WBEZ | Tom Balanoff http://www.wbez.org/tags/tom-balanoff Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Protesters: Pacific trade pact will help export jobs http://www.wbez.org/story/protesters-pacific-trade-pact-will-help-export-jobs-91530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-05/PTP march.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About 500 activists marched Monday afternoon in downtown Chicago to protest U.S. trade negotiations with some Latin American and Asian nations.<br> <br> The march ended at the Hilton Chicago, where delegations from nine countries on Tuesday will begin their eighth round of talks toward what they’re calling the Trans-Pacific Partnership.<br> <br> President Obama’s administration says U.S. aims in the negotiations are jobs and prosperity for the American people. His team says it’s addressing shortfalls of earlier U.S. pacts, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.<br> <br> That’s not convincing critics. “Thousands of workers here in Chicago and all over the Midwest are out of jobs because of trade agreements like NAFTA,” said Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council, at a rally before the march.<br> <br> NAFTA has also “destroyed the livelihoods” of millions of Mexican farmers, Balanoff added. “And what do they tell us in Washington? ‘Let’s keep following those policies.’ ”<br> <br> The protestors say they will deliver 10,000 postcards to negotiators on Tuesday. The cards urge the United States to make sure any deal protects labor rights, the environment and human rights.<br> <br> On Wednesday, AIDS activists are planning to protest proposed treaty provisions that would strengthen pharmaceutical patents. The activists say the patents lock in prices for life-saving medications that poor people can't afford.<br> <br> The Chicago talks are set to run through September 15. Besides the United States, the nations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.</p></p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 21:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/protesters-pacific-trade-pact-will-help-export-jobs-91530 Blagojevich prosecutor's laser-like focus http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-prosecutors-laser-focus-86292 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-09/110505 Blago Leaving Court 1_Wildeboer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Prosecutors are continuing their laser-like focus on the so-called Senate seat allegations in the retrial of former Illinois Gov.Rod Blagojevich.&nbsp;</p><p>The strongest evidence in the first trial came from secret recordings of Blagojevich's phone calls so that's what prosecutors are focusing on with their first witnesses this time around.<br> <br> Tom Balanoff is a union president, and he told jurors that after Barack Obama was elected president, he became a messenger between Obama's people and Blagojevich.&nbsp;</p><p>Balanoff told Blagojevich that Obama wanted his advisor Valerie Jarrett appointed to his old Senate seat and on a secretly recorded phone call, Blagojevich responded that he'd like to head up a national non-profit that advocated for healthcare.&nbsp;</p><p>"That'd be very attractive," said Blagojevich.&nbsp; "And you know George Soros and Buffet and all those guys, you know, overnight can put 10, 15, 20 million dollars in an advocacy group like that couldn't they? Yeah, and then we could help our new Senator Valerie Jarrett go out and push that."</p><p>Balanoff testified that he thought Blagojevich was suggesting a trade, one for the other.&nbsp; Jurors have heard other tapes in which Blagojevich talks about getting a huge salary from the suggested non-profit.</p><p>Balanoff takes the stand for a second day Tuesday to face more question from the former Illinois governor's defense attorney.</p><p>As testimony wound to a close Monday, Judge James Zagel warned defense attorney Aaron Goldstein not to keep trying to make arguments in the form of questions to jurors.</p><p>Zagel told Goldstein he could cut his cross examinations short and have him sit down if he persisted.</p><p>When Goldstein asked if he could respond to the judge's admonition, Zagel responded, "I don't want you to respond to it. I want you to comply with it."</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-prosecutors-laser-focus-86292 Blagojevich attorneys ask for interviews of Barack Obama http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/blagojevich-attorneys-ask-interviews-barack-obama-84687 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-21/Blago from floor - WBEZ Sam Hudzik.png" alt="" /><p><p>Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich are asking for access to any interviews between President Barack Obama and the FBI.</p><p>In a Monday morning filing, Blagojevich's attorneys say they want any notes or summaries of interviews with Mr. Obama related to the ex-governor's corruption case. They say they need to the interviews to properly cross-examine potential witness Tom Balanoff, a top labor official.</p><p>He testified for prosecutors in Blagojevich's first trial, saying he acted as a liason between Blagojevich and Mr. Obama's inner circle, talking about who could fill Illinois' vacant U.S. Senate seat.</p><p>Blagojevich's attorneys tried to subpoena the president before the first trial, but the judge denied that request.</p><p>Blagojevich is accused of trying to personally profit by using the governor's power to appoint a senator after Mr. Obama won the presidency. Blagojevich's re-trial is scheduled to begin April 20th.</p><p>During the first trial, prosecutors played a secretly taped phone conversation between Blagojevich and Balanoff about Senate candidates, including Mr. Obama's friend and advisor Valerie Jarrett.</p><p>Then the governor wonders aloud if Mr. Obama donors would give millions to start a health care advocacy group Blagojevich could work for.</p><p>"Yeah and then we can help our new senator, Valerie Jarrett, go out and push that," Blagojevich said.</p><p>"So let me...[let's] move this idea and...let me put that flag up and see where it goes," Balanoff responded.</p><p>Balanoff testified that he never had any intention of looking into Blagojevich's idea. On cross examination, Balanoff acknowledged Blagojevich never explicitly said he'd appoint Jarrett in exchange for personal benefits or favors.</p></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 12:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/blagojevich-attorneys-ask-interviews-barack-obama-84687