changes. i don't see any legal problems. in a way, this is and where you run into first amendment objections. because it isn't hugging it onto individual market conditions. i don't see any other constitutional movements. indeed, states like california, texas, florida, they could potentially try this out on their own.
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hawaii is a nice example. i don't think rhode island should do this. because people that might go shopping -- connecticut in said? that i do think a big state could try this out as an experiment and it would be fascinating to see. the federal government might try to encourage such a thing. i think thisat kind of change could have an unbelievably bigger impact than simply eliminating junk food marketing to kids. because one of the problems with eliminating the junk food that we are kids is ready have a whole generation that is saturated. this way we could have a more direct, short-term way. and if we decided 25% wasn't enough then we could potentially ask for more. two more things and then i will stop.
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that, that it is possible let's take the example of walmart. 20% of all the food retail that is sold in regular supermarket type stores. that they may find that they could take the reductions, these reductions in ink food, disproportionally stores of theirs located in higher income neighborhoods. that would be bad. if that turned out to be the case. i actually doubt it. i think the biggest gains would way they sell items in stores in lower income neighborhoods but we would have to be concerned about that. we don't want public utilities to make the nicer plants in areas where richer people live and leave the dirty plants where poorer people live.
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so it is combative and we have learned how to deal with this. we could divide walmart stores into two groups. and one group with lower income customers and higher income customers, they would have equal goals and meet goals in equal communities. is a concern but a concern that could be easily resolved. that, what is a political prospects? it sounds like such a dramatic change. 25% oflmart to lose their junk food sales 80 by kids. what are the political prospects of this? they seem to be daunting but it is all compared to what? ,s long as the rest of you are my colleague is talking this like ann, she is unbelievable swarm of bees at the industry.
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stinging the industry. death by a thousand cuts. as long as we are after them, the thing is that the industry wants to carry out and make profits. they are constantly under attack from a million different new regulations that they are subjected to. you know what? they might find my solution much to get rid of the micromanaging of what we do. we want to sell our products. ,nd as long as they are legal we can quit telling them all this stuff. they could say ok, we will cut down the bottom line. we can live with that. but don't give us all of the other stuff. kind of find this option more attractive to them.
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and i think that is a possibility. so i urge the rest of you to go after them. i need you as a shadow that i have to operate under. that i think it is a possibility. anyway, that is the way i think. i view this as a response to the advertising problem but not a response -- this is why responded to what jacob said at the end, it isn't a response to the advertising. what we, as gets us parents, actually want. healthier eating by our children. thank you. [applause] you so much. what a great panel. we will have time for some questions and there are two microphones rolling around. i have two clarifying questions i would like to ask first. cases you line of
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didn't talk about are the attorney advertising cases. the supreme court is particularly harsh on attorneys and their theories that they are trained in the art of persuasion, which is exactly what the marketers are. could you talk about that? >> sure. constitutionally protected. there has been a long-standing tradition that his missing in in advertising of food and fact, it was not only something that was very broad, it was deeply embedded in the legal profession. and you would think if there was any type of regulation than the justices would be particularly that they, regulation are lawyers had propagated. and then it became a class issue. if for whatever reason you were allowed to advertise and you did that, you were very low class. despite that, the civil court has uniformly held, well, the
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one exception is the florida bar which is a weird anomaly but near uniformly held that attorney advertising is constitutionally protected. i did mention that misleading advertising can be restricted. the supreme court has recognized that anything could be labeled misleading. so there are boundaries to that. if somebody says that they guarantee results, you can't lie. no lawyer can do that. and there are limits to the ways that lawyers can betray themselves and there are result in particular cases that suggest that will end up being a nearly certain result in your case. but beyond that, lawyer advertising is constitutionally protected. and so applied this to other advertising. look, if somebody said that this serial is fantastically good for
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you. this serial all and is much lower in sugar than other cereals and it turns out that it is false, if it turns out that it is lower in sugar but hiring corn syrup then yes, that is certainly be restricted. that i take it that is not the advertising that really hooks the kids. no kid would want to buy a serial for this reason. this is delicious, it is a statement but it could be true. if it was bad for you and it tasted bad for you, nobody would eat them. >> thank you. for jacob, youon mentioned an administrator procedure act rule-making authority but my understanding is that the ftc has a different rulemaking authority that would take a 10 year time? could you talk to that?
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i don't think there is a temporal specification of the rulemaking. >> i meant historically. >> they could be very involved. it could take three years or eight-10 years. sometimes three months. laughter] >> i don't know why the rest of you didn't laugh at that. and the pace overall, we have done some work on this. sometimes it is quite long and other rules it can be quite short. idea out there that for an agency to do anything, it takes a decade. and what a waste of time but that is just not true. it turns out that is not true. even once you factor in litigation. it is the case that with higher profile and higher controversy matters involving many more players and parties who care,
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the participants who would want subsequently and challenged litigation, it goes up, no question. take away from the talk isn't that i champion or expect a federal agency to solve this issue. i do not. i think there is legal authority to do so. and we should understand that as part of the overall context in which we are operating. >> thank you. are there questions from the audience? there is a microphone coming your way. a question for jacob. for those of us who prosecute false advertising by large companies, what do you see in your current research as some current issues that might be right for prosecution i energetic state level prosecutors? for example, the mounting evidence against sugar as contributing to chronic diseases and -- do you have a wish list
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of what some state level prosecutors could go after? >> the short answer is no. already.ists if you look at the litigation in the california courts right now, it will cover probably 90% of the things i could imagine to companies for false advertising or labeling or unfair product claims. it is true in some other states but it is clearly happening here. no those are primarily civil suits. to be clear. depending on state laws, they could be. law as know that body of well. but between new york and a handful of other states, we have seen a massive influx of class action attorneys into this area. my view is that they have not yet found a theory that will get them home that they are trying everything you could imagine.
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or two be shocked if one of these cases and subsequent ones don't come back. but overall, to this point, i would say they have not been wildly successful. what might change that is if a company hadn't withheld information. for example, the tobacco and issue or sometion other like ingredient, that might really sway whether there is a legal element but really, i am speculating. >> i wanted to ask you a follow-up question to that. are lots of advertisers out there of all sorts. but let's assume that there were no advertisements that would be considered misleading under the definition of misleading which a judge would accept. which is somebody lying or suggesting something that would
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sound? and therefore, let's say that all the promoters of junk food couldn't downplay. sugar.t downplay their i'm natural how much that means to a 14-year-old but what if they started saying yes? lot of delicious sugar. what practical effect you think that would have on consumption? do you think that would change the habits of kids in a way that would lead them to consume less sugar? >> the short answer is i'm not sure. that we can find out. one of the things i should mention is that -- who is in the government survey and i are doing a food survey where we do a lot of experiments with labeling. in we ask about changes
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perception or the underlying product and report behavior. so when we see the grams of sugar, what effect does that have? when we add the daily percentage amount of sugar in there, what effect does that have? results are coming back. -- let's just say, it is preliminary. we should reason speculate. we should answer that question. if it turns out that a claim ,ike that that is truthful would opt out of the fraudulent claim, it could be deceptive truth but if it is a truthful ask, and i'm taking your knots adjusting it does or does not allow for legal claim against the company but we want to know what effect that would have on the consumption by kids. -- peopleicion is
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talk about misleading things. there are some generally misleading claims out there. my suspicion is that a lot of what is going after this is that the fed says, if only we could get people to know the truth and they would say oh, there's all i don't want that. but the reality is, some people are exaggerating the degree to when people know the truth, they will change their habits. and i feel like this could be suppressing this as a way of trying to persuade judges. saying, you can shoehorn this. >> the latter may happen. the former on the data that we a significant difference in sugar across two
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identical products significantly ability toonsumers purchase. that islly, u.k. mars, an advertising campaign they are doing. so maybe someone is analyzing that. i would like to talk to the ag later. >> hi, i am from loyola law school. i'm wondering about the role of tax proposals with several of the problems we have discussed. if one of the problems is , is veryto marketing tax proposal we could make? we could extend the time over which marketing expenses are deductible? there currently deductible full in the year in which it is occurred whereas other investments and income producing assets have to be capitalized
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and deducted over 15 years. so short of eliminating the deduction, we could increase the amount of time over which marketing expenses are deductible, thereby increasing the prices of marketing which would reduce exposure. we can also make a tax proposal encourage reformulation of products. we could tax unhealthy foods, not just sewed up. and we could provide subsidies to healthier foods. to encourage reformulation. and of course, we do have to start with some type of classification system. so to avoid problems with our cross-border transactions, i think we need a federal system of food classification. something like front of package labeling. so i'm wondering what the panelists see as the role of tax and regulating in opposed to command-and-control regulation.
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>> i think the policy panel will be talking about tax. >> also, there was a bill about taking away the tax to duct ability of the marketing of unhealthy food. >> i will say that it doesn't avoid the constitutional question. taxing speech, precisely because you want to have less of removing a tax exemption that is generally available to , i can't gives you all the details but usually the things you do to sell something is tax-deductible so if you remove that precisely that,e you want to have it may be a constitutionally permissible speech for other reasons but there have been attempts to read cap restrictions as taxation and they were turned down.
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take the microphone if you would like to respond. >> sorry, ok. to eliminates not the deduction, because i think that sort of objection could be raised because business expenses generally are deductible. to put marketing expenses on exactly the same footing as the deductibility of other legitimate business capital that produce a asset. something with value beyond the close of the current tax year. under current law, the deductibility of marketing expenses is tremendously tax toored, relative to expenses create capital assets. originally, marketing was deductible because we are talking about the cost of placing a newspaper advertisement saying "sale this
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saturday." new, -- now it is for advertising. so it should be amortized that the deductibility increases the price of the marketing. so i'm not talking about eliminating the deduction. i'm talking about reducing the tax savings and present value for the expenditures by increasing and amount of time over which it is deductible, which is consistent with all which haveal assets to be amortized. >> i have thought that one suggestion in the alternative of -- look, this is a common issue. you can sometimes characterize the same thing in two different ways. there are plausible arguments which is why advertising could be seen as ordinary expenses but it also is supposed to bring
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about more sales tomorrow in the same way that is the way more salesman may do it for other businesses. it is an interesting question. to what extent legislative purposes make a difference in constitutional claims, there is information in a case law. but when a judge looks at this and says, you know, this wasn't part of an overall attempt to rationalize the standards of -- the treatment of capital investment, it looks to me like somebody was trying to suppress speech that they don't like or to have less speech that they don't like so they found this lover, my sense is that the judge will pay attention to that. but it is true better for some reason this was always a departure from basic tax logic and just now we happen to discover this and now we are going to return to this underlying tax logic then maybe.
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sure. >> a question up, can someone bring the microphone? >> i think the tax proposal is very clever. it is a good idea on its own merit. but i take it would apply to all not just speech advertising and it would also apply to all products, not just junk food. so then you run into a lot of other political components of it. not just the food industry. it sounds right to me as an economic man. it would change the nature of marketing. and i don't think it would be just speech advertising. >> you're right. the broader idea, if it applies to all marketing then sure. i was assuming it wouldn't be so because it would be pretty
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difficult. >> speaking of difficult political challenges, i'm not sure how you could get that kind of legislation passed of having a cap, if not trade, regarding junk food marketing to kids. also, use adjusted that it might be an alternative to the thousand bees that marlene is going to stick on the food industry. they are not mutually exclusive. and we have an interesting that isof something happening voluntarily along the lines of what you are saying. in the soft drink industry, where the soft drink companies just set a goal of a 20% reduction in calories that they sell, by 2025. in britain they have a quicker schedule of reductions.
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it might be 25% by 2020. and last week, seco announced that it was going to change, on top of that, a voluntary reduction, stable aim to have three fourths of their beverages under 100 calories per soda. so in a way, there is voluntary movement in the direction you are suggesting. haven't seen the candy industry and i'm not sure what other products you would consider junk food but at least there is something along those lines. >> let's note that when we say voluntary's guidelines, we don't ever mean that. there is no voluntary standard adopted. there is a standard adopted by private industry or private parties in the shadow of
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government regulation. and the question is, what is the thread on the other side if parties decide to participate in a scheme with particular standards. and what the government will and won't do is what the public is talking about. but to think of this as a voluntary is not entirely right. the more people that would get behind my proposal, the more -- weld have voluntary know that the industry did agree to reduce the amount -- the processed food industry agreed to reduce the amount of calories they sell and they have more than exceeded their goals. it turns out that they probably didn't change anything because they were headed on that trajectory anyway but nonetheless, i think this is right. getepsi would agree to
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three quarters of their beverages under 100 calories but they also said three quarters of the sales then i would be more excited. but anyway, that is good. this also reflects the idea of letting them decide what their tactic is and what their range of products are. if they can meet these goals, we ought to be excited about them. and marlene will still unleash her thousand bees and say it is not fast enough. and i think appropriate. i want to ask you, are you coming for my steak? people atat a lot of sign the room suspect is going on. there is talk of restricting advertising for children and it sounds impressive because children don't know any better and maybe we should. is, are the suspicion we after banning them? them seem to say that.
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maybe that suspicion is something. and as i understand it, your proposal says that maybe walmart would have to restrict what is being sold to children but, you know, the person who consumes more junk food in my household is my wife who is an adult who knows what she is doing. she would be healthier if she a little bit for lay but she is choosing to enjoy life in that particular way. my sense is your proposal would interfere with her ability to do that. and of course it is just junk but and we all know better the suspicion of others and that it starts with doritos and then the steak and then other things. so when you talk about political problems, a lot of people have
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political reactions because they feel that they know where this is heading. and where this is heading is a pervasive attempt to change, through restrictions, to making it much harder for it not just children but also for adults to eat what we want to eat and make unhealthy choices that we want to make. now, tell me that is not where it is going? >> is going there. it is supposed to be going there. but no individual choice is being prevented. -- she has to change could get it at walmart. but walmart would know -- >> well that is one of the criticisms of my proposal. that a lot of the people who are the most unhealthy would continue to eat more healthily and others would eat a lot less. if you could reduce the national points,essure by five
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you would have a huge population even though people with high blood pressure might not get a bid -- might not get a big reduction, but it's the same thing here. you try to lead individual freedom as much as you can. that is what we are trying to achieve. have a national dietary gain. to have ant population effect on society as a whole. and lead people individually so that they have the freedoms to do. to get down to zero would be ridiculous and really bad. i concede. guilty. >> i'm happy to hear. hear you are trying to leave people some freedoms.
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i'm sure people will be really satisfied by that. thean i take a question all way in the very back, does she still have a question? >> going back to the discussion about unfair and deceptive advertising claims under the act or the consumer protection statutes, are there reasonable standards over whether this is likely to deceive a consumer? this whole conference seems to be focused on kids and the special vulnerabilities of children and advertising targets for them. so is the reason consumer adult,ds are based on an do we need a new legal framework? or is what is in that framework, can we deal with segments of consumers and my second question is, in terms of injury, if the parents are doing most of the how, from ahen legal standpoint, are we going
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to protect children and their interests when they don't actually make a purchase? >> really good and challenging questions. the first, in this area of the law and other areas of the law, when we think about a reasonable person or consumer, the first thing we have to do is we areout what class pulling the reasonable person from. sometimes it is a narrow class and sometimes it is broad. all consumers are people in the market. so in different contexts and statutes and cases, i could easily imagine that i think the courts have focused on a reasonable kid or teenager and then it is different. so i don't think it is an insurmountable problem. you arextent that focused on one class of individuals and are not harnessed on another, that is
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not going to work. , ah respect to the injury way of talking about the scenario you describe is one of third-party intervenors. there is a person who did something and another person in the chain and then the person who got injured. and when we are asking about is, permissible set of causes? how do we think about causes in that scenario? say ifn the law, we there is a third-party intervenor, there is a break in the causation. if you do something wrong but another person comes in and does something in between that, then you are not responsible. that sometimes. so the question is, when are we going to describe an injury as having been causally linked? and i think most people i talked about this think that it may be a little crazy to say that the
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advertising for that product caused this injury. this obesity or blood pressure or health effect. right on the law. on the other hand, if that didn't cause that conduct, they wouldn't spend billions of dollars advertising. you are generating exactly the behavioral response that it is intended to be generated. and it results in exactly the predictable injury or harm. ought weestion is what do with the chain of causation? i don't mean to say it is an easy question for the law, it's not. but i don't think it is easy on the other side, either. >> can i ask? of --c did have a history wonder bread serial and vitamins. thehey do recognize that marketing is addressing the vulnerability of a child even though adults are likely purchasing a product.
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i think we're out of time? thank you of time but so much to our panelists. [applause] >> we go live to c-span2 the national press club, this is an , d c, whereshington we hear from epa administrator gina mccarthy. she talks about the environmental and public health legacy of the obama administration and efforts to fight climate change. >> you can follow the action on npclive.using the # now it is time to deduce our guests. stand briefly as your name is announced. please hold your applause until i'm finished introducing the entire table.
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elizabeth mcgowan. bill loveless. chief of staff at the epa. emily holden. naughty.n a usa today. eu news.r at melissa burke. a reporter at cq roll call. i messed that up. jack williams. thank you all.
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[applause] epa administrator jackson of our current day was last at this podium in september 2013 to unveil the obama administration's opening bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. those rules curb emissions from power plants, a precursor of the clean power plan issued in 2015, which was designed to reduce carbon emissions are u.s. power bynts 32% below 2005 levels 2030. the clean power plan is america's chief commitment to the world in pursuit of achieving the paris accords goals two, global warming. but the fate of that, as well as many others issued by the epa are uncertain following the election to a president-elect donald trump has called climate change a hoax and has vowed to roll back federal regulations seen as crippling to u.s. businesses. during her tenure, mccarthy has been in the crosshairs of
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republican members of congress and the fossil fuel industry for her perceived leadership over the so-called war on coal. but if you asked kerr, mccarthy would say that her critics have been wrong. her job is to protect the health of americans not just from air and water pollution, but from things such as carbon monoxide, methane, lead, and others. mccarthy remains resolute in the epa mission. in a memo to her staff just after election day, she said, we are running, not walking to the finish line of president obama's presidency. about whatearn more she has in mind and what her expectations are that those efforts will stand up to expected challenges. please welcome epa administrator gina mccarthy. [applause] >> thank you for your remarks.
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i think you probably gave mine as well. [applause] that is great. thank you, everybody, at the national press club for welcoming me back again. it's great to be here. a few of you may be old enough remember -- i am certainly not -- but there was a time when congress passed a law with unanimous vote in the senate and only one nay vote in the house. i will give you a hint, it was not the renaming of a post office. it was actually the clean air act of 1970. it was an historic law that was signed by a republican president , and it was a global turning point. the clean air act was actually passed in response to a changing world. it sought to build this country , and toook forward
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consider how our actions would impact people that we may never know, or that we may ever see ourselves. today, times are different. but the nature of change has not changed. the world continues to be in motion and it will continue changing regardless of the few who choose not to acknowledge it. while the world continues to mission continues to endure. our mission is to protect public health and to safeguard the precious natural resources that we all need to survive and to thrive. our task is timeless. .t is nonpartisan it is essential to every single life. we cannot pursue liberty or happiness without clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. we cannot neglect to continue to support those hard-working
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americans who get up every morning, they get their kids to school, they take extra class, or they pick up an extra shift, and remember that the last thing that they actually want to do is listen to the rank or that too often characterizes our politics -- rancor that too often characterizes our politics. with what weed up hear from washington, but that does not mean that they do not care about what we do and do not do. care about clean air and water, fishable rivers and streams, safe places to live, work, and play. every one of those hard-working americans cares about having food that is free of harmful pesticides. how about products that are free of harmful toxics? in kidseighborhoods
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future, free from the day birds of climate change. epa is here because the american people demanded it. we will be here because they continue to demand it, because we stand between pollution and our people. we have made incredible progress over the past five decades. visiblen today is less than it was in the good old days when i grew up, when smokestacks spewed black clouds and rivers caught on fire, but people expect us to deal with the pollution that they can no longer see, like air pollution that travels into our country or scoots across the states, or chemicals present in our drinking water that nobody can articulate the name of because it is way too long to figure out. people expect us to do our jobs using the best science and research to define not only the challenges but the solutions.
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people expect us to understand and use change as a catalyst for growth and prosperity. if we do not, if we place rancor over action, if we betray the people who put us here, if we stubbornly deny the science and the change that is happening around us, we will fall victim to our own paralysis. isence tells us that there no bigger threat to american progress and prosperity than the threat of global climate change. if you take absolutely nothing else from my speech today, take this. global cleana energy future has already left the station. so we have a choice. we can choose to get on board and actually provide leadership, or we can choose to be left behind to stand stubbornly
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still. when presented with that choice, president obama chose leadership . he chose action. he chose a calculated investment in our collective future. president obama recognizes that the inevitability of our clean energy future is bigger than any one person or any one nation. faxed today paint a very clear picture. climate change is among the most significant public health, economic, and security challenges that we have ever faced as a nation, or as a world. and under his administration, with an economic recession, the likes which we have never seen since 1930, he had the foresight to invest in solar and wind and clean energy and clean auto manufacturing, to set a course for strong domestic action,
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positioning the u.s. to actually lead the way to securing an historic international agreement. and he was right. the paris agreement was negotiation, and it is now in full force. and epa will continue to be essential to cutting carbon pollution in the united states and making good on our global leadership. we set greenhouse gas standards for cars and trucks that/carbon pollution and save money for people at the pump. while it boosted the auto ,ndustry from near bankruptcy to increases in both sales and jobs here in the united states. we set methane standards for landfills. no oil and gas production units. we are gathering the data nexus area set standards on existing ones. we helped a broker and historic -- two historic international
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agreements to lower carbon emissions from aircraft. and something else that i am incredibly proud of, we have led the united states delegation that successfully amended the montreal protocol, an international agreement to reduce hydrofluorocarbons. they are highly potent greenhouse gases. in this one agreement, in and of itself, will avoid up to 80 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases missions. folks, that is equivalent to 10 years of u.s. omissions. and the businesses like it. they were pushing for it, they celebrated in the end and once we got it over the finish line. of course, we took historic action to set sensible carbon pollution limits at our largest stationary sources, our power plants, which we call the clean power plant. i have heard some people talk about epa's clean power plan
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like it is the driving force kind this country's transition to clean energy. in the reality, those folks give us too much credit. the cpp was designed to follow the clean energy transition that was already underway. the one that the energy market depends on and the one that the energy market will continue to demand. just look at where the u.s. energy sector is now. in 2014 alone, clean energy investment increased by 14%, that is five times greater growth than the rest of the u.s. economy. u.s. power plant co2 emissions in 2015 were about 24% below 2005 levels. already well on the way to the 2030 targets.
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2015 admissions were about the first-year cpp's goal in 2022, in 2015. that is seven years ahead of schedule. 24 states have lower emissions in 2015 than the 2020 annual goal. the first year of compliance in the cpp, including states like ohio, north carolina, pennsylvania, and south dakota. energyenergy -- the information agency estimates 17% of new energy capacity expected to come online in 2016 will actually be zero imaging. mostly solar and wind. so folks, clearly, there is more going on in our world and our cangy sector than the cpp account for. i am really not trying to say is not important.
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you know that. i love it. i think it is great. were totruth is, if i stand here and explain the significance and virtues of the clean power plan, it would keep you here for quite a lengthy period of time and i cannot fit it into a soundbite. it certainly does not fit into a tweet. i have tried it. i know. [laughter] i truly believe, guided by president obama's deliberate vision, that history will show that the clean power plan marked a turning point in american climate leadership, a point where our country stepped up to the plate and delivered, and the rest of the world followed us. it is a sign of u.s. commitment, a market signal to investors and bringsors, and that stability and certainty to the energy sector and to the world. but the global transition to a low carbon economy is much more than anyone regulation, the
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energy market, and the commitment of the private sector is what is driving and will continue to drive this inevitable journey. and that journey is consistent with virtually every nation's understanding of climate science , and our obligation to protect our children's futures. we are in a spectacularly different place today than we were when president obama took office. before developing countries would point a finger at us. now they are wondering if the u.s. will turn its back on science and be left behind. that is the choice that we face. , thee president said inevitability of our clean energy future is again bigger than any one person or nation and must be guided by a simple but profound truth. we don't have to choose between the economy or environment.
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folks, we can and must choose both. the truth has been the foundation of all of the progress that we have made at epa. this truth. we have a track record to show for it. over the past eight years, under president obama's leadership, we have taken tremendous strides forward in economic growth. years of economic expansion and a record increase in median incomes. at the same time, we have made incredible progress in cutting pollution and protecting public health. and at the same time, this president has understood and stood up and said so clearly that a clean, healthy , itronment is not a luxury is not windowdressing. it is a right. it is the foundation of our economy and our lives.
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our work to cut pollution must always focus not only on what the nation needs as a whole, but also on those who have been disproportionately hurt, thatvantaged communities bear the burden of environmental injustice. in the past eight years, we have paid attention not only to our national challenges but our ability and willingness and effort to partner with our states, local communities, and tribes. we set measurable, common sense standards. let me tell you about a few of them. we have reduced mercury emissions from power plants and protected more people from harmful levels of ozone and particulate matter in our era. we have lower sulfur content in fuels and pollution from our cars. we have made a states accountable for harmful levels of air pollution that they send
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downwind. we have required fence line monitors around refineries. we have made progress in cleaning up our ports. we have clarified the jurisdictional boundaries of the clean air act. 40 years of work we finally did it. effluent fromic power plants, set new standards for the management of coal ash. we provided farmworkers with the same levels of protection that other workers have enjoyed for many years. and we made progress in ,estoring iconic water bodies like the precious chesapeake bay, and the great lakes. and we have made sure that the standards are met with enforcement that puts people first, like the deepwater horizon spill settlement that provided $20 billion to restore and protect the gulf. or the volkswagen settlement
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that ensures $14 billion to compensate consumers, to reduce pollution, and to invest in an infrastructure for zero imaging vehicles. and we have leveraged the power of information to broaden and empower our environmental enterprise in this country through programs like energy star, water sense, safer choice. they empower consumers to grow demand as well as the market for greener products. through their purchases. are tools that you can use to get in the game, folks, to protect yourself, to actually make a difference in your own lives, and the difference in your neighbor's lives. we have tools like our climate adaptation resource center, the green infrastructure wizard. these are things that help communities and businesses
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understand how they can protect themselves and find the least cost and most effective way to become an environmental steward. we unlock the power of citizen science to help us protect more people using people power, not money. transparent, readily accessible information, new monitoring technologies, like our cool village green bench. go sit on one. air monitor,s an so people can see what their local air quality looks like. there are cameras that we are sharing with states and communities that can literally see pollution that otherwise would be invisible, like leaks from storage tanks that are still just as dangerous as those smokestacks spewing out black smoke be we have deepened the focus on vulnerable communities that have been left behind.
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through our work with crimes, we are -- tribes, we are recognizing treaties in the work we are doing. in our work looking ahead, such plan, or our efforts which have been so successful, where we have collaborated with other federal partners to support communities and their effort to become more sustainable, like our local food, local places. and we have increased our attention on drinking water. lessons learned in flint are being shared across this nation, so we can better prepare to finish the job on addressing legacy contaminants. we can face the new ones and we can fix our aging infrastructure. doing more, doing better, that is the epa's constant aspiration. it is also the nature of our democracy.
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we made progress using science and the law. and we continued to be responsive to change. we do not oppose it. that is how epa was born. that is how our mission will exist far beyond the bounds of electoral cycles. because at its core, epa embraces the american ideal, e pluribus unum. of many come one. because pollution and health risks do not discriminate, and we, like this nation, will always be a place where we draw strength from our differences. and under this president's watch, we have engaged more americans than ever in the work we do. millions have informed our .limate rules and vast majorities simply want us to protect them and their children's future by following real science in the law.
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havers of every color banded together to ensure their voices are heard and leaders of all faith have come into epa and beyond speaking about our moral obligation to take climate action. the stork and african-american -- historic and african-american voices are speaking up. they are reminding us that they are way too often the ones at risk when we fail to act appropriately. businesses big and small are making the risks of an action very clear and calling attention to the opportunities that are sitting in front of us to boost our economy and create new sectors of jobs. epa has listened to those voices . i am so proud of the work we have done to reach a more diverse constituency, to make epa more accessible, to make it a place where more voices can be .eard, and make a difference
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where communities concerned about their health and businesses concerned about their operations are welcomed into the decision process, to work with us and in hand. i know there is a lot of anxiety these days, but i'm very hopeful for the future for a few reasons. let me articulate them. well i done its job and the environmental enterprise has never been more effective. we have energize the american people who will demand not only clean air and water for their children, they will demand a stable planet as well. we have created the kind of residents that motivates a generation of young people, a familiar movement that resembles times past, when millions of voices standing up and speaking out, that is what change the country's trajectory, and that
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is what is going to keep us moving toward a low carbon future. i am hopeful because, in 2016, ont this year, a bill passed a voice vote in the senate and in the house with only 12 nay vo tes. can you believe it? it was an environmental bill. it was not the naming of a post office. it was bailout number chemical safety act. that is the first update to an environmental statute in 20 years. congress overwhelmingly came -- toer -- this congress give the epa more authority to protect the american people from dangerous chemicals bit when he signed the bill into law, president obama said "this is proof that here in washington, things can work. it is possible. "
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we can keep family safe and unleash the engine of american innovation. if we can get this bill done, it means somewhere out there on the horizon we can make our politics less toxic as well. i think president obama was right, although we may have ways to go on his last point. but we can make things work in washington, if we choose to focus on the job we are given. for the epa, it is protecting the health of the people that we have pledged to serve. i want to end with this. i want to thank the unsung heroes i have had the privilege theorking with at epa, scientists, economists, policy whole, lawyers, regulators have devoted their lives to public service, and to the outside advocates, businesses, innovators, and industry visionaries. we need you, we still need you,
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we always need you. i know who you are. i know you place science and service above partisanship. i have seen what you are capable of. that is why i'm certain that our future will be brighter and healthier and more just for all. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we have a lot of questions to get through, but one of the top of our minds, you sort of addressed it, but i want to get back to it. how do you real to the prospect that the causes you have worked so hard on for the last eight years are threatened to be overturned by a series of executive orders? as i said, i'm very confident in the work we have done. there has been not progress through executive orders but executive authorities. i mentioned the clean air act,
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and we have taken a lot of steps moving forward. i think they are sound, reasonable steps. i'm looking forward to a smooth transition so that folks can see the work of the agency and how well we have done our job. >> have you met anyone from the trump transition team? >> we have not been contacted, no. >> you are talking about the clean water act, clean air act. you have a republican white house in january, republican majority house and senate. are you concerned that some of those laws could be repealed? >> if you go back -- i try to make it pretty clear. what we do is protect public health and precious natural resources. it is a mission, i think, that still endures. we have been successful over the five decades in avoiding partisan politics as much as possible, to remind folks that it does not matter if you are
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republican or democrat, you still want your kids to be healthy and their future to be sound. those have stood the test of time. i am pretty confident that the agency is doing its work well, and people will still want the same thing they have always wanted, and that is a bright future for their kids. >> still, president-elect trump has promised to undo many environmental and climate change regulations. if you had to beg them to spare one, would you choose? >> you are asking me to pick among my children? i cannot do that. [laughter] my job right now is to do a smooth transition. that is what the president has told us, that is my commitment. we will do that, we will tell people what's going on in the agency. if you sit in my shoes every day, you see the breath of what that agency does, how hard we work for you pick up the phone
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and realize, every day, there is a new issue or problem or concern that an individual or community has, work that the states do not have the resources or capacity to do. it is really hard not to respond to those calls for help. i expect that that will continue in the next administration. thee talked about this in introduction, but the memo you sent your staff after election day said that you wanted to run to the finish line of the obama presidency. what do you plan to accomplish? >> do you really expect me to detail that specifically? >> [laughter] >> i don't have any secrets, our agenda is out there. we have a lot of work to do. i think the point of the president is, there is one president at a time. i am working for this one and i will continue with that. the agency right now, we are
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focused on the work ahead and the work we have to do. that is the best place for the people and the agency to be. that is what we are doing. excuse me, i'm sorry. you need to sit down. >> why are you silent on standing rock. >> thank you very much. watchingnder to those online or c-span, our lunches are open to the public. this is not a reporter. thank you, ma'am. >> you mentioned tribal nations three times. where are you in terms of standing up? where are you?
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that in ang to get to little bit, but we were talking about the mood of the epa employees. is there a concern with your employees, bureaucratic staff that has been there, about rolling back the work you have done? >> we call them career staff. i like the word bureaucrat emma but many people -- but many people think of it differently. my folks are doing fine. most have been through transitions before. with oneworking another, just continuing to hunker down and do their job. they are pretty confident that the mission of epa is a good one and it will be in dohring and they will be able to continue to do the work of the agency. >> let's go back to your speech. name the top three of compliments, achievements that you believe you have made. >> again, you are asking me to
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pick between my children. i spent my first four years in the administration working in the air program. i probably have more familiarity and love with that work, but we do a breadth of work. i will give you a couple. as you know, i am from new england. specifically anywhere in particular, do you think? >> [laughter] >> i came in with a couple of rules but i knew i wanted to get over the finish line. one of them was the mercury and air toxic standard. i thought it was time, under the clean air act, somebody thought these old units with no modern controls on them would somehow have faded out, but they didn't. toxics that our kids are so vulnerable to -- it
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was really important to me. the other one was the pollution role. we did not do so well the first time. we ended up doing really well on appeal. that was really important to me because in the new england area we get a lot of that downwind air that comes from up when sources. we spent a lot of resources to make sure the air that we produce in new england is clean. we felt it was an equity and justice issue that required folks do the best they could everywhere. we did it in a way that is reasonable and cost-effective by designing a trading program around that. that, i am really happy that we got the clean water polo or the finish line. i am looking forward to the agency defending it in court.
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i think we should be embarrassed to have a law that old -- twice getting yelled at by the supreme court and never addressing the jurisdictional question. i worked pretty hard on that individually when i was administrator to make sure that we were not just being respectful of the agriculture industry but making sure it provided them the clarity that they need as well. i think it is a great role in a really proud of it. >> i do not want to reward protesters, but it is a valid question. can you talk about your concerns and thoughts about indigenous peoples concerns about the standing rock pipeline? >> i have met with the tribal council and standing rock. the president has been to standing rock and met with the council. it is not an issue that is off our radar screen in any way. speech how in my respectful i am in the interest
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of tribes. i know folks are directly involved in that with the administration. i will leave the details to them. but i think if you go to those tribes, you will see i have spent a great deal of my professional time making sure that we pay attention to the tribes, not just standing rock. it is one of the things that you get to see as administrator, that you don't see otherwise. that is the realization that many tribes do not have drinking many tribes do not have safe places to live. it is an eye-opening experience when you realize some of these challenges. we have spent a great deal of time not just recognizing those but actually being in a leadership position among federal agencies to be responsive to tribal needs. i am really proud of the work we have done. >> residence of a suburban st. louis community have been awaiting epa's cleanup plan for
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the westlake landfill that contains nuclear waste. the residents consider it hazardous. be in the cleanup plan place before you leave office, or will it be left to the trump administration? we have been working, i don't want you to think that because a plan which we call a record of decisions, a final decision, does not mean that we have not been hanging out and doing the work, because we have. we have done extensive work, remedial work to take care of the biggest challenges. i have met with some of the mothers from that area. we have talked about what we can do. i do not know the exact timing. we are confident it will come soon. but i know that it is a specific concern of that community. we have been working with the state of missouri not just to address that landfill, but it is an area where this is not the only thing to worry about in
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terms of impact on the environment in that area. we have been doing an awful lot of work, looking at the area as well, as well as this small landfill. and we are deal being as responsive as we can. we will at the record of decision as quickly as we can. are worried about a protective action guide regarding radioactive water. this, the epa proposing and does the protective action pose a risk to the public? >> there are two ways that we are looking at this protective action guide. and i will explain this from the viewpoint of someone at work at state for 17 years. is a guideline to explain to states what they should do when an emergency happens, when there is a release
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of radioactive material, and how do you manage that situation, knowing full well that it will take time to resolve the situation? there is a guideline for water, but there is another large guidance document that we are hoping to get out soon, that talks about all of the other things states should do based on our recommendations, because we have quite a bit of expertise in this area. states have been driven crazy because it's been years that anyone has a hated it. and because they know that we have more at issue with radiation. we have little bombs that can happen. we need to update it be we deserved to give them the information. we are in the finals of updating that larger effort. , whichs a smaller piece is the drinking water issue. let me tell you where this came in. i don't want anyone to think
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that we are changing our standards for drinking water. that is not the case. what we are trying to do is figure out how to actually start transitioning from a case where everybody is in their house and hunkered down and cannot drink drinking water, to being able to understand what exposures in a temporary way would allow life to continue, but not present a hazard to those individuals. so we are providing the best information we can in this transition days, not sending a signal that we think that those numbers should be the standard for drinking water. it clearly should not be. but we have to recognize you cannot go from zero to 90 without figuring out how to start wrapping up again. how we provide the right recommendation. a lot of this information and in the came out of japan fukushima incident. it did not get resolved quickly.
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there were people that were left not knowing what to do. we thought that it was necessary to actually provide this information. again, we will see where it goes, it's in the process. we are doing the best we can to provide advice in a situation that we certainly hope nobody will have to face in the united states. >> since we are on drinking water, a recent report was critical of the epa's inactions on flint, michigan. what changes are underway to respond to the report and ensure the agency is more proactive in similar situations, and what would you advise your successor flint?n situations like >> we certainly still have a large presence in flint. have made as is we lot of progress but it continues to be a very challenging situation. we have learned some lessons. you will see shortly, we are
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coming out with a drinking water action plan. when flint happened, shortly after, we began national discussions with all of the stakeholders, because there are a number of shrinking cities like flint that have too large a system. when you have a large drinking water system, it is not a good thing because it means there is stagnant water in those pipes, and you do not want that. how we manage those situations will be important. one of the other lessons in flint, it is very clear that flint was a community that was this and that sit in -- disinvest it in, they lost their manufacturing base. their ability to eat economically manage the system is under threat. since we are getting it to the .evels and needs to be we have handled that across the united states. how do we invest in
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infrastructure, not simply for new infrastructure, but how we look at the infrastructure that exist that is either decaying, too big, needs additional treatment, in the case of drinking water, and how do we move that forward. we have completed many rounds of focus groups. we have a plan that we are getting ready to release shortly. that will hopefully be a lessons learned and a path forward, not just to address lead and copper rules, which we know need to be updated, but also to figure out a path forward to look at how we begin the reinvestment, how much we need, and how we keep up with drinking water and wastewater facilities. we have become very accustomed to not having to worry about drinking water and wastewater. we can no longer have that luxury. recent is with the revision to the city of flint,
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and how would that reflect with state and local agencies work? >> one thing we do is make sure that we have aggressive oversight. enforcement orders was recently updated. we did an enforcement order about a year ago. we are doing one again. it is because the situation in flint is shifting. the city is making decisions about where it's horse water will come from. -- source water will come from. we just wanted to make sure that it was inviting. we needed a three months window to test any new water system and the ability of their treatment facility to handle it because we did not want what happened before, which was, unbeknownst to us, the system is changed, it is not properly tested, not properly managed, and we ended
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up with a situation. so it is all the change in the order. it was not a surprise to either the city or the state. we are working with them very closely. if there is one lesson learned, when it comes to drinking water, you put it in writing and you make it as tough as you can. that is what that is. >> switching subjects, how soon can we expect the epa final report on hydraulic fracturing and drinking water, and whether this incorporates the recommendations from the science advisory board that the epa clarifies the conclusion that no systemic link exist between hydraulic fracturing and water contamination? a mouthful. >> it is not easy to say. much easier to say fracking. we are looking at trying to wrap that up soon. i have certainly been advised about where we are now.
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we will be listening to the direction of the science advisory board. this was one science advisory board that was as fractured as the subject matter. it sort of came up with many different conclusions, some of which conflict with one another. we know what our job is and we will be finalizing that. while i cannot tell you the direction it is going to take, we are going to listen to all sides, in terms of what the members thought, and will come to the best decision we can. remember, this is not a policy document, it is a science document. there is some clear indication from the science advisory board that we needed to do a better job at explaining the science. while i have been briefed on it, it is my scientists that will make these decisions. >> let's talk about one of those disagreements, the consideration of a widespread impact. what do you consider the impact -- definition of widespread impact, and what impacts does
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the epa fined acceptable, and why? >> you are asking the same questions that many of the questions in the science advisory board revolved around. the purpose of the hydra fracking study, we were asked to .o this and told to do this the purpose of it was basically to identify -- look at the water cycle and identify what point in the water cycle, and in the hydro fracking operation, could pose a risk to drinking water. it was very clearly done in a way that it was just a science and technical document about what does the data show us, and what do we know. though the challenge for us is to characterize what we know and to make sure that is not over characterized, that we know everything. our data is limited. how we project that and clarify
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that in this report is what we are going to accomplish. trumph president-elect openly admitting to denying climate change and likely pointing at an epa administered or who is a climate denier, what final steps are you making sure that communities are detected from fracking? will you meet with families from pennsylvania or wyoming when they say water has been impacted by fracking? >> uba folks in the regions have been working on this issue. we all know, and the president inexpensive this natural gas has been one of the factors that really changed the energy sector and how it is heading, but we all know it needs to be done save and responsibly. this report will be an opportunity for people to know where the impacts could happen, what we have already seen, so that steps can be taken. at this point in the
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administration, that is what we are trying to accomplish, to be as clear as possible. >> without using the word "sp oon" when will the epa release greenhouse gases and infrastructure? >> i don't know. >> [laughter] >> so everyone understands, what epa has done, they have sent thousands of requests -- actually not request, we are asking for information that is consistent with our legal authorities to gather it, so that we can take that data and understand where methane is being admitted. -- committed. so that we can continue to move forward on another rulemaking. but i do not have a timeline for this to be done.
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if you look at it, it will be done in phases, which will give information to the agency in a few months. but it will give you to go on for a lengthy period of time. one of the things that people don't understand, when we do a rule where we regulate existing, we are looking at requirements that ask us not just what can you reduce but what other costs, what are the technology choices. in the area of oil and gas development, it's been going on forever. there are so many different types of pieces of equipment that are very challenging, and we want to make sure, when we do a rule, that it will be done well. so it is very challenging. or it can be done in phases the next administration can make other choices. >> you are here to talk about what you did do at the epa. looking back, is there any climate or environmental action you regret not taking or not starting sooner? >> all of them.
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>> [laughter] , ithe one thing i regret is know everybody knows that i had a fairly lengthy process of getting confirmed by the legislature for this position by the senate. i also had a fairly lengthy time getting into the agency in the first place as assistant administrator. i think that is just because it takes a long time. one of the things i regretted was there was an announcement in the rose garden when the president stood up and talked about granting california its waiver, moving forward with the endangerment finding for light duty vehicles, which was the big first way which -- in which the agency began to use the clean air act to regulate greenhouse gases. i was really ticked off that i was not there. that is what i regret. i remember being at home watching it. that is mine! >> what would you advise your
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state colleagues to do if the epa and congress, they believe, are working their interests or environment of goals? >> in any democracy, everyone has the right to their own opinion and their voices should be heard. epa has done, i think, over the past eight years, a wonderful job looking at what the science is, what the facts are. i think that folks should continue to speak, if they disagree, and don't think people are paying attention. that is the democratic process. states,u think the, corporations can fill the gap left in leadership iraq is not doing it the right way? >> i do. there are a lot of people who can confirm this. there are two reasons why i think progress will continue. there are many reasons why, but the two to answer this question
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-- number one, if you have worked at the local level, you cannot run away from people. you have to make decisions not based on politics but based on what your people are demanding of you, or you will be the shortest lived municipal servant in the history of mankind. really are worried about the impact of climate. there are thousands of mayors who have signed climate pledges. they are working hard to we have provided tools for them to see how they would adapt to a changing climate. because they are afraid of wildfires, they are afraid of floods, they are afraid of running out of drinking water, which is particularly frightening. these things are happening across the country. mayors will continue to speak up . cities will continue to be some of our best and loyal allies. on the state side, i worked for
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the states for more than 20 years, and i cannot tell you how much i am grateful for the work that we have done with the states and many of the folks here have been doing with them. we just saw a report from georgetown -- you are here somewhere -- the climate center there, vicki you are here. she must've run out. statessically said 19 are continuing to make significant progress, consistent with the clean power plan, even working on plans, it energy efficiency standards. there is a reason that is. that is because this is all about the energy transition that is already happening. renewables,t to buy they have been cheaper than ever before, the technology is more efficient. people want it.
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they are demanding it. energy efficiency saves money as well as provides opportunities to keep people's bills and costs of energy down. while i appreciate their big lift of continuing to do this, i know darn well that people are continuing to demand it. whether or not states want to go under the heading that they are taking climate action or sibley doing what is best for their consumers, energy systems, i am fine with that. that will continue. , thatean energy economy train has left the station. millennials, the generation that every company seem to want to capture right now, they see the demand for sustainable products. companies are responding. how can the government take advantage of this generational moment? >> let me tell you how we have all taken advantage of it. i think it is through our continued outreach.
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epa,e trying to make sure because of its visibility, is a premier science entity. when epa puts its logo on something, it matters. that is why energy star products are out front. people want to save money and want to buy something they can articulate as being maybe a little bit more money, if at all , but how quickly they can get paid back. that is what energy star is all about. when youfrom billing put in and applies with an energy star label. we are doing the same thing with household products. that is what safer choice is all about. ,e continue to know and survey but folks want to see that label. they would rather buy it. what it does, it basically generates momentum among the chemical manufacturers themselves, to produce products that are less toxic, so they can get a label.
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there are ways to continue to get information out. the third area is work that i mentioned. there are so many ways in which individuals at the local level, millennials themselves, can actually get in the game here and change their own world. and new monitoring technology that is so inexpensive, that can tell them what their little world looks like, and how they may be able to work effectively in their own democracy, in their own city or community or neighborhood, to use information that we make readily transparent, that we analyze, that we help them with and make accessible. that is where they can get active. i know you may not think that i'm this old, but in the 1960's and 1970's -- i look so young -- this is how we got involved. we did not just protest, we did
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something. we took action and became a part of the solution. i am thinking that that is what millennials actually like because they like to roll their own lives. >> the national press club is the world's leading organization for journalists and we fight for a free press worldwide. please visit our website at sir, i'm sorry, we are in the middle of a program. [inaudible] we beg you for a meeting. >> thank you, sir. you?ere are that is my neighbors water. no meeting with ms. mccarthy.
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ms. mccarthy, i am begging you, tell president obama, please meet with the resident before you leave. tell donald trump that he can come see it and drink it and breathe it in our neighborhoods. we will not tolerate it. we do not blame you, we do not blame the president. we blame the ignorance. of how is a good example people continue to be passionate about having clean water and clean air. it bodes well for the continued mission of epa and the work we do. i wish we could be responsive and answer everyone's needs. >> thank you. we will present you with the national press club mug. >> oh, cool. another one. >> i will ask you one more question. what advice would you leave your successor? >> my advice would be to listen
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to they are experts in these issues. they will give you an opportunity to lead. i suggest you take it. >> thank you. i would remind the audience to please remain in your seat. thank you and we are adjourned. [applause] >> thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> follow the transition of government on c-span as donald trump becomes the 45th president of the united states and republicans take control of the u.s. house and senate. we will take you to key events
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without interruption. watch on-demand at or listen on our free c-span radio app. >> a look outside trump tower on fifth avenue in manhattan. donald trump is meeting with advisers and cabinet members. his communications member held a conference call today with reporters and also said the president-elect will release a video today outlining his , coalties for trade mining, national security, cyber security, and integration. bring the video to you here on c-span and we will post a term -- at 25 years ago today, donald trump testified on capitol hill. he appeared before the house task force on urgent fiscal issues to talk about the
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economy. here is some of his testimony. mr. trump: i think if incentives are not given through taxing and other means, i think we could be in the steep depression for years. i see no sign of any kind of upturn at all. .here is no incentive to do it no incentive to invest. everyone is doing badly. everyone are the wealthiest able are doing badly. the poor people. everybody. you walk around today, very few are doing well. unless the incentive is given back in this country and it was taken away with 1986, unless it was given back, there is an expression, survive until 95. i think it is maybe longer than that. i think it is generous. is really, really bad. you folks will have to do something to fix it and to get people moving.
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ancoming up in just under hour, the discussion of politics in the arab world with madeleine albright and the former national security advisor at the brookings institution. and live from the council on foreign relations, a conversation about presidential transitions with the former white house chief of staff from the obama, bush, and clinton administrations. ♪ >> this week, -- brian: never look an american in the eye is the name of your book. i have to know your story.
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okey: it is one of my favorite stories to tell. okey is my name. it is a fairly common name in part of my country. then i came to america in 1988 to find that my name became a sort of hilarity. i met this person in botswana. i said my name was okey ndibe and he cannot stop laughing. he had gone to the grocery store and he said that it was funny. i see him put his card down the aisle. the woman said how do you like the snow? at first i said i don't like snow at all. i like it dry and warm. then he said, you have a next time, where are you from. he said botswana. she said is that in africa. he said yes. the woman started to talk to him with great interest.
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they talked for 12 minutes or so. the man says i can't believe you are okey. and the man said is there anything that suggest that i am not okay? i heard that you are in town. i heard you're into publishing. he said no, i am a graduate student. he said i am fine. then she said that i am really sorry that someone in town is okey.
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after that account, the man went away thinking that the woman wanted to pick him up. he said that he was willing to pick up -- be picked up. they came up with a story about somebody's name. the very next day, he met me. that is when cannot stop laughing. brian: how many people in nigeria would be named okey? okey: a lot. okey is actually short for something. the full name means the creation of god. it means the strength of god.
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to give you an example, about four years ago my wife and i were in the bahamas for a friend's wedding. the guy who was wedding, his name was okey. in addition to make and this guy, -- me and this guy, there were two other guys named okey. there was also a professor in the audience named okey. it is a fairly common name over there. brian: let's do some background quickly so that we can get onto the book. you lived where today? okey: i live in the west half of connecticut. brian: what do you do in your free time? okey: i write full-time now. i devil into teaching. i have done teaching at different universities from brown to trinity college. a college in great barrington. the last year i spent in las vegas at the university of
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nevada, las vegas. i had a fellowship to teach there. i'm actually traveling, speaking on behalf of this book. i am not teaching at all. brian: the first you that you give to the united states. okey: i came in december of 1988. in december, this will be 28 years in america. i became the nigerian novelist. i set up an african magazine called african commentary. brian: when did you become a u.s. citizen? okey: 1996. brian: why did you do that? okey: that is a question that my mother asks me to this day. why did i become american? i'm a big student of american history.
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particularly, the history of african descended people. beginning in slavery and captivity. carbonated today where we have great american presidents in history and barack obama. that story of tragedy and transformation has always impressed me. i wanted to be part of this great socialist experiment called america. brian: what is the view from africa of america? one step more, what is the view that africans have of africans's veiw of america. okey: i think that obama's
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election put a spotlight on africa. it helps to reshape in a dramatic way, the american conception of africa. when i came to america, the dominant view of africa was that it was some kind of kingdom of animals. the human population was somewhat incidental, almost peripheral to this continent. so i encountered so many hilarious questions. people couldn't believe there were no airport in africa. -- people believed that there were no airport in africa. people believe that africans lived in trees. they thought that encounters
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with lions were commonplace. i think the perception has changed that. i think social media has put every corner of the world under the spotlight and a significant way. americans can sit down in any locale in this country and see a part of africa. also, i like more and more american universities and colleges are establishing relationships with universities in africa. of course, obama's election would be the third most important factor. brian: nigeria, tell us something about the country. where is it? okey: nigeria is going through very difficult times. when you say that, that is something that needs something that is contextualizing.
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nigeria has had difficulties since it was founded by the british. i think that nigeria still exhibits all the symptoms of artificial community. nigeria collected close to 400 different ethnic groups and languages. i don't think that nigeria imagined the involvement that nigeria would need to become a meaningful community. there is this huge space where they could exploit the raw materials and then dump the goods. they could produce goods and so on. in 1960, they had independence. the political elite in nigeria did not pay. nation building was a task that was as urgent now as it was back then.
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it continues to be advocated by the political elite. this great nigerian novelist said that nigeria is the country that manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. i say that nigeria was the nation that was conceived with hope that was knocked into hopelessness. brian: i have to ask you about the crocodile story. i gave it away back to the view that the american people have of africa. what was that story? okey: i became friends with a graduate student at the university where i live at the time.
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one day, he said to me, i would like to know how you africans come to america when there are no airport in africa. i thought that you some kind of looking comedian who was trying out his material. i said we ride on the back of crocodiles. i crossed the atlantic. his face shifted in hard. he said -- kara. -- horror. he said, for baby if -- won't they eat you? i said, no, they will kiss you if you kiss them. brian: where do you get your sense of humor?
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okey: first of all, in my culture, humor is so integral to everything. marriage ceremonies, weddings, traditional marriage ceremonies, formal? it's -- formal christian weddings. you will always find people who are extremely funny. for many years, nigeria did not have professional comedians. we just had so many funny people around that you could find some in a bar who would hurt your ribs from laughter. brian: your mom is a life? -- alive? okey: my mom is alive, she will be 92 next year. brian: where is she? okey: my hometown in nigeria. she is next to the neighboring town.
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brian: looking at the map, go down to the southwest corner. okey: do you see where it is? we would be very close to it. an hour from that. it is in the southeastern part of nigeria. it is the oil-producing niger delta. i was born in the northern -- northeastern part of nigeria. there was an islamic terror group that has been active. that is where i was born. it was the precursor to the
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civil war. my father sent us home with my mother. he had to stay back. i lived there during the war. i was a child. i have vivid images of that war. brian: when was that were issued? okey: the war was in 1967 and it ended in 1970. there were calamitous consequences. many people died, mostly civilians. a lot of them children and women. many from starvation. i thought they were speaking about the war.
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it is one of those sharply divided memories that we haven't nigeria. there is no agreement on who won the war. one way of explaining the war is that it was a consequence of the failure of nigeria to achieve a sense of nationhood. so, there was a coup d'etat in 1966. a military officer staged a coup. many other people were from other parts of nigeria. no other officer staged a counter group. this was followed by a series of attacks on christians and people from the southeastern part of nigeria. this led to this groundswell of the men for perfection. they were trying to make southeastern nigeria a different
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part of the nation. what you find today is that there is another resurgence of sentiment for that area again. a lot of young people who really are disappointed in all of the failure in nigeria. they are looking for a sense -- a solution to the sense of despair. brian: nigeria is the largest country in africa. how many live here in the united states?
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okey: i'm sure that somebody has put the information together but i don't have it. nigerians constitute the highest number of africans outside of the african continent. in europe and united states especially. everywhere you go. it is a joke that if you went to the most remote place in the world and you didn't find a nigerian then it is not particularly habitable, you might as well move on. brian: how big is the tribe in nigeria? okey: there are three big ones. there are the ebo. the houser. and the euroba. they constitute 60% of the nigerian population. roughly --
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brian: what was it like when you moved here for the first couple of years? okey: difficult. the process of integrating into a new culture. i lead and -- i read an international magazine. when i came, sadly, there was not much money. that was something i had to deal with. to find out from an international magazine that your employer do not have the money to pay you. a lot of times, i had to make phone calls to ask for money to pay for money to make rent. i was living in amherst, massachusetts. brian: what year did he died? --
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die? okey: he died in 2013. he was a professor of brown university. brian: in providence? okey: in providence. brian: here is a video that will show you what he sounds like. >> the whole tradition of novel writing was based in new york. then it started going to other places. africans were presented in ways that i personally found unacceptable. there was a plan to deny these people language. to give them animal sounds instead.
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if you doubt it, read the heart of darkness and read it again. brian: your reaction to that? okey: that was one of our most essential storytellers and intellectuals. his signature mode was a quiet statement that was profoundly resonant. that was an example you saw there. he is speaking to that european -- the temptation of europeans. the temptation of americans to see -- sometimes to reduce africa to the space of animals. it is a very quiet way to do it but very powerful.
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brian: why was he so admired and popular? okey: i think it has to do with the fact that his novel was the most read book by an african. perhaps by a person of african descent. it has been translated into six different languages, it sold many in english. it alluded to this moment of encounter between africa and europe. he gave the world a subject that was written for discussion. brian: did he become an american like you? okey: note he never became an american. brian: why not? okey: the story of how i came to
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america starts back when i interviewed a bunch of young journalists. on one occasion i interviewed a journalist who said that god in his wisdom, planted him in nigeria. on a patch of earth if you like. that is where his loyalties lie. sadly, he could never turn to nigeria because of his condition. he had an accident and became paraplegic. he cannot return to nigeria.
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it was written and his persona that nigeria was at the heart of his being and his work as well. brian: what did he teach you? okey: he taught me that stories have to have integrity. he taught me the stories were important. there was something deeply moral about art and the art of storytelling. it is not innocent. stories are used to enslave and oppressed. stories can also be used to liberate and free people. his mode of storytelling -- he was a writer who never wasted a word. when he wrote something, you had the sense that he had such deep respect for language that he would just play around with language. the way he said it and what he said came together beautifully.
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brian: i think you were sitting at a bar. a couple of guys were talking-- okey: two women. as a youngster, i loved to ease drop -- huge drop -- eavesdrop on conversations. young people have indifference to the stories of adults. i was particularly curious to eavesdrop. in my world there was a sharp division. i would appear to be doing something, but that was an excuse to overhear what adults were talking about. one day, i was at a bar, i like to go to such places, to hang out. this man was talking about a system called communism.
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he said it was invented by a man called karl marx. he said that communism meant that everything was owned by -- in common. the poorest guy could just find a mercedes and get into it. the key would be in it. you could get into a mansion and take the best bad and a mansion and so on. and because i grew up poor, i became a communist in my mind. i wanted to come to nigeria so that i could drive the great expensive cars that only a few privileged nigerians have drived.
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i wanted to go to a huge mansion and spend the night there. that is the young person that i was that saw myself as a communist. when i went to a bar, i would to a train station to pick up my brother in law who is from nigeria. i found out his train was running late. other than go home, i thought i should look into a bar and wait for him to arrive. two women walked in and did quite inebriated. they struck up a conversation with me. she said what are you doing in america? i love animals, i love the jungle, if i was from africa, i would never come to america.
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i said that my mother in law is from there. i love animals in vermont, so i recommend vermont to you. my wife is named sherry. brian: your wife is in sherry -- named sherry? okey: my weight is named sherry. -- my wife is named sherry. brian: you talk about in your book that you used to be a partier. okey: i used be a rascal. in some ways, i still am. in a more innocent way. ice to be a rascal. -- i used to be a rascal. i was not particularly interested in others. particularly women who were in relationships with me.
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one day, i crashed sherry's party. her father was there. he was a very revered intellectual and a well-known figure ieducation. he was at this party. i went to him and said i did a professor -- are you the professor? he said yes. he said it was his daughter's birthday. i began to talk to him. i was rather flattered that he knew who i was. i had been a journalist in nigeria. i was talking to him for 30 or 40 minutes when his daughter said why don't you let this guy come and dance? and he said that i am not holding him, he is the one set
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here. -- who sat here. i don't do great guessing but people do notice me when i am on the desktop. -- i don't do great dancing but people do notice me when i am on the dance floor. there was a woman who knew of my reputation. she wanted to protect this beautiful wife of mine from may. this woman came to me and said i see you. i said what did you see? she said i wanted you to know that i see you. she said i want you to know that
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you don't play around with this one if you're not serious, just move on. years later, several years later, sherry and i got married -- got married. she is the love of my life. she is american. her mother was born in nigeria. brian: what is the origin of your three daughter's names. okey: i have two sons and a daughter. brian: sorry i thought. okey: we call my son chibu for short. it means god. there are three or four words for god. one is chibu, one is chi, and one is chineke. my favorite daughter, i call her that because she is my only daughter.
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my son is 24. my daughter is 21. she is wonderful. the younger son's name is kitibe. my father had just died. my father, i really are beer, so i named them after him. some of our friends say they are the three chi's because chi is the beginning of their names. brian: where are they now? okey: they are all in college. my son goes to central connecticut university where my wife teaches. he is finishing his education. it took a couple of years to travel in peru. he went to peru to learn spanish language and fell in love with the country and a young woman. it took two years to do that. my daughter is finishing at uconn.
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the baby of my family, is an eastern connecticut university. brian: what is the difference between a nigerian born person and your children who are nigerian descent. do you see a difference in their approach to people, their interests?
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okey: definitely. in america, children are encouraged to have a voice. in nigeria, children are encouraged but you have a voice within the world of children. in nigeria, i wasn't allowed to speak to my parents unless i was invited to speak when they asked me questions. my children have a much more free relationship with made in my parents did. my parents used corporal polish them -- corporal punishment. i received it at school as well. that was part of the mechanics of my shaving.
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it is not something that i remember with any regret at all. brian: what corporal punishment was for you. okey: i was caned quite a bit. i was a difficult child growing up. the cane was not spared. i will tell you a very interesting story. i gave a reading in my home state. my mom kept saying to me, what do you do at these meetings? i said that i talk to these people. i respond to questions after i read the book.
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then i signed books. finally, december 2014. there was a quick book reading, it was arranged. it was broadcasted live on state radio. i was ambushed because they invited my mother to introduce me. on air, my mother starts telling people that you love my son, he is in the country because the sum of mine was so difficult and such idyllic went -- a delight when that my husband and i use the cane. so when it came time to me to speak i don't listen to my mother you just confessed that you abuse me as a child. i'm going to sue you.
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my mother says that the bible says if you spared the road, spent a child. i said i will file a lawsuit in america. american children don't read bible. i wrote a column, why i will sue my mother. people in nigeria said why would you want to see your mother? of course i was pulling around. brian: did you use corporal punishment with your children? okey: understand, compared to most american parents, no. brian: i read that you did not sleep in a bed for a long time. you said you were poor. explain what the world was like for you when you were growing up. when did you start sleeping in a bed? okey: i didn't sleep in a bed until high school. i went to a boarding school. throughout the. at home, when i came home on
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holiday, i slept on a mat. in a lot of ways, my sense of poverty comes from a retrospective. it goes backward. my life was magical and a lot of ways. i became an early lover of books. my parents encouraged us to read. they demanded that we read. my mother was a schoolteacher. brian: you read in english? okey: yes, we read in english. they were like rice. like today, you can go anywhere in the world and get rice.
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there is very little regard for rice. my parents would make rice. it was a rarity. on christmas, easter, some other traditional beach. -- beast. -- feast. for me, it was the magic. it made every little gift we had become even more pronounced, or resident -- more resident -- resonant. over a few days, two or three of us which share a bottle of soda. he would sit it and put it down. it was so rare. it was magical for you. i did not see myself as poor. even though i went to school, i had classmates and schoolmates who had parents who are wealthy. they could have soda every day.
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that was the definition of wealth to me. this kid can drink a soda a day. i could drink one soda every few months. if i was lucky. they were usually two or three of us sharing a bottle. my father was a postal man, my mother was a schoolteacher. they made very little money. elementary school teachers get paid better than professors actually. it is a fair living. in nigeria, it was not the case. my parents did not have a car. not until just before my mother retired. she had gone alone to buy one. that was the entirety of their involvement with automobile owning. when i was a child, you ran or walked to everywhere you went.
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brian: the story of your arrest, when did it happen and what were the circumstances? okey: the nigerian one or in this country? when i came to this country, i was in a bus stop. i was heading to umass amhearst. he was the editor of the magazine i have come to edit. the title of the book, living in america show that i was -- the man said don't look americans and yeah because they will shoot you if you look at
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them in the eye. here, i was at the bus stop. i was not aware that traffic had stopped. somehow, i looked right in front of me and a police officer happened to look at the same time and our eyes met. i remembered my uncle's advice. i made a dramatic gesture of looking away so that is opposite would not shoot me. even though i looked away, i was watching him in the corner of my eye. i went to a side street.
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i thought i had lost him. about a minute or two later, i got a tap on his shoulder. i turned around to see somebody in uniform. he says to me, sir would you mind coming to the back of the bus stop. there was this crowded bus stop. december 23, 1988. for a moment, in nigeria, no police officer would say to you, sir and no police officer would say to you "do you mind" they would pull, push or shove it where they wanted. this man was calling the sir. he was saying do you mind? on second thought, i said that his genealogy put him off immediately. so i came back with him. everybody was turning to look. this officer folded his arms and looking down at me he says, sir, you know this is about. i said no i don't know. we went back and forth.
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finally, the obverse is to make that i was avoiding eye contact. he said that if i didn't want to come, problems. he said there has been a bank robbery. and i fit the description. now my heart began to crack up. -- crank up. i did not know with the legal system was, what law enforcement, what idea was. are they going to frame it and so on? anyway, i told the officer that i had just arrived in america. i had not been inside a bank, i had not opened a bank account. he said to me, do you have identification? i said no. he said why not. i said my only point was my
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passport. i was told it was risky to carry it around, i might lose it. he said you might affect risk you -- he said do you mind if i frisk you? even though he said do you mind, it seems that i had little choice in the matter. he said to put my hands up. he patted me down. since i had no weapons of mass or single distraction, he said you might if i take you to your residence? i would like to see your passport. he drove me to the resident -- residence. there were two children there who were spending the christmas holiday with me. i walked in and said i have been arrested for bank robbery. i went to my room, brought my passport and he checked and he kept talking on his walkie-talkie. after a while, i was surprised
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to show that i was not the man that they were looking for. he handed me my passport etc. you for being a gentleman. i was when i said do you mind dropping me back up at the bus stop? i was a way that a lot of people and she made me up. i knew that the narrative in town would be that this guy is from nigeria and he is some kind of criminal. he was arrested. i wanted people to see the officer drop me off at the bus stop so that there would be accountability for the narrative in town. people would say that they saw him drop me off at the bus stop as well. maybe officer is his friend. brian: is the mess alive -- is the man still alive? okey: he is. >> one of the things that we are very good at an nigeria is names. when you see names like god's will, godspell, good luck, blessing, there is one in muslim
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that i refuse to call. his name is treetop. -- sweetheart. i say give me your traditional name. i will never call anyone sweetheart. brian: did anyone ever call you sweetheart? okey: no but blessed is huge these days. i have a lot of names. brian: like? okey: i was born on a sunday. so, my name there was different. it means somebody born on a sunday.
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i am roman catholic. on confirmation, i get the name of peter. i took the name peter. my baptism name is anthony. my praise band my family -- my praise name that my family gave to me is different. brian: what happened to your nigeria personality since you were in the united states? okey: it has been enhanced in some ways.
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i'm not sure if there is a nigeria personality to begin with. whenever i was when i came to this country, it has been enhanced in some ways. for example, i take most of my meals. i make what nigerians call soup. that is not the same as the american conception of soup which is something you eat with a spoon. soup and nigeria is what you eat with a grain. some kind of a grain that has a consistency and hardness. you scoop the soup and you
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actually swallow the grain. i make all kinds of soup. i make all different nigerian tips. americans would call our stews a sauce. a flavorful tomato sauce with red peppers and tomatoes, i love that. i love spice. i like to sweat when ie. i call it the moral equivalent of going to the gym. i eat a meal that nigerians would identify with. ever since i came to america. somebody tell me that he went home to nigeria and a friend wanted to give him a treat. i avoid substances. i don't eat.
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americans invite me to a meal and i ask if it is ok that i eat at home so that i can keep politely. pizza does not interest me, nor does hamburgers or sandwiches. i like to eat nigerian. i also cherish very much. i like to hear the language. a committee politics and the language -- i like to hear the politics and the language of back home. i have become more intensely interested in nigeria since living in america. brian: do you still write a column? okey: yes, it is widely circulated online. it gets me into trouble with the nigerian government.
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brian: you say in your book that you do not like american tv, talk shows and news. why? okey: i came to this country and encountered the talkshow programs where it was shocking to find that it will come out on television to tell their best friend that they slept with their wife read or girlfriend. i come from a culture where that confessional mode is frowned upon. the very idea of doing something wrong and choosing to have some kind of infamy out of it, some kind of mileage out of it. i'm going to be on the brian: -- jerry springer show.
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it seemed to me, baffling. it still seems baffling to me. brian: i want to show some video that is out of context with everything. i want to ask you why you like to stop. okey: i know where you are going. brian: here we go. wrestling, why do you like this? okey: this is what got me interested in america. look at their size, look at what they can do. that meant to live their legs and hit somebody with both legs at a time, and could jump from the top of the top rope and land on another man without smashing the meant to bits. -- man to bits. when i saw vesely, i was fascinated.
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that is my -- when i saw a wrestling, i was fascinated. that was my guilty pleasure. my wife does not understand it, my children don't understand it, my friends don't understand it. when i came to this country, i wanted to go to a live wrestling show. i had a friend that lived in boston and they said that this is all fake. this is choreographed. i said what do you mean? nobody could jump from so high and smash his body against another man it is choreographed. i was worried that nobody was really killed right there in the ring. my cousin took me to boston garden and i saw that when they hit you in the face, it was
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actually synchronized. i think it is great action still. brian: the name of your book is never look an american in the eye, that is what you were told when you would come here. do you still think that? okey: of course not, i'm looking you in the eye. brian: when did i dissipate -- when did that dissipate? okey: very quickly. many of my friends blessed me and sent me my way. i got all kinds of advice and was told not to marry a white woman. i said is there anything wrong with white women? i said no, i just -- she said no, i just want somebody who will understand our language. then an uncle said don't look americans in the eye because
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every american carries a gun and they will shoot you dead. it turns out later i found out that my uncle for this impression from watching cinema. specifically question cinema where cowboys would gather together in a bar and a change a few words. we never understood what they were saying but they would stare each other down and start shooting. so my uncle want that impression -- formed that impression from that. as soon as i came here, especially after the encounter with the police officer, i told people what happened. the fact that he did not make eye contact might have made him really suspicious of you. i said really? they said yes, you're supposed to look americans in the eye because otherwise you look shifty. so i began to look americans and the eye and nobody has shot me yet.
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brian: you have written two novels. okey: the first one is hours of rain. -- arrows of rain. the second one was foreign gods incorporated. brian: which you like best? okey: i like both of them for different reasons. brian: which was easier to write? okey: that comes up a lot. the memoir was easier because it was a recollection of events that happened. obviously, in the process of a collection, there is still stuff that goes on. you have to decide which details are important. it was to play up and which wants to -- which wants to play -- which ones to play up and which ones to play down. my first novel was close to a memoir. the man was imprisoned after a war for coming to the united states and traveling elsewhere in the world. trying to persuade the government's not to sell weapons
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to the nigerian government. mainly because he was opposed to the war. the nigerian government imprison him for 24 months. he was in prison during the biafran war,ar -- trying to persuade the government not to sell weapons. because he was opposed to the war. he was imprisoned for 24 months. brian: where does he live now? okey: the joke he shares, he's 82


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