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28 марта, 15:19

Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution

"Libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch have long opposed federal power and federal spending. Koch Industries is one of the nation’s biggest polluters and has been sanctioned and fined over and over again by both federal and state authorities. In response, the Kochs have launched a host of “limited government” advocacy organizations and have created a massive $400 million campaign finance network, fueled by their fortunes and those of their wealthy, right-wing allies, that rivals the two major political parties. The Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity says it favors a balanced budget convention. Such an austerity amendment would drastically cut the size of the federal government, threatening critical programs like Social Security and Medicare and eviscerating the government’s ability to respond to economic downturns, major disasters and the climate crisis. AFP has opposed an open convention, calling it “problematic.” But whatever qualms the Kochs might have, they continue to be a bedrock funder of the entire convention “movement.” Running the “Convention of States initiative” is an Austin, Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG). CSG reported revenue of $5.7 million in 2015, more than double its haul from two years earlier, when it launched its Convention of States Project, according to The Dallas News. It now boasts 115,000 “volunteers,” although that figure may represent the number of addresses on its email list. The group is not required to disclose its donors, but research into other organizations’ tax records by the Center for Media and Democracy, Conservative Transparency and this author show a web of Koch-linked groups having provided nearly $5.4 million to CSG from the group’s founding in 2011 through 2015: Donors Trust, a preferred secret money conduit for individuals and foundations in the Koch network of funders, has given CSG at least $790,000 since 2011. The Greater Houston Community Foundation, which is funded by Donors Capital Fund (linked to Donors Trust) and the Kochs’ Knowledge and Progress Fund, has donated over $2 million since 2011. The Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Donors Capital Fund, gave $2.5 million from 2012-13. Citizens for Self-Governance also has two Koch-connected board members. Eric O’Keefe is a director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a group which has taken in considerable funding from Koch-linked groups like the Center to Protect Patient Rights, and was at the center of the long-running “John Doe” criminal investigation of Scott Walker’s campaign coordination with dark money groups. O’Keefe was the national field coordinator for the Libertarian Party when David Koch ran for vice president in 1979 on the Libertarian Party ticket. The party’s platform called for the end of campaign finance law, the minimum wage, “oppressive Social Security,” Medicaid, Medicare and federal deficit spending. The Koch agenda has not changed much since." http://billmoyers.com/story/kochs-to-rewrite-constitution/

28 марта, 09:33

Income Inequality: The 15 Cities With the Biggest Wealth Gaps

The level of income inequality in the U.S. is now roughly what it was in the 1920s, just before the Great Depression. In these 15 cities, it's even worse.

24 марта, 22:58

TrumpCare dies, XL flies and the Secret Winner is…

by Greg Palast for OpedNews Koch Brothers celebrate their victory (from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) When RyanCare-TrumpCare finally ended up face-down in the swimming pool, triumphalist Democrats whooped and partied and congratulated themselves on defeating the Trump-Ryan monstrosity. But deep in their counting house, counting their gold, three brothers cackled with private jubilation. […] The post TrumpCare dies, XL flies and the Secret Winner is… appeared first on Greg Palast.

14 марта, 22:30

Фирташ наносит ответный удар

Теперь ОПЗ должен выплатить в пользу Ostchem Holding 5 млрд. 240 млн. грн. основного долга и 1 млрд. 572 млн. грн. пени.

12 марта, 09:56

Запад «развел» Украину по полной программе

В общем, политика Запада в отношении Украины предельно прагматична и ориентирована на максимальное извлечение выгоды из подмандатной территории. И подобная ситуация может быть законсервирована на долгие годы.

11 марта, 15:40

Запад «развел» Украину по полной программе

Евроатлантический капитал скупает остатки богатства «незалежной» на корню

06 марта, 14:45

Әлемдегі ең бай 500 адамның қатарына қазақстандықтар енген жоқ

5 ақпанда Bloomberg агенттігі әлемдегі ең бай 500 миллиардердің тізімін жариялады. Алайда, олардың қатарында қазақстандықтар жоқ деп хабарлайды Skifnews.kz порталы. Көрнекі фото: sn.kz Рейтингтің көшін бұрынғыша Microsoft корпорациясының қожайыны Билл Гейтс бастап тұр. Оның жиған дәулеті 85,6 млрд долларға пара-пар. Екінші орында тағы бір америкалық миллиардер - Уоррен Баффет. 86 жастағы кәсіпкер бүгінге дейін 78,9 млрд доллар жинапты. Ал, үздік үштікті 73,5 млрд доллармен Amazon компаниясының басшысы Джефф Безос қорытындылап тұр. Ең дәулетті он адамның тізімі төмендегідей: Амансио Ортега, испан модельері – 69,3 млрд доллар Марк Цукерберг, Facebook әлеуметтік желісінің негізін қалаушы – 59,1 млрд доллар Карлос Слим, мексикалық кәсіпкер – 53 млрд долларов Ағайынды Чарльз бен Дэвид Кох, америкалық кәсіпкерлер – әрқайсысында 48,1 млрд доллар Ларри Эллисон, Oracle корпорациясының басшысы – 45,3 млрд долларов Ингвар Кампрад, IKEA компаниясының негізін қалаушы – 42,9 млрд долларов. Тізімнің ең соңғы 500-ші орнында саудиялық банкир Сүлеймен әл-Раджи, оның жиған дәулеті 3,61 млрд долларға тең. Ал, Қазақстанның ең бай кәсіпкері Болат Өтемұратов 2,4 млрд доллармен (2016 ж) бұл тізімге енбей қалды. Тағы оқыңыздар: ОҚО-ның шенеуніктері қыз-келіншектерге xормен ән айтып берді (видео) Алматыда "Қайрат" жанкүйерлері "Ақтөбенің" фанаттарын соққыға жықты (видео) Өзінен жеті жас кіші жігітке тұрмысқа шыққан ару бақытты отбасының сырымен бөлісті (фото) Астанада дәрігер кейпіне енген әйел жүкті келіншектерді тонап кетті (фото) Ақтөбеде тәрбиешінің салғырттығынан екі жасар бүлдіршін оңбай күйіп қалды (фото)

04 марта, 03:50

Претендентами на Одесский припортовый завод могут стать спонсоры Трампа – СМИ

Арендой ОПЗ заинтересовались российско-американский миллионер и одна из крупнейших химических компаний США.

03 марта, 13:08

Trump courts donors with eye on 2020

After criticizing big-money influence in 2016, the president is rushing to consolidate donor support.

03 марта, 09:00

Кровные деньги: бизнес-войны среди родственников

Совместный бизнес развалил немало семей. Брат шел против брата, дети подавали в суд на родителей, а о том, что творили зятья и тести, лучше умолчим. Вот пять эпических историй, которые доказывают: семейное дело — не для слабых духом.

27 февраля, 03:55

NATO Revamped: Why the Alliance Needs to Change

Julie Thompson Security, Europe NATO has outlived its original purpose. So what's next? Last year, the Center for the National Interest partnered with the Charles Koch Institute to host a foreign policy roundtable. Among the topics addressed was: Has NATO outlived its usefulness to the United States? Click here to watch the rest of the videos in the “Allies and Adversaries” video series. Michael Desch, professor of political science and director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, believes the North Atlantic Trade Organization has outlived its original purpose to defeat the Soviet Union and should be put to rest. He explains, “This is the corpse of an international institution that’s become zombie-fied. It’s dead! But it continues to exist and chase after the living.” According to Desch, NATO’s confounding factors are the amount of resources the United States spends on the alliance and the “moral hazard” of maintaining a permanent attachment to European countries that may no longer share our interests. While Desch came out strongly in favor of ending the alliance, other scholars still see the security alliance’s value—although not in its current form. Author and historian Andrew Bacevich notes that NATO “ought to do what it was founded to do, which is provide for the security of Europe. It’s just that what is different today than back in 1949 is today the Europeans are fully capable of taking responsibility for their own security.” After all, the United States spends more than 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense, whereas the median defense expenditure of European NATO countries is a mere 1.18 percent of GDP. Bacevich believes the United States could foreseeably exit NATO if it gave its European partners approximately ten years to take charge of the alliance. Read full article

24 февраля, 13:28

No evidence town hall protesters are being paid

George Soros denies any direct connection to the growing tide of anti-Trump demonstrations.

24 февраля, 07:42

The Pipelines Behind The Epic Paul Ryan-Koch Industries Feud

WASHINGTON ― Koch Industries, one of the nation’s largest importers, is waging a campaign in Washington against a major new importation levy ― but it is doing so only on principle, the company says. Either way, the battle puts the Kochs, who have given billions to conservative causes, at odds with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The irony of the fight is heightened by just how close they have been in the past. It was the Kochs who pushed hardest for Ryan to be Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, and last year, Charles Koch was still hoping Ryan would emerge as a surprise presidential nominee even on the eve of the Republican National Convention. The cornerstone of Ryan’s agenda is a reform of the tax code that would eliminate the current corporate tax regime and replace it with a “territorial” system that would tax imports at around 20 to 25 percent while allowing exports to flow freely. The aim is to give an advantage to U.S. manufacturers and to cut corporate taxes. More than a hundred other countries have moved to similar systems, but it faces stiff opposition in the Senate — and from America’s big importers: Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Koch Industries. Koch Industries, which is not thought of in the public imagination as an importer, makes the list largely for its importation of tar sands oil. In 2015, the last full year for which the Department of Energy has records, the company’s Pine Bend refinery in Minnesota imported just under 80 million barrels of tar sands oil from Canada, accounting for a quarter of all the oil imported from up north. Even though the price of tar sands oil has fallen to as low as $8 a barrel, while global crude prices are about $55 a barrel, the Kochs would end up with $640 million in imports. A 20 percent tax on $640 million in oil would cost the Kochs $128 million each year. To put the Kochs’ importation business in context, Dole Food is considered by the Journal of Commerce to be the fourth-largest importer in the U.S. But the business press often leaves the Kochs out of such conversations. Last year, Dole pulled in $4.5 billion in revenue. Subtract from that profit and the cost of importing and distributing its fruit and other products, and you’re left with the value of the imported goods themselves — likely less than the Kochs’ $640 million in imported oil. Koch Industries doesn’t tout Pine Bend publicly as part of its empire, but the importance to its business is hard to overstate. “This was always referred to as the crown jewel of Koch,” said one former Koch insider. “The deal that made Pine Bend refinery a part of Koch Industries was a seminal moment in the history of the company. Without Pine Bend, we probably never would have heard of Charles and David Koch, and they certainly wouldn’t be spending in elections the way they are without it.” Acquiring Pine Bend in 1969 was “one of the most significant events in the evolution of our company,” Charles Koch wrote in his 2007 book, “The Science of Success.” It allowed the Kochs “to enter chemicals and, more recently, fibers and polymers.” The development of western Canada’s tar sands extraction industry, and the resulting pipeline boom that has become a political flashpoint at the border and on tribal lands, would have happened far differently were it not for the Koch brothers. “Without Pine Bend, Koch Industries as you know it today does not exist. It allowed them to invest in buying and growing companies like Georgia Pacific, Molex, Invista and Koch Fertilizer,” said the Koch insider. The volume of imports puts Koch opposition to Ryan’s importation levy into an entirely different perspective. Earlier this month, HuffPost asked Koch Industries if its opposition to the border tax would be softened by exempting oil imports. Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, said that if oil was carved out of the border tax, “Koch would benefit,” but they’d still oppose it on principle. “If there is in fact a carve-out for oil ― or any industry ― we will not support it,” Ellender said. “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.” But in December, when the Kochs initially announced opposition to the border tax, the messaging was a bit different, putting the focus on the manufacturing the Kochs do. “While companies like Koch who manufacture and produce many products domestically would greatly benefit in the short-term, the long-term consequences to the economy and the American consumer could be devastating,” Ellender said at the time. David Dziok, a spokesman for Koch Industries, said this week that ultimately the Kochs would benefit from a border tax, because the tax on their imports would be passed on to consumers. “A BAT will force Americans to pay higher prices for the goods they use every single day ― from clothing to gas to groceries,” he said. “Koch Industries agrees on the need for comprehensive tax reform, but we are opposed to taxing consumers in order to cut our company’s taxes.” But even if the company can pass on the entire increase to its consumers ― not always possible ― raising the price of gas tends to mean people will buy less gas. As fuel prices rose a decade ago, sales of gas-guzzling SUVs fell. With gas prices dropping, sales of bigger cars are on the rise. Whether the drop in demand would wash out the rise in price is impossible to predict, but a Goldman Sachs analysis of the House Republican plan predicted a 30-cent-a-gallon hike in gas prices in the short term but noted it would “likely moderate over time” as U.S. production rose and the dollar strengthened, which would drive down the price of foreign oil. The confusion over such a basic question as whether the company would be hurt or helped, or whether its tax bill would go up or down, flows from the Kochs’ longtime insistence that their libertarian politics and their corporate self-interest are entirely unrelated. There’s glory in fighting for freedom but not in lobbying for corporate profit. People outside Washington may find it head-scratching, but maintaining this public distinction is deeply important to the Kochs, said three people who’ve worked with the company. Koch Industries and its representatives routinely refer to the brothers’ opposition to ethanol subsidies, for instance — even though they are one of the largest producers of ethanol — as evidence of the purity of their libertarian values. So lobbying that it does on public policy must be divorced from the corporate bottom line. That lobbying is kicking into high gear, said the former Koch insider. “They’re marshaling their resources and going back to their old playbook, which means unleashing [Americans for Prosperity] and leaning on academics they have ‘sponsored,’” said the former Koch insider. -- 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 февраля, 04:06

Why America's Military Shouldn't Be Managing International Affairs

Ted Ellis Security, Americas U.S. policymakers need to re-examine their habits of using the military to solve foreign-policy problems. Last year, the Center for the National Interest partnered with the Charles Koch Institute to host a foreign-policy roundtable. One of the discussion prompts was: Our current foreign policy is problematic because . . . Click here to watch the rest of the videos in the series “On the Home Front: The Domestic Side of International Relations.” According to retired Army colonel and bestselling author Andrew Bacevich, the American military is today being used to solve problems it was not designed to solve. Current U.S. foreign policy, he said, is “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the efficacy of military power, particularly American military power,” which leads foreign-policy elites to select objectives that do not align with our frequently misunderstood strategic reality. As a result, Bacevich concludes, “we engage in wars that are unnecessary and counterproductive, notably in large parts of the Islamic world.” At the end of the Cold War, the United States found itself in an “astonishingly favorable” position. Thanks to peaceful, friendly neighbors to the north and south, large oceans separating it from hostile powers abroad, and a level of economic might that dwarfs its closest competitors, the United States was ensured a high degree of prosperity and security. However, Bacevich warns, “The record of the past . . . twenty-five years is one of squandering those advantages.” Columbia University’s Richard Betts attempted to explain why the United States misunderstands the role of its military forces. He argues that the First Gulf War had a “pernicious effect” on policymakers bridging the gap between the Cold War and post-Cold War era. Many elites perceived the First Gulf War as a “perfect military success” that came at “negligible cost.” According to Betts, this “naturally encouraged people to assume” that the U.S. military could be used to manage global affairs “very effectively at acceptable cost.” Read full article

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.

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