Nearly 3,000 protesters are staging sit-ins in congressional offices at the Capitol on Tuesday, demanding they be heard on the plight of the unemployed.
The protests, organized by activist groups including OurDC and Moveon.org, will target 99 lawmakers’ offices by the end of the day, according to event spokesman Mike Uehlein.
“These folks have traveled from across the country,” he told The Hill, noting that many of the protesters were unemployed. “They’re calling on their congressional leaders to take actions on the jobs crisis.”
Several dozen individuals targeted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office in the Russell Senate office building, refusing to leave until they meet with the lawmaker.
They “arrived this morning around 11:30 [a.m.]; they asked for a meeting with the Senator,” McConnell’s spokesman Robert Steurer wrote in an email.
“Since they did not have a meeting scheduled, we offered them a meeting with our legislative director and they declined,” he added. “This is the same group that was here in early November – and we offered them a meeting a couple times during that visit and they declined.”
For one of the first times ever, the President mentioned that two rounds of tax cuts passed by the Bush Administration in 2001 and 2003 created almost no jobs. He said that “Mortgage lenders … tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford” and that “irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight” on Wall Street “nearly destroyed our entire economy.” He recited the now-familiar economic statistics about inequality and how it corrupts, how the rich purchase politicians and have them do their bidding. He added stats about the creaking to a halt of upward mobility in this country.
I’m just not sure what the solutions expressed in the speech mean to provide. There’s a familiar focus on education, with the welcome line that “We shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now – we should be hiring them.” There’s a focus on science and research and development, which makes sense. There’s a very good line about how building an economy on high-tech manufacturing rather than an outsized financial industry will attract the best and brightest to productive work, something I think needs to be stressed.
But then there’s this brag on how we have to live within our means and prioritize our deficit, the wrong message in a fragile economy when you can borrow at a negative interest rate. The first substantive plan in the speech is to cut the payroll tax, an anti-contractionary measure but not necessary the stuff around which a New Deal is created. Obama does support returning progressivity to the tax code, in the form of returning the high-end tax rates to the Clinton years. But that stops short of transformation. Continue Reading »
OCCUPY WALL STREET joins up with Take Back the Land (seen in ‘Capitalism:
A Love Story’) and other great organizations in a new program
of direct actions to thwart foreclosures
‘I’m Not the Only One in This Boat’
“The banks got all this money from us and they didn’t modify anybody’s loan?
What are they doing with all this money all this time? … If we’re all in this
together we need to start bailing water together.” – Bobby Hull,
57-year-old Minneapolis plasterer foreclosed
on by Banksters of America
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration will announce whether it will approve making Plan B (the brand name for emergency contraception or the morning after pill) available for purchase on drugstore shelves – that’s right, next to the condoms and pregnancy tests. Reproductive justice advocates I’ve spoken to over the last few days all think the same thing: they’re going to approve it. I sure hope so.
Kirsten Moore, for example, President & CEO of Reproductive Health Technologies Project, says “While FDA has toyed with women’s health before, all signs point to them doing the right thing at last and letting the science dictate their policy decisions.”
I’m pretty damn optimistic too. The FDA has a lot of embarrassing history to make up for surrounding Plan B. This would be a step away from their ideologically driven past toward the drug, a progressive pro-science move that could restore a bit of that tarnished reputation.
Obviously, if the FDA does pull the trigger – conservatives are going to lose their collective shits.