UAW Gets $12 Million from GM as Taxpayers Get Scrooged

Bloomberg reported last week that General Motors will be paying $12 million in additional bonuses to its UAW workers for meeting “quality targets.” It’s nice to see the holiday spirit of giving at GM. Unfortunately; US taxpayers are not faring as well as Government Motors’ politically favored union members.

The Obama Administration still refuses to exit its stake in GM with Treasury serving as Money Manager for the American taxpayers. Geithner and friends continue to gamble on a market-timing strategy to “maximize” taxpayers return on its GM bailout (sorry, “investment.”) So, how are they doing?

Back in July, I criticized Treasury’s decision to continue holding the 500 million or so shares of GM that taxpayers own. Treasury could have filed to sell shares at the first available date in May at about $31 a share. The July share price was around $28 a share. The financial wizards at the Obama … Read More ➡ “UAW Gets $12 Million from GM as Taxpayers Get Scrooged”

Duke Energy Caves In to Pressure Groups’ Demands

Rogers photoIn yet another ploy to overcome opposition to their merger, Duke Energy and Progress Energy agreed with environmental groups last week to a few million more dollars in payoffs for “clean” energy schemes, and to implement energy efficiency programs that would reduce customers’ electricity use by seven percent of retail sales by 2018.

The deal has been planned for months, and when approved by state and federal regulators, will create the largest investor-owned electric utility in the nation. Combined the companies serve residents and businesses in Florida, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Southern Environmental Law Center all intervened in the hearings before the North Carolina and South Carolina utility regulatory commissions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also must approve the deal.

NLPC reported in September that the environmental pressure groups – whose calling cards are … Read More ➡ “Duke Energy Caves In to Pressure Groups’ Demands”

It’s About More Than Polar Bears for Coca-Cola

white Coke can

Recently NLPC has reported about Coca-Cola’s holiday ad campaign to protect polar bears with donations up to $3 million to the World Wildlife Fund, which was a barely disguised effort to fund environmental pressure groups’ fraudulent global warming fight.

But Coke’s passion to avert climate catastrophism runs deeper than the Arctic ice. The company even has a position statement that says “the consensus on climate science is increasingly unequivocal,” that “global climate change is happening” (everyone agrees with that – it always has changed and always will), and that “man-made greenhouse gas emissions are a crucial factor.”

“Across the Coca-Cola system, we recognize that climate change may have long-term direct and indirect implications for our business and supply chain,” the company Web site says. “As a responsible multinational company, we have a role to play in ensuring we use the best possible mix of energy sources, improve the … Read More ➡ “It’s About More Than Polar Bears for Coca-Cola”

Consumer Reports’ Chevy Volt Safety Double Standard

In January of 2010 USA Today reported that Consumer Reports (CR) temporarily suspended its recommended rating for eight Toyota models. This was in response to the possibility of Toyota models being unsafe as accusations were made that the vehicles had sudden acceleration problems and NHTSA investigated the alleged incidents. In CRs’ words, “Although incidents of sudden acceleration are rare, we are taking this action because the vehicles have been identified as potentially unsafe without a fix yet being available to consumers.” CRs’ response to the Chevy Volt NHTSA fires is quite different from the Toyota response.

Change a few words on CRs’ comments to fit the Volt situation and we would have justification for removal of CRs’ recommended rating on President Obama’s favorite car. That’s not happening. The latest internet headlines to hit regarding CR and the Volt tout that the Volt, as well as the Nissan Leaf, are “cheaper … Read More ➡ “Consumer Reports’ Chevy Volt Safety Double Standard”

SEC Cracking Down on LightSquared’s Falcone?

Phil Falcone photoBillionaire Phil Falcone, whose cozy relationship with the Obama Administration was first exposed by NLPC, may face civil fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to a filing yesterday by Harbinger Group Inc., Falcone and two other directors have received “Wells Notices,” meaning that they are under investigation.

Falcone is the Chairman, CEO and primary investor in Harbinger Group Inc., a hedge fund. Reportedly, other Harbinger investors include Soros Fund Management. Harbinger owns LightSquared, which has received an unusual waiver from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy a national 4G wireless network.

Media reports have alleged that Falcone prevented some investors from withdrawing their money from the hedge fund during the financial crisis, while allowing others to do so. The Wall Street Journal reports today that one favored investor was  (surprise!) Goldman Sachs. One of the Harbinger directors who received a Wells Notice is Omar Asali, … Read More ➡ “SEC Cracking Down on LightSquared’s Falcone?”

Chevy Volt Uses No Gas – Unless it’s Cold Out

Volt in snow phtotoHere’s another surprise for Chevy Volt owners. Autoblog reports that General Motors is holding an online chat with Volt owners about winter driving. Part of the chat reveals that, despite the fact that GM claimed the Volt is purely electric for a range of about 35 miles, the vehicle will use gas in cold conditions. GM states, “Please be aware: when starting your Volt in these colder months, in some instances, your gas engine may engage regardless of the state of charge of the battery. This was designed into (the) Volt to generate heat for the battery when temperatures are well below freezing.”

I guess those environmentally conscientious Volt owners will have to wait for warmer weather to save the planet by being totally gas-free. They can settle for being “mostly green” in colder weather. That is, if you consider it green to drive a vehicle that runs on coal … Read More ➡ “Chevy Volt Uses No Gas – Unless it’s Cold Out”

Media Suppressing NHTSA’s Suppression of Chevy Volt Fire?

You may have heard of the announcement that there will be a congressional investigation into why NHTSA waited six months to notify the public of the crash-tested Chevy Volt which burst into flames three weeks after the crash-test. If you have, it was probably not through mainstream media networks, which seem to be keeping fairly quiet on the story. I have not been able to ascertain a logical reason for General Motors and the Obama Administration’s transportation safety agency to withhold reporting the incident.

At the least, they should have immediately publicized the safety protocol that was developed as a result of the risks that come from a new technology that has been thrust upon motorists at the taxpayers’ expense. Do we have a “Fiery and Fallacious” scandal on our hands, or was there justification for NHTSA and GM withholding the information?

We may have to wait for the congressional … Read More ➡ “Media Suppressing NHTSA’s Suppression of Chevy Volt Fire?”

Frito-Lay/PepsiCo Cashes in On Electric Truck Subsidies

Frito Lay Electric Truck

Last week Frito-Lay, the $12 billion snack foods division of PepsiCo, boasted it would add 10 all-electric delivery trucks in Orlando, Fla., as part of its plan to deploy 176 such vehicles in the U.S. and Canada by the end of year.

As is custom with corporate announcements that proclaim their eco-accomplishments, so as to pacify persistent climate alarmists, Frito-Lay said the vehicles would emit “zero” pollutants from tailpipes and release 75 percent fewer greenhouse gases than diesel. The ETs (electric trucks) can allegedly run 100 miles on a single charge, and Frito-Lay says the groundbreaking new haulers provide “a long-term economically viable solution” – apparently to solve global warming.

Regular readers of NLPC should know the Chevy Volt sticker price, before the $7,500 tax credit, is $41,000, and for the Nissan Leaf it’s $35,200. So the cost for an electric delivery truck must be somewhat higher, right? And … Read More ➡ “Frito-Lay/PepsiCo Cashes in On Electric Truck Subsidies”

Ethics Group Files FOIA on Chevy Volt Fires

Volt fire photoThe National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today filed a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for any and all communications with General Motors (GM).

The NHTSA is investigating three fires in the battery packs of GM’s Chevy Volt following collision tests, but may have withheld information of this potential safety problem from the public for several months.

The United States government still owns a significant stake in GM.  There’s an obvious conflict of interest in a government agency investigating a government-owned company. Moreover, the NHTSA cannot be impartial because it has become a cheerleader for electric vehicles. A November 25 NHTSA statement reads, in part:

NHTSA continues to believe that electric vehicles have incredible potential to save consumers money at the pump, help protect the environment, create jobs, and strengthen national security by reducing our dependence on oil.

Read More ➡ “Ethics Group Files FOIA on Chevy Volt Fires”

NLPC Shareholder Proposal Challenges Pfizer’s Support of ObamaCare

Ian Read photoNLPC has filed a shareholder proposal challenging Pfizer’s support for ObamaCare. The resolution actually asks for a report on Pfizer’s lobbying priorities. Here is the supporting statement submitted to Pfizer for inclusion in the proxy:

Pfizer played a key role in the passage of ObamaCare, even though a majority of Americans were opposed. CEO Jeffrey Kindler organized pharmaceutical CEOs in support of the bill, promoted a massive advertising campaign, and partnered with Left-wing groups normally hostile to Pfizer’s interests. For these actions, he received a multi-million dollar bonus.

According to media reports, Pfizer and other companies in 2009 made an $80 billion deal with the Obama administration. In return for support of ObamaCare, the companies received promises of a guarantee of customers and insulation from certain kinds of competition. This kind of back room dealing corrupts the political process, generates public outrage, and is inappropriate for an institution like Pfizer

Read More ➡ “NLPC Shareholder Proposal Challenges Pfizer’s Support of ObamaCare”