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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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Who Is Robert Redfield Jr.?

    Monday, April 09, 2018
    In the 1980s, Redfield championed a policy under which service members were tested for HIV. Those who tested positive were segregated from other service members and treated like prisoners, with some dishonorably discharged. “What one wants in a director of the CDC is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity,” said CSPI's Peter Lurie. “What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda."   read more
  • Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board: Who Is Ann Begeman?

    Sunday, April 08, 2018
    An assistant to then-Sen. Larry Pressler, Begeman followed Pressler, in 1995, to the Senate Commerce Committee when Pressler took over as its chairman. She worked there as a staffer, then became the deputy staff director before leaving in 2004 for the staff of Sen. John McCain. Begeman served as his legislative director and acting chief of staff, and she took a leave to work as a campaign spokesman during McCain’s unsuccessful 2008 run for the presidency.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Foreign Missions: Who Is Stephen Akard?

    Friday, April 06, 2018
    Akard was tapped in 2017 to join the Trump team in the State Dept. He was later nominated to be director general of the Foreign Service, a job traditionally given to those with long years of State Dept service. Akard’s nomination drew fierce criticism from current and former members of the Foreign Service. The job requires Foreign Service experience to keep it from being politicized. The nomination was withdrawn the day after Akard was nominated to lead the Office of Foreign Missions.   read more
  • Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: Who Is Aimee Jorjani?

    Wednesday, April 04, 2018
    Upon graduating from Northern Michigan University in 1999, Jorjani went right into government with a job as a legislative aide to Rep. Paul Ryan. She moved to the Interior Dept and soon became special assistant for historic preservation there. As the Bush administration was winding down, Jorjani went to work for the non-profit Preservation Action, a group that lobbies on preservation issues. Since earning her M.A. degree in 2012, she has been an independent preservation consultant.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): Who Is Steven H. Walker?

    Tuesday, April 03, 2018
    In 1997, Walker became program manager for the Unsteady Aerodynamics and Hypersonics Research Program at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He was named special assistant to the director of defense research and engineering at the Pentagon in 2001. Walker then moved to DARPA as program manager in the Tactical Technology Office, working on the Falcon hypersonic program, with the goal of creating a platform that would deliver a weapon anywhere in the world in about two hours.   read more
  • Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration: Who Is Paul R. Lawrence?

    Monday, April 02, 2018
    In Lawrence, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a permanent undersecretary for benefits for the first time since 2015. After more than 15 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lawrence became something of a job-hopper, working as a vice president with IBM Business Consulting Services, as a senior director with the MITRE Corporation, and as a vice president with Accenture. In all these positions, Lawrence provided consulting services to government leaders and agencies.   read more
  • Chair of the National Council on Disability: Who Is Neil Romano?

    Sunday, April 01, 2018
    After working as executive director of the Republican Party in Monmouth County, in 1984 Romano, although only 29 years old, gained the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives in a heavily Democratic district and was defeated by incumbent Robert Torricelli. Much later, Romano explained, “I ran only because it was a huge stage. All I wanted to talk about was drugs, and drug abuse, and the devastation it had on the American family.'”   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Johnny Collett?

    Friday, March 30, 2018
    Collett initially followed his father into the ministry and served as a pastor for about ten years. He then taught public high school for eight years. In 2008, Collett joined the Kentucky Dept of Education, first as an exceptional children consultant, then as an assistant division director and finally as state director for special education. He left Kentucky in 2015 for the Council of Chief State School Officers, where he served as its program director for special education outcomes.   read more
  • U.S. Has Special Forces in 149 Countries and Ambassadors in 144

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018
    Under Trump, the U.S. State Dept. has been gutted – with the departure of many high-level career diplomats and a proposed budget drop of 29%. Without diplomats to guide our military, we are left with an accelerating vicious cycle – the more “bad guys” we kill abroad, the more we have to kill. An increasing number of those we pre-emptively kill, instead of bargaining with, will be either civilians or heroes in their own countries. Martyring them guarantees the loss of future American lives.   read more
  • Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Andrei Iancu?

    Monday, March 26, 2018
    An attorney whose firm once represented Donald Trump, Mark Burnett Prodns, and NBC Universal in a copyright case concerning Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice,” is now director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and under secretary of commerce for intellectual property. Iancu has served on the board of directors of Sinai Temple, the oldest and largest Conservative Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, and also been a member of the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee since 2010.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Who Is Robert P. Ashley Jr.?

    Sunday, March 25, 2018
    In 2012, Ashley was made deputy chief of staff, intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and soon moved up to major general. In 2013, he took over as commandant and base commander of the Army Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He became lieutenant general in 2015. His next assignment was at the Pentagon as deputy Army chief of staff in charge of intelligence, counterintelligence and security.   read more
  • Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration: Who Is Mira Ricardel?

    Friday, March 23, 2018
    When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, he brought in Ricardel as the leader of the Defense Department transition team. Early in the administration, she clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over the vetting of nominees for that department. Mattis threatened to quit if Ricardel wasn’t moved out of the Defense Department because she was blocking his choices for various positions. Shortly after, on March 30, 2017, Ricardel was nominated for the Commerce Department post.   read more
  • Director of the Missile Defense Agency: Who Is Samuel Greaves?

    Thursday, March 22, 2018
    As commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, Greaves worked to find alternatives to the Russian rocket engine that powers the Atlas V rocket. Contracts were eventually awarded to Aerojet Rocketdyne and the United Launch Alliance. Greaves also was there in April 2016 when SpaceX broke the Boeing-Lockheed Martin monopoly for the development of national security payload launches. Greaves was still in command at Los Angeles AFB when he was appointed to lead the Missile Defense Agency.   read more
  • Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service: Who Is Brandon Lipps?

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018
    Lipps helped write the law that cut $8.6 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Also known as food stamps, the SNAP program keeps millions of people from starvation. Lipps pushed for adding work requirements to receive SNAP benefits and rolled out the Trump plan to provide “harvest boxes” of pre-selected food in lieu of half of SNAP benefits to more than 16 million poor households. Lipps was booed when he proposed the boxes at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.   read more
  • Chief of the United States Forest Service Resigns Over Sexual Misconduct: Who Was Tony Tooke?

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018
    Tooke resigned March 7, 2018, after news surfaced of an investigation into complaints of pervasive sexual harassment, assault, and retaliation. The probe by the USDA also includes claims of sexual misconduct against Tooke himself, including an apparently consensual relationship with a subordinate before he became chief. He is also alleged to have offered a job to a woman with whom he was having an affair, and later threatened her with retaliation if she revealed their relationship.   read more
  • Defense Security Cooperation Agency: Who Is Charles Hooper?

    Monday, March 19, 2018
    From 2009 to 2011, Hooper was deputy director of strategy at U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, where he conducted security cooperation, defense policy formulation, and military strategic planning for the Asia-Pacific region. He then oversaw strategy, plans and programs at US Africa Command in Germany, where he supervised a staff of 270 with a budget of $500 million. Finally, from 2014 to 2017, he served as senior defense attaché at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt.   read more
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