Are ‘Green’ Corporate Rankings a Scam?

money handshake imageRankings, ratings and scorecards are often only vehicles for environmental groups to draw attention to their cause (as with Greenpeace), and more often than not they are given legitimacy – even when they conflict with other likeminded groups – since a sympathetic media likes to amplify their agenda.

And then there are the operatives who just want to make a buck off the “Green” scam with the creation of faux rankings. Such appears to be the case with GreenBusiness Works, which last week published its 2011 “Southeastern Corporate Sustainability Rankings.” The Atlanta-based group is the creation of a marketing and communications guru named Stephanie Armistead, who years ago converted her agency to one that focuses on the liberal priority of “Corporate Social Responsibility.”

The rankings showered love on companies that any business consultant like Armistead would want as clients. GreenBusiness Works pegged United Parcel Service as the top … Read More ➡

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Bailed-Out GM is NOT Adding 4,200 Jobs

Once again, the media is uncritically reporting inaccurate claims by General Motors. GM says it is creating 4,200 jobs by spending $2 billion of taxpayer money on plant investments, but it is using the same misleading calculations employed by the Obama administration about job creation through the stimulus program. GM states that it will “invest” $2 billion, thereby “creating OR preserving” more than 4,000 jobs at 17 facilities. In other words, GM is equating keeping people employed in their present jobs with job creation.

GM went bankrupt, took over $50 billion of taxpayer money, and then went on a spending spree before taxpayers were paid back. This hardly seems like cause to rejoice. My guess is that the strategy of boasting about “creating or preserving” jobs at a time when the US Treasury is close to selling taxpayers’ stake in GM at a huge loss is a red herring. Now … Read More ➡

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Pfizer CEO Refuses to Repudiate Support for ObamaCare at Annual Meeting

Ian Read photoUnder questioning by me, Pfizer CEO Ian Read refused to repudiate the company’s support for ObamaCare at the company’s annual meeting today in Dallas. The exchange took place after my remarks in favor our shareholder proposal on the company’s lobbying priorities.

When I asked Read if the company would drop its support for ObamaCare, he gave me a summary of what the company considers important in health care reform without directly answering. I said, “Sir, will you answer my question? A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will do.” Read rambled further and I responded by saying, “But have already cast your lot with one side.” Finally, I said “I will take it as a ‘no.’ Thank you.” Here are my remarks in favor of our proposal:

Mr. Read, I am here for one reason, to urge a change of course on Pfizer’s support for ObamaCare. The mission of the National Legal and … Read More ➡

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Pfizer Support for ObamaCare to be Challenged at Annual Meeting

Pfizer logoI will speak in favor of our shareholder proposal spotlighting Pfizer’s deal with the White House to support ObamaCare at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday, April 28 at the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The resolution itself asks for a report on Pfizer’s lobbying priorities. Our supporting statement in the Pfizer proxy reads, in part:

Pfizer played a key role in the passage of ObamaCare, even though a majority of Americans were opposed. CEO Jeffrey Kindler organized pharmaceutical CEOs in support of the bill, promoted a massive advertising campaign, and partnered with Left-wing groups normally hostile to Pfizer’s interests. For these actions, he received a multi-million dollar bonus.

According to media reports, Pfizer and other companies made an $80 billion deal with the Obama administration. In return for support of ObamaCare, the companies received (broken) promises of a guarantee of customers and insulation from certain kinds of competition. This

Read More ➡
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CNBC: Flaherty Says Rajaratnam Conviction Will Impact Wall St.

Today I discussed whether Wall Street will change the way it does business if Raj Rajaratnam is convicted, with Richard Roth of The Roth Law Firm, and CNBC host is Scott Cohn. Here is a transcript:

Scott Cohn: The jury in Raj Rajaratnam’s insider trading trial should begin deliberating later today. Galleon Group founder, Mr. Rajaratnam accused of making at least sixty eight million dollars by trading illegally. So we ask, if Raj is convicted will Wall Street change the way it does business? Joining us now is Richard Roth, founder of the Roth law firm and Peter Flaherty is President of the National Legal and Policy Center. Gentleman, it is good to talk to you. Mr. Roth, the cynic in me says regardless of what happens to Mr. Rajaratnam Wall Street is not going to change its ways is it?

Richard Roth: The cynic in you is … Read More ➡

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Climate Scorekeepers Can’t Keep Their Grades Straight

green Apple logoGreenpeace, which has been blown off by one of its co-founders because of its radical behavior, often leaves itself open to easy ridicule – for example, by the promotion of dirty energy sources. Now they’ve done it again.

Only 1½ years ago Greenpeace cheered Apple Computer for its departure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its disagreement on cap-and-trade and federal climate change policy. With Al Gore on the board of directors, you understand what side of the issue the company is on.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Greenpeace this week slammed Apple in a report on the electricity sources (coal, nuclear, gas, renewables, etc.) technology companies use for their “cloud” computing offerings. Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon provide many of their services (like searches, social interaction, product sales, email, and in Apple’s case, iTunes) from servers based at massive data “farms,” located at various … Read More ➡

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GM Wastes Taxpayer Money at New York Auto Show

private reception signFrom General Motor’s lavish presence at the New York International Auto Show taking place this week and next, you would think that the company is wildly profitable and that it has already paid back the $50 billion it got from taxpayers. Either that, or GM’s much-ballyhooed cost cutting has failed, and that its bad old habits are very much alive.

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica and I spent Wednesday walking the floor of the show at the massive Jacob Javits Convention Center on New York City’s west side. It is impossible to know how much GM is spending on displaying its vehicles, technologies and related events, but it is more than any other car company. And it is certainly too much.

Transformers photoSome simple metrics quantify GM’s spending binge at the show. First, there’s square footage of display space. GM’s main display space occupies the entire North Hall of the Javits … Read More ➡

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GM CEO Akerson Offers Little on Automaker’s Future

Akerson photoAmid reports that the Treasury will soon attempt to sell the government’s stake in General Motors at a huge loss, CEO Dan Akerson this morning offered thin gruel for those hopeful about the future of the company. Akerson keynoted a breakfast sponsored by the National Association of Automobile Dealers in New York City, the site of the New York International Auto Show.

Asked about the flagging share price, which is now below its IPO price, Akerson cited oil prices, supply chain problems in Japan, and the fact that GM “incented (sic) more heavily” in the first quarter. He offered no scenario that would propel the share price higher.

Akerson defended GM’s incentives, which greatly exceeded the industry average, saying they were designed to give the company a “fast jump” in the new year. More likely, they moved ahead purchases that were going to take place anyway, and they certainly hurt … Read More ➡

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We Told You So: Taxpayers to Take Massive Hit on GM Bailout

This week I am attending the New York International Auto Show and already there is plenty of news. The Wall Street Journal is today reporting that the government will “sell a significant share of its remaining stake in General Motors Co. this summer despite the disappointing performance of the auto maker’s stock.”

GM’s share price yesterday dipped below $30. It was already under its IPO price was $33. For taxpayers to break even, shares would have to rise to $53, now increasingly unlikely. In fact, the stock is probably headed down. The Treasury understands this and wants to get out before the situation becomes even worse. The sales would probably take place sooner if not for the fact that the shares are locked up until May 22.

Taxpayers will lose big time. This should be the end of the auto bailout “success” stories. President Obama was wrong when he said … Read More ➡

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Government Motors is Still a Lemon

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica wrote this op-ed appearing in today’s New York Post:

Fans of the federal govern ment’s auto bailout will push the “GM comeback” story at this week’s New York International Auto Show. Good luck with that one.

Taxpayers still own about 26 percent of GM, and it looks increasingly unlikely that they’ll ever get their money back: The share price would have to rise to more than $54, and it’s stuck in the low thirties. Here’s why:

GM’s management team lacks stability, with Dan Akerson being the fourth chief executive in less than two years (oh, and CFO Chris Liddell recently resigned).

One of Akerson’s main focuses has been to ballyhoo the Chevy Volt, but Consumer Reports says GM’s hybrid “just doesn’t make a lot of sense.” More important, it isn’t selling — only 1,210 Volts have sold this year through the end of March.… Read More ➡

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