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Archive for August, 2014

President Obama Discusses a Number of Topics and Answers Questions From Media Prior to Pre-Labor Day Weekend

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

President Barack Obama: “…As Commander-in-Chief, I Will Always do What is Necessary to Protect the American People and Defend Against Evolving Threats to our Homeland…”

Good afternoon, everybody.  I want to say a few words on a number of topics and take a few questions before the long Labor Day weekend.

First, beginning with the number one thing most Americans care about — the economy.  This morning, we found out that our economy actually grew at a stronger clip in the 2nd quarter than we originally thought.  Companies are investing.  Consumers are spending.  Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have now created nearly 10 million new jobs.  So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we’re headed.

But as everybody knows, there’s a lot more that we should be doing to make sure that all Americans benefit from the progress that we’ve made.  And I’m going to be pushing Congress hard on this when they return next week.

Second, in Iraq, our dedicated pilots and crews continue to carry out the targeted strikes that I authorized to protect Americans there and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland.  Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment.  In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back.

And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.

Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region.  And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL.  And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress that they’ve made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.

Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners.  I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region — countries that don’t always agree on many things — increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them.  And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat.  As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I’m confident that we can — and we will — working closely with our allies and our partners.

For our part, I’ve directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options.  I’ll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy.  And I’ve been consulting with members of Congress and I’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.

Finally, I just spoke with Chancellor Merkel of Germany on the situation in Ukraine.  We agree — if there was ever any doubt — that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine.  The violence is encouraged by Russia.  The separatists are trained by Russia.  They are armed by Russia.  They are funded by Russia.  Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.  This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists.

As a result of the actions Russia has already taken, and the major sanctions we’ve imposed with our European and international partners, Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War.  Capital is fleeing.  Investors are increasingly staying out.  Its economy is in decline.  And this ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more costs and consequences for Russia.

Next week, I’ll be in Europe to coordinate with our closest allies and partners.  In Estonia, I will reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the defense of our NATO allies.

At the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom, we’ll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the Alliance remains prepared for any challenge.  Our meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be another opportunity for our alliance to continue our partnership with Ukraine.  And I look forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people when I welcome President Poroshenko to the White House next month.

So with that, I’m going to take a few questions.  And I’m going to start with somebody who I guess is now a big cheese — he’s moved on.  But I understand this is going to be his last chance to ask me a question in the press room.  So I want to congratulate Chuck Todd and give him first dibs.

Q    I’m glad you said “in the press room.”  Let me start with Syria.  The decision that you have to make between — first of all, is it a “if” or “when” situation about going after ISIL in Syria?  Can you defeat ISIL or ISIS without going after them in Syria?  And then how do you prioritize?  You have said that Assad has lost legitimacy to lead.  Defeating ISIS could help Assad keep power.  Talk about how you prioritize those two pieces of your foreign policy.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I want to make sure everybody is clear on what we’re doing now, because it is limited.  Our focus right now is to protect American personnel on the ground in Iraq; to protect our embassy, to protect our consulates, to make sure that critical infrastructure that could adversely affect our personnel is protected.

Where we see an opportunity that allows us with very modest risk to help the humanitarian situation there as we did in Sinjar Mountain, we will take those opportunities after having consulted with Congress.  But our core priority right now is just to make sure that our folks are safe and to do an effective assessment of Iraqi and Kurdish capabilities.

As I said I think in the last press conference, in order for us to be successful, we’ve got to have an Iraqi government that is unified and inclusive.  So we are continuing to push them to get that job done.  As soon as we have an Iraqi government in place, the likelihood of the Iraqi security forces being more effective in taking the fight to ISIL significantly increases.  And the options that I’m asking for from the Joint Chiefs focuses primarily on making sure that ISIL is not overrunning Iraq.

What is true, though, is that the violence that’s been taking place in Syria has obviously given ISIL a safe haven there in ungoverned spaces.  And in order for us to degrade ISIL over the long term, we’re going to have to build a regional strategy.  Now, we’re not going to do that alone.  We’re going to have to do that with other partners, and particularly Sunni partners, because part of the goal here is to make sure that Sunnis both in Syria and in Iraq feel as if they’ve got an investment in a government that actually functions, a government that can protect them, a government that makes sure that their families are safe from the barbaric acts that we’ve seen in ISIL.  And right now, those structures are not in place.

And that’s why the issue with respect to Syria is not simply a military issue, it’s also a political issue.  It’s also an issue that involves all the Sunni states in the region and Sunni leadership recognizing that this cancer that has developed is one that they have to be just as invested in defeating as we are.

And so to cut to the chase in terms of what may be your specific concerns, Chuck, my priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back, and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself.

But when we look at a broader strategy that is consistent with what I said at West Point, that’s consistent with what I said at the National Defense College, clearly ISIL has come to represent the very worst elements in the region that we have to deal with collectively.  And that’s going to be a long-term project.  It’s going to require us to stabilize Syria in some fashion, and stabilizing Syria in some fashion means that we’ve got to get moderate Sunnis who are able to govern and offer a real alternative and competition to what ISIL has been doing in some of these spaces.

Now, the last point with respect to Assad, it’s not just my opinion — I think it would be international opinion — that Assad has lost legitimacy in terms of dropping barrel bombs on innocent families and killing tens of thousands of people.  And right now, what we’re seeing is the areas that ISIL is occupying are not controlled by Assad anyway.  And, frankly, Assad doesn’t seem to have the capability or reach to get into those areas.  So I don’t think this is a situation where we have to choose between Assad or the kinds of people who carry on the incredible violence that we’ve been seeing there.  We will continue to support a moderate opposition inside of Syria, in part because we have to give people inside of Syria a choice other than ISIL or Assad.

And I don’t see any scenario in which Assad somehow is able to bring peace and stability to a region that is majority Sunni and has not so far shown any willingness to share power with them or in any kind of significant way deal with the longstanding grievances that they have there.

Q    Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

THE PRESIDENT:  I have consulted with Congress throughout this process.  I am confident that as Commander-in-Chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently.  As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress.  And I do think that it will be important for Congress to weigh in, or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.  We don’t have a strategy yet.  I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.  And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military as well.  We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them.  At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.  But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.

Colleen McCain Nelson.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Do you consider today’s escalation in Ukraine an invasion?  And when you talk about additional costs to Russia, are you ready at this point to impose broader economic sanctions?  Or are you considering other responses that go beyond sanctions?

THE PRESIDENT:  I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now.  As I said in my opening statement, there is no doubt that this is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine.  The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia.  Throughout this process, we’ve seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they’ve done.

I think in part because of the progress that you had seen by the Ukrainians around Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia determined that it had to be a little more overt in what it had already been doing.  But it’s not really a shift.

What we have seen, though, is that President Putin and Russia have repeatedly passed by potential off-ramps to resolve this diplomatically.  And so in our consultations with our European allies and partners, my expectation is, is that we will take additional steps primarily because we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to actually try to resolve this in diplomatic fashion.

And I think that the sanctions that we’ve already applied have been effective.  Our intelligence shows that the Russians know they’ve been effective, even though it may not appear on Russian television.  And I think there are ways for us to deepen or expand the scope of some of that work.

But ultimately, I think what’s important to recognize is the degree to which Russian decision-making is isolating Russia.  They’re doing this to themselves.  And what I’ve been encouraged by is the degree to which our European partners recognize even though they are bearing a cost in implementing these sanctions, they understand that a broader principle is at stake.  And so I look forward to the consultations that we’ll have when I see them next week.

Zeke Miller.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Last year, you said that you believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress.  In response to Chuck’s question you said you don’t have a strategy yet, but you’ll reconsider that going forward.  But why didn’t you go to Congress before this current round of strikes in Iraq?  Do you not believe that that’s the case anymore, what you said last year?  And throughout your career you’ve also said that — you raised concerns with the expansion of powers of the executive.  Are you concerned that your recent actions, unilaterally, had maybe — have cut against that?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  And here’s why:  It is not just part of my responsibility, but it is a sacred duty for me as Commander-in-Chief to protect the American people.  And that requires me to act fast, based on information I receive, if an embassy of ours or a consulate of ours is being threatened.  The decisions I made were based on very concrete assessments about the possibility that Erbil might be overrun in the Kurdish region and that our consulate could be in danger.  And I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected.

But throughout this process, we’ve consulted closely with Congress, and the feedback I’ve gotten from Congress is, is that we’re doing the right thing.  Now, as we go forward — as I’ve described to Chuck — and look at a broader regional strategy with an international coalition and partners to systematically degrade ISIL’s capacity to engage in the terrible violence and disruptions that they’ve been engaging in not just in Syria, not just in Iraq, but potentially elsewhere if we don’t nip this at the bud, then those consultations with Congress for something that is longer term I think become more relevant.

And it is my intention that Congress has to have some buy-in as representatives of the American people.  And, by the way, the American people need to hear what that strategy is.  But as I said to Chuck, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.  And in some of the media reports the suggestion seems to have been that we’re about to go full scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL, and the suggestion, I guess, has been that we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow Congress — still out of town — is going to be left in the dark.  That’s not what’s going to happen.

We are going to continue to focus on protecting the American people.  We’re going to continue, where we can, to engage in the sort of humanitarian acts that saved so many folks who were trapped on a mountain.  We are going to work politically and diplomatically with folks in the region.  And we’re going to cobble together the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy.  There will be a military aspect to that, and it’s going to be important for Congress to know what that is, in part because it may cost some money.

I’ll just take a couple more.  Yes.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Do you regret not moving on ISIS earlier?  There are some reports indicating that most of the weapons, the U.S. weapons that they have, they got it or they acquired it after the fall of Mosul.  And also, the Iraqi President said today that the Iraqi forces are in no position to stand up to ISIS.  What makes you think that forming a new government will change the situation?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, once ISIL got into Mosul that posed a big problem, because there’s no doubt that they were able to capture some weapons and resources that they then used to finance additional operations.

And at that stage, we immediately contacted the Iraqi government.  Keep in mind we had been in communications with the Iraqi government for more than a year indicating that we saw significant problems in the Sunni areas.  Prime Minister Maliki was not as responsive perhaps as we would have liked to some of the underlying political grievances that existed at the time.

There is no doubt that in order for Iraq security forces to be successful, they’re going to need help.  They’re going to need help from us.  They’re going to need help from our international partners.  They’re going to need additional training.  They’re going to need additional equipment.  And we are going to be prepared to offer that support.

There may be a role for an international coalition providing additional air support for their operations.  But the reason it’s so important that an Iraqi government be in place is this is not simply a military problem.  The problem we have had consistently is a Sunni population that feels alienated from Baghdad and does not feel invested in what’s happening, and does not feel as if anybody is looking out for them.

If we can get a government in place that provides Sunnis some hope that a national government serves their interest, if they can regain some confidence and trust that it will follow through on commitments that were made way back in 2006 and 2007 and 2008 and earlier about how you arrive at, for example, de-Baathification laws and give people opportunities so they’re not locked out of government positions — if those things are followed through on, and we are able to combine it with a sound military strategy, then I think we can be successful.  If we can’t, then the idea that the United States or any outside power would perpetually defeat ISIS I think is unrealistic.

As I’ve said before — I think I said in the previous press conference — our military is the best in the world.  We can route ISIS on the ground and keep a lid on things temporarily.  But then as soon as we leave, the same problems come back again.  So we’ve got to make sure that Iraqis understand in the end they’re going to be responsible for their own security.  And part of that is going to be the capacity for them to make compromises.

It also means that states in the region stop being ambivalent about these extremist groups.  The truth is that we’ve had state actors who at times have thought that the way to advance their interests is, well, financing some of these groups as proxies is not such a bad strategy.  And part of our message to the entire region is this should be a wake-up call to Sunni,to Shia — to everybody — that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people.  And as a consequence, we’ve got to all join together — even if we have differences on a range of political issues — to make sure that they’re rooted out.

Last question.

Q    Mr. President, despite all of the actions the West has taken to get Russia to pull back from Ukraine, Russia seems intent on taking one step after another — convoys, transports of arms.  At what point do sanctions no longer work?  Would you envisage the possibility of a necessity of military action to get Russia to pull back from Ukraine?

THE PRESIDENT:  We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem.  What we’re doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia.  But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming.  Now, the fact that Russia has taken these actions in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainians has resulted, I believe, in a weakening of Russia, not a strengthening of Russia.  That may not be apparent immediately, but I think it will become increasingly apparent.

What it’s also done is isolated Russia from its trading partners, its commercial partners, international business in ways that I think are going to be very difficult to recover from.  And we will continue to stand firm with our allies and partners that what is happening is wrong, that there is a solution that allows Ukraine and Russia to live peacefully.  But it is not in the cards for us to see a military confrontation between Russia and the United States in this region.

Keep in mind, however, that I’m about to go to a NATO conference.  Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but a number of those states that are close by are.  And we take our Article 5 commitments to defend each other very seriously, and that includes the smallest NATO member, as well as the largest NATO member.  And so part of the reason I think this NATO meeting is going to be so important is to refocus attention on the critical function that NATO plays to make sure that every country is contributing in order to deliver on the promise of our Article 5 assurances.

Part of the reason I’ll be going to Estonia is to let the Estonians know that we mean what we say with respect to our treaty obligations.  We don’t have those treaty obligations with Ukraine.  We do, however, stand shoulder to shoulder with them, and we’re doing not just a lot of work diplomatically but also financially in order to make sure that they have the best chance at dealing with what is admittedly a very difficult situation.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Q    On immigration?

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, guys.  Thank you.

Q    Immigration?

Q    Mr. President, how are external events and your executive decision-making going to impact your decision on immigration reform?  Some people say you’re going to delay this.

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me just say this:  I’ve been very clear about the fact that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.  And my preference continues to be that Congress act.  I don’t think anybody thinks that Congress is going to act in the short term, but hope springs eternal that after the midterm elections they may act.

In the meantime, what I’ve asked Jeh Johnson to do is to look at what kinds of executive authorities we have in order to make the system work better.  And we’ve had a lot of stakeholder discussions; that set of proposals is being worked up.

And the one thing that I think has happened was the issue with unaccompanied children that got so much attention a couple of months back.  And part of the reason that was important was not because that represented a huge unprecedented surge in overall immigration at the border, but I do think that it changed the perception of the American people about what’s happening at the borders.

And so one of the things we’ve had — have had to do is to work through systematically to make sure that that specific problem in a fairly defined area of the border, that we’re starting to deal with that in a serious way.  And the good news is we’ve started to make some progress.  I mean, what we’ve seen so far is that throughout the summer the number of apprehensions have been decreasing — maybe that’s counterintuitive, but that’s a good thing because that means that fewer folks are coming across.  The number of apprehensions in August are down from July, and they’re actually lower than they were August of last year.  Apprehensions in July were half of what they were in June.  So we’re seeing a significant downward trend in terms of these unaccompanied children.

And what that I think allows us to do is to make sure that those kids are being taken care of properly, with due process.  At the same time, it’s allowed us to then engage in a broader conversation about what we need to do to get more resources down at the border.  It would have been helped along if Congress had voted for the supplemental that I asked for; they did not.  That means we’ve got to make some administrative choices and executive choices about, for example, getting more immigration judges down there.

So that has kept us busy, but it has not stopped the process of looking more broadly about how do we get a smarter immigration system in place while we’re waiting for Congress to act.  And it continues to be my belief that if I can’t see congressional action, that I need to do at least what I can in order to make the system work better.

But some of these things do affect timelines, and we’re just going to be working through as systematically as possible in order to get this done.  But have no doubt, in the absence of congressional action, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better.

Thank you, guys.

Ford Motor Company Fund Celebrates Jackie Robinson West Little League U.S. Champions with Annual Scholarship

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

* Ford to contribute toward scholarship honoring accomplishments of the Jackie Robinson West Little League U.S. Champions

* Scholarship will build on Ford’s long manufacturing presence in Chicago and legacy of supporting education

* Ford Motor Company Fund, the charitable arm of Ford Motor Company, donates more than $8 million a year toward scholarships and other education initiatives


CHICAGO, IL – Ford Motor Company is honoring the accomplishments of the Jackie Robinson West Little League U.S. Champions by contributing to an annual scholarship at the team’s namesake, the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Jackie Robinson West captured the hearts of fans in Chicago and across the country as the team advanced from its home field on the city’s far South Side to become U.S. Little League Champions.

“Ford Motor Company Fund salutes the tremendous impact these youngsters and the Jackie Robinson West league have had on Chicago and across the nation,” said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, Government and Community Relations, Ford Motor Company. “Supporting education has been a cornerstone of Ford since the company was founded more than 100 years ago. We’re proud to build on that legacy and our long manufacturing presence in Chicago by assisting a student who best exemplifies the ideals Jackie Robinson represented.”

Ford’s contribution of $10,000 a year will go toward a four-year Jackie Robinson Foundation college scholarship awarded to a member of the Jackie Robinson West Little League, beginning in summer 2015. The player earning the scholarship will join a select group of college-bound students chosen annually who receive grants and a host of mentoring services, internship placements and practical life skills during their four years of college.

Ford Motor Company Fund invests more than $8 million a year in scholarships and other education initiatives, including other support to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Since 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation has awarded more than $65 million in scholarships and other support for 1,450 undergraduate and graduate students.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com.

How We Can Honor Michael Brown in a Meaningful, Constructive Way

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson
Founder and Executive Director, Be Someone Inc.

Michael Brown

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — My heart aches for the people of Ferguson, MO and I cry when I think of the young life of Michael Brown taken away from us prematurely. What could Michael have been? What force could he have been for good if only he had chosen to walk a different path?

What will the facts show in this case? I am not here to debate them other than to say let justice take its course. Let all the facts come out and lets pledge to do what we can individually and collectively to make sure there are not more sad stories like this ahead.

In my Be Someone program, I teach that there is a consequence for every action. I teach that we have the power to choose the actions we take. Without assigning guilt, would Michael be with us today if he had chosen another way of dealing with the police officer? Instead of confrontation I teach peaceful resolution. Instead of disrespect, I teach respect for self and fellow human beings who share our lives.

I have been on both sides of the street on this issue. I was Michael Brown at one time in my young life. I was an inner city kid without much hope. Day to day was my future. Risk was a huge part of my life until a white teacher turned me around by teaching me the game of chess. He taught me in no uncertain terms there is a consequence for every action. A wrong move on the chess board, you lose the game. A wrong move on the street, you lose your life and a chance to be somebody, a chance to be a contributor.

Later, I became an Alabama State Trooper. I know what it is like to be a cop. It is not easy but I was reminded almost every day of young people who were making the wrong choices. I saw ruined lives where there could have been success. I knew there was more important work for me.

I founded Be Someone Inc. Just as my teacher taught me, Im teaching young people many of them at risk inner city children just as I was that they have choices and they can achieve success, prosperity and happiness if they think and walk the path that will lead them to the mountain top not to the dark valley floor of no return.

When events grip our nation as they have in Ferguson they cause me to look inside. What more can I do? What can I do to honor the lost life of Michael Brown? The answer shouts at me… Work harder! Touch more lives! Use my talents and experience to give young people the tools for success! Teach them Peace over violence, brains before bullets, think it our dont shoot it out, heads up, pants up, grades up and never give up!

I love this country with my whole heart. I believe it truly is still the land of freedom and opportunity. We have come so far but for many of our brothers and sister – of all races – every day is a challenge and there is despair. Turn on the news tonight wherever you live. You will see reports of more young African-American males in trouble. It must stop!

I’m using my chess board every day to reach young people. Although their words and actions may say one thing, their eyes tell me another story: I want intervention in my life! I want to be good! I want to succeed! I want to be somebody! I want to make the right choices! Show me how! Please!

Orrin Hudson is the founder and Executive Director of Be Someone Inc. a non-profit organization in Stone Mountain, GA. devoted to teaching life lessons by using the game of chess. To learn more about Orrin and his award-winning program, visit www.besomeone.org

Chicago Police Commander Charged

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – A Chicago Police Commander has been arrested and is facing felony criminal charges in connection with an incident in which the officer is alleged to have forced his service weapon into the mouth of a man while also allegedly holding a Taser to the man’s groin during the apprehension and arrest of the individual on Chicago’s South Side in 2013, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Commander Glenn Evans, 52, has been charged with Aggravated Battery and Official Misconduct in connection with the arrest of the then 22-year-old Chicago man that occurred on Jan. 30, 2013 in the late afternoon hours in an abandoned home in the 7100 block of South Eberhart.

The charges were filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office following an investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA).

Evans turned himself into authorities and he appeared in bond court today at the George Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago. Evans, whose most recent assignment was as the Commander of the Harrison District on the city’s West Side, has been employed as a Chicago Police Officer since July of 1986.

“It is an extremely sad and difficult situation for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez.  “We certainly recognize that our police officers have difficult jobs and that they work under challenging and often life threatening circumstances, but every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust and this type of conduct violates that trust.”

According to prosecutors, Evans was on duty and patrolling in the area of 500 East 71st Street when the incident occurred.  Evans claimed that he observed the 22-year-old man with a gun in his hand and he curbed his unmarked department squad car, approached the suspect and gave chase when the suspect fled on foot.  At the time, Evans was serving as the Commander of the Grand Crossing District on the city’s South Side.

Evans used his radio to request assistance for a “man with a gun” and pursued the suspect on foot, arriving at the location with several other officers who entered the house with guns drawn. According to prosecutors, Evans saw the suspect hiding in a closet, tackled him to the ground and then stuck his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol into the man’s mouth and down his throat.  Evans is then alleged to have pulled out a Taser which he held to the victim’s groin, threatening to kill the suspect if he did not identify where the weapon or weapons were located.

Evans and other responding officers took the suspect into custody and conducted a search of the house and surrounding area but no weapon was recovered.  The victim was then charged by police with the misdemeanor offense of reckless conduct based upon his alleged possession of a gun.  The police Incident Report and Arrest Report describing the arrest did not state that the victim resisted arrest, attempted to disarm an officer or that any force was used to take the man into custody.  Those charges were later dismissed on April 24, 2013 when officers failed to appear in court to testify in the case.

On Jan. 31, 2013, the day after the arrest was made, the victim contacted the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and filed a complaint, alleging that Evans had placed a gun down his throat, held a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him unless he told the defendant where a gun was located.  Based upon that complaint, Evans was ordered to surrender his weapon for forensic testing, which was conducted by Chicago Police Internal Affairs personnel on Feb. 1, 2013.

According to prosecutors, on April 17, 2014, a forensic scientist from the Illinois State Police conducted DNA testing comparing the victim’s DNA to the substance obtained from the swabs taken from Evans’ weapon.  The scientist reported that both a major and minor human DNA profile was found on the swabs taken from the defendant’s weapon and that the major profile “matched” the victim’s DNA profile.

The State’s Attorney’s Office was contacted by IPRA authorities after the results of the testing were completed and an investigation was conducted.

The public is reminded that criminal documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Better Business Bureau Issues “Granny Scam” Advisory

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Many scams and schemes run by con artists are cyclical in that they come and go. Sometimes it’s every few months, or following a natural disaster or at a particular time of the year. One of those that fall into a cycle is the “Granny Scam” and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising the public to look for red flags.

With students leaving home and returning to college, the opportunity is ripe for scammers to begin making calls that target grandparents.

“As we know the best defense is a good offense.” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “We want to arm grandparents with information that can help prevent them and their families from falling victim to this scam.”

In this scam, the grandparent receives a distressed phone call from someone who they believe is their grandchild. For example, the scam caller might say, “It’s me, your favorite grandchild,” to which the grandparent will guess the name of the grandchild the caller sound the most like, and then the call proceeds from there. The supposed grandchild typically explains they are traveling and have been arrested or involved in an auto accident. Sometime they say they’ve been injured and need medical treatment. The grandparent is asked to wire money to post bail or pay for damages or treatment, usually amounting to a few thousand dollars.

While senior citizens are being targeted, law enforcement officials believe the scammers are most likely calling random numbers. “The key here is that senior citizens are more than likely to be home during the day to take the phone call,” noted Bernas.

What to do if you receive a “Granny Scam” call:

  • Remain calm – Despite the emergency nature of the call try to verify the identity of the caller. Don’t get caught up in the urgency which can lead to making emotional rather than logical decisions.
  • Make direct contact – Confirm the status of the individual by calling them directly or verifying the story with other family members before taking action.
  • Wire transfers – Any request to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram should be seen as a “red flag” and an immediate tip-off that the call may be part of a scam.
  • Report the call – If you have been victimized by this type of distressed loved-one call, immediately contact your local police department and the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

For more tips on protecting yourself against a data breach, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Is The Hatred For Trade Schools Really Class Warfare? Are Low Income Minority Students The Real Targets?

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By Harry C. Alford, contributor

President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce

Harry C. Alford

Trade schools have higher graduation and placement rates than other colleges, yet they are being singled out for cuts in college funding because of their student population. Hairstylists, plumbers, mechanics, chefs, medical assistants, ministers, and other working class students who attend trade schools are being discriminated against by the Administration.

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Imagine if the federal government decided to regulate hospitals and medical clinics by judging them strictly by their ability to achieve specific outcomes for their patients – as opposed to measuring their quality of service – or else funding would be cut off, causing them to close their doors. Moreover, not all hospitals and clinics would be subject to these regulations – just the ones in neighborhoods with older populations, higher percentages of people living in poverty, and larger numbers of Latino and African-American residents.

The scenario above would lead to the closure of hundreds of hospitals which serve the vital role of providing health services to the underserved Americans who need them most. A proposal like this would be lambasted by Americans as outrageous and harmful. However, this is exactly what the U.S. Department of Education has proposed when it comes to college programs throughout the country with its proposed “gainful employment” regulations.

While the administration’s conquest of Corinthian Colleges this summer left 72,000 students and 12,000 employees without a clear path forward, those numbers appear paltry when compared to the thousands of employees and millions of students who would be affected by the proposed gainful employment regulations. Various studies have shown that approximately 1 million students are enrolled in programs that will likely lose eligibility for Title IV federal student aid under the proposed regulations, and up to 7.5 million students could lose access by 2024.

As previously noted, the administration claimed ignorance of Corinthian’s tenuous finances when it delayed access to the federal funding for students choosing to attend a Corinthian institution of higher education, but those dubious claims have since been exposed as a ploy to cover up the Department of Education’s blind zeal for big government. As BuzzFeed revealed in documents provided to the outlet, the department was aware of many of the details of Corinthian’s financial situation as recently as May 2014. This revelation – coupled with the department’s and the administration’s known hostility toward private-sector schools – confirms that the department’s assertions are little more than a cover up for its hasty, poorly planned actions.

While the department may be patting itself on the back now, the repercussions of its hasty actions are being felt by the thousands of students who attend Corinthian’s schools. These students now face uncertain futures as the department failed to consider a plan to absorb them, as well as the impact to Corinthians full-time employees, who will now be forced to seek new alternatives. The department’s lack of consideration for this underserved population of the U.S. will be made even clearer if its proposed gainful employment regulations become law, as they are guaranteed to have exponentially more damaging effects.

The prospect of the impact of the gainful employment regulations is more appalling when the demographics of many private-sector institutions are taken into consideration. The majority of students who attend private-sector colleges come predominantly from challenged socioeconomic segments of our communities. Students at for-profits tend to be older than traditional students, are more likely to be minorities and slightly more likely to be female. Many students are already part of the workforce and are twice as likely to have families of their own.

Analysis from Charles River Associates suggest that between 25 and 40 percent of African-American students, between 21 and 39 percent of Hispanic students, and between 24 and 41 percent of female students are enrolled in impacted programs. These are the very individuals, in every corner of our country, who are working to break into the American middle class. They are also people for whom traditional public or non-profit colleges simply aren’t an option – either due to costs, schedules, admissions requirements or simply due to choice, a freedom we enjoy in this country the last time I checked.

If the proposed regulations are put in place as currently drafted, there will be a snowball effect. First, students who are reliant on federal financial aid to afford college will be denied access. The resulting reduction in enrollment could shut down entire programs and colleges, thus negatively impacting potentially all students enrolled and studying at the institution of their choosing. Some programs, striving to meet unrealistic metrics to remain viable, will greatly restrict admission of the underserved students who need it most, and only enroll low-risk students. The schools left standing will be no more accessible to underserved students than traditional colleges and universities, public or non-profit.

It won’t take long before the American public’s outrage against these shortsighted regulations boils forth when millions of students are forced to abandon their dreams of higher education and are stripped of one of their most important options for life improvement.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. For more details, visit www.nationalbcc.org.
Other Articles Related to the Discrimination of Working Class Students:

NBCC, NABHOOD and The Latino Coalition Gainful Employment Ad in Politico

Washington Post: Government should not hold for-profit colleges to a higher standard

The Wall Street Journal: Obama’s Corinthian Kill – How regulators used accusations to ruin a for-profit educator

Forbes: The Obama Administrations Gainful Employment Regulations Discriminate against the Private Sector in Higher Education

Cheap for whom? How Much Higher Education Costs Taxpayers

One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas

Tell Burger King To Stay in the USA: Sign The Petition

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Dick Durbin - U.S. Senator

Walgreens is staying in the U.S., but now Burger King, the second biggest hamburger outfit in America, is headed for Canada to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

They bought a Canadian donut chain, and they are renouncing their American corporate citizenship to bring down their U.S. taxes. Burger King told us they were proud to be in America, but now we know that was a whopper.

Sign my petition — tell Burger King to stay in the USA.

My opponent accused me of “bullying” when I called out Walgreens for their planned inversion. But Walgreens made the right decision to stay in America, and I salute them for telling their Wall Street sharpies to take a hike.

If the United States Senator from Illinois is not willing to stand up to keep jobs in Illinois and America, he has the backbone of a melting ice cream cone.

Sign my petition — tell Burger King to stay in the USA.

I think companies like Burger King need to hear it from America’s families. When these corporate deserters wave the red, white and blue, they are misleading us. It’s time we remember these corporations and shop at the companies that stay in America, keep jobs in America, and treat their American workers with respect.

Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator

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Music Institute Jazz Festival Salutes Charlie Parker

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Concerts, Lecture, Jazz Invitational Take Place November 7 and 8

The Music Institute of Chicago presents its fifth annual jazz festival, this year celebrating the career and influence of jazz icon Charlie “Bird” Parker, November 7 and 8 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.

Friday, November 7, 7:30 p.m.: Bird with Strings
The festival opens with a rare performance of music from the legendary Bird with Strings recordings, with jazz veteran Charles McPherson as saxophone soloist and Music Institute Artist in Residence Tammy McCann singing “Easy Living” and “I Thought About You.” Also on the program is a newly commissioned work for jazz quartet and strings by Northwestern University Director of Jazz Studies Victor Goines.

Saturday, November 8, 4 p.m.: Lecture and Book-Signing
The festival continues with a lecture by acclaimed cultural critic and author Stanley Crouch, who discusses his recent book Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. WBEZ’s Richard Steele serves as moderator.

Saturday, November 8, 7:30 p.m.: Bebop Extravaganza
The closing concert features Charles McPherson on saxophone and the Music Institute jazz faculty quintet, with Victor Garcia on trumpet, Jeremy Kahn on piano, Stewart Miller on bass, Ernie Adams on drums, and Music Institute Jazz Studies Director Audrey Morrison on trombone performing Charlie Parker classics, such as “Confirmation,” “Moose the Mooch,” and “Ornithology.”

A Jazz Invitational Saturday, November 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. features high school student jazz ensembles performing and receiving coaching from Charles McPherson and Music Institute jazz faculty. Participating high schools to date include Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), Glenbrook South, and Pritzker College Prep. A master class with McPherson follows at 3 p.m.

Music Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago is a community music school dedicated to transforming lives through music education. The institution exists to lead everyone in its community toward a lifelong engagement with music. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation. Offering musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS). Each year, the Music Institute’s teachers and arts therapists reach thousands of students and clients of all ages and levels of experience. Music Institute locations include Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, and Downers Grove. In addition, the Music Institute is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools through its Arts Link program. The Music Institute offers lessons and classes, creative arts therapy, and concerts through its Community School, Academy, Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA), and Nichols Concert Hall.

The Music Institute’s 2014–15 Faculty and Guest Artist Concert Series at Nichols Concert Hall continues with a Community Music Festival, opening with the Cavani Quartet April 19, closing with the Ying Quartet May 2 and featuring 100 community concerts by Music Institute students during that time period.

The Music Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Festival celebrating Charlie Parker takes place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets to the November 7 and 8 concerts at 7:30 p.m. are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students; the November 8 lecture at 4 p.m. is $10. Individual event tickets or a jazzPASS—$55 for adults, $35 for seniors—are available at musicinst.org/charlie-parker-jazz-festival or 800-838-3006. For information, call the Nichols Concert Hall Box Office at 847.905.1500 ext. 108. The Jazz Invitational is $5 at the door, with proceeds benefiting the Billy Strayhorn Scholarship in Jazz Studies. All programming is subject to change. For more information, visit musicinst.org.

Photo, left: Tammy McCann
Photo, right: Charles McPherson

Governor Quinn Proclaims September as “Recovery Month” in Illinois

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Encourages people to speak up about mental illness and substance abuse


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed September as “Recovery Month” in the state of Illinois to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders.  Recovery Month celebrates the continued success of many people in Illinois who have achieved recovery from alcohol and substance addiction and mental illness.

“It is critical that community leaders and organizations support the efforts of National Recovery Month.  We know that mental health and substance use disorders can be treated and there are many pathways to recovery.  Recovery Month celebrates the reality that prevention works, treatment is effective and people do recover,” Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler said.

This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly discuss – or speak up about – mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery.  It aims to foster public understanding and acceptance of the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery from behavioral health conditions.

Last year, IDHS funded substance abuse treatment services for nearly 80,000 people and mental health services for approximately 140,000 people in Illinois.

For more information about Recovery Month, visit www.recoverymonth.gov.

Community Organizers will March a Funeral Procession around Fannie Mae

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL. -  On Friday, August 29th, community activists, friends and neighbors of Mary Ann Bonelli will march a funeral procession around Fannie Mae’s midwest regional headquarters, 1 S Wacker Drive, to honor Mary and to remind Fannie Mae that Mary’s demand to return her home to the community still stands. We will eulogize Mary at the entrance of the bank, sing radicalized hymns, march enlarged photos of Mary around the block in her wheelchair, and deliver a message to Fannie Mae.

Mary Ann Bonelli, retired Ward’s employee who became a housing rights activist, died earlier this year while still fighting eviction from the home her grandparents, Russian immigrants, bought 90 years ago in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago. This community became home to many immigrant families, mostly Latino, who have lost homes to discriminatory, sub-prime bank loans. Mary’s family fell into foreclosure when the bank failed to process automated mortgage payments, and then foreclosed on the home, offering no remedy to the family.

In Mary’s final days, her health and well being were profoundly impacted by the the fear of eviction and homelessness. Until the end, Mary worked to secure the donation of the home to a community land trust, rather than see it go to Fannie Mae, the bank that now claims ownership of the property. In recent years Fannie Mae, who made $85 billion in profit from the sale of foreclosed homes last year, has donated a small percentage of its vast stock of vacant, foreclosed homes to county land banks and developers. Increasingly, however, homes are being sold to investors over families, as prices increase and home ownership (like rent) becomes less affordable. Mary participated in a negotiation with Fannie Mae, in which the goal was to ensure that Mary’s house would continue to be affordable housing for the community for a minimum of 99 years, and also to create a donation policy for community organizations representing low income families.

Mary, whose husband preceded her in death, is survived by her sister; her nieces and nephews; friends, neighbors and comrades.

What: Funeral March to honor Mary Bonelli

When: Friday, August 29th, 1:30pm

Where: 1 S Wacker, Regional Headquarters of Fannie Mae

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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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