Solyndra; SunPower; California environmentalists; the Stimulus Plan. It is no accident that so much of this corruption is out here on the Left Coast. Lets connect the dots.
First, the Pelosi Democrats were brilliant in adapting the trash collection model to the energy industry. Politicians don't have to raise taxes to create pools of money; they can set the rates which you pay your local trash hauler or - the California adaptation - they can mandate that a portion of electric generation must come from uneconomic "renewable" sources and approve whatever rates that drives. California's mandate that a percentage of electricity used by the major utilities come from renewable sources began in 2002 and now sits at a 33% level by 2020. How to get from today's 15% without building any more dams or nuclear power plants? And whose companies can get a piece of the action?
Thank you American Investment and Recovery Act of 2009, a grab bag of pork designed by Ms Pelosi and her Congressional allies with $79 billion targeted for "renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green transportation". The friendly press touted the boon to small companies and start-ups as well as the use of loan guarantees - tax credits don't help companies that are not making money.
With California Republican Darrell Issa's House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee on the case, the Solyndra (a Bay Area company) case is widely known - a $535 million loan guarantee to the company of a prominent Obama bundler; White House pressure in the face of OMB reservations; company leaders taking the 5th Amendment; a likely-illegal reworking of the guarantee to place the bundler ahead of the government in any recoveries. Next we find a $737 million loan guarantee for a Nevada solar farm connected to Pelosi's brother-in law. Then we find a $1.2 billion loan guarantee for SunPower which plans to build a large solar panel farm in San Luis Obispo and a new manufacturing facility in Mexico; the top lobbyist is the son of George Miller, a key Congressional ally of Pelosi, also from California. Had enough? In the rush to beat a September deadline, the Energy department approved several other projects worth just a few billion of your dollars, some of which are being sold and resold within the energy industry.
The big point is the twin dangers of a government which makes decisions about which companies to support and a one party state like California where complaining voices are shut out and deals can easily go to political allies. During the Dartmouth presidential debate there was a brief discussion about two funds in Texas - originated on Perry's watch -which have made some $750 million in loans, some to contributors. (In fairness, some 20 states have such funds to attract and grow companies.) If Governor Perry remains a viable candidate, questions will come from the Left about crony capitalism and from the Right about the proper role of government. As for California, nobody out here seems to care as long as it is federal money and it is green.
This week's video is a brief explanation of the Lord's Resistance Army which has been terrorizing central Africa for two decades. Late on Friday, October 14, President Obama sent a letterto the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House announcing that he was deploying 100 combat troops to support local armies pursuant to May, 2010 legislation to support these governments. With troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, participation in NATO's Libyan operations, and drones operating in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen it would seem to be time for a discussion of priorities and the need to involve Congress and the public in the process of going to war.