New California Movement

Secretly Shifting Intelligence Money ; Trump Using Digital Shredder? ...and More Picks

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Electoral College Insurance? A group of California citizens want to carve out a new state comprised of rural counties. "New California" proponents want to follow the constitutional path used by West Virginia when it was separated from Virginia. This plan could be replicated in rural Eastern Oregon and Washington and other states. Photo credit: Matthew Black / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Art World’s Argument for Keeping (Some) of the Border Wall (Dan)

Art critic Jerry Saltz discusses moves by some in his industry to keep prototypes of Trump’s border wall. The installations are currently standing in Tijuana and erected, Saltz says, in a “minimalist” fashion. Keeping the prototypes would also serve as a reminder of the crazy time in which we now live.

Be a Spycatcher From Your Own Home (Reader Steve)

Remember the radio stations from Cold War movies that would read out random numbers for spies to decode? Well, that wasn’t just Hollywood make-believe. Those radio stations still exists today. And you can listen in!

House Spending Bill Changes Law to Let Trump Admin Secretly Shift Intelligence Money (Jimmy)

The author writes, “Since 1947, section 504 of the National Security Act has mandated that the administration inform Congress if it intends to shift money from one intelligence project to another, if the new project has not been authorized by Congress. That notification can be — and almost always is — done in secret, but it is at least a minimal check on executive power.”

Is Trump Using the Digital Shredder? (Dan)

A judge recently heard a case brought against the Trump administration for their staff’s use of encrypted messaging apps. Most encrypted apps delete messages soon after sending and thus leave no record of the conversation. While administrations are not legally forced to keep all records, the suit argues use of encrypted apps does not allow the discretion of choosing what to keep and what not.

Director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Requests No Money (Jimmy)

The author writes, “Every quarter, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau formally requests its operating funds from the Federal Reserve. Last quarter, former director Richard Cordray asked for $217.1 million. Cordray, an appointee of President Barack Obama, needed just $86.6 million the quarter before that. And Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s acting CFPB director, Mick Mulvaney, sent his first request to the Fed. He requested zero.”

Where Did Trump’s $107m for Inauguration Go? (Reader Luke)

The author writes, “Nearly a year after President Trump’s inauguration, the committee that raised a record $106.7 million for the event has not disclosed how much surplus money it still has or provided a final accounting of its finances.”

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