What Stepping Into This Role Means to Me, And To The Future

Never settle. Those words have resonated with me throughout my career. I’ve always had the urge to do more, to accomplish more, to go further, and to aim even higher than I have. Some of what I’ve sought out in my years of refusal to settle have personal–they’re achievements and accomplishments I seek to reach. Others are broader–not settling for what we as human beings are presented with by the world around us. Some of them are both–bringing me to my overarching goal of standing for what I believe, backing those whom have earned my trust, and making positive steps towards a stronger, better America.

In that very same vein, I am proud to announce to you that I have been appointed by the New York GOP as the National Finance Co-Chair. In the position, I’ll take a leading role in the nation-wide fundraising efforts of the New York GOP. It’s a role that I’m excited to step into, spearheading the efforts to help to reshape the state of New York.

The road towards pushing back against the efforts of Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo is going to be bumpy, but any New Yorker can tell you that they are no stranger to rough road conditions. New York has gone blue in the general election every year since Reagan in 1984, but a strong state–and a strong country–comes in part due to strong leadership. I look forward to combining efforts with the fantastic team of GOP officials that has been assembled.

For me, this position is one in which I hope to make a tangible difference. Through the hard work put into this country by myself and the long, storied list of those before me, I’ve sought to leave this party, this state, and this country better off than when I entered it. This opportunity presented to me by the New York GOP is one that won’t go to waste.

I’m not writing this blog post to boast about my new position, nor am I writing it to pat myself on the back. I’m writing it because I’m honored by this appointment, appreciative of the opportunity to stand alongside such a prestigious and hardworking group of men and women, and proud to help to shift this state in the right direction.

 

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NYGOP Announces Appointment of Yuri Vanetik as National Finance Co-Chair

Via New York GOP

The New York Republican Party today announced the appointment of esteemed business leader, political strategist, and philanthropist Yuri Vanetik as national finance co-chair who will help lead the Committee’s national fundraising efforts in advance of the important 2017 New York City mayoral and 2018 gubernatorial elections.

In addition to his impressive business, public service and philanthropic accomplishments, Mr. Vanetik has deep ties as a national political activist and fundraiser, having held key finance leadership positions with the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, Republican Governors Association and the California GOP. He also served as the California co-chair and All American Vice Chair for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, as kitchen cabinet advisor and part of the finance leadership of Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, as well as numerous senior finance and leadership roles for gubernatorial, senatorial, and congressional campaigns, including that of Mitt Romney, Meg Whitman and Dana Rohrabacher.

“We are excited to welcome Yuri Vanetik to the NYGOP team as our national finance co-chair,” said State Chairman Ed Cox. “One look at Yuri’s impressive background and it’s easy to see what a tremendous asset he will be to helping us grow the Republican Party here in New York. With fellow New Yorker President Trump in the White House and two top national races ahead of us, we have an incredible opportunity to build on our successes. New Yorkers have seen the failed leadership of Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo, and Yuri’s efforts will help ensure we have the resources we need to win.”

“Whether in business, in politics or in charity, I’ve spent my life building coalitions and I’m honored to take on this important role for the New York Republican Party,” said Yuri Vanetik. “Chairman Cox and the leaders across the state have built a strong bench of extraordinary Republican elected officials and played a critical role in securing President Trump’s victory. Those successes have put us in a unique position to cultivate a national network and show how we are winning in traditionally Democratic areas, here in the state of New York. I’m looking forward to the work ahead,”  Vanetik pointed out.

Yuri Vanetik is the managing partner of Vanetik International, LLC, a private investment and business management firm based in Newport Beach, CA.  Mr. Vanetik is also a principal at Dominion Partners LLP and Dominion Asset Management, LLC, a real estate investment fund based in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, CA. He has held numerous public service positions, including as the current Commissioner of the Orange County Sheriff’s Council, a member of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Special Services Bureau, a member of the Board of Governors of the Homeland Security Council for Region 1, and the former California Lottery Commissioner and Criminal Justice Commissioner, among others. Yuri Vanetik has served in numerous not-for-profit organizations, including as a trustee for the Kennedy Center National Symphony,  Executive Committee of the American Red Cross, the board of the Gen Next Foundation and on the Political Committee of the New Majority. He is a Lincoln Fellow of the Claremont Institute, a national think tank for the study of politics, and on the advisory board of the Pacific Research Institute. Mr. Vanetik was born in the former Soviet Union and moved to Southern California as a child where he continues to live today with his family.

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It’s More Important Than Ever that We Let Johnson & Stein Debate

Originally published in the OC Register–Brian Calle & Yuri Vanetik.

Spattered throughout the bowels of Twitter, people are, as always, embroiled in a heated argument. Unlike much of the back-and-forth on social media, however, the weight of the presidential race is becoming a serious concern. Between #NeverTrump and #HillaryForPrison, many Americans feel that they are stuck between two uninspiring choices. The unconventional Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is making questionable comments, while the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is tarnished with numerous scandals and political intrigue – with disapproval for both reaching record-breaking highs.

In our country’s current political reality, we have bifurcated choices: Republican or Democratic, Clinton or Trump. Of any presidential cycle, this would be the year where a third choice – a third party, perhaps – could act as a real option, an alternate to the “lesser of two evils” feeling that now plagues many Americans.

Enter the Libertarian and Green parties, third parties with presidential nominees Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, respectively. But for either Johnson or Stein to gain traction or credibility amongst the larger electorate, they would need to be in the presidential debates, which some analysts estimate will have higher viewership than the Super Bowl this year. But to be granted a spot in the debates each candidate would have to garner 15 percent in select presidential election polls.

More specifically, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced in August the five nationwide polls that will be averaged to determine whether a candidate meets its threshold to be offered a seat on stage in the debates, the first of which is scheduled for September 26. The five polls the commission will average are ABC-Washington Post, CBS-New York Times, CNN-Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News and NBC-Wall Street Journal.

Both Johnson and Stein are well below the 15 percent threshold. Johnson is polling somewhere around the 8 percent mark – just past the halfway point to the 15 percent that would allow him to be recognized as a legitimate candidate by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

To continue reading, click here.

 

Politics and Philanthropy

Americans love giving. We see it everywhere around us: our philanthropic donations are up in recent years, we give to people, places, charities and causes that they believe in. But there is, and there always will be a certain level of politics to philanthropy–like I said we give to the causes we agree with, not the ones that go against our beliefs.

 

Whether you personally identify as a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian or a supporter any other third-party, there are a good deal of specific social, fiscal and environmental issues that you likely feel strongly about. These issues can not only shape the way you vote, they can shape the way you give.

 

Those who cast their vote in November based largely off of one political or social stance If you’re pro-life, there’s a good chance you’re going to avoid donating not only to places like Planned Parenthood, but to any organization that supports planned parenthood. Often, you’ll see tidbits on the news in which one person or company supports a particular charity, which is then held against them by those who disagree with their political orientation. Take, for instance, EpiPen creator Mylar, which recently was revealed to have supported the Clinton Foundation, a fact which many from the right were quick to point out when Mylar came under fire for questionable ethics in price gouging.

 

There is also a difference not just in the charities and causes different political followers donate to, there’s a strong difference in how charity in general is viewed. Generally speaking, according to the Huffington Post, those who fall on the left side of the political spectrum typically give less money to charity in a given year. Could this potentially because those who make more money typically lean right, yes. But another factor at stake could also be the propensity of those on the left to rely more on government help–tax cuts, social systems and the like–to help low-income people rather than individual donations.

 

But politics and philanthropy also intersect outside of just citizen voters, elbowing its way into our politicians and their platforms. Often, we see politicians using charitable giving to highlight the type of person they are. Typically, with a rise in role in politics and more security into your behavior, politicians tend to begin to donate more of their own money. Philanthropy clearly plays a large roll not just in our political affiliation and stance on issues, but in how our elected officials present themselves to the public.

 

TRUMP AND CLINTON, PLEASE NOTE: TRADE TARIFFS MEAN MORE WARS

BY AND

Originally published in Newsweek.

For America’s presidential contenders, it’s open season on free trade.

GOP nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly blasted “globalism” and trade policies he says move “our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas.”

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has slammed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation mega-agreement of Pacific Rim countries, arguing that it is financially crippling American business.

While not entirely devoid of reason, their positions present one-sided views of the free trade issue. Limiting the conversation about trade to supposed job losses ignores the most important benefit of free trade, one that flows directly to billions of people: world peace.

Trade agreements are powerful tools to prevent international conflict and foster collaboration among nations. Instead of blaming them for America’s wavering job market, policymakers must embrace them as tools that stabilize and pacify international politics.

RTSJOV3 DINUKA LIYANAWATTE/REUTERS

Free trade is a powerful peacekeeping force. The logic is simple: When a country’s prosperity is dependent on trade with other nations, it is far less likely to get into wars that disrupt the flow of commerce. Instead, trading countries often opt for more peaceful methods of dispute settlement.

The pacifying effect of increased trade is something philosophers like Immanuel Kant speculated about centuries ago. In our day, numerous empirical studies confirm the relationship.

A study at the University of Texas, for example, examined an extensive array of countries from 1960 to 2000. It concluded that higher tariffs and other barriers to free trade increased a country’s chances of international conflict. Conversely, countries with fewer trade barriers were less likely to invade or be invaded.

Similarly, a Stanford University study found that from 1950 to 2000 war between countries was about one-10th that of the previous century. Unsurprisingly, global trade networks have grown almost fourfold since 1950. As the lead professor of the study, Matthew Jackson, put it, “Economic interest drives a lot of what goes on in terms of where nations are willing to exercise military strength.”

For more proof, look to Europe. When the European economy was in a shambles after World War II, nations formed the European Coal and Steel Community to create a common market for those essential commodities.

Only part of the reason for doing so was economic, however. As the man who originally proposed the ECSC, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, clearly stated at the time, its purpose was to make war “not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”

The six-member ECSC led directly to today’s 28-member European Union, a remarkable model of how common economic interests can maintain peace. And despite the U.K.’s recent vote to leave the EU, the British government is wisely seeking to negotiate a trade deal that will keep goods and services moving freely.

The United States, which has free trade agreements with 20 countries, has experienced firsthand the diplomatic benefits of open trade policies and the international cooperation they foster.

The 2007 United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement, for example, not only significantly reduced tariffs on goods between America and South Korea but also strengthened their relationship on other key issues. Since signing the agreement, the two nations have worked together on a myriad of important projects—from climate change to nuclear disarmament.

America has also signed free trade agreements with Columbia, Jordan and Chile that include commitments to collaborate on labor and environmental issues.

The United States isn’t even close to tapping the full potential of strategic trade partnerships. A good place to foster trade would be former Soviet states, where nations are eager to bolster their economic and political integration into the international community and reassert their economic self-determination.

Via a trade agreement with the EU, the Republic of Moldova has just pledged to reform its political systems to be more democratic and protective of human rights.

The Caucasus country of Georgia, with a strategic location that opens up an economic and energy gateway between Asia and the EU, is a perfect trading partner.

The nation knows all too well the calamities of war—and it has signed trade agreements with a number of its neighbors, from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia to eight former Soviet states and the EU. Indeed, it recently ranked third out of 178 countries on its openness to trade. Heightened U.S.-Georgian trade would seriously stabilize the caucuses and pacify surrounding regions.

Free trade economically benefits countries, but its ability to benefit peace and global order is far more significant. U.S. leaders mustn’t sell those diplomatic bonds short.

Gary Johnson, the 15% & a Fight for Recognition

This post was originally featured on YuriVanetikPolitics.com

Depending on what news network you choose to indulge in, you’ve likely been exposed to a hefty amount of political advertising and not-so-subtle agenda pushing for either Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, or Hillary Clinton, the accompanying Democrat.

What you likely won’t see, however, is much information on Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico. This is because, by virtue of being a third party candidate, Johnson is typically cast aside as a viable candidate and largely ignored by political pundits on every news source from MSNBC to Fox.

And, with the lack of major news coverage and a distinct “Democrat” or “Republican” label associated with his campaign, Johnson hasn’t yet garnered the necessary 15 percent in national polls to be included in the nationally televised Presidential debates. And that, my friends, is a crime.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization funded and created by the two major political parties who happen to be included in every debate, established the 15 percent rule in large part to stomp on the throats of third party candidates. The rule, which has been named as the primary reason the US has not–and perhaps will not–see a third party candidate in the White House anytime in the near future.

If this rule were done away with, as has been proposed–and subsequently shot down–quite a few times, third party candidates like Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein could, theoretically, stand a chance in a general election against the powerhouse left and right.

Right now it’s important that we, as Americans, take a page out of George Washington’s book and willfully disregard the two-party system that has been engrained in our political system seemingly since the dawn of time. Candidates like Johnson and Stein provide an outside-the-box option when we’ve been made to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And for the first time in decades, there’s a chance that we’ll see a mass movement in exactly that direction.

Gary Johnson is, by most accounts, the epitome of a Libertarian. Between 1995 and 2003 he served as the governor of New Mexico as a Republican. Billed as a “Ron Paul libertarian,” Johnson abandoned his bid for the Republican nomination in 2011, choosing instead to vie for the Libertarian nomination, which he secured in both 2012 and 2016.

Johnson has gained attention from voters from both the left and the right as leaning socially liberal and fiscally conservative, placing the slashing of government involvement and spending on a pedestal. A proponent of personal liberties and staunch opponent of the War on Drugs (finally), Johnson is as anti-big government as you’ll find in someone running for political office. He has spoken out as a proponent of gun ownership and the Second Amendment, particularly in the wake of the horrific Orlando shooting.

These views–coupled with the fact that, for many Americans the choice between Hillary and Trump is akin to choosing between strangulation and decapitation–have helped Johnson see a small jump in his polling numbers recently. In May, FiveThirtyEight offered that we ought to pay attention to Johnson, as he was polling at 10 percent against Trump and Clinton. As of about a week ago, Johnson’s numbers jumped to about 12 percent in a Fox News poll.

While he may still have quite a bit to go nationally, Johnson is succeeding in recognition in younger audiences, perhaps snatching up some of the Bernie Sanders supporters who have jumped the ship that is the Democratic party. According to SurveyUSA, among the 18-34 year old voters in Utah, Johnson leads both Trump and Clinton with 32 percent of young people claiming they’d cast their vote in his favor come November.

What’s more convincing may be a quote from FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Eaten.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if Johnson won in Utah. Both Clinton and Trump are hated there, and Johnson could thread the needle,” Eaten said. “He’d be the first third-party candidate to win a state since George Wallace in 1968.”

While Gary Johnson may not have the publicity, financial backing or media coverage that Hillary and Trump have received ad nauseum, his message, Live Free, could resonate with voters come November 8.

12 Angry Men Belong In A Theater, Not An American Courtroom

This article was originally published on Investors.com.

A Missouri jury recently determined that a collections firm improperly sued a Kansas City woman over a $1,000 debt — and rewarded her a staggering $82 million in punitive damages.

In Virginia, a Navy veteran just regained his freedom after 30 years behind bars, thanks to DNA evidence which proved that two separate juries had wrongfully convicted him of murder.

Disproportionate and inaccurate jury verdicts like these are far too common in today’s justice system. By tasking inexperienced and ill-prepared citizens to determine liability, guilt and innocence — and sometimes life and death — the current system robs defendants, plaintiffs and victims alike of fair trials with rational outcomes.

It’s time to modernize America’s legal system by adopting professional juries and holding them accountable for their decisions.

Guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments, today’s jury system traces its roots to medieval England. Back then, as the American Bar Association explains, residents viewed citizen juries as “a protector of the accused against the government’s very harsh criminal laws.”

Today’s juries, though, no longer decide if criminals deserve the gallows. Instead, they’re tasked complexities like deciphering whether an alleged mob boss is guilty of racketeering or if one software company infringed on another’s patent.

People with the relevant expertise to decide such questions, such as lawyers and judges or scientists and executives, are hardly ever picked for jury duty.

As a prominent Chicago judge once explained, a defense attorney has the best chance of success if he can “befuddle 12 inexperienced and sentimental jurors.” Therefore, “if a prospective juror discloses intelligence and competency, he is promptly excused.”

Put another way, attorneys purposefully and with impunity select people who have no idea what they’re doing.

In any other field, this would be absurd. Imagine if modern hospitals relied on 12 random people, selected from a local phone book, to determine medical treatment — and refused to consider the counsel of doctors and nurses.

Lack of expertise and intelligence among jurors allows guilty people to literally get away with murder.

Consider Casey Anthony. Despite a constantly changing alibi — and decomposing traces of a human body in her car trunk and extensive Google searches of “how to make chloroform” — she was let off the hook in the death of her two-year-old child.

Or consider O.J. Simpson. It’s a shame he’s in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, because otherwise, he could continue his hunt for the “real” killer of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

No mother or father should have to watch their child’s killer walk free because jurors fell for defense attorneys’ unethical tricks.

Conversely, juries often convict innocent people or destroy family businesses and professionals’ careers by awarding exorbitantly punitive damages in cases where none are warranted. DNA evidence has helped free nearly 350 wrongfully imprisoned people over the past 25 years.

Due to incompetence, low intelligence and poor guidance by the court, jurors rob ordinary people of the chance to build successful careers and raise families. They turn America’s justice system into a charade where the only winners are the lawyers.

The jury system isn’t just hurting those on the stand, though. It’s also breaking those on the bench.

Seventy percent of all jurors feel stressed during trials, according to a National Center for State Courts report. Some jurors report symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jurors face financial hardship, as well. There is no federal law requiring employers to pay workers away on jury duty, and states pay jurors a pittance for their service. New York’s leaders, who recently passed a $15 per hour minimum wage, pay jurors just $40 a day.

Surely, those serving justice should earn at least as much as those serving hamburgers.

And for self-employed Americans — those in the “gig” economy who comprise about 10% of the nation’s workforce — a day in the courtroom is a day without pay.

Packing 12 ordinary citizens into a jury booth no longer produces just outcomes for all involved.

It’s time to grow a pool of professional jurors, who would be properly salaried employees or contractors, and receive extensive training designed to help them maintain their psychological well-being during high-stakes trails and deflect deceitful attorney tactics.

Such professional training would be especially crucial in complex business cases — it’s completely unreasonable to expect jurors off the street to grasp convoluted securities or intellectual property law, for instance.

In the current, utterly arcane system, impartiality is confused with unaccountability.

Admittedly, well-educated, highly trained professionals wouldn’t constitute a representative sliver of society. However, neither do today’s trials, given the way defense attorneys, prosecutors and ultimately most lawyers regularly exploit juror ignorance and inexperience. Today’s trials are often nothing more than a poorly rehearsed circus sideshow.

Professionalizing jurors likely would require a constitutional amendment. But that’s exactly why the Founding Fathers created an amendment process — so that citizens can reform systems that no longer function.

When Americans enter the courtroom, they expect justice. Unfortunately, the system fails and is in desperate need of reform.  It’s time that our legal system evolved to actually give it to them. We should scrap the existing juror selection system and install real professionals properly trained to deal with the complex cases that fill today’s courtrooms.

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