Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale, is narrated by Ed Asner, with animation by Mike Konopacki. Written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. An 8 minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don't want to pay taxes anymore. They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren't so sure. This land bears a startling resemblance to our land.
In the days following Superstorm Sandy the Occupy Wall Street movement quickly mobilized their network bringing thousands of volunteers, donations, hot meals, and medical aide to the hardest hit areas. Working under the name 'Occupy Sandy' the group is comprised of both activists and new members who are simply looking to volunteer their time for a good cause. While the Occupy movement is excited to be playing a more direct role in community engagement, they are not losing sight of their political agenda.
Democracy Now! is broadcasting live from the annual U.N. Climate Change Summit, as it convenes in Doha, Qatar. Tune in Dec. 3-7, to see coverage of the official proceedings, as well as events outside the conference.
As Amy Goodman noted in her recent column, "No world leader at the UN climate change summit hasn’t heard the warnings, but it will take popular pressure to make them act."
Good morning, today is Monday, December 3, 2012, and John Boehner is 'flabbergasted.'
Now, where's the coffee?
President Obama speaks to the American people from a busy factory floor in Pennsylvania about the urgent need to pass the middle class tax cuts, which will give families and businesses preparing for the holidays the certainty they need going into the New Year. Democrats and Republicans must come together to pass one thing that everyone agrees on—extending income tax cuts for 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses, and there is no reason to wait. The President urges Congress to take action to help grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.
"It’s unacceptable for some Republicans in Congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans. And if you agree with me, then I could use your help. Let your congressman know what $2,000 means to you. Give them a call. Write them an email. Or tweet them using the hashtag “My2K.” That’s My2K."
This is the third straight week that President Obama takes his case for middle-class tax cuts, and tax hikes on the rich, straight to the American people in his weekly address.
"The most pressing decision has to do with your taxes. See, at the end of the year, middle-class tax cuts are set to expire. And there are two things that can happen.
First, if Congress does nothing, every family will see their income taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year. A typical middle class family of four will see their income taxes rise by $2,200. We can’t let that happen. Our families can’t afford it, and neither can our economy.
The second option is better. Right now, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. Everybody. That means that 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up at all. And even the wealthiest Americans would get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their incomes."
That's right, Congress can do that right now this very moment...if they felt like it.
"The Senate has already passed a bill to keep income taxes from going up on middle-class families. Democrats in the House are ready to do the same thing. And if we can just get a few House Republicans on board, I’ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way."
Obama finished his weekly address with a direct call to action, and makes clear exactly how much money is at stake:
"Let your congressman know what $2,000 means to you. Give them a call. Write them an email. Or tweet them using the hashtag “My2K.” That’s My2K."
A full transcript of the President's weekly address is available here.
New York City's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, stepped out of a helicopter midday Thursday in St. Camillus' parking lot, ironically an Occupy Sandy relief distribution hub in the Rockaways, Queens. The visit had been kept under wraps and not listed on his official schedule.
Bloomberg and a small party accompanying him were whisked off in black cars. He missed a greeting from community members in an area still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, with quickly-lettered signs: "Rockaways in Health Crisis," "We Need Safer Housing."
Bloomberg made his way to the still-shuttered offices of The Wave, the Rockaways weekly newspaper. As word spread about the stealth visit, a crowd gathered outside hoping to explain those signs to the mayor: a month after Sandy hit, swamping homes with seawater, many residents -- homeowners and tenants -- are still living without electricity, without heat, without working appliances, with black mold taking hold of walls and other surfaces. Temporary housing is desperately needed, absentee landlords must fix their properties.
The mayor emerged behind a row of police, thanked the group, and was quickly driven away -- avoiding a repeat of his November 4th visit when residents lambasted him for ignoring them.
After a couple of her well known on-air brain farts, I wonder Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is the one that we should be worried about being on the road, not the deferred-action immigrants who are just trying to get to work in her state. Arizona Governor Compares Undocumented Immigrants To Drunks And Children:
Since President Obama issued an administrative directive allowing some undocumented young immigrants to temporarily remain in the country, states have adopted policies to ensure they have equal work opportunity. But on Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) reiterated her opposition to granting driver licenses to the eligible immigrants and compared them to children or people with a record of driving under the influence.
Speaking on Fox News, Brewer suggested that she would never issue licenses to undocumented immigrants because that’s what state law says, despite the fact that it was her executive order that interpreted state law to mean that:
BILL HEMMER (HOST): In June the White House announced a new plan if you were here in the U.S. before the age of 16, and you are younger than the age of 31, and you’ve been here at least five years, you can stay. That is the broad outline of his proposal passed over the summer. What you’re arguing is that the law of the land in Arizona if you’re illegal you don’t get the same rights as those who are legal, correct?
BREWER: The state is the one who licenses the people to be able to drive, it’s not the federal government. And we don’t license kids under 16. We don’t license DUI drivers. And our laws are very clear and I took an oath to uphold that.
[...] These laws have been passed for reasons of public safety; lawmakers believe that unlicensed adult immigrants are likely to drive anyway because they need to get to work, risking increased accidents and higher insurance costs. Public safety concerns, of course, run the opposite direction with children and serial drunk drivers, who cannot ever be trusted to drive safely and hence must be kept off the road.
In what might well become a model for popular resistance to the 1%'s "Fiscal Cliff" austerity negotiations happening now in Washington D.C., activists in Chicago are planning a shantytown encampment of Federal Plaza -- a tangible portent of exactly where austerity is taking us.
More information on the Occupy Chicago GA-approved action from the event's facebook page:
As part of the ongoing “fiscal cliff” discussions, Senator Durbin is negotiating behind our backs to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – cuts that could create depression-era conditions for millions of Americans who’ve paid for and earned support from these vital programs.
Join us on December 6th at noon to tell Senator Durbin that we won't go back! On December 6, we're building a Durbinville Shantytown encampment at the Federal Building to symbolize the dire consequences these cuts could have, and fight to preserve these essential programs. Join us! And bring a tent!
Come get free soup and bread every day in Federal Plaza from December 3rd - 6th!
Monday, December 3, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Tuesday, December 4, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Wednesday, December 5, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Thursday, December 6, noon: Erect the “Durbinville” shantytown to show the world what these cuts really mean!
Enough is enough! It's time to stop unnecessary budget cuts and make corporations and the rich pay their fair share!
Demand that Senator Durbin:
Block the "debt ceiling sequester" cuts – say no to austerity!
Reject Simpson-Bowles or any other “Grand Bargain” that attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, working people, the sick or the elderly – protect vital public programs, no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid!
Block the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% – it’s time for the rich to start paying their fair share!
Support and fight for progressive sources of revenue – impose a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street financial speculation, tax capital gains as normal income and close corporate tax loopholes!
ACTION ALERT: Support the community hub at 489 Midland Ave
—Come to 489 Midland Ave Staten Island, NY 10306 to stand in support
—Volunteers requested to help move the hub to 100% private property
—Demand the Mayor’s office end community hub eviction and instead support hubs with space and equipment
—Public Advocate’s office: (212) 669-7250 9am-5pm EMAIL: GetHelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov
The community-run network of support for food, volunteering, supplies, clothing, and human services is an essential part of the New York City recovery efforts, and the mayor’s office wants to shut it down immediately. The mayor’s office is calling upon local police forces to “clear all outdoor sites” effective immediately. We are calling on all New Yorkers to advocate on behalf of these community run hubs that provide essential services to those whom the city and federal government, and support agencies, have under-served, neglected, or abandoned.
We call on the city, service organizations and police to support these crucial hubs by maintain location and services to community, offering tents, generators, and storage pods for supplies or finding free, nearby, and feasible medium to long term spaces where hubs can operate.
This Friday morning Staten Island police representing the mayor’s office have threatened eviction action against the crucial Staten Island hub at 489 Midland Avenue, in the heavily hit Midland Beach area. Aiman Youssef, a 42-year-old Syrian-American Staten Islander whose house was destroyed in the hurricane, has been running a 24/7 community pop up hub outside his property at 489 Midland Avenue since the day after the storm. He and a coalition of neighbors, friends and community members are serving hot food and offering cleaning supplies, non-perishables, medical supplies, and clothing to the thousands of residents who are still without heat, power, or safe housing. This popular hub is well-run, well-staffed, and has a constant hum of discussion, support, and advice as well as donations and pick ups and volunteer dispatch through another pop-up group, volunteers who call themselves “The Yellow Team.”
At the standing-room only Town Hall meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School last night, Youssef was the first to raise his voice in the question and answer period. The community’s expression of extreme need and frustration with the lack of official support made for a contentious environment where city government officials offered few solutions. At one point borough president James Molinaro asked the audience “You wanna shut your mouth?” due to their increasingly loud demands for community support and housing solutions.
We ask all New Yorkers and Sandy supporters worldwide to not heed Molinaro’s demand, but to speak out as Youssef did. Ask the mayor’s office to support, not evict, the well-run community support hubs giving crucial services to New Yorkers in need.
Good morning, today is Saturday, December 1, 2012. Clowns are evil. Your morning open thread begins below.