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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  August 20, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT

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so global supply chains are important. all manufacturers around the world. the companies we're fortunate enough to represent at the policy council really do have a commitment to domestic content and utilize a lot of great american product. >> ashford, virginia, republican line. >> caller: a few months ago, i heard on c-span, i think it was c-span, the secretary of transportation was talking about how when he was younger, it was part of the american dream, expected that you save up your money when you are a teen and buy a car. nowadays, young people in my generation, and i'm ge20 years old, seem to be less and less of car people. i wonder if you or the companies you represent are concerned about alternative means of transportation like ride sharing or public transportation.
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thank you. >> i think the companies are focused on being mobile irt companies and partnering with ride sharing services and investing in those types of businesses because they do recognize there are some changing patterns. having said that, the car is really an important part of american culture and how our economy functions and how most people get to work. i think the car will remain an important part of the american life for decades to come. clearly there are some changes with younger drivers, younger americans having a different perspective on cars than perhaps previous generations did. >> roger green on twitter wants us to get to the trade deal. does the auto industry support the transpacific partnership? >> we export more cars from the united states than anything else. we're not just philosophers of
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free trade but able practitioners. we've endorsed every free trade agreement the united states currently has. and we're hopeful that the final version of the transpacific partnership is an agreement we can support. we have voiced concern in the past that there's -- that the agreement needs to adequately address foreign currency manipulation, particularly when you're negotiating an agreement with economies that have a history of manipulatoring their currency. there are a number of nontariff barriers that exist in economies in the tpp like japan that keep foreign manufacturers out. japan has the most closed automotive market in the world. the united states about 45% of the vehicles we sell on an annual basis are imported and that's close to the average. in japan it's only about 6%. so we need to open markets. real free trade agreement will
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open markets like japan that have historically been closed. that's a critical priority and our negotiators are working hard to do just that. but clearly we hope we can support a tpp that meets the high aspirations that were set when the tpp was launched. but that remains to be seen and we'll be watching the final days, weeks and months. >> did the white house reach out to you or to the individual companies in the u.s. auto sector? >> i would commend the administration, the ustr has worked closely to try and address the technical barriers to trade that exist with tpp countries. clearly we have been working with members of the house and senate and the administration to make them aware of how important we think it is to address foreign currency manipulation in the agreement. it is easy to undermine a free trade agreement by devaluing the
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koor currency. >> brooklyn, maryland, is up next on the line for democrats. you're on with matt blunt. >> caller: hi, matt. i was wondering how many employees do these big three companies have now compared to what they used to have and historically in the past? >> there are about 200,000 today. that's a smaller number than the past. the companies have restructured and become more efficient and more effective. about 200,000 employees in the united states today. as i said, that's two out of three american auto workers that's work for fca, ford or general motors. and the commitment the companies have to the united states is clear when you look at the tremendous capital investment. over the past five years our three member companies have invested over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the united states to refurb ir
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plants, rebuild plants, to ensure they're able to produce a high quality product that can competitive in a very competitive auto market place. >> let's go to joplin, missouri. tom is waiting on our line for independents. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. thank you. happy to get through. this is the first time i've been able to get through to c-span in two years. >> go ahead. >> caller: first i'd like to say that i would like to -- it was a lie from the start saying all men are created equal and everybody born in the united states is a united states citizen, which is a lie. the native american was never included in that, and we weren't citizens until 1924. the automotive industry --
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>> bring it to the automotive industry. >> caller: you let other people in that segment talk about military and all that stuff. >> go ahead. >> caller: the automotive, in the 1980s, ford, general motors and chrysler all moved to monterey, mexico and built plants don there. in 1972, i bought a new pickup and, $3,600 for it. in 1984 bought another new one, which i've had others in between, but that was only $30,000. and they were made in mexico. and they went to mexico and built plants for two-thirds cheaper than in the united states and paid the workers down there $5 a day but yet the price went up astronomically.
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>> so what's your question? >> caller: just before this one the pickup i had just before this one was made in mexico. the pickup that i have now it says assembled in america but the parts under the hood and all underneath is made all over the world. >> i'll let matt join in. >> no question that mexico has emerged as an important manufacturing platform particularly for smaller vehicles. that's not just for fca and ford and general motors but all manufacturers. having said that, when any of our three member companies assemble a vehicle in mexico, guarantee you there will be a lot of american parts that are in that vehicle, a lot of domestic content that's produced here in the united states, and the companies make, i think, informed decisions about how to invest and where makes the most sense to make a particular product. as i mentioned, ford's moved the transit back to my native
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missouri from turkey. moved medium duty trucks from mexico to ohio. you see companies making significant investment in the united states, and i point out, there are billions of dollars. general motors put the arlington plant, $1.4 billion investment to keep that plant competitive in the global economy. over and over again you see that type of capital expenditure by three member companies in the united states to keep those plants running, employing americans where they can create product for americans and consumers around the world. >> florida is up next. brian is waiting on our line for republicans. good morning. >> caller: good morning. what your last caller was just talking about, donald trump has brought up that ford themselves are building a $2 plus billion plant down in mexico. now i drive a ford mustang. previously i had a dodge ram
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which was assembled in mexico. i just bought a car battery for my car two days ago. made in mexico. it seems like these investments really are going out of the country more than they are staying here. i'd like to address that. >> i think there's no question that there's investment in mexico by all global automakers, and it's become a real power house in terms of automotive production. that helps the mexican economy grow and produces opportunity for mexicans which probably helps keep some of the immigration -- illegal immigration at least that so many people are concerned about. having said that, look at the facts and where the investment is occurring. ford was mentioned. 80% of ford's north american investment over the past six years has been in the united states. so the companies that we're privileged to represent, fca, ford, general motors, are
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committed to american manufacturing. it's hard to imagine american manufacturing without them and hard to imagine what this recovery would have been like over the past few years without the auto sector driving that recovery in terms of job creation and capital investment that keeps the united states competitive in the global economy. >> if you want to check out the new report from the american automotive council. >> love for you to do that. we've got a copy here. it's online. and really digs into the numbers. it's an academic-style report that demonstrates how important the industry is to the united states and how important they are to the industry. river grove illinois, line for democrats. john, good morning. >> caller: the good morning. thank you for having me on. >> go ahead, john. >> caller: hello. the importance of the union in a commercial light is one of those
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points about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion and which has an effect generated men who have any akwantance with the subject. this applies to intercourse with foreign countries, as with each other. this is from the federalist papers, 1787, written by alexander hamilton. thank you. >> thank you. any thoughts? >> i endorse the sentiments of the federalist papers. >> sam, good morning. sam, you with us? >> caller: hello? >> go ahead, sam. >> caller: i am originally from japan and i know the japanese automakers and japanese market very, very well. and i also know -- i've been in
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the u.s. long enough to compare the qualities of the u.s. and the japanese market. and quite unfortunately, the cars made in japan are still, in terms of quality, better than better than the made in the u.s. if you see consumers report, 10 out of -- 7 out of the top 10 are foreign cars. only buick came one of the ten cars. my question to you is, how dare you say japanese market are closed. and also how dare you say that the japanese market -- current
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japanese currency is manipulated. >> you want to respond? >> i'd be happy to. clearly global automakers are focused on quality. most studies would demonstrate american quality has continued to improve and is on par with their global competitors. when you look at the japanese market, it is clear that it is closed and closed intentionally. not just closed to american auto manufacturers. if it was just closed to american auto manufacturers, that would be one but it's closed to all manufacturers. you essentially have some luxury european manufacturers that have a small sliver of the japanese market. most of the market is closed to koreans, to americans and to others. and we are competitive in markets all around the world. markets all around the world we
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compete head-to-head with japanese, korean and european auto manufacturers. japan is an outlier. it's the most closed auto motive market in the developed world and they keep it closed through nontariff barriers and through historically devaluing their currency. today a lot of that currency devaluation has occurred through a much larger kwa er quantitati easing than anything we've done in the united states. they've done direct market intervention. it's a policy matter you ought to address and try to eliminate when they undermine the market by buying u.s. dollars. japan has the second largest foreign currency reserves in the world after china. they've clearly accumulated them in an effort to devalue their currency. it's moved from about 80 when i started in 2011 to 125 today. that is a significant
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devaluation which gives them an unearned subsidy when they import into the united states. it's a further barrier to entry into the japanese market and as we compete head-to-head with the japanese and others around the world like the middle east and north africa and south america. all around the world we're competing and have competitive product, this currency manipulation has a tremendous impact on our ability to assemble a vehicle in the united states and sell it overseas. >> matt plunt is the president of the american auto motive council. formerly served as governor of missouri. talk about the renewed violence in st. louis we're seeing. reports of nine arrested as protests again turn violent in st. louis. >> i'm not very familiar with the de tails of this latest
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event, but broadly speaking, it is critical that the public safety officials and law enforcement work closely together to send a message that violating the law and violating people's personal property rights will not be tolerated. i do think in the initial days of the response to the ter belie rible tragedy that occurred, there's not enough focus on trying to ensure a signal is going to be sent that violations of the law wouldn't be tolerated. but i'm hopeful that everybody can continue to learn from one another and learn lessons from these other events and quickly deal with this latest crisis. >> do you think governor nixon did enough to manage the community and police relations a year after the michael brown shootings and everything that came from that? >> as a general rule, i've not commented much on my successor's
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performance. i'm sure governor nixon is committed to trying to address things as quickly as possible. obviously, wherever there are strained relations between the state and local authorities and the state leadership and local communities, that can undermine the ability of the state to respond. i'm hopeful that local and state authorities can work together to quickly resolve this latest challenge. >> matt blunt, former governor of missouri and current president of the american automotive policy council. you can follow them online at usaautocouncil. appreciated your time on the "washington journal." we'll discuss the aclu's efforts to curb police violence. that's with jason williams in a
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few minutes on "washington journal." follow the c-span cities tour as we travel outside the washington beltway to communities across america. >> the idea is to take the programming for american history television and book tv out on the road to produce pieces a little more visual, that provide a window into the cities that viewers wouldn't normally go to that have rich histories and rich literary scene. >> a lot of people have heard the histories of new york, l.a. and chicago. but what about the small ones like albany, new york. what's the history of them? >> we've been to over 75 cities. we will have hit 95 cities in april of 2016. >> most of our programming on c-span is event coverage. these are shorter. they take you some place. they take you to a home, an historic site.
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>> we partner with our cable affiliates to explore the history of various cities. >> the key entry into the city is the cable operator who then contacts the city. in essence, it's the cable industry bringing us there. >> they are really looking for great characters. you really want your viewers to be able to identify with these people that we're talking about. >> it's an experience type program where we're taking people on the road to places where they can touch things, see things and learn about, it's not just the local history but a lot of local hiftrey plays into the national story. >> if somebody is watching this, it should be enticing enough that they can get the idea of the story but also feel as if this is just in our back yard. let's go see it. >> we want viewers to get a sense that, oh, yeah, i know that place, justi from watching one of our pieces. >> it bleeds into what we do on
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the road. >> you have to be able to communicate the message about this network to do this job. it's done the one thing we've wanted it to do which is build relationships with the city and gather some great programming for american history tv and book tv. >> watch the cities tour on the c-span networks to see where we're going next. see our schedule at c-span.org/citiestour. "washington journal" continues. >> jason williamson joins us now. an attorney with the american civil liberties union criminal reform law project. he joins us this morning. we're seeing violent protests in and around the city of st. louis. mr. williamson, in the years since the michael brown shooting, where has the aclu
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tried to focus its efforts when it comes to police reform? >> well, as you may know, the aclu is a national organization that also has at least one local affiliate in every state, in addition to puerto rico. and so as a national office, there are several programs and projects within the organization that are focusing on criminal justice issues and it really runs the gamut from police encounters to what happens once you get arrested to what happens once you get to court and go to trial and are sentenced. and then our local affiliates do a lot of really important work on the local level dealing with the particular issues that may be affecting the communities where they are based. so we are both a litigation shop and organization that recognizes that a lot of these problems can't be solved simply by going
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to court. so we think it's a multifaceted, multipronged approach that needs to be taken. >> in trying to make change, where would you say your group or local affiliates have been the most successful in the last year? >> i think, and perhaps we can take some partial credit, but i think generally speaking the fact all these terrible tragedies have occurred over the last several years while it is certainly heartbreaking, it does provide an opportunity for us to engage in a conversation that really is a long time coming. so i think a lot of the forward movement is a result of the incidents that people are seeing on their tv screens and on their phones and so forth. and we're trying to take advantage of this moment because there are folks within the community who are doing some really important work to shine a light on police brutality in
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black and brown communities around the country. we are trying to use a combination of litigation, nonlitigation advocacy, public education and whatever forums we can get involved with, including having discussions like this one to raise awareness about what's happening and what the community is asking for and what we think we need to do to get there. >> are the courts listen, and are members of congress list listening liste listening to bring about some of those changes you're looking for? >> i think it's a mixed bag. unfortunately, the law with respect to the fourth amendment and some of the issues related to police encounters is not very good. and in my view, the fourth amendment protections have been eroded steadily over the last couple of decades. it can be difficult to get real sub stantial wins in court.
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having said that, i'm sure you're aware, viewers may be aware of the floyd versus city of new york case from a couple of years ago. the court found that the nypd was, in fact, engaged in discriminatory policing and has -- that case has led to a significant settlement and efforts to change the culture and policies and practices of the nypd. and given that the nypd is the largest police department in the country, i think that sent a message to departments across the country that while you may have to take different approaches to law enforcement, the fourth amendment still applies, as does the 14th amendment, and you have to be respectful of people's rights, their lives and livelihoods, even while enforcing the law. so i'm hopeful that courts are
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beginning to listen, but unfortunately, it's an uphill battle where that's concerned. with respect to -- i'm sorry. go ahead. >> no, go ahead. finish your thought. >> with respect to congress and the local and state legislators, i think, yes, there are people that are paying attention in a way that they were not a couple of years ago. that's by and large because of what we've seen in the videos and things that have gotten so much air time over the last couple of years. and, quite frankly, the ifreffo of local communities to make it clear to their representatives that this is not acceptable and that real police reform needs to happen. most of these issues, i think, are best dealt with on the local level and so while there is certainly a role for the federal government to play, we're hoping
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the influence lawmakers at the local and state level to do the right thing and to pass legislation that will require police departments to be more accountable to communities, to be more transparent in the work they're doing and to encourage them to make sure that police officers are equipped and have the training they need to effectively police the communities they are supposed to be serving. >> "the wall street journal" went to the local level yesterday. went to richmond, virginia, to talk about policing and community relations unions with the police chief, the mayor down there. we'll point our viewers to our website if you want to check out some of those segments. if you want to call in and talk about the aclu's criminal law reform project. our phone lines are open. 202-748-8001, republicans. 20
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202-748-8000, democrats. 202-748-8002 for independents. you can start dialing in. i want to ask you about one concern that came up, especially after ferguson. the militarization of police departments around this country. where are we in terms of of th s efforts that have changed the type of equipment police can have and deploy in these type of protest situations? >> this is a problem that we've been looking at for some time. the aclu released a report on militarization not long before the michael brown incident occurred, in fact. what we found is that militarization is and has been on the rise for some time, and that is the result of a number of things. primarily it's the fact that there are incentives for local police departments to purchase
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these weapons and the weapons are often provided through various programs that the federal government runs where they are given sort of excess weaponry and materials to local departments. and i think what happened in ferguson really again shined a light on something that communities of color have been aware of for a long time which is that there are often inappropriate uses of force by law enforcement in our communities in a disproportionate way that really serves to do nothing more than escalate the situation as we saw it in ferguson. thankfully i think what happened in ferguson has awakened lawmakers to this, and i think the president himself is on record as saying that we don't want to turn our police departments into paramilitary organizations.
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we shouldn't be treating our communities like war zones. one of the things that was striking about the data that we discovered around militarization is that the bulk of the instances in which tanks and other armored vehicles are used by law enforcement, it happens in the context of executing search warrants often for drug sales. so these are not situations where you have a hostage or someone who has barricaded themselves behind a wall and is threatening to shoot and kill people. while these kinds of weapons may be appropriate in situations like that, that is not by and large how they have been used. and, instead, they've been used to terrorize neighborhoods and, as i said, really make already tenuous situations that much
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more fragile and causing things to escalate in a way that's really dangerous for everyone. so we are hopeful that the federal government is now taking a closer look at those programs and hopefully intending to scale them back. >> paul is waiting, danville, virginia, line for independents. good morning. >> caller: i am a democrat but consider myself an independent because the democrat party has moved way too far to the left. but getting to the conversation here, everybody is talking about the left wing people are talking about police reform. what about personal behavior and reform in the personal behavior? it starts at home. also it starts in school. and the reason they got all these here so-called militarized vehicles in these neighborhoods is because crime is so high in those neighborhoods.
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you have police officers being shot. and if you don't want the police harassing you, why not just follow the law and quit harassing people and doing all the other little crimes. as far as michael brown goes, i'm sorry. i saw the video. the man attacked the police officer. he did not come with his hands up. that is a lie. now freddie gray and some of the others, i'll agree with you. the police officer was in the wrong. used excessive force. we have to use common sense and look at personal behavior. as long as you have people acting like animals and savages against society, they are going to have to be treated. >> jason williamson, let you respond. >> well, a couple of things. first the language the caller is using betrays a certain perspective that i think is dangerous. referring to people as animals and savages is not helpful.
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and, obviously, not accurate. the other thing is that the vast majority of people living in these communities across the country, and i'm talking about communities of color and poor communities, are law-abiding citizens who have done nothing wrong. and so to suggest that people as a general matter that the people in the community are to blame for police brutality, i think, is problematic. now to the extent that there are people who are committing crimes in communities of color, and that is certainly happening, of course there's a level of personal responsibility that we have to consider. but i don't think that we do that to the preclusion of also talking about the responsibility of the government and of law enforcement in doing their jobs. and, frankly, i don't care how high the crime rate may be in a particular neighborhood.
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the constitution says what it says. and the fourth amendment does not say that it only applies in certain situations or only applies when the police do not find themselves in a high crime situation. in fact, i think there's an argument to be made that the fourth amendment protections become most important in those very scenarios because you want to make sure that while the police are going about the business of enforcing the law, they are also respecting the rights and the liberty of the people who live there and the people who they are supposedly serving and protecting. so i think the caller has simplified a very complicated issue. >> there's a topuc that came up in that show yesterday when we went to richmond, virginia. we talked with the police chief alfred durham down there about young people and their disrespect for authority and the role of parents. want to play you a clip from
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that segment. >> it seems to me that the youth -- certain youth in the community, they have this certain right rites of passage that they have to be disrespectful to authority and adults. and that's create something problems and challenges. one of the things i'm working on with the superintendent of public schools here, we're locking up a lot of young kids. kids, youth, our future. for minor offenses. fights, using profanity. we're the ones introducing them to the juvenile justice system and wondering why they have a problem with police. we're looking to create a program and just working with the schools and a police department school, a private non-profit working to build those relationships and lead them on the right path. most important is the parents, the mothers have to be part of that. we're always missing the parents. a caller stated earlier. the issues start at home but we're inheritting that. we're going into these
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disenfranchised neighborhoods where people are living these circumstances and situations every day. we're seen as the bad guys. we're that entity when they make the call, they expect us to be there. when we're trying to build relationships, they don't want no part of it. we're up to the task. >> your comments on some of the chief's comments there? >> i agree in part. i certainly think that there is a certain contentiousness and dysfunction in terms of the relationship between communities of color, particularly young people of color, and the police. i think there are many reasons for that. certainly parents are a part of the equation. i also think that police officers have to give respect in order to get respect. and while some do their best to do that, i think that there are
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many who approach black and brown young people without the kind of respect that you might expect and that they should expect. and so -- i'd also think we have to put these relationships in context. we're talking about a very long history in this country of opposition between law enforcement and communities of color and kids today while they may not have been alive in the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s are aware and have are a palpable awareness of that history and those dynamics. i also agree that the consequences of pulling these kids into the juvenile justice system are significant. and that the government needs to think long and hard about how we are addressing these issues and understanding that the criminal justice system and juvenile
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justice system is not always the best alternative. and i'd say probably is most often not the best alternative and can lead to future problems down the road for those kids. >> i should note jason williamson was a staff attorney with the juvenile justice project of louisiana and defense attorney and founding member of the juvenile regional services. he now works at the aclu as a staff attorney on the criminal reform project. taking your questions on the last 25 minutes of the "washington journal." carrie is up next in arlington, virginia. go ahead. >> caller: i wanted to thank you for yesterday's show and today's show. but there is another show that should be had. jason, i want to thank you for your work. i've come to the conversation of krminal justice reform from another perspective and i've brought it to congress. i've been looking at how -- i did find the papers that show how wall street and main street
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have different sets of criminal punishments, so to speak. and i think it's very important. from talking to law enforcement, they would rather go after a bernard madoff is the example everybody points to than going after a lot of these kids. and i do talk to these kids, many of them that are says to be problems. they are really nice kids if they are spoken to in a way that shows them they can be in charge of their own future. i'd love to give out my website address, may i, and i really do want to meet with you. i'm in the arlington area. i want to make a difference. i watch the legislators when i give them papers, documents and they are stunned they've never even seen it before. my website is center for integrity.com. i got into criminal justice reform accidentally learning
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about wall street and how they really have a free pass that congress wrote. >> jason williamson? >> i certainly think that there are issues around how law enforcement prioritizes its work. where it puts its resources. i agree that there are all kinds of contexts in which the law may be compromised, and that law enforcement probably pays too much attention to what's going on in communities of color rather than also focusing on what's happening on wall street and inside the big banks and so forth. we understand that police departments are faced with unique circumstances in the jurisdictions where they exist, and they have to make decisions about how to allocate their resources and i'm not a law enforcement expert. so this is not to say that
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someone else should be dictating what those priorities are, but i think it makes sense for police departments, both at the local and federal level to look long and hard at how they are spending their money, where their law enforcement attention is being paid and what the results are. one of the things we talk a lot about is the failed war on drugs that's been going on for the last 30 or 40 years. and how unsuccessful it's been in curbing either drug use or violations of drug laws. and that's an area where, you know, police departments around the country are devoting tons of money and manpower to results that are questionable at best. i think that's an example of where the police probably need
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to take a hard look at how they are spending their time to figure out how they can make people feel safe, do their jobs, but also not waste taxpayer time and money. let's head to spring, texas, where harry is waiting on our loan for republicans. you're on with jason williamson. >> caller: yeah, i feel like you are never asked the question, when is the black community going to take responsibility for yourselves? you're not ever going to from here on or from here forever going to take advice from white people. you're going to have to solve your problem yourself. and we are the bad guys, and truthfully, you guys are the good guys. so you're not going to listen to anything the white people tell you. you're going to have to solve your own problem. >> jason williamson, let you
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respond. >> caller: i think a couple of things. i think the assumption that there are not internal conversations happening within black and brown communities around the country with respect to what's happening in our own communities is just unfounded. the fact this gentleman or others are unaware of those conversations doesn't mean they're not occurring. so, trust me, there are plenty of black folks who are aware of the internal issues that we need to work through as a community. but we are not operating in a vacuum. the problems and the dysfunction that we're dealing with of at least, in part, due to the legacy of slavery and jim crow in this country. and so, yes, there are things that we need to kind of look in
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the mirror and deal with, and there are also ways in which the police and the government more generally is exacerbating those problems and not making things any easier. and again, with respect to the policing issue, i go back to the constitution, which is to say, regardless of the internal issues that may be occurring within the black community, the police, the government generally has a responsibility to abide by the law, to abide by the fourth amendment and 14th amendment and so none of that has any bearing on the responsibility of the police to treat people with respect and dignity and to make sure that they are doing their jobs professionally and in a way that comports with the constitution. >> brookbrooklyn, new york. jan is waiting on the line for
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democrats. go ahead, john. >> caller: jason, i want you to think about something. why white police don't shoot unarmed kids. to solve this problem with all this shooting, why are there not more black policemen? here in new york we've got 40,000 police. i bet you 1,000 is not black. i'm a vietnam veteran. i went to the suburb. we had thousands of white people join up to go to war, to fight a war. why when they come home they tell us white people don't want to be police. you need to focus on what will work. why you don't focus on getting more black police? why a discrimination with these applications? if you got 25 black police, you
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have 3 white, there's not going to be no shooting the black kids. >> jason williamson, i'll let you respond. >> so a few things. it's an important point. i appreciate the caller raising it. first of all, this is certainly part of what police departments should be thinking about, and there was a lot of conversation about this in the aftermath of ferguson and looking at the composition of their police department. and so, yes, there should be efforts to diversify the police department, as there should be across the board in our society. that just makes sense. >> i just want to point out a story from the "new york post" on the racial makeup of the new york police department. that story from earlier this summer noting the force estimates about 16% of police officers in the nypd are
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currently african-american. 10% of the officers going through the july 2014 training class are african-american. so just some numbers to the issue that the viewer brought up, but go ahead. >> and, you know, but i think we have to be careful because i don't think that the race or ethnicity of police officers is really the central problem here. this is really a problem about police culture, generally, that affects officers of all stripes. and so until we do something about the way that the police departments work as institutions simply putting black faces in blue uniforms is not going to solve the problem. i think what we need is police officers who have a certain base line level of respect for and
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understanding of the communities in which they are working. and to the extent that that is more likely to be the case, if you've got people of color serving as police officers, it makes sense, and we should do that. but we should not be fooled and think that, if we have -- if half of our police department is black that that means problems around racial profiling are going to disappear. and that assumptions about poor people of color are going to disappear. one of the things we should also be talking about, though, in terms of the composition of police departments is residency and where these officers live, which, again, could also end up translating into more police officers of color. but i think that where accountability is concerned, if a police officer knows that he's also going to see these same people at the grocery store, at the bank, at the post office,
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whatever the case may be, he or she may be more able to think twice in interacting with people in their capacity as police officers. and so i think there's at least an argument in some jurisdictions that it makes sense for police officers to live in and around the neighborhoods that they are policing. and there are a lot of places, including new york city, where that's not necessarily the case. >> arlington, tennessee, is next. gary is waiting on the line for republicans. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i wanted to speak to jason about a problem that really bothers me. i have a lot of black friends, and, in fact, i live off social security. i've had them to come to me and say god told me to give you this gift. i have a lot of black friends, and it breaks my heart to watch the blacks year after year after year vote for democrats who do
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not want charter schools to better the blacks. check out chicago and all the difficult cases where you've had -- jason said something that's been going on for 30 to 40 years. that's why it's been going on because you've had these liberals who will support the teachers and the unions so they can get the votes. they know as long as the blacks don't have an education, they'll have to depend on the government and they're going to vote for the democrats. >> charter schools not really the topic, but jason williamson, do you want to chat about it a little bit or move on? >> i think it raises the larger issue which we've touched on already that there are many factors involved in kind of the underlying condition that we find ourselves in. education is obviously a huge piece of that. and education reform is absolutely necessary in black and brown communities and
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probably more generally across the country. but i think it's part of a laundry list of issues that need to be dealt with if we're going to be serious about making abou sustained housing issues, that includes health care, that includes criminal justice reform. so, you know, i certainly agree education is something we should be thinking about, you know, as it relates to black folks voting for democrats, you know, obviously it's much more complicated than just trying to reduce this to a conversation about charter schools. >> jason williamson is with the aclu's criminal reform law project. our guest for the next 10 or 15 minutes or so here at the end of today's program. let's go to mike waiting in sarasota, florida. line for independents. good morning. >> caller: good morning. what's going on, guys? i really would like to discuss what is going on with the
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police. like, i know they're trying to protect us, but the violence can do a little bit too much. i see all these protesters and ralliers and yet they get, like, harassed and stuff. some not being violent themselves but yet they get harmed. i feel bad for those people, but if they support something like really awful, then i would understand, but i trust the police. but i don't really like to see how all this brutality happens. >> your response to that. >> well, trust is an issue in communities of color between the folks who live there and the police. and i think, you know, it's -- it is telling the caller prefaced the comment by saying
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he trust the police. i think if there were a level of trust, then we probably would not be having some of these conversations. i think while police brutality is certainly not new and is not news to people of color, i think that the video footage and things made public the last couple of years have shocked a lot of people and surprised a lot of people for whom that is not their daily reality. you know, there are many communities around the country where people feel comforted when they see a police officer walking down the street. and for many people of color, that is a foreign concept. so, you know, that, i think, just speaks to the dysfunction in the relationship. again, i'm hopeful because i think the fact that we're having these conversations now means
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that there's an opportunity we should be taking advantage of to make real reform and push police departments to dot right thing. >> leah is waiting in sandy, utah, line for democrats. good morning. >> caller: hi there. there has been a program using microwave and transformer drones against arab-americans to try to get them to go into dangerous situations overseas. or to do intelligence work but at the same tirnlgs they've also used them on arab-americans. 12-year exposure to microwave drones or police tortures. >> jason williamson, something you know anything about? >> i will not wade into that one. >> we'll go to christine, stevensville, maryland, line for republicans. good morning. >> caller: good morning. hi, jason. actually, i grew up in baltimore. i'm 50 now, will be.
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and i noticed the change you had mentioned like the war on drugs. and it's sad because it's like these huge drug cartels were using children to sell them. and it seemed like the police were -- that's kind of when they started going after the youth. i also wanted to make another comment. when i grow up, you know, we had cops walking the beat and i knew them. i grew up like in baltimore city and baltimore counties, and i saw a difference where in white neighborhoods you respect the police, you get involved. but like my black friends, their parents, nope, you don't talk. you know, you don't want to talk to them. you don't want to be a snitch. and it seemed like a cultural thing and i'm just wondering if you have an opinion on that. especially the war on drugs because they were going after the kids, and now the gangs and
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black-on-black crimes, and it just -- it breaks my heart. and i want to make a change, you know. i have my granddaughter and i just want our world a much better place for all of our kids, you know. >> jason, two topics there. >> so, on the first, the question about whether this is a cultural issue, i think it is. again, have you to put this all into context. at the end of the day, parents want to protect their children. and as black parents who are aware of the history of police brutality in this country, particularly against black people, you know, we feel a need to make sure our children are prepared and equipped for the world they are going to walk into. and if that means, you know, sitting them down and telling them this is how you need to go
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about your interactions with the police, that's what we'll do. you know, that's -- that is a sad reality, but i think it's something that will continue as long as parents and communities feel like there is a danger involved when a police officer interacts with a young, black person. as we've seen from the incidents over the last couple of years, that is a very real fear and a very real danger. with respect to the war on drugs, it is now, i think, starting to be recognized as a failure. and i think that that acknowledgment is a long time coming. i don't think that there is any value at this stage in treating drug use and addiction as a criminal matter but, rather, we
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should treat it as the public health matter that it is. not only that, much of the -- or many of the drug arrests and prosecution that is done in this country is around very low-level drug possession crimes. the aclu released a report in 2013 about marijuana arrests and the disparities in marijuana arrests around the country. and on average, black people are roughly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people. and one of the reasons we decided to focus on marijuana is because we also know that usage rates among blacks and whites are basically the same. which it to say people are being treated differently for engaging in the same behavior. and so, you know, to the extent that drug law enforcement is
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happening, it's happening disproportionately and it's happening in a way that is not having the kind of effects that maybe law enforcement might have envisioned when they started to go down this road. it's -- it is a shocking waste of time, money and resources. and often leads to discriminatory policing which is the issue we're dealing with. >> the aclu's website, aclu.org. got time for one or two more calls with jason williamson of the aclu's criminal law reform law project. tonya has been waiting in martinsburg, west virginia. line for independents. >> caller: hello. presidents can be impeached. governors can be convicted and sent to prison terms, but the police unions, they're doing a great disservice to this country.
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these police unions, they don't want nobody else to be part of the labor, but they have these labor laws that are not even available to the general public. you don't hear the military coming back home saying, oh, what a tough job we have. without our servicemen going overseas -- they can't wait to get back here. i am so tired of hearing these police and everybody else saying what a tough job they have and their families to want see them. i saw a black man get killed in new york where i was born 30 years ago. he was so drunk, he didn't hear the cop when the cop said, don't move. he took a step off the curb and his house was right across the street. he was trying to get home. and these police need to be held criminally responsible. and enough with these states paying all this money to these
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families that police themselves should help match some of that money instead of taking the general public's money. >> a couple points there, jason williamson. do you want to start with the police unions? >> sure. you know, i think it's hard to deny that police unions are really powerful and influential across the country. and that they have been an impediment in some ways to reform. if the primary interest or objective of the union is to protect the interest of individual police officers and of their colleagues, that does not lend itself to the kind of accountability that i think is necessary and that communities of color are looking for. and i think that feeds into

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