Thanks, Mr. Romney

Posted on 08. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Last night I was ready to embrace you as our next president. Then, the Electoral College reared its ugly head and in a brief moment you became a part of presidential campaign history when President Barrack Obama was re-elected. When I went to bed, the popular vote difference between the two of you was only 665,000 votes, hardly enough for what they’re now calling a clear mandate to lead.

Governor, I just wanted you to know that for running a spirited yet civil and serious campaign you deserve the thanks of all Americans – even those who didn’t vote for you. Your campaign stood in stark contrast to that of the President’s that employed all manner of class and gender warfare as well as personal attacks that severely cheapened and demeaned the election process.

To your credit, you didn’t condone or use what some might call, Chicago-style tactics. I suspect that your conscience and respect for the process was the reason you chose a different path. Sadly, that was not the path that our country is on these days. That path takes us through the muddy fields of personal disparagement and ridicule.

You did your best, but if there was one mistake you made, Governor, it was being too nice to the President.  You gave him a back door to escape his responsibility by not calling him out on his willful ignorance and selective application of our laws like the deportation slowdown of illegal aliens. You never mentioned the scandalous, Fast and Furious gun-walking program that ended in the tragic death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent or the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four brave Americans.

You never gave us any reason to doubt your personal integrity, Mr. Romney, and, perhaps it’s that integrity and respect for the office of the President that kept you from advancing those issues. I can only say that political campaigns are a crucible as well as a contest in which the mettle and decency of the contestants are tested, and you passed with flying colors.  Sadly, the winner didn’t.

This long campaign must have exacted quite a toll on your family, and we, the American people owe your lovely wife, Ann, and your sons a thank you too for their dedication. Through them we gained new and important insight into your character, and the more we learned, the easier it became to picture you in the Oval Office.

Though that will not happen in January 2013, we have hopes that your enthusiasm will not be dampened by the coming four years. May God bless you and your family and keep you well.

- Editor

Stephan J. Helgesen

 

Imagine America in four years

Posted on 06. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Take just a moment before you go to vote today and imagine what America might be like under your candidate for the next four years with all of the following problems and challenges thrown his way…

A one-party dominated Congress (or Senate too) stymieing  or eliminating the possibility of bi-partisan legislation

Our enormous rise in poverty (1/6 of the country now lives in poverty)

47 million Americans on Food Stamps (15% of the population)

23 million Americans either without work, underemployed or who have given up looking for work (15% of our total workforce)

Our tepid (approx. 2.0% at best) annual economic growth

The unwillingness of America’s businesses to hire enough workers to even keep pace with the new workers entering the job markets (estimated to be over 200,000/month)

The impending costs of ‘Obamacare’ in 2013 and 2014 to businesses

The continued rise in gas prices (the price has doubled since 2008)

The fear of sequestration, triggering massive defense cuts and the loss of many more jobs

The ballooning $16 trillion debt

Our balance of trade deficit with China (over $250 billion/year) and that country’s growing economic hold over us

Our porous borders with Mexico and continued illegal immigration

The stubborn rise of American-directed terrorism

The escalation of nuclear danger in the Middle East

Our decaying infrastructure at home

Falling literacy and our weakened educational competitiveness.

Now add to these challenges our inability to even talk to one another about these issues without breaking into choruses of talking points or worse, raising our voices, slamming the door on friendships or turning off completely and you can see why strong, tested leadership is needed for America.

Candidates’ actions are always more important than their words. Do not be swayed by a clever phrase, a memorable slogan, a winning smile or celebrity endorsements.

Look at how the candidates have solved problems in the past. Look at how they spend their time, how they give to their community and church, who they associate with, how they succeeded and more recently, how they ran their campaign.

Vote for America today and for the man who has the experience to tackle her problems and who can bring both sides together.

Do not vote against someone or for a rigid political ideology.

The promise of America can never be fulfilled without honest open dialogue, tolerance, sound principled leadership or without dedicated citizens with long memories who are unwavering when holding their leaders accountable.

- Stephan Helgesen, Editor

Stephan J. Helgesen

We are all the one percent

Posted on 06. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Politics, Social/Cultural

With only one day to go before election day, I find my head in a perpetual state of jerky lateral motion over the disreputable tactics used by some of the campaigns to say nothing of the downright nasty epithets about the opposing candidate that have been hurled our way.

It seems we’ve graduated from the simple ‘flip flopper’ designation and ‘swift-boating’ techniques that worked in the 2004 campaign to one of total thermonuclear character annihilation – a take-no-prisoners, scorched Earth approach that even Dr. Strangelove would have rejected.

I watched all the primary debates and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates along with the pre-debate and post-debate coverage. I sat through commentary by Chris Matthews, Chris Wallace, Bill Maher, Bill Moyers, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and foreign correspondents like Catty Kay from BBC.

I tuned in to NPR (and even Amy Goodman) and read Time and Newsweek, countless blogs and online newspapers.  I viewed both conventions and listened to the speeches. In addition, I poured over the analyses of pollsters from the left and right and pundits of every shape, size and political stripe.

I managed to survive the war on women, the birth certificate skirmish, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Tea Party rallies, the Congressional stalemate on the debt ceiling, the war against big business and Wall Street, the rise of Sandra Fluke on the reproductive rights fight, the seedy Mormon innuendoes along with attacks on Paul Ryan and Medicare privatization, President Obama’s fund-raisers, golf game and TV appearances, Joe Biden’s “…put you all back in chains” gaffe, along with criticism of Mitt Romney’s dog, his hair, his memory (Romnesia), his wife’s horse and his car elevator.

But the worst tactic of all has been the 1% versus the 99% argument, proffered by the President and his acolytes. This clear divide-and-conquer strategy hasn’t been used to such an extent since the 1917 Russian Revolution, and it hasn’t rung more hollow since the fall of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s/early 90s.

That is not to say it will not work on November 6th.. It may very well, especially when combined with his party’s ‘laser-targeting strategy’ of ripping apart the American electorate into bite-size separate demographics and playing to their weaknesses, envy or fear of the opposition and what America might become under an elitest administration.

Indeed, this campaign ploy to paint a whole political party and candidate for president as the party or candidate of one percent, is not something I would have expected from a President who said he would unite us. It is, however, something I’ve come to expect from certain politicians (left or right) who will do everything possible to hold on to power, no matter if they’re in the Middle East or on the banks of the Potomac River.

So there you have it, the 1% argument: us against them, good against evil, the entitled against the robber barons, poor America against rich America, undeserving wealthy people against deserving innocents, the privileged class against the working class (or the unemployed class).

Actually, when you examine the 1 vs. 99 case, it is a specious or sophistic argument at best. A reasonable person need only use some of his own life experience to measure its validity. For example, how many of your classmates were responsible for all the disruptive antics in the classroom?

Probably 1%. Or how many policemen protect all of the 155 million workers (not to mention the unemployed) in the U.S.? Answer: fewer than a million. And how many active duty military personnel put their lives on the line for the likes of you and me and 325 million other Americans? About 1.5 million – or less than 0.50% of our total population. The list goes on and on.

Just as “One swallow does not a summer make” (Aristotle: one of the top one percent thinkers of all time), neither should one percent of anything be viewed with undue suspicion or fear. Instead of vilifying the 1% let’s be thinking of ways to persuade them to stand with us.  Please vote on November 6th.  One hundred percent of America will be affected by it.

- Editor

Marita Noon on Energy Part II

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

The following articles have been combined from several submissions by Marita Noon during the month of October. – Editor

Politics above all else

Politics above science; politics above economics—together these two philosophies have created “true sustainability.”

We first saw the impact in the science world. Global warming was touted as a catastrophic threat to life on earth. Modern life was deemed to be the cause.

More specifically, the blame fell to the burning of hydrocarbons—which are the source of the abundant, affordable, and available energy that has given the developed world its many advantages and luxuries. Carbon footprint guilt was heaped upon big energy-consuming countries. After all, we were ruining the planet.

Change was needed to slow the rise of the oceans.

This opened the door for a whole host of policies aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. A Renewable Portfolio Standard—which mandates a set percentage of electricity be from renewable sources (mainly wind and solar)—is law in more than half the states.

Cap and trade was proposed and passed by the House. Because it didn’t make it through the Senate, the EPA has been successfully bringing about the end goal through regulation. On a global scale, oil and coal have been demonized and natural gas is next. Untold billions have been poured into wind and solar subsidies.

The supposed “science” behind global warming—which morphed into climate change, paved the way for politics above economics.

The Obama Administration’s stimulus allocated $80-90 billion for green energy—even though the economics didn’t add up. Companies like Solyndra and A123 Systems (the first and the most recent domino to fall) received loans, grants, and, tax incentives to produce “green energy,” despite the junk-bond ratings that prevented private equity from jumping in until taxpayer dollars were committed.

The majority of the recipients of the funds had favored status—they had connections to high-ranking Democrats such as President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or Senator Diane Feinstein (just to name a few)—politics above economics.

Interestingly, a series of emails exposed global warming, er, climate change, and the funding of green energy to be the scams that they are. Together they are “sustainable.”

On global warming, the “climategate” emails revealed that data had been manipulated and suppressed to produce the desired results.

On green energy, emails that came to light in the hearings held by the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight showed how political connections were used to push loan guarantees through and expedite permits.

Within the past week some interesting details came to light on both scams.

On October 13, The UK Daily Mail newspaper brought out some new data. The Met Office, a British government agency described on its website as “a world leader in providing weather and climate services,” released some new data on climate change that seem to conflict with the generally accepted view of catastrophic manmade global warming.

Back in March, the Met Office promoted data from 1998-2010 that supported the idea that the world had warmed even more than expected in the past ten years. They sent out a press release and held briefings for journalists.

However, when the full dataset—up through August 2012—was released, showing that “the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago,” the Met Office issued the new data “quietly on the internet without any fanfare.” The Daily Mail quotes Professor Phil Jones, of the climategate scandal fame, as admitting that “the climate models are imperfect,” and quotes Professor Judith Curry, head of the climate science department at Georgia Tech as agreeing that the computer models used to predict future warming were “deeply flawed.”

The new data “poses a fundamental challenge to the assumptions underlying every aspect of energy and climate change policy.”

On October 12, the Denver Post featured a guest commentary from Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Titled “Climate spin is rampant,” Pielke addresses the “willing media” “spreading misinformation.” He states: “The logic behind such tactics is apparently that a sufficiently scared public will support the political program of those doing the scaring.”

While not directly referencing the Met Office’s quiet data release, Pielke cites Andrew Revkin, “who has covered the climate issue for decades for the New York Times.” Revkin explains that “the media tend to pay outsize attention to research developments that support a ‘hot’ conclusion … and glaze over on research of equivalent quality that does not.” Surely this is what happened with the Met’s report.

Pielke concludes his commentary with these words: “There is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates.

But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation—even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change—may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.”

Politics above science. But this politically driven “science” is needed to support politics above economics.

On October 15, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial discussing the special treatment Solyndra, the bankrupt solar manufacturer, received from the Department of Energy: “Solyndra’s investors could be rewarded for their failures.” The WSJ claims that “Solyndra’s only real assets are what the IRS calls ‘tax attributes.’”

The short version is that Solyndra’s investors, who finagled a deal to subordinate taxpayer repayment rights to private investors, could emerge from bankruptcy with the ability to apply the net operating losses (NOL) against the profits of a profitable company owned by the same investors. What is interesting is who the “investors” are.

WSJ states that Argonaut Ventures I LLC is “Solyndra’s largest shareholder and the primary investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Mr. Kaiser is a Tulsa oil billionaire who bundled campaign checks for Mr. Obama in 2008.”

Emails revealed through the Solyndra bankruptcy show that Steve Mitchell, Argonaut’s managing director, wrote these words to Kaiser: “The DOE thinks politically before it thinks economically”—politics above economics. After Obama called Solyndra a “testament to American ingenuity and dynamism,” apparently the DOE wanted to “delay the Solyndra crack-up that was fast becoming inevitable.” Solyndra needed the “loan’s remaining $95 million immediately, instead of in monthly drawdowns, and to restructure its terms.” For Kaiser, the NOLs were the “consolation prize.”

The “true sustainability?” Government funds climate change research that supports the “catastrophic” messaging. Science and media willingly cooperate. Catastrophic reports provide the foundation for “green energy” investments that go to Obama—and other high-ranking Democrats—campaign donors.

Investors get special favors—like the Solyndra taxpayer subordination—and come out on top. They, then, donate to the campaigns—getting their “friends” re-elected. The perpetual motion machine keeps running at the taxpayers’ expense—all to “evade political accountability.”

We know the story with Solyndra. Last week, A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy. Who knows what special deals they got? We won’t know before the election. There are 14 other stimulus-funded green-energy companies that have gone bankrupt—though the number could be higher. It will likely take years for the details of each deal to be exposed.

This is what happens when politics take precedence above all else. Obama’s economic model picks winners and losers and misallocates capital, while sticking it to the taxpayers.

Perhaps this is why Obama’s crony rich friends are willing to agree to higher taxes for millionaires and billionaires—they have their “tax attributes” in their NOLs (paid for by the average, middle-class taxpayer).

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

We need it here: the O’Reilly Factor

It seems that every time there is a spike in gasoline prices, Bill O’Reilly chimes in with his idea that if we produce it here, we should use it here. He’s even proposed a special tax on exports of petroleum products. He somehow believes that, even though oil is a global commodity, it would cost less for Americans if we kept it all here.

O’Reilly has a big listening audience, and if you don’t understand oil, the global markets, and what it truly takes to be “energy independent”—which most people don’t have time to think about—O’Reilly makes sense. Instead of the 2008 election cycle slogan: “Drill here. Drill now. Save money,” his mantra would be: “Produce here. Use it here. Save money.” People trust O’Reilly and the folks have embraced his ideas on energy—particularly when it comes to oil.

I know this because I do a lot of radio interviews and speaking engagements where I answer questions from audience members (and talk show hosts) and they bring up the “We need it here” philosophy. Sometimes they even mention O’Reilly’s name, almost daring me to disagree. I do disagree. But, I never felt like I knew enough to go deep on the “export” issue. I knew enough to provide an adequate answer and have even written on the topic. I wanted to understand it better.

With this in mind, I was especially pleased when I received notice about a new study, released this past week, from the Manhattan Institute. “Liberating the energy economy: what Washington must do” is authored by Mark Mills—Mills writes the “Energy Intelligence” column for Forbes and is the coauthor of The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy. Mills has been an unwitting mentor of mine.

I’ve learned well. Much of what the study addresses I’ve written on. For example, Mills says, “It is now realistic for America not just to feed the world, but to fuel it as well. … The United States can quite literally drill, dig, build, and ship its way out of the current economic and jobs malaise. … This growth in energy abundance occurred without policies intended to encourage it, and it has happened almost entirely on private and state—not federal—lands. … The new reality of hydrocarbon abundance makes possible not only energy independence but also a credible scenario in which the Middle East is displaced as the world’s primary energy exporter.” If you regularly read my column, these themes should have a familiar ring.

Mills’ comment about America not only feeding the world, but fueling it as well, was an “ah-ha” moment for me—especially in relationship to the idea of exporting our domestic resources.

America is the world’s largest exporter of wheat. We grow so much that we have more than we need. The same can be said for many other food supplies—both grown and raised. America truly does feed the world. When we export food, no one squawks: “Don’t export, it will make our prices higher.”

Or, “We need to keep it all here.” On some years, due to a drought, perhaps, there may be less supply. Disease may decimate the pig population. When that is the case, the prices go up. In other years, weather conditions are perfect, and there is a bumper crop; herds are healthy—the prices go down. Whether wheat or pigs, the food supplies are a global commodity, priced by the global markets and influenced by supply and demand.

There are variables in growing our food supplies. We cannot predict—try as we may—what the exact production will be, nor what the exact need will be. As a result, we produce as much as we can and sell the excess to a hungry world. Our ability to produce more than we need gives us independence and allows us to export.

If we tried to only produce exactly what we needed—but weather caused a drastic drop in production, we’d have to import from others at a much higher price. The fact that we produce more than we need gives us food security. Exporting food supplies helps bring an element of balance to our trade deficit.

As Mills explained to me, our energy security is much the same. Currently, we are not energy secure—or, more accurately stated, oil secure. We are dependent on the production surpluses of other countries such as Saudi Arabia. The availability of their oil can be controlled by a whim, or by geopolitics. When more is available, global prices go down; less, up.

America’s new-found wealth in natural resources—specifically oil and natural gas—means that we can have energy security—which comes from having excess; more than we need so we can export. If we truly want energy independence which every president since Nixon has espoused, then isolationism is the wrong approach.

I can just hear O’Reilly: “You’re all wrong. We can grow more wheat. We can raise more pigs. Oil is a finite resource.”

This is because O’Reilly, and many Americans, are stuck in the 1970s’ paradigm: “There is an energy shortage.” As Mills says, “If the last four years have shown us anything, it is that the technology makes our supplies fundamentally unlimited. We will not run out.”

Mills’ report states: “Technology is now doing for the American energy and fuel sectors what it previously did for the agriculture sector. … Last year the United States exported almost $140 billion in agriculture goods and about $120 billion in hydrocarbons. Within a year or so, we will likely export more fuel and petroleum products than food.”

According to a recent US Energy Information Administration summary of the nation’s “proven reserves” of oil and natural gas, the United States has reversed a 40-year decline in oil output to become the world’s fastest-growing hydrocarbon region—North Dakota’s Bakken Field is just one of many examples.

“Policies that accelerate hydrocarbon production could create at least 3 million jobs and $3-$7 trillion worth of economic benefits, radically resetting energy geopolitics” is a point supported by the “Liberating the Energy Economy” study. Mills claims that there are only three impediments preventing America from enjoying the associated trade, jobs, and revenue benefits that could come from fueling the world—and each could be solved with the stroke of the executive order pen:

  • Complexity—Expansion and imposition of new rules within all federal agencies has added layer upon layer of requirements which creates ever-greater complexity as different agencies have different objectives, interpretations, cultures and even directives.
  • Creep—Without consideration of cost and without accountability, rules and regulations, and how they are interpreted, have moved away from the original intent.
  • Capriciousness—The growth in regulations creates confusions and unintended conflicts in purpose and implementation, resulting in daunting compliance challenges.

President Obama’s favorite word of this campaign cycle seems to be “fair.” Agriculture products, and just about everything else, can be exported without special permission—the Department of Agriculture even has an office dedicated to “export assistance.” Yet, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 prohibits the export of unprocessed crude oil. How is that “fair?”

The world has changed. The United States is now in a position to be the most important source of both food and fuel—but bold policies are required. It is time to find the political will to reset the national energy framework to take advantage of the new resource abundance and employment potential—this is a revolution that can take place without one penny of taxpayer money.

The launch of a credible long-term national supply strategy to support and expand North American energy production will help mitigate price swings caused by unexpected constraints on other supplies or unexpected global demand—bringing certainty into the market. And that, O’Reilly, helps the “folks.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Where are the 5 million green jobs Obama promised?

In Thursday night’s Vice Presidential debate, the Administration’s green agenda was, once again, part of the verbal sparring. The exchange ended with Congressman Ryan’s unanswered question: “Where are the 5 million green jobs…?” Moderator Martha Raddatz cut him off mid-question, steering the conversation elsewhere: “I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we’ve gone over this quite enough.”

Ryan didn’t finish his question. Vice President Biden wasn’t pressed into an uncomfortable answer that would have wiped the smile off his face.

Had Ryan not been interrupted and been allowed to finished the question, he likely would have continued: “…Candidate Obama promised in 2008 when he pledged to jumpstart the economy with an influx of green jobs.

Many times, he specifically stated: ‘I will invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade—jobs that pay well; jobs that can’t be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid; jobs building the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow, not in Japan, not in South Korea but right here in the U.S. of A. Jobs that will help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years and help save the planet in the bargain. That’s how America can lead again.’ Where are those green jobs?”

Had Biden answered, he might have tried the same line Obama used in the 60 Minutes interview clip that didn’t air on national television: “We have tens of thousands of jobs that have been created as a consequence of wind energy alone”—though that hardly adds up to 5 million.

Try as he might, Biden couldn’t have smiled his way through a recitation of green jobs created through the proposed $15 billion a year. It is not a happy story. In fact, through the 2009 stimulus, more than $15 billion a year was allocated for green energy projects—which in his four-year term would have added up to $60 billion. Instead, while the numbers quoted vary, $80-90 billion has been made available for green energy projects.

With the assistance of researcher Christine Lakatos, I have been chronicling Obama’s stimulus-funded green energy failures. First we looked at the companies that have gone bankrupt, and then those that are heading that way—or, at least, have financial issues. Within those reports, we frequently addressed specific green jobs failures. For example, regarding Fisker, the electric car made in Finland, we say:

ABC reported: ‘Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright, new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.’ Those jobs didn’t materialize—at least not in America. … Two years after the loan was awarded, the Washington Post stated that Fisker ‘has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs’…

Now, in 2012, Fisker Automotive is laying off staff in order to qualify for more government loans. So, President Obama’s ‘green’ energy stimulus was supposed to create jobs; now it’s destroying jobs so that companies can get more stimulus?”

About now-bankrupt, and under-investigation for fraud, Abound Solar, we wrote: “President Obama, in July 2010, praised Abound Solar, which was to make advanced solar panels … He believed these plants would be huge job creators: ‘2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.’ In December 2011, CEO Craig Witsoe called Abound Solar the “anti-Solyndra” saying that his company is “doing well and growing.” However, just months after that optimistic report, Abound Solar filed bankruptcy…”

Due to the various loans, grants, and subsidies, it would take an investigative team made up of dozens of people to ferret out each and every true green-energy job that was created, absent that, we are hitting the high points in attempt to answer Ryan’s question: “Where are the 5 million green jobs?”

Short answer, even optimistically—and perhaps deceptively, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) news release, only 3.1 million green jobs were created. To reach this number, BLS counts jobs that “were associated with the production of green goods and services,” specifically those which “are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”It is important to note that most of these 3.1 million jobs are primarily pre-existing jobs that have been reclassified as “green.”

Once those existing jobs were shifted into the green column, through three-quarters of 2011 only 9,245 new “green” jobs were generated when the White House touts generating over 200,000 new jobs by 2010. The House Oversight Committee wondered, just what are those jobs that are “associated with the production of green goods and services?”

On June 6, 2012, at a House Oversight hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) questioned BLS Director John Galvin on his agency’s green jobs numbers. Through Galvin’s reluctant responses (he didn’t want to be there), we learned that the Obama administration’s labor department counts oil lobbyists, bus drivers, garbage men, etc., as green jobs—shameful, embarrassing, deceptive. According to how BLS rates green jobs, I have a green job. I qualify under several headings. After all, I do education and public awareness on environmental issues.

Next time I am at a social event, where I am asked the inescapable: “What do you do?” I’ll respond: “I have a green job.” Complete details can be found in a report on the “Green Job Myth” from the Institute for Energy Research (IER). It states: “the green-job definition is extremely broad and includes both direct and indirect jobs.”  Each of the following would qualify:

A person who sweeps the floor in a solar-panel manufacturing facility

A driver of a hybrid bus

A school bus driver

An employee who fills the bus with fuel

An employee involved in waste collection or water and sewer operations

A clerk at a bicycle repair shop

A manufacturer of rail cars

An oil lobbyist whose company is engaged in environmental issues

An employee of an environment or science museum.

Now that we know what the BLS constitutes as a green job—even recycled ones; those that already existed—we’ll look at the billions of taxpayer money spent on green jobs. We’ll focus specifically on just two programs: the Loan Guarantee Program and the Renewable Energy Grant Program.

On June 19, 2012, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings on the Loan Guarantee program.

Within her thorough assessment of the program, she states: “since 2009, Department of Energy has guaranteed $34.7 billion in loans, 46 percent through the 1705 loan program, 30 percent through the 1703 program, and 14 percent through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.” And, that “some 2,378 permanent jobs were claimed to be created under the program. This works out to a potential cost per job of $6.7 million.”

The 1603 Grant Program was implemented as part of the Obama stimulus, and is administered by the Treasury Department, with the goal of reimbursing eligible applicants for a portion of the costs of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. Basically, 1603 gives billions in favored-businesses, tax-free cash gifts that do not have to be paid back.The June 19, 2012 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “The Federal Green Jobs Agenda,” highlighted the “gimmick” accounting method used by the BLS.

Testimony revealed that a multi-billion dollar stimulus program, the section 1603 grants for renewable energy, does not even include job creation among its primary objectives—which obviously contradicts the purpose of the 2009 trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package.

Congressional Research Services expert, Dr. Molly Sherlock, deflected direct questions regarding the total jobs created by the 1603 program. “If you’re looking at the direct jobs, this one estimate has direct jobs created at 3,666 in the construction phase, and direct jobs created at 355. Direct jobs would just be the construction jobs and the ongoing operations and maintenance jobs. But if you wanted to look at the supporting jobs in other industries then you’d want to look at the other figures.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) pressed on: “I just want to know how many jobs were created”Sherlock admitted: 355 jobs created a year, for $10 billion—which comes out to about $28 million per job.These two programs have created a combined total of 2733 jobs (a recent Bloomberg Business Week tally of all green jobs through any program cites a total of 28,854 jobs) and are spending an approximate average of $9.1 million per job. (At this rate, to create the 5 million promised jobs, we’d have to spend $45 trillion—not the $150 billion proposed.) I’ll quote Obama Campaign Official Stephanie Cutter here: “It’s really impossible to do the math.”

But, at least, as the 2008 campaign promise stated, these are “jobs that can’t be outsourced,” right? Wrong.There are plenty of green jobs going overseas and taking our money with them. According to CNS News, “The Obama administration allowed millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds to go to foreign companies, despite recent statements by President Barack Obama that he opposes ‘shipping jobs overseas.’”Billions from the 1603 Grant Program went to foreign wind turbine manufacturers—of the 8,317 turbines installed at major wind projects that received 1603 awards, 4,513 turbines (54.3%) came from foreign manufacturers.Fisker Automotive received a $529 million ATVM loan that went in part to build their expensive Fisker Karma car in Finland, and according to ABC News, “Fisker may never build electric cars in the US.”

Meanwhile, First Solar received over $3 billion from the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. During the May 16, 2012 House Oversight Committee hearing, Issa surmised that First Solar is “not an American company.” It turns out that the numbers don’t lie because CEO Mike Ahearn admitted: “in sheer numbers, most of our fulltime [employees] are outside the US.”Just a few examples of helping our economy by creating green American jobs. So much for “made in the USA.”

Before his departure, Obama’s routed green jobs czar, Van Jones, approved a $5 billion home weatherization program that supposedly outfitted homes (mainly for the economically disadvantaged) with the latest green technology in order to reduce energy prices.This was another part of the 2009-stimulus, which in February 2009, Obama declared: “We’re going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we’re going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization.”

Three years into the program, all we got was excessive waste, fraud and abuse, plus more cronyism and corruption—no “Americans back to work.”In fact, “evidence gathered by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization Program) is a stunning example of a management failure which has wasted billions of dollars, done little to achieve energy savings, and may have put people’s lives and homes at risk. While the program may have been a “failure” in terms of the stated goal, Obama’s pals back in Chicago came out winners.

But there are other examples of total inefficiency on the dollars/jobs ratio—interestingly these can be found in another program designed to improve energy efficiency: Retrofit Ramp Up. This program, from the DOE, used “stimulus dollars to have homes insulated and made more energy efficient.” Perhaps Biden remembers inviting Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to the White House as a part of the Retrofit Ramp Up program. Seattle was one of 25 communities to receive a $20 million dollar slice of the $452 million program.

According to a report in The Blaze, the retrofit program used “Stimulus dollars to have houses insulated and made more energy efficient. The plan was to funnel cash into local economies with the intent to create good-paying green jobs while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. … Seattle’s $20 million dollar allocation was projected to create some 2000 “green jobs” and retrofit at least 2000 homes.”However according to Seattle’s KOMO TV, Seattle’s green jobs program is a bust.

One year after McGinn joined Biden at the White House, KOMO reports: “Seattle’s numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.”You might be surprised to know that $500,000 of the taxpayer-funded stimulus spending went to a PR firm to “run a barrage of ads on White-House friendly cable programs.”

The ads promoted the green jobs training program.The cable shows? “According to government records, the Labor Department paid the money in late 2009 to a company that negotiated a media buy on MSNBC’s ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ and ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’ The ad was set to run more than 100 times –– 14 times a week for two months,” yet “the official online entry on the contract listed zero jobs created as a result of the payment.”

There are other stories, such as the one reported by USA Today, in which, according to a government report, $500 million in green job training grants reached just 10% of its job-placement goal. Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates defends the initiative, citing that “it was never designed to provide immediate results.” One grant recipient, Jeffry Lewis of Pathstone Corp., a Rochester, N.Y. non-profit that spent $2.3 million of its $8 million grant and had trained only 25 people, “conceded that job placements have been much slower than anyone would have liked.”

Then, there is the story from Fox News on a whistleblower, who says his college won millions in federal grants to train workers for green jobs that didn’t exist.

Seattle’s KOMO may have most aptly summed up the entire 2008 green-jobs campaign promise: “Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.”

I don’t think so.

There is one other part of the 2008 campaign promise that I must address. Obama talked about these jobs of the future: “jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid … Jobs that will help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East.”

I have to point out that jobs “building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid” do nothing, absolutely nothing, to “help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East.” Wind and solar produce electricity—with which Middle Eastern oil has virtually no connection (unless you tie in the failed electric car efforts).

We have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium within our borders to provide for our electrical needs for centuries to come. Connecting electricity generation and Middle Eastern oil is at best a marketing campaign, at worst: a scare tactic. To “help eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East,” we need to develop our abundant domestic oil resources, not subsidize wind and solar.

While millions of Americans were preparing to watch the debate, I was part of a group gathered in a restaurant to watch the debate between New Mexico’s senatorial candidates: Republican Heather Wilson (my former Congressman) and Democrat Martin Heinrich (my current Congressman). Toward the end of our local debate, Heinrich accused Republicans of turning “their back on the jobs of the future.” With the history of the “jobs of the future,” as Obama called them in the 60 Minutes clip, the Republicans have been wise to turn their backs and run far, far away.

Where are the 5 million jobs Obama promised? I doubt that Biden’s smiling now.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Women care about more than contraception

To listen to the mainstream media’s coverage of the so-called war on women, you’d think the entire election will be won or lost, based on contraception and its availability. But women care passionately about other issues—such as energy, too. Last week, the Independence Institute held a debate organized by, featuring, and for women—about energy. Four of us sparred for 90 minutes. We would have kept at it far longer had the moderator, a woman, not brought it to a close. Each of us had much more to say.

The debate was billed as “Minivan or Smart Car.” We discussed car choice and CAFE Standards, safety, and public transportation. Our opinions represented very different world views. Two of us generally favored less government/more freedom. Two advocated for more government involvement for the greater good. All four of us firmly believed in our positions.

Our viewpoints parallel the greater divide in America, the divide that will ultimately decide the election.

Through these two very different views on energy, that even women care about, one can view the election. I’ll call one side Freedom and the other side Government (with a capitol G). These are huge subjects, but here’s a review of the real debate. This isn’t just the debate that took place on October 10 in Denver, Colorado, it is representative of the bigger debate going on throughout America.

Car Choice and CAFE Standards

Hyundai had an ad campaign that sums up the Freedom side of the argument: “It’s not that complicated, if gas costs a lot of money, we’ll build cars that use less of it.” Bottom line, if the consumer demands higher fuel efficiency cars, manufacturers will build them because they are what sells.

America was at a competitive disadvantage in the fuel-efficiency category. Did they step up to the plate because government created mandates known as CAFE Standards or because people wanted better MPG? Obviously Government and Freedom would hold different sides of this debate.

The CAFE Standards took away public choice. Yes, some people wanted smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient cars. Freedom says consumer demand would have forced the car companies to produce them without government interference.

But, the CAFE Standards killed what was the staple vehicle of its day: the station wagon. The CAFE Standards—which stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy—required that all the vehicles in the passenger car fleet meet certain fuel efficiency standards. The big, heavy station wagon that hauled the family got maybe 10 MPG. It had to go.

New little, lighter vehicles replaced it. The fleet average now met the government mandate. But families still needed transporting. Enter, the minivan. Built on a truck frame, it was exempt from the original standards. Consumer demand created a way around the mandates.

Freedom believes that CAFE Standards are an outmoded model, based on the idea that there is an oil shortage—therefore we need to be forced to use less of it. Apparently, Government isn’t aware of the vast resources in Alaska, North Dakota, or the Green River Formation.

Government vehemently proclaims: “There is no way the US can produce all the oil to drive all our cars.” Therefore, we need electric cars—and, yes, government should “incentivize” the entrance of this new concept into the mature market. This, Government believes, will produce greater technology, more jobs, and a robust economy. Plus, better fuel efficiency and electric cars means less oil consumption and “every bit of oil we don’t put in our cars makes us independent.”

The Government side argues that no one tells you what to drive or buy and that CAFE Standards provided the incentive to make better cars. This way government encourages technology. Using the argument that we all have a house full of different chargers for our electronic devices, Government believes there should be a mandated standard.

Safety

Because the CAFE Standards forced the creation of lighter, smaller vehicles, Freedom believes safety is compromised—mass matters. “Smaller cars, by physics, kill people.”

Government posited that it is not the size that matters but the engineering—after all look at NASCAR. They have fierce wrecks at high speeds and seldom is any one killed. Freedom: Yes, but at what cost? Government chirped: “An extra $2000 on a car vs. my kid in the hospital is a complete no brainer.”

Freedom, once again focuses on choice. There are very safe, expensive cars. But, “Safety isn’t free.” For many people tradeoffs are required. Many factors go into a vehicle selection and price is a big one for most people.

Plus, cars are safer in that you are less likely to get mugged than you would if you were using public transportation and walking blocks in the dark.

Public Transportation

The mass transit topic brought up an interesting “waste” discussion. Government thinks we’ve built our society based on waste. “Our demonstration of wealth is how much space we can enclose whatever we have—bigger houses, bigger cars, fatter bodies.

That’s how we demonstrate our prowess.” This mindset carries into big cars carrying one person. Government claimed that we waste time commuting—3-4 weeks a year. That really hurts the economy because driving in a car is not productive time; not contributing to the economy.

Freedom sees a car commute as flexibility. I can make phone calls (using my Bluetooth, of course), listen to educational materials, or simply adjust from the work day to home-time. Additionally, a car, vs. mass transit, saves time.

We can use our time the way we want to, going directly from point A to C without having to get off at B and change tracks—and without someone else controlling when we come and go. In many cases, a car commute actually takes less time than public transportation.

Both Government and Freedom acknowledge that which works better for the individual depends on where you live—but Government advocates high density as more efficient. Freedom believes that people’s time and lives matter.

Once again, Freedom looked at the cost as everyone, through taxes, subsidizes public transportation. Government thought the tradeoff was worth it because it cuts down on emissions and fuel consumption—having a positive impact on the “commons.”

The debate rages on around water coolers, kitchen tables, and on television.

You can listen to our whole debate online. We’re more than just busy bodies; we are women discussing important issues that matter to us—and all Americans.

You can watch the Presidential debates on television. While the talking points may be different from those in our energy debate, the general themes will echo the freedom vs. government philosophies—two very different views of America. On November 6, each of us will have our say.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Romney to Obama: “You pick the losers”

Mitt Romney’s comment about President Obama’s acumen as a public equity investor: “You pick the losers,” has put Obama’s failed green energy emphasis under the microscope, bringing into question: have any been a success? Well, some haven’t failed, yet.

In our last report, Obama Never Admits Green Energy Failure, we profiled 15 companies that each received funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the stimulus—and have gone bankrupt. In Wednesday’s debate, Romney listed two of our “bankrupt” list: Solyndra, the best known, and Ener1, now known thanks to Romney; and two that haven’t failed, yet: Fisker and Tesla—both electric vehicle manufacturers.

Fisker and Tesla received their funding from the Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATVM), but they are not the only two green energy stimulus-funded projects that are troubled. Here, in this report, we will profile twenty different companies/projects that received funding from various loan guarantee programs (LGP), grants, and tax incentives. These are projects that are still functioning, but are facing difficulties.

Because of the debate exposure, we’ll look first at Fisker and Tesla. Then we’ll move to those that were funded through the Department of Energy (DOE) LGPs 1703 and 1705.

Some of these companies/projects were profiled in our summer green-energy crony-corruption reports that focused on projects that shared these traits: junk bond-rated projects, Department of Interior (DOI) fast-tracked approvals, and politically connected. In these cases, we’ll link back to the original report that offers much more detail than we’ll include here.

The last group, listed in alphabetical order, includes companies/projects that received stimulus funds through other programs—though no less important.

As with the previous report, we’ll list the company/project name and the funds received. For those with political connections, for brevity’s sake, we’ll add an * after the name.

We’ll then include a description with some interesting details and links to additional information for those who want more or who want to check our research. Once again, I am collaborating with researcher Christine Lakatos.

Before we get to the profiles, here’s a quick overview of the primary funding mechanisms used for the Obama Administration’s pet green-energy public-equity investments.

The DOE’s Loan Guarentee Program

Since 2009, DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion – 46% through the 1705 ($16 billion of which 90% are politically connected), 30% through the 1703 ($10.3 billion—AREVA and Georgia Power), and 14% through the ATVM ($8.4 billion and 3 of the five loans are tied directly to Obama).

1703 and ATVM were established prior to Obama—though the funds profiled here were all handed out by the Obama Administration.

The 1705 program was created by the stimulus package, of which we know that 23 of the 26 projects were “junk rated,” and of those same 26 projects, 90% are politically connected. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office, at the request of Congress, reviewed the execution of the LGP.

Their findings note that “LGP scope has expanded both in the types of projects it can support and in the amount of loan guarantee authority available. DOE currently has loan guarantee authority estimated at about $77 billion and is seeking additional authority.”

Three of the companies profiled in our report on the bankrupt projects were funded through the 1705 program: Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Abound Solar. Here, we will cover eight 1705 projects that are on life support or are having problems—putting close to $10 billion of taxpayer money at risk—approximately 1/3 of the $34.7 billion doled out through DOE LGP just to help out Obama and his Democrat cronies (100% of these projects have meaningful political connections).

Fisker and Tesla received ATVM funding.

For the next four years, let’s build the economy and support responsible energy; the stuff we know works: oil, gas, coal, and uranium/nuclear. When the economy is strong again, then we can “invest” in some R & D for the future.

Let’s pick projects that will benefit all Americans, winners, not losers.

ATVM Loans

Fisker Automotive* — $528.7

In September 2009, Fisker received the ATVM loan to build the $87,900 flashy plug-in Karma sports car. Reports at the time stated: “Fisker plans to use $169.3 million of its loan to work with U.S. suppliers to produce the more expensive Fisker Karma, which will be developed at its Michigan and California offices, but then will be assembled “overseas.”

The other $359.36 million will go toward producing “Fisker’s Project Nina, which will be entirely manufactured in the United States.” Fisker expected to “Become profitable by 2011.” ABC reported: “Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright, new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.”

Those jobs didn’t materialize—at least not in America. The Karma was produced in Finland. Two years after the loan was awarded, the Washington Post stated that Fisker “has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs” and announced that the Karma “failed to meet a promised energy-efficiency standard.”

Now, in 2012, Fisker Automotive is laying off staff in order to qualify for more government loans. So, President Obama’s “green” energy stimulus was supposed to create jobs; now it’s destroying jobs so that companies can get more stimulus? Of course, news of defective battery packs and subsequent fires haven’t help sell the Karma. Fisker has faced “multiple 2012 sales prediction downgrades for its first car release, delivery and cash flow troubles.” Though the company has balked at Solyndra comparisons, Fisker may well be on “death’s door.”

Tesla Motors* — $465 million

Like the Fisker Karma, the Tesla roadster is popular with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and other “Silicon Valley luminaries on the waiting list for the company’s super-cool and expensive electric sports cars”—as they are the only people who can afford the $100,000+ sports car.

Despite the fact that Tesla has been successful in raising hundreds of millions in private equity, they still needed the ATVM loan to help it get out of “the proverbial garage.” It looks like the “luminaries” will need to keep waiting. Tesla has been plagued with design problems: “If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a ‘brick’: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street.

The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery.” Other complaints about Tesla include “Over Promise, Under Deliver.” Last month Tesla issued more shares and announced that “Q3 revenues would not meet analyst estimates.” Despite its problems, Tesla, as Forbes green tech writer Todd Woody said, is not Solyndra—though one would be engaging hyperbole to call it a success.

1703 Loan Guarantee Program

AREVA acquired Ausra Inc.* –– $2 billion
In March 2010, this Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) investment that “develops and deploys utility-scale solar technologies,” was acquired by AREVA Inc., the French state-owned nuclear giant.

Two months later, in May of 2010, the DOE offered AREVA Enrichment Services, LLC a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee to support the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As rumors of AREVA “suspending its Idaho uranium enrichment plant” circulated, AREVA CEO Luc Oursel did confirm: “the company has been hit by financial problems that will affect the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility and others worldwide.”

Further, according to John Stossel’s Green Energy Myth July 2012 tally, “Shareholders of AREVA lost over 60% of their money last year [2011]. Why did we enrich the French? Who knows, but it’s awfully fishy when we find our usual green cronyism suspects hovering around “government green” like vultures.

Kleiner Perkins, where John Doerr and Al Gore are both partners and 2008 Obama supporters. Meanwhile billionaire John Doerr –– considered “a very big-ticket Obama donor” by New York Magazine –– influenced the 2009-stimulus, sits on the president’s job council, and in February 2011 hosted a star-studded billionaire Silicon Valley dinner for the president. He just so happened to rake in billions of stimulus money for his KPCB clean-energy portfolio, including Fisker Automotive listed above.

1705 Loan Guarantee Program

BrightSource Energy* — $1.6 billion

Using a proprietary power-tower solar thermal system, BrightSource Energy has a three-unit power system project known as “Ivanpah,” located near the California/Nevada border, south of Las Vegas. The BrightSource loan was considered a bailout, and is clearly a misuse of the DOE Loan Guarantee Program, and a direct violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

According to Peter Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out book, “BrightSource badly needed the infusion of taxpayer cash. It had been losing lots of money. It had a debt obligation of $1.8 billion and, in 2010, lost $71.6 million on revenue of just $13.5 million.”

Despite the fast-tracked DOI approval, this project on federal land, has been plagued with problems. In April 2011, construction was halted because it put endangered desert tortoises at risk of being murdered. So far BrightSource has spent approximately $22 million to relocate and care for some 202 desert tortoises — a cost of $108,910 per tortoise,” and will be spending big taxpayer bucks in the future to help preserve the turtles.

Still, in August of this year “BrightSource Energy (BSE) invited media on a tour of its now half-complete Ivanpah solar power plant,” proclaiming that the solar power plant is on track. However, what the folks at BrightSource aren’t bragging about is the fact that they “lost $111 million in 2011 and [that they] are heavily dependent on government subsidies and government mandates, and that’s not a good place to be in this economic climate,” and this past spring, abandoned their attempt at an IPO.

FirstSolar* — $3 billion, plus suspicious Export-Import bank funding

First Solar manufacturers “thin film” solar modules and is now moving into project development. Considered by the House Oversight Committee as a “scheme,” since the finalization of its $3 billion in taxpayer-funded loans, the company has had a series of issues ranging from being the “biggest S&P loser in 2011,” to the CEO being fired, and tons in between.

In April 2012, FirstSolar laid off 2000 workers and closed factories. In May, a massive round of furloughs was announced. In a May 16, 2012 hearing, CEO Michael Ahern admitted: “in sheer numbers, most of our full-time employees are outside the US.” According to Forbes this past July, “Shares of First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), are selling at their lowest level in five years.

The company, which is the leading solar company in the United States, lost $39.5 million last year. In the first quarter of this year, First Solar reported a loss of $449 million after non-recurring expenses of $405 million.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on September 24, 2012, “First Solar, for example, postponed indefinitely its plans for a second U.S. factory in Arizona because of the weak market conditions.” And, in May, the Heritage Foundation predicted: “It’s just a matter of time before [First Solar] joins the bankruptcy ranks of Solyndra and Beacon Power.”

Nevada Geothermal* — $78.8 million, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants

This geothermal company was heartily endorsed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said: “This project is exactly the type of initiative we need to ensure Nevada creates good-paying jobs.”

Last October, an auditor for Nevada Geothermal Power said the company would probably not survive much longer. At the time, the company laid off 100 workers—which represents a large percentage of its workforce. Recently, the Washington Times revealed that power at Nevada Geothermal (NGP) is dimming and may be the next green-energy bankruptcy. Late last month, it was announced that NGP may transfer ownership to a lender after projecting the facility will produce less power than expected.

NextEra Energy Genesis Solar Project* — $681.6 million

This solar energy project may be the victim of its favored treatment. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The $1-billion Genesis Solar Energy Project has been expedited by state and federal regulatory agencies that are eager to demonstrate that the nation can build solar plants quickly to ease dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming.

Instead, the project is providing a cautionary example of how the rush to harness solar power in the desert can go wrong—possibly costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and dealing an embarrassing blow to the Obama administration’s solar initiative.”

The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform’s March 20, 2012 report says: “To expedite site approval, NextEra opted for a less thorough process.” As a result, the site “encroached on the habitat of the endangered kit foxes.” NextEra had to move the foxes prior to grading the site. “Ultimately, seven foxes died from NextEra’s removal process.”

Additionally, there have been concerns of desert tortoises and a “prehistoric human settlement,” of which the latter has “sparked a potential standoff between Native American tribal groups on one side and the Bureau of Land Management and the solar developer on the other.”

SunPower Corp.* (project bought by NRG Energy*) –– $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee

Despite SunPower’s well-known financial issues, and the fact that it was under a shareholder suit alleging securities fraud and misrepresentations, just days (September 2011) before the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program’s deadline, along with four other solar companies, its $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the DOE was approved.

This $1.2 billion of taxpayer dollars went to build a 250-megawatt solar plant (the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County), “a project that will help create 15 permanent jobs, which adds up to the equivalent of $80 million in taxpayer money for each job.”

While the conditional loan was announced in April 2011, “shortly thereafter, French energy giant Total bought a majority ownership in SunPower and extended a $1 billion credit line to the company.” Now, SunPower never directly got the cash because they sold the California Valley Solar Ranch that received the federal loan to NRG, an energy company based in New Jersey. But SunPower is still developing the project and stands to profit if it succeeds.

The House Oversight March 20th report, noted this project as “non-investment” grade –– part of the DOE’s disastrous loan guarantee program, as 23 of the 26 were junk rated, putting $16 billion of taxpayer money at risk. SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra and twice full of cronyism and corruption –– both SunPower and NRG Energy have meaningful political connections to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats.

Other Stimulus funded projects

A123 Systems* — $390 million

On September 13, 2010, President Obama called lithium-ion electric-car battery maker A123 Systems CEO and said, “This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America—an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars.”

According to Radio Michigan, part of the NPR Network, during the call, which took place at the plant’s opening, Obama touted: this “shows it is possible to build an advanced battery industry in the U.S. basically from scratch.” A123’s primary customer was Fisker Automotive. It is the A123 batteries that caused the “bricking” addressed in the Fisker summary.

In a little more than two years, A123 has laid off 125 employees, seen the stock fall to less than $1, faced lawsuits, and given the Chinese control of the company.

AltaRock* — $6 million, $25 million, plus $1.45 million

AltaRock received $25 million for an Engineered Geothermal System (EGS) demonstration project in Oregon and an additional $1.45 million to develop more efficient EGS exploration drilling methods. AltaRock’s similar venture in California was shut down due to drilling problems after receiving $6 million from the DOE. The Oregon Newberry Project hopes for better results with the testing phase expected to be complete by 2014.

Bloom Energy* — $5 million

Expected to work like magic by creating cheap, clean energy from a refrigerator-size box, known as the Bloom Box, Bloom Energy has fallen from its glory day, February 21, 2010, when it debuted with a segment on 60 Minutes. The Bloom Boxes were to be made in Delaware.

A few months ago, a lawsuit was filed against Bloom “on the grounds that it represents a ‘crony’ deal that will unfairly charge utility ratepayers millions of dollars and bar competitors from the state.” However, a Breitbart report states: “‘cronyism’ may be the least of the company’s problems: the ‘green’ energy its generators produce may, in fact, be less efficient, more expensive, and dirtier than that produced by conventional alternatives.”

CH2M Hill* — $2 billion

Despite their history of problems, CH2M Hill, a consulting, engineering, and construction firm received stimulus funds for the clean-up of nuclear waste from cold war-era sites. The Washington Post reported that CH2M Hill was slated for the stimulus funds before President Obama was even inaugurated.

Senator Patty Hill (D-WA) lobbied for the program and CH2M gave her $16,000 in political contributions. The Blaze reports that CH2M also has connections with former green jobs czar Van Jones. Nonetheless, once the stimulus funds ran out, it was predicted, in January 2011, that 1600 people would lose their jobs. In July, it was announced that 1200 would be laid off. Accuracy in Media has done a thorough investigative report on the Ch2M case.

Chevy Volt* — $151 million, $105 million, plus stimulus funds

A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in a January 2012 report,  accuses President Obama of using an “unusual blurring of public and private sector boundaries” in the case of the Chevy Volt.

The report cites: the Administration has offered substantial taxpayer-funded subsidies to encourage production of the Volt, such as $151.4 million in stimulus funds for a Michigan-based company that produces lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the Volt as well as $105 million directly to GM.” Yet, the Volt has not been a success.

GM has halted the Volt’s production and laid-off 1300 workers. In August, Forbes predicted that “GM is headed for bankruptcy—again”—though not until after the election. Perhaps, as the Washington Examiner suggested, Biden’s bumper sticker slogan “BIN Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” would be more accurate as: “Al-Qaida’s alive and GM is lurching”

ECOtality* Inc. — $126.2 million

The Daily Caller calls ECOtality: “yet another troubled green-tech company that has received taxpayer funds and public support from the White House.” Touted in President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address, ECOtality was supposed to install 1400 electric car chargers in five states and “an estimated 750 jobs are likely to be created over the life and scope of the project.”

Less than 7000 have been installed and according to Recovery.gov, 144 jobs have been created. According to a statement from its SEC filing, “We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.” According to the Heritage Foundation, the company is also under investigation for insider trading.

Johnson Controls — $299 million

The money was supposed to go to making electric batteries and for opening up two factories in the US. Touted as a “success” in an Obama campaign ad, Johnson Controls actually opened only one US factory—and it operates at half capacity.

The second factory was built in Hungary. The US plant featured in the ad has been fined for “$188,600 for exposing employees to higher than permissible levels of lead.” The Heritage Foundation reports that Johnson Controls will be laying off workers.

Montana Alberta Tie Line* — $161 million

A transmission line project that was the first authorized under the stimulus program, the Montana Alberta Tie Line was seen as a good conduit for stimulus money.

The Washington Post reports: “The 214-mile line, known as the Montana Alberta Tie Line, which is supposed to run from Great Falls, Mont., to Lethbridge in Alberta and is designed to facilitate wind generation in northern Montana” is two years behind schedule and $70 million over budget. Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman said the project has come to “a standstill, with no progress being made.”

National Renewable Energy Lab* — $200 million

The Daily Caller reports: “The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.”

Yet, as the Denver Post reports: “The Golden lab, which saw tremendous investment as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus efforts, said it will use voluntary buyouts to cut 100 to 150 jobs.” The Denver Post cites the Governor’s Energy Office, director TJ Deora as saying: “We love having the jobs here in Colorado, but this was anticipated, now that the stimulus money is winding down.”

Schneider Electric — $86 million

The Iowa Republican reports: “Schneider, which bought Square D Company in 1991, has received over $86 million in federal stimulus money. Some of the money went to make energy upgrades to buildings and factories as part of the administration’s Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge.

According to a White House press release, Schneider received the funds because it had pledged to reduce energy consumption in 9 million square feet of building space, covering 40 different plants, by 25 percent.” In May, in the midst of an Obama Iowa campaign stop, Schneider announced that it was cutting 80 jobs—roughly 20% of its Cedar Rapids workforce. Schneider is moving its production line of low voltage circuit breakers to Mexico.

The Iowa Republican closes its report with this: “It is also frustrating to see large companies like Schneider receive millions in stimulus dollars and still relocate jobs to Mexico. Maybe instead of finding ways to keep giving incentives to the wind industry in Newton, the President should explain why companies that have received millions from his administration feel the need to create jobs in Mexico and not Cedar Rapids.”

Serious Material* — $548,100

While you may have never heard of Serious Material, they have one of the most interesting stories. This California-based company has a window manufacturing plant in Chicago, about which President Obama said: “These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world.”

And Vice President Biden said: “This is a story of how a new economy predicated on innovation and efficiency is not only helping us today but inspiring a better tomorrow.” John Stossel reported that Serious Material’s CEO claimed that his factory opening wouldn’t have been possible without the Obama administration.

Stossel says, “He may have known something we didn’t.” In January 2010, “Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials. This must be one very special company.”

How special? Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 in stimulus funds, is married to Robin Roy—vice president of policy at Serious Windows. Breitbart.com calls them “a metaphor for Obama’s political career, featuring strong-arm union tactics, corrupt Chicago politicians, crony capitalism, and media propaganda.” May the metaphor continue. Earlier this year, Serious admitted defeat. They closed the Chicago plant.  About 46 workers lost their jobs.

Solar World Industries America — $4.6 million

A subsidiary of Germany’s Solar World, the US company received funds through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy—about which Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced “more than $145 million for projects to help shape the next generation of solar-energy technologies and ensure that the United States remains a leader in the global market.” Apparently that wasn’t enough for Solar World.

After Solar World complained that Chinese solar-panel manufacturers benefitted from unfair subsidies by Beijing, the US Commerce Department announced tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels. Shortly thereafter, Fox News reported: “Solar World and others had seen their market share plummet as sales in inexpensive Chinese panels have skyrocketed.” Solar World stock price has dropped 75% and Chief Executive Frank Asbeck has given up his pay “until the company is profitable again.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States’ Businesses, Way of Life Bolstered by Land & Wildlife

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Energy/Environment, Social/Cultural

Nearly Half of Westerners Rely on Land & Wildlife for Recreation.

DENVER — A new state-by-state analysis by the Center for Western Priorities shows that abundant fish and wildlife on public lands are essential for the long-term health of Western economies.

In 2011, wildlife-related recreation contributed $3 billion into Colorado’s economy. Wildlife enthusiasts and sportsmen and women contributed nearly $1 billion to New Mexico’s economy, and in Montana, they contributed $1.4 billion.

Aside from the economic boon public lands provide, they are also part of our way of life. Regardless of industry, a considerable portion of Westerners participate in wildlife-based recreation.

Approximately 4 out of 10 New Mexicans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Montanans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Utahans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 5 out of 10 Coloradoans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 6 out of 10 Wyomingites Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation

To view full analysis and interactive charts click here.

Maintaining abundant fish and wildlife is important for the long-term health of our Western economies. Westerners and visitors love to travel around our region, visit our public lands, and hunt, fish or merely observe our wildlife. Money spent by those hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts provides a critical source of revenue for local economies across the Rocky Mountain West.

A recent survey released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illustrates the importance of protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat. Men, women and children throughout the Rockies spend their free time exploring our open spaces, viewing wildlife, hunting game and fishing in our streams, lakes and reservoirs.

In New Mexico, nearly 4 out of 10 residents partake in some form of wildlife-related recreation, be it hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing. In Colorado, 5 out of every 10 residents participate in wildlife-associated recreational activities.[i]

Approximately 4 out of 10 New Mexicans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Montanans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Utahans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 5 out of 10 Coloradoans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 6 out of 10 Wyomingites Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation

In 2011, wildlife-related recreation contributed $3 billion into Colorado’s economy. Wildlife enthusiasts and sportsmen and women contributed nearly $1 billion to New Mexico’s economy, and in Montana, they contributed $1.4 billion. That money’s going to local retailers, community grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, and outfitters. [ii]

In order to protect these jobs and businesses that so many Western families depend on, we need responsible oil and gas development that accounts for wildlife’s importance to our Western way of life and our Western economies. That means ensuring energy development isn’t done in a way that damages our public lands and wildlife resources.

[i] 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
[ii] 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

This article was submitted by the Center for Western Priorities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Claus Mentality of Progressives

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Politics

The October 1st Albuquerque Journal included a guest Op-Ed by Sherry Wenz, “Bleeding the Rich,” in which she argued cogently that the Progressive goal of making the wealthy pay more taxes will not solve our economic troubles.

Wenz’s piece should remind us that there is abroad in our Progressive polity a pernicious Santa Claus mentality:  I can have everything I want and force someone else to pay for it.  This description of the Progressive mindset would seem to be as good a definition of the Progressive concept of fairness as one is likely to find.

What is it about the soft socialism of Europe that Progressives don’t understand?  The web is full of stories on Europe’s woes:  “Eurozone Unemployment Hits Record High,” “One in 10 Workers Has Taken Time off for Depression,” “Greek Youth Unemployment Hits 55%,” “Spain Riots over Night! Europe is Falling,” and “Riots in Greece and Spain over Efforts to Trim Government Spending.”  In short, soft socialism has reduced much of Europe’s economy to a shambles.

We are today at a tipping point.  About half of Americans pay no income taxes, the largest source of revenue for the federal government.  Please don’t tell me about the other taxes these people pay.  The next largest source of government revenue is the withholding tax that is supposed to support Social Security and Medicare.

This means that the half of the American body politic that pays no income taxes can vote for politicians who promise them more government payouts.  Surely, reasonable people can see that this is a recipe for disaster.  It is an open invitation to demagogic politicians to seek election by promising more programs and more payouts.

Think today of “Obama” phones, promises of more Pell grants, promises of relief from college loans, ending work requirements for welfare recipients, record numbers on food stamps, record numbers on disability, etc.

There is a quotation of uncertain provenance which states:  “A democracy will continue to exist until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

Regardless of the source for this quotation, it should serve to remind us of the extreme danger posed by the irresponsible tax-and-spend policies of Progressives.

In 1787, when Benjamin Franklin emerged from the Constitutional Convention, which had just concluded, he was reportedly asked by a certain Mrs. Powel if the convention had given our nation a republic or a monarchy.  Franklin’s famous reply was:  A republic if you can keep it.  This election may well be our last chance to keep our “Great Republic.”

This article was submitted by Don Baucom of El Prado, NM


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newest State Senator takes office Oct 26th

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

The newest New Mexico State Senator will be sworn into office on Friday. Republican Pat Woods of Broadview, New Mexico will take his oath of office at the Curry County Courthouse in Clovis at 4:00 p.m. on October 26, 2012.  He will represent District 7 which includes the far Central Eastern and Northeaster part of the state.

“Releasing the New Mexican potential” is what Woods said he looks forward to helping to do while in office. “I believe in a better state, a better world,” Woods said on the eve of his swearing-in. “I am grateful to be in a position to work towards re- releasing the American initiative, releasing the New Mexico spirit so hardworking men and women can once again strive for their dreams. I want them to reach their potential with the encouragement of government, not with government intrusion or interference.”

Woods, who  is a farmer and a rancher and who operates a 100-year-old family farm said he recalls his 94-year-old grandfather telling him that the current generation will see and experience changes in their lives that he  never could have imagined.  Woods said it is an exciting time in history and that he will take every opportunity in his new position as a State Senator to help shape a better future for the next generation, while offering encouraging the current generation.

Woods said education is key to success. “Parental involvement is critical in the education of their children so they will be prepared to start school with their young minds focused on education,” Woods said. “We need to encourage that parental involvement, without it, the state will need to step in with incentives for early childhood initiatives.”

Water is also a critical for the future of Eastern New Mexico, Woods said.  “Water is a major issue in Eastern New Mexico. Our main concerns are where future water supplies will come from so we are able to have future development.”

Woods said a pipeline from the Ute Reservoir, which is the nearest source of renewal water,  is something he  will help develop. In the meantime, he said he will investigate an opportunity for the agricultural industry to lease some of its water from the underground aquifer into a pipeline that could be used by Clovis and Portales residents.

He says the Ute pipeline should be started next to Clovis so the potential of leased water from the ag industry could begin flowing as soon as possible and before a pipeline is completed all of the way to the Ute Reservoir.

As a State Senator, Wood said he would also like to take the opportunity to examine the control of the Federal Government over land in the state and the best used for those lands for the betterment of New Mexicans.

Woods said he looks forward to working towards repealing the state law that allows people who are in the state illegally to obtain New Mexico drivers’ licenses.

“What part of illegal do they not understand,” Woods said, “We should not be encouraging people to come to our state illegally by awarding them with our New Mexico state sanctioned driver’s licenses. It is a security issue that has the potential to threaten the safety and security of our state.”

Woods was appointed to the State Senate seat by Governor Susana Martinez to replace Republican Senator Clint Harden of Clovis who chose not to run for re-election and resigned his seat earlier this month.   Woods is the only candidate on the ballot in the general election for District 7 and would have taken office in January 2013. He will be one of 42 State Senators, all of the Senate Seats are up for election this November.   He will represent District 7 includes portions of Curry, and Quay and all of  Union Counties.   Woods will be sworn-in by District Court Judge Ted Hartley.

This was submitted by the New Mexico State Senate at the State Capitol, Santa Fe. Contact: 505-986-4702

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patients, Physicians and Advocates Launch Campaign to Protect Patients with PTSD Access to Medical Cannabis

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Healthcare, Politics

Continued access to medicine is being threatened by a request to withdraw PTSD as a qualifying condition for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. Military veterans and other patients to petition the Governor and the Secretary of Health – Don’t Take Away Our Medicine.

(Santa Fe, NM) – Today, more than 3,000 New Mexican residents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are actively enrolled in our state’s Medical Cannabis Program. Many of them are military veterans, patients living with disabilities, and victims of serious trauma and violent crime. Unfortunately, their continued access to medicine is being threatened by a request to withdraw PTSD as a qualifying condition for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.

On July 29th, 2012, William Ulwelling, M.D. submitted a petition to the Department of Health requesting PTSD be removed from the list of eligible medical conditions for enrollment in the NM Medical Cannabis Program.  His petition will be heard by the program’s Medical Advisory Board at a public hearing, November 7th from 1 – 5 pm at the Harold Runnels Building, 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe.  The Secretary of Health will have the final decision.

“We deserve access to effective medical treatments whether we’ve just come home from combat or we are suffering debilitating symptoms from other trauma,” said Chris Hsu, NM Medical Cannabis Patient’s Alliance’s Vice President.

In defense of keeping PTSD as an eligible condition, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patient’s Alliance, the Drug Policy Alliance, and others are banding together for a campaign they are calling, Don’t Take Away Our Medicine – a Campaign to make sure the voices of PTSD patients are heard loud and clear.

“When I returned home from Afghanistan I was diagnosed with PTSD. I worked with my doctor and tried many prescription drugs. Taking handfuls of pills every day, every one with a different set of side effects was hard on my body, and I still experienced some symptoms,” said Michael Innis, who served in the General Infantry and who was awarded a Purple Heart after the convoy he was traveling with got hit by an IED and was then ambushed. “Cannabis was not my first choice of medicine, but I tell you first hand, this medicine works for me. Cannabis allows me to leave my house and has helped me to return to work.”

The Campaign is standing up to protect the legal rights of patients to access safe medicine. They are asking for all compassionate New Mexicans to join them in telling the New Mexico Secretary of Health and the Governor to protect the rights of seriously ill New Mexicans and to reject the request to rescind PTSD as a qualifying condition by signing on to the Campaign: https://secure2.convio.net/dpa/site/SPageServer?pagename=MedicalCannabisNMPetition

“Tell them not to turn their backs on veterans, patients with disabilities, and victims of trauma and violent crime,” said Nat Dean, another medical cannabis patient diagnosed with chronic pain and PTSD.  “We deserve access to the medicine that works for us. Don’t take away our medicine.”

The right to use medical cannabis was approved in 2009, when PTSD was added to the list of conditions eligible under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. Since then PTSD has become the disabling condition most frequently indicated by patients in the program, and today accounts for 40% of the diagnoses of the citizens in our state’s medial cannabis program.

“The current pharmaceutical cocktails given to sufferers of PTSD have limited efficacy, have significant debilitating side-effects, and have in many cases proven deadly,” stated Lisa Walker, M.D. a board-certified psychiatrist. “Given these facts, along with the experience of thousands of patients whose quality of life has been improved by its use, medical cannabis should continue to be an available treatment for the suffers of PTSD.”

“We will not allow the removal of PTSD as a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program to happen quietly,” said Emily Kaltenbach, the NM State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Patients deserve, above all, the freedom to choose the safest and most effective treatment for their disabling conditions — whatever that treatment might be.”

On November 8th, DPA is also re-launching an updated version of Healing a Broken System with current numbers and new material related to medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment for veterans diagnosed with/suffering from symptoms of PTSD. This report examines the significant barriers that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face in obtaining effective treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems, and the tragic consequences of leaving these wounds of war untreated.

This article was submitted by: The Drug Policy Alliance. They can be reached at: www.drugpolicy.org or by phone at: 505/920-5256

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Third Bill of Rights”

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Let’s be inspired by FDR’s grand impetus for turning around a troubled economy.

In his final State of the Union Speech (SOTU), President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 11, 1944, called on Congress to implement a “Second Bill of Rights” – an “economic bill of rights”, that would guarantee:

A job with a living wage, Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies, Homeownership, Medical care and Education

Roosevelt did not argue for any change to the Constitution. Rather, he contended that these rights – to be implemented politically, not by federal judges – were needed because the political rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had proved “inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.”

Over the course of the ensuing decades, we made great strides toward achieving these goals. FDR had already introduced the minimum wage in 1938, and after the war wages expanded, homeownership increased, Medicaid and Medicare were created, and college and trade school enrollments soared. All of this coincided with a prolonged balanced expansion of the economy.

Today, though, we’ve fallen far back from these relative high water marks. The wages of 90% of workers have stagnated in real terms since 1967. The homeownership percentage has shrunk. Fewer employers offer quality medical insurance and pensions. And more than 28 million workers are now unemployed in real terms, with income inequality at an unprecedented level.

There is very little “equality in the pursuit of happiness.”

Thus it is that we need a “Third Bill of Rights” added to FDR’s list: the right of workers to freely join a union, and the right of all Americans to fair elections, with limits on large anonymous contributions and free access to voting booths

Years before FDR’s SOTU in 1944, his National Labor Relations Act recognized the “right to self-organization [and] to form, join, or assist labor organizations.”

Then in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized that “everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” And of course, the First Amendment has always similarly been read to protect freedom of association. But since the 1960s, when 30-35% of private-sector workers were unionized, the American labor movement has declined significantly. Today only about 7% of these workers are unionized.

I’ve spent a career negotiating deals, and ultimately all negotiations come down to bargaining strength and leverage. When labor was strong, workers achieved fair income growth and the country as a whole prospered. Today, however, the decline of organized labor as a bargaining power has not only adversely impacted wages for the bottom 90% of Americans; it has severely impacted our ability to achieve the other goals laid out in FDR’s address.

And in protecting the right of workers to organize, we would also be protecting their right to a retirement lived in dignity.

We also need to make campaign finance a civil rights issue.

We can’t expect the politicized Supreme Court, the similarly politicized Congress, or the underfunded and thus hamstrung SEC, to address the massive wrongs wrought by Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, American Tradition Partnership v. State of Montana and SpeechNow v. Federal Election Commission – a collection of judicial decisions which has made our electoral process captive to vast and mostly anonymous contributions from big business.

While none of the large corporations that now dominate American elections is specifically anti-civil rights and anti-civil liberties, every one of these companies, in order to advance its corporate, management, and sometimes global trade agenda, contributes huge amounts of money to federal candidates who are often anti these things.

Indisputably, these big business contributions are directly enabling closed voting booths, insensitive immigration policies, regressive tax policies, continuing attacks on reproductive rights for women and equal rights for gays and lesbians, and blatant union busting.

The nation’s civil rights, civil liberties and labor organizations should all demand an end to political contributions that work against a fair and inclusive society. And if Congress won’t respond, then this demand should be taken directly to consumers and the marketplace.

We need to protect FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, and now we also need to turn around and better balance our troubled economy. This new two-point “Third Bill of Rights,” also enacted politically, would both form a ‘national collective bargaining unit’ large enough to reinvigorate middle working-class Americans and restore fairness to our democracy.

The author can be contacted at comments@intermediaadvisors.com. He is the former CEO of AT&T Broadband and its predecessors, Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) and Liberty Media, and is currently an investor in media companies.

This article was submitted by Leo Hindery, Jr. a regular contributor to the New Mexican Voice


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marita Noon on Energy Part I

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

The following articles have been combined from several submissions by Marita Noon during the month of October. – Editor

OPEC bets on Obama

First it went up—an expected reaction to the expanding anti-American riots taking place in the Middle East and Israel’s “hawkish statements.” Then, almost inexplicably, it went down—while the reasons for the increase remained intact.

Industry experts have come up with a variety of explanations as to why the price of crude oil suddenly dropped from “a four month high of $117.95”—with American gasoline prices at “the highest ever level for this time of the year”—to “their lowest in six weeks.”

A wide range of reasons are offered: expiring futures contracts; doubts about the pace of global economic recovery; the restart of production, shipment, and refining following hurricane Isaac; a bigger than expected increase in US crude oil stocks; a decrease in the spread between WTI and Brent; improved vehicle-mileage standards; and even the fat fingers of a trader.

One week ago, when oil prices reached their current peak, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, said that crude oil ought to be at least $150 a barrel. The reason? “Current oil prices were not high enough to threaten the world economy.”

Make no mistake. The Arab world is well aware of the potential choke-hold the countries have on the “world economy,” and they like the control position. They enjoy it when American presidents grovel, and even bow.

They know we have to come to them and press for more production every time the geopolitics—much of which they control—heats up the price of oil. Addressing the “highest ever,” “for this time of year” gasoline prices of $3.87 a gallon, the Financial Times states: “The White House is watching.” There are rumblings about a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

A current AP article heralds: “Gas prices, not jobs stats, are key numbers for voters.” The subtitle hammers the point: “Gas prices and grocery bills are more likely to sway voters than the monthly jobs report, economists and pollsters say. Gas prices are nearing $4 per gallon and could be key in deciding the presidential race.”

Four-dollar-a-gallon is widely believed to be the current tipping point at which the public goes berserk and beseeches the president to do something—though as CNBC anchor Brian Sullivan chirps “for the majority of the country, $4 gas isn’t going to doom our economy… it looks like $5 is the new $4 when it comes to gas prices and the economy.”

While President Obama obviously can do little to calm the radicals rioting in the streets, burning our flag, and shouting anti-American epitaphs, with November 6 in his sight, Obama can ask OPEC for more oil—and more oil supply lowers the price of gasoline and increases his re-election chances. In the tight race, he needs every possible advantage.

Iran’s representative on the board of governors of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Ali Khatibi, gloats: “The United States is trying to artificially bring down prices by pressing oil producing countries to raise output.”

Enter Saudi Arabia—the kind and caring Saudis. Yes, the very same Saudi Arabia ruled by King Abdulla with whom President Bush held hands and to whom President Obama scraped and bowed. There are apparently no news reports on a White House emissary visiting King Abdulla to press for increased output, yet, as the Financial Times reports: Saudi Arabia “has been offering extra oil to its customers.” (Italics added)

Maybe Michelle Malkin was wrong when she said about President Bush: “The hand-holding has gotten us nowhere—and in fact, has made us less secure.” Not likely.

The same Financial Times article quotes “a Gulf-based oil official,” who said that last week’s high oil price was “too high” and that the kingdom “would like to see oil prices back to $100 a barrel.”

So, days apart from each other, we have neighboring OPEC countries saying that prices aren’t “high enough” and that they are “too high.” Which is your truth depends on your goal. Iran’s comment references threatening the world economy—to them it isn’t “high enough.” Saudi Arabia is less ideological; more self-preservationist—to them it is “too high.” But, too high for what?

America has long been known as the Saudi Arabia of coal. Now, we are called the Saudi Arabia of natural gas—even the Saudi Arabia of wind. Recent US discoveries are reported as containing four to six times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

We could well be the Saudi Arabia of oil—which would mean we don’t need them, and we can supply our own needs and much of the world’s. Without US dollars, how would they drive their Ferraris, adorn themselves with designer goods, and send their children to private American schools?

Question: Saudi Arabia thinks oil prices are “too high” for what?

Answer: Too high for President Obama to get re-elected.

Saudi Arabia is betting on Obama; they have a vested interest in his victory. They know that if Obama gets a second term, America’s riches in natural resources will stay in the ground, and we’ll remain dependent on them. Therefore, Saudi Arabia has “pledged to keep output high to meet demand” “through the end of the year”—might we say, through the election?

Upon hearing my premise, former Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones—with whom I shared the platform at a speaking engagement Friday night, agreed, and added: “Obama doesn’t need to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, he’s got Saudi Arabia doing it for him.”

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has promised to build the Keystone pipeline and develop domestic resources—both of which will bring more North American oil to market, increase supplies, lower prices, and loosen the choke-hold OPEC maintains on the world economy.

If Mitt Romney wins, OPEC loses.

If the US average gasoline price stays above $4 a gallon, OPEC knows that Obama’s chances of re-election are diminished, but if they can keep prices low by pumping more “through the end of the year,” it helps Obama’s re-election efforts.

If Obama wins, OPEC wins. If OPEC wins, America loses. There is no win/win.

No wonder OPEC is betting on Obama.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

New emails prove White House lied about DOE green-energy loans

When he is confronted about the failed green-energy loan program, President Obama deflects blame—pointing to “career bureaucrats” in the Department of Energy (DOE) who supposedly approved the loans that have become an embarrassment to the White House.

For months, along with researcher Christine Lakotos, I’ve been reporting on, first, the junk-bond rated projects (such as Solyndra) that received fast-tracked approval from the DOE and, then, the failed and troubled stimulus funded companies.

Solyndra was just the tip of the iceberg. Embarrassment after embarrassment has come to light as the projects touted as the hope for America’s future have filed for bankruptcy, sent money and jobs overseas, and faced technical difficulties.

The 1705 loan guarantee program had 460 applicants, but only 7% were approved—26 projects were funded. Of those 26 projects 22 were junk-bond rated—meaning private investors wouldn’t fund them. So why did we, the taxpayers?

Our research showed that at least 90% of the projects had close ties to the White House and other high ranking Democrats. Despite the obvious connection, President Obama has repeatedly denied any involvement—preferring to blame “career bureaucrats” who could take the fall with no political consequence.

In March, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, testified that, “We looked at the loans on their own merits.” Also, back in November 2011, he said: “I am aware of no communication from White House to Department of Energy saying to make the loan or to restructure.”

Just last week, on October 26, President Obama affirmed Chu’s position when he said: “Decisions made in the loan program office are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.”

However, late Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a new report of “over 150 emails that contradict statements by the President, Secretary Chu, and White House and DOE officials.” The emails reveal a series of questionable practices, including coercion, cronyism and, cover ups.

The Committee has been asking for the emails and additional testimony since the Solyndra story broke in September of 2011, but the DOE has been refusing to cooperate. Emails were finally leaked from former DOE employees. Some of the incriminating evidence includes the following:

From an email dated March 1, 2010 from David Schmitzer, DOE LPO Director of Loan
Origination to LPO Credit Advisor McCrea and others: “Jonathan just said at our staff meeting that, opposite the message received on Thursday, AREVA is now a “go” (seems on Friday POTUS himself
approved moving it ahead).”

From an email dated June 25, 2010, LPO Executive Director Jonathan Silver encourages LPO Credit Advisor Jim McCrea to remind a Treasury official of White House Interest in now bankrupt Abound Solar:  “You better let him know that WH wants to move Abound forward. Policy will have to wait unless they have a specific policy problem with abound.”

From an email dated September 9, 2010 from LPO Credit Advisor McCrea to
DOE contractor Brian Oakley: “Pressure is on real heavy on SF [Shepherds Flat] due to interest from VP.”

These emails are just a snippet of the 150 emails we are reviewing as a part of the just-released report. We have covered each of the projects listed above and will report further.

We know that the Obama Administration operates from a “culture of corruption,” now we see that there is also a culture of deception within the White House walls. The White House green lies are bigger than innocent, little white lies, they are expensive green lies that have produced $34.7 billion in red ink for the taxpayers. The Obama green energy program is the largest, most expensive, and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Obama cares more about Big Bird than real birds

The number of days until the election can now be counted on both hands. Regardless of the outcome, we know one issue will be buried under the fiscal-cliff news—where it hopes to fly under the radar. This one issue? The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy—which is bound to be present in lame-duck session negotiations, as it is currently scheduled to expire on December 31.

Using taxpayer dollars, the PTC supposedly “makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity”—though wind energy is still more expensive than traditionally fueled electricity and raises the costs for both residential and industrial users.

Throughout the year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been working valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to get the PTC extended. They are now down to the wire and are getting panicked—sending military veterans to meet with staffers of GOP members who are believed to be “persuadable,” and even calling on pension fund managers to put pressure on House and Senate leadership. Their only hope for salvation is the lame-duck session.

Should Romney win, the lame-duck pressure will be even stronger as he has stood in opposition to the PTC extension. In a Romney White House, wind energy will need to be viable without taxpayer subsidy or borrowing from China. After twenty years, it should be, but as we’ve seen, it isn’t.

By contrast, President Obama is proud of his “investments” in wind energy. In April 2011, before Pennsylvania wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa started layoffs, he gave a speech at the Fairless Hills plant in which he announced: “I want the United States to be the leading manufacturer of wind power. I want it made right here in the U.S. of A.” Throughout the campaign season, “President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy.”

Gamesa is just one of several wind turbine manufacturers who’ve announced layoffs because of the impending PTC expiration. Others include Clipper Wind in Iowa and Vestas in Colorado. All blame the “uncertainty of the PTC.” Orders for new turbines have “screeched to a halt.”

Stories of closures and lay-offs make a very weak case for the PTC’s extension, as none of those tell the net-jobs picture. Many independent studies have concluded that wind development is a net jobs loser, but AWEA isn’t mentioning that detail, and is hoping that “persuadable” Republicans won’t notice that reality. Layoffs in the wind industry pale in comparison to those faced as a result of the Obama Administration’s harsh regulations impacting coal mining and coal-fueled power.

Dramatic stories of closures and lay-offs make a compelling case for the PTC’s extension and pressure “persuadable” Republicans to give in—and the AWEA is counting on it. While most of us are watching polling data, the AWEA is applying pressure.

No one wants to be the meanie who puts people out of work—especially in this economy. But, especially in this economy, the real costs must be considered.

A new report, Subsidizing Big Wind: The Real Costs to Taxpayers, has just been released. Subsidizing Big Wind points out that the PTC “is only one of the subsidies given to the wind industry.” In it, Robert Bryce analyzes all the subsidies the wind industry enjoys: direct subsidies, subsidies in the form of mandates, subsidizing wind-energy jobs, and subsidizing wind companies by exempting them from prosecution. The report shows that “no other part of the energy industry receives such preferential treatment.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Obama won’t cede green energy failures

If he succeeds in his run for a second term, President Obama doesn’t intend to tone down his efforts to push for green energy. Instead of learning from his mistakes, he plans to “do more.”

During his recent sit down with Steve Kroft for the interview that aired on 60 Minutes, the President was asked about green energy—though the clip was omitted from the program that the American public saw.

Kroft: “You said one of your big campaign themes was that green energy, the green economy, was going to be a tremendous generator of jobs and that has not turned out to be the case, yet.”

Obama: “We have tens of thousands of jobs that have been created as a consequence of wind energy alone. Is that enough? Absolutely not. Can we do more? Yes. … This is still an industry in its infancy. … Has it all paid off yet? Absolutely not. But I am not going to cede those new jobs, the jobs of the future, to countries like China or Germany that are making those same investments.”

One could argue that the $80 billion, plus, in stimulus funds that were designated for green energy projects have “paid off”—just not for the American tax payer.  During the summer, with the help of researcher Christine Lakatos, I produced a series of reports on the Obama green-energy, crony-corruption scandal.

Through those reports, we profiled a series of companies and showed how people with political connections to the Obama Administration had a return on their green energy investment that “paid off” at rates greater than anything available on Wall Street. Each report detailed the players involved, their connections to the White House and/or other high-ranking Democrats, such as the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and powerful Senator Diane Feinstein—something we can expect “more” of in his green-energy, green-economy emphasis during an Obama second term.

No, President Obama is not going to “cede.” He will not admit failure; he’ll do more. We can expect more failure— à la Solyndra, which is only the most well-known green energy, stimulus fund failure.

Here, in a new series of reports, Lakatos and I will expose the various failures of Obama’s green-energy expenditures: projects that have gone bankrupt (approximately 19), those that are heading that way (approximately 20), and the jobs he says he has created (at an average cost of $6.7 million per job)—all while raising energy costs, serving as a hidden tax on all Americans.

I’ve done dozens of radio interviews on the Obama green-energy, crony-corruption scandal reports, during which I am repeatedly asked about the stimulus recipients that have gone “belly up.” The number is difficult to calculate, as there are various ways to view the data. Did they get grants, loans, loan guarantees, tax incentives or credits, or some combination? Through which programs were the funds distributed?

In this first-of-the-series report, we use a broad brush—if the green-energy project received funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (known as the stimulus) and it went bankrupt, we’re covering it.

Our research shows that, to date, 15 projects belong in this first group—though there are several other projects for which there is not enough data available to make a definitive conclusion, that appear to have received some form of Stimulus funds and have gone bankrupt (we’ve listed them at the end). In an effort to produce an easily readable report, we will not go into detail regarding each and every project that involves “crony corruption.”

Instead, we’ll simply place an * after the project/company’s name to indicate a political connection (more than 60%). We’ll provide the pertinent facts and a few interesting details. We’ll start with Solyndra—because it is the most widely known. Next we’ll cover Abound Solar and Beacon Power. Like Solyndra, they’ve received a fair amount of press. The remaining projects are presented here in alphabetical order—unless you follow this topic closely, you probably never heard of any of them. We are including links that will take you to additional information.

As you read through the list below, think about the Obama administration’s attitude toward these projects. Do you want “more” of this?

Solyndra*

Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011

What started as an unworthy investment, snagged a 2010 White House endorsement, only to become a public relations nightmare that included a loan restructuring (an apparent violation of the law) and even a plot to hide the company’s troubles from the 2010 midterm glare. Solyndra became a cautionary tale of sorts: a failed Obama green investment, one of the first to go kaput, unethical executive bonuses included, leaving in its wake FBI raids, and a trail of resignations and damning emails, all evidence that Obama’s “clean” energy is dirty.

Research informs us that, “Every Obama Chief Of Staff, staffers across numerous agencies, government watchdogs, even Solyndra investors knew that the risks were too high for taxpayers.”

Solyndra, which came from humble junk beginnings, now has its place in history: an art exhibit at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, at the price tag of half a billion taxpayer dollars.

Abound Solar*

Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. Abound was awarded a $9.2-million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012

President Obama, in July 2010, praised Abound Solar, which was to make advanced solar panels in two locations: Colorado and Indiana. He believed these plants would be huge job creators: “2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.”

In December 2011, CEO Craig Witsoe called Abound Solar the “anti-Solyndra” saying that his company “doing well and growing.” However, just months after that optimistic report, Abound Solar filed bankruptcy—blaming cheap imports from China. Todd Shepherd, an investigative reporter for Colorado Watchdog found that “Abound’s problems appear to have been rooted in the quality of its own products, the competitiveness of the business model, and its inability to retain top talent.”

Beacon Power*

Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million. Bankrupt: October 2011

Beacon Power was to have provided a much-needed link to make the renewable-energy dream a reality: energy storage. The biggest, chunk of cash—$43 million was awarded to Beacon to create a 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant. Despite the fact that Standard & Poor’s ran two default scenarios with dismal conclusions, the DOE ignored S&P and its own internal analysis and finalized the loan guarantee in July 2010.

Perhaps it was the Washington insiders connected to Beacon that got the loan through. While the ink was still drying on the loan, ABC News reported: “In March 2010, the Massachusetts energy storage company paid cash bonuses of $259,285 to three executives in part due to the progress on $43 million energy loan.” Despite Obama’s animosity toward “executive bonuses,” these have been off his attack radar as Beacon Power is one of his chosen winners—that lost 15 months after being anointed.

AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage*

Received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment on August 2, 2010. Bankrupt: December 31, 2011.

There is some controversy on this company. AES Eastern Energy Limited Partnership filed for Bankruptcy. The parent company, AES Corporation was not included in the filing. AES Energy Storage received, according to a DOE announcement, “a loan guarantee for $17.1 million to support the construction of a 20-megawatt energy storage system using advanced lithium-ion batteries.”

CBS News did an investigative report that connected AES Energy Storage with AES Eastern Energy and news coverage of the bankruptcy includes “13 affiliated entities.” The following facts cannot be ignored. Kristina Johnson served on the board of AES from 2004-2009 and then again has served as a director since January 2011. In between, she served as Undersecretary for Energy at the DOE—during the time that AES Energy Storage received the loan guarantee, once complete, she was back at AES. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Amonix*

Received $6 million in federal tax credits a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012.

The Amonix website describes them as: “the leading designer and manufacturer of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) commercial solar power systems.” On January 8, 2010, President Obama announced $5,889,149, a 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit for Amonix’s Las Vegas Facility And $3,629,998, a 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit for Amonix’s Phoenix Facility.

On August 7, 2010, in a speech about the economy at University of Nevada Las Vegas, President Obama praised the success of the program.  On March 22, 2011, Amonix received a $355,056 Grant, on April 26, 2011, it received a $2,079,827 grant and on May 24, 2011, received a $5,276,414 grant—all through the 1603 Program.

On September 1, 2011, Amonix was awarded $4,474,000 through DOE’s Sunshot Initiative. Nearly a year after Obama’s visit, on May 18, 2011, Amonix opened the North Las Vegas facility. A month later, Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, visited the plant and said: “It’s companies like this and its programs that we’re trying to do here that will really propel us forward to create jobs, to create prosperity and to create green energy.” A year later, the 700 employees who worked there at its peak were all laid off.

Azure Dynamics*

Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012

Azure Dynamics was a British Columbia-based electric-vehicle firm. It supplied hybrid and electric powertrains for Ford’s electrified Transit Connect vans. Azure also made gasoline-electric hybrid buses. In 2010, the city of Terre Haute, Indiana, bought two of them with stimulus funds.

The buses are reported to have been a “maintenance nightmare.” Before bankruptcy, the buses frequent repairs had been paid for by Azure. Terre Haute will now, likely, be responsible for repairs. The buses were painted red and green to “symbolize the transition from the conventional buses to new green technology.” As it turned out, the red and green symbolized a watermelon—from the outside, it appears to be green. Once you look into it, you see red ink. Azure Dynamics laid off 120 employees worldwide.

Babcock & Brown*

Received $178 million in the largest federal (1603) stimulus wind grant in December 2009. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009.

The “gone with the wind” story is a little tricky and has many facets starting with a remarkable detail, millions in grants went to wind farms built before the stimulus even passed. You’ll be “blown away” by the fact that the majority of these “wind energy grants” doled out by the Obama administration went overseas.

According to a February 2010 analysis of the program by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, “money from the 2009 stimulus bill to help support the renewable energy industry continues to flow overseas.”

But here is where it gets more twisted, $178 million, the third largest 1603 grant, was awarded to Babcock & Brown in December 2009 (four months after it went bust), a bankrupt Australian company that built a Texas wind farm using turbines made by a Japanese company.”

In March 2010, Pattern Energy Group, based in San Francisco, acquired the 283.2 MW Gulf Windenergy project in Texas for an undisclosed sum from Babcock and Brown, which was placed into voluntary liquidation in March 2009.

Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar

Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit. Bankrupt: February 2011.

Uni-Solar was a maker of thin-film solar products for commercial rooftops. Energy Conversion Devices, the parent company of Uni-Solar, was a solar-laminate supplier. Both represented hope for the future for Greenville, Michigan. Both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Hundreds were laid off.

Ener1*

Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: January 26, 2011.

Based in Greenfield, Indiana, Ener1 was to make batteries for electric cars. One year to the day before Ener1 filed for bankruptcy, on January 26, 2011, Vice President Biden toured the factory and bragged: “Here at Ener1, we’re going to harness electricity and bring it to the world, like Edison did more than a century ago.”

Nearly a year later, in the State of the Union address, President Obama affirmed his belief in batteries: “In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.” Three days later, Ener1 filed for bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal cited “the mismatch between production and market demand” as the cause of Ener1’s causality.

Evergreen Solar, Inc.*

Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies. Bankrupt: August 15, 2011

We know that Evergreen Solar received monies from the state of Massachusetts, but because the various funds given to Evergreen Solar are “unreported and impossible to track,” we have to work to connect Evergreen Solar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the stimulus.

In an April 22, 2009 White House announcement, the stimulus is credited with providing funds that would allow Evergreen Solar to hire “90-100 people.”

Other reports indicate that Evergreen Solar “received $5.3 million of stimulus cash through a state grant to install 11,000 photovoltaic panels installed at 11 colleges and universities, a recycling facility and an education center in Massachusetts.” Once the “darling of the US solar industry,” Evergreen blamed its demise on Chinese rivals and 800 people lost their jobs.

Konarka Technologies Inc.

Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon. Bankrupt: June 4, 2012.

Konarka is another Massachusetts solar panel technology company. Like Evergreen, Konarka has received funding from a wide variety of government programs—yet they, too, filed for bankruptcy. Addressing the 183 companies that would get a total of $2.3 billion worth of tax credits for clean-energy manufacturing projects in 43 states as a part of the Stimulus—one of which was Konarka—President Obama, stated: “Building a robust clean-energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future—jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.” Approximately 85 jobs were lost when Konarka went bankrupt.

Raser Technologies

Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011.

Raser Technologies is a renewable energy company focusing on geothermal power development. However, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, it “had problems making its technology work.”  Post collapse, “the company that once portrayed itself as leading a geothermal revolution describes itself as the stooge in a cruel and costly joke, one centered around the very technology that it once proudly hailed.” The taxpayers are not laughing.

SpectraWatt*

Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus. Bankrupt: August 23, 2011

SpectraWatt was a solar-panel manufacturer that was spun off of Intel, based in New York where it expected to take advantage of “the most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in the U.S., mandating that 25% of the State’s energy be derived from renewable sources by the year 2013” and where they were offered tax breaks to open a manufacturing plant.

Likening the solar-panel business to the microprocessor industry in the late 70s, Andrew Wilson, the former general manager in the Intel New Business Initiatives group, SpectraWatt’s CEO, said, “There is a lot to be figured out and improved.”  He added, “Intel’s silicon expertise translates in the solar cell industry, even though there are significant differences in the end product.”  The company was to focus on improving solar cell efficiency—how well a panel converts light to electricity—as well as cutting the overall cost per watt. Instead, the spinoff spun out.

Stirling Energy Systems

Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing tax credits. Bankrupt: September 28, 2011.

Stirling Energy Systems made large, 38-foot-high reflective dishes, which concentrate sunlight onto a Stirling engine to generate electricity. Stirling’s technology was to be used at the Imperial Valley Solar project, about which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, it would “advance the president’s agenda for stimulating investment in cutting-edge technology, creating jobs for American workers, and promoting clean energy for American homes, businesses and industry.”

Construction on the Imperial Valley Solar has been stopped due to an injunction granted last year, after a Native American group filed a suit against it.

Thompson River Power LLC

Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603. Bankrupt: July 2, 2012.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Thompson River Power (TRP), a Montana Power plant, “shows how efforts of President Barack Obama’s administration to fund green-energy jobs extend beyond high-profile failures such as Solyndra LLC.” The plan was that TRP would operate on 100% renewable biomass.

The Biomass Power Association said of TRP: “Upon completion of testing and minor conversions to biomass, TRP is a worker-ready resource, which will employ 18 full-time, family-wage workers at the site, as well as an additional 30-40 jobs for the responsible biomass fuel collection and progression of defensible communities in Sanders County.”

Unconfirmed:

LSP Energy

Mountain Plaza Inc.

Olsen Crop Service/Olsen Mills

Willard & Kelsey Solar Group

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Obama’s energy leadership shouldn’t be followed

Because energy security is such a vital component of U.S. foreign policy, it was disappointing that it received little more than a brief mention in the final Presidential Debate.

Early in the debate, President Obama, once again, lauded his policies for decreasing America’s oil imports. This is hardly something to brag about. Gasoline consumption is down due to the overall bad economy—fewer people driving to work; and the high prices—fewer people driving for pleasure travel, like a vacation.

He also tried to take credit for the increased oil and gas production at home. It’s been frequently proven that production is up, not because of his policies, in spite of them.

Obama reaffirmed his commitment to “clean energy,” claiming that such “technologies will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020.” Fact checkers are not likely to extend their efforts there, so allow me.

The President has sunk billions and billions of taxpayer dollars into failing enterprises—Solyndra and A123 Systems are just the first and the most recent domino to fall. The majority of these “clean energy” companies produce electricity—and we do not import electricity. Generating more electricity from wind and solar will not “cut our imports in half.”

The only way to “cut our imports in half” is to open up federal lands to exploration and extraction, and expedite permitting to encourage domestic drilling. During last night’s debate, Governor Romney reiterated his commitment to “taking full advantage” of our domestic resources.

In his closing statement, Governor Romney said: “The President’s path will mean continuing declining in take home pay.” While he didn’t specifically address energy here, it is a factor.

As energy costs continue to rise—both electricity and transportation fuels—under President Obama’s policies, everyone’s disposable income goes down with the poor being hit the hardest. The middle class can’t stimulate the economy by buying a new dress, computer, or car, and the poor have to make harsh decisions between heating and eating. The disadvantaged become even more disadvantaged. With “the kind of leadership” President Obama has shown, let’s hope that on November 6 his followers are few.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

 

 


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