It seemed the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the nation’s largest (by several measures) utility would sail through by the end of this year, but several activists in North Carolina have intervened at the last minute. The moves by environmental groups to extract funds for their pet projects out of the deal would make shakedown artists proud. Among the organizations – who have myriad methods of wringing dollars from taxpayers through lawsuits and corporate campaign-type pressure tactics – are Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and Southern Environmental Law Center.
The weakness of General Motor's management team regarding one of the most basic concepts of car sales has surfaced as the company tries to learn how to effectively market its vehicles. An article on thespec.com points out that GM's "Chevy Runs Deep" ad campaign has not resonated well with consumers. No big surprise there. Management, led by an Obama appointed non-car guy, CEO Dan Akerson, continues to try and sell cars through the use of ineffective ads that focus on patriotism and politically driven themes as opposed to focusing on specific product offerings.
It's been more than 50 years since Congress passed a major piece of legislation to curb union privileges. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah (see photo), thinks that's far too long. On August 2, Sen. Hatch, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, along with freshman Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced a far-reaching reform bill, the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2810, S. 1507), to align labor law with emerging workplace realities of a market economy. The bill would shield individual workers from the arbitrary power of union leaders, long accustomed to equating their own interests with those of American workers as a whole. Hatch admitted that passage won't be easy. "I fully expect the unions and their supporters to come out against to Employee Rights Act, and characterize it as a radical, anti-union bill."
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has unexpectedly and retroactively granted tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation following our formal Complaint that the Foundation was soliciting tax-deductible contributions without such status.
The Foundation is headed by Abon'go Malik Obama, President Obama's half-brother, and named for their common father. It came under scrutiny earlier this year when NLPC raised questions about its tax status and what has happened to the money it has raised.
President Obama will not use the word "stimulus" in apparent recognition that his previous policies have failed. Instead, he will use the word "investment," which is a complete misnomer. An expenditure can only be called an investment if there exists the possibility of a profit.
Infrastructure spending by the federal government promotes corruption because the work goes to the most politically well-connected contractors. At the state level where the money is spent, it is often "pay to play."
It seems that what is new is old again at General Motors. New GM has rehired Old GM executive, Bob Lutz, to advise New GM executives on how to run a car company. Certainly, the new executives could use the help as GM share price has fallen about 40% year to date. While there are some negative aspects of having one of the leaders of a failed company giving advice on how to run the business, Mr. Lutz (unlike current GM leadership) at least knows the auto industry.
August sales figures for General Motors' much-hyped Chevy Volt came in at a paltry 302 units. While evidence mounts that consumer demand for the Volt is not what it was projected to be, GM continues to blame supply rather than demand for the dismal sales performance. Could the fact that billions of taxpayer dollars are being funneled to GM for production of green vehicles be behind the continued misrepresentation of the Chevy Volt sales performance?
Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), the second Muslim to serve in Congress, has created an enormous controversy by following Rep. Maxine Waters' (D-CA) lead and lashing out at the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress.
Carson told a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and some of its supporters last week in Miami that, "some of them in Congress right now, of this Tea Party, would love to see you and me...hanging on a tree." He also stated that some members of Congress would like to see blacks as second-class citizens.
Tom Anderson, director of NLPC's Government Integrity Project, has raised questions about the recent Yahoo Sports exposé of the University of Miami football program. The explosive July 16 story by Charles Robinson has already led to suspensions by the NCAA of eight current Miami players.
Anderson does not argue that the players are innocent of NCAA rules violations, but cites evidence that current and former players may been targeted by Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro (in photo) in order to direct blame away from other parties, including coaches. Anderson became involved in the issue due the overlap of this sports scandal with political corruption in south Florida.
Al Sharpton's newest role - full-time anchorman - is now a reality. The New York City-based black activist, preacher and former presidential candidate launched his MSNBC-TV talk show, "PoliticsNation," on Monday, August 29, six days after the network tapped him for the 6-7 P.M. (EST) weeknight slot vacated in July by Cenk Uygur. The announcement wasn't unexpected. Sharpton frequently had substituted for Uygur. And MSNBC's parent company, Comcast Corp., for years has been a generous donor to Sharpton's nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN). The elevation of Sharpton, with a long history of demagoguery and financial chicanery, to top-tier media player, for now, is complete. The question is whether "the Rev" is more than a novelty - and whether his hiring represents another case of corporate surrender to a larger political culture.