THE ED SHOW
August 11, 2014
Guest: Joe Sestak, Bob Shrum, Lewis Reed
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should take nothing off the table.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: This commander-in-chief has no
JOHN MCCAIN, SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR: There is no policy.
GRAHAM: He has no vision.
REP. PETER KING, (R-NY) HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: It`s really a
shameful adjudication of American leadership.
MCCAIN: And so therefore there`s no strategy, so therefore things are
going very, very badly.
GRAHAM: They are coming here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC HOST: We begin tonight with breaking news.
We`re currently waiting for President Obama to make a statement on Iraq.
When the President comes out, we`ll bring you his remarks live.
But first, here`s what`s going on in Iraq. War planes and drones bomb
multiple ISIS targets in four different air strikes near Erbil on Sunday.
Sunday`s strikes destroyed three ISIS armed vehicles in a mortar position.
Sunday marked the third straight day of U.S. air strikes in Iraq. The air
campaign is credited with helping Kurdish forces to reclaim two
strategically important towns near Erbil. Kurdish officials say the
recapture of these towns has turned the tide in the battle against ISIS.
Earlier today, the Obama administration said the United States would also
be providing arms to the Kurds. Meanwhile, the situation seems to be
improving to the west of Erbil in the Sinjar Mountains. Roughly 40,000
ethnic minorities had been trapped atop Sinjar Mountain by ISIS forces.
On Sunday, roughly 20,000 of the trapped minorities were rescued and taken
to an area in Kurdish control. It`s estimated tens of thousands of people
are still trapped on the Mountain. There`s no doubt in the U.S. that the
campaign here, the air campaign, is affecting the situation on the ground
President Obama made clear there is no end date for the strikes as of now.
But the President did say Iraq needs to defend itself in the long run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRACK OBAMA, CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t want to get
in the business of being the Iraqi air force. I don`t want to get in the
business of -- for that matter even being the Kurdish air force in the
absence of a commitment of the people on the ground to get their act
together and do what`s necessary politically to start protecting themselves
and to push back against ISIL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Republicans have a slightly different point of view. Senator
Lindsey Graham said, "We need to hit ISIS in Syria and Iraq or risk a
terrorist attack here in the United States."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: Do you really want to let America be attacked? You`re having
people on the ground slaughtering Christians. They have four goals: to
make every Muslim bend to their will, to destroy their Christian population
in the Mideast, to drive us out and eventually destroy Israel.
So, here`s my statement to the president, "Mr. President, your own people
are telling you that we face an attack from this region. Your game plan,
the actions you`re taking cannot protect us. There is no substitute for
America being involved in terms of eradicating ISIS. If we don`t hit them
in Syria, you`ll never solve the problem in Iraq."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: That`s typical fear-mongering from Lindsey Graham.
Senator John McCain also weighed in on Sunday. He said the air strikes
have been completely ineffective.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: This is turning into, as we had predicted for a long time, a
regional conflict which does pose a threat to the security of the United
States of America and launching three strikes around a place where a
horrible humanitarian crisis is taking place. Meanwhile, ISIS continues to
make gains everywhere. Yes, it`s clearly very, very ineffective, to say
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Senator McCain went on to layout his plan for the crisis in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I would be rushing equipment to Erbil. I would be launching air
strikes not only in Iraq, but in Syria against ISIS. They have erased the
boundaries between Iraq and Syria. I would be providing as much training
and equipment as I can to, as I said, to the Kurds and I would do a lot of
things that we cannot have to wait for Maliki to leave there. And I would
be giving assistance to the Syrian, the Free Syrian Army, which is on the
ropes right now because we failed to help them. And this all goes back to
the number of steps that president took, including a failure to leave a
residual force in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: There are clearly two very different points of view for solving the
crises in Iraq. The Republican view; bomb away and get involved with the
Civil War in Syria, the Democratic view; limited air strikes with the Iraqi
government eventually taking over the fight.
Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, "Are you happy John McCain never became President?" Text A for
yes, text B for no to 67622 or go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. I`ll bring
you the results later in the show.
Let me bring in Former Navy Admiral and Former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe
Joe, John McCain says these air strikes have been ineffective. I don`t see
how that could be a conclusion he could reasonably draw. What`s your
FMR. REP.JOE SESTAK, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Well, the people on the ground, the
Kurds themselves and those refugees that got safely across the border,
20,000 of them all right credited these strikes. We have an aircraft
carrier out there that is going to continue to do strikes in order to stop
In the meantime, we are providing arms to the Kurds. The C.I.A already
began to do that. And there`s not a question in my mind we`ll give
sufficient forces of armed forces, not our men women to the Iraqi
government, it is theirs to own.
You know, a military can stop a problem, Michael, but we can`t fix a
SESTAK: And if we`re going to fix this problem, we have to make sure the
Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia own it. And that`s why the president`s also
working on a political resolution. We move in Maliki, having someone come
on who`s a Shia will be inclusive of the Sunni tribes that they won`t want
the Sunni ISIS terrorist embedded with them. This is a pretty delicate
situation. I think we`re doing it right for right now.
DYSON: Right, speaking of delicacy. Obviously, if you go in their ram
shackle and you just upset the entire ecosystem there of politics and the
military, what you end up doing is either creating dependencies so that
America has to step back in order for it continue or on the other hand you
end up alienating everybody there. Republicans want to start bombing ISIS
in Syria. Do you think that`s a good idea?
SESTAK: Well, I do think that the United States has a goal here not just
of having good governance in Baghdad. But we don`t want overtime to have
ISIS to have significant swaths of territory in Iraq that it owns. That`s
not good for us because, Michael, you already saw the reports that there
are terrorist groups that are leaving Al- Qaeda and coming into Iraq
because they think they might have a safe haven.
So, eventually with our artillery from the sky, our aircraft, not our men
and women on the ground that we might have some pinpoint surgical strikes
at certain places maybe even into Syria, the ungoverned places where they
have some logistics that might come into the fight. At the end of the day,
we have two major objectives: one, we want to make sure that ISIS doesn`t
impact our own embassy and others there; and second, we want to make sure
the allies we have in the surrounding places, the Kurds and others, don`t
permit a safe haven in Iraq that the terrorist group over the long time can
plan against the United States of America.
DYSON: Well, so do you there being any room for bipartisan cooperation
between the Democrats and Republicans around this attack? Because so far,
you got the president on the side, you`ve got John McCain and Lindsey
Graham on the other side and they`re making score in political points but
they`re not giving a strategic intervention that make sense in light of
America`s military objectives there. So, is there a potential cooperation
between the two?
SESTAK: There isn`t a military man or woman that I ever served with that
doesn`t yearn for the days of the 50, 60, 70`s and even 80`s to where
partisanship stop at the shoreline of America. I`d love to go back to
Look, John McCain, I have great respect for this man, a prisoner of war.
He did something that I couldn`t have done. But at the end of the day to
say the president -- that the president should go in and begin to, you
know, kind of have of an O.K. Corral with our military.
Look, there`s a thoughtful way to do it. This isn`t the military of
Vietnam. This is a different military, high tech, lots of intelligence,
drones and we can do a lot more .
DYSON: OK. I`m going to interrupt you right there because we have the
president of the United States of America. We`re going to go to him at
Martha`s Vineyard right now. Thank you so much Joe for your comments.
SESTAK: Good to be with you, Michael.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: To prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil,
and to protect American civilians there. Kurdish forces on the ground
continue to defend their city, and we`ve stepped up military advice and
assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL.
At the same time, we`ve continued our daily humanitarian efforts to provide
life-saving assistance to the men, women and children stranded on Mount
Sinjar, and deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to help.
Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain, and we`re working
with international partners to develop options to bring them to safety. I
want to thank in particular the United Kingdom, France, and other countries
working with us to provide much needed assistance to the Iraqi people.
And, meanwhile, our aircraft remain positioned to strike any terrorist
forces around the mountain who threaten the safety of these families.
This advances the limited military objectives we`ve outlined in Iraq:
protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi
forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international
partners to provide humanitarian aid. But as I said when I authorized
these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger
crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together
and form an inclusive government, one that represents the legitimate
interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country`s fight against
Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort. Last
month, the Iraqi people named a new president. Today, President Masum
named a new Prime Minister-designate Dr. Haider al-Ibadi. Under the Iraqi
constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government
that can unite Iraq`s different communities.
Earlier today, Vice President Biden and I called Dr. Ibadi to congratulate
him and to urge him to form a new cabinet as quickly as possible, one
that`s inclusive of all Iraqis and one that represents all Iraqis. I
pledged our support to him as well as to President Masum and Speaker
Jabouri as they work together to form this government.
Meanwhile, I urge all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through
the political process in the days ahead. And this new Iraqi leadership has
a difficult task; it has to regain the confidence of its citizens by
governing inclusively and by taking steps to demonstrate its resolve. The
United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs
and grievances of all Iraqi people. We are also ready to work with other
countries in the region to deal with the humanitarian crisis and counter-
terrorism challenge in Iraq. Mobilizing that support will be easier once
this new government is in place.
And these have been difficult days in Iraq, a country that has faced so
many challenges in its recent history. And I`m sure that there will be
difficult days ahead. But as I`ve said, the United States will remain
vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL. We stand ready to
partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces. Without
question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on
today`s progress and come together to support a new and inclusive
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you a message for Maliki?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: All right. We just heard from the president of the United States
We`re going to back to Former Congressman Joe Sestak and let`s also bring
in Former Congressman Patrick Murphy.
Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy, give us an estimate, you know, a sense of
what you heard here. We`ve heard from you, Joe. Let`s bring up Patrick in
first and then we`ll get back to you.
DYSON: So, the president is saying, "Look, we`re going to protect
citizens. That is our objective. We`re going to provide advice and then
we`re going to join international partners. But this is not an American
enterprise. This has to be an Iraqi enterprise that we join." We join an
international contingent to fight terrorism there.
So, given what the president just indicated, does this suggest A, there`s
an imminent in to the hostilities, if you will, that have been engaged
there in Iraq? And two, does it mean that they have genuine international
commitment to join the United States of America to combat these so-called
PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. Thanks, Michael, and its great
to be on with you and with Admiral.
The second question first, that international support is really for the
humanitarian aid in the mountains of Sinjar, that`s where the effort -- the
humanitarian effort is being held. The op-eds of operations against ISIS
is going to be weeks if not months because they have such stronghold right
now in that area.
But I will tell you, Michael, what`s going on there is because there`s a
clear and present danger to American personnel, military advisers and at
that state department, that consulate there in Erbil which is the county
sieves the Kurdish government. But what is the president`s message and
what the real takeaway is, is the fact that we finally have a potential
political solution in Iraq. The Shia which is Maliki`s part of, that
coalition has now turned our back base Nouri Maliki, the prime minister and
is putting forth a new leader that will govern all Iraqi`s. The political
solution is really the long-term solution to this problem within Iraq.
MURPHY: And that is great news.
DYSON: Well, I want to turn to the Admiral. Look, with Maliki in charge,
can the Iraqi government realistically take over the fight? I mean, Obama
wants this to be the predicate for American, you know, American
participation but how realistic is that?
SESTAK: You mean with Maliki in charge? No. Nothing could have been
done, Michael. I remember going over to Iraq with now Secretary of Defense
Hagel when he was a Senator, just the two of us with translators within the
room with Prime Minister Maliki and this was years ago. And I listened to
Senator Hagel push and push and push him so that a 15-minute meeting went
to an hour and half saying, "You`ve got to include the Sunni`s. They`ve
got to become part of the government." The man did nothing but literally
finger his worry beads and nothing has changed.
Look, we know you have to be inclusive to get something done. I mean,
Patrick knows this. He was on the ground there. And so, my take is this
was a good political move because we need the Sunnis where all the ISIS are
embedded out in their towns not to side with them if we aren`t to have a
safe haven for ISIS there. This is an absolute necessary step the
president plowed to help create.
DYSON: Well, Patrick, the Admiral cited your participation there and your
valiant service in Iraq. So, since you were there, how effective will
these air strikes be and will it eventually lead to a necessity for ground
troops? Or do you think that these surgically timed air strikes will be
MURPHY: Michael, they are effective in a sense that it`ll stop just like
there was a threat that with these air strikes against ISIS so they didn`t
go into Baghdad months ago and they didn`t. That is now that they are
standing in place, they are not trying to go into Erbil which again would
be devastating. They`ve already got a hold of the two major dams in Iraq,
not good news.
But basically, by us doing those air strikes, it stopped them in their
tracks so that our personnel in Erbil, our American personnel rather there
are not in artillery range, not in clear and present danger.
MURPHY: Now, I would argue with you, you know, you have people like
Senator Graham who say, "Look, if we don`t get on there, they`re going to
come here and America -- as there`s clear and present danger against
America." That is fear-mongering. I disagree wholeheartedly with Senator
Graham. That is not accurate. Not that they are, you know, they are
dangerous terrorist organization but that doesn`t mean we go back into a
religious civil war and put boots on the ground. That is not the right
thing to do. And I believe Admiral Sestak and I are on agreement on that.
DYSON: Well, before I ask both of you about the involvement in Syria, I`ve
got to ask you this. The Admiral already indicated the fact that he longed
nostalgically for the day in the, you know, 60`s, 70`s and 80`s and perhaps
I mean perhaps even to the early 90`s where we put politics aside. Put
them on the shelf and allow the commander-in-chief to exercise his
responsibilities without the kind of nabobs of negativity, nattering nabobs
of negativity to join, to coin the phrase.
Do you think in this case that the partisan bitterness and bickering will
be put aside long enough to join President Obama in a reasonable plan of
attack within Iraq?
SESTAK: Well, I`ve already told you that, yes, I wish that partisanship
would stop at the shoreline. But no, I don`t think its going to stop.
Look, again, you have John McCain who I said I have great respect for.
SESTAK: But if he is going to actually articulate a plan for it. Is he
aware that we only have an aircraft carrier there? Is he aware that the
countries where our air forces are based in the Middle East have to give us
permission to fly from their bases? And remember, Kuwait is the country
that actually funded the beginning of ISIS.
So, eventually we are going to have to make sure politically we can do
certain things. I`m sure all of this is in the works so that if we have to
go to another option we can. But the bottom line is this. We can do this
and should do without any boots on the ground. This is one where want the
Kurds and the Iraqi`s to own the outcome. And so that`s why we should be
doing with the artillery from the air, our aircraft only.
DYSON: All right, Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy thanks for your time
SESTAK: Good to be with you, Patrick.
MURPHY: Yeah, you too, Admiral. Thanks, Michael.
DYSON: Coming up, when an eye towards 2016, Hillary Clinton distances
herself from the Obama administration`s foreign policy.
Trenders is next.
Plus, protest continues today in St. Louis County following Saturday`s
fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police. The Rapid Response Panel
weighs in as the community searches for answers.
DYSON: Time now for the Trenders. Keep in touch with us on Twitter
@EdShow and on Facebook. And you can find me on Twitter @MichaelEDyson.
The Ed Show social media nation has decided and we are reporting. Here
today`s top Trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re off on a race through the cloud. Let`s throw
them in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number three Trender, not amused.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A dramatic rescue at an amusement part in Maryland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Joker`s Jinx is only supposed to last 75 second,
these riders were stuck for four hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some joke on them, eh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A computer glitch leaves thrill seekers stranded.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Six flags said, "The ride has a sophisticated,
computerized safety system that can cause such ride stoppages."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ride had been hurdling down that tracks it up to 60
miles per hour.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maryland fire and emergency crews quickly responded,
carefully guiding them to the rescue bucket and lowering them to the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the folks up there were very calm, cool and
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like the roller coaster.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number two Trender, jet-super.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shinning super moon was quite the site for
onlookers under cloudless skies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want the moon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big beautiful and bright.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the word and I`ll throw a lasso around it and pull
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stargazers worldwide catch a closer look at the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Supermoon is like a regular moon on steroids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty percent brighter, 14 percent bigger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the supermoon. This is the largest full moon
of the calendar year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It got brighter than the full moon but really, really
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The supermoon is sort of one these wonderful events
that around the world people can enjoy no matter where you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And today`s top Trender, breakaway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is one very notable Democrat breaking ranks with
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Secretary State Hillary Clinton now
criticizing President Obama`s foreign policy doctrines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton breaks from the Obama Administrations
foreign policy plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clinton said the president missed a chance to knit the
ISIS up pricing in the button Syria.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clinton has always been more hawkish than the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t use stupid stuff "is not an organizing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Republicans end up saying Obama should have
listened to Harry Clinton, that`s not bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you run against that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Understood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is more about positioning for 2016 than anything
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Joining me now is Bob Shrum, Warshaw Professor of Politics at USC
and a Democratic strategist.
Bob, so what`s your take on Hillary`s foreign policy strategy?
BOB SHRUM, WARSHAW PROF. OF POLITICS, USC: Well, first of all, I don`t
think it`s entirely a strategy in the sense that she said this about Syria
in her book. I think there`s a very good case to be made that she was
right and that we should have armed these folks sooner. We`re arming some
of them now. And as you reported earlier, the president is stepping up on
what we`re doing in Iraq, I think we`ll do even more as time goes on
assuming the Iraqi government gets its act straightened out.
But the larger point here is that Hillary Clinton can`t and shouldn`t be a
carbon copy of Barack Obama. Look, in 2000, when Al Gore was Vice
President, he openly disagreed with President Clinton when the president
decided to sent Elian Gonzalez who`s mother have drowned trying to escape
from Cuba to Florida back to Cuba. In 1988, George H.W. Bush sent a very
powerful signal that he wasn`t going to do what Ronald Reagan had done.
And raise taxes several times when he said in his acceptance speech, "Read
my lips no, no new taxes."
So, I think Hillary Clinton and Al Gore`s raise is going to be her own man
or I guess I should say her own woman. She`s not going to repudiate Obama,
but she is going to offer her own vision.
DYSON: Yeah, but there`s a critical difference here, right? The point is
that had Hillary Clinton not voted for the war in Iraq? Some of the
problems that Obama has inherited from George Bush might not have existed.
So, she has a direct relationship to the very policies that she`s now, you
know, if you will, throwing in on.
So, the question is, to what degree if she`s willing to take
responsibility? Some would argue on her behalf to say, "Hey I created some
of the mess in the first place that the president has had to respond to."
It seems to me a bit more balance in that regard.
SHRUM: Well, she has said that the vote on Iraq that she cast was a
mistake. If she had set it sooner in 2008, I think she might very well
have been the nominee that here. But the larger point for her is that she
has to go out there and she has to talk about the future. She has to set
out a vision on where she would lead the country.
And I think you`re going to see a lot of Democrats are not going to expect
her to simply do whatever Barack Obama does or to agree with him on
everything because there`s too much at stake, whether it`s the Supreme
Court not intervening overseas, or we don`t have a reasonable prospect of
success. I mean, think of John McCain who should -- as one of your
tweeters said, "Change his name to John McWar because he seems to want to
go to war all the time." So, there are very big stakes including the
Supreme Court that we`re going to face in 2016.
I think Democrats are going to allow Hillary Clinton to disagree with the
president and she`s been honest about it. It`s in the book. She disagreed
in the book about Syria.
DYSON: Sure. No question about that.
Clinton`s hawkish record cost her in 2008 but Americans are unhappy with
the way the president has handled foreign policy either. Do you think
Democrats are ready for a more forceful leader? And if so, what will that
SHRUM: Well, I think Barack Obama`s gotten a bad wrap because I think he
has achieved an enormous amount of both at home and overseas. And in some
odd way, what critics said about him in 2008 has turned out to be the
opposite of the truth. They said he was all speech, no substance. He`s
been a lot of substance and somehow the speech hasn`t moved people, hasn`t
gotten people to the point of understanding what he`s done.
So, I think that this is a president who`s done a lot but not gotten a lot
of credit. And like Harry Truman, he will probably get that credit in
history. But Hillary Clinton has to look to the future. She has to look
to what she`s going to say and I don`t think it`s about Democrats being
ready for a more hawkish leader, because the president probably shouldn`t
have said, "Don`t do stupid stuff." as the outline of his foreign policy
because that`s a justifiable reaction to Bush, but it`s a premise not a
I think the real Obama doctrine is, "Don`t intervene militarily unless you
have to, unless you don`t have to put troops on the ground, and unless you
have a reasonable prospect to success." Now, I think the Democratic Party
in general and Americans for the most part agree with that doctrine.
DYSON: Right. Bob Shrum. Thank you so very much, my friend.
SHRUM: OK. Thank you, Michael.
DYSON: Coming up in Pretenders, the conservative noise machine`s latest
attack on the public school system.
Plus, reaping turmoil after the shooting death of a teenager at the hands
of police. I will share my personal take on Mike Brown and what this one
death really means for the future of this country.
But next, I`m taking your questions Ask MED Live just ahead. Stay tuned.
DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We love hearing from our viewers.
Tonight in Ask MED Live, our question is from Terry. "How can we enlighten
the low to middle class income voters who still vote Republican against
their own interest?"
That`s a good question. You know, I remember reading Martin Luther King
Jr. was in his jail cell in Birmingham and he was being treated rather
nicely by his Y jailer and he said to him, "Look, you got more in common
with me and other Negroes, as black people were then called, then with the
interest above who were exploiting you and not giving you a fair decent
And I would say to Americans out here, some of whom don`t like Obama
because he`s a black guy, some of whom who don`t like him because he`s an
Ivy League-educated guy and whatever your reason is. The bottom-line is
the Republicans have never been in your corner, not defining your interest,
not defending your principles and not standing for what makes America good
for you. Just having the value of reaching out to them won`t give you
Our next question is from Ray. "Isn`t the constant foreign policy
criticism by the right really the reason we appear weak and indecisive?"
Yes. As you heard Bob Shrum say and Joe Sestak before him, the President
has done some great stuff, he needs the tout it more, America needs to stop
undermining and subverting his authority and recognize the good that he has
done because he is not wielded his weapon. He has done it brilliantly in a
gifted fashion. He says, "American foreign policy is about talking to
other people not bombing them."
Stick around, the Rapid Response Panel is next.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC
Slight gains for stock. The Dow is up 16 points, the S&P adds five, the
Nasdaq rises 30.
Energy Company, Kinder Morgan, will combine its smaller separately traded
properties. The new entity will become the fourth biggest energy company
in the U.S. by market value. The deal is worth about $70 billion.
And gas prices are down six cents a gallon over the past two weeks, that`s
according to the Lundberg Survey. The average is 352 a gallon nationwide.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
DYSON: Many residents of a St. Louis suburb are outraged and demanding
answers after an unarmed black teenager, yes, another unarmed black
teenager was fatally shot by a police over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE: There was a struggle over the
officer`s weapon. There was at least one shot fired within the car.
PIAGET CRENSHAW, WITNESS: He`s running this way. He carries his body
towards this way, "Hands in the air." He`s being compliant. He gives shot
LANISHA MARTIN, MICHAEL BROWN`S COUNSIN: There should be no (inaudible)
coming from this. Mike wouldn`t want it and don`t allow it to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not God. You don`t decide when you going to
take somebody from her .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Eighteen year old Michael Brown was killed by a police Saturday
afternoon. Investigators have given very few details about what happened
when an officer encountered Brown and a companion on the street.
Sunday night, protest erupted into a ride on the streets of Ferguson.
Violence continued late into the night. Dozens of police officers from St.
Louis and surrounding areas rushed in as angry mobs lit fires and looted
local businesses. The protesters tried to push through barricades but a
line of officers in ride gear held their ground.
St. Louis County Police say overnight, 32 people were arrested in
connection with looting of 12 stores including one which was nearly burned
to the ground. Some 300 officers from 19 jurisdictions who responded to
the men and two officers suffered minor injuries. But of course, the young
man lost his life. Civic leaders are calling for calm and promised justice
as the investigation into Brown`s death continues.
Police gave a news conference earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF TOM JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE CHIEF: You know, we need to make sure
that this investigation is done right. We get one chance to do it. There
are scores and scores of people we needed to talk to at the apartment
complex where this happened. There are several witnesses that we needed to
talk to and frankly we`re still waiting to talk to some folks that we
believe have information that will lend itself to this investigation.
There has been no rush to judgment on this case either. I would like to
tell everybody that the police department does nothing but gather tracks in
these circumstances and present those to a neutral authority in this case,
the prosecutor and attorney or the federal government or both. And in that
point, a decision is made and it goes in front of a jury and a judge. So,
we make no recommendation on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Brown`s killing immediately drove the comparisons by some to the
death of former teen Trayvon Martin who was fatally shot in 2012 by a local
neighborhood watch member and whose case sparked a fiery debate about race
relations and by coincidence perhaps. Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for
Trayvon Martin is now representing the family of Michael Brown.
Joining me now is our Rapid Response Panel Dr. James Peterson, an MSNBC
Contributor and Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of
English at Lehigh University and Lewis Reed, President of the Board of
Aldermen in St. Louis, Missouri.
Professor Peterson, let me begin with you. What can be done to change the
relationship between black people and the police which seems to be at an
all-time low of the festering conflicts and the hostilities stated by?
JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, number one, the police can stop
unjustifiably killing our young people both boys and girls of color. They
can stop harassing the people within our communities.
They can reform the criminal justice system that`s rampant with vice and
institutional racism and they can work as partners in communities to
protect and serve. I think those are the -- at least the starting points
from which we can even have a conversation to repair the relationship. But
when you look at this historically doc, unfortunately, there may be some
irreparable damage here because the community in St. Louis and really the
broader community of America is skeptical about what the police are saying
about this particular incident because we know the stories of Oscar Grant
and we know the stories of Sean Bell, Amandou Diallo and all of these other
In this case is distinct from the Zimmerman case in the sense that the
responsibility and the accountability of law enforcement as a social
institution and representing the government for which we pay taxes, we pay
their salaries. Their level of responsibility and accountability in these
kinds of situations is a bit higher than the individual crazy vigilante in
the street. And so the expectation should be higher and the skepticism is
going to run through until we get some hard evidence on how this thing
really shakes out.
DYSON: Alderman Lewis, you`re right there on the ground in light of with
Dr. Peterson has indicated that that backdrop is critical there because we
know that there are huge racial disparities in a heavily segregated city
like St. Louis and its suburbs and its exurbs in it`s collar counties so we
know that there is vast racial segregation with vast racial disparity in
terms of resources that people have available to them. But there are very
few details about Saturday`s incident, should people be this upset about
this particular case? Some people say, "Well, we`re not going to rush to
judgment." Do you think that it`s right for them to be upset before the
investigation, of course, is completed?
LEWIS REED, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN: You know, Michael, I think
it`s unrealistic to have to tell people not to be upset about this case
that`s pending now. When you look at just some of the early facts that we
have in the case, we have -- I mean, one or two things happen. Either the
boy had his hands up or, you know, he was shot or he was running away and
he was shot. And, you know, the community at large, we need to harness
some of the synergy and begin to address some of the much broader issues
that cause this thing -- that cause it to, you know, escalate to this
DYSON: Like what?
REED: For example, we need to begin the work like Dr. Peterson talked
about a minute ago on ways to bring the police department and the African-
American community together. I think we need to do some things to
establish better relationship between the two. I think it`s, you know,
when you look at the fact that what a lot of people say is that, "We pay
your salary. You are part of the government and we expect there are
certain bases of service. We expect to be treated as well as anyone else
is being treated."
And right now, it`s just that, you know, the community at large doesn`t
seem to have that confidence. But I don`t think that is just indicative of
this city, I think that we see that throughout the cities all across
DYSON: That`s right. Sure.
REED: But, you know -- But we could begin to address those things by
beginning to do it very deliberately. I don`t think it`s just going to
happen on it`s own.
REED: I think we have to begin to .
DYSON: Be intentional.
REED: . implement some programs .
DYSON: All right.
REED: . very deliberately.
DYSON: Dr. Peterson, Attorney General Eric Holder is has instructed the
attorney`s in the Civil Rights divisions to monitor the developments
related to the incident, what does that tell you about the gravity of this
PETERSON: Well, it tells you that Attorney General Holder understands the
sort of systemic problems that we`re facing with the confrontations between
our criminal justice system in the communities and citizens that they`re in
charge with protecting and serving. And that we have to have some federal
oversight here because the reality is the skepticism that the people feel
about the police department, the Fergusson Police Department story here,
the skepticism that`s likely shared at the federal level, so you have the
FBI involved and also just .
DYSON: Doc, I have to cut you off. Benjamin Crump is now addressing a
press conference there in Saint Louis.
So, let`s toss to him right now to see what he`s saying and then we`ll come
back to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, TRAYVON MARTIN`S ATTORNEY: Expect that to drop your son
off a technical college and celebrate his future, he had graduated -- he
was doing the right things and they were going to drop him off this day and
instead of celebrating his future, they are having to plan his funeral. I
talked to Attorney Gray and I about secondary autopsies. And why? And why
are we here again, President Brooks? Seeing the senseless death of a young
boy of color at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect and
His mother and father have said so eloquently and with dignity that it`s
not about us just getting angry, it`s about us getting justice for Michael
You know, last summer, around this time, America`s heart was broken when
the case of Trayvon Martin was concluded and this is just a start where
memory that we have a long way to go to get equal justice for our children.
I mean, our children, don`t they deserve the dignity and respect of the law
enforcement when they see them walking down the street doing nothing wrong
to treat them like young people and the law enforcement adults to be the
adults? Not to argue and chastise and bully our children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re right.
CRUMP: To help things escalate that would see in broad daylight, President
Brooks, President -- and this is what`s so evident, in broad daylight, he
had his T-shirt, his shorts, his sandals just walking with his friend and
minding his business and in broad daylight, where it is clear he has no
weapon, that he would .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: We`ve been listening to Benjamin Crump, the newly hired attorney
for the family of Michael Brown.
I want to turn to our guest again. How many more times will we see a woman
whose beautiful face is stained by tears, a father standing stoically in
the aftermath of the death of their son, and an attorney calling for equal
justice and it`s application?
Benjamin Crump said, "Instead of preparing for his future as they should`ve
been, they will preparing -- they are now preparing for his funeral. And
then when the police are caught in to protect and serve, how can they
protect and serve us as African-American and other people in this country?
And then finally, that the police should not be there to chastise and
therefore brutalize and bully young children but they are to be adults."
Dr. Peterson and then to Alderman Lewis, what do you make of that?
PETERSON: Well number one, Doc, unfortunately there is no indication
whatsoever that this pattern which between the police and these crazy sort
of vigilantes empowered by stand in your ground laws, about every 28 hours
or so, another one of these so-called justifiable homicides is occurring.
There`s no indication that that`s going to come to an end any time in the
And one of the things that`s at the core, and this is why I love Atty.
Crump by the way because Atty. Crump is exceptional at channeling the
empathy that`s required from the folk in these kinds of situation. I know
people talk about his accent, talk about vernacular, but he`s speaking in a
way that the people of the community can feel it and he does a slowly and
deliberately in such a way that people can understand that their pain could
be expressed in some ways from the platform from which he speaks.
But there doesn`t seem to be an end in sight because of the core of this,
Doc, you have an institution, criminal justice system and the police who
essentially do not see black and brown people as full human beings. They
do not afford them the rights of full human beings and therefore all of the
interactions with them are colored unfortunately by the inability or the
incapacity for them to see to see young people of color as human beings.
DYSON: Yeah, that`s a great point. And to speak to Benjamin Crump, a
highly intelligent and insightful man in your race is to .
PETERSON: . in the street for four hours, Doc. Would you leave a human
being in the street for four hours if you`re an officer of the law?
DYSON: Yeah, that`s a great point.
Alderman Lewis, can you speak to that? Dr. Peterson`s argument that it`s
the inability to see black or brown kids or even poor kids as human beings
and as a result of that, they`re not extended on what seem to be the
fundamental basis that we use to treat other kids. That is treat them with
respect and dignity, don`t assault them, don`t shoot them, if they`re doing
something wrong, tap them on the back of their heads and say, "Let me take
you to your parents" as oppose to gun them down in the streets. What do
you think about that?
REED: You know, Michael, here`s a, you know, and then when you think about
this issue, right, and the way African-American and especially our teens
that are being treated not just in St. Louis but all across America. A
media plays a major role in the perception that people have of these kids
when they approach him. Because if every time you see an African-American
child on TV, if he`s, you know, involved in a crime or whatever, then you
naturally begin to have that perception entail.
So, I think we have -- everybody has a role to play in turning this thing
around. The only thing is when we think about the resources that need to
be available within the communities everything from jobs to summer programs
and all of these things. All these stuff plays a role in the ultimate
development of that child also. But I think .
DYSON: Well, let me interrupt you there, sir.
REED: . media accountable.
DYSON: Yes, sure, no, we have to hold everybody accountable but the
bottom-line is they have to be safe long enough to develop, they have to be
alive long enough to be .
REED: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.
DYSON: . engage in those resources.
DYSON: So, but the fundamental problem here is that we go to talk about
the perception of humanity or lack of humanity that prevails. But I tell
you what gentlemen, stick around, James PETERSON and Lewis Reed, we`re
going to have more on this after the break.
DYSON: We`re going to go now live to the family of Michael Brown who are
speaking at the press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . or any situation the one that he couldn`t solve to
bringing people back together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a good boy. He didn`t deserve none of these.
None of these. We need justice for our son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need justice for our son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want justice for our son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Michael Brown, the young man who was murdered, killed in St. Louis
by a policeman whose name has not yet been released and whose identity is
not yet public.
Dr. PETERSON and Alderman Lewis, when we see something like this, the
family standing there mournful and in grief trying to articulate the agony
that they feel in the face of their sons death. And the state itself
through the police is the cause of their grief. How do we reconcile the
promises of American democracy as Reverend Marcia Dyson recently reminded
us, are they treating black people like three fifths human? That is police
people looking at these young black and brown men and women. Or on the
other hand, can the state be relied upon to intervene in a helpful way to
prevent something like this occurring in the future?
Dr. PETERSON and then Mr. Lewis.
PETERSON: Well, we -- Again, we don`t see any reconciliation. I mean, we
can look at systems. We can look historically. We can look at the
structures that inform the particular moment that we`re in. But for these
families and again my heart goes out to these families and to these
communities, to our communities because there aren`t any answers to this
kind of senseless death. Think of the extraordinary irony with the mom
speaking eloquently about the fact that she did everything right. Her son
never got into a fight.
Do you know what it takes to get a young man to graduate from high school?
He graduates from high school. He`s days away from going to college. And
to be confronted with this kind of violence and make no mistake about it,
this is an indicative of structural institutional racism. It is less about
this individual cop and more about the institutions that refuse to
recognize the full humanity of young people of color. And when those
things come together, unfortunately they`re coming together quite a bit
these days. We are faced with this kind of loss and this kind abject sense
of negativity and cynicism about the American project.
There is no reconciliation here. There`s no reconciliation for this
family, Doc. At the end of the day, they have to try to pick up the pieces
and move on. But there`s nothing, nothing that will bring back their son.
DYSON: Alderman Lewis?
REED: No, Dr. PETERSON said it, you know, as best he could because, you
know, as a father for I think about, you know, I`ve been thinking since
this incident has happened, you know, how would you really feel inside if
that happened to your child? And there is no words that can explain or
capture, you know, the true hurt and despair and grief that you would feel.
And there really isn`t any reconciliation when you think about it. They,
you know, we have to make sure that all of the -- that we have a .
DYSON: Let`s break in now. Excuse me, let`s listen to the mother right
now as she speaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MOTHER OF MIKE BROWN: I`m fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more question
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: You know, why she shouldn`t she be speechless? Why shouldn`t in
the face of this agonizing grief of situation she`d be speechless? Because
it`s an utterable the kind of force of hurt and pain that she experiences.
Dr. PETERSON, how do we then talk about this, because the police are not
going away? They will be there. How do we talk about getting toward a
time, toward a moment when justice prevails, where equal distribution of
justice is there and the police respect us as human beings? What do we
have to do?
PETERSON: We have to get to the basic core of this which is training
officers of the law to respect the basic human rights. We have to
understand the systemic and structural nature of this. You know, we`re so
quick to talk about genocides and all these sort of atrocities around the
world. We have an ongoing atrocity right here in the United States. It`s
been going on for way too long. Nothing in sight tells us those of us who
are paying attention here that these things are abetting, a scene to be
coming up more and more often.
And so, we have to begin with the basics, Doc. Human rights training and
making sure that the officers of the law are accountable to the rules with
which we`ve charged them, making sure that officers of the law if you
represent the state and represent the institutions that means you represent
the community that you are supposed to protect and serve.
Too often, officers of the law are not understanding the high barb
accountability and responsibility they are charged with in terms of
protecting and serving our communities. We`re just seeing two many
outrageous instances of unchecked violence, too many families torn and
ripped apart and too many young lives lost.
DYSON: All right. All right, James PETERSON and Lewis Reed, thank you so
much for your eloquence here tonight.
Coming up on Politics Nation, the Reverend Al Sharpton will speak
exclusively to the mother of Michael Brown, the young man shot by police
outside of St. Louis over the weekend.
That`s the Ed Show, I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz.
Politics nation with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good evening,
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