Richard Trumka, the burly president of the AFL-CIO, believes the climate for an upsurge in union organizing couldn't be better. And just to make sure that the federation and its member unions can take advantage of opportunities to get out the pro-union vote, Trumka (see photo) and top officials are laying the groundwork for their own version of what is fast becoming the ultimate campaign fundraising tool: a political action committee (PAC) which, unlike a standard PAC, faces virtually no limits on individual contributions.
On August 5, the House Ethics Committee announced that it has accepted a recommendation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to "further review an allegation that Representative (Gregory) Meeks failed to disclose a payment he received in 2007 in a timely manner."
The payment was an unsecured $40,000 "loan" from Edul Ahmad, a Guyanese businessman who was last month arrested in a massive mortgage-fraud scheme. On July 22, the FBI reportedly removed Ahmad in handcuffs from a Guyana-bound aircraft on the tarmac at JFK International Airport.
A few months back General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, made claims that future profits at GM would be driven by China sales and the Chevy Volt. It has become apparent that the Volt is a non-issue, so let's take a look at the performance of what Akerson described as the "crown jewel" of GM.
China sales in July for GM actually fell 1.8% year over year. GM and its "joint ventures" sold 173,398 vehicles in China for the month of July. Of this number, 77,944 units were sold by SAIC-GM-Wuling. It is another overlooked half-truth by GM that they count these as GM sales, even though GM is a minority owner of the division.
Today's drop in GM's share price to a new low represents a one-day, half-billion dollar loss for taxpayers. From the time that Treasury could first file to sell the taxpayers' stake in GM, the losses have reached about 2.5 billion dollars. Of course the total cost of the bailout was well above this, but the Obama Administration does not seem to want to cut its losses.
GM announced earnings this morning and the numbers appeared to be good on the surface. Media friends of GM trumpeted the good news but the celebration did not last long. The festive mood was replaced with GM apologists trying to explain the negative share price reaction.
Sales of the much-hyped Chevy Volt fell to new lows as did GM share price as July auto sales figures came in. Only 125 Volts were sold during the month of July. Recent reports attributed the slump to supply constraints as GM spokeswoman, Michelle Bunker, was quoted as saying that the Volt was "virtually sold out" and only a "few" were available nationwide. I have confirmed that this statement is not entirely truthful and have gotten clarification from GM through Director of Communications, Greg Martin.
It appears Urbina crossed the line into sensational journalism with his baseless claims by failing to conduct proper background checks, and his tendency to overstate the credentials of anonymous sources. This problems with his reporting apparently have driven a wedge between Times editors trying to justify the story, and those concerned over the long-term repercussions for the paper.
The latest reports from Reuters state that the US Treasury Department will wait until after September to sell its GM stake. Just why is Treasury gambling taxpayer money by trying to market time its exit of General Motors' shares? The lock-up period for GM expired at the end of May. This was the earliest time that insiders (such as Treasury) involved in the GM IPO would be allowed to file to sell shares. At that time, GM shares were hovering around $31. Today's price is closer to $28. Calculating the loss from late May to now on the taxpayers' approximate 500 million shares, we come up with a loss of about $1.5 billion. What is leading the executive branch of our government to believe it has the right to play investment adviser and market timer for taxpayers on the GM gamble?
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced his resignation following accusations that he engaged in an unwanted sexual encounter with a young woman.
Moments after Oregon's two United States Senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, asked the congressman to step down, Wu addressed the House and said his resignation would go into effect after the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.