Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

January 31, 2014  

Hard ‘Justice’ Kills Software Company, Imprisons Its Execs

Advocates Charge It Was An Organized Hit; Demand Probe

 

Six men who formed the core of Investigative Resource Planning Solutions (IRP Solutions), a small but tenacious black-owned software-development company specializing in solutions for law-enforcement agencies, believed they were on the brink of a multimillion-dollar breakthrough after two years in the cutthroat business.

They had developed a software solution for a major communications and coordination problem that law-enforcement, national security and intelligence agencies said affected not only the response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, but to any such attacks and even day-to-day investigations.  Their product, an interagency case management and investigation system, got rave reviews; one agency requested quotes for more than $100 million worth of business.   

But without warning on Feb. 9, 2005, 21 FBI agents swarmed their Colorado City, Colo., offices under a warrant to gather evidence of fraud. And thus began for the six men a nightmare in which their company was destroyed, they were convicted on highly contentious charges in a most unusual federal trial, and currently in federal prison serving between 7 and 10 years.

The first part of this story on Leid Stories today.

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January 30, 2014  

Unheard and Unseen: The American Way of Poverty

“Poverty” or “the poor” are words President Obama doesn’t use frequently – unless he’s referring to the “extreme poverty” U.S. foreign aid is helping to alleviate in other nations. At home, though, the president says his focus is on “income inequality.”

But 50 million Americans have little or no income; they are poor. And an estimated equal number depend on government-subsidized food programs to sustain themselves and their families. Poverty is epidemic in America.

Leid Stories presents a briefing on poverty in America by way of author Sasha Abramsky, who has written several books, articles and papers on the subject. His current work, The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives, serves as an update on the misery index on the large and growing segment of America that, 50 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of a “war on poverty,” remains largely unheard and unseen, despite vigorous advocacy and intervention. 

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January 29, 2014  

What’s Behind the Emergency Management and Forced Bankruptcy of Detroit?

Continuing our coverage of Detroit’s mammoth bankruptcy saga, Leid Stories provides a primer on the hidden motives behind the appointment by Gov. Rick Snyder of an emergency manager to take charge of the city’s fiscal and related operational decisions while choreographing its forced descent into bankruptcy.

A special presentation is given by Abayomi Azikiwe, who regularly contributes reports to Leid Stories on the battles in bankruptcy court and on the growing tide of opposition among Detroiters, who see themselves as victims of political machinations that in effect have placed them under autocratic rule. A Q&A follows his presentation.

Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African Newswire, a Detroit organizer for the Workers World Partyand an organizer-activist with Moratorium Now!, a grassroots group that has been seeking a halt to foreclosures, evictions and utility cutoffs for struggling Detroiters. 

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January 29, 2014  

Of Course You’re Different! You Actually Use Your Brain!

It’s Tuesday, Open Forum day on Leid Stories, where great minds gather for vigorous, substantive discussion and debate about issues of the day.

No “wrong” or “right” judgments here about what you have to say, but respect and appreciation for sharing your thoughts and opinions and extending the same courtesies to others.

There is a lot to talk about and share since last week’s Open Forum. What’s been percolating in your brain?

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January 27, 2014  

Obama’s SOTU 2014:  Generous Portions of Lame Duck;

In his State of the Union address tomorrow, President Obama likely will revive his oft-repeated theme: “Last year was unnecessarily challenging, and this year will be, too, unless Republicans cooperate with me to get things done.” This will be his rationale for cutting back on big-ticket items this election year.

The truth is, the president has arrived at the first year of his second term with huge political deficits and miscalculations accrued over the last four years -- which the Republicans effectively have used to keep him in check. Obama’s SOTU 2014, therefore, will reflect the chastened president’s new reality: launching any major legislative offensives this year and leading up to 2016 is politically too risky, both for his legacy and the fortunes of the Democratic Party.

Obama will pursue an agenda that is expedient and safe. The hurting constituencies that elected him should hold out no hopes that their needs top his list.

Leid Stories listeners express their views.

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January 24, 2014  

Apocalypse Now: Detroit’s Engineered Collapse As the New Urban Paradigm

It’s a story unfolding before our eyes, but we’re encouraged not to see it for what it really is. Detroit’s gone bankrupt, the media and the political establishment tell us, because its mainstay auto industry tanked, its population and tax rolls dwindled, its political leadership was inept and corrupt, and the city can’t meet its operational costs and pension payouts to city workers.

But Leid Stories’ guests over the past few months have made credible arguments that Detroit’s bankruptcy was not inevitable; it was engineered. And long before the city got the green light from the governor to declare bankruptcy, there was a grand plan re-imagining its rebirth – with a “different” population.

Leid Stories contends that Detroit’s engineered collapse is the new urban paradigm – one that suits corporate interests, the political establishment, and the aims and objectives of race and class warfare.

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January 23, 2014  

U.N. Sued for Cholera Epidemic in Haiti; Damages Sought

Detroit’s Grassroots Emboldened By Recent Victory

A lawsuit against the United Nations and operations under its command in Haiti after the devastating earthquake four years ago is seeking damages for the deaths of 8,500 people and the infection of more than 60,000 others from a cholera epidemic caused allegedly by lax sanitation practices of peacekeepers assigned there.

Dr. Jean-Ford Figaro, a public-health specialist and Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, discuss the cholera epidemic and its impact from medical and legal perspectives.

And Leid Stories returns to Detroit, where grassroots political pressure yesterday forced Gov. Rick Snyder to release $350 million to the distressed city – money widely viewed as the city’s tax-levied share to begin with.

Activists Elena Herrada and Abayomi Azikiwe discuss the growing opposition to Detroit’s old political order.

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January 22, 2014  

Public Banking Seeks Your Interest; Open Forum Part 2

A people- and community-centered alternative banking system is looking to make greater inroads across America this year. It’s called public banking – a system “operated in the public interest via institutions owned by the people through their representative governments.”  So far, North Dakota is the only state that has adopted the concept, but at least 20 other states are considering establishing public banks.

Ellen Brown, chairperson of the Public Banking Institute, explains the concept and how it works.

And because Open Forum had more traffic yesterday than we were able to accommodate, we’ll provide air space for those calls today.

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January 21, 2014  

Are You the Brightest Bulb in the Bunch? Enlighten Us All!

It’s Tuesday, so it’s Open Forum on Leid Stories, and your insightful thoughts and considered opinions about major issues and events of the day not only are welcome, they’re greatly appreciated.

Share your unique take on what’s happening in the world. But expect to be questioned closely by some of the brightest minds on the planet -- with great respect, of course!

 

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January 20, 2014  

Leid Stories commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with purposeful contemplation of a guiding principle in his life’s work: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

At a meeting in New York City of the nondenominational Clergy & Laity Concerned, Dr. King exhorted leaders in the faith community -- and people of conscience generally -- to be true advocates for the poor and oppressed by relentlessly opposing U.S. laws and policies that are morally wrong and inhumane – not only for fellow Americans, but for people all over the world.

America’s appetite for war, he said, is sated always by unimaginable hardship, suffering and sacrifices by those least able to bear them – the poor at home and in far-flung corners of the world where America introduces itself with bombs and utter destruction.

This speech was delivered at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, a year to the day of the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Tenn., where he was mobilizing a march in support of 1,300 African American sanitation workers striking for recognition of their union, better working conditions and a living wage. 

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