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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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In Contrast to ‘Useless Republican Leaders,’ AOC Helps Raise $1 Million in Direct Relief for Texans in Crisis

In Contrast to ‘Useless Republican Leaders,’ AOC Helps Raise $1 Million in Direct Relief for Texans in Crisis

“AOC helped raise $1 million for Texas relief as Ted Cruz made his way back home from Cancún.”

By Jake Johnson

As Sen. Ted Cruz rushed back to Texas on Thursday after coming under fire for fleeing to Cancún while his constituents faced devastating power outages, water disruptions, and food shortages, an out-of-state Democratic lawmaker teamed up with a coalition of local organizations to raise money to provide direct relief for people in desperate need.

Announced on Twitter early Thursday evening by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the grassroots fundraising campaign brought in more than $1 million in a matter of hours—all of which, according to the New York Democrat, will go to The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Ending Community Homeless Coalition (ECHO), Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, Feeding Texas, and other local groups assisting Texans during the ongoing emergency.

“Wow. We officially raised $1 million for Texas relief at 9:17 pm,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday night. “Thank you all so much. I’m at a loss for words. Always in awe of movement work. 100% of this relief is going straight to Texan food assistance, homelessness relief, elder care, and more.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s use of her massive social media platform to raise relief funds was quickly contrasted with the actions of the state’s Republican leadership, which critics say has been missing in action throughout the emergency—with Cruz’s vacation trip to Mexico in the middle of the crisis serving as an illustrative example.

“Cruz is emblematic of what the Texas Republican Party and its leaders have become: weak, corrupt, inept, and self-serving politicians who don’t give a damn about the people they were elected to represent,” Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a statement Thursday. “They were elected by the people but have no interest or intent of doing their jobs.”

 

The New York Democrat’s relief push came as hundreds of thousands of Texans remained without power in the wake of Winter Storm Uri, which exposed the state government’s total failure to prepare the Texas electric grid for extreme weather. As the Washington Post‘s Will Englund put it earlier this week, “In the name of deregulation and free markets… Texas has created an electric grid that puts an emphasis on cheap prices over reliable service.”

The consequences of such an approach were almost immediately felt by millions of Texans as sweeping blackouts followed the historic storm’s arrival, which sent vulnerable families scrambling to stay warm and preserve their food and other essential supplies. The tens of thousands of Texans without homes were often left stranded in the freezing weather.

“For Texans who are already familiar with navigating disasters on their own with little help from the government, how local and city officials have responded to the storm so far is merely the latest chapter in a long pattern of neglect,” Buzzfeed reported Thursday.

Tim Boyd, the then-mayor of Colorado City, Texas, wrote on Facebook earlier this week that “the City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!” Boyd later resigned amid backlash over his inhumane comments.

As some residents of his state resorted to burning their possessions for heat, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott—a major beneficiary of fossil fuel industry donations—appeared on Fox News late Tuesday and erroneously blamed wind and solar for the widespread outages.

While power was finally restored for nearly two million households on Thursday, an estimated 325,000 homes remained without electricity. Compounding the ongoing power crisis are food and water shortages brought on by the winter storm’s disruption of supply chains and frigid temperatures, which caused pipes to freeze and burst. Houston, the fourth largest U.S. city, will likely remain under a boil water advisory through the weekend as officials warned of possible contamination.

As The Texas Tribune reported Thursday, the power, food, and water crises—which come on top of the deadly coronavirus pandemic—have hit the state’s hospitals particularly hard.

“Hospitals canceled elective surgeries, waited days on delayed medication shipments, and are having to seek oxygen tanks from outside sources to meet a critical oxygen supply issue,” the Tribune reported. “While some issues like deliveries, water pressure, and power problems are starting to ease up for some, most in the affected areas are still experiencing challenges.”

Source: In Contrast to ‘Useless Republican Leaders,’ AOC Helps Raise $1 Million in Direct Relief for Texans in Crisis | Common Dreams News

 

 

 

 

Rev Billy Radio Joins Activate Radio

Rev Billy Radio Joins Activate Radio!

We’re really excited to announce that Rev Billy Radio is joining Activate Radio and will be broadcast Thursday nights at 9PM ET. Many will remember Reverend Billy as an iconic figure at Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter protests. Rev Billy has been at it for quite a few years now and we are honored to broadcast his show.  

You can visit his website and see the many projects underway there! Revbilly.com

Rev Billy is a great addition to our Thursday Night lineup that already includes Richard Wolff, Amy Goodman and an N.C. collective.

6- Democracy Now
7- Economic Update
8- The Final Straw Radio
9- Rev Billy Radio

Activate Radio, formerly Occupy Boston Radio has broadcast since December 2011. The station features many programs hosted and produced by people from marginalized groups that focus on Social Justice, Politics, Health and Wellness, and plays submitted music.

 

 

 

 

‘Politically It’s Suicidal’: Frustration Grows as Biden Entertains Narrower Eligibility for $1,400 Checks

‘Politically It’s Suicidal’: Frustration Grows as Biden Entertains Narrower Eligibility for $1,400 Checks

“Let’s be really, really clear. Doing this will cost Democrats control of the Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024… It is a colossally bad idea.”

By Jake Johnson

A growing chorus of progressive lawmakers, advocacy groups, political commentators, and policy experts is forcefully pushing back against an effort by Senate Democrats to significantly narrow eligibility for a new round of $1,400 direct payments, a move that could deny financial relief to struggling families who received both of the stimulus checks approved during Trump’s presidency.

Ignoring warnings that excluding millions of people from the full $1,400 would be politically disastrous—as well as morally unacceptable and economically foolish—President Joe Biden said this week that he would be “OK with” lowering the annual income cutoff for the checks. Biden discussed limiting eligibility for the payments with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) at the White House on Wednesday.

“Try explaining to the millions who will end up with less why this was done, why White House economists sided with the Chamber of Commerce and the president decided to break a campaign promise while attracting no Republican support for his plan.”
—David Dayen, The American Prospect

With Biden’s go-ahead, Senate Democrats are currently considering a plan under which—according to the Washington Post—only individuals earning $50,000 a year or less, heads of household earning $75,000 or less, and married couples earning a combined $100,000 or less would be eligible for full payments. Eligible parents would also receive $1,400 per child under the plan, which has not been finalized.

“Let’s be really, really clear. Doing this will cost Democrats control of the Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024,” Robert Cruickshank, campaign director at advocacy group Demand Progress, said of the push for stricter targeting. “There is nobody out there in America aside from a few wonks who want to limit these checks. It is a colossally bad idea.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was among those who cautioned that further restricting eligibility for the new round of payments could disqualify people who benefited from previous checks, which went in full to individuals earning up to $75,000 a year, heads of household earning up to $112,500, and married couples earning up to $150,000.

“I understand the desire to ensure those most in need receive checks,” Wyden told the Post‘s Jeff Stein, “but families who received the first two checks will be counting on a third check to pay the bills.”

In an episode of his podcast released Thursday, Matt Bruenig, founder of the People’s Policy Project, similarly warned that there could be “a big chunk of people who got the first Trump check, who got the second Trump check, and then they’re like, ‘Alright guys, a third check’s going out.’ And then they don’t get it because they had an income that was… low enough to qualify for the Trump checks but not low enough to qualify for the Biden checks.”

“It seems like it’s going to be a disaster,” said Bruenig.

In the eyes of progressives, the push to limit eligibility for the $1,400 payments—an approach advocated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—represents yet another backpedal by Biden and the Democratic Party from their vow to swiftly deliver $2,000 payments upon taking control of the U.S. Senate.

The Biden team has contended that the $600 checks approved during the final weeks of Trump’s presidency were a “down payment” on the $2,000 promise that would be completed by a new round of $1,400 checks—a narrative that many progressives say is misleading, given Democrats’ clear messaging in the run-up to the Senate runoffs in Georgia last month.

While the Biden White House has said it is not open to lowering the size of the proposed $1,400 checks—as some Senate Republicans have suggested—the eligibility framework that Senate Democrats are considering would gradually phase out the payments for individuals who earn more than $50,000 a year, meaning that some middle-class people who have been hit hard by the pandemic would ultimately receive less than $1,400.

“I don’t care how super-slick you think your defense of a Democratic retreat on $2,000 checks is, nobody will buy it,” The Daily Poster‘s David Sirota tweeted Thursday. “People are facing starvation, eviction, and bankruptcy. The party will deliver or it should expect a voter backlash.”

Shannon Stagman, co-lead organizer of Empire State Indivisible, said Wednesday that the $50,000 income threshold Senate Democrats are weighing is “comically low” and the party “should be ashamed of suggesting it.”

“This doesn’t even comport with their own argument about these checks,” Stagman added. “If the $1,400 check is the second in a two-part payment, you can’t change the terms before you deliver it.”

Citing a tax policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, the Post reported Thursday that under the eligibility framework Senate Democrats are currently considering, “about 71 percent of Americans would get the full benefits and another 17 percent would get the partial benefit.”

“This is less than Biden’s initial proposal for the payments to go to individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000, which would result in about 85 percent getting full payments,” the Post noted.

“What we have got to do is understand this crisis impacts the middle class, it impacts the working class, it impacts lower-income people. We are in this together.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

The American Prospect‘s David Dayen argued Thursday that the effort to further curtail relief checks that are already targeted has little to no discernible upside for Democrats and potentially massive political and economic downsides.

“Who is this for?” Dayen asked. “Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the more tightly targeted checks would cost $420 billion, as opposed to $465 billion. That’s what we’re fighting over? $45 billion in a $1.9 trillion package, to deny middle-class people (almost definitionally speaking; they make just over the median income) relief? That’s the holdup?”

“There’s no economic case for this narrowing, and politically it’s suicidal,” Dayen wrote. “You’re taking the most popular part of the American Rescue Plan and chipping away at it for no good reason. Try explaining to the millions who will end up with less why this was done, why White House economists sided with the Chamber of Commerce and the president decided to break a campaign promise while attracting no Republican support for his plan. In the name of technocratic ‘targeting,’ you’re just cutting the benefit, and doing it for reasons of politics. It’s nonsensical.”

The ongoing and intensifying conflict over the direct payments comes as Senate Democrats are moving ahead with their plan to pass a coronavirus relief package through reconciliation, a process under which a unified Democratic caucus can pass legislation without any support from Republican lawmakers—a fact that has made the majority party’s effort to roll back eligibility for the checks all the more frustrating to progressives.

“What constituency wants this?” asked HuffPost‘s Zach Carter. “I’m generally skeptical about the political value of GOP buy-in, but this won’t even get you an optics win on bipartisanship. It’s just making the bill worse, because you can.”

In an interview on CNN late Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee—said Democrats should not weaken their coronavirus relief package in the hopes of attracting support from Republican senators, many of whom have been openly hostile to Biden’s relief plan. Asked whether he favors restricting eligibility for the proposed $1,400 checks, Sanders said he does not.

“The truth is, you could be a family making a $125,000 with a bunch of kids, you are struggling today,” said Sanders. “What we have got to do is understand this crisis impacts the middle class, it impacts the working class, it impacts lower-income people. We are in this together.”

Source: ‘Politically It’s Suicidal’: Frustration Grows as Biden Entertains Narrower Eligibility for $1,400 Checks | Common Dreams News