Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

September 16, 2015  

The Ferguson Commission Report: An Exercise in Futility?

CNN Takes Its Turn As Carnival Barker At Two-Ring Circus

The Ferguson Commission—a 16-member blue-ribbon panel appointed last November by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to look into underlying causes of the rebellion that enveloped the city three months earlier, after the police shooting of Michael Brown—concluded its task two days ago with a 198-page report.

Titled “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” the report makes 169 recommendations in four areas it identified as requiring urgent attention— the law-enforcement/criminal-justice system, issues uniquely related to local youth, economic development, and entrenched racism.

Our guest, Al Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati-based civil-rights attorney with a long history of successfully litigating police-brutality cases and forcing court-ordered reforms in the criminal-justice system, discusses the Ferguson Commission’s report.

CNN takes its turn tonight as carnival barker at the two-ring circus it’s calling a presidential debate. Leid Stories in a commentary explains how CNN is merely filling its role as one of “The 3 M’s” in this political season.

September 15, 2015  

Living In Limbo: The European Refugee Crisis Explained

Alan M. Kraut, professor of history at American University, affiliate faculty member of its School of International Service and a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute, discusses what the United Nations is calling the worst refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War II.

Bernie Sanders, the Independent junior U.S. senator from Vermont seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election, yesterday addressed a packed arena at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the largest Christian university in the world. Sanders sought common ground on what he called America’s “immorality” of poverty, inequity and injustice.

September 14, 2015  

Analyze This!: ‘News’ That’s Missing The Whole Point

Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because such unions offend her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian, returns to work today, still holding to her “moral conscience” and demanding an “accommodation” that would exempt her from affixing her name to official marriage licenses.  

U.S. District Judge David Bunning had ordered Davis jailed on Sept. 3 for refusing to license same-sex marriages. Davis, who served six days, has become a far-right cause célèbre for “religious freedom.” Leid Stories listeners discuss religious freedom vs. bigotry, and how the  media, for clearly political reasons, is maintaining “fairness” in coverage by walking on both sides of the fence.

Almost 10 months after it was given a wide-ranging mandate to study the “underlying causes” of the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri, in the killing of Michael Brown by then-police officer Darren Wilson, the 16-member Ferguson Commission releases today the end result of its investigation—a 198-page report. Titled “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” the report makes 169 recommendations in four areas—“Justice for All,” “Youth at the Center,” “Opportunity to Thrive,” and “Racial Equity.”

Leid Stories discusses the key element missing in the report.

September 10, 2015  

Fourteen Years Later, Questions Abound About 9/11 Attacks

On Sept. 11, 2014, Americans came to know terror. It came from the sky.

In New York City, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 screamed toward, and then exploded into, the World Trade Center’s north and south towers. The 110-story buildings collapsed within 2 hours. In Arlington, Va., American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, destroying a sizable portion of the building that houses the Department of Defense. And in Shanksville, Pa., United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field after passengers helped abort an intended hit on the White House.

Nineteen alleged al-Qaeda terrorists had hijacked the four commercial airliners after departing from three East Coast airports, and used the planes as weapons of mass destruction, official reports said. The immediate body count was high, and related damage extensive. Apart from the 19 hijackers, 2,977 people, including 343 firefighters and 72 law-enforcement officers, were killed, and property and infrastructure damage was estimated at $10 billion.

Official investigations concluded that the attacks were carried out by Islamic terrorists on orders of Osama bin Laden, who had vowed vengeance against the United States for its military aggression in the Middle East, its leadership role in the Persian Gulf War, and its support for Israel.

Like most Americans, Richard Gage felt a deep sorrow in the aftermath of the attacks. But official explanations about the attack on the World Trade Center, and how and why the twin towers collapsed, just didn’t square with evidence and his professional training and experience as an accomplished architect.

He found he was not alone. A growing number of architects and engineers have openly challenged the credibility of the government’s reports. They are demanding new, totally transparent investigations into the 9-11 attacks, and especially the attack on the World Trade Center.

I spoke with Gage, founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, earlier this week. It was an enlightening conversation, to say the least.

September 9, 2015  

Europe’s Refugee Crisis Rooted in Imperialism, Says French Journalist

Family’s Settlement in Police Homicide Case Repeats Disturbing Pattern

The European Union appears French journalist, political analyst and filmmaker Gilbert Mercier, cofounder and editor in chief of News Junkie Post, looks at Europe’s refugee crisis as the predictable result of Western imperialism and its aggressive implementation of failed-state policies in the war-torn countries from which the vast majority of refugees are fleeing.

The City of Baltimore’s five-member Board of Estimates is expected to finalize today a $6.4-million settlement in the police-homicide case of Freddie Gray, whose death a week after suffering injuries during a “rough ride” in a police wagon on April 12 touched off a wave of local and national protests.

“Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr., who has set many legal precedents in several high-profile cases involving excessive force by police and prosecutorial misconduct, discusses the implications of the settlement.  

September 8, 2015  

Feeding Us Lies: The Roundup on AgriGiant Monsanto

On its Web site, agribusiness giant Monsanto touts Roundup—a herbicide and pesticide product it developed in 1974 and in varying formulations is used by farmers, landowners, homeowners and parks departments worldwide—as “important tools in their toolboxes for controlling weeds.”

The key active ingredient in Roundup and Roundup-based products is glyphosate, developed by Monsanto in 1970. Monsanto and several companies in China dominate the production of glyphosate, now the largest-selling agrochemical product worldwide, commanding 25 percent of the market and forecast at 1.35 million metric tons of production by 2017.

For years Monsanto has been dogged by questions about the safety of glyphosate for humans, animals and the environment, and for years the company has denied or dismissed claims of its products’ links to a range of serious side effects—including birth defects, cancer, autism, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, kidney disease, wildlife and aquatic abnormalities and death, and even the deaths of butterflies and bees.

But new information has come to light that shows Monsanto not only knew of the biochemical hazards of glyphosate, but did not reveal the results of its own studies that corroborated several scientific challenges to its product.

Dr. Gary Null, who broke the story on PRN’s “The Gary Null Show,” and leading scientist-researchers who unearthed and examined Monsanto’s secret reports discuss what they found.

September 4, 2015  

We Have Our Own Debates on “Free Your Mind Friday!”

Waiting for the next round of televised, lip-flapping, corporate-media Q&A sessions they’re calling “debates?” Fuggeddaboudit!

Get your own points of view heard on Leid Stories’ “Free Your Mind Friday.” The program is devoted to listeners’ points of view about any subject they choose, and fellow listeners are encouraged to engage the subject(s) further or take the conversation on an entirely different course.

We’re a well-mannered, well-adjusted lot, and though we have strong opinions, we’re all about respectfully sounding each other’s ideas out.

Leave the pols and their media acolytes to their prating. Join a group of people who actually say what they mean and mean what they say!

September 3, 2015  

After the Labor Day Carnival, Life for U.S. Caribbeans Is No Party

Four days from now, on Labor Day, a 3-mile stretch of Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y., will be the venue for one of the nation’s largest public parades, and certainly the largest and oldest event celebrating Caribbean culture.

Known officially as the West Indian American Carnival Parade, the Pan-Caribbean festival, now in its 48th year, has been known to attract upwards of 2 million people, the vast majority of them reconnecting with a way of life they knew back home.

But after the revelry, lavish costumes, “home food” and the “jump up,” what’s the state of affairs with Caribbean people in the United States?

Our guest, Dr. Waldaba Stewart, sheds light on the issue. Dr. Stewart for more than 25 years has been a capacity building specialist and political action organizer for disadvantaged groups and communities in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Diaspora. A former state senator, he currently is chairman of the Caribbean Resource Center at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, and is widely recognized as the foremost African American expert on immigration policy reform.

September 2, 2015  

Radioactive Waste Dump in Texas Threatens U.S. Water Supply

The Big Fix: What Ails America and How to Fix It

Highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants in 36 states is being dumped in a remote area in West Texas, just outside the small town of Andrews. The dumping will continue until a massive hole in the ground dug for that purpose is filled. The nuclear-waste graveyard, however, sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the world’s second-largest underground water supply, covering an area of 174,000 square miles.

Independent, award-winning journalist Paul DeRienzo—who had done a six-part series (“America’s Fukushima”) on Leid Stories about the nation’s largest ecological disaster caused by massive contamination from the Hanford Site, a sprawling nuclear-reactor complex on the Columbia River in south-central Washington state—reveals an elaborate scheme by governmental officials and a politically connected waste-disposal company to hide from  the public the clear and present danger of massive contamination of the Ogallala Aquifer.

Leid Stories listeners identify top problems confronting the nation and offer workable solutions.

September 1, 2015  

Labor Pains for 137,000: The Auto Workers Union and Detroit’s Big 3

It’s six weeks since the United Auto Workers union began hardball negotiations with Detroit’s Big Three—General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US—over a slew of issues related to a new contract for some 137,000 workers.

The current contract expires Sept. 14, and with no agreement yet struck on the top grievance—a two-tiered wage system that pays workers hired after 2007 about half what senior workers warn—union members have voted to authorize a strike against all three manufacturers in the event of “bad-faith” negotiations.

Frank Hammer, a retired 32-year GM worker and former chairman and president of the UAW’s 3,500-member  Local 909 in Warren, Mich., for 12 years, takes us behind the scenes of the current negotiations, but with a blistering critique of the UAW. The union’s leadership has been capitulating to the dictates of the auto industry for more than a decade, Hammer contends.

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