Newseum Asked to Rescind Free Speech Award to Apple CEO Tim Cook

The following letter was sent today by NLPC President Peter Flaherty  to Peter S. Prichard, Chairman of the Newseum:

We ask the Newseum to rescind the 2017 Free Expression Award conferred on Apple CEO Tim Cook on April 18 in order to preserve the integrity of Newseum mission, as well as the integrity of the Award itself.

Since Cook accepted the Award, he has struck two blows against free expression, either one of which renders him as a completely inappropriate recipient.

Complicity in Chinese government censorship– On July 29, Apple removed all major VPN apps from the China apps store. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. According to Jon Russell, a reporter for TechCrunch:

The App Store purge is hugely impactful because VPNs represent the only way that a China-based individual can bypass state censorship controls to access the internet without restrictions. The Chinese government effectively illegalized VPNs

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Will House Ethics Committee Do Anything About Rep. John Conyers Severance Scam?

Congressman John Conyers is the subject of a recent review of his conduct by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a semi-independent organization charged with investigating misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. The Office has referred Conyers’ case to the House Ethics Committee.

In their initial report, the OCE found that there was “strong evidence” that Representative Conyers had continued to pay his Chief of Staff, after she had left his office, between April and August of last year.

According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, “It is an open question whether the Ethics Committee will do anything about Conyers, whose corruption now spans decades. The Committee more often functions as a cover-up committee. Its whitewashes seem to be just one more service that the House leadership offers incumbents.”

According to the report, Conyers told the House Payroll Office that his Chief of Staff, Cynthia Martin, would be on “leave … Read More ➡

Awans of House IT Scandal ‘Would Have Done Anything’ For Money

On DailyMail.com today, Alana Goodman and Shekhar Bhatia provide important new information about Imran Awan, who has been indicted in the House IT scandal, along with his wife Hina Alvi. Awan relatives contradicted reports that the former House IT workers were victims of anti-Muslim discrimination as charged by their main sponsor, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. From the story:

“They are not being picked up because they are Muslims. They are being picked up because they did something wrong,” said Syed Ahmed, who is related to them through their stepmother.

“There are possibilities that [Imran] or them might have been selling this information to anybody who is not authorized to have them. For the sake of money they would have done anything,” he added. ‘They were not living an honest life. They were living like they were gangsters.”

The story also describes problems with the Awans’ used car dealership, first reported … Read More ➡

Boston Teamster Thugs Go on Trial for Terrorizing TV Host Padma Lakshmi, Others

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25 has a well-earned reputation as the bad boys of Boston-area organized labor. Indeed, the union has few peers anywhere when it comes to intimidation. A Boston federal jury last Thursday finished hearing several days of testimony in the case of four local members accused of terrorizing Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef, and other members of the popular reality TV show’s nonunion production crew, back in June 2014 for crossing a picket line. The incident occurred outside a restaurant where a segment was to be filmed. Lakshmi testified on Monday that she was “petrified” and “paralyzed with fear.” Evidence indicates this “picket line,” contrary to union assertions, was a shakedown. A fifth Local 25 member already had been sentenced in December. Verdicts are expected soon.

Teamsters Local 25, based in Charlestown (Boston), Mass., has been on the Union Corruption Update radar screen for … Read More ➡

‘Women in Tech’ Flap Shows Authoritarians Run Google

Street art by Sabo
 The 10-pager composed by newly unemployed James Damore was provocatively composed (not due to inciteful rhetoric, but tempered reasoning), yet also was imperfectly executed. It would be difficult not to stumble when dealing with an extremely hot button issue over 3,000 words. Imagine you were assigned a thesis titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” with a subtitle of “How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion,” and see how you do.

Damore deserves credit for tackling head-on such an emotionally charged topic, with which he triggered a passion power-surge. The CEO of Google subsidiary YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, immediately responded at Fortune.com with a “what will I tell my daughter” screed, ignoring Damore’s salient points, and fomenting simplistic “gender bias” accusations.

“When I saw the (Damore) memo that circulated last week,” Wojcicki wrote, “I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have … Read More ➡

Is Salomon Melgen Ratting Out Sen. Robert Menendez?

Menendez and Melgen in happier times

Paul Mulshine of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, the hometown newspaper of Senator Robert Menendez, has penned a column titled, “Will the eye doctor see his way clear to singing on the senator?”

It’s about what a judge did in Thursday in Florida. Dr. Salomon Melgen, Menendez’ co-defendant on bribery charges, was supposed to be sentenced for his conviction on separate charges of Medicare fraud. The judge agreed to delay sentencing until after the bribery trial, scheduled for September in New Jersey, suggesting that Melgen may be cooperating with prosecutors and will testify against Menendez. From the column:

There was no immediate indication that such a deal is in the offing. But one close observer of the case said that such a deal looks like the obvious option for Melgen.

“Melgen played all of his cards and he’s got one card left, one and that’s

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Another 5.8 Million Fake Net Neutrality Comments Found; 1.5 Million Fakes Put Online for Public Scrutiny

A new analysis by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) shows that the number of fake pro-net neutrality comments posted in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) docket between July 17th and August 4th was more than 5.8 million.

The FCC continues to be flooded with comments from various fake email domains and U.S. address generator programs found online. In many cases, the same comments are submitted dozens or even hundreds of times by filers using the same name, but coming from various phony email and physical U.S. addresses.

While the data file of the 5.8 million is too large to put online, NLPC has uploaded 6 CSV files containing 1.5 million comments downloaded through the FCC’s public API between July 17 and 25. NLPC invites journalists and researchers to examine, download and manipulate the data if they would like to conduct their own analysis.

Click here for a Dropbox Read More ➡

Questions Surround Ex-Rep. Rangel’s ‘Loan’ to His Campaign

Ex.-Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) retired from Congress last year, but the deception and chicanery surrounding his finances appears to continue.

In his public filings, reviewed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), Rangel purported to make a personal loan of $100,000 to his campaign in June 2014. These funds apparently needed to pay legal bills for Rangel’s unsuccessful attempt to have his 2010 censure by the House overturned by the courts.

It appears that he may not have made this “loan” at all because it appears repayment was made to his National Leadership PAC. So-called leadership PACs are fundraising vehicles that incumbent members of Congress may maintain in addition to their regular re-election campaign committees.

The motivation for the deception may be simple. Members of Congress may use funds from their personal re-election committees for legal expenses related to their service, but not from leadership PACs.

On his public … Read More ➡

Former Labor Secretary Perez Ignored Nuclear Plant Workers Pleas for Help

As a multicultural radical, Thomas Perez is well-suited for his current job as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. As a government official, he is anything but that. Last week a lawyer for the Department of Labor went public with damning evidence that Perez, while heading DOL during the second Obama term, thwarted congressionally-mandated payouts to Cold War-era nuclear arsenal employees with job-related illnesses. The whistleblower, Stephen Silbiger, accused Perez of “open hostility” toward the workers, some of whom died waiting in futility for their claims to be processed. The story, which appeared in last Friday’s Washington Free Beacon, suggests the Democratic Party, like Perez, is not on the side of American workers, populist rhetoric notwithstanding.

National Legal and Policy Center on several occasions has been sharply critical of Thomas Perez, particularly in March 2013 when President Barack Obama named him to succeed Hilda Solis as the nation’s next … Read More ➡

House IT Scandal Figure Arrested Fleeing USA; Wasserman Schultz Finally Fires Imran Awan

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

The central figure in the burgeoning House Information Technology scandal was arrested yesterday while attempting to board a jet to his native Pakistan. Imran Awan, his wife, and two brothers were longtime employees of a score of House Democrats, collecting more than $4 million in salaries, but were seldom seen on Capitol Hill.

On July 17, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm predicted that the IT scandal was “about to explode.”

When news first broke in February that the IT workers were under investigation by the Capitol Police for theft of House property and possibly breaching security, the Awans were fired by a score of House members who employed them as “shared employees.” The only exception was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) who kept Imran Awan employed even though he was banned from the House server network. She got around the ban by designating Awan as an … Read More ➡

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