Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

March 16, 2015  

Mayhem, Murder, Madness, Money and Media Myopia

Leid Stories takes a look at a few major stories that illustrate how U.S. news outlets willingly toe ideological, political and racial lines in their coverage, and how this in turn shapes and controls our views of the world and our place in it.

Media literacy is a regular feature of Leid Stories.

March 13, 2015  

Has U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Delivered Justice in Ferguson?

Two police officers shot in Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday as they guarded the Police Department building during an hours-long community protest have been released from hospital and recovering from their wounds. Recovery of the embattled town from old and new tensions that bedevil it is not as hopeful.

The shootings occurred the same day Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned, the latest in a slew of public employees and officials to quit after a U.S. Department of Justice report found and entrenched pattern of racism in the policies and practices of the city’s governing and public-service agencies.

The DOJ report came with an anti-climactic announcement that no federal charges will be brought against ex-police officer Darren Wilson for shooting to death Michael Brown in on Aug. 9, 2014—the incident that sparked sustained unrest in Ferguson and sympathetic protests across the country demanding justice in the case.

In an exclusive series last November, “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. predicted the Department of Justice decision, as well as the Nov. 24 decision by a county grand jury not to indict Wilson. Maddox also predicted that a linked case in Staten Island, N.Y.—the chokehold death of Eric Garner on July 17, 2014—similarly would yield no state indictment of Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo; a grand jury announced Dec. 3 that it found no reason to indict him. Holder promised an “expeditious” federal inquiry into the Garner case the following day. Results pending.

The hunt is on for the shooter(s) of the police officers, the heinous act widely condemned. On Leid Stories, “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. pursues answers to the question: Has U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered justice in Ferguson?

March 12, 2015  

Haiti: A Treasure Trove of Questionable Clinton Dealings

Emailgate, the latest issue to bring Hillary Rodham Clinton’s credibility and ethics into question, probably won’t be the last to stand in the way of an all-but-declared presidential run. A survivor of several criminal, ethics-violations, conflict-of-interest and corruption investigations that span her political career, Clinton reportedly is at the center of at least six new probes connected to her tenure as U.S. secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Trouble for the former first lady and U.S. senator, however, is not just of the home-brewed variety. Stories are surfacing that link her to highly irregular political and business dealings outside of the United States.

Haiti hides a treasure trove of such Clinton dealings, says our guest, veteran journalist Kim Ives, cofounder of the international weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté. He unearths and reveals a few.

March 10, 2015  

On Being A Woman: Notes on An Evolution

All societies exert extraordinary power and influence in shaping not only an aggregate or collective identity, but the individual identity as well. Social “rules”—some of them static, others dynamic—define widely held customs and values, how we relate to each other, and how we see ourselves within the context of the whole.

American society is no exception, even with social rules that are ever shifting and a political and cultural history rooted in race and class ideation and conflict. Who decides what the collective identity is, and, consequently, what the individual identity is? And in this framework, what does being a woman mean?

Leid Stories, in a nod to Women’s History Month, grapples with the question in a fascinating, no-holds-barred personal essay by host Utrice Leid that confronts prevailing views about feminism, gender politics, and racial and cultural supremacy.  

March 9, 2015  

In Selma, Obama Builds A Bridge Over Many Troubled Waters

Delivering the keynote address Saturday at the 50th-anniversary commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala., President Obama talked of the America that was, that is, and that is yet to be.

March 7, 1965, when state troopers and local police violently waylaid a peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery calling for federal protection of blacks’ voting rights in Alabama, was both dark and heroic, Obama said, attributing much of black progress—and the progress of American society as a whole—to the civil-rights movement.

Obama’s 32-minute speech, praised effusively by the media and quotable experts for its grandness, statesmanlike tenor and rarified frankness about racism, was also revisionist history, an artful dodging of government’s responsibility (including his own administration) in creating and maintaining inequality and injustice, a crass implication that blacks caused the Republican sweep in the midterm elections, and using a solemn moment to drill for votes to recoup Democratic losses.

Leid Stories decodes Obama’s Selma speech.  

March 6, 2015  

Mutually Assured Deception: Why Netanyahu’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Not Up for Debate in Congress

50 Years Later, Edmund Pettus Bridge Still Spans Two Americas, Separate and Unequal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in effect delivered a warning to the United States in his diplomacy-wrecking speech before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday: End all talks with Iran on its nuclear program, or don’t blame Israel for taking whatever measures it deems necessary to defend itself peremptorily against Iran’s “existential threat.”

Curiously, Israel’s nuclear program never has come up for discussion or debate in Congress.

Our guest, Grant Smith, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and author of several books on Israeli spying and lobbying, explains why, whether members of Congress approved on did not approve of Netanyahu’s speech, no one raises questions about Israel’s nuclear arsenal or Netanyahu’s role in building it.


On Sunday, March 4, 2007, then-presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama had a great photo op; he joined marchers commemorating “Bloody Sunday” by crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (On March 7, 1965, about 600 protesters were about to start a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., the state’s capital, to demand voting rights. State troopers and local police met them at the bridge and violently attacked them.)

Obama will join thousands planning to converge at the bridge to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Leid Stories in a commentary discusses the symbolism of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the irony of Obama’s senator-to-president historical trek across it.

March 5, 2015  

Venezuela In Crisis: Chavez Coup 2.0 in the Making?

Each day the news out of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, it seems, gets worse. A shattered economy, out-of-control inflation, pervasive food shortages and mounting protests in the streets have kept President Nicolás Maduro on edge and on the defensive putting out fires since taking the country’s helm after the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, exactly two years ago today.

Venezuela’s internal upheavals and unrelenting crises are neither accidental nor natural, Maduro has declared, pointing the finger of blame at the hemisphere’s hegemon, the United States. Chavez, too, had accused the United States of instigating a coup against him on April 11, 2002. Military loyalists and popular support restored him to power within 48 hours.

Our guest, attorney Eva Golinger, an adviser to both Chavez and Maduro, says the presidents’ accusations against the United States are based on hard evidence. Further, she says in a wide-ranging interview, the Obama administration “is trying to complete with Maduro what President [George] Bush had attempted with Chavez.”

Golinger, author of Bush Versus Chavez: Washington's War on Venezuela, and co-author (with Saul Landau) of The Chavez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela, discusses the U.S. role in Venezuela’s current crisis. 


March 4, 2015  

Bully In the Pulpit: Why No One Stopped Netanyahu’s Hostile Takeover

Holder Urges ‘Reform’ of Ferguson Police Dept.; No Justice for Michael Brown

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, enabled and emboldened by House Majority Leader John Boehner, the lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a heavily Republican assortment of Obama haters, relished his 43 minutes of fame before a joint session of Congress yesterday.

Netanyahu’s (and his facilitators’) intent was clear—to scuttle U.S.-led negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program—but it was much more than that. Leid Stories explains why no one, including those who said they opposed the Israeli leader’s exceedingly undiplomatic and intrusive appearance, stopped Netanyahu’s hostile takeover of Congress.

The Justice Department today releases a report on its six-month investigation of the Ferguson Police Department that statistically confirms what locals have been alleging for years—that African Americans in the small Missouri town were and are the targets of racist cops and a racist system that protects them.

The probe began in the explosive aftermath of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014 by Darren Wilson, a police officer who quit the 53-member force after a local grand jury found no reason to indict him.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who soon departs the Obama administration, has not yet announced whether Wilson will face federal civil-rights charges; he has said only that the “legal standards are high.” Leid Stories asks: Is this a matter of high standards or low performance?   

March 3, 2015  

Toil and Trouble: Black Labor from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement (Part 4)

Our guest, Professor Charles L. Lumpkins, concludes his presentation on African American labor from the Civil War to the turn of the 21st century—covering the periods of chattel slavery, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era. (Check the archives at leidstories.podbean.com for Parts 1, 2 and 3, which aired Feb. 5, Feb. 10, and Feb 17, respectively.)

Dr. Lumpkins is a lecturer of labor and employment relations at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his doctorate in history in 2006, and teaches history and African American studies. He also holds a master’s degree in library science.

His scholastic research focuses particularly on the history of social and political movements, and the history of the working-class.

Dr. Lumpkins is the author of the highly praised American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics, a necessary historical reference for understanding the state of affairs in Ferguson, Missouri, today.

March 3, 2015  

Nukes & Reactionaries: Boehner, Netanhayu and the Real Nuclear Threat

Chicago Hope: “Chuy” García’s Historic Challenge to Big-Money Politics

Attempting to lessen the presumed impact of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu’s barnstorming speech before Congress tomorrow, the White House has published a brief touting 5 Things You Need to Know About the U.S.-Israel Relationship Under President Obama.” Summary: Billions in aid, strong defense of an ally, diplomatic help with its neighbors, high-volume trade, and millions to help with refugees.

Protocol-breaking House Majority leader John Boehner and his crass invitee Netanyahu nonetheless are banking on the speech to derail current U.S. negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. But it also can help Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party get re-elected March 17, and help Boehner consolidate his fraying power among fellow Republicans while depriving Obama of much to boast about in his remaining two years.

Leid Stories explains the real nuclear threat that Netanyahu poses.  


All political eyes are on Chicago, where the incumbent mayor, Rahm Emanuel, unexpectedly finds himself in a dead heat with dark-horse candidate Jesús “Chuy” García, who last Tuesday shut Emanuel out of an easy re-election bid and forced him into a runoff April 7. It will be the first mayoral runoff in Chicago history.

Outspent 12 to 1, García, a Cook County commissioner, found victory in grassroots-coalition support and intense voter dislike of Emanuel’s policies and personality.

Leid Stories discusses the significance of García’s stunning showing.

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