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13 февраля, 16:00

Сокращения в высшем образовании в США

В предыдущих эссе в  CounterPunch я описывал, как республиканцы-губернаторы и законодатели в каждом штате (вместе с демократами, учитывая давно дискредитированный рецепт Рейгана для экономического роста «низкие налоги, низкие расходы» сократили финансирование образования до того, что университеты каждого штата не нашли иной альтернативы кроме повышения платы за наставничество и обращения к корпорациям в поисках альтернативных источников […]

10 февраля, 09:54

Уничтожение республиканцами государственных университетов

В предыдущих эссе в  CounterPunch я описывал, как республиканцы-губернаторы и законодатели в каждом штате (вместе с демократами, учитывая давно дискредитированный рецепт Рейгана для экономического роста «низкие налоги, низкие расходы» сократили финансирование образования до того, что университеты каждого штата не нашли иной альтернативы кроме повышения платы за наставничество и обращения к корпорациям в поисках альтернативных источников бюджетной поддержки.

09 февраля, 20:52

George Mason Students Sue For Records On Koch Donations

Today, students at George Mason University sued their school and a private foundation tied to the school in a Virginia state court, seeking records related to donations from the billionaire Koch brothers. The students are concerned that Koch donations to GMU, a state university, come with inappropriate conditions; they launched their campaign on this issue in 2014 after learning that the Charles Koch Foundation, GMU's biggest donor, had sought influence over faculty hiring and teaching curriculum, for example through a grant agreement with Florida State University. Charles and David Koch, heirs to the $100 billion energy and chemicals corporation Koch Industries, have for decades sought to push a conservative agenda, seeking to influence politics but also investing heavily in academic programs that conform nicely with the brothers' financial interests. GMU has refused requests by the students to obtain the Koch records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, saying the records belong to the private foundation, the George Mason University Foundation. The foundation, in turn, told the students that it's not subject to the Virginia FOIA law, because it's not part of the government. But the GMU foundation is hardly separate from the university; practically speaking, it's a component of the school. As the students' lawsuit describes, GMU: pays the salary of the foundation's president and many other expenses; provides the foundation with office space on the GMU campus; requires the foundation to coordinate with GMU on fundraising efforts and to "make a residence available to the University suitable for the University's President to reside and entertain"; permits the foundation to buy and manage real estate for the University's needs; has the power to reject donations to start new GMU programs; and requires the foundation to  provide GMU with access to its records. As more and more state universities have created private foundations to assist with fundraising, there have been controversies and legal disputes across the country focused on the risks of private influence over public institutions -- and over lack of public access to information about these dealings. Legislatures and courts in a number of states have required disclosure of information from private foundations associated with state schools. The George Mason students, members of a group called Transparent GMU, believe Virginia's students and citizens are entitled to the same kind of information. I have provided advice to this student group in the past, as well as a national group called UnKoch My Campus that shares its goals. "We haven't been able to get answers from the administration, and it's important for the students and public to be able to look at the records and decide what's in them," GMU student Gus Thomson told me. "Our concern is, this is a public university, and they're not doing this for the public interest; they're doing it for private interests. When these donors give money, what do they get in exchange? We want to know what strings are attached. We want to ensure academic integrity in our curriculum," said Thomson, a junior originally from Winchester, VA. "It's disappointing to see the Foundation turn away students who are justifiably concerned about donor influence at their university--especially when Virginia's open records law is so clear," Appalachian Mountain Advocates attorney Evan Johns, who represents Transparent GMU, said in a press statement. "The law simply does not allow a public university to conceal its records by outsourcing its public business to a private company." Samantha Parsons, a 2016 GMU graduate, now works for UnKoch My Campus. She told me, "The Charles Koch Foundation has a history of giving 'philanthropic' donations to universities to buy influence over hiring of faculty and curriculum development. A donor should never have that type of say over academia, no matter how big the check is. This type of donor overstep is a prime example of why the activities of public institutions, including universities, should always be transparent-- it helps active citizens hold those institutions accountable to the public, not private interests." As a public institution, GMU should only be making deals with donors that are consistent with the public interest, that would make its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Virginia residents proud. GMU should not be able to hide such deals from public view through its private foundation. This article also appears on Republic Report. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

07 февраля, 17:02

Bipartisan Agreement On Health Care? On Dental Care, Absolutely

If you think Democrats and Republicans can't agree on anything related to health care, you'd be wrong. A remarkable bipartisan effort is taking shape at the state level that could result in millions of Americans having better access to care in a way barely addressed by federal lawmakers. I'm talking about better access to dental care. Recent poll results and comments by policy advisors on both sides of the political divide show that there is growing bipartisan agreement on ways to improve the oral health of Americans. While the Affordable Care Act helped increase access to dental care for low-income children enrolled in the Medicaid program, it did very little otherwise to address what continues to be a "silent epidemic" in this country. "Silent epidemic" is the term former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher used in a seminal report in 2000 to describe a growing but, until then, little understood crisis. "It (is) abundantly clear," Satcher wrote, "that there are profound and consequential disparities in the oral health of our citizens. Indeed, what amounts to a "silent epidemic" of dental and oral diseases is affecting some population groups." Satcher added: This burden of disease restricts activities in school, work, and home, and often significantly diminishes the quality of life. Those who suffer the worst oral health are found among the poor of all ages, with poor children and poor older Americans particularly vulnerable. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups also experience a disproportionate level of oral health problems. Individuals who are medically compromised or who have disabilities are at greater risk for oral diseases, and, in turn, oral diseases further jeopardize their health. More than a decade and a half after Satcher's report, tooth decay is still the number one chronic disease affecting children. More than a third of elementary school children have untreated tooth decay. One reason is that only about one-third of U.S. dentists accept Medicaid. Another big reason is that a growing number of Americans live in communities were dentists are few and far between. In fact, since 2000, the number of people living in dental shortage areas, often called dental deserts, has nearly doubled, from 25 million to 49 million. To reverse these trends, Republicans and Democrats in many states are supporting efforts to expand the dental workforce to include midlevel providers, often called dental therapists. Several conservative groups and politicians like that idea because, as they note, no new government programs or taxes are needed. It's a free-market remedy that creates jobs and reduces costs. They and community and patient advocacy groups and more liberal politicians also like it because the use of dental therapists has been shown to decrease disparities in dental care in both rural and urban areas. As the PBS show Frontline reported a few years ago, people who live in dental deserts--there were 4,438 of them at last count--are at greater risk of tooth decay and severe health problems. They also spend more money on care, in large part because they often go to a hospital emergency room when pain becomes unbearable. Not only is care provided in the ER expensive, often only the symptoms are treated. The underlying problems are seldom addressed. ER doctors typically write a prescription for pain pills and suggest the patient see a dentist. The problem with that, of course, is that patients who go to the ER when a toothache becomes unbearable would have gone to a dentist in the first place if they could have afforded it or if they could have found a dentist who accepted Medicaid. Of particular concern to Republican lawmakers is the fact six out of ten dental deserts are in rural communities, and a majority are in states with Republican governors and state legislatures. The biggest reason people in rural areas find it especially difficult to get the dental care they need is because most dentists set up their practices miles away in prosperous urban and suburban areas. That's understandable when you consider that the average newly minted dentist with student debt leaves school owing between $237,000 and $291,000, according the American Dental Education Association. More than 30 percent of dental school graduates in the class of 2016 reported debt of more than $300,000. To help ensure their constituents' oral health needs are being met, lawmakers of both parties in several states are considering doing what at least 50 other countries around the world have done: authorize the licensure of dental therapists--similar to nurse practitioners and physician assistants--to practice in dentistry. A November poll found that 81 percent of Americans favor allowing dental therapists to practice. That support cuts across party lines and regional boundaries. That's not surprising when you consider that 45 percent of those surveyed said cost and access issues kept them from getting needed dental care. Dental therapists are now practicing in Minnesota and in Native American communities in Alaska and Washington, and they'll soon be able to practice in Maine and Vermont and on tribal communities in Oregon. Several other states, including Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio, could follow suit this year. Dental therapists, whose scope of practice ranges from education and prevention to fillings and uncomplicated extractions, work as part of a dentist-led team, not as solo practitioners. When they encounter patients with problems beyond what they're licensed to do, they refer them to their supervising dentists. Although they can't set up their own independent practices, they can help reduce the number of dental deserts in the United States, so long as they're able to work remotely under the general supervision of a dentist, as they do in Alaska and most other places. Dental therapists began treating patients in Native Alaskan communities twelve years ago and now serve more than 45,000 patients, many of whom live in some of the most remote places on earth. Among the champions of dental therapists is Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform (AFTR), the conservative organization that advocates for lower taxes and more limited government. A recent AFTR poll showed overwhelming bipartisan support for dental therapists, as did the November poll mentioned above. State chapters of Americans for Prosperity, another conservative organization, are also on board. Other conservative organizations could soon join them. Among those who went on a recent site visit to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, one of the schools that trains dental therapists, were representatives of the Goldwater Institute, The Charles Koch Institute and the Heartland Institute. The bipartisan support for dental therapists is real. When bills to allow the licensure of dental therapists are introduced in state legislatures, they typically have support of both Democrats and Republicans. So why aren't dental therapists practicing in every state? I'll explain why in a future post. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

06 февраля, 23:10

Congress Asks Lobbyists Who Fought EPA How To Make It ‘Great Again’

A coal lawyer, a chemical industry lobbyist and a libertarian scholar who recently accused the Environmental Protection Agency of “regulatory terrorism” will join a lone advocate for science as witnesses before a Tuesday congressional hearing titled “Making EPA Great Again.” The four witnesses will “discuss how EPA can pursue environmental protection and protect public health by relying on sound science,” according to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The hearing marks the Science Committee’s first meeting since the Republican-controlled Congress convened and President Donald Trump took office. Since he became chairman of the committee in 2013, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has pursued such an ideologically driven agenda, including what critics dubbed “witch hunts” meant to tarnish the credibility of scientists, that some now call it the “House (anti)science panel.” As a vocal skeptic of the widely accepted science behind manmade global warming, The Texas Tribune suggested Smith will be “invigorated by the new climate change-doubting presidential administration.” Those invited to testify seem likely to echo the chairman’s views. Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s law firm, Bracewell LLP, became a top lobbyist for coal and utility companies after he served as assistant EPA administrator under President George W. Bush. During his time there, the EPA weakened environmental rules and politically attacked scientists. The agency became “less independent than its predecessors and more closely tied to the White House’s ideology,” according to the educational nonprofit American Chemical Society. Holmstead has fought tighter EPA restrictions on mercury emissions from power plants, celebrating victory when the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the rules unfairly failed to consider compliance costs for businesses. The electricity industry remains the largest source of carbon pollution in the country, producing 30 percent of total emissions, due to its dependence on dirty-burning coal and methane-leaking natural gas.  Kimberly White, senior director of chemical products at the American Chemistry Council, works for the country’s largest chemical manufacturing trade association, which in 2013 fought the EPA in the Supreme Court to block new rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions. That same year, the trade association sued California regulators to prevent the state from placing new restrictions on bisphenol A, or BPA, a potentially harmful chemical agent used to strengthen plastic bottles. The council wields tremendous lobbying influence, spending $86.4 million on those efforts from 2006 through 2016, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Jason Johnston, a scholar at the Cato Institute ― which was founded by billionaire oil and chemical mogul Charles Koch ― last year equated President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from utilities with “regulatory terrorism.” As far back as 2008, Johnston has railed against what he called “misguided regulation of greenhouse gas emissions” as a result of “climate change alarmism.” That’s a stance familiar to the fossil fuel industry. In one academic paper, he sought to poke holes in the scientific consensus on global warming by picking apart language used by researchers in what he called the “climate establishment.”   The only would-be dissenter on a panel weighted heavily in favor of corporate polluters is Rush Holt Jr., chief executive of the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science. Holt, a physicist, served as a Democratic congressman from New Jersey for 16 years. He said he plans to urge the committee not to put too much weight on the scientific opinions of polluters. He also wants to walk lawmakers through methods for identifying “the best science.” “It’s all too frequently that policies and regulations for some years now have been made with more emphasis on politically partisan ideology than on science,” Holt told The Huffington Post on Monday. “Science has usually not had a big place at the table, if any place at the table.” “I guess I’d say it’s about normal that they only have one serious scientist out of four witnesses,” he added, referring to himself. Neither Smith nor any of the other witnesses responded to requests for comment. But Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist at the environmental nonprofit Friends of the Earth, was not pleased by the hearing line-up. “This fits right into the Trump world of alternative facts,” Schreiber told HuffPost. “You no longer have to be a scientist to comment on science. It’s terrifying.” To the new Trump administration, a history of filing lawsuits against the EPA appears to be a sound qualification for shaping the agency. The president picked Scott Pruitt, the fossil fuel-backed Oklahoma attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times, to lead the agency. Trump also named Myron Ebell, a hawkish climate science denier, to oversee the EPA transition team. A once-fringe political figure, Ebell last week said that Trump was taking steps to eliminate the EPA altogether. In fact, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has drafted a bill that aims to “completely abolish” the agency by the end of 2018, HuffPost reported last week. At the very least, the news site Axios reported last month, the Trump team is considering major cuts to the EPA’s budget, including slashing hundreds of millions from grants to states and Native American tribes, climate programs, and environmental programs and management. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

06 февраля, 23:10

Congress Asks Lobbyists Who Fought EPA How To Make It ‘Great Again’

A coal lawyer, a chemical industry lobbyist and a libertarian scholar who recently accused the Environmental Protection Agency of “regulatory terrorism” will join a lone advocate for science as witnesses before a Tuesday congressional hearing titled “Making EPA Great Again.” The four witnesses will “discuss how EPA can pursue environmental protection and protect public health by relying on sound science,” according to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The hearing marks the Science Committee’s first meeting since the Republican-controlled Congress convened and President Donald Trump took office. Since he became chairman of the committee in 2013, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has pursued such an ideologically driven agenda, including what critics dubbed “witch hunts” meant to tarnish the credibility of scientists, that some now call it the “House (anti)science panel.” As a vocal skeptic of the widely accepted science behind manmade global warming, The Texas Tribune suggested Smith will be “invigorated by the new climate change-doubting presidential administration.” Those invited to testify seem likely to echo the chairman’s views. Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s law firm, Bracewell LLP, became a top lobbyist for coal and utility companies after he served as assistant EPA administrator under President George W. Bush. During his time there, the EPA weakened environmental rules and politically attacked scientists. The agency became “less independent than its predecessors and more closely tied to the White House’s ideology,” according to the educational nonprofit American Chemical Society. Holmstead has fought tighter EPA restrictions on mercury emissions from power plants, celebrating victory when the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the rules unfairly failed to consider compliance costs for businesses. The electricity industry remains the largest source of carbon pollution in the country, producing 30 percent of total emissions, due to its dependence on dirty-burning coal and methane-leaking natural gas.  Kimberly White, senior director of chemical products at the American Chemistry Council, works for the country’s largest chemical manufacturing trade association, which in 2013 fought the EPA in the Supreme Court to block new rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  That same year, the trade association sued California regulators to prevent the state from placing new restrictions on bisphenol A, or BPA, a potentially harmful chemical agent used to strengthen plastic bottles. The council wields tremendous lobbying influence, spending $86.4 million on those efforts from 2006 through 2016, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In eight pages of prewritten testimony for Tuesday’s hearing, White accused the EPA of using irrelevant or out-of-date data and procedures when drafting new regulations. Jason Johnston, a scholar at the Cato Institute ― which was founded by billionaire oil and chemical mogul Charles Koch ― last year equated President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from utilities with “regulatory terrorism.” As far back as 2008, Johnston has railed against what he called “misguided regulation of greenhouse gas emissions” as a result of “climate change alarmism.” That’s a stance familiar to the fossil fuel industry. In one academic paper, he sought to poke holes in the scientific consensus on global warming by picking apart language used by researchers in what he called the “climate establishment.”   The only would-be dissenter on a panel weighted heavily in favor of corporate polluters is Rush Holt Jr., chief executive of the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science. Holt, a physicist, served as a Democratic congressman from New Jersey for 16 years. He said he plans to urge the committee not to put too much weight on the scientific opinions of polluters. He also wants to walk lawmakers through methods for identifying “the best science.” “It’s all too frequently that policies and regulations for some years now have been made with more emphasis on politically partisan ideology than on science,” Holt told The Huffington Post on Monday. “Science has usually not had a big place at the table, if any place at the table.” “I guess I’d say it’s about normal that they only have one serious scientist out of four witnesses,” he added, referring to himself. Smith, Holmstead and Johnston did not respond to requests for comment. But Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist at the environmental nonprofit Friends of the Earth, was not pleased by the hearing line-up. “This fits right into the Trump world of alternative facts,” Schreiber told HuffPost. “You no longer have to be a scientist to comment on science. It’s terrifying.” To the new Trump administration, a history of filing lawsuits against the EPA appears to be a sound qualification for shaping the agency. The president picked Scott Pruitt, the fossil fuel-backed Oklahoma attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times, to lead the agency. Trump also named Myron Ebell, a hawkish climate science denier, to oversee the EPA transition team. A once-fringe political figure, Ebell last week said that Trump was taking steps to eliminate the EPA altogether. In fact, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has drafted a bill that aims to “completely abolish” the agency by the end of 2018, HuffPost reported last week. At the very least, the news site Axios reported last month, the Trump team is considering major cuts to the EPA’s budget, including slashing hundreds of millions from grants to states and Native American tribes, climate programs, and environmental programs and management. This article has been updated to include White’s prepared statement.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

03 февраля, 23:10

Donald Trump And Paul Ryan Are Taking On Walmart And The Koch Brothers

Time to get right with your God, America, because the end times must be upon us: Paul Ryan is taking on the Koch brothers.  In June, House Republicans sketched a “blueprint” for tax reform that would replace taxes on corporate profits with a new system of “border adjustments.” Companies would pay taxes for shipping stuff into the United States, while goods sold across the border would be exempted. The idea, if the GOP could pull it off, would eliminate a host of strategies private equity firms and hedge fund managers deploy to game the tax code. It would also reduce the total amount of revenue the government brings in, allowing Grover Norquist and other anti-tax hard-liners to tout it as a tax cut. It could be seen as a boost to manufacturing, but retailers are panicked about rising costs of imported products. The Trump administration hasn’t quite figured out how it feels about this idea. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month, President Donald Trump criticized the plan as overly complicated. But last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer offered a simplified version: a 20-percent tax on imports to pay for a new wall along the Mexican border. But the Spicer plan forgets that with the revenue from the new import tax, Republicans want to give giant tax cuts elsewhere, not build a giant wall. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus quickly walked back Spicer’s statement, presenting it as simply one option on a tax-reform “buffet.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is, at least for the moment, publicly questioning his House colleagues rather than embracing their agenda.   The GOP confusion is mirrored by a scrambling of alliances on K Streets that hasn’t been seen in living memory. “Trump more than any president I’ve seen has created a little bit of chaos within some client rosters. He’s not afraid to pit people against each other,” said one lobbyist who has clients that may wind up on both sides of the issue. When that happens, lobby shops will have to pick which side they’re on. But as long as it’s just a vague concept, that reckoning can wait. “Theres no legislative text. We don’t have a conflict until we have a bill,” he said. Corporate America has had plenty of intramural matches over the years. But rewriting the tax code is a dozen Super Bowls played all on the same day. Manufacturers, including Boeing, Caterpillar, Honeywell and pharmaceutical companies, have quickly organized to praise the border tax. Retailers, including Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, are trying to kill it. They’re joined by right-wing megadonors Charles and David Koch. In December, Koch Industries ― which imports crude and tar sands oil to be refined in the United States ― said the House GOP plan would “adversely impact American consumers by forcing them to pay higher prices on products ... they use every single day.” Prices at the pump, they have warned, would skyrocket, and nothing gets a member of Congress’ attention faster than the flipping numbers at an Exxon station. One financial industry lobbyist working the House said that Republican members he has spoken to are worried about the political fallout from rising prices. “Members [are] getting worried they will be BTU’d,” he said, referring to a Bill Clinton proposal in the early ‘90s that would have raised energy costs and became a political killer.   There’s talk as a result of a carveout that would exempt the oil industry from the legislation, but Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, said the Kochs would still oppose it. “If there is in fact a carveout for oil ― or any industry ― we will not support it,” Ellender said in an email. “While Koch would benefit, we are opposed to taxing consumers in order to cut our company’s taxes. We agree with Speaker Ryan on the need for comprehensive tax reform, but we do not support a border adjustment tax and his plan as currently proposed.” Ideology on Capitol Hill tends to become flexible when corporate patrons are on different sides of an issue. But one of the few politicians in Washington who knows where he stands is House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). On Thursday, his office blasted out a press release touting the formation of the American Made Coalition, a lobbying and PR front group that presents itself as “a broad collection of industry leaders from every corner of America’s economy.” The coalition is keeping its members anonymous for now, but the group represents manufacturers, and praises the border tax for “removing barriers to economic growth and American job creation,” saying it will eliminate an “obsolete and biased tax system” in favor of a “competitive advantage in the foreign marketplace.” Retailers have their own front group, Americans for Affordable Products, which decries the border tax, saying it will “make hard-working families pay more on essential products.” The group is already insulting its opponents. “The so-called ‘American Made Coalition’ might as well be labeled the ‘We Will Never Pay Taxes Coalition,’” Americans for Affordable Products said in a press release on Thursday. No Republican wrestling match concludes without Wall Street getting involved, but for now, the banking industry is keeping a low profile. The border tax would eliminate a host of lucrative tax games that benefit financial firms, but they’re more concerned about bigger taxes entering the conversation. “Financial services ― they don’t know how their global operations will be hit by this,” said one lobbyist. “There’s a lot of companies and industries that are really concerned about coming out against it, because they’re worried there could be another hammer. The hammer for the banks is a financial transaction tax.” Liberal economists have floated that particular levy for years as a big revenue raiser. By applying a miniscule tax on individual financial trades, the federal government could siphon billions of dollars a year moving through the financial sector. And by shrinking the volume of trading, the system becomes more stable. Some conservative economists, meanwhile, are downplaying the entire border tax affair. In December, the Tax Foundation, a think tank that has accepted donations from the Kochs among others, declared that the ultimate effect of a new border tax would be effectively nil ― the value of the U.S. dollar would fluctuate in response to the plan, zeroing out its impact. The biggest winners may prove to be lobbyists. Trump swept into office pledging to “drain the swamp” of special interests in D.C., but so far his administration is proving a godsend for the influence industry. The border tax has already set off a wave of activity, and nobody has even introduced a bill. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

03 февраля, 23:10

Donald Trump And Paul Ryan Are Taking On Walmart And The Koch Brothers

Time to get right with your God, America, because the end times must be upon us: Paul Ryan is taking on the Koch brothers.  In June, House Republicans sketched a “blueprint” for tax reform that would replace taxes on corporate profits with a new system of “border adjustments.” Companies would pay taxes for shipping stuff into the United States, while goods sold across the border would be exempted. The idea, if the GOP could pull it off, would eliminate a host of strategies private equity firms and hedge fund managers deploy to game the tax code. It would also reduce the total amount of revenue the government brings in, allowing Grover Norquist and other anti-tax hard-liners to tout it as a tax cut. It could be seen as a boost to manufacturing, but retailers are panicked about rising costs of imported products. The Trump administration hasn’t quite figured out how it feels about this idea. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month, President Donald Trump criticized the plan as overly complicated. But last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer offered a simplified version: a 20-percent tax on imports to pay for a new wall along the Mexican border. But the Spicer plan forgets that with the revenue from the new import tax, Republicans want to give giant tax cuts elsewhere, not build a giant wall. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus quickly walked back Spicer’s statement, presenting it as simply one option on a tax-reform “buffet.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is, at least for the moment, publicly questioning his House colleagues rather than embracing their agenda.   The GOP confusion is mirrored by a scrambling of alliances on K Streets that hasn’t been seen in living memory. “Trump more than any president I’ve seen has created a little bit of chaos within some client rosters. He’s not afraid to pit people against each other,” said one lobbyist who has clients that may wind up on both sides of the issue. When that happens, lobby shops will have to pick which side they’re on. But as long as it’s just a vague concept, that reckoning can wait. “Theres no legislative text. We don’t have a conflict until we have a bill,” he said. Corporate America has had plenty of intramural matches over the years. But rewriting the tax code is a dozen Super Bowls played all on the same day. Manufacturers, including Boeing, Caterpillar, Honeywell and pharmaceutical companies, have quickly organized to praise the border tax. Retailers, including Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, are trying to kill it. They’re joined by right-wing megadonors Charles and David Koch. In December, Koch Industries ― which imports crude and tar sands oil to be refined in the United States ― said the House GOP plan would “adversely impact American consumers by forcing them to pay higher prices on products ... they use every single day.” Prices at the pump, they have warned, would skyrocket, and nothing gets a member of Congress’ attention faster than the flipping numbers at an Exxon station. One financial industry lobbyist working the House said that Republican members he has spoken to are worried about the political fallout from rising prices. “Members [are] getting worried they will be BTU’d,” he said, referring to a Bill Clinton proposal in the early ‘90s that would have raised energy costs and became a political killer.   There’s talk as a result of a carveout that would exempt the oil industry from the legislation, but Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, said the Kochs would still oppose it. “If there is in fact a carveout for oil ― or any industry ― we will not support it,” Ellender said in an email. “While Koch would benefit, we are opposed to taxing consumers in order to cut our company’s taxes. We agree with Speaker Ryan on the need for comprehensive tax reform, but we do not support a border adjustment tax and his plan as currently proposed.” Ideology on Capitol Hill tends to become flexible when corporate patrons are on different sides of an issue. But one of the few politicians in Washington who knows where he stands is House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). On Thursday, his office blasted out a press release touting the formation of the American Made Coalition, a lobbying and PR front group that presents itself as “a broad collection of industry leaders from every corner of America’s economy.” The coalition is keeping its members anonymous for now, but the group represents manufacturers, and praises the border tax for “removing barriers to economic growth and American job creation,” saying it will eliminate an “obsolete and biased tax system” in favor of a “competitive advantage in the foreign marketplace.” AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, declined to comment on any of the particular opponents of the measure, but said the speaker was committed to seeing it through and welcomed “constructive dialogue.” “Taxing our imports instead of our exports will level the playing field for American jobs and American goods, which are currently at a global disadvantage,” Strong said. “We welcome all constructive dialogue on tax reform so that we can create jobs here at home and leapfrog the rest of the world. We have a once in a generation opportunity, and the speaker is committed to success.” Retailers have their own front group, Americans for Affordable Products, which decries the border tax, saying it will “make hard-working families pay more on essential products.” The group is already insulting its opponents. “The so-called ‘American Made Coalition’ might as well be labeled the ‘We Will Never Pay Taxes Coalition,’” Americans for Affordable Products said in a press release on Thursday. No Republican wrestling match concludes without Wall Street getting involved, but for now, the banking industry is keeping a low profile. The border tax would eliminate a host of lucrative tax games that benefit financial firms, but they’re more concerned about bigger taxes entering the conversation. “Financial services ― they don’t know how their global operations will be hit by this,” said one lobbyist. “There’s a lot of companies and industries that are really concerned about coming out against it, because they’re worried there could be another hammer. The hammer for the banks is a financial transaction tax.” Liberal economists have floated that particular levy for years as a big revenue raiser. By applying a miniscule tax on individual financial trades, the federal government could siphon billions of dollars a year moving through the financial sector. And by shrinking the volume of trading, the system becomes more stable. Some conservative economists, meanwhile, are downplaying the entire border tax affair. In December, the Tax Foundation, a think tank that has accepted donations from the Kochs among others, declared that the ultimate effect of a new border tax would be effectively nil ― the value of the U.S. dollar would fluctuate in response to the plan, zeroing out its impact. The biggest winners may prove to be lobbyists. Trump swept into office pledging to “drain the swamp” of special interests in D.C., but so far his administration is proving a godsend for the influence industry. The border tax has already set off a wave of activity, and nobody has even introduced a bill. This article has been updated to include a comment from Ryan’s spokeswoman. Sign up for the HuffPost Must Reads newsletter. Each Sunday, we will bring you the best original reporting, long form writing and breaking news from The Huffington Post and around the web, plus behind-the-scenes looks at how it’s all made. Click here to sign up! -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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30 января, 14:08

Koch network could serve as potent resistance in Trump era

Charles Koch warns country could be put on “authoritarian route.”

30 января, 10:02

Главные толстосумы Америки готовы давить на Трампа через его окружение

Дональд Трамп едва приступил к своим новым обязанностям, а главные воротилы деловых кругов США уже начинают нажим на его политику. Братья Чарльз и Дэвид Кохи пообещали потратить до 400 млн долларов во внутренней политике США. Кохи всегда финансировали республиканцев, однако поладить с Трампом им пока не удалось. Зато многие игроки его команды прямо или косвенно связаны с Кохами.

30 января, 09:52

Koch Brothers Group Slams Trump's Immigrant Ban As 'Counterproductive'

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); In what could be seen as an ominous attack from the same side of the aisle, a spokesman representing conservative billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch criticized Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority nations as the “wrong approach.” “We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” Brian Hooks, the head of the Charles Koch Foundation and co-chairman of the Kochs’ political and policy network, said in a statement Sunday. “The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.” He added: “Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.” The statement is the first public attack on the Trump presidency by the king-maker Koch brothers. The mega donors did not endorse Trump’s candidacy. During the campaign, Charles Koch, 81, denounced Trump’s proposed demand that all Muslims in the country register as “reminiscent of Nazi Germany.” (He also referred to the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton as picking a “heart attack or cancer.”) The Koch network, officially known as Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, operates several political groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Libre Initiative. Hooks issued the statement on Trump’s controversial immigrant ban as some 550 of the network’s biggest donors gathered at a luxury resort near Palm Springs, California, for the network’s annual winter seminar. Some of the talk seemed to be pro-Trump, ABC reported. Charles Koch didn’t mention Trump in his public remarks to the donors, who pay at least $100,000 to the network each year.  Other network leaders, however, said they were willing to work with Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress on reducing regulations and government spending. “We see big opportunities to work with the new administration and this new Congress,” Hooks said, but he also warned that the network would “hold all politicians accountable, regardless of political party.” Besides Trump’s immigration crackdown, his planned spending boost for infrastructure and his floated — then dropped — plan to impose a 20 percent tariff on Mexican products was not popular with the network. “A $1 trillion government stimulus is a bad idea under Democrats and it’s a bad idea for a Republican,” Hooks said to donor applause, USA Today reported. Network leaders are pleased, however, about Trump’s executive order supporting the Keystone pipeline and some of his Cabinet posts. Koch network officials said they intend to spend up to $400 million to influence policy and politics over the next two years, compared with $250 million that Koch groups spent on 2016 elections, largely key Senate races, the Washington Post reported.  “We had by far the most productive year in the history of this network,” Charles Koch told donors about the last election. “We’re just getting started.” No one from the Trump administration attended the conclave. But five Republican senators, two members of Congress and governors from Wisconsin, Arizona and Illinois attended. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=55df762ae4b0aec9f352a94b,56d77134e4b03a405677653d,56a3ac86e4b076aadcc6d1f4,569d5178e4b00f3e986284dd,564c87a9e4b045bf3df1c5be,55d9ca6ee4b0a40aa3ab3642,56336b3ae4b0c66bae5bfa47 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

30 января, 09:52

Koch Brothers Group Slams Donald Trump's Immigrant Ban As 'Counterproductive'

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); In an apparent attack on President Donald Trump from the same side of the aisle, a top Koch brothers associate criticized Trump’s ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority nations as the “wrong approach” on Sunday. “We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” Brian Hooks, the head of the Charles Koch Foundation, said at an event for the brothers’ political and policy network. “The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.” Hooks added: “Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.” The billionaire Koch brothers have been critical of Trump before, and did not endorse his candidacy. During the campaign, Charles Koch, 81, said Trump’s proposal to register all Muslims living in the U.S. was “reminiscent of Nazi Germany.” (He also compared the choice between electing Trump or his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to picking a “heart attack or cancer.”) The Koch network, officially known as Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, operates several political groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Libre Initiative. Hooks issued the statement on Trump’s controversial immigrant ban as some 550 of the network’s biggest donors gathered at a luxury resort near Palm Springs, California, for its annual winter seminar. Some of the talk seemed to be pro-Trump, ABC reported. Charles Koch didn’t mention Trump in his public remarks to the donors, who pay the network at least $100,000 each year. Other network leaders, however, said they were willing to work with Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress on reducing regulations and government spending. “We see big opportunities to work with the new administration and this new Congress,” Hooks said, but he also warned that the network would “hold all politicians accountable, regardless of political party.” Besides Trump’s immigration crackdown, his planned spending boost for infrastructure and the plan he floated — and then dropped — to impose a 20 percent tariff on Mexican products were not popular with the network. “A $1 trillion government stimulus is a bad idea under Democrats and it’s a bad idea for a Republican,” Hooks said to donor applause, USA Today reported. Network leaders are pleased, however, about Trump’s executive order supporting the Keystone pipeline and some of his Cabinet posts. Koch network officials said they intend to spend up to $400 million to influence policy and politics over the next two years, compared with the $250 million that Koch groups spent on the 2016 elections ― largely for key Senate races, The Washington Post reported.  “We had by far the most productive year in the history of this network,” Charles Koch told donors about the last election. “We’re just getting started.” No one from the Trump administration attended the conclave. But five Republican senators, two members of Congress and governors from Wisconsin, Arizona and Illinois were there. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=55df762ae4b0aec9f352a94b,56d77134e4b03a405677653d,56a3ac86e4b076aadcc6d1f4,569d5178e4b00f3e986284dd,564c87a9e4b045bf3df1c5be,55d9ca6ee4b0a40aa3ab3642,56336b3ae4b0c66bae5bfa47 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

30 января, 05:55

Koch network launches effort to kill Republican border tax plan

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (Reuters) - Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is launching a campaign to sink a border tax under consideration by Republican leaders in Congress, a move that could complicate the lawmakers' efforts to find a way to pay for President Donald Trump's proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

30 января, 04:39

Rauner sees 'serious concerns' with Trump's travel ban

CHICAGO — Amid criticism that he was silent while chaos erupted at area airports over the weekend, Gov. Bruce Rauner said on Sunday that “serious concerns” exist over President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying those concerns should be addressed in court.Rauner also said he opposed any ban that targeted a specific religion, but the carefully worded statement fell short of a full embrace or full rebuke of Trump’s policy. Instead, Rauner said he would like to see a “balance” of addressing national security concerns while remaining welcoming to immigrants. His remarks came as Democrats and labor groups blasted the Republican governor for attending a summit in Palm Springs, California, sponsored by Charles and David Koch even as protesters showed up in droves at O’Hare Airport, shutting down an area outside the international terminal at one point. While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan and state Comptroller Susana Mendoza (all of whom are Democrats) repudiated Trump’s action on Saturday, Rauner’s office did not respond to a request for comment. On Sunday, however, his office released this statement: “Governor Rauner has always said we need to balance our tradition as a nation welcoming of immigrants and refugees with legitimate national security concerns to keep Americans safe from terrorism. The governor has been supportive of tightening the vetting process for Syrian refugees because of ISIS attempts to infiltrate refugee flows — but he's opposed to immigration bans that target any specific religion. "Serious concerns about the executive order have been raised. We urge swift resolution of these concerns through the courts to ensure we are a nation that is both secure and welcoming of immigrants and refugees.”In 2015, Rauner asked the White House to temporarily ban Syrian refugees from settling in Illinois. Rauner also asked the White House for “vetting information” regarding refugees seeking settlement in Illinois, according to the governor’s office, which added that the White House denied both of the requests. The Illinois Federation of Teachers blasted Rauner this weekend.“While children, refugees, and green card holders are being detained at our airports and Illinois is still without a budget, Bruce Rauner is one of only three Governors strategizing with the Koch brothers at a Palm Spring resort,” IFT President Dan Montgomery said in a statement.

29 января, 23:26

Koch network condemns Trump ban on refugees and immigrants

"We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” said Brian Hooks, the president of the Charles Koch Foundation.

29 января, 20:15

В мире: Главные толстосумы Америки готовы давить на Трампа через его окружение

Дональд Трамп едва приступил к своим новым обязанностям, а главные воротилы деловых кругов США уже начинают нажим на его политику. Братья Чарльз и Дэвид Кохи пообещали потратить до 400 млн долларов во внутренней политике США. Кохи всегда финансировали республиканцев, однако поладить с Трампом им пока не удалось. Зато многие игроки его команды прямо или косвенно связаны с Кохами. Один из наиболее влиятельных в Соединенных Штатах клан Кохов пообещал потратить до 400 млн долларов в ближайшие два года на то, чтобы повлиять на американскую политику, сообщил в субботу ТАСС со ссылкой на представителя братьев Чарльза и Дэвида Кохов, Джеймса Дэвиса. Напомним, братья владеют конгломератом Koch Industries, который входит в число крупнейших частных предприятий США. Кроме того, Кохи занимают вторую строчку в рейтинге богатейших семей США. Их состояние оценивается в 82 млрд долларов. При этом братья не скрывают своего интереса к политике и традиционно ставят на республиканцев. Еще недавно они считались одними из главных противников президента США Барака Обамы и на предыдущих выборах горячо поддерживали Митта Ромни. Многие критики левого толка – включая и самого Обаму – обвиняли Чарльза Коха в концентрации слишком большой власти и ее использовании на личные экономические интересы с помощью сети секретных организаций, которую называют Kochtopus. Чарльз отвечает на эти нападки, что следует закону и использует секретность по мере необходимости. «Мы получаем угрозы расправы над нашими людьми, угрозы уничтожения наших предприятий. Anonymous и другие группы пытаются взломать наши IT-cистемы, – цитировала его три года назад российская версия журнала «Форбс». – Пока мы живем в обществе, где на нас нападает президент и нас запугивают члены Конгресса, и все это выносится наружу и становится частью культуры – мол, мы есть зло, поэтому нас нужно уничтожить, зачем мы должны раскрывать информацию о себе?» В течение двух предыдущих лет «сеть Кохов» уже потратила около 250 млн долларов на политику, отметило AP. Теперь сумму расходов планируется увеличить. Так, на зимней конференции представителей организаций, числящихся в «сети Кохов», в субботу в Калифорнии собрались около 550 спонсоров, готовые скинуться от 100 тыс. долларов в год на нужды различных политических направлений и групп, поддерживаемых Кохами. «Это только начало», – подчеркнул, приветствуя собравшихся, Чарльз Кох. «Кохам полезнее встреча с марионетками, чем со мной» «Такие инвестиции сыграют важную роль в оспаривании приоритетов Трампа», – заметило агентство Associated Press (AP). Братья Кохи ежегодно собирают «доноров» и политиков в частном порядке. Организаторы сообщили, что на этот раз среди участников были пять сенаторов, из них – три губернатора и два конгрессмена. Все они республиканцы, однако особо стоит упомянуть видного критика Tрампа, сенатора из Небраски Бена Сассе, указало агентство. Будучи кандидатом в президенты США, Трамп отверг возможность сблизиться с семьей. «Я отказался от встречи с Чарльзом и Дэвидом Кохами. Для них будет намного лучше встретиться с политическими марионетками, это будет для них гораздо полезнее», – подчеркнул Трамп. Кохи неоднократно оказывали финансовую помощь политикам-республиканцам, однако Трампа подвергали критике, так как не одобряли его взгляды на вопросы иммиграции и торговли, напомнило Reuters. Между тем ситуация может измениться, так как Майк Пенс, новый вице-президент, ранее был тесно связан с Кохами. В частности, шесть миллиардеров, поддерживающих и Республиканскую партию, и Трампа, предприняли активные попытки убедить Кохов встать на сторону Трампа, подчеркнуло Reuters. Когда Трамп отказался общаться с Кохами, другой представитель семейства, Марк Холден, заявил NBC, что в действительности у них и не было никаких планов сближения с этим кандидатом. Он подчеркнул, что Кохи решили сократить до минимума участие в президентской гонке и сосредоточиться вместо этого на предстоящих выборах в сенат Конгресса США. Напомним, на ноябрь следующего года назначены промежуточные выборы трети сената и всех членов палаты представителей. Многие эксперты предсказывают демократам большинство в нижней палате, поскольку американцы обычно не хотят, чтобы одна партия контролировала и президента, и Конгресс. Способствовать просвещению избирателей и добиться подотчетности выборных должностных лиц – главная цель транша в 400 млн долларов, утверждают Кохи. Однако подробности они не раскрывают. Дирижерская палочка Кохов Пресса сообщала, что Кохи и многие другие «доноры» в итоге отказались поддержать Трампа на выборах, поскольку ставили под вопрос его готовность к власти и приверженность к консервативным ценностям. То, что признаки напряженности в отношении к Трампу сохранились, показала субботняя конференция, отметило АР. Так, имя Трампа ни разу не было упомянуто ни Кохами, ни другими ораторами, они проигнорировали новую администрацию, отметив лишь заслугу «сети Кохов» в том, что удалось сохранить республиканское большинство в сенате. «Используйте это как возможность, чтобы помочь нам двигаться вперед в продвижении страны к светлому будущему, пока эта возможность доступна. Не исключено, что потом такой возможности, как сегодня, уже не будет», резюмировал Чарльз Кох, опять же не упоминая имя президента», – подчеркнуло АР. Портал напомнил, что братья и их союзники особенно сосредоточены на реформе системы здравоохранения и ликвидации федеральных правил – здесь их взгляды совпадают со взглядами нового президента. Однако они выступают, вопреки призывам администрации Трампа, в защиту свободной торговли. «Последние действия Кохов еще не говорят о том, что семейство и их партнеры готовы превратиться в тотальную оппозицию в ближайшее время», – подчеркнул портал The Time и привел слова «мегадонора» из Северной Каролины Арта Поупа, который заявил: «Есть пределы тому, что стороны могут и должны делать». Однако Кохи могут и не уходить в оппозицию, а пойти другим путем. Так, треть новой команды, включая персон, уже занимающих или пока претендующих на ключевые посты вроде вице-президента, госсекретаря, генпрокурора, министра энергетики и директора ЦРУ, «через личное знакомство, карьеру либо бизнес связаны с братьями Кохами», отметил портал «Деловая столица». Кроме вице-президента Пенса, в перечень входят директор ЦРУ Майк Помпео и шеф Агентства по защите окружающей среды Скотт Прюитт, а также еще не назначенные кандидаты: Рекс Тиллерсон (госсекретарь), Рик Перри (министр энергетики), Джефф Сешнс (генпрокурор) и миллиардер Уилбур Росс (министр торговли). Однако список далеко не полон, отмечают американские издания. Благодаря столь тесным связям с новым правительством Кохи смогут реализовывать свои идеи, уверен обозреватель Billmoyers.com Ричард Эскоу. «И хотя Трамп расходился с Кохами по некоторым ключевым вопросам, включая торговлю, социальное и медицинское страхование, они всегда договаривались по дерегуляции, приватизации, климату, налогам и Obamacare», – отметил он. По его мнению, Кохи смогут сблизиться с Трампом и по другим вопросам. «Понятно одно: Кохи и их большие денежные союзники рассчитывают получить больше влияния, чем когда-либо во время других президентств, которым они пытались помешать», – заключил он. Теги:  США, внутренняя политика, Дональд Трамп

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29 января, 07:45

Братья Кохи намерены потратить до $400 млн для влияния на политику США

Как сообщает AP, братья Кохи — влиятельные бизнесмены Чарльз и Дэвид Кохи — планируют в ближайшие два года потратить до $400 млн для влияния на политику в США. Данную информацию подтвердил официальный представитель бизнесменов Джеймс Дэвис. По его словам, эти деньги будут потрачены, например, на то, чтобы обеспечить подотчетность лиц, занимающих избирательные должности, а также на образовательные программы для избирателей. В американском городе Индиан-Уэллс (штат Калифорния) в субботу открылась конференция, где присутствуют порядка 550 представителей организаций «сети Кохов». Ежегодно они жертвуют не менее 100 $тыс. на нужды различных структур, связанных с Кохами. «Используйте это как возможность, чтобы помочь в движении страны к светлому будущему. Потому что в будущем у нас может и не быть такой возможности, какая есть сейчас»,— сказал Чарльз Кох на открытии конференции…

Выбор редакции
29 января, 00:00

Koch Network Emboldened Yet Wary About Trump

Rebecca Berg, RealClearPoliticsINDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The influential political network steered by billionaires Charles and David Koch did not support Donald Trump in his campaign for president. And at a confab this weekend...

24 января, 05:46

Marc Short: Koch Dark-Money Operative Is Trump's Liaison To Congress

When the history of Donald Trump's administration is written, people may point to the appointment of a Koch Brothers' operative to a little-known White House position as a turning point in Trump's evolution from unorthodox Republican candidate to doctrinaire corporate politician. Meet Trump Legislative Director Marc Short Think of it as a merger, or an acquisition. His administration hires suggest that Trump, who ran a heterodox and intermittently populist (if consistently bigoted) campaign, has been joining forces with the more established corporate extremism of the Republican Party establishment. Consider Marc Short's appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs. According to the White House website, the Office of Legislative Affairs "serves as the President's primary liaison to the United States Congress, and is responsible for advancing the President's legislative agenda on Capitol Hill." The Director of Legislative Affairs has typically been an obscure figure, plucked from a staffer job on Capitol Hill. And while the position calls for "working with Senators, Representatives, and their staffs to promote the President's priorities" (as the White House website puts it), Great Britain's Prince Phillip may have captured a key aspect of the job more pithily when he was introduced to one of Short's predecessors some years ago: "Ah," Prince Philip said, "the spear catcher." But Marc Short, who is reportedly Donald Trump's choice to fill the position, is more accustomed to doling out cash than he is to catching spears. It's true that Short has some Hill experience, as chief of staff to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and then-Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN). Short isn't really a policy wonk. He's an operative in Republican and right-wing circles. After serving as finance director for Oliver North's failed senatorial campaign, Short reportedly helped Pence run the House Republican Conference, managed the Reagan Ranch, and was a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security under Bush. The Kochs' Dark Money Man Peddled a Plan to Take Down Trump Short is best known for his tenure as president of the Koch Brother's Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the political fund organized by the Koch Brothers to advance their far-right, pro-corporate, anti-environmental agenda. While the group describes itself as a "business league," CMD noted that its fundraising cycles much more closely resemble those of a political party, complete with high-tech voter lists and opposition research. The "Washington Post" described the organization as "carefully constructed with extensive legal barriers to shield its donors" and said it operated "de facto banks" that were "feeding money to groups downstream." Freedom Partners has reportedly cut checks for as much as $63 million to support campaigns and causes beloved by the Kochs and their allies, including anti-environmental groups, the National Rifle Association, and two different groups working to repeal Obamacare, the 60 Plus Association and the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) run by Koch money man Sean Noble (who renamed the group American Encore.) CPPR/American Encore created some bad headlines for the Kochs. It was forced to pay huge fines as part of a settlement with California Attorney General-now Senator-Kamala Harris for activities that were described as "campaign money laundering," although Noble and the Kochs denied wrongdoing. Three other groups that received Freedom Partners funding were fined by the Federal Election Commission last year for violating campaign regulations. This is classic dark money behavior, and Short was in the middle of it. Short doesn't just give money away. As president of Freedom Partners he received a lot, too. The latest IRS filing for the organization shows that Short was paid $1,110,328 in 2015 by the nonprofit, and received another $48,444 in "other compensation from the organization and related organizations." The last person to hold his White House job reportedly received $172,200 per year - an excellent standard by most measures, but a step down from Short's former salary. Advancing the Koch Agenda from Inside the White House Short's path to the White House was not without a surprise or two. He left Freedom Partners in 2016 to join Marco Rubio's campaign, a move that was interpreted by some as a sign that the Republican establishment wanted to stop Trump at all costs. If the right-wing National Review is to be believed, Short was so determined to stop Trump that he personally presented Charles Koch with a plan for blistering ads " a detailed, eight-figure blueprint for derailing (Trump) on Super Tuesday," but was rebuffed. He's come a long way since then. So why the change of heart? Perhaps because the candidate Short once wanted to stop is now poised to deliver on key elements of the Koch Brothers' agenda. Trump is appointing oil industry executives and lobbyists to a number of top positions and denies the reality of climate change. His xenophobic and bigoted rhetoric fuels the kind of fear that does great things for gun sales. Like Freedom Partners, Trump is pushing deregulation. And Trump, together with his congressional allies, is poised to repeal Obamacare. Recently, the Kochs' "grassroots" group Americans for Prosperity, is telling potential donors (with typically hyperbolic capitalization) that the Kochs' three-part agenda consists of "1. REPEALING OBAMACARE; 2. FIXING OUR BROKEN TAX SYSTEM" - that is, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy - and, "3. CUTTING FEDERAL SPENDING." Freedom Partners gave more than $130 million to organizations that supported Obamacare's repeal in 2012 along, according to its IRS filing. $115 million was given to the CPPR and $15.7 billion went to the 60 Plus Association, which also lobbied heavily against it. CPPR funneled money to other groups as well, creating a fake storm of "grassroots" opposition. Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity routinely used Obamacare as a hot-button issue, targeting key Democrats with "issues ads" in their re-election races - which, of course, means that they were aiding Republicans in those races. American Encore also spent millions the same way. A Friendly Koch Takeover Short is not the only Koch person to join the Trump Administration. VP Mike Pence is a Koch ally and he has been helping stack the cabinet with a coterie of Koch friends. Pence may become the most powerful vice president in U.S. history - outstripping even Dick Cheney in influence. And while Trump has differed with the Kochs on some key issues - including trade, Social Security, and Medicare - they have always agreed on deregulation, privatization, the climate, taxes, and Obamacare. Trump's appointments suggest that he may be moving closer to the Kochs on other issues as well. One thing seems clear already: the Kochs and their big-money allies seem poised to gain more influence than ever during a presidency they once tried to prevent. Originally published at the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

24 января, 04:32

South Dakota GOP Rushes To Repeal Ethics Reforms Passed By Voters

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― Republican lawmakers in South Dakota are ready to declare a legislative emergency so that they quickly and completely wipe out an ethics and campaign finance reform law adopted by popular vote in November. The measure, known as IM-22, passed with 52 percent of the vote. It is supposed to create an independent commission to oversee investigations into ethical misconduct by elected officials, impose tougher limits on campaign contributions and lobbyists’ gifts to lawmakers, place restrictions on lawmakers becoming lobbyists, increase disclosure by independent political groups, and set up a system to publicly finance elections. Republican lawmakers from Gov. Dennis Daugaard to state Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd came out against the initiative before the election. The opposition was heavily funded by the South Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the largest advocacy arm of the conservative political machine run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. After its passage, Daugaard called the law a “mess” and claimed that voters were “hoodwinked” by out-of-state actors. He vowed to repeal it if it wasn’t struck down in the courts. Curd called the passage of the law “a constitutional crisis in our state” because, he said, it makes “de-facto criminals out of every elected office holder” and gives those officials “only two choices: resign the office and abandon the voters or remain and commit a crime.” On Monday afternoon, a joint committee of the South Dakota legislature approved emergency rules to immediately repeal the entire law. The next step is a vote on the floor of the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) told HuffPost, “This is a way that the repeal can’t be referred to the ballot.” Normally in South Dakota, if the legislature repeals a citizen-backed initiative, the voters can propose a referendum to reverse the repeal. But if it’s eliminated under emergency rules, the citizens can’t reverse that repeal. To adopt those emergency rules, the legislature needs a two-thirds majority, which Republicans provided. Steve Hildebrand, an advocate for the ethics initiative, conceded that because of overwhelming Republican control of the state government, it “probably won’t be that big of a fight.” The GOP holds majorities of more than 80 percent in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. They control every statewide elected position, too. “Republicans simply want nobody policing their business when they dominate the legislature and the governor’s office,” Hildebrand said. The action in South Dakota echoes initial attempts by the Republicans in the U.S. Congress to defang the Office of Congressional Ethics and target the Office of Government Ethics. “A total repeal of a law passed by the voters is a completely unprecedented move in South Dakota’s political history,” said Doug Kronaizl, head of Represent South Dakota. Take It Back, a South Dakota group, led the campaign to enact the reform initiative. Represent.Us, a national anti-corruption organization that operates chapters in numerous states including South Dakota, was the main funder of the Yes on 22 campaign. The top objections to IM-22, Hildebrand said, are the publicly funded election campaigns and the independent ethics commission it would create. The publicly funded campaign system would provide each citizen with two $50 vouchers to be used as contributions to participating candidates. To receive the vouchers, candidates would have to agree to lower contribution limits and spending caps. The program would be funded from the state’s general fund at a cost of $9 per registered voter. Americans for Prosperity sharply attacked the voucher idea. One mailer said that it would allow politicians to pocket “our hard earned money.” The independent ethics commission would investigate ethics and campaign finance complaints lodged against legislative and executive branch officials. It would be made up of five commissioners, with no party holding a majority of members. Currently, there is no such independent authority overseeing state officials. South Dakota has recently been rocked by multiple scandals, including the corrupt administration of the state’s privatized EB-5 visa program and the embezzlement of funds by state employees from an education cooperative. That may be why some Republicans have proposed either keeping the independent ethics commission or creating a new commission with less power after repealing the citizen-backed law. Attorney General Marty Jackley, who has prosecuted numerous political scandals in the state, broke with his fellow Republicans and called for the legislature to maintain the ethics panel. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has also called for a campaign finance commission, albeit one with less authority than the entity enacted by South Dakota voters. At the moment, state Circuit Judge Mark Barnett has issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the law from being implemented. The judge called his ruling “just a stop on the bus route,” as the final decision will probably be made by the South Dakota Supreme Court. State Republicans had gone to court to argue that the law was unconstitutional mere weeks after the Nov. 8 election. Barnett’s ruling found that some elements of the measure were unconstitutional, but others were not. While supporters want to salvage the latter parts as the case goes through the courts, the legislature now looks set to repeal the whole law. Sutton, the Democratic lawmaker, said he couldn’t “understand the emergency” since the court had already stopped the law. Why would Republicans need to rush the bill through in just four days? “They don’t want to hear from the voters through emails and personal conversations and forums over the weekend,” Sutton said. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

22 марта 2013, 13:43

Что делать Атланту? Или о производстве замолвите слово

Итак, снова трещат копья вокруг Айн Рэнд и ее «Атланта», на сей раз вокруг экранизации романа. Что ж, это не ново. В 2012 году Библиотека Конгресса США провела выставку под помпезным названием «Книги, которые сформировали Америку». Перед событием эксперты библиотеки составили список из 88 книг, которые, по их мнению, отвечали всем требованиям «формирующей книги». Странно, что среди книг не оказалось Библии (возможно, по причине самоочевидного лидерства), но в остальном список мало у кого из критиков вызвал сомнения… за исключением одного пункта. Пресса взорвалась негодованием по поводу нахождения среди 88-ми романа Айн Рэнд «Атлант расправил плечи». Впрочем, это произведение подвергалось остракизму не в первый раз. К тому времени роману исполнилось уже 55 лет, и он все это время оставался одной из самых популярных книг в Америке… и самой ругаемой в «приличном обществе». В 2008 году, перед первым избранием Барака Обамы, тиражи новых изданий «Атланта» снова взлетели до небес, и к 2010 году суммарный проданный тираж книги перевалил за 7 миллионов экземпляров. Это очень много, но отнюдь не рекорд. Так, «Над пропастью во ржи» имеет на своем счету около 65 миллионов экземпляров, а «Убить пересмешника» – примерно 30 миллионов. Но есть одно существенное обстоятельство. «Атлант» – в основном американская книжка, всерьез не продвигавшаяся на внешние рынки. При этом ее тиражи поднимаются с нуля до миллионов, когда перед Америкой вновь и вновь встает всерьез выбор магистрального направления развития. В упомянутом 2008 году «Атлант» набрал в продажах совокупный миллион экземпляров, то есть, по четверти миллиона на новеллу – столько же, сколько Catcher Сэлинджера. А «Пересмешник» перешагнул за цифру 150 тысяч лишь в 2011 году благодаря «величайшему культурному событию современности» – Виктория и Дэвид Бекхэм назвали свою дочку в честь автора романа, Харпер Ли. В том же 2011 году кабельное, Интернет и DVD-продажи Amazon взорвала документальная лента «Айн Рэнд и пророчество Атланта» (Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged). Интерес к фильму был сумасшедшим, а реакция критики была весьма прохладной. Впереди были выборы-2012, и Голливуд готовил целый пул предвыборных прообамовских фильмов, которым будут рукоплескать критики, и Киноакадемии останется лишь выбрать среди них достойный Оскара. В том, что Голливуд бросил все свои силы на переизбрание лево-либерального президента, ничего сенсационного не было. Куда интереснее было то, что «важнейшим из искусств» решили воспользоваться и справа. Неудивительно, что обратились при этом к самому проверенному материалу, острота которого не была потеряна за полвека. В 2011 году вышла экранизация первой части «Атланта». Сюжет «Атланта» состоит в том, что в недалеком будущем (по Айн Рэнд – в 60-х годах, по режиссеру Джону Путчу – после перевыборов Обамы на второй срок) государство сильно вмешивается в экономические дела корпораций и, радея «о всеобщем благе», вводит «Закон равного распределения», отнимая у предпринимателей свободу деятельности, авторское право, возможность устанавливать цену на свою продукцию и нанимать тех людей, которые им кажутся наиболее перспективными. Это порождает ответную реакцию – предприниматели, инженеры и менеджеры «расправляют плечи». Следуя призыву таинственного изобретателя Джона Голта, они в массовом порядке начинают уходить, оставляя свое дело. Мир сваливается в хаос, заботиться об экономике, инфраструктуре и рабочих становится попросту некому. Критика разорвала картину в клочья, и большого прокатного успеха она не имела. Но поскольку фильм и его фрагменты постоянно циркулировали в Интернете, собирая весьма приличную аудиторию, а на 2012-й, самый горячий год был намечен выход второй части фильма, в которой «общество всеобщего блага» окончательно губит всю инфраструктуру Америки, навстречу одному «Атланту» бросили другого. В 2012 году на экраны вышел широко разрекламированный фильм Cloud Atlas, который на русский язык был переведен, на мой взгляд, совершенно неверно – «Облачный Атлас». В действительности и роман Дэвида Митчелла, и его экранизацию стоило бы перевести как «Порочный Атлант»[1]. Разница в классе актеров, режиссеров, продюсеров и всей съемочной группы была колоссальной. Да и бюджет у лево-либерального «Атланта» был на порядок выше – $102 миллиона против 10. И это не должно удивлять. Разумеется, какие-нибудь братья Кох с удовольствием выделили бы на экранизацию Айн Рэнд хоть $200 миллионов, но все же влияние и деньги – вещи не эквивалентные, особенно, когда речь идет о некой специфической области деятельности. Прийти в либеральный Голливуд с мешком денег и рассчитывать на то, что Спилберг, Вачовски, Кэмерон или даже автор оскароносного «Арго» Афлек станут снимать что-то вроде «Атлант расправил плечи», просто смешно. Им ведь потом еще жить и зарабатывать в Голливуде, давно определившемся со своей политической ориентацией! Поэтому, сколько бы просмотров ни собирали в Интернете ролики со стародавними интервью Айн Рэнд, как только дело коснулось Фабрики Грез, рассчитывать на звездную команду для перенесения на большой экран ее творения и на успешный прокат не приходилось. Сняли как сняли. С теми, с кем сняли. И хотя, на мой взгляд, фильм все равно получился неплохой и достойный просмотра хотя бы дома – на DVD или онлайн, – на этом разговор собственно о фильме можно было бы и завершить. Однако куда интереснее то, что очередное явление публике «Атланта» сопровождается уже ставшей привычной за 55 лет весьма агрессивной реакцией «приличного общества». Когда я посмотрел первые две части «Атланта», я, разумеется, поделился с друзьями не только ссылками, но и впечатлениями. Картинка получилась интересная. Мне даже показалось, что это вообще кино не для всех. Какие-то душевные и интеллектуальные струны «Атлант» трогал только у части аудитории, и эта часть аудитории вполне понимала, о чем этот фильм, и сопереживала героям. Начались даже споры о том, как можно было бы переложить фильм на другую фактуру, более футуристическую или, наоборот, на нашу, отечественную. Поэтому мне очень любопытно было, какова будет реакция на фильм гуманитария, академического философа. Я подумал, что если она будет безразличной, то тайна невероятной популярности «Атланта», с одной стороны, и невероятного раздражения большинства интеллектуалов на него, с другой, так и останется нераскрытой. Однако мой коллега по цеху Василий Ванчугов поставил смелый эксперимент, причем, как надлежит настоящему ученому, добровольно поставил его на себе. Он посмотрел обе части фильма «Атланта» и написал на них рецензию. Если бы Василий этого не сделал, рецензию отечественного философа на данный кинофильм я бы, ей-Богу, придумал сам. Придумал бы в самом провокационном ключе. Под псевдонимом, разумеется. В моей притворной рецензии философ не только клеймил бы позитивизм, но и вообще индустриальное общество, капитализм, предпринимателей, «всех этих менеджеров» и, разумеется, увязал бы коммерческий провал картины с содержащимися в ней идеологемами: критики выдвинули фильм на «Золотую малину» (анти-премия за худший фильм) – значит «Золотой малины» достойны и все идеи Айн Рэнд; главная героиня недостаточно красива – значит и капитализм отвратителен и не эстетичен; а что спецэффекты не те, что в «Аватаре» и вовсе означает, что позитивизм может обмануть лишь людей недалеких. По реакции на мою провокацию я бы смог измерить градус идеологического противостояния «Атланту». Если бы интеллектуалы поддержали такого рода логику, то мы действительно имеем дело с идеологией, и в «Атланте» есть что-то такое, что заставляет одних читать и перечитывать (в другом варианте – смотреть и пересматривать) его, а других – раз за разом пытаться не оставить от него камня на камне. Надо сказать, всамделишная рецензия профессора Ванчугова оказалась куда удачнее моих провокационных замыслов. Все изложенные мною выше приемы, в ней были использованы, но я бы никогда не смог изобразить того искреннего презрения философа к материальному производству, каковое выказал автор. Основной эмоциональный нерв рецензии, по сути дела, держится на призыве к читателям возмутиться демонстрацией на экране «производственной темы»: рельсов, шпал, поездов, цехов и производственных совещаний. Остановимся на секунду и задумаемся: может быть, и правда переборщили? Не думаю. Огромное количество первоклассных кинолент изобилует профессиональными тонкостями различных профессий. Самые успешные фильмы и сериалы о юристах просто-таки являются учебниками англо-саксонского права. Фильмы о художниках и музыкантах наполнены рассуждениями о «грации линий» и «изящности звука». С программистами и хакерами дело похуже – мало кто обладает столь серьезными знаниями в области IT, чтобы отразить работу этих ребят адекватно, но все равно с экрана так и сыплются «IP-адреса», «прерывания», «хосты» и «файерволы». И так далее и тому подобное. Фильмы и сериалы о полицейских, разумеется, отчасти берут тем, что там присутствует захватывающий сюжет, но и здесь профессиональная деятельность людей показана в мельчайших деталях – от шкафчиков в раздевалке до экипировки патрульной машины. То есть и о полицейских можно. Лучше всего, если в фильме есть грязный коп, но сойдут и честные ребята. Все ОК. Вот тут крепится рация, вот тут – наручники. Не раздражает. Врачи – вообще отдельная тема. Посмотрев «Доктора Хауса» или «Скорую помощь», можно научиться делать интубацию, диагностировать напряженный пневмоторакс и узнать все об антибиотиках широкого спектра. Да что там! Даже работа коронера и судмедэксперта, выведенная на экран, никого не возмущает. А там ведь и смотреть-то иной раз неподготовленному зрителю сложно – спецэффекты позволяют изобразить разлагающуюся человеческую плоть весьма правдоподобно. Полагаю, интеллектуального зрителя нисколько не оскорбляют фильмы о проститутках, наркоманах, неудачниках, домохозяйках… Особой популярностью пользуются киноленты об аферистах. Так чем же не устраивают рельсы, металл, производство? Чем не устраивают инженеры, предприниматели, менеджеры? Исходя из текста рецензии можно было бы предположить, что все дело в травме коммунистического прошлого, где фильмами про заводы и колхозы граждан пичкали постоянно, и были эти фильмы всеми поголовно нелюбимы. Но те фильмы не любили тем больше, чем ближе зрители были к заводам и колхозам: на экране трактора были исправными, цеха чистенькими, водители непьющими, в жизни – отнюдь. Интеллигенция все больше посмеивалась или игнорировала. Идиосинкразии точно никакой не было, больше раздражали пустые полки магазинов и некачественный коньяк. В Советском Союзе все были в равных условиях. Как говорит Жванецкий, мы делали вид, что работали, они делали вид, что платили. Напоминание же о капиталистических «рельсах-шпалах» есть прямое указание на источник материального изобилия и, что важнее, относительного материального благополучия тех, кто к «рельсам-шпалам» никакого отношение не имеет. И пока материальное производство «знает свое место», делает все, что мы едим, носим, в чем живем, ездим и через что выходим в Интернет, причем делает молча, все в порядке. Совсем другое дело, если интеллектуалу сказать, что «рельсы-шпалы», вообще говоря, могут и исчезнуть – возьмут «враги рода человеческого» и перестанут эксплуатировать наемный труд и производить что-либо. Еще хуже, если появляется популярная идеология, канализирующая раздражение участников производственных совещаний столь милым сердцу философа кампусным социализмом. Практически весь американский чайный бунт последнего времени основан на этом раздражении и недовольстве. Автор рецензии сам прекрасно формулирует одну из причин такого недовольства. По его мнению, небесный свод держат и держали «совсем другие герои». Несложно догадаться, что это интеллектуалы, в высшем своем изводе – философы. Дело уже давно не в философии позитивизма или весьма эксцентричных воззрениях самой Айн Рэнд. Сегодня ее «Атлант» – с одной стороны, напоминание, что не стоит из благоустроенных университетских помещений указывать индустрии на ее ничтожное место в жизни общества, с другой, это своего рода манифест причастных к «рельсам-шпалам». Манифест, как и фильм, такой, какой есть. За неимением лучшего. И вместо того, чтобы ждать второй, более удачной попытки «добавить в позитивизм попкорн» (выражение Василия Ванчугова), я бы посоветовал философам пересмотреть свое отношение к пресловутым капиталистам, да и вообще к представителям экономического класса и, относясь к ним с заботой и благодарностью, попробовать привить им какую-нибудь другую идеологию вместо «Атланта». Ведь будь я предпринимателем, то по прочтении рецензии профессора я бы испытал острый приступ желания перестать платить налоги. Совсем. Расправить плечи. [1] Если следовать автору романа Дэвиду Митчеллу, то переводить на русский язык и роман, и фильм следовало бы «Порочный Атлант», поскольку в интервью радио BBC автор сказал: «Само название „Порочный Атлант“; порочность относится к постоянно меняющимся проявлениям Атланта, к неизменной человеческой природе, которая всегда остается и всегда будет оставаться таковой. Так что темой книги является жажда, с которой люди охотятся на отдельных лиц, группы — на группы, народы — на народы, племена — на племена». Вот теперь замените порочного Атланта на облачный атлас, и станет понятной бессмыслица перевода названия на русский язык. Фильм Вачовски и Тыквера бичует различные исторические проявления «Атланта», намекая, что это «тот самый Атлант». Дмитрий Дробницкий

09 января 2013, 01:44

Как устроена бизнес-империя братьев Кох, главных противников Обамы

Миллиардеры Чарльз и Дэвид Кох создали компанию с выручкой более $100 млрд, теперь они борются за «настоящую демократию» Человек, который, по оценке Forbes, входит в число 50 самых влиятельных людей в мире, топ-20 самых богатых и, пожалуй, в дюжину самых ненавидимых людей на планете, постоянно рефлексирует. Однако, учитывая, что Чарльзу Коху исполнилось 77 лет, это простительно. Простительно потому, что недавно он назвал президентские выборы «виной всех войн», и потому, что Koch Industries является второй крупнейшей частной компанией в Америке (после Cargill) с выручкой $115 млрд. Читать далееПохожие статьиПравила бизнеса Ларри ЭллисонаЗачем друг Путина спас магазин, в котором собираются российские оппозиционерыПочему России выгодна новая администрация Барака Обамы