Saturday, December 17, 2011
The SEC filed charges against two former CEO’s and other high ranking executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Statement from Press Secretary Jay Carney
The international financial sanctions that followed prevented Libya's assets from being used by Qadhafi to perpetrate violence and preserved Libya’s wealth for its rightful owners, the Libyan people. Due to the bravery and perseverance of the Libyan people, the Qadhafi regime was defeated and Libya is now undertaking a transition to democracy.
Author: Presidential Press and Information Office
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Nancy Lockhart, M.J., is a non-attorney legal analyst with a sincere passion for researching and publicizing grave issues of injustice and wrongful convictions. Lockhart is most notably recognized for her work in the Scott Sisters case. Her relentless petitioning and long-term involvement in the controversial case played a major role in having Gladys and Jamie Scott released.
Lockhart created and spearheaded a grass-roots campaign along with Evelyn Rasco, the mother of the Scott sisters, in her quest for justice. The movement became a viral, global phenomenon via social networking and field organizing -- combining creative planning with online and off-line strategies.
Additionally, Lockhart launched the Compassionate Medical Release petition on behalf of Patricia Wright and others, as well as assisted in negotiating structured plea bargains. Wright, who was incarcerated in 1998 after being convicted of killing her husband, with no evidence or motive linking her to the crime, was diagnosed with fourth-stage terminal cancer while serving her sentence.
Lockhart holds a Masters of Jurisprudence from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. While attending, she supported herself by working as a consultant for the RainbowPUSH Coalition. It was at PUSH that she initially began championing the cause of the Scott Sisters.
Upon graduating from the university and leaving PUSH, Lockhart continued to seek justice on behalf of the Scott Sisters. Her efforts proved successful when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour suspended their life sentence with the stipulation that Gladys, then 36, give Jamie, who was 38, one of her kidneys. The sisters were released in January of 2011.
From The G-Man recently conducted an exclusive interview with Lockhart to discuss her new book "Locked Up - What to Do When Your AZZ Gets Locked Up", a book that she believes will be crucially important to every American in the future.
G-Man: You were instrumental in the Scott Sisters case. Could you elaborate on why you decided to become a legal advocate for the sisters and their family?
Lockhart: Allow me to state this, emphatically. Advocating for the Scott Sisters was simply the right thing to do. I championed their cause because no one else had done so and apparently, no one else would. Mrs. Rasco - the mother of The Scott Sisters - was actually my first contact with the case. She fought tirelessly for 11 years (at that time) and after researching everything that she shared with me, I found that she told the truth about the trumped up charges. I realized that she was poor financially but, very rich in spirit and determination. Mrs. Rasco cared for their children when she could have easily placed them in foster care, all of which motivated me to research the case of her daughters.
G-Man: Did the case, ultimately, play a role in your decision to write the book?
Lockhart: Ultimately, the case did play a large role in my decision to write the book. I consistently receive numerous requests from individuals nationwide who unfortunately have criminal, legal issues. I was inspired by those numerous requests.
G-Man: What was the most difficult aspect of writing "Locked Up"?
Lockhart: The most difficult aspect of writing this volume was narrowing the information. What To Do When Your AZZ Gets Locked up is the first in a Locked Up series. I will continue to address those issues affecting poor people, and minorities. Justice is expensive - I am an advocate for lowering the bar on mass incarceration and raising the bar on legal education in our communities. With the appropriate education - negative statistics decrease.
G-Man: Without giving too much away, can you discuss one thing people should do immediately if they're jailed?
Lockhart: Never feel that you can negoitiate with the police. Keep your mouth shut! Talk only when your lawyer is present. This starts with being arrested and when jailed.
G-Man: Having spent many years as a legal analyst, what have you found to be the most disturbing and shocking element of the court system?
Lockhart: One case in particular. A young man (juvenile) was offered a plea deal to avoid a life sentence. No one was murdered. The bargain was 125 years. He is currently incarcerated. The shocking and disturbing elements for me currently are the egregious plea deals and excessive sentences.
G-Man: Do you address this issue in your book?
Lockhart: This issue is addressed, but will be elaborated on fully in the third volume of the series.
G-Man: To date, what experience or case would you cite as an absolute travesty of justice and why?
Lockhart: The Troy Davis case. There was absolutely too much doubt in Troy's case to murder him.
G-Man: Based on your knowledge and observations, regarding the rate of incarceration, do Black males or Black females face the greatest danger?
Lockhart: I believe that Black males face the greatest danger of mass incarceration although; there is a steady increase in Black women and both males and females of Hispanic decent.
G-Man: As you may be well aware, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if juveniles should be prosecuted as adults. What is your view, particularly where heinous acts are concerned?
Lockhart: I believe that most juveniles (and adults) can be rehabilitated. On the other hand, I do not believe that proper rehabilitation exists in our country.
G-Man: The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill, S. 1867, which grants the president and U.S. military complete authority to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone suspected of being a terrorist or having links to terrorist organizations, including U.S. citizens, without due process. If this bill is signed into law by President Obama, would the information in your book still be applicable under the new law?
Lockhart: The information in the Locked Up series will be needed more than ever to assist in preventing wrongful convictions.
Lockhart is not an attorney, and those seeking legal services should contact their state bar association. Visit the links below if you would like to purchase a copy of Locked Up.
Assistance can also be provided by donating to the United Way of New York State or other charitable organizations that benefit the flood regions, and by volunteering or bringing supplies to local food pantries. Pantry listings are provided at the following link:http://www.foodbankassocnys.
Contributions may be made by sending a check to the Hurricane Irene Recovery Fund c/o United Way of New York State, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, New York 12110-2424 or by visiting www.uwnys.org and clicking on the link on the home page to make a secure donation via credit card.
All contributions to the United Way of New York will receive an acknowledgement. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to flood victims, and no administrative costs are taken out.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Today, as the National Endowment for Democracy awards the Democracy Service Medal posthumously to Laura Pollán, the founder of Las Damas de Blanco, we honor and celebrate her life by recognizing her significant contributions to the struggle to defend human rights in Cuba.
Laura Pollán and the quiet dignity of the Ladies in White have courageously voiced the core desire of the Cuban people and of people everywhere to live in liberty. Taking to the streets in peaceful protest to draw attention to the plight of those unjustly held in Cuba’s prisons, Laura Pollán and the Ladies in White have stood bravely against Cuban authorities who unleash mobs, and resort to house arrest, and temporary detention in a failed attempt to silence them. Through Laura Pollán’s and the Damas’ brave actions, the world bore witness to the repressive actions of Cuban authorities, eventually leading to the release of political prisoners wrongly jailed in the Spring of 2003.
Though Laura is not with us today, her bravery in the face of repression and her selfless commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba, offer a living legacy that inspires us to keep moving forward. To Las Damas de Blanco who will watch or listen to today’s ceremony, you have our utmost respect for your efforts to stand up for the rights of the Cuban people even in the face of this weekend’s crackdown directed at you and we honor each of you as well.
The United States is steadfast in supporting the simple desire of the Cuban people to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings. I remain committed to supporting civil society in Cuba, including by protecting the ability of Cuban Americans to support their families in Cuba through unrestricted family visits and remittances.
Photo courtesy of http://lasdamasdeblanco.blogspot.com/.
"I thank General Mills for its leadership in being one of the first companies to join this initiative and for helping to make sure vulnerable New Yorkers do not go hungry this holiday season."
As a result of the recent storms and flooding as well as the difficult economic times, food banks have struggled to provide enough food for those seeking assistance. Governor Cuomo launched the "Help Your Neighbor" campaign on November 23 to fill the shelves of food banks across the state to ensure those in need do not go hungry during the holiday season.
The campaign will continue through the end of 2011. The first company to join the campaign, Jetro/Restaurant Depot, has committed to increase its food bank food donations by 25%, from $200,000 to $250,000.
Additionally, General Mills is one of the top contributors of food in the United States. Last year, it donated more than $28 million in products to Feeding America, the country's largest hunger relief organization whose network consists of more than 200 food banks.
Over the past five years, General Mills has donated more than 4.7 million pounds of food to food banks across New York State through its partnership with Feeding America.
Image courtesy of http://generalmillscoupons.blogspot.com/
Cuomo's proposal will address these gaps in order to better protect children who are present on high school and college campuses.
In August, the Governor signed a law to better ensure individuals convicted of sexual offenses are disqualified from becoming school bus drivers.
As Attorney General, Cuomo authored the successful Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and other online identifiers with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services' New York State Sex Offender Registry.
The e-STOP law is credited with forcing the removal of thousands of accounts associated with sex offenders from major social networking web sites.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. J. Res. 24 – Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment
(Sen. Udall, D-CO, and 5 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes S. J. Res. 24. We do not need to amend the Constitution for only the 28th time in our Nation’s history to do the job of restoring fiscal discipline. Instead, we must – as members of both parties have done in the past – move beyond politics as usual and find bipartisan common ground to restore us to a sustainable fiscal path.
S. J. Res. 24 would impose serious risks for our economy. It risks accelerating economic downturns by requiring the government to raise taxes and cut spending in the face of a contraction, which would accelerate job losses. The President proposed a balanced approach to restore fiscal sustainability and in a way that does not slow the Federal Government's ability to initiate actions that help stabilize the economy and keep future recessions from becoming worse.
By contrast, under S. J. Res. 24, a minority in a single house of Congress could block the will of the majority and the Executive to waive its provisions when our country faces a downturn. If S. J. Res. 24 had been in effect in recent years, such a minority in one house would have been able to prevent efforts to override the requirement for tax increases or spending cuts, risking an even deeper contraction and pushing the economy into a second Great Depression.
Further, S. J. Res. 24 ducks responsibility and does not take the Nation's fiscal challenges head-on. Rather, it could result in handing the hard decisions that our elected representatives in the Congress should be making to the Federal Courts.
S. J. Res. 24 is not a solution to the Nation's deficits. The President has proposed a plan that cuts the deficit by $4 trillion, including the deficit reduction already locked in by the Budget Control Act, and the Administration is committed to working with the Congress on a bipartisan basis to achieve real deficit reduction.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. J. Res. 10 – Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment
(Sen. Hatch, R-UT, and 47 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes S. J. Res. 10. We do not need to amend the Constitution for only the 28th time in our Nation’s history to do the job of restoring fiscal discipline. Instead, we must– as members of both parties have done in the past –move beyond politics as usual and find bipartisan common ground to restore us to a sustainable fiscal path.
S. J. Res. 10 would set a severe and unrealistic spending cap that would undercut the Federal Government’s ability to meet its core commitments to seniors, middle class families and the most vulnerable, while reducing our ability to invest in our future. This cap could result in severe cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security that are growing due to the retirement of the baby boomers, putting at risk the retirement security of millions of Americans, and it could result in significant cuts to education, research and development, and other programs critical to growing our economy and winning the future.
S. J. Res. 10 also would impose serious risks for our economy. It risks accelerating economic downturns by requiring the government to raise taxes and cut spending in the face of a contraction, which would accelerate job losses. The President proposed a balanced approach to restore fiscal sustainability and in a way that does not slow the Federal Government's ability to initiate actions that help stabilize the economy and keep future recessions from becoming worse.
By contrast, under S. J. Res. 10, a minority in a single house of Congress could block the will of the majority and the Executive to waive its provisions when our country faces a downturn. If S. J. Res. 10 had been in effect in recent years, such a minority in one house would have been able to prevent efforts to override the requirement for tax increases or spending cuts, risking an even deeper contraction and pushing the economy into a second Great Depression.
Further, S. J. Res. 10 ducks responsibility and does not take the Nation's fiscal challenges head‑on. Rather, it could result in handing the hard decisions that our elected representatives in the Congress should be making to the Federal Courts.
S. J. Res. 10 is not a solution to the Nation's deficits. The President has proposed a plan that cuts the deficit by $4 trillion, including the deficit reduction already locked in by the Budget Control Act, and the Administration is committed to working with the Congress on a bipartisan basis to achieve real deficit reduction.
Image courtesy of http://mindmillion.com