fresh voices from the front lines of change








Why America Needs a Public Credit Registry

For many Americans, the words “bad credit” are like the sound of a closing door. That’s because there’s a deeply harmful, but seldom-spoken, truth about credit reporting: It ruins lives, and crushes hopes. When private companies gather data on our borrowing history and sell it to others to determine future lending decisions, they can reinforce economic disadvantages — and deepen America’s racial wealth divide. Private credit reporting is failing for all of us who must rely on credit reports produced by for-profit companies to navigate financial transactions. For communities of color, credit scores evoke the decades of bank redlining and unequal access to credit whose impact persists to this day. We can’t even look at our own credit scores without paying a fee. It’s time to move the credit reporting system away from these unaccountable companies entirely, and toward a publicly-run credit registry that would operate in the interest of consumers.

Mueller Report Reveals Russia Influence, Coverup

Mueller reveals Trump’s efforts to thwart Russian inquiry in highly anticipated report. NYT:“Robert S. Mueller III revealed the scope of a historic Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 presidential election in a much-anticipated report made public on Thursday, and he detailed a frantic monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart a federal investigation that imperiled his presidency from the start. The report laid bare that Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power, and cataloged numerous meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russians seeking to influence the campaign and the presidential transition team — encounters set up in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president. The special counsel concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to determine that the president or his aides had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians, even though the Trump campaign welcomed the Kremlin sabotage effort and ‘expected it would benefit electorally’ from the hacks and leaks of Democratic emails. Then, after federal investigators opened an inquiry into the extraordinary Russian campaign, the president repeatedly tried to undermine it.”

Russia Breached FL Election Systems

Mueller Report Raises New Questions About Russia’s Hacking Targets In 2016. NPR: “While the headlines about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report have focused on the question of whether President Trump obstructed justice, the report also gave fresh details about Russian efforts to hack into U.S. election systems. In particular, the report said, ‘We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled [Russian military intelligence] to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government’ during the 2016 campaign. That came as news to Paul Lux, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections — which has been working closely with federal authorities to protect their election systems against such attacks. ‘I haven’t heard even a whisper’ about such a breach, Lux told NPR, noting that the report referred to a county ‘government’ office network, not specifically to an ‘elections’ office, although the two are frequently connected.”

14 Criminal Referrals Open From Mueller Probe

Mueller mystery: What are the other 12 criminal referrals? NBC:
 “His report is done, but Robert Mueller’s work will live on for a while longer. Over the course of its sprawling 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel’s team referred 14 criminal cases to other offices, Mueller’s 448-page report revealed. Only two of those referrals — one involving former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the other former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig — are public at this point. ‘During the course of the investigation, the Office periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction,’ the report says. ‘After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office referred that evidence to appropriate law enforcement authorities, principally other components of the Department of Justice and the FBI.'” Mueller had been tasked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with investigating ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump’ and ‘any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.'”

WI’s Evers Challenges Foxconn Giveaways

Wisconsin’s governor really hates the Foxconn deal. He wants to renegotiate. CNN: “Tony Evers, the Democratic governor of Wisconsin, says he doesn’t think Foxconn will ever add 13,000 jobs in his state. And he says it’s time to drop the lush incentive deal his predecessor used to lure the Taiwanese electronics company to Wisconsin. In 2017, Foxconn and former Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, struck the deal to build a large manufacturing plant, promising it would be a first step to creating a kind of Silicon Valley in Wisconsin. The deal was enormously controversial. The state agreed to give Foxconn $3 billion in tax cuts and financial handouts based on the number of jobs the company creates. But it could also get potentially more than $1 billion in incentives from local governments The overall package would be one of the most expensive state incentive packages ever granted to a company. Evers has been a critic of the deal, and it was an issue in the 2018 election in which he defeated Walker. At a press conference Wednesday, Evers said it was an ‘unrealistic expectation” that Foxconn would meet its goal to hire 13,000 workers. ‘The bottom line is they’ve shrunk their expectations. That’s what they’re communicating now,’ Evers said. The package of tax cuts and other incentives awarded Foxconn needs to be renegotiated, he said.”

Armed Vigilante Groups Swarm Border

Armed vigilantes apprehend hundreds of asylum seekers near Mexican border. ThinkProgress:“Members of a heavily-armed group of vigilantes calling themselves the United Constitutional Patriots intercepted and apprehended hundreds of asylum seekers this week, despite having no authority to do so. One of the men filmed while others took the asylum seekers, including children, into custody on Tuesday night. For the past two months, the group has camped out in the desert near the town of Sunland Park, on the border between New Mexico and the Mexican state of Chihuahua. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official told ThinkProgress that while the agency welcomes community assistance, it does not condone vigilante groups taking border enforcement into their own hands. ‘Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequence for all parties involved,’ the official said in a statement. ‘Border Security operations are complex and require highly trained professionals with adequate resources to protect the country.’ Groups like United Constitutional Patriots are not a new presence on the border. A variety of organizations, such as the Minutemen and Arizona Border Recon, regularly patrol the border with the stated aim of gathering ‘intelligence’ on migrant crossings. These groups generally deny that they’re militia members or that they’re on the border to do anything other than provide intel to Border Patrol.”

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