Is Washington Really Interested In Dealing With This Problem?

The Daily Caller reported today that President Obama has appointed Ron Klain, as White House Ebola response coordinator. I don’t question the need to put someone in charge of handling the spread of Ebola in America, but I do wonder about the appointment of Ron Klain.

Mr. Klain was one of the senior White House officials who advised that President Obama should visit solar power company Solyndra in 2011, despite an auditor raising red flags about the company’s finances. Mr. Klain has previously worked for Vice-President Al Gore as chief of staff and as Vice-President Joe Biden as chief of staff. Mr. Klain has no medical background.

It seems that in keeping with the pattern that has developed in handling Ebola in America, the President has chosen someone to handle to political angles rather than the medical angles. I suspect that this choice means that the government will continue to make decisions that are politically expedient but do nothing to protect the lives of Americans from this deadly virus.

Where The Money Went

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about the ten most outrageous projects supported by the government stimulus. These projects represent your tax dollars at work.

Here is the list:

10) $1.3 Million for Stimulus Highway Signs

9) $152K to Get Lesbians Ready for ‘Adoptive Parenthood’

8) $600,000 to Plant Trees in Wealthy Neighborhoods

7) $384,949 Study of Duck Penises

6) $1.2 Million Study of Erectile Dysfunction in Overweight Men

5) $100,000 Anti-Capitalist Puppet Shows

4) $389,357 for College Students to Keep a Diary of Their Marijuana and Malt Liquor Use

3) $3.4 Million Turtle Tunnel

2) $8,408 Study to See if Mice Get Drunk

1) $535 Million on Solyndra

Please follow the link to the article to see the details of these expenditures. Is this really where you want your tax money to go?

 

 

 

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We’re Still Not Done With Solyndra

On Wednesday, the Washington Times posted an article about the bankruptcy of Solyndra.

The article states:

The Internal Revenue Service urged a bankruptcy judge to reject solar panel maker Solyndra LLC’s bankruptcy plan Wednesday, saying it amounts to little more than an avenue for owners of an empty corporate shell to avoid paying taxes.

“The undeniable conclusion is that tax benefits drive this plan,” attorneys for the IRS wrote in a bankruptcy pleading.

The attorneys for the IRS stated that that the tax breaks would be worth more money than funds set aside for creditors.

The article explained the bankruptcy plan:

Under Solyndra’s reorganization plan, two big investors in the company, Madrone Partners LP and Argonaut Ventures, together would own nearly all of a shell company formed in the wake of Solyndra’s bankruptcy reorganization.

But the IRS said in court papers that there was little reason for the shell company to exist other than to help the owners avoid taxes. Argonaut is the investment arm of a family foundation headed by Oklahoma businessman George Kaiser, a fundraiser for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Madrone has ties to the family that owns Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The article concludes:

The government attorneys said that while the reorganization plan had “some marginal benefits,” there was no doubt that the most important priority was to “preserve a shell corporation to be able to reduce future tax liabilities by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

This is what crony capitalism looks like.

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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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Picking Winners And Losers With The Tax Code

One of the things that would be really good about passing Paul Ryan’s budget plan (it won’t happen–but it would be really good) would be that the government would lose its power to pick winners and losers in the American economy. That’s one of the reasons Paul Ryan’s budget will never pass–Congress and the President do not want to give up the power to control people through the tax code. However, every now and then, someone in the Senate actually does something smart in terms of taxes. The Senate (in a 51-47 vote)  has nixed the President’s plan to raise taxes on oil companies (which of course would raise the price of gasoline at the pump).

The New American posted a few thoughts on the Senate vote today:

“This bill is pretty simple: we end wasteful subsidies to the big five oil companies and we use those proceeds to invest in clean energy, in creating jobs, and reducing the deficit,” Menendez said Monday when introducing the bill. “I think the American people are sick and tired of paying ridiculously high gasoline prices at the pump and then paying big oil again with … taxpayer subsidies.”

However, as Bob Adelman asserted last May in The New American, there is a grave difference between tax breaks and what Obama and Menendez characterize as “subsidies.” “The echo chamber of the mainstream media and liberal Democrats merely confirms their attempt to confuse the issue to promote their agenda,” Adelman affirmed. “Subsidies and tax breaks are different entities entirely, and getting the terms wrong means getting it all wrong.”

As stated above–these are not subsidies–subsidies are what we are paying to alternative energy companies that keep going broke or shipping their business to China. Not only are these not subsidies–they are tax breaks that all companies routinely get.

The article concludes:

But Menendez goes a step further, and calls the oil tax breaks “wasteful subsidies.” Is this contrary to the clean-energy industry’s un-wasteful subsidies? Obama’s Energy Department has dished out billions of dollars in “green” subsidies, to companies like SpectraWatt, Eastern Energy, Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, and the controversial Solyndra — which all ended up in bankruptcy. These five companies, along with seven others, are now in financial disarray, after collectively reaping more than $6.5 billion in taxpayer-backed government assistance.

In effect, one might suggest that Obama and Menendez are pointing their fingers in the wrong direction.

The Obama Administration has never actually had a successful energy policy. It is unrealistic to think that they will develop one at this point.

 

 

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Does This Bother Anyone Else ?

Today’s Boston Herald reported that a bankruptcy judge has approved nearly $370,000 in bonuses for certain employees of Solyndra LLC.

The article reports:

Solyndra, based in Fremont, Calif., wanted to award bonuses of up to $500,000 to as many as 21 employees but scaled back its request after discussions with its official creditors committee.

Gee, that makes me feel so much better.

The article further reports:

Solyndra, which has failed to find a buyer to operate the company as a going concern, says it needs to retain key employees with the expertise needed for an orderly liquidation of its remaining assets.

For that kind of money I would volunteer to handle the liquidation! As I reported on January 23 (rightwinggranny.com), the liquidation is not being handled well:

At Solyndra’s sprawling complex in Fremont, workers in white jumpsuits were unwrapping brand new glass tubes used in solar panels last week. They are the latest, most cutting-edge solar technology, and they are being thrown into dumpsters.

This is taxpayer money, and as a taxpayer–I object!

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Another One Bites The Dust

A website called GlobalWarming.org reported on Friday that the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada. Earlier last week, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy.  Evergreen Energy , also a recipient of stimulus money, has also declared bankruptcy. These companies are not even viable when the government is writing them enormous checks! When you consider the amount of stimulus money spent on pet projects of President Obama, it is scary. He could have simply given each taxpayer $100,000. I suspect that would have truly stimulated the economy!

The interesting part of the article linked above is the comments. There are definitely some people out there who are paying attention and who are angry that taxpayer money is being spent in this way.

 

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Who Gets Rich In The Obama Economy

Today’s Daily Caller posted an article about President Obama’s speech in Las Vegas calling for a plan to boost the American use of natural gas. I’m sure it is only a coincidence that George Soros will benefit greatly if the plan is put into action.

The Daily Caller reports:

Westport Innovations, a recent purchase by Soros, would benefit from the windfall of policies that pursue the use of natural gas for transportation. The company, whose shares have been projected to explode if Congress were to approve the Natural Gas Act, makes natural gas engines for heavy-duty trucks.

“Soros’s investment funds have pumped about $122 million into WPST, and he’s added to his control as recently as December and March, when he picked up over a million shares, bringing his total to 5.5 million shares,” reported BigGovernment.

“If Westport reaps the predicted windfall, one of the chief beneficiaries will be George Soros, a major Obama donor and supporter. Soros’s hedge fund holds.

There have been a lot of investments in ‘green energy’ by political leaders who felt that they could put policies in place that would reward them rather than be in the best interests of America. We need to remember that specific legislation was passed before Solyndra declared bankruptcy that put the American taxpayer on the hook for the loss rather than the investors in the company. We also need to remember that in the bankruptcy of Chrysler, the interests of the unions were protected over the interests of the Preferred Stockholders, which is against bankruptcy law.

Crony capitalism seems to be one of the strongest traits of the Obama Administration. When November comes, we need to end both crony capitalism and the Obama Administration.

 

 
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A Total Disregard For Taxpayers’ Money

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The spending in Washington is out of control. Part of the discontent on the part of the American taxpayers is the amount of money being spent, but a good deal of the discontent is how it is wasted with little regard for the hard-working taxpayer.

CBS News San Francisco reported on January 19, 2012, that Solyndra, after filing for bankruptcy, is destroying assets (many of which were paid for by taxpayer money).

The article reports:

At Solyndra’s sprawling complex in Fremont, workers in white jumpsuits were unwrapping brand new glass tubes used in solar panels last week. They are the latest, most cutting-edge solar technology, and they are being thrown into dumpsters.

The article goes on to detail some of the history of the glass tubes. They were not included in the list of Solyndra assets put up for sale at two auctions last year. One buyer said that if he had been able to buy the tubes, he would have. He has been buying solar panels from Solyndra since the bankruptcy and selling them on e-bay.

The article further reports:

Solar scientist Greg Smestad agreed they have value. “As a scientist I said ‘Wow, this needs to be studied,’” he said. Smestad has consulted for the Department of Energy.

He recently bought a Solyndra solar panel to study its technology, which is completely different from traditional panels. “It can accept both the direct sun and also track motion, because it’s a cylinder,” he explained. “The technology is very promising.”

Smestad wrote a letter to the auctioneers, asking if they could donate to Santa Clara University any of the leftover tubes after the Solyndra auctions are completed. “Let one student use this as an inspiration for their career and that will be worth something,” he said. But the auctioneers wrote back saying they couldn’t do that.

This is ridiculous. Solyndra still owes $8 million dollars to the German company that made the tubes. When CBS News contacted them to see if they would have taken the tubes back, CBS was told by the company that they had no idea that the tubes were being destroyed.

Who authorized the destruction? Why was there no effort to get back the taxpayers’ money that was invested into this company? These are questions that need to be answered.

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Who Is Paying For This ?

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The Contra Costa Times reported on Friday that Solyndra has asked its bankruptcy judge to pay remaining employees up to $500,000 in bonuses.

The article points out:

Senior executives at Solyndra collected hefty quarterly bonuses — ranging from $37,000 to $60,000 apiece, with some executives receiving both rounds of bonuses — within six months of the company’s closure last August, when about 1,100 workers were laid off without severance.

According to the article, the bonuses requested would “go to workers lower on the food chain than the sizable bonuses handed out to key executives in the months before the company’s bankruptcy — 13 of the 21 possible recipients the Associated Press listed were equipment engineers and facilities workers.”

There are a few things at work here. What kind of responsible executive takes a huge bonus as the company is going under? What about taking the bonus and then laying off workers without severance? I am all in favor of people making money–I just think we need to bring the concept of ethics back into our business model.

The kind of abuses we have seen in the financial sector of our economy will not be fixed by increased regulation–they are indications of a lack of morality and accountability that is currently running rampant in our society. Until we get back to our national roots as a Judeo-Christian country, we are not going to solve our problems–financial or otherwise. The reason the Ten Commandments were posted in our schools was to let students know that at some point in their lives they would have to answer to a higher authority. When we removed the concept of a higher authority, we opened the door for the financial collapse that we have seen. When our financial moguls do not realize that they are accountable for their behavior, they don’t bother to play by the rules.

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Is Fairness Really The Issue ?

Investors.com posted an article yesterday about President Obama’s speech declaring that his policies would bring ‘fairness’ to America. Unfortunately, all President Obama’s policies have brought is shared misery.

The article reports:

But by Obama’s own measure, the country has gotten more “fair.” The richest 1% now pays almost 40% of all federal income taxes, up from 25% two decades ago, while the bottom half pays only 2%, down from 6%. The federal regulatory state has never been as big, and government spending as a share of the economy is at record levels.

What’s unfair is what these policies have produced — a woeful economic recovery that’s hurt the middle class the most.

In fact, as IBD reported recently, the only winners since Obama took office have been corporations (profits are up 68%) and Wall Street investors (the Dow’s up more than 45%). The rest of the country has gotten the shaft.

The article further reminds us that since President Obama took office, unemployment is higher, house prices are lower, and inflation is beginning to rise. Since the recession supposedly ended in June 2009, household income has dropped almost 7 percent.

The article also reminds us that:

And income inequality — which was flat during the Bush years — has started to rise.

What we have now is crony capitalism. Solyndra and other ‘green’ companies staffed by President Obama’s fundraisers have received large amounts of money from the government in the past year, as have many Wall Street firms. Meanwhile the rest of us are struggling to keep up.

The only economic fairness President Obama has brought us is shared misery. We need to remember this in 2012–regardless of who the Republican candidate is.

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Laziness Is Not An American Problem

On Saturday, the Daily Caller reported that President Obama blamed America’s financial difficulties on laziness and stated that the cure is more central government. Huh?

He stated that America has been lazy in recent decades about attracting foreign investment.

The article reported:

In September, after saying the U.S. had lost its competitive edge, Obama also suggested the cure lies with Democratic policies. The country can recover its competitiveness, he said, because the country has “the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world.” Many Democrats routinely say they support education, science and labor, and that Republicans oppose all three.

That is truly a spin on the truth. Republicans actually do support education, science, and labor–just not controlled by Washington, D.C. The cost of education was lower and SAT scores higher before the Department of Education was created. Education does better when it is controlled at the local level–less money is spent on administration and the needs of the individual community can be met much more efficiently. Science does very well when it is allowed to work under the rules of free enterprise. When government interferes in free enterprise, bad things happen (Solyndra, for example). Republicans do not oppose labor–they do oppose labor interfering with the rights of corporations to build plants and employ people wherever they choose (Boeing in South Carolina).

Americans are not lazy–they are being severely limited by over regulation. The intrusion of the federal government into the everyday lives of Americans has become totally ridiculous. The government has shut down the Central Valley in California to preserve a fish that may not even be a separate species. Because of that action, many more Californians are out of work and all Americans are paying more for groceries. The government is about to put regulations into effect that will increase the cost of electricity for every American by at least 10 per cent. The problem is not laziness on the part of Americans–the problem is government overreach.

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The Making Of A Scandal

No, this is not an article about Herman Cain or Penn State–it’s an article about Solyndra.

In our electronic age, emails can be accessed and compared to exactly what people have said about anything. When the emails and the statements disagree, there is a problem. That is where we currently are in regard to Solyndra. George Kaiser, who was a bundler for Obama’s 2008 campaign and whose family foundation was the biggest investor in Solyndra, has stated that during his meetings with the President at the White House the subject of the stimulus loan to Solyndra never came up.

However, according to the Washington Examiner, one of Kaiser’s email stated:

BTW, a couple of weeks ago, when Ken and I were visiting with a group of Administration folks in DC who are in charge of the stimulus process (White House, not DOE) and Solyndra came up, every one of them responded simultaneously about their thorough knowledge of the Solyndra story, suggesting it was one of their prime poster children.

The Washington Examiner further concludes:

But now, with these emails, we’ve got Obama fundraisers saying false things about lobbying, and the White House passing on those false things. We’ve also got a senior energy department official pushing for this subsidy while his wife’s law firm represented Solyndra. Energy Department officials rewrote the law in order to aid Solyndra.

It doesn’t look pretty. Liberals can mock Solyndra, and MSNBC’s primetime shows can pretend it doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean no corruption happened.

This is taxpayer money that the taxpayers will never see again. It’s time that the White House and the federal government were held accountable for wasteful spending. How many other Solyndras are out there?

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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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Following The Money Trail On Solyndra

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Every now and then I post an article about a story that I totally do not understand. This is one of those times. If anyone reading this can shed some light on what actually happened in this case, please comment.

Yesterday the Washington Times posted an article about the list of creditors in the Solyndra bankruptcy case. The Solyndra bankruptcy case is already being looked at closely because of the amount of government money loaned to the company despite indications that the company’s business plan was not viable. Now the “creditor matrix,” a document which is a standard filing in a bankruptcy case, reveals that the California Democratic Party is listed as a creditor of Solyndra.

The article at the Washington Times reports:

The company (Solyndra) had its own in-house team of lobbyists, but it also hired three other Washington lobbying firms: McAllister & Quinn, Washington Tax Group and McBee Strategic Consulting.

Many of the lobbyists previously worked in government for Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike. They included former aides to lawmakers such as Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, New York Republican; Sen. Maria Cantwell, Washington Democrat; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

From 2008, when the company spent $160,000 on lobbying, to 2010, when it spent $550,000, lobbying expenditures increased nearly 250 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

It makes you wonder how much money actually went into producing a product.

Please follow the link to the article at the Washington Times. There are a lot of questions about Solyndra–including why its executives pleaded the Fifth Amendment when they were called before Congress. The article in the Times also points out some very interesting connections between some of the people involved in this company and major donors to the Obama campaign.

 

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Solyndra Through The Eyes Of James Pethokoukis

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On Friday, James Pethokoukis at Reuters posted an article about the scandal surrounding government loans to Solyndra. Mr. Pethokoukis reminds us that President Obama intended to reorganize the American economy around ‘green energy’ in view of the dangers of global warming (which is NOT settled science).

The article points out:

At its core, Obamanomics is about the top-down redistribution of wealth and income. Government spending on various “green” subsidies and programs, along with a cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions, would enrich key Democrat constituencies: lawyers, public sector unions, academia and non-profits.

Oh, and Wall Street, too. Who was the exclusive financial adviser to Solyndra when it was trying to secure the $535 million loan from Washington? Goldman Sachs. And had the cap-and-trade scheme been enacted, big banks stood ready to reap billions from the trading of carbon emission credits.

Thank God cap and trade did not pass. The entire ‘green energy’ plan was a scheme to put money into Democrat party supporters’ pockets so that they could in turn donate substantial amounts of that money to Democrat campaigns.

My understanding of the Solyndra business plan was that they would build a solar panel for six dollars and then sell it for three. Even under new math, that won’t work for very long. The good news here is that Americans are aware of what happened and the crony capitalism that was involved. We need to understand that there will always be some degree of crony capitalism. Think about it–if you hold office, wouldn’t you rather do business with someone you know than someone you don’t know? The challenge is to avoid using large amounts of taxpayer money to fund businesses that do not have a viable business plan.

Part of the problem with the Obama administration is that it exists in the first place. We as voters need to be more aware of the backgrounds of the people we nominate and the people we elect. I cannot guarantee that John McCain would have made a better President, but I can say that I did not feel that John McCain was the best candidate the Republicans had to offer. The challenge for all Americans in the coming year is to be involved in the primary election process and to do everything we can to make sure that the candidates chosen represent us–regardless of which side of the political spectrum we fall on.

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Elections Matter–Ask The Executives At Solyndra

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported today that the executives at Solyndra were putting heavy pressure on the Bush White House in as late as January 2009 to approve a government loan for the company.

The article reports:

On Jan. 12, 2009, Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet sent an Energy Department official an email marked “urgent” expressing outrage that Bush officials had decided a few days earlier that while the loan application had “merit” it needed further study before officials could move forward with a taxpayer-financed loan.

“I was appalled to learn on Friday that our application is being delayed yet again,” Gronet wrote to Energy official Steve Isakowitz, writing there had been “countless communications” back and forth suggesting the application would be reviewed Jan. 15.

The delay was a decision by the Bush administration to wait for an independent market analysis on January 9, 2009, before giving aid to the company.

The article further reports:

The next day, Jan. 13, 2009, [Bush DoE official Lachlan] Seward sent his email to Energy Department colleagues saying it was time to stop engaging with Solyndra officials.

There were no outside influences in this decision, and when the Bush administration looked at the loan request, it simply did not look like a good investment of taxpayer money.

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