FCC Chairman Pai wants to kill Net Neutrality, at the expense of small-town America

Susan Crawford, one of the most articulate campaigners for Net Neutrality (previously) explains how FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to kill Net Neutrality will leave small-town America behind in the 21st century's rear-view mirror, receding into the distance with poor-quality, slow, and inefficient network access at a moment when economic survival depends on reliable, high-speed and neutral nets. Read the rest

EPA-hating EPA chairman Scott Pruitt wants to spend millions on 24/7 bodyguards

Before being put in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, climate-denier Scott Pruitt sued the agency more than a dozen times. This has made him rather unpopular. Read the rest

Betsy DeVos ends ban on crooked loan-collectors in the student debt biz

Education secretary (and Ponzi-scheme billionaire heiress, anti-public-education crusader, and sister of notorious war criminal Eric Prince) Betsy DeVos just killed the recent Department of Education/Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guidelines that banned dirty bill-collectors from going after people with delinquent student bans.

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W3C moves to finalize DRM standardization, reclassifies suing security researchers as a feature, not a bug

The World Wide Web Consortium has announced that its members have until April 19 to weigh in on whether the organization should publish Encrypted Media Extensions, its DRM standard for web video, despite the fact that this would give corporations the new right to sue people who engaged in legal activity, from security researchers who revealed defects in browsers to accessibility workers who adapted video for disabled people to scrappy new companies who come up with legal ways to get more use out of your property. Read the rest

Wisconsin's Senator Ron Johnson blames Net Neutrality for porn and bad health care

As the Republican Congress and Donald Trump's FCC move to dismantle the most basic protections for American internet users, no target is juicier than Net Neutrality, the simple idea that your ISP should send you the bits you ask for, rather than accepting bribes from big companies to slow down your net connection when you try to connect to their competitors. Read the rest

Senate Republicans introduce resolution ensuring ISPs don't need your permission to sell your private data and SSN

Donald Trump's new FCC boss, Ajit Pai, has nuked an Obama-era rule that banned ISPs from selling off your browsing data, location, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security Number and contents of your messages, without your permission. The now-defunct rule also required ISPs to notify you when they got hacked and your sensitive personal information got out into the wild. Read the rest

Donald Trump has filled the swamp with his own gators, hiring 400 lobbyists, conspiracy theorists and trolls

Donald Trump has been slow to fill administrative positions that require Senate confirmation (and thus public scrutiny), but he's quietly hired 400 "beachhead team" members "to serve as his eyes and ears at every major federal agency, from the Pentagon to the Department of Interior" -- a rats' nest of ex-lobbyists running agencies they used to lobby, campaign staffers being given cushy jobs, neo-nutjobs from the Breitbart depths who endorse birtherism and other, more exotic conspiracy theories, and a whole Mos Eisley Cantina's worth of scum and villainy. Read the rest

Wells Fargo: preventing the customers we ripped off from suing us is doing them a favor

Wells Fargo admits that its employees opened more than 2,000,000 fake accounts in order to run up fraudulent charges against its customers (employees who balked at committing fraud were fired and blacklisted for life from the banking industry); it also says that the customers it stole from can't sue the company because fake account paperwork bearing their forged signatures includes a promise to enter into binding arbitration rather than suing. Read the rest

Trump wants to reinstate and expand civil asset forfeiture so cops can steal your stuff

Civil asset forfeiture is a perfectly foreseeable outcome of the overbroad War on Drugs: it allows the cops to seize your belongings and charge them -- not you! -- with being the proceeds of a crime. Then it's up to you to figure out how to prove that your cash, car, house, or other belongings are innocent, otherwise the cops get to keep your stuff and use it to fund their operations. Read the rest

The Department of Labor's Wells Fargo whistleblower site has disappeared

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the Department of Labor's whistleblower site -- for Wells Fargo employees who wanted to report fraud in the ongoing scandal affecting millions of Americans -- disappeared. Read the rest

Trump appointees are violating the law that prevents them from regulating their former bosses

A 2009 rule created by Obama in his first days in office says that former executives and lobbyists can't be hired to work for the government in a capacity that gives them oversight over their former employers; they must wait for two years after leaving such employment before working in a regulatory capacity that relates to it. Read the rest

Leaked doc shows Trump Treasury pick presided over the "widespread" theft of Americans' homes

Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Secretary of Treasury, has a checkered past (he once foreclosed on a 90 year old customer who was $0.27 short on her mortgage payment) but a leaked memo from the California attorney general's Consumer Law Section reports that Mnuchin's leadership of Onewest Bank involved "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians, through which the bank was able to fraudulently confiscate their customers' homes. Read the rest

House GOP abandons plans to kill independent ethics office in favor of 1% tax cuts and taking away healthcare

A day after using an unannounced, after-hours, closed-door session to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, the House GOP has abandoned its plans, partly because President-Elect Trump told them that while he believed that the Office should be dismantled, doing so now would distract from the urgent business of slashing taxes for the wealthy and taking away healthcare from 20 million Americans. Read the rest

UPDATED: Without warning, after hours, House GOP dismantles ethics watchdog

Update: They've backed down because Trump warned them it would be a distraction from taking away healthcare and giving tax cuts to rich people.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics -- created in 2008 after three Congressmen were jailed for corruption -- has been stripped of its powers by the House GOP, who held an after-hours vote, with no notice, on Monday night. Read the rest

Trump's anti-education Education Secretary owes millions in election fraud fines

Betsy DeVos is the self-described neo-Calvinist and wife of the heir to the Amway fortune who's devoted her life to fighting against public education through a system of vouchers that allow for public funding of religious schools; in accord with the trumpian maxim of "a fox for every henhouse," she has been selected to serve as Trump's Education Secretary. Read the rest