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California Heeds Small PAC’s Call to End Big Money In Elections

Media Madness , Geopolitics  and Other Global Anomalies

Hillary’s State Department OK’d $48 Million In Gigs for Bill

 

A small political action committee, Wolf-PAC, had a big idea—ending corporate financing of political campaigns nationwide. It organized a grassroots campaign to persuade at least 34 states to support a Free and Fair Elections Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In May, Vermont was the first to sign on. And now California is on board. Todd Jagger, a Wolf-PAC coordinator, talks about getting 32 more states.

Leid Stories introduces Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar, renowned for his authoritative reporting on crises in the world’s major trouble spots. He discusses the wholesale surrender of the media to geopolitical considerations and corporate interests, fulfilling its primary role as creators of an alternate reality. Escobar, whose latest book is Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War, takes us into the world he knows very well.

Judicial Watch, reviewing documents it obtained via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit last year against the State Department, discovered 48 million [more] reasons the Clintons should be doing prison time. While Hill was secretary of state, Bill was able to wrangle $48 million in fees for speaking engagements and high-profile appearances at events unrelated to the State Department and that were clear-cut breaches of ethics rules. Leid Stories asks: The Clintons and ethics?

 

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Five months after Britain officially declared war on Hitler’s Germany for invading Poland, Prime Minister Winston Churchill in an Oct. 1, 1939 radio address was unable to predict to anxious Britons what Russia would do. Russia, he said, was “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

It’s an apt description of U.S. foreign policy objectives and actions under President Barack Obama.

At his lowest point of popularity since taking office in 2009, Obama’s job-approval rating has been hovering between 39 and 41 percent in national polls—disaffection with his handling of the economy a major factor. Disapproval of his foreign policy, however, is running at about 56 percent.

Leid Stories updates its July 7-8 discussions on Obama’s downward spiral with an assessment of his administration’s foreign policies. Our guest, scholar and prolific author Dr. Gerald Horne, who teaches graduate courses in diplomatic history and is the John J. and Rebecca Moores chair of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, provides a comprehensive overview of Obama’s foreign-policy priorities and major flubs that call his judgment and leadership into question.

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Strong-Arming Justice: The NYPD, Chokeholds and the Law

 

In the aftermath of the July 17 death of 46-year-old Eric Garner—the Staten Island, N.Y., man who died after an aggressive arrest by police in which an illegal chokehold was used to subdue him—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton are promising reforms of police procedure and retraining of the city’s 35,000-member police force.

But Garner’s death is not the first to bring the continued use of chokeholds by police, outlawed since 1993, to light. Some 1,022 chokehold complaints were filed with the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board between 2009 and 2013; it investigated 462 of them, the CCRB said, but substantiated only nine of them. Since Garner’s death, chokehold allegations have been made by at least three other individuals.

The CCRB’s statistics highlight a longstanding problem—the prevalence of the outlawed maneuver and the rarity of police officers using it being caught and punished. This because there are many legal loopholes that favor police officers, says our guest, “Attorney-at-War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. These loopholes and the culture of the law-enforcement and criminal-justice systems, he says, stack the deck against civilians seeking justice.


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Nigeria: Boko Haram Largely Undeterred In Its Terror Campaign

Gaza: How the Media Aided and Abetted Genocide by Israel

Boko Haram’s terror campaign, since 2002, to create an extremist Islamic state in Nigeria continues unabated and with increasingly lethal effect. An estimated 12,000 Nigerians have been killed and 8,000 disabled by their wounds this year alone, President Goodluck Jonathan has said. And the U.N.-affiliated Internal Displacement Monitoring Center says that 3.3 million Nigerians have had to leave their homes because of the violence—placing the country third behind Syria and Colombia for the largest number of internally displaced people.

The recent escalation in bombings, kidnappings and mass killings by Boko Haram suggests a huge problem with the Nigerian military’s capacity to respond, even with foreign intelligence and military help.

Why is Boko Haram able to hold Nigeria hostage? Dr. Chika Onyeani, publisher and editor in chief of The African Sun Times, provides perspective and some answers.

On June 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Hamas, the occupation-resistance movement in Palestine, was responsible for the kidnap-murders three days earlier of three Israeli teenagers—a charge Hamas denied. Netanyahu promised retribution. On July 17, Israeli tanks were rolling into Gaza, the first wave of a brutal siege that has claimed more than 1,000 lives, mostly of civilians.

Last Friday, BBC correspondent Jon Donnison tweeted a report that an Israeli police spokesman admitted that Hamas was in fact not responsible for the kidnap-murders. Incredibly, the media organizations that had touted Israel’s pretext for pummelling Gaza into dust, have had little or nothing to say—either about Israel’s lies or about their roles in promoting this act of genocide.

Without the kind of access these media organizations have to key players, Leid Stories on July 18 said that the killings quite possibly were “an unsanctioned act.”

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Given the week we’ve had, there’s no way you don’t have something to say. Well, get it said today, or risk ruining your weekend with unnecessary worry.

It’s “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories, an hour of brisk trade in information, opinions and ideas. Come into the marketplace with your intellectual wares. Hang out with highly opinionated people and feel good that you can hang in there! Call 888-874-4888. 

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The Israel-Gaza Crisis: How We’re Subsidizing the Carnage

Bullies In the Pulpit: For Corporate Media, It’s ‘Nation’ Time

We may be thousands of miles away from the bombs, bullets and bloodshed, but we’re closer than we think to the carnage in Gaza, says our guest today.

Janet McMahon, managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, discusses the uninterrupted flow of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to Israel over the course of several U.S. administrations to build and maintain its military dominance in the Middle East; its use of that power to forcibly displace Palestinians from their ancestral homeland; and powerful allies in Washington who guarantee its economic survival and military capability even as they defend its rogue-state defiance of international conventions on human rights, nuclear arms, democracy and the peace process.

Corporate media are on the job—jingoistically speaking. Nationalistic fervor has overtaken the nation’s newsrooms, and all things are told from an us-and-them perspective, harkening back to the good old days of the Cold War.

Leid Stories cites recent examples of media organizations meting out punishment to errant reporters slow or unwilling to fall in line with propaganda reporting.

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Peace Activist: Israel’s Carnage in Gaza Has Shifted the Public Discourse

Detroit: City Manager Scores Major Victory; Retirees OK Pension Cuts

The ‘48-Hour Rule’: How Cops Legally Avoid Investigations

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and director of its New Internationalism Project, helped found the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation in 2001 and remains on its advisory board. She writes and speaks widely across the United States and around the world as part of the global peace movement, and is an informal adviser to several top U.N. officials on Middle East and U.N. democratization issues.

She tells Leid Stories that Israel’s carnage in Gaza, and its policies toward Palestine in general, have triggered a shift in the public discourse, most notably among Jews.

Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager for the City if Detroit, on Monday got a huge boost to his bankruptcy-reorganization plan—agreement by city workers and retirees to cut their pensions by 4.5 percent and forego other benefits.

Correspondent Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, reports on what Orr’s victory means in the impending legal battle to prove to a federal judge that the city has met all the criteria to qualify for bankruptcy protection against creditors and to proceed with its recovery plan.

A funeral will be held this evening in New York City for Eric Garner, a 46-year-old father of six who died last Thursday after a violent arrest by police for allegedly selling “loosie” untaxed cigarettes.

Two police officers involved in Garner’s fatal arrest—including the officer who held Garner in an illegal chokehold—have yet to be fully questioned about the incident. Leid Stories discusses a controversial union rule that actually provides police officers legal protections against investigation and prosecution that civilians don’t have.

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Fast Only When Furious?: U.S. Moves on War and Foreign Conflicts, Not So Much on Pressing Domestic Matters

Sight Unseen: Liberals Still Color-Blind to Centrality of Racism in American Life

President Obama and Congress are uniformly fast, decisive and resolute in their response to wars and conflicts abroad—U.S. interests and humanitarian concerns, they maintain, always at front and center of their actions. Global conflicts are high-priority items on the legislative agenda, and the president and his detractors in Congress are able to hammer out policy decisions and multibillion-dollar allocations to support them in a hurry. They’re fast when they’re furious.

When it comes to domestic matters, however, it’s quite another story. They’re deliberate in their lack of speed while social and economic indicators suggest a rapid downturn for most Americans. Leid Stories discusses the irony.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a progressive being prodded into a 2016 presidential bid, was a keynoter at the recent Netroots Nation convention in Detroit. Her speech to the mostly white gathering of liberal-left organizers was a clarion call for action on a number of hot-button issues.

But, says Leid Stories, Warren’s speech also pointed up a continuing problem with liberal-left politics—the refusal to acknowledge the centrality of racism to life in the United States, and the obligation of all progressive movements to condemn it and commit to fighting it.

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Just about everyone in Washington is lying to and among themselves and to the nation about what they variously have described as an “immigration problem,” “illegal aliens crossing the border,” “an urgent humanitarian situation,” and “a surge of unaccompanied children.”

Whatever they call it, one thing is clear: No one will use the R-word—Refugees.

Republicans and Democrats have found common ground. They’re reviving parts of the 2008 Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act so as to categorize the children as trafficked persons, thereby skirting international (and national) laws on refugees’ rights. All the while, they hide their high-handed misdeeds behind contrived concerns about those rights.

The task at hand is to sell the big lie that good old-fashioned bipartisan wrangling between Congress and the Obama administration is producing a just solution. But that lie follows a series of other lies, also arrived at in bipartisan fashion.

Votes, not victims, are their top priority in this political season, and so the abject misery of tens of thousands of refugees snared at the border becomes a useful, campaign-worthy opportunity to sell the electorate on ideological differences between candidates and their parties. The refugees are quite expendable.

Leid Stories tells the truth about their lies. And James Petras, a Bartle professor (emeritus) of sociology at Binghamton University, New York, discusses the “golden era” of predatory U.S. and corporate policies and actions that laid the groundwork for the mass-migration from Central America that we are witnessing today.

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Here you are at the end of the week, still standing and holding on. Good for you! Now, make your triumph complete by freeing your mind.

You’ve endured a veritable blitz of information all week from various media sources that tell you what to think about major issues and events. But it’s a one-way street; you don’t get to say what you think. Well, that’s what “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories is all about. You get to have your say.

Call in to the best speak-your-mind, tell-it-like-it-is show in radio and add your thoughts to the intellectual mix.


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