Green Pigs Don’t Fly

Green Pigs Don’t Fly

By Jeffrey
Folks

Reportedly, Obama’s jobs speech will focus on
infrastructure spending, and much of that spending will undoubtedly be tied to
the creation of “green jobs.”  The problem is, what he has already spent has not
created jobs.  According to the Heritage Foundation, it may well have
cost
jobs
.  It has, however, enriched some of his wealthiest political
contributors.  And that seems to be the real motive behind the president’s
infrastructure spending.  Not green jobs, but green pork.

That appears to be the case with Obama’s $535-million
loan guarantees to Solyndra Inc.  During a 2010 visit to Solyndra’s plant in
Fremont, California, Obama insisted that the solar panel company would create
“one thousand long-term jobs.”  Solyndra has since declared bankruptcy, and it
seems unlikely that the taxpayer will recover any of the $535 million in
loans.

The half-billion that Obama threw away on Solyndra is
only a small part of $60 billion earmarked for alternative energy in Obama’s
2009 stimulus bill, and that $60 billion is only a fraction of the $100 billion
that Energy Secretary Stephen Chu envisions “investing” in alternative energy.
Solyndra is not the only green jobs company to receive stimulus funding —
hundreds of them did.  And dozens of them have gone bankrupt already, including
Evergreen Solar, taking billions of taxpayer money with them.

The GAO’s Franklin Rusco has raised questions
about the transparency and rigor of the approval process for the Solyndra loan
guarantees.  It has been suggested that the White House took a special interest
in Solyndra during the loan guarantee application process, monitoring the
process, and perhaps communicating with officials in charge.

That should be a question for congressional
investigations, and thankfully the investigations have begun.  The House
Committee on Energy and Commerce is seeking White House documents regarding
Obama’s role in obtaining the loan guarantees for Solyndra.  So far, the White
House has stonewalled, refusing to supply the requested
documents.

Reportedly, Solyndra CEO Christian M. Gronet, who
received ten
million
stock options on the same day the $535-million loan
guarantee was approved, donated to “Friends of Barbara Boxer” in 2009/2010.
According to other reports, Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a
prominent Obama campaign contributor and bundler, was a major Solyndra investor
as well.  It is an open question as to whether political contributions from
Solyndra executives and investors influenced the administration’s decision to
back the loans.

The latest green power company to receive federal loan
guarantees is SoloPower Inc., which just this month revived a $197-million loan
guarantee to build a solar film factory in Oregon.  The initial phase of the
project, funded with the help of the federal loans, along with $40 million in
loans and tax credits from the state of Oregon, is expected to create
170
new jobs
,
according to company projections.  By my calculation, that is $1.4 million per
job — not exactly a bargain for taxpayers who will then also have to pay higher
fuel bills as a result of green energy mandates.

Before coming to SoloPower, CEO Tim Harris was a
successful executive at Seagate Technology, where he is credited with setting up
an operation creating 15,000 jobs.  Those jobs were not in America, however;
they were in Malaysia, the same country where First Solar, another major
recipient of Obama loan guarantees, has located most of its new
jobs.

In fact, Obama’s green energy stimulus has done more
for job-creation in Malaysia and China than it will ever do in the U.S.  Under
Obama’s massive loan guarantee program, the American taxpayer has footed a
$60-billion bill largely for Asian job creation.

Ironically — or perversely — the president is doing
everything possible to kill off the one industry that is producing jobs that
cannot be exported to Asia.  America possesses vast new reserves of oil and gas
that can be developed only with American labor.  If only the administration
would rescind unnecessary regulation, those jobs would double virtually
overnight.  Not only that, but federal and state royalty collections would
double as well, and the U.S. trade balance would stabilize as less oil and gas
was imported.  But so far, the president continues to press for more taxes on
conventional energy companies.  And never at any time has it occurred to him
that it might be in the national interest to support energy independence by
making it easier for American energy companies to drill right here in
America.

The White House continues to insist that the $60
billion in alternative energy funding, along with tens of billions approved in
other legislation, was a wise “investment.”  Most real investors,
having lost billions on alternative energy, would shy away from solar and wind
projects.  But Obama continues to throw money away.  In September alone, the
president approved an additional $622 million in loan guarantees for solar
companies.  Even Democrats like Senator Jeff Bingaman admit
that Obama’s loan guarantees “have not worked.”  Yet Bingaman himself introduced
a bill to fund a “clean-energy bank” to make more loans to the same kind of
companies.  Apparently, Bingaman’s logic is, “It doesn’t work, so let’s do it
again.”

That seems to be the rationale for Obama’s latest
green jobs initiative.  Bingaman is asking for $10 billion for his clean-energy
bank.  I’m sure Obama will top that by a couple hundred billion.  That funding,
if approved, will disappear into the pockets of Democratic Party supporters,
just as surely as it has in the past, though much of it will be passed along to
Democratic candidates in the 2012 elections.  If that sounds like “pay to play,”
you can draw your own conclusions.

After all, the guiding principle behind Obama’s green
jobs initiative all along has been how much it will contribute to his own
reelection.  The fantasy of green jobs presented him with a unique opportunity
to please environmentalist supporters while at the same time rewarding wealthy
contributors who also happen to be investors and executives in alternative
energy companies.

It is unlikely that Obama will ever desert this
winning combination, even as his scandalous relationship with one bankrupt
company after another comes to light.  No matter how many billions end up being
wasted, the president will continue to insist, as did an official at the
Department of Energy just last week, that the green jobs program “is on pace to
create thousands of jobs.”  Already Obama has spent as much as $10 million each
for the thousands of green jobs, he claims to have created.  Is there no limit,
and no shame?

Actually, there is not.  Because more important than
actual green jobs is green pork.  Obama is relying on green pork, along with
union pork and trial lawyer pork, to get him reelected.  Green jobs are at the
heart of his domestic agenda because green pork results in donations to the
Democratic Party.  Whether it results in any jobs, to say nothing of “long-term”
jobs, is irrelevant.  It’s his own job that Obama is focused on
saving.

Jeffrey Folks is author of many
books and articles on American culture, most recently
Heartland of the
Imagination

(2011).

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The Hate Speech Inquisition

Lead Story

The Hate Speech Inquisition

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 19, 2011 08:36 AM


Tucson massacre + Red Queen politics = Hate Speech Inquisition.

I noticed a new game the blamestream media is playing this week. It’s the same game they played with Sarah Palin last week: Blame the victim. After a slew of Democrat leaders issued open threats against talk radio, conservative radio hosts rose up to defend themselves. And now, the BSM is deriding those who work in talk radio for inserting themselves into the Tucson massacre story and for having a “persecution complex.”  No, really.

This week’s column also spotlights the repeated attempts by Red Queen open-borders radicals to insert themselves into the Tucson shooting rampage that had no more to do with illegal immigration than it did with talk radio.

On a related note: The worst sheriff in America is still mugging for the cameras.

***

The Hate Speech Inquisition
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

There isn’t a shred of evidence that deranged Tucson massacre suspect Jared Loughner ever listened to talk radio or cared about illegal immigration. Indeed, after 300 exhaustive interviews, the feds “remain stumped” about his motives, according to Tuesday’s Washington Post. But that hasn’t stopped a coalition of power-grabbing politicians, progressive activists and open-borders lobbyists from plying their quack cure for the American body politic: government-sponsored speech suppression.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting rampage, Democratic leaders mused openly about reintroducing the Orwellian “Fairness Doctrine” – a legislative sledgehammer targeting conservative viewpoints on public airwaves. New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter assailed the Federal Communications Commission for failing to police broadcast content and vowed to “look into” more aggressive language monitoring. Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey blamed “incendiary rhetoric” for triggering “unstable individuals to take violent action.” In his own manifesto calling for resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn pressed public officials to “rethink parameters on free speech.”

This week’s fashionable new media meme is to deride talk radio hosts for taking these speech-squelching threats seriously. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman sneered at the “persecution complex” of conservative broadcasters who reacted to Slaughter and company. Politico’s Keach Hagey dismissed concerns about the Democrats’ chilling campaign against right-leaning media outlets and knocked conservative talkers’ “defensive posture.” (Sound familiar? This is the same tactic they used against Sarah Palin and all those on the right falsely accused of being accessories to the Tucson massacre: Attack ‘em. Attack ‘em for responding. Accuse the smear victims of playing the victim card. Repeat.)

Make no mistake: The Hate Speech Inquisition is real. And it’s being fought on all fronts. Last week, using the non-radio-inspired Tucson massacre as fuel, the National Hispanic Media Coalition called on the FCC to gather evidence for the left’s preconceived conclusion that conservative talk radio “hate speech” causes violence. It’s Red Queen science — sentence first, research validation later.

The head of the NHMC is Alex Nogales, who has filed more than 50 petitions to deny broadcast licenses and has led anti-corporate crusades to “force” broadcast stations across the country “to hire Latino reporters and anchors” and adopt “diversity initiatives.” Grabbing the Tucson shooting limelight, Nogales told Broadcasting and Cable magazine last week:

“We can’t stand there with our arms crossed and make like there isn’t a reason why this is happening. … We started this dialog(ue) in the last immigration debate four years ago. We could see that it was just out of control. It started with just an issue of immigration, then every pundit on radio and TV who wanted an audience started talking about it and started using the worst of language, and now it has spilled out into mainstream.”

Loughner’s wild Internet rants and creepy campus meltdowns clearly demonstrate that crazy doesn’t need a motive. But progressive censors need their bogeymen, and Nogales isn’t about to give them up for reality’s sake. The NHMC first filed a petition in October 2009 demanding that the FCC collect data, seek public comment and “explore options” for combating “hate speech” from staunch critics of illegal immigration. The petition followed on National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia’s call for media outlets to keep immigration enforcement proponents off the airwaves “even if such censorship were a violation of First Amendment rights.”

Nogales’ group is part of a larger “media justice” coalition dedicated to curtailing and redistributing conservatives’ political speech under the guise of diversity and decency. As left-wing philanthropists at the Media Justice Fund put it: The movement “is grounded in the belief that social and economic justice will not be realized without the equitable redistribution and control of media and communication technologies.” But, hey, we better just ignore these communications control freaks lest we be accused of suffering a “persecution complex.”

The Praetorian Guards of civility keep telling us that “words matter.” Threats should be taken seriously, they insist. Except, of course, when those words and threats are uttered by those hell-bent on regulating their opponents’ discourse out of existence.

Congress sees no budget rush

Congress sees no budget rush
By: Jonathan Allen
April 12, 2010 04:16 AM EDT
Congress is poised to miss its April 15 deadline for finishing next year’s budget without even considering a draft in either chamber.

Unlike citizens’ tax-filing deadline, Congress’s mid-April benchmark is nonbinding. And members seem to be in no rush to get the process going.

Indeed, some Democratic insiders suspect that leaders will skip the budget process altogether this year — a way to avoid the political unpleasantness of voting on spending, deficits and taxes in an election year — or simply go through a few of the motions, without any real effort to complete the work.

Regan LaChapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), would go only so far as saying that the budget “is on a list of things that are possible for this work period” — a reference to the window that opens when members roll back into town Monday and closes when they leave around Memorial Day.

Congress has failed to adopt a final budget four times in the past 35 years — for fiscal years 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007 — according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. If the House does not pass a first version of the budget resolution, it will be the first time since the implementation of the 1974 Budget Act, which governs the modern congressional budgeting process.

The practical consequences of failing to produce a federal budget for next year are about the same as they are for a family that doesn’t set a plan for income and spending: Congress doesn’t need a budget to tax or spend, but enforcing discipline is harder without one. And, like a family that misses out on efficiencies because it hasn’t taken a hard look at its finances, Congress can’t use reconciliation rules to cut the deficit if the House and the Senate don’t adopt the same budget.

But there are political consequences to the budget conundrum, too — and for Democrats, they’re of the “damned if you, damned if you don’t” variety.

Republicans are certain to castigate the majority Democrats if they fail to put a fiscal blueprint in place amid a public backlash against spending and a torrent of dire warnings from economic experts about the consequences of imbalanced federal books.

But they’ll also call Democrats on the carpet if they approve a new budget that includes more spending, higher deficits or increased taxes.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the government’s books must be put in order through tax increases or slashing spending for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off — until the day they cannot be put off anymore,” Bernanke said.

 

Similar warnings have been issued in the past week by Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who is an adviser to President Barack Obama.

But there’s little appetite for taking on these issues in an election year and plenty of ways for the minority party to inflict pain upon anyone who tries.

In the Senate, expedited procedures allow for relatively quick consideration of a budget resolution — no filibusters need apply — but senators may offer an unlimited string of politically charged amendments culminating in a vote-a-rama certain to provide Republican challengers with fresh campaign ammunition.

Just last month, when the Senate considered a fiscal 2010 budget reconciliation bill dealing with health care, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) tried to jam Democrats by forcing them to vote against an amendment that would have prohibited sex offenders from getting drugs for erectile dysfunction through the new health care exchanges.

And in the House, rank-and-file lawmakers are showing signs of political fatigue from a series of difficult votes, including enactment of the stimulus and health care laws and passage of a controversial climate change bill last year.

All of that raises this question: Why would Democratic leaders expose themselves and their rank and file to so much political risk, particularly when there’s no guarantee that the House and Senate could come to agreement on a final version?

After all, the budget itself is nonbinding, and the process to finish it is daunting: committee action in the House and Senate, painful floor votes in both chambers, negotiations to resolve differences if there are any and a second set of tough votes on a compromise version if needed.

Still, there’s an institutional interest for the budget committees in delivering a work product every year to demonstrate their importance. Even as most of the Capitol’s budget writers were tied up calculating costs and savings in the new health care law in the first quarter of the year, preparations for the fiscal 2011 budget were under way in both the House and the Senate budget committees.

Moreover, many Democrats believe they have a responsibility to at least try to put a budget in place.

Congressional aides said that Democratic leaders will have to make a decision soon after they reconvene this week about whether they can finish a budget before Memorial Day.

What’s lost in the absence of a budget, first and foremost, is the ability to write filibuster-proof reconciliation bills, which are the best vehicles for cutting spending or raising taxes in a highly partisan Senate.

In addition to reconciliation instructions, a budget also provides spending-control mechanisms, such as the 302(a) allocation that caps appropriations for the year, and can include “reserve” funds that grant lawmakers certain flexibility in budgeting for new laws.

But even if a budget isn’t in place, appropriators have tools at their disposal to implement an overall spending cap and individual suballocations for each of the committees’ 12 annual bills.

This Wheel’s On Fire For the Democrats, trouble is coming.

This Wheel’s On Fire

For the Democrats, trouble is coming.

BY Matthew Continetti

April 9, 2010 11:49 AM

As liberals engage in one of their periodic celebrations of how open-minded and intelligent they are, it’s worth taking a moment to assess just how bad a political situation they’ve created for the Democrats. Consider:

Gallup says the Democrats are at their lowest level of approval in 18 years.

The new Fox poll has Obama at 43 percent job approval.

The Pollster.com poll of polls has Obama’s disapproval at 48 percent.

Democratic congressmen continue to flee the sinking ship.

Nate Silver says there’s a better than one-in-ten chance that Democrats lose more than 55 House seats on Election Day.

Obamacare is no more popular than it was before passage (indeed, opposition is on an upward trajectory), and the idea of repeal is relatively popular.

Liberals tend to blame the economy for this horrible situation. But the macroeconomy is slowly recovering (GDP, stocks, and jobs are up), while Democratic fortunes continue to fall. Another tactic is to blame an “anti-incumbent” environment. But, as John Podhoretz points out, those incumbents are all Democrats.

Obama, Pelosi, and Reid misread the 2006 and 2008 elections and embarked on an agenda of which the public heartily disapproves. The stimulus failed. Government-centric housing policy has failed. Health care became law despite public resistance. The Obama budget projects massive deficits and debt far into the future. Taxes, regulations, and interest rates are all set to rise. Absent a massive change in policy and tone on the part of Congress and the White House, it’s hard to see how the Democrats avoid a very, very bad November. Of course the sluggish economy will play a role. But overall, it’s the agenda, stupid.

New Car Test Drive

We were out shopping yesterday for a new ride. Just for fun, Pat and I took a Cadillac Escalade out for a test drive. I wanted to sense that Escalade “feel” before they become extinct…
The salesman sat in the back seat describing the car and all its wonderful options.

The seats were of particular interest.  He explained that the seats directed warm air to your butt in the winter and directed cool air to your butt in the summer heat.

I stated the car must be a Republican car.

Looking a bit angry, he asked why I thought it was a Republican car.  I explained that if it were a Democrat car, the seats would blow smoke up your ass year-round.

We had to walk back to the dealership…

Max Baucus on Obamacare’s hidden agenda – redistribution of wealth

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 5:08 PM

Max Baucus is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Democrat most responsible fo Obamacare’s final shape other than Nancy Pelosi.

In an unusual speech on the Senate floor moments ago, Max Baucus declares that the “healthcare bill” to be  “an income shift, it is a shift, a leveling to help lower income middle income Americans.”  Baucus continued, “[t]oo often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind.  Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America.  This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

Max Baucus on Obamacare’s hidden agenda – redistribution of wealth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY4Qbv7gPbo&feature=player_embedded

Baucus’ candor is appreciated, though the fact that he waited until the bill passed to announce the real agenda behind the massive tax hikes isn’t a profile in courage.  And the seniors on fixed income who are about to lose Medicare Advantage would laugh at Baucus’ pseudo-populism.

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Republicans target Democrats on US healthcare reform

Republicans target Democrats on US healthcare reform

6:03pm EDT

* Democrats who backed healthcare overhaul face attack ads

* Republicans aim to oust House Speaker Pelosi

* Liberal coalition stands up for Democrats

By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) – Vulnerable Democratic U.S. lawmakers who backed President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plan are being targeted with freshly cut Republican TV attack ads.

The spots hope to convince voters that the landmark healthcare measure, which narrowly won final congressional approval on Sunday, is a bad idea and that the lawmakers who supported it should be defeated in the November election.

“After all this wheeling and dealing, we still have a cost-raising, tax-increasing bill,” an announcer says in one of a number of ads by the House Republican campaign committee set to begin airing this week. “Stop the madness.”

Ken Spain, the committee’s communications director, indicated that a few dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives, many facing tough re-election campaigns, may eventually be targeted.

He dared the Democratic Party to go ahead with plans to try to defend them and build support for the overhaul.

“The more Democrats talk about the healthcare bill, the worse it gets from them,” Spain said.

With Obama expected to sign the measure into law on Tuesday, surveys show the public opposes it, by about 50 percent to 40 percent.

The legislation would expand the government health plan for the poor, impose new taxes on the rich and bar what are seen as insurance industry abuses, such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Republicans have denounced the plan over the past year as a costly and misguided federal takeover.

Democrats reject that and contend public support will grow once people know more about the benefits and are trying to get that message across.

Democrats intend to highlight key elements of the healthcare bill that will take effect this year. These include providing tax credits to small businesses to purchase insurance for employees; increasing funding for community health centers and permitting young people up to age 26 to be on their parents’ health insurance policies.

Health Care for America Now, a coalition of more than 1,000 liberal groups — labor, civil rights, women organizations — is standing up for Democrats who voted for the bill.

The coalition said it would begin airing TV spots on Tuesday, entitled, “On our side,” to thank Democrats for preventing the well-financed insurance industry from killing the bill.

“These representatives were there for us, and we’re letting them know that we will be there for them,” said Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling said he expects the healthcare bill to hurt Democrats in the November election.

“A lot of voters simply believe that the president and Congress should have been more focused the past year on the economy,” Jensen said. “In order for Democrats to avoid a really bad election in November, the economy is going to have to turn around.”

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele e-mailed a fund-raising letter on Monday to rank-and-file members.

“Let’s fire Nancy Pelosi,” Steele wrote, noting that if Republicans pick up 40 seats in the 435-member House in the November election, they will take control and Pelosi will no longer be speaker. (Editing by David Alexander and Chris Wilson)