Robert Greenwald

In memory of progressive media pioneer Jim Gilliam

Back in 2003 or so, I put out word I was looking to hire a researcher who could find their way around the internet for a new documentary about the Iraq War, Uncovered. And into my office walked one of the tallest, skinniest, whitest—and smartest—people I had ever met.

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These Are All of Brett Kavanaugh's Lies

"You can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court.” – Lynne Brookes, Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate

Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. His nomination to the Supreme Court should be cancelled.

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It's Time to End the Horror of Immigrant Detention

Few Americans know about our nation's system of immigrant detention centers. Each year, the U.S. government locks up roughly 440,000 immigrants in over 200 immigrant prisons. These facilities have grown into a highly privatized, lucrative and abusive industry that profits off the misery of immigrants awaiting deportation.

Here at Brave New Films, we're doing everything we can to expose the abuses of the deportation industrial complex. In our new film, Immigrant Prisons, we explore conditions inside the detention centers, exposing substandard medical care, widespread physical and sexual abuse and virtual slave labor working conditions. These abuses happen behind closed doors with little to no oversight.

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Over 5 Million Families in America are at Risk of Being 'Divided by Deportation'

Trump has been attacking immigrant communities since his first days in office and shows no sign of slowing down. His cruel elimination of DACA, a program that protects nearly 1 million young people, is only the latest of Trump’s many despicable acts.

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Martin Sheen: Trump's Stance on Deportation and Immigration Is Warping the Soul of Our Country

Andres Magaña-Ortiz did everything right. He raised a loving family, built a solid business that employed his neighbors, gave his heart, soul and treasure to help his adopted country, and tried to become a citizen. But the paperwork didn’t pan out, and on July 7, 2017, this husband, father and deeply entrenched member of his community was deported to a country he barely remembered.

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Jerry Brown Should Stop Talking About Ending Deportation, and Start Signing Bills

This op-ed originally appeared in the Sacramento Bee on August 23, 2017.

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Watch: Free Undocumented Pastor Noe Carias from Detainment

Pastor Noe Carias preaches at a thriving Assemblies of God church in Los Angeles. He is also an undocumented immigrant. A devoted father, husband, and faith leader, for this one so-called “sin” he has been jailed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since July 24, 2017.

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Trapped – Brave New Films Presents the Bail Trap Game

Being trapped results in physical experiences beyond those caused by the immediate environs in which you are stuck. You feel it in your muscles, in your chest, in your throat and in your stomach. It is, to say the least, uncomfortable. While I can’t claim to have ever been thrown behind bars, with no good options and for no good reason, I can safely say that this is likely at least some of what it feels like to be victimized by the unjust money bail system.  And we hope – strangely enough – that some of this translates into what you feel playing The Bail Trap game.

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Next International Trump Disaster Waiting to Happen: Sending a Murderer to Do a Diplomat’s Job in Iran

Hubris, in the wrong hands, can be the most dangerous weapon of all. Michael D’Andrea, the man Donald Trump has put in charge of intelligence operations in Iran, has more hubris than most. This was the man who invented the so-called signature strike, and stuck with it despite (deadly) evidence that it did not work. D’Andrea should not be getting a new job; he should be getting a lawyer to defend him against charges of war crimes. Instead, we are sending this murderer to do the job of a diplomat. Bad things are on the horizon.

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Brave New Films: What Everyone Can Do to Build Sanctuary Networks and Fight Trump's Evil Deportations

For millions of undocumented individuals living, working, and raising families in the U.S., January 20, 2017, is a rigid moment in time.

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Brave New Films: Prison Bureaucrats Play God Keeping Non-Violent, Terminally Ill in Jail Instead of With Family

Allison Rice’s dad was a 64-year-old, church-going Iowan father of four who owned a leasing business, got into financial trouble and broke the law trying to get out of it. He was a danger to no one, ever.

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Brave New Films: Trump Bombing Afghanistan to Look Strong Is Picking on One of the World's Poorest Nations

Thinking about the Trumpian decision last week to drop an enormous bomb on one of the world’s poorest country, I can’t help but flash back to that now infamous photo op of the leader of the free world at the wheel of a mammoth tractor-trailer. What that picture indelibly captured was the extent to which we are being governed by an id-controlled man-child. What that bomb made clear is how horrifying, how deadly, how dangerous that is on a global stage.

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Trump Flip Flops Once Again, Now Allowing Hedge Funds Their $180 Billion Tax Dodge

Imagine a tax scam so outrageous that even Donald Trump admits it’s inexcusable. Hard to believe, I realize, but it’s all on tape right here – along with more information about how organizers are sidestepping the cash-drunk powers that be in Washington and working to put billions of dollars back into state budgets.

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Brave New Films: Pursuing the Dream - What You Need to Know About DACA, Immigration and Beyond

With all the crazy that is out there now, it is easy to get distracted and forget what really matters. People are getting hurt. Families are being torn apart. Children are coming home from school to find their parents gone, swept up in a xenophobic nightmare-come-to-life that is the United States 2017.

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How the Bail System Really Screws You If You Are Poor

Sandra Bland is the one you knew about. In the year after her well-publicized death, 815 people died in jail awaiting trial. A third of them died within the first three days of incarceration. Most were in jail for one reason only: They were too poor to pay bail. This reality is what terrified Tai Sherman’s mother, Tracey, and the reason she spent every dime she had—and a lot she didn’t—to get her daughter out.

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Brave New Films: 'Indivisible, A Practical Guide for Resisting The Trump Agenda'

Before August 2009, town hall meetings hosted by members of Congress were pretty routine affairs. But, after that summer, the very mention of a town hall meeting sent shivers through their spines of those elected to represent you. Indivisible, a guidebook for action, explains why – and why it matters to the mass movement to resist Trump and his agenda. We have boiled it down to just a few minutes in this short video introduction to whet your appetite.
As the Indivisible guide says so clearly, much of what it takes to succeed comes down to showing up. Members of Congress care about their constituents – their employers, as it were. Sure, they care about money too. But there is little that frightens a politician more than activated angry constituents because they know that those constituents will vote, and may well organize against them.
In 2009, a fairly small but extremely vocal group of these constituents who were concerned about the move to enact what later become the Affordable Care Act popped up at town hall meetings. They were angry. They interrupted representatives and senators as they were trying to speak. Suddenly, these traditionally dull, often sparsely attended meetings became great television. It began to look like a movement. Representatives and senators who may well have supported some elements of health care reform began to run scared. The rest, a they say, is history – the history of the Tea Party and one we can learn from.
The most important lesson we must learn is that we need to act locally, that we all have a role to play and that roll is exercising our own constituent power. Donald Trump’s agenda doesn’t depend on Donald Trump. It depends on your Members of Congress rubber-stamping it.
The good news from our stand point is that politicians wake up every morning thinking about reelection. Make your voice heard locally and they will listen – or they will find new jobs. This is true of course for politicians who oppose what you believe. It will weaken the resolve of Trump’s lackeys in Congress. But it is also important to talk to those who should or do share your values. All of our elected officials must know that we expect them to stand strong, to stand together, and to treat an attack on one like an attack on all.
Overwhelming as the task before us may seem, it is not out of reach. We face a historically unpopular president, with tiny congressional majorities. If we're smart, and if we stick together, indivisible, we can win. The stakes could not be higher.

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Brave New Films Video: Protect Public Education by Stopping Betsy DeVos From Becoming Next U.S. Secretary of Education

Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos for education secretary is a threat to public education. DeVos has spent millions funding the privatization of education in Michigan. The result? A failing school system where almost 80 percent of schools are run by private, for-profit companies.

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Hey Trump Voters, First Lesson of Swamp-Draining 101 is Don’t Appoint Swamp Rats to the Cabinet

Attention Trump voters. Please, pay attention Trump voters.  You have spoken once, and your anger has come through loud and clear. But it doesn’t end there. Now it’s time to hold the people you elected accountable, to insist that all of candidate’s talk about ending the Wall Street stranglehold on the economy and political system is put into action. If they don’t, we are headed straight for another great recession. That’s why we made this video highlighting the Wall Street pedigrees of Trump’s hand-picked economic team.

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Why America's Bail System is Racist, Makes Us Less Safe and Must End

Tempting as it is to curl up in fetal position and wait it out, the newly dawning era of Donald Trump is exactly the wrong time to give up on reforming the criminal justice system. If you think it is hard to be poor and non-white now, you ain't seen nothing yet.

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Bloodwashing: Why Won't the Gun Lobby Support a Halt on Instant Gun Purchases?

The environmental movement calls it greenwashing: A big polluter plants a few trees in the rainforest in hopes that they can get some good publicity to leverage for their next bad move. It’s a sham and everyone knows it.

In the gun violence movement we don’t have a word for it, but the latest move by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, suggests we need one. Maybe redwashing? Bloodwashing?

The NSSF is a trade association for gun dealers, just like the National Rifle Association, or NRA, although that group pretends to actually represent people, not businesses.

Recently these merchants of murder announced their new plan to help prevent 10,000 gun suicides. They want the public to believe they did so out of deep abiding commitment to saving lives. They didn’t. I know this not because I can read the minds of the gun-toting elite but because we already know what can be done to prevent thousands of suicides by gun.

States with firearm waiting period laws have a significantly lower rate of suicide—27 percent fewer suicides per capita and 51 percent fewer firearm suicides. Yet gun groups, including the NSSF, have consistently opposed any law mandating a reasonable amount of time pass between the decision to purchase a gun and actually getting your hands on one.

Mike Lewiecki, whose son’s suicide is featured in Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA, knows this all too well. Kerry Lewiecki was just a few weeks from his wedding when he was overcome with pain and made the fatal decision to buy a gun and take his own life within the space of just a few hours.

As Mike later learned, and wrote about, Kerry’s story is all too common. Suicide is rarely a well-thought-out plan but rather an impulsive act with deadly consequences. Whether a suicide attempt results in death depends largely on how it is attempted. Guns are particularly deadly. Nine out of 10 suicide attempts using guns are lethal. Compare that to intentional overdoses, in which 1 in 50 suicide attempts result in death.

Restricting access to the most lethal means of suicide, such as guns, can reduce suicides. Studies have proven this.

But restricting access also means fewer gun sales, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation and National Rifle Association will do whatever they possibly can to sell guns. Indeed, selling guns is their whole reason for being and the reason our gun laws in this country are so warped.

So instead, they promise to train people to recognize the signs of the potentially suicidal. It can’t hurt, but it’s not enough to save lives nor is it enough to change the sad reality that the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the NRA are committed to one thing only: Profit.

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Why 'Baltimore Sun' Critic Needs to Apologize to CNN's Van Jones

In America, media critics are supposed to keep journalists honest and play referee on matters of import.

But what happens when, in the middle of the Ferguson tragedy, a media critic violates every rule of good reporting to launch a fact-free attack on a prominent black commentator?

Who holds the accountability cops accountable? Who makes them issue the retractions that they demand of others?

Case in point: a media critic for the Baltimore Sun, David Zurawik. Last week, he blasted CNN for including Van Jones in its coverage of Ferguson on the night of the grand jury decision. Zurawik was then invited to repeat and elaborate his criticism on NPR's On the Media, asserting strenuously that Jones had "absolutely no credentials" to report on the events in Ferguson.

Yes, he actually said that.

Zurawik went on to elaborate: "There's kids in college studying journalism who are more equipped to be on the streets covering that story for CNN than he was."

In saying this, Zurawik went beyond disagreeing with Jones' perspective (which he is free to do). He challenged Jones' very qualifications to be on the air that night.

But it turns out that Jones appears to have been more qualified (and certainly more credentialed) to report on this particular story than almost anyone else in the television news business.

As Jones tweeted cheekily in response:

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Outfoxed, Film Exposing Fox News As Right-Wing Propagandists, Is Rereleased With New Section

A dozen years ago, as the U.S. was pulled into war in Iraq by President George W. Bush, Fox News was not just any television network. It proudly blared the White House’s lies coming with singular warmongering fervor. Remember? The terrorists had ties to Iraq. Saddam wanted the bomb. Saddam had the bomb. He could hit us in 45 minutes.

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Robert Greenwald: Why I Am Compelled to Expose the Koch Brothers and the Price We All Pay

If there can be such a thing as a typical American billionaire, David H. and Charles G. Koch do not fit that bill.

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It's Time To Put a Stop To U.S. Drone Attacks Against Kids

The death of a child -- any child -- is always painful and shocking. The awful gassing of children in Syria breaks the heart and tortures the soul. We all should and must speak up about this outrage.

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5 Myths Used to Justify Death By Drone and America's Assassination Policy

America’s never-ending war on terrorism is almost always depicted in the mainstream media as a military and intelligence agency fight on a global battlefield. But it is also a propaganda war where the public is fed inaccuracies from Washington, especially when it comes to overseas killings by U.S. military drones.

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Brennan Exposed: The Truth About Obama's Drone Assassination Program

I went to Pakistan this fall and spoke with Pakistani officials, legal experts, public health officials, and journalists to hear, document, and learn more on the drone policy that has now garnered national attention. Prior to the CIA Director Nomination Hearing where John Brennan discussed the use and analysis of drone use and the white paper memo surfacing, there was little coverage in the media on the Obama's administration use of drones.

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Drone Strikes Are Causing Child Casualties -- 178 So Far

During my recent trip to Pakistan as part of our upcoming documentary film, Drones Exposed, I was struck most by the stories told to me by children who had experienced a U.S. drone strike firsthand. The impact of America’s drone war in the likes of Pakistan and Yemen will linger on, especially for the loved ones of the 178 children killed in those countries by U.S. drone strikes.

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Mr. President, You Have a Drone Problem

"I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties…. For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and their affiliates. And we are very careful in terms of how it's been applied."

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