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Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

I am so depressed at the state of the world. This really hit home. My organization, Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace (I’m not very active anymore), has been involved in this effort. We’re devastated.
https://streetsofatlanta.blog/2023/01/19/atlanta-forest-defender-shot-and-killed-by-police/

Their banner says it all: TREES GIVE LIFE, POLICE TAKE IT.

Hundreds of forest defenders and their supporters held a vigil in Little Five Points on Wednesday night, January 18, to grieve and honor their comrade who the police killed today. The police called it self-defense, but we have all heard that story too many times before, and it turned out not to be true.

Forest defenders refuse to let this murder of one of their own stop them from protesting the building of the largest militarized police training center for urban warfare in the country in the South Atlanta forest, a/k/a Weelaunee Forest.

Why do they need something this large? Is this in preparation for a militarized fascist police state to control minority communities and destroy human rights movements? Those are a few of the questions forest defenders are asking.

Events leading up to a forest defender killed by police started in December when aggressive police tactics escalated against the unarmed, non-violent political movement to Stop Cop City, as they call the proposed police facility.

On December 13, forest defenders in tree houses were sprayed with tear gas and pepper balls and forcibly removed from the trees at gunpoint. They bulldozed down trees with tree houses, destroyed an encampment on public parkland, and a makeshift kitchen. Police removed residents walking the trails at gunpoint.

Six forest defenders were arrested in that raid and charged with domestic terrorism. The police called them terrorists, and the media reported that lie without evidence.

Check out the story – https://streetsofatlanta.blog/2023/01/19/atlanta-forest-defender-shot-and-killed-by-police/

streets of atlanta article.jpg
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
streets of atlanta article photo.jpg
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Atlanta Community organizer @kamaufranklin says there needs to be a full and independent investigation into the death of activist Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran during a violent raid Wednesday on protesters opposing a $90 million training facility known as “Cop City.”

Benny

Thank you – this is the reporting I was hoping to find, but you did it!

jcitybone

Benny

Let her have her vote, vote it down and move on to the next nominee. Her political capital is being wasted otherwise.

jcitybone

Benny

Benny

Benny

I’m still saddened by David Crosby’s passing. I was lucky to see Crosby Still and Nash, before Crosby landed in a Texas pen. I think he paid his dues.

Here’s one of my favs, eloquent harmonies.

orlbucfan

☮️🎼👍!

orlbucfan

T and R, LD!! ☮️🙂👍Always great to see your posts, and hope you and JD are well. 👏

Benny

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

smdh

Benny

Monday it is.

Benny

Birdies, are we ready to get behind Gallego? If so, I’m wondering if @bernin could add Gallego to our Senate list?

orlbucfan

Yep. Chickensh1t is better than Sinema so Gallego is a definite improvement. +270.

Benny

I don’t see a consensus yet, so we will wait a bit.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

TYT’s interesting evaluation/analysis of the Gallego run –

This Could Mean Kyrsten Sinema’s Time In The Senate Is About To End

orlbucfan

T and R x 2, LD!! 🙂

Benny

Unidentified congressman in federal ComEd conspiracy documents is mayoral candidate US Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García, sources say

Mayoral challenger Jesús “Chuy” García is an unidentified member of Congress referenced in federal court filings detailing an alleged scheme by then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to appoint one of García’s political associates to a lucrative position on Commonwealth Edison’s board of directors, the Tribune has learned.

García is not accused of wrongdoing, and through a spokesman, denies he played any role in the push by Madigan to appoint Juan Ochoa to the utility’s board, which is one of the centerpiece allegations in the ComEd bribery conspiracy case set for trial in March.

But García’s name surfacing — even superficially — in one of the biggest political corruption investigations in Illinois history could make waves in the upcoming city election, where García is running as a progressive and is widely considered to be the strongest challenger in a crowded field seeking to unseat Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

It also highlights a particularly thorny political problem for García, who has tried to distance himself from Madigan’s old-school politics even though he’d formed a yearslong alliance with Madigan that helped them both strengthen their spheres of influence.

In an email response to questions from the Tribune, a spokesman for García’s campaign said García “has never been asked to speak with any ‘federal authorities,’ including the FBI, federal prosecutors or anyone in the U.S. attorney’s office about anything related to ComEd, Madigan, or Ochoa, nor has he done so.”

García’s campaign also said he does not anticipate he will testify in any of the ComEd-related trials.

“Rep. García has never been asked to provide any information to federal investigators about this matter, and has no knowledge of it other than what he has read in news sources following the announcement of the ComEd plea agreement. He has no information to provide, as he was completely unaware of the misconduct alleged in those cases,” the statement said. “Rep. García is not involved in this or any related investigation in any manner.”

Ochoa is expected to testify in the ComEd Four case about a meeting he tried to set up with a U.S. congressman and Madigan in February 2019, more than a year after Madigan allegedly agreed to lean on ComEd to put Ochoa on the board, according to a prosecution filing last week. The purpose of the meeting was to talk about a political action committee that the congressman and Ochoa had recently started, but Madigan apparently thought Ochoa was upset over the board appointment taking so long.

Madigan allegedly directed longtime confidant Michael McClain to reach out to Ochoa and assure him the wheels were still in motion, prosecutors have alleged in court filings. In a secretly recorded phone call, Ochoa told McClain it was a misunderstanding, but acknowledged he “probably would have” brought up the board appointment when he and the congressman got in to see the speaker, according to prosecutors.

Federal investigators referred to the mix-up in both a search warrant affidavit made public last year and a court filing last week detailing evidence in the case. In the affidavit, García’s name was blacked out, while in the more recent filing he was referred to only as “a member of Congress,” multiple sources with knowledge of the case told the Tribune.

García isn’t the only congressman to surface in the probe. Last week, the Tribune reported that Ochoa also is expected to testify how he enlisted the help of former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a close ally of García’s, to repair Ochoa’s tattered political relationship with Madigan and lobby for his appointment to ComEd’s board.

In the emailed statement Friday from García’s campaign, the campaign spokesman said the congressman had no role in getting Ochoa appointed to the ComEd board and didn’t ask Madigan to put Ochoa on the board.

“With regard to Juan Ochoa and his appointment to the ComEd board, Rep. García was informed by Juan Ochoa, that Madigan was supporting Ochoa’s effort to be appointed to the board,” the statement said.

Lightfoot already has sought to take advantage of the García-Madigan relationship, seeking to make the indicted ex-speaker a political albatross that could weigh down the García campaign.

he mayor has launched a television attack ad featuring a cartoon García dancing with Madigan and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, two unpopular defendants linked to political contributions to García.

Lightfoot doubled down following a candidate forum Sunday , telling reporters she found it “astounding” that García would say to the audience that he defeated the Democratic machine in the past when he stayed aligned with Madigan as more recent scandals unfolded.

“What’s clear in looking at his background is that he decided after his defeat in 2015, that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” Lightfoot said, though she sought García’s endorsement four years ago.

The mention of Democratic heavyweights such as García and Gutierrez in the ComEd case could also lend credence to what’s expected to be a key element of the defense: That the machinations behind Ochoa’s appointment, as well as other allegations of wrongdoing, were nothing more than legal, time-honored political logrolling.

In fact, Madigan wasn’t the only power broker they were pushing. Ochoa is expected to testify that he and Gutierrez also met with then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the appointment in November 2017, the Tribune reported last week.

Madigan hinted at his defense when he was indicted last year, writing in a statement that prosecutors were “attempting to criminalize a routine constituent service: job recommendations.”

McClain’s lawyer, Patrick Cotter, has made similar arguments, saying in a statement when the case was first indicted that in their “zeal” to get Madigan, prosecutors were attempting “to rewrite the law on bribery and criminalize long-recognized legitimate, common, and normal lobbying activity into some new form of crime.”

Madigan’s legal team declined to comment for this story, as did Cotter.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office also had no comment.

Ochoa, a former Marine who heads the Riverside-based facilities management firm Miramar Group, Inc., could not be reached. His lawyer, Ricardo Meza, had no immediate comment.

The Ochoa scheme was just one aspect of bombshell allegations that first came to light in July 2020, when the U.S. attorney’s office unveiled a criminal complaint charging ComEd with a yearslong bribery scheme involving jobs, contracts and payments to Madigan allies.

Under the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement with the government, ComEd agreed to pay a record $200 million fine and cooperate with investigators in exchange for the charges being dropped in 2023.

In November 2020, an indictment was unsealed charging McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Prammagiore, lobbyist John Hooker, and consultant and former City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty with bribery conspiracy. They’re scheduled to go on trial March 6.

Another ComEd official, former Vice President Fidel Marquez, pleaded guilty in September 2020 and is expected to testify against his former colleagues about the scheme to influence Madigan as well as conversations he recorded for the FBI.

Madigan and McClain were both charged in a separate indictment last year with racketeering conspiracy alleging they participated in a range of corrupt schemes, including the ComEd conspiracy as well as similar allegations involving AT&T Illinois.

The scandal helped end Madigan’s reign as the nation’s longest-serving speaker in January 2021. Madigan later resigned from the Illinois House and as Illinois Democratic Party chairman.

Before Madigan allegedly became the fervent proponent of putting Ochoa on the ComEd board of directors, he had not always been a fan.

In fact, Madigan spared little criticism after Ochoa, a former head of the relatively obscure Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was appointed in 2007 by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to lead the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority of Chicago, a large, quasi-governmental body that was overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars of tourism, trade shows and other revenue streams at McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

I had thought the FTX scandal could hurt many candidates. Lightfoot is taking advantage of it. But I worry more about Maxwell Frost, whose campaign will need to raise money to donate the FTX’s contribution.

But in the meantime, this will not sit well with JB Pritzker, who has a steel glove when it comes to scandals. For decades, Mike Madigan wielded the levers as he represented the “Tammany Hall” of Chicago, and the ConEd scandal got him thrown out. I think Pritzker will side with Lori Lightfoot, even if he’s not congruent with her actions. Pritzker controls the party in IL and he has broad support of the citizens.

wi64

Its damn near impossible to avoid the Mob and the corrupt union bosses in Chicago Politics. Its as prevalent as ever just not in the limelight like it used to be.

orlbucfan

I look at Frost as an innocent slate. SBF fooled a lot of people with his Ponzi scheme, including a boatload of wealthy ones who should have known better. What Frost does in Congress will determine if he’s dirty, believe me. As a Floridian fed up with crap like Scott Rott, Gov. Gargoyle, etc., I know political corruption way too well.

wi64

its a tough job to avoid all the traps of corruption that are in DC espically when your a rookie. The newbies get an orientation to congress but no info about avoiding the currupt lobbiest that target them.

Benny

No one knew that FTX was gonna go sour at time. Frost will want to donate his share, trust me, for distance.