King’s Words Relevant Today

February 24, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1968, and still relevant today:
“These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that—because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice—the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries . . . Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism… We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late.”

Frederick Douglass

February 24, 2020

On the 125th anniversary of the great Frederick Douglass:

Fire From Below

Thank you Malcolm X!

February 21, 2020

Remembering Malcolm X on the 55th Anniversary of his assassination—Thank you Malcolm X!


February 19, 2020

Fred again:

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich is back home in his north side house this morning, having been pardoned by the Criminal President.

I agree with Mayor Lightfoot.

“Blagojevich is a real touchstone for a lot of people of what is wrong in Illinois politics,” Lightfoot said, noting that the crimes for which Blagojevich was convicted were “very, very serious” and involved attempts to “monetize his public office.”

Meanwhile, while Blago is home with his wife and kids, the United States criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

The mainstream media loves stories like Blago and Jussie Smollet. They do more to hide the country’s incarceration crisis than illustrate or analyze it.

Curtis Black in the Chicago Reporter:

The number of people sentenced to incarcerations declined 19% last year — dropping from 12,262 in 2017 to 9,941 in 2018 — while FBI statistics showed reports of violent crimes in Chicago dropped by 8%, according to the report from the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, Reclaim Chicago and the People’s Lobby.

The data reinforce “the case made by criminal justice reform advocates that incarceration is not the best strategy to improve public safety,” according to the report.

“In fact, the root causes of many crimes, including poverty and lack of mental health services or substance use treatment, go unaddressed or are made worse through prison sentences. Incarceration disrupts what little security and stability people have, hurting entire communities by separating parents from children, workers from employment and caregivers from the people who need them most.”

According to the report, a major factor in the decline in incarceration rates was Foxx’s decision shortly after taking office in December 2016 to raise the bar for felony retail theft charges from $300 to $1,000. Nearly 4,500 fewer felony retail theft charges were filed in Foxx’s first two years in office, compared to the previous two years.

The report uses information from a new data portal on felony charges released by Foxx’s office earlier this year.

Foxx also increased by 25% the number of people referred to diversion programs, where felony convictions are waived if individuals provide restitution or complete substance abuse treatment programs. In addition, she improved prosecutor training and gave front-line prosecutors greater discretion to negotiate plea deals and drop charges when “prosecution isn’t the best way to promote community health and safety,” according to the report.

It’s the third report by the three groups monitoring Foxx’s progress. Their report earlier this year recommended that felony drug cases could be reduced if prosecutors reviewed charges rather than allowing police officers to file them without review, as is now the case.

Overall, the new report shows that Foxx “is living up to her promises,” said Kristi Sanford of Reclaim Chicago. The state’s attorney’s office “is looking at what makes the community safer, instead of just throwing people in jail,” she said.

“If people have accepted responsibility for retail theft or drug possession, jailing them is not necessarily the best choice,” since it “makes it much harder for those individuals to stabilize their lives,” Sanford said.

The social media debate will continue for a few days about whether Blago should have served his full 14 year sentence.

But then hopefully he will go away.

But with nearly 3 million incarcerated people in the U.S. I’m hoping to reduce it by more than just one crooked ex-governor.

I’m voting for Kim Foxx.

Note from a friend in DC!

February 14, 2020

AG William Barr just finished reading Moby-Dick—he found no evidence of whales!

VOTE Kim Fox

February 12, 2020

PLEEEZE tell your White Friends to vote for Kim Fox (and to tell their friends to do the same). Tell your White Friends not to be seduced by the subtle (but vicious and, with some white folks, quite effective) ads and the incessant reference to the meaningless and stupid Jussie Smolett case. The law and order maniacs, the police union, the white supremacists hate Kim Fox unreservedly (and for good reason: because she stands for real justice)—don’t link arms with that scummy crowd.

From Fred Klonsky:

Dan Webb represented Bill Gates and Microsoft in the United States v. Microsoft Corp, the New York Stock Exchange as chief counsel in a dispute involving $120 million in compensation paid to their former chairman and CEO Richard Grasso, General Electric in a price-fixing case, Philip Morris in its $300 billion tobacco-related litigation.

His law firm, Winston Strawn, also represents other Fortune 100 corporations including BP, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Ernst & Young, Pfizer, and Deloitte.

Lately he has served as Special Prosecutor in the case of Jesse Smollett.

Yesterday, a month before election day for States Attorney, prime-time soap opera actor Jussie Smollett was charged in a indictment by Webb – brought in as a special prosecutor following a media circus and and an organized campaign by the Fraternal Order of Police against States Attorney Kim Foxx.

The indictment of Smollett was sharply critical of our Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx for failing to prosecute Smollett in the first place.

The case of Jussie Smollett has made headlines, frequently overshadowing the far more important story of Kim Foxx and the office of Cook County States Attorney since Foxx took it over.

Nearly one out of every three criminal exonerations in the U.S. last year occurred in Illinois due in large part to a mass exonerations by Foxx in Cook County from cases tied to a disgraced former police sergeant, Reginald Watts.

The cases tied to Watts and his tactical team claimed that those convictions resulted from manufactured drug cases against residents of the Ida B. Wells housing project.

Watts, Chicago police Officer Kallatt Mohammed and other officers would allegedly demand bribes from people they found around the Bronzeville neighborhood housing project. If they didn’t pay up, the cops would plant felony-level drug amounts on them and lie about it under oath.

For the fifth time, the Cook County State’s Attorney has approved mass exonerations for a group of men wrongly convicted of drug crimes connected to Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

Yesterday’s headlines were all about Foxx and Smullet, but in a courtroom at 26th and California, Judge LeRoy Martin, Jr. on Tuesday morning approved a motion by attorneys of 12 men to vacate the convictions. Later, these men will file the legal paperwork for certificates of innocence.

They will be joining 62 men and women who have won such certificates under this first-of-its-kind review by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Convictions integrity unit.

Nearly 100 other exonerations are pending.

Foxx personally apologized to the wrongfully convicted men, although none of the improper convictions happened during her administration.

“I think it is important to acknowledge the harm that has caused,” Foxx said.

Foxx has made Cook County the national capital of mass exonerations.

THIS SATURDAY at 57th St….

February 11, 2020