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  • Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz Battle Donald Trump for Silliest Republican of the Week

    Thursday, January 30, 2020
    With a face as straight as Ken Starr’s, Trump asked Palestinians to adopt laws “protecting against financial and political corruption.” He did this while standing next to Benjamin Netanyahu, who, that same day, had been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases of corruption.   read more
  • Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Who Is Gordon Hartogensis?

    Monday, June 04, 2018
    Hartogensis is a wealthy private investor who has no experience in government or pension fund management. However, he's well-connected, in a nepotistic way. He's married to Grace Chao, a sister of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This makes Hartogensis a brother-in-law of both Chao and McConnell. Consequently, the nomination has raised serious ethical questions.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of Education for Career, Technical, and Adult Education: Who Is Scott Stump?

    Sunday, June 03, 2018
    Stump was Trump's second choice for the post because his first choice, Tim Kelly, was forced to withdraw after several bigoted blog posts written by Kelly became public knowledge. In 2014-2015, Stump was president of the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium, now known as Advance CTE. In January 2015, Stump left public service to become chief operating officer at Vivayic, whose co-founders had long considered Stump a mentor.   read more
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Who Is Robert Wilkie?

    Friday, June 01, 2018
    In 2010, Wilkie was named vice president and business development director for large Department of Defense program integration opportunities at design and construction consulting firm CH2M Hill. He returned to Capitol Hill in 2015 as an adviser to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina). Wilkie worked on the Donald Trump transition team before being nominated in 2017 to be under secretary at Defense. Wilkie has also served as an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve and the Air Force Reserve.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Nepal: Who Is Randy Berry?

    Thursday, May 31, 2018
    A career Foreign Service officer, Berry became, in 2015, the State Department’s first special envoy for human rights of LGBTI persons. He remained in the post for a time after Trump’s inauguration, despite disapproval from some in the conservative community. Just before Trump took office, Berry was named deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. His first assignment in Nepal came in 2007, when he was named deputy chief of mission there.   read more
  • Chair of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Resigns: Who Was Vanessa Allen Sutherland?

    Wednesday, May 30, 2018
    Sutherland did not give a reason for her departure. However, the Trump administration has twice attempted to zero out the board’s funding in annual budget requests, which is particularly alarming considering that the CSB does not engage in regulatory or enforcement activities. It only conducts safety investigations. For example, in April 2018, Sutherland released a report pointing out that a deadly 2017 explosion at a Louisiana paper mill might have been prevented by tougher regulations.   read more
  • President of the Government National Mortgage Administration (Ginnie Mae): Who Is Michael Bright?

    Tuesday, May 29, 2018
    In 2009, Bright became a large bank financial analyst for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The following year he moved to the staff of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) as financial policy adviser. There, he helped write the Corker-Warner Bill, which would have eliminated federal mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in favor of a new entity and shift more risk to the private sector. The bill did not make it through the Senate.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Estonia: Who Was Sonny Masso?

    Monday, May 28, 2018
    Masso’s withdrawal of his nomination remains a mystery. He never received a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and neither the White House, State Dept, nor committee leaders would provide an explanation. However, Estonian officials made clear their concern that the Trump administration was “downgrading” their nation by replacing the current U.S. ambassador, a career diplomat, with Masso, who was a political appointee and acquaintance of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.   read more
  • Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board: Who Is Steve Feinberg?

    Sunday, May 27, 2018
    President Trump's political appointments tend to be military generals or billionaires. In Feinberg, Trump has a billionaire who likes to play soldier. Feinberg has trained in marksmanship with ex-military snipers and set up a private “military base” outside Memphis. His company, Cerberus, owns DynCorp, a defense contractor that charges billions of dollars for overseas military training. DynCorp reportedly was urged to submit proposals to the Trump White House to field a private military force.   read more
  • Under Secretary of State for African Affairs: Who Is Tibor Nagy Jr.?

    Thursday, May 24, 2018
    Nagy was a refugee from Hungary as a child, but grew up to be a career U.S. Foreign Service officer who spent his entire career working in Africa or on African issues. In 1987, he began a string of assignments as deputy chief of mission, serving first in Togo, then Cameroon and Nigeria. Nagy was first appointed an ambassador, to Guinea, in 1996, then returned to Ethiopia as ambassador in Addis Ababa. Nagy worked to improve living conditions for Foreign Service officers and their families.   read more
  • Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety: Who Is Mindy Brashears?

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018
    Brashears received more than $20 million in research grants over her career. Many came from government agencies, but a significant portion came from entities such as the Texas Beef Council and the American Meat Industry Foundation. Brashears will be regulating the industry that supported her academic career. She holds at least 17 patents, some for food decontamination processes. Unless she gives up the patents, she could benefit financially from those her agency is supposed to regulate.   read more
  • Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board: Who Is John Ring?

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018
    As an attorney, Ring represented the American Trucking Associations, Marriott International and ocean shipping firms. His biography boasts of his “extensive dealings with reduction-in-force issues,” that is, layoffs. In his confirmation hearing, Sen. Patty Murray said Ring worked to hurt employees on behalf of his clients. “The last thing our nation’s labor board needs is another champion for those at the top,” she told him. “You’ve encouraged the board to undermine long-established rights.”   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service: Who Is John Lowry III?

    Monday, May 21, 2018
    Lowry served as general manager of Powertrain Operations at Harley-Davidson Motor Company in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, from 2001 to 2013. He left the company to become chief operating officer at REV Recreation Group, a manufacturer of recreational vehicles and motor homes in Decatur, Indiana, from 2013 to 2015. Since 2016, Lowry has been a consultant at Egon Zehnder, a corporate leadership advisory firm, in Chicago, where he heads the firm’s U.S. Supply Chain Practice.   read more
  • Director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Who Is Heidi King?

    Thursday, May 17, 2018
    In 2013, King became global director for environmental safety and risk for GE Capital. In 2017, she was appointed deputy administrator of the NHTSA, effectively running the organization since it had no administrator. While in that role, King advocated for reducing fuel mileage targets put into place during the Obama administration. She has also had to defend the agency’s handling of the Takata air bag recall, which involves more than 3 million vehicles and at least 22 deaths.   read more
  • Director of the National Security Agency: Who Is Paul Nakasone?

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018
    Nakasone rose in the Army, serving as a company commander in South Korea, and working at the Pentagon at the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Beginning in 2007, he was in charge of the Fort Meade (Maryland) Operations Center, where he deployed NSA personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan. During that time, he was also among a small group of officers to conceive the first cyber warfare command in the U.S. military, and served as executive assistant to the commander at the U.S. Cyber Command.   read more
  • Commissioner of the Social Security Administration: Who Is Andrew Saul?

    Sunday, May 13, 2018
    Saul joined the board of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1997. In 2003, he was chairman of the MTA audit committee when state and city comptrollers accused MTA of keeping two sets of books. In 2007, Saul entered the race for Congress from his home district in New York, and his deep pockets made the candidacy popular with the GOP. However, Saul dropped out of the race in 2007 days after The New York Times reported that two of his campaign donors were bidding to build on MTA property.   read more
  • Trump and Iran: The Big Winner is Vladimir Putin

    Thursday, May 10, 2018
    As analysts try to determine who were the big winners and losers in President Donald Trump’s decision pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, most of them seem to have overlooked one of the biggest winners of all…Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin gained a triple victory.   read more
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