Oh my. FBI raids bankrupt Obama-favorite Solyndra

September 8, 2011

That’s the California solar-power manufacturer that somehow managed to secure a $535 million, federally-guaranteed (1) loan through the Department of Energy at a sweetheart interest rate, even though their financial condition and business plan never warranted it. But, and I’m sure it’s a coincidence, the major shareholder is a top Obama donor and donations bundler.

And now they’re bankrupt, the investor gets reimbursed with taxpayer money, and the FBI is kicking-in the door:

Just days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, federal agents swarmed around the Solyndra facilities in Fremont to execute a search warrant.

FBI agents were joined by officials from the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General in the early morning operation.

Officials would say little about the search, which seemed to center on the Solyndra buildings on Page Avenue off Interstate 880.

“Everything is under seal,” said Julianne Sohn, a spokeswoman for the FBI.

Agents began executing their search about 7:30 a.m., Sohn said. More agents arrived in SUVs at 8:40 a.m.

The action by federal agents comes a week after the solar manufacturer abruptly closed, laying off about 1,000 workers, and two days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said the search came as a surprise, but he emphasized the company is “fully cooperating” with federal officials. He said he did not know the purpose of the search, but he speculated it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees the Department of Energy awarded to Solyndra.

Gee, ya think??

Read the report from ABC yesterday on the loan guarantees and unusually low interest rates for background, but here’s an excerpt that I’m sure you’ll find entertaining:

Solyndra’s most prolific financial backer is George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who was a bundler of campaign donations for Obama’s 2008 race. Kaiser’s Argonaut Ventures and its affiliates have been the single largest shareholder of Solyndra, according to SEC filings and other records. The company holds 39 percent of Solyndra’s parent company, bankruptcy records filed Tuesday show.

Under terms of the bankruptcy filing, investors including Argonaut — which led a $75 million round of financing for Solyndra earlier this year — will stand in line before the federal government and other creditors.

You know, I do believe I hear the House Energy Committee warming up in the wings.

Kaiser, not surprisingly, was a frequent White House visitor.

Without a doubt, this deal stinks to the heavens. Not only is it a perfect  illustration of why “green jobs” –or any uneconomic, government-subsidized industry– is a doomed-from-the-start waste of public money, but it also reeks of political favoritism, backroom deals, and downright corruption.

What was it Sarah Palin said the other day? Oh, yeah

They use [public money] to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.

And I’ll bet you my last dollar that Solyndra is a $535,000,000 example of just what she was denouncing.

Between this and Gunwalker, Obama is going to have an… “interesting” 2012.

via Zombie

RELATED: Also check out Power Line and Hot Air.

UPDATE: At Power Line, historian Steven Hayward raises an interesting possibility — What if the raid is an attempt by Holder to cover-up what happened at Solyndra and block any congressional inquiry by hiding behind the privilege of a claim of an “ongoing investigation?”

Footnote:
(1) As in, guaranteed with our money.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Race and gender at play in auto dealership closures?

July 22, 2010

Or was it payback for rural counties not voting for Obama in 2008? The BlogProf looks at the report by Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Inspector General Neal Barofsky. It certainly seems … suggestive.

Hope and Change?

(via Sister Toldjah)

UPDATE: Ed at Hot Air takes a different angle, seeing the closures as an example of making economic decisions based on the needs of political theater, in this case the need to demonstrate shared sacrifice.


Obama: an impotent thug

June 21, 2010

Michael Barone coined the terms “thugocracy” and “gangster government” for the Obama style of governance. He should know, being from the Chicago area, himself. He returns to that theme in an article in today’s Washington Examiner, observing that, for a thug president steeped in the Chicago Way, Obama is pretty darned ineffective:

Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s Gulf oil spill.

Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his “boot on the neck” of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet.

Barone then goes through several examples related to the Gulf oil spill to show that Obama’s strong-arm tactics haven’t done a thing to clean up the Gulf, though they have damaged the rule of law and shown that the “professor of constitutional law” is more comfortable with “Boss” politics than, well, acting within the constitutional limits of his office.

Be sure to read the whole article; Barone concludes with a hit that’s sure to leave a mark on our thin-skinned president’s hide.

RELATED: I’ve written before about the thuggish nature of Obama’s politics, notably with regard to free speech.


So, who’s being dishonest?

May 22, 2010

A few months ago, Congressman Joe Sestak, the Democratic nominee for the (now open) Senate seat in Pennsylvania, stated quite clearly that the Obama administration offered him a federal job if he would quit his primary challenge to (soon to be former) Senator Arlen Spector.

If true, that’s a federal crime.

California Congressman Darrell Issa (R) has been pursuing this, but hasn’t had much luck getting past the administration’s stonewalling and deflections. Now he’s put together a video compiling, on the one hand, Sestak’s assertions that the offer was made and, on the other, White House Press Secretary’s Robert Gibb’s repeated evasions:

Either one of them is lying, or the other is covering up the truth to protect his boss from scandal.

Which is it?

(via Gabriel Malor)

UPDATE: The sections of the federal code that may have been broken with the initial offer.

UPDATE II: This is getting circular. A link in the previous update leads here.


Arne Duncan’s list and the Chicago Way

March 25, 2010

Following up on this item, have a look at John Kass’ column in the Chicago Tribune on Arne Duncan’s secret list and how it fits in the Chicago Way.

The mayor knows how it works. He etched it into Chicago’s civic infrastructure years ago, when he took over the public schools.

Machiavellian? Yes. Because it is a relationship that feeds upon the love of hard-working, tax-paying parents for their children. And it works just fine for the mayor too.

When first elected in 1989, Daley eagerly reached out to those in the city’s predominantly white professional class. They were edgy and many were considering leaving Chicago.

In response, the mayor built top magnet and college prep high schools, pushing through work-rule changes to attract the best teachers. He produced the schools that nervous white-collar voters demanded.

Members of the professional class wanted city life. But they wanted their children educated. They became clients of Daley’s first tier.

The second tier pretty much remained the same, a tier mostly for minorities and the poor.

Daley spent millions upon millions of dollars on new school buildings in low-income neighborhoods. This massive wave of construction endeared him to the predominantly white trade unions: the carpenters, the bricklayers, the electricians who formed his power base on the Far Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs.

But education in the second tier remains abysmal. High school dropout rates are still around 50 percent, yet much higher when magnet schools are exempted. But even as tens of thousands of kids drop out to become calcified in the permanent underclass, the second tier still supports the mayor.

It’s not just about education. It is about jobs and patronage. Top teachers either fled or were lured to the top schools. But middle-rung teachers and below are the backbone of the teachers union.

The neighborhoods were rewarded with local school councils to elect, and budgets to manage and principals to appoint. By allowing the locals to run their mini-fiefdoms, Daley bound neighborhood activists to the system.

They were no longer beefers outside City Hall. They’d bought in.

And the vast public school bureaucracy, with tens of thousands of administrators, remained a patronage base for City Hall and Democratic pols in Springfield, particularly the black legislative caucus.

Then-State Senator Barack Obama was a member of that caucus. Arne Duncan was Daley’s man running the school system, and he’s now President Obama’s education secretary. And what was one of the first acts of the new administration? Shutting down the school-voucher program for poor DC kids that enabled them to go to good private schools and escape the lousy schools staffed by unionized teachers. The patrons looking out for their clients.

And the Chicago Way brought to the national stage.

Read the whole thing. It’s educational.

(hat tip: Vermontaigne)


Culture of Corruption Watch: Arne Duncan

March 23, 2010

What a non-surprise to learn that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a practitioner of the Chicago Way. It seems that, while he was head of the Chicago school system, he kept a secret list of the High and Mighty who could get their or their friends’ children into the best schools – in return for what, we wonder.  Chicago Breaking News has the story:

While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the log. But the politically connected make up about three-quarters of those making requests in the documents obtained by the Tribune.

The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

Now, the article does go on to point out that “often” a student’s petition was rejected, and that some parents among the non-politically connected were on the list. But the latter case amounted to only about 25% of the list, the remainder composed of the Chicago and Illinois elite. One also wonders what “often” really means regarding the rejections, and how many of those came from the “Friends of Arne” group. Details would be nice. And why was the list secret? Shouldn’t every parent in the Chicago system have access to this appeals process?

More to the point, as Ed at Hot Air asks, what if anything did Duncan get in return? This is Chicago, after all.


Quote of the day

October 20, 2009

The White House trying to dictate who’s a news organization. Democrats out to gut a business group. Obama media allies damning Americans as racist, unpatriotic and treasonous. Is this the America Obama promised when he campaigned to end the cynical and divisive politics of the past?

–Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times


Biblioholism

September 14, 2009

Just finished: Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption. Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. Quick take: well-worth reading, but weakened by the author’s tendency to over-indulge in snark. Full review coming soon.

Just started: Robert Spencer’s The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran. Just a few pages in, but it’s already enlightening.