THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

ASHLEY MARTIN

NEW  2021 PRESIDENTIAL BIDEN UPDATES

What Has President Biden Done Thus Far?

Fli Tv Correspondent 

March 2021

Just three months ago we were all on the edge of our seats for days watching the numbers come in to determine who will be the 45th President of the United States. It was the biggest and most controversial election of our lifetimes. Since then, Biden and his administration have been working hard to pass new policies and reverse many of Donald Trump’s previous orders.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic millions of families across the country are struggling to get by. Since being voted in to office Biden has been tirelessly trying to get a new stimulus package passed for Americans. Prior to Biden being elected, congress passed a stimulus deal of $600 payments and extended unemployment benefits to mid-March. Many felt that this package wasn’t enough to save the millions of families in economic distress. According to the Labor Department 10 million Americans are unemployed.

This past weekend, with a 50-49 vote Senate passed a $1.9 trillion Covid Relief Bill. No republican Senators voted in favor of the bill, Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska was absent from the vote. Republicans argued that the package was costly and that many aspects of the bill weren’t directly related to Covid-19. However, in the event of a tie, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tie breaking vote. The package includes direct payments, jobless benefits, funds to reopen schools, funds towards vaccination distribution, and aid to restaurants and healthcare in failing neighborhoods. Biden vows that payments will go out by the end of the month.

The new Covid-19 Relief package includes:

  • $1,400 stimulus checks per adult and an additional $1,400 per dependent for low-moderate income families falling below $75,000 for a individuals and $150,000 for couples.

  • $300 weekly unemployment benefits until September 6th.

  • Child tax credit for up to 3,600. The money would be paid out in monthly installments rather than a lump sum in hopes to offer families a more consistent form of relief.

  • $130 billion will go towards schools and ensuring a safe reopen, such as ventilation improvements, protective equipment and hiring more janitors.

  • $123 billion will go towards covid testing, tracing and vaccinations.

  • $360 billion will go to state and local government aid. $155 billion will go to local governments and territories and $195 billion will go to state governments. $10 billion will be set aside for infrastructure project

  • $25 billion will go towards restaurant relief and aid.

Since in office Biden, has signed executive orders on Covid-19 relief and response, immigration, civil rights, and the environment. His administration has also held regular briefings to keep the American public involved and informed.

 

Covid-19 

Biden created a Covid-19 task force, improved data collection, and restricted travel from countries with high Covid cases. He and his administration are working to coordinate supplies, treatment and expand testing. They also released guidelines to help safely reopen schools. Biden also made masks federally mandated on all federal land and buildings and pushed for policies to protect essential workers.

Immigration

Biden created a task force to help reunite hundreds of children with their families after being separated at the border. He also passed an order that will make it easier for students from other countries to get student visas, and created an easier pathway for those on work visas to apply for permanent residency. Biden reinstated protections for DACA children, children who were brought to the US without proper documentation. Trump attempted to reverse the act while in office. This act allows them to obtain work visas and protects them from deportation. He also ended the travel ban that Trump put in order, mostly from Middle Eastern countries. Biden’s administration looks to create a proposal to rectify harms caused by the ban. He also ended construction on the border wall.

Civil Rights

Biden reversed Trump’s policies that eliminated diversity and inclusion training for federal agencies. He put back in to affect the fair housing policies that had been repealed by Trump in an attempt to keep low income families out of suburban neighborhoods. Biden reversed Trump’s ban on the use of federal funds for programs that provide abortions, counseling, and low cost treatment for women such as Planned Parenthood. Biden and his administration are also pushing to end privatized prisons by not renewing contracts. Private prisons have been accused for decades of profiting off the incarceration of minorities. The President also reversed the ban on transgenders entering the military and reaffirmed the protections on LGBTQ people from sexual discrimination. He also has openly condemned, and is looking to reverse the racism inflicted on Asians due to Trump’s addressing of the virus as the “China virus”.

Environment

Biden has reversed Trump’s policies to weaken emissions regulation and energy efficiency standards that help big businesses while harming the environment. He has also re-entered the United States in to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Biden is also pushing to raise federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. It was part of the stimulus package but had to be removed in order to ensure the passing of the bill; however he plans to continue his efforts.

It is refreshing and reassuring to see the Biden administration hold true to many of the promises he made during his campaign. Since his first day in office Biden has been working to move our country forward from the devastation that the pandemic has caused on families and businesses.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS OF THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

We’ve Won the Battle, but not the War

2020 has been the most historical year of most of our lifetimes, and this year’s election is no different. After three long days former Senator Joe Biden was named the President Elect of 2020 and will be sworn into office January 20, 2021. Although we are still waiting for official decisions from six states, Biden has well over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. However in typical Trump-like behavior, he and his administration claim that Biden only won due to voter fraud and is currently challenging some state’s decision in court.

Trump and Biden have been said to have the starkest opposing policies than any other presidential candidates in history. Trump ran a campaign based off of “Law and order” while Biden ran a campaign built off rebuilding and unifying the country. Currently the country is facing major issues with Covid-19, economic downfall, social injustice, immigration, the environment, and healthcare. These issues increased voter participation and drove out the highest voter numbers in American history.

One of the biggest topics of this election was Covid-19, a world pandemic that has claimed 250,000 American lives under the leadership of President Trump. While both believe in rapid vaccinations, their views on masks, schools and lockdowns are very different. Biden believes in an executive order for mask mandates, while Trump opposes. Biden also warns of potential future lockdowns if that is what scientists call for. Trump has often refuted the advice from scientist and respected doctors such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and made it clear that he doesn’t supports lockdowns in beliefs that it would be detrimental to our already failing economy.

Due to the Coronavirus, Americans were given three options for voting this year; mail-in voting, early voting or day of voting. In previous elections it was difficult to request mail in ballots unless you had severe health restrictions preventing you from voting in person. Over 100 million Americans participated in some form of early voting in the 2020 elections.

Americans waited 3 long and agonizing days as votes were counted across the country. The process took longer than previous years due to the high volume of mail in ballots. Each state has different voting regulations. Many states allowed for votes to be counted as long as they were post marked before Election Day. States like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania couldn’t even begin counting mail-in ballots until Election Day once the polls were closed. Even after over a week, we are still waiting for official totals from Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Four of those states have been projected to be won by Biden according to the Associated Press and numerous other news media outlets. Pennsylvania and Georgia are yet to be called.

The Trump administration claims widespread voter fraud although this has been refuted by Democrats and some Republican officials. Trump claims invalid ballots are being counted and that Republicans were denied access to observe the vote counting process. Trump is suing in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. However, even if Trump wins those states from his lawsuits, which is highly unlikely, he still would fall short of the 270 electoral votes required. Trump currently has 217 electoral votes, those three states have a cumulative electoral vote of 52, leaving Trump at 269 votes. Biden leads in the popular vote by at least 4.4 million votes.

The results and turnout of this Election broke history. We have our first woman Vice Presidential Elect in American history. She is also the first woman of Black and Indian decent set to serve as Vice President. After two failed election runs Joe Biden is the oldest president to be elected. The last President to only win one term was George Bush Sr. back in 1992, when he lost to Bill Clinton. Aside from Trump, only five other Presidents in US history served only one term. This election had the largest voter turn-out in American history, with both candidates receiving more votes than any other Democratic or Republican nominee. One in four voters that voted in this election did not vote in the 2016 election and nearly two thirds of eligible voters voted. Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia are all states being led by Biden that typically vote Republican.

The black vote helped overwhelmingly to bring in the win for Biden. Biden’s final votes rested in the hands of large urban communities such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee. Blacks voted for Biden with a 9 out of 10 ratio. In Biden’s victory speech on Saturday he said to his black voters, “You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.”  Black community leaders and activists have vowed to keep a watchful eye on Biden and his administration to keep promises made to the black community, which often goes underserved by elected officials.

Every President makes promises to the nation, as did Biden calling it a “mandate”. His campaign was based on getting us through coronavirus, back into good economic standing, combatting social injustices and uniting America. He wants to raise taxes for those making over $400,000 annually. Biden wants to make universal healthcare available to all, regardless of pre-existing health conditions. He wants to stop border wall construction and make an easier path to citizenship for immigrants. He also wants to roll back Trumps oil industry friendly regulations and move the country towards renewable energy. Biden has many plans for the American future and has already appointed a coronavirus task force, something Trump felt no need for despite 250,000 US deaths. In order to enact many of his policies, Biden will need the support of the Senate which is currently deadlocked. Georgia will hold an election for two senate seats January 5th, which will determine which party holds the majority.

The black community is not wrong in its skepticism of Biden and Harris, especially given their past and extensive records contributing to black incarcerations. However, we no longer have to wake up and wonder what divisive and outright dangerous comments will be made by our Commander in Chief. . Black Americans will no longer have a president that emboldens white supremacists and denies racial inequality and systemic barriers. Immigrants and their children can worry a little less about being torn from their homes or being thrown in cages at the border. Chinese and Muslim Americans will no longer have to hear words of hate spewed towards their race by their president. The Saturday Biden was projected the winner of the election it felt like a weight was lifted. Americans in cities across the US poured out into the streets to commemorate a historic election. Thousands of hopeful Americans celebrated in front of the white house in the same place where protestors were tear gassed months prior for the President’s sacrilegious photo op. Other countries joined us in our celebrations while their leaders told us “welcome back”.  While the world, particularly minorities, can breathe a little easier we must stay diligent and proactive in the fight for justice and equality. Too often the Democratic Party has used our votes to win elections yet done little for our communities. We must not divert into a place of complacency and our activist must keep their foot on the pedal and demand change. But we must also be mindful that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. We must continue to vote, and not only in the presidential elections but local elections as well. We cannot continue to vote Presidents in and not vote to get officials that will back their policies elected as well. We have to vote in politicians will put Black needs on the agenda.

We should be thankful to all the activists and campaigners that went out and registered voters from urban and impoverished communities, to make sure their votes were heard. Voter suppression is one of the oldest tactics by Republicans. They make it difficult for people from underserved communities to cast their vote. Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight initiative registered hundreds of thousands of voters in the state of Georgia, and were able to turn Georgia blue, which hasn’t been done since 1992. Black taxes aren’t suppressed, they take those gladly, so our votes should be taken with the same spirit. Now it’s up to Georgia to turn out once again and turn the Senate blue.

Kamala Harris deserves a well-earned applause. While I don’t agree with many of her past policies I am willing to give her a chance to show us that we voted for her in good faith. I believe in judging people by their current actions rather than their past, as I would want the same done for myself. One thing is for sure Kamala gives hope to little girls all across this nation, especially little black girls. She serves as a reminder to black girls and women that through hard work they can achieve great things, to be seen and heard in a room full of white men and to always remind people “I’m speaking,” when they try and over talk you.

ASHLEY MARTIN

Fli Tv Correspondent 

November 12, 2020

MARK CUBAN & ETAN THOMAS : POLITICS AND BASKETBALL

ASHLEY MARTIN

Fli Tv Correspondent 

October 6th, 2020

Mark Cuban Weighs in on Police Reform and Racism in America

With heightened racial tensions in the US, many players and organizations within the NBA have chosen to take a proactive stance on police reform and systemic racism. When Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers the NBA boycotted 3 playoff games in response.

Many players have been using their platforms to speak up for justice and accountability for bad policing. There has been a push for team owners and CEOs to become more involved and use their influence and the power of the purse. The NBA has received a lot of backlash from those against the movement and Black Lives Matter, although the NBA and its players have not directly aligned itself with any organizations.

The Rematch with Etan Thomas recently had the pleasure of talking with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and leading investor on ABCs Shark Tank, about basketball, police reform and politics. In recent years Cuban has begun using his platform to speak out about issues in policing, healthcare, education and stresses the importance of voting.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have been an eye opener for many that didn’t see racism as a major issue in this country.

“George Floyd had the biggest impact because that was straight out murder with everybody watching,” says Cuban. “It hit me hard and made me a lot more aware and a lot more sensitive to the issue, and made me want to help out where I could.”

Although the players only boycotted for one day they are making their stance clear. Players can be seen wearing t-shirts or other articles of clothing to show their involvement in the cause.

“Every couple generations have moments in time that are defining actions of those generations. We look back at Martin Luther King and the marches that were defining acts that led to a change with civil rights. Now here we are 60 years later and a lot has changed but not enough. So this really felt like it was a chance to have an impact and leave a lasting impression. And most importantly start to move towards change. And because it felt that way it made it clear this was bigger than basketball,” said Cuban.

Many players such as LeBron James have been very vocal on their social media and during interviews and press conferences. However some feel as though sports is not a place for such controversial matters. There has been a lot of resistance, particularly by President Trump who said that political activity by the NBA will “destroy” the sport.

“We have players with bigger platforms than any athletes in the country and in many cases the world. It made perfect sense to use those platforms to try and change something that really needed to be changed and to have an impact on racism and police reform,” explains Cuban to The Rematch.

While speaking up and gaining your followers attention is good, more on the ground work has to be done. While Cuban admits that he doesn’t have a direct answer for what needs to be done, he is working towards helping push for change. Cuban informed The Rematch that he has meet with police chiefs and officers in Dallas to try and strategize ways to improve the system. Cuban suggested that police align themselves with other organizations such as schools, hospitals, and churches who have community outreach programs. Cuban believes that police often try and do too much and that their efforts can come off as disorganized. He believes that better communication with the communities and community programs is a good start to fixing a deep rooted problem. Cuban says he hasn’t heard much back but plans to follow up with his suggestions.

The biggest issue that people have with police brutality is the lack of accountability when they abuse their powers. Cuban agrees stating, “You can’t have the immunity levels that officers have. That’s just not how it should work. They should have every right that’s awarded to every American citizen, the right to a fair trial. But they shouldn’t have more rights.”

Many attribute the issues in accountability to the police unions and associations that do everything within their power to protect cops, even when they are abusing their power. The issues within the police department are so deeply rooted that it’s hard to even know where to begin. The police system is one that was originally made to keep black people enslaved and for decades have policed urban streets through force, violence and intimidation.

Cuban like many others who are actively addressing the issues are left scratching their heads at where to start. Cuban tells The Rematch, “Yes, you could train more. But who’s doing the training? They could hire better, with better qualifications, but if the people managing and training aren’t doing it the right way it’s not going to change.” He states that bringing newly trained and educated officers into a negative culture could be detrimental to them thriving and bringing about change.

Cuban believes that majority of cops are good and have good intention and believes the way to change is to address the systems that are protecting bad cops. “What is it that is preventing the good 98 percent from stopping the bad 2 percent of cops?” questions Cuban.  

Cuban also believes that there needs to be more unity and leadership in the fight for equality. He feels the movement lacks a face, someone who can be there to speak up for the movement on all fronts. “There has to be somebody with a bigger voice that’s there all the time. Because this is a non-stop issue that’s not going to go away and you don’t want it to fade off, because there are two big issues that aren’t going to go away, racism and police reform.”

Any individual that is willing to stand up for any cause that does not directly concern their lives should be commended, because that requires a level of empathy that many Americans lack. Cuban’s willingness to help shows his character. We saw some more of that with his willingness to help Delonte West, one of his former players who has fallen on hard times. However there are two points that Cuban made I would have to question. One, I don’t feel the bad cop/good cop ratio is 98 percent good and only 2 percent bad.  We’ve seen countless police forces through many recent protests act forcibly together, as one unit. We’ve seen police brutality across this country in what almost seems like back to back instances. While I do believe that it may not be the majority acting outside the guidelines of the job I do believe it is closer to 50/50. And if you are witnessing a fellow officer abusing their power and you chose to turn a blind eye, you in my opinion are just as guilty.

 I also disagree on his belief that the movement needs a face to be more creditable to those that are still on the fence. In my opinion if you refuse to acknowledge that there are major discrepancies in policing, education, housing, economic opportunity, and healthcare, between black and white communities then you just don’t want to see the issue. Racism has plagued this country for over 400 years, if you don’t recognize that by now it is because you don’t want too or simply don’t care enough. Conservative whites don’t like the Black Lives Matter organization because they believe they are too radical and will disrupt white corporate America. But what about when we had Martin Luther King, a man of God and peace, and they still killed him. He still wasn’t a good enough face for white America. I don’t think putting a face to the movement is going to change anyone’s opinion. And we all know how the media loves to smear the images of African Americans, so whoever we find will never be good enough to some. Breonna Taylor went from a young black woman who worked two jobs, one as an EMT, to Griselda Blanco within a matter of weeks. I do agree that accountability is where we start, if cops know they will be charged and convicted, and lose their jobs and pensions; I think they would think twice before acting outside the realms of their job. Isn’t that what keeps the rest of America in line? Cops shouldn’t be held to separate levels of accountability and laws than the rest of us.