[Excepted] Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in Joint Press Conference
Chris Jansing. [MSNBC]
Q Thank you, Mr. President. As you know, the National Guard is now on the streets of Baltimore -- the latest aftermath in a series of what have been high-profile confrontations between black men and police officers. And there seems to be growing frustration among African American leaders that not enough is being done quickly enough. Marc Morial of the Urban League said, “The U.S. is in a state of emergency of tremendous proportions.” The president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund says, “We are in the throes of a national crisis.”
Are we in the throes of a national crisis? What are you prepared to do about it, both in terms of Baltimore and the larger picture? And what do you say to critics who say that since the death of Trayvon Martin, you have not been aggressive enough in your response?
With respect to Baltimore, let me make a couple of points. First, obviously our thoughts continue to be with the family of Freddie Gray. Understandably, they want answers. And DOJ has opened an investigation. It is working with local law enforcement to find out exactly what happened, and I think there should be full transparency and accountability.
[The elected official in Baltimore did not heed the lessons of Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere. The Police Department and the prosecutors were not proactive in providing information about the incident, the officers, or the official response. Thus, the matter festered and was defined by self-serving activist-agitators who saw an opportunity to exploit the situation. Thugs, having learned the lessons from the past, were prepared to use a civil rights protest as another opportunity to loot liquor stores, electronic shops, and other high-value targets. Some say that the thugs were urged to violence by the agitators who wanted to see a massive protest spin out of control.
President Obama has the nerve to speak of investigations, full transparency, an accountability while four brave American, Ambassador Stevens, were killed in Benghazi and the American people were fed lies. Even President Obama himself lied to the American people.]
Second, my thoughts are with the police officers who were injured in last night’s disturbances. It underscores that that’s a tough job and we have to keep that in mind, and my hope is that they can heal and get back to work as soon as possible.
[Perhaps President Obama has learned from the near universal condemnation he received when he appears to side with thugs in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown incidents while ignoring or diminishing law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to keep citizens safe.]
Point number three, there’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement -- they’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area.
[This is pretty much a lie coming from a “community organizer” and union sympathizer where thuggish behavior is routinely used to scare, I dare say terrorize, municipalities and corporations to give in to the demands of the union. If you really think violence is counterproductive, watch for the massive amounts of taxpayer money that will be flowing into Baltimore.]
So it is entirely appropriate that the mayor of Baltimore, who I spoke to yesterday, and the governor, who I spoke to yesterday, work to stop that kind of senseless violence and destruction. That is not a protest. That is not a statement. It’s people -- a handful of people taking advantage of a situation for their own purposes, and they need to be treated as criminals.
[Excuse me! President Obama thinks it is “appropriate” for a Mayor and a Governor to do their jobs to uphold the public peace. It is more than appropriate, it is their sworn duty.]
Point number four, the violence that happened yesterday distracted from the fact that you had seen multiple days of peaceful protests that were focused on entirely legitimate concerns of these communities in Baltimore, led by clergy and community leaders. And they were constructive and they were thoughtful, and frankly, didn’t get that much attention. And one burning building will be looped on television over and over and over again, and the thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way I think have been lost in the discussion.
[The politicians were out in “campaign mode” and the clergy was busy reinforcing their relevance in the progressive socialist democrat scheme of things. Where were the politicians and the members of the faith community when domestic terrorists, the minority gangs, were killing men, women, and children as well as creating yet another generation of drug addicts? Where were these same people when minority troublemakers were intimidating school children not to do their best or strive for excellence in the classroom? Yet, these people seem to appear everywhere, especially when the politicians hand out grants and “walking around money” during campaigns.”]
The overwhelming majority of the community in Baltimore I think have handled this appropriately, expressing real concern and outrage over the possibility that our laws were not applied evenly in the case of Mr. Gray, and that accountability needs to exist. And I think we have to give them credit. My understanding is, is you’ve got some of the same organizers now going back into these communities to try to clean up in the aftermath of a handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place. What they were doing, what those community leaders and clergy and others were doing, that is a statement. That’s the kind of organizing that needs to take place if we’re going to tackle this problem. And they deserve credit for it, and we should be lifting them up.
[The truth is that Mr. Gray was known to the police, was in area known for drug dealing, made eye contact with the police, and ran. That does not excuse the fact that Gray was denied prompt medical help and allegedly suffered his injuries while in police custody. Nobody should be mistreated by the police. And, if the police are found guilty of being complicit in Gray’s death, they should be tried for 2nd degree murder or manslaughter. If government officials were complicit in an attempted cover-up, they too should be tried for obstruction of justice and jailed.]
Point number five -- and I’ve got six, because this is important. Since Ferguson, and the task force that we put together, we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals -- primarily African American, often poor -- in ways that have raised troubling questions. And it comes up, it seems like, once a week now, or once every couple of weeks. And so I think it’s pretty understandable why the leaders of civil rights organizations but, more importantly, moms and dads across the country, might start saying this is a crisis. What I’d say is this has been a slow-rolling crisis. This has been going on for a long time. This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.
[There is little or no doubt in my mind that President Obama is a racist and sees everything through the prism of race. A President who serves all Americans should have noted that whites and other minorities are similarly challenged by the police. But, blacks may be challenged on a disproportionate scale because they disproportionately commit more crime. Mistreatment of any person by the police is troubling and those who engage in these behaviors needed to be rooted out and punished.]
The good news is, is that perhaps there’s some newfound awareness because of social media and video cameras and so forth that there are problems and challenges when it comes to how policing and our laws are applied in certain communities, and we have to pay attention to it and respond.
What’s also good news is the task force that was made up of law enforcement and community activists that we brought together here in the White House have come up with very constructive concrete proposals that, if adopted by local communities and by states and by counties, by law enforcement generally, would make a difference. It wouldn’t solve every problem, but would make a concrete difference in rebuilding trust and making sure that the overwhelming majority of effective, honest and fair law enforcement officers, that they're able to do their job better because it will weed out or retrain or put a stop to those handful who may be not doing what they're supposed to be doing.
[Task forces, especially as convened by the White House, are seen-and-be-seen events that produce few, in any results, other than a report and media attention. The real work is to be done by elected officials and law enforcement supervisors. If they do not do their job or play politics, nothing much will change.]
Now, the challenge for us as the federal government is, is that we don't run these police forces. I can't federalize every police force in the country and force them to retrain. But what I can do is to start working with them collaboratively so that they can begin this process of change themselves.
[Attorney General Eric Holder did attempt to federalize police departments via the Department of Justice intervention, investigation, and supervision. This was not done on a collaborative basis, but a coercive basis that denied critical federal funding to all who did not go along with federal programs, guidelines, and “suggestions.”]
And coming out of the task force that we put together, we're now working with local communities. The Department of Justice has just announced a grant program for those jurisdictions that want to purchase body cameras. We are going to be issuing grants for those jurisdictions that are prepared to start trying to implement some of the new training and data collection and other things that can make a difference. And we're going to keep on working with those local jurisdictions so that they can begin to make the changes that are necessary.
[It’s all about federal money, coercion, and control. In policing, in education, in environmental matters, and so many other areas where the federal government hoovers up taxpayer’s funds and then redistributes them to benefit their own political agenda.]
I think it’s going to be important for organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police and other police unions and organization to acknowledge that this is not good for police. We have to own up to the fact that occasionally there are going to be problems here, just as there are in every other occupation. There are some bad politicians who are corrupt. There are folks in the business community or on Wall Street who don't do the right thing. Well, there’s some police who aren’t doing the right thing. And rather than close ranks, what we’ve seen is a number of thoughtful police chiefs and commissioners and others recognize they got to get their arms around this thing and work together with the community to solve the problem. And we're committed to facilitating that process.
[Can you even believe that the man who heads the most secretive administration, is engaged in numerous cover-ups, has the temerity to call out others when his own house is under siege?]
So the heads of our COPS agency that helps with community policing, they're already out in Baltimore. Our Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division is already out in Baltimore. But we're going to be working systematically with every city and jurisdiction around the country to try to help them implement some solutions that we know work.
[There is little need for the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division to be present. What is needed is the local United States Attorney who will investigate and prosecute political corruption that is siphoning off housing funds, educational funds, and other taxpayer funds rather than repairing or rebuilding the community and its infrastructure. This is a manufactured civil rights issue that is bogus. How can you overlook hundreds of black citizens being killed in Chicago and other areas and then send your prosecutor to Baltimore where a single black man may have met his death at the hands of the police?]
And I’ll make my final point -- I’m sorry, Mr. Prime Minister, but this is a pretty important issue for us.
We can't just leave this to the police. I think there are police departments that have to do some soul searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul searching. But I think we, as a country, have to do some soul searching. This is not new. It’s been going on for decades.
[The President is right. The politicians have exploited the poor, the minorities, and the middle class. Blacks and other minorities have been given a pass on their behavior. You can’t tell me that Blacks living in the inner cities are any more disadvantaged than recent Black immigrants arriving with only a few dollars and having to learn the English language. How do these people exist – and thrive without the massive government assistance deployed into minority communities? The answer is mindset, motivation, and entrepreneurialism. Not sitting around collecting a government check. Not impregnating single young women and dooming them to a life of poverty. Not being held responsible for the gangs and others preying on their own people.]
And without making any excuses for criminal activities that take place in these communities, what we also know is that if you have impoverished communities that have been stripped away of opportunity, where children are born into abject poverty; they’ve got parents -- often because of substance-abuse problems or incarceration or lack of education themselves -- can't do right by their kids; if it’s more likely that those kids end up in jail or dead, than they go to college. In communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to young men; communities where there’s no investment, and manufacturing has been stripped away; and drugs have flooded the community, and the drug industry ends up being the primary employer for a whole lot of folks -- in those environments, if we think that we're just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we're not going to solve this problem. And we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets, and everybody will feign concern until it goes away, and then we go about our business as usual.
[Why does government always believe that they can provide solutions when the solution can only be provided by individual responsibility. For teaching ethics, motivation, achievement instead of preaching victimhood, oppression, and historical grievances that only empower agitators, community activists, and politicians.]
If we are serious about solving this problem, then we're going to not only have to help the police, we're going to have to think about what can we do -- the rest of us -- to make sure that we're providing early education to these kids; to make sure that we're reforming our criminal justice system so it’s not just a pipeline from schools to prisons; so that we're not rendering men in these communities unemployable because of a felony record for a nonviolent drug offense; that we're making investments so that they can get the training they need to find jobs. That's hard. That requires more than just the occasional news report or task force. And there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that.
[Somebody is lying. Most of the people in jail are not low level non-violent users, but hard-core drug dealers who have plea bargained down even more serious offenses in order to give some prosecutor a “win.” Obama’s agenda is little more than spending to shore up union-controlled municipalities with union-dominated projects. And, even worse, like his green initiatives, there is a lack of control and accountability for funds that seem to disappear into the political cesspool and re-emerge in some politician’s swimming pool.]
Now, I’m under no illusion that out of this Congress we're going to get massive investments in urban communities, and so we’ll try to find areas where we can make a difference around school reform and around job training, and around some investments in infrastructure in these communities trying to attract new businesses in.
[Is President Obama blaming the Republican-dominated Congress when he should be blaming the progressive socialist democrats, many who are black, who are running the inner cities?
Can you say union-dominated activities? The unions are the ones that have decimated education with their nonsense. The public employee unions are so out of control that they should be prosecuted under RICO for political corruption. These are the unions who have engaged in criminal activities under the guise of contractual law – and have milked municipalities, counties, and states almost to the point of bankruptcy. Unions is the private sector have driven entire industries into near extinction and pushed companies to move operations offshore to remain competitive and in business.]
But if we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant -- and that we don't just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns, and we don't just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped. We're paying attention all the time because we consider those kids our kids, and we think they're important. And they shouldn’t be living in poverty and violence.
[They are living in poverty and violence because that’s where the politicians want them to be. The Administration is bloated with bureaucrats managing poverty programs and anti-violence programs – and nothing changes. For without poverty and violence these unionized-workers would have to fend for themselves in the private sector. If our country really wanted to solve the problem, we would prosecute politicians who are corrupt and malfeasant. Barack Obama would be out of office, impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.]
That's how I feel. I think there are a lot of good-meaning people around the country that feel that way. But that kind of political mobilization I think we haven’t seen in quite some time. And what I’ve tried to do is to promote those ideas that would make a difference. But I think we all understand that the politics of that are tough because it’s easy to ignore those problems or to treat them just as a law and order issue, as opposed to a broader social issue.
That was a really long answer, but I felt pretty strongly about it.
Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in Joint Press Conference | The White House