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06/10/2016 - 14:06

The accusations looked suspicious from the start.  And now federal as well as state prosecutors have debunked them.  On June 1, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced that he would not pursue civil rights charges against two white Minneapolis police officers in connection with the November shooting death of an unruly black suspect, Jamar Clark.  The probe concluded there was insufficient evidence that the cops, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, had violated Clark’s rights.  The oft-repeated claim that Clark was shot while handcuffed and lying on the ground could not be substantiated.  The decision follows an earlier one on March 30 by the Hennepin County D.A. not to file criminal charges.  Black activists are livid.  They would do well to review the details.

06/10/2016 - 11:24

The House today voted down an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Steven Pearce (R-NM), that would have cut the budget of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The tally was 137-270. During debate, Pearce said, "I would urge people to support this amendment to give notice to the OCE that we're watching what they are doing."

This kind of threatening language is inappropriate, and seems calculated to undercut the independence and effectiveness of OCE. Maybe Pearce hasn't noticed, but the American people have had it with business as usual in Washington. People are sick of all the corruption. We need stronger ethics enforcement, not less.

06/01/2016 - 18:59

The Obama administration sees it as the middle class getting a raise.  The details suggest it's a demotion.  On May 18, the Department of Labor published a final rule hiking the annual income ceiling for overtime pay eligibility of salaried employees from $23,660 to $47,476.  Set to go into effect December 1, the regulation would benefit an estimated 4.2 million workers.  However, it also may produce unintended consequences such as:  loss of scheduling flexibility; pay cuts; benefit cuts; fewer work hours per week; higher employer compliance costs; and needless litigation.  A group of lawmakers, led by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., have responded with bills to nullify the rule and make it difficult for the DOL to offer a substitute.

05/24/2016 - 10:52

General Motors’ recently deceased, plug-in electric Cadillac ELR had not even officially been declared dead before word was out that GM has plans for another plug-in Cadillac for American markets; this one to be built in China. It seems that the brass at GM believe that the Chinese can succeed where American manufacturing has failed regarding being able to build electric Cadillacs that appeal to American consumers.

05/19/2016 - 05:37

NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm sent this letter today to Freedom House President Mark Lagon:

I am sure that you are familiar with the furor over the alleged censorship of conservative stories by Facebook in its “trending" news section. As you know, Facebook is a funder of your annual Net Freedom Index.

On November 19, 2015, I wrote you regarding the appearance that the Net Freedom Index reflected the lobbying priorities of large Silicon Valley firms, rather than serving as an objective index of freedom on the Internet.

05/17/2016 - 16:46

Social media is supposed to expand the possibilities of human communication.  Yet an alliance of technology executives and black radicals is trying to restrict them.  Case in point:  Top officials of Crowdpac, Netflix, Twitter, Slack and YouTube donated sizable sums to the Baltimore mayoral campaign of DeRay McKesson (in photo, left).  Though the donations didn't produce victory, they were highly significant all the same.  McKesson wasn’t just any political candidate.  He's chief strategist for Black Lives Matter, a collection of demagogues dedicated to stifling debate in cities and on college campuses.  Corporate leaders defend their support as good for “diversity” and thus profits.  Yet a diversity of opinion, most of all, has been the casualty.    

05/10/2016 - 18:55

Federal Trade Commission Chair Edith Ramirez is scheduled to testify tomorrow, May 11, before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. The topic is “Examining the Proposed FCC Privacy Rules.”

The hearing comes amid allegations that Ramirez is not independent and takes her direction from Google.

On March 9, Ramirez contradicted herself in testimony she gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the FTC’s dropping of an antitrust action against Google in 2013. She testified that the FTC decision not to sue Google was “consistent with the recommendation that had been made by our Bureau of Competition staff,” adding that any “press reports to the contrary are just flatly wrong.”

05/10/2016 - 18:06

The word “troubled” doesn’t even begin to describe the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund.  “Desperate” is more like it.  Last Friday, May 6, the Treasury Department announced that it had rejected a restructuring proposal submitted by plan trustees last September to avert collapse.  The proposal, which would have cut benefits on average by 22 percent for about two-thirds of all participants, did not go over well with Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and other union officials.  Yet they are cornered by reality.  As of last fall, liabilities exceeded assets by $17.5 billion, a gap widening by $2 billion a year.  The plan is projected to go bankrupt in 10 years.  A federal bailout likely would make things worse.  Central States Executive Director Thomas Nyhan is reviewing alternatives.

05/06/2016 - 09:27

Ernest MonizNothing of greater significance can be said about the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program other than it was a wasteful failure. Nonetheless 85 U.S. Senators have determined that an additional, similar $1.6 billion program must be created, as part of a larger energy bill that passed last month.

Those who favored the extension of corporate welfare for alternative energy-fueled automobiles justified their decision with the same phony claims they made ten years ago when the ATVM program was established.

Ken Boehm
05/04/2016 - 10:58

A coalition of good government groups has sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) urging him to appoint a co-chair of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which should not be confused with the House Ethics Committee. The groups also encouraged Ryan to support OCE, which enjoyed lukewarm support, at best, from his predecessor John Boehner.

OCE was established in 2008 and is somewhat more independent that the Ethics Committee because its board is comprised of former members of Congress and private citizens, rather than sitting members. OCE cannot sanction members but can only make referrals to the Ethics Committee.

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