The ruling FOG (Forces of Greed) spin news stories in their favor and keep the masses distracted with celebrity gossip and reality shows. Each week on Clearing The Fog, we feature guests who are working to expose the truth and offer real solutions to the current crises faced by our nation and the world. Knowledge is power, and with this knowledge you will be empowered to act to shift power to the people and weaken the corporate stranglehold on our lives. Our podcast is brought to you each week without advertising.

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Home Run For Julian Tour Grows US Demand To Free Assange

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Julian Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton, are currently on tour in the United States to help organize a unified US movement in support of freeing Julian Assange and protecting press freedom. Clearing the FOG speaks with Gabriel Shipton about the tour, about Julian and about the reasons why it is critical that the Biden administration reverse the Trump era position of prosecuting Assange. It would be very simple for the Biden Department of Justice to cancel the appeal of the United Kingdom judge’s decision not to extradite Assange and he would be free.

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Guest:

Gabriel Shipton is a filmmaker and the brother of Julian Assange. Find information about the tour at AssangeDefense.org/tour/.

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A New Vision That Puts Health Over Profit And Drives Innovation

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

There is a struggle right now to push the World Trade Organization to waive patent protections for medicines, vaccines and technology used for the COVID-19 pandemic. James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explains why that would be an important but not sufficient step to increase access to medicines and vaccines. There are steps governments could take right now to share critical information and expertise to lessen the disparities between rich and poor nations in access to vaccines. Love goes on to explain how there could be greater openness in sharing information in general and how pharmaceutical research and production could be done in ways that improve innovation and make access more equitable. He points the way to where activists can best focus their energy on this issue.

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Guest:

James Love is Director of Knowledge Ecology International. His training is in economics and finance, and work focuses on the production, management and access to knowledge resources, as well as aspects of competition policy. The current focus is on the financing of research and development, intellectual property rights, prices for and access to new drugs, vaccines and other medical technologies, as well as related topics for other knowledge goods, including data, software, other information protected by copyright or related rights, and proposals to expand the production of knowledge as a public good. James Love holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

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For Memorial Day, Here Is How We Stop All Wars

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

For Memorial Day week, Clearing the FOG speaks with David Swanson, the cofounder and executive director of World Beyond War, an international organization that is working to abolish all war. World Beyond War will hold its annual conference virtually from June 4 to 6. The conference, called “From Weapons Fairs to War Zones: Unraveling the War Machine,” will bring activists together to share how they are stopping weapons corporation exhibitions, divesting from war, closing foreign bases and more. They will discuss what type of world they are working to create. David also speaks about his recent book, “Leaving World War II Behind,” that debunks the myth of that as “the last good war.”

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Guest:

David Swanson  is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is cofounder and executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBookLonger bio.  Sample videosAreas of focus: Swanson has spoken on all variety of topics related to war and peace. Facebook and Twitter.

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The Self Determination Of Native Americans Hinges On This Supreme Court Case

A case brought before the United States Supreme Court by three Native American women, who have been representing themselves, may decide the future of the 1975 Indian Self Determination Act. Clearing the FOG speaks with Charmaine White Face, a petitioner in the case, about her fight to stop the privatization of an Indian Health Service facility, Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City South Dakota, that serves 325 tribes in the area. She describes how the privatization is harming the health of the people who use this historic hospital. To her knowledge, this is the first effort to privatize an Indian Health Service hospital. If the privatization is allowed to continue, which has been done without the consent of the people who are impacted, it will set a dangerous precedent for all tribes and allow any federal agency to take a similar illegal action.

Read more and support their effort here.

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Guest:

Charmaine White Face, or Zumila Wobaga, is an Oglala Tetuwan from the Oceti Sakowin in North America.  She is known for her work in support of Native American rights, in particular as coordinator of the Defenders of the Black Hills, a volunteer environmental organization centered on efforts to encourage the United States government to honor the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868.  She also works at the international level in support of recognition of human rights of indigenous peoples all over the world. She is the spokesperson for the Sioux Nation Treaty Council established in 1894. She was a participant in the prayer fast/hunger strike held in December 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland at the final meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples WGDD. She has worked to preserve Bear Butte, on monitoring of abandoned uranium mines, on “environmental remediation of hazardous waste ponds,” and in the anti-nuclear power movement. In Jan. 2013, she raised concerns about radiation exposure of South Dakota Army National Guard soldiers in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland.  Charmaine White Face is also a columnist and freelance writer who has written for Indian Country Today, the Rapid City Journal, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and The Lakota Journal, and is a grandmother.

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Repression Of National Protests In Colombia Is Backed By The United States

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Colombians have been on a national strike since April 28 with protests in 500 cities and blockades that have shut down the major highway. The protests were sparked by a proposed bill that would place the burden of financing the country’s debt on the people while cutting taxes for the wealthy, but economic conditions for most people have been in decline for a long time. The government has responded to the protests with violent repression by its militarized police that is funded and trained by the United States. Clearing the FOG speaks with Charo Mina-Rojas, a human rights defender in Colombia who was a leader in the 2016 peace agreement, about the protests, the conditions, and the political environment in Colombia.

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Guest:

Charo Mina-Rojas is an Afro-Colombian human rights defender with more than two decades of experience in activism at the national and international levels. Ms. Mina-Rojas is a member of the Black Communities’ Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras- PCN) and a member of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network.

Ms. Mina-Rojas was extensively involved in the Havana peace process, serving on the Gender Committee of the Ethnic Commission. The Ethnic Commission was composed of the Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA) of which PCN is part, the National Indigenous Orgarnization (ONIC) and Consejo Mayor Indigena.

The Ethnic Commission was formed to advocate for the inclusion of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous rights and perspectives in the agreement. Their collective advocacy led to the landmark achievement of an Ethnic Chapter within the Peace Accord, which contains protections for Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Peoples, including for their gender-based human rights. Ms. Mina-Rojas was instrumental in guaranteeing that Afro-Colombian and Indigenous women’s rights were included in the final agreement.

Ms. Mina-Rojas is now a member of the Special High Level Body for Ethnic Peoples, and is working to ensure the Colombian Government’s peace implementation plan fully adheres to the provisions of the Ethnic Chapter and other relevant provisions of the Peace Accord, including its gender rights protections.

Ms. Mina-Rojas has worked for many years to educate grassroots Afro-descendant communities on Law 70 of 1993, which recognizes their cultural, territorial and political rights. It was PCN, the organization that she works for that successfully advocated for the enactment of this law as well as the development of the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Colombia, and the addition of specific statistics on Afro-descendant people in the Census 2005. Ms. Mina-Rojas raises awareness about gross human rights violations against Afro-descendant women at national and international level, calls for accountability and provides protection for Afro-descendant women leaders and women human rights defenders.

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Hunger Strike Exposes Biden’s Drive To Increase US Oil Exports

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The Biden administration claims to care about the climate crisis but it is currently allowing a dredging project to proceed in the Matagorda shipping channel to open the way for crude oil exports in Texas. Not only will this drive a surge in oil extraction, but it will also increase mercury pollution by digging in a Superfund site left by the aluminum company, Alcoa. The project will decimate the struggling local fishing industry. To stop this project, veteran activist and shrimper, Diane Wilson has been on a hunger strike since April 7. Clearing the FOG speaks with Diane about her current hunger strike and her long fight to protect the waters in her area.

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Guest:

Diane Wilson is an American environmental activist, an anti-war activist, and an author. In 1989 she was a shrimp boat captain in Calhoun County, Texas, and she saw an Associated Press article saying that the county had the most toxic waste disposal of all counties in America.[1] Wilson began a campaign against Formosa Plastics, a Taiwanese chemical company then building a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) facility near her town, with tactics including several hunger strikes and sinking her own boat to draw attention to the matter.[1][2][3] In 1994 she won “zero discharge” agreements (meaning no liquid effluent discharge into the environment) from Formosa and Alcoa.[3]

Wilson has also protested at meetings concerning the BP oil spill, as well as protesting in support of victims of the 1984 Bhopal, India, Union Carbide gas leak.[4][5]

She is a co-founder of the anti-war organization CODEPINK.[2]

In 2005 a documentary was made about her, titled Texas Gold. [5][6][7] It won several awards, including “Best Documentary” at the New York City Short Film Festival.[8]

She has received the “Hellraiser of the Month” award from Mother Jones magazine,[5] and a number of other awards, including National Fisherman Magazine Award, Louis Gibbs’ Environmental Lifetime Award, Louisiana Environmental Action (LEAN) Environmental Award, Giraffe Project, Jenifer Altman Award and the Bioneers Award.[9]

In 2006, she was honored with the Blue Planet Award from Ethecon Foundation, one of the comparatively very few ‘grass-root’ foundations[10] for “more than 20 years of commitment to environmental issues, even putting her life at risk.”[11]

In 2013, Wilson participated in the movement to close Guantanamo Bay, calling for Obama to release the prisoners that had been declared for release, give the men a fair trial, and end indefinite detention. Most notably, she stood in solidarity with the hunger strikers by fasting on salt and water for 58 days. Her fast ended on June 26, 2013 on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture after jumping the White House fence at a Close Guantanamo protest (with groups including Amnesty International, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, and Witness Against Torture) in an attempt to deliver a letter to President Barack Obama.[12] Wilson was charged with unlawful entry and handed over to local authorities.[13]

In 2019, she was a plaintiff to a suit, Waterkeeper v. Formosa, against Formosa Plastics for violations of the Clean Water Act resulting in discharges of pollution along the Texas coast. Along with other volunteers, she collected millions of nurdles that served as evidence in the case. The suit was settled for $50 million in October 2019.[14]

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Whistleblower Daniel Hale, The Drone Program And The War On Our Right To Know

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The United States’ drone assassination program is illegal under international law, but the whistleblower who exposed it, Daniel Hale, is being prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Chip Gibbons of Defending Rights and Dissent describes who Daniel Hale is and why his act of leaking information about the program to a journalist is akin to Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers. Gibbons also places Hale’s action in the broader context of FBI surveillance, the war on whistleblowers and other truthtellers, such as Julian Assange, and the assault on our right to know.

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Guest:

Chip Gibbons is an expert on US Constitutional law, a journalist and researcher focusing on the US national security state, and a longtime activist.  For over half a decade, he has led Defending Rights & Dissent’s work exposing threats to political expression posed by US national security policy, as well as defending the right to protest.  Chip has advised both state and federal lawmakers on the First Amendment implications of pending legislation.  He is a frequently cited expert on the history of FBI political surveillance and the impact of the Espionage Act on press freedoms. Chip is currently working on a book on the history of the FBI exploring the relationship between domestic political surveillance and the emergence of the US national security state. Titled The Imperial Bureau, it is expected to be published by Verso in 2024.

Chip was an early contributor to the Dissent NewsWire. In 2015, he formally joined Defending Rights & Dissent  after having led a successful campaign to defeat a proposed unconstitutional anti-boycott bill in Maryland. Since joining our team, he has hosted the Still Spying podcast and authored the groundbreaking reports Still Spying on Dissent: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse and Ag Gag Across America: Corporate-Backed Attacks on Activists and Whistleblowers. He has led efforts to educate decision makers and the public alike about the need to reform the Espionage Act, rein in the FBI, and restore constitutional war powers. 

Chip has been published in JacobinThe NationIn These Times, and The Washington Post. In 2020, he published an exposé at The Intercept based on his half decade long quest to force the FBI to release documents pertaining to its surveillance of nonviolent Palestinian solidarity activists.  Bringing his journalistic talents to Defending Rights & Dissent, he did extensive first hand reporting on the unprecedented prosecution of Trump Inauguration protesters.

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How The United States Stole Democracy In Ecuador

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The second and final round of the presidential election took place in Ecuador on April 11. Clearing the FOG speaks with Leonardo Flores, the Latin American campaign coordinator for CODEPINK who served as an official election observer, about that election and the many ways the United States and the corporate media worked to prevent the election of the popular leftist candidate, Andres Arauz. The election of a banker, Guillermo Lasso, means the neoliberal assault on the people will continue. Flores speaks about the resistance in Ecuador and the general state of the Pink Tide in South America.

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Guest:

Leonard Flores is a Latin America campaign coordinator of CODEPINK. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Maryland and he dropped out of a master’s program at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy to work as an analyst on U.S.-Venezuela relations. Leonardo was born in Venezuela and maintains close ties to social movements that have transformed the country over the past twenty years.

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All We Have Now Is The People Versus The Pipelines

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The northern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline is stopped for now, but there is another pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 3, that will also carry tar sands from Canada under construction. Resistance to the pipeline is widespread and escalating with direct actions to shut down construction and solidarity actions. Clearing the FOG speaks with Dawn Goodwin, co-founder of the RISE Coalition, about the history of the pipeline, the harm it will cause, and how people can take action to stop it.

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Guest:

Dawn Goodwin is a representative of the Indigenous Environmental Network and a co-founder of the RISE (resilient indigenous sisters engaging) coalition that is working to stop the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.

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The Myth Of Black Buying Power Is Robbing Black People Of Their Power

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The myth of black buying power – that black people collectively hold trillions of dollars in wealth and that they could improve their economic status if only they ‘spent their money more wisely’ – has been used for more than a century to take the focus off the systemic racism and uphold capitalism. Dr. Jared Ball, author of “The Myth and Propaganda of Black Buying Power,” explains what is behind this myth and why it is still actively embraced today despite evidence to the contrary. He talks about what power is and what we must do to build it.

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Guest:

Dr. Jared Ball is a father and husband. After that, he is a Professor of Communication and Africana Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. and is founder/curator of imixwhatilike.org a multimedia hub of emancipatory journalism and revolutionary beat reporting. Ball is also author of The Myth and Propaganda of Black Buying Power (Palgrave, 2020).

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‘Progressives’ In The US Are Openly Supporting Biden’s War On Syria

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The Biden administration is doubling down on aggression toward Syria and a small group of progressives is openly supporting US intervention. Clearing the FOG speaks with Max Blumenthal of The Grayzone about who is behind a recent open letter taking leftists to task for opposing the US’ foreign policy in Syria, the truth about the US’ military presence and economic warfare there and how the corporate media are misleading the public as well as how Syria fits into the Pentagon’s global great power conflict strategy. Blumenthal is the author of “The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump” and is an expert on the region.

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Guest:

Max Blumenthal, the editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliathThe Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

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While Biden Plots To Divide Iraq, Resistance To US Occupation Is Growing Stronger

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Last year, after the United States so brutally and openly assassinated the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and the commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al -Muhandis, the Iraqi Parliament voted for the United States to cease its occupation of the country. The United States has not done that, but the resistance to US occupation in Iraq is growing. Clearing the FOG speaks with Iraqi sociologist Sami Ramadani about the history of internal resistance to the Saddam Hussein regime, how the devastation caused by the United States impacted that and the current state of the resistance. Ramadani described the “Biden Plan” to divide Iraq into three sectors and to maintain the US presence in the region to protect US oil interests.

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Guest:

Sami Ramadani is an Iraqi-born lecturer in sociology and writes on Iraq and Middle East current affairs. He was a political exile from Saddam’s regime but campaigned against US-led sanctions and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He is a member of the steering committee of Stop the War Coalition. Find him on Twitter at @SamiRamadani1

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Nicaragua Is Teaching Us How To Put People Over Profits

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Members of the Sanctions Kill coalition are currently in Nicaragua as guests of the Friends of the ATC (the Association of Rural Workers) to learn about the Sandinista Revolution and the impacts of the recent economic war being waged by the United States against it. The ATC is a member of the global Via Campesina movement. Nicaragua is putting concrete programs in place to uplift its people by focusing on eradicating poverty, providing basic necessities such as health care, education, retirement security and more and empowering sectors of society that are typically at a disadvantage. A major focus of the Nicaraguan government is achieving food sovereignty using farming methods that are rooted in sustainable and organic methods and supporting small farmers. Clearing the FOG speaks with Erika Takeo of the Friends of the ATC, Antonio Tovar of the Farmworkers Association of Florida and Paul Oqwist of the Nicaraguan government.

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Guests:

Erika Takeo is a Nicaragua-based organizer and national coordinator of Friends of the ATC, a solidarity network with the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ATC, or Rural Workers Association), an organization of struggle that defends rural workers and peoples.

Antonio Tovar is a Principal Investigator at the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), where he works since 2005 as researcher, organizer, educator, and director. Before moving to Florida in 1998 Antonio worked as a journalist in his native Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. In Florida, he studied Medical Anthropology at the University of Florida and join research teams at University of South Florida College of Medicine and Public Health, University of Florida Department of Nursing, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the College of Law, and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. At the Florida Department of Health, he was the Pesticide Poison Investigator at the Department of Epidemiology Pesticide Surveillance Program. Antonio is Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, and Board member of the Community-Campus Partnership for Health (CCPH) and the Florida Immigrant Coalition. He represent the FWAF, a 39 years old grassroot statewide membership organization, at La Via Campesina North America and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Dr. Paul Oquist is Minister-Private Secretary for National Policy for the President of the Republic of Nicaragua, Commandant Daniel Ortega Saavedra.

Dr. Oquist is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the Green Climate Fund, and he was elected by the developing countries in the Green Climate Fund to represent them as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors in 2018 and now remains an Advisor. Dr. Oquist lobbied for the organization of the Green Climate Fund in COP-16 in Cancun, served on the Transition Committee (2010–2011) that produced a proposal, while Nicaragua was named for the final negotiation in Durban by the G-77+China with the United States that represented the developed country constituency.

Dr. Oquist is a third-term member of the Standing Committee of Finance (SCF) of the UNCCC. He represented the SCF in the Interim Directorate of the Warsaw Mechanism of Losses and Damages.

He was a member for two consecutive terms (2010–2017) of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA).

Dr. Oquist has been Nicaragua´s Head of Delegation in every Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change since the last part of COP-15 in Copenhagen. In COP-21, in Paris, Dr. Oquist communicated the Nicaraguan position not to sign the agreement and to demand a greater level of ambition from large emitter countries in accordance with their historical responsibilities, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C in this century. By COP-23 in 2017 in Bonn, the need for greater ambition was a consensus position of most countries, and Nicaragua signed and ratified the Paris Accord. President Daniel Ortega Saavedra in his message to the UN General Assembly in 2015 maintained that countries with climate change losses and damages have a right to claim indemnization and compensation from the largest historical emitters (1880–to date) in proportion to their level of responsibility. The Nicaraguan delegation has maintained this as the only position that is both scientific and just.

Dr. Oquist was also the spokesperson for the ALBA countries at COP-15 in Copenhagen in their defense of the multilateral negotiating process in the face of the attempt to impose a parallel document initiated by the largest emitters without multilateral negotiations that take into account developing countries. The one-sided document was successfully blocked.

In recent COPs Nicaragua has stressed the urgency of the current situation based on the latest scientific information available and given the gravity of recent catastrophic climate events. The Report on the 1.5°C. on which Nicaragua and Bolivia insisted in COP-15 was assigned to IPCC and presented in October, 2018. The findings are that to limit climate change to 1.5°C. average world temperature in this century, it is necessary to reduce emissions 45% by 2030 and achieve a zero-emission, sustainable society by 2050.

Dr. Oquist was Senior Adviser to the President of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann. In that capacity he was Chief Negotiator for the Second Financing for the Development Meeting held in Doha, Qatar, in November, 2008, which surprisingly approved a high-level United Nations meeting on the “Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development” that Dr. Oquist coordinated on behalf of Father D’Escoto in June, 2009. He was also liaison with the group of high-level economists who prepared an Expert Paper for the Conference under the direction of Nobel-winning Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University.

Dr. Oquist was Regional Expert on Governance for the Asia Division of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) based in Islamabad, Pakistan (1998–2006). He was Senior Technical Adviser for the UNDP Management Program in Mongolia (1993–1998) and Director of UNDP Public Administration Projects in Quito, Ecuador (1975–1979). In addition, Dr. Oquist was a consultant for UNDP and UNICEF at the highest level of government in Colombia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where he undertook eight policy assessments on “Peace and Development in the Southern Philippines” for the Multi-Donor Support Group between 1999 and 2006.

In 2019, Dr. Oquist represented Nicaragua in the 49th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Kyoto, Japan); in the United Nations Climate Action Summit (New York, U.S.A.); in the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (New Delhi, India); in the 2019 Forum of the Standing Committee on Finance on “Climate Finance and Sustainable Cities” (Beirut, Lebanon); in the High Forest Cover and Low Deforestation Conference on Climate Finance Mobilization (Paramaribo, Surinam); in The Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) (Nairobi, Kenya); in the Petersberg Climate Dialogue X (Berlin, Germany); the XVII Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non Aligned Movement (Baku, Azerbaijan); the CELAC V Think Tanks Forum (Beijing, China); in The Our Oceans Conference (Oslo, Norway); in the CEPAL Sustainable Development Conference (Mexico City, Mexico); in the Italy – Latin America and the Caribbean Conference (Rome, Italy); and the 10th Bosphorus Summit (Istanbul, Turkey).

In 2018 Dr. Oquist represented Nicaragua with interventions on Nelson Mandela in the General Assembly and in defense of Venezuela in the Security Council of United Nations (New York, U.S.A.); in the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology (Vienna, Austria); and the Global Insurance Forum (Berlin, Germany).

In recent years he has represented Nicaragua in water summits (Hungary, 2013; Abu Dhabi, 2014); Protected Maritime Areas (Marseilles and Ajaccio, 2013) and Convention of Cartagena on protection of Caribbean (Cayenne, French Guyana, 2016); renewable energy (IRENA, Abu Dhabi; Government of Great Britain, London, U.K., 2015); and political affairs (NO-AL, Bali, Indonesia, 2013). He has represented the President of the General Assembly in NO-AL, (Havana, 2009); Organization of African Unity, (Addis Abeba, 2008) and UNDP at the British Commonwealth Conference on Local Governance (Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K, 2005), Conference of Asian Political Parties (Bangkok, Thailand, 2002) and Millennium Conferences (Seoul and Tokyo, 2000); among others.

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The Major Struggle For The Rights Of Transgender People Is In The States

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

While the Equality Act that passed recently in the House is getting attention, the critical struggle for the rights of transgender people is taking place in state legislatures. This year, 26 states have legislation that would criminalize the provision of gender-affirming care to youth, ban transgender students from participating in athletics and more. This is an increase from 20 states last year. These bills are being pushed through by conservative Christian groups. Clearing the FOG speaks with Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the ACLU LGBT project, who is tracking the bills and working to stop them. We discuss what these anti-transgender rights bills would do, where they are imminent and what people can do to stop them.

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Guest:

Chase Strangio is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project. Chase’s work includes impact litigation, as well as legislative and administrative advocacy, on behalf of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV across the United States. Chase has particular expertise on the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming people in police custody, jails, prisons and other forms of detention.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Chase was an Equal Justice Works fellow and the Directive of Prisoner Justice Initiatives at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, where he represented transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in confinement settings. In 2012, Chase founded the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, an organization that provides direct bail/bond assistance to LGBTQ immigrants in criminal and immigration cases. Chase is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Grinnell College. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ChaseStrangio.

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This Is Why It Is Imperative That President Biden, Not Congress, Cancels Student Debt

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The current student debt burden is over $2 trillion and it is crushing the economy. Defaults on student loans are high and for most borrowers, especially those who are people of color, their loan balances are rising instead of falling. Clearing the FOG speaks with Alan Collinge of Student Loan Justice about the impacts of the student loan burden and how to resolve this crisis. He makes a critical point about why it is President Biden, as he promised on the campaign trail, and not Congress, who cancels student debt and why that would be a powerful way to stimulate the economy.

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Guest:

Alan Collinge is Founder of StudentLoanJustice.Org, a grassroots organization, and political action committee. He holds B.S., M.S., and Eng. Degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.

Since Founding StudentLoanJustice.Org in March, 2005 as a result of his own personal experiences with college loans, Collinge has been featured on60 Minutes, and also in print media includingFortune Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Phoenix, The Village Voice, Inside Higher Ed, and others. He has published editorials inthe Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, and many other outlets.

Prior to founding StudentLoanJustice.Org, Collinge was Associate Scientist of Aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, and also was regional project director for a government loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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