Archive for December, 2016

Today’s Dream Team Scouting Report: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General #JeffSessions #AttorneyGeneral #TrumpPresidente

December 30, 2016

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  • Jeff Sessions was born in Selma, Alabama on December 24, 1946.
  • The son of a country store owner. Growing up in the country, Sessions was instilled with the core values – honesty, hard work, belief in God and parental respect – that define him today.
  • In 1964, he became an Eagle Scout and has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
  • Sessions worked his way through Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969.
  • He received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Alabama in 1973.
  • Sessions served in the United States Army Reserve from 1973 to 1986 ultimately attaining the rank of Captain. He still considers that period to be one of the most rewarding chapters of his life.

Sessions’ interest in the law led to a distinguished legal career:

  • First as a practicing attorney in Russellville, and Mobile, Alabama
  • Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama (1975-1977)
  • Nominated by President Reagan in 1981 and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the United States Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District, a position he held for 12 years.
  • Sessions was elected Alabama Attorney General in 1995, serving as the state’s chief legal officer until 1997, when he entered the United States Senate.

As a United States Senator, Sessions has focused his energies on maintaining a strong military, upholding the rule of law, limiting the role of government, and providing tax relief to stimulate economic growth and empowering Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.

  • Dubbed a “budget hawk” by the Alabama press, Sen. Sessions was selected for the 112th and 113th Congresses to serve as the Ranking Member on the Senate Budget Committee to restrain the growth of federal spending and make permanent tax cuts.
  • As a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he is a leading advocate of confirming federal judges who follow the law and do not legislate from the bench.
  • As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sessions is a strong advocate for the military, including the four major defense installations in Alabama.
  • Sessions also serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. His membership on the EPW Committee provides him the opportunity to develop policies that promote reliable and affordable energy sources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
  • A strong environmentalist, he was responsible for legislation that created the newest addition to the National Wildlife Refuge system, the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge near Anniston.
  • He authored legislation that extended wilderness protection for Dugger Mountain in the Talladega National Forest, and
  • The White House, upon Sessions’ recommendation, formed a high-level working group to assess mercury pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Senator Sessions authored the Honoring Every Requirement of Exemplary Service (HEROES) Act, which was signed into law in May 2005. This legislation increased the payment received by the families of fallen combat soldiers from $12,000 to $100,000 and also increased the maximum servicemen’s life insurance benefit from $250,000 to $400,000.
  • Sessions played a leading role in ensuring that the Medicare Prescription Drug law included a rural health care component that reduced the disparity in Medicare payments that has devastated Alabama hospitals.
  • Sessions authored a key provision in the 2001 tax cut bill to make interest earned on tuition savings and prepaid tuition plans tax free.
  • Senator Sessions joined in leading efforts to make funding more equal in the Ryan White CARE Act. The South has been hardest hit with HIV/AIDS in recent years, but the funding formula kept most of the money going to big cities. The new legislation will bring much-needed funding to Alabama, making health care available for low-income Alabamians living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Sessions was the author of the Paul Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Law of 2000, which authorized badly needed funds for state and local crime labs to reduce the backlog of ballistics, blood, and DNA tests
  • Senator Sessions worked closely with his Gulf state-colleagues to open 8.3 million acres of land in the Gulf of Mexico to new energy exploration, the first such expansion in decades. The newly opened tract of land, which is 125 miles off the coast, contains an estimated 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The law also included a provision to share tens-of-millions of federal revenue dollars each year with Alabama to fund environmental restoration and coastal infrastructure projects.

While serving in the United States Senate, Sessions has received numerous awards including:

  • the American Conservative Union Award for Conservative Excellence
  • The Reserve Officers Association Minuteman of the Year Award
  • The National Taxpayers Union Friend of the Taxpayer Award
  • The Watchdogs of the Treasury Golden Bulldog Award
  • The National Federation of Independent Business Guardian of Small Business Award
  • The Coalition of Republican Environment Advocates Teddy Roosevelt Environmental Award; and
  • The Alabama Farmers Federation Service to Agriculture Award.

In 2014, the people of Alabama overwhelmingly voted to return Sessions to the Senate for a fourth term, electing him with more than 97 percent of all votes cast.

He keeps close tabs on the concerns of his Alabama constituents, holding town meetings and traveling to all 67 counties in the state each year.

While serving as the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress, Sessions was the senior Republican who questioned Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Sessions focused on Sotomayor’s views on empathy as a quality for a judge, arguing that “empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.”Sessions also questioned the nominee about her views on the use of foreign law in deciding cases,as well as her role in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF).

On July 28, 2009, Sessions joined five Republican colleagues in voting against Sotomayor’s nomination in the Judiciary Committee. The committee approved Sotomayor by a vote of 13–6. Sessions also voted against Sotomayor when her nomination came before the full Senate. He was one of 31 senators (all Republicans) to do so, while 68 voted to confirm the nominee.

Sessions also served as the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee during the nomination process for Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Sessions based his opposition on the nominee’s lack of experience, her background as a political operative (Kagan had said that she worked in the Clinton White House not as a lawyer but as a policy adviser), and her record on guns, abortion, and gay rights. Sessions pointed out that Kagan “has a very thin record legally, never tried a case, never argued before a jury, only had her first appearance in the appellate courts a year ago.”

Sessions focused the majority of his criticism on Kagan’s treatment of the military while she was dean of Harvard Law School. During her tenure, Kagan reinstated the practice of requiring military recruiters to coordinate their activities through a campus veterans organization, rather than the school’s Office of Career Services. Kagan argued that she was trying to comply with a law known as the Solomon Amendment, which barred federal funds from any college or university that did not grant military recruiters equal access to campus facilities. Sessions asserted that Kagan’s action was a violation of the Solomon Amendment and that it amounted to “demeaning and punishing the military.” He also argued that her action showed a willingness to place her politics above the law, and questioned “whether she had the intellectual honesty, the clarity of mind, that you would expect on the Supreme Court.”

On July 20, 2010, Sessions and five Republican colleagues voted against Kagan’s nomination. Despite this, the Judiciary Committee approved the nomination by a 13–6 vote. Sessions also voted against Kagan in the full Senate vote, joining 36 other senators (including one Democrat) in opposition. 63 senators voted to confirm Kagan. Following the vote, Sessions remarked on future nominations and elections, saying that Americans would “not forgive the Senate if we further expose our Constitution to revision and rewrite by judicial fiat to advance what President Obama says is a broader vision of what America should be.”

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Sessions refused to consider any nominee for the position. Sessions maintained his opposition after President Obama nominated D.C. Circuit judge Merrick Garland, joining other Republican Senators in delaying a Supreme Court hearing until the inauguration of a new president.

Sessions has served as a lay leader and as a Sunday school teacher at his family’s church, Ashland Place United Methodist Church, in Mobile. He served as the Chairman of his church’s Administrative Board and has been selected as a delegate to the annual Alabama Methodist Conference.

2016 presidential election

Sessions was an early supporter of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, and was a major policy adviser to the Trump campaign, especially in regard to immigration and national security. Sessions donned a “Make America Great Again” cap at a Trump rally in August 2015, and Stephen Miller, Sessions’s longtime-communications director, joined the Trump campaign. On February 28, 2016, Sessions officially endorsed Donald Trump for president. The Trump campaign considered Sessions for the position of running mate, and Sessions was widely seen as a potential Cabinet secretary in a Trump administration.

After electoral victory and his nominee-designation by President-elect Trump as Attorney General, Sessions also played a large role in appointments and policy preparation relative to space, NASA and related facilities in Alabama.

President-elect Trump announced on November 18, 2016, that he plans to nominate Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States.[50]

Sessions and his wife, Mary Blackshear Sessions, originally of Gadsden, Alabama, have three children, Mary Abigail Reinhardt, Ruth Sessions Walk, and Sam. They have seven granddaughters, Jane Ritchie, Alexa, Gracie, Sophia, Hannah, Joanna, and Phoebe and three grandsons, Jim Beau, Lewis, and Nicholas.

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Today’s Dream Team Scouting Report: Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President #TrumpPresidente #KellyanneConway

December 29, 2016

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Born Kellyanne Elizabeth Fitzpatrick
January 20, 1967
Atco, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) George Conway
Alma mater Trinity Washington University
(BA)
George Washington University
(JD)

Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway is an American Republican campaign manager, strategist, and pollster. She is president and CEO of The Polling Company Inc./Woman Trend, and has been a political commentator on CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, and more. She has been a guest on shows such as Good Morning America, Real Time with Bill Maher, Meet the Press, and Hannity.

Kellyanne Conway views herself as an activist Gen X woman conservative.

On July 1, 2016, Trump announced that he hired Conway for a senior advisory position. Conway was expected to advise Trump on how to better appeal to female voters. Conway became the Trump campaign’s third campaign manager in August 2016. This made her the first woman to run a Republican general election presidential campaign. At the time, Trump was trailing Hillary Clinton by about ten percentage points in various opinion polls. Journalist Ryan Lizza credits Conway with closing the gap in the polls by improving Trump’s effectiveness while giving speeches, using language to appeal to voters and focusing speeches, such as when Trump described America as “a nation of strivers, dreamers, and believers.” Trump ultimately won the presidential election, with Conway being credited by The Guardian for playing a major role in transforming Trump’s campaign and for appealing to female voters.

HIGHLIGHTS:

1. She is very well-educated.

Conway graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., earning a degree in political science. She then studied at Oxford University and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious honors society, and later earned a law degree with honors from George Washington University Law School.

2. She’s also a former pageant winner.

Conway grew up in Atco, New Jersey, a town in the southern part of the state, not far from Atlantic City. In 1982, she won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant at 16. Conway was not only a pageant winner but also named the World Champion Blueberry Packer, thanks to eight summers packing blueberries on a farm. Conway credits her experience in the farm in Hammonton, NJ for teaching her a strong work ethic. “The faster you went, the more money you’d make.” “Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm.”

3. She’s worked extensively with Republican lawmakers.

Conway is president and CEO of the Polling Company, which she founded in 1995. Her company often works with Republican candidates to appeal to female voters and the client list reads like a who’s who of conservative politicians and organizations: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich’s former presidential campaign, Reps. Steve King and Michele Bachmann, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association, and Family Research Council, Congressman Jack Kemp; Senator Fred Thompson; former Vice President Dan Quayle; amongst others.

In addition to her political opinion research work, Conway has directed demographic and attitudinal survey projects for trade associations and private companies, including American Express, ABC News, Major League Baseball, and Ladies Home Journal. Her firm The Polling Company also includes WomanTrend, a research and consulting division created to better connect corporate America with the female consumer. WomanTrend monitors female consumers as well as a multitude of current and prospective lifestyle, home, work, entertainment, technological, and generational trends affecting all consumers.

Conway has appeared as a commentator on polling and the political scene, having appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, NY1, and the Fox News Channel, in addition to various radio programs. She has received the Washington Post’s “Crystal Ball” award for accurately predicting the 2004 elections.

4. She was raised by women.

Conway’s parent divorced when she was 3 years old. “I grew up in a house with my mom and her mom, and two of my mother’s unmarried sisters,” she explained. “So four Italian Catholic women raised me.”

5.  She wrote a book titled What Women Really Want.

In 2005, Conway co-authored the book What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live along with Democratic strategist Celinda Lake. “By delving beneath the radioactive, hot-button issues,” the book’s Amazon description reads, “Lake and Conway discovered common causes with which women are inventing a new age of opportunity — doing it their way and, in the process, improving life for all Americans.”

6. She’s pro-immigration reform (or at least was).

Although President elect Trump’s campaign had been decidedly anti-immigrant — build a wall, shut down Muslim immigration — Conway has a rather enlightened view on this matter. In 2014, she tried to convince Republicans to embrace comprehensive immigration reform and legal status for undocumented workers. She also co-authored a memo for the pro-immigration group FWD.us that delved into the benefits of creating a pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented workers. She was among 16 Republican pollsters to sign the memo.

7. She will be the highest-ranking woman in the White House.
She will be the highest-ranking woman in the White House, according to the New York Times.

 

Today’s Scouting Report on America’s Dream Team: Thomas Bossert, White House Homeland Security Advisor #HomelandSecurity#TrumpPresidente #TomBossert

December 28, 2016

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Succeeding Lisa Monaco
Political party Republican
Education University of Pittsburgh (BA)
George Washington University
(JD)

Thomas P. “Tom” Bossert is an American lawyer and Republican White House staffer.

  • Served as Deputy Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. In that capacity
  • Co-authored the 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security.
  • Bossert held positions in the Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • The Small Business Administration
  • The Office of the Independent Counsel, and
  • The House of Representatives.
  • He also was appointed as the Director of Infrastructure Protection under Bush, overseeing the security of critical U.S. infrastructure.
  • Following that, he was appointed the Senior Director for Preparedness Policy within the Executive Office of the President.

Bossert attended the University of Pittsburgh to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics in 1997 and attended George Washington University Law School, earning his Juris Doctor in 2003.

Following the end of the Bush administration, Bossert was made a Nonresident Zurich Cyber Risk Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Security Initiative, a position he held until 2016. He also became president of the risk management consulting firm Civil Defense Solutions.

On December 27, 2016, the Trump transition team announced that President-elect Donald Trump intends to appoint Bossert to the post of Homeland Security Advisor (officially titled the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism), a position that does not require Senate confirmation. Unlike under President Obama, the Homeland Security Advisor will be of equal status and rank as the National Security Advisor under the Trump administration, perhaps indicating that President-elect Trump intends to separate the homeland security advisory staff from the national security advisory staff, as it was before the Obama administration.

Today’s Scouting Report. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary #PressSecretary#TrumpPresidente #SeanSpicer

December 27, 2016

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Sean Michael Spicer
September 23, 1971
Barrington, Rhode Island, U.S.
Spouse(s) Rebecca Miller (2004–present)
Children 2
Education Connecticut College (BA)
Naval War College (MA)

Sean Michael Spicer is the son of Kathryn (Grossman) and Michael William Spicer of Barrington, Rhode Island. His father was an insurance agent, and his mother an academic manager. Spicer was educated at Portsmouth Abbey School, and is a graduate of Connecticut College. In 2012, he received a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport.

Career

  • In 1999, Spicer joined the Navy Reserves, and holds the rank of commander.
  • In 2004, Spicer was the communications director and spokesman for the House Budget Committee.
  • He has been communications director of the Republican National Committee since 2011, and chief strategist since February 2015.
  • On December 22, 2016, Spicer was named as the White House Press Secretary for the presidency of Donald Trump.

Sean M. Spicer is a seasoned communicator and strategist who has been combining his communications skills, creative sense, political savvy and issue knowledge to create, lead and implement successful public policy and issue campaign efforts for over fifteen years. He has a diverse and extensive background including senior positions on Capitol Hill and political campaigns, and the top ranks of the administration.

 

 

 

Today’s scouting report on America’s Dream Team Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator

December 21, 2016

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Edward Scott Pruitt is the 17th Attorney General of Oklahoma
Assumed office January 10, 2011
Born: May 9, 1968
Danville, Kentucky, U.S.
Political party: Republican
Spouse: Marlyn Pruitt
Alma mater Georgetown College (BA)
University of Tulsa (JD)

Pruitt was a State Senator, representing Tulsa and Wagoner counties from 1998-2006.  He was elected to serve as Oklahoma’s Attorney General in 2010.

Pruitt moved to Lexington as a boy. He was a standout football and baseball player at Lafayette, earning a baseball scholarship to the University of Kentucky. After a year, he attended Georgetown College in Kentucky and graduated in 1990 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications. He then moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he attended the University of Tulsa to earn a Juris Doctor in 1993.

He entered into private practice in Tulsa where he specialized in constitutional law, contracts, insurance law, labor law, and litigation & appeals. After two years in the Senate, Pruitt was selected to serve as the Republican whip from 2001 to 2003. He was then selected to serve as the Republican Assistant Floor Leader, a position he held until he left the Senate in 2006.

In 2004, Pruitt became the General Managing Partner of the Oklahoma RedHawks, Oklahoma City’s triple-A baseball club. Under his first season of leadership, the RedHawks saw a 25% increase in attendance. After two years, the team broke the all-time attendance record for minor league baseball in Oklahoma and saw a 45% increase in revenue.[citation needed

Career as Attorney General

After his election, Pruitt established a “Federalism Unit” in the Attorney General’s office dedicated to fighting President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda, suing the administration over its immigration policy, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Pruitt’s office has sued the EPA to block its Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule. Pruitt has also sued the EPA on behalf of Oklahoma utilities unwilling to take on the burdens of additional regulation of their coal-fired plants, and criticized the agency in a congressional hearing. All of Pruitt’s anti-EPA suits to date have failed.

In 2012, Attorney General Pruitt kept Oklahoma out of the mortgage settlement reached by 49 other states with five national lenders, with Pruitt citing differing philosophies of government.

In 2013, Pruitt brought a lawsuit targeting the Affordable Care Act.

In 2013, Pruitt supported the Oklahoma legislature’s bid to join four other states trying to restrict medical abortions by limiting or banning off-label uses of drugs, via House Bill 1970. After the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the abortion law was unconstitutional, Pruitt requested that the United States Supreme Court review the case. Pruitt was unhappy with the United States Supreme Court’s rejection of the Oklahoma case.

Pruitt was pleased with the decision of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby in June 2014. Pruitt filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of their position, that the owners of privately held companies need not provide their employees with birth control, if that goes against their beliefs.

In June 2013, Pruitt maintained that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a provision of DOMA, a federal law that denied federal benefits to homosexual married couples did not affect Oklahoma’s laws on the subject.

On March 6, 2014, Pruitt joined a lawsuit targeting California’s prohibition on the sale of eggs laid by caged hens kept in conditions more restrictive than those approved by California voters. Less than a week later, Pruitt announced that he would investigate the Humane Society of the United States, one of the principal proponents of the California law.

On September 9, 2014, in Pruitt v. Burwell, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled against the IRS.

In November 2014, after the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked the enforcement of two abortion-related laws until after their constitutionality was litigated (which could take up to a year or more), Pruitt’s office communicated the Attorney General’s intention to support their implementation and enforcement.

After the botched execution of Clayton Lockett and the subsequent U.S. Supreme Court approval of Oklahoma’s method in Glossip v. Gross, Pruitt asked to delay all scheduled executions in Oklahoma due to a mix-up involving a drug the state intended to use in the lethal injections, on October 2, 2015.

In May 2016, Attorneys General Pruitt and Luther Strange authored an op-ed in the National Review criticizing other state attorneys general for “acting like George III” regarding the ExxonMobil climate change controversy, writing “global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency 

On December 7, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt calls himself “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” Several sources, including The New York Times and The Independent, have described him as a climate change denier. He said of global warming that “that debate is far from settled.” With other state attorneys general, he has sued to fight the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and regulations on methane emissions. In response to the nomination, Pruitt said, “I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

 

 

 

 

Today’s scouting report on America’s Dream Team Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the US Treasury

December 20, 2016

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Steven Terner Mnuchin
December 21, 1962
New York City, New York
Spouse(s) Heather deForest Crosby (1999–2014)
Domestic partner Louise Linton (engaged)
Children 3

Steven Terner Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs partner and senior manager and hedge fund investor. On November 30, 2016, it was announced that Mnuchin would be nominated as Secretary of the Treasury in the coming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

After he graduated from Yale University, Mnuchin worked for investment bank Goldman Sachs for 17 years, reaching its management committee. After he left the bank in 2002, he worked for and founded a number of hedge funds. During the financial crisis, Mnuchin bought failed house lender IndyMac. He rebuilt the bank as chairman and CEO in the subsequent years under the name OneWest Bank, and sold it in 2015 to CIT Group. Mnuchin joined Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, and was named national finance chairman for his campaign.

Goldman Sachs
Mnuchin’s first job was as a trainee at investment bank Salomon Brothers in the early 1980s, while still studying at Yale. After he graduated in 1985, he started working for Goldman Sachs, where his father had worked since 1957. He started at the mortgage department, and became a partner at Goldman in 1994. Until he left the company in 2002, Mnuchin held the following positions as a partner.

November 1994 – December 1998: Head of the Mortgage Securities Department
December 1998 – November 1999: Overseeing mortgages, U.S. governments, money markets, and municipals at the “Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division”
December 1999 – February 2001: Member of the Executive Committee and co-head of the Technology Operating Committee
February 2001 – December 2001: Executive Vice President and co-Chief Information Officer
December 2001 – 2002: Executive Vice President, member of the Management Committee, and Chief Information Officer

According to the 2001 Goldman Sachs Form 10-K, Mnuchin served as a member of the development board of Yale University, as board member of the Riverdale Country School, as member of the national board and senior member of the non-profit youth organization Junior Achievement, to which he had donated money, and as a board member of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. He left Goldman Sachs in 2002 after 17 years of employment, with an estimated $46 million of its stock and $12.6 million that he received in the months prior to his departure.

Hedge funds
After he left Goldman Sachs in 2002, Mnuchin briefly worked as vice-chairman of hedge fund ESL Investments, that is owned by his Yale roommate Edward Lampert. The following year, he established the company SFM Capital Management together with financier George Soros. Mnuchin founded a hedge fund called Dune Capital Managment, named for a spot near his house in the Hamptons, in 2004 with two ex-Goldman partners. After its founding, Mnuchin served as the CEO of the company. The firm invested in at least two Donald Trump projects and, in one of them, was sued by Trump before a settlement was reached.

When Merrill Lynch was selling a portfolio of residential mortgage-backed CDOs during the financial crisis, Mnuchin investigated buying the portfolio, but was outbid by private equity Lone Star Funds. It was sold for $6.7 billion.

OneWest
A group led by Mnuchin bought California-based house lender IndyMac for $1.55 billion in 2009 from the FDIC. The house lender had been taken over by the FDIC in 2008 after it got into financial problems during the financial crisis. Mnuchin’s group, that he compiled in December 2008, included George Soros, hedge fund manager John Paulson, former Goldman Sachs executive Chris Flowers, and Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell. The FDIC agreed to hold on to some of the more problematic assets of the bank, and signed a loss-sharing agreement, that would go into effect if losses would surpass 30%. The main possessions of IndyMac were $23.5 billion in commercial loans, mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities. After purchasing the bank, that was renamed OneWest Bank, Mnuchin served as CEO and chairman.

As the CEO of OneWest, Mnuchin bought several other failed banks, namely First Federal Bank of California in 2009 and La Jolla Bank in 2010. Furthermore, OneWest bought a portfolio belonging to Citi Holdings for $1.4 billion. In 2015, Mnuchin sold OneWest to CIT Group for $3.4 billion, twice as much as Mnuchin paid for the bank in 2009. Since he had bought the bank, he had turned it into the largest bank of Southern California with assets worth $27 billion. After the acquisition, Mnuchin remained at the bank, and became member of CIT Group’s board.

Motion pictures

In 2004, he founded RatPac-Dune Entertainment as a side business, which was the financier of a number of notable films, including the X-Men film franchise and Avatar.

In Hollywood, Mnuchin, along with film producer Brett Ratner and financier James Packer, working with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, produced American Sniper and Mad Max: Fury Road. Mnuchin was co-chairman of the trio’s movie company, Relativity Media, but left before it went bankrupt. A source close to the company said that he had resigned because of the potential for a conflict of interest between his duties at Relativity and OneWest.

Mnuchin worked with RNC counterpart Lew Eisenberg on a late-developing joint operation for the committee and the Trump campaign. The late-summer fundraising goal was $500 million dollars. The New York Times described his role during the campaign as “relatively behind the scenes,” and the newspaper noticed he never “seemed to seek the spotlight.” During an interview, Mnuchin said that because of his connection to the Trump campaign “a lot of people in California and New York wanted to stop being friends.” After Donald Trump won the election, he announced Mnuchin would join the transition team on November 11.

Views
In an interview in November 30 on CNBC Mnuchin called it the Trump administration’s job to “make sure that the average American has wage increases and good jobs.” Furthermore, he said his priority was getting a sustained growth of GDP of three or four percent. He said in order to get there “our number one priority is tax reform.” Mnuchin said he would reduce corporate taxes to 15%, cut taxes for the middle class, and simplify the tax system. When asked about trade, he said he believed in trade deals with individual countries, as opposed to regional trade deals. About Trump’s deal with Carrier Air Conditioning to prevent jobs from going to Mexico, Mnuchin said “this president […] is gonna have open communication with business leaders.” Furthermore, he said he wants to “strip back parts of Dodd–Frank,” because he argued it was too complicated, and it prevented banks from lending. He called the stripping back of Dodd–Frank “the number one priority on the regulatory side.”

Today’s scouting report on America’s Dream Team Vincent Viola, Secretary of the Army

December 19, 2016

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The son of a truck driver from Brooklyn, Vincent Viola started the electronic-trading firm Virtu Financial in 2008. He took the company public in April 2015, touting its can’t-lose business model and the fact that it turned a profit on 1,484 of its first 1,485 days in operation. Viola graduated from West Point in 1977 and New York Law School in 1983. He reportedly paid $105 million for a Brooklyn building in 2016, not far from where he grew up. Viola also owns the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

Born: 1956 In Brooklyn, New York, United States
Spouse Teresa Viola
Children 3
Residence New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Founder, Virtu Financial
Owner of the Florida Panthers NHL ice hockey franchise
Vincent Viola on Forbes Lists:
#374 Forbes 400 (2016)
#307 in 2015
#959 Billionaires (2016)
#338 in United States

He is a veteran: The son of a truck driver, Viola grew up in Brooklyn and was reportedly the first member of his family to attend college. He graduated from West Point in 1977 and served in the 101st Airborne Division before eventually attaining the rank of Major in the Army Reserves.

He has remained involved in military affairs: In 2003, Viola established and funded the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, which researches counterterrorism policy and educates soldiers and government officials on how to confront threats.

He made a fortune in electronic trading: Viola joined the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1982 and was its chairman from 2001 to 2004. But he owes his fortune to Virtu Financial, the electronic-trading outfit he founded in 2008. The company — which uses powerful computers to make large numbers of transactions at very high speeds — turned a profit on 1,484 of its first 1,485 days in operation. Michael Lewis, in 2014 his book “Flash Boys,” pointed to Virtu’s winning streak as evidence that high-frequency traders have a huge informational advantage over other investors. Viola took the company public in April 2015.

Owns valuable New York real estate: Viola owns a 20,000-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, near Central Park. In December 2013 he listed the home — complete with a giant red bow tied across its facade — for a staggering $114 million. He later quietly reduced the price to $98 million before pulling it from the market. This past April Viola paid the Jehovah’s Witnesses $105 million for a Brooklyn building located near his childhood home.

He owns the Florida Panthers: Viola bought the NHL team from a group of investors that included billionaire Wayne Huizenga for $160 million in 2013. Since taking over, he has reportedly brought his military ties to the team, holding training camps and playing exhibition games at West Point.

“Whether it is his distinguished military service or highly impressive track record in the world of business, Vinnie has proved throughout his life that he knows how to be a leader and deliver major results in the face of any challenge,” Trump said in a statement.

“This great honor comes with great responsibility, and I will fight for the American people and their right to live free every day,” Viola said in a statement. “A primary focus of my leadership will be ensuring that America’s soldiers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict.”

 

 

 

 

DONALD TRUMP: La Clase Trabajadora, El Capitalismo, y La Inmigración

December 19, 2016

img_2510La democracia moderna nació en Atenas como consecuencia del reclamo del pueblo por una porción de la economía que en aquel momento era dominada por la aristocracia. Pericles fue inteligente y entendió que no se puede manejar a una sociedad mientras se subvierte sistemáticamente a la mayoría de sus ciudadanos.

En 1215, la decisión del Rey John de Gran Bretaña, de firmar la Magna Carta no fue por la defensa de la “Libertad del Individuo”, sino por las demandas de la clase media por una Libertad Económica que permita a todos tener oportunidades de desarrollo.

Democracias siempre han surgido, o desaparecido dependiendo del nivel de satisfacción de la clase media y de su pueblo.

Un buen sistema económico debe ser como la marea del mar que eleva a todos los barcos que se encuentran en ella. El sistema del mercado libre -o capitalismo- es tal sistema. Sin embargo, la mayoría de nuestros presidentes han permitido la degeneración del mercado libre hacia el corporativismo donde las compañías más ricas influyen al gobierno de turno, y donde el Estado es cada vez más omnipotente.

El Capitalismo depende de la habilidad del gobierno de garantizar la justicia universal de sus ciudadanos. La única igualdad conducente a la libertad es la igualdad ante la ley, la única que debe asegurarse sin destruir la libertad.

La inmigración ilegal a los EEUU se convirtió en un tema importante durante la campaña electoral del 2016 porque a pesar de que sea considerada como el motor del crecimiento económico que ha tenido los EEUU, esta no ha sido manejada de una manera responsable, o humanitaria por nuestros líderes políticos. Milton Friedman describió que un país no puede tener fronteras abiertas mientras a la vez otorgue servicios sociales demasiado generosos. El país sería sobrecargado por aquellos en busca de tales beneficios, por encima de aquellos que entran con buenas intenciones. El capitalismo no puede sobrevivir bajo tales condiciones.

En la Unión Europea por ejemplo, se requiere que se de prioridad de entrada al inmigrante sin especialización laboral, por encima del inmigrante con mano de obra avanzada. El resultado ha sido mayor desempleo para el ciudadano europeo, sin los beneficios de la marea alta creada por nuevas industrias. Lo mismo pasa en los EEUU donde un inmigrante emprendedor en Silicon Valley no puede obtener visa de trabajo, mientras que cientos de miles de indocumentados reciben amnistía después de haber atravesado la frontera ilegalmente. El que sufre es el trabajador Americano por consecuencia de una economía que no puede fomentar el crecimiento de industrias avanzadas que alcen la marea para todos.

Donald Trump ha sabido identificar tales problemas y entiende al pueblo que reclama por mayor orden y sentido común. Nuestro nuevo Presidente representa los mejores intereses del pueblo americano y está dispuesto a terminar con este sistema que por tantas generaciones hemos querido cambiar.

Today’s scouting report on America’s Dream Team James Mattis, Secretary of Defense

December 17, 2016

Service/branch United States Marine Corps

Years of service 1969–2013
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands
U.S. Central Command
U.S. Joint Forces Command
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
I Marine Expeditionary Force
U.S. Marine Forces Central Command
Marine Corps Combat Development Command
1st Marine Division
7th Marine Regiment
1st Battalion, 7th Marines
Battles/wars
Persian Gulf War
Invasion of Afghanistan
Iraq War
• Invasion of Iraq
• First Battle of Fallujah
• Second Battle of Fallujah
Awards
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (with Valor)
Meritorious Service Medal

He initially enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1969. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Central Washington University and was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps on January 1, 1972. During his service years, Mattis was considered to be an intellectual among the upper ranks, with a personal library that once contained thousands of books. Robert H. Scales, a retired United States Army major general, described him as “… one of the most urbane and polished men I have known.” Reinforcing this intellectual persona was the fact he carried his own personal copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius throughout his deployments.

While serving in Afghanistan as a brigadier general, he was known as an officer who engaged his men with “real leadership”. A young Marine officer named Nathaniel Fick cited an example of that leadership when he witnessed Mattis in a fighting hole talking with a sergeant and lance corporal: “No one would have questioned Mattis if he’d slept eight hours each night in a private room, to be woken each morning by an aide who ironed his uniforms and heated his MREs. But there he was, in the middle of a freezing nioght, out on the lines with his Marines.

As his division prepared to ship out to the Middle East Mattis called in experts on the region for cultural sensitivity training. He constantly toured the battlefield to tell stories of Marines who were able to show discretion in moments of high pressure. As an apparent example, he encouraged his Marines to grow mustaches to look more like the people they were working with.

After being promoted to lieutenant general, Mattis took command of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Speaking ad libitum at a forum in San Diego, he said “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” Mattis’s remarks sparked controversy; General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement suggesting Mattis should have chosen his words more carefully, but would not be disciplined.

As head of Central Command, Mattis oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was responsible for a region that includes Syria, Iran, and Yemen. The Obama administration did not place much trust in Mattis, because he was perceived to be too eager for a military confrontation with Iran.

He retired from the Marine Corps on May 22, 2013.

Mattis believes that Iran is the principal threat to the stability of the Middle East, ahead of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Mattis says: “I consider ISIS nothing more than an excuse for Iran to continue its mischief. Iran is not an enemy of ISIS. They have a lot to gain from the turmoil in the region that ISIS creates.”

On the Iran nuclear deal, although he sees it as a poor agreement, he believes there is now no way to tear it up, saying: “We are just going to have to recognize that we have an imperfect arms control agreement. Second, that what we achieved is a nuclear pause, not a nuclear halt”. Mattis argues that the nuclear inspections may fail to prevent Iran from seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but that “if nothing else at least we will have better targeting data if it comes to a fight in the future.” Additionally, he criticizes President Barack Obama for being naive about Iranian intentions and Congress for being “pretty much absent” on last year’s nuclear deal. Mattis’ views on Iran were speculated to have been the reason he was fired by President Obama.

Mattis praises the friendship of regional US allies such as Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. He has criticized Barack Obama for their view of seeing allies as ‘free-loading’, saying: “For a sitting U.S. president to see our allies as freeloaders is nuts.”He has cited the importance of the United Arab Emirates and Jordan as countries that wanted to help, for example, in filling in the gaps in Afghanistan. He has criticized current defense strategy as giving “the perception we’re pulling back” from US allies. He stresses the need for the US to bolster its ties with allied intelligence agencies, particularly the intelligence agencies of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In 2012, Mattis argued for providing weapons to Syrian rebels, as a way to fight back against Iranian proxies in Syria.

Speaking at a conference sponsored by The Heritage Foundation in Washington in 2015 Mattis stated that he believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intent is “to break NATO apart.” Mattis has also spoken out against Russia’s expansionist or bellicose policies in Syria, Ukraine and the Baltic states.

Mattis is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. Mattis is also noted for his intellectualism and interest in the study of military history and world history, with a personal library that once included over 7,000 volumes, and a penchant for publishing required reading lists for Marines under his command.

Mattis is a lifelong bachelor, who has never been married and has no children. He is nicknamed “The Warrior Monk” because of his bachelor life and lifelong devotion to the study of war. He is known for the intellectual rigor he instills in his Marines, risk-management, and requiring his Marines to be well read regarding the culture and history in regions of the world where they are deployed.

 

Today’s scouting report on America’s Dream Team Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor

December 16, 2016

img_2505

Andrew Franklin Puzder July 11, 1950 (age 66)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lisa Henning (1973–1987)
Deanna Descher (1987–present)
Children 6
Residence Franklin, Tennessee
Alma mater Cleveland State University (BA)
Washington University (JD)

  • From 1978 to 1983, was an associate at the law offices of St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker, practicing corporate law.
  • In 1984 he moved to the Stolar Partnership and worked with trial attorney Charles A. Seigel.
  • He also served as a trial lawyer in St. Louis until 1991.
  • Puzder authored Missouri House Bill 1596, an abortion law prohibiting the use of state money for abortions and declaring that life begins at conception. Following a challenge, the Supreme Court in 1989 upheld the law in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. The watershed decision opened the door for new state-level restrictions on abortion.
  • Puzder met Carl Karcher, the founder of the Carl’s Jr. who was embroiled in serious financial difficulties and asked Puzder to move to California as his personal attorney. In 1991, Puzder relocated to Orange County, California. Puzder has been credited with resolving Karcher’s financial dilemma, allowing Karcher to avoid bankruptcy and retain a significant ownership interest in the company he founded, CKE Restaurants, Inc. (CKE).
  • Puzder was a partner in the Costa Mesa-based law firm Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard from 1991 to 1994 and a shareholder in Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth from March 1994 to 1995.
  • Puzder principally resolved Karcher’s financial problems by putting together a transaction with William P. Foley, the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity National Financial. In 1994, Foley became Chairman and CEO of CKE and Karcher became Chairman Emeritus. In January 1995, Puzder went on to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Fidelity, managing one of the largest corporate legal departments in the country until June 2000. Puzder also worked with Foley to create the Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, a conglomerate of restaurant chains. Puzder served as the company’s CEO.
  • In 1997, Puzder was also named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CKE.
  • Also in 1997, CKE purchased Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc. Hardee’s was a distressed brand and CKE was burdened by over $700 million in debt following the acquisition. The company underperformed and its market capitalization dropped to about $200,000.
  • Faced with serious financial and operational issues, CKE’s Board of Directors named Puzder as president and CEO of Hardee’s Food Systems in June 2000 and named him president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. in September of that year. Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE, allowing the company to survive, become financially secure and return to growth.
  • In July 2010, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management took CKE private in a transaction valued at $1 billion.
  • In December 2013, Roark Capital Group purchased CKE and retained CKE’s management team including Puzder, who remains as CEO.
  • CKE currently owns or franchises over 3,700 restaurants in the United States and 40 foreign countries, generates $1.4 billion in annual revenue and, with its franchisees, employs over 75,000 people in the U.S.
  • In December 2016, Puzder was selected by President-elect Donald Trump as his nominee for Secretary of Labor of the United States.

    Affiliations

  • In 2011, Puzder was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Board of Washington University School of Law.
  • In 2013, he was elected as a director of the International Franchise Association’s Board of Directors.
  • Puzder is a National Council Co-Chair of the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Puzder is a member of the Job Creators Network, an organization opposing government regulation of corporations.

    Authorship and commentary 

  • Puzder has been critical of raising the federal minimum wage, arguing that it would increase costs for consumers, and increase automation, leading to fewer jobs.
  • He also opposed a Labor Department rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime pay.
  • Puzder also supports repealing the Affordable Care Act and has been critical of paid sick leave policies.
  • Speaking to Business Insider in 2016, Puzder said that increased automation could be a welcome development because machines were “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
  • He backed comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.
  • Puzder is a frequent author on economic and legal issues in periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Real Clear Politics, CNBC online, National Review, The Hill, Politico, and the Orange County Register.
  • He has been a guest on business news programs including Your World with Neil Cavuto, Varney & Co., Mornings with Maria, The O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly, Mad Money with Jim Cramer, Fast Money, Power Lunch, Lou Dobbs Tonight, and Squawk on the Street.
  • He has co-hosted both Varney & Co. and Squawk on the Street.
  • He is also a frequent speaker at colleges, universities, and other venues on economic issues and the impact of government regulations on corporations.
  • In 2010, he co-wrote the book Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It.

The election of Donald Trump, who promises a new wage growth strategy based on economic growth, signals that Americans get that a new approach is needed. Now Mr. Trump has doubled-down on his job creation mandate by nominating Mr. Puzder who understands from personal experience as a top CEO why wage regulations fail. Simply put, they create perverse incentives and market distortions that reduce job growth and economic activity, which are the real harbingers of wage growth.

Speaking this truth to the pop-culture powers that cling to wage mandates as the answer to wage growth is not popular. Mr. Puzder has been attacked recently for his opposition to, among other regulatory policies, dramatic minimum wage increases, doubling of the overtime exemption threshold, and requiring employers to offer health care. These attacks mischaracterize and demagogue his positions.

Consider the minimum wage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 would kill 500,000 jobs. Last December, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a paper finding that the “most credible” research showed minimum wage increases resulting in “job losses” for “the least skilled workers”. Mr. Puzder’s opposition to significant minimum wage increases stems from wanting to avoid job losses for low-skilled employees.

Same with the overtime mandate that was recently struck down by a Texas judge. This rule would have doubled the salary threshold under which employees are eligible for overtime pay to $47,500. For many beginning managers, this rule would have reduced or eliminated the flexibility and bonus potential that come with a salaried position. That’s because most employers, including Mr. Puzder, incentivize their managers to run the business they manage like they own it, with a compensation structure that rewards performance over time.

Finally, economic and anecdotal evidence show that the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate has had the unintended consequence of encouraging employers to convert full time jobs to part time jobs. It has done this by requiring employers to offer health insurance — often several thousand dollars a year — to their employees who work over 30 hours per week or pay up to a $3,000 per employee penalty. Employers have no such obligation for employees working under 30 hours, making part-time employment more attractive. This is hardly an “anti-worker” position.

Though the specific wage and benefit regulations vary, the principles underlying why they don’t work remain the same: Make something more expensive and you will get less of it. Fewer job opportunities and a less robust economy reduce the demand for labor, resulting in wage stagnation.