Clearing The Fog – We’re In The Midst Of A Political Realignment – 06.28.16

June 28, 2016

Decades of lesser evil voting and the failed policies that have been the result are creating a political realignment in the United States. Such a realignment has been going on in other countries recently such as Spain, Venezuela, Greece and Iceland. The two major parties in the US, the Democrats and Republicans, are shrinking and more people are joining third parties or switching to be unaffiliated. We’ll discuss this political realignment and what it means with Darcy Richardson and Ashley Smith.



Darcy Richardson is the author of more than a dozen books covering American political history.  Richardson’s books on American history and politics — one of which earned an Outstanding Academic Title (OAT) from scholarly Choice magazine in 2005 — were cited in Newsweek’s “What You Need to Read” section in July 2010. His most recent book, Bernie: A Lifelong Crusade Against Wall Street & Wealth, was published by Sevierville Publishing in December 2015.

Long active in third-party politics, Richardson has rubbed shoulders with some of the best-known political figures of the past three decades.  In addition to managing one of the late Minnesota Senator Eugene J. McCarthy’s campaigns and serving as a senior advisor in another, Richardson ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980 and for the U.S. Senate eight years later on the Philadelphia-based Consumer Party ticket.  In 2012, he offered himself as a protest candidate in several Democratic presidential primaries, briefly challenging Wall Street’s increasingly corrupt influence on the Democratic Party and the nation’s body politic.

A resident of Jacksonville, Richardson has been quoted in major publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and has written numerous articles for a wide range of publications.  He has also been a guest on several nationally-syndicated radio talk shows, ranging from the progressive “Thom Hartmann Show” to Joseph Farah’s conservative “WorldNetDaily Radioactive” program.

Darcy can be reached via email at


Ashley Smith is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review (ISR) and on the Steering Committee of the International Socialist Organization. He has written on various subjects for the ISR as well as Socialist Worker, New Politics, ZNet, and Jacobin. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.


Clearing The Fog – FBI Stings of Muslims Worsen Bigotry and Security – 06.14.16

June 14, 2016

A study from 2014 showed that 99% of domestic terrorist plots in the US are aided in some way by the FBI; only 4 out of 400 were not FBI stings. And human rights groups found that the way the sting operations are conducted violate human rights. Sue Udry of Defending Dissent will speak about the ways these sting operations have been used to fuel hatred against Muslims. And to discuss the shooting and mass murder in Orlando, FL, Janaid Ahmad of Just International and Peace for Life speaks about the rise of homophobia and violence within Muslim communities because of Western influence and support for extremist sects such as the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.


sueudrySue Udry is Executive Director of the Defending Dissent Foundation.

Sue won her high school’s “Best Citizen” award in 1978 and has been working to earn that title ever since. She played a leadership role in her campus peace group, and after grad school she began knocking on doors in neighborhoods around the country as a canvasser for SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, now Peace Action.  She has been the Executive Director of the Defending Dissent Foundation since 2008. Prior to joining DDF, she served as the executive director of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and as an organizer for the Coalition for New Priorities and the Day Care Action Council of Illinois. She was the legislative coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of over 1,600 groups opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She currently serves on the board of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms and the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, as well as the Advisory Board of the Charity and Security Network. She is a co-founder of the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition and treasurer of the D.C. chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Over a quarter of a century working for peace and social justice in Washington, DC, Illinois and Indiana, has taught Sue that the right to dissent is crucial to expanding democracy, promoting justice, and enlarging the global human rights perspective.


Janaid S. Ahmad is based in Lahore, Pakistan where he is the director of the Center for Global Dialogue. He has a Juris Doctor (law) degree from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. He is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is also a faculty member of the Faculty of Law and Policy, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan. He served as president of the US-based National Muslim Law Students Association (NMLSA), and is on the board of the Muslim Peace Fellowship. He is a board member of Muslim Men against Domestic Abuse (MMADA). He served on the Executive Board of the Domestic Violence Resource Project. In the US, he worked with the National Interfaith Committee on Social Justice, and Amnesty International. In Pakistan, he worked with such groups as Educate Pakistan and AMAL Human Development Network. He continues to maintain an association with Positive Muslims, the Cape Town-based organization working on issues related to Muslims, HIV/AIDS and gender justice, a group with which he worked while he was in South Africa. His research interests include Islam in the public sphere, interfaith relations, globalization, and civil society, and has lectured and written extensively on these topics. He is currently working on a collaborative project with the International Islamic University – Islamabad (IIU-I) on globalization, Muslim societies and Islamic revivalism. Mr. Ahmed has been a long time human rights activist.


Clearing The Fog – The TPP is What Plutocracy Looks Like – 06.07.16

June 7, 2016

As President Obama completes his final term in office, his administration is working closely with Big Business and Big Finance to sneak the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress during the lame duck session after the November election. The TPP is an international agreement that was negotiated in secret with the help of hundreds of corporate advisers. If ratified, it will rig the political system even more to benefit multinational corporations at the expense of our sovereignty and our ability to protect our communities and the planet. Bill Waren of Friends of the Earth will join us to discuss the close ties between the financial industry and the office of the US Trade Representative and why it is critical that we stop the TPP. Gillian Locascio  of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition will speak with us about how people are organizing to stop the TPP.



Bill Waren is a trade policy analyst for Friends of the Earth. He works to protect the environment from the negative impact of international trade and investment agreements. Bill contributes to the policy discussion about trade and environment issues as they arise in community forums, the U.S. congressional debate, the federal agency process, international negotiations, and litigation before international trade and investment tribunals. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth, Bill worked at the Forum on Democracy & Trade and its sister organization, the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University. Earlier in his career, Bill served as federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures and as a staffer for the Illinois General Assembly.  A native of rural, downstate Illinois, Bill is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Duke Law School.

gillian locasio_0

Gillian Locascio is the director for the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, a group of 66 labor, faith, environmental, student, public health, social justice organizations, fair trade businesses and cooperatives in Washington State that are committed to creating a fair, balanced, and sustainable global trading system. Prior to joining the coalition, she worked extensively in the United States and Latin America as a community health and human rights advocate, where she watched both CAFTA and the Panama Free Trade agreement go into effect.