ZP Heller

Ten Things You Can Do to Help Progressive Journalism

What's wrong with this picture? Air America vanishes into the ether, while Glenn Beck indoctrinates 2.7 million daily viewers with his histrionic brand of right-wing lunacy. Independent news agencies must continuously solicit donations from readers to stay afloat, while hate-filled shock jock Rush Limbaugh makes $50 million a year. On the other hand, there's still a lot of great progressive media on the airwaves, including Democracy Now!, which airs on more than 800 TV and radio stations worldwide, along with radio shows by Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller. The Nation and TheNation.com are part of a progressive journalistic community that is challenging the right in every medium. ZP Heller, a writer (HuffPo, OpenLeft, AlterNet) who is working on a novel lampooning corporate media, lists ten steps you can take to help keep progressive journalism alive:

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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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Right-Wingers and Some Military Leaders Want to Pressure President Obama into an Immediate Escalation

Over the last several days, folks like Sarah Palin, Joe Lieberman, Bill Kristol and others have tried to join forces with escalation supporters in the military to pressure the president into supporting a strategy that will undermine American security and increase human suffering in Afghanistan.

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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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Did Michael Moore Just Ask Us to Save Our CEOs?

Check out the surprise teaser for Moore's newest documentary about the economic meltdown.  I always love his ability to bring much-needed attention to serious issues using humor.  If you think the bailout for AIG, Goldman Sachs, CitiBank and Bank of America simply wasn't enough, it's time we dig deeper and help out those poor, struggling CEOs!  Apparently, when this teaser aired in select theaters in LA, New York, Washington, D.C, and Chicago, ushers walked down the aisles with collection jars and some audience members actually contributed.

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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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The Perils of Predator Drones in Pakistan

The situation in Pakistan is deteriorating by the hour. This nuclear-armed nation already plagued by political and economic turmoil now faces a massive humanitarian crisis, as 500,000 people flee the Swat valley in the face of armed conflict between Pakistani authorities and Taliban extremists who have taken control. As President Obama meets with Pakistani President Asif Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai today, the question becomes what the U.S. can do to prevent all-out war in Pakistan.

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How Do You Ask a Man to Be the Last Man to Die for a Mistake in Afghanistan?

What happened today in Washington was, as Senator Russ Feingold called it, "historic."  Thirty-eight years nearly to the day when a young John Kerry shocked the nation with his fiery anti-Vietnam war testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rick Reyes, a former US Marine Corporal, delivered an equally puissant testimony in which he expressed his disenchantment with the war in Afghanistan.  How appropriate Kerry should be sitting directly across from Reyes as Committee Chairman, listening attentively as Congress heard one of the first major voices of dissent on this war.

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Lieberman Still a Fan of Waterboarding

I've long said it's time to give Joe Lieberman the boot, and his stance on torture makes me think we need to revive the Lieberman Must Go campaign.  In an interview with Fox's Greta Van Susteren yesterday, the hawkishly Independent Connecticut Senator said of President Obama's decision to release the torture memos, "It wasn't necessary. It just helps our enemies. It doesn't really help us."

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Ten Things You Can Do to Oppose the War in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan is a quagmire bordering on a catastrophe. With a current price tag of $2 billion a month, this drawn-out conflict took the lives of 155 American soldiers and 2,118 Afghan civilians last year--the bloodiest year of the war to date. Western airstrikes alone killed 522 civilians, fueling hostility toward the United States and causing more Afghans to join and support the Taliban insurgency that has spread into Pakistan. President Obama has escalated our military presence by committing an additional 17,000 US troops and 4,000 trainers to work with Afghan security forces. Where is the public outcry? The Nation and Z.P. Heller, editorial director of Brave New Films, have put together a list of things you can do to oppose the war.

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