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Trump’s team draws target on federal regulations

(The Hill) President-elect Donald Trump is stocking his administration with businessmen and regulatory reformers who are intent on cutting through what they see as red tape from Washington.

Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor, will oversee the Trump administration’s regulatory reform efforts. He will be joined by several other Wall Street investors and corporate executives who have first-hand experience dealing with government rules.

Here are six figures in the Trump administration poised to have an outsized role in scaling back regulations.

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Obama: I won’t leave on Jan 20

(Washington Examiner) President Obama used his final weekly address in 2016 to make it plainer than ever that he won’t retire quietly once Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

Couching his address to the nation as assurance that he will remain committed to defending the “progress” achieved by his administration, the president made it crystal clear that he intends to be a thorn in President Trump’s side after the official handover of power on Jan. 20.

Offering the clearest indication yet of his plan to be active on the political scene after he is ostensibly back in private life, Obama said Saturday, “As I prepare to take on the even more important role of citizen, know that I will be there with you every step of the way to ensure that this country forever strives to live up to the incredible promise of our founding — that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve every chance to live out our dreams.”

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WaPo report of power-grid hack by Russia fake news

(Infowars) The Washington Post reported Friday that the U.S. power grid had been hacked by the same Russian actors accused of breaching the DNC – the only problem, the grid wasn’t hacked.

According to the report, malicious “code” associated with Grizzly Steppe, the name given to Russian hacking operations by the Obama administration, was found within the system of a utility company in Virginia.

“While the Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a security matter, the discovery underscores the vulnerabilities of the nation’s electrical grid,” the article states.

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Security experts: White House fails to make hacking case

(Ars Technica) Talk about disappointments. The US government’s much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The 13-page report, which was jointly published Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, billed itself as an indictment of sorts that would finally lay out the intelligence community’s case that Russian government operatives carried out hacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Clinton Campaign Chief John Podesta and leaked much of the resulting material. While security companies in the private sector have said for months the hacking campaign was the work of people working for the Russian government, anonymous people tied to the leaks have claimed they are lone wolves. Many independent security experts said there was little way to know the true origins of the attacks.

Sadly, the JAR, as the Joint Analysis Report is called, does little to end the debate. Instead of providing smoking guns that the Russian government was behind specific hacks, it largely restates previous private-sector claims without providing any support for their validity. Even worse, it provides an effective bait and switch by promising newly declassified intelligence into Russian hackers’ “tradecraft and techniques” and instead delivering generic methods carried out by just about all state-sponsored hacking groups.

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EPA to sub-freezing Alaska: Stop burning wood to keep warm

(Federalist) In Jack London’s famous short story, “To Build A Fire,” a man freezes to death because he underestimates the cold in America’s far north and cannot build a proper fire. The unnamed man—a chechaquo, what Alaska natives call newcomers—is accompanied by a wolf-dog that knows the danger of the cold and is wholly indifferent to the fate of the man. “This man did not know cold. Possibly, all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of cold, of real cold, of cold 107 degrees below freezing point. But the dog knew; all its ancestry knew, and it had inherited the knowledge.”

If only the bureaucrats in Washington DC knew what the wolf-dog knew. But alas, now comes the federal government to tell the inhabitants of Alaska’s interior that, really, they should not be building fires to keep themselves warm during the winter. The New York Times reports the Environmental Protection Agency could soon declare the Alaskan cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, which have a combined population of about 100,000, in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year.

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Hawaiian cafe backs down over ban on Trump voters

(Fox News) A business owner who posted a sign on the entrance of his eccentric Italian café in downtown Honolulu banning President Elect Donald Trump supporters, has removed the sign one day after FoxNews.com broke a story about the severe policy.

“If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis,” declared owner Robert Warner on a bright yellow, handmade sign, which he taped to his Café 8/12’s front glass door.

“This is my place and if I don’t want to serve a Trump person, I can do that,” he told Hawaii News Now on Wednesday, one day after the FoxNews.com report generated thousands of adverse posts in the story comment section as well as on Yelp, Twitter and Facebook.

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Rolling Stone: Something about this Russia story stinks

(Rolling Stone) In an extraordinary development Thursday, the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia. Thirty-five Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. President Obama issued a terse statement seeming to blame Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails.

“These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government,” he wrote.

Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.

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