The so-called fiscal cliff is actually a fiscal bluff — a made-up crisis to make us think our government is out of money and time. Congress continues to drag its feet over raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, despite the top 1% earning 23% of the nation's income, and insists on calling for cuts to vital programs instead of reining in massive subsidies ($100 billion in 2011 alone) to major corporations that already make billions in profits. America isn't broke — it's being robbed.

Dec. 19, 2012 is ARTSTRIKE — a day of action to share powerful art and music that can convince our friends that more cuts and tax breaks aren’t the answer. Artists from across the country have come together to make their voices heard. It couldn't come at a more urgent time, as Washington, D.C. nears a deal that would slash Social Security and raises taxes on the poor and middle class. Check out a few of my favorites below, and help me share them far and wide.


Don’t Punish Our Future. Make The Rich Pay., by Ernesto Yerena

Keep Calm & Tax the Rich, by Gan Golan

Make Deadbeat Corporations Pay. Stop Robbing Our Communities. by Melanie Cervantes

fight for every job. resist every cut., by Soy Aryer

Fiscal Cliff 101, by Ricardo Levins Morales

¡Ya Basta!, by Julio Salgado

Save Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, by Xavier Viramontes

The Fiscal Cliff is Fiction, by Querido Galdo

Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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Kier is a therapist and a family and relationship vlogger who makes videos with his wife Noémie and 2-year-old daughter Emmy. Some of their content is comedic, some of it is serious, but their goal is for all of it to be "100% authentic."

Recently, Kier got real about fatherhood in a video he made while carrying Emmy around the neighborhood on his hip. The video resonated across a wide spectrum of people. I saw it shared by various friends in my own feed, and even by celebrities like Viola Davis.

As anyone who is a parent already knows, raising kids is hard work. It's rewarding and wonderful in many ways, but it's not easy. And if you don't prepare yourself emotionally for the task by working through your own childhood traumas, it's going to be even harder.

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Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

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