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(Updated below - Update 1)
As I put this together, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is on the Senate floor "filibustering" or giving a long speech on Obama's politically flawed tax cut deal, which highly favors corporations and the wealthy and rich in this country. He is talking about how this deal includes Republican ideas to divert money from Social Security, which will handicap Social Security and perhaps be the beginning of the end of the program. And, he is also talking about how agreeing to continue these tax cuts now could mean that they become permanent because extending the cuts once will likely put him in a corner where he has to extend them again and again. [WATCH HERE]
Sen. Sanders has been on the floor for a few hours. As TPM reports, "Joined at different times by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sanders has been decrying the Obama tax cut plan for bailing out the wealthiest people in America."
Here are some of the things he has said so far:
*Reading from Arianna Huffington's Third World America , he detailed how our nation's infrastructure is crumbling. He shared the following: "Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic." And said, "Think about that. A cost of $78 billion a year. Think of all the pollution, all of the frustration, all of the anxiety, all of the road rage."
*He outlined that, in studying car crashes across the country, it has been determined that badly maintained roads are responsible for $272 billion a year in damages. If you want to know why we are seeing car crashes, the problem is bad roads
*On America's situation with rail, he explained, "Train rides in the 1930s and 1940s took less time than those journeys would take today. In the 30s, 40s, 50s, people were able to get there in less time." Specifically, he cited trips like a trip from Chicago to Minneapolis, which used to take 4 1/2 hours and now takes 8 hours.*He talked specfically about problems with bridges in this country, pleaded with President Obama to invest in bridges at the federal level.
*He said, "With our infrastructure collapsing...We have an agreement which puts zero dollars in infrastructure." And, mentioned that this country would need $850 billion to get all of America's bridges into good shape.*He again read from Huffington's book and illuminated how are drop to third world status is being sped up by our lack of investment in public education: "Historically, education has been the great equalizer. That has been the incredible virtue of our public school system." And he lauded the fact that historically we have "given young people millions of young people the opportunity to go to school go to college and fulfill their potential."
*He shared statistics that many who saw the documentary Waiting for Superman are likely familiar with: Among 30 developed countries ranked by OECD, ranked 25th
in math, 21st in science. Even the top 10% ranked only 24th
in the world in math literacy.
*He pleaded - "Does anyone believe here in America we take intellectual development seriously?" And he pointed out how we pay millions to sports stars but can only give a small salary to teachers or early childhood education providers.
*"67% high school graduates don't have enough of the skills required for success in college," he noted. And said, "When you invest in your kids, you are investing in the future of America."