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Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

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Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby Ned Flanders » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:21 am

Half a bil down a rathole? What did Obama know and when did he know it?

Solyndra loan: White House pressed on review of solar company now under investigation

EXCLUSIVE | The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory, newly obtained e-mails show.

The Silicon Valley company, a centerpiece in President Obama’s initiative to develop clean energy technologies, had been tentatively approved for the loan by the Energy Department but was awaiting a final financial review by the Office of Management and Budget.

The August 2009 e-mails, released exclusively to The Washington Post, show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan and noting a looming press event at which they planned to announce the deal. In response, OMB officials expressed concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project without adequate time to assess the risk to taxpayers, according to information provided by Republican congressional investigators.

Solyndra collapsed two weeks ago, leaving taxpayers liable for the $535 million loan.

One e-mail from an OMB official referred to “the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra.” Another complained, “There isn’t time to negotiate.”

more...

Solyndra was a favorite of the administration until two weeks ago, when the company abruptly shuttered its factory and filed for bankruptcy court protection, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers on the hook for the loans. Last week, FBI agents searched the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters in a raid that Miller said appeared linked to the loan guarantee.

more...

“Solyndra was the hallmark of the President’s green jobs program and widely promoted by the administration as a stimulus success story, right up until its bankruptcy and FBI raid,” Upton and Stearns said in a statement on Tuesday. “Let’s learn the lessons of Solyndra before another dollar goes out the door.”

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.) — Democrats on the committee who had once defended the choice of Solyndra — last week also questioned whether they had been misled. In a letter, they wrote that Solyndra chief executive Brian Harrison “did not convey to us the perilous condition of the company, and the Committee should know why. ”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... print.html
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby JohnWS » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:53 am

It's definitely going to have legs. This could well be the vince-foster-monica-lewisnsky thing the rightwing noise machine has been praying for.

But if you want a real discussion, I would counter with this quote:

"2) Solyndra proves the loan-guarantee program is a flop. Not quite. The Energy Department’s loan guarantee program, created in 2005 with bipartisan support, has guaranteed nearly $38 billion in loans for 40 projects around the country. Solyndra represents just 1.3 percent of that portfolio — and, as yet, it’s the only loan that has soured. Other solar beneficiaries, such as SunPower and First Solar, are still going strong. It’s also worth noting that only a small fraction of loan guarantees go toward solar. The program’s biggest bet to date is an $8.33 billion loan guarantee for a nuclear plant down in Georgia, attracting plenty of Republican support. Improper political influence in the process is disturbing, but, at least so far, Solyndra appears an exception, not a rule."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezr ... ezra-klein
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby gargantua » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:15 am

It's bad. I'm not even going to try to defend the process. However, this President, any President, has a lot on his plate. I really, really doubt that he used his personal influence to push this along, or even paid very much attention to it. If all the facts ever do come out, I am sure that it will be yet another example of overzealous underlings going overboard in service of the boss's agenda. And in so doing, they gave conspiracy theorists everywhere another opportunity to make their dark insinuations.

"What did he know and when did he know it?" C'mon, man!
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby JohnWS » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:26 pm

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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:21 am

Up the food chain:

Obama fundraiser linked to loan program that aided Solyndra

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles— The White House faced mounting political complications as a second top fundraiser for President Obama was linked to a federal loan guarantee program that backed a now-bankrupt Silicon Valley solar energy company, and as two California lawmakers called for investigations of a state tax break granted to the firm.

Steve Spinner, who helped monitor the Energy Department's issuance of $25 billion in government loan guarantees to renewable energy projects, was one of Obama's top fundraisers in 2008 and is raising money for the president's 2012 reelection campaign.

more...

The largest investments in Solyndra were funds operated on behalf of the family foundation of billionaire George Kaiser, another major fundraiser for Obama in 2008. Kaiser has denied personally investing in the solar energy company or talking to White House officials about the loan.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nati ... 2974.story
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby rabble » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:57 am

In the words of Jon Stewart, you guys should call a doctor. That erection you've got has lasted longer than four hours.
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby fisticuffs » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:06 am

One poor investment doesn't negate the entire solar industry. George Dubya Bush managed to run 2 oil companies into the ground but the American people didn't seem to care at the ballot box and he was directly involved in those companies.
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby DCB » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:08 am

gargantua wrote:It's bad. I'm not even going to try to defend the process. However, this President, any President, has a lot on his plate. I really, really doubt that he used his personal influence to push this along, or even paid very much attention to it. !


Look, when you see billions of dollars flowing to a company that used to be headed by the vice-president, its pretty clear its war profiteering, plain and simple.

We're talking about Halliburton, right?
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby JohnWS » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:16 pm

DCB: Hilarious, but Dems are (correctly) held to higher standards. I hate the "both sides do it" counter. Both parties are to some extent corrupted by corporatism, but the degree is demonstrably asymmetric.

A reality based discussion would admit that some fraction of these loan recipients _should_ go under. If not, then the loans aren't taking the risks they are intended to. The fact that they went bankrupt is not evidence of gov't malfeasance.

Two open questions that need to be pursued: was due diligence followed in the fast tracking process, and was favoritism shown in the award.

Both of those questions have reasonably high standards of proof to be answered in the affirmative. I'm staying tuned, but so far I haven't seen anything but opportunistic political haymaking.

On a side note, what's the over/under on when China makes more renewable energy than we do? On when it makes a larger fraction of its total power consumption renewable than we do? My bets: 2013 and 2016. Any "free-markets-are-holy-and-perfect-types" want the over?

Didn't think so.
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby Bland » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:21 pm

I won't deny the possibility that there might be some shadiness here, but here's a little perspective about what this actually cost us.
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby jonnygothispen » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:07 pm

fisticuffs wrote:One poor investment doesn't negate the entire solar industry. George Dubya Bush managed to run 2 oil companies into the ground but the American people didn't seem to care at the ballot box and he was directly involved in those companies.
He ran 3 oil companies into the ground. In Arbusto (shrub in Spanish) oil, he was partners with Salem Bin Laden, Osama's brother.

Then Shrub, informed that Harken would see losses the next quarter, made and illegal insider trade of $858K selling his stocks before they fell. The SEC investigated as outlined by US News & World Report in 1992, and found 4 violations by the Shrub, but declined to prosecute "at this time." No wonder, his dad's personal lawyer ran the SEC then, and they used Shrub's personal lawyer for guidance in the case.

"W" then managed to invest $600K of this money in the Texas Rangers, then walked away with $14.9 million a few years later after setting up a Government agency to seize private land, 90 acres more than they needed, and having the Arlington taxpayers foot the bill for the stadium, $135 million, and the lawsuit "W" lost when the landowners sued and won for another $7 million. But you know how that darned liberal media protects these guys...
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby Ned Flanders » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:03 pm

Starting to see a pattern...

Obama raising with Missouri stimulus beneficiary

"President Barack Obama will raise money in early October with a Missouri businessman whose company benefited from a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.

Tom Carnahan, a scion of Missouri’s most prominent Democratic political family, is listed on Obama’s campaign website as a host of a $25,000-per-person fundraiser to be held in St. Louis on October 4.

His investment firm, Wind Capital Group, was helped by a sizable credit authorized in the stimulus, for an energy project in northwest Missouri. "

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/09 ... z1YnuZgwHP
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby JohnWS » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:20 pm

I stay very interested in this. Still looks like a good risk, proper procedures and channels, etc etc to me.

To my liberal brethren: I reiterate, the proper defense of this is not "The Republicans are even _more_ corrupt, so there!" Yes its true. But its not the standard by which I want to measured, nor the administrations I vote for. Please remember, the "Both sides suck" line helps the party that claims Gov't is the problem.

To Ned: do you really feel you've uncovered a pattern? 2 bil in alternative energy loans (in a program started long before Obama as I'm sure you know.) What are the odds of it being invested _without_ connecting to single person involved politically in any way with our system? Take a guess, ball park estimate. I think once you do that, you'll start to see the difference between mathematicians like to call a 'sufficient condition' and 'necessary but not sufficien't one.

Or did I misunderstand you and didn't mean to imply that these two data points are statistically significant?
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:35 pm

JohnWS wrote:Or did I misunderstand you and didn't mean to imply that these two data points are statistically significant?

You misunderstood Ned in assuming he knows a single thing about statistics.
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Re: Solargate: About to Go Supernova?

Postby JohnWS » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:42 pm

Dana Millbank:

[...]

"What McConnell neglected to mention is that Solyndra was cleared to participate in this loan-guarantee program by President George W. Bush’s administration. He also did not mention that the legislation creating the loan-guarantee program, approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005, received yes votes from — wait for it — DeMint, Hatch and McConnell."

Dana still makes the very fundamental error of assuming any loan to a company that goes bankrupt is by definition a poor loan, but asking for a moderately sophisticated understanding of risk is lot to ask from a pundit.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... story.html
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