Brave New Foundation

We, the People, Can Stop the War with Syria

The math is simple. Over 100 Members of Congress have said no to bombing Syria. 180 are still undecided. A call to your Representative could prevent a war with Syria. 

Call your Representative NOW and demand they say NO to bombing Syria!

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Troop Increases Help Drive Spread of the Insurgency in Afghanistan

The International Council on Security published maps of the insurgency's presence in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The United States added troops in Afghanistan in each of these years. ICOS's maps show that none of these troop increases arrested the growth of the insurgency. In fact, analysts at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and UK's DFID suggest that the presence of foreign troops drives Afghans to join the insurgency.

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Bombs Will Kill Women in Afghanistan

Self immolation is a method of suicide by lighting oneself on fire. According to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, self immolation has never been such an epidemic in Afghanistan as it is today. This is one fact that leads people to the sobering reality that our efforts in Afghanistan have done nothing for the vast majority of women there.

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US Military Escalation Leads to Record Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and a newly released UN report, there were 800 civilian casualties between January and May 2009. Armed clashes between insurgents, the US military, and the ISAF are up 24 percent this year, and have displaced tens of thousands more people. With over 1,000 recorded incidents of violence in May alone, Afghanistan is experiencing the worst security since the war began. And to make matters worse, the UN reported concluded, “The next period will likely experience an increase in the level of violence compared with the same period last year, including complex suicide attacks, intimidation and assassinations carried out by insurgents.� That period, unfortunately, coincides with the Afghan presidential and provincial council elections slated for August.

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Experts from Afghanistan Urge Members of Congress to Rethink the War

I'm in DC this week for the America's Future Now! conference, where I'm helping bring together a panel of experts from Afghanistan to discuss the war with conference attendees and members of Congress.  As this war escalates, as the death toll soars and the financial and moral costs spiral out of control, we at Brave New Foundation are working with Campaign for America's Future to bring in experts who can provide a more complete picture of the dire situation in Afghanistan.

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94 Billion Reasons to Rethink Afghanistan

US airstrikes in Afghanistan like the one that killed over 100 civilians last week have reached all-time destructive highs.  According to Air Forces Central, US warplanes dropped a record 438 bombs in Afghanistan during April.  The number of dropped bombs has increased steadily over the past few months, and just yesterday, Gen. James Jones claimed the US will continue conducting airstrikes despite President Karzai's admonishment that these bombings are counterproductive, turning Afghan civilians against the United States.  Yet as the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan continues to deteriorate, Congress will decide this week whether to approve $94.2 billion in supplemental wartime spending.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel and Lawrence Korb Debate Military Escalation in Afghanistan

As we mark Obama's first 100 Days, there is much to celebrate--from repeal of the global gag rule to the passage of the stimulus and the Administration's pledge to close Guantanamo. The budget, a smart blueprint to build a new economy, will demand that progressives mobilize to take on well-funded lobbies intent on obstructing real reform.

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Will the War in Afghanistan Help Me Get a Job?

We bring you Cost of War, part three of our Rethink Afghanistan documentary, which delves into the financial costs of this broadening war.

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The Sex Appeal of Congressional Oversight Hearings

Where is the public outcry for congressional oversight hearings on the war in Afghanistan?  Granted, the words "congressional oversight hearings" aren't particularly sexy--certainly not as alluring as "shock and awe," "insurgency," "counterinsirgency," "airstrikes," and "Hellfire missiles."  But one thing that is always sexy is power, and Congress has the power to prevent these airstrikes and missiles from killing thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, thereby removing some of the hostility toward our country and reasons for joining the Taliban's insurgency.  As Tom Hayden wrote his week, Congress has the power to bring in experts to examine the overall goals for this war; costs and budgeting; skyrocketing casualty rates; use of private contractors; human rights violations and torture.  If that kind of power isn't sexy, I don't know what is, but the fact of the matter is Congress won't call for oversight hearings until we make them.

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Bernie Sanders to the Rescue

President Obama delivered a fantastic speech Tuesday night. It's tone alone will go a long way toward reassuring a nation mired in economic crisis.

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What President-Elect Obama Must Do Once He Closes Gitmo

"What is abundantly clear is that no matter how hard the government tries to advance the military commissions, this process doesn't work...The only solution is to shut the military commissions down and start from scratch."
- Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union

Closing Guantanamo Bay will be a crucial first step toward restoring our moral leadership in the world, but President-elect Obama must also end the unconstitutional military commissions put in place by President Bush.  These so-called "legal proceedings" are more akin to kangaroo courts for the unlawful ways in which they extract confessions from abused prisoners forced to stand trial. 

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Close Gitmo and End Unconstitutional Military Commissions Now

We have the chance to help President-elect Obama reclaim democracy and restore the rule of law in our country, which he can do on his first day in office. By shutting down the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison facility, Obama can take a major step toward redeeming our nation's moral leadership in the world. And by ending unconstitutional military commissions and banning torture, he can cut ties with the highly controversial Bush era of national security.
We must seize this critical moment to end the abuses that the Bush administration has perpetrated for the past eight years. That's why we partnered with the ACLU to bring to you our newest video.

This is the first in a series of videos underscoring the urgent need to close GITMO and end unconstitutional military commissions. We urge you to sign the petition and ensure that the human rights violations at GITMO never occur again. Then send this video to your friends and ask them to sign up as well.

The ACLU is taking this campaign even further by hosting an open Town Hall Meeting tonight at 8pm ET, when people from all across the country will gather via teleconference to discuss the state of civil liberties in our country. Take part in this important conversation, and help President-elect Obama take decisive action to close GITMO.

Immigrant Children Get Screwed When It Is Time to Go to College

The video to the right is a special Brave New Foundation video that makes the case for the DREAM Act, which would enable states to grant in-state tuition to hardworking immigrant students, making higher education (and eventually citizenship) a real possibility.

This year, the presidential election will not hinge on the emotionally divisive issue of immigration.

That's good news for foreign-born residents of the United States. It's good news for everyone who believes that a moral society takes care of its most vulnerable members, forcing no one into the shadows. If the nativist wing of the Republican Party had seen its electoral goals realized, we would have witnessed a Republican primary dominated by a tragic debate about how best to expel the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in America, whether by deporting as many as possible, or by making legal conditions so inhospitable that they leave of their own volition. That debate would have trickled out into the general election, with Republican strategists trying to 'wedge' independent and Democratic-leaning voters with toxic appeals to national chauvinism and racial prejudice masquerading as distinctions of legitimate policy differences. Like the debate over what kinds of prisoner interrogation techniques legally constitute torture, these are the kinds of public discussions we engage in at the cost of our collective soul.

Thankfully, Tom Tancredo never managed to get his first foot off the ground, Giuliani led in early national polls in spite of his well-known history of supporting immigrant rights, and a border state Senator who is famously moderate on the issue (however much he tries to run away from that reputation) will be his party's nominee. The news is not entirely sanguine, however. The momentary absence of anti-immigrant invective in the mainstream does not mean that bigotry does not persist at the margins, leaning ever inward. And taking the spotlight off of immigrants, while affording them some room to breathe, further delays the political moment for meaningful immigration reform.

With groups like FAIR and the Minutemen consigned, for now, back to the political fringe where they belong, and with Latino voters set to play a pivotal role in the fates of the presidential nominees of both parties come November, now is the opportune time to put immigration back into the public debate -- on pro-immigrant terms.

Pending and not-yet-pending legislation affords opportunities to achieve material victories for immigrant families, as well as to reclaim the lost sense of the cultural and economic importance of immigrants in America. In New Jersey, passage of the In-State Tuition Bill would expand education access for foreign-born children, giving immigrant kids a real chance at life, while also fostering a more educated workforce for the state's economy. A similar bill may reach the state legislature in California as well this year. And with a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress, immigrant families could make their greatest gain through a reintroduction of the federal DREAM Act in 2009.

By fixing public attention on the daily struggles of families to improve their futures by securing a quality education for their children -- as familiar an experience to the native-born as to the foreign-born -- advocating for these critically important bills will help put the national debate on immigration back into its proper form: as a discussion about working families. Not criminals, not deviants, not foreign nationalists -- simply families struggling to achieve a common American Dream.

Brave New Foundation hopes to help provoke that discussion by launching a major campaign on the struggles and aspirations of immigrant families in America, beginning with this video. We will continue that discussion on these pages, with future videos throughout the year. Read more at A Dream Deferred.

Brave New Foundation founder Robert Greenwald is a board member of AlterNet's parent organization, the Independent Media Institute.
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