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06/20/2016 - 11:44

What is the point of prohibiting members of Congress from accepting personal gifts worth more than $50 if the the House Ethics Committee simply waives the rule?

Freshman Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) has disclosed that she accepted substantial gifts from two donors to her political campaigns. Her office claims that the Ethics Committee waived the rule. The first was from a billionaire hedge fund operator named Lee Ainslie in the form of a private jet flight from New York to Boston. It was purported to be worth $3,300. A commercial flight would have cost about $300. According to the New York Post, which first reported the story, Ainslie and his wife have donated more than $80,000 to Rice’s various political campaigns.

06/16/2016 - 12:28

Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a summit with “leading conservatives” at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif. offices, in which he sought to ease concerns about a liberal bias in the social media company’s “trending” features.

Whether that problem has been fixed or not, it appears that Facebook is currently engaging in “viewpoint discrimination” in another way, namely in its service which allows users to “boost” a story, for which Facebook receives a fee.

06/15/2016 - 18:33

It wasn’t as if Norman Seabrook needed the money.  But in accepting it, he jeopardized the retirement of union members.  Last Wednesday, June 8, Seabrook, president of New York City’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), was arrested by FBI agents and charged with honest services fraud for receiving $60,000 in cash from an executive of a troubled Manhattan hedge fund, Platinum Partners, in exchange for steering $20 million in union pension money to the fund.  Platinum Partners CEO Murray Huberfeld was similarly charged.  Seabrook is out on $250,000 bond, but given his ouster by the COBA board, he doesn’t have much to do.  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (in photo) termed this “a straightforward and explicit bribery scheme.”  The actions are part of a wider probe into NYPD corruption.

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.”

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