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Шелдон Адельсон
Шелдон Адельсон
Шелдон Адельсон (Sheldon Gary Adelson) — один из крупнейших мировых воротил игрового бизнеса и один из самых богатых жителей планеты. Ему принадлежит игорная корпорация Las Vegas Sands, расположенная в Лас-Вегасе, производительность которой составляет примерно миллион долларов в час. По данным ...

Шелдон Адельсон (Sheldon Gary Adelson) — один из крупнейших мировых воротил игрового бизнеса и один из самых богатых жителей планеты. Ему принадлежит игорная корпорация Las Vegas Sands, расположенная в Лас-Вегасе, производительность которой составляет примерно миллион долларов в час. По данным на 2014 год, его состояние оценивается в 38 млрд долларов. Самый состоятельный американский еврей и самый щедрый в истории США политический донор.

 

Как-то Буш, отвечая на вопросы журналистов о его отношения с Шелдоном Адельсоном, сказал – «Этот сумасшедший еврей-миллиардер постоянно на меня кричит!»

Шелдон Адельсон родился 1 августа 1933 г. в окрестностях Бостона в городе Дорчестер. Его родители – второе поколение еврейских эмигрантов в США: мать – c Украины, отец – литовец. Сам он считает себя американцем, однако от исторической составляющей не отказывается.

В то время Америка все еще ощущала на себе последствия Великой депрессии, Великой засухи и отмены сухого закона. Отец Шелдона – водитель такси, который не мог нормально прокормить семью, так как львиную долю не самого большого заработка ему приходилось отдавать мафии: «Я родился в очень бедной семье и вырос в нищете. На всю семью у нас была одна кровать, на ней спали мои родители, а дети спали на полу» – так рассказывал Адельсон о своем детстве. И тем не менее в те суровые годы Адельсон-старший преподал сыну урок, который он запомнил на всю оставшуюся жизнь: «Однажды я заметил, что отец откладывает деньги в какую-то коробку. На мой вопрос, зачем он это делает, он ответил, что это деньги для бедных. Тогда я спросил его: «Папа, но мы сами бедные, зачем же ты откладываешь эти деньги?» Он ответил: «Да, мы бедные, но это деньги для тех, кто еще беднее, чем мы». И когда Адельсон разбогател, он стал львиную долю своих доходов отдавать на благотворительность и разнообразные медицинские исследования. Он вообще говорит, что вся его деятельность и его богатство «просто позволяют мне заниматься добрыми делами».

 

Упорный труд и первые успехи

Шелдон понимал, что у него перед родителями есть преимущество: он уже не эмигрант, а человек «местного разлива», и следовательно, возможностей у него гораздо больше, чем у папы с мамой. Мальчик видел, как тяжело его семье, и думал: нет, я так жить не буду. Поэтому с младых ногтей принялся упорно трудиться.

Свои первые деньги Шелдон Адельсон заработал в десять лет, продавая газеты. Но очень скоро ему это наскучило: парень смекнул, что «в этом бизнесе нет системы». Свою систему юный Адельсон внедрил уже через неделю. Нанял группу сверстников, которых расставил в самых людных местах своей улицы с одним условием: с каждого проданного экземпляра надо было платить. При этом сам менеджер внимательно следил за тем, чтобы система не давала сбоев, и не уходил домой, пока не кончалась торговля.

 

Но в неблагополучном районе Бостона, в котором рос Шелдон, мало было заработать несколько монет, нужно было еще донести их до дома. «Я не был еврейским мальчиком со скрипочкой, – вспоминает Шелдон Адельсон. – Зато я умел хорошо драться. Моим оружием было все: кулаки, ногти, зубы, кирпичи, палки… Я и сейчас не позавидую тому, кто захочет загнать меня в угол.» Улица – второй главный учитель в жизни Шелдона. Именно улица научила его находить общий язык с откровенными бандитами и никогда не отдавать своего.

 

Вместе со своими друзьями – Тедом Катлером, Ирвином Хафецом и Джорданом Шапиро – Шелдон придумывал различные способы заработка. Консьержи в отелях с удовольствием перепоручали мальчишкам забрать из химчистки чей-то костюм или доставить из магазинов покупки для постояльцев. «Мальчики» – Шелдон до сих пор называет так своих многолетних партнеров: их уличную компанию не разделили ни годы, ни деньги – имели свой процент с вознаграждения, которое получал консьерж.

По окончании школы Шелдон решил не искать новых путей, а развивать «отельный бизнес». Вместе с друзьями он стал продавать небольшим отелям туалетные принадлежности: бумагу, салфетки, мыло, крем для бритья, помазки, различные щетки и мочалки. Все те же, уже знакомые консьержи, управляющие, швейцары и горничные помогали Шелдону и его «мальчикам» реализовывать товар, получая с этого свой процент.

По воспоминаниям друзей, Шелдону приходили в голову самые невероятные и безумные идеи, и он без тени сомнения брался их реализовывать. Торговля театральными билетами, организация чартерных перелетов, сдача в аренду коммерческой недвижимости… Что бы ни предложил Шелдон, «мальчики» безоговорочно принимали участие в любой авантюре. По другому и быть не могло: Шелдон не терпел возражений, лени, отсутствия настойчивости и тупости. Если у него закрадывалось сомнение в том, что друзья его поддержат, Шелдон начинал орать так, что уши закладывало.

Шелдон впадал в ярость, если его приказы не выполнялись, – рассказывает Питер Янг, много лет проработавший с Адельсоном в качестве менеджера по связям с общественностью – «Его бешеные вопли стали легендой. Но никому и в голову не приходило обижаться на это. Он был боссом не потому, что его назначили, а потому, что он был самым умным и совершенно «без тормозов», как сейчас говорят. Если Шелдон ставил цель, он пёр на нее, не думая о трудностях. И ему было все равно, кто и что думает по этому поводу. Если бы кто-то принялся ему возражать или учить, Шелдон послал бы его куда подальше, невзирая ни на возраст, ни на положение

Своим напором, неутомимостью, а иногда неистовым криком Шелдон Адельсон «жарил» и своих партнеров, и потенциальных клиентов. Со временем в окружении Адельсона вошла в обиход такая поговорка: «Хочешь работать с Шелдоном – купи себе тефлоновый костюм».

Через некоторое время он осознал, что некоторые виды деятельности приносят ему больше денег, чем другие, и стал заниматься только прибыльными. Например, балаганом своего дядюшки на местной ярмарке. Он внимательно наблюдал за тем, как дядя крутит «Колесо фортуны» и кладет себе в карман немаленькие суммы. Впоследствии это пригодилось ему, когда он купил свое первое казино: «Все дело в законе больших чисел. У моего дяди имелось деревянное колесо, в которое было забито 100 гвоздей. Игрок мог поставить на любое число от 1 до 100. Если угадывал, то получал игрушку стоимостью $10. Стоимость участия составляла $0,1. То есть приз был в 100 раз дороже стоимости участия. Согласно закону больших чисел, если вы крутанете колесо 100 раз, то оно по разу остановится на каждой цифре. И сколько бы раз вы ни крутили, шансы для каждого номера будут 1/100. Если кто-то поставит разом 100 монет, то он точно выиграет приз. Фактически вы даете возможность получить удовольствие игрокам, торгуя игрушками. В нашем бизнесе вместо игрушек вы получаете доллары…»

Вот так незамысловато мальчик постигал науку больших чисел и науку управления финансами. Цифры давались Шелдону легко.

Несколько лет назад дотошные журналисты подсчитали, что за свою жизнь Шелдон Адельсон создал больше пятидесяти компаний в самых разных сферах деятельности. В 60-х годах Шелдон попробовал себя в качестве театрального антрепренера, потом переквалифицировался в торговца недвижимостью и ипотечного брокера. «Деньги нужно зарабатывать ТАМ, где деньги ЕСТЬ», – не уставал повторять Шелдон. Следуя этому принципу, он пошел на биржу. Здесь, в «машинном отделении бизнеса», Шелдон постигал, как работают экономические законы. Полученного за несколько лет практического опыта хватило Адельсону для того, чтобы стать финансовым и инвестиционным консультантом. Теория Шелдона подтверждалась: хочешь быть богатым – держись ближе к деньгам и тем, у кого они есть.

Несмотря на то что денег он зарабатывал прилично, высшее образование так и не получил: ему было интересно зарабатывать, а не слушать о том, как можно заработать. Как можно заработать, он и сам знал…

Вместе с двумя своими друзьями в конце 60-х он открыл чартерное туристическое агентство. К началу 70-х Шелдон решил основательно заняться «обслуживанием бизнеса». «Ездить на переговоры к каждому потенциальному клиенту или партнеру обременительно и скучно, – рассуждал Шелдон. – Куда как правильнее несколько раз в год собирать всех в одном месте и заключать сделки, не отходя от барной стойки. В этом и заключается роль руководителя.»

 

Выставочный бизнес

Кто бы мог подумать, что на выставке можно заработать миллионы? В середине 70-х годов прошлого века – никто. Никто кроме Шелдона Адельсона.

Как-то в конце апреля 1979 года Шелдон просматривал пилотный номер журнала Computer Systems News, впоследствии канувшего в Лету. Издание предназначалось для производителей компьютерной техники и публиковало материалы, посвященные тому, что потом стало называться дистрибуцией. Тут-то его и осенило: в мире нет ни одной крупной выставки или заметного представительного форума, посвященного этой проблеме — дистрибуции с участием дилеров-профессионалов.

Его предложение об учреждении регулярной экспозиции, которая стала бы, по его словам, барометром всей компьютерной индустрии в мире, было воспринято китами бизнеса на ура. Ради этого хозяева полусотни компаний из заранее составленного и тщательно обдуманного списка, к которым Шелдон обратился со своим предложением, готовы были раскошелиться. Так под его началом возникает компания Computer Dealers Exhibition, больше известная как Comdex.

Учуяв возможности невероятного развития компьютерных технологий, Шелдон обустроил в 1979 году первую частную компьютерную выставку. Она имела невероятную популярность и завоевала все возможные награды в компьютерном и выставочном мирах, какие только возможны. Не имея собственных площадей для обустройства постоянной экспозиции, Адельсон снимал для своих целей отели и быстро заработал миллионы.

«Фантастические перспективы, которые открывала компьютерная индустрия, привлекли к мероприятию внимание прессы, и мы получили грандиозную рекламу почти бесплатно, – вспоминает бывший исполнительный директор «СOMDEX» Джейсон Чудновский (Jason Chudnofsky). — Производители компьютеров, программного обеспечения, многочисленные инвесторы бронировали выставочные площади, места для переговоров и номера в отелях. Шелдон Адельсон арендовал выставочные площади по цене 25 центов за метр в сутки, компании-участники платили Адельсону уже 25 долларов за метр, не считая монтажа выставочного оборудования, обслуживания и других дополнительных возможностей

К 1988 году Comdex развилась настолько, что ей потребовались собственные площадки. И тогда!.. «Для строительства экспоцентра мне нужен был кусок земли, причем непременно рядом с крупным отелем. Только в таком случае мой экспоцентр работал бы наиболее эффективно. Изначально я искал именно кусок земли, а нашел отель, у которого было много земли. Но купить участок отдельно было невозможно. Так что мы купили все разом. И отель, и находившееся в нем казино, и земельный участок, на котором мы и построили наш экспоцентр. Один из моих партнеров тогда сказал мне, что у него есть приятель, который разбирается в гостиничном и игорном бизнесе. Я сказал, что пусть тогда он им и управляет, но у него это получилось плохо. Второй и третий управляющие тоже не справились. В конце концов мне все это надоело и я сам разобрался, что к чему. Так я и оказался в игорном бизнесе…» — вспоминает Шелдон Адельсон.

Comdex тем временем продолжал приносить очень хорошую прибыль, но Шелдону уже стало неинтересно – его увлекло казино. И поэтому он продал экспоцентр японской Soft Bank Corporation за 862 миллиона. Доля Адельсона составила чуть больше полумиллиарда.

 

Игорный бизнес

в 1988 году Адельсон и его партнеры выкупили легендарное казино «The Sands Hotel & Casino» в Лас-Вегасе, где любили бывать Фрэнк Синатра и популярная в США группа «The Rat Pack». На следующий год Адельсон и его партнеры построили новый выставочный центр «The Sands Expo Convention Center», который упрочил позиции Лас-Вегаса в выставочной индустрии США.

Колорит Лас-Вегаса и слава клуба «Sands», где, по слухам, нередко собирались мафиозные боссы, создали Шелдону Адельсону репутацию непростого человека, который сумел найти общий язык даже с мафией. Да ведь всем известно, что казино заправляют сплошь мафиози, а Лас-Вегас вообще построил калифорнийский бандит Бенджамин Сигел.

Однако на вопросы журналистов, касающиеся этой деликатной темы, Шелдон реагирует спокойно и обстоятельно рассказывает: «Когда-то, когда Лас-Вегас только становился игорным центром, этот бизнес действительно был тесно связан с организованной преступностью. Багси Сигел имел репутацию «человека мафии». Первые несколько десятилетий казино в Лас-Вегасе были под контролем мафии. Но потом появился Говард Хьюз владеющий множеством методов по разрешению конфликтов, который скупил половину казино в Лас-Вегасе и выгнал оттуда мафию. Кроме того, власти штата Невада установили строжайшие правила, согласно которым даже человек, который просто знал члена мафии, уже не мог получить лицензию на занятие игорным бизнесом. Система лицензирования и строгие правила помогли очистить этот бизнес. Я могу с уверенностью сказать, что сегодня никакой мафии в Лас-Вегасе нет. Тогда уже не было. Я бы сказал, что этот бизнес чист уже лет тридцать-сорок. Если бы я узнал, что там есть мафия, я бы уехал из Лас-Вегаса…»

Во время свадебного путешествия в Венецию, в которое он отправился со своей второй женой, Адельсону в голову пришла идея мегакурорта. Адельсон решил обустроить огромный отель-казино с венецианскими мотивами на месте своего «Sands», которые самолично взорвал (уничтожение легендарного отеля направленным взрывом транслировали даже в прямом эфире телевидения), не моргнув глазом. Вот так и появился полуторамиллиардный Venetian – шикарнейшее местечко в Лас-Вегасе. В нем все напоминает о любезной сердцу Адельсона и миллионам туристов Венеции: кухня, оформление и даже шопинг-центры с каналами, гондолами и поющими гондольерами.

Казалось бы: сиди себе тихо и радуйся жизни. Не тут-то было! Неугомонный антрепренер знал только одно направление по жизни: против шерсти. До появления Адельсона Город Грехов специализировался исключительно на низкопробном кайфе: гостиничные номера по бросовым ценам (10–20 долларов в сутки), дешевый общепит, дешевые варьете и дешевый гамблинг от квотера за ставку. Адельсон не просто взорвал The Sands Hotel & Casino, но пересмотрел всю концепцию удовольствия в пустыне. Курорт – а это именно курорт, а не просто казино – получил все мыслимые и немыслимые архитектурные награды, и Шелдон решил начать завоевание мира.

 

Мировая экспансия

«Я почувствовал себя богатым, когда перестал беспокоиться о сведении баланса по своей чековой книжке. Когда я был молодой и еще небогатый, я клал деньги в банк и затем выписывал чеки. В конце месяца мне приходилось долго разбираться с чеками и беспокоиться, чтобы не превысить баланс. Когда необходимость в этом отпала, я понял, что стал богатым…» В 1999 году бизнесмен Шелдон Адельсон захотел переместить свои интересы в… Китай. Ну то есть не в сам Китай, а в Макао – бывшую португальскую колонию, которую КНР получала обратно от колонизаторов именно в конце 1999 года. Почему именно туда? «В Макао я инвестирую $12 млрд. Это крупнейшая инвестиция частной компании в одну страну. Зачем? Затем, что мне возвращают $6 млрд, только чтобы я вложился в их страну! Да еще и выделяют землю рядом с крупным городом с 8–10 млн населения, обеспечивают доступ к международному аэропорту, рабочей силой и строительными мощностями и т. п

Затраты на Макао отбились меньше чем за год, и тогда Адельсон понял, что можно двигаться по миру дальше. Может быть, в Россию? «Нет. Я не вижу для себя никаких возможностей в России. Мне предлагали инвестировать в Калининград. Но это же смешно! Чтобы открыть комплекс, как в Макао, мне нужно, чтобы он был рядом с крупным городом с большим международным аэропортом, в который летают все крупные международные авиакомпании. А в Калининграде ничего этого нет. Туда не летают основные авиакомпании. Там нет достаточных строительных мощностей, чтобы построить комплекс площадью 1,5 млн кв. м. Кроме того, мне нужно жилье и отели для рабочих на время строительства, а затем для гостей. В результате это слишком большая инвестиция ради слишком маленькой прибыли. Мы не просто ставим рулетку и пару стульев, мы не сконцентрированы исключительно на казино. Мы создаем интегрированные курорты…»

Las Vegas Sands Corp. построил гостинично-развлекательный комплекс The Marina Bay Sands в Сингапуре стоимостью в $1,4 млрд.

Выход на международную арену придал деловой хватке Адельсона недостающую уверенность. В Лас-Вегасе Шелдон мучился и всегда говорил, что чувствует себя аутсайдером. Даже в Белом Доме ощущал себя скованным по рукам и ногам упрямым нежеланием чиновников пусть даже самого высокого ранга исполнять его прихоти. Зато в Китае и Сингапуре Адельсон вдохнул полной грудью и заработал по-взрослому.

Сегодня два испанских города, Барселона и Мадрид, рьяно соревнуются за право заиметь на своей территории европейский аналог Лас-Вегаса. Ее победитель определится только в сентябре – именно в этом месяце Шелдон Адельсон пообещал объявить место, в котором его компания Las Vegas Sands построит комплекс казино под названием EuroVegas.

Европейский проект, предусматривающий строительство шести фешенебельных казино, 12-этажного отеля и целого ряда развлекательных объектов, позволит испанцам получить порядка четверти миллиона новых рабочих мест. Предполагаемая стоимость объектов недвижимости колеблется в пределах от $2,5 миллиардов до $3 миллиардов.

 

Состояние Шелдона Адельсона

В 2004 году компания Шелдона Адельсона (он и его семья владеют почти 70 % акций) разместила акции на Нью-Йоркской фондовой бирже. В результате стоимость состояния Адельсона возросла многократно: в 2003 году эксперты оценивали его в 1,3 миллиарда долларов, но после выхода на фондовый рынок стоимость его активов была уже 17 миллиардов. Как сказал сам бизнесмен, он не ощутил какой-либо очевидной разницы между владением одним миллиардом и семнадцатью миллиардами; впрочем, меняться в обратную сторону он желания не выказал. В 2007 году Адельсон с капиталом в 26 миллиардов долларов был шестым богачом на планете Земля. Мировой кризис существенно сказался на доходах игрового бизнеса, так что Шелдон в 2010 году был почти в два раза беднее – «всего» 14,7 миллиардов. Но в предыдущем году финансовые дела Адельсона снова резко пошли в гору – и в марте 2011 года он «стоил» уже 23,3 миллиарда долларов.

По данным на 2014 год, его состояние оценивается в 38 млрд долларов.

 

Личная и семейная жизнь Шелдона Адельсона

Со своей первой женой Шелдон расстался в 1988-м, после покупки «Сэндс Хотел» и казино «Лас-Вегас» – того самого, которое некогда служило базой для пресловутой «Крысиной стаи» Фрэнка Синатры и Дина Мартина. Многие говорили, что правоверная еврейка Сандра не вынесла вхождения мужа в криминальный бизнес.

Вообще личная жизнь Шелдона Адельсона складывалась менее удачно, чем бизнес. К тому времени, когда он стал «королем Лас-Вегаса», оба его сына, Митчел и Гэри, были законченными наркоманами. Их жизнь протекала между бесконечными кокаиновыми вечеринками и палатами дорогих частных клиник, куда отправлял их отец. Даже свою вторую жену Адельсон встретил в одной из клиник для наркоманов: Мириам Ошсорн работала врачом в клинике, где лечился старший сын Шелдона Митчел. К тому моменту, когда Мириам и Шелдон решили узаконить свои отношения, Митчел был уже неизлечим. Для нормального существования ему требовалось пять–шесть доз героина ежедневно. Ходили слухи, что Митчел болен СПИДом. В 2005 году Митчел умер от передозировки наркотиков.

Помня заветы отца, Шелдон Адельсон не жалеет денег на благотворительность. Ежегодно он переводит в собственный благотворительный фонд 200 миллионов долларов, которые расходуются на нужды Израиля и евреев. Регулярно Адельсон делает многомиллионные пожертвования сионистским организациям. На его средства в 2007 году был создан и функционирует Центр медицинских исследований в Тель-Авивском университете.

 

Секреты успеха Шелдона Адельсона

«Он очень резкий, некоторые даже могут сказать: беспричинно резкий, – говорит Гарри Лавмен (Gary Loveman), исполнительный руководитель «Harrah’s», крупнейшей сети казино в Лас-Вегасе. – Когда у него есть своя точка зрения, он следует ей без малейших отклонений. С ним бывает невыносимо работать. Но Шелдон – прекрасный бизнесмен, – добавляет Лавмен.»

Несмотря на свой возраст – в 2008 году ему исполнилось 75 лет – Шелдон, по его собственному выражению, «крепко сидит в седле». Он по-прежнему в состоянии поставить на место любого «зарвавшегося засранца». В 2008 году он выиграл иск на 4 миллиона фунтов стерлингов у английского издания «Daily Mail», которое позволило себе заподозрить Адельсона в «коррупции» и «политической поддержке бизнеса». Рассказывают, что, когда во время конфликта Шелдона с профсоюзом кулинаров какой-то хулиган забрался в ванную одного из его особняков и написал на зеркале «мертвый еврей», Шелдон лично примчался, чтобы «надрать ему задницу». Шелдон не упускает момента, чтобы нанести очередной удар по своим врагам.

Часто Адельсона обвиняют в заискивании перед властями. В 2007 Адельсон основал группу Freedom’s Watch, выступающую в поддержку курса Буша в Ираке (как-то Буш, отвечая на вопросы журналистов о его отношения с Шелдоном Адельсоном, сказал – «Этот сумасшедший еврей-миллиардер постоянно на меня кричит!»), а сегодня готов спонсировать Митта Ромни, кандидата на пост президента США от республиканской партии. Впрочем, в этом обвиняли многих миллиардеров, в том числе и самого богатого человека Бразили Эйке Батисту, самого богатого человека Мексики Карлоса Слима, металлургического магната Лакшми Миттала и многих других.

Источник

 

Интервью газете Ведомости, 2007

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10 декабря, 09:00

Выборы в США — лохотрон

До президентских выборов остается всё меньше времени, а кандидаты так и не «расцвели». Подразумевается, что по мере приближения гонки к финишу, кандидаты должны уже достаточно показать себя, обозначить свои сильные стороны и активно их педалировать, чтобы набирать очки и всячески обходить конкурента. Но это история не этих выборов. Текущая выборная компания в США напоминает борьбу […]

10 декабря, 00:49

Donald Trump Rewarding Million-Dollar Donors With Plum Postings

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); Donald Trump routinely blasts his political foes for “pay-to-play” politics and “crony capitalism and corruption.” But Trump is now rewarding some of his biggest campaign bankrollers with unparalleled access, influence, prestige and power in his presidential administration-in-waiting, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of new campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. In all, 18 ultra-wealthy Americans — the majority are billionaires whose fortunes are greatly affected by government decisions — contributed at least $1 million to the Republican’s presidential campaign and political efforts supporting Trump’s bid, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis shows. At least one person on this list, former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, is slated to serve in Trump’s Cabinet: Trump this week tapped McMahon to lead the federal government’s Small Business Administration. In addition to spending $6.2 million to support Trump’s presidential effort, she and husband Vince McMahon have together donated millions of dollars to Trump’s scandal-plagued charitable foundation. Trump is also nominating six-figure contributors to cabinet-level positions: billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos as education secretary, restaurant mogul Andy Puzder as labor secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary. And four days before Election Day, Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee Ben Carson’s old presidential campaign committee likewise gave a pro-Trump super PAC$100,000. Another top backer, hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, gave $2 million to a pro-Trump super PAC he helped establish with his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, called “Make America Number 1.” The father-daughter duo helped convince Trump to overhaul his campaign leadership in August and install operatives with close ties to the Mercer operation. They are now poised to play a leading role in a new organizationdesigned to advance Trump’s legislative agenda. Rebekah Mercer is also a member of Trump’s presidential transition team executive committee. In a sign of how much the Mercers have endeared themselves to the president-elect, Trump, on Saturday, made a surprise appearance at the Mercer’s “Villains and Heroes”-themed Christmas costume party on Long Island, New York. Then there’s Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel, who gave $1 million to the Mercer-led, pro-Trump “Make America Number 1” super PAC during the presidential campaign’s final days, new federal campaign finance disclosures show. One of the few tech titans to openly speak about his support for Trump, Thiel is now on the executive council of Trump’s presidential transition team. Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of online brokerage TD Ameritrade who initially funded an anti-Trump super PAC, also earned Trump’s favor after contributing $1 million in September to pro-Trump super PAC “Future45.” Ricketts son, Todd Ricketts, helped run “Future45.” Todd Ricketts is now Trump’s nominee for deputy commerce secretary. Trump has given his No. 1 and No. 2 overall financial backers — casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, and his wife, Miriam Adelson — new jobs since winning the presidency: They’re finance vice-chairmen of Trump’s inaugural committee, which is working to raise tens of millions of dollars to pay for his inauguration. It’s an event that itself promises top donors posh perks and exclusive access to Trump and his administration. Sheldon Adelson — the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. — waited until late October to put big dollars into backing Trump. But both he and Miriam Adelson ultimately invested $10.2 million each into pro-Trump groups. The Adelsons are strong supporters of Israel and opponents of online gambling. During the Republican presidential primary, Trump had accused Adelson of attempting to use his wealth to control Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was also seeking the GOP presidential nomination. Representatives from Trump’s transition team did not respond to requests for comment. Trump has promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. — an allusion to what he says is a capital city controlled by corrupt, self-interested lobbyists, political operatives and businesspeople. On one hand, Trump can argue that many of his top donors are not creatures of Washington, D.C., but rather, successful outsiders he trusts to reform the federal government, said Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy for campaign finance reform organization Issue One. On the other hand, Trump offering top donors key postings and intimate access “raises the question of whether they bought their positions,” she said. In the end, Trump was the biggest single bankroller of his campaign. He ultimately contributed $66.1 million of his own funds to his presidential campaign — about 19 percent of the $339 million he ultimately raised for the primary and general elections, federal disclosures show. Like all candidates, Trump’s campaign was prohibited from raising more than $5,400 per donor — $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general election. But a host of super PACs ultimately sprang up to support the billionaire businessman and celebrity reality TV star. And thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision in 2010, and a related lower court ruling, these groups are allowed to accept donations of any amount from contributors. Trump also operated two joint fundraising groups with the Republican National Committee that could collect six-figure checks, money which was split between the Trump campaign, RNC and several state Republican parties. Not all of Trump’s top donors have received key posting in Trump’s administration or transition team — yet. Take Robert McNair, CEO of the Houston Texans, who doubled down on Trump in the final weeks of the election. According to new campaign finance filings, McNair contributed $2 million to a pro-Trump group called “Great America PAC” on Oct. 21. But another football mogul — Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and a major Trump donor — is a member of Trump’s inaugural committee. Trump is also reportedly considering Johnson for nomination as the United States’ ambassador to the United Kingdom. Modern presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, have regularly offered top donors ambassadorships. Trump has offered no indication he will change this practice. Trump also has yet to begin doling out most ambassador positions. Two other top Trump donors — billionaire Diane Hendricks, the richest woman in Wisconsin, and billionaire Stephen Feinberg, CEO and founder of investment firm Cerberus Capital Management — served as economic advisers to Trump during the campaign. It’s not yet clear whether either will have a more formal role in Trump’s administration. Bernard Marcus, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, donated $7 million to pro-Trump super PACs, ranking him just behind the Adelsons in overall contributions. Marcus says he has no interest in a formal role with the Trump administration, but has said he will be available if Trump wants his advice. Former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin doesn’t rank among Trump’s top donors. But Mnuchin, who as Trump’s top campaign fundraiserwas responsible for convincing so many wealthy individuals to give Trump money, is also enjoying the spoils of victory. Trump has nominated Mnuchin as his U.S. Treasury secretary. Chris Zubak-Skees contributed to this report. The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. -- 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.

10 декабря, 00:49

Donald Trump Rewarding Million-Dollar Donors With Plum Postings

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); Donald Trump routinely blasts his political foes for “pay-to-play” politics and “crony capitalism and corruption.” But Trump is now rewarding some of his biggest campaign bankrollers with unparalleled access, influence, prestige and power in his presidential administration-in-waiting, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of new campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. In all, 18 ultra-wealthy Americans — the majority are billionaires whose fortunes are greatly affected by government decisions — contributed at least $1 million to the Republican’s presidential campaign and political efforts supporting Trump’s bid, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis shows. At least one person on this list, former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, is slated to serve in Trump’s Cabinet: Trump this week tapped McMahon to lead the federal government’s Small Business Administration. In addition to spending $6.2 million to support Trump’s presidential effort, she and husband Vince McMahon have together donated millions of dollars to Trump’s scandal-plagued charitable foundation. Trump is also nominating six-figure contributors to cabinet-level positions: billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos as education secretary, restaurant mogul Andy Puzder as labor secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary. And four days before Election Day, Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee Ben Carson’s old presidential campaign committee likewise gave a pro-Trump super PAC$100,000. Another top backer, hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, gave $2 million to a pro-Trump super PAC he helped establish with his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, called “Make America Number 1.” The father-daughter duo helped convince Trump to overhaul his campaign leadership in August and install operatives with close ties to the Mercer operation. They are now poised to play a leading role in a new organizationdesigned to advance Trump’s legislative agenda. Rebekah Mercer is also a member of Trump’s presidential transition team executive committee. In a sign of how much the Mercers have endeared themselves to the president-elect, Trump, on Saturday, made a surprise appearance at the Mercer’s “Villains and Heroes”-themed Christmas costume party on Long Island, New York. Then there’s Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel, who gave $1 million to the Mercer-led, pro-Trump “Make America Number 1” super PAC during the presidential campaign’s final days, new federal campaign finance disclosures show. One of the few tech titans to openly speak about his support for Trump, Thiel is now on the executive council of Trump’s presidential transition team. Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of online brokerage TD Ameritrade who initially funded an anti-Trump super PAC, also earned Trump’s favor after contributing $1 million in September to pro-Trump super PAC “Future45.” Ricketts son, Todd Ricketts, helped run “Future45.” Todd Ricketts is now Trump’s nominee for deputy commerce secretary. Trump has given his No. 1 and No. 2 overall financial backers — casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, and his wife, Miriam Adelson — new jobs since winning the presidency: They’re finance vice-chairmen of Trump’s inaugural committee, which is working to raise tens of millions of dollars to pay for his inauguration. It’s an event that itself promises top donors posh perks and exclusive access to Trump and his administration. Sheldon Adelson — the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. — waited until late October to put big dollars into backing Trump. But both he and Miriam Adelson ultimately invested $10.2 million each into pro-Trump groups. The Adelsons are strong supporters of Israel and opponents of online gambling. During the Republican presidential primary, Trump had accused Adelson of attempting to use his wealth to control Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was also seeking the GOP presidential nomination. Representatives from Trump’s transition team did not respond to requests for comment. Trump has promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. — an allusion to what he says is a capital city controlled by corrupt, self-interested lobbyists, political operatives and businesspeople. On one hand, Trump can argue that many of his top donors are not creatures of Washington, D.C., but rather, successful outsiders he trusts to reform the federal government, said Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy for campaign finance reform organization Issue One. On the other hand, Trump offering top donors key postings and intimate access “raises the question of whether they bought their positions,” she said. In the end, Trump was the biggest single bankroller of his campaign. He ultimately contributed $66.1 million of his own funds to his presidential campaign — about 19 percent of the $339 million he ultimately raised for the primary and general elections, federal disclosures show. Like all candidates, Trump’s campaign was prohibited from raising more than $5,400 per donor — $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general election. But a host of super PACs ultimately sprang up to support the billionaire businessman and celebrity reality TV star. And thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision in 2010, and a related lower court ruling, these groups are allowed to accept donations of any amount from contributors. Trump also operated two joint fundraising groups with the Republican National Committee that could collect six-figure checks, money which was split between the Trump campaign, RNC and several state Republican parties. Not all of Trump’s top donors have received key posting in Trump’s administration or transition team — yet. Take Robert McNair, CEO of the Houston Texans, who doubled down on Trump in the final weeks of the election. According to new campaign finance filings, McNair contributed $2 million to a pro-Trump group called “Great America PAC” on Oct. 21. But another football mogul — Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and a major Trump donor — is a member of Trump’s inaugural committee. Trump is also reportedly considering Johnson for nomination as the United States’ ambassador to the United Kingdom. Modern presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, have regularly offered top donors ambassadorships. Trump has offered no indication he will change this practice. Trump also has yet to begin doling out most ambassador positions. Two other top Trump donors — billionaire Diane Hendricks, the richest woman in Wisconsin, and billionaire Stephen Feinberg, CEO and founder of investment firm Cerberus Capital Management — served as economic advisers to Trump during the campaign. It’s not yet clear whether either will have a more formal role in Trump’s administration. Bernard Marcus, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, donated $7 million to pro-Trump super PACs, ranking him just behind the Adelsons in overall contributions. Marcus says he has no interest in a formal role with the Trump administration, but has said he will be available if Trump wants his advice. Former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin doesn’t rank among Trump’s top donors. But Mnuchin, who as Trump’s top campaign fundraiserwas responsible for convincing so many wealthy individuals to give Trump money, is also enjoying the spoils of victory. Trump has nominated Mnuchin as his U.S. Treasury secretary. Chris Zubak-Skees contributed to this report. The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. -- 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, 08:00

These Super PAC Donors Were Able To Hide Their Identities Before The Election

WASHINGTON ― In the final days of the 2016 election, there was concern among Democrats that voters in Philadelphia wouldn’t be able to get to their polling locations due to a transit workers strike. A group of investors in Silicon Valley came up with an idea: Provide free or discounted rides through the ride-sharing taxi services Uber and Lyft. Funding came through a super PAC called My Ride to Vote. But at the time, no one knew who provided the money. This is one of many cases in which super PACs spent money on the election in the final weeks of the election without having to disclose their donors until after the election. The cutoff for pre-election disclosure is Oct. 19. Those donations were revealed Thursday. Those who took advantage of My Ride to Vote’s services were getting their Uber or Lyft rides subsidized by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The billionaire donated $1 million to fund the ride-sharing super PAC. Some of these late-stage donations went to super PACs whose purposes were already well-known. Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, raised a little more than $15 million in the final three weeks of the election. There were no surprises among the late donors, just more money from the same mega-donors who help make Priorities USA Action the most well-funded super PAC ever. The group did end the election with $2.1 million cash on hand. Perhaps some of this money could have been spent in Michigan or Wisconsin. A coterie of pro-Donald Trump super PACs also reported their late contributions. Future45 raised the most, with $11.3 million in contributions raised in October and November. Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, contributed the most with $10 million combined. The second biggest donor was World Wrestling Entertainment’s Linda McMahon, Trump’s pick to head the Small Business Administration, with a $1 million donation. McMahon had previously donated $6.2 million to pro-Trump super PACs. Future45 also donated $100,000 to another anti-Clinton super PAC called Character Counts. The group had not reported any donations prior to Election Day. Another pro-Trump super PAC that had not reported any prior donations, RallyPAC, disclosed Thursday that it got $250,000 from banker Andy Beal. Rebuilding America Now, another pro-Trump super PAC, raised less in its final days with just $2.1 million. The biggest donor was Los Angeles real estate developer Geoff Palmer, with a $1 million. Cerberus Capital Management head Stephen Feinberg, a major private equity investor, gave $975,000, while the private prison company GEO Group chipped in $125,000. The final major pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Number 1, raised $1.1 million. It received $1 million from Trump’s biggest Silicon Valley ally, Peter Thiel, and $100,000 from the presidential campaign committee of Dr. Ben Carson. Carson has since been named to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and an associate of Thiel’s has been floated as a potential head of the Food and Drug Administration. There were other late contributions to groups in down-ballot races, too. In the Nevada Senate race, the super PAC Silver State PAC received a late boost to help Rep. Joe Heck, the Republican candidate for Senate, in the form of a $100,000 contribution from billionaire hedge fund investor Robert Mercer. Heck, however, lost the race. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) won his Senate race against Democrat Deborah Ross and was aided by late spending from the super PAC Grow NC Strong. The group had raised only about $400,000 before Oct. 20 but received a $1 million boost from the Reynolds American tobacco company in the final weeks to help Burr. A similar situation played out in Missouri, where Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) won election with support from Heartland Resurgence, a super PAC run by his former chief of staff-turned-lobbyist Gregg Hartley. The group had not raised much before the final weeks of the campaign, but then it received over $1 million for the last stretch, including checks of $250,000 each from Missouri-based donors David Humphreys and Sam Fox. The National Horizon super PAC reported no donations before Oct. 20. This meant that no one knew who was behind the attacks it ran against Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty and New York Democratic House candidate Zephyr Teachout in the last days of the campaign. A disclosure filed Thursday reveals that Ronald Lauder, an heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, donated $700,000 and the conservative Club for Growth, a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, gave $500,000. In Louisiana, a super PAC called Prosperity With Accountability ran ads promoting Democratic Senate candidate Carolyn Fayard. The group ran ads that compared Fayard to barrier-breaking Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.) and attempting to tie the other Democrat in the race, Foster Campbell, to noted racist and Trump supporter David Duke. The ads did not work. Campbell finished in the top two on Election Day, which in Louisiana means he moved on to a runoff that will be held Saturday. As for who was behind Prosperity With Accountability’s attempt to boost Fayard. It was her mom, Cynthia Fayard. -- 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, 07:53

Trump won with half as much money as Clinton raised

Overcoming the biggest gap in modern campaign finance was just another convention Trump defied.

09 декабря, 03:38

Billionaires, Big Oil Flooded Mitch McConnell's Super PAC In Campaign's Final Weeks

WASHINGTON ― Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by former aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, raised an astonishing $39 million in the three weeks before the 2016 election, according to a report filed on Thursday. The huge injection of money helped backstop Senate Republicans and protect their majority on Election Day. The gigantic fundraising surge for the super PAC pushed its total above $100 million, making it one of the best-funded super PACs of the 2016 election cycle. The late contributions from usual suspects among Republican donors paid for advertisements that helped protect incumbent Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and elect newcomer Todd Young in Indiana. Many of those donors will have key interests in front of the next legislative session. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam combined to give $15 million ― the largest donation to McConnell’s group. Adelson, the billionaire casino operator, has long pushed for Congress to ban online gambling. Republicans have introduced legislation in the past two sessions to do this. The second-biggest donor to the super PAC is unknown, because it came in the form of a $9.2 million contribution from One Nation, a dark-money nonprofit run by the same people as Senate Leadership Fund. The group ran millions of dollars in advertisements early in the campaign season attacking Democratic Senate candidates. Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the private equity titan Blackstone Group, contributed $2.2 million. Schwarzman is an avowed opponent of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. He supports radically reducing regulations for financial firms and cutting taxes, or keeping them as low as they already are, for billionaires like himself. “We’re so overregulated as a country that we just crushed our productivity,” Schwarzman said in the past. “That’s temporary because it’s reversible if anybody politically chooses to reverse it. If they wanna accelerate it, good luck.” After President Barack Obama called for raising the tax rate on carried interest, which is how private equity investors make their money, Schwarzman said, “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Blackstone Group spent more than $2 million on lobbying through September on issues ranging from tax reform, financial regulation, support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and housing. The private equity company owns Hilton Worldwide, a hotel competitor of President-elect Donald Trump. Blackstone bought up at least 50,000 foreclosed homes in the wake of the financial crisis and ensuing bank-led fraud that immiserated millions by wrongly evicting them from their own homes. Blackstone is now taking its home-rental business public. Paul Singer, a billionaire hedge fund manager known for investing in distressed foreign debt, gave $2 million to Senate Leadership Fund. Singer and other hedge fund and private equity managers recently created a new industry lobbying group called CIRCA to advocate for policies favorable to billionaire investors like themselves. Collectively, members of the billionaire DeVos family of Michigan contributed $1.2 million. These contributions came from 11 members of the family. Their wealth derives from Richard DeVos Sr., who founded the multi-level marketing company Amway. His son, Richard DeVos Jr., is married to Betsy DeVos, picked by Trump to be the next education secretary. The Senate will vote on her nomination. Petrodome Energy, an oil and gas company owned by investor W. Ed Bosarge, gave $1 million. This contribution, however, does not relate to the energy industry, but rather to another business run by Bosarge. The multi-millionaire owns stem-cell company Bosarge Life Sciences that has been lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would speed Food and Drug Administration approval of medications and medical devices by bypassing final regulatory scrutiny of whether the products actually work. Legislative language very similar to this was included in the just-passed 21st Century Cures Act. The provision was denounced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as a “special deal” for a “major Republican donor.” There also was a contribution to Senate Leadership Fund from an oil and gas company still interested in energy policy. Polar Tankers Inc., a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, gave $1 million. The oil giant has been lobbying on issues related on natural gas pipelines and Alaska oil exploration. Republican senators also chipped in money from their own leadership PACs to Senate Leadership Fund to help colleagues win tough races. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) OrrinPAC gave $500,000. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) gave $250,000 from his Freedom Fund PAC. McConnell’s own Bluegrass Committee gave $150,000. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) Alamo PAC also gave $150,000. Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) Tomorrow is Meaningful gave $100,000, as did Sen. John Thune’s (R-S.D.) Heartland Values PAC and Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) Common Values PAC. Other leadership PAC contributions came from Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). Hatch will be able to count on support from Senate Leadership Fund if he faces a primary in the 2018 election. In a statement issued on Thursday, the super PAC’s head, Steven Law, said, “Senator Orrin Hatch has been an invaluable ally to SenateLeadership Fund and a conservative champion for Utah, and should he decide to run for reelection, we will have his back in both the primary and the general election.” -- 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, 01:15

Lame-Duck Congress Looking To Ban Online Gambling

Submitted by Tho Bishop via The Mises Institute, With the media attention focused largely on the president-elect’s antics going on in Trump Tower, the lame duck Congress pushes on largely overlooked. Unfortunately that’s when the legislature can be most dangerous. For example, while the country has spent most of the week debating whether Donald Trump’s deal with Carrier Air Conditioning was either benign or the worst thing to ever happen to American capitalism, Congress is busy moving forward with a proposal that would impose a Federal ban on online gambling. The bill, called the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, is the latest attempt to prevent American’s from accessing popular games such as online poker. A prior law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, made it illegal for financial services companies to process payments used for gambling sites, and led to American online poker players seeing billions of dollars in assets frozen in 2011. Luckily the UIGEA offered some loopholes. First, it did not explicitly ban gambling for non-sporting events, so in theory Americans could still access online poker sites if they found a way around payment restrictions. Second, since it was a Federal law, it only applied to interstate commerce. So RAWA not only deprives Americans of the basic freedom of spending their money as they so choose, it’s a blatant violation of the 10th Amendment as three states — New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada — have expressly legalized online gambling, with seven more showing interest. The fact that it is supported by Senator Mike Lee, who often talks about the importance of the 10th Amendment, is a disappointing reminder that even politicians that talk a good game shouldn’t be trusted with your rights. While it’s not surprising that Congress is hard at work trying to find new liberties to take away, it’s fair to ask why is online gambling in the crosshairs now. After all, outside of Jeb Bush coming out in favor of cracking down on fantasy football leagues, it was hardly a noteworthy subject during campaign season. So why are legislators such as Lee, Tom Cotton, Jason Chaffetz, and Lindsey Graham trying to do this now? The answer is simple: paying off campaign debt. While the country just elected a former casino owner president, a current one, Sheldon Adelson, was busy writing checks to elect Republican senators. During the 2016 campaign Adelson donated $20 million dollars to the Republican Senate Leadership Fund, just the latest in a long history of being a major GOP sugar daddy.  He’s also long waged war against the largest competitor to brick-and-mortar casinos, vowing to “spend whatever it takes” to ban online gambling. Now his investment may finally be paying off. Though RAWA has been around for a while, it's recently been resurrected.  Some fear it could be inserted the bill’s language into a larger appropriations bill that is to go up for vote before the end of the year. This is the sort of trick legislators love to play. The Ex-Im bank, the cronyist government institution that largely serves to subsidize Boeing, was similarly revived in 2015 during one of the faux-crises over shutting down the government. For a politician trying to avoid public scrutiny, the only thing better than adding such an obscene measure to a massive spending bill is to do so during the holidays with everyone’s attention directed elsewhere. Fears that the GOP will tread upon the state sovereignty gains made in recent years are not exclusive to online gambling. The appointment of Jeff Sessions to attorney general, a prominent critic of the Obama administration’s refusal to crack down on state-licensed marijuana dispensaries, has given many drug war opponents renewed concerned about the future of the industry. Of course the dismissal of states’ rights by a Republican legislature is the ugly mirror to the left’s recent embrace of ideas such as secession and nullification in the face of Trump’s election. One of the reasons political decentralization is an appealing strategy is because it is non-ideological. Unfortunately this is also why it’s often opportunistically embraced by the party in the minority, and promptly ignored by those with political advantage. Populism is an effective strategy for winning elections, but simply electing populist politicians does not guarantee a defeat for growing government. The ideological diversity of the legislators supporting RAWA is a perfect demonstration that the urge to grow the Federal government doesn’t just transcend party lines, but various ideological coalitions. As long as Washington has the power it has, it will be used to the benefit of the powerful. The only real solution is to make political decentralization more than simply an easy slogan by the party outside of the White House, but a strategy put in to practice.  

06 декабря, 20:11

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Wants Federal Monoply on Exploitation of Fashionable Debaucheries

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson sanctimoniously demanding a federal monopoly on the exploitation of fashionable debaucheries is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is done awkwardly, but you are surprised to see it done at all. Mr. Adelson has accumulated a net worth of $33.6 billion. He is a casino magnate. His stupendous wealth comes from gratifying sordid hormonal cravings: instant riches; sexual promiscuity; and, creature comforts worthy of King Louis XIV. It may be that the casino Czar sheds a tear for the collateral damage of his vulgar enterprises: personal bankruptcies; broken hearts; shattered families; dissipated lives; and, sexual assaults. But if he does, the tear dries quickly. Mr. Adelson fears that online gambling could diminish his hormonal-fueled profits. In the old days when merchants worried about competition, they privately conspired. Adam Smith recounts in Wealth of Nations: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices..." But that strategy for self-enrichment is old-fashioned in our Golden Age of Crony Capitalism besotted with legalized bribery to obtain protectionist legislation. Mr. Adelson followed the political gospel of Ohio Senator and campaign finance maestro for President William McKinley, Mark Hanna. "There are two things that are important in politics," he explained. The first is money and I can't remember what the second one is." The casino billionaire thus donated lavishly to support Republican candidates for the House and Senate to seduce their support for the Restoration of America's Wire Act (RAWA), a.k.a., the Ultra-Enrichment of Sheldon Adelson Act. The bill would prohibit online gambling--a throwback to government paternalism epitomized by the Prohibition Era. Like Lord Byron's Julia whispering "I will ne'er consent--consented," Republican Senators Marco Rubio (FL) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) consented to champion RAWA. The twin solons made no Counter-Reformation-like fig leaf to conceal RAWA's direct boost to Mr. Adelson's spellbinding fortune. But the Sheldon Adelson enrichment bill has sputtered during the 114th Congress. Last November's elections sharply rebuked both Republican and Democratic Party patricians for bowing to establishment interests represented by him. In a single stroke, President-elect Donald Trump destroyed the money-fueled Clinton and Bush political dynasties. Adelson now hopes to enact RAWA with a sneak attack during the Lame Duck session of Congress. On September 20, 2016, he donated a hefty $20 million to the Senate Republican Leadership Fund, a Super PAC that had promoted the elections of incumbent Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Graham. The next day, the "Gang of Three" introduced a new Senate bill, S.3376, a virtual carbon copy of RAWA that would likewise ban internet gambling. Like thieves in the night, they hope to hide the bill in a massive "must-pass" Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded before the Lame Duck session expires on January 3, 2017. Companion machinations are afoot in the House of Representatives to accomplish the same Sheldon Adelson enrichment objective. That provoked Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to write House Speaker Paul Ryan: "We...request that you bring a 'clean CR' funding bill to the floor for a vote before December 9. The potential inclusion of language relating to issues such as...the Restoration of America's Wire Act...runs afoul of regular order. [If]... a united Republican government wants to address these issues...it should include committee hearings and markups, floor amendments, and conference reports--not language hidden inside must-pass legislation during a lame duck session of Congress." Sunshine is said to be the best of disinfectants. If RAWA were exposed to public debate, it would wither and die. Sheldon Adelson should be sent packing like the Clintons and Bushes by the 114th Congress.. -- 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.

01 декабря, 17:16

ADL combats criticism of being too tough on Trump

The Anti-Defamation League is forcefully pushing back on criticism that the Jewish-rooted civil rights group has drifted too far to the left after emerging as a frequent and vociferous critic of Donald Trump and members of his incoming administration.“Over the past year, certain columnists and elements of the US Jewish community have engaged in a full-scale assault on ADL and its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt,” read a letter sent out to the organization’s membership and reviewed by POLITICO. “We came back from Thanksgiving to find that an organized, concerted effort to delegitimize ADL was underway. These charges against ADL are a significant and deliberate misrepresentation of our positions and actions.”The ADL and its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, were often critical of Trump during the campaign, frequently calling on Trump to distance himself from white supremacists and lambasting his call for a ban on Muslim immigration. After Trump’s win, the ADL strongly condemned the appointment of Stephen Bannon— who has served as executive chairman of Breitbart News — to a role as senior adviser and chief strategist in Trump’s White House, calling it “a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists,” assumed a top position in a presidential administration. That posture, which was echoed by a long list of other Jewish groups, still earned the ADL criticism from outposts like the Zionist Organization of America, a deeply conservative group with close ties to Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The Republican Jewish Coalition — of which Adelson is a board member — has also been critical of the ADL, suggesting their remarks about Trump have gone too far, and the organization has not opposed Bannon, with one board member coming out strongly in support of him, though other board members were quietly divided over Trump throughout the campaign.In the letter, the ADL put forth what they characterized as five “myths” about the organization, from accusations that the organization does not support Israel (“False. ADL always has been and always will be a fierce advocate for the Jewish State of Israel,”), to the notion that the organization was much tougher on Bannon than on Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a possible Democratic National Committee chair who has been critical of Israel.“Myth: ADL attacked Steve Bannon but gave Keith Ellison a pass,” the letter read. “Fact: False. We voiced our concerns about the placement of Steve Bannon in a senior White House role based on his statements about the “Alt-Right” and the writing at Breitbart. As for Representative Ellison, we also expressed concerns: ‘it is very disturbing that someone who has been excessively critical of the State of Israel at key junctures in recent history might become the titular head of the Democratic Party.’”But overall, the group rankled some conservatives because it was much more measured in its assessment of Ellison than it was of Bannon, noted the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which also first reported the letter.Still, Greenblatt stressed in the letter that the nonpartisan organization was just as willing to call out what they sees as problematic statements that stem from the left as from the right, adding in a separate part of the letter that the group’s first priority remains combating anti-Semitism wherever it emerges. He noted that a recent conference the ADL hosted “explored [anti-Semitism] from all angles, including discussions of manifestations of anti-Semitism from the radical Left in the form of the [Boycott, Divest, Sanction] movement as well as extreme Right in the form of white supremacy.”“Remember that much of this campaign reflects wider trends of our time: the dangerous polarization in the US, Israel and within our community fed by the dogma that if you are not 100 percent with me you are the enemy, as well as the phenomenon of ‘fake news’ where agenda-driven half-truths are presented as fact, reinforcing these hardened positions,” the letter warned. “But it also reflects willingness by some to pass along lies because, frankly, there are few consequences for doing so.”The organization, Greenblatt pledged, will “vigorously dispute” them.

23 ноября, 21:36

Here's Why Japan Could Become The Next Gambling Hotspot

Gambling revenues from the traditional hubs of Las Vegas and Macau have rebounded after a period of difficulty, but the big casinos are already shifting their attention away from these locations and on to Japan, which is currently debating legislation that would legalize gambling in the country.

18 ноября, 13:10

In Jared Kushner, Trump finds a kindred spirit

Trump's son-in-law has a reputation for trusting his own judgment over expert advice, and believing he has a 'golden touch.'

16 ноября, 21:33

No Secretary of State prospect donated to Trump

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is one of president-elect Donald Trump's top prospects for Secretary of State. He and other contenders in the news did not donate to Trump's campaign. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) BY: ASHLEY BALCERZAK We continue our series on the money-in-politics histories of candidates for Donald Trump's future Cabinet by looking at those who have been mentioned as possibilities to run the State Department. (See our earlier analyses on prospects for Treasury and Defense.) Spoiler: None of the State contenders donated a nickel to Trump's campaign. Rudolph W. Giuliani: The former New York City mayor badly wants the top diplomatic post, though he'd be a controversial choice given his lack of foreign policy experience. Despite Giuliani's unwavering support for Trump in the face of his scandals, though, there was no concomitant support from Giuliani's wallet. This year, the only candidates he gave to were Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.). Giuliani joined the Texas lobbying firm Bracewell & Giuliani (formerly Bracewell & Patterson) as a partner in 2005, the year in which its annual lobbying revenue increased from $4.7 million to $6.8 million. (The firm also expanded and opened a New York office.) Giuliani left Bracewell last January to join the firm Greenberg Traurig's cybersecurity and crisis management group and as senior adviser to the chairman. He's now on leave. CNN reports that past lobbying ties and potential conflicts of interest are holding up the process. From 2005 to 2007, Bracewell & Giuliani received $100,000 to $200,000 to lobby on behalf of Citgo Petroleum Corp, a Houston-based oil company controlled by the former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, although the firm said Giuliani did no work for that client. A subsidiary of Giuliani's consulting firm, which he ran while also working for Bracewell, was a security adviser for Qatar's state-run oil company. In addition, Giuliani was a paid advocate for an Iranian dissident group, Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) at the time the State Department named it as a foreign terrorist organization. Giuliani has never registered as a lobbyist. When Giuliani ran for president in 2008, he raised $59 million, more than any other Republican if contributions from Mitt Romney to his own campaign are excluded. The companies whose employees and PACs gave the most to Giuliani include Ernst & Young ($293,000), JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($248,000) and Merrill Lynch ($216,000.) Wall Street, retirees and lawyers and law firms supported him most heavily. John Bolton: George W. Bush made a recess appointment to install Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 after Democrats filibustered his nomination. He left the position shortly before his appointment ended a year later after Democrats seized the Senate. Bolton then became a senior fellow at the right-leaning think tank American Enterprise Institute and a senior adviser for Freedom Capital Investment Management. Bolton did not give to Trump. This cycle, he did give $10,000 to his own John Bolton PAC, which donated $590,000 to 100 percent GOP congressional candidates. He funneled another $10,000 to the John Bolton Super PAC, which spent nearly $2.6 million backing Republicans in the contentious New Hampshire, North Carolina and Nevada Senate races. (Democrats won in New Hampshire and Nevada.) Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.): As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Corker has experience examining U.S. foreign policy and trade agreements. Since his election in 2006, Corker's campaign and leadership PAC, Rock City PAC, raised $36.4 million, with $5.3 million of that coming from his own pocket. (In 2014, he was the sixth richest senator, with an estimated net worth of $45.4 million.) Over his career, he's received the most funds from employees and PACs of the Tennessee law firm Miller & Martin ($137,000), private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe ($112,000) and petroleum company Pilot Corp ($111,000). His top industry backers are Wall Street ($1.8 million), real estate ($1.8 million) and retired individuals ($1.6 million.) Corker and his wife Elizabeth did not contribute to Trump's campaign. Neither of them personally has given a political donation since 2006, contributing to the past campaigns of George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush. But Rock City PAC gave out $235,000 this cycle to Republican candidates for Senate. (His campaign committee did not dole out any additional funds to lawmakers or presidential contenders.) Newt Gingrich: The House speaker in the mid-1990's and a presidential candidate in 2012, Gingrich maxed out his donations the past two cycles to himself and John McCain, but decided to sit this election out as far as contributions were concerned. As OpenSecrets Blog reported when Gingrich was being considered for the vice presidential slot under Trump, he raised $23.6 million for his failed presidential bid. Although he dropped out of the race in April of 2012, he still had $4.6 million in debt -- which, according to a debt settlement plan the campaign filed in August with the FEC, he doesn't plan to pay back. The FEC found this plan didn't meet the law's requirements, and one of the vendors, Gordon C. James Public Relations, who was owed $128,000, rejected the terms in a letter to the FEC. "Nothing is not a settlement offer," the letter reads. "Courtesy, if not regulation, would dictate that Newt 2012 at least send a letter explaining the form and its actions to its creditors." Looking at his contributors, retired workers, Republican/conservative individuals and groups and health professionals were the most generous to Gingrich. His biggest donors were employees of packaging company Rock-Tenn Co., including former CFO Steven Voorhees and former CEO James Rubright; people affiliated with casino company Las Vegas Sands', like its CEO Sheldon Adelson and current president Robert Goldstein; and Poet LLC founder Jeff Broin and others who work for the biofuel maker. Winning Our Future, the single-candidate super PAC backing Gingrich, received big infusions of cash from Adelson and his wife Miriam, and wound up spending $17 million to help him win. Zalmay Khalilzad: The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Afganistan and Iraq (all under President George W. Bush) actually supported one of Trump's rivals, giving $8,000 to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's super PAC, Right to Rise USA, and $2,700 to Bush's campaign. He didn't contribute to Trump. Khalilzad's donations overall, at least at the federal level, have been sparse. He  gave $2,500 to Romney in 2012 and $500 to Bob Dole, the GOP presidential nominee in 1996. Khalilzad founded a global advisory firm called Gryphon Partners, whose employees gave to John Kasich and Hillary Clinton this year. Like their boss, they neglected Trump. Researcher Alex Baumgart contributed to this 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.

14 ноября, 15:14

Jon Ralston to launch Nevada news site

The site will focus on politics, government and business and will be a nonprofit news organization staffed by “familiar names in journalism in Nevada," Ralston said in an email.

10 ноября, 21:05

In First Post-McCutcheon Presidential Election, More Big Donors, Giving More

Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam have contributed $3.4 million to candidates and party committees now that they no longer have to abide by a $123,200 cap. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) BY: JACK NOLAND No individual has given to every single congressional and presidential candidate yet, or even every Democratic or Republican candidate. But 2016 marks the first presidential election since the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission removed caps on a donor's total campaign giving, and -- as expected -- a group of wealthy individuals have busted through the old $123,200 limit on what they could give. Before 2014, individuals faced caps both on the amount they could give to any one federal candidate and the amount they could give to all federal candidates, parties and PACs, together, in a given two-year cycle. That changed with McCutcheon, when the Supreme Court held that the caps "intrude without justification on a citizen's ability to exercise 'the most fundamental First Amendment activities.'" In the post-McCutcheon landscape, then, an individual would be able to give a $2,700 check to every candidate in every federal primary and general election in the country, plus more to PACs and party accounts, if they were so inclined. While there is not yet evidence of this happening, some donors have taken advantage of unlimited aggregate contributions to give more cash than they ever could before. As of Oct. 16, at least 1,174 people have contributed more than $123,200 during the 2016 election cycle - in some cases, far more. (These numbers, we should note, do not include contributions made to super PACs and other outside spending groups, which were never limited by law; more on this below.) Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate, has given nearly $3.4 million, for instance, every dollar of which has gone to supporting Republicans. His wife, Miriam, has kicked in another $1.2 million. (They've have contributed ) On the liberal side, Newsweb Chairman Fred Eychaner contributed nearly $2.2 million to Democrats. (The Adelsons have contributed $47.4 million when gifts to super PACs and other outside spending groups are factored in, which puts them at No. 2 on our top donors list. And at almost $35 million counting such donations, Eychaner comes in at No. 4.) That's not quite double the 727 people who made contributions in the 2014 cycle that would have exceeded the former limit, but it's close. And they're giving more, as well: The average contribution total from those shattering the old limit this cycle was $281,568, almost $100,000 more than the 2014 average. As expected, a group of wealthy individuals have busted through the old $123,200 limit on what they could give. The pre-McCutcheon rules included caps within the cap, too -- for instance, gifts to candidates couldn't total more than $48,600, and there were separate limits for donations to PACs and parties. In the 2016 cycle, Democratic Wall Street donor Donald Sussman gave at least $2,700 to no fewer than 86 candidates, almost quintupling the previous cap. Overall, these post-McCutcheon contributions have favored the GOP: Over 53 percent of these donors so far have given more to Republicans than Democrats. Still, things are on the upswing for liberals, since just 36.9 percent of contributors favored Dems in 2014. In fact -- whether due to a calcifying partisan divide or not -- a huge majority of donors give all their money to one side or the other. In 2014, 71.1 percent of donors gave only to Republicans or Democrats. This cycle, that number has climbed to almost 74.2 percent by mid-October, with 434 McCutcheon-level donors giving exclusively to Republicans and 437 to Democrats. One effect of the no-limits landscape has been the turbocharging of joint fundraising committees -- committees formed by candidates with their party and sometimes other candidates. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's Hillary Victory Fund, for instance, has seen at least 120 donors give at least $400,000, something that previously was against the law. In that case, the money is split between Clinton's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 38 state parties. When outside spending -- which was never covered by contribution limits even pre-McCutcheon -- gets factored in, individual contribution totals rise dramatically. On both sides of the aisle, deep-pocketed megadonors pumped tens of millions of dollars into federal races this cycle to varying degrees of electoral success. Tom Steyer Steyer was the country's top individual donor by a country mile in 2016. The San Francisco former hedge fund executive parted with more than $67 million this cycle, far outstripping fellow liberal Donald Sussman's $40 million in gifts. Steyer gave $66 million of his total to NextGen Climate Action, the environmental super PAC he founded in 2013. NextGen focused its attention on Senate races and the presidential faceoff, making more than $22 million in independent expenditures, most of which opposed Trump. Of the six battleground Senate races Steyer and NextGen targeted, Democrats won three, in Illinois, Nevada and New Hampshire. Sheldon Adelson Out of a total of more than $26 million, billionaire casino mogul Adelson gave an even $10 million each this cycle to the Congressional Leadership Fund and Senate Leadership Fund, conservative super PACs that supported Republican congressional candidates. Adelson's wife, Miriam, matched his donations to these groups, and their joint $20 million was good for more than half of the Congressional Leadership Fund's independent expenditure total this cycle. The money may have helped, as Republicans will kick off 2017 with majorities in both houses. Donald Sussman Paloma Partners investment firm founder Sussman invested heavily in liberal candidates and super PACs this cycle, giving more than $40 million. Almost half of that outlay came from a single $20 million donation to Priorities USA Action, the foremost outside group backing Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign. The super PAC's independent expenditures added up to more than any other group's; it poured more than $131 million into the presidential race, the lion's share of which paid for attacks on Trump. Sussman also gave $10 million to House Majority PAC, which sought to support Democrats in House races. While they were unable to flip the chamber, Democrats did gain some ground - a bit of good news for liberals on their otherwise pretty bad night. Fred Eychaner As we've noted, Chicago-based businessman Eychaner also splashed major cash on liberal candidates, parties and outside groups. The vast majority of his $34 million-plus in donations stemmed from three eight-figure donations to left-leaning super PACs: $11 million to Senate Majority PAC, $11 million to House Majority PAC, and $10 million to Priorities USA Action. Ultimately, these cash infusions were unable to help Democrats win control of the presidency or either house of Congress. Eychaner also gave $489,448 to 35 Democratic state parties and committees. Robert Mercer The very conservative co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a quant hedge fund founded by a megadonor to the other party, Mercer and his wife Diana have given just shy of $24 million this cycle. A champion of returning the U.S. to the gold standard, Mercer has helped bankroll the conservative Heritage Foundation and Breitbart.com, the right-wing news site. He was deeply committed to Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) 2016 presidential bid, socking $13.5 million into a super PAC supporting him; eventually he signed on to back nominee Donald Trump, converting the previously pro-Cruz vehicle into one that benefited Trump and adding another $2 million to its coffers. His daughter, Rebekah, also was deeply involved with the pro-Trump effort. In the eight days ending Nov. 4, the super PAC, Make America Number 1, paid Mercer's voter data firm Cambridge Analytica $1.4 million. Paul Singer Singer, the founder of hedge fund manager Elliott Management Corp., was one of 2016's top conservative contributors, giving more than $23 million over the course of the cycle. Like Adelson, Singer donated heavily to the Congressional and Senate Leadership Funds - $1.5 million and $4 million, respectively. The New York billionaire didn't stop there. Singer spread his money around a number of conservative super PACs, also making multimillion-dollar contributions to the American Unity PAC, Conservative Solutions PAC, Ending Spending Action Fund, Freedom Partners Action Fund and Our Principles PAC. Complete contribution data for the 2016 cycle will be available early next year. -- 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 ноября, 21:36

Billionaire Sean Parker Wins, Sheldon Adelson Loses On Marijuana Ballot Measures

Sean Parker spent $8.9 million backing marijuana legalization in California, while Sheldon Adelson spent nearly $6.4 million opposing initiatives in four states.

09 ноября, 17:46

How Democrats blew the Senate majority they knew was theirs

All the money and tactical shifts in the world couldn't spare them from the wave no one saw coming.

09 ноября, 00:52

Labor Unions Spent A Record Amount On The Elections. But Not As Much As These 5 People.

WASHINGTON ― This election cycle, the political influence of labor unions seems greater than ever. Just consider the following numbers. The AFL-CIO union federation contributed $14.6 million to super PACs. The National Education Association has donated $18.1 million and spent an additional $1.4 million. And the Service Employees International Union has donated $19 million. Those are eye-popping sums. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, organized labor on the whole has spent more money on this election ― steering its cash overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates ― than ever before. Overall, labor unions have donated more than $132 million to super PACs and spent an additional $35 million on federal elections. There’s just one catch. Although they represent millions of dues-paying members, the most powerful unions are nonetheless being outspent by the country’s richest individuals, from both sides of the aisle. The top five donors to super PACs in the 2016 election are all billionaires or, at least, worth nine figures. There’s the environmentalist former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer. He has donated $66.2 million to NextGen Climate Action, his super PAC supporting Democratic candidates who back action to counter climate change. Republican casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife have donated $52.9 million. S. Donald Sussman, the Democratic hedge fund billionaire, has given $37.2 million to an array of super PACs. Newsweb Corporation chairman Fred Eychaner has supported Democrats with $32.1 million in super PAC donations. Facebook billionaire Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna, have donated $22 million to super PACs supporting Democrats. These donors combined to give more than $210 million ― more than all reported election spending by labor unions. In total, super PAC donations by rich people giving more than $500,000 topped $757 million by Oct. 19. That’s nearly six times the amount donated by labor. Citizens United and other court cases have opened the door to unlimited spending by businesses and unions through super PACs, ushering in a golden age of money in politics. But even though unions can now pour unprecedented cash into candidates and causes, they have portrayed themselves as reluctant players in the post-Citizens United world. And indeed they should be, judging from how they stack up with the richest individual donors. Unions may collectively be able to outspend someone like Sheldon Adelson, but no single union could go toe-to-toe with him. “It’s so overshadowed by corporations and billionaire money. The labor stuff is pathetic in comparison,” said Larry Cohen, who was the longtime president of the Communications Workers of America union. “The billionaires are realizing this is a great return on their investments. They actually make money off theirs. For labor unions... they will never match the money.” Labor unions now have 14.8 million members in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of union membership in the private sector is 6.7 percent, hovering near an all-time low; in the 1950s, nearly a third of U.S. workers were unionized. As Cohen noted, much of the political energy and money spent by unions now goes to playing defense ― warding off Republican-led attacks on collective bargaining that further erode union density. In some cases, labor unions have worked with super PAC mega-donors where their priorities overlap. For instance, the super PAC For Our Future pools money from labor unions with contributions from both Moskovitz and Steyer to get out Democratic voters in support of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senate candidates Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Katie McGinty (D-Pa.). For Our Future has deployed an army of door-knockers in presidential and Senate battleground states. Its latest get out the vote update, posted to its web site (likely to facilitate information sharing with campaigns and other outside groups), shows volunteers and paid staff had made 5 million door knocks as of Oct. 21. Not all labor unions share the same goals as Democratic billionaires like Steyer, who want to enact more environmental regulations and block the construction of oil and gas pipelines. The Laborers International Union of North America and other building trades unions support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. But for the most part, these unions have still put their money into super PACs supporting Democrats. The only deviation are their contributions to Defending Main Street SuperPAC, a group working to elect non-tea party Republicans to the House. This super PAC is funded by LIUNA and the carpenters and operating engineers unions. Although many of them share GOP nominee Donald Trump’s antipathy toward trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, unions have not contributed to super PAC’s supporting the Republican nominee for president. Organized labor has found plenty to dislike about Trump. The candidate has said he supports right-to-work laws, which are anathema to unions, and he’s currently fighting a union organizing drive at his Las Vegas hotel. The National Labor Relations Board ruled just last week that Trump’s hotel was breaking the law by refusing to bargain with the Culinary Workers Union, which won an election there last year.    -- 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 ноября, 16:44

9 States Are Voting On Marijuana On Election Day. Here's Where They Stand Right Now.

Millions of voters across the United States are considering measures to roll back longstanding restrictions on marijuana this Election Day. By the end of Tuesday night, five more states could fully legalize weed, which would put nearly one-quarter of the nation’s population in areas that have rejected prohibition and decided to tax and regulate the plant. An additional four states are voting on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. If approved, pot would become legal in some form in 29 states and Washington D.C. Marijuana policy reformers say this could be a watershed moment for their movement. “Nov. 8 is the most important day in the history of the marijuana legalization movement,” Tom Angell, chairman of drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority, told The Huffington Post. “The stakes couldn’t be higher. Big wins will dramatically accelerate our push to finally end federal marijuana prohibition, perhaps as soon as 2017. But on the other hand, huge losses could interrupt the momentum we’ve been building for the last several years.”  Nov. 8 is the most important day in the history of the marijuana legalization movement. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority National support for the legalization of marijuana has risen dramatically in recent years, reaching historic highs in multiple polls just last month. Acceptance of marijuana use has also been rising steadily, as the “Reefer Madness” hysteria of years past has begun to look increasingly absurd. States like Colorado have established regulated marijuana marketplaces, and successes there have debunked some lawmakers and law enforcers’ predictions that such polices would result in disaster. The federal government still considers marijuana to be among the “most dangerous” drugs, alongside heroin and LSD, and argues that it has no “current accepted medical use.” But as the marijuana industry grows and as legalization spreads across the country, the movement’s increased political clout could help chip away at the federal ban. While the measures proposed in each of these states are different, they’ll produce similar outcomes if approved. In states considering recreational measures, voters are deciding whether the possession, cultivation, use and sale of marijuana should be legal for adults 21 and over. In states considering medical measures, they’re voting to legalize marijuana only for qualifying patients. The following states will vote on marijuana on Tuesday. We’ll keep this story updated throughout the election as results come in. Recreational Marijuana Measures 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); Arizona Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since 2010, but the push for broader legalization has been seen as one of the marijuana movement’s toughest battles. For months, polls in the state have shown voters largely split on Proposition 205, with two of the most recent polls suggesting a very slim lead for voters in favor of legalization. California With the sixth-largest economy in the world and about 40 million residents, the marijuana legalization movement has held up California as one of its biggest prizes. It was the first state to establish a legal medical marijuana program about 20 years ago, and since then, about two dozen states have followed. In 2010, the state had the opportunity to become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, but voters ultimately rejected that ballot initiative. For most of 2016, polls found high support for Proposition 64, with recent polls hovering at just below 60 percent in favor of allowing California to join the ranks of Colorado, the District of Columbia, and three other Pacific states ―Washington, Oregon and Alaska ― in legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.  Maine Maine has been a leader on marijuana policy for decades, and has been in a good position to roll back prohibition on the East Coast. In 1976, the state legislature voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed, and in 1999, voters approved marijuana for medical use. The latest polling on Question 1, a measure to legalize retail sales and recreational use statewide, placed support at around 50 percent, with nearly 10 percent of likely voters still undecided. Massachusetts The latest polls showed growing support for a measure to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts, leading advocates to see it as one of the most likely states to do so. More than 60 percent of likely voters supported Question 4, according to one recent survey, with 34 percent opposed. Voters in Massachusetts previously approved medical marijuana in 2012 by a similar margin, four years after a successful 2008 effort to decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed. Nevada Recent Nevada polls showed support for Question 2 hovering around 50 percent, making it more of a nail-biter for proponents of marijuana legalization. Supporters of the measure include multiple Democratic state lawmakers and some unions, while opponents include a group of Republican state lawmakers. Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson almost single-handedly funded the opposition campaign, giving it over $3 million, or roughly 97 percent of the total money the campaign raised, according to the Adelson-owned Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Medical Marijuana Measures Arkansas The latest polling on Issue 6, a measure to bring medical marijuana to deep-red Arkansas and the South on Election Day, showed support at around 50 percent ― further complicated by an aggressive opposition campaign and controversy surrounding a separate ballot initiative on medical marijuana. Florida Recent polling showed Floridians likely approve medical marijuana on Tuesday, leading to hopes that it could become the first state in the South to legalize weed for any purpose (polls close earlier in Florida than in Arkansas). One survey conducted in late October showed support for the state’s Amendment 2 at over 70 percent. Florida’s campaign for medical marijuana attracted a number of high-profile supporters hoping the state’s voters would do what they failed to do in 2014, when they rejected a similar measure. But anti-drug groups and donors ― including Adelson, who donated $1,500,000 to oppose Amendment 2 ― were intent on pushing back against the apparent momentum. Montana Montana first legalized medical marijuana back in 2004, but five years ago, state lawmakers severely gutted that medical marijuana program, prompting a dramatic decline in medical marijuana providers for state-registered patients. Some polling suggested a lack of support for Initiative 182, a measure to repeal limitations installed by state lawmakers and establish a robust program in the state once again. North Dakota Prior to Tuesday, there wasn’t any recent polling available on North Dakota’s Measure 5. In 2014, 47 percent of voters said they supported the legalization of medical marijuana, though they hadn’t gotten the chance to vote on it until this election. HUFFPOST READERS: What’s happening in your state or district? The Huffington Post wants to know about all the campaign ads, mailers, robocalls, candidate appearances and other interesting campaign news happening by you. Email any tips, videos, audio files or photos [email protected] -- 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 ноября, 16:44

9 States Are Voting On Marijuana On Election Day. Here's Where They Stand Right Now.

Millions of voters across the United States are considering measures to roll back longstanding restrictions on marijuana this Election Day. By the end of Tuesday night, five more states could fully legalize weed, which would put nearly one-quarter of the nation’s population in areas that have rejected prohibition and decided to tax and regulate the plant. An additional four states are voting on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. If approved, pot would become legal in some form in 29 states and Washington D.C. Marijuana policy reformers say this could be a watershed moment for their movement. “Nov. 8 is the most important day in the history of the marijuana legalization movement,” Tom Angell, chairman of drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority, told The Huffington Post. “The stakes couldn’t be higher. Big wins will dramatically accelerate our push to finally end federal marijuana prohibition, perhaps as soon as 2017. But on the other hand, huge losses could interrupt the momentum we’ve been building for the last several years.”  Nov. 8 is the most important day in the history of the marijuana legalization movement. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority National support for the legalization of marijuana has risen dramatically in recent years, reaching historic highs in multiple polls just last month. Acceptance of marijuana use has also been rising steadily, as the “Reefer Madness” hysteria of years past has begun to look increasingly absurd. States like Colorado have established regulated marijuana marketplaces, and successes there have debunked some lawmakers and law enforcers’ predictions that such polices would result in disaster. The federal government still considers marijuana to be among the “most dangerous” drugs, alongside heroin and LSD, and argues that it has no “current accepted medical use.” But as the marijuana industry grows and as legalization spreads across the country, the movement’s increased political clout could help chip away at the federal ban. While the measures proposed in each of these states are different, they’ll produce similar outcomes if approved. In states considering recreational measures, voters are deciding whether the possession, cultivation, use and sale of marijuana should be legal for adults 21 and over. In states considering medical measures, they’re voting to legalize marijuana only for qualifying patients. The following states will vote on marijuana on Tuesday. We’ll keep this story updated throughout the election as results come in. Recreational Marijuana Measures 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); Arizona Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since 2010, but the push for broader legalization has been seen as one of the marijuana movement’s toughest battles. For months, polls in the state have shown voters largely split on Proposition 205, with two of the most recent polls suggesting a very slim lead for voters in favor of legalization. California With the sixth-largest economy in the world and about 40 million residents, the marijuana legalization movement has held up California as one of its biggest prizes. It was the first state to establish a legal medical marijuana program about 20 years ago, and since then, about two dozen states have followed. In 2010, the state had the opportunity to become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, but voters ultimately rejected that ballot initiative. For most of 2016, polls found high support for Proposition 64, with recent polls hovering at just below 60 percent in favor of allowing California to join the ranks of Colorado, the District of Columbia, and three other Pacific states ―Washington, Oregon and Alaska ― in legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.  Maine Maine has been a leader on marijuana policy for decades, and has been in a good position to roll back prohibition on the East Coast. In 1976, the state legislature voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed, and in 1999, voters approved marijuana for medical use. The latest polling on Question 1, a measure to legalize retail sales and recreational use statewide, placed support at around 50 percent, with nearly 10 percent of likely voters still undecided. Massachusetts The latest polls showed growing support for a measure to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts, leading advocates to see it as one of the most likely states to do so. More than 60 percent of likely voters supported Question 4, according to one recent survey, with 34 percent opposed. Voters in Massachusetts previously approved medical marijuana in 2012 by a similar margin, four years after a successful 2008 effort to decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed. Nevada Recent Nevada polls showed support for Question 2 hovering around 50 percent, making it more of a nail-biter for proponents of marijuana legalization. Supporters of the measure include multiple Democratic state lawmakers and some unions, while opponents include a group of Republican state lawmakers. Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson almost single-handedly funded the opposition campaign, giving it over $3 million, or roughly 97 percent of the total money the campaign raised, according to the Adelson-owned Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Medical Marijuana Measures Arkansas The latest polling on Issue 6, a measure to bring medical marijuana to deep-red Arkansas and the South on Election Day, showed support at around 50 percent ― further complicated by an aggressive opposition campaign and controversy surrounding a separate ballot initiative on medical marijuana. Florida Recent polling showed Floridians likely approve medical marijuana on Tuesday, leading to hopes that it could become the first state in the South to legalize weed for any purpose (polls close earlier in Florida than in Arkansas). One survey conducted in late October showed support for the state’s Amendment 2 at over 70 percent. Florida’s campaign for medical marijuana attracted a number of high-profile supporters hoping the state’s voters would do what they failed to do in 2014, when they rejected a similar measure. But anti-drug groups and donors ― including Adelson, who donated $1,500,000 to oppose Amendment 2 ― were intent on pushing back against the apparent momentum. Montana Montana first legalized medical marijuana back in 2004, but five years ago, state lawmakers severely gutted that medical marijuana program, prompting a dramatic decline in medical marijuana providers for state-registered patients. Some polling suggested a lack of support for Initiative 182, a measure to repeal limitations installed by state lawmakers and establish a robust program in the state once again. North Dakota Prior to Tuesday, there wasn’t any recent polling available on North Dakota’s Measure 5. In 2014, 47 percent of voters said they supported the legalization of medical marijuana, though they hadn’t gotten the chance to vote on it until this election. HUFFPOST READERS: What’s happening in your state or district? The Huffington Post wants to know about all the campaign ads, mailers, robocalls, candidate appearances and other interesting campaign news happening by you. Email any tips, videos, audio files or photos [email protected] -- 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 ноября, 08:31

Герцог призывает Нетаниягу не вмешиваться в выборы в США

Лидер парламентской оппозиции обратился к премьеру с требованием раскрыть его богатых союзников, которые поддерживают Дональда Трампа

17 марта 2015, 17:30

Американский олигарх против мира в Палестине.

Шелдон Адельсон (Sheldon Adelson) – богатый спонсор Израиля и Биньямина Нетаньяху.О последнем выступлении израильского премьер-министра Биньямина Нетаньяху в Конгрессе США мы должны знать только одно – присутствие на галерее посетителей одного мужчины - Шелдона Адельсона.Он - магнат азартных игр и крёстный отец правых республиканцев. Кандидаты в президенты от обеих партий выстраиваются в очередь, чтобы поцеловать его руку. Кланяясь и расшаркиваясь, они вымаливают его благословение в виде подписанных им чеков. Беспартийный Центр за ответственную политику (Center for Responsive Politics) и Центр за общественную интеграцию (Center for Public Integrity) утверждают, что во время выборов 2012 года Адельсон и его жена Мириам (чей кошелёк прославился недавно, свалившись с галереи на голову демократического конгрессмена) заплатили 150 млн. долларов республиканцам и их сторонникам, в том числе 93 млн. долларов лояльному к плутократам super PAC Карла Роува (Karl Rove) American Crossroads, Congressional Leadership Fund, Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, Winning Our Future (super PAC поддержки Ньюта Гингрича (Newt Gingrich)) и Restore Our Future (super PAC поддержки Митта Ромни (Mitt Romney)).И всё же, мы не знаем обо всех «тёмных деньгах», вложенных Адельсонами в политику, так как мы не имеем на это права. Как и дорогие квартиры в Нью-Йорке, купленные олигархами, которые прячутся за ширмами легальных организаций, тёмные деньги позволяют нашим политикам смыть отпечатки пальцев с подписанных чеков спонсоров-миллиардеров.Но Шелдон Адельсон не просто так сидел в галерее Палаты Представителей – он дёргал за ниточки, которыми управляет Соединёнными штатами. Шелдон Адельсон – богатый спонсор Израиля и своего идеологического партнёра Биньямина Нетаньяху. Хотя законы о финансовом реформировании предвыборных кампаний в Израиле строже, чем в США, Адельсон смог и их купить, что историк и журналист Гершом Горенберг (Gershom Gorenberg) назвал «однозначно пагубным» влиянием.Адельсон владеет ежедневными газетами Israel Hayom и Makor Roshon (религиозной право-сионистской направленности), а также новостным веб-сайтом NRG. Газета Israel Hayom раздаётся бесплатно для распространения его жёсткой точки зрения. На следующий день после переизбрания Обамы, на первой полосе этой газеты появился заголовок: «США проголосовали за социализм».Ещё важнее то, что он использует свои газеты для постоянной пропаганды Нетаньяху и его ультраправой Likud Party, под властью которой Израиль всё ближе и ближе приближается к теократии. Как считает экономист Моми Дахан (Momi Dahan) из Еврейского университета, «де-факто, само существование таких газет как Israel Hayom – однозначное нарушение закона, так как Адельсон предоставляет своему кандидату практически неограниченные информационные ресурсы».Шелдон поддерживает тесные отношения с Рупертом.На самом деле, приближаясь к израильским выборам 17 марта, Адельсон увеличил тираж Israel Hayom на 70%. Администрация газеты пишет, что увеличение коснулось, в основном, рекламы, но газета Ha’aretz считает по-другому: «Некоторые политики убеждены, что дополнительный тираж – один из пунктов бизнес плана, направленного на переизбрание Нетаньяху». И выступление Нетаньяху перед Конгрессом США накануне выборов – просто совпадение, не так ли? «Я искренне сожалею, что некоторые чувствуют, что моё присутствие здесь носит политической характер», - сказал Нетаньяху конгрессменам. – «Этого никогда не было в моих планах». Ну конечно.Гершом Горенберг считает, что премьер-министр «наслаждается выгодой наличия в его лагере ведущей газеты, которая изображает мир с точки зрения его правительства – мир, в котором Израиль окружён врагами (включая президента США); мир, в котором цель мирных переговоров – разрушение Израиля; мир, в котором левые израильтяне действуют в сотрудничестве с врагами, и даже те правые, которые выступают против Нетаньяху, готовят переворот, используя выборы».Таким образом, Нетаньяху пользуется плодами деятельности Адельсона - его мощной пропагандистской машиной в Израиле и его кампанией по сбору денег в США. В совокупности, эти машины позволяют Нетаньяху узурпировать американскую внешнюю политику, так как он управляет Конгрессом США, который сделали услужливым миллионы долларов Адельсона, придерживающегося правой точки зрения по Израилю и Ближнему Востоку.Итак, вот что мы имеем. Этот казиношный магнат – не только неофициальный вождь республиканской партии США («он и его золотые правила»), но и некоронованный король Израиля – Давид с печатным станком и чековой книжкой, вместо рогатки и камня. Всё это всплыло во время выступления Нетаньяху. США не могут определять своё будущее, так как американская политика на Ближнем Востоке и большинство в Конгрессе находятся под каблуком у другой страны.Подобно королю Мидасу, Шелдон Адельсон определяет вопросы войны и мира в самом нестабильном регионе мира. Именно этот человек, выступая в 2013 году в еврейском университете Иешуа в Нью-Йорке, осудил президента Обаму за дипломатические переговоры с Ираном, и предложил сбросить на иранцев атомную бомбу, превратив их землю в пустыню. «Поймите! Следующим должен быть Тегеран. То есть, мы говорим о бизнесе. Вы хотите быть уничтоженными? Идите вперёд, займите жёсткую позицию и продолжайте использовать своё ядерное оружие».О последнем выступлении израильского премьер-министра Биньямина Нетаньяху в Конгрессе США мы должны знать только одно – присутствие на галерее посетителей одного мужчины. Мы все – его заложники.Авторы - Билл Мойерс (Bill Moyers) и Майкл Уиншип (Michael Winship).Билл Мойерс – ведущий еженедельной общественной телевизионной передачи Moyers & Company. Мойерс получил 35 премий Эмми, 9 премий Пибоди, премию за достижения в течение жизни Национальной академии телевидения. Он является почётным доктором изящных искусств Американского института кино за 40 лет журналистской работы на радио.Майкл Уиншип – ведущий автор Moyers & Company и президент Гильдии сценаристов восточной Америки.Источник: How an American Billionaire Stands in the Way of Mideast Peace, Bill Moyers, Michael Winship, AlterNet, March 6, 2015.____________ ____________

27 августа 2014, 12:50

Шелдон Адельсон: Король неоконов

От редакции: Неоконсерваторы – один из самых живучих образов американской политики в российском коллективном бессознательном, начиная с прихода нового тысячелетия. В годы первого срока Владимира Путина с ними пытались дружить, а в стране создавать нечто похожее. При Джордже Буше-младшем неоконсерваторы «были на коне», поставляя кадры для Белого дома и администрации, зачинали войны в Афганистане и Ираке. Фиаско в последнем военном предприятии заставило их покинуть государственную службу, а всеобщее на тот момент времени презрение – расколоться на группы, которые зачастую враждовали друг с другом. Не раз и не два неоконсерватизм объявляли «закончившемся», казалось, с полным на то основанием и по объективным причинам. Но нет – перебегая от республиканцев к демократам, меняя «места дислокации» с заслуживающим уважение мастерством, сеть неоконов, даже в расколотом на фракции состоянии, является крупнейшим игроком при формировании американской внешней политики. И сегодня мы предлагаем читателям Terra America возможность познакомиться с человеком, долгие годы стоящим за неоконами, их главным споносором и покровителем, одним из самых влиятельных «торговцев властью» в США – Шелдоном Адельсоном, в очерке Константина Черемных.                  *** Сенатор Джон Маккейн как-то раз сравнил Барака Обаму с солдатом, ушедшим в самоволку. И вот почему. 17 июля, когда упал малазийский «Боинг», Обама отправился не в Пентагон, а на партийное рекламное мероприятие в штат Делавэр, а оттуда в Нью-Йорк – на аналогичное собрание. Узнав об истории с самолетом от Владимира Путина (крушение случилось во время беседы), Обама стал бить тревогу, задумался – будто ждал, не случится ли что-нибудь еще. Намекал же накануне Дик Чейни на «новое 11 сентября». Только по пути из Делавэра в Нью-Йорк Обама отзвонился Порошенко и Наджибу Раззаку из самолета, причем борт N1 под предлогом звонков изменил маршрут. Зигзагами, будто путая следы, Обама прибыл в Нью-Йорк, где первым делом отыскал Байдена и обсудил с ним одновременно а) крушение «Боинга» и б) начало наземной операции в секторе Газа. И только после этого позвонил премьеру Нидерландов.   Был ли резон для Обамы (и редакции New York Times заодно) связывать «Боинг» и Газу в один сюжет? Да. Рухнувший «Боинг» очень технично вытеснил военные приключения  Биньямина Нетаньяху в Газе из числа самых горячих новостей.  Заодно поведав миру, что «главный злодей нашего времени – это Путин». Еще две недели, усилиями Валентина Наливайченко и украинской диаспоры, Украина отвлекала мир также от иракского и ливийского сюжетов. Головорезы из ИГИЛ, между тем, заслуживали более пристального внимания, чем шумного, которое они в итоге получили. Хотя о предводителе ИГИЛ, Абу Бакре аль-Багдади, можно было узнать не только как о «чудовищном экстремисте». Колумнист La Stampa Джордано Стабиле писал: «В 2009 году, по завершении "умиротворения", аль-Багдади был отпущен на свободу. Согласно одной из версий, имела место его встреча с генералом Дэвидом Петреусом. Генерал объяснял ему секреты "длительных" военных побед»... Или вот еще один любопытный сюжет тех дней, оставшийся в тени. О признании Иракского Курдистана независимым хлопочет только одно лицо – все тот же премьер-министр Израиля Биньямин Нетаньяху. Израиль принял танкер с курдистанской нефтью. СМИ Израиля уже обосновали курдскую независимость исторически и идеологически. И очень популярно разъяснили, что курды полезны «не только ради нефти», но и ради создания «неприятностей» Ирану. К удобному для той же цели ИГИЛ сторонники Ликуд тоже оказались на тот момент времени поразительно толерантны: в Алжире, как сообщает Algérie360, израильтяне, например, оказывают медпомошь боевикам ИГИЛ. Уже бывший премьер-министр Ирака Нури аль-Малики считает, что провинцию Киркук курды столь легко взяли под контроль, поскольку договорились с ИГИЛ. Курды этого сговора и не отрицают и посмеиваются над аналитиками, которые их пугают «ежом» халифата. Малики должен хорошо помнить, как еще в 2007 году по американским СМИ прокатилась серия статей, где предлагалось его убрать его заменить его Ийядом Аллави. Пиар-контракт был заказан фирме Barbour, Griffith and Rogers (ныне BGR Holdings LLC). Эта же фирма по контракту с Курдской демократической партией еще в июле 2004 года пиарила присоединения Киркука к Иракскому Курдистану. Вице-президент BGR Holdings Брэд Блейкман в 2008 году возглавил Freedom’s Watch – знаменитое агитационное НПО, бомбардировавшее редакции и конгрессменов призывами продолжить войну в Ираке. Финансировал же Freedom’s Watch истинный герой «американского Закулисья» – Шелдон Адельсон. Человек, который является неучтенной в публичном пространстве значимой фигурой всего этого глобального конфликта. И не замечать ее попросту опасно. Шелдон Адельсон. Главный спонсор Биньямина Нетаньяху и блока Ликуд, а в 2012 году – избирательной кампании Ньюта Гингрича в США, организатор первого мероприятия в поддержку Джеба Буша (23 марта 2014). Адельсон полной рукой «одаривал» американских неоконсерваторов десятилетиями и содержал их СМИ – самый состоятельный американский еврей и самый щедрый в истории США политический донор. Из «щекотливого» в биографии: его старший сын умер от передозировки наркотиков, младший сын и супруга лечились от наркотической зависимости. Сам он в суде признался, что «сидит на метадоне». Адельсон никогда не занимался нефтью. Его отрасль – игорный бизнес, который больше связан с другими рынками. Игорно-отельные мощности Адельсона расположены в Лас-Вегасе, на Аомыне (Макао) и в Сингапуре. Бакшиш на Аомыне (Venetian Macao – шестое по величине здание в мире) платится, естественно, местным китайским чиновникам. Адельсон требовал сатисфакции от Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, заявившего, что «республиканцы пополняют свою кассу деньгами китайских проституток». К делу такое заявление не пришьешь. Как и неоднократно мелькавшие в прессе ссылки на анонимных представителей полиции, уверенных что «кто-то из бонз мирового игорного бизнеса» является крупнейшим работорговцем планеты. Зато предназначение крупных центров развлечений и досуга в оффшорных автономиях Азии известно любому интересующемуся. А способы «поставок» в такие центры – вопрос уже не шуточный.   О цели войны в Газе сказал сам господин Нетаньяху. «Мы боремся с туннелями», - сказал он. «Через них (через Филадельфийский коридор – границу Египта с Газой) чего только не тащат – средства связи, наручники, наркотики…». «Рынок наручников» – на совести Нетаньяху. Но вот на рынках наркотиков и «живого товара» (специализация курдских теневиков в Европе) избыток туннелей – это демпинг. Спор между Израилем, ФАТХ и ХАМАС 16 июля состоял в том, кто же «сидит» на этом теневом транзите. «Коварный» ХАМАС предлагал передать весь Филадельфийский коридор под контроль международных сил – как в Косово. А еще ХАМАС предлагал построить в Газе порт и аэропорт. При таком раскладе сама Газа стала бы в потенциале новым Аомынем или Эйлатом. И кто бы тогда срывал куш? Шимон Перес уже назвал главного врага (заодно и главного лоббиста проекта) – это Катар. И разве не с «катарскими» ИГИЛ воюют в Ливии за аэропорт и за контейнерный (а не нефтяной) порт Мисурата? Затем наступает злосчастное 17 июля, и агентство Bloomberg разоблачает Джеба Буша в тайном оффшорном бизнесе в Гонконге и Хайнане. После чего губернатор Хайнаня был уволен, а шансы Джеба (спонсируемого Адельсоном) попасть на президентские выборы 2016 года стали таять. А 26 июля в Париже госсекретарь США Джон Керри поддержал идею порта и аэропорта в Газе – в присутствии главы МИД Катара. После чего адельсоновская «Исраэль ха-йом» изобличила Керри в «предательстве Израиля»… Генерал Гарольд Грин, раньше времени решивший обсуждать в Кабуле щекотливейший вопрос транзита через Мазари-Шариф, погиб, так как не понял, что такие вопросы вне его компетенции, и решаются они не во благо «абстрактных интересов» Соединенных Штатов, а по воле и в интересах вполне конкретного человека. И теперь вы его знаете. Черемных Константин