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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
  • Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employment and Training Administration: Who Is John Pallasch?

    Tuesday, May 08, 2018
    Pallasch joined the Dept of Labor in 2001, as a special assistant directing the closure of department offices across the country. In 2007, he was named a deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Pallasch even served as acting head of the MSHA for three days in 2008 after the appointment of acting director Richard Stickler expired. In 2009, Pallasch took a post as a special assistant in the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.   read more
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency: Who Is Gina Haspel?

    Monday, May 07, 2018
    Part of Haspel’s time at CIA was her tenure as chief of a black-site prison in Thailand beginning in 2002. She was appointed deputy director of the CIA in 2017 despite opposition from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle because of her involvement with torture and rendition. Later, Haspel was to be a witness in a suit brought against two psychologists who ran the torture program. The Trump administration invoked executive powers to keep Haspel and others from having to testify.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to United Arab Emirates: Who Is John Rakolta, Jr.?

    Sunday, May 06, 2018
    Rakolta’s construction company has been engaged in construction projects in the UAE for many years. Rakolta and members of his family donated more than $260,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, as well as $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration. He also served as a financial advisor for Trump in Michigan and helped fund Trump’s transition team after the election. A lifelong Republican, Rakolta has donated more than $845,000 to Republican candidates and organizations over the years.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs: Who Is David Schenker?

    Friday, May 04, 2018
    Schenker has spent most of his career at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that supports the Israeli government, starting as an analyst after graduate school. In 2002, he temporarily left the Washington Institute to be Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine) country director in the Bush Defense Dept under Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Schenker returned to the Washington Institute in 2006 and has been there since.   read more
  • Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission: Who is William H. Pryor Jr.?

    Monday, April 30, 2018
    Pryor called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history,” and warned that if it recognized a constitutional right to homosexual sex, it would “logically extend” to activities like “prostitution, adultery...and pedophilia.” But he also angered religious conservatives. As Alabama’s attorney general, he removed Roy Moore as the state's chief justice because Moore defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Uruguay: Who Is Kenn George?

    Sunday, April 29, 2018
    President Donald Trump has chosen an old crony of President George W. Bush to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Uruguay. Kenn George is a Dallas businessman who grew up in Midland, Texas, with George W. Bush. Although George has no apparent connection to or knowledge of Uruguay, his appointment is a reward for being a Republican donor and politico. In fact, he has donated nearly $200,000 to Republican candidates and organizations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.   read more
  • National Security Adviser: Who Is John Bolton?

    Wednesday, April 25, 2018
    As a reward for his efforts to help get George W. Bush elected in the contested 2000 presidential race, Bolton was named under secretary of state for arms control. In that post he effected the withdrawal of the U.S. from the International Criminal Court, and claimed without evidence that Cuba was running a biological weapons program. In 2001, he helped derail the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention that banned production and use of such weapons, claiming it endangered U.S. national security.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kenya: Who Is Kyle McCarter?

    Monday, April 23, 2018
    As an Illinois state senator, McCarter filed a bill in 2011 to allow Catholic charities to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and unmarried couples in adoption and foster care placements. The following year, he worked successfully to defeat an anti-bullying bill because, he said, it would promote homosexuality. In 2015, he opposed a bill to fund treatment for heroin addicts, even though his daughter had died of an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago: Who Is Joseph Mondello?

    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Donald Trump chose a longtime Republican politico to be the next United States ambassador to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Joseph N. Mondello has served as chairman of the Nassau County, New York, Republican Committee since May 1983. He also served as the Republican National Committeeman for New York from 1992 to 2004, as chairman of the New York Republican State Committee from 2006 to 2009, and as a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican Convention, as did his wife, Linda.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency: Who Is Nancy A. Norton?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018
    After serving as chief of Naval operations strategic studies group fellow in Newport, Rhode Island, Norton was promoted in 2013 to rear admiral and named director for command, control, communications and cyber for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. She was transferred to the Pentagon in 2015 as director of the Warfare Integration Directorate in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Norton was named vice director of DISA in 2017 in preparation for taking over as the agency’s director.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Who Is Kimberly Breier?

    Monday, April 16, 2018
    In 2007, Breier became the senior political analyst for a “key Middle Eastern country” until 2009, when she was promoted to manager and worked on creating and running what she describes as “the first-ever analytic tradecraft team covering a high-profile country in the Middle East.” Breier left government service in 2012 to work for the consulting firm Peschard-Sverdrup International, where she performed country risk assessments on Latin American countries for three mining companies.   read more
  • Commissioner of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Mark Schultz?

    Sunday, April 15, 2018
    Schultz spent 20 years as director of the Assistive Technology Partnership, a Nebraska agency that helps the disabled use technology to improve their lives. He also was a barrier-free design specialist for the League of Human Dignity. Schultz was with Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation beginning in 2008, first as associate director and since October 2009 as director. More recently, he was named deputy commissioner in the Nebraska Department of Education.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Colombia: Who Is Joseph Macmanus?

    Friday, April 13, 2018
    In 2012, Macmanus was named permanent representative to the UN mission in Vienna and to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There, he participated in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal. During a 2013 negotiating session, Iran accused Israel of genocide. Macmanus, along with representatives of Canada and Australia, stormed out of the session in protest. But after the agreement was finalized, Secretary of State John Kerry named Macmanus to coordinate implementation of the deal with Iran.   read more
  • Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation: Who Is Robert Alvaro?

    Thursday, April 12, 2018
    Alvaro has spent his entire career in the U.S. Army, first in the infantry and later as a foreign area officer, rising to the rank of colonel. He has served as battalion logistical officer, company executive officer, and rifle platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York; as plans officer in the Second Infantry Division in South Korea; and as division G3 readiness officer and company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.   read more
  • Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Who Is Jon Parrish Peede?

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018
    Despite proposing last year to abolish the agency altogether, Trump recently named Peede as new chair for the NEH, the largest funder of humanities-related activities in the U.S. Peede’s first public service experience was at the NEA, the NEH’s sister institution, from 2003 to 2011. He served as counselor to its chair, director of the Big Read program and director of Operation Homecoming, which helped war veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq write about their experiences.   read more
  • Bots Overwhelm Humans in Spreading News on Twitter

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018
    Pew reported that 500 active bots were responsible for 22% of tweeted links to news and current event pages. Active human users, meanwhile, were responsible for just 6% of tweeted links from popular news sites. Lately, bots have become inextricably tied to the spread of “fake news” and synonymous with interference in the 2016 presidential election and the sowing of partisan divides. Twitter estimated that 1.4 million users engaged with Russian propaganda through postings on its platform.   read more
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