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.
Podcast – Clearing The FOG
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On July 19, Nicaraguans will celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution. This month also marks the fifth anniversary of the defeat of the US-backed coup attempt against President Daniel Ortega. Clearing the FOG speaks with solidarity activist and journalist John Perry, who is based in Masaya, about the state of the revolution today and what happened in 2018. Perry has been writing a series of articles about the role of the US and Catholic Church in the violent road blockades, attacks on Sandinista supporters, police and bystanders, and the destruction of public infrastructure. He also exposed the failures of major human rights organizations to report accurately on crimes committed by the opposition.
In 2013 and 2018, UPS workers were forced to accept contracts that failed to protect them and that created a growing underclass. In 2023, the rank-and-file are refusing to accept less than what they need. As the end of their current contract on July 31 grows near, workers across the nation are organizing strike captains, educating workers and holding practice pickets. UPS employs 340,000 people and is responsible for 6% of the nation's GDP. Clearing the FOG speaks to Richard Hooker, Jr., of Teamsters Local 623 in Philadelphia. Richard has been leading the fight for a decent contract. He speaks about the current working conditions, the workers' demands and why this fight is critical for all workers.
Daniel Ellsberg died on June 16, 2023 at the age of 92. In his final months of life, he spoke out about the importance of whistleblowing and the risk of nuclear war resulting from US aggression against Russia and China. Ellsberg urged people not to wait to take action. Clearing the FOG spoke with Jack Cohen-Joppa, co-coordinator of the Nuclear Resister and steering committee member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, about the long history of and ongoing resistance to nuclear weapons. Cohen-Joppa also talks about actions targeting Raytheon and depleted uranium use in Ukraine. He provides information about actions people can take to create a nuclear-free world.
In the first five months of 2023, over 500 pieces of legislation were introduced in the US to restrict the rights of transgender people. This is part of a growing assault, fueled by the corporate media, on transgender existence. Clearing the FOG speaks with journalist and activist Morgan Artyukhina about the history of transgender struggles, the impacts of the current hostile environment on people, how transgender rights are being used to divide and weaken the ruling class and what people can do to show solidarity and stop the assault. Morgan also discusses the importance of education in creating an inclusive society and the corporate retreat from Pride Month.