Campaign archives for Brave New Foundation

AFSCME: Rick Berman: Like a Bad Penny…

By Kate Childs Graham at AFSCME

For years now, millionaire lobbyist Rick Berman has been polluting the airwaves with his own particular brand of toxic waste, using front groups with benevolent-sounding names like the Center for Consumer Freedom and the Center for Union Facts to attack unions, the minimum wage – even Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Berman was richly rewarded by corporations such as Philip Morris to protect their interests, which apparently requires misleading the public.

But if anything, Berman’s latest effort – aired during the Super Bowl – seems to be the desperate act of a demagogue past his prime. While it wasn’t exactly a shock to see Berman’s Center for Union Facts spew its venomous fiction on the air, it did come as a surprise to see the once-slick, Washington insider cast himself as a union member, in a performance so fraudulent he didn’t even bother to lose the gold watch or rumple his shirt.

Read more at AFSCME.

Teamster Nation: The big lie from ‘Center for Union Facts’

By Teamster Nation

If you happened to watch the Super Bowl in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia or Maryland, you may have seen an anti-union ad. It was paid for by a nasty little front group called “The Center for Union Facts,” which, as you can guess, lies about unions.

This video exposes the ‘union’ worker as Richard Berman, head of the Center for Union Facts. Here’s what you need to know about him: His own son calls him a despicable person.

Read more at Teamster Nation.

Care2: Lobbyist Stars In Super Bowl Anti-Union Ad

By Jessica Pieklo at Care2

Wow. It takes a certain special kind of narcissism to star in your own astroturf campaign, but that’s exactly what Washington lobbyist Rick Berman did. And Berman didn’t star in just any old astroturf ad, he starred in an anti-union ad airing during the Super Bowl in a year and in a city where union-busting is front-and-center.

Berman specializes in creating nonprofit front groups that shill for corporate interests. His past clients include Phillip Morris, Coca Cola and Tyson Foods, and they hire Berman to shift public opinion in the form of issue-ads. Berman’s organizations always have innocent-sounding names like “The American Beverage Institute” and “The Employment Policies Institute” who push agendas like fighting minimum wage increases and pick fights with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. And now they union bust.

In the ad that aired a group of “auto mechanics” complained that they had never voted fro the union they’re in. One of the mechanics: Berman.

Read more at Care2.

Lobbyist Poses as Mechanic in Anti-Union Super Bowl Ad [VIDEO]

America just got rickrolled.

There we were last week, innocently partaking in the annual testosterone-fest that is the Super Bowl, when we were treated to an ad featuring a group of supposed auto mechanics lamenting that they never voted for the union they’re in. But look closely. One of these “mechanics” is sporting a gold watch, manicured hands, and a brand new shirt. That’s because he’s not a mechanic, or even an actor.

He’s Washington lobbyist Rick Berman.

Berman is a gun-for-hire — nicknamed Dr. Evil — who specializes in creating nonprofit front groups to push corporate interests. His clients have included the likes of Phillip Morris, Coca Cola, and Tyson’s Foods. But you wouldn’t know it hearing the names of the organizations he starts. The Employment Policies Institute? They fight minimum wage increases. The American Beverage Institute? They go after Mothers Against Drunk Driving. And the gem of an organization linked to the Super Bowl ad is the Center for Union Facts.

Like other Berman fronts, the Center for Union Facts lists no staff on its website. But it does offer up a lot of false information about labor unions, using distorted statistics to paint their staffers as a bunch of corrupt thugs out to steal workers’ hard-earned money. No mention is made of the better wages and benefits union members receive relative to their non-union counterparts, nor of the far more pervasive acts of corporate corruption and coercion that go on in American workplaces. Without a union, workers are left to fend for themselves against employers with unchecked power.

So Rick Berman is not quite the salt-of-the-earth mechanic that Super Bowl fans were supposed to find relatable while being fed anti-union propaganda. Indeed, he appears to be a master of the bait and switch: He creates fake nonprofits to lure Americans to corporate propaganda, and occasionally he shows up posing as an ordinary American in those groups’ ads.

Americans who want the real facts on unions — fakery-free — will have to go somewhere other than the Center for Union Facts to find them.

OCCUPY Your City and Make History

The Occupy Wall Street protest is a full bore indictment against corporate greed and dysfunctional government. It’s a demand for nation building here at home.

People young and old are taking the streets, sleeping in tents, donating pizza, even publishing their own Occupy Wall Street Journal newspaper, to let our government and corporations know that we are a democracy that’s not for sale.

The Brave New Foundation team pulled some of the most powerful images broadcasted from the Occupy movement. We hope our latest video inspires you to make your voice heard and rally with a protest in your city.

The local protests are growing more each day, with some observers estimating the Occupy movement could swell to 250,000 online activists in the coming days.

We’ve set up a user-friendly database for you to find a protest in your city and spread the word. Already, there are thousands of protesters in New York City and hundreds more in Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami and elsewhere.

What’s happening at symbolic sites in almost all of our cities is earning comparisons to the movement reshaping the Arab world.

May this be the beginning of an American Autumn and renewal.

The Occupy movement is deeply personal, there are so many different people taking to the streets- and for so many different reasons. Some are in high school and are anxious about the job market, others have graduated college and are drowning in student loans. Many are working longer hours for fewer dollars and workplace rights, or are unemployed.

Many more Occupying cities are veterans who’ve served abroad and cannot transition into civilian life without work. The wars abroad have had a corrosive effect on society.

What’s happening is living digitally through social media. People young and old have set up media tents, libraries, cafeterias and medical centers and they’re getting their message to the public.

We need to help them. We need to participate and make our voices heard today.

They’re truly an inspiration. Whether you were marching in the 1960s, the early 2000s or you are in high school and utilizing your First Amendment rights, we can agree a healthy democracy requires the wisdom of crowds.

Find a local protest and help make history.

Free Speech TV and Brave New Foundation Announce the National Television Broadcast of The ChangeMakers

FSTV to deliver a compilation of Brave New Foundation’s breakthrough investigative videos from

Cuentame, Koch Brothers Exposed and Rethink Afghanistan 

September 26, 2011 (Denver, CO) –  For the last seven years, Brave New Foundation ( has championed social justice issues via online media, short-form documentaries, education, and grassroots volunteer involvement to inspire, empower and encourage civic participation to create social change. Free Speech TV has announced that it will broadcast the latest installments of their acclaimed series, Cuentame, Koch Brothers Exposed and Rethink Afghanistan, as a 1.5 hour-long program entitled, The ChangeMakers. The series will air to national television audiences on Dish Network and DIRECTV on Saturdays through October 15, 2011 at 8:00 PM ET.

The ChangeMakers provides an in-depth look at the latest in the Koch brothers saga, including their position on the Keystone XL and how the Obama administration’s climate ‘reform’ decisions may actually benefit these greed-fueled millionaires; sheds light on the plight of Latino immigrants in the US, via the story of a mentally impaired, lawful US resident awaiting his fate in a deportation trial; and challenges our audiences to question our role in Afghanistan, as we examine the present state of the US occupation, the exuberant costs associated with this war and President Obama’s unfulfilled promises to reduce US troops.

“We are honored to be able to partner with Brave New Foundation to bring to millions of American households this important series and inspire our viewers and members to take action in these social justice issues that are usually blacked-out by the mainstream media,” said Giselle Campagna, Development Director.

Speaking about The ChangeMakers broadcast on FSTV, Laura Beatty, Brave New Foundation V.P. Distribution said, “with our goal to inform people through compelling video stories and motivate them to take action, we are excited to partner with FSTV. This partnership enables important messages to be delivered direct to 35 million people.”

The ChangeMakers will broadcast every Saturday (September 24 – October 15) at 8:00 pm EST on Free Speech TV via DISH Network channel 9415, DIRECTV channel 348, various US cable access stations (check our website for cable access listings), and online at FREESPEECH.ORG.

About Free Speech TV

Launched in 1995, Free Speech TV is an independent, publicly-supported, non-profit TV multi-platform digital media pioneer. Using both television and the Internet, Free Speech TV inspires viewers to become civically engaged to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable society. Free Speech TV is owned and operated by Public Communicators, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization, founded in 1974. Free Speech TV reaches 35 million U.S. homes, broadcasting full-time on DISH Network channel 9415, DIRECTV channel 348, part-time on 200 US community cable affiliate stations, and online at FREESPEECH.ORG.


Antioch College – Horace Mann Award 2011 Recipient: Robert Greenwald

Tell Congress to Help Create Jobs Not Cut Them

Tell Congress to vote NO on H.R. 1. Now is not the time to cut investment in business and jobs. Call your member of Congress at 888.494.8956 and enter your zip code to be connected directly.

Why Do Politicians Want To Cut Jobs? Budget Cuts Equal Job Cuts.

We are in a painful recession. Too often it seems like DC hears more about the concern of billionaires who don’t want to lose their tax cuts, and too little about the parent of two who works long hours and barely is getting by. And yet Congress votes on whether the billionaire will have more, and whether the working class parent will lose his or her job. These are the votes presently occurring, and which are being treated like a drawn out political game.

The proposed Federal budget cuts are turning into another political sideshow. The process of the budget is being treated as a chess game, a battle over politics and procedure, and one that may go on for a long time still, narrated by talking heads throughout.

If you are an American in need of a job, or one afraid that your job will be cut in the budget proposals, it isn’t just a DC soap opera. The reverberations of the proposed cuts are drastic and personal. States and cities throughout the country feel the impact of the cuts through the stories of those waiting with every news cycle to hear whether their job, or hope of a job, will be slashed.

The City of Los Angeles is a perfect example of this harm. Los Angeles is already affected by the recession with a whopping 14.5% unemployment.

The proposed federal budget cuts are not abstract to Los Angeles. They would eliminate funding for job creation projects, projects needed to help Vets find work, and they could wipe out training services for youth hoping to find skills, or the homeless, hoping to break the cycle of poverty.

In Los Angeles, the community is not sitting back and letting these proposed cuts happen without a fight. Next Tuesday, March 23rd, Angelinos will rally at the Federal Building in Downtown Los Angeles to say no to such cuts. Cutting jobs is not the answer to recession budgeting. It’s time that our government prioritized working people over billionaires.

If democracy is to work, we have to hope that Wisconsin and Los Angeles, and the other communities that have had enough, send messages strong enough to penetrate the walls of Capitol Hill. It’s time our government support those struggling to get by, and not just those with the money to access power in private backrooms. It’s time we make it know: budget cuts equal job cuts. And America simply can’t afford to cut anymore jobs.

Tell Congress to Not Cut More Jobs.

With 12.9% of American workers are unemployed, Congress is proposing a budget that cuts jobs and workforce training.  Call your members of Congress now at 202.224.3121.  Tell them not to cut funds for jobs and workforce recovery.

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