Observers lately have taken to calling Puerto Rico “America’s Greece.” That might qualify as an insult – to Greece. And the American public may have to cover the debts. On Monday, the island government announced that its Public Finance Corporation was unable to make its full scheduled loan payments over the weekend. The $628,000 in disbursements was a mere blip on the $58 million due, itself a blip on composite debt of over $70 billion, a large portion of it rated at “junk” levels. Yet suddenly the specter of collapse has become real. Moody’s Vice President Emily Raimes, terming the partial payment a “default,” stated: “This event is consistent with our belief that Puerto Rico does not have the resources to make all of its forthcoming debt payments. This is a first in what we believe will be broad default on commonwealth debt.”
National Legal and Policy Center … Read More ➡
General Motors recently announced that it will spend $5 billion on a joint venture with Chinese state-owned SAIC Motor to develop vehicles for emerging markets. The announcement came around the same time that GM reported results for 2015 second quarter earnings, which showed cash and cash equivalents decreasing $2.2 billion in the first six months of the year. Marketable securities also declined by $2 billion during that time frame.
The decision by GM to spend another $5 billion of its diminishing so-called “cash hoard” on Chinese ventures is a risky move (particularly given China’s shaky markets recently) reeking of desperation by a management team that can’t seem to maintain the company’s share price above the 2010 IPO price of $33. GM stock has been hovering around the $31 range, which reflects a drop in value of approximately 6% during a roughly five year period when the broader S&P 500 index … Read More ➡
The planet is in a nearly two-decade global warming standstill; an Arctic research expedition to study warm was halted due to too much ice; polar bear habitat is healthy; another quiet hurricane season is expected; and a paper on sea level rise by climate alarmism founder Dr. James Hansen has been dismissed by his fear-mongering colleagues as “flimsy.”
Nonetheless the corporate world has loyally marched to the White House doorstep to pledge fealty to President Obama’s carbon dioxide reduction agenda. On Monday 13 large companies announced they would collectively spend $140 billion on various initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and expand so-called “clean” energy. The collective action has been dubbed the “American Business Act on Climate Pledge” by the White House, and is intended to enhance the president’s negotiating position at international climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.
“Rising … Read More ➡
It appears – two years after Boeing had fire incidents from installed lithium ion batteries that shut down deliveries of its vaunted Dreamliner 787 – that its “solution” to “vent” heat and flames outside the aircrafts has prevented any catastrophes, so far.
But it hasn’t alleviated concerns about the batteries’ physics and makeup. Last week Boeing issued a warning to its airline customers to not carry bulk shipments of lithium-ions because if they catch fire or overheat, they’re unstoppable. A spokesman told the Associated Press that the manufacturer has advised airlines not to transport the batteries “until safer methods of packaging and transport are established and implemented.” Likewise, the FAA simultaneously stated that its research has found that carriage of lithium ion batteries “presents a risk.”
The alert was industry-wide. At a safety forum held last week in Washington by the Air Line Pilots Association, Boeing’s fire protection system specialist … Read More ➡
New York State Senator John Sampson, a Democrat of Brooklyn, was convicted yesterday on three counts, including obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on six others, but the conviction should result in significant prison time. No date has yet been set for sentencing.
Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled approximately $440,000 from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties on which he was a court- appointed referee. The embezzlement charges were thrown out because the state of limitations expired. The charges on which he was convicted relate to the cover-up.
Reportedly, the Sampson investigation was an extension of the investigation of U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), prompted by newspaper headlines based on information provided by the National Legal and Policy Center.
Beginning in 2010, we reviewed public documents connected to Meeks and his political network. Meeks was involved with a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation. Among other … Read More ➡
Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon today details how the Clintons pushed for a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to Clinton Foundation donor Claudio Osorio, who now sits in a federal penitentiary, serving a 12-year term for fraud.
The loan was rushed through and Osorio was never required to provide an audited financial statement. The loan was supposed to be for building houses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, but Osorio instead used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and to buy off politicians.
Documents uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center show that Bill Clinton lined a up well-connected law firm to represent Osario with OPIC, and Hillary Clinton went to bat for the project within the State Department. OPIC is technically an independent agency but submits its budget through the State Department.
Whereas Osorio’s Ponzi-like schemes have generated headlines, and even an American Greed … Read More ➡
“I want to make a difference” is a common statement of purpose for coming to work in the nation’s capital. Al Sharpton, no stranger to Washington during the Obama years, wants to make a difference. But given his track record, it will be the wrong kind. Last Wednesday and Thursday, July 8-9, Sharpton, under the banner of his New York City-based nonprofit National Action Network, sponsored a “Legislative and Policy Conference” on Capitol Hill. The well-attended event amplified his campaign to expand race-based affirmative action to uncharted areas of voting, sentencing, welfare reform and other policy areas. A parade of guest speakers urged the audience to pressure Congress to act. Like all of Reverend Al’s gambits, the campaign flies under the flag of “justice.” But given the planned core activity – lobbying – he may be skirting the law.
National Legal and Policy Center often has noted in recent years … Read More ➡
It would appear that the insiders at General Motors do not have as rosy a view on the financial outlook for the company as they would have the rest of the public believe. The well-paid executives at GM sold out of another $2.8 million worth of shares in June according to Yahoo Financial statistics. Of course, the sales of shares are pure profits for the higher-ups at GM, considering that the elite group of executives receive millions of dollars’ worth of GM shares for free through stock options.
Heavy insider selling has been ongoing at GM since I wrote about a SIGTARP report in September of 2014 that unveiled excessive pay at GM. The report found that the top nine executives at GM saw income rise from $32,307,500 to $35,335,000 in 2013.
During the 12 month period from March of 2013 to March of 2014 eight GM executives sold … Read More ➡
Former New York Senator Malcolm Smith was yesterday sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and related offenses. He was convicted in February. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.
Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) headed to jail. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.
The first story, in the New York Post of January 31, 2010, focused on a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation, which according to its website, was founded by Meeks and Smith.
Our review of IRS tax returns, New York state budget records, and other documents suggested that New Direction did little development. Instead, it operated to the … Read More ➡
It’s been six years since electric vehicle manufacturers enjoyed their windfall from U.S. taxpayers via the stimulus, but the thirst for subsidies, and pain from financial losses, have not waned.
The pursuit of government goodies continues apace for Tesla Motors, even more vigorously after the Los Angeles Times reported last month that CEO Elon Musk depends on more than $4.9 billion in corporate welfare for his companies, which also include SolarCity and SpaceX.
Tesla’s quest may more accurately be portrayed as preservation of the golden goose that is California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) credit scheme. The Golden State requires the six largest auto manufacturers to produce a certain percentage of vehicles that are “green” – in other words, electric – or to purchase zero-emission “credits” from companies that do, such as Tesla. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Tesla is the largest seller of ZEV credits, … Read More ➡