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09 декабря, 02:18

The bright side of Dieselgate and other corporate scandals

Julien Jourdan, Université Paris Dauphine - PSL 2015 was supposed to be a year of honours and glory for Volkswagen: it was about to steal the crown from Japanese rival Toyota and dominate the global automobile market. Then came September, and the revelation that one of the most admired companies in the world had falsified engine emissions tests. In a matter of days, dishonour fell on the corporation and its top management, accused of breaking the trust of its customers and the public. Volkswagen fell hard. Within a few days, a quarter of the company's market value evaporated. Public outrage forced CEO Martin Winterkorn to resign, and the firm lost ground in all major markets, retreating from leading positions it had patiently built over decades. Adding insult to injury, legal bills and liabilities started piling up as prosecutors across the globe investigated the company. A year after the scandal, nobody knows how long it will take for Volkswagen to fully recover. The healing process, research tells us, involves a combination of explanation, contrition, and rehabilitative change. The hubristic "Das auto" tagline is already history. Major management and strategic changes are under way. No doubt the turnaround will require considerable expense and time. The Diselgate fallout forced Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn (L) to resign. Ralph Orlowski/Reuters The explosive nature of scandals Scandals are intriguing social phenomena. They involve misconduct - real or alleged - that runs counter to established moral norms. The transgression is often known before scandal emerges. In Victorian London, everyone knew Oscar Wilde was gay, but mostly ignored that fact until he was sent to jail for it. Likewise, early evidence of Volkswagen's misconduct was published in a 2014 scientific study but remained otherwise under the radar. Publicity is what turns transgression into scandal. Acting as a detonator, it forces third parties (who might have otherwise turned a blind eye) to denounce the perpetrators. Once the story is out there, bystanders have no other option than to condemn the publicised transgression. Scandals then start diffusing. In the age of social media and instant global news, they spread like wildfire. Former associates of the perpetrator and actors categorised as being similar quickly suffer from a suspicion of culpability - "If Volkswagen does it, others probably are too, right?" At this point, being guilty or innocent does not really matter. The taken-for-granted assumption that corporations act in a morally acceptable manner vanishes; entire sectors become subject to public scrutiny. The practices of Ford, BMW, Renault-Nissan, and others, are questioned. Eventually, misbehaviour casts a cloud over a whole industry. Corporate scandals as regulatory devices Corporate scandals are not always bad news. When they weaken one or more central players, they open market opportunities to competitors. In the aftermath of the Enron scandal, for instance, the "big four" audit firms ended up capturing most of Arthur Andersen's former clients. In November 2015, Fiat-Chrysler and Volvo both recorded all-time high sales in the US. Scandals may also have a greater virtue: they call attention to moral issues and durably affect how consumers and stakeholders evaluate organisations. In an ongoing research project with a researcher at Columbia University, we find evidence that the organisations best positioned to benefit from scandal are those which provide a close substitute to the perpetrator's product and are known for enforcing stricter norms. In other words, scandals provide the most virtuous firms with a competitive edge. In all, corporate scandals contribute positively to the long-term evolution of industries. Scandals shed light on organisational practices that used to be formally condemned yet commonly ignored, such as cooking the books (such as Parmalat) or struggling with research (such as Theranos). By exposing misconduct to the public eye, scandals generate moralising discourses and bring the question of organisational norm enforcement to the forefront of the political debate. They also force governments and regulators to redefine and enforce stricter rules. While the clamour of the 2001 infamous Enron bankruptcy has long faded away, the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules, implemented in the wake of the scandal to tighten financial disclosures and limit conflicts of interest, guide and constrain the accounting practices of millions of corporations today. Theranos, which claims to get accurate test results from small amounts of blood, also had a tough year. Steve Jurvetson/Flickr, CC BY New rules of the game A year has passed since Dieselgate, and the global automobile industry is already different: playing with regulatory tests is clearly no longer an option. Not only has the cost of cheating tests has become exorbitant but the probability of being caught is now almost certain, with regulators in all countries tightly scrutinising emission test results. The result is much more than symbolic: actual engine emission reductions are in order across the industry. Faced with the true cost of meeting emission targets, automakers such as Renault and Toyota are already phasing out diesel engines and reorienting their research and development effort towards low-emission technologies. Others will follow suit, because Dieselgate displaced the nature of organisational competition. In the post-emission scandal car industry, the players best able to innovate and offer truly cleaner propulsion systems are the ones that will survive and thrive. Volkswagen's top managers learnt the lesson firsthand. They recently announced the firm's ambition to become the world leader in electric cars by 2025. Julien Jourdan, Professor of Strategy, Université Paris Dauphine - PSL This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. -- 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.

09 декабря, 00:46

Obama Inspires To 'Have Each Other's Backs' During His Final National Tree Lighting Ceremony

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot fir tree in the Ellipse at the White House adorned with over 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white, and green--as voices sang holiday carols in the background. In 2016, and for the 94th time, President Coolidge's original message of hope and peace carries on to become a highly celebrated tradition, better known as the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, DC. With the best star-studded line-up to date, this year's ceremony is different. It is hard to ignore a bittersweet feeling in the air. This itch wouldn't leave me alone in the back of my mind. It is Barack Obama's last Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House; it's the beginning of his final send-off. Hosted by Eva Longoria, this year's star-studded line-up features Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Yolanda Adams, The Lumineers, Marc Anthony, James Taylor, Garth Brooks, and Trisha Yearwood--as well as appearances by Barack and Michelle Obama, with special guest Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Simone Manuel. President of the National Parks Foundation, Will Shafroth, says, "There's something in our National Parks for everyone, and we've represented that with the breadth of this year's talent for tonight's ceremony." Parks are one of the few parts of our country that genuinely bring people together. Shafroth adds, "The Statue of Liberty is just as patriotic a place for a Democrat, as it is a Republican. We are fortunate that we [The National Parks Foundation] represent a place of unity and peace in this post-election world where the country has felt pretty divided along the way." One of the night's most talked about performers Chance the Rapper, who dropped his third mixtape earlier this year titled Coloring Book, feels the great honor to be invited to attend. "It's historic to me to be here tonight for one of Obama's last public events in his term.  I've always wanted to perform for the President and for it to be during the holiday season and on the eve of a new presidency is something I won't forget," he says. Chance talks about how he's going to miss the photos of Obama with kids at the White House from various events throughout the year. He explains, "It's the vision that a President who is so powerful, with a magnitude of great character is so down to earth and compassionate at the same time. It sucks a little bit to see him leave." Also in attendance is Simone Manuel, who won four medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Most notably, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming. Prior to joining the First Lady onstage, she mingles and takes photos with other talent. Manuel says, "I just met Yolanda Adams, who is one of my favorite gospel singers. I actually listened to her song 'Victory' before I swam my 100-freestyle." Manuel feels honored to be invited to one of Obama's last public events as president. "While this is my second time at the White House, it's bittersweet because I know it's Obama's last one," she says. Manuel reads 'Twas the Night Before Christmas with the First Lady onstage to children from the Boys and Girls Club and is also introduced as an 'American Hero'. After an evening of cheerful performances, the last to take the stage is the President himself, Mr. Barack Obama. He drives home the core of his election eight years ago - hope. Obama says, "After eight years as your President, I still believe that there's so much more that unites us than divides us. I've seen big-hearted, hopeful people, who look out for each other and who have each other's backs. Who find strength in our differences, and keep moving forward, knowing we're all in this together. That is our values and who we are, who we always will be." As he speaks, the crowd is silent, the tree glistens behind him with the White House further back, and those in attendance know they just witnessed a piece of history that they probably will be seeing for the last time. He concludes the night with this: "I just want to express what an incredible honor it has been to serve this nation, and to feel its warmth and to feel its generosity, and how our family has been awed by America's goodness. And, most of all, it has been so special to share these eight years with all of you." As bittersweet as the night felt throughout, it is and remains about coming together. -- 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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09 декабря, 00:14

Цена на фьючерсы на нефть марки Light с поставкой в январе сегодня по итогам торгов на NYMEX повысил

Цена на фьючерсы на нефть марки Light с поставкой в январе сегодня по итогам торгов на NYMEX повысилась на $1,07 до уровня $50,84 за баррель

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09 декабря, 00:13

Цена на фьючерсы на нефть марки Light с поставкой в январе сегодня по итогам торгов на NYMEX повысил

Цена на фьючерсы на нефть марки Light с поставкой в январе сегодня по итогам торгов на NYMEX повысилась на $1,07 до уровня $50,84 за баррель

09 декабря, 00:13

The Reality-Based Community And Trump's Orwellian Dystopia

Back in 2004, journalist Ron Suskind interviewed a top aide to President George W. Bush, later identified as Karl Rove. As Suskind reported: The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." The quote was chilling, because it implied that the most powerful government on earth was confident it could be guided, not by empirical evidence, but by its ideological inclinations. Reality, of course, does matter and Rove and his boss learned, both in Iraq and when the economy collapsed in 2008, that there are costs to denying it. Happily, for them, those costs were primarily borne by those who had little choice but to live in the reality-based community: soldiers and civilians in Iraq; US homeowners and workers. Rove's confidence US Administrations could "create reality" was not entirely naïve, at least in the short-term. For over a century, legitimate analyses of impediments to objectivity (examined in depth by psychology, neuroscience, and post-modernist philosophy, and depicted in the arts) have penetrated our culture, reinforcing the view that "knowledge" is frequently subjective. Ideological appeals often are strengthened by "emotional reasoning," by which our feelings alone validate what constitutes a fact. Professional journalism, often viewed as a powerful countervailing force to ideology and propaganda, has failed. As practiced on network television, where most people seek news, "objectivity" is not defined by a search for verifiable facts and accurate interpretations, but "even-handedness." News presenters believe they are being "objective" if they allow each side equal time to express themselves. Interviewees are almost never challenged and virtually any reply to a rare follow-up question will be accepted. Journalists have become mere stenographers. (The glaring exception to "even-handedness" is Fox News, which explicitly tailors journalism to be in sync with Republican Party ideology at the expense of accuracy). The internet (including social media), television news' chief rival, works in the opposite direction. Users reinforce their pre-existing ideology by typically choosing to increase exposure to partisan political news and views. Thus, as with television journalism, the internet does not induce many to challenge their own biases. Karl Rove was a cynical political visionary, but Donald Trump's surreal road to the White House is that vision's nightmarish embodiment. The term "truth," which once indicated a claim supported by incontestable facts, has, because of Trump, been re-defined. Sometimes it means "truthiness," coined by Stephen Colbert, signifying phenomena which feel true though not supported by fact (e.g., gun ownership saves lives). Oftentimes, however, assertions are almost impossible to believe (e.g., Obama founded ISIS). Almost. Trump has set a likely unbreakable record for a President-elect by having made hundreds of baseless claims since last year. Yet, polls indicated voters perceived Hillary Clinton, though actually far less prone to tell blatant lies, less honest. For this to be comprehensible, truth has had to be re-defined as communicating whatever one honestly believes, even if it may not, or, almost certainly, could not be true. Facts are "trumped" by beliefs, when the purveyor of false information is not viewed as disingenuous. Hillary Clinton's far greater factual accuracy, even if accepted, was irrelevant, because she was thought to be consciously lying about her emails, and a willing Wall Street puppet. Oddly, Trump's refusal to release his taxes, or disclose his business with Russian oligarchs tied to Vladimir Putin, was never perceived by his supporters in the same light. In addition to making truth dependent upon honest conviction, not the weight of objective evidence, we have also witnessed fabricated online stories gone viral. In some instances, this has been done for profit. Macedonian teenage entrepreneurs, for example, created tales accepted by credulous Trump supporters, such as that Pope Francis endorsed Trump. Others, primarily right-wing sites, have had clear-cut political motives: Conservative Daily Post falsely claimed the FBI confirmed evidence of a "huge underground Clinton sex network"; Cathy O'Brien, employing John Birch Society rhetoric about the Illuminati, accused the Clintons along with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush of using mind control to make her, her daughter, and countless others, into sex slaves, to facilitate their diabolical quest for a New World Order. Before the internet, these concoctions would have reached a small audience. Now they can be directly accessed by millions and further amplified via apolitical social media, because fact-checking is difficult, even if one is motivated. Most ideologues who spread fake news may have had no direct ties to Donald Trump. But, Stephen Bannon, who will be chief strategist in the Trump Administration, does. Breitbart News, which Bannon served as executive chairman of from 2012 until joining the Trump campaign in August, has published both real and fake news. Laura Ingraham, who has been mentioned as a possible Press Secretary in the coming Administration, is another disturbing figure. She owns an online publishing company which operates LifeZette. a "news" site which has trafficked in conspiracy theories, including one accusing Clinton of being responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. A video produced by LifeZette, Clinton Body Count, which made this accusation among others, was viewed 14 million times. Perhaps her talents would be wasted in a position that requires only obfuscation, not invention. When Karl Rove mocked the "reality-based community" he was prophetic. But, he was no George Orwell, whose dystopian 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four coined the term "double-think," the dominant political discourse in Oceania, the super-state he imagined, which foreshadowed the Age of Trump: To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it. -- 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.

08 декабря, 23:22

Fake News, Criminalized

Via The Daily Bell  MI6 Chief Says Fake News And Online Propaganda Are A Threat To Democracy … The chief of MI6 has said he is deeply concerned by the threat posed by rival countries attempting to undermine democracy through propaganda and cyberattacks. -Buzzfeed The next step in attacking the alternative media is to criminalize it. Right now the alternative media is under attack in Europe for “hate speech” and (potentially) terrorism. In the US, the alternative media is being accused of presenting Russian propaganda. Earlier today, this approach was taken up by British intel (see above). In the US, there are Congressional attempts underway to provide funds for law enforcement to investigate alternative news sites as supporters of Russian propaganda. But so far there have been no major statements from US federal law enforcement officials. Now, however, we have one from Britain - as the head of MI6 has spoken up. Since Western alternative media is simply an outgrowth – an expression – of discontent with the current system, those producing it cannot ultimately be seen as tools of Russian propaganda. However, alternative media is proving deeply disconcerting to the larger Western power structure. For this reason, suspicions of Russian propaganda merely provide a justification for investigation. One an investigation has been pursued, it may not stop until something – anything – is found that can be construed as criminal or at least problematic. In this way alternative media can be first criminalized and then hounded. Or so the plan goes … More: Alex Younger, aka “C”, used a rare public speech to say he was deeply concerned about the risks posed by hybrid warfare, where countries take advantage of the internet to “further their aims deniably” through “means as varied as cyberattacks, propaganda, or subversion of democratic process”. Although he did not name Russia directly, the comments come following accusations that the Kremlin has attempted to influence elections in the US and Europe using underhand tactics ranging from undeclared direct funding, to hacking emails, to spreading fake news. “Our job is to give the government the information advantage; to shine a light on these activities and to help our country and allies, in particular across Europe, build the resilience they need to protect themselves,” Younger said. “The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty; they should be a concern to all those who share democratic values.” In fact, what is being planned is not going to work. It will likely make life miserable for certain reporters and others associated with the alternative media. But it is far too early for the powers-that-be to stamp out alternative journalism (and the thinking behind it) no matter how much they wish to. For one thing, alternative journalism is now representative of a larger mindset among tens and even hundreds of millions of people, especially in the West. Thus it will take at least a full generation to wipe out new perspectives and rediscovered information. Second, because the news is representative of people’s points of view (rather than vice-versa) alternative media insights and information will continue to be presented in various ways – on the  Internet as well, only not so obviously. Finally, the growing war against the alternative media will only reinforce its relevance and credibility, thus causing more people to become informed (or deepen their perceptions) about the issues presented in the so-called alternative media. There is a whole alternative culture that is offered by modern alternative media. Some of it may be leftist but the initial approach – for those who have tracked its emergence on the ‘Net – was basically libertarian and freedom-oriented. Even today this specific cultural approach informs a lot of alternative reporting. The fundamental ideas is that the market itself should make determinations regarding human interactions rather than government run by groups of people with greater or lesser competence. This approach is rooted in free-market – Austrian – economic theory which is actually accepted throughout mainstream economics. It begins with marginal utility, the idea that credible prices can only be generated by marketplace competition. But its insights are much broader. If everyone in formal academic economics including Keynesians accept the reality of marginal utility (as they do) then how can such massive governments exists, passing thousands of laws, rules and regulations – all of which are essentially price fixes? Shouldn’t human behavior be moderated by competition instead whenever possible? The same goes for central banking. It contravenes fundamental economic logic. Ask almost anyone in banking of economics (on the left or right) if they believe in marginal utility and the answer will be “yes.” Ask anyone if they believe price-fixing is effective or productive and they will answer “no.” And yet central banking is a form of price fixing and so is government. Western society exists in a bubble of cognitive dissonance. What is accepted academically is not applied in reality. And thus freedom – and libertarianism – cannot be attacked logically. Instead, false arguments will be created to damp down the alternative media. But as pointed out above, it is not going to be simple or easy to remove fundamental truths from the body politic. The last time we witnessed this kind of paradigm was after the invention of the Gutenberg press that blew open societies throughout the West and helped create the New World and then the republic of “these United States.” It took about 500 years for control of society to be re-established from the top down by certain historical groups ... and yet here we are again. The same sort of technological undermining has taken place and it won’t be easily repressed. It may not take another 450 years but it certainly won’t happen in 10 or 20. And by the time it does take place it is certainly possible that another information revolution will have come to pass. Time and history are working against authoritarianism and not with it. Depriving people of knowledge and history is a signature of repression. But in the current technological era it becomes more and more difficult. What is pending is period of chaos and difficulty. But over the next century we may see an efflorescence of the sort that took place after the Gutenberg press with the expansion of the Renaissance and the advent of the Enlightenment and the rediscovery of scientific thinking. Conclusion: Things may indeed change. But not necessarily in the way controllers imagine. Editor's Note: The Daily Bell is giving away a silver coin and a silver "white paper" to subscribers. If you enjoy DB's articles and want to stay up-to-date for free, please subscribe here.  More from The Daily Bell:  Will Rand Paul Fight Fake News With a Filibuster? ‘Populism Vs. Globalism’ – a Meme That Doesn’t Exist in Reality Elites Plot to Replace Austrian Free-Market Economics?

08 декабря, 23:20

Harnessing Outrage: Lessons On Squandering The Fire In The Belly

Amid the aftershock of Hillary Clinton's bizarre loss to the ugliest American values, we turn to the lessons of the 2008 election success. Eight years ago, hope fueled progressives with an energy not seen for generations, and the squandering of that energy offers insight into ways that the opportunity for success can be lost without populist momentum. INFUSED WITH ORGANIC ENERGY: In 2008, liberals and progressives, felt the power of "Yes, we can!" as much in the optimism of the "yes!" as in the unifying "we." Organized into an elegant, successful network, progressives eagerly stepped forward to shoulder the heavy lift of change. Progressives, Independents, and even Republicans distributed campaign buttons, blogged their hearts out, and gave passionate testimonials touting the audacity of Barack Obama, and how, by gum, by golly, we MUST put our backs to the wheel and make this man our president! Then, hip-hip-hurray, it all paid off and we-the-people accomplished something unprecedented. For many Americans, finally, an evolved consciousness triumphed over a maddening political carnival of disingenuous manipulation, greed, and bigotry. No more feeling painfully or powerlessly American as after 9-11. Instead, at last, a palpable sense of productive Americanism infused buoyancy into many a citizen's step. It seemed that with Obama at the helm, we-the-people could stop wars, halt the calving icebergs, turn racism in its tracks, and cure our young so that they might thrive in a vibrant new educational system grounded in the critical thinking skills needed to finally achieve world peace. The energy of the country sizzled, giddy with accomplishment and possibility of being capably, power-FULLY American. We made homemade pizza and lit sparklers and everything. We believed WE could change America. (Well, we-the-left did, but we-the-right, not so much.) In the end, it was perhaps the squandering of their will to help that exposed fertile ground for unabashed conservative obstructionism, and the shedding of Democratic congressional seats in the following years. THE SQUANDERING: It's hard to say how or why the wind left the sail, but perhaps it was as "FOR RENT" signs plopped into the windows of campaign headquarters and activists were left to disperse and wander home. Now what? Without further call to action for change, we were sent back to being spectators, and to make a success of that new role. Despite having stumped for their new favorite gladiator, his activists now threw Obama to the lions before retreating to the stands for some good old-fashioned heckling. Collectively retiring to the proverbial Barco-lounger, we very quickly resorted to eating popcorn as we watched our politicians herd cats and thunk each other like stooges on the tube. After all, there was no rallying call to arms - to pick up our pens and take to our keyboards. The progressives' weapons of choice lay more dormant than not, and to be fair, we let them. Progressive activists regressed, not quite to their former apathy, but certainly to their former elemental impotence, and, perhaps, to a reluctant cynicism. How come Barack Obama ain't done this or that? HEY!!! Where's our peace and prosperity and we thought you were gonna prosecute Bush for war crimes, and why didn't you insist on single payer and I really thought you oughta start with public option, I really did!! Heckle, heckle. Waving a chicken bone at the television screen, we groaned like sports fans. "Why's it TAKING so long? What'd he do with his mojo? What a disappointment!" MSNBC threw the "disappointment card" into the universe with increasing regularity, neglecting to firmly tether his failures to Republican obstructionism, and pitching Fox red meat that begged for a jeering retort: "HA! See - even the liberals can see he's bad for the country!" The screeching logic of Fox News maintained, "the left thinks he's too far right, therefore he's a socialistic Antichrist!" offering yet another argument for re-instituting critical thinking in our schools. The squandering of positive energy created a vacuum for a disgruntled restlessness in the face of heavy challenges and formidable obstacles. Yet it seemed our leaders thought to accomplish it all on their own; that they could pack up the campaign tent and send us back to our backsides. In essence, they squandered what they had in the bag while trying to gain the impossible. So, there we were, with all that pent up energy, still thrumming with adrenaline, confidence, and a sense of power and accomplishment, and as our leaders turned to court the un-court-able, they sent us home to fizzle out . . . to become distracted by other voices inside our heads and on our walls convincing us that perhaps we really CAN'T - maybe he wasn't such a good idea - maybe he didn't mean what we thought he did. All that energy - all that "organized advocacy" now just sitting there, criticizing, grumbling instead of pulling together to make things happen. Sure, there were those still striving to be heard, and we did gather a second wind during the healthcare debates. In general, however, on the long march to the 2016 elections as Americans listened for the mighty voice and energy of the 2008 Obama activists . . . . Crickets. We all know what happened next. The right found their mojo in the form of a wolf in Trump's clothing, and hell in a handbasket now sits with a gaudy gold lame' bow on the welcome stoop of the White House. We grieve for the Bernie movement, perhaps mostly because of his innate talent for rallying American hope. Instead, the Clinton campaign lumbered under the half-hearted, tepid momentum of a "Surely-Not-Trump" sentiment, and it simply wasn't enough. HARNESSING A NEWLY HONED ENERGY: Now, from the ashes, a new energy swells, demanding to be honored and harnessed. No more do we have the luxury of light-spirited organic hope and inspiration. We will have to work through a rather agonizing emotional defeat, as well as defending policy and ideology. It stinks. It really does; but apparently hitting rock bottom was our destiny, because, as the map in the mall says, "You Are Here" and, it appears, we are plummeting. Now we must call upon our progressive leaders to lead. We need them all, because each member of that cast of characters speaks to us in ways that are uniquely motivating and which carry a facet of a unifying vision. We call upon them to believe in us, and not to squander this new energy dominated by outrage and dread. It is more complex than the easier energy of hope, because it requires a tempering refinement. It will be stronger, and perhaps more mature because it is a serious soulful cry, and more than a zippety-do-dah hurrah. The climb from rock bottom requires hard work, sweat, and sacrifice; indeed, the toil of suffragettes and civil rights workers must now become our work as well. What once our forefathers and foremothers fought to achieve, we must fight to hone and retain. NOTE TO BARACK, BERNIE, HILLARY, & PROGRESSIVE LEADERS: Perhaps in losing to our lowest common denominators, the change we believed in was not what YOU could do alone; it was what WE could do together! So, we urge you to call us to arms and give us chores. Haul out your brilliance and load it into that marvelous magic teleprompter that makes them all so crazy-jealous but which they now use with regularity! Whip us into a frenzy with your inspiring rhetoric, point us in the right direction, organize our talents, and lay out tasks that newly frame the American vision. Harness our outrage and fear and temper it with hope. Insist that we become the needed change; the healthier ground, please, and soon. Don't let us become accustomed to rock bottom amid the rock bottom feeders. Don't squander your best chance of empowering our country! Don't squander us . . . and note to "US" . . . up and at 'em, and off that barco-lounger! There's work to be done, and we're burning daylight. -- 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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08 декабря, 23:14

A lethal mistake leads to a harrowing ambush in Iraq’s Mosul

As Iraqi forces advanced toward the al-Salam hospital in Mosul earlier this week, encountering only light resistance from Islamic State fighters, commanders decided to seize the facility instead of sweeping the neighborhoods along the road leading to it.

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08 декабря, 22:31

No 10 Christmas lights switched on

Theresa May warms up the young crowd pantomime-style before switching on the No 10 Christmas lights.

08 декабря, 22:15

Southampton 1-1 Hapoel Beer Sheva: Europa League – as it happened

Southampton were inches away from a dramatic victory, but it was the visitors who made it through to the knockout stage. 9.59pm GMT And that’s that. What drama! And a heartbreaking end to Southampton’s Europa League campaign. They came so close - Yoshida was inches away from an unlikely winner - but they end Group K in third spot, pipped by Hapoel, who have the same number of points but win the head-to-head thanks to tonight’s away goal. If they’d gone for it all evening like they did in those dying moments, their dreams might still be alive. But it’s not to be. Their failure to make it to the knockout stage puts them in illustrious company - three-time European Cup winners Internazionale couldn’t get there either - but that won’t make them feel any better right now. 9.58pm GMT 90 min +3: Oh my word! Ward-Prowse finds a yard down the right and curls one onto the head of Yoshida, who heads inches past the left-hand post from six yards with the keeper rooted to the spot! Continue reading...

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08 декабря, 22:08

Would You Pay $10 For A Cup Of Coffee? Starbucks Thinks You Will

Starbucks recently announced that it is doubling down on some of its more upscale store experiences. Take a look at what the company has planned for its "Roastery" and "Reserve" concept stores.

08 декабря, 21:37

Harry Reid's Farewell Address Warns Against Dangers Of The Trump Era

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 ― Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) bade farewell Thursday, citing the words of George Orwell, Leonard Cohen and the Pope to caution America against falling under the sway of plutocrats. Reid grew up poor in Searchlight, Nevada. He recalled in his goodbye address how he and his brother found fun in pelting their tin outhouse with rocks while their mother, Inez, was inside. He remembered how his mother lost her teeth because she had been hit with a ball, and how, when he was old enough, he worked pumping gas to buy her a new set. In a speech that ran well over an hour as he recalled his 34 years in Congress, Reid never mentioned the name of the billionaire president-elect, as he did so often in the weeks and months leading up to the election. Instead, Reid’s criticism of a man who is stocking his cabinet with billionaires, and who has routinely offended women, incessantly lambasted the media and praised Russia, was more implicit. Take the money. “Something has to be done about the outrageous amount of money from sources that are dark, unknown, now involved in our federal elections,” Reid said, in a reference to the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that allowed unchecked spending on elections. “If this doesn’t change, and we don’t do something about this vast money coming into our elections, in a couple more election cycles, we’re going to be just like Russia,” he said. “We’re going to have a plutocracy ― a few rich guys telling our leader what to do.” Reid said he saw hope on that front, citing Cohen’s 1992 song “Anthem.” “He says it all, and I quote: ‘There’s a crack, a crack in everything, there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in,’” Reid said.  “The cracks are, the American people don’t like it. They don’t like this money, they don’t like the partisanship,” he went on. “The American people are complaining big-time about the excessive use of money and objecting to the partisanship. That’s the crack. That’s how the light’s going to get in.” For the second time in his last week on Capitol Hill, and in another unspoken nod to Donald Trump, Reid argued that it will be especially important for the media to help spread light, and in particular to stand up in a new environment that Reid sees as being especially hostile to a free press. “We’re entering a new Gilded Age. It has never been more important to be able to distinguish between what’s real and what is fake,” Reid said. “We have lawmakers pushing for tax cuts for billionaires and calling it populism. We have media outlets pushing conspiracy theories disguised as news. Separating real from fake has never been more important.” Reid cited Pope Francis, whom Trump has disparaged, to make that point. “He said yesterday, and this is a quote, ‘The media that focuses on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement,’” Reid said. The outgoing senator expressed admiration for the press, then counseled them with the words of Orwell. “Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose,” Reid said, quoting the 1984 author. “So press, criticize and oppose. Please do that.” Reid, who arrived in the Senate in 1987 after serving two terms in the House, found only one woman in the upper chamber at the time ― Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). Throughout his speech, he pointed to the importance of women in making the world a better place. He singled out the horror of female genital mutilation, and talked about how his mother gave him the strength and support he needed as a boy while his father worked in the mines and experienced suicidal depression. In the Senate, he said, more women would make it better. “I’m very happy now that we have 17 Democratic women and we have four Republican women. And I want to just say, make the record very clear, the Senate is a better place because of women being here,” Reid said. “The only problem we have now, there aren’t enough of them.” But farewell addresses are personal affairs, and for Reid, that meant talking about his wife, Landra. He had to pause here and take a breath before he could continue. 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_2'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Landra Gould was a sophomore in high school when she and Reid met, and he said that everything he’s accomplished in their 57 years of marriage is indebted to her. Reid offered another quote to explain how it is for him and Landra, this one from 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.  “The magic of first love is that it never ends,” Reid quoted. “I believe that. She’s my first love. It will never end.” -- 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.

08 декабря, 21:10

A Veteran LGBTQ Activist On Resistance And Key Lessons Of Political Backlash

If you’re a millennial, as I am, you likely haven’t personally experienced full-blown political backlash against LGBTQ rights in your lifetime.  But the reality is that anti-LGBTQ backlash is something that the queer community should prepare for and anticipate in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. I recently sat down with Michelangelo Signorile for a candid conversation in an effort to understand and shine a light on queer experiences under other presidential administrations. During our discussion, the veteran activist, who has been involved in the community for over three decades and is HuffPost Queer Voices’ Editor-at-Large, chatted about his history fighting against institutions of power — including the religious right — the danger of minority tokenization and the lessons he thinks young queer people should take away from the experiences of those who have been through similar periods of retaliation against queer people in the past. Signorile became a prominent member of AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in the late ‘80s, a grassroots advocacy organization formed in 1987 in response to President Reagan’s refusal to adequately address the devastating AIDS crisis. ACT UP was ― and still is ― committed to effective, tangible political action, and has a history of engaging in creative, high-profile demonstrations, such as staging a “die-in” at President Bush’s vacation home in 1991 and disrupting the CBS evening broadcast to shout “Fight AIDS, not Arabs!” during the Gulf War. Signorile believes that comparisons of the Reagan years and Trump’s rise are apt for a number of reasons, but perhaps most strikingly for the overwhelming support both men have received from the religious right, which gained relevance as a political force during Reagan’s campaign and remains a massive political force today. “They voted for Trump in ways that are comparable to or even surpassing any Republican presidential candidate before,” Signorile noted. Much like Trump, Reagan made promises to the religious right while campaigning for president ― promises that ended up negatively affecting the most vulnerable Americans, particularly the LGBTQ community. Signorile foresees this same pattern playing out under Trump, with the president-elect rewarding the religious right’s loyalty by selecting people who advocate for issues and policies important to their worldview to join his administration. “Reagan stacked religious and conservative leaders through the agencies of the federal government,” Signorile explained. “Whether it was the National Institute of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Housing, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education ― which are all issues that would affect queer people – they all operated through the prism of these religious conservatives.” With Trump in office, we may not see political leaders actively speaking out against queer rights or trying to sway public opinion against the queer community. Instead, people granted positions of power, Signorile thinks, will be given control of valuable and life-saving programs for LGBTQ people and other minority groups through governmental agencies, granting them the potential ability to roll-back or dismantle programs that benefit the most vulnerable Americans. We can already see the foundation of this nightmare in Trump’s picks thus far. The notoriously anti-LGBTQ Ben Carson is slated to head Housing and Urban Development; Secretary of Education pick, Betsy DeVois, has a history of anti-gay activism, while Attorney General pick Jess Sessions voted to advance a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. And with Trump and Mike Pence, his dangerous, anti-LGBTQ vice president, leading the country, the list of appointees who oppose queer rights continues to grow.  Signorile emphasized that the community must not only actively scrutinize these appointments, but also be critical of the tokenization of queer people ― gay men in particular ― as a smokescreen for severe anti-LGBTQ platforms. Peter Thiel, who’s been named to Trump’s transition team, can be seen as an example of this tokenism, Signorile told me. The tech billionaire is perhaps best known in recent months for backing the lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker after he alleged that the company outed him. “Using Peter Thiel was window dressing to say look, I brought a gay man on, first one I ever brought on. So is Donald Trump using the term LGBTQ,” Signorile said. “There was a time when maybe the Republicans didn’t say ‘black people’ or didn’t say African Americans. So this is suddenly seen as ‘oh my god’ but it’s nothing – it’s tokenism... what I’ve seen is Thiel believes that there should be very limited government. And where we’ve gone and where we need to go in this movement is federal protections and federal government doing the kind of work that helps people. And that’s what helped the Obama administration grow in all of the departments, and then Obama’s executive orders as well.”  Reflecting on all of this is crucial to understanding the threats to queer rights going forward. There are also a number of important take-aways that can be gained from understanding the rich histories of queer organizing, protesting and resistance, all of which offer a valuable array of practices that can be implemented today. For Signorile, there are four core messages from his years as a veteran activist that he’d like young queer people to consider and adopt. 1. Don’t Wait The queer community waited too long to organize and act in the 1980s. Unfortunately, inaction only gave the Reagan administration and the religious right more power, Signorile said, and created space for exacerbated stigma against the LGBTQ community. “Thankfully Larry Kramer fired people up and ACT UP formed,” Signorile reflected. “But it came very late and we should’ve started earlier. Don’t wait until they do things. Don’t listen to any of this ‘let him have a chance.’ I think people need to organize now... and I think the opportunity to do this now is so much greater and easier thankfully because of social media ― because we were doing it with wheat-pasting on the street [in the ‘80s]! We were handing out flyers.” 2. The Importance Of Intersectionality As we saw with the wide-spread protests that took place in the wake of Trump’s election, this is an intersectional struggle, and intersectional resistance must follow suit. If you are a minority ― or someone who embodies a multiplicity of marginalized identities ― in this country, your rights and equality may soon be at risk. It’s important that we remember this as we engage in resistance against what is increasingly becoming a white nationalist hate movement. “It has it be Latino queer people, it has to be African-American queer people, it has to be many other groups at the forefront who are going to be dealing with other oppressions from this administration,” Signorile elaborated. “Because I think ― especially among progressives ― we really have made just enormous strides. I mean, progressives and Democrats support queer equality! There isn’t going to be that sort of resistance that even we felt – we felt isolated, you know? Because we had to rebel against our own party! We were hated at that time. I think it’s different now. I think across millennials, it’s got to be across all of these groups. And there’s no reason why it can’t be because everyone does support each other’s agenda.” 3. Protest Creatively Previous queer activists were creative in their protests in order to expand their reach and impact. Signorile believes we should follow in the steps of ACT UP’s highly visible forms of protest and consider the ways in which past demonstrations ― like protesting naked outside of Penn Station the night before the Republican National Convention in 2004 ― are still talked about today. “The size of the protests and the types of protests are not as important as the creativity of the protest and the captivating nature of the protest,” Signorile said. “The whole idea of a protest is to hijack the media and change the discussion and get voices heard. And that can be done with a small number of people or large – large numbers of course always get attention. If thousands and thousands of people are on the doorstop of someone that gets attention. ACT UP often worked in large numbers, you know, invading the New York Stock exchange with many protestors outside. But at that same time, one solo activist literally got into the CBS evening news and got on camera!” 4. Remain Intergenerational In Our Resistance It’s also critically important that we include the voices and perspectives of older leaders and activists who have fought anti-LGBTQ political backlash before in order to understand and engage the most effective forms of resistance. The LGBTQ community, after all, has a massive problem when it comes to intergenerational division and ageism. “We need to include all of the older people,” Signorile explained. “ACT UP was people in their 60s and 70s and it was people who were 20. And it was every kind of person you could imagine – stockbrokers, feminists, academics, people working at Burger King, students – it was every kind of person because they all had knowledge and tools. So I think people need to think about doing something that can bring in people who have a lot of experience and knowledge but also who have different tools.” No one knows for certain what is going to happen under a Trump administration. But one thing is clear: we can anticipate forthcoming political backlash, and our response matters. We must learn the lessons of our shared history if we are going to change the future and not repeat the past. Head here to read more about ACT UP and queer activism of the 1980s. The Michelangelo Signorile Show broadcasts Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (12-3 PT), on SiriusXM Progress 127 and can be heard across the continental United States and all of Canada. Follow Signorile on Twitter and Facebook. -- 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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08 декабря, 20:38

10 LEGO Cars That Will Make You the Coolest Relative This Christmas

If giving LEGO kits wins you cool points, then we suggest looking at these ten car-focused kits in order to retain your role as favorite relative.

08 декабря, 20:17

Zorya Luhansk v Manchester United: Europa League – as it happened

United dominated on a difficult pitch Bailly made an impressive return from injury 7.53pm GMT United cruise into the next around of the Europa League thanks to a dominant performance crowned by two fine goals. 7.51pm GMT 90 min: Fosu-Mensah exchanges passes with Ibrahimovic in the box and then has a crack at goal from a difficult angle. Levchenko blocks his low shot at the near post with his feet. The ensuing corner yields nothing. Continue reading...

Выбор редакции
08 декабря, 20:17

Blockchain And Its New Rainmakers

Shedding light on a new, trust-building technology which has the real potential to transform business, money and some of the new women rainmakers behind it.

08 декабря, 20:11

Dear Dems: The Sooner You Get Out Of Shock, The Sooner We Can Get Moving

I know that my liberal friends who remain hopeful are not going to want to hear this, but being popular isn't my goal. I prefer the truth. Instead of spending millions of dollars recounting ballots that aren't going to make any difference, perhaps we can put that money into Planned Parenthood once their funding is cut--because it will be--immediately. How about we to try to keep them open with that money, and if they close them anyway...we can use that money for bus tickets and hotel rooms for women who need to cross state lines for safe medical care. How about we get smart guys and start preparing for the new world we will be living in? We lost this election by not being in touch with reality, let's try to focus now on what is real and what is not. Planned Parenthood will need our money now more than ever...not Jill Stein. I don't see legislation fights being won so easily either. Who are we going to take or fight to? Our soon to be majority Conservative Supreme Court? Republican House? Republican Senate? Good luck. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but have a peek at the new cabinet being chosen. Then rethink your strategy. We should focus on organizing to help Blue States stay very strong, and help people at a grassroots level. Most of what we will need to do to create change or at the very least--stop the bleeding will all be at a hand to hand, neighbor to neighbor, state to state level. Let's focus on putting some tough fresh new progressive faces in Congress in two years. Members of Congress who approach things in a new way. The Democratic party we have always relied on, doesn't work anymore. We need a new approach, new people, and new ideas. The old must go. Establishment and career politicians and politicos got us here, it is time for them to go home. We will need the money we are using for things like ballot recounts and whining, for REAL things. Like bus tickets, relocating families, helping women supplement for sick days and childcare when they have to go to another state for a day or two to have an abortion, and hands on help. Neighbor to neighbor. Woman to woman. The sooner we get out of shock, the sooner we can start moving forward. Let's start using our minds for forward thinking solutions. Things are about to get rough...and real. Going to the Million Women March? Awesome. Sounds fun. Great selfies. Very empowering. Won't accomplish anything. Please consider your Acela ticket fare and hotel accommodation money to give as a donation to Planned Parenthood if you want to help women. That won't be as much fun, but will actually make a difference. Doing Tree Pose on the Washington Mall, will not. We have many battles ahead in many different areas that matter. Planned Parenthood and women's reproductive rights will be the first to go. Ohio just showed us that today. Mark my words: it will get much worse. Please focus on reality, and get ready to start helping each other, because I do not see a ton of hope at a national legislative level right now. It is on us, to help each other out and get through this to the other side. There is hope. There is light. All is not lost, and we WILL get through this... but we need to wake up, stop complaining, and take a hard look at reality first. Then get creative with out of the box solutions, that will actually empower us: and work. Time to fight. Time to get very tough. All together now. We need each other. Wake up; it's time for work. -- 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.

08 декабря, 19:57

Donald Trump, Master of the Pseudo-Event

The president-elect is a pro at marshaling ambiguous unrealities to his advantage.

08 декабря, 19:55

Donald Trump To Choose Fast-Food CEO To Be His Labor Secretary

In a rebuke to President Barack Obama’s work on the labor front, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to choose a fast-food executive to be the nation’s next labor secretary, tasked with enforcing workplace safety and wage laws on behalf of U.S. workers. Andrew Puzder, who advised Trump during his presidential campaign, is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which includes the burger chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. among its brands. He’s largely credited with turning around Hardee’s after taking over the company in 1997. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported the Puzder pick on Thursday, citing anonymous transition officials. Just as with his cabinet picks for health and education, Trump’s choice of Puzder for the labor post suggests an eagerness to dismantle much of Obama’s legacy and govern as a firm conservative. Puzder was a sharp critic of Obama’s labor policies, lambasting him for expanding overtime pay for workers and for trying to raise the minimum wage. While Obama aligned himself with fast-food workers who’ve gone on strike to raise wages, Trump is instead naming one of their bosses to be the country’s top workplace watchdog. Puzder has made his philosophy of governing fairly clear through his op-eds, television appearances and personal blog. Like Trump, he argues that the federal government has made regulations too burdensome on businesses, stifling job growth. Two of the major regulations he has criticized ― the minimum wage and overtime ― are ones he would be tasked with enforcing. Earlier this year, the Obama administration overhauled the nation’s overtime rules, trying to make them more generous to workers. Under the changes, which are now blocked in court and may never see the light of day, 4.2 million more salaried workers would be guaranteed time-and-a-half pay when they work over 40 hours in a week. The overtime changes would be the most significant labor reform of the Obama era. Puzder is not a fan of them. Writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2014, he said the rules would hurt the workers they were intended to help, like the fast-food managers who work for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Many of those managers would be newly entitled to overtime. “Overtime pay has to come from somewhere, most likely from reduced hours, reduced salaries or reduced bonuses,” Puzder wrote. In an interview earlier this year, Puzder also made clear that he didn’t want to see a major hike to the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour and was last raised in 2009. Raising the wage floor significantly, he said, would compel businesses to look into replacing workers with machines. “With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” he said. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.” Puzder told the L.A. Times that he isn’t opposed to a minimum wage in principle, and doesn’t mind an occasional bump. He also told the paper he’d be open to indexing the wage floor, so that it rises gradually over time.  In an op-ed he wrote for The Hill, Puzder argued that safety net programs like food stamps discourage poor people from working and need to be reined in. Acknowledging that some employees in his own chains would earn wages low enough to qualify for public assistance, Puzder said some workers don’t want to earn more money because they would lose their benefits. “Consider that some of our crew members are declining promotions to shift leader positions because the increase in income would disqualify them for food, housing, medical or other government benefits,” he wrote.  Puzder helmed Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. at a time the chains became famous for their controversial TV ads. They showed the likes of Paris Hilton and Kate Upton, scantily clad, eating cheeseburgers in a surprisingly sexualized manner. Puzder defended the spots, saying they worked well for the young male demographic his company targets. He even said women eating burgers in bikinis is “very American.” In addition to advising Trump, Puzder was also an adviser to the 2012 campaign of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. This election cycle, Puzder and his wife gave $150,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, the joint fundraising committee between Trump and the Republican National Committee, according to campaign finance records. Puzder himself gave another $10,000 to Rebuilding America Now, a political action committee supporting Trump.  No one can say Puzder is unfamiliar with the Labor Department’s work. Like other fast-food chains, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants are often investigated for possible minimum wage and overtime infractions. A recent analysis from Bloomberg found that officials discovered violations in roughly 60 percent of their investigations of those chain’s locations. Most Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. locations are operated by franchisees, rather than by CKE Restaurants itself, meaning the company itself is typically not considered responsible under the law. Obama used the power of the executive pen to institute many labor reforms, particularly in the last three years of his tenure, and Trump’s nomination of Puzder does not bode well for them. Aside from the overtime changes, Obama signed executive orders raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and guaranteeing them paid sick days, as well as an order that would take contracts away from firms that break labor laws. It’s ultimately up to Trump whether he wants to reverse those executive orders, or write new rules that completely undo the ones instituted by Obama. (A good example would be the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, which basically cracks down on 401(k) fees and is tied up in court.) In Puzder, Trump would have a cabinet official who’s advocated for loosening the very types of regulations that the Obama administration championed. One area where Puzder appears moderate is immigration. In an interview with The Hill last year, Puzder said the party needs to have empathy for undocumented immigrants. (Fast-food restaurants employ a disproportionate amount of immigrant workers, including many who are undocumented.) “People vote with their hearts... Our values indicate we should be the party of immigration reform,” Puzder said. “[Many undocumented immigrants] live in fear of being deported, losing what they’ve built and being separated from their families.” The pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute hailed Trump’s choice of Puzder, saying he “understands that the key to economic growth and rising wages is empowering business to increase productivity, not artificial, government-imposed wage and hour mandates.” One group that isn’t pleased with the Puzder selection is the Fight for $15, the union-backed campaign that has agitated for higher minimum wages and collective bargaining rights. In a statement, Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union, which has coordinated the campaign, said that Trump’s choice shows “how out of touch he is with what working Americans need.”  “Working families, including those who elected him, issued a mandate for economic change because they are sick and tired of working longer and harder than ever but still struggling to build a better future for their families,” Henry said. “Puzder has proven he doesn’t support working people.” Paul Blumenthal contributed reporting. -- 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.

08 декабря, 19:55

Donald Trump To Choose Fast-Food CEO To Be His Labor Secretary

In a rebuke to President Barack Obama’s work on the labor front, President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday is expected to choose a fast-food executive to be the nation’s next labor secretary, tasked with enforcing workplace safety and wage laws on behalf of U.S. workers. Andrew Puzder, who advised Trump during his presidential campaign, is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which includes the burger chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. among its brands. He’s largely credited with turning around Hardee’s after taking over the company in 1997. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported the Puzder pick on Thursday, citing anonymous transition officials. Just as with his cabinet picks for health and education, Trump’s choice of Puzder for the labor post suggests an eagerness to dismantle much of Obama’s legacy and govern as a firm conservative. Puzder was a sharp critic of Obama’s labor policies, lambasting him for expanding overtime pay for workers and for trying to raise the minimum wage. While Obama aligned himself with fast-food workers who’ve gone on strike to raise wages, Trump is instead naming one of their bosses to be the country’s top workplace watchdog. Puzder has made his philosophy of governing fairly clear through his op-eds, television appearances and personal blog. Like Trump, he argues that the federal government has made regulations too burdensome on businesses, stifling job growth. Two of the major regulations he has criticized ― the minimum wage and overtime ― are ones he would be tasked with enforcing. Earlier this year, the Obama administration overhauled the nation’s overtime rules, trying to make them more generous to workers. Under the changes, which are now blocked in court and may never see the light of day, 4.2 million more salaried workers would be guaranteed time-and-a-half pay when they work over 40 hours in a week. The overtime changes would be the most significant labor reform of the Obama era. Puzder is not a fan of them. Writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2014, he said the rules would hurt the workers they were intended to help, like the fast-food managers who work for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Many of those managers would be newly entitled to overtime. “Overtime pay has to come from somewhere, most likely from reduced hours, reduced salaries or reduced bonuses,” Puzder wrote. In an interview earlier this year, Puzder also made clear that he didn’t want to see a major hike to the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour and was last raised in 2009. Raising the wage floor significantly, he said, would compel businesses to look into replacing workers with machines. “With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” he said. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.” Puzder told the L.A. Times that he isn’t opposed to a minimum wage in principle, and doesn’t mind an occasional bump. He also told the paper he’d be open to indexing the wage floor, so that it rises gradually over time.  In addition to advising Trump, Puzder was also an adviser to the 2012 campaign of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. This election cycle, Puzder and his wife gave $150,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, the joint fundraising committee between Trump and the Republican National Committee, according to campaign finance records. Puzder himself gave another $10,000 to Rebuilding America Now, a political action committee supporting Trump.  No one can say Puzder is unfamiliar with the Labor Department’s work. Like other fast-food chains, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants are often investigated for possible minimum wage and overtime infractions. A recent analysis from Bloomberg found that officials discovered violations in roughly 60 percent of their investigations of those chain’s locations. Most Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. locations are operated by franchisees, rather than by CKE Restaurants itself, meaning the company itself is typically not considered responsible under the law. Obama used the power of the executive pen to institute many labor reforms, particularly in the last three years of his tenure, and Trump’s nomination of Puzder does not bode well for them. Aside from the overtime changes, Obama signed executive orders raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and guaranteeing them paid sick days, as well as an order that would take contracts away from firms that break labor laws. It’s ultimately up to Trump whether he wants to reverse those executive orders, or write new rules that completely undo the ones instituted by Obama. (A good example would be the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, which basically cracks down on 401(k) fees and is tied up in court.) In Puzder, Trump would have a cabinet official who’s advocated for loosening the very types of regulations that the Obama administration championed. One area where Puzder appears moderate is immigration. In an interview with The Hill last year, Puzder said the party needs to have empathy for undocumented immigrants. (Fast-food restaurants employ a disproportionate amount of immigrant workers, including many who are undocumented.) “People vote with their hearts... Our values indicate we should be the party of immigration reform,” Puzder said. “[Many undocumented immigrants] live in fear of being deported, losing what they’ve built and being separated from their families.” The pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute hailed Trump’s choice of Puzder, saying he “understands that the key to economic growth and rising wages is empowering business to increase productivity, not artificial, government-imposed wage and hour mandates.” Paul Blumenthal contributed reporting. -- 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.

04 декабря 2014, 15:20

Саудовская Аравия с января 2015 года снижает поставочные цены на нефть для США и Азии

ЛОНДОН, 4 декабря. /ТАСС/. Саудовская Аравия с января 2015 года снизит поставочные цены на нефть для США и Азии. Об этом сообщает агентство Bloomberg. Стоимость нефти Arab Light снижена на $2 за баррель. Как ранее сообщал Wall Street Journal со ссылкой на источники, Саудовская Аравия не намерена сокращать объемы добычи нефти и рассматривает в качестве допустимой для себя цену барреля Brent в $60. Крупнейший производитель нефти в рядах ОПЕК Саудовская Аравия считает, что нефтяные цены способны стабилизироваться в районе $60 за баррель. Эр-Рияд и другие страны Персидского залива уверены, что способны выдержать этот ценовой уровень", - пишет издание. Страны Персидского залива не установили для себя определенную целевую цену барреля, и если она упадет ниже $60, то длительное время на данном уровне не продержится, говорит источник WSJ. По мнению источников газеты, нынешний подход Саудовской Аравии означает, что в ближайшей перспективе она не пойдет на сокращение добычи, даже если цены на нефть продолжат падение. Глава "Роснефти" Игорь Сечин также допускает, что цена нефти может упасть до $60 за баррель и ниже в первой половине 2015 года. В интервью австрийской Die Presse, опубликованном 27 ноября, он отметил, что у "Роснефти" достаточно запасов и места для маневра.