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Archive for August 31st, 2010

Former CTA Commissioner calls upon U.S. Attorney Holder to “Overhaul” U.S. Justice Department

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 

 In wake of Blagojevich’s trial and pending re-trial, entrepreneur-turned advocate urges Attorney General to “fix” broken justice system

 

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) – Howard Medley, a prominent Chicago businessman turned advocate for the innocent, has called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to overhaul the U.S. Justice Department, which he says has been virtually unchanged since its inception in 1870.

Medley made this plea in wake of the outcome of the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, which he characterized as “an example of what’s wrong with the justice system.”

Calling the judicial process a “travesty” where the scales of justice are more weighted toward sending innocents to jail, Medley appealed to the Attorney General to put a checks-in-balance system in place to prevent the type of “prosecutorial malfeasance” that was evidenced in the government’s case against Blagojevich and in thousands of others that do not gain notoriety.

As the government readies to retry the case, Medley asserted that he concurs with the Washington Post and other outlets calling for the prosecutors to drop the case. However, Medley instead is challenging the Department of Justice to funnel the millions of dollars being spent to re-prosecute the former Illinois government toward “fixing” the system.

Medley also assailed former presidents (Bill) Clinton and (Jimmy) Carter for making high-profile junkets to North Korea to free Americans when there are thousands of innocents in America’s prisons who need advocates and intervention.

Medley, president of Medley’s Movers, a retired Chicago Elections Commissioner, former Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board member who served under five Mayors, said the Blagojevich case is “another example of the failure of the justice system.” While he would not speculate on Blagojevich’s innocence or guilt, he says that the case underscores the fact that “we continue to rely on the same old dilapidated system that has remained almost virtually unchanged since its inception in 1870.”

Medley assesses that “the system did not work in 1870 and does not work now because since its inception, innocent people have been sentenced and even falsely executed under this system.”

Medley pointed out that the only improvement to the system has been the discovery and use of DNA to prove innocence or guilt. He added that DNA testing to prove innocence is most often a tool of advocates, rather than government prosecutors. He cited the tenacious college students from the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University whose reliance on DNA, and their own investigative skills, have freed 11 innocent men…five who were on Death Row.

A victim himself of what he classifies as judicial overzealousness, Medley blames the system’s failings on prosecutors who are driven by:

* a thirst to close high-profile cases – even when evidence is suspect or non-existent

* a vindictive craving to exact revenge or settle a score

* a quest for fame – even at the expense of justice

Medley said the situation is compounded because the fate of those accused is decided by a pool of jurors who are untrained to sift through such a mountain of “evidence.” He said this sets the stage for miscarriages of justice.

Referring specifically to the Blagojevich case – but concluding that these dynamics are pervasive in other cases — Medley assessed that:

* this case was decided by marginally compensated, poorly-trained jurors, who appeared to be overwhelmed by the complicated testimony and presentations

* jurors are more often swayed by the theatrics of attorneys

* Hard-working jurors must take time away from their jobs, lives and families while being marginally compensated. This magnifies their stress – often preventing them from rendering a true, unbiased verdict.

Medley says he is disturbed when he sees “current and former presidents, as well as other high-profile leaders venture to foreign lands seeking justice for purported innocents while innocent people languish in America’s prisons.” He said it appears they are “more interested in international events rather than America’s national crises.” He admonished them to address the same abuse that are flagrantly occurring right here in America. He dismissed these junkets as being PR driven bent on “seeking fame – not concern for justice.”

Medley said President Carter needs to go right up the highway to the Georgia Correctional facility to see the human rights abuses and injustice rather than embarking on a global junket to North Korea. Repeating his plea for sweeping reform, Medley emphasized that in a country as rich in resources as America that prides itself on its devotion to human rights, it is critical that the justice system be overhauled. He said the U.S. Department of Justice must “protect the rights of the innocent and stop the flow of innocent people from being hauled off to prison like cattle to slaughter.”

Giannoulias and General Wesley Clark: Clean energy critical to National Security and Economy

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Four-Star General Criticizes Congressman Kirk for Opposing Clean Energy Legislation that Would Decrease U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil


Chicago, IL – Four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark joined U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias today (August 30) in Chicago at one of the city’s only electric car recharging stations to endorse Giannoulias’ candidacy and highlight his forward-thinking leadership on clean energy reform that would decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil, improve its national security and create the jobs of tomorrow.

“America is addicted to foreign oil.  It’s that simple,” said Giannoulias. “We’ve got to stop sending our money overseas to the same regimes that fund the terrorists who are intent on doing harm to America.  The easiest way to become energy independent is to transition from dirty fuels to clean fuels that we produce right here in Illinois.  Congressman Kirk has been in Washington, D.C. for so long that he has been on both sides of this issue — first voting for the major energy bill for national security reasons, and then promising to vote against it in the Senate as he begged for Sarah Palin‘s endorsement.  He simply can not be trusted to put America’s economic and national security interests above his own political ambition.”

General Wesley Clark has been a vocal leader in need for clean energy development.  He supports reforms because they will not only be good for the environment and the economy, but because they are imperative to protecting America’s national security.  This was the same reason Congressman Mark Kirk cited when he voted for energy legislation in the House last year – legislation he now opposes.

“Investing in a clean energy economy will not only be good for our environment, but it will also strengthen our national security and jumpstart our economy,” said General Clark. “Congressman Kirk agreed with me when he voted for the energy bill last year, but now he stands starkly against it. That’s not leadership, and it’s not the type of forward-thinking advocate that Illinois voters should send to the U.S. Senate.”

Congressman Mark Kirk’s Flip-Flop on Cap-and-Trade

Then:    After voting for the cap-and-trade bill, Kirk explained his vote was for national security reasons – “As a Navy veteran, I think it is time to set America’s policy towards defunding Middle Eastern dictatorships by cutting our foreign oil bill, giving our troops less to worry about. In the coming Senate debate, I hope we can repeat this environmental success and aggressively back a national program to defund Iran and Venezuela by reducing America’s need for foreign oil.” [Kirk release, 6/29/09]

Now:     But during a Republican primary when he was trying to woo Sarah Palin’s endorsement, he dismissed the national security rationale and had a new reason – “I voted for it because it was in the narrow interests of my congressional district. But as your representative, representing the entire state of Illinois, I will vote ‘No’ on that bill coming up.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/09; Washington Post, Plum Line, 9/15/09]

In a memo to Sarah Palin soliciting her endorsement, Kirk recommends that she use the following talking point: “he will oppose Cap & Trade”. [The Fix, WashingtonPost.com, 11/4/09]

General Wesley Clark

During 34 years of service in the United States Army Wesley K. Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. In his final military command, General Clark commanded Operation Allied Force, NATO’s first major combat action, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and he was responsible for the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. General Clark’s awards and honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The State Department Distinguished Service Award, the US Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), The US Army Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), The Silver Star, the Bronze Star (two awards), the Purple Heart.

Congressman Mark Kirk Speaks in Peoria, Illinois

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Asia’s Importance to the US Economy and Our Future Security

Speech made on August 30, 2010

 
Peoria, IL – Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my views on some of the most important overseas challenges for American policymakers today and in the future.

 
Earlier this month, I discussed urgent military and diplomatic problems facing the United States in Europe and the Middle East.  Today, I want to talk about our relationships with Asia, and particularly with China and India.

 

I hope to be brief today because we have a town hall and I want to get to your questions.

 
Bipartisan congressional cooperation and international respect are essential to America’s security and growth. This is best achieved through dialogue.  That’s why town halls are so useful to American leaders.  They teach us to receive rather than transmit.

 


I have one observation from my speech a few weeks ago that I want to emphasize.  How we address foreign policy questions will affect the safety and incomes of Americans today and children tomorrow.  In short, trade and good relations play in Peoria…and help bring jobs to the heartland.  These issues are too consequential to be subjected to partisan exploitation.  Our salaries and the safety of our families depends on getting these policies right.

 

Asia now is more important than Europe to our economic and security future.  While much of our State and Defense Department assets are focused on Europe and the Middle East, Asia has already become America’s most important region for a generation.  Asia has forty percent of the world’s population; and accounts for half of all international trade, sixty percent of the world’s gross domestic product and sixty percent of all U.S. exports.


Millions of Americans would be unemployed but for customers in Asia.

 
Trade and investment from Asia created millions of new jobs here in the U.S.  Caterpillar – like other major Illinois employers – Boeing, Motorola, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere – is a company now built on exports, much of which are sold in Asia.  Our continued growth will depend in great measure on increased sales of products and services to these emerging markets, especially China and India.


But as important as these markets are to millions of Americans whose income depends on the Asia trade, the future we seek of peace and free markets is not assured.


The nation that presents both the greatest opportunities and the most daunting challenges is China.  While the Washington-Moscow hotline dominated the direction of the 20th century, the 21st century is one that will be directed from Washington and Beijing.  Running a long-ignored but close second is our relationship with New Delhi.


 

We must make these relationships work.  We have interests in China and cannot refrain from stating them clearly, especially when China proves, as it often does, reluctant to hear us.

 


Following the policies of Deng Xiaoping, Being’s senior leaders know China cannot pursue its own economic and security policies alone.  Many of us worry there are a growing number of junior leaders who are more nationalistic and troubling.


 

China should envision itself as a leading stakeholder in the rules of free markets and stability, especially in Korea and the Middle East.

 

 

The evidence that China is willing to demonstrate these policies commensurate with the size of its economy is discouraging.  China’s economic growth over the last three decades has been achieved through its increased access to world markets.  The biggest overseas market for Chinese products is the United States; followed by Japan, and Europe.  It would seem obvious then that China’s economic future is inextricably connected to the economic growth of its most important overseas markets.


 

Unfortunately, China is pursuing a growing list of mercantilist policies rather than liberalized trade that is the engine of economic growth.

 
U.S. and European companies that have been long time investors and even boosters of China now fear the government’s growing restrictions on foreign trade and investments; its vast regulatory bureaucracies with China-only standards; and its continued unwillingness to enforce intellectual property rights.


 

China will not reach its potential by abandoning international market economies for a kind of crude economic nationalism that repeatedly failed elsewhere.  And it is in our interest to work with Chinese leaders who know this, building partnerships with multilateral institutions to encourage cooperation.  There are a great many Chinese leaders concentrated in the eastern cities who know that the key to China’s growth is continued connection with the rules and norms of international markets, not separation.  They are our allies against a growing tide of economic and military nationalism.
 

 

We can also set a compelling example by approving the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.  This agreement will encourage a virtuous cycle of liberalization and international standards that China cannot leave herself separate from.


 

In 2005, Congressman Rick Larsen and I formed the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group in the House of Representatives to encourage dialogue between Congress and China.  We have no test for membership and joke that we have all three warring tribes of Congress on China issues in the Working Group: “Panda Huggers”, “Dragon Slayers” and the increasing number of very hard line “Panda Slayers”.  While the White House has a nuanced view of China and the Senate sees some good and bad, the House saw only bad, much of it poorly informed.


 

We learned that the top issue for Americans selling American goods in China was not the currency issue but the routine theft of intellectual property.  We learned that while China’s position on Iran is disappointing at best, its navy now is a new partner in suppressing piracy in the Gulf of Aden. It’s a start for a power that needs to back global stability.
 

As we like to say, sometimes we translate Chinese into Congress – but most times translate Congress into Chinese.

 
I also joined with Rick Larsen and others to sponsor the U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda – whose legislative priorities I believe would strengthen U.S. influence in China and America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.


 

Our first priority is to increase the U.S. diplomatic presence in China that is currently far too small for a country of such size and importance.  We have only five consulates in China, and no diplomatic presence in many Chinese cities with populations over a million.  If we are serious in our intentions to protect intellectual property rights, expand U.S. exports and make America more competitive, than we must have a presence in the country that reflects the importance of those issues.  I’ve sponsored legislation that would open a new consulate in Fuzhou, and ten smaller diplomatic posts in Chinese cities with populations over a million.


 

With Rick Larsen and others, I’ve supported legislation to open offices in China to promote U.S. exports, and provide American small businesses with the information and assistance they need to sell their goods and services in Chinese markets.  


 

We have more than a trade deficit with China.  We have a knowledge deficit.  There are far more Chinese students learning English than American students learning Chinese.  I co-sponsored legislation authored by Representative Susan Davis to increase Chinese language and cultural studies in the U.S.


 

China’s unquenchable need for energy poses one of the greatest threats to international stability and one of the greatest potential opportunities for U.S-China cooperation.  China is the world’s greatest polluter.


 

In its pursuit of ever more sources of oil, China has aggravated the fears of other Asian countries that dispute its claims to waters with sizeable reserves of oil, and has prioritized its relationships with countries such as Iran, Sudan and Venezuela that threaten our security or have caused some of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our time, and which potentially puts it on a collision course with the U.S. and our allies.


 

On the other hand, China is investing far more resources into developing alternative energies than we are.  The challenge for us, then, is to develop the kind of cooperation with China to reduce the world’s consumption of fossil fuels that will encourage Beijing to be part of the solution rather than one of the biggest causes of the problem.  That’s why I joined Representative Steve Israel on legislation to authorize and fund joint research and development programs with China to advance carbon capture and sequestration technology; improved energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.


 

China has to understand that a great world power must accept great world responsibilities if it wants to avoid becoming an international pariah.  Iran poses a profound threat to the security of the U.S. and its allies, and, whether it recognizes it or not, to China, which clearly has as much of an interest in a stable Middle East as we do.


 

Even more urgent is the question North Korea, with its nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, poses to China.  No country has greater influence on North Korea than China.  Indeed, China might be the only country that has any influence at all on that unpredictable and belligerent regime.  If Beijing does not help us to compel North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal and cease its frequent provocations against South Korea, Japan and others, it, too, will suffer the consequences of Pyongyang’s dangerous behavior.


 

If the status quo continues, Japan may one day have no choice but to develop its own nuclear arsenal, and that should be the least of China’s concerns.  Given North Korea’s record for exporting arms and weapons of mass destruction technology to some of the most dangerous actors on the world stage, the problem of nuclear proliferation, a problem that threatens the peace, security and economic progress of the world, will become as precarious and perilous as any the world has ever confronted.


 

Lastly, although China reacts poorly to what it considers interference in its internal affairs, the U.S. must never refrain from forthrightly making the case for the liberty and inherent dignity of people wherever those ideals are threatened.  I have defended the human rights of Tibetans, the political autonomy of Hong Kong, and the rights of every Chinese citizen to be governed by their consent and will continue to do so.  I believe that is the honor and responsibility of Americans, who live in a country that declared its independence by proclaiming the universality of those rights.


 

It is also in the best interests of China.  For no country, however fast its economy grows, however powerful its military, will ever achieve a position of lasting influence and prestige in the world, if its people are denied the freedom to think and act for themselves.  With one party rule, where government sets itself above the governed, comes corruption, unresponsive bureaucracies, and ultimately international hostility and isolation. To be truly great, China must become truly free.


 

If I’m privileged to represent Illinois in the Senate, I’ll continue to promote a bipartisan, problem solving approach to the major foreign policy challenges of our time, especially the challenges – and opportunities – China poses for U.S. policymakers.


 

Let me close by touching on the other big relationship we must develop in Asia – the U.S.-India partnership. When India became independent, our relationship got off on the wrong foot.  For the Cold War, India was an anomaly.  Its military was equipped by the Soviet Union and its economic policy was designed by the British Labor party.  Under that economy, India stagnated.


 

When the Soviet Union collapsed and India adopted free markets, we had a rare chance at a do-over.  In hindsight, it was inevitable because despite our differences, India was the planet’s largest democracy with English common to many of its leaders.


 

We now have growing commercial, military and cultural links to India.  I am constantly struck by how quickly Indian and American leaders establish rapport because we are part of multi-ethnic, vibrant democracies.  We also share a support for stability.  Many Americans do not know that India currently struggles against over a dozen terrorist organizations, highlighted by the recent attack on Mumbai.


 

If U.S. diplomatic relationships could be compared to stocks, then the U.S.-India relationship is the growth stock of the 21st century.  Over the next 20 years, it will be difficult to keep track of the ways the U.S. and India will partner on projects.  This not only will help reduce unemployment in America but will also form a new collaboration of democracies to guide the 21st century.


 

There are many other important issues I haven’t mentioned today.  But in order to get to the most important part of this event — your questions – I’ll stop now.  I hope we can explore these and other challenges and opportunities in Asia during the town hall.


 

Let me close by repeating my central point.  Our relationships in Asia, particularly with China and India, will determine not just our future, but the progress of humanity and whether the 21st Century will be a less violent and more prosperous one for all peoples of the world than was the 20th Century.  Such a responsibility, such an historic achievement will require all Americans, of both parties, to think and work together, as the world’s leaders; as Americans, and defenders of the values and practices of free people and free markets.

Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards’ applications deadline is approaching

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Applications due in mid-September for nation’s premiere neighborhood development recognition awards

 

 Chicago, IL  – No city in the nation is better known than Chicago for the vitality of its neighborhoods.  Seventeen years ago, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC/Chicago, created The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) to celebrate Chicago ‘s neighborhoods, the best community development projects, and the community and for-profit organizations behind them.

 

Each year, as a result of an extensive juried process involving architects, funders and, community leaders, awardees are selected for five separate community development and three architectural excellence awards.  Eligible nominees include for- and non-profit developers and organizations, as well as architectural firms. They include both self-nominated entities as well as those nominated by others.

Applications for the five Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards are due Monday, September 13, and applications for the three Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design are due Thursday, September 16. Nominations can be easily completed online at www.lisc-cnda.org. 

Categories for the five CNDA awards are:

·        The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award recognizes the development and successful implementation of an initiative that promotes and/or is integral to a comprehensive community development strategy. Winner receives a $20,000 grant.

·        The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project honors a community development corporation for a specific real estate project that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the community. Winner receives a $15,000 grant.

·        The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award recognizes a non-profit or for-profit community development organization for a specific real estate project that has preserved affordable rental housing at risk because of expired subsidy contracts or physical deterioration. Winner receives $15,000.

·        The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award recognizes a for-profit developer for a real estate project that meets community needs.

·        A Special Recognition Award is given out to a group that has shown promise as a new or emerging organization, or has achieved a pivotal or innovative community development project or has been a critical provider of services to the community development field.  Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.  There is no application process for this award, however nominations for the Awards Committee to consider may be sent to cnda@lisc.org.

Nominees for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation first, second and third place awards (which carry with them cash awards of $15,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively) are juried separately and are awarded to those projects that demonstrate superior design, respond to the community served, enhance the overall development of the community and exhibit a creative design solution that could become a model project in other neighborhoods. Projects must be located in low- to moderate-income or population neighborhoods in Cook County , and must have been completed within the last three years.  

Award-winners will be notified in December, and recognized at CNDA Awards ceremony on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. To apply and for more information on project eligibility and rules, please visit www.lisc-cnda.org. 

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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