The politics of racial grievance took center stage in 2015. Leading the way was an ad hoc nationwide group known as Black Lives Matter (BLM). Menacing, confrontational and adept in social media, its activists are recruiting blacks, the younger the better, as foot soldiers for disruptive protests rivaling those organized by the master of the trade, Al Sharpton. Like Sharpton, the group claims to seek justice for blacks who have lost their lives at the hands of “racist” white police and vigilantes. And like Sharpton, their style involves character assassination, cause-and-effect distortion, and threats. In recent weeks, BLM activists – there are now nearly 30 chapters – have blocked urban thoroughfares, stormed college campus offices, and disrupted presidential candidate speeches. Woe unto those who fail to meet their demands.
The Obama Administration’s Justice Department is now suing Volkswagen for “up to $90 billion for allegedly violating environmental law.” Politically-favored General Motors was fined $900 million, or 1% of that amount, for covering up an ignition switch defect that led to the deaths of at least 124 people. At last count, the number of people who lost their lives as a result of emissions' tampering by VW stood at zero.
Meanwhile, the GM board unanimously elected CEO Mary Barra as its Chairman, demonstrating that it is still not independent of political influences, even years after the 2009 bankruptcy process.
In a headline today NJ.com asks the question, “How has Menendez Indictment Affected His Senate Duties?” The story details how Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is acting if nothing is wrong, and quotes NLPC Chairman (not executive director) Ken Boehm:
A leading Menendez critic said he had no problem with the senator's efforts to carry on as if he did not face criminal charges.
"Defendants can act anyway they want," said Ken Boehm, executive director of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Falls Church, Va.-based watchdog group. "I take almost an attitude of, 'It's a free country, he's a free man, he's innocent until proven guilty.' At the end of the day, that's not going to change the driving forces behind the indictment."
On December 11, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) amended his financial disclosure reports after he “failed to properly disclose millions of dollars in income from real estate, hedge funds and other investments since entering the Senate in 2007,” according to Brody Mullins in the Wall Street Journal.
The amendments were made after the Journal made inquiries about certain specifics on Corker’s disclosures. Corker called the omissions “filing errors.” From Roll Call today:
When Bob Lutz speaks, automotive journalists listen. Well, at least they usually do. When a recent Automotive News roundtable discussion showed Lutz blasting General Motors’ Chevy Bolt (and electric vehicles like it), mainstream journalists failed to pick up on the story. Lutz was right on the money when he exposed the EV folly, which is costing automakers billions of dollars and driving up prices of conventional, gas-powered vehicles.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a new rule in September that would allow charities to voluntarily report to the IRS contributions of more than $250. For donors reported to the IRS, the new rule would require the donor's name, address, and Social Security number. Today, we filed this public comment:
A foreign renewable energy company, that U.S. taxpayers hold a major stake in via the Department of Energy Loan Program Office, is imperiled by massive debt and has begun the process of negotiating with its creditors as a prelude to possible bankruptcy.
The company is Abengoa, based in Spain, which reportedly holds 887 subsidiaries around the world. Reuters reported at the end of last month that investors declined to provide needed capital for the firm, which led to what is called, under Spanish law, “pre-insolvency proceedings.” That entails a four-month attempt to alleviate debt burdens. If that falls short, then formal bankruptcy proceedings would likely follow, which would be Spain’s largest in history. Effects would ripple globally.
Chuck Ross of the Daily Callertook a look at the recently released Hillary Clinton emails. He found even more evidence, now on the scale of an avalanche, that the State Department was turned into sort of a fundraising machine for the Clinton Foundation. From the story:
Clinton’s favors reveal a certain “crassness,” Ken Boehm, the chairman of the ethics watchdog group, National Legal and Policy Center, told TheDC.
“The Hillary Clinton emails confirm that she used her position as Secretary of State as a favor mill for family, friends and — most of all — political supporters,” Boehm said.
“Now we know why she went to such lengths to hide her email traffic. Given the crassness of the disclosed emails, one can’t help but wonder what was on the deleted emails.”
Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacontakes an even closer look at the relationship between controversial Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra and the Clinton Foundation. This time, she reports that a company in which Giustra owned a major stake received a $150 million loan from the taxpayer-funded International Finance Corporation (IFC) to build a port and pipeline in Colombia. The loan was made despite IFC concerns about the project’s social and environmental impact. From the story:
The evidence could not be any clearer than what has happened in Atlanta. As Watchdog.org has reported, since a $5,000 state tax credit expired on July 1, sales of “zero-emission” electrics such as the Nissan Leaf have plummeted. Whereas monthly sales averaged 915 in 2015 until the year’s midpoint, sales in the month of August fell to 148, according to vehicle registration data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co.