19 ноября, 15:32

Китайские СМИ начали пророссийскую пропаганду

Договоренности, которые заключили в Пекине президент США Дональд Трамп и лидер КНР Си Цзиньпин вызвали целый шквал обсуждений и в США, и в Китае, и в России, где многие расценили действия Китая, как поворот в сторону американцев, а то и как предательство. В России западники тут же начали кричать о том, что если Китай пошел навстречу США, то и нам надо срочно капитулировать, патриоты говорили, что китайцам верить нельзя. Самое интересное, что и в Китае тут же поднялись местные западники, которые начали декларировать: вот мы теперь дружим с Америкой, зачем нам эти русские. Какой с них толк.

19 ноября, 14:15

В мире: Трампу навязывают решение вооружить Киев

Советники президента США представят ему план по поставкам Украине летального оружия, в том числе комплексов Javelin. Такой шаг должен послужить «сдерживанию агрессии со стороны пророссийски настроенных сепаратистов», подчеркивают в Вашингтоне. Если Трамп согласится, как это изменит ситуацию на юго-востоке Украины? Совет национальной безопасности Белого дома решил порекомендовать президенту Дональду Трампу поставить Украине вооружений на общую сумму в 47 млн долларов, включая противотанковые ракетные комплексы Javelin. Как передают американские СМИ, решение было принято еще в четверг. Однако неизвестно, когда именно СНБ передаст Трампу свои рекомендации. На ближайшие недели запланировано другое совещание, на котором советники должны принять окончательные формулировки. До этого момента Белый дом не станет выступать с официальным заявлением. В СНБ отметили, что данный шаг послужит «сдерживанию агрессии со стороны пророссийски настроенных сепаратистов». В Госдепе по этому поводу лишь заметили, что «Соединенные Штаты не предоставляли оборонительные вооружения, но не исключали такой возможности». Утверждается, что ярыми сторонниками таких поставок выступают госсекретарь Рекс Тиллерсон и министр обороны Джеймс Мэттис. Какие именно виды вооружений нужно поставить Украине, они обсуждают с лета. А во время августовского визита в Киев Мэттис в беседе с президентом Украины Петром Порошенко публично выразил поддержку подобным поставкам. Один из бывших советников американского президента на условиях анонимности выразил озабоченность в связи с решением СНБ, заявив, что подобный шаг усилит напряженность в регионе и усугубит и без того болезненные отношения Вашингтона с Москвой. Сам Трамп к этому вопросу подходит очень осторожно и одобрения подобной тактике пока не высказывал. Независимый военный эксперт Антон Лавров убежден, что поставки летальных вооружений в рамках 47 млн долларов «не могут существенно повлиять на ситуацию». «Этого гранта просто недостаточно», – заявил он газете ВЗГЛЯД. Лавров также напомнил, что Конгресс и Пентагон давно выступают за поставки вооружений Киеву и предлагали одобрить их еще предыдущему президенту Бараку Обаме. «Но здесь все упирается именно в президента. Он имеет решающий голос: поставлять или не поставлять. Пока продолжается политика предыдущего президента. Все поставки летальных вооружений блокируются», – отметил эксперт. Но даже если Трамп одобрит поставки оружия на 47 млн долларов, это будет иметь для Киева скорее символическое значение и не скажется на ситуации на юго-востоке Украины принципиальным образом. Для того, чтобы такая помощь возымела действие, она должна быть регулярной, составлять сотни миллионов долларов в год и включать в себя самые различные виды вооружений, а не только комплексы Javelin. Ранее на этой неделе Конгресс США принял оборонный бюджет на 2018 финансовый год в размере 692 млрд долларов. В него действительно вошли статьи об оказании Украине военной помощи, в том числе летальным оружием. Пентагону разрешается израсходовать 350 млн долларов на поставки Киеву оборонительных вооружений и техники, а также на подготовку украинских военнослужащих. Но половину этой суммы глава министерства сможет использовать только после того, как заверит Конгресс в проведении украинскими властями «институциональных реформ» в оборонной сфере. Отметим также, что накануне министр иностранных дел Украины Павел Климкин во время своего визита в Канаду выразил уверенность в получении американского оружия. Кроме противотанковых комплексов Javelin, он упомянул дроны, контрбатарейные системы и кибероружие. В обмен Киев готов передать США «свой опыт борьбы с россиянами». «Украина нуждается в международной поддержке и точно получит ее», – заявил Климкин. По словам министра, в своем «противостоянии с Россией» Украина борется не только за себя, но и «за все трансатлантическое сообщество», так что «поддержка трансатлантическим сообществом Украины, которая является его частью, совершенно естественна». Он также заверил, что в ходе трех своих встреч с Трампом всегда получал от него «четкий месседж солидарности» о том, что «американцы с Украиной». Тема поставок Украине американских летальных вооружений стала особенно часто обсуждаться в последнее время. В конце октября спецпредставитель Госдепартамента США по Украине Курт Волкер заявлял, что Вашингтон «активно обсуждает» этот вопрос, но он «не должен быть спорным», так как «никто не переживает, когда кто-то защищается, если только это не агрессор». А сам Волкер уверен, что именно «российская агрессия» привела к нынешней ситуации в Донбассе. Неделю назад американские СМИ со ссылкой на источники в Белом доме сообщили о «принципиальном согласии» нынешней администрации на поставку Украине ПТРК Javelin. Но официально администрация категорически отвергла эту информацию, назвав ее не соответствующей действительности. Впрочем, не исключено, что украинцы уже обладают некоторыми американскими летальными вооружениями. В августе в Сети был опубликован контракт между украинской государственной компанией «Спецтехноэкспорт» и американской компанией AirTronic USA на передачу сотни гранатометов PSRL-1 (модернизированная версия российского противотанкового гранатомета РПГ-7) на сумму в полмиллиона долларов. Датой поставки значился апрель 2017 года. Установки могла получить Национальная гвардия Украины, в том числе нацбатальон «Азов». Россия неоднократно предостерегала США от планов вооружать Украину, чтобы избежать эскалации конфликта в Донбассе. Как подчеркивал глава МИД России Сергей Лавров, против поставок оружия Украине высказывается «подавляющее большинство» европейских политиков. Теги:  Украина, Россия и США, внешняя политика США, рынок оружия, Донбасс

19 ноября, 06:30

Russia-Gate Spreads To Europe

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Authored by Robert Parry via ConsortiumNews.com, Ever since the U.S. government dangled $160 million last December to combat Russian propaganda and disinformation, obscure academics and eager think tanks have been lining up for a shot at the loot, an unseemly rush to profit that is spreading the Russia-gate hysteria beyond the United States to Europe... British Prime Minister Theresa May Now, it seems that every development, which is unwelcomed by the Establishment – from Brexit to the Catalonia independence referendum – gets blamed on Russia! Russia! Russia! The methodology of these “studies” is to find some Twitter accounts or Facebook pages somehow “linked” to Russia (although it’s never exactly clear how that is determined) and complain about the “Russian-linked” comments on political developments in the West. The assumption is that the gullible people of the United States, United Kingdom and Catalonia were either waiting for some secret Kremlin guidance to decide how to vote or were easily duped. Oddly, however, most of this alleged “interference” seems to have come after the event in question. For instance, more than half (56 percent) of the famous $100,000 in Facebook ads in 2015-2017 supposedly to help elect Donald Trump came after last year’s U.S. election (and the total sum compares to Facebook’s annual revenue of $27 billion). Similarly, a new British study at the University of Edinburgh blaming the Brexit vote on Russia discovered that more than 70 percent of the Brexit-related tweets from allegedly Russian-linked sites came after the referendum on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union. But, hey, don’t let facts and logic get in the way of a useful narrative to suggest that anyone who voted for Trump or favored Brexit or wants independence for Catalonia is Moscow’s “useful idiot”! This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of seeking to “undermine free societies” and to “sow discord in the West.” What About Israel? Yet, another core problem with these “studies” is that they don’t come with any “controls,” i.e., what is used in science to test a hypothesis against some base line to determine if you are finding something unusual or just some normal occurrence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, in opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. (Screen shot from CNN broadcast) In this case, for instance, it would be useful to find some other country that, like Russia, has a significant number of English speakers but where English is not the native language – and that has a significant interest in foreign affairs – and then see whether people from that country weigh in on social media with their opinions and perspectives about political events in the U.S., U.K., etc. Perhaps, the U.S. government could devote some of that $160 million to, say, a study of the Twitter/Facebook behavior of Israelis and whether they jump in on U.S./U.K. controversies that might directly or indirectly affect Israel. We could see how many Twitter/Facebook accounts are “linked” to Israel; we could study whether any Israeli “trolls” harass journalists and news sites that oppose neoconservative policies and politicians in the West; we could check on whether Israel does anything to undermine candidates who are viewed as hostile to Israeli interests; if so, we could calculate how much money these “Israeli-linked” activists and bloggers invest in Facebook ads; and we could track any Twitter bots that might be reinforcing the Israeli-favored message. No Chance If we had this Israeli baseline, then perhaps we could judge how unusual it is for Russians to voice their opinions about controversies in the West. It’s true that Israel is a much smaller country with 8.5 million people compared to Russia’s 144 million, but you could adjust for those per capita numbers — and even if you didn’t, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that Israel’s interference in U.S. policymaking still exceeds Russian influence. Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10, 2015, at the Kremlin. (Photo from Russian government) It’s also true that Israeli leaders have often advocated policies that have proved disastrous for the United States, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s encouragement of  the Iraq War, which Russia opposed. Indeed, although Russia is now regularly called an American enemy, it’s hard to think of any policy that President Vladimir Putin has pushed on the U.S. that is even a fraction as harmful to U.S. interests as the Iraq War has been. And, while we’re at it, maybe we could have an accounting of how much “U.S.-linked” entities have spent to influence politics and policies in Russia, Ukraine, Syria and other international hot spots. But, of course, neither of those things will happen. If you even tried to gauge the role of “Israeli-linked” operations in influencing Western decision-making, you’d be accused of anti-Semitism. And if that didn’t stop you, there would be furious editorials in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest of the U.S. mainstream media denouncing you as a “conspiracy theorist.” Who could possibly think that Israel would do anything underhanded to shape Western attitudes? And, if you sought the comparative figures for the West interfering in the affairs of other nations, you’d be faulted for engaging in “false moral equivalence.” After all, whatever the U.S. government and its allies do is good for the world; whereas Russia is the fount of evil. So, let’s just get back to developing those algorithms to sniff out, isolate and eradicate “Russian propaganda” or other deviant points of view, all the better to make sure that Americans, Britons and Catalonians vote the right way.

19 ноября, 04:53

Hillary Clinton: Trump 'is obsessed' with me

The former Democratic nominee spoke bitterly about the president during a 25th anniversary celebration of her husband's election in Little Rock, Ark.

19 ноября, 00:30

Another Step Towards The Sovietization Of American Media

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation, This week the US Department of Justice Criminal Division forced the Russian-funded television network RT (formerly Russia Today) to register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Failure to comply would have risked arrest of RT’s management and seizure of its assets. The move comes on the heels of Senators’ recent demands that terrified tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and Google act as ideological filters. With no discernable defenders among America’s media establishment, RT rightly denounced the selective FARA mandate as an attack on media freedom – which it is. But more ominous is what the move against RT says about America’s rulers’ further intention to limit the sources of information available to its subjects. As Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute writes: “RT America is a news organization operating in the United States that is funded at least partly by a foreign government. So is the BBC. So is Deutsche Welle, France24, Al-Jazeera, and numerous other foreign media organizations. It is assumed that they all to a degree reflect the editorial interests of those who pay the bills.   “The same is true with other, non-state funded media outlets, of course. It’s up to us to factor these things in when we consume media. That’s what it means to be a free people.   “A core value in a free society is that our own government has zero power over what we read, what we watch, how we think, how we come to interpret current events, the conclusions we draw based on these inputs, and so on. These are private matters over which any government that is not tyrannical should have no sway.   “The real insidiousness of tyrannical systems is that the government most lasciviously seeks control over most private spaces — including the most private space called our brain, our intellect, our conscience. We must be free to follow our interests down whatever path they may lead us so that we may reach our own conclusions and then perhaps test them ourselves in the marketplace of ideas.” The attack on RT (and another Russian network, Sputnik, which evidently has not yet been given a deadline for registration) is a milestone in the degeneration of the American official (call them what you want – corporate, legacy, mainstream) media into PR agencies for the governing establishment and its ideological imperatives. We’ve been moving along this path for a while now, and it’s going to get worse. Long gone are those halcyon days of yore when Americans could just sit back and watch CBS’s Walter Cronkite with total confidence they were getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (For youngsters who have no idea who the hell Cronkite was, just Google “most trusted man in America.”) Back in the naïve infancy of the TV age, from about the 1950s until the beginning of the 1990s, there was a common national media culture that reflected the established, generally liberal, mainly Democratic tilt of the American inteligentsiya that was almost uniform among the (then only) three networks and a handful of major newspapers and magazines. To be sure, that was also a ruling class media of a sort, but it reflected a broad and deep social consensus. Those days are no more. Perhaps the unraveling of media trust and social consensus alike started in earnest with Vietnam. But still, for decades afterwards there still seemed to be plenty of empty cranial receptacles for government and corporate propaganda of the first Gulf War under Bush 41, Bill Clinton’s phony humanitarian wars in the Balkans, Bush 43’s Iraq War, and Obama’s Libyan and Syrian imbroglios. Sadly, there are many such cranial receptacles even today. By its attack on RT, the US government is officially telling us that only the mainstream media (MSM) can be regarded as are purveyors of Truth (with a capital T) and that anybody not on the approved list is fake. How do we know? Why, the MSM themselves tell us! The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” CNN’s “Facts First.” The New York Times’ “The Truth is Hard.” (The fact that certifiably authoritative and truthful media are militantly hostile to Russia, not to mention to Donald Trump, is purely coincidental.) A lot of Americans don’t buy it anymore, though. Some of the skepticism falls along purely partisan lines reflecting increasing moral and political polarization: our media (which I exclusively consult) tells the truth, but your media (which I don’t consult) are liars. About one-third of Americans get their talking points from, say, Michael Moore, and from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, with their related internet echoes, while another third gets theirs from Rush Limbaugh, and from Sean Hannity on Fox News, and their internet echo chambers. Increasingly, there is nothing like a national dialogue on anything, but rather two entirely separate, diametrically opposed ideological cultures – and alternate realities – each demonizing “them.” This is why when after Barack Obama’s election the Tea Party appeared, the GOP fell over itself trying to co-opt them, while the Democrats denounced them as a mob of racists and subversives. When later the “Occupy” and Black Lives Matter movements broke out on the Left, the Democrats tried to figure out how to channel it while top Republicans denounced it as gang of commie anarchists and losers. With the election of Donald Trump the divide intensified further to one of latent civil war. At some point the false picture of pseudo-reality (as Alain Besançon called it in the late Soviet propaganda context) diverges so far from real reality that the official media narrative becomes useless and even counterproductive. While a majority of Americans probably are still glued to the partisan outlets of “their” side of the political divide, there is a growing sense across the spectrum that not only the MSM but even partisan media like Fox News and MSNBC are untrustworthy. In the past, notably in the totalitarian societies of the 20th century, maintaining the credibility of official media required the physical repression of alternatives. Today, such a crude approach is unnecessary and almost technologically unfeasible, even for such undemocratic countries as Iran, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia (though North Korea may be successful through the sheer unavailability of modern communications technology to most of the population). Instead of suppressing dissent, is it sufficient to maintain major media’s role as gatekeeper and certifier of reliability. Which brings us back to the impact of foreign media like RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation, Al-Jazeera, CGTN, Press TV, often in parallel with alternative media like Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell, Antiwar.com, Ron Paul Institute, and others, to break through the information firewall but arguably then being influenced by the agenda of the sponsoring foreign governments. In any case, a growing segment of the American public is discovering a skill once well-honed by the citizens of the former communist countries: reading between the lines of the official media (which is assumed to be full of lies) and making informed comparisons to samizdat alternative media, foreign sources, and the rumor-mill to guess what the truth might be. Make no mistake – what has started with RT won’t end with RT. Our betters have decided they need to protect our minds from “propaganda” penetration that might cause us to doubt the truth of what CNN and the Washington Post tell us. Citizens! Be grateful for such wise leaders and dedicated information workers! Smash the enemy voices that seek to undermine our democracy as we march boldly into the radiant future!

18 ноября, 18:56

PoliticKing: в каждой шутке есть доля Трампа

С момента своего избрания президентом Дональд Трамп стал в США главным объектом для шуток. Может ли быть перебор с насмешками над ним и почему над экс-главой государста Бараком Обамой почти не смеялись — об этом Ларри Кинг спросил у популярного комика Джима Джеффриса. В своём телешоу артист в шутливой манере комментирует мировые события и важные явления американской политики и культуры. Он рассказал о некоторых темах своих программ, а также о том, почему в США ему не разрешают выступать перед студентами. Подписывайтесь на RT Russian - http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=rtrussian RT на русском — http://russian.rt.com/ Vkontakte — http://vk.com/rt_russian Facebook — http://www.facebook.com/RTRussian Twitter — http://twitter.com/RT_russian Periscope — http://www.periscope.tv/RT_russian/ Livejournal — http://rt-russian.livejournal.com/ Odnoklassniki — http://ok.ru/rtrussian Telegram — https://telegram.me/rt_russian Viber — https://chats.viber.com/rtrussian

18 ноября, 14:59

Trump’s Tweets Are Hurting Him With the Voters He Needs Most

Trump’s social media rampages aren’t just damaging him, they’re causing swing voters to reevaluate both his priorities and the very health of the economy.

18 ноября, 14:58

Trump still loves polls

The president often decries surveys showing him with slumping support as fake, but advisers say he can't stop himself from obsessively keeping track.

18 ноября, 11:19

В США запланировали средства на защиту администрации Трампа от ракет КНДР

Администрация президента США Дональда Трамп может использовать кибероружие, беспилотники и истребители, чтобы предотвратить ракетный удар со стороны Пхеньяна. Об этом со ссылкой на чиновников в американском оборонном ведомстве, ведущих ученых и старших членов конгресса сообщает газета New York Times. Отмечено, что на прошлой неделе в конгресс был направлен запрос о предоставлении дополнительно 4 млрд долларов...

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18 ноября, 11:00

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates review – on white supremacy

Trump’s election was a case of erasing a black president with extreme prejudice, argues the hugely influential writer in this essay collection on race in the USIt is no surprise that the election of the first black president of the United States would occasion much thinking, writing and talking about the subject of race in America. An event that many did not think would happen in their lifetimes, happened: a man of African descent and – this may have been more culturally important – his black wife and children resided in the White House as the nation’s “first family”. President Barack Obama’s portrait would hang in government offices across the country, and in embassies around the world. He would be the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed services.How proud this made Americans of all races. For black people, who had seen the rules of the game rigged against them in the most immoral ways – slavery and Jim Crow, and their aftermath – having a black man compete for and win the greatest prize in politics was beyond exhilarating. Yes We Can! That phrase, the Obama campaign’s insistent motto, also tapped into the desires of many of Obama’s white supporters who wished to produce evidence that there had indeed been racial progress in the country, including some who may have had a few doubts about the one-term senator with the “non-American” sounding name. Even his defeated opponent, Senator John McCain, took note of the historical significance of Obama’s victory as a praiseworthy thing. A majority of the electorate wanted America to “do it”; to overcome – in this particular way – all the racially-based limitations that had for centuries made the idea of a black president unthinkable. Countries across the globe, themselves not even close to doing anything like it, expressed surprise that Americans had done it, but joined the chorus of praise. Continue reading...

18 ноября, 04:49

Trump's New Afghanistan Strategy Isn't Really a Strategy

Gerald F. Hyman Security, Middle East Principles guiding a strategy are no substitute for an actual strategy whether developed by Washington or by field commanders. To much anticipation, on August 21 President Donald Trump announced “our new strategy” for Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it revealed neither a succinct strategy nor even anything new. It was instead a list of a dozen pronouncements defining various U.S. policies tied to Afghanistan. Leaving aside their wisdom, they describe almost perfectly the policy of President George W. Bush and the initial policy of President Barack Obama. More importantly, the announcements form not even the semblance of a strategy. A strategy is a plan for the deployment of (limited) resources in support of a set of objectives and in the face of obstacles (like adversaries), as President Trump said himself, it is “a plan for victory.” President Trump elucidated none of the elements. Read full article

18 ноября, 04:21

Трамп озаботился трофеями из Африки

Президент США Дональд Трамп оставил в силе запрет на импорт трофеев из африканских животных в страну. Об этом он написал в твиттере. При этом накануне сообщалось, что Трамп отменил введенный его предшественником Бараком Обамой запрет на ...

18 ноября, 03:15

5 things Trump did this week while you weren't looking

Beyond the headlines, Trump is making a lot of changes.

18 ноября, 01:56

Aides give up on trying to control Trump’s tweets

Trump’s post on Franken allegations was the latest example of the president's habit of using his Twitter account to draw fire, rather than deflecting it.

18 ноября, 01:05

The Republican Tax Plan Is Very Swampy

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Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, Unsurprisingly, the Republican tax plan moving forward in the U.S. Congress and championed by Donald “Drain the Swamp” Trump, is very swampy. Today’s post will highlight a few examples. First, let’s hear some of what billionaire fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach had to say. Via Bloomberg: Jeffrey Gundlach, chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, said the congressional tax plan would expand the federal deficit and help a small fraction of the U.S. population, including hedge fund managers.   “I’m very disappointed incidentally about the shape of this tax cut that is being proposed,” Gundlach told a gathering of industry participants at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on Wednesday. “I am just appalled that we are going to continue to have a carried-interest scheme for hedge funds.”   The House bill set to be voted on Thursday keeps the carried-interest tax treatment that benefits private-equity managers, venture capitalists, hedge-fund managers and certain real estate investors. During last year’s campaign, President Donald Trump had vowed to get rid of the loophole. White House top economic adviser Gary Cohn has said Trump is committed to ending the tax break.   “After I saw that tax bill, I lost hope with the drain the swamp concept,” Gundlach said. “The swamp keeps getting bigger.”   Carried interest is the portion of a fund’s profit — usually a 20 percent share — that’s paid to managers. Currently, tax authorities treat that income as capital gains, making it eligible for a rate as low as 20 percent. The top tax rate for ordinary income is 39.6 percent.   He called the tax plan “a cosmetic tax decrease for the middle class that will go away over time.” Of course, none of this is really surprising. Donald Trump’s been a Wall Street bootlicker ever since he came into office, just like Barack Obama before him. But there’s much more swampiness to be had. For example, there’s the fact that the corporate tax rate cut is permanent, while the individual cut is temporary. From the Los Angeles Times: A gambit by Senate Republicans to make a large corporate tax cut permanent by having benefits for individuals expire at the end of 2025 created new problems for the legislation Wednesday as lawmakers were still grappling with the controversial decision to add the repeal of a key Obamacare provision.   The decision by Republican leaders to double down on risky maneuvers to overcome budgetary hurdles with their tax overhaul threatened to put the entire effort in jeopardy.   Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) declared he would not support the bill because it treats large corporations differently than many small businesses, which pay taxes through the individual code.   “If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson told the Wall Street Journal. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”   He later said he hoped “to address the disparity so I can support the final version.” Here’s some more on what Ron Johnson’s complaining about, via CNBC: Johnson said he’s been working for months behind the scenes to make changes, but he added that he’s not going to let his “version of perfect” sink tax reform. “I want to get this thing fixed, and vote for pro-growth tax reform that makes all American businesses competitive globally,” he said. “I care deeply about this country, I care deeply about this deficit.”   As a former small business owner, Johnson said he’s particularly concerned about the so-called pass-through rate, in which the profits and losses of sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations “pass through” to their owners who are then taxed at individual income-tax rates, currently as high as 39.6 percent.   “We can’t leave anybody behind, which is why they came up with the 25 rate for pass throughs,” he said. “The problem is, neither the House or the Senate version really honored that commitment to pass-through businesses, which I argue are a huge engine of economic growth.”   “I don’t have the information on how much it would cost, how many pass-through businesses are being left behind that do compete globally. I can’t get the information. I’ve been asking. They don’t give it to me,” said Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Moving on, if you’re still in denial that this “tax reform” was written for oligarchs and mega corps, take a look at the reaction of former Goldman Sachs executive and Trump’s White House Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, when his audience of corporate executives were asked a simple question. As Zerohedge perfectly summarized: The eagerness to shift incentives away from buybacks to capex is also the basis for much of Trump’s economic policy as designed over the past year by his top economic advisor, former Goldman COO Gary Cohn who is the White House Economic Council director. In fact, the motive behind the administration’s entire push for tax reform (cutting corporate tax rates) and offshore cash repatriation, is to the funds domestically, though not on buybacks and M&A (which also leads to “synergies” and other headcount reductions), but on reinvesting the funds in growing one’s business and hiring.   Which is why we were amused to observe the following brief interchange yesterday between Gary Cohn and an audience made up of executives, where in the span of a few seconds Gary Cohn realized that his entire economic policy had been a disaster.   During an event for the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, an editor at The Wall Street Journal asked the room: “If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment — your company’s investment, capital investment?” He asked for a show of hands.   Alas, as the camera revealed, virtually nobody raised their hand.   Responding to this “unexpected” lack of enthusiasm to invest in growth, Cohn had one question: “Why aren’t the other hands up?"     Ironically, Cohn’s epiphany took place just as tax reform is approaching the final stretch in Congress and it increasingly appears that at least some form of corporate tax cut will be enacted. We say ironically, because the only thing Trump’s reform will achieve is to dramatically accelerate recently slowing buybacks, which in turn will push stocks to new all time highs as price-indescriminate CFOs and Tresurers tells their favorite VWAP trading desk to just “wave it in.” Which means that the White House paper suggesting corporate tax cuts will boost household income is correct… if it focuses only on the incomes of the richest 1% of households. Don’t despair, I promise there’s something in there for the average joe. For instance, after years of repression, owners of private jets will finally get that tax break they desperately need. The Hill reports: The latest version of the Senate Republican tax reform bill includes a break for companies that manage private jets.   A measure in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would lower taxes on some of the payments made by owners of private aircraft to management companies that help maintain, store and staff those planes for owners.   The language would exempt owners or leasers of private aircraft from paying taxes on certain costs related to the upkeep and maintenance of the jets, according to a description from the Joint Committee on Taxation. I know, Congress sells out to special interests pretty cheaply. Fortunately, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas is looking out for the plebs. Texas Rep. happy about tax bill because he gets to build a new colosseum. pic.twitter.com/eeq88tLJB5 — Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) November 16, 2017 Meanwhile, a recent Quinnipiac showed that this oligarch giveaway isn’t particularly popular. How surprising. The WSJ reported: In a new Quinnipiac poll, 25% of American voters approve of the Republican tax plan, compared with 52% who disapprove.   Among Republicans, support was 60%.   President Donald Trump has cast the tax plan as a boon to middle-class households. Nearly 60% of American voters in the Quinnipiac poll believe the Republican plan favors the rich at the expense of the middle class.   About 24% of American voters say the middle class will mainly benefit from the tax plan, while 61% say the wealthy would be the primary beneficiaries.   About 36% of voters believe the tax plan will propel economic growth, while 52% don’t believe it will. But here’s the best part. Former Goldman Sachs partner, Steven “Let them Eat Cake” Mnuchin, doesn’t want to hear it. Asked whether Senate Republicans have 51 votes to pass the bill as it stands, Mr. Mnuchin said, “I am confident we are going to get this passed in the Senate.”   Mr. Mnuchin brushed aside suggestions that the bill is unpopular, refusing to comment on a Quinnipiac poll showing 16% of voters believe the bill will reduce taxes.   He also said “virtually everybody in the middle class will get a tax cut,” and that only “people who are making more than $1 million in high-tax states who will be making more.” Even people in high-tax states would reap the benefits of a lower corporate tax rate and other changes meant to help businesses that will boost economic activity, he said. Guess he missed the recent video of his buddy Gary Cohn. The more people learn about this monstrosity, the less they like it. Unfortunately, by that point it’ll be too late. You lose again America. Make Wall Street Great Again. *  *  * If you liked this article and enjoy my work, consider becoming a monthly Patron, or visit our Support Page to show your appreciation for independent content creators.

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