Each of us, All of us - Panel Discussion

Uploaded by zeitgeistminds on 26.09.2011

>>> As a Supreme Court justice, I'm wondering how you feel about transparency in the court.
It was an astonishing experience to go to the Supreme Court and hear an oral argument
myself, and I thought the world should see what it is like and this court should be opened
to everyone. I can understand --
>>Justice O'Connor: Well, excuse me but it is. It is the most open branch of government
because every single thing that court does is explained. And you have opinions, long,
written opinions, that tell you exactly the reasoning that went into it, what we're doing
and why. Show me another branch of government that does that.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ]
>>> That's a good point. But I guess what I'm saying is that you found it important
to know that kids are looking on the Internet for 40 hours at things. Wouldn't it be great
if kids could actually watch what actually happens on the Supreme Court live, like having
television or cameras in the courtroom. >>Justice O'Connor: You must be talking about
for the Supreme Court argument, should television be in there?
>>> That's right. >>Justice O'Connor: Well, the arguments are
interesting in a way. And you can get transcripts by the very same night after the argument
occurred. So if you can read, you can see it. In other words, there it is in print in
front of you. [ Laughter ]
Now, true, it isn't on the television, but that's going to take the agreement of a high
percentage of the justices. While I was on the court, we did not have an agreement of
the justices that that step should be taken. And I think in part because they did not want
to be public figures. They didn't want to be a Cory Booker getting votes. They wanted
to concentrate on doing their job. And they didn't think that was necessary.
It will probably happen some day. But it sure didn't happen while I was there, and that's
okay with me. >>Eric Schmidt: Can you imagine being an attorney
in front of the Supreme Court? [ Laughter ]
Yes, sir, over here. >>> So I can't resist. We have a leading economist,
a Supreme Court justice, a mayor of a large city. And we're in an area now where crime
is actually declining, both property crime and violent crime. And we're in a middle of
a recession. So I was curious your points of view on why that is.
>>Robert Reich: Well, let me start. I think that part of it is because actually demographically
the biggest bulge we've had in the period of time in a young person's life where they
actually are most vulnerable to crime, that big demographic bulge has passed.
Secondly, I think -- >>Justice O'Connor: By that, what do you mean,
your bulge has passed? We don't have as many or what?
>>Robert Reich: The baby boom -- the huge baby boomers --
>>Eric Schmidt: Most of the criminals. [ Laughter ]
>>Justice O'Connor: They're in jail someplace. >>Robert Reich: That's right. Most of them
are either in jail, are criminals or, basically, have given up on life.
[ Laughter ] As Cory said, as Mayor Booker has said, there
has been progress made in giving young people some alternatives, community-based policing
has worked much better than the old system of kind of a place that kind of cruised around.
We have, I think, made progress in deep criminalizing some non-violent crimes.
Part of that is because the prisons have become so crowded. I wish that were not the major
reason why we did it. And so police can focus on the more violent crimes.
But that would be my two cents. >>Justice O'Connor: Well, you know, crimes
are laws that are enacted by popularly elected legislators. And it's -- you have a hard time
restraining legislators from making up criminal offenses.
And a big increase has been with drug crimes, and legislators across the country, state
and federal, have continued to make serious crimes out of any kind of dealing in drugs.
And that's been the big increase. Now, whether that's going to reduce over time
or whether drug use will go down, I don't know. But that's where the big increase has
been, is with some kind of drugs. >>Cory Booker: So last year -- I don't know
where the gentleman went. >>> He's over there.
>>Cory Booker: Raise your hand. There you are.
Last year, last week, so the week just passed, the same week last year, we had ten people
shot in my city. This week, we had five people shot in my city. Now, Woo-hoo. There was a
50% drop. But when is it going to come to a point in
our country where we think to ourselves that having that level of young men being shot
is outrageous? July 4th, I had an emergency meeting, canceled
a vacation I had, because we had a spike in crime that what often happens, guys come out
of prison, in my city, the time you're most likely to be shot is if you come home from
prison in your first six months, because you still have a beef with somebody, you're trying
to get back to your drug trade or what have you. It was July 4th and we were having two
gang wars go at each other. Now, the weapons we have never seen. My police
director, five years on the force, had never seen the weapons we recovered that month from
great -- using some really great economic incentives to get tips from my residents,
AK47 the, Tech-9s, I've never seen men hold that kind of stash. They were using these
weapons, spraying their enemies, and we had one day where 14 people were shot in two different
incidents, just astonishing. Sat in this room with the U.S. attorney, with this special
agent in charge of the FBI, with basically every police agency you can imagine, from
county sheriffs to the ICE, immigration task force. All of us in the room, over 100 law
enforcement officials, and what was amazing to me was, I was sort of sitting back there,
thinking, oh, my gosh, there is literally millions of dollars of taxpayer money in this
room right now. Then they started putting on the screen the 30 guys that were causing
this problem. Sometimes I feel like Thomas Friedman and think, if we were China for a
day, we would just arrest all those guys. But as the judge knows, you have to have due
process. I'm not satisfied with this game where we're seeing these people. And I've
searched the country for a different way out of this. And this is a -- longer, but I'm
really going to try to keep it tight. We found a few places, high point, North Carolina is
one, where instead of seeing little bit of drop, they've virtually eradicated drug dealing
in their city by reinventing, being innovative, social entrepeneurs, when they meet up with
venture philanthropists in inner cities like mine, they can do dramatic things.
And what they did is a professor named David Kennedy from John Jay College said, when you
get those guys on the list, what if you go to them and just say, "Look, we know who you
are. We're going to either come at you in every way we can within the law, harass you
with police, we're going to go after your mother for using marijuana, we're going to
-- whatever. If you decide to keep doing what you do. And if you don't, we're going to wrap
intensive social services around you. We're going to help you get off the streets." Because
it's not glamorous. This is not the movies. Drug dealers in America, it's a horrible job,
horrible hours, standing out in the freezing cold, and so on. It's a bad job.
[ Laughter ] >>Cory Booker: But if you talk -- anybody
here thinking about doing it -- [ Laughter ]
>>Cory Booker: Somebody on this stage might be a crystal meth lab in their basement, but
-- breaking bad. But the point of the matter is, they did this, they wrapped social services.
First some guys tested it and went out and did crimes. And they brought all the force.
Some guys tried them and saw that, Oh, my gosh, I could get back on my feet. I could
get into something productive. I could so on and so forth. Their rates of violent crime
dropped to the floor. What we're thinking in Newark, we're about to do this, we're about
to do our first call-in early next month of a gang sect (indiscernible) and have this
conversation. So what I'm saying is, you say crime is going down, going up. 10% drop in
crime in America is -- we shouldn't be patting ourselves on the back. It -- we should not
tolerate -- we have become such tolerant people of such high levels of crime that we think
a 10% reduction anybody shootings is something to celebrate. It's unconscionable to me that
we have children all over America that they can tell you about weaponry like you wouldn't
believe, that could talk to you about funerals like you wouldn't believe. The last thing
I'll say about that is, I went to a funeral for a young man I knew at Brick Towers. Everybody
was there. It was packed to the brim, teachers and activists and -- it was my first month
as mayor. It was August. I was elected in July 2006. And I remember standing in the
back, seeing -- we couldn't move in this funeral home, it's a famous funeral home in Newark
called Perry's Funeral Home, famous for (indiscernible) several reasons, so many young kids die. I
remember going back to my new office as a new mayor, sitting on my couch and saying
to myself, I can't understand what kind of society would be there in droves for a child's
death, but where were they for his life? And that is the power that we have, the reservoir
of strength and power that we have when it comes to crime in America that we're not using
because we're not bringing the same innovations from the private sector, innovations in technology
to bear on our problems, which are infinitely solvable. We should not be talking next year
about a 10% drop in crime. We should be talking about eradicating violent crime from cities,
which can be done. >>Eric Schmidt: Thank you, mayor.
Esther. >>> This has been so wonderful. I want to
provoke another conversation up there in addition. We've talked about crime. And I think early,
Robert talked a little bit about the failure of politics. All of this, in a sense, is due
to the failure of everybody. Yet, I was privileged to have dinner with Justice O'Connor six months
ago, and she told me something extraordinary, which is that only twice had you disagreed
with a jury verdict. Anybody who's been on jury duty knows how
inspiring it is, how people actually come together, study the issues, put aside their
biases, do their very best. So what can you guys in politics and economics
learn from the jury system? How can we encourage the broad population, not just our politicians
and our police people, to be the best they can be?
>>Robert Reich: Let me take a stab at that, Esther. Because it seems to me that it has
to do with our conception of citizenship in this country. Most of us now, we pay our taxes,
and we respond to jury summons. And that's basically what we understand to be the limits
of our -- >>Cory Booker: And about a third of us vote.
>>Robert Reich: -- citizenship. Well, we complain. But in terms of citizenship,
in terms of sacrifice, I think it might be useful for us to think about how we can become
involved in government decision-making in ways that puts us in direct contact with people
who are very different from us. There are some cities and some places around
this country they're actually experimenting with citizens, not just advisory groups, but
actually citizens' groups that look at regulations, that look at various other government actions,
and that have a responsibility, not just, again, advising, but a responsibility, like
jurors do, to try to seek after what is best for their communities.
And that is part of the responsibility of citizenship. It's like public service.
>>Justice O'Connor: Well, we have to get people educated about how to be part of government
and what they have to do. We need them to vote. And the voting statistics
are not good. How -- and it's easier than ever. You can vote by mail. We don't have
to go to the poll anymore. And how do we get people to be good citizens
and to contribute by voting, to be willing to serve on juries and to be part of it?
These are great ways to make people more responsive to the needs of our current lives.
So I don't know how we do that. >>Eric Schmidt: Thank you. Looks like Jim.
>>> Hi, thanks, Eric. Since we've got a distinguished panel, thank
you, guys, very much for this conversation. And I was wondering if we might just, since
we just mentioned politics, talk about politics for a moment, some of this was talked a little
bit about this last night, I'm looking the you, mayor. In your state, you have a governor
sitting on the sidelines that may decide to run for president and may not. I'm just curious
from all the people on the panel what your take is since the election's 13 months away,
presidential election, what do you -- who do you see as the potential candidate against
Barack Obama and do you see Governor Christie entering the race?
>>Eric Schmidt: Mayor. Let's just ask the hardest -- and remember I told you, it's off
the record unless it's really juicy. [ Laughter ]
>>Cory Booker: I -- full disclosure, I'm a Barack Obama supporter and will be out on
the campaign trail working very hard. Governor Christie, in my estimation, would
be the best hope the republics have against Barack Obama. And he's an immensely talented
politician. I could do a dissertation on the disagreements that we have. But he's an honorable
man in that he and I sat -- when he was governor elect and said let's find a few spaces. Everybody
is going to expect a prominent Republican and a prominent Democrat to be at each other's
throat. Let's shock people and find areas that we can agree upon and work hard on and
demonstrate success and be a model. And he has been a man of honor on all of those issues.
And, again, I disagree with him on a lot of things, but we've created a partnership and
even a friendship beyond politics. And the last thing I will say is, I am despairing,
but I have not surrendered to despair. I'm still a prisoner of hope. But I'm despairing
about the state of our partisan politics in America. And I'm sick and tired of knee-jerk
affiliations to party that trump common sense. And no party has a monopoly on good ideas.
I celebrate Jack Kemp, for example, as doing some of the best impact on inner city communities
through things like empowerment zones. And I think there are a tremendous amount of good
ideas coming from my side of the party. And maybe I can pass it over to Secretary Reich
on this, because he and I were talking in what was not quite a greenish green room that
-- about the problem with we have a system right now that selects for -- that's pushing
our politics to the extreme, or as one great author calls it, the wing nuts. And most of
us actually are in the center. And we all really agree on most issues. But our politics
doesn't reflect that. It's very broken. And I think Professor Reich talked about everybody
from the way we draw electoral districts to the closed primary systems to the way we nominate
presidential candidates all working against what I think is the larger and better best
interest. And we need to think about structurally changing our democracy so it becomes far more
representative of who we are as a people. >>Robert Reich: I think that's right.
Most people in this country are not at the extremes. Most people are pretty much at the
center. And there's remarkable agreement. I mean, we go out -- and, Justice O'Connor,
I'm sure you have the same experience -- talk to people and find extraordinary agreement
on very controversial issues, but Americans really do want answers. They don't want to
just yell at each other. A couple of weeks ago, I was on television
debating somebody who -- of a different political persuasion, and at the commercial break, the
producer, in my ear, said, "Be angrier." [ Laughter ]
>>Robert Reich: And I said, look it, we're having a very good discussion. We're getting
someplace. It's very respectful. I don't want to be angrier.
She said, look it, we have millions of people surfing through the stations, through the
channels, and they will stop when they see a real angry gladiator type contest. So you
have to be angrier. I said I don't want to be. She said, you must be. We have ten seconds
to go back on air. And I lost my temper. [ Laughter ]
>>Eric Schmidt: And it worked. >>Robert Reich: And it worked.
>>Eric Schmidt: Why don't we -- we'll need to pick up the pace. So maybe a couple more
questions. And we'll need to do quick. So go ahead.
>>> I'll be as brief as I can. I just want to start by saying I'm speaking
from a position of somewhat ignorance around the judiciary system, so I probably could
have benefited from that game, although I'm slightly past the age of already being distracted
by my hormones. [ Laughter ]
>>Justice O'Connor: It's not too late. You can still plug in.
>>> Thank you. But on a serious note, I just was hoping that
you could speak briefly about the case of Troy Davis, because I deal with a show that
is -- very heavily relies on social media. And there was an uproar around that case.
And when the Supreme Court did step in and delayed the execution, I was confused. And
I didn't understand the role of the Supreme Court in these situations.
>>Justice O'Connor: Well, I wasn't there, so I don't know.
But it is possible that his lawyers had raised a series of federal issues in the courts below
saying, "You need to take this case or enter a stay of execution so that we can proceed
with the further arguments that we've outlined here." And then the Supreme Court might have
the power to say, "Yes, we will enter a stay until we decide whether we're going to take
the case, and here is some issue." But in that case, the court did not find that
it should take the case. And so that was the end of the matter, unfortunately.
>>Cory Booker: Every day, there are travesties of justice going on within the American justice
system because of the quality of counsel available to poor people, horrible legal advice. I see
it all the time. And, you know, witnesses who see things don't always -- don't always
remember correctly what they've seen. So the Troy Davis situation, to me, is grossly
unjust, that there would be such high questions that we no not at least commute his sentence,
keep him on life forever. But that's crazy that my government has taken the life of a
person that very likely could have been wrong. It's a very sad day.
>>Eric Schmidt: Let's do yourself and -- let's have the two of you be the last two questions.
Go ahead. >>> Mayor, are you familiar with Ben Carson's
reading rooms? Dr. Ben Carson? >>Cory Booker: I know of Dr. Ben Carson very
well. I'm not sure of his reading rooms. >>> The reason I'm asking is because these
are such extraordinary ideas about solving education. And yet you've done it at a local
level in a way that none of us has ever heard anyone attack it that way and solve it.
So, anyway, the question I'm asking is, Ben Carson, for those of you in the room who don't
know him, African-American pediatric surgeon ten years ago decided to solve the problem,
the plight of unemployment and crime, by attacking it in inner schools in Baltimore, and creating
these reading rooms. They're pretty extraordinary, because he takes -- so the reason I bring
it up is more of not a statement, but a question of how you scale the solution.
>>Cory Booker: First of all, I will explore this.
But please understand that we have not solved the problem in Newark. We have glorious islands
of excellence. But our goal, as you just said, is to create a hemisphere of hope, how do
we expand the success we are having in Newark. And we are in that fight right now with a
collection of philanthropists, with a lot of great innovators. These kind of things
help. I'm going to look at Ben Carson's -- >>> If both of you have a chance to just Google
-- go to YouTube, my daughter's (indiscernible), she had a video of these reading rooms. But
it's great to see these kids and what they're saying about being inspired to read. Because
if they get inspired to read and they find it fun, they stay in school. And if they stay
in school, hopefully the issues that Reich is bringing up is they'll finish school and
they won't join the unemployment line or crime. >>Eric Schmidt: So, Mayor, Governor Christie,
among other things, has been running against the educational unions of New Jersey, as best
I can tell, in his conversation. Have you had a different experience?
>>Cory Booker: Governor Christie and I have very different styles.
>>Eric Schmidt: That would be an understatement. >>Cory Booker: "You and Governor Christie,
I'm told the two politicians in New Jersey, if Christie goes out with a speech, you feel
like you go out with a battle axe and kill people. When you give a speech, afterwards,
everybody feels like hugging each other." He said, "Would you two please tell me what
the better strategy is." And, of course, I can only think of Nietzsche,
"It's better to be feared than loved." But, look, the teachers' unions are here to
stay. And another point I want to make is, in right-to-work states, we felt like we have
suddenly we have much better achievements. So you have to find a way to get to the table
and attack the absurd. And I had to do that as mayor of my police union. Why do detectives
in my gang task force work Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00? I don't know what cities
you guys are from, but in Newark, the gangs don't work Monday through Friday, 9:00 to
5:00. So when I stand at one of my toughest schools
in the inner city and the first thing the principal said to me is when I came on the
first day of school is, "I lost two of my teachers, two of my best teachers, because
of budget cuts, that they were the last ones hired, the first one fired." Who suffered?
That's absurd. We're in discussions right now because we
have an open contract, really trying to get to the table to understand, to focus on kids,
to focus on change. Now, Governor Christie will have the final say on our contract. But
I believe we can move them very far towards reform.
>>Robert Reich: Can I add to that quickly? We have got to demand with regard to our teachers
some accountability with regard to performance. The false debate we are in right now between
pay versus performance is a ridiculous debate. There ought to be performance measures, and
we need teachers to actually achieve them, or, at the worst, they're not going to be
teachers any longer. But at the same time, we've got to understand
that the law of supplied and demand is not repealed at the schoolhouse door. If we wanted
talented women or men to go into teaching, we've got to pay them enough to get that talent
there. And those are two realities, and we don't want to face either one of them.
>>Cory Booker: Can I just say this, because I think, Mr. Secretary, there are so many
false debates in our country, that the politicians benefit from and the people lose on. So the
false debate about testing, nobody wants things we should rely solely on testing. It should
be one component, along with peer reviews and other things. Never have I been around
education reformers who say we should be all about testing and the like. False debates
around guns in this country. When the Supreme Court overturned the heller decision, all
my friends were all upset on the left saying, now Washington, D.C., will be out going buying
guns. I looked at my city and saw in my time as mayor, there has only been one person shot
with a person who went out and legally bought a gun. And that was a correctional officer
who used her side arm to shoot her boyfriend, who probably deserved it. So we've created
this false gun debate in our country. Mean while, we polled, and I say we, Mayor
Bloomberg paid for the poll; I take credit for it. But mayor Bloomberg paid for a poll,
used a Republican pollster to poll gun owners in maker. And upwards of 80, 90% agreed on
simple law changes that would choke the supply of these weapons coming up to my community.
For example, Secretary Reich, he could be on the no fly list for being a suspected terrorist
and he could have made terroristic threats in the green room saying I am going to go
get a gun and kill you but could still go to Virginia right now and go to a gun show
and easily buy all these weapons. The majority of gun owners say that's crazy. But we've
created a false debate in our country that firms people up on issues when the pragmatic
center gets lost because we're not talking to each other and using, as you said, data
to drive our decisions. >>Eric Schmidt: And maybe some new creative
solutions as the ones you've all discussed. Let's have you have the honor of the last
question. >>> I'm thrilled. I want to thank each of
you for really, truly, a mind-stretching event. Very fun.
I'm a small businessman from Denver, Colorado. Our Denver school board is nonfunctional at
best. One of the problems that I see is I'm trying
to grow my business and things like that -- and I give myself a very poor grade, and I think
there may be others in this room that do the same -- about involvement in local Denver
politics or Colorado politics. If you could give me a two-minute lecture
on what you would have me do in terms of getting more involved.
[ Laughter ] >>Justice O'Connor: Well, come on, there are
a jillion ways. Do you vote? Do you vote?
>>> I vote. (Off mike.) >>Justice O'Connor: Well, that's not necessary.
But you vote. Do you serve on juries if you have a chance?
>>> Sure. I do all of that. (Off mike.) >>Justice O'Connor: Well, how is this school
board chosen? >>> (Off mike.)
>>Justice O'Connor: Maybe you should run for the school board.
[ Applause ] [ Laughter ]
>>Robert Reich: I want -- Can I -- can I just say -- can I just underscore --
>>> (Off mike.) >>Eric Schmidt: Sounds like a fate -- his
answer is it sounds like a fate worse than death.
>>Robert Reich: Can I just underscore what the justice just said. Because I -- many of
us are angry and cynical, and many of us spend a lot of our time whining. And partly because
I'm so short and recognizable, people come up to me in airports all the time who I don't
know, and they whine about everything. [ Laughter ]
>>Robert Reich: And it's pretty depressing. But it's usually whining about politics and
the nation. And what I now am starting to do is saying, "What are you doing about it?"
And that is really the issue. Because we have a lot of power. Everybody in this room has
huge power. Running for the Denver School Board, organizing people who -- of similar
views, being a genuine reformer, being an innovator with regard to the social problems
all around us. We don't need to rely only on people with formal elected authority.
Leadership does not need authority. Leadership is a matter of actually getting people to
focus on the problems that bedevil society and not use denial and escapism and scapegoating
and cynicism to convince themselves that nothing can be done.
>>Cory Booker: And I'll end with this point. I know Denver. I've been out there speaking
to organized school reform groups. I'm a big believer that cities like that should not
have school boards. Mayoral control, guys like (saying name) and others said, it's like
trying to reform a multimillion dollar system by committee as opposed to having a strong
executive. So I really believe in those reforms. But I really think it starts with jumping
in head first, whether it's doing something small, like everybody in your office group
mentoring people in a school, whether it's finding out these organizations. But that's
the biggest thing is that people in America, we too often let our inability to do everything
undermine our determination to do something. I'll end with a vignette of the woman I talked
to, the worst day as a city councilman back in my mid 20s. And I remember going home,
horrible day. A friend of mine was the tenant president at another part in Newark that had
a horribly violent incident. And I'm coming home. I don't know why I'm in politics. I'm
really ready to quit. I can't help this woman with her drug problem. I can't order the police
to do it. There's Ms. Jones. She sees me. I don't want
to talk to her, so I try to walk past her. She goes, "Don't you walk past me, boy, without
giving me a hug." And I said, "Okay," and I give her a hug.
And she goes, "What's wrong?" And I vented on her, whined probably louder
than you ever heard, how horrible politics was, why am I involved in all of this. And
then I told her of the situation. I said, "I just don't know what to do. It's terrible."
And then, suddenly, she looked like she was animated by God. She goes, "Oh, my gosh, I
know what you should do. And I said, "Ms. Jones, you know what should
I do?" She goes, "Yes, I know what you should do."
She's thought for a second. She goes, "I know exactly what you should do."
I go, "Ms. Jones, I don't have time for this. What should I do?"
She crosses her arm, and she says, "You should do something."
[ Laughter ] >>Eric Schmidt: On behalf of Google, on our
audience, thank the three of you for your extraordinary contributions to America.
[ Applause ]