Wednesday News: Banning the box


GOVERNOR COOPER TO REMOVE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND QUESTION FOR STATE JOBS: People applying for most state jobs will no longer have to disclose any criminal convictions on their applications. Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday signed an executive order to "implement fair chance policies" and prevent state agencies in his administration from asking applicants about their criminal records. "People will get a chance to shine and show themselves on their own merit when they're going through the employment process," he said during a state Department of Public Safety conference. "There’s a wealth of talent out there, a wealth of people who’ve made a mistake who are now about to come back into society who could be good employees." Thirty-five other states and more than 150 cities and counties, including more than 10 in North Carolina, already "ban the box." The order takes effect Nov. 1 to give agencies time to adjust their applications and interview processes.

AG STEIN JOINS LAWSUIT TO STOP TRUMP AND DEJOY FROM CRIPPLING POSTAL SERVICE: Stein will be joined by multiple other states in the lawsuit, which “seeks to immediately reverse the agency’s actions and guarantee safeguards and standards for election mail,” according to his news release. “A substantial number of attorneys general are very concerned about the undermining of the Postal Service going into the elections,” Stein said Sunday. “We want to make sure that the Postal Service has the ability to effectively respond to the substantial uptick (of mail-in ballots).” The Washington Post reported Tuesday that at least 20 states plan to file a lawsuit. The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a Postal Service bill prohibiting any changes to “operations or level of service” Saturday. The bill will include $25 billion of funding for the agency. The House also included funding for the Postal Service in its latest coronavirus package, which Trump opposed. With building political pressure as states announced plans to file suit, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was recently tapped by Trump to lead the agency, also announced Tuesday that he was suspending some initiatives until after the election.

MACHINES REMOVED FROM CHARLOTTE FACILITY AFTER ALMA ADAMS CALLED FOR DEJOY'S REMOVAL: Seven mail sorting machines have been removed from service at a post office facility in Charlotte as Democrats and postal workers amped up their protests Tuesday against changes underway at the agency ahead of the fall election. U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a Charlotte Democrat who has demanded that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy resign, led one of those protests in uptown Charlotte. The machines were removed from service at the United States Postal Service facility at 2901 Scott Futrell Drive, near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to Miriam Bell. Bell is a 23-year employee of the Postal Service and president of the American Postal Workers Union Charlotte Area Local, 375. The removal from service of the machines is just the latest controversy in an ongoing nationwide postal crisis. DeJoy had restricted overtime and removed some mailboxes across the country, among other changes. As a result, vital mail, such as medicines, aren’t being delivered on time in some cases, postal workers say. The crisis at the agency could potentially undermine the legitimacy of the results of the 2020 presidential election, which will see more mail-in votes than ever before.

FINAL SENATE INTEL REPORT PROVES TRUMP CAMPAIGN COLLUDED WITH RUSSIA: The report’s language is often stark, describing Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s receptivity to Russian outreach as a “grave counterintelligence threat” that made the campaign susceptible to “malign Russian influence.” The Senate probe is the first to flatly declare that a longtime partner of Manafort was, in fact, a Russian intelligence officer. The report also for the first time cites evidence that that alleged operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, may have been directly involved in the Russian plot to break into a Democratic Party computer network and provide plundered files to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The committee determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed the hack-and-leak campaign. In one of its most startling passages, the report concludes that one of Trump’s core claims of innocence cannot be credited. In written testimony to the team of federal prosecutors led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump insisted that he could not recall ever discussing the WikiLeaks dumps with political adviser Roger Stone or any other associate. “Despite Trump’s recollection,” the Senate report said, “the committee assesses that Trump did, in fact, speak with Stone about WikiLeaks and with members of his campaign about Stone’s access to WikiLeaks on multiple occasions.” The document describes Trump and associates of his campaign as often incapable of candor. It offers new proof that former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, raises troubling questions about Manafort’s decision to squander a plea agreement with prosecutors by lying to Mueller’s team, and accuses Blackwater founder Erik Prince of “deceptive” accounts of his meetings with a Russian oligarch in the Seychelles weeks before Trump was sworn into office.

JOE BIDEN IS FORMALLY NOMINATED AS DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT: Democrats formally nominated Joseph R. Biden Jr. for the presidency on Tuesday night, anointing him as their standard-bearer against President Trump with an extraordinary virtual roll call vote that showcased the cultural diversity of their coalition and exposed a generational gulf that is increasingly defining the party. Denied the chance to assemble in Milwaukee because of the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic activists and dignitaries cast their votes from locations across all 50 states, the American territories and the District of Columbia — from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., to the iconic welcome sign in Las Vegas and far beyond to the shores of Guam, “where America’s day begins.” They offered a grand mosaic of personal identities and experiences, many speaking in raw terms about their aspirations and adversities. As on Monday, much of the program was dominated by some of the most familiar faces from the Democratic Party’s past, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State John Kerry and Caroline Kennedy, a torchbearer of last century’s best-known American dynasty. For all the logistical novelty of a gathering transformed by a pandemic, more than a little of the content would have fit comfortably into a convention held during less threatening public health conditions. The party returned again and again to a few core policy themes, expanding its focus beyond the coronavirus crisis that dominated on Monday night. One segment showed Mr. Biden conferring with voters about the cost of health care, a subject he vowed to take on in a new government next year. Other Democrats emphasized the urgency of confronting gun violence and climate change, and several back-to-back speakers late in the evening called for restoring the country’s traditionally assertive role in foreign policy.



Erik Prince needs to be locked up

He may have sold Blackwater after his boys were convicted of murder in the (Iraqi) Nissour Square incident, but his mercenary activities have actually increased since then. That's how South Americans ended up fighting in Yemen:

In 2011, Erik Prince was appointed by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to make a secret, private army. For this, he was paid $529 million.

In documents obtained by the New York Times, the mission of this privately commissioned battalion included “intelligence gathering, urban combat, the securing of nuclear and radioactive materials, humanitarian missions and special operations ‘to destroy enemy personnel and equipment,’ and crowd-control.

Prince hired Colombians and nationals of other countries thousands of miles away to fill his ranks from two reasons. First, Prince was looking to pay them as little as possible. Second, they weren’t Muslims. Prince surmised that Muslims could not be trusted to kill other Muslims.

Erik Prince and his U.A.E. private military firm helped recruit and train over 1,000 soldiers from Latin American countries. Then, their bodies started appearing on battlefields in Yemen.

A single missile reportedly killed 45 mercenaries from the U.A.E.

Prince’s initial battalion of 800 soldiers had blossomed into almost 2,000 specialized troops hired mostly from Latin America to do the U.A.E.’s business.

And he's helped build a mercenary army in China that has brutalized and enslaved the Uyghurs and may end up aiding the crackdown on Hong Kong civilians:

FSG’s headquarters is in Hong Kong, and though it publicly states that its focus is on eastern Africa, FSG is now reported to be doing domestic work on behalf of the Chinese government.

FSG is partially owned by CITIC, a Chinese-government own investment firm. CITIC is slowly taking more and more control of FSG and is reportedly already the dominant shareholder, meaning it has greater power than Prince to determine the company’s vision and business deals.

One of FSG’s most recent missions has been to train thousands of security personnel in China’s northwest Xinjiang province, where millions of ethnically Turkic Muslims called Uyghurs live.

Uyghurs are routinely targeted by the state due to continuous attempts by some to break away from China and form an independent state.

Like I said, he needs to be locked up, before the body count grows any higher.