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Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Two Political Candidates on Different Missions Vying for Humans

Posted by Admin On September - 19 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

President, Probation Challenge and PCC Network

 

This United States election has become an historical disaster, where admirable people with good principles bearing truths are all but rejected!

As taxpayers’ dispute the honesty of presidential candidates vying for the White House, each campaigning day bring about more challenges! With the ‘spirit of confusion’ coupled with lies, truth seems to be holding on by a mere thread.

With one political party opposed to the other, people ought to have the courage to stop and ponder the voice of sanity vs. insanity! Why?  Because, lives of humans are at stake! Deceit is rampant, as the creatureless than a ‘human-spirit’ toy with a ‘detrimental scam’ on God’s humans. This is a serious indictment on the actuality of the scriptures and a dangerous game to play… especially with human-lives! This is not a reality presentation

This United States election has become an historical disaster, where admirable people with good principles bearing truths are all but rejected!

As each candidate splatters mud on the other … the question should come to mind as to who the true and honest candidate is? He or She who is without sin and able to cast the first stone – standup and don’t craw as a serpent (Satan) distinct for the pit of hell.

It’s rather difficult to distinguish who’s the liar, especially when each candidate (including the deceiver) has a camera-ready face covered with deep-seated sincerity! How can the public tell who the best candidate of choice is — or, perhaps the best character-actor suitable to be cast before the public in a live day-to-day reality drama? Who will be able to discern between the good from the evil? Should the CEO  of this country be the one who will govern these Not-So-United-States with a look of compassion or merely a regular John or Mary Doe?

Some do not have a clue as to who the spiritual Deceive is!  Not knowing is why God gave us the word! Lucifer, Satan, and the Devil … aka ‘The Deceiver’ is one and the same!’  The Deceiver will fool the very elect – if possible!

“You can identify them (the evil spirits) by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16.  Nor, will an apple tree will not bear oranges!

Each presidential candidate has a ‘DNA GENETIC MATERIAL’ and a spiritual father to obey! One spirit- father is the devil while the other is of God the Father! Can you not tell by the spiritual content of the  candidate who is without repentances and continually tells ‘untruths’. That spirit is a liar and cannot tell the truth! That spirit is without repentance? Be aware of the father of all lies which is anti-God.

The spirit of Satan cannot nor will not stay in-line with positive measures – because to do so would  represent life!  Know that the evil spirit has text or conversation that is always negative or of a demeaning characteristic.  Satan, we must remember comes only but to rob, steal, kill, and that spirit will destroy – if allowed! But, the spirit of Christ came that we would have life and that we would have it more abundantly! It is not the will of God that any of his children perish … but, people can perish and whither on the vine for the lack of God’s knowledge!

The scripture which is the word of God says: Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  Matthew 13

Christ warned us that the wolves come to devour the flock and in this dispensation we are in the midst of a spiritual warfare that is not flesh and blood… This is a spiritual battle….and the battle is not yours it is the Lord’s. Now, without question … in that this is the Lord’s battle, we without know who is without any doubt going to win … The Lord!

We must be wise in obedience to the word of God that speaks: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”  Hebrews 13:17.

Be prayerful as you journey to the polls as to who will keep the watch over your life! Vote astutely!  He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:13

Contact Dr. Rev. Harold E. Bailey @  WWW.mrheb@aol.com – Telephone 773.978.3706

 

 

Colin Kaepernick Makes Me Wanna Holler and Throw Up Both My Hands

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw
Contributing Writer
Colin Kaepernick

Nationwide — I am not going to equivocate my thoughts about these United States of America. Amerykah – as the artist Erykah Badu has called it, is hands down the greatest country in the world. Like most citizens, I love America and so does Colin Kaepernick, the once beloved and now embattled quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

In case youve been living under a rock for the past few days, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand while the national anthem was being played during a recent pre-season game. His refusal to stand was his expression of the frustration he felt as a Black man, a citizen living in America, observing the lack of racial equality for people of color. Kaepernick made it perfectly clear that his act was his decision and it was personal. We got to witness an act of protest protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. You know the document that begins with We the People…

And then it happened… we the people (Twittersphere, sports fans, a whole lot of folks) lost their figurative minds and let him know (as was their right), how they felt about his act. Some said he was a coward, that it wasnt the right time or place for a protest although protest, no matter the form is never convenient. It was astounding to me that some said he showed disrespect to the men and women who served in the military and more than a few of our loving citizens strongly suggested that he find another country to live in. It was as if this millionaire athlete could not and should not have a conscience and that he absolutely could not exercise his right to object to the playing of a song that has a known racist history.

Not all Americans agreed. Some applauded his right to protest and wondered if Americans would really hear his heart. Some said it was madness but magnificently so.

I immediately thought of the late Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all times was once called a traitor and draft dodger for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army. He was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title and not allowed to box in the US for many years. Ali lost millions but it seemed that his soul remained intact. He showed us by his personal act, that our worth is not determined by green backs and coins but by the tenets of our hearts and those valuable truths that we would willingly sacrifice our lives for.

It was Ali who told the world that he would not put on a military uniform and journey thousands of miles away to drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while Black people were being treated like dogs right here in the streets of America.

Ali unapologetically said that the real enemy was not Vietnam but the good ole USA. It was Ali who said he would willingly go to war if he thought it would bring freedom and equality to Black people. For Ali, the real test was whether he would stand up for his beliefs while facing the possibility of jail. In the end, Ali reflected that he really had nothing to lose if he went to jail because we (Black people) had been in jail for 400 years.

Like Ali, Kapernick did not mince his words when explaining why he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick said he could not stand up and show pride for a country or a flag that oppresses Black people and people of color. He said the oppression that he witnessed was bigger than football. He spoke of the bodies lying in the streets. Kaepernick knew he might pay a heavy price for his beliefs but he set down anyway. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right, Kaepernick said. Sound familiar?

Kaepernick, a Black NFL quarterback who was once chastised by a reporter for wearing his cap backwards. Turn your cap around and act like a professional quarterback, the reporter wrote. I guess that reporter was blissfully unaware that White NFL quarterbacks also wore their caps backwards. Or what about the reporter who loathed the tattoos on his arms, comparing Kaepernicks look to that of a prisoner who just got paroled. It didnt seem to matter to that reporter, that under Kaepernicks leadership, the 49ers earned a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. But I digress…

Is it possible that Kaepernick was asking how could the United States of America, home of the brave and land of the free, the great variegated country who promised that all men were created equal impinge upon the unalienable rights of its citizens of color… the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? He wanted to know when would justice for its citizens of color be congruent with the type of justice experienced by its White citizens. He did not disparage the brave men and women who serve or have served in the military nor the police who bravely seek to make the streets safe for all citizens of this great nation. He did question the system that allows some to escape the consequences of their misguided actions. After all, arent all citizens innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?

Colin Kaepernick simply spoke of his disappointment in a country that is better than what we at times exhibit. He said what you and I know that we can and must do better. It is a courageous act to speak truth to power. Its not for the faint at heart and Colin Kaepernick makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands…

Dr. Valerie Wardlaw is a writer and psychologist from Los Angeles. Contact her at vwardlaw@gmail.com or visit her web site at www.drvaleriewardlaw.com

Photo Caption: Colin Kaepernick, #7 of the San Francisco 49ers

 

 

Op-ed: Set Corey Jacobs Free From Prison

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
He deserves a grant of clemency from President Obama
By Brittany K. Barnett-Byrd, Esq.

As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, I know from personal experience that when one person goes to prison, the whole family goes to prison.  Mass incarceration has devastated families and communities across America. There is a real problem here and a need to help those affected.

 

The United States makes up nearly 5% of the world’s population and almost 25% of the world’s prison population. Today, there are 2.3 million people incarcerated and over 70 million have criminal records in this country.  This state of mass incarceration comes with a price tag of nearly $80 billion annually.

 

While the numbers are astonishing, to truly understand the issue, we must look beyond the numbers and see heartbeats.

 

  1. This number was assigned to my client Corey Jacobs 16 years ago when he began serving time in federal prison for nonviolent drug convictions. Corey had no prior felony convictions. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website, Corey’s release date is not a series of numbers.  It is letters.  Four of them.  LIFE.  With no parole in the federal system, Corey has been fundamentally condemned to die in prison.

 

Corey’s case was recently highlighted by former Attorney General Eric Holder in an opinion piece featured in the New York Times about the need for criminal justice reform. [https://www.facebook.com/GlobalSocialMediaNewsService/posts/1865903743637633] Over two decades ago, Corey, now 46, made a bad decision to become a drug dealer with a small group of college friends in Virginia.

 

Corey was convicted based primarily on the testimony of co-conspirators who testified in exchange for reduced sentences.  Due to federal laws, Corey was held accountable for all “reasonably foreseeable” quantities of drugs attributed to the several people involved in the conspiracy.  Corey was by no stretch of the imagination a drug kingpin and absolutely no dimension of his conduct was violent.

 

Despite facing the grim reality of dying in prison, Corey has worked diligently to prove that he is deserving of a second chance at life.  Corey has devoted himself to extensive rehabilitative programming, completed three self-improvement residential programs, and received over 100 learning certificates that have enhanced his education and personal development.  Extraordinarily, Corey earned over half of these certificates in the past five years.

 

Corey is the only defendant left on his case still behind bars after a co-defendant, who was also serving life without parole, received an unquestionably deserving grant of clemency from President Obama not long ago.

 

Notably, Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr., who sentenced Corey to life in prison under mandatory sentencing laws, believes that Corey deserves clemency like his co-defendant.  In a letter supporting Corey’s pending clemency petition, Judge Morgan confirmed that he is “certain” that he “would not have imposed a life sentence on [Corey] had the laws at the time not virtually mandated it.”

 

There is no doubt that a prison sentence was warranted in Corey’s case.  But he doesn’t deserve to come out of prison in a body bag.

 

Life in prison without the possibility of parole is, short of execution, the harshest punishment available in America. It screams that a person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. It suffocates mass potential as it buries people alive. And, in Corey’s case, it is grotesquely out of proportion to the conduct it seeks to punish.

 

Recently, I went to visit Corey in prison to discuss his pending clemency petition.  I sat in the bleak, cold concrete interior of the attorney-client visiting room unsure of what to expect.  I was quite impressed with his remorse, acceptance of responsibility, intelligence, and dedication to bettering himself. His optimism epitomizes the resiliency of the human spirit.

 

I learned Corey is an avid meditator. He mentioned in passing how he once read nature could enhance the meditation experience but he had not seen a tree in years.  The prison yard outside is surrounded by daunting, grey brick buildings.  The rest of the conversation was a blur because I could not move past the fact that he had not seen a tree. A tree…

 

I left the prison in awe of Corey’s positive energy despite his situation. But what alternative is there to hope, when your reality is unbearable?  If you lose hope, you have lost it all.

 

Unfortunately, Corey is not alone.  The United States locks up too many people for far too long. Thousands of men and women continue to labor in prison under the dark cloud of a sentence that would be substantially lower if handed down under current laws.  No question, drugs harm society.  But allowing nonviolent drug offenders to die in prison is not only morally wrong and inhumane – it is absolutely offensive to the values of this country.

 

Our criminal justice system is in dire need of reform. It is tangled in overcrowded prison cells, draconian sentences, shameful sentencing disparities, burdensome incarceration costs, and heartbroken children and families.

 

For many nonviolent drug offenders their only hope for freedom is for Congress to change the laws or clemency from President Obama.

 

A rainbow of mercy crossed Capitol Hill last year yielding unprecedented bipartisan agreement in Congress that our criminal justice system is in need of serious reform. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123) [https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/announcing-new-clemency-initiative-deputy-attorney-general-james-m-cole-details-broad-new] is a crucial bill pending in the Senate that would pull back mass incarceration and save tax payers billions of dollars.  We must urge Congress to pass this over-due, life changing legislation.

 

President Obama has is committed to reinvigorating the clemency process through his administration’s groundbreaking initiative [https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-initiative] to prioritize clemency applications for individuals like Corey.

 

Just this month, President Obama granted clemency to 214 people. The White House reports that this act of mercy brings the President’s clemency total to more than the last nine presidents combined. [https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/08/03/president-obama-commutes-sentences-214-additional-people] I am in hopes that the President will continue to show dedication to this critical initiative and regularly grant clemency to large groups of deserving people through the end of his term.

 

For years while working as a corporate attorney, I devoted hours to pro bono representation for clients in prison under outdated sentencing regimes and have handled several successful clemency petitions. This time last year, my client Sharanda Jones [http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/07/15/from-a-first-arrest-to-a-life-sentence/], was serving her 17th year of a life without parole sentence as a first-time nonviolent drug offender. Clemency from President Obama on December 18, 2015 literally saved her life.

 

There is no rational argument for why nonviolent drug offenders should die in prison. It is an utter waste of human life and a true indictment of our ailing criminal justice system. The time is now for the people who hold the levers of power to believe in humanity and simply do the right thing.

 

I never imagined that visiting a United States Penitentiary would change the trajectory of my life and legal career. The state of consciousness I felt after meeting with Corey empowered me.  I no longer wanted to be just a lawyer.  I wanted to use this platform to promote the greater good. Because of thousands of cases like Corey’s, two months ago I unhesitatingly resigned from my corporate law job to be an advocate for criminal justice reform.

 

There is nothing more urgent than freedom.

_______________________

 

Brittany K. Barnett-Byrd [http://www.brittanykbyrd.com/] is the #ClemencyNOW Campaign Manager at #cut50 [http://www.cut50.org/], a national bipartisan initiative to safely and smartly cut America’s prison population in half. She is also founder of Girls Embracing Mothers [http://www.girlsembracingmothers.org/], a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls with mothers in prison.

 

Majority vs. Electoral: Is Political System Speaking for Majority of Voters?

Posted by Admin On August - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Is the political system adhering to the mindset of the vast majority of voters?

 

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President of Probation Challenge and the PCC Network



Once upon a time U.S. citizens were complacent that the majority population vote would count!  Well, some citizens are living in the past and the majority no longer rule!  In the event you are not aware, the majority vote doesn’t count!  Truth is there are select delegates rendering decisions for the majority.

 

What’s the difference in today’s vote opposed to the past?  Strangely, many don’t know what the difference constitutes, or why there ever was a change! Tax payers decided to leave what was considered trivial matters to politicians… and that may not have been the wisest thing to do!

 
Rev. Harold E. Bailey, president of Probation Challenge, suggested recently, that youth and elders should know the current process of our government in the selection of a United States President verses an electoral process. We must remember that African American, Hispanics are not acquainted with the process of school, or the voting process!

 
Bailey said, “The world has drastically changed and because of the lacking in the United States educational process, much has escaped the eyes and ears of the African American and Hispanics communities. It’s time to become re-educated and fast! In my dialog with youth, I’ve observed that our street minded youth are not fully aware as to our historical yesterdays opposed to this present dispensation. I’m hastening to point out that this is not a mistake for those who devised such a devise! However its past- times to reconsider the will of the masses of people and not merely a few select persons to rule as in the Slavery era”.

 
Bailey spoke of a former student who graduated from Probation Challenge and now ministering.  He said “This young man recently contact me and ask that I come out of retirement and stand in the mist of gang-bangers to teach them the spiritual principles that brought him successfully through the ranks. My response was that I after prayer and much consideration would return his call for help. If these same youth who are asking for help… knew by the stretch of their imagination that the powers-that-be were wearing them out from the political sector… they would multiply in numbers at the polls.

 
If in-fact taxpaying citizens and gang-bangers would gather in large numbers at the polls it would constituted as a large popular vote-count, but in certain states would their votes count?”  Bailey said the action was politically cunning and full of craftiness.
In a presidential election, the popular vote simply means a combined collection of all voters from all states in America. It is quite possible that a candidate wins the popular vote (gets more votes over all) and yet loses the presidential election. This is because although Americans vote directly for their chosen candidate in the presidential election every 4 years, the president is elected by the institution called the Electoral College. Do we want this in selecting a president?

 
A good example: In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won 48% of the popular vote but only 38% of the electoral vote.


The Electoral College

There are 538 total electors in the Electoral College, who are chosen by each state of the United States and by the District of Columbia (but not by other territories like Puerto Rico). The number of electors for a state is based upon the voting membership of that state in Congress i.e. the number of representatives in the House plus the number of senators. There are a total of 435 Representatives and 100 Senators in Congress; so along with 3 electors from the District of Columbia that brings the total number of electors to 538. A presidential candidate needs 270 (just over 50%) electoral votes to win. Do we want this in selecting a president?

 

How Electoral Votes are Awarded
In all states except Nebraska and Maine, electors are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. This means all electors/delegates in a state are awarded to the winner of the popular vote in that state. So in a closely contested election like 2000 (Bush v. Gore), when George Bush won Florida with a roughly 50-50% split of the popular vote in that state, he won all 27 electoral votes for Florida. Maine and Nebraska use a slightly different method for allocating electoral votes. In the “Congressional District Method”, one elector within each congressional district is selected by popular vote in that district. The remaining two electors (representing the 2 U.S. Senate seats) are selected by the statewide popular vote. This method has been used in Nebraska since 1996 and in Maine since 1972. Do we want this in selecting a president?


Disadvantages of the Electoral College

Critics of the system that uses the electoral vote to choose a president argue that the system is unfair. They say that the system is undemocratic because the number of electoral votes is not directly proportional to the population of the state. This gives smaller states a disproportionate influence in presidential elections. For example, Hawaii has a population of only 1.36 million but has 4 electoral votes while Oregon has a population 3 times that size (3.8 million) but only 7 electoral votes. If the power of a single vote were calculated in terms of number of number of people per electoral vote, states like New York (519,000 people per electoral vote) and California (508,000 people per electoral vote) would lose. The winners would be states like Wyoming (143,000 people per electoral vote) and North Dakota (174,000 people per electoral vote).

 
Another criticism is that the electoral vote system does not penalize a state for low voter turnout or for disenfranchising its citizens (such as convicted felons, or, historically, slaves and women) The state gets the same number of votes regardless of whether voter turnout is 40% or 60%. In a popular vote, states with higher turnout will directly increase their influence in the outcome of the presidential race.

 
Yet another criticism is that it discourages voters in states where one party holds a substantial majority i.e. Republicans in typically blue states like California or Democrats in red states like Texas. Since electoral votes are awarded on a winner-take-all basis, even a significant minority of contrarian votes will not make any impact on the outcome of the election. On the other hand, if a popular vote were to be used then every single vote has an impact.

 


Advantages of the Electoral Vote over a Popular Vote

Supporters of using the electoral vote argue that it protects the rights of smaller states and is a cornerstone of American federalism. States can design their own mechanism — without federal involvement — for choosing their electors.

 
Another advantage is that the impact of any state-level problems, such as fraud, is localized. No political party can commit large-scale fraud in any one state to dramatically influence an election.

 
It should be noted that the Electoral College merely follows from state influence in Congress, which enacts laws and acts as an inherent checks-and-balances mechanism for the president’s administration. That is to say representation for various states in Congress is also not directly proportional to their population.

 
Different Winners of Electoral and Popular Vote
The biggest criticism of the electoral vote system is that it is possible for a presidential candidate to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. That is, more Americans voted for the candidate but he or she still lost. While this is rare, it has happened 4 times:

 
• George Bush (electoral vote winner) vs. Al Gore in 2000: Al Gore won the popular vote by 543,816 votes
• Benjamin Harrison (electoral vote winner) vs. Grover Cleveland in 1888
• Rutherford B. Hayes (winner) vs. Samuel J. Tilden in 1876: Tiden won the popular vote by 264,292 votes
• John Quincy Adams won the electoral vote in 1824 but lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson by 44,804 votes in 1824

 
Popular Support for the Electoral College
A Gallup poll in January 2013 found that a vast majority of Americans would prefer to do away with the Electoral College for presidential elections.
Now, I ask the voting public… after reading all the confusing data and watching the confusion on television with various presidential candidates … who are you most likely to vote for?

 
And, if your candidate has the large majority of votes… who really wins?

 

For more information, contact: Rev. Harold E. Bailey, Founder and President of Probation Challenge and the PCC Network
WWW.mrheb@aol.com – 773.978.3706.

 


As Heart Disease Plagues the Black Community, America’s Access to Medicines May Be Headed for Crisis

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 

Op-Ed By Rev. Derek McCoy

 

Heart disease is the longstanding No. 1 killer of Americans, and the leading cause of death among Marylanders. While this silent killer devastates populations of all racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are at the highest risk – deaths from heart disease among African Americans are 30 percent higher when compared to the White population.

 

Many African-Americans are all too familiar with family members who have struggled with this disease and have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects from physical to psychological to financial. With new breakthroughs in life-saving medicines, why does this death toll remain so high? Access continues to be a defining problem for doctors and their patients.

Even as specialty drugs have become available to treat conditions like high cholesterol, insurance companies and others are working to keep their own costs down by limiting patients’ coverage for them. An April story from the Association Press tells the story of Christian Jacobs, a 24-year-old with a rare form of inheritable high cholesterol.

 

He takes eight medications, including blood thinners for seven stents that keep his arteries open. When Christian found out that UnitedHealth, his insurer, wouldn’t cover a breakthrough drug, Repatha, which is designed for patients like Christian, he was shocked.

 

“‘I was floored,'” he said. “‘How in the world can we be rejected for a medication that I meet every single standard for?'” Instead, his insurer said he should maintain his current drug regimen.

Christian’s condition may be unique, but his story is not. Aggressive anti-patient maneuvers have become all-too-common in the health care industry in America today. Even as uninsured rates plummet, especially among minority populations, out-of-pocket costs are growing at rapid rates.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible for people with employer-provided health coverage rose from $303 to $1,077 between 2006 and 2015.

That’s a staggering 255 percent increase. Insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers are some of the most vocal opponents of high prescription drug prices, but patients are the ones really footing the bills. People from lower income communities, as well as retirees, are especially susceptible and are being hit hard with increased cost for quality care and drugs.

The entry of “independent” non-profits into the national debate over health care costs should be of concern to patient advocates as well. The Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has been called the “de facto arbiter for the nation’s medicine chest.”

ICER evaluates prescription drugs that have been recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration and makes a determination if they’re too expensive. As part of these drug reviews, it has called for discounts up to 94 percent of the list price of the drug. Insurers and PBMs, in turn, cite ICER reports while pushing for lower prices from pharmaceutical companies, or to justify extensive bureaucratic requirements like prior-authorizations that effectively restrict patients’ access to medications.

ICER’s heavy dependence on the insurance and PBM industry for financial support calls its independence into question, and should give pause to those in the health care industry who’re looking for expert opinions. With the rise in anti-patient policies already underway, the payers don’t need further justification to put the squeeze on patients from media stories that don’t reveal ICER’s bias for the payers’ bottom line.

 

As noted by Dr. Sean Francis, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at the University of Louisville, “Every day, it seems, insurers and other middlemen put new restrictions on what drugs can be given to our patients, and how they can be prescribed.”

 

The effects of these policies on patients and vulnerable populations are already problematic. If they continue to worsen, they may turn America’s access to medicines issue into a full blown crisis.

Reverend Derek McCoy is the national director for the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) and an associate pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.

 

 

 

Chicago Lawyers and the Code of Silence

Posted by Admin On June - 29 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

View From The Ground <info@invisibleinstitute.com>

Vol. 2, Issue 4: Record Resistance
A REPRINT

At Issue: City lawyers and the code of silence

The city routinely resists turning over police complaint records and other evidence in civil rights lawsuits, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune.

The report raises the possibility of conflicts between defending individual officers and serving the public good and taxpayers’ interests – and whether the city’s law department is upholding a police code of silence by fighting to keep public information secret.

Resistance to turning over documents is stronger in cases involving charges of wrongful convictions and serious excessive force, according to the report. The city routinely resists releasing officers’ complaint records, a practice which corporation counsel Steven Patton defended.

The city has “resisted turning over the most basic documents,” sometimes resulting in years-long legal skirmishes. In a number of cases the city has faced judicial sanctions, sometimes costly. In the case of the 2011 shooting death of Darius Pinex, a judge overturned a jury verdict in the city’s favor after he found a city lawyer “intentionally concealed” relevant documents; the city then settled with Pinex’s family for over $2 million.

Meanwhile the Chicago Reporter has published a database of 655 police misconduct lawsuits filed between 2012 an 2015, along with an investigation finding the police department fails to analyze lawsuits – as department in other cities do – to identify issues that need to be addressed or officers who need correction.

Looking at the small number of cases where the city admitted to police misconduct, the Reporter found that of 151 officers who admitted wrongdoing, only nine were investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority – and of them, only one was found responsible for misconduct.

Diversity. White male officers are disproportionately favored in promotions within the Chicago Police Department – and “the higher the position, the more likely it’s been…filled by a white man” – according to a Sun Times report.

A merit selection process based on supervisor recommendations intended to address the dearth of minorities in upper ranks has made some difference, but it’s also been used by politicians backing favorite officers and multigenerational police families backing a relative.  And sometimes supervisors with histories of abuse have promoted officers with similar histories.

The Sun Times highlights the recent promotion of a former Special Operations Section officer to detective after he and other SOS cops were ordered to pay $96,000 in punitive damages for a false arrest; he was recommended by Chief of Detectives Dean Andrews, who resigned last December to avoid being fired in the cover-up of a killing by former Mayor Daley’s nephew.

Another officer who fatally shot quadriplegic in a 2003 traffic stop – subject of a court settlement in which the city paid $5.2 million – was promoted to detective in 2013 at the recommendation of then-Commander Glenn Evans, himself subject of numerous excessive force complaints and several legal settlements.

Meanwhile, the proportion of blacks on the force has “steadily declined” over the past decade, according to the Sun Times.

The Washington Post recently surveyed national data and found that in cities with more representative police forces, fewer black civilians are killed by police.

In its April report, the mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force found that the department has made some progress since the early 1970s, when 83 percent of officers were white and a federal judge found the department “knowingly discriminated” in hiring and promotion.  But CPD “still has a ways to go to reflect the racial makeup of the city – and the department “has particular work to do when it comes to promotions,” the task force found.

The task force recommended that CPD “develop recruitment, selection and promotion strategies that increase diversity,” and that it follow the lead of most large companies and organizations and implement a diversity program overseen by a Deputy Chief of Diversity and Inclusion.

No bonfires. A bill requiring CPD to preserve police misconduct records passed the House Judiciary-Criminal Law Committee last month but wasn’t called for a vote in the full House.  The Better Government expects an effort to get a vote on the bill in the General Assembly’s extended session.

The records are currently covered by an arbitrator’s ruling protecting them for the duration of the investigation of CPD by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Fraternal Order of Police is appealing the ruling.

From The Archive:

The Regime of Not-Knowing: “In view of the gravity of harms to citizens, communities, and institutions that flow from police abuses, what are the impediments to instituting an effective monitoring and disciplinary system?” In this 2006 excerpt from “Kicking The Pigeon,” Invisible Institute Director Jamie Kalven explores an issue of police accountability that resonates today.
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“No Fly, No Buy,” Supported By 90% of Americans, Deserves A Vote

Posted by Admin On June - 27 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
By Marc H. Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

In response to Congress’ incomprehensible inaction on gun safety in the wake of the nation’s worst mass shooting, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday to demand a vote on the “no fly, no buy” bill. 

The bipartisan measure, supported by an overwhelming 90% of Americans, would ban the sale of guns to suspected terrorists on the government’s no-fly list.

“Sometimes you have to get in the way. You have to make some noise by speaking up and speaking out against injustice & inaction,” Rep. Lewis tweeted during the protest. “The time is always right to do right. Our time is now.”

In an op-ed published Friday in the New York Daily News, I was joined by John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety, and Evan Wolfson, President of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, in calling for common sense gun safety reforms.

“It is insane,” we wrote, “that we live in a country where terror suspects and criminals, including those convicted of hate crimes, can easily buy guns. Ity is intolerable that in our country armed hatred is the new normal. And it is unacceptable that our lawmakers protect and promote the gun lobby’s vision over our own lives and liberties.”

We applaud Rep. Lewis’s principled stance on the “no fly, no buy” bill. It is astonishing that such extreme measures should be necessary to urge a vote on a bill that is supported by 9 out of every 10 Americans.

‘Divisive and Cunningness of Presidential Candidate’

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President, Probation Challenge

 

As the voting public is led into a political turmoil, straddling voters are for the first time in the history of these United States, haltered between two opinions – good and evil!

As followers of presidential candidates fight for clarity based upon what is spoken by the candidate, thons of people are mislead by the misrepresentations of truths leaving people splintered and torn by the Master-of-Deceptiveness!  Confusion has now surfaced in the presidential race and Satan has lifted its ugly head leaving voters forgetful as to the tools that would be used to deceive.

The written word of God gives unadulterated clarity as to who the ruler of darkness is and, in a close review of scripture … it is that wicket and contrary spirit that has now entered the presidential campaign!  The Spirit of Satan: Scriptures declare that in the latter days; the ruler of darkness who is now presently at war for the very souls of God’s creations has embodied humans and diligently seeking to destroy by calling right-wrong and wrong-right.

Even as the mature voter’s eye denotes that something is not in divine-order, some voters are not factoring in the law-of-God which is a defying error! The exclusion of God, who is to exclude the landlord of this universe! To exclude God… is an act of spiritual defiance and plays into the hands of the enemy … which is a critical and deadly mistake!

If ever blatant evils were demonstrated on this planet they are represented in this 21st Century!  Persons of noted and dubious reputations are spiting in the face of voters, misleading millions via falsehoods, while their devious hearts are far from truth as the east is from the west.

Principalities and spiritual wickedness sitting in high places… now has ownership to lawlessness and terrorism and broadly demonstrates divisions rather than comradeship! This is not an attribute of peace… thusly not of God! We know that Lucifer (Aka: Satan, Lucifer, Devil) is the Commander-in-Chief of the mass confusion in these Not-So-United States and in the entire earth ream.

With the murders and violence that has invaded the earth ream from the nation capitol to the state and city houses; one would ask who is the inflammable leader of Principalities, Powers and Spiritual wickedness sitting in High places?  The learned Apostle Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4 – that the answer… it is Satan, Lucifer, the ‘god’ of this world.

Without a trace of doubt, the renowned political enemy comes only but to rob, steals, kill and to rob us of our joy… for the joy of the Lord is our strength!

God is not the author of confusion! We have only but to observe and take note that these are the latter days where the very elect could and would be fooled if possible!

The only hope we have in these crucial matters is in Christ Jesus, for he is the hope of glory! Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is not caught-up in the clamors of the world, continues to speak with a soft still voice pleading for his people to turn from their evil and devious ways, pray and to seek his face… and the promise which is on condition; he will hear from heaven and will heal the land.

The crucial question resting with our salvation: Whose report do we choose to believe? Do we believe the word of God when it says: You shall know the evil-ones by the fruit they bare?  Take note that an apple tree cannot bear bananas!

The true baptized believers in Christ should take into consideration:  The bible declares in (2 Corinthians 10: 4-6) 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Ye Shall Know the Truth!

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

Photo: Rev. Harold E. Bailey

 

To contact Dr. Rev. Harold Bailey: WWW.ProbationChallenge.org or Mail: Mrheb@aol.com , or 773.978.3706.

Who Do You Serve?: Response to PATF “Recommendations for Reform”

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


BYP100 Op-ED by Cosette Hampton

The subtitle of the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) report, recently released on April 13, 2015 states: Recommendations for Reform – Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities they Serve. How can trust be “restored” when it did not exist? How can PATF’s recommendations really be trusted when not only was its’ constituency selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but its’ head, Lori Lightfoot, is also the president of the Chicago Police Board itself? This is the same president that frequently cuts off the microphones of families and victims of police violence expressing their trauma in hopes of receiving justice, like she did to the daughters of Bettie Jones, a Black woman “accidentally” murdered by CPD and considered collateral damage. How can PATF speak of trust when it throughout all 183 pages of its’ expensive, deceptive and ineffective reforms, it only references Rekia Boyd two times, though her family and young Black organizers in Chicago have been demanding justice for her murder since 2012?

BYP100 is not fooled by fluff-filled recommendations coming from an illegitimate team of Rahm’s puppets. The majority of the efforts made to draft this report were of a marketing-oriented mindset, developed to trick the public into believing that we’re getting what we asked for in order to improve the Chicago Police Department’s reputation. This is not the first publicity stunt used to save face that we’ve seen. Although he remained untouched even after failing to take disciplinary action against Officer Dante Servin, the officer that murdered 22-year old Rekia Boyd, it took Mayor Emanuel one day to fire former CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy to save face after the cover up of Laquan McDonald’s murder. We are not fooled by promises of restorative justice from a punitive institution. We are not fooled by promises to increase transparency, when regardless, transparency does not matriculate into accountability. We are not fooled by promises of accountability, when the people are not given the power to control whether or not they want police in their neighborhoods and if so, how they want them to operate as public servants.

This movement against the brutality of CPD and the state has been and continues to be led by young Black people in BYP100, Assata’s Daughters, F.L.Y., Black Lives Matter Chicago, Let Us Breathe, Fight for 15 and countless others. They have done the work of supporting the families of those who have been victimized by CPD, holding their own trauma caused by state violence and building the legitimacy of this movement, but are still being ignored by this Taskforce report. Though the Taskforce lifts up that it’s very creation and the heightened visibility of police violence is due to, “a significant and historic outcry,” that “brought people into the streets, on social media and other venues,” it still failed to mention how, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s orders, CPD has been unconstitutionally surveilling the people who made it happen.

Be it IPRA to CPIA, or CAPS to CEED, the PATF report is filled with name-changes and more money for current programs and new programs that increase loopholes and bureaucracy and that the most vulnerable population, young Black people, did not ask for. The PATF said they listened, but in reality what they did was use rhetoric that looks good on paper, but is actually faulty in implementation and contrary to what Black communities have stated their needs are.

  • The community asked for a Civilian Police Accountability Council with hiring and firing power. PATF offered a “Community Safety Oversight Board” with audit and recommendation-making power only.

In response to protests against racial profiling and bias during “routine” stop-and-search and stop-and-frisk in the wake of statistics that show white drivers have illegal contraband twice as often as Black drivers, PATF recommended that CPD simply collect better data on investigatory stops and pat-downs. Essentially, PATF is saying the continuation of discriminatory stop-and-frisk is O.K., as long as detailed data is collected on each stop.

  • The community asked for less police and more public resources that are human-capital building, offer youth safe alternative activities, and treat those living with mental illnesses. PATF recommended departments deploy more police into communities, though 20% of Chicagoans and only 6% of Black people believe CPD treats all citizens fairly.

The youth of the community said they are afraid of police and are traumatized by their negative experiences with the police, and would call them last in case of an emergency. PATF offered up more and better training as a solution though only 6.7% of 12,000 officers actually complete the Youth-Crisis Intervention trainings they already have.

  • The community asked for police officers to be removed from schools to impair the school-to-prison pipeline. PATF disagrees with the community, and suggests that CPD officers that “fail expectations” in CPS schools should just be reassigned instead of being fired.

The community asked for mental health care centers and for mental health professionals to be first responders to domestic issues instead of police. PATF recommends instead that 911-dispatchers be trained to deploy CPD officers trained in Crisis Intervention, knowing that even these officers still have the ability to shoot, use tasers, and kill if they so choose, regardless of their expensive training.

  • The community asked to be humanized through restorative justice practices instead of harmful policing strategies that contribute to the mass incarceration of Black people.

PATF recommended that instead of paying the certified restorative justice practitioners already working in schools and communities across the city, more money be directed to train officers (who still have arresting power) in restorative justice.

BYP100 knows that policing is inherently tied to a system of anti-Blackness that criminalizes and dehumanizes Black and Brown people, and thus police cannot practice restorative justice because they are tied to punitive-action through their racist, oppressive state-sanctioned positions.

PATF claims that police officers are here to serve and protect all people in Chicago, but they recommend yet another level of bureaucracy be instituted through the appointment of an Inspector General of Public Safety. If police were actually protecting us instead of hurting us, then PATF wouldn’t have recommended this new position.

  • The community asked for a participatory budget where they can decide where and how they spend their tax dollars.

PATF instead uplifted CPD’s general order that, “…all persons in each area of the City share the common need for protection and service through objective and impartial law enforcement.” Prescribing police to communities by force should only be understood as an authoritarian response to a collective call for democracy. Rahm, Lori, and the PATF Board should not have the power to determine what each community’s needs are when the community knows the real solutions, but needs the resources to carry them out.

The major issue with the PATF report is that it develops new policies and reforms that have little likelihood of being successfully implemented. CPD already has multiple policies that supposedly protect the human rights of minorities and defend against ever-present racial bias, so changing the wording of a few of these policies will not change how police decide to carry on in their execution—a way that we know is racist, murderous and unchangeable without their complete elimination. PATF wants to funnel more money into CPD, though Chicago has already had to pay over $662 million on police misconduct settlements since 2004 and CPD already receives 41% of the City Budget. The Chicago Police Department does not deserve another dime of taxpayers dollars to harass, terrorize, brutalize and murder young Black youth.  Time and time again, CPD has shown, historically and currently, that it cannot be trusted to have positive reform or actually be effective in protecting people from inter-community violence. It is nothing less than ignorant to continue to fund and prioritize an ineffective system over reforms and resources that Black communities have actually demanded.

We must continue to see through the shady efforts of the PATF to pacify us and coddle us into dormancy. We will not be fooled nor shaken, and we will continue the work of organizing for authentic Black liberation from state-violence instead of accepting this diluted version PATF is offering us. We will not allow the biggest, most violent gang in the city—CPD, to continue to trick our people.

In The News

Protesters shut down meeting of Chicago police task force

Protesters Call CPD Task Force a Sham, Meeting Erupts in Chaos & Ends Early

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

Chicago Police Reform or Community Control of the Police?

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Early on in the Police Accountability Task Force Report a democratic principle is set forth, namely, that “The police need to know who they work for – the community. The authority that they have belongs to the people.” Yet nowhere does this report address the fundamental democratic right of the people to control the police and so we are left with suggested reforms and recommendations for policy changes that are left in the hands of the very people that created the problem in the first place. If the police in fact worked for the community then we wouldn’t be campaigning for community control of the police.

The document itself is called: “Police Accountability Task Force Recommendations for Reform: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities They Serve.” The powers that be have been so poised, so prepared for a report such as this that they wasted no time in pumping it up in the media as a giant step forward in at least embarking on the long and torturous road of reform.

This is a long and detailed report that examines in detail particularity the institutionalized racist practices of the Chicago Police Department going back several decades, showing that the lack of accountability and the practice of excusing and justifying police crimes and misconduct is long standing. Also this Task Force declares at the outset that “The Police Accountability Task Force arose amidst a significant and historic public outcry. The outcry brought people into the streets, on social media and other venues to say in a very clear voice that they had reached a breaking point with the entire local law enforcement infrastructure. People were and are demanding accountability and real and lasting change. The outcry was not localized in any particular neighborhood or demographic, although communities of color and those ravaged by crime added some of the most poignant commentary.”

 

Obviously the Black Lives Matter Movement and the broad based Black-led peoples’ movement for community control of the police (known in Chicago as CPAC) are the driving forces demanding police accountability. Therefore, we must approach this Task Force’s report and recommendations from the standpoint of whether it contributes to the campaign for an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), and how it furthers the demands of Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Teachers Union, BYP100, Assata’s Daughters, SEIU Locals 73 and SEIU HCII, Fight for 15, Trinity United Church of Christ, the Arab American Action Network, the Filipino Alliance, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and others calling for justice now.

 

The Task Force report purports to be a response to the people’s movement demands for police accountability, but if that was the case the Task Force would’ve recommended that all those complicit in the murder of Laquan McDonald be indicted and that Dante Servin be fired.

 

CPAC, unlike any proposal or recommendation on the table at this time, empowers the people to hold the police accountable for crimes they (the police) commit. CPAC takes the power of appointment out of the hands of the Mayor and puts it in the hands of the people. In other words, CPAC realizes the demands of the people for justice  by changing the system.

Justice now means first of all enacting the ordinance establishing community

control of the police, CPAC.  It also means:

  • Firing Dante Servin, the murderer of Rekia Boyd.
  • Firing and prosecuting the four police officers who lied in their reports to cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald.
  • Department of Justice prosecution of all police in Chicago who murdered and/or tortured people in violation of their federally protected constitutional and human rights.
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel must resign.

We agree that we arrived at this point of distrust in the police and thecriminal justice system because of racism and racist practices. However, it is clear that the police cannot self-correct this problem through training. We must empower the people through CPAC to correct this problem.

We agree that there is a need to address a mentality in the CPD that the end justifies the means. Again we can’t rely on the police and their politician friends to self-correct this problem.

 

The people must be empowered to hold the police accountable for their crimes and misconduct, that is, the people who are presently powerless over the police must have the power to tell the police how they want their communities policed. CPAC will empower the people to write the rules with regard to the use of deadly force, stop and frisk, and every other aspect of police conduct.

Failure to make accountability a core value and imperative is a direct result of the police policing themselves and placing themselves above the law. They see accountability as an impediment. Being held accountable by the African American community and other communities of color has thus far never even been considered. It is time to implement community control of the police.

The Task Force criticizes “Significant Underinvestment In Human Capital.” What this means is that racism has been allowed to dictate who polices our communities and how they police it. It means that from the training academy to the streets that police are given the mentality that they are to operate in our communities like an occupying army. There should be an intolerance for racist attitudes at all levels, but again this problem cannot be solved internally. It will only be correctly approached through community control of the police.

 

Basically this report is telling us that there are deep and abiding issues such as massive unemployment, debilitating poverty, untreated mental illness, drug addiction, etc., such conditions cause social unrest that in turn bring about mass protest, social rebellion, crime and mass incarceration. In our opinion the government’s failure to address these issues causes disorder and the police as a para-military organization, is called upon to maintain order and quell social rebellion. Police crimes represent a direct threat to any hopes of us living in a fair and democratic society. Police repression is an ever-present threat to all democratic struggles of the people and that is why we must fight for people power over police power

No police Board! No IPRA! No Monitors, Auditors, or Overseers! Only Community Control of the Police! CPAC!

Aislinn Pulley is a lead organizer with Black Lives MatterChicago. Frank Chapman is a Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.

For more information contact: Frank Chapman, CAARPR, 312-513-3795
Aislinn Pulley, Black Lives Matter, Chicago, (872) 395-8048

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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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