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Archive for January 15th, 2016

“…The Academy failed for the Second Year in a Row to Nominate a Single Actor of Color…”: NAACP Statement on the Announcement of the Nominees for the 88th Annual Academy Awards

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

BALTIMORE, MD – The NAACP today released the following statement following the announcement of the nominees for the 88th Annual Academy awards:

“The presentation of the annual Academy Awards has long served as the culminating event of the awards season.  With the announcement of the nominees for the 88th Academy Awards, the contributions of people of color to the movie industry—both in front of and behind the cameras—once again have been severely overlooked.  Of the 20 acting nominations, including Best Actor and Actress, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress, the Academy failed for the second year in a row to nominate a single actor of color.

“The artistic judgment of the Academy can’t be dictated. The diversity of the Academy, however, can and should be demanded. The Academy is revered for its role in judging the highest expression of human ideals in film. The Academy’s judgment, however, would be better respected were it based on a diversity of membership reflecting the diversity of moviegoers. Diversity in Hollywood in 2016 seems like dialogue from a black and white silent movie in 1916, words are spoken but no one seems to be able to hear and heed the need for diversity and credibility in the Academy.

“We commend the recent efforts of the Academy to increase diversity among its members, the record however is inadequate.  Lack of recognition by the Academy of exemplary performances and work by people of color working in the industry led to the creation of the NAACP Image Awards almost 47 years ago. With the 2016 nomination results, our mission and efforts are as relevant today as they have been in the past.

“According to the 2013 Motion Picture Association of America’s Theatrical Market Statistics Report, people of color represented 51% of the frequent movie going audience, and 32% of that audience was Latino, while African Americans represented 12%. These numbers alone reflect the unbalanced relationship people of color have with Hollywood.  It shows how we steadfastly support the movies, while the Academy Awards seldom recognizes the numerous contributions made by people of color towards making movies, appearing in movies and even viewing them.

“It is time for the Academy Awards to be as relevant to the new crop of actors and movie-going audiences as they are to the new movie viewing platforms.  A first step is to revisit the Academy membership and how it can play catch up to reflect a 21st century world.  Another is to question advertisers who support the Awards show.  In 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ revenue of $97.3 million dollars was due in large part to the domestic rights of its broadcast partner, ABC television, which has broadcast rights through 2020.

“The 2014 Oscars broadcast boasted the highest telecast in 10 years with 43 million viewers.  This was the same year that had the most diverse slate of movies by filmmakers of color as well as actors, which assuredly attributed to its ratings increase.  Diversity is not just good business, it’s the only business and the 2014 ratings numbers show that.  It’s time the Academy recognizes the value and the voice of people of color and until they do, we should switch the channel until that old guard can reflect and respect what people of color bring to the table.”

Josie Childs Opposes Boycott of Mayor’s King Breakfast

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Rev. Bernard Jakes ‘hurt’ over FB jabbing

By Chinta Strausberg

 

Josie L. Childs, founder and president of the Harold Washington Legacy Committee, late Wednesday said she opposes the boycott of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Dr. King breakfast because it destroys Mayor Harold Washington’s legacy.

Childs, who is scheduled to be on WVON’s Matt McGill show today at 7:30 a.m., was referring to a number of African American ministers including Bishop James Dukes, Liberation Christian Center Church and Pastor Ira Acree, Greater St. John Bible Church, who called for a boycott of the mayor’s annual Dr. King breakfast saying Emanuel betrayed them by seeking their support before the election while fighting against the release of the Laquan McDonald tape.

But those are social issues Childs said should not interfere with Dr. King’s breakfast. “I am against the boycott because why would you destroy Harold’s legacy. He started this breakfast. Mayor Washington especially wanted it. Dr. King moved here on the West Side.

“I want to be clear,” she said. “I support the protesters. That is their right to protest. They can scream and yell, but to boycott the breakfast is unacceptable because this breakfast is a part of Mayor Washington’s legacy. He started it.”

Childs said Washington turned over the annual King breakfast to the city’s Special Events department and that back then the celebration was a full day of events. “For what ever reason, Mayor Washington decided to go just with the breakfast.”

And, to the ministers who are boycotting the breakfast, Childs said, “They don’t know their history and to say Dr. King would not be caught in the same room with Mayor Emanuel is absurd because they don’t know what Dr. King would have done.

“We wouldn’t have had our Civil Rights or Voting Rights Act if Dr. King would not have gone into the room with President Lyndon Johnson,” Childs said.

“This is not Rahm Emanuel’s breakfast. They are making it his breakfast. This is the 31st year of this event that has been held by four mayors,” said Childs. “Emanuel did not create this breakfast. The breakfast does not belong to him. It is the city of Chicago’s breakfast and who ever is the mayor is the host.”

Disturbed by the verbal warfare going on around the King breakfast, Rev. L. Bernard Jakes, pastor of the West Point Missionary Baptist Church, said he is not against the boycott because he understands “the impetus behind it. The participators have a legitimate concern.”

However, on this Friday Jakes said “we should honor Dr. King’s legacy in the community as Father Mike (Pfleger) and Saint Sabina are doing,” he said referring to Pfleger’s scheduled 7 p.m. Peace Walk. “A weekend of service should be our focus,” Jakes stated.

He added, “I’m really grieved that the legacy of Dr. King has been reduced to a series of breakfast. I’m ashamed of what this has become…all in the name of Dr. King. Saying “Boycott or don’t…mayor-sponsored or City-sponsored…sellout or activist….” Rev. Jakes said the protesters “don’t know what Dr. King would have done.”

He is disturbed over the “clergy jabbing at each other via Facebook while the same media who vilifies us is all of a sudden interested in us. This for me is what Dr. King’s weekend has been reduced to in Chicago in 2016, and it’s hurtful.”

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

BYP100 Leads Symbolic Funeral Procession to Honor Black Lives Lost to State-Sanctioned Violence

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – On Friday, January 15th The Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) Chicago Chapter will lead a symbolic traveling funeral procession to remember Black lives lost to police violence and institutional racism in the City of Chicago.

The coffins in the funeral procession will be sent to Chicago City Council Aldermen who have failed in their decision-making to protect Black lives and advocate for resources to ensure a bright future for Black Chicagoans. “The blood is on many hands. Those elected to represent us must account for police killings as well as the violence that occurs in our community as a result of public policy, economic exploitation, mass incarceration, and the divestment from services and resources. These aldermen must answer for the destabilization of our communities”, says Damon Williams, BYP100 Chicago Chapter Co-chair.

The funeral procession is in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement of 1966 led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. BYP100 will launch an economic policy agenda, The Agenda To Build Black Futures on King’s birthday to build upon King’s unfinished economic and racial justice policy work. During the Chicago Freedom Movement, Black Chicagoans organized to demand open housing, quality public education, community development, and jobs that provide a livable income. BYP100 is committed to continuing this fight through demanding divestment from oppressive systems and investment in the lives of Black people.

WHO: Members of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) Chicago Chapter

WHEN: Friday, January 15th at 6:00 PM CT|

WHERE: Meyering Park, 7140 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, IL, 60619

WHAT: Symbolic funeral procession to remember all Black people who were lost to state violence and to demand Chicago City Council Aldermen advocate for a divestment from oppressive systems harming Black Chicagoans and invest in Black futures.

Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a network focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens. We are an organization affiliated with the Black Youth Project.

www.byp100.org – @BYP_100 –  facebook.com/BYP100

Executive at Now-Defunct Mirae Bank Indicted in Loan Fraud Case that Caused $33 Million in Losses and Contributed to Failure of Bank

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

LOS ANGELES – The former chief marketing officer at Mirae Bank was arrested this morning on federal bank fraud charges that allege he was responsible for the bank issuing $150 million in fraudulent loans – loans that caused the bank to suffer $33 million in losses and were “a significant factor in Mirae Bank’s failure as a financial institution in 2009.”

 

 
Ataollah Aminpour, 57, of Beverly Hills, was arrested without incident pursuant to an eight-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on January 7.
Aminpour, who is also known as John and Johnny Aminpour, is expected to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

 

 
According to the indictment, Aminpour held himself out as a successful businessman who could help people obtain financing for gas station and car wash businesses with little or no down payment. In some cases, Aminpour personally identified businesses to be purchased and negotiated a sale price, but he allegedly overstated the actual purchase price to buyers. For these buyers and others whom Aminpour introduced to Mirae Bank, the indictment alleges that Aminpour oversaw the loan process and provided loan officers with information and documentation that contained false facts and figures, including the actual purchase price of the business and the source of the down payment. As a result, Mirae Bank funded inflated loans, with excess funds secretly going to Aminpour, borrowers and/or “hard money lenders” who had surreptitiously provided funds used to make down payments.

 

 
The indictment alleges that, as part of the scheme, Aminpour arranged for fake down payments – money that came from hard money lenders who made short-term, high-interest loans or, in some cases, from Aminpour himself. Aminpour also allegedly arranged for bogus lender information to be submitted to Mirae Bank in documents that falsely represented borrower assets, their experience in the business being purchased or the income expected from the business. In one instance detailed in the indictment, Aminpour allegedly caused a document to be submitted to Mirae Bank showing that a borrower had more than $1.4 million on deposit at another bank, when Aminpour himself had provided the borrower with $1.3 million – money that was in the borrower’s account for only one day.

 

 
“Mr. Aminpour allegedly orchestrated a scheme in which Mirae Bank funded loans based on applications that were rife with misstatements and false information,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Over the course of nearly four years, Mr. Aminpour was able to skim money from many of these loans, which allowed him to profit at the expense of the bank and taxpayers who had to bail out the failed financial institution.”

 

 
The indictment alleges that Aminpour concealed information and provided false information that led Mirae Bank to issue approximately 90 loans with principal exceeding $150 million and that these loans generated commissions for Aminpour of more than $1.4 million. As a result of the fraudulent activity, which ran from the fall of 2005 until June 2009 when the bank failed, Mirae suffered losses of approximately $33 million.

 

 
“The losses that Mirae Bank suffered and was facing on the fraudulent loans were a significant factor in Mirae Bank’s failure as a financial institution in 2009, and the FDIC’s resulting takeover of Mirae Bank as receiver,” according to the indictment. “The losses incurred on these loans were suffered in part by Mirae Bank, in part by the FDIC, and in part by Wilshire State Bank (now doing business as Wilshire Bank), which acquired Mirae Bank’s assets from the FDIC, after its holding company Wilshire Bancorp Inc. had received $62,158,000 in taxpayer funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.”

 

 
Aminpour is charged with six counts of bank fraud for causing Mirae Bank to issue fraudulent loans for gas stations and car washes in Vernon, Maywood, Lomita, Whittier, Carson and El Monte.

 

 
Aminpour is also charged with two counts of making false statements to a financial institution in relation to loan applications for two gas stations.

 

 
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If he is convicted, Aminpour would face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each of the eight counts.

 

 
The case against Aminpour is the result of an investigation by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General.

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Former Senator and DNC Chairman Paul Kirk Endorses Sanders for President

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

HANOVER, N.H. – Former U.S. Sen. Paul G. Kirk Jr., a past chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on Thursday endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. “I had the privilege of serving briefly with Bernie Sanders in the United States Senate and I quickly learned that he is who he is: a plain spoken and authentic patriot who wears his passion for a better America on his sleeve,” Kirk said at a news conference here at Dartmouth College.”Among all the Presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders is telling that truth: The unlimited amounts of money flooding our political system from a narrow and immensely wealthy slice of American society is the most pernicious internal peril threatening the fundamental tenets of economic, political, moral and social justice and, not least, the fairness and vibrancy of our representative democracy,” Kirk said. “For his outspoken and courageous leadership, his candid and consistent pledge of allegiance to that All-American ideal, I am proud to be here to join this ‘untiring effort’; and, as a former Chairman of the National Democratic Party, to endorse Bernie Sanders for our Party’s nomination for President of the United States of America.” (To read the complete statement, click here.)

“Sen. Kirk is right when he states that our democracy is being undermined by a corrupt campaign finance system,” Sanders said. “I very much appreciate the support from Sen. Kirk,” added Sanders. He noted Kirk’s “exemplary career as a public servant fighting on behalf of working families in our country” and praised Kirk’s leadership of the Democratic Party.

Kirk is a Massachusetts native who served as chief of staff to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy before becoming the Democratic National Committee chairman from 1985 to 1989. After Kennedy’s death, Kirk was appointed to fill his Senate seat and served in the U.S. Senate in 2009 and 2010. He is a Democratic Party superdelegate, the 16th to publicly support Sanders.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Keynote Address at the Justice Department’s Commemorative Program Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

United States
Washington, DC
Thursday, January 14, 2016
(Speech in its entirety)

 

Thank you, Vanita [Gupta], for that kind introduction and for your leadership of the Civil Rights Division, which is doing so much to advance Dr. King’s vision in our own time.  I also want to thank Deputy Attorney General [Sally] Yates for her many contributions to that urgent work.  And thank you to Director [Richard] Toscano and Deputy Director [Denise] Abrahams and their colleagues from the JMD Equal Employment Opportunity Staff for organizing this important annual event and for working tirelessly to ensure that the Department of Justice can benefit from the skills and experience of every American.  I’d like to recognize the Cardozo Senior High Color Guard; vocalist Dorothy Williams from the Disability Rights Section; and Norman Jones, winner of the Prince William County Public Schools’ Martin Luther King Oratory Competition, for helping to make this celebration truly unique.  Finally, I want to single out a very special guest: Dorie Ann Ladner.  Ms. Ladner was at the center of so many of the crucial triumphs of the civil rights movement.  As a young college student, she worked with the Freedom Riders and helped organize the Freedom Summer.   One of the pillars of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, she joined the March on Washington and marched from Selma to Montgomery.  The progress that we celebrate today was made possible because of brave Americans like her.  I am able to stand before you here because she marched there.  It is an honor to have her with us as we commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.; as we reflect on the legacy he left behind; and as we rededicate ourselves to the task of continuing his unfinished work.

For Dr. King, that work began in the midst of what he called a “long night of racial injustice.”  Segregation was the law of the land and enforced by agents of the law – the forces of government acting to directly oppress citizens; odious regulations and outright bigotry denied African Americans the right to vote; and the lives of countless people of color across the United States were dominated by fear, threatened by violence and constrained by prejudice.  In the darkest hour of that long night, Dr. King’s words and deeds provided a spark of humanity – a spark that spread across the country.  From the granite steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the dank confines of the Birmingham jail, Dr. King painted a vision of dignity and democracy.  He described a “beloved community” – one not riven by hatred or divided by color, but instead governed by brotherhood for all humankind.  And he challenged America to rise up and live out the meaning of its founding creed: to ensure opportunity, to promote equality and to demand justice.

Thanks to the struggles and sacrifices of Dr. King, his colleagues and an untold number of ordinary citizens who believed in the possibility and necessity of a more perfect union, we live in a nation today that has traveled an extraordinary distance from that long night.  Because the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement were willing to raise their voices, to risk their safety and even to lose their lives, we live in a nation where segregation no longer receives the sanction of law and where no person can lawfully be denied the right to vote simply because of their race.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 continue to stand as landmarks in our nation’s history – monuments to our values and to the extraordinary progress that we have made together.  Later campaigns that have focused on improving the welfare of our citizens and realizing the hopes of our nation have rested, in large part, on the extraordinary example of the Civil Rights Movement.  On this day dedicated to Martin Luther King, it is appropriate that we pause to appreciate just how drastically the movement he led improved our common life.

And yet, to truly honor Martin Luther King and the millions who marched, stood up, sat in and spoke out, we must recognize that their words and their deeds are not relics of history, but living challenges – calls to action that still echo in our hearts, urging us to continue their journey, to extend their cause and to realize their vision of a more just society – and a more beloved community.  His challenge – a challenge to a nation to live up to its defining principles – still echoes today.  Indeed, it is the challenge of every generation to realize that the price of freedom is constant vigilance; to understand that while we cannot erase every dark prejudice from the heart of man, we can work to ensure that the angels of our better selves win the day.

Here at the Department of Justice, the only cabinet agency named for an ideal, we have a special obligation to advance that goal – and the work that we have done and continue to do, is a testament to our determination in the service of that effort.

We are vigorously defending every citizen’s right to vote, using every legal tool available to us to enforce the Voting Rights Act in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County and we are working to broaden American Indians’ and Alaska Natives’ access to polling booths.  We are protecting civil rights beyond the ballot box, as well – since 2009, our Civil Rights Division has filed more criminal civil rights cases and prosecuted and convicted more defendants on hate crimes charges, than at any other point in the department’s history.  We’re working to ensure civil rights in criminal justice, in part by promoting trust and strengthening relationships between law enforcement and the communities we serve.  And we’re playing a leading role in this administration’s drive to reform our criminal justice system, especially through our ongoing work to reduce recidivism and improve reentry outcomes.  Last year, our Office of Justice Programs disbursed $53 million in Second Chance Act grants to 45 municipalities nationwide, offering critical assistance to populations at risk of recidivism, including justice-involved youth and people with diagnosed mental illnesses.  We’ve also joined with the Departments of Education, Labor and Housing and Urban Development to launch innovative programs in a number of areas, from making Pell grants available to some incarcerated individuals to helping local jurisdictions with record-cleaning and expungement, so that every American returning home has the chance to contribute to their communities and make a new life for themselves.

This is all vital work and the scope and the pace of our efforts on behalf of justice and civil rights demonstrate how far we’ve come in the last half-century.  But it is clear, even now, that we still have a long way to go to reach the promised land that Dr. King described – and that every one of us must be committed to do our part.  After all, as Dr. King knew well – and as all of you here in this room understand – there is nothing inevitable about progress.  There is nothing foreordained about our advancement.   We often look back on the achievements of the civil rights movement, on history itself, as if they represent a story that was written with heroes preordained to succeed.  The great American novel come to life.  Yet in those days, there were no guarantees.  No one knew if their efforts would be successful or not.  People, John Lewis, Amelia Boynton, Dorie Ann Ladner, marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge not knowing if they would be met with accommodation or more of the armed resistance that highlighted the South.  Yet what they knew, which led to what they did, was that whatever the cost, they must march forward because there was no other way to go.  It has been ever true in this country – a nation designed both by and for the people – that the future has always belonged to those who dare to imagine it; who decide to build it; and who resolve to protect it from those who might tear it down.  That is why it is incumbent on all of us here today, our partners around the country and every citizen of the United States, to devote ourselves to the perfection of our union; to recommit ourselves to the continuation of Dr. King’s cause; and to rededicate ourselves to the journey still to come.  As we honor Dr. King’s life and legacy, we must renew our commitment to the vision he embodied and hasten the arrival of the day when his dream will come to pass for every American and for all the world.

Dr. King understood that our choices, in the face of injustice, are what define us.  He understood that even those who sought to sit on the sidelines and allow oppression to continue were choosing a path that supported it.  He understood that, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  We all have that choice.  I commit to you today, that this Department of Justice will always choose to act.  We will always choose to protect the weak from the strong, to lift up the essential humanity and equal rights of every American, regardless of what they look like, where they live or whom they love.  And we will always work to extend the promise of equality, the promise of America, to all.

I want to thank you all for your dedication to that mission and I look forward to the work we will do together to build our beloved community in the days and years to come.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Kirk to Kerry: Don’t Waver on Anti-Terrorist Measures to Placate Iran

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Leads 13 Senators in Letter Urging Administration to Uphold Anti-Terrorist Reforms

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) this week led a letter with Senators Dan Sullivan, Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding his recent assurances to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that new Visa Waiver Program (VWP) restrictions would not impact Iranian interests. The Kirk letter is critical of Secretary Kerry’s attempt to reassure Iran. The letter highlights the fact that U.S. law is not the problem, but Iran’s continued support for terrorism. The Senators ask the Secretary to make this clear in future interactions with his counterpart, as well as the fact that these reforms were drafted to address U.S. national security interests, not Iranian interests.

“Iran-sponsored terrorists and militants are responsible for the death of more than 700 Americans,” the Senators wrote. “As you continue to engage with Mr. Zarif, we urge—rather than seeking to placate the complaints of Iran, the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism—you to press him and his government to cease its support for terrorism and provide tangible evidence that it is doing so. We also ask you to clarify to Mr. Zarif and his colleagues that these reforms to the VWP were not drafted with Iranian interests in mind, but U.S. national security interests.”

Signed into law last month, the FY16 Omnibus included reforms to the Visa Waiver Program that would prohibit an individual from traveling to the U.S. under the VWP if, since March 2011, they have visited Iraq or any country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, or if they hold dual citizenship with those countries. These prospective travelers are now required to go through the standard visa application process. Iran is a designated state sponsor of terrorism, and these new restrictions apply to individuals who have traveled to Iran or hold dual Iranian citizenship. The provision allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive individuals if it is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States.

Foreign Minister Zarif expressed frustration with these restrictions, and the letter from Secretary Kerry assured him that the new law would not interfere with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the “legitimate business interests of Iran.” 

A copy of the letter can be seen below and here.

January 13, 2016 

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520 

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We are gravely concerned about your recent letter to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif that sought to allay Iran’s complaints about Visa Waiver Program (VWP) reforms recently signed into law in the United States.

As you know, the new reforms would prohibit any national of a VWP country who has traveled to a country designated by the U.S. Government as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since March 2011, or who holds dual-citizenship with designated countries, from traveling under the VWP. Instead, these individuals would be required to obtain a visa.  Iran is a U.S.-designated State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Mr. Zarif, who described reforms to protect the Visa Waiver Program against terrorist infiltration as “absurd,” also had the temerity to ask:  “Has anybody in the West been targeted by any Iranian national, anybody of Iranian origin, or anyone travelling to Iran?”

Iran-sponsored terrorists and militants are responsible for the death of more than 700 Americans.  During the 1980s, Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists killed over 290 Americans in Lebanon—including 241 U.S. servicemen in the Beirut Barracks Bombing of October 23, 1983. During the 2000s, Iran-backed attacks killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. On July 9, 2015, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Senators:  “I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed by Iranian activities [in Iraq and Afghanistan], and the number has been recently quoted as about 500.”

As you continue to engage with Mr. Zarif, we urge—rather than seeking to placate the complaints of Iran, the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism—you to press him and his government to cease its support for terrorism and provide tangible evidence that it is doing so. We also ask you to clarify to Mr. Zarif and his colleagues that these reforms to the VWP were not drafted with Iranian interests in mind, but U.S. national security interests.

Our Compassion for Drug Users Should Not be Determined by Race

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Letters to Editors

 

From: Marc Mauer

The Sentencing Project

 

In the new year, The Sentencing Project’s research and policy advocacy continues to help inform the momentum for reform that is growing across the country. I’m pleased to share with you a few recent contributions to the national conversation about criminal justice reform:

Our compassion for drug users should not be determined by race. This election season, several Republican presidential candidates have expressed support for individuals struggling with heroin addiction, widely perceived to be a problem in white communities. But for drug problems more closely associated with low-income communities of color, U.S. drug policy has been more often informed by punitive “lock ’em up” rhetoric rather than compassion or a public health approach. In this Guardian op-ed, I discuss how racial perceptions of drug use have informed policy and argue that all people struggling with addiction deserve compassion, regardless of race.

Corrections reform isn’t just about cutting prison populations. While in recent years there has been an increasing focus on challenging mass incarceration, less attention has been devoted to examining corrections populations overall. My commentary in The Crime Report makes the case for including reducing high rates of community supervision as a key priority for criminal justice reform.

Dealing with “other people’s children.” Ashley Nellis, our Senior Research Analyst, has just published a book, A Return to Justice: Rethinking Our Approach to Juveniles in the System, that traces the evolution of the juvenile justice system over many decades. In her interview with The Crime Report, she discusses how the original aim of the juvenile justice system — to consider children’s unique status and amenability for reform — has eroded, with increasing reliance on court systems that do not account for their young age.

I hope these resources will be useful to you in your work.

Regards,

Marc Mauer

Donna More ‘Distressed’ at County Democratic Party Political Tricks

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Donna More Wednesday said she is “distressed” about the Cook County Democratic Central Committee holding a meeting today to endorse her opponent, Kimberly Foxx ,when last year the committee agreed not to back anyone in that race.

More made her remarks during an interview with Harold Davis on WGBX 1970 AM. “They convened in August and they took what I thought was appropriate in a hotly contested race. They voted not to endorse, but now the powers to be are convening” today “to endorse Miss Foxx.”

“My issue with that is two-fold. Miss Foxx and everybody else want to say this isn’t about control of the office, but if it is not about control of the office, why are people fighting so darn hard to make sure they have control of the candidate who wins the office”?

Davis said he is disappointed with the Democratic Party. He pointed to that same committee again reconvening last year and voted to rescind its endorsement of Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court candidate Dorothy Brown, who has been in office for 16-years, and instead gave their backing to Ald. Michelle Harris (8th).

The committee did this after there was a story published about a FBI walking up to Brown and asking her for her cell phone. Brown has repeated said she’s done nothing wrong, but the committee took back its endorsement anyway.

More said, “The party is not trusting the voters to do the right thing. They are not empowering the voters and to me that is what the Democratic Party is all about empowering voters not to be the heavy hand…. It’s about empowering the voters to educate themselves and to vote.”

“It sounds to me like there must be a really important reason to control the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and to control the power of an indictment,” said More.

Davis said the biggest problem is that “people are not feeling Toni Preckwinkle….” Davis referred to a recently held toy giveaway and how he said Preckwinkle “looked the other and would not speak to Clerk Brown…. There were 200 people here. That’s bad taste and unbecoming of a president that you would act that way. They are turning people off….”

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

 

City DUI Checkpoints in Albany Park Are “Irresponsible” Amidst Panic Over Immigration Raids

Posted by Admin On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

From: Organized Communities Against Deportations

Immigrant rights group calls for the City of Chicago to suspend DUI checkpoints planned for this weekend in the Albany Park neighborhood in consideration of panic caused by the announced immigration raids.

 

CHICAGO, IL – For the last two weeks the Albany Park neighborhood has been the subject of daily rumors and reports that immigration enforcement is conducting searches or raids in local grocery stores and apartment buildings. Although most of the recent rumors have turned out to be false, they stem from fear created by the mass, nationally-coordinated raids by the Department of Homeland Security targeting Central American families that began in early January. These raids have caused panic around the country, including in Chicago’s Albany Park, a neighborhood with a high Central American population where many recent migrants have made their home.

 

On Tuesday the Chicago-based immigrant rights group Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) received a press release written by the Office of News Affairs at the Chicago Police Department (CPD) regarding a “DUI Strike Force Patrol in the Albany Park (17th) District” this Saturday January 16th and 17th.  According to the press release (attached below), the program will “saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continuously monitor vehicular traffic.”

 

“It is absolutely irresponsible for the City of Chicago to be setting up any sort of checkpoints in a community that at the same time is being terrorized by immigration agents,” said Rosi Carrasco, an organizer with OCAD. “We will do our best this weekend to inform  people of their rights and protect them from both immigration raids and the untimely Chicago police activities. In the current climate, we expect that if there is a ‘saturation’ of police, there will be reports of raids in Albany Park this weekend. The worst thing the City can do is create more confusion and panic,” she concluded.

 

This is not the first time that the City of Chicago’s use of DUI checkpoints disproportionately affects communities of color. Last fall, a report from the Chicago Tribune showed that that 84% of these DUI checkpoints were taking place in Latino and Black communities. OCAD called attention to the city’s role in criminalizing immigrants and contributing to the deportation dragnet, pointing to the use of DUI charges by immigration enforcement to prioritize people for deportation.

 

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is a community based organization in Illinois that organizes against unfair and inhumane immigration enforcement practices that impact immigrant communities.

 

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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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