Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

May 26, 2015  

Why the Justice Department Deserves A No-Confidence Vote

The U.S. Department of Justice—an agency specializing in recent years in negotiated settlements with criminal enterprises, including several police departments—has chalked up yet another “victory” for “police reform.”

The DOJ is expected to announce today that the City of Cleveland has agreed to remedy a pattern of civil rights violations and use of excessive force long associated with its police department. The settlement comes after the contentious acquittal Saturday (May 23) of Officer Michael Brelo, who fired 49 of 137 shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012. Russell’s car had backfired as he drove past a police station and as many as 62 police vehicles chased after him for 22 miles, ending in the carnage in which Brelo fired the final 15 shots.

The DOJ-City of Cleveland détente stems from an 18-month probe the department undertook at the request of Mayor Frank G. Jackson. Last December, the DOJ issued a “scathing” report confirming that “Cleveland police officers engage in a pattern or practice of unreasonable and in some cases unnecessary force.” But no heads rolled, no one was prosecuted, no one was convicted and sent to prison.

Leid Stories explains why the Justice Department deserves a no-confidence vote.

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May 22, 2015  

Share Your Intellectual Wealth! Free Your Mind!

You’ve acquired a treasure trove of wisdom and unique intelligence over many years that gives you keen insights into daunting issues of the day.

Well, share your intellectual wealth with others Leid Stories’ “Free Your Mind Friday,” a free-form exchange of information, opinions and ideas.

Call in (888-874-4888; it’s free!) and give us your take on the week’s headlines or anything you we should be thinking or talking about.  

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May 21, 2015  

First, You Kill the Schools: Behind the Racist Attack on Public School Education

Just about every major city in the United States with sizable nonwhite populations is experiencing a crisis with its public-school system.

This is not accidental, says our guest, Dr. Thomas C. Pedroni, associate professor of curriculum studies and policy sociology at Wayne State University and co-director of the Detroit Data and Democracy Project. Education policy, he says, is aligned with and reflects a historically racist philosophy and mindset that, despite pronouncements to the contrary, oppose equality and democracy.

Add to this, Pedroni says, is the “threat” and “inconvenience” these populations pose to the power elite. Not only are they increasing in number, but they’re living in areas marked for planned “turnarounds.”

Pedroni explains the connection between the fight for public-school education and the parallel struggle for grassroots political power.

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May 21, 2015  

The Fix Is In: Banksters Buy Their Way Out; Prosecutor Preempts Justice 

Applied Political Science: Nagging Issues, Smart Fixes

The U.S. Justice Department is allowing four major banks to buy their way out of a massive international interest-rate-rigging scheme. The repeat offenders, although they have pleaded guilty to manipulating the foreign-exchange market, will cough up $6 billion and everybody walks. In St. Louis, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce unilaterally decides that no criminal conduct could be proven against a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African American man two months after the killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson. The cop walks.

Leid Stories explains how and why the fix is in.

On any given day, we could easily rattle off a long list of things we think are wrong with the country, the government, the system, even our fellow Americans. Politically speaking, it’s par for the course.

The list gets much shorter, however, if we’re asked to suggest fixes to the things we think are wrong or aren’t working.

Leid Stories takes on the challenge today. Listeners are asked to identify a major national problem or nagging issue and a specific way of solving it within a relatively short time.

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May 19, 2015  

The U.S. and A World of Trouble: From the Inside Out, From the Outside In

Diplomatic scholar, historian, attorney and prolific author Dr. Gerald Horne discusses U.S. foreign policies under President Barack Obama and their global and domestic impact.

Today’s focus includes trade and money wars; how China has redefined the axis of economic power; ISIS and U.S. Gulf strategies, and a clarion call in Africa for total integration.

Horne is the John J. and Rebecca Moores chair of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. He also teaches graduate courses in diplomatic history. He has written more than 30 books, and more than 100 scholarly papers and reviews, on struggles against imperialism, colonialism, fascism and racism.

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May 18, 2015  

Police Reform? What Police Reform?

President Obama today announces an executive order banning the purchase or transfer of some military gear and equipment to local police departments across the country. It’s a turnaround of sorts for the president; just last December the White House was defending $18 billion in spending by five federal agencies on programs that provided police departments with military-grade gear and equipment.

Leid Stories in a commentary contends that Obama’s move is largely cosmetric; it doesn’t deal with the central issue that has been raised time and again—real, systemic reforms of police and policing.

In Missouri, which was a national and international touchstone on the subject--with the shooting death in Ferguson last August of Michael Brown by ex-cop Darren Wilson--the state Legislature closed its session without passing a single measure related to police reform. Some 60 pieces of reform-minded legislation were up for passage.

Leid Stories in a commentary explains that politicians have no intention of taking on the matter of police reform. It remains a “people’s struggle.”

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May 13, 2015  

Yielding to the Duopoly: Is There A Left Left? (Part 2)

The 2016 presidential election is picking up steam. That doesn’t seem to be the case, however, with an organized opposition to the six-of-one/half-dozen-of-the-other kind of politics we’ve been having for a long time now. It appears we’re still stuck with the Republican-Democrat duopoly. Even big labor and heretofore populist and left-of-center movements and organizations seem to be adapting.

“Is there a left left?” Leid Stories continues the discussion.

 

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May 12, 2015  

Yielding to the Duopoly: Is There A Left Left?

The 2016 presidential election is picking up steam. That doesn’t seem to be the case, however, with an organized opposition to the six-of-one/half-dozen-of-the-other kind of politics we’ve been having for a long time now. It appears we’re still stuck with the Republican-Democrat duopoly. Even big labor and heretofore populist and left-of-center movements and organizations seem to be adapting.

“Is there a left left?” That’s the question Leid Stories poses to listeners today.

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May 7, 2015  

In Baltimore and Chicago,  Fancy Footwork on Police 'Reforms';
A Scholar Tackles White Historiography

The mayors of Baltimore and Chicago yesterday did some fancy footwork on the matter of bringing their respective police departments in line. They cleverly
staged news events that made it appear that they were hands-on in responding to their cities' demands for closer oversight of their police departments,  when in fact they were passing the buck.
Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked the Justice Department to probe her city’s police department for civil rights violations, and Chicago's Rahm Emanuel announced a $5-million "reparations" fund for victims of police torture.
Leid Stories explains why the cities' chief stewards refuse to take their out-of-control departments head on.
Noted Caribbean scholar-historian and  novelist Jan Carew tackles white-supremacist historiography, focusing on the Seminole Wars.

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May 6, 2015  

Struggling Detroiters Repel New Taxes
The High Cost of Police 'Reforms'

Still under the yoke of bankruptcy, Detroiters yesterday voted down a measure by the city to offset corporate tax breaks with new taxes for residents. Proposal 1 went down in flames, but the city continues to bank empty lots and foreclosed homes for future sale to real estate interests, and 25,000 homeowners face water shutoffs this month.
Abayomi Azikiwe, our correspondent in Detroit, reports.

Its routine now, especially in the aftermath of particularly egregious conduct by police officers, for public officials and advocates alike to call for "reforms." But the evidence is showing little, if any, movement on what is widely acknowledged as a national crisis.
Meanwhile, the toll climbs, and African American and Latino communities inordinately bear the brunt of the lethal consequences of police misconduct and excessive use of force.
Leid Stories says these targeted communities not only must press their demands, they should play a leading role in defining and deciding what "reform" means.

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