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  • CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation: Who Is Sean Cairncross?

    Tuesday, January 16, 2018
    Cairncross has no background in development aid to poor countries, which is the mission of the organization he was nominated to lead. He was, however, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’ assistant, a position whose days were numbered after Priebus was ousted six months into Trump's presidency. Years earlier, as counsel for the Republican National Committee, Cairncross helped push the GOP's “voter fraud” agenda, coming out against voter registration efforts and pushing voter ID laws.   read more
  • Burkina Faso’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Seydou Kaboré?

    Monday, January 15, 2018
    In 2008, Kaboré was named Burkina Faso’s minister of infrastructure and road development under Tertius Zongo, who was then prime minister of the landlocked West African nation. In 2010, Kaboré signed a deal to borrow the equivalent of $12.7 million to finance infrastructure repairs needed after a 2009 flood dropped 300 millimeters of water—about a foot—on the country in 10 hours. Kaboré left the cabinet in 2012 for a stint as community affairs manager for Belahourou Mining Company.   read more
  • Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Who Is Kevin McAleenan?

    Sunday, January 14, 2018
    In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, McAleenan refocused his career onto national security issues. He applied to the FBI but was soon contacted by the recently confirmed commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service (later renamed CBP). In 2001, McAleenan moved to Washington DC and set to work establishing the embryonic Office of Antiterrorism. He was later promoted to be its executive director. McAleenan has been running CBP on an acting basis since day one of Trump's administration.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Panama Resigns: Who Is John Feeley?

    Friday, January 12, 2018
    Feeley informed the State Department on December 27, 2017, that he would be leaving the Foreign Service because he no longer believed he could work for President Donald Trump. Feeley’s resignation was made public on January 12, 2018, the day after Trump remarked at a White House meeting with members of Congress working on immigration issues: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Chile: Who Is Andrew Gellert?

    Friday, January 12, 2018
    Gellert has no diplomatic experience, but he does run a company that is involved in real estate ventures with The Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. And his own company does business in Chile, including a raisin drying facility and the supply of cranberries and prunes. He is also treasurer of Atalanta, the largest privately held food importer in the U.S., and has an interest in Five Guys burger restaurants and other fast-food operations.   read more
  • Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States: Who Is Jose “Babe” Romualdez?

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018
    For nine months, Philippine President Duterte had threatened not to name a new ambassador to the U.S. "No ambassador will go there," he insisted. "I do not feel like sending one.” But in July 2017, Duterte sent media executive Romualdez to Washington as the Philippines' ambassador and special envoy. Besides such issues as trade, investment and terrorism, Romualdez will deal with the demand that the U.S. return the Balangiga church bells, which were taken by the U.S. Army in 1901.   read more
  • Libya’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Wafa Bugaighis?

    Monday, January 08, 2018
    Bugaighis began her career in 1988 as a chemical engineer for Arabian Gulf Oil and continued in that position for more than 18 years. She moved into public service in 2007 as deputy chairwoman of Nour Al Maarif Education Co. In 2014, Bugaighis’ cousin, attorney and human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis, was killed in Benghazi after voting in a local election. Islamic militants were thought to be responsible for the assassination.   read more
  • Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States: Who Is Javlon Vakhabov?

    Sunday, January 07, 2018
    Uzbekistan has sent a new envoy to Washington. Javlon Vakhabov is a young diplomat who hopes to emphasize his country’s alleged turn towards openness and reform after the death in September 2016 of dictator Islam Karimov, who had ruled the country with an iron fist for 17 years. In 2006, Karimov appointed Vakhabov to the Uzbek National Security Council, serving as leading consultant and as head consultant until 2011, when he was promoted to deputy secretary of the Council.   read more
  • Trump Sets Modern Record for Least Number of Bills Signed into Law

    Friday, January 05, 2018
    Throughout 2017, President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress have touted their passing of the most legislation in modern history. But in fact, Trump has signed the fewest bills into law in any president’s first year at least as far back as President Eisenhower. By his own standard, Trump has sunk to last place with 94 bills signed into law by his 336th day in office. He has been in the bottom half for most of his presidency, and without a major turn-around, he will remain at or near the bottom.   read more
  • Trump Gains Millions of Dollars from Republican Tax Law

    Wednesday, January 03, 2018
    Despite his false claim that his tax plan would “cost me a fortune,” President Trump will undoubtedly be among the very wealthy who will benefit enormously from his tax plan. Several elements will be particular boons to Trump and his family. Trump’s exact tax savings are difficult to estimate since he has refused to release his tax returns unlike every other president over the last 40 years—but it is likely to be at least $11 million a year and perhaps as much as $22 million.   read more
  • Ambassador of Zambia to the United States: Who Is Ngosa Simbyakula?

    Tuesday, January 02, 2018
    Simbyakula served as a member of parliament from 2011 to 2016 as a member of the Patriotic Front, Zambia’s center-left party. In 2015, newly-elected President Edgar Lungu named Simbyakula minister of justice, a position he held until 2016. In that job, Simbyakula played a leading role in enacting a major revision of Zambia’s constitution. Simbyakula also served as acting president for about a week in 2015, while Lungu was in South Africa for surgery to correct a digestive problem.   read more
  • Trump Administration Cancels Obama-Era Restrictions on Fracking

    Sunday, December 31, 2017
    The BLM said that eliminating Obama’s fracking rule “supports [the] president’s priorities" and reduces “the burden of federal regulations that hinder economic growth and energy development.” Last December, the EPA issued a finding that fracking contaminates water. "Across the country, Americans have had their lives turned upside down as fracking has poisoned the water coming out of their faucets and has made their families sick,” Mark Ruffalo of Americans Against Fracking said at the time.   read more
  • Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Sylvanus Nsofor?

    Friday, December 29, 2017
    In 2003, Nsofor was the dissenting vote in a three-justice panel in a contested presidential race between candidates Buhari of the ANPP and incumbent Obasanjo of the PDP. Nsofor wrote that the PDP had engaged in intimidation tactics and violence: “I find that the substantial non-compliance with the mandatory electoral law amounts to no election. I also find that there was violence perpetuated by Pres. Obasanjo...” Obasanjo was nonetheless confirmed for a second term.   read more
  • Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance: Who Is Andrea Thompson?

    Tuesday, December 26, 2017
    As chief of staff (intelligence) for the U.S.-led forces in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thompson served under disgraced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI—a felony—for covering up conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn played a major role in Thompson’s 2016 retirement ceremony, after which she became director at the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute. She left in 2017 to serve as national security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence.   read more
  • Under Secretary for Nuclear Security: Who Is Lisa Gordon-Hagerty?

    Monday, December 25, 2017
    In 1998, Gordon-Hagerty took a job on the staff of the National Security Council as director for combating terrorism. She was on duty in the White House when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred. In 2003, she became executive VP and CEO of USEC, which supplied fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. Gordon-Hagerty was said to be a model for Nicole Kidman's character--a woman supervising the search for stolen Russian nuclear weapons--in the 1997 film, The Peacemaker.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs: Who Is Susan Thornton?

    Sunday, December 24, 2017
    In a major political victory for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over former White House advisor Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump has nominated Susan A. Thornton to lead the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Thornton, who has been acting assistant secretary since March 2017, was strongly opposed by Bannon, who bragged to an interviewer in August that he was “getting Susan Thornton out at State” because she was not sufficiently hawkish.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education: Who Is Frank Brogan?

    Friday, December 22, 2017
    In 1994, Brogan won election as Florida’s commissioner of education, but not without opposition from teachers’ unions. “We never got comfortable that he had kids at heart,” said Florida Teaching Professional's Jeff Wright. “We felt many of his moves were political.” Brogan was a good fit as Jeb Bush’s running mate in the state gubernatorial election, echoing Bush's support of charter schools, and his promotion of “voluntary” prayer and “creation theory” in public schools.   read more
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