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Wage Theft: Workers Robbed On the Job--By Their Employers!

On The Money: Small PAC Takes On Big Campaign-Finance Issue

Bill O’Reilly’s Undiluted, Unrepentant Racism

Hundreds of thousands of American workers are being robbed while on the job, says Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute. Employers steal billions of dollars by shortchanging them of fair pay, he says, and the federal government is doing little about it. Wage theft, he reveals, is bigger than bank robberies, convenience store robberies, street and highway robberies, and gas station robberies combined. 

Big-money influence in politics may have met its match. A small political action committee, calling itself Wolf-PAC, has launched an ambitious plan to end corporate financing of political campaigns (reversing the controversial Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing corporations the same First Amendment (free-speech) rights as individuals). Todd Jagger, Wolf-PAC’s coordinator for Texas and Western states, says the organization is making inroads.

Fox News’s resident bigot Bill O’Reilly and guest John Calipari, Kentucky’s basketball coach, had a lovely little chat on Monday about Calipari’s experience in coaching and his new book, Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out. Leid Stories’ listeners decipher the content of the five-minute interview.

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America may be changing demographically, but the nation’s newsrooms are not. Studies show that most newsrooms are holding to “diversity” plateaus reached many years ago. Even so, the news continues to reflect a decidedly white perspective in practically every aspect of editorial content.

The Kerner Commission, appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson to study the root causes of urban rebellions that had broken out across the nation (all of them in communities of color), pointed to political, social, economic and historical factors that contributed to the violence. But the commission also blamed the media for exacerbating and maintaining a deeply entrenched racial divide.

Leid Stories discusses the role of today’s media in a vastly changed America and world.

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Obama Still Telling Blacks: ‘Tote That Barge, Lift That Bale’ (Part 1)

Detroit Files Third Bankruptcy-Exit Plan Over Major Protest

President Obama, the keynote speaker Friday (April 11) at the National Action Network’s 16th annual convention in New York, brought his all-too-familiar message to its marginalized minions: “Your only hope is the Democratic Party, and you are duty-bound to support it, unless you want to suffer the catastrophic consequences of a Republican win.”

So warned Obama, now proudly embracing the heretofore avoided and snubbed Al Sharpton.

Leid Stories analyzes Obama’s speech, examining its factual errors, deliberate omissions, and multiple, persistent offenses to African American identity, culture and history.

The City of Detroit today is expected to submit to federal Judge Steven Rhodes its third version of a bankruptcy-exit plan, forecasting solvency by Oct. 15. City unions and hundreds of other petitioners, however, are dead set against the draconian cuts Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is proposing in his bid to settle the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy in record time.     

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire and Detroit organizer for the Workers World Party, reports.

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Has the craziness of politics gotten to you this week? Not a minute to lose, start your mind-readjustment program now to save your weekend!

It’s Free-Your-Mind Friday on Leid Stories—a pro bono service to those wanting to talk things through to quickly regain their political bearings. Our method is quite effective; most people find themselves happily immune to the bloviators on weekend “analysis” shows.

Call in (888-874-4888) and share your considered thoughts and opinions. A great weekend is in store.

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The Senate yesterday fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to pass S. 2199, the Paycheck Fairness Act. It was a decidedly partisan vote, with all Republicans and Sen. Angus King, the Independent from Maine, turning their thumbs down on the equal-pay-for-equal-work legislation.

Predictably, the vote ignited a furor across the country – but not for the right reason, says Leid Stories. The post-vote furor should be less about gender-based pay inequity and more about the utter failure of the Democratic Party, the principal beneficiary of the so-called “women’s vote,” to assure passage of the legislation for 50 years.

A Leid Stories Commentary puts the matter into proper perspective.

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Smash the Duopoly!: The Case for New Political Parties

Buying a car? Hundreds of models to choose from. Looking for a new suit? You can spend a month just looking at thousands of styles. Want to cast a smart vote? Well, now you’re in trouble. There’s Party A or Party B. Pull that lever and rejoice that a whole bunch of people have taken the time to make “democracy” real easy for you.

The Republican-Democrat duopoly has had a stranglehold on Americans’ political choices for way too long, says our guest, Prof. J. David Gillespie, author of Challengers to Duopoly: Why Third Parties Matter in American Two-Party Politics. The lack of political-party choices, he says, is not by happenstance; it’s planned that way, he says.

Tune in and learn how and why the seismic shift to two-party politics is “the norm;” how fledgling parties were targeted for annihilation; and why it’s important that Americans engage in the formation of new parties that reflect their unique concerns.

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More and more, American voters are becoming jaded about voting. “Does it change anything?” they ask—the question that has fueled many a poll showing negative views of politics in general by voters who once thought their participation in the political process actually made a difference.

Midterm elections this year and the looming presidential contest in 2016 seem to have stirred these sentiments again—only with even sharper criticisms about politics and a pervasive view that voters are merely bit players in a complex game that’s all about money and power and they have neither.

Leid Stories asks listeners where on the political axis they place themselves as voters today; what they consider to be the most serious problem with American politics; and what they think a better alternative would be. 

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The National Urban League on April 3 released its 2014 “State of Black America Report,” its 38th year-to-year portrait of Black life in the United States. Titled “One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America” the report—essentially a statistical analysis of issues and trends having inordinate impact on Black communities--was generally predictable in its findings, but had greater clout this year because it also included for the first time a statistical portrait of Latino America.

The NUL’s annual reports, while impressive (certainly to its board of directors and donors), nonetheless are careful to avoid any suggestion of culpability for the myriad systemic inequities they’ve been citing for years on end. It’s no news that African Americans and Latinos “are losing economic ground;” such statistics are available literally by the week. But the NUL could make a major contribution as an organization speaking in behalf of these beleaguered communities by being very specific about the relationship between the real-life situations within these communities and the policies that produce them.

The NUL is too politically compromised to do this. It’s been dodging the issue for far too long, preferring instead to hide behind the oxymoronic practice of “neutral” advocacy. Leid Stories explains the NUL’s peculiar affliction.

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It’s Friday—either the end of a rough week (good), or the start of an even rougher weekend (not so much). Which do you choose? Do you remain mentally mired in media muck, or do you cut the chain around your brain?

Excellent choice! Let it go, and reap the reward of some quiet time to reconstitute yourself. Call 888-874-4888 and share with likeminded folk the thoughts about major news events that you’ve been holding on to all week. Yes, that’s why there’s “Free Your Mind Friday.”

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Detroit: Hundreds File Legal Objections to Bankruptcy Exit Plan

Attorney Stanley L. Cohen: ‘Always Against the State’

Detroit’s state-appointed emergency city manager, Kevyn Orr, filed an amended bankruptcy-exit plan with the federal court on Monday, as ordered by Judge Steven Rhodes. Yesterday, federal court again was the venue—this time for massive opposition to the plan. Inside the courtroom, hundreds of legal objections to the city’s plan formally were filed, while outside on the street hundreds more protested steep cuts to pensions and city services and the sale of city assets Orr’s plan calls for.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire and Detroit organizer for the Workers World Party, reports.

It was a victory for prosecutors March 26 when, after a three-week trial, a federal jury in Manhattan convicted Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, on three counts of terrorism. For Ghaith’s attorney, Stanley L. Cohen, it was a not-surprising outcome.

Cohen’s legal career, spanning more than 30 years, has been fraught with controversy but based, he says, on a simple maxim: “I defend the individual against the state.” His practice is global; his clients, an assortment of major players in high-stakes social, political and environmental and justice struggles; and his reputation—well, let’s just say his website has a page for “haters.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Cohen discusses his life, the law, the “war on terror,” and the universality of struggle.

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