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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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As Congress Passes A ‘Climate Suicide Pact,’ The Fight To Declare A Climate Emergency Continues

As heatwaves, droughts and wild fires ravage the planet, pressure is building on the White House and Congress to take substantive action to address the climate crisis. More than a thousand organizations in the United States have come together as the People vs Fossil Fuels coalition with the demand that President Biden declare a climate emergency and use his executive powers to stop fossil fuel extraction and new infrastructure. Their actions have succeeded in reopening climate provisions in Congress’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is expected to pass this week, but the bill contains poison pills that offset the beneficial sections. Jean Su, an attorney and director of the Energy Justice Program with the Center for Biological Diversity joined Clearing the FOG to explain what the President could do, the problems with IRA and what we can do to protect our chances for a livable future.

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Guest:

Jean Su is the Energy Justice Program Director and Senior Attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity where she oversees and develops the Energy Justice program’s campaigns, dedicated to hastening the clean, democratic energy future so urgently needed to protect wildlife, communities and the climate. Jean also works to challenge wall construction in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and serves on the boards of Climate Action Network International and SustainUS. Before joining the Center, she worked as a renewable energy project finance attorney and in the climate change and international development fields in Africa and Asia. She’s an inaugural class member of the UC Irvine School of Law and holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.

The Sickness Of Our Healthcare System Is Rooted In American Exceptionalism

July 30 will be the 57th anniversary of the passage of Medicare, widely celebrated as Medicare’s birthday. People are taking action across the country this week in support of a National Improved Medicare for All single payer healthcare system culminating in a national march and rally in Washington, DC on Saturday (find info at M4M4All.org). Clearing the FOG speaks with Dr. Ana Malinow, a leader of the group National Single Payer, about the growing privatization and corporatization of the US healthcare system and how people are organizing to fight back and win a system in which everyone in the US will have the care they need without fear of financial ruin. She also discusses how American Exceptionalism is an obstacle to changing the system.

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Guest:

Dr. Ana Malinow is a professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco (recently retired). She was previously associate residency program director at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Dr. Malinow was associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and attending physician in the pediatric emergency and ambulatory center at Ben Taub General Hospital, where most of her patients were uninsured. Dr. Malinow is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including for grand rounds presentations on health care. She was named one of Houston’s top female physicians by Health and Fitness Sports Magazine.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dr. Malinow earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree in creative writing before completing her medical education at Case Western Reserve University. She completed residency in pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. She also holds a master’s degree in health care policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Malinow is a past president of Physicians for a National Health Program and co-founder of Health Care for all Texas, a grassroots organization that promotes single-payer national health insurance. She is also co-founder of Doctors for Change, an organization of health care professionals that organize for improved access to health care in Houston and Harris county.

Resistance Grows As NATO Goes Global To Protect Profits Over People

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) recently met in Madrid, Spain where they launched their new strategy to go global, extending what Chris Hedges calls “the most dangerous military alliance on the planet” into Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Clearing the FOG speaks with Joe Lombardo and Pippa Bartolotti of the United National Antiwar Coalition, who were in Madrid for the anti-NATO protests and counter summit, about NATO’s plans and the growing global resistance to it. Pippa explains that NATO is openly siding with the fossil fuel corporations to defend their interests even as the climate crisis accelerates. NATO is a tool of western imperialism. Our hopes for a livable future depend upon stopping NATO.

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Guests:

Joe Lombardo

Pippa Bartolotti

Challenging The AFL-CIO’s Labor Imperialism

A little known fact, even to those who work there, is that the AFL-CIO organizes in support of US imperialist policies that drive a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, negatively impacting US workers too. The AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center is one of the four core components of the National Endowment for Democracy. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kim Scipes, a co-founder of the new Labor Education Project on the AFL-CIO’s International Operations (LEPAIO). Scipes describes the long history of labor imperialism and how unions are challenging it. Adrienne Pine provides a brief report on workers protesting the brutal labor practices of the State Department’s main contractor, BL Harbert, building the US Embassy in Honduras.

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Guests:

Kim Scipes, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, Indiana. He is the author of the 2010 book, AFL-CIO’s Secret War against Developing Country Workers:  Solidarity or Sabotage?, and of the 2020 article, “The AFL-CIO’s Foreign Policy Program:  Where Historians Now Stand,” available on-line for free from the peer-reviewed journal Class, Race and Corporate Power (Political Science Department of Florida International University in Miami):  https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/classracecorporatepower/vol8/iss2/5. He is also a member of the National Writers’ Union, AFL-CIO.  Details on McKenzie’s book:  London:  Pluto Press, 2022.  ISBN:  978 0 7453 4562 8 (paper). Kim can be reached at kimscipes@earthlink.net.

Adrienne Pine is a critical medical anthropologist whose work has explored the embodiment of structural violence and imperialism in Honduras, cross-cultural approaches to revolutionary nursing, and neoliberal fascism. She has served as an expert country conditions witness in around 100 asylum cases over the past fifteen years. Adrienne was an assistant professor at the American University and is author of Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras

Lawyers Speak Out On Supreme Court: ‘This Is A Revelation Of The Future’

The recent US Supreme Court rulings set legal precedents that will further erode human and civil rights and empower corporations as well as open the door for more cases that will advance Christian and capitalist ideologies. Clearing the FOG speaks with two legal experts, Shahid Buttar and Marjorie Cohn, about the specifics of the recent decisions on abortion, gun rights, school prayer, and the EPA and how they fit into the bigger picture. They also provide guidance on what we need to do to stop growing fascism in the United States.

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Guests:

Shahid Buttar

Marjorie Cohn

Lessons From Colombia: A Victory For The People

On June 19, Colombians elected the first leftist president and the first Afro-Colombian vice president in history. This was possible, despite being in a repressive state, because of a strong national social movement that organized an effective national strike in the spring of 2021. Clearing the FOG speaks with Charo Mina Rojas, an Afro-Colombian human rights defender and leader in the 2016 peace process, about this victory, the obstacles they faced and how they will counter efforts by the wealthy class to prevent further progress. Activists in the United States have much to learn from the Colombian people’s movement and an important role to play in preventing interference by the US government.

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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 the National Coordinator of Advocacy and Outreach for 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.

It’s Not The Conflict In Ukraine, Our Food System Is Broken

Much attention is being given to the impacts the conflict in Ukraine and the US sanctions on Russia will have on our food supply this year, but farmer Jim Goodman, president of the National Family Farm Coalition, explains why our food system has been in crisis for a long time. Goodman discusses how the causes of the broken food system – corporatization, consolidation, a rigid supply chain and the climate crisis – are all coming together to make farmers reconsider whether it even makes sense to plant crops. He also explains that farmers could feed the world in ways that are good for our health and for the planet, but this requires returning control to the small farmers and communities throughout the world.

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Guest:

Jim Goodman and his wife Rebecca ran a 45-cow organic dairy and direct market beef farm in southwest Wisconsin for 40 years. His farming roots trace back to his great-grandparents immigration from Ireland during the famine and the farm’s original purchase in 1848. A farm activist, Jim credits more than 150 years of failed farm and social policy as his motivation to advocate for a farmer-controlled consumer-oriented food system. Currently he serves as a board member of Midwest Environmental Advocates and the Family Farm Defenders.

Jim is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science. He also holds a Masters Degree in Reproductive Physiology from South Dakota State University.

Walk For Appalachia’s Future Connects Struggles In The Region

Activists just completed the “Walk for Appalachia’s Future” through West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia to highlight the impacts of fossil fuel extraction on communities and the land. At each stop, they held events with local activists to learn about their struggles and make broader connections. The Appalachian region is a sacrifice zone – rich in mineral wealth that is extracted by large corporations without benefit to the people. West Virginia is the fifth poorest state in the US with low education attainment and high rates of physical and mental diseases. Clearing the FOG speaks with two organizers of the walk, Maury Johnson and Melinda Tuhus, about the conditions that led to organizing the walk and what they have learned along the way as well as the people’s vision for the region.

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Guests:

Maury Johnson

Melinda Tuhus

The Biden Administration Is Escalating The War On China

The Biden administration is ratcheting up its provocations of China as part of the National Security Strategy of Great Power Conflict, with the President going so far as to say the United States would intervene militarily over Taiwan. The US is also trying to push another trade agreement that would exclude China. On top of that is a propaganda campaign designed to build political support for the New Cold War. Clearing the FOG speaks with independent journalist and political analyst Daniel Haiphong about the war on China, what is happening with Taiwan and the Solomon Islands, Biden’s new trade framework and why China’s “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” threatens the global elites.

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Guest:

Daniel Haiphong is a working class journalist and author who didn’t convert to politics in the midst of a professional career. His analysis comes from experience and study. That is, study of revolutionary politics, theory, and movements and experience/practice within the mass movement. He has been a shop steward of several unions and have contributed to several anti-imperialist organizations, co-founding the No Cold War campaign. He has traveled to Cuba and China and place much focus on actually existing socialism and the defense of oppressed nations from imperialism.

Since 2013, Haiphong has written hundreds of articles on imperialism, class struggle, and white supremacy. In 2019, he co-authored American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. In 2020, he published a journal article on American exceptionalism and COVID-19 in International Critical Thought, an academic journal based out of China’s Academy of Social Sciences. Both have been made available on Patreon.

Alternative Formations Challenge Biden’s Sham ‘Summit For The Americas’

From June 6 to 10, the Biden administration will host the 9th ‘Summit of the Americas.’ The event, organized by the US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS), is turning out to be another huge foreign policy embarrassment for President Biden. In response to the exclusion of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, an unprecedented number of Latin American and Caribbean Nations are refusing to attend. Clearing the FOG speaks with Claudia de la Cruz about this new era of solidarity and opposition to US hegemony. Social movements are organizing a counter summit, the People’s Summit, in Los Angeles and a Workers’ Summit in Tijuana. Countries are beginning to abandon the OAS and meet using CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) as an alternative formation. This is another nail in the coffin of the US’ unipolar power and a sign that the multipolar world has arrived.

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Guest:

Claudia de la Cruz is the Co-Executive Director of The People’s Forum. She was born in the South Bronx to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. She is a popular educator, community organizer and theologian. In her role as Co-Executive Director at The People’s Forum, Claudia is committed to contribute her experiences and skills in the creation of cultural-educational space with organizers, educators and cultural workers/artists to continue producing, promoting and uplifting the cultural traditions that nourish and strengthen our communities in our struggles towards social justice.

For over 20 years, she has been committed to movement building, and has actively participated in collective grassroots spaces, particularly in the communities of Washington Heights and The South Bronx.

Claudia was Pastor of her home-church, Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC- a community church rooted in the traditions of Latin American Liberation Theology and grassroots organizing. Through her ministry she found her passion, and has dedicated most of her life to the leadership development of youth through political education and culture.

In 2004, she co- founded Da Urban Butterflies Youth Leadership Development Project (D.U.B). Her experiences in D.U.B informed her participation in the development of cultural and political education programing at The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC-BX) for almost 5 years.

The United States Is Supporting A Brutal Occupation In Western Sahara

Immediately following the expulsion of the Spanish colonizers in the mid 1970’s, Western Sahara was occupied by Moroccan forces. With support from the United States, those occupiers, who treat the indigenous Sahrawi People very similarly to the way the Israeli occupiers treat the Palestinians, have been committing human rights abuses. Clearing the FOG speaks with Ruth McDonough and Tim Pluta, who have been staying with the family of a human rights defender, Sultana Khaya, since March 15. Ruth began a hunger strike on May 4 to demand an end to the violence against the Khaya’s and an investigation into the crimes committed against them. Ruth and Tim describe what people can do to show solidarity with the struggle of the Sahrawi People.

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Guests:

Ruth McDonough

Tim Pluta

Politicians Continue To Fail On Climate; We Must Fight For A Livable Future

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its sixth report in three phases beginning in August, 2021 and concluding in April 2022. The first report declared that the climate crisis is unquestionably due to human activity and called the situation a ‘Code Red for Humanity.’ The second and third parts indicated that not enough action is being taken not just to mitigate the crisis but also to adapt to it. Clearing the FOG speaks with Professor Benjamin Horton of the Earth Observatory of Singapore about the gravity of the crisis, including that some impacts such as sea level rise are irreversible for the foreseeable future, the importance of activism by scientists to inform the public and push policy makers and how to keep fighting for a more livable future.

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Guest:

Professor Benjamin Horton is Director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore and a professor at the Asian School of the Environment in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He has been appointed the AXA-Nanyang Professor in Natural Hazards.

Prior to joining NTU, Professor Horton was Professor at Rutgers University and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Horton obtained his BA from the University of Liverpool, UK, and PhD from the University of Durham, UK.

Professor Horton has won a number of awards in his career. In 2019, he was appointed the President’s Chair in Earth Sciences at NTU for outstanding achievement. For excellence in research he received the Plinius Medal from the European Geosciences Union, the Voyager Award from the American Geophysical Union, and the W. Storrs Cole Award from the Geological Society of America. He was elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.

Professor Horton has actively contributed to the COP26 conference: he led the COP26 report on managing disaster risks from natural hazards in ASEAN. He was also appointed Mentor for the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort to guide a group of researchers working towards solutions for climate-vulnerable communities in the lead-up to COP26. He is a Review Editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report and was an author of the 5th Assessment Report. Professor Horton’s research was cited by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address at the United States Capitol on January 20th 2015.

Professor Horton has published over 230 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including 30 articles in high profile journals such as ScienceNature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Horton is supervising or has supervised 27 students to the degree of PhD and 23 postdoctoral scientists, of which 17 now have permanent academic positions.  His H-index is >70 and he has >15,000 citations.

Professor Horton’s research concerns sea-level change, with the aim of understanding and integrating the external and internal mechanisms that have determined sea-level changes in the past, and which will shape such changes in the future. His research impacts upon important ecological, ethical, social, economic and political problems specifically facing coastal regions.

Workers Are Tired Of Being Exploited And They’re Fighting Back

This past weekend, workers around the world celebrated May Day, also called Labor Day and International Workers Day. May Day marks the accomplishments and contributions of workers and reminds them of their rights. Clearing the FOG spoke with Stephanie Basile and Brittany Carloni of News Guild, part of the Communications Workers of America, about the many victories they have had in organizing media outlets over the past five years. They use a model that can be replicated everywhere of training member organizers and connecting them with other shops across the country to build a powerful labor movement that is democratic. Stephanie and Brittany talk about this moment and why workers are fighting back.

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Guests:

Stephanie Basile

Brittany Carloni

To Save The Planet, We Must End Instruments Of Corporate Power

On April 10, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in what is believed to be a US-backed soft coup. One of the likely reasons for the coup is that Khan was taking action to end excessive corporate power bestowed by bilateral trade agreements. Clearing the FOG speaks with Manuel Pérez-Rocha of the Institute for Policy Studies about Khan and how trade agreements function to force countries into allowing corporations to exploit their workers and devastate their environment. Pérez-Rocha explains why ending corporate abuse is essential to addressing the climate crisis and how trade could be structured to uphold human rights and protection of the planet. He also speaks about the risks of extraction for minerals that are required for a green economy.

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Guest:

Manuel Pérez-Rocha is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and an Associate of the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam. He is a Mexican national who has led efforts to promote just and sustainable alternative approaches to trade and investment agreements for two decades. Prior to working for IPS’ Global Economy Program, he worked with the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC) and continues to be a member of that coalition’s executive committee. He also worked for the Make Trade Fair campaign of Oxfam International.

Manuel studied International Relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), has a diploma on European Studies from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and holds a M.A. on Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands. Some of his last publications include op-eds in The Nation and The New York Times.

The Nazification Of Ukraine And How The War Is Changing The World

In follow up to a two-hour webinar hosted by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) with Scott Ritter, a former weapons inspector who blew the whistle on the lack of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, Clearing the FOG continues the conversation on Ukraine. Ritter delves into how Nazis went from being a fringe group in Ukraine to being mainstreamed and treated as heroes. He explains the ways the conflict in Ukraine has ended the United States’ era of being a sole dominant global power and has exposed the weaknesses of both the US and NATO militaries. Ritter states that if the current conflict escalates to a nuclear war, it will mean the end of human civilization. Watch the original webinar, co-hosted by Margaret Flowers and Joe Lombardo here.

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Guest:

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union, implementing arms control agreements, and on the staff of General Norman Schwartzkopf during the Gulf War, where he played a critical role in the hunt for Iraqi SCUD missiles. From 1991 until 1998, he served as a Chief Inspector for the United Nations in Iraq, leading the search for Iraq’s proscribed weapons of mass destruction, and was a vocal critic of the American decision to go to war with Iraq.

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