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Social Justice – Activism – Politics

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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 the political and social justice sides of our communities. 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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THE TRUMPCARE BATTLE WAS A WIN FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE

THE TRUMPCARE BATTLE WAS A WIN FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE

By: KAREN KAST-MCBRIDE

No offense to the Democratic leadership, but I have to say the following:

The truth is that Democrats, whether in office or just involved with committees like the DNC, did not lead the fight to save the additional 24 Million people who would have lost health insurance coverage under the Republicans’ American HealthCare Act (AHCA) aka “Trumpcare” by keeping their Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka “Obamacare.” Many of the Democratic politicians, and the DNC – a few exceptions i.e. Senators Sanders (not a Dem!), Warren, Representatives Schiff, Swalwell, Lieu and a few others, quite honestly had been dragging their feet on everything since the astonishing defeat of Clinton by Trump. What was mostly happening right after the defeat of Hillary was a continuation of the finger-pointing and divisiveness among Democratic (and Dem leaning) voters instead of trying to figure out what really happened.

While many voters were fighting and snarling, others got to work. The day after Hillary’s defeat the real groundswell of activism that has now taken the nation by storm began. On November 9, 2016 the first event page was created for a march on Washington scheduled for the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. By the next morning, November 10th, over 10,000 people had already signed on to take part in the event which coalesced into a nationwide, then worldwide, movement known as the Women’s March on Washington.

The Women’s March was amazing to take part in here in Boston, and from all accounts, everywhere it took place – not just in America, but across the world in what was the largest global protest in history. Additionally, all of the marches were peaceful and there were no arrests.

 

The Women’s March was phenomenal and allowed everyone with concerns and issues regarding Trump to have a voice and stand together all at once. It should be noted that it was not a Democratic movement – people from every political group took part together peacefully. Amazing political pundits across the nation, Dem politicians suddenly found their voices and quickly jumped onto the bandwagon once they realized how much energy there was behind the movement. That latter point is what has led us to my rant here today.

Since politics is one of my interests, and has been since I was young, I was watching very closely from the first day to see how long it would take for the Democratic party elite, politicians, groups and the usual suspects to jump in and attempt to take the lead in this amazing movement. It didn’t take long, especially once celebrities started signing up to speak and perform.

I want to give major kudos to organizers, especially those in D.C., who were able to retain most of the control at the march and afterward.

From the Women’s March through to the present, it has been amazing to watch the amount of civic engagement which has sprung up with and without any planning. From Trump’s first week in office, especially starting with the first travel ban, we have seen that the American people are fired up and ready to fight for our beliefs and country, within a moments notice.

Part of the reason for the energy is, in my opinion, only partially due to Trump’s agenda and the horrible things we all learned about him throughout the campaign. It has actually been building for years; Trump was just the final catalyst.

We the people have been held hostage for years, by the partisan nature of both parties. We have watched as time and time again, those we elect get to the office they are elected to, at local and federal levels, and seem to forget whom they work for, who put them there, and who they will answer to for their choices. And we the people end up screwed in one form or another, all while we watch the same politicians head back to their offices despite their broken promises.

Don’t get me wrong, unlike the man currently inhabiting the White House, we the people also need to admit that our own complacency, lack of interest in anything beyond our small bubble, and yes, laziness, factored into our country’s descent to where we are now. We the people failed to bother to learn about the complexities of the laws and regulations, policies and decisions, being made in our name. By doing so we the people allowed our politicians to do what they wanted regardless of the final impact on our neighbors, ourselves and the country. And we the people ourselves seemed to have forgotten that those in public office, whether locally or nationally, really serve at the pleasure of… the people, inclusive of the President.

We the people are not customers or clients of this country or politicians; you do not get to decide what we want without our input; and you do not get to ignore our demands. We the people are the employers, and this is a wake-up call for all of you in political office: you all serve at the pleasure of us, the people of America – and yes, that includes Donald Trump.

As evidenced by recent actions across the nation, we the people have remembered the above and everything is changing. The Republicans pulling Trumpcare on Friday before it could go to a floor vote in the House is the latest win for the resistance. Contrary to the messaging I am hearing from the majority of the media and politicians, the resistance’s Trumpcare win was not our first win. It was the first legislative win, yes, but it was only the latest win with regard to Trump and GOP agendas. Casually dismissing the earlier wins and ongoing battle are condescending and dangerous for those who continue to do so.

Most of the winning, along with the continuing battles and those to come, are happening due to the intense activism of the “regular” people. People from every race, culture, background and level, who have dropped everything to rush to airports to protest illegal immigration bans, come together to fight for the protection of every person, whether you are a refugee, immigrant, LGBTQIA, child, adult, senior or however you self identify. We are even fighting over the right for Transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as, for fucks sake – something which was settled until Trump ordered the withdrawal of the previous guidance on same.

 

 

This activism by the resistance has kicked our politicians into gear, the GOP quite reluctantly. Though when the time came with Trumpcare, the Democrats and some Republicans finally seemed to get it that we the people are serious and would support actions opposing it – just as we will with regard to the SCOTUS issue. So it would be nice if all of our politicians would be honest in giving credit where credit is due and not tout the win as a Democratic party win.

This was a win by the people, for the people.

Taking backhanded credit for it, attempting to raise funds for your personal campaigns, gloating about the “Democratic” win, are not acceptable. We the people had to push all of our politicians to either stand with us and do what we the people want done, or realize that we are not going away and will remember your decisions at the next election.

And to the Republicans who control the House and Senate, let’s be clear: your continued obstruction of an independent investigation into Russia’s attack on our democracy and possible Trump team collaboration, and your insistence on jamming through all of the GOP agenda items and Trump’s nominees will be the “death spiral” of your career as politicians. Accessories after the fact may be only the beginning of the charges once we the people have our voices fully heard.

There are many battles still ahead of us in this war to save the American democracy. I urge everyone to continue to resist, stand up and fight back, especially those in Republican states. I honestly don’t care what your political affiliation is, if you really love America, then it is time to stand together for the fundamental values, beliefs and rights that have made USA the world leader when it comes to democracy.

 

This article was republished by permission of its author, originally at My American Voice

Barkbite

 

Barkbite

By, Nancy Hammond

The name escapes me of the Alt-right conservative media outlet and for that reason, I will call it Barkbite. This is the epicenter of the land of make believers and the cradle of our President’s delusional reality. It is where conspiracy theories are hatched and elections are rigged under a Russian tutelage. Barkbite makes a bid for white nationalism and it is where this President has found his political voice and supporter base. Barkbite highlights the dark side of humanity and deflects the narrative with lies and bigotry. The devil lies in the details under the hood of the white mans’ ruse.

Our Lives have become a parody of the 1998 movie, the Truman Show; a satirical drama and reality show broadcast live around the world. In the film the lead character is an insurance salesman who discovers his entire life is an actual television show. Truman Burbank lives in a fake town and gets conned by a community of actors straight out of central casting. The psychology being that we accept the reality shown to us. The director/actor in the movie poignantly calls out, “Cue the sun” and “Create a storm that people can believe!” Truman learns the truth about his life as he realizes it runs on a daily repetitive loop. Each day is effectively the same and works off a script behind the town’s façade. Truman is duped by his own wife who is a character actor smiling for the camera. The supposition of the Truman Show is There is no more truth out in the real world.

We are the subjects in our own Truman Show, cast in a 24-hour news cycle and bustling with dodgy characters calling the shots. Thanks to this newly appointed “Administration” we are living in a Barkbite reality show. The commander-in-chief states that everything is fake except for his Presidency. We the people are paid protesters but he hires people to cheer at his never-ending rallies. He pretends to drain the government swamp by filling it with duplicitous creatures. Around and around we go like a pair of sneakers inside a dryer at the laundromat. There doesn’t seem to be an escape-hatch. In this show, the President’s dirty laundry bellows for continuous quarters to fund his entitlement machine. We really are working for the man and it’s a heavy load. Barkbite is the fabrication of spin, designed to weaken our democracy through authority and control. By adding bleach for whiter whites, the Alt-right fascist doctrine is a subterfuge for corporate greed and money laundering. How the Barkbite reality show is going to end will depend on the integrity of the red, white and blue fabric.

TRAVEL WARNING: BEWARE OF LPD

TRAVEL WARNING: BEWARE OF LPD

Lawrence mayor encourages police to attack travelers

BY MAYA SHAFFER OF CRITICAL-MA @CRITICALMANEWS

photo credit: Boston Public Library

The following rant was posted on Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera’s Facebook page on March 11. It was removed soon after, but not before we took a screen grab:

 

THE VIDEO IS NOT WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE: Many people have posted a video of a Police interaction with some people in a mini van on my page. At first glance I had the same reaction as many people are having. It appeared as if Police officers were running a muck [sic]. However now having some more information, the situation is clearer. This is not a mini van full of young Lawrence Latino kids going home from the boys club or heading home after a day of studying at the library. This is a minivan full of people at 2 am, that are not from our community that had been circling the neighborhood at Oxford & Lowell st. to buy drugs. The police stopped them before they could buy their drugs. A mini van with tinted windows and New Hampshire plates. Despite what the person who posted the video says the intersection of Oxford & Lowell Streets is not a short cut to Methuen or New Hampshire. They were their [sic] to buy drugs. The number one vehicle used to transport stolen rims in our City ate [sic] minivans. So the police are looking for strange mini-vans traveling late at night. Yes the Police officer got heated. When I hear from neighbors that I need to stop people from buying and selling drugs in their neighborhood, and that yet another car’s rims were stolen I get heated too. With the number of drug killings that we have had in our City everyone is on edge. I will not give our police officers mixed messages. If you are in Lawrence trying allegedly to buy drugs and you do not cooperate with police you will not be treated hospitably. We do want them to pull over cars that fit this description that commit traffic violations. I will make the police report available as soon as I can so you can see for yourself. But, PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN LAWRENCE should know that our police are doing what you want, making people who do not live in Lawrence uncomfortable to buy or sell drugs in our City. It will not always be pretty (as the video shows) but it is necessary to let the outsiders know, they are not welcome. I know its [sic] election time so be careful of candidates that want to politicize our public safety they do not want to make you safer they are just trying to score political points. The video is not pretty but, not inappropriate. I would encourage anyone in that vehicle that thinks their rights were violated to take the City to court. So everyone can hear your story and the police officer’s in open court. We can all hear what occurred so that this transaction ended this way. LAWRENCE WILL NOT BE YOUR DRUG MALL ANY MORE.”

 

“It will not always be pretty (as the video shows) but it is necessary to let the outsiders know, they are not welcome.”

 

photo credit: Mass OSD

 

In his shocking March 11 post, Lawrence Mayor Rivera encouraged the Lawrence police to continue attacking people who drive through his city—especially if they do so in minivans. Rivera ranted on Facebook in support of his officers after a video of an encounter between a minivan full of people and Lawrence cops, from around midnight on March 10, drew concern from the community. Rivera’s bizarre drug-warrior rant gives the clear impression that it’s dangerous to visit or even pass through Lawrence.

 

The video shows that officers pulled Andrew McGratty out of a minivan then screamed obscenities at the remaining occupants of the vehicle. The people in the minivan were from New Hampshire and were, police allege, driving around in a high-crime neighborhood. They also allege that the vehicle failed to signal at a turn.

 

Just before McGratty was extracted from the minivan, one of the car’s occupants began recording the interaction. McGratty was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and says he plans to sue.

 

These revelations shouldn’t be a shocker. This is the third video in recent memory depicting Lawrence cops acting rabid. In 2015, LPD officers attacked a man for recording them while he walked down the street, and last summer they drew their firearms on, and violently arrested, a man who asked a police officer to provide ID during a traffic stop.

 

Instead of reining in his department after these insane displays of aggression, Rivera has pushed for more attacks and fear. In this latest case, McGratty was not charged with any drug-related offense, still Rivera claimed, “The police stopped them before they could buy their drugs.” Compounding that baseless accusation, the mayor added, “The number one vehicle used to transport stolen rims in our City [sic] ate [sic] minivans.”

 

photo credit: Bob Bob

 

These two accusations, which have nothing to do with the vehicle that was stopped or the man who arrested, serve as Rivera’s excuse for the behavior of his officers. “Yes the Police [sic] officer got heated,” he continued. “When I hear from neighbors that I need to stop people from buying and selling drugs in their neighborhood, and that yet another car’s rims were stolen I get heated too.”

 

He was heated indeed. Then came the less-than-ambiguous mandate for police to continue their attacks on travelers: “I will not give our police officers mixed messages. If you are in Lawrence trying allegedly to buy drugs and you do not cooperate with police you will not be treated hospitably … It will not always be pretty (as the video shows) but it is necessary to let the outsiders know, they are not welcome.”

 

Considering that this most recent case doesn’t officially involve drugs, Rivera is essentially ordering cops to attack random travelers. After the story made the news, Mayor Rivera told Fox 25 that he stood by his rant. Fox, unsurprisingly, neglected to report on the absurdity and outright hostility of the mayor’s call for violence.

 

Lawrence police are dangerous. There are multiple videos of their officers attacking people for little or no reason. And due to Mayor Rivera’s recent orders, Critical-MA is issuing a travel warning to everyone. If you must travel through this lawless area, we suggest documenting all interactions with police by livestreaming from a device held in plain sight for your own safety.

 

This column was produced in collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Find out how you can support independent media in New England at binjonline.org.