Tillerson Facing Internal Dissent at State Dept. Over Refusal to Enforce Child Soldiers Law

The Secretary of State is in violation of US law, according to a “dissent” memo published by department employees first reported by Reuters. Officials at State accused Rex Tillerson of breaking the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA), which prohibits aid and military assistance to nations that conscript troops younger than 18 years old. In June, Tillerson removed Afghanistan, Iraq, and Myanmar from the list of offending nations, overruling recommendations from career diplomats who cited evidence that each country still employs child soldiers. A July 28 memo… Keep Reading

Software Bugs Led to 1 Million Inaccurate Car Loan Records, Tech Company Admits in CFPB Agreement

Records on roughly one percent of outstanding auto loans in the United States were plagued last year by inaccuracies caused by a software company’s negligence. Source code used by Conduent Business Services was buggy for years and the company knew it, according to details of a consent order released Monday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB said that Conduent data last year alone was off for “over one million of the more-than 6.4 million consumer accounts” that the company oversees. Bureau officials noted… Keep Reading

U.S. Military No Longer Cool With Narcotics Labs in Afghanistan, Bombs Them

The US Commander in Afghanistan announced several airstrikes on Sunday against opium production facilities, marking a shift in the Pentagon’s approach toward the booming illicit drug industry in the country. Army Gen. John Nicholson reported that roughly ten opium laboratories in the Northern Helmand province were destroyed in the barrage. The purported aim of the strikes was to cut off Taliban insurgents’ revenue streams. The Washington Post noted the assault was the “first significant use” of new authorities President Trump bestowed upon the Pentagon, giving military… Keep Reading

Corporate Tax Cut Bill Clears House

A massive overhaul of the US tax code that showers benefits on business owners and high income earners passed out of the House of Representatives on Thursday. The measure was approved mostly along party lines in a 227-205 vote, shortly after President Donald Trump arrived on Capitol Hill for a meeting with Republican lawmakers. Not a single Democrat supported the bill. Thirteen Republicans voted against it. During debate over the legislation, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused her colleagues on the other side of… Keep Reading

Bush DOJ Official Coke Dealer Past Unearthed While Senate Committee Cleans Skeletons from Its Closet

A top law enforcement official under the George W. Bush administration was reportedly once involved in cocaine trafficking prior to government service, according to a frank public discussion today by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a veteran member of the committee and its former chair, said that Republicans insisted that the unnamed Justice Department nominee be confirmed by the Senate—despite the prior disqualification of judicial nominees based solely on their cannabis usage. The remarks came amid a proposal by Sen. Dick Durbin… Keep Reading

GOP Congressman Defends Payday Lenders By Denouncing “Marxist Ideology,” In Fantastic Boost for Communism

A Republican lawmaker defended the lack of a federal prohibition on usury by citing economic problems in East Germany before its 1989 collapse. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) was attacking a proposal to cap consumer interest rates in the United States at 36 percent. The legislation was introduced during a House Financial Services Committee meeting on Wednesday by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the panel. “That’s what they experienced on the other side of this [Berlin] Wall that had held them captive behind… Keep Reading

Inspectors General Face Fewer Roadblocks Under Trump, Actually

Government watchdogs testified before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday and reported something unexpected: their jobs have gotten easier during the Trump era. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz told lawmakers on Wednesday that a years-long standoff over access to records has thawed thanks to legislation signed into law in the waning days of the Obama administration. “The IG community’s ability to continue its important work was greatly enhanced by the passage of the IG Empowerment Act,” Horowitz testified. The legislation upended a DOJ Office… Keep Reading

Congress Publicly Examines Launch Authorities For First Time Since 1976, After Wasted Nixon Started Nuclear Panic

The feud between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has the potential to fuel a Constitutional power struggle. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair presided over a hearing on Tuesday to explore the President’s legal authority to launch nuclear weapons. Corker said he wanted to explore “the realities of our system.” Democrats thanked Corker for holding the hearing. A number of them noted concerns about President Trump’s tempestuous behavior. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) invoked worries about Trump’s mental stability, for example. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)… Keep Reading

Bipartisan Momentum Gathering Behind Dodd-Frank Rollback

Senate Democrats are on the verge of helping Congressional Republicans scale back key banking regulations signed into law after last decade’s massive financial crisis Moderate liberals on the Senate Banking Committee are working with Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to hash out a proposal that would relax rules on speculation and oversight of some of the country’s largest banks. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) are at the heart of efforts to revise the framework established… Keep Reading

DHS Nominee Puts Daylight Between Herself and Trump on Charlottesville Nazi Sympathizing

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security distanced herself from comments made by Trump–in the aftermath of far-right militant violence last summer. Kirstjen Nielsen said that she “disavows any form of violence, whether that be antisemitic, white supremist [sic], any kind of radicalization,” when asked on Wednesday at her confirmation hearing. Nielsen had been asked by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) if she condemned white nationalism, white supremacy, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. Each time, the nominee responded “yes,” without missing a beat. In August,… Keep Reading

Leahy Accuses White House of Acting like a “Paranoid Totalitarian Government” on Cuba

Under new restrictions announced by the Trump administration, US travelers to Cuba will now have to be escorted by a certified tour guide who will prevent them from patronizing scores of restaurants and hotels on the island. The regulations unveiled on Wednesday, further chip away at diplomatic ties to Havana forged by President Obama. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking member of the State Department Appropriations subcommittee, described the move as “reminiscent of the Cold War and what one would expect of a paranoid totalitarian government.” The… Keep Reading

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