We Wouldn’t Have Needed Sequestration If The Government Had Not Done Things Like This

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about government funding of the Fisker Automotive‘s manufacturing of electric cars.

The article reports:

Newly obtained documents show the Obama administration was warned as early as 2010 that electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. was not meeting milestones set up for a half-billion dollar government loan, nearly a year before U.S. officials froze the loan after questions were raised about the company’s statements.

An Energy Department official said in a June 2010 email that Fisker’s bid to draw on the federal loan may be jeopardized for failure to meet goals established by the department.

Despite that warning, Fisker continued to receive money until June 2011, when the DOE halted further funding. The agency did so after Fisker presented new information that called into question whether key milestones — including the launch of the company’s signature, $100,000 Karma hybrid — had been achieved, according to a credit report prepared by the Energy Department.

This is a familiar story in the Obama Administration. Solyndra was also going bankrupt as the government was funding the company. In 2009 Vice-President Biden stated that Fisker was planning to buy a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware to produce hybrid cars. The plant was never opened and no cars were ever produced.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on the Karma, a luxury car produced by Fisker that has a sticker price of over $100,000:

Mr. Simon says his car broke down four times over the span of a few months. Each time, Fisker Automotive Inc. picked it up and sent it by trailer from his home in Omaha, Neb., to a dealer in Minneapolis.

The Karma was “so vulnerable to software errors, and the parts used were of such poor quality that eventually I insisted they take the car back and return my purchase price, which they did,” he says. “It’s a real shame, the car itself was beautiful.” …

Troubles with suppliers and regulatory requirements added months to the Karma’s release. Its engineers expressed concerns that the software that ran the Karma’s display screens and phone connections wasn’t ready, people familiar with the situation say. Still, the Karma went out to customers. The company said that its problems were expected of any new model. …

Fisker stopped production of the Karma at a factory in Finland in July 2012 in an attempt to negotiate a cost-saving contract. The following month, Fisker recalled its cars for a second time to fix a cooling system flaw that was linked to battery fires.

It hasn’t built a car since.

American tax dollars at work. I would strongly recommend that after the Obama Administration leaves office none of its members become stockbrokers.

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An Interesting Perspective On America’s Economic Future

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about the role of hydrocarbons in the American economy in the future.

The article states:

Since becoming president, Mr. Obama has treated hydrocarbon production like an infectious disease to be eradicated. His administration had to commission a study to learn, as announced last week, that allowing American companies to export liquefied natural gas would be beneficial to the U.S. economy. Still, the Department of Energy says it can’t make “final determinations” on export applications until it hears from those who object. So much for property rights.

America currently has the fastest rate of growth in production of oil and gas in the world. This is happening at a time when the demand for energy in America is slowing.  However, the worldwide demand for energy is increasing, creating a market for American energy exports.

The article goes on to describe energy developments in America, Canada, and Mexico:

Three democracies, sitting on vast resources, each have their own comparative advantages to offer an integrated continental market that could lead the world. Greater North American energy supplies imply millions of new jobs, higher tax revenues, plentiful energy for continental manufacturing and the end of reliance on hostile producers like Venezuela. But to reach optimum potential, investors need the freedom to explore, exploit and refine hydrocarbons and move output at every stage of production throughout the continent. In other words, governments need to get out of the way.

We can find our way out of the economic mess we are currently in–we just need to use the resources we have.

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One Possible Reason The Presidential Race Is Still Close

Hot Air posted an article yesterday stating that 58 percent of registered voters were unfamiliar with Solyndra.

The article reports:

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 58 percent of registered voters are unaware or unsure of the company, which went bankrupt in 2011 after receiving an Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009 to manufacture advanced solar panels.

Twenty-five percent of respondents had a negative view of Solyndra, 15 percent were neutral and just 2 percent held a positive view on the subect, according to the survey conducted in late September. …

The company’s collapse in late August of 2011, which put more than 1,000 people out of work, was an embarrassment for the White House. Obama had personally visited Solyndra in 2010 to cast it as an example of the emerging green economy.

Attempts to make green energy practical have cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Someone needs to launch an advertising campaign explaining how many government-financed companies related to green energy have been forced to lay off workers or have gone bankrupt. Meanwhile, it would help the Romney campaign to make sure everyone was aware of how much money has been wasted on Solyndra and other green energy companies.

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You Always Get In Trouble When You Try To Alter Things After The Fact

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Yesterday National Review Online reported that a number of press releases previously released by the Department of Energy have been retroactively changed in order to remove the name of a solar company that may fail.

CNBC reports:

The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar company Solyndra.

Both were changed to remove the name of a company that has received negative press attention in recent days, SunPower, and replace it with the name of another company, NRG Energy.

In the April case, the Department of Energy loan programs office announced in a press release on April 12 “conditional commitment” to a $1.187 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which it said was “sponsored by SunPower Corporation.”

But that release was later changed on one website to say the project was “sponsored by NRG Energy.” The date on the release remained “April 12, 2011.”

National Review Reports:

Naturally, the DOE blames ‘outside contractors,’ who “inadvertently” altered the news bulletins while updating the loans program website.

The article at National Review goes on to look at the financial situation of SunPower. The company is deeply in debt and has stated that it will lower its earnings projections for 2011. Meanwhile, the total value of company’s stock dropped from an all-time high of $13 billion to $800 million. Unfortunately, the company has a debt of $820 million. This does not bode will for the future of the company.

The problem here is that old press releases were altered in a way that looks questionable. Unfortunately that seems to be part of the lack of transparency and behind the scenes manipulation that seems to be inherent in this administration.

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Follow The Money On Solar Energy

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Yesterday the Associated Press reported that the Energy Department has approved two loan guarantees worth more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in Nevada and Arizona. These loans were approved under the same program that granted the Solyndra loans–a program that is scheduled to expire on September 30.

The article reports:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the department has completed a $737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for a 110 megawatt solar tower on federal land near Tonopah, Nev., and a $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150 megawatt solar plant near Phoenix.

 Fox News reports:

The Obama Administration is giving $737 million to a Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve. PCG is an investment partner with SolarReserve. Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law happens to be the number two man at PCG.

 It gets worse. The Washington Examiner reports:

Despite the Solyndra failure, the Department of Energy continues to provide loan guarantees to solar companies, today giving Tonopah Solar a $737 million loan guarantee for a project in Nevada. Mitchell (Steve Mitchell) serves as a “board participant” for Solar Reserve, the parent company to Tonopah Solar, and his Solar Reserve biography says that he “currently sits on the Boards of Directors of . . . Solyndra” and several other companies. Argonaut, Mitchell’s primary employer, owns 3% of Solar Reserve, according to reports.

The Mitchell connection to Solar Reserve brings George Kaiser into the spotlight with respect to this latest loan guarantee. Kaiser owns Argonaut and thus invested in both Solyndra and Solar Reserve. He also bundled over $50,000 into President Obama’s campaign.

I really hate the idea of another Congressional investigation, but I think we need one on the money the government is giving to ‘green energy’ and who has received the money.

The money given out this week was the last of the money from a renewable energy loan program approved under the 2009 economic stimulus. It seems to me that the money would have been better spent in other areas. This really does look like ‘pay to play’ on the part of the Obama administration.

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