Monthly Archives: January 2017

Trump Sacks U.S. Acting Attorney General

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WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night, hours after she said the Justice Department would not defendTrump’s executive order on immigration.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that Yates had been relieved of her duties. Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, was named as acting attorney general.

Spicer’s statement said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to defend Trump’s order. The statement added that Yates, a career prosecutor who Trump named as acting attorney general, is “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

Read on.

Federal Reserve issued a cease-and-desist order to BB&T Corp. over alleged deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering controls

From the WSJ article:

Such orders don’t state that the bank has laundered money, but rather that their internal systems for detecting criminal activity and reporting it to the government are deemed unsound by regulators. The policing of such violations has become more severe since the financial crisis.

Brian Davis, a BB&T spokesman, said the firm has a “long history of quickly addressing regulatory concerns,” and has already made “significant enhancements” to its anti-money laundering compliance program. He said the firm is “committed to working alongside our regulatory partners to implement the needed improvements as quickly as possible.”

Two lawmakers join battle between the CFPB and PHH

Housingwire:

While the landmark case between PHH and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau awaits a decision on whether the full Court of Appeals will rehear the case, more politicians are publicly voicing their support for the bureau.

A new update from the CFPB Monitor stated that Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who are, respectively, the Ranking Members of the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit seeking to intervene in the PHH appeal.

The motion comes shortly after a similar motion from a dozen Democratic state attorneys general.

The 17 attorney generals said that the election of Donald Trump compelled them to intervene in the CFPB lawsuit. “When PHH filed the original petition for review in June, 2015, there was little reason for the State Attorneys General to intervene. At that time, the CFPB still had an independent Director and was fully committed to seeking rehearing to challenge the panel’s ruling and defend the constitutionality of the bureau’s independent structure,” the AGs state in their motion to intervene.

“But as a result of the presidential election,” the AGs continued, “the situation has changed.”

Now, both Brown and Waters are following suit.

From the CFPB Monitor:

The new movants rely primarily on the argument that they cannot rely on the CFPB under the Trump Administration to adequately represent their interest in defending the CFPB’s status as an independent agency.

As grounds for why they have a legally protected interest which would be impaired by the litigation, Senator Brown and Representative Waters point to their votes for the Dodd-Frank Act and claim that if the CFPB, acting at the new Administration’s direction, does not defend its constitutionality, “movants’ votes to establish the Bureau as an independent agency will be nullified without full judicial review of the constitutional question presented in this case.” 

How George Orwell Predicted Donald Trump

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The Daily Beast:

Oh Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour. In fact, every hour since that dark night in January 1950 when you died, alone, in a hospital. Perhaps, web paranoia speculates, your truth-telling got too dangerous for the powers that be and you were terminated with extreme prejudice. It makes a crazy kind of sense.

 

The recent furor about “alternative facts,” in a culture polluting its thought processes with post-truth license and fake news, suggests that George Orwell’s dire predictions about double-think and thought-crime are with us—albeit 33 years late.

 

Two examples have made recent headlines. In the U.S. the disputed attendance figures at the presidential inauguration. Biggest ever? Nowhere near. In the U.K. the parallel case is the submarine-launched missile that decided to turn around and make for Florida. A successful operation, the British defense minister stoutly maintained. Disney World may have thought differently.

…………………………………………..

The connection with “managed truth” in Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 is easily drawn. What is less often taken on board is that the big lie only works if it comes accompanied by big power. If the bipedal chickens in Animal Farmdaubed on their coop door “Four Legs good Two Legs Better!” no one would given a clucks-worth of notice. The pigs can write the slogan up, as rule of farm law, because the farm is theirs.

In 1984’s Oceania, there are two institutions which systematically disseminate falsehood at the behest of the state: Minitrue—the degenerate descendant of the BBC—and The Times—the degenerate descendant of “the paper of record.” The hero, Winston Smith, works in the newspaper’s press room, changing history as the day to day needs of the Party dictate. How does the party slogan go?

“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” Orwell had worked for the BBC during World War II and had observed how its “news” was falsified in the interest of “control.”

Social media blackout hits Department of Energy renewables team

An email obtained by ThinkProgress tells employees not to discuss work on their social media.

Employees working in a Department of Energy solar program were ordered this week not to share anything about their work on private or professional social media accounts, ThinkProgress has learned.

The directive was given at a staff meeting, according to the email sent Thursday morning, and came from Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Steven Chalk. Another employee confirmed the email’s authenticity.

“I want to share that we are PROHIBITED from any social media post (from personal or business handles) regarding your work, attendance at any meeting, etc until further notice, per Steve Chalk, acting EE-1,” the email reads. The email was sent from a member of the solar program, known as SunShot, to roughly 50 staff members of the same group.

Chalk has been prohibited from speaking with reporters until the department is fully staffed with political appointees, according to the person who answered the phone at his office Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy said she had no knowledge of the directive and denied that it was departmental policy. “It was not a departmental directive. I don’t know what EERE might be doing on their own,” the spokesperson said. “We are business as normal throughout the department.”

Read on.

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Sunday cartoon with George Orwell’s words

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While thousands of people are protesting nationwide today, Trump is watching Finding Dory

David Mack Retweeted David Mack

Thousands are currently protesting nationwide. Per the WH schedule, President Trump is currently watching Finding Dory

Priorities, priorities…