18 Jun 2011

The Mayors Have Had Enough of These Useless, Costly Wars

By Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe The Afghanistan War costs American taxpayers more than $2 billion a week at a time when communities are falling apart, and our mayors are fed up. On Monday, the United States Conference of Mayors is expected to pass a resolution calling for a speedy

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14 Jun 2011

PalinGate, too much Sarah Palin, Not Enough Substance

There’s nothing funny about Sarah Palin or her influence on our democracy, but together we can use satire to make an impact and undermine her aura of authenticity and altruism.

Brave New Films is out today with a People’s Cut of Palin’s upcoming movie, and you won’t believe what she’s saying right now about her film.

Satire is an effective tool to take the conservative opposition’s perceived strengths and use it against them, which is what we’re doing here with Palin’s movie. This is not a film, but our best chance to redirect the nonstop media attention she’s getting with her bus tour and upcoming film.

It feels like every time Sarah Palin blinks she’s written up in the news, and we don’t intend to give her more media attention. We can’t stop the presses from covering her every move, but we can help focus, undercut and change the Palin narrati

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11 Jun 2011

A Groundswell for Significant Afghanistan Withdrawal

By Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe As President Obama prepares to announce his intentions for how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan this year, public opinion polls show the ground is moving under him. Over the past few days, several new surveys show a significant spike in the number of

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02 Jun 2011

Senator Bernie Sanders Belongs on the Sunday Shows

“With a $1.6 trillion deficit,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told Jon Stewart recently, “it is insane to think that the only way you’re going to move toward a balanced budget is by slashing college Pell grants, by cutting Medicaid, by converting Medicare into a voucher program, by cutting programs that working

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30 May 2011

Memorial Day: Remembering Those Who Didn’t Have To Die In Afghanistan

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="350" caption=""Arlington National Cemetery by Clarence Johnson, on Flickr"]Arlington National Cemetery[/caption]

 

Memorial Day is a national holiday dedicated to remembering Americans killed in wartime. This year, unfortunately, we remember war dead who didn’t have to die, and unless Congress and the president act, we’ll remember more needless deaths next year. As of today, 1,516 Americans have died in the Afghanistan War, a conflict that the American people oppose and the continuation of which makes no sense.

Hidden from the front pages of newspapers and other media who can’t be bothered to devote significant coverage to the longest war in U.S. history, these dead troops had names and lives before our national policies forced them to give them up.

For example, 23-year-old Army Pvt. Thomas C. Allers from Plainwell, Michigan, was remembered as a “great kid, very sweet,” who enjoyed fishing with his parents. He died this week alongside Staff Sgt. Kristofferson B. Lorenzo, 33, of Chula Vista, California; Pfc. William S. Blevins, 21, of Sardinia, Ohio; and Pvt. Andrew M. Krippner, 20, of Garland, Texas.

These men didn’t have to die. They died because our politicians sent them to Afghanistan over the continued objections of their countrymen. Their comrades will continue to die until those politicians bring them home.

In a bitter moment of irony this week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly failed to agree to amendments that would have reined in the brutal, futile war on the same day U.S. troops were suffering their worst losses in Afghanistan since Bin Laden’s death. But, as Robert Naiman points out, even though McGovern/Jones amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act failed, the vote margin was so narrow (204-215) that it sent a strong signal to the president that Congress’ patience with the constantly deteriorating and resource-hungry war was running out. As U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) put it, “[W]hen somebody comes up with the right amendment, it’s going to pass.”

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25 May 2011

1,500 Broken Promises from Afghanistan War Backers

With Memorial Day coming up, we should take a moment to consider something that’s gone largely unremarked in the mainstream media: more than 1,500 troops have now died in a war the American people oppose. That’s a national tragedy, and it’s one Congress can mitigate by demanding a date certain for troop withdrawals and an exit strategy to get troops home.

Sign Rethink Afghanistan’s petition to tell Congress to pass the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act.

It’s worth noting that the backers of the administration’s war policies swore to us that their plan would lead to fewer troop deaths, not more. Back in 2009, when the Pentagon was putting on a full-court press in support of massive troop escalations in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said:

“[O]ur extended security presence must — and will — improve security for the Afghan people and limit both future civilian and military casualties.” –Admiral Mike Mullen, Congressional Testimony, December 2, 2009.

Suffice it to say, that promise was false. According to iCasualties.org:

  • In Jan-May 2009, there were 61 U.S. troop deaths in the Afghanistan War.
  • In the same period in 2010, as escalations began, there were 141.
  • In the same period this year, there were 136.

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23 May 2011

Sec. Clinton Has A Choice: Protect Americans Or Profit The Kochs

There is a raging battle going on in this country over whether we use our resources to benefit the haves or to protect those who don’t have as much as the most wealthy among us.

We see this where tax cuts for the millionaires are required in order to continue giving unemployment benefits to the out of work. It took place around the attempt to reform Wall Street. We see it in cuts to education, and attempts to bust unions.

The latest battle over whom our country chooses to protect goes straight to the heartland, in the form of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, currently under review by Secretary of State Clinton. See our video and petition to Clinton.

Tell Secretary of State Clinton to say No to the Keystone XL pipeline!

Benefiting The Koch Brothers And Friends

Whenever such a harmful project is en route to approval, it needs to be asked who stands to benefit from it. Unsurprisingly, two of the key people positioned to benefit from this pipeline are the notorious Koch brothers.

As ClimateProgress writes about a recent SolveClimate reports:

The two brothers together own virtually all of Koch Industries Inc. – a giant oil conglomerate headquartered in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenues estimated to be $100 billion.

A SolveClimate News analysis, based on publicly available records, shows that Koch Industries is already responsible for close to 25 percent of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States, and is well-positioned to benefit from increasing Canadian oil imports.

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18 May 2011

The Carnage Continues In Afghanistan

By Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe

A quiet city in the north of Afghanistan ignited today after yet another NATO night raid reportedly tore another family apart. Thousands of people took to the streets, again chanting, “Death to America!” as they pelted Karzai’s billboards with mud and stones. They attacked police. They attacked the local NATO outpost. At least a dozen people were killed in the clash, which showed local rage directed at every level of the U.S.-led counterinsurgency strategy, from the local security forces, to our corrupt and feckless local “partners” in the Karzai government, to the U.S. itself.

Worse, this isn’t the only civilian killing by NATO forces even just this week. On May 16, Reuters reported:

“Foreign troops killed an Afghan child and wounded four others when responding to insurgent fire in volatile eastern Kunar province, the provincial Governor said on Monday, the third accidental killing of young civilians in less than a week.”

These deaths were senseless enough before Bin Laden was killed and al Qaeda driven from the country. Now, they’re downright obscene. With the last rational-sounding excuse for continuing the war, bringing Bin Laden to “justice,” gone, continuing this counterinsurgency campaign makes no sense, and it’s making Americans and Afghans less safe while wasting precious national resources. If you agree, please join Rethink Afghanistan in calling for an end to the war in the wake of Bin Laden’s death.

The uprising in Taloqan triggered by NATO’s killing of civilians is a microcosm of a larger dynamic playing out across the country. When one honestly looks at the data, the counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan has been, at best, a miserable failure in its stated goal of “protecting the population,” or worse, a key driver in an ever-increasing cycle of violence and instability that puts civilians at risk.

Rising Violence in the Shadow of Escalation

Despite an escalation launched under the pretext of “reversing Taliban momentum” and “protecting the population,” attacks launched by insurgents and civilian casualties continue to rise. U.S. military leaders expect those numbers to continue to worsen over this summer. This is a strategy, remember, that Admiral Mike Mullen said, “must — and will — improve security for the Afghan people and limit both future civilian and military casualties.”

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13 May 2011

People Of NYC vs. Koch Brothers

We’re on offense again, this time putting the spotlight on David Koch and denying him a chance to spend his millions on credibility and social status. We organized a flashmob in the heart of NYC. We projected four Koch Brothers Exposed videos on the facade of the David H. Koch

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12 May 2011

Immigrants For Sale

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="350" caption="JAIL! The old Isabella Jail at Corlew's Silver City in Bodfish, CA - kernvalley040x by mlhradio, on Flickr"]JAIL!  The old Isabella Jail at Corlew's Silver City in Bodfish, CA - kernvalley040x[/caption]

 

Georgia is the latest state to pass an anti-immigrant bill like SB1070, with Governor Deal expected to sign it tomorrow. Georgia is also home to the largest private prison in the country.

Coincidence? Not even close.

It’s hardly a secret that private prison corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO group, along with right-wing lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and a few pocketed state legislators like Russell Pearce in Arizona, have been at it–deliberately promoting and designing laws aimed at incarcerating immigrants and turning the prison system into an incredibly lucrative business.

Just last year the private prison industry secured close to $5 billion through state and government elicited contracts of which an increasing percentage is attributed to migrant detention facilities and bed spaces. An NPR report outlined how CCA aims to translate the anti-immigrant rhetoric and political void into a long-lasting cash drive–believing that immigrants will provide a fresh influx of ‘guests’ in their less then onerous ‘hotel’ cells. Even worse, CCA founder Tomas Beasly once called his scheme ‘more profitable’ than selling burgers or cars–a clear indication that any sense of justice in the prison industry will be forever trumped by cash flows and profit margins.

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