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Vox Sentences: Muslim ban...demonium

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A federal judge bans the government from banning refugees (for now).


Shine on, you crazy Dimon

Gary Cohn Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • At least there's one big winner in Donald Trump's America. In a huge boon for Wall Street, the Trump administration signed an executive order on Friday to weaken the Dodd-Frank act — the law that has curbed the financial industry's worst excesses and outlawed many of the risky investment practices that spurred the 2007-'08 financial crisis. [Business Insider / Matt Egan]
  • The bulk of Trump's executive order on Friday doesn't immediately change any policy on the ground. But there is one important exception: As part of the revision, Trump threw out an Obama regulation that would have prevented financial advisers from ripping off their clients by steering them toward high-risk investments that paid them large commissions. [The Wall Street Journal / Lisa Beilfuss and Michael Wursthorn]
  • This so-called "fiduciary rule" was particularly important for protecting the elderly and the poor. They will be most hurt by its repeal. [Vox / Timothy Lee]
  • The other big part of the executive order forces all federal agencies to review the laws governing the US financial system. Regulators are supposed to report back in 120 days by finding the laws at odds with the administration's desire to "empower Americans to make independent financial decisions" and "restore public accountability." [The Washington Post / Renae Merie and Steven Mufson]
  • That last mandate has been particularly interpreted as a threat to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Congress can't control the CFPB's independent director — hence the claim that something should be done to improve its "public accountability." [Los Angeles Times / Jim Puzzaghera, Michael Memoli, and James Koren]
  • It's worth stepping back and marveling at the sheer brazenness of Trump's reversal on Wall Street. During the campaign, he repeatedly and endlessly attacked bankers as belonging to a "global power structure," depicting Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein as Hillary Clinton's partner in crime. [The New York Times / Ben Protess and Julie Hirschfeld David]
  • And yet there by Trump's side on Friday was Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan; Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive of a private equity firm; and Larry Fink, chair of the investment bank BlackRock. "There's nobody better to tell me about Dodd-Frank than Jamie," Trump said. [The Atlantic / Gillian White]

A body blow to Trump’s visa ban

Spencer Platt/Getty
  • On Friday night, a federal judge stopped the federal government from continuing to ban people from seven majority-Muslim countries, or refugees, from entering the US. [The Stranger / Sydney Brownstone]
  • This is, mind you, only one of the 40 lawsuits that have already been filed against the ban. But the ruling is the biggest blow to the administration by far. [NPR / Joel Rose and Parker Yesko]
  • Previous orders had tried to order the government to allow people with valid visas onto planes. But the State Department had already "provisionally revoked," in one sweep, most visas from those countries, soon after the order was signed. So "people with valid visas" describes barely anyone at all. [Politico / Josh Gerstein and Isaac Arnsdorf]
  • The revocation of visas has allowed the public to put a number on how many people's lives have been upended by the order. The State Department says it revoked 60,000 visas — an attorney for the DOJ says it's more like 100,000. [Washington Post / Justin Jouvenal, Rachel Weiner, and Ann E. Marimow]
  • Either way, tens of thousands of people outside the US who had planned to come here (in many cases, to move here) were unable to — and tens of thousands of people in the US were unable to leave the country, for fear they wouldn't be able to return. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • Friday night's order might change that — at least temporarily. But the executive branch is also, quietly, walking back key parts of the order. The administration has finally "clarified" (admitted) that the executive order doesn't apply to green card holders. [BuzzFeed News / Chris Geidner]
  • And US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which froze all immigration applications (including for green cards and citizenship) from blacklisted countries, might be starting to process them again? It's kind of unclear. [The Intercept / Ryan Devereaux, Murtaza Hussain, and Alice Speri]
  • This isn't the beginning of the end. The executive order lays out a way to make the temporary ban permanent — which will involve just as much pain (if not more) to would-be immigrants, but with more advance notice and therefore, presumably, less frantic litigation. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • But the quiet administrative walkback is a sign that the administration isn't getting the deference it might have expected by citing terrorism — and that it's feeling the pressure. [Vox / Dara Lind]

The deadliest week in Ukraine since 2015

Sifting through the wreckage in Ukraine Associated Press
  • It’s been a bloody week in eastern Ukraine. Fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatist rebels took the lives of 33 people, including civilians, and injured several dozen more, as rockets and heavy artillery hit residential areas just north of a main rebel stronghold of Donetsk. It was the most violent week in the region since 2015. [Associated Press / Inna Varenytsia]
  • The violence has touched the lives of more than 16,000 civilians in the immediate area, who have been cut off from water and electricity in the dead of winter after shelling hit the town’s utilities infrastructure. Most residents in the area have been relying on humanitarian boxes of candles and food for survival. [Washington Post / Christian Borys]
  • Unsurprisingly, both sides are blaming each other for escalating violence this week. Russian-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian government forces have been warring since 2014, when Moscow moved troops into Crimea in eastern Ukraine. They both agreed to a peace deal brokered by France and Germany in February 2015 — but it has been broken by firefight repeatedly. The death toll has now exceeded 9,800 since 2014. [Reuters]
  • At her first appearance at the UN Security Council, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned Russia for the violence and called for Moscow to deescalate the situation. It's a speech the United States has repeatedly made since Russia’s invasion in 2014. Haley said the United States’ Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia restores control of the peninsula to Ukraine. [CNN / Nicole Gaouette and Richard Roth]
  • But Haley’s strong words haven’t undone a clear change in tone from the United States toward Russia since Donald Trump took office. Trump and some of his top officials have repeated their interest in thawing the United States’ relations with Russia — a shift that has made Ukraine increasingly nervous that the US might remove some of its sanctions on Russia. The White House barely made any comment on this week's developments, and the State Department’s comment on the escalation didn’t mention Russia at all. [Associated Press / Matthew Lee]
  • Ukraine's concerns have some merit. While campaigning for the White House, Trump echoed some Russian propaganda about conflict in the area, saying he has heard the people of Crimea “would rather be with Russia.” [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • Not to mention the timing of Russia’s aggression was especially eerie — just one day after Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their first formal conversation. It’s made some wonder whether Putin is testing Trump’s promise to ease relations between the two countries. [Economist]

Miscellaneous


Verbatim

  • "I think it is our national sin. It always intrigues me when people come out with, ‘I’m tired of talking about that,’ or, ‘Do we have to talk about race again?’ And the answer is, ‘You’re damned right we do.’" [Gregg Popovich via SB Nation / Tom Ziller]
  • "Time also seems to slow when we need to process a lot of new information. In normal times, we live life mostly on autopilot and our brains don’t have to do much work. Since Trump’s election, each day has been filled with surprising headlines that provoke a lot of discussion." [The Verge / Angela Chen]
  • "Full bust bras — i.e. DD+ cups, which is what Panache and Freya specialize in — have tremendously high [research and development] costs. It can literally take three years before a new full bust bra is ready for market … and people might hate it anyway." [Cora Harrington to Racked / Kelsey McKinney]
  • "The American system provides you with a choice. You can insist that you were just following orders. Or you can follow the law." [Slate / Ian Samuel]
  • "BoJack Horseman’s angle on mental health or Mom’s treatment of substance abuse or Transparent’s views on identity is like a series-long very special episode. … They might sometimes be comedies in theory, but they are always very special sitcoms." [A.V. Club / Erik Adams]

Watch this: Trump’s immigration ban actually makes it harder to fight terrorism

The immigrant ban is rattling key relationships in the Middle East. [YouTube / Sam Ellis and Johnny Harris]