Information control in the United States is growing stronger as journalists face more restrictions on their ability to speak with people who work for the public good in agencies and institutions from the local to federal levels and are being targeted through illegal raids and confiscation of their equipment. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kathryn Foxhall, a journalist who works on freedom of information, about another journalist, Brittany Hailer, who is suing over restrictions on her ability to interview employees at a local jail where an unprecedented number of deaths are occurring. Foxhall explains why these restrictions are human rights abuses. Clearing the FOG also speaks with Seth Stern of the Freedom of Information Foundation and Bobby Block of the Florida First Amendment Foundation about journalists' legal rights and their new Know Your Rights Guild for journalists.
One year after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which Big Green groups hailed as a 'climate justice bill,' the truth is surfacing that this legislation is lining the pockets of the fossil fuel industry to the detriment of frontline, especially Black and Indigenous, communities. Clearing the FOG speaks to Anthony Rogers-Wright, a national racial and climate justice advocate, about the ways Joe Biden and the Democrats are failing to address the climate crisis and Big Green groups are turning away from climate justice to embrace Green Capitalism. Rogers-Wright also describes better alternatives to the Big Greens and where people can focus their efforts effectively to struggle for a just and livable future.
People in the United States pay the highest prices for pharmaceuticals, and Big Pharma spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year for lobbying to keep it that way. The United States is also experiencing a growing shortage of medications from antibiotics to cancer treatments and more despite being a wealthy country. Clearing the FOG speaks with Dana Brown of the Democracy Collaborative to understand what is behind the high prices and shortages. She also describes solutions to these crises and how states across the country are taking action to directly confront the stranglehold the pharmaceutical industry has over our lives.
Award-winning producer, activist and artist Eleanor Goldfield has a new documentary out, To The Trees, about forest defense in the Redwood Forests of Northern California. Beautifully filmed and composed, Goldfield shows the decimation of our old-growth forests and efforts to stop this crime while placing the struggle in the broader context of colonialism and capitalism. Clearing the FOG speaks with Goldfield about how she connected with forest defenders, the experience of making the film and what we can all do to protect our last remaining Redwoods, the giants of carbon sequestration. Aptly named, To The Trees will inspire you to embrace and protect our forests.
Luisa González, of the Movimiento Revolución Ciudadana party, on Sunday took a lead in the first round of Ecuador’s presidential and legislative elections, which have been marred by political assassinations as the Andean nation struggles with a wave of violence that has brought homicide rates, under the Lasso administration, to record levels. Gonzalez is set to face the surprise second-place finisher Daniel Noboa in a run-off election in October, according to the National Electoral Council of Ecuador (CNE), as neither candidate won more than 50% of the ballot.
At the end of July, the Presidential Guard of Niger, backed by the military, unseated the current president, Mohamed Bazoum, in a coup supported by the people. In response, the United States and France, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), began planning a military intervention to return Bazoum to power. West African nations, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, quickly declared solidarity with the new government, a move that could turn a military intervention into a greater regional conflict. To understand what is happening in Niger and how it fits into the bigger picture of the rejection of neo-colonialism and US hegemony, Clearing the FOG speaks with Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire.
Joining the conversation from Merida, Venezuela are episode guests Felipe Vanegaz and Hilmar Rodriguez of the Comuna Che Guevara and the Unión Comunera. On August 1, WTF returned to Venezuela to participate on a 13 day delegation to study the Venezuela Commune System. While on assignment, each week we will share with you a WTF episode related to Venezuela's fight against US economic warfare including ending 200 years of US foreign policy based on domination of the hemisphere, as well as, the creation of socialist means of production for food and services which are helping alleviate the effects of unilateral coercive measures (economic sanctions).
On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern Railroad train carrying 150 cars, some containing toxic chemicals, derailed in the small town of East Palestine, Ohio on the border with Pennsylvania. The residents in the immediate area were evacuated but the 100,000 gallons of chemicals, including vinyl chloride, that spilled spread throughout the region. Now, over six months later, many residents still cannot return to their homes. Hilary Flint of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, the vice president of the Unity Council for the East Palestine Train Derailment joined Clearing the FOG to describe what happened, the failures of the local, state and federal governments to provide what affected residents need and how they are organizing to pressure President Biden to grant Governor DeWine's request for an emergency declaration and more.
Profiteers are taking over health care in the United States and running it into the ground - firing health professionals and closing hospitals. Dr. Ana Malinow, a lead organizer of the group, National Single Payer, fears we are witnessing the demise of a model national insurance, Medicare, as the 58th anniversary of its passage was celebrated on July 31. Dr. Malinow joins Clearing the FOG to discuss the state of health care in the US. She provides a strong critique of state legislative efforts and the two Medicare for All bills in the House and Senate, HR 3421 and S 1655. Dr. Malinow outlines what people are doing across the country to build grassroots power to win a national health insurance, Medicare for All, or a national health system.
At a recent meeting, CARICOM members, under pressure from the United States, changed their position to support western military intervention in Haiti. Black leaders from the US, Rwanda and Kenya were brought in to justify the move. Clearing the FOG speaks with Erica Caines of the Black Alliance for Peace's Haiti/Americas team to discuss the long history of outside intervention in Haiti, current resistance in support of people's-centered self-determination and what people in the United States can do to center Haiti in our work. Caines reminds us that Haiti was the spark that lit de-colonization movements throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and urges our solidarity with the Haitian resistance.
The latest book by labor and human rights attorney, Daniel Kovalik, Nicaragua: A History of US Intervention & Resistance (2023, Clarity Press, 292 pages), is a worthy addition to the author’s collection of works on countries targeted by U.S. imperialism, such as Venezuela, Russia, and Iran. While giving readers a thoughtful and much fuller picture than one can glean from the corporate media, this volume tells an engaging tale based on personal experience and extensive research. Dan Kovalik is an author, activist and labor attorney.
Nearly one year ago, on July 29, 2022, the FBI simultaneously conducted a heavily-militarized raid on seven facilities associated with the African People's Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement in Missouri and Florida. The federal government seized computers, phones and archival material. This was later used to fabricate federal charges against three members, Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Penny Hess and Jesse Nevel. Clearing the FOG speaks with Chairman Yeshitela about the raid and prosecution and the new anti-colonial free speech coalition launched this month. Chairman Yeshitela explains why the coalition is specifically anti-colonial and why this broad movement is necessary to protect our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. He also urges everyone to support Black is Back's November 4 March on the White House. For more information, visit HandsOffUhuru.org.
Friday, June 30, WTF returned to Managua, Nicaragua to do follow-up study of Caribbean Coast government funded infrastructure projects and to celebrate the 44th Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution on July 19. While on assignment, each week we will share with you segments of the documentary Nicaragua Against Empire. The film journals our March 2021 Sanctions Kill / Friends of the ATC, Nicaragua delegation. This episode is an inside look at the Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA) Ixim Ulew in Chontales, Nicaragua. Ixim Ulew means "Land of Corn" in Maya K’iche’, paying homage to the Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica.
NATO leaders met in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11 and 12. The major topic of the summit was what to do about Ukraine. Clearing the FOG spoke with Scott Ritter, a former Marine intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector, who wrote recently that the NATO meeting was "a theater of the absurd." Ritter explains why Ukraine is not being admitted to NATO and why NATO will require Ukraine to fight to the end. He provides a history of NATO to place current events in context and important insights into the recent failed mutiny by Wagner leader Yevgeny Prighozin. Ritter states that the best the West can do at this point is to "normalize defeat" in Ukraine and what this means for President Biden.