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Commonwealth The

THE MAGAZINE OF THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB OF CALIFORNIA

AUG/SEPT 2018

BLOCKCHAIN AND

CRYPTOCURRENCY ROBERT REICH

DEBORAH & JAMES FALLOWS

TIMOTHY HAMPTON JONAH GOLDBERG

RUTH SHAPIRO ALICIA GARZA

$5.00; free for members | commonwealthclub.org

UPCOMING PROGRAMS Complete Guide


India Splendors of the South JANUARY 22 – FEBRUARY 6, 2019

• Experience a 16-day journey from Mumbai to Mysore to the wildlife haven of Nagarhole National Park. • Explore Calicut, “City of Spices” and enjoy a leisurely two-night cruise along Kerala’s palm-fringed canals. • Discover fascinating Kochi, boasting its rich mix of Arab, Portuguese and Dutch influences. • Delhi and Agra pre-tour extension and Sri Lanka post-tour extension are available. $5,674 per person, double occupancy, including air from SFO

View Upcoming Trips at commonwealthclub.org/travel | 415.597.6720 | travel@commonwealthclub.org CST# 2096889-40


INSIDE 4 Editor’s Desk Yes, we do that.

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The Commons

News and insights from the Club.

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California Book Award Winners

Celebrating 2017’s best books

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First Word: Robert Reich

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Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Understanding the new money.

THIS 17

Deborah & James Fallows

Inside a 10,000-mile journey to the America that’s out of the public eye.

ISSUE 37 Last Word: Alicia Garza

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Program Information

When a 16th century French aristocrat wrote about the art of conversation, he was also writing about conflict and power.

Two-month Calendar

Timothy Hampton

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Jonah Goldberg

The forces on the Left and the Right that are undermining America.

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Ruth Shapiro

How is Asian philanthropy different from philanthropy in other regions?

On the cover: This issue, we decrypt the mysteries of cryptocurrency.

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Our handy 2-page overview.

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Program Listings

What’s happening at the Club.

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Late-breaking Events

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InSight

By Dr. Gloria Duffy

On this page: Kathryn Haun (left) and Laura Shin. Photo by Sarah Gonzalez

Design by James Meinerth

With the price as high as it is, people aren’t actually wanting to make payments in Bitcoin. There’s this famous example of a guy who spent 10,000 Bitcoins to buy two pizzas. Those pizzas would now be worth over $100 million. No one wants to be that guy, so no one’s spending the Bitcoin in this country. KATHRYN HAUN (LEFT)

August/September 2018 - Volume 112, No. 5

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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VP, MEDIA & EDITORIAL

John Zipperer

ART DIRECTOR

James Meinerth

DIGITAL ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Megan Turner

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ed Ritger Sarah Gonzalez Sonya Abrams James Meinerth

ADVERTISING INFORMATION

John Zipperer, Vice President of Media & Editorial, (415) 597-6715 jzipperer@commonwealthclub.org The Commonwealth (ISSN 0010-3349) is published bimonthly (6 times a year) by The Commonwealth Club of California, 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105. Periodicals postage paid at San Francisco, CA. Subscription rate $34 per year included in annual membership dues.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Commonwealth, The Commonwealth Club of California, 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105 Tel: (415) 597-6700 E-mail: feedback@commonwealthclub.org EDITORIAL TRANSCRIPT POLICY

The Commonwealth magazine covers a range of programs in each issue. Program transcripts and question-and-answer sessions are routinely condensed due to space limitations. Hear full-length recordings online at commonwealthclub. org/watch-listen, podcasts on Google Play and Apple iTunes, or contact Club offices to buy a compact disc. Printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Copyright © 2018 The Commonwealth Club of California.

Photo by James Meinerth

You Do What?

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ccasionally I hear a member of the Club say they weren’t aware of a particular Commonwealth Club offering or service available to them. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised; I know about everything the Club does and has to offer because I hear about and work on these things every day. The Club does a lot of things, and it would be a shame if you missed out on anything because you weren’t aware of it. So here’s a roundup of answers to those “Do you do . . .” questions. We do have discussion groups in addition to our bigger programs. We have small groups that might range from 10 to 70 people that meet regularly to talk about Middle Eastern affairs, books, aging, and philosophy. You can find them in our listings starting on page 41 or at commonwealthclub.org/events. How about early notices to members about big events we think will sell out fast? Yes, we do that, emailing our members a day or more before nonmembers to alert them of such events. To receive those and other notices, sign up for our newsletters on the signup box on our homepage. (commonwealthclub.org) Yes, we do rent out Club facilities for private events. When we aren’t using our building for our own events, we make it available for others in the community—individuals, businesses, foundations, etc.—to hold their meetings, weddings and conferences. (commonwealthclub.org/privateevents) Yes, we have a travel department, which has grown tremendously over the past decade under the able leadership of Kristina Nemeth and her staff and now features about 24 trips domestically and around the world each year. (commonwealthclub.org/travel) The things I am most involved in—overseeing our prodigious output of audio, video, print and internet content as well as our media outreach efforts—are naturally the things I think about the most. But even people who listen to our radio program sometimes aren’t aware that we have a thriving podcast, available free at iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher and other podcast services. (commonwealthclub.org/watch-listen) Yes, we livestream many programs. In fact, we have done livestreaming for many years, but with our new building and some new technology, we have greatly expanded the number of our programs that can be watched live on YouTube and Facebook for people who are not able to get to the program itself. (facebook.com/commonwealthclub or youtube.com/ commonwealthclub) Yes, members can create and run programs of their own, as part of our Member-Led Forums. It’s just one way you can volunteer at the Club; our dedicated volunteer corps also collect answer cards, greet attendees, take tickets, and more. (commonwealthclub.org/volunteer) There’s a lot more going on at The Commonwealth Club than what one might have heard about. Don’t miss out on anything that’s available. JOHN Z I P P E R E R VP, ME DIA & ED I T O RI AL

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TALK OF THE CLUB Mayor Ed Lee addresses The Commonwealth Club of California.

Pioneering Woman

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n late June, The Commonwealth Club held a Women’s Luncheon to recognize the first generation of women to join the Club after it discarded its men-only policy in the early 1970s. When we announced the luncheon in the April/May 2018 issue of The Commonwealth magazine, we heard from a longtime member who couldn’t attend because she now lives in Southern California, but she wanted to share her own story. She had wanted to join before the Club’s policy change; over the course of a couple years, she had asked more than one leader of the Club to let her become a member, but she was told she should just use her husband’s membership card if she wanted to attend a program here. This despite the fact that she was a very successful real estate agent known throughout the Bay Area. She persisted, eventually becoming a member and remaining one for decades (making her part of our Golden Gavel circle of people who have been members for 30 years or longer). We’re grateful to her and to all of the women who helped us commemorate the historic—and overdue—change in policy.

Caught in Traffic

Over the past year, the Club has spread the word about its new headquarters in a number of ways. You might have heard some of our guests and staff on KGO Radio’s “Explain It to Me Like I’m Five” segments, or maybe you saw our banners on downtown light poles. One avenue—forgive the term—of getting out the word was to be found on the streets of San Francisco, and you might have spotted them as you walked, biked or drove around the city: as shown in the photo at right, signs on the sides of buses touted the many thought leaders the Club has brought to our audiences. Now if we could just fit a sign on the sides of those little scooters . . .

Two of the large woodcuts from Joseph Tipay’s exhibit of The Incarceration Effect. Above left: Inmate #F-86924; above right: Mending. Below: The Club does its bit to increase street education. Art: by and courtesy Joseph Tipay; bus photo: Mark Kirchner

through similar struggles. Over time, they have shared intimate details of the events that have shaped their lives.” Tipay grew up in Fresno, California, and got his childhood education in art both from his grandfather’s mural and automobile painting as well as the experiences and sites of the streets. He later earned a Bachelors in studio art with an emphasis in education from San Jose State University, and a Masters of Fine Art in printmaking from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He teaches at Madera Community College Center, Merced College, and with West Hills College

Coalinga at Pleasant Valley State Prison. He says that some themes in his works include “communicating through prison walls, maintaining relationships, intergenerational incarceration, gun violence, gangs, and drug abuse. I also touch on breaking the cycle, unconditional love, humanity, the separation of family, and telling a side of the story that people are unaware of, or are insensitive to.” Some of Tipay’s works are on display in the Club’s Farmer Gallery at 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco. The exhibit began July 2 and runs through September 7.

In the Farmer Gallery

“My work deals with the effects felt by those with a parent or parents in prison,” says artist Joseph Tipay. “I draw from personal experience, and this has allowed me to connect to family members who have gone AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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LEADERSHIP OF THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB CLUB OFFICERS Board Chair Richard A. Rubin Vice Chair Evelyn S. Dilsaver Secretary Dr. Jaleh Daie Treasurer John R. Farmer President & CEO Dr. Gloria C. Duffy

BOARD OF GOVERNORS John F. Allen Carlo Almendral Courtland Alves Dan Ashley Massey J. Bambara Dr. Mary G. F. Bitterman** Harry E. Blount John L. Boland Michael R. Bracco

Maryles Casto** Mary B. Cranston** Susie Cranston Dr. Kerry P. Curtis Dorian Daley Alecia DeCoudreaux Lee Dutra Joseph I. Epstein* Jeffrey A. Farber Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. Dr. Carol A. Fleming Kirsten Garen Leslie Saul Garvin John Geschke Paul M. Ginsburg Hon. James C. Hormel Mary Huss Julie Kane John Leckrone Dr. Mary Marcy Frank C. Meerkamp Lenny Mendonca

Anna W.M. Mok Bruce Raabe Skip Rhodes (Past Board President) Bill Ring Martha Ryan George M. Scalise Lata Krishnan Shah Dr. Ruth A. Shapiro Charlotte Mailliard Shultz George D. Smith, Jr. James Strother Hon. Tad Taube Ellen O’Kane Tauscher Charles Travers Don Wen Dr. Colleen B. Wilcox Jed York Mark Zitter ADVISORY BOARD Karin Helene Bauer

Hon. William Bradley Dennise M. Carter Steven Falk Amy Gershoni Jacquelyn Hadley Heather Kitchen Amy McCombs Don J. McGrath Hon. William J. Perry Hon. Barbara Pivnicka Hon. Richard Pivnicka Ray Taliaferro Nancy Thompson

PAST BOARD CHAIRS AND PRESIDENTS Dr. Mary G. F. Bitterman ** Hon. Shirley Temple Black*† J. Dennis Bonney* John Busterud* Maryles Casto** Hon. Ming Chin* Mary B. Cranston**

FEEDBACK

Not Free Speech? Frankly, my wife and I are shocked that the Club would provide a platform for Sean Spicer, who basically we believe was

an opportunist liar paid by our tax dollars. And now continuing as an opportunist paid speaker, evidently with some success, milking his celebrity. I don’t think this is a matter

Joseph I. Epstein * Dr. Joseph R. Fink * William German * Rose Guilbault** Claude B. Hutchison Jr. * Dr. Julius Krevans* Anna W.M. Mok** Richard Otter* Joseph Perrelli* Toni Rembe* Victor J. Revenko* Skip Rhodes* Renée Rubin * Robert Saldich** Connie Shapiro * Nelson Weller * Judith Wilbur * Dennis Wu* * Past President ** Past Chair † Deceased

of free speech. Why host such a despicable charlatan? There is enough normalizing of the culture he represents, as it is. Please reconsider! I know he was hired as a Harvard fellow, but this guy basically killed open White House communications. (If you want to present an honorable former press secretary, how about Josh Earnest?) Doug Peckler via email [Re: Greg Gutfeld’s August 14 program:] Fox “News” is not journalism and he is nothing more than a tool of the corporate oligarchy parroting the talking points of think tanks sponsored by the 1%. This propaganda station will be considered the McCarthyism of its time. Miguel Angel Avila via Facebook [Re: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s May 21 program:] I hope someone will ask him why he continues to push a false narrative about vaccines, undercutting public health and putting people in danger. His uncle, President Kennedy, supported vaccination. It’s a real shame that Robert Kennedy Jr. didn’t learn that lesson from his family. Katherine Falk via Facebook Feedback@commonwealthclub.org.

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CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP

The Club’s Corporate Membership provides learning and development opportunities year-round, as well as opportunities to network with other business leaders and peers around the Bay Area. We have regular programs in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the North Bay. YOU’LL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW Members get advance notice of upcoming programs, and that’s no small thing considering our number of sold-out programs! BE HERE Our new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront is available for members to visit and relax, even when you’re not here for a program. General availability is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays. Daily hours are subject to change and are posted at our front desk. MEMBER SOCIALS take place in San Francisco before each of our Week to Week political roundtable programs. Spend an hour mixing and talking with others while enjoying some snacks and our bar. Each membership level includes a specified number of individual memberships, valued at $110. Each individual member receives: • 48-hours advance notice to popular programs • Discounts up to 60% on ticket prices • Exclusive access to members-only events • No charge at free-for-member events • Subscription to The Commonwealth bimonthly magazine Corporate members also receive: • 10% quarterly discount on rental space at 110 The Embarcadero • Executive Membership benefits for designated members: Company CEO and additional executive(s) qualify as Executive Members and receive invitations to bi-monthly VIP receptions with panelists and speakers

Membership Level

# of Memberships

# of Executive Members

Total Cost

Valued At

Small Business

40

2

$2,500

$4,400

Bronze

75

3

$5,500

$8,250

Silver

150

5

$10,000

$16,500

Gold

250

7

$16,000

$27,500

Please contact Ana Alanis, development associate, at (415) 597 6703 or aalanis@commonwealthclub.org with any questions.


Discounts & Deals for Members Only! Just for being a member of The Commonwealth Club, we’re bringing you discounts and deals on everything from great wines to fine dining. Just show your membership card at these nearby businesses to get these exclusive member deals.

Receive 10% off your bill, reservations suggested, call and let them know you’re a member

Receive 10% off any retail purchase at their Ferry Plaza location

Receive 10% off in-store purchases after 2 p.m. at their Ferry Plaza location

Receive 10% off any purchase at their Ferry Plaza and Oakland locations

Receive 10% off in-store purchases after 2 p.m. at their Ferry Plaza location


Winners of the 87th Annual California Book Awards for Books Published in 2017 FICTION Gold: Josh Weil, The Age of Perpetual Light, Grove Press Silver: Percival Everett, So Much Blue, Graywolf Press FIRST FICTION Gold: Rachel Khong, Goodbye Vitamin, Henry Holt and Company NONFICTION Gold: Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company Silver: Lauren Markham, The Far Away Brothers, Crown JUVENILE Gold: Susan Goldman Rubin, Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands, Chronicle Books YOUNG ADULT Gold: Dashka Slater, The 57 Bus, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an Imprint of MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group POETRY Gold: Tongo Eisen-Martin, Heaven Is All Goodbyes, City Lights Publishers CALIFORNIANA Gold: Robert Aquinas McNally, The Modoc War, Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press CONTRIBUTION TO PUBLISHING Gold: Obi Kaufmann, The California Field Atlas, Heyday

The winners were celebrated at the awards ceremony held Monday, June 11, 2018. Learn more about The Commonwealth Club’s California Book Awards at commonwealthclub.org/bookawards


FIRST WORD

WITH ROBERT REICH

Photos by Sonya Abrams

A P P I

got wind of the changes when I was secretary of labor for Bill Clinton, after Newt Gingrich came to his ascendancy as speaker of the House. It was almost as if the climate had suddenly changed, as if a different atmospheric pressure had come to Washington. In November, before Newt Gingrich coming in as speaker, I had been testifying before the authorizing committee that was looking over the Labor Department, [which] had responsibility for what I was doing as secretary of labor. I would answer their questions [from] these members of Congress, and they would ask me more questions. And some of them, Democrats as well as Republicans, would try to trip me up. That was fine. That was part of what we all did. I was pretty well-prepared, I tried to be as prepared as I could. But in February, after Newt Gingrich came in and brought in a lot of others with him, I was testifying before the same committee, but there was a big difference. There was not the kind of almost good-natured ribbing. I remember I was answering the question of one of the new members of Congress. I had never seen him before; the name was “Duke” Cunningham, I think [his real name was] Randy Cunningham. Some of you may remember this man? San Diego? He went to prison, didn’t he? Well, this was before he went to prison. [Laughter.] I was trying to deliver testimony, and he interrupted me. He said,

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“Mr. Secretary, I’ve read everything you’ve written. All your books, all your articles.” I thought for a quick instant maybe he was going to say something nice. But he said, “I’ve also read Karl Marx. Could you tell me what the difference is between you and Karl Marx?” He said it without a smile. I didn’t know if he was joking. I turned to my assistant and [whispered], “Should I make a joke?” And she said, “No!” I said, “Congressman, there is a difference, and I would be happy to talk with you about it when we have a chance.” But that was just the beginning. I remember coming back to my office . . . and finding people I didn’t know, people who were staffers, young people from the Republican side of the House who were going through my files. I said, “What are you doing?” They said, “We have permission to go through your files.” I said, “What are you looking for?” They didn’t answer me. I went to my chief of staff and said, “What are they looking for?” She said, “They’re looking for anything they can find to get you.” You see how quickly it changed. It was Newt Gingrich and it was that year, 1995. Donald Trump is the culmination of something, he’s not the cause. —April 25, 2018 in San Francisco


THE NEW MONEY KATHRYN HAUN Former Federal Prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice; Lecturer in Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business; Board of Directors, Coinbase In conversation with

LAURA SHIN

Journalist; Podcast Host— Moderator

Photos by Sarah Gonzalez


What is blockchain, and why does it matter even if you don’t own any Bitcoin? Tw o e x p e r t s e x p l a i n . From the April 12, 2018 Inforum program in San F r a n c i s c o “ B l o c kc h a i n and Cryptocurrency: The Basics.” SHIN: Why don’t we just start with the most basic question. What is Bitcoin? HAUN: That’s very basic, right? Here’s how I think of Bitcoin. I think of Bitcoin as digital money for the internet. When you think about money, you can think about money in a couple different ways. You could spend money. You can transfer money to someone else. You could give Laura some money, so I could give Laura some Bitcoin. You can also store money. Think about gold there. I think Bitcoin is digital money for the internet that you can spend or transfer, like digital cash, but you Laura Shin

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could also store it like digital gold. Certainly with some of the prices we’ve seen, the volatility in the past few months—although today it shot back up to a high. Because of that volatility, a lot of people in the United States are storing it, using it as a store of value, digital gold. Although as we can talk about in some other jurisdictions, people are using it to make payments where they don’t have access to banking systems that we all do. SHIN: Where are we seeing some of that activity? HAUN: Well, in Venezuela, as one example, where the national currency is not quite so stable. Some places, like in sub-Saharan Africa. I’m thinking of the podcast you did with Roya where she couldn’t have access to a bank account in Afghanistan. That’s how she learned about Bitcoin. SHIN: This woman, Roya Mahboob, she was one of Time’s 100 most influential people and is a serial tech entrepreneur. One of her businesses was a little blogging platform, and she needed to pay the contributors, many of which were women. But I guess culturally in Afghanistan, a lot of women don’t have bank accounts, or if they do, when

they would get the money, maybe their families would take the money away from then. They eventually decided to start paying them in Bitcoin. The women were set up with wallets and then taught how to use the wallets. This one woman, I guess she had an abusive husband, and she eventually saved up the Bitcoin she was earning from this service and then divorced him. That just shows you this was very empowering, but in a place like the U.S. where we have really good financial services, you might not understand what the impact of Bitcoin could be. But in this kind of place, it was very different. HAUN: I think of Bitcoin as what I think of as three D’s, when I think of some of its characteristics. We already said digital, right? It’s the first scarce digital asset. It’s also decentralized. It’s not controlled by a government. It’s not controlled by a central bank. It’s just decentralized. Think about in the days of email. Before email came along, if we wanted to send something to someone, that piece of mail would go through the post office. It would go through


Kathryn Haun

a central intermediary. With Bitcoin, when I say it’s decentralized, I mean that you can send it to another person without going through an intermediary, like a bank. Just like now, you can send an email to someone without going to the post office. The third D is it’s deflationary. It’s a finite supply. Only 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist. It can’t be added to. This was the design that the person who invented or persons who invented Bitcoin—the moniker is “Satoshi Nakamoto.” He wrote a white paper in 2008 setting forth his vision of Bitcoin. This supply is limited. Now one question that I always get is, and from educated, smart people, they say, “Oh, I’m going to wait until the price goes down a little to get some Bitcoin, because I don’t have enough to buy one whole Bitcoin.” The thing about Bitcoin is it’s also divisible, so another D, to the eighth decimal point, you don’t have to own a whole Bitcoin. If I wanted to pay Laura something, I don’t need to pay her one or two Bitcoin. I could pay her a small fraction of Bitcoin. Those are just some properties I wanted to get out there before we moved on.

SHIN: I think Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that most people know about. It was obviously the first. It was the one that set this whole craze in motion, but there’s an entire class of what they call crypto assets. Let’s just actually talk about cryptocurrency. How would you define that for people? HAUN: Again, Bitcoin was one of the first or was the first, although I want to point out that even before Bitcoin came about with this white paper in 2008, we had things like E-gold. So there were some kind of digital systems that people were looking at. With cryptocurrency, I actually call them crypto assets, because when you think about what currencies are, they’re things that are being used readily to buy and sell things. When I think of cryptocurrencies, I don’t think they’re there yet. Bitcoin is one of the most popular. Other ones—how many in this room have heard of Ethereum or Ether? Okay, so a decent amount of people. Ether is another. What about Lightcoin? Okay, so people think of Lightcoin as digital silver, whereas Bitcoin would be digital gold. All of these cryptocurrencies have slightly

unique attributes. Lightcoin is supposed to be cheaper for payments and faster than Bitcoin. Then you have some other crypto assets, things like Zcash and Monero. What those assets are focused on is providing privacy. We can get to that in a bit; you might already know this, but people think that, oh, Bitcoin is anonymous, but actually that’s not true at all. It’s pseudo-anonymous. You can ultimately figure out through the government who owns what wallets oftentimes. Things like Zcash and Monero are kind of privacy-enhancing cryptocurrencies. SHIN: There’s one other thing that I wanted to just kind of lay out for people so we fully define what this is, but a lot of people say, “The money I deal with like PayPal and Venmo is digital. How is this different?” HAUN: PayPal and digital and online banking, for that matter, if you make a transfer, you might think you’re moving money, but actually if I were to make a Venmo transfer to you or a Venmo payment to you, it’s not actually physically moving the money then and there. Rather, it’s a digital veneer on an age-old system called double-entry AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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bookkeeping. It’s really, again, just a digital veneer. Our banks have to go reconcile and settle up in the end. Anyone who’s ever made an international wire transfer knows, first of all, that that can take some time. B, it’s expensive. It’s also not very transparent. It’s certainly not instantaneous, because again, the banks have to do reconciliation at the end, or these digital systems, PayPal, Venmo, have to do this reconciliation process, whereas if I was to send you a Bitcoin, we’d be able to go to the ledger, the Bitcoin ledger, which we’ll talk about, that’s the blockchain, we’d be able to go to that and see this transfer occur. That’s really quite revolutionary. SHIN: What is a blockchain? HAUN: Let me try and illustrate a picture in your mind. I think of a blockchain as a massive shared ledger, kind of a shared global database that includes all of the transactions that have ever happened in the Bitcoin network. Right now, I’m just talking about the Bitcoin blockchain. We’ll get into some other blockchains later, but it’s this massive database that anyone can go look at and see what transfers were made in Bitcoin. Again, it’s public. There’s some auditability to it, which we can get into, but it’s decentralized. This is very important blockchain and Bitcoin architecture, this decentralization. This shared global ledger is spread out among thousands of computers all over the world, okay? Now if you picture a vault holding this, let’s say that you had one ledger and you had a vault holding it, if someone broke into that vault, they could erase some of that ledger, put in a different number. They could alter it, if it were just centralized. Now think of, again, I told you thousands of computers. Think of all of those as individual vaults, and they all hold copies of this same digital ledger. If you want to go alter it, you don’t just have

to break into one vault. You have to break into all of these thousands of vaults all over the world all at the same time, because all of these ledgers have to match. It’s also very trustworthy, because not anyone can just go update that ledger. Through some cryptographic wizardry, this ledger gets updated in a way that you know is accurate. Then it’s maintained all over the world decentralized. It makes it very hard to tamper with. That’s the Bitcoin blockchain. SHIN: As technical as this might sound or as kind of difficult as it might be to follow, it’s actually enabling some really, really interesting things to be possible in the world. What are some things that are possible now with blockchain technology that were not possible before? HAUN: I was just describing to you the Bitcoin blockchain, which also people refer to as the public blockchain. That’s different. You’ll now hear people talk about blockchain technology. I think when you’re asking about different use cases and what could be possible, we’re talking now about blockchain technology, not necessarily with the Bitcoin blockchain. We’re going to give you some terms before you leave here tonight, so you’ll be really down with some lingo. I’m going to give you the first right now. It’s called DLT, distributed ledger technology. The difference or the interplay between blockchain and distributed ledger technology is that blockchain, the public Bitcoin blockchain, is a form of distributed ledger technology, but there are other kinds of blockchains that aren’t the public blockchains. For example, think of it like the intranet and the internet. You

could have permissioned blockchains, private networks, where certain parties who already trust each other are sharing a ledger. That’s different from the public blockchain. The use cases are really far reaching. I think this is one of the exciting things about this technology. Again, this is distributed ledger technology, not necessarily the public Bitcoin, because of course, on a blockchain, you can transfer assets. On the public Bitcoin blockchain, you’re transferring Bitcoin, but there’s no reason you can’t transfer other assets on a blockchain. You can transfer anything of value. What has value in society? One of the really promising use cases for blockchain technology is identity. Could you put identity as an asset? Some governments think possibly you could. For example, the state of Illinois right now has a pilot program to put birth certificates onto a blockchain. Again, not the public Bitcoin blockchain, but using blockchain technology, putting the birth certificates and records of individuals’ birth on a shared ledger. Other things that people talk about, very exciting use cases, are supply chain management. Think about vaccines moving through the system.We don’t know their provenance. We might not know when they expire. Well, there are a lot of programs right now where they’re experimenting with tracking vaccines using blockchain technology. Another thing I think is very promising [is] charitable donations. We met with the former prime minister of Haiti. He was the prime minister at the time of the earthquake. He reported that the Red Cross took in $500 million of aid that they couldn’t account for. When he went for this account-


ing, it wasn’t able to be provided. If you think about some of the fraud and the corruption, there’s just very much a lack of transparency, which people are pretty excited that maybe distributed ledger technology or blockchain technology could help solve. These are just some of the use cases; there are many more that are talked about. Some of these are just ideas, right? People say, “Oh, well that’s not possible.” SHIN: One thing I wanted to add was that the former prime minister of Haiti said in the earthquake there was a building with all the records of whatever it was, birth certificates or something— HAUN: Land registry too, right? SHIN: Right. It collapsed. Basically all the records were destroyed. Imagine if all of those were held on a blockchain in the cloud in this tamper-proof fashion? Then that would be very powerful, and that would have been unaffected by that natural disaster. Now that we’ve kind of given people an idea of how this can be applied, let’s talk about how a blockchain works. HAUN: Okay. Now we’re going to go back to our Bitcoin blockchain, because that’s our best example to illustrate how it works. Let’s break down the term. Two words comprise blockchain, right? Block, what is a block? A block is just a group of transactions, of Bitcoin transactions that are all grouped together. Every 10 minutes, a new block of transactions, so a new group of transactions is verified on the Bitcoin network and attached to the prior block. When I say attached, I mean chained. There’s the second word—[hence] blockchain, a group of transactions that’s attached to another group of transactions in a chain-like fashion. One of the really unique aspects [of blockchain architecture] is that that new block has some data from the prior block. It’s called a hash. I don’t want to get too down in the weeds. I just like to think

of it as data. On that new block, it has some data from prior blocks. I think of it as almost DNA. The new block almost inherits some DNA of the prior blocks. Why that’s significant is, again, for reasons concerning the ability to tamper and to trust this ledger. It’s because it would be really hard if you wanted to go back and change this ledger, because all of these blocks relate to each other. They have some data in them. Laura, I think you’re really good at explaining the hash function here, but the concept is just each subsequent block has data from prior blocks. SHIN: Yes. If you try to change some transaction 10 blocks back or something, everybody would know, because the chain would then be broken. Basically the math equations that kind of link them all together and prove that they are still linked, they would show that they were no longer linked at some point. That’s basically how the ledger is shown to be secure. You can kind of prove it mathematically. Let’s talk about mining, which I’m sure is something a lot of people have heard about. It’s a really important part of how a blockchain does work. What is that? HAUN: One of the things about mining that throws people off is it’s like mining—we think of mining gold or something. Well, it’s not really mining. Another way to think of it is the process by which the blockchain is secured. Whenever you hear the word mining just in your mind think, “Oh, the mining, process that secures the blockchain.” I think sometimes that helps. At least it helps me. Again, it’s the process by which the blockchain is secured, and it rewards those who are doing the securing. When I say those, it sounds like I’m talking about people. In this day and age, I’m really talking about computers and computing power, but we can think of them as people also, because people own these computers. I talked about that decentralized network of computers spread out all over the world. How

it works is that these computers engage in basically a gigantic race to solve a really complicated math puzzle. This is what I was talking about [regarding] cryptographic wizardry, but it’s a very complex math problem. These problems get, by the way, harder and harder. The first computer to solve this math puzzle, two things happen. One, they get the right to add the next block to that chain that we talked about. They also get rewarded financially. They’re incentivized to perform this math computation; they get rewarded in the form of Bitcoin. This is called a block reward. They think they’re doing this great thing. They’re getting money for solving a math problem, but in the process, they’re adding another block to the chain, verifying transactions, and thus securing the network. SHIN: The only thing I would add here is that one other thing that’s fascinating about Bitcoin is the way that they incentivized people to join the network. When this software was first released, it was dispensing 50 new Bitcoins every 10 minutes. Then after four years, that went to 25. Now it’s down to 12.5. That will keep going until we reach the 21 million limit. The point is that it was sort of like trying to get people onto the network earlier rather than later by dispensing more of them. You would want to join before the block reward got halved, as they call it. We’ve heard a lot about hacks in crypto. Have any blockchains been hacked? Can they be hacked? HAUN: Well, my answer sometimes differs here from some other members of the crypto community, and that’s because I spent over a decade as a federal prosecutor and prosecuted some pretty big hacks in cyber crime, so I’m never going to tell you anything can’t be hacked. I think a lot of people in this community would tell you the blockchain is unhackable. I won’t make that claim, but I will say it’s pretty darn secure


and trustworthy. I would bet money that it wouldn’t be hacked, but I’m still not going to sit here and tell you it’s not possible. When you hear about hacks, and often times not journalists like yourself, Laura, but some other journalists will report that the blockchain was hacked. It’s actually factually incorrect. What they mean was that a cryptocurrency exchange was hacked. Remember the blockchain is decentralized. Getting back to that notion, it would be really, really hard, if not impossible, to hack it. Exchanges are centralized. It’s a centralized single point of failure. Just like we see all kinds of central points of failure being subject to hack, whether it’s Equifax or whether it’s OPM and the government, cryptocurrency exchanges, or whether it’s, by the way, traditional financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t any exception. AUDIENCE MEMBER: You said there are several thousand computers updating the ledger. What about the energy consumption? SHIN: You’re right that the energy consumption of Bitcoin is quite high now, especially because there are so many computers on the network. I have spoken with some Bitcoin miners, and I do know that they are focused on placing their mining equipment near renewable energy. You’ll see a lot of them near hydropower, geothermal. I think the most recent statistic I found

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was that if Bitcoin were a country, it would be like—I forget—in the 40s in terms of its ranking of energy consumption amongst all nations on earth. HAUN: I read it consumes more power and more energy than the country of Honduras, and it might be even bigger now. AUDIENCE MEMBER: What happens when you buy a Bitcoin? Where does that money physically go? HAUN: Okay, good question. You can get a Bitcoin in a couple different ways. You could mine a Bitcoin, if you had a supercomputer, but let’s say that you wanted to just buy a Bitcoin or get a Bitcoin somehow. Most people now will go to what we call on and off ramps, which are the cryptocurrency exchanges. Those exist all over the world. The biggest one in the United States is Coinbase. I happen to be on the board of directors of Coinbase—so fair and full disclosure. You would open a Coinbase account, or if you were in Europe, you might open a Bitstamp account, for example. You would give the exchange money—cash money, fiat currency, you could use a credit card, you could use your debit card, or you could link it to your bank account. In exchange, they will give you a Bitcoin wallet, and you will get Bitcoin—or you could also buy, for example, Ethereum or Lightcoin. The other way is that someone could give it to you. We do have systems in this

country called LocalBitcoins. Think of it as like a Craigslist. You could meet someone at a Starbucks and give them cash, and they’ll transfer [Bitcoin to] you through your digital devices. You would both have a Bitcoin wallet—anyone can get a Bitcoin wallet online—and you can transfer Bitcoin and pay them cash. Those are the easiest, most common ways to get hold of Bitcoin. Merchants also do take Bitcoin. AUDIENCE MEMBER: My head is spinning right now. How do you spend it? I read a story one time, this couple was traveling around the world. They only wanted to use Bitcoins, but companies or stores or hotels, they have to sign up for this, so you could only go to places that are signed up to have Bitcoin exchange. Is that correct? HAUN: A lot of merchants are now taking it. It’s kind of in-fashion now. With the price as high as it is, people aren’t actually wanting to make payments in Bitcoin. There’s this famous example of a guy who spent 10,000 Bitcoins to buy two pizzas. Those pizzas would now be worth over $100 million. No one wants to be that guy, so no one’s spending the Bitcoin in this country. Not no one, but there’s not as much demand right now, I think, for merchants to accept Bitcoin. However, we do see “Bitcoin accepted here” signs. Merchants, just like they’ll accept credit cards, do have mechanisms that they could accept Bitcoin payments.


DEBORAH & JAMES FALLOWS ARE THE Photos by Sarah Gonzalez

STATES

STILL UNITED?

DEBORAH FALLOWS Author, Dreaming in Chinese and A Mother’s Work; Co-Author, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America JAMES FALLOWS National Correspondent, The Atlantic; Co-Author, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America In conversation with LENNY MENDONCA Director Emeritus, McKinsey and Company; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

F o ll o w ing t h e ir 5 - year journey f lying to small tow ns across A mer ic a, t his husb and - and - w i fe team rep or t s on w ha t they found. From the May 15, 2018 program in Palo Alto “Deborah and James Fallows: Our 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America.” LENNY MENDONCA: For the last five years, James and Deborah have been traveling across the United States in a single-prop airplane. We’re delighted this evening to have them talk with us about their journey and what they discovered about America.

What was it like to be on an airplane crisscrossing the country for five years with each other? DEBORAH FALLOWS: It was great. [Laughter.] Jim is a passionate pilot, and I have become a very good right-seat passenger and navigator. I’m ground control for this operation. Low-altitude flying over the country is really an amazing experience, because you see Norman Rockwell scenes; you see, as you approach towns, a surprising series of prisons and quarries, which you never would imagine were there. As we fly low into towns, when Jim is preparing to land, I get a good sense looking out the window of what a town looks like from just barely above. You can count the number of church spires and get a sense of what’s going on in the town. You can see if the swimming pools are aboveground or in the ground. For example, in Columbus, Mississippi, you fly in very low over the factories, and you see that in that particular city, there are no cars in the parking lots, and, in fact, the parking lots have a lot of weeds and tufts of grass growing up in them. JAMES FALLOWS: We’ve lived in China and Japan and Malaysia and England and Seattle and Berkeley and Texas. So I think we’ve enjoyed the adventure of the road. We spent about 500 hours flying on this journey. Most of the time, we were on the ground. But [it was] about 500 hours’ worth of flying, and you were always extremely patient, most of the time, while doing that.

DEBORAH FALLOWS: Yes, I was. It’s a little plane; there’s no flight attendant—that would be me. There’s no bathroom. If it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside. If it’s hot outside, it’s hot inside. You really know when you’re coming into a small town—5,000 of these little tiny airports around the country—that you are coming somewhere. It’s not like you’re stepping off a big aircraft, which is, as we all know, a much more anonymous and horrible experience. MENDONCA: It’s great; it sounds like a fantastic journey. Right before that, you were in China, right? What made you decide to come back home and to pursue something like this? JAMES FALLOWS: There was a logical connection, sort of, between our time in China and our time in America. We were in China for a little more than 3 years, ’06 to ’09—in Shanghai for about half the time, and in Beijing. We went to almost every province of China. We were back in China again in 2011 to finish books about China. The narrative in China during those times—’08, ’09 through ’11—was that America had not simply brought down the entire world economy, which was true, but also that the U.S. had sort of lost its vitality and its spark. The Chinese were noting that after the U.S.-induced crash, they were just so much quicker to get people out there doing things. Just briefly to illustrate: Our apartment in Beijing overlooked one of the long-distance bus stations. We saw after the crash in ’08, evAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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ery day the buses would be taking thousands of migrant workers back to the provinces because they lost their jobs in Beijing. But then, a month or two later, when we went out to the provinces, we’d see these same people building roads, building whatever just to get them to work. So there was a sense in China that they had figured out an economic response the U.S. hadn’t. We thought, what if we tried a similar approach in the U.S.—of just using the small plane, which we’d had for a long time, and going to places in Nebraska and Iowa and the Dakotas you wouldn’t ordinarily go and seeing what it would be like just to be on the road. That was how this all began. MENDONCA: Did you have a sense when you started that you were going to be exploring places all over the country? Did you have a journey map, or how did you figure out where you wanted to go? DEBORAH FALLOWS: This was really make it up as you go along. We had an idea that we wanted to go to small or medium-sized cities and particularly look at ones that had faced some kind of challenge. Maybe it was an economic challenge—the mine closed, the mill closed, the factory closed—or maybe it was a big demographic shift—there were all kinds of new residents coming in or old residents leaving—to see how they had addressed and coped or not coped with these changing situations. We were also looking for

towns that had a kind of story to tell, not just any old town. JAMES FALLOWS: The main theme we’ve been getting out in this book and all the web posts and articles that went up to it, is just the density and intensity and richness of interior American life. [The middle of the country has] been presented in a lot of the media as this sort of desolate hellhole that is important only for disasters or shootings or expressing its resentment in elections. We saw people writing in about almost every state in the country saying, “Come to Meridian, Mississippi. Meridian’s been through all this stuff, and here’s why its story is America’s story.” “Come to Moline, Illinois”; “Come to Lewiston, Maine.” If we had 50 more lifetimes, we could work through this list, but it just was really a rich sense that there was a there there to the middle of the country. DEBORAH FALLOWS: We started off in a way that we thought would be positive and easy by going to towns that seemed like they might have a positive comeback story from their challenges. Then, well, to be fair, we needed to go to towns that were really challenged, and we feared for what we might find there—in bigger towns and littler towns. So we feel like we’ve been everywhere after that. JAMES FALLOWS: But lots of places still to go. DEBORAH FALLOWS: Yeah. MENDONCA: So you’d show up in a town—did you have a road map or a concierge to take you around? Or what did you do? How did you actually do it? JAMES FALLOWS: I have an article in the current issue of The Atlantic that’s not from the book, but it accompanies the book, in which I say that the whole process of reporting is learning what you didn’t know until you showed up. That’s what we exist to do as reporters. So we would show up in these places, and usually we’d look a little bit on the Internet and say, “Well, where is this place? How does it present itself? What’s its main story?” We’d land at the little airports, which are everywhere; we’d find some Embassy Suites or Motel 6, or— DEBORAH FALLOWS: Or [we’d stay] with friends. JAMES FALLOWS: Or with friends, yes. And then just start working the traplines, going to the newspaper editor, the mayor, the school superin-

tendent, the librarian and anybody else we’d heard of and asking all of them. . . . Deb and I both think of ourselves as essentially products of small-town America. So we’d say, “We’re here on this project for The Atlantic, just trying to document some of the story of smaller town America in this time of history. So what’s the story of Winters, California?” We have some friends from Winters here who lured us to come to Winters. What’s the story of San Bernardino, right near where Katie and I grew up in Redlands? What’s the story of a place as big as Columbus, Ohio? And what are people concerned about? What are they proud of? Where are things going, and who should we talk to? And that was the beginning of usually a couple-weeks process. DEBORAH FALLOWS: And the getting around part was varied. Sometimes there were no rental cars, no Uber, no taxi. In Columbus, Mississippi, we happened to land on a Sunday afternoon, and there was nothing. We hung out there, and finally some guy came by in his pickup truck. JAMES FALLOWS: Same in Alabama. So, I will not name this city this happened [in], but who here has seen the movie Sling Blade? There was one place we landed, and the only way we could get from the airport into our lodging was [through the help of ] this Sling Blade [type of ] character in a 1952 vintage truck. MENDONCA: Did you find a difference in the views that you got from the elected officials or the people who are in formal roles versus just walking around and talking to people about what they saw? JAMES FALLOWS: That’s interesting. We realized, as part of the variety of America, there was a real variety of centers of authority and influence and the ways in which people in the towns relate to them. Some of the places we wrote about are paragons of strong-mayor systems of government. Maybe the poster child of our book is the city of Greenville, South Carolina. Who here has been to Greenville? Greenville is a place that has pulled off this fantastic economic conversion, and also you wouldn’t necessarily know that just from the name, but it’s this extremely cosmopolitan, cultured, elegant downtown—really a beautiful place. They’ve had a series of mayors who’ve served [about] 20 years apiece, that keep getting reelected. The current one, Knox White—he’s been there for almost 20 years.


Some places where there were elected officials, [due to] the intimacy of a town, who would run into people they knew all day long. We saw that in Duluth, Minnesota, too, where Mayor Gary Doty and then Don Ness, the successor, [would] walk down the street and see their constituents. And [they would hear about] everything from a pothole to a bridge. There were other places where there were no mayors or relatively weak mayors, and the power was [found in] a folk singer, a community organizer or a professor. So this was really an illustration of the diversity of forms of power and local governments. DEBORAH FALLOWS: Of course, there are people who—like the mayor, the chamber of commerce or the head of the business group—you would think could have a positive story. You know, I can’t even remember if they did finally have a more positive story than the other people that we saw in town, because we would end up seeing so many different kinds of people in the town—from those we met in the brew pub when we first landed. There was a group of nurses who still stick in our minds from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. [They] had all come in from other parts of South Dakota, and they were waxing on about how great it was to be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Eventually, when you get stories from nurses, from parents of high schoolers— sometimes we’d get invited to have pizza with a bunch of high school kids, and they’re candid, that’s for sure—from people in churches, from people at the YMCAs or on the bike paths or in any kinds of groups. I think you get to a point where you get a sense of what’s true in the town. People would repeat the same kind of phrases. Again, Sioux Falls sticks out in my mind. They have these giant signs all over: “I love Sioux Falls.” And in fact, people gave us a lot of examples of why they loved Sioux Falls [using] the same kind of language. It’s a safe town; it’s an easy town; it’s a comfortable town. On the other hand, people speak the truth here . . . JAMES FALLOWS: On the other hand, Sioux Falls has a great big refugee center. So, you see all these Norwegian and German people in Sioux Falls and a lot of people from Somalia, Sudan and the Congo, and many of them are working as largely Islamic refugees in a pork slaughter house. That’s the central feature of downtown Sioux Falls. And

you have the saga of America in that, where you have Somali refugees working in a pork slaughterhouse that’s owned by a Chinese company, so they can send their pork to China where it’s seen as being more healthy and sanitary than Chinese pork. [They do this so] they can send their kids to Sioux Falls High School, where they lead the ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] units. This is America as we saw it in Sioux Falls. DEBORAH FALLOWS: At Sioux Falls High School—there are 60 different languages spoken [by] kids—not just Hispanic kids, of course, speaking Spanish, but you’ve got all the different languages and dialects all through Africa and all through Asia. There was this one young girl who really did impress me. She was in high school by the time we met her. She was 16. I went over to see her family. They had so many kids; they had such a large family. The family had fled Darfur. They walked across South Sudan to end up in a refugee camp. This little girl was six when that happened. She became separated from her family and was lost in this chaos of war and fleeing. And then, by an equally astonishing miracle, they found each other in this refugee camp, ended up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She’s a junior in high school now—really adorable girl. She joined ROTC because she liked the history classes; she liked activities; she liked the challenges and camaraderie. And she said to me that her only problem was on dress day, which was Friday, she was not allowed to combine her hijab, her Muslim headwear, with her ROTC uniform, so she had to choose one or the other. I’m thinking, “Okay, this 16-year-old girl, you know, she walked across Darfur when she was six, and her worst problem now is an apparel issue.” Nonetheless, it was a big issue for her. JAMES FALLOWS: I will tell on Deb. Deb wrote about this on The Atlantic’s website, and the adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard saw this and said, “We have to change the policy.” He went to the national headquarters, and so, the ROTC, thanks to Deb, nationally changed the policy so that you can wear a ROTC uniform with a Muslim hijab. [Applause.] DEBORAH FALLOWS: But it was an indicator of how Sioux Falls

worked. [If you had] a problem that maybe they hadn’t recognized or didn’t know about, they would solve those problems. If the police were annoyed because the new refugees from Somalia would—if they were stopped for some traffic infraction and started bribing the police, the police didn’t know what to do. So [the Sioux Falls police department] went to Minneapolis, where they have lots of refugees, and learned how to address this culturally. You don’t make it a worse charge [than a traffic infraction]. You try to explain [to the refugees] that we don’t take bribes. The town works through these issues and would say, in a very truthful way, “We are better for this. This makes our town richer; this brings this variety to the town that’s actually Nordic and Germanic in heritage.” MENDONCA: That’s incredible. I followed your journey as you were both blogging about as you went, and it was fascinating to read in real-time what you were seeing. But at what point did you feel like you had a thesis or a set of themes you wanted to write about, versus a set of observations of individual towns? JAMES FALLOWS: Writing books—I think this is the 12th or 13th book I’ve written—the rule on writing books is you only write a book if you can’t not write it. Because writing books is such . . . no matter how purposeful you are when you start out, by the end you think, “Why did I ever do this? Why didn’t I take some other line of work?” You just hate


yourself. “Why do I only know two forms of sentence structure?” So, I was resisting this for a long time, and I guess it was two or three years in, when we’d been to enough places to think it isn’t just Sioux Falls, and it isn’t just Greenville, and it isn’t just Burlington—but places on different levels of the sort of economic hardship range, including San Bernardino. I grew up in Redlands, right next to San Bernardino. San Bernardino is the most challenged city in California and one of those [most challenged] in the country. Even San Bernardino, where there are people doing all these things to try to push San Bernardino in a different direction. I thought, one, there is something going on here that’s not just an anomalous case or two. [Second,] this is different from what the normal media narrative is. The normal media narrative is: We’ve got these big coastal cities where people do things; we’ve got every place else that things are done to. People are sort of objects, and we saw people who were not acting as objects. Then I think also, after the election, a year and a half ago, when the interpretation was, “Oh, if only you had been out there, you would see it was this seething mass of hatred.” We thought, “No, we’d been out there, and it wasn’t. It was a different sort of thing.”

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So that was, I think, when I thought there was critical mass, and a different view of the country I tried to present. DEBORAH FALLOWS: At the beginning, maybe in the first three or four towns, there was this huge gee-whiz factor that I think we both felt of: “Gee-whiz, look at these schools that they’re inventing—the Barnes elementary school of sustainability in Burlington,” you know. Only in Burlington would they have sustainability as their charter school theme. Or, “Gee whiz, look at what they’re doing in this library in Eastport, Maine.” They’ve got this Passamaquoddy—which is the Native American tribe near there—English dictionary that someone took 20 years to make, and they’ve got it on a pedestal in the middle of the library. Or, “Gee whiz, look at these incubators and startups that they’re doing in Greenville.” Then, I’d say around about Greenville, South Carolina, which was maybe the fifth or sixth city, it was less gee-whiz of “Hey, look what they’re doing in Greenville compared with Burlington,” or “look what’s happening at St. Marys Georgia High School compared to what’s happening in Allentown.” We started to see the versions of gee-whiz [things] happening everywhere in its different versions. MENDONCA: You both spent a lot of time

in the media business. Why is this such a different story from what is the narrative in the mass media on the political environment? JAMES FALLOWS: Number one, journalism has a built-in and sensible preference for the bad versus the good. You don’t report when all the airplanes stay up; you report when there was a crash. That’s part of the function of journalism. Second, there’s a related and less wholesome asymmetric risk factor for journalists. Usually there’s much less risk in being too negative in describing something than being too positive. If you’re too positive, then you’re going to be a sucker. So there’s this kind of built-in fear in the business. The exception to that, which makes it even worse, is in the run-up to impending wars. But generally there’s this asymmetric bias. But also I think there’s been a habit over the last generation especially to view non-coastal America as essentially the backdrop or setting for pre-existing concepts, that is, “Do you like Trump or do you like Hillary? What do you think about the Russians? What do you think about Mueller? How miserable are you, really?” And then going out there and asking people those questions as opposed to thinking of them as full creatures the way you would somebody living in New York or in Palo Alto or someplace like that.


Timothy Hampton

The Art of Conversation


TIMOTHY HAMPTON Aldo Scaglione and Marie M. Burns Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and French, and Director, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California Berkeley

Co n v e r s a t io n is a b o u t more than just talking. From the June 11, 2018 program in San Francisco “Montaigne and the Art of Conversation.”

T

he French philosopher Michel de Montaigne was born in 1533 and died in 1592. He’s one of these thinkers who comes at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, at the end of what we might call the Renaissance in the biggest sense of the word, and right on the cusp of the beginnings of the Modern Era, the moment of the rise of science, the moment of the rise of Cartesian rationalism and philosophy, and so forth. Montaigne is a French aristocrat, born near Bordeaux. He was raised by a very learned and idealistic father, Pierre Eyquem. They were a bourgeois family, and they were recently ennobled. [He was] raised deeply steeped in the new ideas coming into France from Italy that we loosely group under the name of humanism. So—the return to the study of classical languages, focused not on logic and dialectic as they had in the Middle Ages, but on the study of rhetoric in the sense of public speaking, conversation, the study of history, which was, of course, very important to humanism and still is, the study of languages, and the study of moral philosophy. Montaigne’s Essay on Conversation Let me just tell you a few things that Montaigne says in [an essay he wrote on] conversation. This is an essay which is in the third book of the Essays. The third book of the Essays often deals with political questions. Montaigne begins this essay by saying we’re accustomed to try to take wisdom from examples. But he says examples are not very good. The best examples are negative exam-

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ples. In other words, I don’t learn from somebody who is virtuous. What I learn is from somebody who is really bad. I can say I don’t want to be like that. If someone is virtuous, I say, “Well, I have to imitate him because he’s generous. He’s kind.” That’s useless, he says. The best examples are negative examples. So he says “This is where I come in, because I’m a pretty good negative example. Read what I say, and don’t do what I do.” And he has this great phrase where he says, “We do not correct the man we hang, we correct others through him.” This idea that we’re supposed to watch those who are punished and not do what they do. Then he shifts into a discussion of conversation. He says you shouldn’t read too many books, because they weaken you. The French are very bookish. But there’s this long French tradition of getting rid of books. There’s the French poet Rimbaud, who gives up writing poetry at the age of 20. Or there’s the novelist Andre Gide, who writes a book in which he says “throw away my book.” There’s this idea of getting rid of books. Montaigne says books can really be destructive; what we really need is conversation. Conversation is something that teaches us and exercises us at the same time, he says. He says that conversation is like a duel. He says, “I enter into conversation easily. I try to have an open mind. I try to engage with my adversary, but I also have to be willing to yield when necessary.” He says “If I’m defeated, I learn about myself. Thereby, defeat becomes a kind of victory. “ He says, “When someone opposes me, he arouses my attention, not my anger. I go to meet a man who contradicts me, who instructs me. I give a warm welcome to truth in whatever hand I find it, and cheerfully surrender to it. And provided that they do not go about it with imperious and magisterial form, I lend a hand to the criticism people make of my own writings, and have often changed them more out of civility than to improve them, loving to gratify and foster my critic’s freedom to admonish me by the ease with which I yield. Yes, even at my own expense. However, it’s certainly hard to induce the men of my time to do this. They have not the courage to correct because they have not the courage to suffer being corrected, and they always speak with the simulation in one another’s presence.” That’s an amazing sentence. “I take such great pleasure in being judged

and known that it is virtually indifferent to me which of the two forms I am so. My thinking so often contradicts and condemns itself that it is all one to me if another does the job.” In other words, I can’t keep my own mind under control. I make mistakes. I turn back on myself. I contradict myself. So, I don’t mind if people say, “Hey, Michel, you contradicted yourself there.” That’s fine with me, he says. There’s this sense that conversation is an exercise that’s going to help you learn about your own limitations and learn about yourself and help you to correct yourself. That you become, in a certain kind of way, a self-correcter by not only the way in which the other person engages with you, but also the way in which you learn about your own limitations through conversation. This is pretty interesting. Actually, there’s a moment just before this; let me just read you what he says right before this. He says, “Contradictions of opinions neither offend nor affect me. They merely arouse and exercise me. We flee from correction. We should face it and go to meet it, especially when it comes in the form of discussion. At every opposition, we do not consider whether it is just, but right or wrong, and how we can get rid of it. Instead of stretching out our arms to it, we stretch out our claws.” There’s a sense that by engaging with the other, we learn how to reign ourselves in and correct ourselves. Important is this moment in the middle where he says nobody else will do this; everybody around me is a dissimulator; people are not willing to take on being corrected. I think we can think about that interesting characterization of what’s going on around him in the context life at court. We can also think of where everybody is a dissimulator. Montaigne is the guy who abandoned court life where everybody is conning everybody else. Sort of like The West Wing. As I was thinking about this today, I’m wondering if this is more and more relevant. We could also think a little bit about the claims made by the Protestants to have an absolute truth. I mean, this was Luther’s great claim. Luther’s great claim was “I don’t need to know. I don’t need the Church. I don’t need the Sacraments. I don’t need the clergy. I get my truth directly. I don’t need to go through the priest. I get my truth directly from the man upstairs. I have the authority


to make statements on the basis of what I feel inside.” That very strong break with external authority is, I think, maybe behind all this. That’s the first thing to think about. When Montaigne compares conversation to a duel, it’s a metaphor. But we should remember that even in the 16th century, the French are famous for dueling. Montaigne is writing in the middle of a civil war where people are killing each other needlessly, often over points of honor. He says that if we can take this idea of real-world murder and transform it into conversation, then it becomes something quite different. That’s pretty interesting. That’s the first point. The second point: He then goes into thinking about style, which is a very strange move. He says the most important thing in a conversation is to make sure that you keep the order of things. Even though his own text seems a bit chaotic, Montaigne’s very concerned about disorder. You can imagine why. He’s living in a time of extraordinary disorder—political, social, theological disorder. Montaigne says “What I don’t like are conversations that degenerate into shouting matches.” He says that is not conversation. Conversation is when we respect each other. We have a format. We stick to the format. We stick to the order. He says, in fact, that is when we really learn. Otherwise, we just start screaming. He says “I could talk all day long, as long as the order and the context are respected.” There are a couple ways in which we can think about that. One is, of course, to remember one of the ways in which intellectuals talked in the 16th century, which was often in—like I’m doing here—public declamations, where scholars would give speeches. Either that, or in these learned disputes. There’s a tradition of what they call the disputio, where two great scholars will stand up and argue out a case, usually in Latin. Montaigne said, “I hate that stuff. I want to have conversations with friends. I want to have conversations in intimate situations where we can talk to each other freely and frankly. But I don’t want us to yell at each other. I want us to respect the order.” He says—[and] this is what seems to me the most extraordinary thing—he says the truth actually doesn’t really matter in the end. It doesn’t really matter who wins the argument. What matters is that we have carried on this

ordered, polite but lively conversation. It’s the form, he says, that matters. He says, “He who speaks true can speak as foolishly as he who speaks false.” The issue isn’t truth or falsity. The issue is foolishness or not foolishness. He says, “For we are concerned with the manner, not the matter, of speaking. My humor is to consider the form as much as the substance, the advocate as much as the cause as Alcibiades ordered that we should do.” Then he goes on; he says, “Every day I amuse myself reading authors without any care for their learning, looking for their style, not their subject. Just as I seek the company of some famous mind, not to have him teach me, but to come to know him. Any man may speak truly,

but to speak with order, wisely and competently—of that, few men are capable. Thus, it is not the falsity that comes from ignorance that offends me, but the ineptitude.” It’s the exchange that matters. It’s not the question of who has the truth and who doesn’t have the truth. If we’re interested in testing the limits of our own knowledge and the limits of our own ability to think clearly, what matters is the give and take much less than one person possessing the truth with a capital “T.” Again, in the background we think about all these religious struggles where you have two sides, each one saying “We have the absolute truth. We’re going to kill you guys because you don’t have it.” Montaigne says no, no,

no. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the give-and-take. It’s about the dialogue. That seems pretty important to me. I love this idea that he reads things because he wants to get to know the author. He doesn’t really care what the author says. He wants to see his style. There’s one other little passage I want to read to you. He says, “One of the things that we learn when we engage in conversation is we learn about our own limits, but we also learn about the limits of other people.” He says then it’s actually an act of charity to point out to your friend when he’s making a fool of himself. He says, “I do not mean that no man should criticize another unless he is clean himself. For then, no one would criticize. Nor indeed that he must be clean of some sort of fault. But I mean that our judgment laying upon another the blame of which is then in question should not spare us from judging ourselves.” Then this is the important part it seems. “It is a charitable service in one who cannot remove a vice from within himself to try to remove it nevertheless from within another, where it may have a less malignant and stubborn root.” In other words, I can help you out by telling you that I think you’re being a complete idiot and your argument holds no weight. What’s interesting about that to me is that he’s moving now halfway through the essay from thinking about himself to thinking about a larger world. He’s saying it’s an act of charity. It’s part of the social good to help your friends be better conversationalists. It’s not only about me. He’s moving into a larger sociocultural zone. Then he has this great turn where he says, “Everybody likes to deceive himself.” Montaigne says we constantly love to delude ourselves. One way we can get out of ourselves is by engaging in conversation when other people will correct us. At this point, he turns on the Protestants. He says the Protestants were destined to live in the body. He says the senses are really what determine who we are and where we are. He says the Protestants thought we could do away with it by constructing a religion which was purely spiritual. It didn’t have anything to do with the sacraments, confession, images, saints’ lives, or any of that sort of stuff. They thought it could all be in the soul. He says this is not true. Montaigne was a Catholic, of course. We’re destined to live in the world; AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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we’re destined to live in the political world, in the religious world of outward trappings and ritual and ceremony. Therefore, we have to learn how to deal with that. That’s what the art of conversation can help us do. He goes on from there to offer a discussion of politics. He talks about kings. . . . This is one of these wonderful Montaigne moments where he almost takes the perspective of someone whom he could not know. He imagines himself in the position of a king. He says, “Dignitaries’ offices are necessarily given more by fortune than by merit. And people are often wrong to blame kings for this. On the contrary, it’s a marvel they have such good luck having so little information.” Then he quotes the Latin poet Martial, “To know his people is a prince’s greatest virtue.” He says, “For nature has not given them a vision that can scrutinize a whole populace in order to discern preeminence and to penetrate our bosoms, where dwells the knowledge of our wills and our best worth.” In other words, the king is not omnipotent. He can’t see inside everybody’s soul. He can’t tell who’s leaking and who’s not. He says, “They must sift us”—they meaning the kings—“by conjecture and gropingly by family, wealth, learning, the voice of the people.” Very feeble evidence. “We commonly perceive in the actions of this world that fortune, to teach us how much power she has in all things and because she takes pleasure in beating down our presumption, having been unable to make the incompetent wise, makes them lucky as if to vie with virtue.”

He says kings are not particularly competent, but they’re lucky. That’s all we’ve got, is luck. Then he goes into this wonderful theme where he says, “What matters in life is not the outcome of your actions, but the intention behind your actions.” He says the outcome of your actions is largely due to chance. This is a big theme in the essay. Montaigne will say so-and-so was praised for being a great hero because he did such-and-such at such-and-such a battle. But in fact what happened is he may have simply stumbled at the right moment and his sword went into somebody else’s gizzard. It had nothing to do with his virtue whatsoever, but that’s the way we remember it. He’s very interested in this idea that the way in which things are remembered or the external destiny of our actions doesn’t really matter. What matters is what’s inside of us. He says, “For me, I outline the matter a little in considerate sketch only in its first aspects. The heart and core of the matter, I’m accustomed to entrust to Heaven.” In other words, I get an idea for what I’m going to write. I write it. Beyond that, I can’t control it. You put it out there and somebody does with it what they do. It gets re-tweeted or whatever. Then he quotes Horace, “The rest leave to the gods,” says Horace. “I will say more,” he says. “That even our wisdom and deliberation, for the most part, follow the lead of chance.” In other words, we’re not as smart as we think we are. “In every way, events are meager evidence of our worth and capacity.” Then he says, “What I myself adore in kings is the crowd of their adorers. The deference and submission is due to them except that of our understanding. My reason is not trained to bend and bow. It is my knees.” He says externally we have to give obeisance to the king and to the whoever -it-is, but we can still keep our minds and our own ideas privately to ourselves. In other words, we get from talking about conversation, to talking about correction of the self, to talking about a correction of the collective world, to talking about kings and what the authority of kings would be or should be. What seems interesting to me about this essay is, like a lot of Montaigne’s essays, it starts out in one place and it ends up someplace quite different. Then he says let’s talk

about history. He ends up the essay by saying [he has] been reading the Latin historian Tacitus. [Montaigne] says Tacitus is really the great historian. He says he tells us the private lives of people; he tells us what the great think behind the curtain. Montaigne says it’s very important to be able to talk about yourself. He turns now to himself. He says, “Not to dare to speak roundly of oneself shows some lack of heart.” In other words, you should put yourself into what you write. “A stout and lofty judgment, which judges sanely and surely, uses its own examples on all occasions as well as those of others, and testifies frankly about itself as about a third party.” In other words, you need to be able to get outside yourself and see yourself from the outside and tell what your story is. “We must pass over these common rules of civility in favor of truth and liberty.” In other words, he says you have to tell your own story. This is a moment where, in some ways, we might say the style and the meaning come together. He says, “I do not love myself so indiscriminately, nor am I so attached and wedded to myself, that I cannot distinguish and consider myself apart as I do a neighbor or a tree. It is as great a fault not to see how far our worth extends as to say more about it than we see. We are more loved to God than to ourselves, and we know Him less, yet we speak our fill of Him. If his writings could tell us anything about his qualities, Tacitus was a great man, upright and courageous, not of a superstitious, but of a philosophical and high-minded virtue.” He ends by comparing himself to Tacitus. Why am I interested in this essay? The first thing that seemed interesting is we get the displacement through the essay of violence into conversation. Of dueling and war into debate. This cultivation of the self comes through an acknowledgment of the limitations of the self. We get the establishment of conversation as a key feature of French social life, which, as you know, becomes very important in the 17th and 18th centuries. We get the displacement of a focus on truth, either political or religious, into a focus on exchange and process. We get this emphasis on yielding and flexibility, instead of the dogmatic pursuit of the truth, which seems to me extremely important.


DEMOCRACY IN DECLINE With Jonah Goldberg

JONAH GOLDBERG Senior Editor, National Review; Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Contributor, Fox News; Author, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy In conversation with

MINA KIM

Anchor and Host, KQED—Moderator

Photos by James Meinerth


Is the West throwing away its liberal democratic l e g a c y? F r o m t h e M a y 15, 2018 program in San Francisco “Jonah Goldberg: The Fight for American Liberty.” MINA KIM: In his book, Jonah says that people on both the Right and the Left have turned their backs on the principles that have brought humans essentially unprecedented advancement and prosperity; and that if we don't start affirming our democratic and economic institutions, we run the risk of seeing our democratic system crumble. One of the things that's very clear from the very outset of your book is the fact that we lowly humans are even able to get out of the muck of human history, as you call it, is in itself, a miracle. JONAH GOLDBERG: Right. Part of what I’m trying to do is not to give a definitive intellectual history or sociological or anthropological history of how we got here, but to get people to just look at where we are and how we got here in a slightly different way and not to take it all for granted. I make a powerful plea for gratitude for

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what we've got. So the setup of the book is that—first of all, there's no god in the book. The reason is not because I’m an atheist, but because I'm not trying to make an argument where I simply appeal to the authority of God. I don't think that’s very persuasive to people who don’t agree on that authority. What I’m trying to do in some ways is model behavior I think has slightly been lost on the Right these days, and actually try to make an argument to try to persuade people rather than hector people or just be a cheerleader for my own side. That said, there’s a remarkable consensus among economic historians, among anthropologists, about anybody who studies these things that basically for 250,000 years, human beings everywhere in the world lived on about $3 a day or less. This is the great hockey stick chart of all of human history; ancient Rome, ancient China—doesn’t matter where, that was the norm. Basically close to zero economic growth for the average person, and then once and only once in human history does that start to change, and it only happened in basically one place and at one time. I argue that that’s England; there's a case to be made that it was also Holland, and if there are any Dutch jingoists in the room we can get to that during the Q&A. So part of my argument is that why I call

it a miracle is not because it’s divine but because it’s inexplicable. There are lots of theories about why it happened—and I think there are a lot of good theories about why it happened, there's even some merit to some of the Marxist theories about why it happened. But there’s no consensus on it. KIM: It's interesting. You say humans lived on less than $3 a day, but you go even more intense than that by saying that essentially the state of humankind was grinding poverty, punctuated by terrible violence and an early death. GOLDBERG: That's right. KIM: A pretty bleak picture. GOLDBERG:Yeah, but it is. Pretty much, so one of the thought experiments I have at the beginning of the book is: Imagine you're an alien who only gets to visit the earth once every 10,000 years since we split off from the Neanderthals—and although it may have been [250,000 or 300,000 years ago], doesn't really matter. On your first visit to monitor homo-sapiens, you would say, you would write in your little journal “Semi-hairless apes, foraging and fighting for food,” right? You come back in 10,000 years, you would say, “Semi-hairless apes, foraging and fighting for food. No change.” Come back in 10,000 years, "Semi-hairless apes, foraging and fighting for food.”


You would do this 23 times, and except for some interesting things about migration patterns and whatnot, there basically would be almost no progress in human civilization. Then all of a sudden on your 24th visit you would see some remarkable changes. You would see the first city states, you would see agriculture, which basically creates the first city states. You would see all sorts of new tools and weapons, and you would see for the first time in history, this institution called the home, because we basically had been migratory prior to that. So you can’t wait to see what comes up in the next 10,000 years, and if you came here 10,000 years later on your 25th visit, your spaceship would probably be picked up by NORAD, you might get here in time to see Miley Cyrus twerking at the Super Bowl. Which is to say almost everything we associate with human progress happened in the last 10,000 years, but that’s misleading because it’s sort of like me saying that between me and Jeff Bezos, our combined wealth is $130 billion. Because almost all of the progress that really happened has been in the last 300 years, since this miracle. The most persuasive explanation for what caused this change comes from an economic historian, Deirdre McCloskey, who argues that really it just boils down to words: ideas, rhetoric. The way we

talk about ourselves. All that civilization is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. For the first time in human history that story changed. I call it the Lockean revolution, not because John Locke created it, but because he symbolized it. All of a sudden this idea that our rights come from God, not from government, that the individual is sovereign, that the fruits of our labors belong to us. That innovation is a good thing. For most of Western European history and most of world history, innovation was seen as where we get [words like] upstart—[it] was seen as a bad and tawdry thing. Commerce was seen as a bad and tawdry thing. Then all of a sudden this sort of bourgeois revolution in values occurs and the idea and the old sin—what was called curitas, the sin of questioning the established order—recedes in England. You have the development of markets and market principles and property rights and contracts; out of this you get an explosion of wealth that has been spreading ever since. Right now we live in the greatest moment of the alleviation of material poverty in all of human history. If the trend continues, by 2030, we may have eliminated extreme poverty all around the world. We should be just a little grateful for that. KIM: So this experience of grinding poverty punctuated by violence and then an early

death—right, capitalism is definitely an improvement upon that. But there are definitely people who would also say that capitalism hasn’t eliminated poverty, or grinding poverty even. Or that it’s allowed for a system of great inequality, even maybe our government to be beholden to big business interests and things like that. So do you get challenged on calling capitalism a miracle? GOLDBERG: I certainly get challenged on calling it a miracle. I also get challenged on calling it a good thing. So all of the things that a fair-minded, good-faith progressive person claims to care about in terms of politics—alleviating poverty, public health, alleviating bigotry and racism—all of these things, the miracle has been an unmitigated boon to. Capitalism lowers the barrier to dealing with strangers. In a state of nature, if you’re carrying a bushel of apples or something and I want your apples, the way I get them from you is I hit you over the head with a rock. In capitalism, I give you money, and you give me apples. Its win-win; it’s no longer zero-sum. Economics in the state of nature are zero-sum. The one thing that capitalism is not fantastic about is income inequality. Because I would say that capitalism does a fantastic job of alleviating poverty and how we define poverty is a subjective not an objective thing AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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anymore. You have billionaires, the Gettys and the Rockefellers and all of those kinds of guys. If you took their material circumstances outside of how nice their houses were, they were much poorer than the average middle class person today. They didn’t have wi-fi, they didn’t have air conditioning. Calvin Coolidge’s son, the son of the most powerful person in the world arguably, was playing tennis on the White House court and he got a blister on his foot and it got infected and he died. The advances in medicine and science and technology, and all of these things that flow from all of this have been enriching for the average person, not just rich people. But it does create income inequality in the sense that the really rich do get much richer than the really poor, who do in objective terms, still get richer. Remember Occupy Wall Street, with the 99 percent and the 1 percent? KIM: Oh yeah, it was big here. GOLDBERG: I’ve heard rumors. The global 1 percent, something like half of Americans are in the global 1 percent. If a household makes something like, I could have the number wrong, but something $45,000 a year— KIM: The global 1 percent. GOLDBERG: They’re in the global 1 percent. So much of our sense of income inequality has more to do with our human nature in the sense that some people a r e doing unfairly better than us. Not that we’re not doing well. And that’s a natural human temptation. KIM: But I guess basically you’re saying we’ve got it pretty good, and we should be more grateful for what we have. Rather

than being grateful and trying to affirm the type of system that we have, that we have resorted to fighting against it, essentially to taking it down. Some of those forces are the ones that are in the very title of your book, right? Nationalism, populism, tribalism? Let’s start with tribalism. Talk about why that’s such a dangerous thing that you think we need to guard against to ensure the health of our democracy? GOLDBERG: Right, so I should just back up for two seconds and say that part of the argument of my book is that all of this stuff—liberal democratic capitalism, the rule of law, democracy—is unnatural. If it were natural, it would have appeared in the evolutionary record a little earlier than 250,000 or 300,000 years into the story. And because it is unnatural, there is this natural human desire to rebel against it. To feel like this is not how we’re supposed to live. KIM: Within a system that kind of dictates certain norms? GOLDBERG: Right. I have a big argument in there about Romanticism, and that romanticism emerges as a response to the Enlightenment. Because the Enlightenment itself felt inauthentic and unnatural and it led to what Max Weber called “The disenchantment of the world,” that the world just seemed less fulfilling and enriching than it once did because we sort of pelted away religion and magic and superstition from the public square. So part of my argument is that the real threat is not from within capitalism but within human nature, because tribalism is natural. One of my favorite intellectuals was Hannah Arendt, who used to say “Every civilization in Western civilization is invaded by barbarians. We call them children.” The point here is that when anybody who is a parent knows or should know that kids come with a lot of built in software. There is something called human nature. But they desperately need updates

because when you’re born into civilization, the civilization is what determines what kind of person you’re going to be. If you took a baby from San Francisco, and you sent it back 1,000 years to a Viking village and it got adopted, it would grow up to pillage the English countryside. If you took a baby from a Viking village and you brought it to San Francisco, it would grow up to be a JavaScript writer or barista or something like that. We are born into these little civilizations called the family, and the family is what civilizes us. Civilization is a process. It’s where we learn norms, where parents model behaviors, set expectations about how you’re supposed to live, and if the family breaks down and the other institutions of civil society break down, our human nature doesn’t turn off, it actually kicks in. It starts whispering at us, trying to give us other things to belong to. That’s what tribalism is. Technically, the proper term for it is the coalition instinct, because the coalition instinct is this thing that we all have. It’s the sub-routine that makes us want to be part of a group. That’s how we survive. Evolutionarily, the noble savage who lived alone in the woods died really young. Darwin talks about this, about how you need cooperation among a species, among humans just to pass on your genes. If you’ve just got one group that is not really cooperative, fighting another group that really is cooperative. The one that’s really cooperative is going to kill you and it’s going to be more likely to pass on its genes. We are a social animal. Robert Nisbet, the sociologist, called it “The quest for community”; we want a sense of belonging, to be part of something. So tribalism—which in our political context is the word that everyone uses these days, but it’s really coalition instinct—teaches us and tells us that strangers are to be suspected, to be feared. There’s a reigning cliché that tells us that you have to teach kids to hate. This is not true. You have to teach kids not to hate. Paul Bloom in Yale does these amazing studies. He has a great book called Just Babies, which is just about psychological experiments with babies—don’t worry, no babies were harmed in the process of the book. But babies are almost instantly—and certainly very quickly become—bonded to the appearance of their parents. They cry with different accents; so Russian babies have a different accent than French babies. They’re attracted to their Continued on page 33


SAND DUNES, CANYONS & WILDFLOWERS

March 3 - 8, 2019


Itinerary Sunday, March 3

Arrive in Las Vegas

Arrive in Las Vegas independently, and gather at 5:00 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel for a welcome drink, introductions, and a trip orientation on the park by your study leader. Dinner will follow near the hotel. DoubleTree Hotel (D)

Monday, March 4

Shoreline Butte, Badwater & Harmony Borax Works

Transfer to Death Valley National Park. En route stop at Ashford Mill for the chance to see wildflowers in bloom and to witness evidence of the shoreline of the historic Lake Manly. At its zenith 22,000 years ago, the lake was over 80 miles long and over 600 feet deep, but given the changing climate, it disappeared thousands of years ago. Stretch your legs at Badwater; at 282 feet below sea level, this salt flat is the lowest place in North America and the eighth lowest place on Earth! The dramatic depth is enhanced by the backdrop of the Panamint Range rising over 11,000 feet. After lunch at Furnace Creek, stop by the visitor center before touring Harmony Borax Works and learning about the mining history of “the white gold of Death Valley.” Enjoy a welcome dinner at the Furnace Creek Inn. Furnace Creek Resort (B,L,D)

Tuesday, March 5

Dante’s View, Salt Creek & Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Experience Dante’s View, located at 5,475 feet, and take in a stunning panorama of all 11,049 feet of Telescope Peak. Learn about the creation of the park’s many alluvial fans, the product of millions of years of sporadic yet constant erosion. Later visit Salt Creek and learn about the amazing pupfish, endemic to Death Valley and uniquely adapted to survive in the desert’s harsh environment. End the day’s activities with the chance to walk among the picturesque sand dunes. After dinner enjoy the chance of some stargazing and see firsthand why Death Valley is an officially recognized “Gold Tier” Dark Sky Park. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, March 6

Titus Canyon & Ubehebe Crater

Explore the Titus Canyon narrows and hike among the stratifications of rock marking millions of years of geological history. The opening of the canyon affords the best chance to see a chuckwalla in its natural habitat. These sizable lizards have evolved to inflate their bodies to wedge themselves in the cracks in the rock they live in to deter

predators. Marvel at Ubehebe Crater, site of a massive volcanic explosion leaving a pit in the earth over 500 feet deep and a half-mile across. If you feel up to it, enjoy a 2-mile hike around the rim of the crater. (B,L)

Thursday, March 7

Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon & Artist’s Palette

Wake just before dawn and transfer to Zabriskie Point to watch as the sunlight slowly illuminates the surrounding mountains. After breakfast, hike through the multi-hued walls of Golden Canyon toward the Red Cathedral with the option to continue for a longer hike through Gower Gulch. After lunch, relax at the hotel. This evening enjoy a sunset before our farewell dinner. (B,D)

Friday, March 8

Ash Meadows & Las Vegas

After breakfast in the park, we head to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. We stop at the visitor center to learn of the plight of the pupfish and explore the Crystal Spring boardwalk. After lunch, return to Las Vegas for fights home. Please book your return flights for 6:00 pm or later. (B,L)


What to Expect

Trip Details

Average temperatures during this time range from 53-80°. Our transportation around the park is by vans. Travelers should be in active good health to participate in this trip. Though walks are not too strenuous, they are over uneven terrain and may require the use of hands and feet to climb over obstructions. Our longest hike is about 2 miles, with approximately 500 feet in elevation gain. Almost all walks are “out and back” so participants can go as far as they like, and then wait for the group to return. For those who would like more active hiking, we can help arrange that during your free time.

Dates: March 3 - 8, 2019

The Furnace Creek Ranch The Furnace Creek Resort is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, California. The resort has two properties – the Ranch and the Inn. We have reserved deluxe rooms at the Ranch, which has been welcoming guests since 1933. The property has a gift shop, saloon, a springfed swimming pool, tennis courts, a children’s playground, and the National Park Service Visitor’s Center is just a stone’s throw away. One mile away is the 4-diamond Furnace Creek Inn. Upgrades to the Inn are available.

Study Leader: Frank Ackerman Study leader Frank Ackerman is a retired National Park Service ranger who worked in Death Valley for four years. His 30-year career included posts at the Grand Canyon and Voyageurs National Parks, and he served as the chief of interpretation for Cape Cod National Seashore. Frank helped create an award-winning interpretative program as part of a joint venture between Amtrak and the National Park Service to provide educational commentary on select passenger trains in the Northeast. Frank is excited to teach you about the spectacular desert flora and fauna, and the geology and human history of Death Valley.

Group Size: Minimum 8, maximum 20 (not including staff )

Cost: $3,345 per person, double occupancy; $3,895 per person, single occupancy. We are staying in deluxe rooms at the Furnace Creek Ranch. If you would like to upgrade to the Furnace Creek Inn, the supplemental charges are: $650 per person, double occupancy and $1,175 single occupancy, added to single rate above

Included: 1 night at the Double-

Tree, Las Vegas; 4 nights at the Furnace Creek Ranch; daily breakfast (5) at the hotel, 4 lunches and 4 dinners; welcome and farewell dinners with beer and wine; round-trip transfers from Las Vegas Airport to Death Valley National Park; tours, entrances, and events as specified in the itinerary; mini-bus transportation for all excursions; gratuities for guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff; joining us all week will be expert guide Frank Ackerman; services of a professional Tour Manager; Club host to assist you throughout the program (with a minimum of 15 travelers); the camaraderie of the Club’s travelers.

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tion to and from Las Vegas, Nevada; meals and beverages other than those specified as included; optional excursions and other activities done independently; trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance; personal items such as e-mail, telephone and fax calls, souvenirs, laundry and gratuities for non-group services.

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We recommend trip-cancellation insurance; applications will be sent to you. Tour can also be canceled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor Black Sheep Adventures accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.

DEPOSIT & PAYMENTS: To make a reservation, a deposit of $500 per person is required by check or credit card. Please mail your check (payable to “Black Sheep Adventures, Inc”) or charge instructions, with your completed reservation form to the address on the reservation form. You may also fax in your reservation form or call our office or call (415) 597-6720. Final payment is due no later than December 3, 2018.

MEDICAL INFORMATION: Participation in this program requires that you be in good health. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.

CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS: Your deposit and payments are refundable, less the following cancel fees: • 91+ days prior to trip start date, $200 per person • 61-90 days prior to trip start, $500 deposit • 0-60 days prior to trip start, No refund

RESPONSIBILITY: The Commonwealth Club of California and our ground operators and suppliers act only as agents for the travelers with respect to transportation and arrangements, and exercise every care possible in doing so. However, we can assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity in connection with the service of any automobile, motorcoach, or any other conveyance used in carrying out this program or for the acts or defaults of any company or person engaged in

conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the program. We cannot accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, force majeure or other causes beyond our control. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger as tour rates provide arrangements only for the time stated. We reserve the right to make such alterations to this published itinerary as may be deemed necessary. The right is reserved to cancel any program prior to departure in which case the entire payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. No refund will be made for an unused portion of any tour unless arrangements are made in sufficient time to avoid penalties. The Commonwealth Club of California accepts no liability for any carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in connection with the tour. CST: 2096889-40


Continued from page 28 own language from birth ’cause they heard it in utero. So you have to teach kids. They’re barbarians when they come to you. You have to teach them not to be barbarians. Part of my argument though is that because civil society is breaking down, what happens is we start sort of lining up into these different artificial communities, these abstractions. Identity politics, nationalism is a big one, populism, these groups that we want to belong to and you have these very disturbed kids called incels these days. Because it’s very easy to trick to coalition instinct. Militaries do it. Marines are taught to work together and protect the group. Sports teams have it. You don’t have to be related to someone to form this coalition instinct. There’s nothing wrong with the coalition instinct if its properly channeled. There’s nothing wrong with tribalism if it’s properly channeled. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things about human nature if people are civilized in the proper way. It’s when they’re not civilized in the proper way that they fall back on these kinds of things. That’s why you get street gangs or prison gangs, because we have an innate desire to be with a group, to protect our interests, to help us, to protect us. That’s why you get a lot of things like crony capitalism, that’s why you get aristocracy—[it] is this innate desire to form coalitions to protect your interests against everybody else. KIM: So what role then has that played in our current political situation in the election of Donald Trump. GOLDBERG: Sure. How much time do you have? Part of my argument is that when we watch entertainment, there’s a rational side of our brand that understands its just a movie or a TV show. KIM: Yes. GOLDBERG: But as Steven Pinker talks about in a couple of his books, there’s a bigger chunk of our brains that doesn’t understand that it’s entertainment. KIM: You really go after the movie Dead Poets Society. GOLDBERG: I do. So the morality of popular entertainment is very different then the morality of the people living in everyday life. We root for the hero to do terrible things to the villain. We encourage violence. I have a long list of movies where the hero

of the movie tortures somebody to get information out of them and the audience cheers it on. But we understand in normal life you’re not supposed to torture people. KIM: Some of us. GOLDBERG: Some of us, yeah. That’s different. That’s Tuesday night at The Commonwealth Club. So one of the things that’s happening in our culture is that we are retreating from institutions where we actually deal with real humans face to face. We’re going on Facebook, and we’re watching television and we’re watching politics as if it’s a form of entertainment. When we do that, the tribal mind starts kicking in and saying, “It’s us-versus-them, the other are bad, evil people. They’re not just wrong—they’re evil.” One of my favorite cartoons is from The New Yorker,, and its got two dogs drinking martinis at a bar. One dog says to the other “You know, it’s not good enough that dogs succeed. Cats must also fail.” And that’s what’s happening to our politics now. I talk to a lot of young conservatives and I have to tell them something is not justified just because it makes liberals sad. The argument that it’s good for Donald Trump to do X, solely because liberal tears are delicious, is not in and of itself a sufficient argument. But that’s sort of where we are. I call it in the book ecstatic schadenfreude; it’s this sort of reveling in the misfortune of others. That’s what you get when you’re not actually physically engaged in politics face to face with real human beings, but instead you’re just sort of dealing with these demonized avatars, who aren’t real representations of people. There’s an enormous amount of social science involved in this where it’s amazing; today partisan affiliation is more predictive of attitudes and behaviors than race, ethnicity or religion in a lot of cases. Which is sort of astounding. Forty years ago, if I asked you whether you were a Republican or a Democrat, I would have to ask you probably a follow-up question to find out if you were a liberal or a conservative. What we’ve had is this giant sorting where people are aligning themselves, often in virtual communities rather than real communities, with like-minded people who simply reinforce some of their worst instincts, and their worst attitudes and their worst bigotries against the other.

I was a Never-Trumper. Once he was elected I stopped calling myself that, because I thought for me the term had lost its meaning. I wasn’t going to endorse him, I wasn’t going to vote for him. And I’m not a member of the resistance. I praise Donald Trump when I think he gets things right. I criticize him when I think he gets things wrong. So I end up pissing everybody off. The way the resistance argues is sort of like, “Donald Trump puts salt on his french fries. Hitler put salt on his french fries.” I keep trying to explain to my left-wing friends, Donald Trump is not Hitler. Hitler could have repealed Obamacare. So [Trump is] a symptom of a lot of our problems, and he’s making some of our problems a lot worse, but he’s not the cause of them. These things are much more upstream from Washington.


R S The Asian Revolution in Philanthropy

RUTH SHAPIRO

Founder and Chief Executive, The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society; Author, Pragmatic Philanthropy: Asian Charity Explained

In conversation with

JACK WADSWORTH

Co-chairman, Asia Society Northern California; Former Chair, Morgan Stanley Asia—Moderator Inside the burgeoning philanthropic activity in Asia. From the June 14, 2018 program in San Francisco, “Dr. Ruth Shapiro: Is Asia Philanthropic?”

Photos by James Meinerth


JACK WADSWORTH: I’d like to start off with the big picture: the importance of philanthropy in your life and how did you come to it? RUTH SHAPIRO: It’s important because I think most of you know that people refer to the 21st century as the Asian century. That’s an ambiguous term, although there’s a sense when you’re Asian that “This is our time.” If you live 300 years from now and you look back at this time, this Asian century, we don’t know yet if you’ll think that was a good time to live on the planet Earth. That was a time in which there was opportunity [to deal] with climate change, where there was education. The jury is out but there’s enormous potential to do good not just in Asia, but Asian’s doing good around the world. I think that there’s so much wealth being created there, there’s such an opportunity to deploy it in ways that make a difference not just in Asia but around the world that it’s this exciting opportunity to try to help that move along, accelerate it and make it grow. Why it’s important to me is because I feel my whole life has led me to this moment, that everything I’ve done in my life has brought me to this place and created the network that I have, the understanding that I have the tools to work with philanthropists, to build an organization—the second one that I’ve built in Asia. In some ways it feels a little bit like destiny. [I am] living in Asia and working with amazing people throughout the region to really create the sea-change that will bring the whole continent forward and show models and strategies to the rest of the world as well. WADSWORTH: To me [your book] is a marvelous encapsulation of all the things that you want to think about if you’re thinking about philanthropy in Asia; but you say, “No, it’s more based on case studies.” SHAPIRO: In interviews with philanthropist and my 35 years on the ground there. WADSWORTH: Well, tell me how the case study fit into that book thinking? SHAPIRO: When we were creating the Center for Asian Philanthropy and Society, we wanted to look at best practices, some strategies, models. Essentially I had a hypothesis, and the hypothesis was things are different here than the West. I don’t know how many of you have been in Asia. Fifteen years ago, people would go to China particularly but all over Asia, and say, “Let us show

you how it’s done in the United States. Let us show you how it’s done in Europe.” The community would say, “Give them 10 or 15 years they’re going to be like us.” In fact that didn’t happen. Asia, while it’s not monolithic, there’s a lot of variation throughout the region; [it] has evolved differently than Western Europe and the United States. The thinking was that’s probably true in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector as well, but we need to understand how those differences are manifesting themselves. What are the differences and what can we learn about what they do better or differently, and that you can’t talk about best practices and best models unless you know what’s effective on the ground? We looked at 30 very successful local nonprofit in social enterprises. We didn’t pick The Nature Conservancy in India. We picked only local organizations because they didn’t have the tool kits that the international NGOs came with. We wanted to know why are these organizations successful? What we found is that there’s some pretty significant differences among the philanthropists and among those organizations that receive their money. The hypothesis was correct, and the book essentially is the findings from looking across all of those cases, from interviewing all of those donors and from understanding how things work on the ground there. WADSWORTH: Were there any really huge surprises? SHAPIRO: Well, I think that the part that’s not surprising when you look at the numbers is what we were just talking about this extraordinary potential and how people are just starting to really take advantage of it and start exploring how to maximize that potential. That wasn’t a big surprise, but it’s part of what gets me up in the morning and really exciting to be involved with it. There are three somewhat big findings. One is that Asian philanthropists up until this point have been more reactive than proactive. What’s happening in the United States when you think about a lot of the very wealthy people, they say, “Here, I want to impact on this.” Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan say, “We want to eliminate all disease,” and they hold a press conference. WADSWORTH: They have $3 billion to put on the table. SHAPIRO: Right. This is a book called Prag-

matic Philanthropy. That’s not the mindset of most of the people in Asia. They’re not saying, “I want to solve this big problem.” They’re thinking more incrementally and more pragmatically and reactively, which brings me to the second point. They often react to the ask, because Asia is relationship-based and you know that better than everyone. It’s relationships—in terms of findings, that’s the motivation often for giving. When I go around and talk to Asian philanthropists and I say, “One of the findings is that the return on investment for philanthropy in Asia is enhanced relationships.” They’re like, “Yeah, of course. Tell me something I don’t know. That’s exactly the reason.” I suppose the acceptance of that truth surprised me a little bit. Then the other piece is something that motivates a lot of our work and is something that I call the trust deficit. When I went around and started interviewing these high and ultra-high net worth individuals, I asked them all, “Why don’t you give more locally?” From Korea to Indonesia to India, pretty much everyone said, “Because I don’t trust the local organizations to receive the money.” That trust deficit is really disabling factor that’s inhibiting the growth of the sector. It’s a big piece of what we’re trying to deal with at CAPS—and how profound it is, is important. Many of you might know the story of Guo Meimei. Well, let me tell you the story. In China social media is a big thing, and everyone is on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. About five years ago a young woman named Guo Meimei posted a picture of herself with her two babies. One baby was a Lamborghini and one baby was a Maserati. Guo Meimei worked for the Red Cross. The Red Cross was one of the few non-profit organizations that was certified at the national level in China. When she did that donations to all organizations dropped,—t’s hard to tell exactly, but dropped by 90 percent, because people thought, “If I can’t trust the Red Cross,” and really the extent of the fraud must have been pretty significant because you have to pay a 100 percent taxes on that Lamborghini and the Maserati. We’re talking very big money. She was never persecuted, never held accountable. She is no longer working for the Red Cross, however; but they have suffered. There are stories not quite that sensational but almost in every Asian economy. The guilty until proven innocent, “I don’t trust AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

35


the nonprofit sector,” and then something like Guo Meimei happens. “Ah! That’s why. They’re all corrupt. There must be fraud.” To the extent that that is really hurting the sector was somewhat of a surprise to me. WADSWORTH: From the audience here’s a question related to that, because in part it deals with data and reporting and information and taxes. Transparency I guess is the word. SHAPIRO: That’s the word. WADSWORTH: How do they get there? SHAPIRO: Well, I think all the government should follow the findings that we came up in the Doing Good Index. This study was the first of its kind in the world and it looks at the factors that enable and impede philanthropy in private social investment. We include regulations, tax and pfiscal policies, procurement and then something called ecosystem, which is about the people and the companies. Regulations can go a long way. Increasingly governments are requiring that you have to submit your annual report, but there’s not one government yet in Asia that requires those reports to be made public. In this country we have GuideStar, but that’s a voluntary effort which foundations put together, which is an evaluable resource in terms of accountability and transparency. GuideStar is trying to get a toehold in India and Korea now, with limited success. What’s the problem here? Well, one of the problems is the nonprofit sector itself does not have the wherewithal to

report. You meet extraordinary people who have hearts of gold and are working really hard, but they don’t have accounting skills. They don’t know strategy, they don’t know organizational management. They lack all those skills that are in every company or should be in every company. A real need is professionalizing the sector so that they can report. Those that do, not surprisingly fundraise more because people can feel that they’re trustworthy. And they’re better managed; they tend to have pretty savvy professionals running them. There is an incumbency on the part of the organizations that receive the money, on the governments to put regulations into effect that require transparency and accountability, and really it’s on the donor, which creates a little bit of a conflict. If your primary goal is enhanced relationship or guanxi—the Chinese word— the minute you give the money you’ve met your goal. You’re not asking for impact, then, because you already know what that is, that is the relationship. We need to be working also with the philanthropist to say, “You need to do that, and you need to ask these organizations to be better managed and report to you and to the community how they’re spending the money and what the impact is.” WADSWORTH: Is One Belt One Road philanthropy? SHAPIRO: No. But— WADSWORTH: But? SHAPIRO:There’s a but. One Belt One Road is China’s Martial Plan on steroids, I

think it’s fair to say. China is deploying billions and billions and billions. One Belt One Road is across the old Silk Road and then also the sea channels to create infrastructure basically throughout a good portion of the world. They are trying to deploy Chinese nonprofits also along the One Belt One Road system. It’s just starting, but they recognized that nonprofits are a type of soft power, so the Chinese government is funding Chinese nonprofits to go and do work along the One Belt One Road, but that’s just starting; it’s early days. WADSWORTH: How is philanthropy different in Asia compared to the rest of the world? SHAPIRO: Let’s just look at this country. The United States is the best in class when it comes to philanthropic giving. We give the most. It’s equivalent to 2 percent of our GDP, which is the highest in the world. It’s been a fundamental source and component of a pluralistic governance system—people being engaged, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy that is part of pluralism. Well, that’s not what’s happening in Asia. In Asia it’s really about compassion, humanity, people helping people but not about the governance structure. It’s much more lower down on Maslow’s hierarchy. You’re helping other people because they’re hungry or they’re sick or they need education. I would say that it’s more humanitarian than political, but that’s a huge, broad statement—and of course there’s exceptions.


L AST WORD

WITH ALICIA GARZA

Photos by James Meinerth

THE ORGANIZER

N

o policy will be changed by people not jumping in to fight for what we deserve. I’m somebody who believes that voting and participating electorally is one tool of many that we must use for societal transformation. And I think there’s room right now to start to reimagine what can a new democracy look like that actually appeals to people’s hearts and souls. Like, I need to make this decision because it impacts me and the people I care about. We are not there. I was telling a friend yesterday as we were doing the autopsy of the California primary—you know, first of all I was looking at the map of California, and I was like, “Huh. It’s all red, and then there’s blue along the coast. And then there’s a little pocket of blue along the Nevada border.” But it’s all red. This is the fifth largest economy in the [world], and there’s so much at stake. So I was looking at that thing and thinking, “This is fascinating.” Then I was saying to her, “If turnout stays the way that it is now, we will absolutely have another term of the Trump administration. Period. So it is possible to be under this administration for eight years.” A lot of us are decrying how terrible it is, but that is not enough.

When you look at the fact that turnout was at like 22 percent in the fifth largest economy, what that means is that we are allowing for there to be space for values that actually the majority of the country does not share. And that is a big problem. So I would say I am really not faithful about the parties getting clearer about what they’re for. Mostly it’s a mishmash. I think Democrats cater mostly to the center, and are going after this mythical white working-class voter that has been ignored forever. The reality is that demographically—and Steve Phillips talks about this in his book Brown Is the New White—that the demographic changes in this country mean that people of color can form a majority, and that that majority can move a series of values that most of us believe in. But without folks being organized, we’re not going to get there. And we will be subject to the tyranny of the minority, which we don’t want. —June 7, 2018, “Alicia Garza on The Michelle Meow Show” in San Francisco

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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6 pm Reading Californians Book Discussion Group: The Age of Perpetual Light 6:30 pm Phoebe Apperson Hearst: A Life of Power and Politics

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East/North Bay

2 pm Commonwealth Club Weekly Tour FE 5:15 pm Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World: Four Keys to Fulfillment and Balance 7 pm Kai-Fu Lee

Silicon Valley

12 pm Michelle Meow Show FE

12 pm Michelle Meow Show FE 2 pm Russian Hill Walking Tour

12 pm Michelle Meow Show FE 2 pm P.J. O’Rourke 6 pm Tom Stienstra’s Sierra Crossing 6:30 pm Beth Comstock

12 pm Michelle Meow Show FE 2 pm Waterfront Walking Tour 6:30 pm Juan Williams

FM Free for members

12 pm Point of View: Connecting San Francisco-Haifa Sister Cities

5:30 pm Fall Into Winter Member Party: Insider’s Japan

FE Free for everyone

MO Members-only


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Beyond Defensiveness 8/1 • Below: Sean Spicer 8/2

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Our doors are now open! Every Wednesday, we’re giving both members and nonmembers behind-the-scenes tours of our stunning home. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-of-theart gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now to visit San Francisco’s newest—and oldest— cultural treasure at our sparkling new location. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

BEYOND DEFENSIVENESS: HAVING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT GETTING TRIGGERED

Sharon Strand Ellison, Author, Taking the War Out of Our Words; International Trainer; Recipient, Kaplan Lecture Honorary Award as a Communication Pioneer; Invited Participant, Symposium on International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University

Our country is deeply divided. As we face crucial issues with the potential to impact millions of lives, we cannot afford increasing alienation. Sharon Strand Ellison will show us how making simple changes in voice tone, body language, phrasing and intention can defuse defensiveness, often instantly, even in high-conflict situations. She says the skills participants learn can be used immediately, exponentially enhancing our conflict resolution and creative prob-

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lem-solving abilities, at home and in community, as well as transforming antiquated methods of political debate on a national and global scale. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Personal Growth • Program organizer: Eric Siegel

BEN FRANKLIN CIRCLES Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility. (But don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates.") The Ben Franklin Circles program brings people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world.

long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

SEAN SPICER: THE BRIEFING

Sean Spicer, Former White House Press Secretary; Author, The Briefing

This program is sold out. Before he made his mark as one of the most recognized staffers in the Trump administration, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer built a decades-long career in Republican politics. Spicer witnessed and shaped the inner workings of Washington, D.C., from every vantage point—as a House of Represen-

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW 8/2/18

Michelle Meow,, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); President, SFPride John Zipperer,, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable, The Commonwealth Club—CoHost

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Climate Gentrification 8/2 • Phoebe Apperson Hearst: A Life of Power and Politics 8/6

tatives communicator, assistant at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Republican National Committee chief strategist, top advisor to presidential campaigns, and, of course, as White House spokesperson for President Donald Trump. Few in Washington are as well equipped as Spicer to pull back the curtain and dissect what’s really happening in the nation’s capital. Join Spicer for a rare conversation as he takes us behind the scenes of his turbulent tenure as President Trump's press secretary, shedding new light on the headline-grabbing controversies of the Trump administration's first year. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program • Notes: Attendees subject to search

CLIMATE GENTRIFICATION

Scott Wiener, California State Senator (D-San Francisco) Greg Dalton, Founder & Host, Climate One Additional Speakers TBA

Concerned about climate change? One of the best things you can do is welcome taller buildings in your neighborhood. That’s because city dwellers use less energy and water than people living in the suburbs or rural areas. A recent bill in the California state legislature proposed raising allowable height limits for new buildings near transit lines across the state. Residents in San Francisco and Los Angeles cried foul, and the bill died in committee. Environmentalists worried about climate change were some of the biggest critics of the proposed law. Others saw a green-tinged excuse for more gentrification and displacement. On the other side, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and other tech leaders favored the bill as a way to address the state’s affordability crisis.

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Are you a YIMBY (yes in my backyard) or NIMBY (not in my backyard)? Are environmentalists hypocrites if they oppose efforts to use one of the biggest levers to fight climate disruption? Does urban infill drive out people of color in the name of going green? Join us for a conversation about shaping the future of Bay Area urban life in a hot and crowded world.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. networking reception

MONDAY, AUGUST 6

PHOEBE APPERSON HEARST: A LIFE OF POWER AND POLITICS

Alexandra Nickliss, Instructor of History, City College of San Francisco; Author, Phoebe Apperson Hearst: A Life of Power and Politics

Phoebe Apperson Hearst was one of the Gilded Age’s most prominent and powerful women in the Bay Area. She was a financial manager, businesswoman, reformer and philanthropist. Born into a middle-class, rural Missouri family in 1842, she died a powerful member of society’s urban elite in 1919. Most people know her as the mother of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul, and as the wife of George Hearst, the mining tycoon and U.S. senator. But from age 48 until her own death, Phoebe Apperson Hearst shepherded the family fortune, demonstrating intelligence and skill as a financial manager. She supported significant campaigns for children, health reform, women’s rights, higher education, municipal policy formation, progressive voluntary associations, and urban architecture and design. She contributed ideas and funds to the burgeoning Progressive movement, and she was the first

female regent of the University of California. Alexandra Nickliss presents a penetrating portrait of this powerful and often contradictory woman, examining the opportunities and challenges she faced as she navigated local, national and international corridors of influence. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: This is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation; photos from the Library of Congress

READING CALIFORNIANS BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP: THE AGE OF PERPETUAL LIGHT We will discuss this year’s gold medal winner for fiction, The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil. Please join us to participate in an insightful discussion of this stellar collection of stories that explores themes of progress, the pursuit of knowledge and humankind’s eternal attempt to decrease the darkness in the world. Beginning at the dawn of the past century in the early days of electrification and moving into an imagined future in which the world is lit day and night, this gold-medal winner follows deeply felt characters through different eras in American history. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Reading Californians • Program organizer: Betty Bullock

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7

NOB HILL WALKING TOUR Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills.” Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

The Heart of the Mission: Food, Community and Commerce 8/7 • Hemant Taneja: The Unscaled Economy 8/7

became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the West Coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: Caffe Cento, 801 Powell St., San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–4:30 p.m. walk • Notes: Tour operates rain or shine; limited to 20 participants; tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at check-in; walks with fewer than six participants will be canceled; you will receive notification of this at least three days in advance

NORTH KOREA AND THE DYNAMICS OF U.S.-SOUTH KOREA-JAPAN

Glen S. Fukushima, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Former President, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan; Former Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Japan and China

North Korea has become arguably the most urgent national security issue facing the United States today, in part due to decades of inadequate expertise, attention and action by the United States. This reflects a larger set of problems of America’s inability to engage seriously with Asia, the fastest-growing economic region in the world and the center of potential political and security conflicts in the future. You are invited to hear these issues analyzed and explained by Glen S. Fukushima, who has spent his entire career dealing

commonwealthclub.org/events

with U.S.-Asia relations in the context of academia, journalism, law, business and the nonprofit sector. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: This event is the latest in our Member-Led Forums’ Crisis in Our Country summer series

THE HEART OF THE MISSION: FOOD, COMMUNITY AND COMMERCE

John Clark, Chef and Co-Owner, Foreign Cinema William Ortiz-Cartagena, San Francisco Office of Small Business Commissioner Gayle Pirie, Chef and Co-Owner, Foreign Cinema Caleb Zigas, Executive Director, La Cocina Julian Mark, Reporter, Mission Local— Moderator

Communities such as San Francisco’s Mission District often center on food—it’s part of the fabric of the neighborhood and the economy. But what has happened to food culture and business as the neighborhood and the city at large grows and shifts? Join Gayle Pirie and John Clark, the chefs and co-owners of beloved Mission District restaurant Foreign Cinema, along with other local community leaders, for a conversation about the past, present and future of the vibrant neighborhood and city they work, cook and eat in. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 pm. program followed by book signing of The Foreign Cinema Cookbook • Notes: This program is part of our Food Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

HEMANT TANEJA: THE UNSCALED ECONOMY

Hemant Taneja, Managing Director, General Catalyst; Author, Unscaled: How AI and a New Generation of Upstarts Are Creating the Economy of the Future

Has size and scale become a liability in business? Venture capitalist Hemant Taneja believes it has. He will describe how the unscaled economy is reshaping and creating a new world of opportunities for entrepreneurs and companies. The unscaled phenomenon has allowed new companies such as Warby Parker, Airbnb and Stripe to become global competitors among established businesses. Taneja explains why embracing the unscaled mindset is the new business model for the future.

SILICON VALLEY • Location: Schultz Hall, Oshman Family JCC • Time: 6:15 p.m. check-in and networking reception, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing • Notes: In association with Idea to IPO; Taneja photo by and copyright Christophe Testi

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday, we’re giving both members and nonmembers behind-the-scenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-ofthe-art gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now to visit San Francisco’s newest—and oldest— cultural treasure at our sparkling new location. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Why Civility Should Matter to Leaders 6/8 SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

WHY CIVILITY SHOULD MATTER TO LEADERS

Pat Obuchowski, CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer), inVisionaria; Member, Forbes Coaches Council; Conversational Intelligence Certified Facilitator; Blogger; Speaker; Author

We are living in an uncivil time filled with harassment and bullying, gender and race discrimination, and just plain rudeness. Pat Obuchowski, a best-selling author and executive leadership coach, will define civility and its benefits on business and our society as well as discuss the costs of incivility. In this conversation, you will learn more about the leadership behavior that’s most important to employees in order to increase productivity and engagement. Obuchowski will provide tips on what leaders can do to ensure people on their team treat one another with respect and how to establish a workplace culture that doesn’t tolerate disrespect. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 4:45 p.m. check-in, 5:15 p.m. program • MLF: Grownups • Program organizer: Denise Michaud

THE AFTERMATH OF #METOO IN THE WORKPLACE

Chaya M. Mandelbaum, Employment Law Attorney; Chair, California Fair Employment and Housing Council; Partner, Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe Amy Oppenheimer, Attorney/Investigator; Member, DFEH Sexual Harassment Task Force; Author, Investigating Workplace Harassment

Join us for a conversation about how em-

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ployers should respond to sexual harassment complaints, how the #MeToo movement has impacted this and how it could change employer practices. The panelists will discuss what the future may hold for the workplace in terms of the prevention and response to harassment. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Business & Leadership • Program organizer: Cathy Curtis

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW 8/9/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable, The Commonwealth Club—CoHost

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community. Bring your questions. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

STRESSED AT WORK AND ONLINE? TARA-NICHOLLE NELSON SHOWS US HOW TO DISSOLVE STRESS AND THRIVE

Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Founder and CEO; SoulTour; Author, The Transformational Consumer; Former Vice President of Marketing, MyFitnessPal

In a world filled with technology that connects people from across the globe, why is it so difficult to have human connections? In these

times where the digital space is polluted with negativity, crisis and hollow relationships, how do we care for our souls and well-being? How do we deepen our relationships? How do we increase our effectiveness and productivity without losing our balance and tipping over into burnout, cynicism and estrangement from our companions? Come learn some solutions that Nelson says actually work, from a renowned transformation expert and founder of SoulTour.com. Business Insider recently listed Tara-Nicholle Nelson as one of the top women Silicon Valley tech companies should be including on their boards. Using both her spiritual wisdom and her deep knowledge of people and how they transform, Nelson will suggest how to develop your own personal practices for spiritual well-being to lead you to more fulfilled and deeply interconnected life. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Personal Growth • Program organizer: Eric Siegel

MONDAY, AUGUST 13 STATE OF RESISTANCE: WHAT CALIFORNIA'S DIZZYING DESCENT AND REMARKABLE RESURGENCE MEAN FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE

Manuel Pastor, Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California; Author, State of Resistance In Conversation with Autumn McDonald, Director, New America CA

In State of Resistance, Professor Manuel Pastor reviews the last several decades of economic, social and environmental transformations in California and what they can tell us about


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Farmers on the Frontlines in Our FIght Against Climate Change 6/14

the road ahead for the United States. Pastor traces the redemptive arc of California's recent history and offers a clear path through the political polarization that grips the nation. The New York Times calls his conclusions "concise, clear and convincing.”

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: Supported by The Blue Shield Foundation; this event is the latest in our Member-Led Forums’ Crisis in Our Country summer series

WEEK TO WEEK POLITICS ROUNDTABLE AND SOCIAL HOUR 8/13/18 Panelists TBA

We will discuss the political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil and have a good sense of humor. They will provide informative and engaging commentary on political and other news, and we'll wrap it all up with our live news quiz! Each attendee receives two free drink tickets; come early before the program and enjoy snacks and wine at our members social (open to all attendees).

opinions. He is the host of “The Greg Gutfeld Show” and co-host of “The Five” on Fox News. Prior to joining Fox, Gutfeld was editor of Men’s Health magazine. He later became editor of Stuff, helmed Maxim magazine in the United Kingdom and was a contributor to The Huffington Post. Gutfeld also grew up in the Bay Area and attended UC Berkeley. Come for a lively, no-holds-barred conversation where Gutfeld will reference his new book, The Gutfeld Monologues, and discuss what he terms “the insanity of politics over the last several years.” SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 11 a.m. check-in, noon program • Notes: Attendees subject to search

FARMERS ON THE FRONTLINES IN OUR FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

Greg Gutfeld, Host, Fox News’ "The Greg Gutfeld Show"; Co-Host, Fox News’ "The Five"; Author, The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from The Five

Layla Aguilar, Farm Manager, Bi-Rite; Graduate, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) Renata Brillinger, Co-Founder and Executive Director, California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN); Steering Committee Member, Center for Sustainability at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo; Advisory Board Member, University of California Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute Rich Collins, Founder and President Emeritus, California Endive Farms Sara Tiffany, Climate Smart Farming Program Specialist, Community Alliance with Family Farmers Evan Wiig, Community Organizer; Founder, Farmers Guild; Director of Membership and Communications, Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Greg Gutfeld is a New York Times best-selling author, satirist, humorist, magazine editor and blogger known for his provocative

It’s become increasingly and painfully obvious to farmers in California that climate change means more than just rising tempera-

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. wine-and-snacks social, 6:30 p.m. program

TUESDAY, AUGUST 14

FOX NEWS HOST GREG GUTFELD

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tures. Ever-more erratic weather patterns fuel longer droughts, bigger floods and even more frequent wildfires. As we slowly come to terms with the consequences to our rural communities, food supply, local economy and the environment, forward-thinking farmers are learning to both adapt as well as fight back. Hear from the frontlines of an emergent climate-smart farming movement: soil scientists, family farmers and policy advocates all working to promote practices that prove more resilient in the face of these climatic changes. While there are no easy solutions, these climate resilience champions—often overshadowed by other, more visible players in the fight against climate change—are working hard to reshape our agricultural system for long-term sustainability and regeneration. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. reception • MLF: Food Matters • Program organizer: Cathy Curtis • Notes: In partnership with the Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., we’re giving members and nonmembers behind-the-scenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-of-the-art gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The EmbarAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Michelle Meow Show 8/16 • Successful Rehabilitation: The Delancey Street Foundation 8/20 • Below: Nina Shapiro 8/15 cadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

HYPE: A DOCTOR'S GUIDE TO MEDICAL MYTHS AND BAD ADVICE

Nina Shapiro, M.D., Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Professor of Head and Neck Surgery, UCLA; Author, Hype

There is a lot of misinformation thrown around these days, especially online. Headlines tell us to do this, not that, with the hope that we will live longer and better, become thinner and look younger. Nina Shapiro distinguishes between falsehoods and the evidence-backed truth. Shapiro has more than 20 years of experience in both clinical and academic medicine. In her work at Harvard and

UCLA, she helps patients make important health decisions every day. She brings those lessons to life with a blend of science and personal stories to discuss her dramatic new definition of “a healthy life.” Shapiro will discuss the popular misconceptions found in the media. Come for a discussion of topics such as exercise and supplements, diets and detoxes, alternative medicine and vaccines, and medical testing and media coverage. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Health & Medicine • Program organizer: Bill Grant

GOING ‘OUTSIDE THE WIRE’ WITH JASON KANDER

Jason Kander, President, Let America Vote; Candidate for Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri; Podcast Host, Majority 54; Author, Outside the Wire

Jason Kander is no stranger to courage. From his beginnings as a combat veteran in Afghanistan to his position as an unlikely rising star in American politics, Kander’s trajectory is a fascinating example of bravery rooted in moral ethics. This bravery has put him at the forefront of the country’s political realm, with leaders like Barack Obama touting him as the future of the Democratic party. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: This is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 8/16/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle

Meow Show" (Radio and TV); President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable—Co-Host

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

MONDAY, AUGUST 20 SUCCESSFUL REHABILITATION: THE DELANCEY STREET FOUNDATION Mimi Silbert, CEO and President, Delancey Street Foundation

While our government continues to stumble clumsily, or just gives up, trying to get its own political professionals to converse with each other productively, the Delancey Street Foundation manages to run several successful businesses with ex-felons, prostitutes and substance abusers as its employees. The foundation that Dr. Karl Menninger called “the best and most successful rehabilitation program I have studied in the world” was started in 1971 with just a few residents. Now located across the country and headquartered here in San Francisco, Delancey Street is a residential educational community providing academic, vocational and social skills, and the discipline, values and attitudes its residents need to live in society legitimately and successfully—and drug, crime and alcohol free. Silbert herself lives in Delancey Street and raised her children there, where everyone functions as an extended family. Although the 20,000 graduates were often violent gang


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Weekly Commonwealth Club Tour 8/22

members, or hardcore dope fiends who were functionally illiterate and had never worked at even an unskilled job for more than three months, Silbert believed they could become their own solution to their problems. Delancey Street’s approach is to develop strengths rather than focus on problems. With no staff and no government funding, these residents have not only turned their own lives around, but have built the entire organization. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: This event is the latest in our Member-Led Forums’ Crisis in Our Country summer series

SOCRATES CAFÉ Socrates Café is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why that topic is interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives. Everyone is welcome to attend. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30–8 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond

TUESDAY, AUGUST 21 EMPATHY RISING

Shannon Weber, Serial Social Entrepreneur; Founder, LoveYou2.org; Director, HIVEonline.org, Founder, PleasePrEPMe. org and PleasePrEPMe.global; Coordinator, GettingtoZeroSF.org

Perhaps you’ve had experiences at work or

commonwealthclub.org/events

your community where, while helping someone in crisis, you found yourself overextended. Or maybe you’ve seen an opportunity to help someone in the past and held back because it felt too risky or dangerous. How do you typically engage in relationships? How does your engagement shift when you are in a professional role? How does a challenging situation or crisis impact how you engage? Sustaining empathy requires attention. Awareness of how you engage in challenging times can become your superpower. Come learn the empathy rising framework for showing up in challenging situations and leave with tips for sustaining yourself while on empathy adventures. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 4:45 p.m. check-in, 5:15 p.m. program • MLF: Psychology • Program organizer: Patrick O'Reilly

JANET NAPOLITANO AND DR. LUCY JONES: REDUCING THE RISK FROM NATURAL DISASTERS

Lucy Jones, Ph.D., Seismologist; Research Associate, Caltech Seismological Laboratory; Author, The Big Ones In Conversation with Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor, Arizona

Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes . . . Lucy Jones is one of the world’s most renowned experts on natural disasters and the actions that can be taken to reduce their harmful effects. As the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, and armed with a doctorate in geophysics from MIT, Jones seeks to increase communities’ ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them.

Come for a fascinating conversation that could ultimately save your life.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., we’re giving both members and nonmembers behind-thescenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-of-the-art gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now to visit San Francisco’s newest—and oldest— cultural treasure at our sparkling new location. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 8/23/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable, The Commonwealth Club—CoHost

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Week to Week Politics Roundtable and Social Hour 8/27 SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

NORTH BEACH WALKING TOUR Join another Commonwealth Club neighborhood adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past—where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: Victoria Pastry Café, 700 Filbert St., San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–4:30 p.m. walk • Notes: Take Muni bus 30, 41 or 45; use North Beach Parking Garage on 735 Vallejo St.; tour operates rain or shine; limited to 20 participants; tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at check-in; walks with fewer than six participants will be canceled; you will receive notification of this at least 3 days in advance

FARM TO TABLE 2.0: CHEFS CUTTING CARBON

Gwenyth Borden, Executive Director, Golden Gate Restaurant Association Anthony Myint, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, The Perennial Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One Additional Speakers TBA

Can a menu at a fancy restaurant be a map for solving the climate challenge? A handful of prominent San Francisco chefs are using their high-end restaurants to illustrate how innovative grazing and growing practices can cut carbon pollution. They want chefs and their clients to know the “foodprint” of their choices and consider the impacts. But they are not preachy vegans who think

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cows are evil. Rather Anthony Myint, whose Commonwealth restaurant received a Michelin star, thinks putting compost on grasslands used to graze cattle can be a big lever for healing the climate and regenerating soils. San Francisco’s restaurants will be showcasing their climate-friendly dishes during the Global Climate Action Summit from September 12-14. Can restaurants be platforms for changing the food system? Join us for an engaging conversation about carbon-neutral dining and for a sampling of appetizers from The Perennial.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. networking reception

MONDAY, AUGUST 27 MIDDLE EAST FORUM DISCUSSION The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meeting monthly for about 10 years. We are not a debate group. We discuss timely cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 5 p.m. check-in, 5:30 p.m. program • MLF: Middle East • Program organizer: Celia Menczel

SAN FRANCISCO GREEN FILM FESTIVAL: IT'S ELEMENTAL

Rachael Caplan, CEO, San Francisco Green Film Festival

Filmmakers are showing us the fundamental necessity for climate discussion and action. Join the San Francisco Green Film Festival and Bay Area filmmakers for a conversation structured around the four elements—earth, water,

fire and air—and how these elements are creating multifaceted changes and perspectives on serious and complicated climate issues. Change is not just necessary. It is elemental. And a plus: You can enjoy a preview of the 8th annual Green Film Festival, September 6-13, 2018, aligned with the Global Climate Action Summit and Rise for Climate march. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Environment & Natural Resources • Program organizer: Ann Clark

WEEK TO WEEK POLITICS ROUNDTABLE AND SOCIAL HOUR 8/27/18 Panelists TBA

We will discuss the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil and have a good sense of humor. Our panelists will provide informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, and we'll have audience discussion of the week’s events and our live news quiz! Each attendee receives two free drink tickets; come early before the program and enjoy snacks and wine at our members social (open to all attendees). SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. wine-and-snacks social, 6:30 p.m. program

TUESDAY, AUGUST 28 BUILDING CITIZENS AND CIVIC LEADERS FROM THE GROUND UP Matt Mahan, CEO, Brigade—Moderator Panelists TBA

What does being an engaged citizen mean in 2018? How are young people accessing


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

The Craving Cure: Winning the Battle Between Health and Bliss 8/30 • Congressman Steve Israel 8/30

civic education and skills they can leverage? How can they effect change around issues that matter to them—both before they can vote and after? What are the issues and outcomes down the line that matter to youth the most: education, housing, gun violence, voting rights or climate change? Hear perspectives from students, educators, elected officials and organizers on the state of civic education, innovative approaches to civic engagement and the potential for youth to make a difference at all levels, starting in school and continuing for the rest of their lives. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 pm check-in, 6:30 pm program

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., we’re giving both members and nonmembers behind-thescenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-of-the-art gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now to visit San Francisco’s newest—and oldest— cultural treasure at our sparkling new location. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 8/30/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow

commonwealthclub.org/events

Show" (Radio and TV); Board President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable, The Commonwealth Club—CoHost

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

THE CRAVING CURE: WINNING THE BATTLE BETWEEN HEALTH AND BLISS

Julia Ross, Author, The Mood Cure, The Diet Cure and The Craving Cure

On our nutrient-poor, narcotic-rich techno-diet, close to 50 percent of us are obese and fully 50 percent of us have been diagnosed with some form of diabetes. Highly pleasurable, addictive and ultra-processed foods also share the blame for our rising cancer rates, including a 12 percent increase in breast cancer. The apocalyptic battle between our fundamental need to eat well to maintain our health and our compulsion to eat poorly to maintain our blissful habits is a silent one. It’s being decided in the microscopic cells that generate pleasure and regulate our appetites by producing powerful neurotransmitters like serotonin, endorphin and dopamine. Julia Ross asserts we can win this cellular war if we can strengthen and protect the cells that are now under such heavy assault from druglike foods. Come hear the story of how Ross and others have been waging and winning this

war with the help of a few well-researched nutrients called amino acids. Ross will use case examples to describe how nutritional brain repair stops cravings for even the most bliss-producing commercial food products. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Health & Medicine • Program organizer: Patty James

FORMER CONGRESSMAN STEVE ISRAEL: GUNS, POLITICS AND THE FUTURE OF THE DEMOCRATS

Steve Israel, Former U.S. Congressman (D-NY), MSNBC Commentator; Author, Big Guns: A Novel In Conversation with the Honorable Ellen Tauscher, Former U.S. Representative (CA-10); Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Steve Israel represented New York as a member of Congress for 16 years. He left in 2016, undefeated and unindicted. He served as House Democrats’ chief political strategist between 2011–2015. President Bill Clinton called him “one of the most thoughtful members of Congress,” which, Israel states, “isn’t really saying much at all.” He is currently distinguished writer in residence at Long Island University in New York and has published two critically acclaimed satires of Washington, D.C. His latest, Big Guns, skewers the gun lobby. His New York Times op-ed, “Nothing Will Change After the Las Vegas Shooting,” went viral. His Mic.com video on gun violence received nearly 3.5 million views. Israel is also chairperson of the Global Institute at Long Island University and a strategic advisor to both the Democratic Governors AssociaAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Using New Technologies to Create Safe Marine Environments 9/4 • Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age 9/5 • Below: Steven Pinker 9/5

tion and the think tank Third Way. Come for a wide-ranging conversation about all things political and the possibilities for change.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO CREATE SAFE MARINE ENVIRONMENTS

Rhett Butler, Founder and CEO, Mongabay Robin Martin, Ph.D., Research Associate, Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University Joe Mascaro, Director of Academic Programs, Bay Area Satellite Company Planet David Kroodsma, Research Director, Global Fishing Watch

There is an accelerating effort among ocean scientists, ad-

vocates and technologists to harness new technologies for marine conservation. These technologies, which include satellite sensors, drones and artificial intelligence, can be used to monitor and manage marine ecosystems— discovering new coral reefs, identifying illegal or unsustainable fishing fleets, and exposing destructive coastal development. Our panel will discuss what's already working in this space and also what technologies might soon be available to protect and create healthy and safe marine environments in the Bay Area and around the world. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Environment & Natural Resources • Program organizer: Ann Clark

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., we’re giving both members and nonmembers behind-thescenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-of-the-art gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

CIVIL DISCOURSE IN AN UNCIVIL AGE: THE QUEST FOR A POST-PARTISAN CITIZENSHIP

Alexander Heffner, Co-Author, A Documentary History of the United

States; Host, “The Open Mind,” PBS

Divisiveness today is a pervasive plague on discourse and governance. Social media proliferate clickbait, misinformation and filter bubbles. Algorithms polarize information intake. So what are possible prescriptions to correct this vicious cycle? How can our increasingly digital footprint translate into prosocial instead of antisocial behavior? How can an historically knowledgeable press restore faith in our civic life, democracy and humanity? Alexander Heffner will discuss these issues, bringing an open mind. Be sure to bring yours too. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 4:30 p.m. check-in, 5 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: Part of our MLFs' Crisis in Our Country summer series

BEN FRANKLIN CIRCLES The Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond

STEVEN PINKER

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; Author, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Today’s world is characterized by people clinging to beliefs, hyper-polarization and the degradation of discourse. However, acclaimed author and psychologist Steven Pinker argues the very opposite: the world is actually improving and there’s never been a safer and


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Point of View: Connecting San Francisco-Haifa Sister Cities 9/7 • America: The Farewell Tour 9/10

better time to be alive. Pinker makes the case that Enlightenment principles of reason, science and humanism are directly enhancing the quality of life for everyone—not just the West. However, a number of Anti-Enlightenment practices threaten the progress of human development. Join one of the world’s leading thinkers for a powerful conversation about human nature, a defense of knowledge and the case for science, reason, humanism and progress. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: Special thanks to United Airlines; photo by Rose Lincoln, Harvard University

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 9/6/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable—Co-Host

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community. Bring your questions. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 POINT OF VIEW: CONNECTING SAN FRANCISCO–HAIFA SISTER CITIES

Ravit Baer, Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest Matthew Passmore, Artist; Urban Innovator

commonwealthclub.org/events

Jonathan Curiel, Journalist—Moderator Additional Panelist TBA

Our distinguished panel will discuss the San Francisco-Haifa sister city relationship and the two identical, temporary sculptures that sit over 7,000 miles apart. One sculpture can be found on Pier 27; the other can be seen on Haifa’s shoreline. Using art and technology to celebrate both cities’ vibrancies, these sculptures are interactive, cultural collaborations that allow visitors to view live feed across oceans and connect with one another. The remarkable sculptures, resembling lighthouses, were created by Saron Paz, an Israeli experience designer, and the San Francisco artist Matthew Passmore. The sculptures are dedicated to former Mayor Ed Lee. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program • MLF: Middle East • Program organizer: Celia Menczel

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR

Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize–winning Journalist, Author, America: The Farewell Tour

Monday Night Philosophy examines America in crisis, convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis, the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress, the pornification of culture, the rise of magical thinking, the celebration of sadism and hate, and a plague of suicides are the manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. Although Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power, Hedges argues that

neither political party addresses the systemic problem. Capturing a poignant cry reported from communities across the country, Hedges seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: This event is the latest in our Member-Led Forums’ Crisis in Our Country summer series

WEEK TO WEEK POLITICS ROUNDTABLE AND SOCIAL HOUR 9/10/18 Panelists TBA

Just two months from now, the nation's voters will go to the polls in one of the mostwatched midterms in decades. We will discuss the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil and have a good sense of humor. Our panelists will provide informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, and we'll have audience discussion of the week’s events and our live news quiz! Each attendee receives two free drink tickets; come early before the program and enjoy snacks and wine at our members social (open to all attendees). SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. wine-and-snacks social, 6:30 p.m. program

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 MARK LEIBOVICH

Mark Leibovich, Chief National Correspondent, The New York Times Magazine; Author, Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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Mark Leibovich 9/11

Like millions of Americans, Mark Leibovich has spent more of his life tuned into pro football than he'd care to admit. In the summer of 2014, the Patriots’ Tom Brady returned Leibovich's call and kept on returning his calls through an epic Super Bowl victory and defeat, and a scandal involving Brady— Deflategate—whose grip on sports media was as profound as its true significance was ridiculous. So began a four-year odyssey that took Leibovich deeper inside the NFL than anyone has gone before. Leibovich will take you on a journey through an epic storm. Through it all, Leibovich always keeps one eye on Tom Brady and his beloved Patriots.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: Mark Leibovich photo by Ralph Answang

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 JONATHAN HAIDT

Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University’s Stern School of Business; Co-Author, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

Jonathan Haidt will show how new problems on college campuses have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker, always trust your feelings, and life is a battle between good and evil people. Haidt will discuss the many social trends that have intersected to produce these “untruths,” situating the conflicts on campus in the context of America’s rapidly rising political polarization, including a rise in hate crimes

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and off-campus provocation. He will further explore changes in childhood, including the rise of fearful parenting, the decline of unsupervised play and the new world of social media that has engulfed teenagers in the last decade. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 7 p.m. check-in, 7:30 p.m. program, 8:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: This program is generously supported by the Ken and Jackie Broad Family Fund

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 9/13/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); Board President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable, The Commonwealth Club—CoHost

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

RUSSIAN HILL WALKING TOUR Join a more active Commonwealth Club neighborhood adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a "cardio hike" up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the

most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: Swensen's Ice Cream, 1999 Hyde St., San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–4:30 p.m. walk • Notes: Take Muni (Bus 45) or a taxi; there is absolutely no parking on Russian Hill—no parking lots or street parking; please take a taxi or public transport; the tour ends about six blocks from Swensen's Ice Cream, at the corner of Vallejo and Jones; it is an easy walk down to North Beach from there; there are steep hills and staircases; the tour is recommended for good walkers only; the tour operates rain or shine; limited to 20 participants; tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at check-in; walks with fewer than six participants will be canceled (you will receive notification of this at least 3 days in advance)

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 BILL PRESS

Bill Press, Host, “Bill Press Show”; Author, Trump Must Go: The Top 100 Reasons to Dump Trump (And One to Keep Him)

Many Americans increasingly agree on one thing: Every day that Trump stays in office, he diminishes the United States and its people. In Trump Must Go, TV and radio host Bill Press offers 100 reasons why Trump needs to be removed from office, whether by impeachment, the 25th Amendment or the ballot box. Beginning with the man himself and moving through Trump’s executive action damage, Press covers Trump’s debasement of the U.S. political system and destruction of the Republican Party. Ranging from banning federal employees’ use of the phrase “climate change” to putting down Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “s--thole” countries, many wonder what Trump will do next. In a political climate where the world has learned to expect the unexpected, Press of-


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Bill Press 9/17 • Preventing the Cold War II: A Game Plan for Healthy Competition With China 9/7 • Below: Deray Mckesson 9/18

fers a twist: one reason not to ditch Donald Trump.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing

PREVENTING COLD WAR II: A GAME PLAN FOR HEALTHY COMPETITION WITH CHINA

Susan L. Shirk, Chair, 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California San Diego; Director Emeritus, University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC); Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs

China has emerged as the most formidable long-term competitor that the United States has ever faced. The competition, unlike the previous one with the Soviet Union, extends beyond traditional geopolitics into trade and investment, technology, and civil society— realms where the two countries are already closely intertwined. Competing effectively without sacrificing the benefits of this integration and the potential to cooperate on climate, health and other global issues of common concern, or escalating into all-out hostilities, is a complex challenge that cannot be left only to the current administration; it will likely require all the wisdom and expertise that U.S. society can muster. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Asia Pacific Affairs • Program organizer: David Lehr

SOCRATES CAFÉ One Monday evening of every month the

commonwealthclub.org/events

Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30–8 p.m. program • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 DERAY MCKESSON: ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM

DeRay Mckesson, Host, "Pod Save the People"; Civil Rights Activist and Organizer; Author, On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope

In 2015, during the midst of controversies over police brutality and social unrest, DeRay Mckesson rose to national prominence not only for his role in the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson but also for his platform of choice: social media. Since his rise as a figure in both traditional and online activism, Mckesson has also established a wide-ranging career, running the gamut from podcast host of the popular “Pod Save the People” show under Crooked Media to mayoral candidate in Baltimore’s 2016 election. His new book is a memoir that dives into the systems that keep racial injustice in place. The book takes an in-depth look at the United States’ complicated history with oppression

and race relations while also tracking the importance that technology has served in finding the “other side of freedom.” SAN FRANCISCO • Location: Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program followed by book signing • Notes: This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation; Mckesson photo by Robert Adam Mayer

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., we’re giving both members and nonmembers behind-the-scenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-of-theart gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

P.J. O'Rourke 9/20 • Tom Stienstra's Sierra Crossing 9/20

amenities of being a Club member.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour

GOPI KALLAYIL

Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing, Google; Author, The Happy Human: Being Real in an Artificially Intelligent World

Happiness is a multimillion-dollar industry, catering to our deep desire to live a joyful life and to a belief that, as human beings, we deserve to be happy. Kallayil believes in reversing that equation. He holds that what we truly deserve is to be human, and that the key to happiness lies in being 100 percent who we are, reveling in our authentic selves, even if— maybe especially if—that means falling on our faces. Which Gopi has done. Many times. But he's also had spectacular success. Kallayil explores the qualities that make us human and can help us to be successful and happy in both our personal lives and professional careers. SILICON VALLEY • Location: Cubberley Theater, 4000 Middlefield Rd. (near Montrose and Middlefield), Palo Alto • Time: 6:30 p.m. checkin, 7 p.m. program, 8:00 p.m. book signing

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 9/20/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); Board President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable, The Commonwealth Club—CoHost

Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet

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fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

P.J. O’ROURKE

P.J. O’Rourke, Contributing Editor, The Weekly Standard, H.L. Mencken Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Author, None of My Business

After decades of covering war and disaster, best-selling author and acclaimed satirist P. J. O’Rourke takes on his scariest subjects yet— business, investment, finance and the political chicanery behind them.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing • Notes: O’Rourke photo by James Kegley

TOM STIENSTRA'S SIERRA CROSSING

Tom Stienstra, 2017 Emmy Award Winner in Science, Nature and Health by the National Academy of Television and the Arts; Journalist

Stienstra explores how trail blazers crossed the 70-mile Sierra Nevadas from east to west from the perspective of early pioneers and explorers. Share the long trek that starts from the flank of Mount Whitney at 14,497 feet—the highest point in the lower 48. Find the path that goes over the Sierra Crest, down 5,000 feet into Kern Canyon, up to a notch in the Great Western Divide to Sequoia National Park at the foot of the western Sierra. Walk in the footsteps of trailblazers, explorers and pioneers across a pristine landscape that looks

much like it did 5,000 years ago. Marvel at the beauty, the challenges and courage of the people who settled the land and the explorers who joined them. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program • MLF: Environment & Natural Resources • Program organizer: Ann Clark

BETH COMSTOCK

Beth Comstock, Former Vice Chair, General Electric; Author, Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

You might think the world is racing ahead too fast, but it will never be slower than it is right now, says Beth Comstock, the former vice chair and head of marketing and innovation at General Electric. But confronting the relentless pace of change is hard. Employees get downsized; companies find themselves disrupted as challengers steal away customers. To thrive in today’s world, every one of us has to become ready for change. Comstock shares lessons—on spotting trends and driving innovation—from a 30year career as the changemaker-in-chief. She will describe her successes and failures from the front lines of business, across industries ranging from media to health, energy to manufacturing, finance to the industrial internet.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: Sponsored by Wells Fargo

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 MIDDLE EAST FORUM DISCUSSION The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meet-


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Beth Comstock 9/20 • Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity 9/25

ing monthly for about 10 years. We are not a debate group. We discuss timely cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 5 p.m. check-in, 5:30 p.m. program • MLF: Middle East • Program organizer: Celia Menczel

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 WHAT DIPLOMATS DO AND WHY IT MATTERS

Barbara Stephenson, Former Ambassador to Panama; President, American Foreign Service Association; Former Dean of the Leadership and Management School, Foreign Service Institute; Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé D’affaires, U.S. Embassy in London

It’s been a challenging year. The Department of State and its diplomats often finding themselves sidelined and starved for resources. Ambassador Barbara Stephenson will discuss the importance of fully deploying the Foreign Service so they can do their work on behalf of the United States—at our 273 embassies and consulates around the world. Stephenson will discuss concrete examples of the important work carried out by American diplomats overseas and lay out the argument that maintaining global leadership through effective diplomacy is the most cost-effective way to keep America secure and prosperous. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program • MLF: International Relations • Program organizer: Linda Calhoun

TECH AND THE DARK SIDE OF PROSPERITY

Richard Walker, Professor Emeritus of Ge-

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ography, UC Berkeley; Author, Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area

Corporation Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator

The Bay Area is currently the jewel in the crown of capitalism—the tech capital of the world and a gusher of wealth from the Silicon gold rush. It has been generating jobs, spawning new innovation and spreading ideas that are changing lives everywhere. It boasts of being the Left Coast, the Greenest City and the best place for workers in the United States. So what could be wrong? There is a dark side of this success: overheated bubbles and spectacular crashes; exploding inequality and millions of underpaid workers; a boiling housing crisis, mass displacement; severe environmental damage; a delusional tech elite and complicity with the worst in American politics. Richard Walker's sweeping account of the Bay Area in the age of the tech boom covers many bases: the phenomenal concentration of IT in the Greater Silicon Valley, the fabulous economic growth and the unbelievable wealth piling up for some. All this is contrasted with the fate of the working class struggling to keep its head above water, the greatest housing bubble in the United States, the environmental impact of the boom, the fantastical ideology of TechWorld and the political implications of the Bay Area's tech-led transformation.

Michael D. Rich, president and CEO of the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, will discuss the phenomenon RAND is calling “truth decay”—the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. Truth decay has led to the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis and disengagement from political and civic institutions. Concerned about truth decay’s effects on evidence-based policy-making, RAND launched an in-depth research initiative to study the causes and address the consequences. Rich will share findings from RAND’s initial exploration, including a research agenda to help find solutions to the challenges posed by truth decay. Former President Barack Obama thinks RAND’s report is so important that he added it to his summer reading list.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • MLF: Humanities • Program organizer: George Hammond • Notes: This event is the latest in our Member-Led Forums’ Crisis in Our Country summer series

RAND CORPORATION CEO MICHAEL RICH: FIGHTING TRUTH DECAY IN AMERICA

Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 COMMONWEALTH CLUB WEEKLY TOUR Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., we’re giving members and nonmembers behind-the-scenes tours of our stunning home at 110 The Embarcadero. Join us for a complimentary tour of our beautiful new headquarters on San Francisco’s waterfront. At our spectacular, state-ofthe-art gathering space, which features a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay, you can learn about our storied history and the many amenities of being a Club member. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–3 p.m. tour AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

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For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World: Four Keys to Fulfullment and Balance 8/26 • Below: Kai-Fu Lee 9/26

LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE IN A MATERIAL WORLD: FOUR KEYS TO FULFILLMENT AND BALANCE

Anna Gatmon, Ph.D, Author, Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World

Current trends indicate a movement away from traditional religion toward more inclusive views of spirituality, indicating a clear need for establishing a balance between our spiritual longings and our material needs. Anna Gatmon will discuss her view that “people have an intrinsic longing to lead meaningful, purposeful lives, and contribute to making our world a better place. Neglecting this need has created a spiritual hunger in our culture, a great void needing to be filled.” Passionate about making spirituality practical and accessible to everyone, she offers tools on how to rise above the daily grind. Through her personal experience and research, Gatmon says she has found four keys that will help the audience find a more whole and compassionate way

of life, spiritually and materially balanced.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 4:45 p.m. check-in, 5:15 p.m. program • MLF: Grownups • Program organizer: John Milford

KAI-FU LEE

Kai-Fu Lee, Ph.D., Chairperson and CEO, Sinovation Ventures; Author, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

How will artificial intelligence change our future? And who is leading the artificial intelligence (AI) race—the United States or China? Lee outlines the impact that AI will have not just on blue-collar industries but also on white-collar professionals. He reveals how these unprecedented developments are happening much sooner than expected and what needs to be done to address these profound changes. SILICON VALLEY • Location: Santa Clara Convention Center Theater, 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara • Time: 6:15 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing • Notes: In association with the Committee of 100; Kai-Fu Lee photo by Huili Shi

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 THE MICHELLE MEOW SHOW AT THE CLUB 9/27/18

Michelle Meow, Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" (Radio and TV); President, SFPride John Zipperer, Host, Week to Week

Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community.

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelen Boardroom, San Francisco • Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program

WATERFRONT WALKING TOUR Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour

exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surround Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–4:30 p.m. walk • Notes: The tour operates rain or shine; tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at checkin; walks with fewer than six participants will be canceled (you will receive notification of this at least three days in advance)

JUAN WILLIAMS

Juan Williams, Co-Host, Fox News’ “The Five”; Author, What the Hell Do You Have to Lose? Trump’s War on Civil Rights”

The best-selling author, political analyst and civil rights expert delivers a forceful critique of what he calls the Trump administration's ignorant and unprecedented rollback of the civil rights movement. He says that unsympathetic, ambiguous and openly racist remarks are a hallmark of Donald Trump's public life. They may have reached their nadir after he failed to condemn white supremacy in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, but perhaps no remark of his is more telling than his campaign pitch to African-Americans: "What the hell do you have to lose?" Quite a lot, as it turns out. In his vigorously argued and timely book, civil rights historian and political analyst Juan Williams issues the truth about just what African-Americans have to lose, and how Trump is threatening to take it away. In Williams' lifetime, civil rights have improved, vastly and against great resistance.


For current prices, call 415.597.6705 or go to commonwealthclub.org

John Hennessy 9/27 • Fall Into Winter Member Party: Insider's Japan 9/28 SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing

JOHN HENNESSY

John Hennessy, Ph.D., Chairperson, Alphabet; Director, Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University; Author, Leading Matters: Lessons from My Journey

John Hennessy has been called the “godfather of Silicon Valley.” From his early days as a computer scientist to serving as the 10th president of Stanford University, Hennessy reflects on the core elements of his leadership philosophy. Focusing on the journey rather than the destination, Hennessy details the pivotal role that humility, authenticity, courage, collaboration, innovation and curiosity have all played in his successful career as a tech entrepreneur, academic and administrator.

SILICON VALLEY • Location: Santa Clara Convention Center Theater, 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara • Time: 6:15 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 FALL INTO WINTER MEMBER PARTY: INSIDER’S JAPAN Celebrate the season at The Commonwealath Club! Enjoy all the wonders of our new home while we introduce you to the benefits of The Commonwealth Club’s Travel Program. Enjoy exquisite Japanese cuisine and fun entertainment as Insider’s Japan gives you the inside scoop on the Club’s upcoming travel programs. Join us in a toast to our first year at our new home on The Embarcadero. Celebrate with a glass of fine wine (featuring our Club label chardonnay and pinot noir); our signature cocktail, “The Agora” (in honor of the Club’s

commonwealthclub.org/events

early name); Fort Point Beer; or a nonalcoholic beverage. Cash bars will be available in our second-floor lounge and on our rooftop terrace, where you’ll find some of the city’s best views of the bay. We look forward to seeing you there! SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Osher Lobby, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 5:30–7:30 p.m. program • Notes: Cash bar

MONDAY, OCTOBER 1 APRIL RYAN

April Ryan, White House Correspondent, American Urban Radio Networks; Author, Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House

Veteran White House reporter April Ryan thought she had seen everything in her two decades as a White House correspondent— and then came the Trump administration. Ryan takes us inside the confusion and chaos of the Trump White House to understand how she and other reporters adjusted to the new normal. Ryan will discuss the policy debates, the revolving door of personnel appointments, and what it’s like when she, as a reporter asking difficult questions, finds herself in the spotlight, becoming part of the story. With the world on edge and a country grappling with a new controversy almost daily, Ryan will share current events from her perspective, not only from inside the briefing room but also as a target of those who want to avoid answering probing questions. SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing • Notes: Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Author, Leadership in Turbulent Times

Doris Kearns Goodwin draws upon her research of four presidents—Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ—to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized by others as leaders. They shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. SILICON VALLEY • Location: Mayer Theatre, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara • Time: 6:15 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing • Notes: Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

LATE-BREAKING PROGRAMS AUGUST 22 THE BRIEF BUT SPECTACULAR STORY OF FLOSSIE LEWIS

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Taube Family Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:45 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program

OCTOBER 2 THE BROWNS OF CALIFORNIA: A POLITICAL FAMILY DYNASTY

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing • Notes: Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

OCTOBER 4 CALIFORNIA AT WAR

SAN FRANCISCO • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco • Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

57


INSIGHT Supporting Care for the Elderly and Disabled Dr. Gloria C. Duffy, President and CEO

I

n 2014, California began to better protect the rights of domestic employees, including personal attendants who care for the elderly and disabled. A series of legislative acts require minimum pay, overtime pay and mandatory paid sick leave for these workers. These are needed improvements. But there are sometimes conflicts between employee rights and the needs of families taking care of the elderly or disabled, which need to be addressed in our legal system. More tools and protections also need to be created to assist families in safely selecting and managing caregivers. We have had around-the-clock personal attendants for my 94-yearold mom for the past seven years. Most of her caregivers have been amazing, capable and dedicated individuals. Caregiving can be demanding and stressful, and caregivers deserve support and protection. Nonetheless, there are sometimes conflicts between the needs and rights of the elderly and disabled and the way the legal and administrative systems are structured to uphold employee rights. Employment in in-home care for the elderly and disabled is different than in other fields, because the individuals being cared-for are completely dependent. Yet neither legal nor administrative structures distinguish between employees caring for helpless individuals and those doing other work, in terms of their rights, their responsibilities or expectations of them. For example, one of our caregivers had an auto accident with my mom in the car. The caregiver was uncomfortable with my requiring that they not drive my mom until fault was established for the accident, and with my keeping my mom at home during this caregiver’s shifts or switching schedules with another caregiver to drive my mom. The caregiver argued that they had a clean driving record. Could I be accused of discriminating by requiring that they not drive my mom for a period of time? Of course, employment law prohibits discrimination. Yet the priority for a frail senior or disabled person is their safety, so surely the law should support a family member who makes a conservative decision on their behalf. Sometimes one caregiver proves to be better at a certain task—accompanying the senior or disabled person to medical appointments, or cooking their restricted diet or giving them medications or doing exercise with them—than others. So for the disabled person’s wellbeing, a family member may sometimes need to switch responsibilities among caregivers. Are they then discriminating if they change responsibilities to those who can perform them better? Employment law also protects employees who are disabled. I suspected that one caregiver was an alcoholic. Under employment law, I could have been accused of discrimination if I terminated this

58

THE COMMO N WE AL TH

individual for alcoholism per se, since alcoholism is classed as a disability. Should there be any question about firing a suspected alcoholic from duties caring for a helpless individual? Predictability of care is essential for those who are disabled. In a few cases, we have experienced caregivers who were absent from work without explanation, called in a few minutes before their shift began to take time Photo courtesy of Gloria Duffy off, or left their post without notice. Leaving a helpless person unattended is obviously very dangerous. Yet California’s current legal and administrative framework has a high bar when it comes to termination of employment, often requiring repeated documented instances like this before firing. There are no exemptions or special requirements for caregivers of helpless individuals. Some important elements of a system that supports home care are resources to train caregivers and help families find and vet appropriate and qualified caregivers. Currently there is no specific and affordable training, certification or qualification path for in-home caregivers. Anyone can say they are a caregiver. Violent felons can work as caregivers; their records might not show up on background checks of companies such as Care.com because their crimes were in a different state. Under a 2016 California law, home health-care agencies have to be licensed, but individual caregivers do not. There are individuals who are not licensed who are presenting themselves as home-care businesses or agencies. Our society puts a priority on families being able to care for their loved ones at home. Currently, neither our legal framework nor our support structures are very good at facilitating this. We should examine best practices in other countries for supporting home care for elderly and disabled individuals. This includes reviewing our laws to ensure that while caregiver rights are protected, family members are also supported in protecting their loved ones. There should be training, certification and qualification procedures, perhaps through community colleges, and perhaps state or county registries of qualified caregivers. We should be looking around the world for the best models. Even in California, some of our smaller counties have lessons to offer metropolitan areas like the Bay Area. Hospices and hospitals in Siskiyou County will provide families with access to their lists of home health workers. We need much more of this kind of support for those caring for dependent individuals.


Walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago May 15-28, 2019

Walk some of the most beautiful and charming segments of the pilgrimage route of Spain’s Camino de Santiago on this active Club adventure. Explore Burgos and Leon. Visit a wine cellar in Rioja and stop at the Shrine of San Juan de Ortega. Hike to stunning views of Galician landscapes. Conclude at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the finest example of both Romanesque and Baroque art in Spain. $5,695 per person, double occupancy Walks average 4 to 5 miles a day.

View Upcoming Trips at commonwealthclub.org/travel | 415.597.6720 | travel@commonwealthclub.org CST# 2096889-40


To purchase tickets:

The Commonwealth Club of California

visit commonwealthclub.org or call (415) 597-6705 or call (800) 847-7730

P.O. Box 194210 San Francisco, CA 94119

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To subscribe to our email newsletter: visit commonwealthclub.org and use the simple “Be the First to Know” feature on the homepage

TUESDAY, AUGUST 14

Details on page 45

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

GREG GUTFELD

Details on page 50

STEVEN PINKER

Greg Gutfeld, Host, Fox News’ “The Greg Gutfeld Show”; Co-Host, Fox News’ “The Five”; Author, The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from the Five

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; Author, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Greg Gutfeld is a New York Times best-selling author, satirist, humorist, magazine editor and blogger known for his provocative opinions. He is the host of “The Greg Gutfeld Show” and co-host of “The Five” on Fox News. Gutfeld grew up in the Bay Area and attended the University of California Berkeley. Come for a lively, no-holds-barred conversation where Gutfeld will discuss what he terms “the insanity of politics over the last several years.”

Today’s world is characterized by people clinging to beliefs, hyperpolarization and the degradation of discourse. However, acclaimed author and psychologist Steven Pinker argues the very opposite: The world is actually improving, and there’s never been a safer and better time to be alive. Join one of the world’s leading thinkers for a powerful conversation about human nature, a defense of knowledge and the case for science, reason, humanism and progress.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 1

Details on page 57

APRIL RYAN

April Ryan, White House Correspondent, American Urban Radio Networks; Author, Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House

Veteran White House reporter April Ryan thought she had seen everything in her two decades as a White House correspondent. Then came the Trump administration. Ryan takes us inside the confusion and chaos of Trump’s White House to understand how she and other reporters adjusted to the new normal. Ryan provides a glimpse into current events from her perspective, not only from inside the briefing room but also as a target of those who want to avoid answering probing questions.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2

Details on page 57

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Professor, Harvard University, Author, Leadership: In Turbulent Times

Are leaders born or made? Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin draws upon her research of four U.S. presidents— Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ—to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves, and were recognized by others as leaders. Set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these four men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships.

The Commonwealth August/September 2018  

This issue, Kathryn Haun and Laura Shin provide an overview of blockchain and cryptocurrency; we also hear fro Robert Reich, Deborah and Jam...

The Commonwealth August/September 2018  

This issue, Kathryn Haun and Laura Shin provide an overview of blockchain and cryptocurrency; we also hear fro Robert Reich, Deborah and Jam...