More evidence that the GM IPO is being hurried for political purposes is found in the IPO registration filing yesterday. The company cannot assure the accuracy of its financial information because of weaknesses in its internal controls. How can GM offer and price shares if it cannot even attest to its own financials?
The shares being offered for sale will come from the U.S. government and the United Auto Workers (UAW) trust fund, another red flag. If the UAW has such great confidence in the future of the company, why is it selling? Is it to cash in on the superficial media accounts of GM’s “progress,” when it knows the long-term future of the company is less rosy?
Sun Chips' loud bag is getting lots of attention, including a Wall Street Journal story yesterday. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division bills it as “The World’s First 100% Compostable Chip Package.”
The overwhelming crinkle of the bag annoys people, and it is inappropriate in certain settings like theaters and schools. It is hard to imagine how this bag ever got off the drawing board when one considers how much PepsiCo spends on perfecting and marketing its products.
Whatever guises the discredited Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, assumes in the future, taxpayers now have less reason to worry about being conscripted into funding them. This past Friday, a Manhattan federal appeals court ruled that Congress last fall had acted within its authority in deleting funds for the radical nonprofit community network. In overturning a lower court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals determined the appropriations cutoff had not punished ACORN without trial and thus was not in violation of the constitutional ban on bills of attainder. The decision was partial; the appeals court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon to decide whether ACORN's free speech and due process rights also had been violated. Even on those grounds, the plaintiffs' case looks shaky.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) held a press conference Friday to refute charges that she gave political help to a bank with ties to her husband, just days after another House Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), also defended himself against ethics charges in an unusually public manner.
“What I’m doing now is outside of the box, beyond what’s normally done,” said Waters at the 90-minute press conference, which included an extensive slide-show disputing House Ethics Committee allegations that she helped secure over $12 million in federal bailout funds for OneUnited Bank, a bank in which her husband had a substantial financial stake.
The transformation of Reverend Al Sharpton from street provocateur to civil rights eminence ranks as one of the more remarkable image makeovers in American public life. And mainstream journalism has played a central role. Anyone doubting as much should read the recent (August 2) cover story of Newsweek magazine, "The Reinvention of the Reverend Al." Written by Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler, the article is a fawning and misleading portrait of the Harlem-based preacher/politician. The piece doesn't quite beatify Sharpton. But it does make a highly selective use of information, some of it factually wrong, in stating the case for "the Rev," as he is commonly known, as a moral conscience of the nation. It also stands as an example, as if any more were needed, that "diversity" in the newsroom isn't about a diversity of opinion.
The unexpected departure of General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre (right) last week was reportedly due to tensions over the timing of a public offering, which the Obama administration wants to take place before the November Congressional elections so that it can declare some kind of “success” for the still-unpopular auto bailout.
A premature IPO must be a really bad idea if it’s too much for Whitacre, who has not exactly demonstrated principled leadership. There’s the problem of taking the GM job in the first place. What kind of capitalist would be a party, or more precisely an accessory after the fact, to the violation of private property rights represented by the crushing of GM bondholders? While CEO, Whitacre did not disappoint his masters in the White House, even appearing in a TV commercial in April in which he falsely claimed that GM had paid back the US government in full and five years ahead of time.
Isabel Vincent and Ginger Adams Otis report in today’s New York Post that New York City has cut off funding for Alianza Dominicana, a nonprofit group for which Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) secured a $2.6 million federal earmark in June. In addition, the Post reports that Alianza Dominicana, which is Spanish for Dominican Alliance, is now the subject of a probe by the Department of Investigation (DOI), the City’s version of the FBI.
Last week, NLPC filed a Complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Rangel detailing his involvement with Alianza and its CEO Moises Perez. Alianza is an ACORN-like community action group for Dominicans that has become politically powerful after gorging on taxpayer funds for 25 years. As reported in the New York Post last Sunday, the group is facing a host of financial problems, including a failure to pay state and federal taxes. Click here to download a 10-page pdf of the Complaint.
The Complaint focuses on Rep. Rangel's efforts to direct millions of dollars in taxpayers' money to a politically well-connected but financially unstable nonprofit called Alianza Dominicana. Rangel's relationship with the controversial group based in New York City was the subject of a front page story in the Sunday August 8, 2010 New York Post.
Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business Network reported yesterday that the Obama Administration, Federal Reserve and Wall Street firms (like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc.) are exploring a “face-saving” measure by splitting the presidentially beloved ShoreBank Corporation in two, with the community/green jobs lender surviving with the “good” assets while the FDIC and private investors absorb the toxic assets. Another reporter following the story told me that ShoreBank's Friday deadline from the investors has been extended but he didn't know how long. A spokeswoman from Goldman Sachs refused to comment on the issue.
Here's the split-the-baby scenario explained by Gasparino: