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Why we do what we do: To decrease human suffering and to promote human values of equality and justice.

Activate Magazine is an on-line publication that focuses on Social Justice, Activism and Politics but also features Music Reviews. Some of the work here may come with a defiant sneer and others with brutal cynicism but it all comes with a sense of genuity. Not all the viewpoints or perspectives here represent the values or ideals of Activate Media. That being said we try to be fair in journalistic principles.

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‘Alarming’: Some Small Businesses Received Just $1 in Covid-19 Relief Loans as Kushner Family, Wall Street Investors Raked in Millions

‘Alarming’: Some Small Businesses Received Just $1 in Covid-19 Relief Loans as Kushner Family, Wall Street Investors Raked in Millions

“Serious questions remain about whether PPP funds were equitably distributed to minority-owned businesses, and there is an alarming rate of small-dollar loans.”

By Jake Johnson

The Kushner family, large chains backed by private equityWall Street investorsKanye Westmembers of Congress, and the law firm that represented President Donald Trump during the Mueller probe were among the thousands of beneficiaries of a Covid-19 relief program aimed at rescuing struggling small businesses and keeping workers employed, according to new federal data released Monday.

While the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) data disclosure reveals just a fraction of recipients of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, critics voiced concern that large, wealthy firms were able to readily access millions of dollars in relief funds as more vulnerable companies frequently received less money than they applied for—or nothing at all.

“We cannot allow those small businesses that were grossly underfunded or disadvantaged by the program to disappear and not have their stories told and rectified.”
—John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority

“Serious questions remain about whether PPP funds were equitably distributed to minority-owned businesses, and there is an alarming rate of small-dollar loans,” John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of advocacy group Small Business Majority, said in a statement. “Nationally, a total of more than 21,800 small businesses, many with multiple employees, received a loan for under $1,000.”

“To raise eyebrows even more,” Arensmeyer added, “more than 1,200 of those businesses received less than $100—with some receiving loans as low as $1.00! Underfunding has been a pervasive problem for borrowers since PPP launched.”

As the American Prospect‘s David Dayen pointed out on Twitter, it’s not as if the $660 billion program was not sufficiently funded to provide small businesses with the relief they requested. At the previous PPP loan application deadline on June 30, more than $130 billion in funding remained in the tank. Last month, Congress extended the application deadline to August 8.

“The problem, in other words, is the incompetent filtering of the program through private sector banks because we’ve hollowed out public sector benefit delivery,” wrote Dayen.

The SBA’s disclosure—which included only the names of beneficiaries who received at least $150,000 in PPP funding—came in response to widespread outrage over the Trump administration’s effort to keep information about loan recipients secret.

A searchable database of PPP beneficiaries can be viewed here.

As the Washington Post reported, “companies owned by the family of Jared Kushner… received several PPP loans. Princeton Forrestal LLC, a Kushner Cos. affiliate that bought the Princeton Marriott Hotel in 2018, received a loan of between $1 million and $2 million.”

“Companies that appear to match those associated with two Trump cabinet officials also received PPP loans,” according to the Post. “A company with a name matching one listed on the 2017 financial disclosure of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received at least $6 million.”

Meanwhile, Arensmeyer of Small Business Majority said around 25% of the companies in his group’s network “have reported receiving a lower loan than what they requested.”

“While many business owners received no explanation for why they did not receive the full loan amount,” Arensmeyer added, “a number of other businesses have reported that lenders and the SBA either failed to catch and rectify errors on applications, or businesses were told to accept less than what they would qualify for to move things through the process quickly.”

“The survival of America’s small businesses depends on the full disclosure of PPP’s successes and failures,” said Arensmeyer. “Sunlight has always been the best disinfectant, and we cannot allow those small businesses that were grossly underfunded or disadvantaged by the program to disappear and not have their stories told and rectified.”

Source: ‘Alarming’: Some Small Businesses Received Just $1 in Covid-19 Relief Loans as Kushner Family, Wall Street Investors Raked in Millions | Common Dreams News

 

‘How the Trump White House Sees You’: Top Economic Adviser Under Fire for Calling Workers ‘Human Capital Stock’ 

‘How the Trump White House Sees You’: Top Economic Adviser Under Fire for Calling Workers ‘Human Capital Stock’

“They’ve always been indifferent to human life. And in the face of mass death, the masks are coming off.”

By Jake Johnson

In a remark critics characterized as further evidence that the Trump administration views workers as nothing more than disposable tools of economic growth and corporate profit, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Sunday nonchalantly referred to laid-off employees as “human capital stock” as he pushed people to return to their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Voicing optimism about the potential for a speedy economic recovery even as U.S. unemployment surges to levels not seen since the Great Depression, Hassett told CNN Sunday that “our capital stock hasn’t been destroyed, our human capital stock is ready to get back to work, and so that there are lots of reasons to believe that we can get going way faster than we have in previous crises.”

Watch:

Rolling Stone‘s Peter Wade wrote Monday that “the way Hassett used the term so casually lines up with the lack of empathy shown to the victims of the coronavirus by Trump’s administration and Republicans since the crisis began months ago.”

“Calling human beings ‘stock’— especially as essential workers are putting their lives and bodies on the line right now—is undeniably absurd and heartless,” Wade added.

Others weighed in on social media, condemning Hassett’s comment as indicative of the Trump administration’s casual willingness to sacrifice lives for the sake of the economy.

“‘Human capital stock.’ Also known as people; as mothers and fathers and spouses and siblings,” tweeted Leah Greenberg, co-executive director of Indivisible. “They’ve always been indifferent to human life. And in the face of mass death, the masks are coming off.”

“This is how the Trump White House sees you, American human capital stock,” wrote John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Not asked to explain his use of the dehumanizing label, Hassett went on to say that an expansion of federal nutrition benefits and another round of direct stimulus payments may not be necessary because “the economy’s picking up at a very rapid rate”—a claim belied by ongoing mass layoffs and surging hunger across the United States.

Instead of relief for the tens of millions of people who are newly out of work and struggling to afford basic necessities, Hassett said the White House could “potentially move on to other things that the president has mentioned, like the payroll tax cut and potentially even a capital gains holiday.”

Advocacy groups have repeatedly warned that a payroll tax cut represents a sneak-attack on Social Security and Medicare that would do nothing for the unemployed. The latter idea Hassett floated would be a massive boon for rich investors, as the Washington Post‘s Catherine Rampell noted in a column Monday.

“Even before the pandemic, the White House was proposing additional capital gains tax off-ramps,” Rampell wrote. “Now Hassett suggests this new iteration: For some temporary, to-be-determined length of time, rich people could sell their assets, realize whatever gains they’ve accumulated over the decades, and never pay taxes on the income.”

Bharat Ramamurti, a member of the congressional panel tasked with overseeing the Trump administration’s handling of bailout funds, tweeted that in the face of “historic unemployment rates, the administration response is to prop up the stock market by promising no-strings-attached money to big corporations, and then let investors avoid taxes on those gains.”

“This proposal is a pure giveaway to those who least need it right now,” Ramamurti wrote.

Source: ‘How the Trump White House Sees You’: Top Economic Adviser Under Fire for Calling Workers ‘Human Capital Stock’ | Common Dreams News

 

 

 

Masks vs.No Masks-The Culling of the Working-class. — The Pandemic caused by Privilege and Capitalism Part 6

Masks vs.No Masks-The Culling of the Working-class. — The Pandemic caused by Privilege and Capitalism Part 6

Joesph Feuerstein
Joesph Feuerstein
May 21
*Opinion/Oped*

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
– George Orwell, “1984.””

I have not written an article related to this in a while, because of how overwhelming, and how much change is occurring, the weight of it all, and despite the quarantine I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings, this to shall pass. This is part 6, please feel free to read the previous articles, link below at the bottom. Now let’s get to the facts, There are a total of 5,128,592; “confirmed” cases WorldWide. The worldwide total of deaths is 333,489. In the USA according to the White House Task Force, and CDC there are OVER 1,577,758 COVID-19 CASES WITHIN U.S. With 94,729 “confirmed” lives lost in the United States as of today.

That is not including those that could have died previous to testing/post mortarium, or sometimes even nursing homes, or let alone other countries. The focus seems to be less on the lives, and more on the cost and loss of profits. There is blood on the hands of leadership worldwide, even more so on the Trump administration, the Wall St Privileged, Along with Corporate Snake oil Vultures. Trump Says it is an Honor now to have the most COVID Cases in the world, link Here. Now their stores and business across America on both sides of the argument, choosing whether or not to allow people in, by either forcing them to not wear a mask or forcing them to wear mask according to The Guardian link here.

This is a Culling of the working poor, and middle-class world wide all for the sake of profits “our labor” over the worker/team members’ “health” lives. people should not have to die for poverty wages. The company’s not giving hazard pay, or healthcare, tests, or PPE to its team members should be held accountable for endangering their workers and valuing profits over those that labor and produce them. Companys should also be held accountable for not valuing its customer by providing PPE and sanitizing carts, registers, Aisles, getting rid of air recycled ventilation systems(it will just recycle the virus throughout the store), sanitizing small spaces(flu breed in small spaces) like bathrooms. They should be held accountable for this greed, for who is on the frontlines, Management local and district need to stand up for their workers, and fuck corporate’s apathy of life. Its time to unite, only together can we create a stronger future, Unionize or strike, but stand together. The automated future that will replace you is not to far off. Would you as a corporation invest in the worker or profits, would you Pick an AI or Robotic that can do your task to work for you or a person? Profits or People? Take action, because nothing becomes nothing so do something.

Firstly Let me address the Masks or No Masks. This is just my opinion about the no masks and virus protests. Wear a mask, social distance, quarantine. Don’t be a fool, please quarantine yourself if you went to those protests or hung around someone infected, as it would be the responsible thing. To not do so, for an individual or a company to not test or provide and enforce PPE, and know of or were an individual who contracted the virus, and then continued to (make them) work knowingly that they mite impart it onto another, is the endangerment of others, and if results in death, legally speaking manslaughter.

If there is a second wave during or near the end of summer, it will be the fault and not only that but be increased by the fault of ignorant those individuals, and leadership and for not educating themselves and others and providing them proper PPE, it will be their actions that will result in so many dead and only prove a lack of responsibility, those areas who opened to early did not enforce or partake in social distancing or use or provide PPE, who we went out to protest or just did not care will be to blame. Shouldn’t, politicians, hospitals, health insurance, Local, Town, county, State, and Federal government be liable and responsible not just for the lives saved, but the lives lost or not taking proper action legally? Is saving a life to inconvenient because it interferes with routines of greed/ego? Gathering at polling places during elections, will only increase the second wave, Mail-in Voting should be an option for all citizens of all states, and should be must for those areas most affected. For if mail-in voting has been practiced by all branches of the military, and for each service member no matter where their stationed or from, its should be good enough for all other Americans during a time of crisis and in this modern time. 40 Million have Filed for Jobless claims so far, that’s counting longterm unemployment, it will be far worse if more people get infected and there is a second wave, and I wonder, who fault that will be? So some of y’all mean to tell me that you would POTENTIALLY protect me with a gun, BUT you absolutely will not POTENTIALLY protect me by wearing a mask/face covering???? Serenity, please! It comes down to choose choices, empathy, or apathy? Profit, or life? which will you pick?

People don’t choose a virus that has a 15-20% severe case rate, and if not for a ventilator’s it would be the death rate. To put such onto others may not kill them but 5 people know 5 people, What if you kill someone you love or a person you care about, a person that they love. Hope is, but we have just grown numb. Force-fed perspective fear. Overworked, Overdrawn, Overstimulated, and oversaturated with talking points of opinionated truth by corporate mouthpieces between the words, is the sentiment, and the sentiment of the words is profits over lives.

This is not the first time something like this happened in history. During the Spanish flu, there was a group called “The Anti-Mask Leagues of San Fransico”, you can read about it here. The fact that wearing a mask has become a political statement against the economy or test of personal strength is dumb.

One death, is still one too many. Stop being apathetic. Maybe be a little bit more empathetic, you know…. humane. Generalizing others only dehumanizes, and not respecting science, shows a lack of education. There is no such thing as hate, it was taught through baby birded fear-mongering and opinionated nonfact narratives. That being said every time you go into a place without a mask you’re imposing a possible virus onto others.

When you Deny Knowledge, you Breed Ignorance.
~Socrates~

It’s like this simply, liberty is a choice. To impose is to court tyranny, people either court liberty or the court tyranny. I would give my life to protect liberty for liberty is choice You have a right and I have a right I would die for your right but I would not die for your stupidity, but I would try to attempt to save you and others around you from it, for there is no greater tyranny and warlord then time and death, and to impart such willingly or ignorantly is the worst kind of tyranny.

For those that think wearing are enforcing or impose someone to wear a mask is tyranny consider this for a moment, To impose such a virus, Just because you didn’t feel like wearing a mask or because you didn’t believe in one, costs the lives of others for lack of taking the necessary steps or precautions is tyranny period. Tyranny of apathy and stupidity, tyranny without value or compassion of life. If it was SARS or MER’s, Ebola, or Polio would you reconsider?

Liberty is choice, Tyranny is to impose. it’s is foolish, shame on you all for not weighing the cost nor considering the consequences of their actions and words. One either court’s liberty or one court’s tyranny. But only one dies honest and free without their actions and words weighing on the conscious for their actions and words have and their weight can create a ripple that affects everyone around them, the people they hold in their inner circle and then ripple back onto them. I firmly believe in one of many aspects of possibilities, what you put out you can get back. That is why if you can not find Kindness, be kindness. If you can’t find love, be love. If you cant find peace, make peace.

If you have only one mask, put a mask on your child, not yourself it’s called heroism there’s a reason why women and children came first on the Titanic. ignorance in the face of scientific fact is dangerous and deadly. An uneducated mind can lead to death, To not wear a mask could amount to manslaughter or endangerment, to not put a mask on a child could be considered child endangerment, to not vaccinate your child could not only amount to child endangerment but manslaughter or your child or other. Consider the possible future implications. here are no therapeutics and there are no vaccines for the virus nor people’s stupidity. There are not enough tests, nor are enough ventilators depending on the hospital there could be none. 6 ft apart is better than 6 ft under. Now the president said he would not close the country down if there was a second wave of COVID in the fall as the medical experts are predicting.

Speaking of typical Jim Jones fashion, Trump, Corporations, Politicians, Wall St, and the other Dragons are going to push for the sacrifice of the middle class, and working poor. Sacrificing the True Laborers of America, profits are the unpaid wages of the labor of the working class. The working poor and middle class who do not have enough tests, Protective equipment, health insurance, or wages; for their privileges and capitalistic needs all. They need more profit in a world of a finite amount of resources at the beginning of an automated(AI, Robotics, etc) workforce take over by big business. Trump went as far as to say the virus will go away on its own, and we don’t need vaccines.

Big money whispers collectively between the narratives of the news, “profits over life, Profit over people… apathy over empathy” program the populace by desensitizing, to those that are physically and economically marginalized. Until their numb to the martyred dead, and compliant to work again.

This great economic ship needs bigger life preserves and dingy boats(some even maybe bigger ships than the ship itself but ignore that) for those that privileged “have’s”. Don’t worry about that though, they didn’t forget about us “have not”, they gave you this piece of “driftwood” we already took from you in “taxes” back, even though you built the boat, and workers collectively essentially really are the boat, the privileged just live inside such labor, insulated inside eating more of your labor.

But don’t forget, you are replaceable, you are a thing. A cog to their structural machine of designed systems of control, and once you break(get sick, a family member gets sick, no child care, mental or physical health, insert real-life scenario) why bother repairing when you get a new worker, fuck healthcare, fuck social programs everybody’s on their own, your labor is their profits, let the working poor and middle class enjoy cowboy capitalism but socialism for the monopolized business, politically and economically connected, and privileged. Ignorance and greed in the face of scientific fact is dangerous and deadly and will cost many lives this was foolish to do But then again the emperor wears no clothes. Whoever can control the questions and the flow / amounts of them can control the narrative of the answer.

The worldwide access to clean water from 2000 to 2017 dropped from 20% to 10% thanks to many factors capitalism, privilege, along with climate change. The United Nations declared that clean water and access to it, along with Sanitation, and its facilities are an essential basic human right. Over 2,000,000,000 HUMAN BEINGS throughout the world (the United States Included) lack access to water this is free of health risks(pathogens, mental poisoning, industrial and other wastes). 701 million people worldwide still had to practice open defecation.

Wealth is tied to Health(aka Sanitation of the environment, the body, and the mind), and the well being of a community Workforce. Most Pathogens and Infectious Diseases can be attributed to sanitation, and have a direct relation to poverty/GDP. Rights, Pay, healthy, and quality work environment of its Sanitation Workforce is an investment into the Health, and well being of all workforce across all industries and inturn the wealth of the country. The Sanitation Industry is equal to the Medical Industry, and its value. Both should be categorized under the same umbrella as healthcare for they are the most dangerous for they both contribute to the health of a community and country. It is estimated that inadequate sanitation is responsible for 4% percent of deaths and 5.7 %of diseases spreading of pathogens and its burden worldwide.

For any social and economic developing country knows adequate sanitation in conjunction with good hygiene and safe water is essential to good health. Lack of proper sanitation and water causes diseases. Tight quarters and limited fresh air are places where influenza could easily be transmitted due for example Elevators. The argument could and should be made, that Sanitation is on par with Healthcare if not more important, after all, who cleans the operating tables, the laboratory, the hospital hallways, and entryways. To say they should not be considered as part of the Healthcare system and its workforce.

For every US$1 spent on sanitation, the estimated return to society is US$5.50. The statistic done in 2017 by the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) estimates that 4.5 billion people currently do not have safely managed sanitation and a total of 785 million people worldwide don’t have access to basic drinking water services. In regards to basic hand-washing facilities with soap and water at home, about 60% of people worldwide have this facility so consider the disease spread, and possible increase of the second and third wave of the Pathogens and Infectious Diseases such as the Corvid19. However, But in third world countries, only 38% have such facilities, Overall this translating to about 3 billion people still without basic handwashing facilities at home.

All you have to do to see the cracks of the system is look at history. If the cracks are still there it only proves that the system and its governance workforce during times of crisis are still inept and have not learned anything since the last major pandemic over a hundred years called the Spanish Flu. Leadership learned nothing when it came to preparing logistically, scientifically, technologically or economically. Influenza pandemics have occurred every 30 to 40 years since the 16th-century ranging in severity, this only proves more the cracks in the system.

Trump is not a Medical Professional, and he did not get a degree is such. Some part of me bets you, every morning, he wakes up and does a face plant into a bag of Doritos or Cheetos; depending on how he’s feeling. Then he decides between his own ego, vanity, and greed what to do. Recent Example They f*** modern science and f*** the World Health organization,F*** another stimulus check for all Americans, f*** small businesses heroes who still have to cover health insurance, pay utilities, deal with payroll, along with leasing, rent, licenses, etc we won’t wave those or cover expenses rather let the working class starve. Write a bill that is in name only for “small business” but give it to all our big friends. Freinds like big coal and Oil, big pharma, big oil, Big health insurance, big corporate. After all, if America is a consumer nation, let the corporations take over. I care about my numbers and that stock market. I’m just going to do it on my own well reopen The whole damn country and I’ll Jim Jones this situation with bleach injections and UV rays with my popcorn politics of Barnum & Bailey circus-like personality and play doctor by suggesting medication, this will coincide with my corporate profiteering group of overlords using think tanks to make a propaganda narrative of teleprompter read speak and spell journalism within Fox News factory of alternative facts heavy in any wag the dog and baby birdes narrative. Politicians probably sit around and say “We’ll play the people off of each other…” “social programs are hands outs” even though each American has paid into them through taxes for over 3+ generations and times like these only prove the need for them and using them. For there is a lack of health when you look at the numbers of people infected we have the highest numbers of corvid cases at this point in the world and sadly the lack of care in the healthcare business just record-breaking profits.

Hate, and fear create’s monsters. Try to see beyond hate and indifference, or all you will be left with is monsters. Divide and conquer through binary ideologies of the individualists not the collective politicians are greedy idealists, who normally know nothing of the American struggle, so therefore they know nothing of the American dream. Millionaires who sit behind cameras and read script fed by staff 4th-grade vocabulary level/literacy level probably on the edge of Dr Seuss. Pushing for It to come down to in bold letters “Those that wear masks in those that don’t”. those that believe in the scientific facts and those that believe in the opinions of basement bloggers and popcorn politics of yellow journalism think it’s b******* and no different than the chickenpox. The True Invisible Enemy is IGNORANCE, in the Face of Scientific Fact.

Fighting a corporation and ignorance is like fighting a dragon. You either need a couple of hundred people collectively working together (plus\or) a wizard with amazing stats like for example -100 + charisma & law. But the force-fed baby birded narrative by privileged capitalists who system is a chain of inequality, painted in the blood have nots but coated with absolutes all fed through an earpiece to teleprompter journalist selling a snake oil opinion of generalizations that dehumanize by Deempathizing a life. but what they seem to be asking for is for the greatest generation who fought in World war 2 to die, sit on that for a moment… Some people are asking the boomers who fought in Vietnam to die, sit on that for a moment. Some people are asking for the sick to die alone but they’re being nursing homes or hospital beds people of all ages. Our parent’s generation and they can so carelessly on a whim say such things, without considering the weight of their words or the consequences.

What the people protesting with guns and demanding the right to open are not considering is the quiet quarantining masses, their retribution, The vote. Those who wear masks. those who respect others, ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ workers who sacrificed profits and wages in respect of science fact, and wait patiently quarantining. While leadership did little to nothing to sustain and protect their health/life, safety/liberty, income/happiness. Those that haven’t had a day off. The kind of people who wear masks, respecting social distancing, who believe in more PPE, more testing, who closed their business but still have to make payments, and everyone who closed themselves off to the ones we loved and care about effecting us mentally and their for physically, cut off from even gathering during a funeral, the kind of people who have lost or know someone who has lost someone because of COVID. Those that know that a second wave is only 4 months away. Those that will wait for 1 of the 70 vaccines in development, even though the leading scientist, Dr Fauci said only months ago that a vaccine was 18 months minimum. those people, waiting in quarantine for the safety of others, the humane masses, are sleeping giant that will never forget, collectively hold this metaphorical scar forever and remember this moment etched in a wall of time glowing with cracks, aged with logic, only proving a broken system, for when the value of things out weight the value of people, you lose the value of everything.

Wear a mask or don’t wear a mask that’s your choice. What you do, and what you say define you. But if you’re not going to wear a mask, please have the courtesy and the manners to stay six feet away from others, use other PPE and stay farther away from the elderly, immune-compromised patients, and those with other immune deficiencies. After all it’s every American’s right to be a dumbass, but not at the expense of someone’s life, and that’s what you’re risking by not using PPE or quarantining.

The greatest tyranny is death. So please save a life stay home wear a mask, 6 feet apart is better than wishing 6 feet under on yourself and others. In fact make a mask help others help your community do an active kindness and either way at the end of the day you can feel good that you lay your head down on your pillow knowing that you did that right thing. Considered the unconsidered and think heavily or you’re thinking and considering a life. This doesn’t have to be a culling of your heart of your humanity and of lives if you don’t want to be.

I believe in a dream, That we can be without fear and safe at the same time. That one day we will overcome the perifial ego of infighting, and see who is causing the division. When you stop believing in the idea of systems conditioned and imposed impossibilities of binary division and realize that by having faith, tolerance, loyalty, and respect in one another, that peace and love are more than just an afterthought for an afterlife. You then realize by being kindness, by making peace and being love, be it and stand with others that share it. By doing so, heaven can be made flesh by the hands of mankind, acts of kindness, love, and peace are vectoring small seeds we scatter from the trees of our heart, and then we see it, life is a garden of action and words and only together can we shape it.

Please pay attention to the CDC and WHO for clear absolute facts on how to stay healthy, and what to do, the information they have could save your life and the life others for knowledge is power, and it can save lives. Stay safe out their, please.