Is outrage fatigue setting in?

I've been a little surprised by the lack of urgent calls to contact Congress to protest the so-called "tax reform bill" the Senate will presumably soon be asked to approve. The entire conceptual framework is egregious: it simply takes money from the poor and middle class and redistributes it to the wealthy. At the same time, it eliminates the individual mandate that is a central pillar of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, premiums will rise dramatically for all those who continue to purchase health insurance on the individual market AND an estimated 13 million more Americans will be uninsured. As a bonus, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will be in the crosshairs for budget cuts when the debt balloons, as it inevitably will under the proposals now in play. So most of us stand to be big losers.

One of the best and clearest accounts of how middle-class families will fare is in today's New York Times Online. Even if you can't find the time to read the entire analysis, take five minutes to look at the first graph and accompanying explanation. Here are a few general findings:

  • Nearly everyone who takes the standard deduction gets a tax cut in 2018;
  • Families with children generally get a bigger tax cut;
  • People who pay a lot in state and local taxes could see big tax increases;
  • In 2027 the picture is more uncertain, but many middle-class households would face a tax increase.

Ezra Klein at Vox.com has an insightful analysis of the most serious problems with the entire approach Republicans are taking to the tax code. He focuses on issues conservative economists have reservations about, so it's not just liberal carping. Here are his key takeaways:

  • Start with how the bill is paid for. It isn’t.
  • The bill creates a health insurance crisis it has no idea how to solve.
  • The bill creates giant new loopholes for tax accountants to exploit.
  • The tax cliff means the bill either costs more than Republicans are admitting or does less than they are promising.
  • The bill supercharges inequality.

Call your Representatives and Senators. All of them. Even the Democrats.

Meanwhile, if the prospect of increasing inequality doesn't motivate you enough to get on the phone or flood congressional email inboxes, maybe the prospect of losing net neutrality on the Internet will get you going. The new chair of the Federal Communication Commission is preparing to rescind the rules that require online service providers to treat every content provider equally: no charging extra for preferential treatment, no blocking of specific sources, no "slow lanes" and "fast lanes." The threat is not just a matter of costs. Losing net neutrality is a loss of free speech and a free press. Here's a piece in Daily Kos that explains how the new rules can and will undoubtedly undermine democracy. Again, call Congress.

Finally, I want to call attention to a new program we're starting at Grassroots North Shore. Beginning with the book Runaway Inequality, we will be organizing small meetings of like-minded people who want to talk about important issues together, book-club style. Our first foray into this territory will take place in the next few weeks. We're offering a range of dates: Saturday, Dec. 9, Tuesday, Dec. 19, and Wed., Dec. 20. So sign up by December 7 for a date and time that's convenient for you. Organizers will keep in touch to let you know whether there are enough people signed up for each date.

Tue Nov 28, 2017

Fred Kessler Fundraiser, 5pm - 7:30pm 
Major Goolsby's, 340 W. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee
 
A fundraising event honoring Representative Fred Kessler, who organized the effort to bring the Whitford v. Gill gerrymandering lawsuit to the United States Supreme Court. Special guest Dean Strang is the attorney featured in the award-winning Netflix documentary, "Making a Murderer." More information and contributions or send check to 9312 W. Clovernook St., Milwaukee 53244.

Wed Nov 29, 2017

Refuel the Resistance, 5pm - 8pm 
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee
 
Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Cuban Educator Event, 7 pm - 7 pm 
Central United Methodist Church, 639 N. 25th St., Milwaukee
 
In 1961, revolutionary Cuba virtually ended adult illiteracy in one year. 100,000'sof students became teachers and partners with those who were not literate. Featured in the renowned documentary "Maestra," Griselda Aguilera Cabrera was the youngest of these teachers. Now retired from her career as an educator, Griselda works with the Cuban Psychology Society’s Working Group on Identity and Diversity, in activities to combat homophobia, racial discrimination, prejudice against people with HIV/AIDS, and violence against women and girls. She will speak in Spanish with interpretation in English. Free off-street parking south of the church. Free and open to the public, donations gratefully accepted. Sponsored by: Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba.

Not a Crime to Be Poor, 7 pm 
Boswell Book Co., 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee
 
Law professor Peter Edelman will discuss his book Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America. The book explains how a system of fines and fees levied for minor crimes, strictly enforced laws and regulations against behavior including trespassing and public urination that largely affect the homeless, and the substitution of prisons and jails for the mental hospitals that have traditionally served the impoverished, have effectively made it a crime to be poor in one of the richest countries on Earth. These policies and others including school discipline in poor communities, child support policies affecting the poor, public housing ordinances, addiction treatment, and the specter of public benefits fraud paint a picture of a mean-spirited, retributive system that seals whole communities into inescapable cycles of poverty.

Thu Nov 30, 2017

Tom Palzewicz Fundraiser, 5:30pm - 7pm 
Silver Spur Texas Smokehouse BBQ, 13275 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove
 
Come to an evening reception to support Tom Palzewicz for Congress in his campaign to unseat Jim Sensenbrenner. Contribution Levels: Host $500 | Sponsor $250 | Supporter $100 | Friend $50 | Suggested minimum contribution of $25, but any and all support is welcome. RSVP.

Sat Dec 2, 2017

Sparkle Ashley Nomination Event, 10 am - 4 pm 
TBD
 
Kickoff event for volunteers to gather nomination signatures needed to get Sparkle Ashley on the ballot for County Supervisor. Clipboards, pens and nomination papers will be provided. RSVP.

Stand for Peace, 12pm - 1pm 
Locust Street & Oakland Avenue, Milwaukee
 
Stand for peace in the streets of Milwaukee, every Saturday at noon. Organized by the United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Peace/Conflict Committee.

Mon Dec 4, 2017

Drinking Liberally Waukesha, 6:30 pm - 9 pm 
Clarke Irish Pub, 314 W. Main St., Waukesha
 
More information.

Tue Dec 5, 2017

Poisoned Water Film, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm 
Waukesha Public Library, 321 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha
 
The film "Poisoned Water" will show what exactly went wrong in Flint--and what it means for the rest of our country. Small snacks and drinks will be provided. Sponsored by OFA. RSVP. Contact Info: Jennifer Byrnes.

Wed Dec 6, 2017

Refuel the Resistance, 5pm - 8pm 
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee
 
Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

YWCA Presents an Evening to Promote Racial Justice, 5 pm - 8 pm 
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N Water St, Milwaukee
 
An Evening to Promote Racial Justice is a celebration of community leadership that provides the opportunity to speak openly about racism. You will hear and learn from Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a Detroit native, ordained Baptist minister, current Georgetown University sociology professor, former professor at Brown, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia, De Paul and University of Pennsylvania, who has taken the nation by storm with the publication of his most recent book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” an instant New York Times bestseller. Eliminating Racism award winner Monique Liston, and Empowering Women award winner Dawn Helmrich will also be celebrated at the event. Sponsor: YWCA of Southeast WI. Tickets: $60 general admission; $25 students. RegisterMore info. Contact Trenlan Krueger, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, 414-267-3205.

Grass Roots South Shore Meeting, 6 pm - 6 pm 
Cudahy Library, 3500 Library Dr., Cudahy
 
Grass Roots South Shore will hold its monthly meeting. Grass Roots South Shore meets on the first Wednesday of each month. For more information call Jim Balk, 414-218-5944.

Thu Dec 7, 2017

DPMC Issues Committee Meeting, 6:30pm - 8pm 
Amalgamated Transit Union, 734 N. 26th St., Milwaukee
 
The Democratic Party's Issues Committee will hold its monthly meeting. All Democrats are welcome to participate. Enter from the parking lot.

David Bowen Fundraiser, 7 pm - 9 pm 
Milwaukee Beer Bistro, 2730 N. Humboldt Blvd., Milwaukee
 
This holiday season join State Representative David Bowen, bringing together people from around the region to celebrate a growing bold progressive movement that will give everyone some holiday cheers! Suggested Donation $35. RSVP.

Fri Dec 8, 2017

Op-ed Writing Workshop, 9am - 4:30pm 
Wisconsin Voices, 633 S. Hawley Rd., Suite 112, Milwaukee
 
The Progressive Media Project, with the support of the BRICO Fund, invites you to participate in a FREE op-ed writing workshop. Learn how to communicate your ideas effectively as an op-ed writer; receive editorial and op-ed placement support from The Progressive magazine’s editorial team; and understand how to use social media to get your published op-ed in front of a larger audience. Attending the workshop is free for all participants. Breakfast, lunch, transportation, and accommodation expenses are covered as well. More information and registration. Contact: Jess Pernsteiner, 608-257-4626.

Sat Dec 9, 2017

Grassroots North Shore Book Group, 10 am - 12 pm 
Grassroots North Shore, 5600 W Brown Deer Rd, #116
 
Concerned about skyrocketing inequality in the U.S.? Much of it comes down to the pervasive "neoliberal" economic and political agenda that is currently driving our country far to the right. But what is neoliberalism? Why is it hurting our families and communities? And how can we stop it? Please join us in a two-hour book club session focused on the book Runaway Inequality by Les Leopold and find answers to these questions and more! We plan to hold multiple sessions to accommodate all who want to attend. Please RSVP by December 7 and choose your date and time. Sessions will be small group discussions in a Book Club format and facilitated by a leader to get discussion started. We ask that you read Runaway Inequality in advance. It’s a fast and straightforward read. The book is available on Amazon. Open to all, invite your friends.

Citizen Action Holiday Assembly, 11 am - 2 pm 
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, 633 S. Hawley Rd., Milwaukee
 
Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin at the 2017 Annual Holiday Assembly to recap the year's accomplishments in healthcare, economic opportunity, progressive messaging, and new organizing cooperatives. RSVP Contact: Kevin, 414-550-8280.

Stand for Peace, 12pm - 1pm 
Highway 100 & North Avenue, Wauwatosa
 
Stand for peace in the streets of Milwaukee, every Saturday at noon. Organized by the United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Peace/Conflict Committee.

Mon Dec 11, 2017

Dana Wachs Fundraiser, 5:30pm - 7:30pm 
2217 E. Kenilworth Pl., Milwaukee
 
Winter fundraiser for Dana Wachs, Democratic candidate for governor. Dana will be present to share his vision for moving Wisconsin forward, the challenges and opportunities he sees for our next governor and to answer any questions you have about his campaign. RSVP.

Grass Roots South Shore Meeting, 6 pm - 8 pm 
Cudahy Library, 3500 Library Dr., Cudahy
 
Grass Roots South Shore holds its monthly meeting on the second Monday of each month. For more information call Jim Balk, 414-218-5944.

Our Revolution MKE Meeting, 6pm - 7:30pm 
African American Women's Center, 3020 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee
 
Our Wisconsin Revolution-Milwaukee will hold its December meeting. The special guest speaker will be Earl Ingram, who hosts a morning talk show on WRRD 1510AM. Doors open at 5:30 pm for snacks, refreshments, and networking. The program starts at 6 pm: guest speaker presentation followed by a Q&A, update on our organizing and collaboration efforts in Milwaukee and applicable updates from the state board, announcements, and more networking. RSVP (and request for child care).

Tue Dec 12, 2017

Youth Re-engagement Ideas, 4:30pm - 6:30pm 
McGovern Park Senior Center, 4500 W. Custer Ave., Milwaukee
 
The Milwaukee County Office on African American Affairs is seeking your input on the topic of youth (re)engagement. After an initial briefing on OAAA and the session topic, participants will split into small groups to provide input and envision a juster Milwaukee. RSVP.

Conversations on Race, 6:30pm - 9pm 
Brown Deer United Methodist, 5736 W. Brown Deer Rd.,
 
Conversations on Race is for people who are ready to discuss how we are approaching racial issues both personally and systemically. It is a time to learn about the fears, anger, prejudices, systemic privileges and spiritual power that we each hold. With the events in Charlottesville, we will continue our discussion of White Supremacy and the impact every day in American culture and life led by Lisa Jones and Joe Masterson. This event is open to the public and is handicap accessible.

Drinking Liberally MKE, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm 
Riverwest Public House Co-op, 815 E. Locust St., Milwaukee
 
The event appears twice, at the same day and time but at two different locations. I don't know which is correct so proceed at your own risk or call the location ahead of setting out. 
Now, more than ever, Drinking Liberally is a space to gather, support each other, and form the progressive community we're going to need to get through the next four years. Come share a pint with your fellow progressives! Drinking Liberally MKE meets on the second Tuesday of every month, hosted by Matt Filipowicz.

Drinking Liberally MKE, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm 
Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St., Milwaukee
 
The event appears twice, at the same day and time but at two different locations. I don't know which is correct so proceed at your own risk or call the location ahead of setting out. 
Now, more than ever, Drinking Liberally is a space to gather, support each other, and form the progressive community we're going to need to get through the next four years. Come share a pint with your fellow progressives! Drinking Liberally MKE meets on the second Tuesday of every month, hosted by Matt Filipowicz.

350 Milwaukee Meeting, 7 pm - 8:30 pm 
Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee
 
350.ORG is the global organization building a grassroots movement in 188 countries to address global warming and solve the climate crisis. 350 Milwaukee meets every month on the second Tuesday. More information.


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