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  • Trump Administration Breaks Human Rights Tradition in Border Patrol Beating Death Case

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017
    Attorneys said the Trump administration will “lose badly” for failing to respond to a family’s petition regarding Border Patrol agents' killing of their loved one at the border. The family claims human rights abuses over the agents’ extrajudicial killing and an allegedly botched investigation by U.S. officials. The U.S. has remained silent – breaking decades of tradition of cooperating with the human rights agency IACHR, even with regard to abuse of prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay.   read more
  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Aging: Who Is Lance Robertson?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Just a year after graduating, Robertson co-founded the Gerontology Institute at Oklahoma State University, of which he was director from February 1994 to June 2005. He also served as executive director of PartnerShips for Aging, the largest regional gerontology association in the U.S. Additionally, Robertson has served as the president of the National Association of States United for Aging & Disability (NASUAD), a leading authority on aging and disability.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Portugal: Who Is George Glass?

    Wednesday, July 12, 2017
    A major donor to Trump’s presidential campaign, Glass was repaid for his generosity by being nominated to the ambassadorship. He originally supported Jeb Bush in the most recent presidential contest, giving him $2,700 in 2015. He was a bigger donor to Trump, giving Trump Victory $77,500, as well as $22,500 to Trump’s scaled-down inaugural and $33,400 to the RNC during the last cycle. He has also contributed tens of thousands of dollars to numerous state Republican parties.   read more
  • Albuquerque Police Scramble to Hide Spying Details

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017
    “The city needs to stop stonewalling and disclose information about how it collects and uses cell phone data," said ACLU's Peter Simonson. “If APD is using Stingrays to snoop into people’s private information...[we] need to ensure that protections are in place to prevent these powerful tools from being misused or abused.” The Albuquerque Police Dept has been under federal investigation for years, and court-appointed monitoring, for excessive force and police killings.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Costa Rica: Who Is Sharon Day?

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017
    Day, who until late 2016 served as the co-chair of the RNC, has been nominated by President Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica. She has no diplomatic experience. But, like Trump, she has a history of media bashing. In 2012, the Republican presidential candidate lost the women’s vote for the sixth election in a row. Day then spent the next two years traveling around the U.S. encouraging women to vote Republican. She's such an enthusiastic Republican that she named her dog Reagan.   read more
  • Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Who Is James Clinger?

    Monday, July 10, 2017
    As acting associate attorney general in the G.W. Bush administration, Clinger signed the refusal to give Congress a memo by Jay Bybee, head of the Office of Legal Counsel, justifying the use of torture, and a presidential order to bypass U.S. law by authorizing the use of secret overseas CIA prisons for interrogations. Clinger has long been chief counsel for the House Financial Services Committee and was found to have accepted free trips from those the committee was supposed to be regulating.   read more
  • Micronesia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Akillino Susaia?

    Sunday, July 09, 2017
    Susaia is no stranger to the United States. In Hawaii in April 2008, he served as consul general, representing the interests of the large number of Micronesians who lived there. Susaia was sworn in as Micronesia's first resident ambassador to China on March 26, 2010, with additional responsibility for Thailand, Vietnam and, in 2013, South Korea. He served in Beijing until 2015, when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Pohnpei, losing to Marcelo Peterson 53%-47%.   read more
  • Comptroller of the Currency: Who Is Joseph Otting?

    Friday, July 07, 2017
    Otting was CEO of One West Bank, found to have improperly foreclosed on homeowners. “The president’s choice for watchdog of America’s largest banks is someone who signed a consent order—over shady foreclosure practices—with the very agency he’s been selected to run. If Mr. Otting didn’t deal fairly with the customers at his own bank, it’s difficult to see why he’s the best choice to look out for the interests of customers at more than 1,400 banks...across the country,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown.   read more
  • Trump's "Voter Fraud Panel" Runs into Legal Problems

    Thursday, July 06, 2017
    The Brennan Center says Kobach has long supported voter-suppression efforts and that Trump's election commission, of which Kobach is vice chair, is not authorized to compel voter information from states. To date, 44 states have refused to comply with the request, with some secretaries of state saying that compliance would only pay lip service to Trump’s already debunked claims of large-scale voter fraud. The NAACP has called the commission’s letters illegal and a threat to democracy.   read more
  • Secretary of the Navy: Who Is Richard Spencer?

    Thursday, July 06, 2017
    Donald Trump has chosen another money man to lead the Navy. His nomination of Spencer is his second try at filling the job, after financier Philip Bilden decided not to serve because of the cost to his portfolio. Given Spencer’s wealth, it's not surprising it was reported that he “is also caught up in a mess of financial entanglements that have proved tricky to unwind.” Spencer had been VP of Spirit Airways before heading east to find his fortune on Wall Street, where he worked for 16 years.   read more
  • Honduras’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Marlon Tábora?

    Wednesday, July 05, 2017
    In January 2010, Tábora took over as vice minister of the presidency and chief of staff to Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, after serving as an advisor to his presidential campaign. Five months later, Tábora moved to Washington to serve as senior counselor at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which finances development in Latin America. In 2013 he was made IDB’s alternate executive director for Central America and Belize and was named coordinator of the government’s economic cabinet.   read more
  • Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Who Is Christopher Wray?

    Tuesday, July 04, 2017
    As asst attorney general (AG) working under then-Deputy AG James Comey, Wray briefed AG John Ashcroft about the investigation into the G.W. Bush administration’s leaking of Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA agent. Wray, along with Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller, threatened to resign when the Bush administration attempted to revive an NSA domestic surveillance program that DOJ had found to be illegal. Wray also recently represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the Bridgegate trial.   read more
  • President of the U.S. Institute of Peace: Who Is Nancy Lindborg?

    Monday, July 03, 2017
    Lindborg, in 2010, became assistant administrator of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID. She led efforts to mitigate suffering during the Syria crisis, the droughts in Sahel and Horn of Africa, the Arab Spring, the Ebola response and other crises. She remained there until joining the Institute of Peace. In March 2017, Lindborg testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee decrying cuts in the foreign aid budget proposed by President Trump.   read more
  • Spain’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pedro Morenés?

    Sunday, July 02, 2017
    Morenés entered government in 1996 as Spain's secretary of state for defense, and in 2000 was named secretary of state for security. In 2010 he was named general director of the MBDA missile company. He also served on the board of defense contractor Instalaza which made, among other things, cluster bombs. When Spain banned cluster bombs in 2008, Morenés and Instalza sought compensation from the Spanish government because the company could no longer manufacture the banned devices.   read more
  • Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fareed Yasseen?

    Friday, June 30, 2017
    Yasseen’s field of study was theoretical plasma physics, but by the 1990s he began to focus on human rights issues in Iraq as well. With a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, he co-founded the Center for the Disappeared, a group dedicated to remembering victims of Hussein’s rule who were taken away by security forces and never seen again. In 2002, thanks to a $150,000 grant from the U.S. State Dept, they added a website and listed names of more than 10,000 missing Iraqis.   read more
  • Ambassador of Mexico to the United States: Who Is Gerónimo Gutiérrez?

    Thursday, June 29, 2017
    At his confirmation hearing, Gutiérrez told the Mexican Senate: “During the recent [U.S.] election campaign our country was the subject of positions and actions that cannot be described but as contrary to the kind of relationship we want to build, a relationship of respect, and sometimes they were downright hostile and unacceptable. These positions and actions reflect…a clear ignorance of what Mexico is... But mostly they are contrary to the values that this nation has pushed for decades..."   read more
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