Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

June 30, 2014  

Six-term Republican incumbent Thad Cochran last Tuesday fended off a serious challenge to his U.S. Senate seat by Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel, who was favored to win. Cochran’s strategy? Go after African American Democrats. Mississippi doesn’t require voters to list a party affiliation when they register, so even when there are party primaries voters of all stripes show up at the polls.

Cochran’s Democrat-assisted win set off a sonic boom across the political spectrum. Republicans see it as political sabotage and subversion, and Democrats see it as nifty way to slow the right-wing anti-Obama momentum in Congress.

Leid Stories, however, sees it altogether differently. Cochran’s win is a continuum of loss in Mississippi, which has been exceptionally defiant against freedom, justice and equality for all.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is central to our discussion today. Had he harnessed the power of the heavy investment Mississippians had made in him in his presidential runs in 1984 and 1988 (on the strength of movements sparked by stalwart leaders like Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer), Mississippi today would be the epicenter of transformative Black political power in the United States and not just the statistical anomaly as the state with the highest percentage of African American voters just waiting to help somebody win. 

June 27, 2014  

It’s “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories—your turn at bat.

From the wide array of things that vexed you this week select the one that’s the most, well, vexing. With laser-beam precision take us to the root of your vexation. Then, bring on the clarity in heavy doses and lead us all into the light.

Worry not about whether people agree or disagree with your position (for the record, we are no respecters of rote, party-line thinking). Concentrate instead on making a home run.

June 26, 2014  

Justice Gone Wilding: Behind the Legal Lynching of the Central Park 7 (Part 2)

Yesterday’s conversation with “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. on the Central Park 7 case continues.

The announcement last week that the City of New York has agreed to a $40-million settlement with five men exonerated in the 1989 rape and brutal assault of a female jogger in Central Park encourages an examination of many important issues raised by the case—chief among them that to date there has been no formal inquiry into police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, nor any attempt to ascertain how many were harmed by the wholesale abuse of power and authority during the racially charged investigation of the crime.

Maddox had represented pro bono Michael Briscoe, then 17, the only defendant to escape the predetermined outcome of the sham trial. 

June 25, 2014  

Justice Gone Wilding: Behind the Legal Lynching of the Central Park 7

Pending approval by the city comptroller and a federal judge, the City of New York will pay $40 million to five men railroaded into convictions and prison terms of between seven and 13 years as “wilding” teenagers prosecutors had charged with raping and almost beating to death Trisha Meili, a woman who went jogging in Central Park on April 19, 1989.  

Settlement of the controversial case is meant by Mayor Bill de Blasio to signal to communities of color that City Hall is addressing their cries for justice in this case in particular and their long-held, legitimate complaints about pervasive abuses in the criminal-justice system in general. But our guest today cautions that the settlement is not likely to change a deeply entrenched system of police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct and corruption that feed and fill New York’s jails and prisons.

Noted “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. represented Michael Briscoe pro bono in the case—the only defendant to escape the predetermined outcome of the sham trial. He discusses the political, legal and historical significance of the case, the conspiracy to deny justice, the targeting of African American lawyers in the case, and the stark differences in treatment the case received compared to the kidnapping, rape and assault of Tawana Brawley in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., two years earlier.

And yes, it’s The Central Park 7, not The Central Park 5. That, too, explained.

June 24, 2014  

Obama Re-engineered As Touchstone for ‘Real’ Leadership, ‘New’ Ideas

Israeli Activist Says Zionism, Like Apartheid, Must Be Dismantled

It’s been subtle. It’s been blatant. And it’s been ratcheted up—the deliberate re-engineering of President Barack Obama and what will become not only the narrative of his eight-year tenure, but also a more precise revision of the race-based codas that govern life in the United States.

Leid Stories explains how a consortium of interests, sharing historical rights and privileges that temporarily (though minimally) have been disrupted by Obama’s election and presidency, are busy realigning and re-entrenching their values. Sadly, the engineered president is cooperating.

Israeli American activist Miko Peled, a former captain in the Israeli Defense Force whose grandfather, Avraham Katznelson, was one of the founders of the Zionist state, and whose father, Mattityahu Peled, was an army general who became a leading voice for a negotiated peace with the Palestine Liberation Organization, explains why Zionism must be dismantled.    

June 23, 2014  
June 20, 2014  

When was the last time you actually engaged in a meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas with people who really are interested in your point of view on issues that matter? 

Well, that’s how we roll on Leid Stories, and on “Free Your Mind Friday” it’s all about what you have to say. We’re a good-humored bunch with good manners and a great appreciation for new ideas.

Bring yours to the forum. Speak your mind. Trust that we can deal with it.

June 19, 2014  

Bill and HillaryEven as President Barack Obama wrestles with an “appropriate” response to the crisis in Iraq, he knows he’s in a no-win situation. The fact that he’s reminded congressional leaders that he doesn’t need their signoff on any action he might take confirms that the push-and-pull of vested interests is intense.

Obama and his administration are being called to account, even being blamed, for ending the bogus, nine-year, U.S.-instigated war he didn’t start. And he’s been saddled with the nightmare of doing damage control on the history of the nation’s outrageous conduct and foreign policy in the region.

President George Bush was a chief actor in this regard. But, says Leid Stories, it was President Clinton who started the war as “dual containment,” in behalf of Israel, of Iraq and Iran. On Hillary’s presidential campaign trail, he would lie and say he opposed the war [by Bush]. And it was Hillary Clinton who not only supported the war as a U.S. senator, but continued as secretary of state to push hardline policies against these and other emerging Muslim states—including the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.

The Clintons must answer for their roles in the Iraq crisis.

June 18, 2014  

Faceoff with Florida Clemency Board Over Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights

Yesterday Is Today: The Iraq Crisis In Political and Historical Context

Faith leaders from all over Florida are converging on Tallahassee today for a faceoff with the state’s Board of Executive Clemency seeking to restore the voting rights of an estimated 1.5 million ex-felons barred permanently from voting because of their criminal past. Florida has the largest population—about 25 percent—of the nation’s 6 million citizens who have lost their voting rights because of felony convictions, but is one of only three states (besides South Carolina and Tennessee) that permanently revoke such rights.

Leid Stories talks to representatives of People Improving Communities for Organizing (PICO), an interfaith organization staging its second legislative intervention on the issue, demanding Gov. Rick Scott reverse the policy.

British Pakistani scholar-journalist Tariq Ali with surgical precision places the current crisis in Iraq in political and historical context in a prescient speech he delivered at Binghamton University 10 years ago.

Tariq’s talk was based on his new book at the time, “Bush In Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq.” 

June 17, 2014  

America’s Fukushima: The Largest Ecological Catastrophe in U.S. History 

Part 5: Ancestral Lands and A Way of Life Desecrated

Investigative reporter Paul DeRienzo files the fifth installment of a series on an ecological disaster caused by massive contamination from the Hanford Site, a sprawling nuclear-reactor complex on the Columbia River in south-central Washington state.

Today’s program focuses on the ecological impact of locating the site on the ancestral lands of the Yakama and Umatilla nations and the resulting desecration of their way of life, which continues to this day.

The still-partially-functioning Hanford Site, built in 1943, was where two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium was manufactured during World War II and the Cold War. It housed the world’s first plutonium-production reactor that produced much of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, including the nuclear bombs used against Japan. But the operation of its nine reactors, phased out between 1968 and 1987, has created the largest ecological disaster in the United States, dumping a steady stream of industrial and radioactive waste directly into the air, river and ground of the 586-square-mile reservation.

Guests are: Russell Jim of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and Armand Minthorn of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

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