Friday, December 09, 2016

Trump's luxurious hotel in Washington, DC was the old post office. It makes me wonder how many more government buildings will be sold to the highest bidder.

Built into the new administration is more business for the Trump Organization.

December 6, 2016

By the AP

New York — Vice President-elect Mike Pence (click here) will deliver a speech on Tuesday night to a conservative group at Donald Trump’s new Washington D.C. hotel, raising anew conflict of interest questions surrounding the venue.

The Trump International Hotel has come under scrutiny by government ethics experts since the election. They worry foreign governments, lobbyists and others will book rooms and events there to curry favor with the new president.

The Heritage Foundation said Pence will talk about areas of focus for the Trump administration in the first 200 days. The Washington think tank said he will also talk about the conservative movement.

The Heritage Foundation said its decision to use the hotel was driven by space needs.

The Pence speech is the highlight of the group’s annual gathering for its biggest donors. The event is mostly being held at the Ronald Reagan Center across the street from the hotel.

“The space wasn’t large enough and there are security concerns,” said Heritage spokesman Wesley Denton. “It’s just this one speech.”...

Trump is shutting down DC during his inauguration.

December 9, 2016
By Sophia Tesfaye

Protesters who plan to descend on Washington (click here) in the days surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next month will find themselves barred from the nation’s most famous public protest site.

The National Park Service, on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, filed a “massive omnibus blocking permit” securing much of the National Mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for Trump’s inauguration festivities, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

“None of these spots will be open for protesters,” the newspaper reported.

The temporary ban mostly affects a planned march from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House on Jan. 21, 2017, the morning after Trump’s inauguration. The morning after the election, organizers began the  Women’s March on Washington, which leaders say is an intentional nod to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 civil rights march at the Lincoln Memorial.

According to the march’s official Facebook event page, 136,000 demonstrators plan to attend and an additional 226,000 are interested in participating. Groups from nearly 50 states have started their own, local Facebook pages for the event, with each state organizing transportation to get to the event....

...The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund argues that the National Park Service and Trump’s inaugural committee have “done a massive land grab inhibiting all those who want to exercise their right to free speech.”...

Trump refuses to believe the CIA. Here we go again.

The real tragedy right now is that Donald Trump is refusing to believe the CIA. We have been here before. "W" didn't believe the CIA. Dick Cheney stated the White House would not get to a PDB about bin Laden for six months and within months there was this.

Add to that Donald Trump doesn't spend time with his PDB and what have we got? We have the country extremely vulnerable all over again. 

Mr. Trump's reaction to this is worrisome. He is not campaigning anymore and his dismissal and berating of the facts is dangerous. The first day after his election there were demonstrations right outside his front door. His response was to state the demonstrators were professionals and defamed them. He is not able to divide his personal ego from the issues that surround him. That is a problem.

The USA can't have a person in the White House that takes every issue personally. That is how he got elected. He took everything that opposed him in the campaign personally and turned it into a character assassination of his opponent. 

Mr. Trump is self-serving. That is obvious. He is not fit to be president and every event that comes up keeps telling us so. I don't want a president that believes he is untouchable by powers that want to hurt the USA, including Russia and China. I want NATO to be esteemed and viewed as vital to our national interest.

December 9, 2016
By Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller

The CIA (click here) has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emailsfrom the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”...

Carl's Jr.s is a wannabee.

Carls Jr. Franchise (click here)  Carls Jr. wants to take over the world. He and Donald Trump have the same problem, they will be overseeing their own ambitions and working USA regulations to make it happen. Interestingly, Carls Jr. is not in Russia. I don't imagine that will happen soon since he is not a Russian. At least not yet. 

Other than that, the Trump Administration has the same "Drip-Trickle" ideology as any other Republican. They want to dominate the USA's economy no different than any other CEO in the world. What is amazing is that while the USA is coveted for it's market of 330 million consumers, no one wants to pay them anything so the American market is humming rather than impoverished.

Brian Moynihan, (click here) chairman and C.E.O. of Bank of America, on Trump's economic agenda and the substantial growth in the bank’s share prices since the election.

He stated we know global warming is real and we have to do something about it, but, give us some time. Really? It has been a century since Henry Ford warned the country about greenhouse gases. Environments stepped up the greenhouse gas issue in the 1960s. How much time does Wall Street need to get their minds around this issue, because, Earth is not bargaining.

I moved the Koch entry down because I wanted to write a bit more about the Flint River.

There is a study published in a journal entitled "Environmental Justice." I suggest leaders and interested parties get a copy. A professor is linking economic decline to the decision of using contaminated water in Flint, Michigan.

I kind of expected this and it is one of the reasons I began this project which I didn't think would be this encompassing. But, at any rate, linking economic failure in Michigan due to the decline of the jobs in the auto industry did not cause the contamination of the water. 

Now, the socio-economic reality of the Flint residents were obvious when the crisis was finally realized by the country, but, there is no rational reason I have found yet for this to occur. 

Just to understand, this is similar to the work I've been pursuing, but, there is much more to this. Dr. Sadler published in a professional journal. I will be published right here and I'll explain everything as it goes along. 

I admire Dr. Sadler's willingness to bring about criticism that cornered people into this crisis. I think an abandoned city is more the accurate word. I have trouble with his analogy of the social factors of racial segregation, suburban sprawl and the resulting political fragmentation were major factors leading to the water crisis, he indicated. The problem is these factors were not unique to Flint, Michigan and yet other cities did not poison their people. So, while the analogy is interesting, it is more an excuse for social ills causing the lead poisoning of the water.

Give me a break. That picture is worth any analogy about social ills causing the water contamination. Not every city in the USA that is suffering from racial segregation, suburban sprawl and political fragmentation had a river converge on their water pipes. 

It takes all kinds.

December 7, 2016

Many believe the events (click here) leading to the lead poisoning of Flint’s drinking water began in April 2014, when it started drawing from the Flint River. Others believe it began in November 2011, when Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager to take control of Flint’s government.

While those actions were immediate and important factors in the crisis, Richard Sadler, an assistant professor of public health and co-author of a new Michigan State University study, has found that in order to understand its real genesis, one must go back decades and examine a series of governmental, social and economic policies that led to the city’s decline and ultimately to the contamination.

“The main point is that, although we tend to think of the water crisis as proximately caused by the switch to the Flint River or the emergency manager law, we need to think about more distant political and economic causes,” Sadler said, who is also a medical geographer in the College of Human Medicine.

The study is published in the journal Environmental Justice in collaboration with Andrew Highsmith, the author of "Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan and the Fate of the American Metropolis," a book about the city’s decline....
Flint River Water Project

This cropped up in my regular scan of the news about Flint. The project is ongoing. Hopefully, this timeline is all inclusive and accurate.

December 6, 2016
CNN Library 
(CNN) -- Here is a look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, (click here) where cost-cutting measures led to tainted drinking water that contained lead and other toxins.
Flint, located 70 miles north of Detroit, is a city of 98,310, where 41.6% of residents live below the poverty line and the median household income is $24,679, according to the US Census Bureau. The median household income for the rest of Michigan is $49,087. The city is 56.6% African-American.
Flint once thrived as the home of the nation's largest General Motors plant. The city's economic decline began during the 1980s, when GM downsized its sprawling industrial complex.
In 2011, the state of Michigan took over Flint's finances after an audit projected a $25 million deficit. Even though Flint's water supply fund was $9 million in the red, officials were using some of this money to cover shortfalls in its general fund. A receivership ended in April 2015, when the water fund was declared solvent and the remaining deficit was eliminated by an emergency loan.
In order to reduce the water fund shortfall, the city switched water sources in 2014. While a new pipeline connecting Flint with Lake Huron was under construction, the city turned to the Flint River as a water source during the two-year transition.
The Flint River had been the city's primary water source decades earlier, but Flint switched to Lake Huron in 1967, purchasing its supply through the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
Contaminated Water Supply:
Historically, the water in the Flint River downstream of Flint has been of poor quality, and was severely degraded during the 1970s, due to "the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances." In 2001, the state ordered the monitoring and cleanup of 134 polluted sites within the Flint River watershed, including industrial complexes, landfills and farms laden with pesticides and fertilizer.
According to a class-action lawsuit, the state Department of Environmental Quality was not treating the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent, in violation of federal law. The river water was found to be 19 times more corrosive than water from Detroit, which was from Lake Huron, according to a study by Virginia Tech.
Since the water wasn't properly treated, lead from aging service lines to homes began leaching into the Flint water supply after the city tapped into the Flint River as its main water source.
Health effects of lead exposure in children include impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty. In pregnant women, lead is associated with reduced fetal growth. In everyone, lead consumption can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves. Although there are medications that may reduce the amount of lead in the blood, treatments for the adverse health effects of lead have yet to be developed.
2007 - Flint prepares to tap into the Flint River as a backup water source, despite residents' concerns about sewage spills and industrial waste. Flint is the only city in Genesee County poised to use the Flint River as an emergency water source, according to the county's drain commissioner.
March 22, 2012 - Genesee County announces a new pipeline is being designed to deliver water from Lake Huron to Flint. The plan is to reduce costs by switching the city's water supplier from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).
April 16, 2013 - On the city council's recommendation Andy Dillon, state treasurer, authorizes Flint to make the switch. One day later, the DWSD terminates its water service contract with Flint, effective April of 2014. There are further discussions, however, between Flint's leaders and the DWSD about options that would allow the city to purchase Detroit water after the contract ended. Flint resumes buying Detroit water in October of 2015.
April 21, 2014 - The changeover to the Flint River is delayed by days as workers complete construction of a disinfectant system at the treatment plant.
August 14, 2014 - The city announces fecal coliform bacterium has been detected in the water supply, prompting a boil water advisory for a neighborhood on the west side of Flint. The city boosts the amount of chlorine in the water and flushes the system. The advisory is lifted on August 20.
September 5, 2014 - Flint issues another boil water advisory after a positive test for total coliform bacteria. The presence of this type of bacteria is a warning sign that E. coli or other disease-causing organisms may be contaminating the water. City officials tell residents they will flush the pipes and add more chlorine to the water. After four days, residents are told they can safely resume drinking water from the tap.
October 1, 2014 - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issues a governor's briefing paper outlining possible causes for the contamination issues. Among the problems are leaking valves and aging cast iron pipes susceptible to a buildup of bacteria. The MDEQ concludes flushing the system and increasing chlorine in the water will limit the number of boil water advisories in the future.
October 2014 - The General Motors plant in Flint stops using the city's water due to concerns about high levels of chlorine corroding engine parts. The company strikes a deal with a neighboring township to purchase water from Lake Huron in lieu of using water from the Flint River. The switch is anticipated to cost the city $400,000.
January 2, 2015 - The city warns residents the water contains byproducts of disinfectants that may cause health issues including an increased risk for cancer over time. The letter is sent after the state finds that the level of disinfecting chemicals in the water exceeds the threshold set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The water is deemed safe for the general population, but the elderly and parents of young children are cautioned to consult with their doctors.
January 12, 2015 - The DWSD offers to reconnect the city with Lake Huron water, waiving a $4 million fee to restore service. City officials decline, citing concerns water rates could go up more than $12 million each year, even with the reconnection fee waiver.
January 21, 2015 - Residents tote jugs of discolored water to a community forum. The Detroit Free Press reports children are developing rashes and suffering from mysterious illnesses.
February 2015 - The MDEQ notes some "hiccups" in the transition, including a buildup of TTHM, a cancer-causing byproduct of chlorine and organic matter. In a background paper submitted to Governor Rick Snyder, the MDEQ states that elevated TTHM levels are not an immediate health emergency because the risk of disease increases only after years of consumption. Snyder announces a $2 million dollar grant to fix problems in the pipes and sewers.
February 26, 2015 - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notifies the MDEQ it has detected dangerous levels of lead in the water at the home of Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters. A mother of four, she had first contacted the EPA with concerns about dark sediment in her tap water possibly making her children sick. Testing revealed that her water had 104 parts per billion (ppb) of lead, nearly seven times greater than the EPA limit of 15 ppb.
March 18, 2015 - Walters follows up with the EPA after another test indicates the lead level in her water is 397 ppb.
March 23, 2015 - Flint City Council members vote 7-1 to stop using river water and to reconnect with Detroit. However, state-appointed emergency manager, Jerry Ambrose overrules the vote calling it "incomprehensible" because costs would skyrocket and "water from Detroit is no safer than water from Flint."
June 5, 2015 - A group of clergy and activists file a lawsuit against the city, claiming that the river water is a health risk. The city attorney fires back in July that the lawsuit is baseless. The case is dismissed in September.

June 24, 2015 - An EPA manager issues a memo, "High Lead Levels in Flint," warning the city is not providing corrosion control treatment to mitigate the presence of lead in drinking water. According to the memo, scientists at Virginia Tech tested tap water from the Walters' home and found the lead level was as high as 13,200 ppb. Water contaminated with 5,000 ppb of lead is classified by the EPA as hazardous waste. Three other homes also have high lead levels in the water, according to the memo. Walters sends the memo about lead in her tap water to an investigative reporter from the ACLU, Curt Guyette.
July 9, 2015 - The ACLU posts a video about the lead in Walters' water. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling drinks a cup of tap water on a local television report to ensure residents that it is safe.
July 13, 2015 - After the EPA memo is leaked by the ACLU, a spokesman for the MDEQ tells Michigan Public Radio, "Anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax." He explains initial testing on 170 homes indicates that the problem is not widespread.
July 22, 2015 - Governor Snyder's chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, emails the Department of Community Health in response to reports by the ACLU and on public radio. "I'm frustrated by the water issue in Flint. I really don't think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving from DEQ [MDEQ] samples. Can you take a moment out of your impossible schedule to personally take a look at this?"
August 17, 2015 - The MDEQ orders Flint to optimize corrosion control treatment in the water supply after state testing from the first six months of 2015 reveals elevated lead levels.
August 23, 2015 - Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards notifies the MDEQ his team will be conducting a water quality study.
September 8, 2015 - The Virginia Tech team issues a preliminary report indicating 40% of Flint homes have elevated lead levels.
September 9, 2015 - The EPA announces it will assist Flint in developing a corrosion control treatment for the water. The next day, MDEQ spokesman, Brad Wurfel tells the Flint Journal the city needs to upgrade its infrastructure, but he also expresses skepticism about the Virginia Tech study.
September 11, 2015 - After concluding that Flint water is 19 times more corrosive than Detroit water, Virginia Tech recommends the state declare that the water is not safe for drinking or cooking. The river water is corroding old pipes and lead is leaching into the water, according to the study.
September 24, 2015 - A research team led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician from the Hurley Medical Center, releases a study revealing the number of children with elevated lead levels in their blood nearly doubled after the city switched its water source. In neighborhoods with the most severe contamination problems, testing showed lead levels tripled.
October 2, 2015 - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reviews the data from the Hurley Medical Center and verifies the findings. The state begins testing drinking water in schools and distributing free water filters.
October 8, 2015 - The MDEQ announces three Flint schools tested positive for dangerous lead levels in the water. Governor Snyder says the city will discontinue using Flint River water.
October 15, 2015 - Governor Snyder signs a spending bill appropriating $9.35 million to help Flint reconnect with Detroit for water and provide health services for residents.
October 16, 2015 - The city switches back to Detroit water. Residents are cautioned that it will take weeks for the system to be properly flushed out and there may be lingering issues. The EPA establishes a Flint Safe Drinking Water Task Force.
November 4, 2015 - The EPA publishes a final, redacted version of its report on high lead levels in three Flint homes, including Walters' residence.
November 13, 2015 - Residents file a federal class action lawsuit claiming 14 state and city officials, including Governor Snyder, knowingly exposed Flint residents to toxic water.
December 14, 2015 - Flint declares a state of emergency.
December 29, 2015 - MDEQ Director Dan Wyant resigns after the Flint Water Advisory Task Force concludes the crisis resulted from a failure of state regulators.
January 5, 2016 - Governor Snyder declares a state of emergency in Genesee County. A spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office in Detroit tells CNN that a federal investigation is underway.
January 12, 2016 - The Michigan National Guard is mobilized to help distribute clean water.
January 13, 2016 - Governor Snyder announces an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease occurred in the Flint area between June 2014 and November 2015, with 87 cases and 10 deaths. It is unclear, however, whether the spike is linked to the water switch.
January 14, 2016 - Governor Snyder writes President Barack Obama to request the declaration of an expedited major disaster in Flint, estimating it will cost $55 million to install lead-free pipes throughout the city.
January 16, 2016 - The president declines to declare a disaster in Flint. Instead, he authorizes $5 million in aid, declaring a state of emergency in the city. The state of emergency allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to step in.
January 16, 2016 - The president declines to declare a disaster in Flint. Instead, he authorizes $5 million in aid, declaring a state of emergency in the city. The state of emergency allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to step in.
January 21, 2016 - The EPA criticizes the state's slow response to the crisis and expresses concerns about the construction of the new pipeline to Lake Huron. The agency issues an emergency administrative order to ensure state regulators are complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act and are being transparent in their response to the crisis. The EPA says it will begin testing the water and publishing the results on a government website. An EPA administrator who was notified in June about Flint's high lead levels resigns effective February 1.
January 22, 2016 - The MDEQ claims the EPA has failed to note the state's multimillion-dollar initiatives to address the crisis, including water testing, distribution of filters and medical care.
January 27, 2016 - A new federal lawsuit is filed in Detroit against the state, alleging the violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act.
February 1, 2016 - A spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office in Detroit tells the Detroit Free Press that the FBI, the US Postal Inspection Service, the inspector general of the EPA and the EPA's criminal investigation division are assisting in the probe of the Flint water crisis.
February 3, 2016 - The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds a hearing on the Flint water crisis. Governor Snyder is not called to appear.
February 8, 2016 - Governor Snyder turns down an invitation to testify at another congressional hearing on the crisis, citing a previous commitment to deliver a budget presentation to the state legislature in Michigan. The committee does not have the power of subpoena.
March 17, 2016 - Governor Snyder testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
March 31, 2016 - Lawyers, including some with the NAACP, file a class action lawsuit against Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, PC, the state of Michigan, Governor Snyder and others. Plaintiffs seek damages for those affected by the water crisis.
April 20, 2016 - Criminal charges are filed against government employees Mike Glasgow, Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby. Busch, a district water supervisor for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Prysby, a district water engineer, each face six charges. Glasgow, a former laboratory and water quality supervisor who now serves as the city's utilities administrator, is charged with tampering with evidence, a felony, and willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor. All are on administrative leave.
April 25, 2016 - Five hundred and fourteen residents and former residents of Flint file a class action lawsuit against the EPA. The plaintiffs allege negligence and demand more than $220 million in damages for the EPA's role in the water crisis.
April 25, 2016 - Flint activists announce the formation of a new initiative, the Community Development Organization. Created in response to the water crisis, the non-profit will assist and share information with those effected by the Flint River water switch.
May 4, 2016 - President Barack Obama visits Flint to hear first-hand how residents have endured the city's water crisis and to highlight federal assistance to state and local agencies.
May 4, 2016 - Mike Glasgow reaches a deal with prosecutors contingent on his cooperating as a witness in the investigation. Glasgow gives a plea of no contest to willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor, and the felony charge of tampering with evidence is dismissed. He is released on personal bond following the plea agreement.
May 9, 2016 - Fired city administrator Natasha Henderson files a federal lawsuit against the city of Flint and Mayor Karen Weaver. Henderson claims that in February 2016, Weaver told former employee Maxine Murray to direct donors to a political campaign fund "Karenabout Flint" instead of to the Safe Water/Safe Homes fund. The Safe Water/Safe Homes fund is specifically for the residents who are suffering due to the water crisis. Mayor Weaver calls the allegations "outrageously false."
June 22, 2016 - The Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette files civil lawsuits against two companies for their alleged role in the Flint water crisis. Veolia North America is charged with negligence, fraud, and public nuisance. Lockwood, Andrews & Newman (LAN) is charged with negligence and public nuisance.
-- LAN responds to the lawsuit by stating it was "surprised and disappointed that the state would change direction and wrongfully accuse LAN of acting improperly, and will vigorously defend itself against these unfounded claims." LAN also says the accusations ignored the assessments of investigators that the City of Flint and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality made the key decisions about water treatment. "LAN was not hired to operate the plant and had no responsibility for water quality," the statement says, adding that the company "regularly advised that corrosion control should be added and that the system needed to be fully tested before going online."
-- Veolia also responds with "disappointment in Attorney General Schuette's inaccurate and unwarranted allegations." The company says, "the Attorney General has not talked to Veolia about its involvement in Flint, interviewed the company's technical experts or asked any questions about our one-time, one-month contract with Flint." The company says its "engagement with the city was wholly unrelated to the current lead issues."
July 29, 2016 - Six current and former state workers are charged as the criminal investigation continues. One of the employees, Liane Shekter-Smith, is the former chief of the Michigan Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance. She faces charges of misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty for allegedly misleading the public and concealing evidence of rising lead levels in water.
October 18, 2016 - The ACLU of Michigan files a class action lawsuit against school districts in Flint for exposing students to tainted water and inadequately testing children for learning disabilities that may have been caused by ingesting lead.
November 2016 - Dennis Walters, the husband of Flint advocate Lee-Anne Walters, files a complaint claiming that he is being mistreated at work by superiors and colleagues who resent his wife's activism. Walters, a Navy veteran who works at a police precinct at the Naval Station Norfolk, says that he has been scheduled to work long hours with no breaks and denied opportunities to expand his skill set via training. The family relocated to Virginia because of the water problems in Flint.
November 10, 2016 - The state of Michigan and city of Flint are ordered to deliver bottled water to homes where the government hasn't checked to ensure that filters are working properly. In court documents, the leader of a nonprofit group helping residents said that as many as 52% of the water filters installed in a sample of more than 400 homes had problems.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story imprecisely characterized the process of the termination of the contract between the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) and the City of Flint in April 2013. It has now been amended to reflect that the DWSD offered to continue to allow Flint to purchase Detroit water even after the contract ended, pending re-negotiations.

This is interesting. The US House bought and paid for by the Koch's are being warned about hurting the US economy. Why? 35 percent tariffs.

If this is any indication, there will be a lot of infighting. Anarchy is a bitch.

I have to hand it to the Kochs, they never age. They always look like old white men.

December 8, 2016
By David Morgan

Washington (Reuters) - Koch Industries, (click here) the private conglomerate owned by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, warned on Wednesday that a Republican tax reform proposal meant to encourage U.S. exports could have devastating effects on the economy and consumers.

The proposal, known as border adjustability, is part of a larger tax reform plan backed by Republicans in the House of Representatives, including Speaker Paul Ryan. It has attracted the attention of advisers to President-elect Donald Trump as a potential tool for creating manufacturing jobs for blue-collar Americans.

But the provision, which would tax imports while exempting U.S. exports from corporate income tax, has raised concerns in the retailing and energy sectors about its potential effects on prices for imported consumer items and foreign goods used in domestic production.

Corporate lobbyists say that Trump's threatened 35 percent import tax against U.S. companies that move jobs overseas could reflect an interest by the president-elect in a border-adjusted approach to tax reform.

The Trump team and Republicans in Congress are currently trying to hammer out an agreement on tax reform for 2017.

"The proposed border tax adjustment will distort the market, increase consumer prices and create an uneven playing field for companies and consumers," Philip Ellender, who oversees government and public affairs for the Wichita, Kansas-based multinational, said in a statement.
"The long-term consequences to the economy and the American consumer could be devastating," added Ellender, who said Koch otherwise supports tax reform....