Clearing the FOG with co-hosts Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

Bill Black, associate professor of economics and law and leading investigator of financial fraud, discusses the rampant fraud and corruption in the financial system, the misguided response to the financial crisis by the government and solutions that would bring greater accountability and stability to the economy. Then Ellen Brown, chair and president of the Public Banking Institute, joins us to talk about the new Cypriot model of seizing depositor’s funds to bail out banks, whether that could happen in the US and the advantages of public banking. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show_52_Banking_new.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 10:04am EDT

King Downing joins Clearing the FOG for the full hour to discuss the criminal justice system, from police encounters with citizens through mass incarceration. Jean Casella of Solitary Watch joins the program to discuss the extreme form of incarceration, solitary confinement, which is very common in the Untied States, Anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 people are held in solitary confinement on any given day in the US. Downing and Zeese discuss the Stop and Frisk program in New York which is a form of racial profiling.  There is a trial challenging the practice currently underway. Last week, two police officers described how they were ordered to target young black men ages 14 to 21. We also discuss police encounters that have resulted in the killings of young black men by undercover police.  We end the show discussing the 166 people remaining at Guantanamo Bay, 86 of whom have been cleared for release three years ago but remain incarcerated.  At least two dozen inmates at the prison are in the seventh week of a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. Witness Against Torture is holding emergency actions this week in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show_51_Racism_and_Incarceration.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 11:27am EDT

In this episode we expose the TransPacific Partnership, an agreement that has been negotiated in secret over the past 3 years by the Obama Administration. Our guests are Arthur Stamoulis of Citizen’s Trade Campaign and Ben Beachy of Global Trade Watch from Public Citizen. The US is using the TPP to bully smaller Pacific Rim nations into accepting an agreement that goes beyond trade to put provisions in place that give transnational corporations greater power than sovereign nations. It creates a path to go around regulations that have been put in place to protect the environment, labor rights, consumer rights, internet privacy and economic stability. The Obama Administration is hinting that it will push for Fast Track, now referred to as Trade Promotion Authority, in Congress which would subvert a democratic process to review and pass the TPP. There are numerous opportunities to expose and oppose the TPP and prevent it from becoming law. Visit FlushtheTPP.org. Visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org for more information.

Direct download: CtF_Show_50_TPP_vs_Democracy.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

The US is the only wealthy nation in which people go bankrupt because of illness and medical costs. More than 62% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical debt and nearly 80% of those who went bankrupt had health insurance. But people are working to change that. Thomas Gokey is a member of Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee that is raising funds to erase debt. More than that, they provide tools so that people can understand how debt works in their communities and how to resist it. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and is author of several leading studies on medical bankruptcy. She explains why medical debt occurs, the impact of medical costs on health and how the national health law will affect medical debt and bankruptcy. She advocates for a national single payer health program. See ClearingtheFOGRadio.org for more information.

Direct download: CtF_Show_49_Medical_Debt.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 1:44pm EDT

Dr. Tony Ingraffea, the foremost engineering authority on fractures, and biologist/author Sandra Steingraber bust the industry myths around the hydrofracking of natural gas. Dr. Ingraffea states that the risks are not acceptable and lists a number of problems that can occur from water and air pollution to worsening climate change. Steingraber, who founded the growing New Yorkers Against Fracking and helped to delay fracking in New York, explains the health risks. A mother of two, she states that fracking and climate change constitute the most serious risks to children’s health. Find out what you can do to stop it. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show__48_Ingraffea_Steingraber_Fracking.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

Following the most recent nuclear weapon test by North Korea, US media has mainly focused on giving the impression that North Korea is a nuclear threat. In this show, we place the events in North Korea in context of the long history of US interference there, the ongoing Korean War and the current US objective to circle China with military bases. We are joined by Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space and Elliott Adams of Veterans for Peace. Both are veterans who are dedicating their lives to organize and take action for peace. We also discuss the new US Naval Base on Jeju Island in South Korea which is being protested by the inhabitants of the island and the Obama Administration’s investment in nuclear weapons. We scratched the surface of these important topics and will provide resources so that our audience can get more information that is not being presented.

Direct download: CtF_Show_47_Korea_Nukes_Asia.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 10:37am EDT

Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project discusses the recent climate conference in Doha, Qatar which is characterized more as a trade show for corporations looking to profit from climate change than a conference about solutions, and the increasing exclusion of non-corporate voices. She says solutions to the climate crisis are coming from the bottom up.   Ramsey Sprague of the Tar Sands Blockade describes the growing resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the upcoming direct action training camp and action Jan. 3 to 8. Co-hosts Margaret and Kevin will participate in that action and urge you to support it or participate as well. And ecology activist Diane Wilson who is on her 19th day of a hunger strike describes why she is risking her life to hold Valero Oil accountable to her community.

Direct download: CtF_Show_40_Climate_Resistance.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 8:37pm EDT

Last week, we spoke about ‘managed democracy’ in the US. In this show, we bust the myths about the democracy movement in Venezuela. The US media routinely misreports on Venezuela because its success threatens US Empire. Mike Fox, a journalist and documentarian, has covered the rise of participatory democracy in Venezuela and other Latin American countries over the past ten years. Following the election of Hugo Chavez, the people of Venezuela rewrote the Constitution granting rights to education, health care, land for growing food and more. They have worked to build new institutions to meet their needs and are creating a democratic structure of governance through community councils. The results are that they have the lowest index of inequality in all of South America and are ranked fifth in the world in happiness. We then speak with Maria Hadden of the Participatory Budgeting Project in the US. Participatory budgeting gives decision-making power over public funds to the people. In the US, it started in Chicago and is growing coast to coast.

Direct download: CtF_Show_46_Mike_Fox_Maria_Hadden.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 8:09pm EDT

Chris Hedges, author of “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt,” speaks about "Managed Democracy" in the US, or what he calls “political theater.” He also discusses “Inverted Totalitarianism,” a term first used by Sheldon Wolin who wrote “Democracy, Inc.” Hedges describes the “Sacrifice Zones” that he visited as he wrote his most recent book, "Day of Destruction, Days of Revolt." Hedges writes a weekly column for Truthdig. We then speak with Cliff DuRand, author of “Recreating Democracy in a Globalized State.” DuRand explains capitalism as a Monopoly game that always ends up with gross inequality and collapse of the game. He also explains our current political environment as a "polyarchy" that suppresses real democracy in order to maintain control. DuRand’s writing can be found at the Global Justice Center (globaljusticecenter.org). For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: Chris_Hedges_and_Cliff_DuRand_on_Democracy.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 4:38pm EDT

While corporate media talks about the deficit and cutting Social Security and Medicare, we turn the argument for cuts on its head. We focus on growing poverty among seniors and popular solutions. Instead of cutting social insurances, our guests call for expanding and improving them. Steven Hill (Steven-Hill.com) wrote in The Atlantic that Social Security is the most stable pension plan in today's economy and that there are ways to double Social Security benefits. This would bring more seniors to a comfortable level of retirement and would stabilize our economy through increased spending. Dr. Andy Coates, the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org), discusses improving and expanding Medicare to everyone as a way to address both the health care and economic crises.

Direct download: CtF_Show_44_Austerity_Steven_Hill_and_Andy_Coates.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT