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Showing posts with label President Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Trump. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

President Trump police speech "jokes" about excessive use of force

By CHARLES BROOKS


President Trump has again raised concerns with his tough on crime message when he publicly endorsed the use of police violence.  On July 28th, the president visited Suffolk County Community College to talk about the federal plans for the MS-13 gang“…Right now, we have less than 6,000 Enforcement and Removal Officers in ICE.  This is not enough to protect a nation of more than 320 million people.  It's essential that Congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers…” But then the president went on to say: “And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon -- you just see them thrown in, rough -- I said, please don’t be too nice.  Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?  Like, don’t hit their head and they've just killed somebody -- don't hit their head.  I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

While the White House dismissed the reckless remarks as a joke, widespread criticism and condemnation has been nevertheless unleashed from both law enforcement and civil liberties groups. Described as “unconscionable”, “irresponsible” and “unprofessional”, the president remarks underline the deep concerns that range from blatant violation of constitutional rights to the negative impact on police-community relations. What is equally disturbing is that in the past his inflammatory comments not only sparked several incidents of physical violence at his campaign events but his election victory triggered a nationwide outbreak of racial attacks.

This latest controversy should serve as a reminder of the 2016 campaign and primary season when Trump would often refer to himself as the law and order president; voiced his support for stop and frisk tactics and federal intervention as a way to deal with the gun violence in Chicago; while delivering his get tough message via social media: “This election is a choice between law, order & safety - or chaos, crime & violence. I will make America safe again for everyone.  Crime is out of control, and rapidly getting worse. Look what is going on in Chicago and our inner cities.”

As part of the presidential transition from Obama to Trump, the
White House website was redesigned to include issues deemed important to the new president such as Standing Up for our Law Enforcement Community. The new president escalated concerns with his appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. In his opening statement during his confirmation hearings, Sessions declared: “If we are to be more effective in dealing with rising crime, we will have to rely heavily on local law enforcement to lead the way. To do that, they must know that they are supported. If I am so fortunate as to be confirmed as Attorney General, they can be assured that they will have my support. In his six months as Attorney General, we’ve witnessed Sessions announcing his intention to resume the drug war, forfeit property and undo medical marijuana protections.

In addition to Trump’s controversial picks for Attorney General and the Supreme Court, he also signed three “law and order” executive orders that would; create a task force that would propose new legislation to reduce crime by highlighting drug trafficking, illegal immigration and violent crime; increase penalties for crimes committed against officers, and strengthen federal law to combat transnational criminal organizations and prevent international trafficking. 

Discussion Question:
Do you think the president was ‘joking’ when he made the remarks? Do you have any concerns about the possible implications of Trumps remarks? How much confidence do you have in the Congressional Black Caucus to impede the progress of the president’s plan for law and order? What about the larger civil rights/civil liberties community? What do you think is the best way to pressure Congress, and legislators at the state and local level?

Further Reading
Cops, civil rights groups brace for 'law and order' Trump

What the Trump administration wants you know about civil rights and policing




Friday, June 23, 2017

What exactly does the CBC want?

By Charles Brooks 

Less than two weeks left with the Obama presidency, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) discussed their plans to be more aggressive with the incoming president, Donald Trump. Well, after just six months of Trump being in office the CBC has seen enough as CBC Chairman Rep.Cedric Richmond (D-LA) rejected the president’s invitation to meet with him at the White House. In his letter to the president and in subsequent media interviews, Rep. Richmond outlined specific concerns around the Trump administration’s plans to dismantle healthcare, resurrect the drug war, disregard consent decrees, and implement billion dollars in cuts to Pell Grants.  The CBC Chair also reminded the president of his failure to respond to outreach to him of eight letters and a policy report submitted during their first meeting back in March.  “Through an objective assessment, we have seen no evidence that your administration acted on our calls for action, and we have in fact witnessed steps that will affirmatively hurt black communities,” wrote Rep. Richmond. In the letter as well as in a number of media interviews explaining their decision, the CBC Chair dismissed the would-be meeting as a “social gathering”.

I think we are clear on what the CBC does not want but what they do want and the path to get there is not as equally clear.  This is disturbing particularly considering their first meeting with the president back in March was viewed as “productive” and “frank” with a commitment for more regularly scheduled meetings to discuss policy issues.  So the first – if not, obvious – question is what exactly is being accomplished by not sitting with the president to address the issues and concerns they’ve outlined in their letters and policy paper? Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to meet with the president to discuss these critical issues?  Which brings us to the next question, what is their next move - or in other words what is their Plan B? Well they did submit an alternative federal budget for the FY2018 as they’ve always done since 1981 with little fanfare. But realistically, what are the chances that a Republican majority in Congress will act or much less debate the merits of the CBC’s alternative budget?

This apparent public display of defiance by the CBC actually raises more concerns about their effectiveness and, yes their relevance. For eight years, they served with a muted voice while providing a protective shield against Republican attacks on President Obama. Equally troubling was their refusal to endorse one of their own, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md) for the open Senate seat in Maryland. And then we learned about their ties to corporate interests during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

Authors of the CBC Report Card 2016, Glen Ford and Patrice Johnson brings into question the CBC’s leadership with an extensive analysis of ten key votes between September 2015 and September 2016.  Their report states the following: “What the CBC Monitor Report Cards bring into focus is that the Black Caucus is simply an appendage of Democratic leadership in the House. It has no independent existence or policy, and is therefore not a leadership institution for Black America. Rather, it is the Black face of the Democratic Party. Only about one-third of its members (the 14 that voted against the internet “terror” bill, last December, for example) are willing to break with their party on occasion.”
for 
In his letter to the president, Rep. Richmond left the door open for the President to invite individual CBC members for future meetings with him and cabinet officials. 

Discussion Question: 
Should individual members of the CBC pursue individual meetings with the president? What plan of action should the CBC pursue in this age of Trump?

Further Reading: