Buh-bye
February 2, 2021

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered all Pentagon advisory board members who were appointed by former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to resign by Feb. 16, The Associated Press reports.

In the waning days of the Trump administration, Miller replaced longtime members of the boards with people loyal to former President Donald Trump, including onetime Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata.

Board members are not employees of the Pentagon, but they do typically have security clearances, Reuters reports. There are dozens of defense policy, health, science, and business advisory boards, and in a memo released Tuesday, Austin wrote that he has directed "the immediate suspension" of committee operations until a review into their purpose is finished. Officials told AP Austin wants to see if any of the boards have overlapping jurisdictions and if some can be modified as a cost-saving measure.

In one of his final actions, Miller appointed Tata to the Defense Policy Board on Jan. 19. Tata is a former Fox News commentator who made anti-Muslim remarks and called former President Barack Obama a "terrorist leader." A Defense Department official told Reuters there is "no question" that Austin was "deeply concerned with the pace and the extent of recent changes to membership. It gave him pause to consider the broad scope and purpose of these boards." Catherine Garcia

November 9, 2018

PayPal is making it harder for anti-fascist and far-right groups to raise money online by canceling their accounts, The Verge reported Friday.

PayPal has banned Gavin McInnes, who founded a far-right group of self-described "western chauvinists," called the Proud Boys. The company also dumped accounts for Atlanta Antifa, Antifa Sacramento, and the Anti-Fascist Network, which organize often-aggressive confrontations against extremist groups and figures. The tech industry has been struggling with how to handle users who promote violence — this latest decision from PayPal was part of an attempt to limit extremist accounts from having a platform to spread their views, a tactic called "de-platforming."

The new bans are part of a long-running company effort. PayPal previously banned Tommy Robinson’s account, the leader of far-right English Defense League, as well as other antifa branches. PayPal also removed the account for Gab, the controversial social media platform, last month. "Striking the necessary balance between upholding free expression and open dialogue and protecting principles of tolerance, diversity and respect for all people is a challenge that many companies are grappling with today," a PayPal spokesperson told The Verge.

PayPal is not the only tech company that has gotten on the “de-platforming” plan. Twitter removed McInnes' account over the summer and Facebook followed suit last month, Mashable reports. Other extremists have been removed as well, like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was removed from YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook. Emma Henderson

July 5, 2018

Scott Pruitt is out as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, leaving behind a trail of first-class plane tickets, $50 rent checks, and Chick-fil-A receipts.

The New York Daily News doesn't want to let Pruitt leave without reminding everyone of the various scandals that surround him and how taxpayers covered the cost for such necessities as a $43,000 soundproof phone booth Pruitt had installed in his office last year. Friday's front page features a photo of a frowning Pruitt with the headline, "Check his pockets on the way out!"

If that's not harsh enough, the caption on Twitter reads, "Slime's up for scandal-scarred Swamp Thing Scott Pruitt." Ouch, too bad you can't put Ritz-Carlton moisturizer on that burn. Catherine Garcia

June 5, 2018

White House communications aide Kelly Sadler is no longer part of the Trump administration, a month after she made disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his health, three people with knowledge of the matter told CNN on Tuesday.

In May, Sadler remarked during a meeting that it didn't matter if McCain was opposed to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel because he's "dying anyway." The White House would not condemn her comments, but Sadler reportedly apologized to McCain's daughter, Meghan. It's unclear where Sadler is now working. Catherine Garcia

May 3, 2018

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the annual Oscar awards, announced Thursday that its Board of Governors has decided to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski. The organization said the men did not meet its standards of conduct, and added that it requires its members to "uphold the Academy's values of respect for human dignity."

Last month, Cosby was found guilty on three counts of indecent aggravated assault, having been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting plaintiff Andrea Constand in 2004. Dozens of other women have accused him of misconduct. Since he was charged, more than a dozen colleges and universities have revoked Cosby's honorary degrees.

Polanski, the director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, has lived as a fugitive from the U.S. after being charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old in 1977. He has received six Oscar nominations, and won Best Director for The Pianist in 2002. Jeva Lange

August 31, 2017

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke submitted his letter of resignation Thursday. Clarke, who attracted the national spotlight for his ardent support of President Trump and his controversial comments, did not provide a reason for his resignation. Clarke's spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Just months ago, Clarke claimed he was going to be an assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, only for DHS to clarify that no official appointment had been made. Clarke later withdrew his name from consideration.

Clarke was in his fourth term as sheriff, with more than a year left to serve. During his tenure, he was slapped with a lawsuit after an inmate in his jail, whose pleas for water had reportedly been ignored for days, died from "profound dehydration." Clarke also made headlines for suggesting that Black Lives Matter should be labeled as a "hate group," and for refusing to disclose the details of a 2015 trip to Moscow on behalf of the National Rifle Association.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will be responsible for finding a replacement to serve the remainder of Clarke's term. Becca Stanek

August 15, 2017

On Tuesday, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul announced his resignation from President Trump's American Manufacturing Council. "I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing to do," the representative for U.S. steelworkers tweeted Tuesday morning.

Paul is the fourth person this week to resign from Trump's council — and it's only Tuesday. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank have also quit.

Frazier cited Trump's hesitancy to directly condemn white supremacists in the aftermath of the weekend's violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying it was his "responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism." Krzanich said he was stepping down to "call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues," while Plank said he was leaving to "focus on inspiring and uniting through power of sport."

Trump has brushed off the resignations, tweeting Tuesday morning that "for every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place." Becca Stanek

May 4, 2017

As the tally in the House tipped to the 217 "yes" votes necessary to pass the Republican health-care bill, Democrats broke out singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."

Democrats also waved their hands at Republicans, apparently confident that their colleagues will lose their seats in 2018 for passing the controversial health-care bill.

The House has a long tradition of singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," as it turns out. Talking Points Memo writes:

[Thursday's singing] is both an homage and a literal repetition of what Republicans did when the Clinton tax bill passed in the House in 1993. Same singing, same song. The bill paved the way for budget balancing over the course of the decade and (more arguably) played a role in creating the prosperity of that decade. It also came little more than a year before Democratic majorities in both houses were annihilated in the 1994 midterm. [Talking Points Memo]

In the meantime, Republicans have their own gloating to do — they are off to enjoy Bud Light at the White House. Jeva Lange

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