In recent years, this apparatus has become one of the most powerful avenues of influence for wealthy Americans of all political stripes, including Mr. Loeb and Mr. Cohen, who give heavily to Republicans, and the liberal billionaire George Soros, who has called for higher levies on the rich while at the same time using tax loopholes to bolster his own fortune.
Boeing to shower shareholders with cash (richcabot)
“Our strategy is rooted in a foundation of strong operating performance across our business, confidence in our team and long-term market outlook and an unmatched portfolio of products and services,” he added.
Last year, the firm bought back $6.75 billion worth of its own stock.
How the Koch network rivals the GOP (richcabot)
As the network has grown, though, internal audits at times have raised concerns about its management culture, spending and lack of coordination among core groups that compose the network. Insiders have questioned huge staff bonuses, fancy restaurant meals, purchases of Twitter followers and sporting event-related costs, as well as contracts directed to firms connected to top network operatives.
“It would be better for our security if it was harder for terrorists to purchase very powerful weapons,” Ben Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said in a briefing for reporters in Hawaii on Saturday. “At a certain point, violence begets more violence.”
That number appears to be shrinking: Administration officials said last month that about 2.5 million new customers had bought insurance through HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange serving 38 states, since open enrollment began on Nov. 1. The number of new enrollees is 29 percent higher than last year at this time, suggesting that the threat of a larger penalty may be motivating more people to get covered.
Policy makers looking ahead to the new year are faced with old economic drivers that still aren’t showing any signs of a pick-up even amid fresh indications of strength in the new ones, despite six People’s Bank of China interest-rate cuts and stepped up fiscal stimulus. The sweeping shift of the world’s second-largest economy is a long-sought transition away from investment and manufacturing toward consumption and services.
“At the training camp in May 2015, our commander told us that the group sells fuel to Turkey. That income covers Islamic State’s costs. The oil trucks crossing into Turkey every day carry crude oil, as well as petrol,” Tatar said, adding that the Islamic group has “enough oil to last them a long time.”
The storm that will unfreeze the North Pole (richcabot)
2015 is the warmest year ever recorded. Thirteen of the top 14 warmest years on the books have happened this century. And here in the United States, it has been a hot, strange month. Many cities across the northeast smashed their Christmas and Christmas Eve temperature records not at midday, but at the stroke of midnight. For the hundred-plus years that New York temperatures have been recorded, the city has never been warmer than 63 degrees Fahrenheit on a December 24. Yet at 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve of this year, the thermometer measured 67 degrees.
Gold & Silver
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