fresh voices from the front lines of change








Jessicah Pierre

A Revolutionary Idea To Close The Racial Wealth Divide

The gap between America’s ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is growing dramatically as wealth continues to concentrate at the top at the expense of the rest of us. One major symptom of this economic rift is the racial wealth divide, which is greater today than it was nearly four decades ago. When analyzing the racial wealth divide, it’s important to note that this is a systemic issue — a result of policies, not individual behavior, and the racial wealth gap continues to grow despite rising rates of Black employment and education. These other things simply can’t make up for enormous, systemic disparities in family wealth. One possible solution? "Baby bonds." These would be federally managed accounts set up at birth for children, and endowed by the government with assets that will grow over time. Neither the child nor their parents would be able to access these funds until the child reaches adulthood, at which point they could use the money to get an education, purchase a home, or start a business. Baby bonds could play an essential role in balancing the historical injustices that created the racial wealth divide.

Trump Wants A Hot Trade War With China

Trump's tariff threat leaves Beijing stalling on next talks. Bloomberg: "Talks between the U.S. and China to resolve their year-long trade standoff appeared to be on life-support Monday, with Beijing struggling to respond to tweets by President Donald Trump that threaten an escalation of tariffs by the end of the week. China’s foreign ministry said that officials were still planning to travel to the U.S. for the next round of talks -- but was unable to confirm when amid signs that a delay is now being considered. Meanwhile, a media blackout on Trump’s threat left investors baffled as stocks and the yuan tumbled on rumors that the trade war is now back on. Trump on Sunday raised pressure on Beijing to strike a trade deal by announcing he would increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports Friday to 25 percent from 10 percent. He also floated the possibility of extending a new 25 percent duty on another $325 billion of imports not already covered. Trump continued tweeting on the trade situation Monday. 'The United States has been losing, for many years, 600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade. With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we’re not going to be doing that anymore!' he wrote. 'Risks of a full blown trade war are escalating,' Chua Hak Bin, a senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte. in Singapore, said before the ministry’s announcement. 'Trump’s threat may backfire as China will not want to negotiate with a gun pointing at their heads.'"

Climate Change Accelerating Extinction

Civilization is accelerating extinction and altering the natural world at a pace ‘unprecedented in human history’. NYT: "Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded. Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate 'unprecedented in human history.'"

AG Barr Faces Deadline To Release Full Mueller Report

Showdown looms between Congress and attorney general over Mueller report deadline. Reuters: "U.S. Attorney General William Barr is headed for a showdown on Monday with Democrats in Congress, as lawmakers prepared to begin contempt proceedings against the top U.S. law enforcement officer if he fails to hand over the full, unredacted Mueller report. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler gave Barr until 9 a.m. EDT to produce the full report and underlying evidence from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nadler has subpoenaed the material but Barr missed an initial deadline to provide it last week."

Trump's Border 'Toughness' Is Epic Fail

Trump wants ‘toughness’ to deter migration, but physical measures keep failing. WaPo: "Frustrated that his administration’s border control measures are not working, President Trump has been musing lately about the kinds of tactics he thinks would really get results. On a recent trip to Texas, he said that American troops deployed to the border could get 'a little rough' with migrants but that 'everybody would go crazy' if they did. Border Patrol agents who 'get cute' and 'get tough' with those in their custody would face arrest, he grumbled this week. Again and again, the president has urged more “toughness” at the border to deter the Central American families arriving in unprecedented numbers. To keep people out of the country, Trump favors physical measures and the threat of force: a wall, the deployment of armed U.S. troops, the separation of families and the possibility of closing the border entirely. The problem with this view of border enforcement, current and former officials say, is that it won’t work. The measures that could actually deter migration are less bruising and physically obvious, veering off instead into a world that is legal, technical and bureaucratic — and could take months or years to show results."

MI, OH Courts Rule On Gerrymandering

Have court rulings in Michigan and Ohio turned the tide on partisan gerrymandering? Salon: "A federal court overturned Michigan’s congressional and state legislative maps on Thursday as an illegal partisan gerrymander 'of historic proportions.' The very next day, a different federal court also declared Ohio's congressional map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, tossing aside a GOP map that had safely entrenched a 12-4 Republican delegation in a highly competitive purple state, no matter how many votes Democrats received. In Michigan, the outraged three-judge panel cited secret emails that boasted of packing 'Dem garbage' into a small handful of districts so Republicans would hold the advantage in all the others, as well as studies that created thousands of random, neutral maps and conclusively demonstrated that the ones enacted by legislators had only one intent: Locking in a decade-long partisan advantage for Republicans. The bipartisan judges not only ordered that new districts be drawn well ahead of the 2020 elections, but sent a message to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the case will now head on appeal, that federal courts must act now to rein in toxic gerrymandering and 'protect American voters from this unconstitutional and pernicious practice that undermines our democracy.' The justices, thus far reluctant to get involved in policing maps, are already considering partisan gerrymandering cases from North Carolina and Maryland; decisions are expected by June."

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