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JDN
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« Reply #250 on: July 04, 2011, 09:05:16 AM »

Actually, I guess the rules of law still do mean something.  It's "perfectly legal", albeit a bit "unseemly", but "they all do this.....

GM, that's the trouble with quoting from fringe right wing blogs, often no facts to support their opinions.  Odd, it seems even your referenced CNS News now agrees it is legal. 

Even Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), called the activities, "unseemly, but perfectly legal. And they all do this.”

(CNSNews.com) – White House visitor logs reveal that President Obama’s political organization, Obama for America, filmed two campaign videos featuring the president--inside the White House.
Federal law prohibits fundraising by the president in offices used for official business. The White House contends that the mansion’s residential areas do not fall under this prohibition, pointing out that presidents have used the White House for fundraising before without violating the law.

According to the logs, two “OFA Taping” were conducted in November 2010, in the White House Map Room--in the residential area of the mansion. The tapings happened before Obama announced his candidacy for reelection.

OFA is the abbreviation for Obama for America, the official name of the president’s campaign. While he was not officially a candidate for reelection when the tapings were made in November, Obama has maintained his political operation throughout his presidency.
The tapings were conducted on November 1 and November 3, 2010 in the Map Room. The logs indicate that the meetings were scheduled to be with “POTUS” (President of the United States).
 
The Map Room, currently used as a private meeting room, also has been used for official business. On June 13, Obama used the room to record a video announcing his Campaign to Cut Waste – an effort to eliminate wasteful spending in government.
According to federal law, “It shall be unlawful for an individual who is an officer or employee of the Federal Government, including the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress, to solicit or receive a donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties.” (Title 18, subsection 607 U.S.C.)
According to background information provided by the White House, President George W. Bush also filmed part of a campaign ad in the residential portion of the White House. President Bush also used a picture of himself in the Oval Office in a fundraising email from the RNC.
Recently, OFA released a video message from Obama announcing that Vice President Joe Biden had been added to a contest for donors to have dinner with the President. That video also was filmed in the Map Room.
In that video, first reported by CNSNews.com, Obama asked supporters to participate in a raffle for the dinner. The raffle is part of an OFA fundraising drive, and supporters who give to the president’s campaign can enter to win the dinner with Obama and Biden.
While the videos are not illegal – presidents have often used the White House as a setting for political material – they do show Obama continuing a controversial practice of using the White House to raise campaign funds as well as for other political functions.
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G M
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« Reply #251 on: July 04, 2011, 09:29:40 AM »

**I guess you didn't read to the end, JDN.

If the video was filmed in the Map Room, as it appears to be, then there is no question it violates the law, von Spakovsky explained, because it is clearly part of a fundraising pitch, precisely the type of activity prohibited under the law.
 
“The video is clearly designed to get people to participate in this raffle and the video takes you directly to a web site – directs you to a web site – where there’s an immediate solicitation for funds,” he said.
 
Von Spakovsky further said that, at best, Obama was “bending, if not breaking the law” in making the video in the White House.
 
Cleta Mitchell was more blunt, saying, “it’s a criminal offense.”

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JDN
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Posts: 2004


« Reply #252 on: July 04, 2011, 09:40:26 AM »

 huh

I read it; I also read other sources.  It was made in the residential part of the White House.

"...appears to be the Map Room, located in the mansion area of the White House."

Everyone, even your election watch dog groups acknowledge it's perfectly legal albeit unseemly, but done
before by Bush and others.

Legal.  Got it?   Next subject
grin
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G M
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Posts: 12168


« Reply #253 on: July 04, 2011, 09:44:22 AM »

huh

I read it; I also read other sources.  It was made in the residential part of the White House.

"...appears to be the Map Room, located in the mansion area of the White House."

Everyone, even your election watch dog groups acknowledge it's perfectly legal albeit unseemly, but done
before by Bush and others.

Legal.  Got it?   Next subject
grin
"If the video was filmed in the Map Room, as it appears to be, then there is no question it violates the law, von Spakovsky explained, because it is clearly part of a fundraising pitch, precisely the type of activity prohibited under the law."

Not legal. I can imagine you are eager to move on though.
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JDN
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« Reply #254 on: July 04, 2011, 09:54:43 AM »

I'm eager to move on because this is a "Non Sequitur".
"unseemly" but hardly illegal.  Check it out....
It's quite clear.  Only a few fringe players to whom no one is listening complain.
Even your election watchdogs say it's legal - got it?
Not to mention Republicans have done the same....
unseemly....     shocked

Remind me to call you "Don Quixote" chasing mythical dragons.   grin
You don't give up and move on, even in the face of irrefutable facts.
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G M
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« Reply #255 on: July 04, 2011, 09:59:26 AM »

Yes, there is no pattern of conduct here. Ignore the new black panther party's voter suppression, ignore the "gunwalker" scandal, ignore the debt limit, ignore the war powers act, ignore any law Obama doesn't like, right?
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G M
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« Reply #256 on: July 04, 2011, 10:47:42 AM »



http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/12/questions-arise.html

And, it should be pointed out, Mr. Obama has a relationship with Mr. Blagojevich, having not only endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, but having served as a top adviser to the Illinois governor in his first 2002 run for the state house.

In the Democratic gubernatorial primary that year, then-state sen. Obama endorsed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. But after Blagojevich won, Obama came around enthusiastically. At the same time, meanwhile, Axelrod had such serious concerns about whether Blagojevich was ready for governing he refused to work for his one-time client.

According to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., Mr. Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, Emanuel, then-state senator Obama, a third Blagojevich aide, and Blagojevich's campaign co-chair, David Wilhelm, were the top strategists of Blagojevich's 2002 gubernatorial victory.

Emanuel told the New Yorker earlier this year that he and Obama "participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor. We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two."

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #257 on: July 04, 2011, 06:09:41 PM »

We're drifting a bit afield here, e.g. Blagojevich more properly belongs in the Corruption thread, ditto the fund raising in the WH issue.  The subject at hand is whether the ignoring the debt ceiling is C'l or a fascist type above-the-law action.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #258 on: July 12, 2011, 11:51:10 AM »

Time magazine: Has Nancy Pelosi Been Marginalized in the Debt Debate?
By Jay Newton-Small Friday, July 8, 2011

...Nancy Pelosi asked: Why couldn’t the debt ceiling be decoupled from deficit reduction?...

Obama politely informed the House Minority Leader, those same sources say, that that train had left the station weeks ago.
-------------
http://swampland.time.com/2011/07/08/has-nancy-pelosi-been-marginalized-in-the-debt-debate/#ixzz1RuVh7gm0
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DougMacG
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« Reply #259 on: July 13, 2011, 09:57:33 AM »

Short video, minute and a half exposes by Glen Beck's 'the blaze':  Keith Ellison speaking to Campus Progress Conference July 6, 2011.  Good to Keith getting his confidence back to his incite violence in Minneapolis days, 'we don't get no justice, you don't get no peace'.  A luncheon not a riot, this is a little more civil.  Who is their enemy now and the applause line? Michele Bachmann, lol.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JiPJkahZ_Q&feature=player_embedded#at=65

"The hour is such, the hour is such - that that group of people who have always been afraid of change.

They didn't want to end slavery.  They wanted states' rights. They didn't want women to vote.  They didn't want people to organize on the job.  These people, they didn't want to see our country get bigger and stronger and increase who was included.

I'm tellin you, these folks, these so-called conservative have only wanted to conserve the status quo.  they have been against change for a long time.  They have ideological forebearers, do you understand what I'm trying to say to you?

These same people that want to shrink government until you can drown it in a bath tub, also want mom to get back in the kitchen, take her shoes off and get pregnant.  Do ya understand, they are offended by a strong powerful woman.  And here's the sad part.  Some of them are women themselves.  Michelle Bachmann would be an example, APPLAUSE. So let's stand up for women's rights..."
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DougMacG
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« Reply #260 on: July 21, 2011, 06:23:28 PM »

Pathological Economics:
(Why do they say they have been in "business' three years when they hnave been government supported for 3 years?)
http://www.ksbw.com/money/28586219/detail.html#ixzz1SmjEFBvJ

Electric Car Maker Folds, Salinas Loses $500,000
[EMAIL: Electric Car Maker Folds, Salinas Loses $500,000] Email [PRINT: Electric Car Maker Folds, Salinas Loses $500,000]
A Salinas car manufacturing company that was expected to build environmentally friendly electric cars and create new jobs folded before almost any vehicles could run off the assembly line.

The city of Salinas had invested more than half a million dollars in Green Vehicles, an electric car start-up company.

All of that money is now gone, according to Green Vehicles President and Co-Founder Mike Ryan.

PHOTOS: Green Vehicles Flops In Salinas

The start-up company set up shop in Salinas in the summer of 2009, after the city gave Ryan a $300,000 community development grant.

When the company still ran into financial trouble last year, the city of Salinas handed Ryan an additional $240,000. Green Vehicles also received $187,000 from the California Energy Commission.

Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue said he was "surprised and disappointed" by the news. City officials were equally irked that Ryan notified them through an email that his company had crashed and burned.

Salinas Economic Development Director Jeff Weir said Green Vehicles flopped because of a lack of investors.

Donohue said he will work with the state to try to get at least $240,000 back from the now-defunct company.

Mike Ryan
YouTube
Green Vehicles President and Co-Founder Mike Ryan

Last year, Salinas city officials said they were excited about Green Vehicles moving from San Jose to Salinas because they wanted to turn Salinas into a hub for alternative energy production.

City leaders wooed Green Vehicles to jump-start the sputtering local company and turn Salinas into an "electric valley." Donohue and Weir both voiced their high hopes for Green Vehicles.

The start-up company promised city leaders that it would create 70 new jobs and pay $700,000 in taxes a year to Salinas.

Green Vehicles was supposed to be up and running by March 2010 inside their 80,000-square-foot space at Firestone Business Park off of Abbot Street.

Ryan had lofty goals, listing his company's mission as: "To make the best clean commuter vehicles in the world; To manufacture with a radical sense of responsibility; To engage in deep transparency as an inspiration for new ways of doing business."

Green Vehicles designed two vehicles, the TRIAC 2.0 and the MOOSE, which it planned to manufacture.

On July 12, Ryan wrote a blog post announcing that his company was closing.

"The truth is that not realizing the vision for this company is a huge disappointment," Ryan wrote.

Ryan outlined three mistakes he made while steering his company into a brick wall. All three reasons boiled down failing to generate enough capital.

Click the video below to watch Ryan being interviewed last year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs7crWLL268&feature=player_embedded


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ccp
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« Reply #261 on: July 26, 2011, 01:24:20 PM »

"The new requirements would call for funds to report information about the assets they manage, potential conflicts of interest, and information on investors and employees."

Insider info cover up?  Oh he is so for the "poor".

***By Robert Holmes     07/26/11 - 08:04 AM EDT

(TheStreet) -- George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager and philanthropist best known for breaking the Bank of England in 1992, will return capital to investors in order to avoid reporting requirements under the Dodd Frank reform act.

Soros will return money to investors by the end of the year, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing two people briefed on the matter. Soros Fund Management will focus on managing assets for his family, according to a letter to the firm's investors. Soros will turn 81 on August 12. 
George Soros 

"We wish to express our gratitude to those who chose to invest their capital with Soros Fund Management LLC over the last nearly 40 years," the letter to investors reads, according to the Bloomberg report. "We trust that you have felt well rewarded for your decision over time."

Initial media reports trumpeted the end of Soros' 40-year career as a hedge-fund manager, although the billionaire investor's firm is far from being done. Soros will return less than $1 billion to external investors, a drop in the bucket compared to the firm's total assets of more than $25 billion.

The reason? Under new requirements from the Dodd Frank act, hedge funds are required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission by March 2012 if the fund continues to manage more than $150 million in assets for outside investors. The new requirements would call for funds to report information about the assets they manage, potential conflicts of interest, and information on investors and employees. The act allows an exemption for what the Commission considers "family office" advisers.

"We have relied until now on other exemptions from registration which allowed outside shareholders whose interests aligned with those of the family investors to remain invested in Quantum," the letter continued, according to the Bloomberg report. "As those other exemptions are no longer available under the new regulations, Soros Fund Management will now complete the transition to a family office that it began eleven years ago."

While less than $1 billion is small compared to the firm's overall assets, some positions will have to be trimmed through the end of the year. According to Soros' last 13F filling with the SEC for the quarter ended March 31, his firm's top 10 holdings included Adecoagro(AGRO_), InterOil(IOC_), Motorola Solutions(MSI_), Monsanto(MON_), Citigroup(C_) and Wells Fargo(WFC_), among others.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.***
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Cranewings
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« Reply #262 on: July 26, 2011, 04:31:22 PM »

I don't understand the whole electric car thing. We have a Prius, which is really nice. It recaptures heat from the breaks to charge the battery, and uses the battery to improve the fuel economy. Nothing powers the car besides the gas. It doesn't plug in.

Do people think electric cars get their power magically from the sky? For the most part, nuclear power plants, solar, wind, and hydro are all producing the maximum amount of power they are going to produce. Most places, if you plug a car into a wall, the power plant is just going to burn more coal. I don't see how that is really green.

I guess the coal plant could have modern scrubbers and at least you aren't ruining Yellow Stone with your oil spills - but burning something is still running your car and it isn't healthy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #263 on: August 28, 2011, 11:11:40 AM »

You can drive almost anywhere in the state of Michigan — pick a point at random and start moving — and you will soon come upon the wreckage of American industry. If you happen to be driving on the outer edge of Midland, you’ll also come upon a cavern of steel beams and ductwork, 400,000 square feet in all. When this plant, which is being constructed by Dow Kokam, a new venture partly owned by Dow Chemical, is up and running early next year, it will produce hundreds of thousands of advanced lithium-ion battery cells for hybrid and electric cars. Just as important, it will provide about 350 jobs in a state with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.

Over the last two years, the federal government has doled out nearly $2.5 billion in stimulus dollars to roughly 30 companies involved in advanced battery technology. Many of these might seem less like viable businesses than scenery for political photo ops — places President Obama can repeatedly visit (as he did early this month) to demonstrate his efforts at job creation. But in fact, the battery start-ups are more legitimate, and also more controversial, than that. They represent “the far edge,” as one White House official put it, of where the president or Congress might go to create jobs.
For decades, the federal government has generally resisted throwing its weight —and its money — behind particular industries. If the market was killing manufacturing jobs, it was pointless to fight it. The government wasn’t in the business of picking winners. Many economic theorists have long held that countries inevitably pursue their natural or unique advantages. Some advantages might arise from fertile farmland or gifts of vast mineral resources; others might be rooted in the high education rates of their citizenry. As the former White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers put it, America’s role is to feed a global economy that’s increasingly based on knowledge and services rather than on making stuff. So even as governments in China and Japan offered aid to industries they deemed important, factories in the United States closed or moved abroad. The conviction in Washington was that manufacturing deserved no special dispensation. Even now, as unemployment ravages the country, so-called industrial policy remains politically toxic. Legislators will not debate it; most will not even speak its name.

By almost any account, the White House has fallen woefully short on job creation during the past two and a half years. But galvanized by the potential double payoff of skilled, blue-collar jobs and a dynamic clean-energy industry — the administration has tried to buck the tide with lithium-ion batteries. It had to start almost from scratch. In 2009, the U.S. made less than 2 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. By 2015, the Department of Energy projects that, thanks mostly to the government’s recent largess, the United States will have the capacity to produce 40 percent of them. Whichever country figures out how to lead in the production of lithium-ion batteries will be well positioned to capture “a large piece of the world’s future economic prosperity,” says Arun Majumdar, the head of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The batteries, he stressed, are essential to the future of the global-transportation business and to a variety of clean-energy industries.

We may marvel at the hardware and software of mobile phones and laptops, but batteries don’t get the credit they deserve. Without a lithium-ion battery, your iPad would be a kludge. The new Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf rely on big racks of lithium-ion battery cells to hold their electric charges, and a number of new models — including those from Ford and Toyota, which use similar battery technology — are on their way to showrooms within the next 18 months.

This flurry of activity comes against a dismal backdrop. In the last decade, the United States lost some five million manufacturing jobs, a contraction of about one-third. Added to the equally brutal decades that preceded it, this decline left large swaths of the country, the Great Lakes region in particular, without a clear economic future. As I drove through the hollowed-out cities and towns of Michigan earlier this year, it was hard to tell how some of these places could survive. Inside the handful of battery companies that I visited, though, the mood was starkly different. Many companies are working on battery-pack designs for dozens of car models. At the Johnson Controls factory in Holland, Mich., Ray Shemanski, who is in charge of the company’s lithium-ion operation, said, “We have orders that would fill this plant right now.” Every company I visited not only had plans to get their primary factories running full speed by 2012 or 2013 but also to build or expand others. Jennifer Granholm, Michigan’s former governor, has predicted that advanced batteries will create 62,000 jobs over the next decade.

============

(Page 2 of 6)



It is tempting to see in this the stirrings of an industrial revolution. These days, confidence is itself a rare and precious fuel, and in Michigan’s nascent battery belt, there is no shortage of it. As the country’s jobless rate hovers above 9 percent, could this manufacturing revival be part of the answer to the jobs crisis? Or is it merely an expensive government bet on a lost cause?

About 30 minutes northwest of Detroit, just off the Interstate, in Livonia, sits the modern, red brick automotive headquarters of A123 Systems, a beneficiary of about $375 million in federal stimulus funds and matching state grants. (Later in the article it is stated that a plant should generate 300-400 jobs.  If my math is correct this is about $1,000,000 per job) A123 provides the cells for a new electric car called the Fisker Karma, as well as various electric bus and truck projects around the world. A123 is also the first large-scale lithium-ion manufacturer whose domestic operations are up and running, though its pedigree is international. Its battery technology was developed at M.I.T., and for the last several years, the company had been making its lithium-ion cells in factories in Korea and China. When I asked Jason Forcier, the head of A123’s automotive division, why the company went to Asia to make its products, Forcier said he had no choice. “That’s where the supply base was,” he said. “That’s where the know-how was — it was nonexistent in the U.S.”
Repatriating a high-tech manufacturing plant to the United States is not simply a matter of hiring the local talent. It requires good-old foreign know-how. “We call it ‘copy exact,’ ” Forcier said. “We bought a company in Korea that had the technology around this type of battery and had developed the manufacturing process there. We basically brought that here, copied it exactly and scaled it up.” A123 also brought a team of six Korean engineers to help transfer the technology to the U.S. and sent a team of Americans to Korea to learn.

I heard a similar story at LG Chem Power — a battery start-up and an American subsidiary of LG Chem, a Korean firm. LG Chem is building a factory in Holland, Mich., to make batteries for the Chevy Volt. Production depends on replicating the company’s lithium-ion plants abroad, down to the smallest detail. “In fact, we’re making it like a copy — cut and pasted from Korea to here,” Prabhakar Patil, the C.E.O. of LG Chem Power, said.

Neither Forcier nor Patil made any apologies. Each told me that the moves to Michigan provided them with a skilled work force and operating expenses that are largely competitive with factories abroad. (Only 5 to 10 percent of the cost of a battery cell, Patil told me, comes from labor; material accounts for the bulk of expenses.) Each also saw his company’s strategy of importing manufacturing technology to the United States as imperative. A state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery plant is as different from an automobile plant as a science lab is from a gymnasium. Cell-making — the automated administration of thin chemical coatings on the batteries’ inner components; the mechanized cutting and folding of metal parts; the workers in sanitary “bunny suits” overseeing conveyor belts that move pristine cells through sealed assembly chambers — is painstakingly precise. A stray hair or a drop of sweat can ruin a lithium-ion cell. “Don’t touch anything,” Forcier advised me as we began to walk through the factory at A123.

Lithium-ion cells like the ones made at A123 probably don’t look like any battery you’ve ever used. They are stiff, rectangular, metallic-colored envelopes, roughly the dimensions of a thin trade paperback, with two small tabs. Individually, the cells aren’t much use for a car; they must be stacked with others in modules or packs. The Chevy Volt, for instance, has a pack of 288 cells, wired together and running down the center of the car. The pack is the most expensive and sophisticated element of the car, much in the way the processor is the most important element of a computer. Everything about the cell pack — its interior chemistry, its unifying electronics, its cooling systems — is variable and made to order. “With G.M., we’ve been working for two years on their exact requirements for the next-generation Volt,” Michael Sinkula, a founder of a battery-component company called Envia Systems, explained. “They say: ‘We want it to perform this way. Is that possible?’ And then we tell them if it’s possible.”

=========================

(Page 3 of 6)



The Volt is just one car, of course — one whose sales are unremarkable. Still, the global automobile market is so large that even modest gains in market share could spark tremendous growth for battery-makers. “If you look at the year 2016, and you say, ‘Only 5 percent of the market is electrified?’ Well, that’s a $14 billion market for lithium-ion batteries,” Forcier says. “To hit 5 percent is a huge number of vehicles. And the business around making lithium-ion batteries for 5 percent of the world’s cars is a huge, huge business.”

In the late ’80s, Patil, of LG Chem Power, was working at Ford, trying to build a pure electric-battery vehicle called the ETX and getting nowhere. He was using a more primitivelead-acid battery technology. Automotive engineers tend to use two distinct measures — power and energy — to evaluate battery chemistries. Power relates to acceleration; energy relates to how far a car can travel before it needs to be recharged. The ETX wasn’t good by either yardstick. “The car went 0 to 60 in 12 seconds,” Patil recalls. “Its range was 60 miles on a good day.” The lead-acid batteries were so heavy that the cars were nicknamed lead sleds. With a performance and range so inferior to a typical gasoline vehicle, how could you expect a consumer to pay a premium — what was then about $10,000 — for it?
Eventually, lead-acid batteries yielded to nickel-metal hydride, which was incorporated into the Toyota Prius and, later, a range of hybrid vehicles. At the same time, a more promising battery chemistry based on lithium — with far greater potential for both power and energy — was being developed by various scientists, notably John Goodenough at the University of Texas. Sony was the first company to broadly adapt the lithium technology at its factories in the early 1990s; the company consistently improved the product and began incorporating it into consumer-electronic devices. But automakers couldn’t figure out how to cost-effectively adapt the technology. Patil recalls a “chicken-and-egg problem” as he tried to build a Ford Escape hybrid in the late 1990s. “I used to get thrown out of C.E.O.’s’ battery offices regularly,” he said. “They said: ‘Show me the market. Otherwise, leave.’ ” Patil knew there could be no market in the United States without significant drops in the batteries’ price and significant increases in their performance. But it was a Catch-22. Improvements in price and performance were impossible unless companies became serious about manufacturing.

Federal agencies like the Department of Energy have long financed scientific research — through university grants, for instance — on technologies like lithium-ion batteries. But a basic feature of government policy is to allow corporations and entrepreneurs to pick through the results of that research, commercialize the promising ideas and let the market sort things out. In other countries, it often works differently. Governments are more willing to help companies pool information about a new industry or technology and (especially in Korea and China) assist with the early-stagecommercialization of products, including the construction of plants. While Patil was getting booted from executive offices at Ford, companies in Asia, in some cases with a boost from their governments, focused on streamlining the manufacturing process. Battery performance steadily improved, and costs dropped. By the mid-2000s, it was clear that if the lithium-ion battery continued to get better at the same rate, the product might soon be suited for automobiles.

In January 2009, two weeks before Barack Obama’s inauguration, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan sent a letter to Obama and his advisers — Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and Lawrence Summers — about the promise of lithium-ion technology. “The country or region that controls and dominates the production of batteries will also ultimately control green-vehicle production,” Levin said in a speech he later gave to the Senate. Levin’s efforts effectively laid the groundwork for battery grants to be part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

===================

(Page 4 of 6)



“It was a calculated risk — a lot of money, to be sure, but given the stakes, I think it was a pretty thoughtful bet,” says Ron Bloom, who recently served as an assistant to President Obama for manufacturing policy. “If vehicle electrification really does take off, as many, many people think it will, and we’re not part of it, then we could lose our leadership of the global automobile industry.” Which would be catastrophic. By some estimates, as much as 20 percent of all manufacturing jobs are directly or indirectly related to the automobile industry. Bloom points out that the United States is not the only country betting on batteries; a number of Asian countries have done so as well.

On both sides of the world, the fundamental appeal of expanding manufacturing is jobs. It is a curiosity of modern life that information companies can create extraordinary social disruptions and vast shareholder wealth but relatively few jobs. Facebook has about 2,000 employees worldwide. Google has about 29,000. Even in its new, slimmed-down state, General Motors, a decidedly less valuable company, has about 200,000 employees. What’s more, that number represents only a fraction of the people behind the production of a G.M. car. “When you’re manufacturing anything, even if the work is done by robots and machines, there’s an incredible value chain involved,” Susan Hockfield, the president of M.I.T., says. “Manufacturing is simply this huge engine of job creation.” For batteries, that value chain would include scientists researching improved materials to companies mining ores for metals; contractors building machines for factory work; and designers, engineers and machine operators doing the actual plant work. By some estimates, manufacturing employs about 65 percent of America’s scientists and engineers.
Hockfield recently assembled a commission at M.I.T. to investigate the state of American manufacturing and to offer a plan for its future. “It has been estimated that we need to create 17 to 20 million jobs in the coming decade to recover from the current downturn and meet upcoming job needs,” she said at a conference this past March. “It’s very hard to imagine where those jobs are going to come from unless we seriously get busy reinventing manufacturing.” This logic has been endorsed by Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s C.E.O.; Andy Grove, the former chairman of Intel; and Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical’s C.E.O. A widely circulated 2009 Harvard Business Review article — “Restoring American Competitiveness,” by two Harvard professors, Gary Pisano and Willy Shih — has become one of the touchstones of the manufacturing debate. In the article, Pisano and Shih maintain that U.S. corporations, by offshoring so much manufacturing work over the past few decades, have eroded our ability to raise living standards and curtailed the development of new high-technology industries.

When I spoke with Pisano, he noted that industries like semiconductor chips — the heart of computers and consumer electronics — require the establishment of “an industrial commons,” the skills shared by a large, interlocking group of workers at universities and corporations and in government. The commons loses its vitality if crucial parts of it, like factories or materials suppliers, move abroad, as they mostly have in the case of semiconductors. At first the factories leave; the researchers and development engineers soon follow.

The most punishing effect, however, may be the one that can’t be measured — the technologies and jobs that aren’t created because the industrial ecosystem is degraded. The semiconductor industry, for example, led to the LED-lighting and solar-panel industries, both of which are mostly based in Asia now. “The battery is another fascinating example,” Pisano told me. “The center of gravity is Asia. But why?” If you go back to the 1960s, he says, the American consumer-electronics companies decided they were better off in Japan, and then Korea, where costs were lower. “And then you have to ask: Who had the incentives to make batteries smaller or more powerful or last longer? Not the car industry. The consumer-electronics industry did.” This explains why the U.S. is now playing catch-up with lithium-ion batteries. It also underscores the vulnerability of an economy with a shrinking manufacturing sector. “When one industry moves,” Pisano says, “there can be other industries in the future that follow it that you couldn’t even anticipate.”

======================

(Page 5 of 6)



Even in the battery industry, there are skeptics. Menahem Anderman, a California-based consultant, says that transforming 10 percent of the world’s automobiles into either plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles by 2020 is a pipe dream. His projection is for less than 2 percent. U.S.-based factories, he says, are at a disadvantage. The U.S. industry, he told me, “was not ready to take in $2 billion from the government and spend it wisely. And so now we will build a lot of plants, and we will create overcapacity, and a lot of the companies will fail.” He has no ideological objection to federal support, he adds, “but the status of the technology and the market were incompatible with the desire of the government to create manufacturing jobs.” For pure electric vehicles in particular, which will likely need an expensive battery replacement within 10 years, Anderman still sees the dilemma Patil faced at Ford in the ’90s, when he questioned whether consumers would pay $10,000 more for an inferior car. As Anderman puts it: “Has there ever been, in the modern history of capitalist countries, a new product for which the mainstream customer paid more for less?”

By his math, gas prices have to reach about $7 a gallon to make plug-in electric-hybrid vehicles attractive to consumers. To create demand for fully electric vehicles, gas prices would have to rise even higher. Which means generous government subsidies for purchases of these vehicles. Currently, Chevy Volt owners receive a tax break that brings the cost of the car down to about $33,500, from $41,000. In Washington, several people told me that unless there is consistent and increasing demand, taxpayers will have helped build an industry to nowhere. This fear is what turned so many politicians and policy makers against industrial policy in the first place. When government-backed ventures fail, taxpayers are left on the hook.
For now, battery makers think they can bring down costs quickly enough to be competitive. Improvements in the manufacturing process — spreading a better chemical coating on the sensitive elements inside the batteries, for instance, or raising the plant’s conveyor belt speed ever so slightly — will increase quality and efficiency. I also heard talk of start-ups in California working on new cost-effective chemistries. “We see prices over the next five years coming down 50 percent,” A123’s Forcier told me. “And it’s easy to say that, because we’re quoting 2014 business, and we know what the prices are.”

Whether this adds up to American jobs is less clear. The hope is that lithium-ion plants will seed a network of new chemical and equipment providers. To some extent, this has already happened. Some Japanese and Korean companies have set up shop in the United States, and local colleges are offering training courses for aspiring lithium-ion-battery factory workers. But it’s a fragile ecology. Job numbers are small relative to the huge plants of Detroit’s past. As the former labor secretary Robert Reich pointed out, high-tech manufacturing is increasingly automated. At capacity, the lithium-ion factories in Michigan will each employ between 300 and 400 people. Even the most optimistic forecasts — enough hybrid- and electric-car demand to necessitate several dozen factories — suggest the battery industry can’t significantly offset declines in American manufacturing.

Which doesn’t mean that it’s a bad investment. If nothing else, the Obama administration’s efforts in Michigan reawaken the conversation about industrial policy. To a large extent, this is an old war among Washington politicians. In the 1970s, it was fought over the federal bailouts of Lockheed and Chrysler — and a few years later during debates over whether the country needed to assist domestic companies in their efforts to gain ground on the Japanese in the semiconductor industry. By the time George H. W. Bush ascended to the presidency, the move away from industrial policy was clear.

===================

Published: August 24, 2011
(Page 6 of 6)



“All you had to do in the 1980s was say, ‘That’s industrial policy,’ and it killed anything it was hurled at,” says Senator Levin, who along with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is now among the most vocal advocates of such a policy. “It was the kiss of death. And it set us back 10 to 20 years in terms of manufacturing in America.” What is different now, Levin argues, is that “our companies are not competing with those companies in Korea and Japan. They’re competing with those governments that are supporting them. It’s naïve to believe that we just have to let the markets work and we’ll have a strong manufacturing base in America.” In his view, the lithium-ion investments are tantamount to repairing a kind of market failure.

The battery executives I spoke to viewed the stimulus money as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. None seemed to think a federal windfall would come their way again. None saw their business endeavors as inherently political or ideological. And none seemed to believe they could survive if they didn’t drive battery costs down and demonstrate that they could compete with the best lithium-ion factories abroad. “My own feeling is this will happen just as the government incentives wear off,” Patil told me. “By then it has to become a self-sustaining business, and we actually see a line of sight to get there.”
If the battery stimulus ultimately succeeds, does it demonstrate that expanding the United States’ economy only through knowledge and services is no longer a viable strategy? “All of the great new American companies of the past few decades,” says Suzanne Berger, a chairwoman of M.I.T.’s panel on the future of American manufacturing, “have focused on research and development and product definition — Apple, Qualcomm, Cisco.” These were technology companies that could take full advantage of what she calls the “modularity” of the global economy. Their genius resided in the design of their gadgets and information systems; offshoring the industrial work did not leave them at a disadvantage. It did the opposite, greatly reducing costs and raising profits. “Now I think we’re at a really different moment,” Berger says. “We’re seeing a wave of new technologies, in energy, biotechnology, batteries, where there has to be a closer integration between research, development, design, product definition and production.”

One challenge to moving in this direction may be that our banks, hedge funds and venture capitalists are geared toward investing in financial instruments and software companies. In such endeavors, even modest investments can yield extraordinarily quick and large returns. Financing brick-and-mortar factories, by contrast, is expensive and painstaking and offers far less potential for speedy returns. Berger maintains that for the economy to get “full value” from our laboratories’ ideas in energy or biotech — not just new company headquarters but industrial jobs too — we must aspire to a different business model than the one we have come to admire.

Which is to say, companies that have a passing resemblance to A123 Systems in Livonia, Mich. Or to use a more familiar example, a business that looks less like Google and more like Ford.
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« Reply #264 on: August 28, 2011, 05:46:58 PM »

Crafty, I see why you put that POTH article in this category; it fits nicely with the other current MSM / left wing takes that I call 'clueless'.  For one thing they quoting Gov. Granholm with her vision of the future without pinning her for her role in the region's demise.

While the central planners were raising taxes and piling on work rules, regulations and litigation costs, companies and comparative advantages were leaving.  Now they mourn an economic death and still have no clue or curiosity as to what killed it.

6 pages of evidence that industrial policy doesn't work and they are still pondering how it got a bad name - and where to target next.

I offer this clue to them.  Since we don't know where, by looking in the rear view mirror, the next great things will come from or what they will look like, why don't we just make the playing field level and competitive and as unobstructing as possible and let creativity and innovation happen - in a private, freedom-based enterprise system.  Imagine THAT! 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #265 on: August 29, 2011, 10:58:49 AM »

There is a consensus that Obama both over-reached with leftism and is incompetent.  From a left point of view, over-reaching left is not good because it energized the opposition and potentially killed the movement.  And incompetence is never good.

Answering the 'clueless' series, this is a piece in the daily caller today with ten specific things Obama could have differently (better) and still be a progressive Democrat IMO.  I don't agree with all these, but I'm not a moderate Dem.  At the end he writes: "Would doing these 10 things have revived the economy? Who knows. Probably not. (Still clueless? - DM) FDR didn’t really revive the economy either until World War II began, as Alter knows. But Obama would have shown leadership and creativity. He wouldn’t be both unsuccessful and disdained." (I still say switch parties and switch directions.  Heading off the cliff at 60 mph vs. 80 mph have similar consequences!)

http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/28/top-10-things-obama-should-have-done-differently/

Top 10 Things Obama Could Have Done Differently: Excessively well-sourced Obama boosters are now channeling, not just White House spin but White House self-pity. Both Ezra Klein and Jonathan Alter wonder aloud why our intelligent, conscientious, well-meaning, data-driven President is taking a “pummeling.”   ”What could Obama have done?” (Klein) “What, specifically, has he done wrong .. .?” (Alter)

They’re kidding, right? There are plenty of things Obama could have done differently. Most of these mistakes were called out at the time.  Here, off the top of my head, are ten things Obama could have done:

1. Not subcontracted out the details of the 2009 stimulus to interest-group-addled Congressional Democrats.  Instead, he could have drawn up his own plan that relied more on large, quick payroll tax cuts rather than the ”shovel ready” infrastructure projects that, as Obama later admitted, weren’t shovel ready and (in the case of home-weatherization efforts) were delayed most of the year while bureaucrats figured out how to apply union-backed “prevailing wage” regulations. And why do we think aid to state and local governments–a stimulus centerpiece–had such a big Keynesian “multiplier”? Didn’t many states use the money to pay down their debts rather than retain workers?

2. Sold his health care reform as a valuable benefit for voters that would give them security (they’d be covered) and freedom (they could leave their jobs without losing insurance) rather than as an eat-your-peas plan that would not only “bend the cost curve” by denying treatments but somehow actually reduce the deficit–a sales pitch that assured Obamacare would be unpopular and vulnerable long after Dems rammed it through Congress. At the time, New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza said that Obama had “staked his presidency” on Budget Director Peter Orszag’s notion that “health care reform is deficit reduction.” It was a stupid bet. He lost it.

3. Made the UAW take a pay cut. Whoever else is to blame, the UAW’s demands for pay and work rules clearly contributed to the need for a taxpayer-subsidized auto bailout.  To make sure that future unions were deterred from driving their industries into bankruptcy, Obama demanded cuts in basic pay of … exactly zero. UAW workers gave up their Easter holiday but didn’t suffer any reduction in their $28/hour base wage. Wouldn’t a lot of taxpayers like $28 hour jobs? Even $24 an hour jobs?

4. Pivoted! In 2010, after the health care bill passed, Obama was going to “pivot” to jobs but wasn’t able to do that when … yeah, I don’t remember what prevented him from doing it either. What’s that FDR quote Alter likes to trot out, about “bold, persistent experimentation”?  That is not the attitude the Obama White House gives off when it comes to jobs. Maybe the Weitzman profit-sharing plan isn’t the answer. Maybe a use-it-or-lose-it credit card won’t work. Maybe a neo-WPA paying minimum wages wouldn’t attract unemployed middle class workers–though it could be tried in one or two states. But Obama’s attitude has been: “I tried A. I proposed B. So I propose B again. And again. And again.”

5. Not pursued a zombie agenda of “card check” and “comprehensive immigration reform”–two misguided pieces of legislation that Obama must have known had no chance of passage but that he had to pretend to care about to keep key Democratic constituencies on board. What was the harm? The harm was that these issues a) sucked up space in the liberal media, b) made Obama look feckless at best, delusional at worst, when they went nowhere;  c) made him look even weaker because it was clear he was willing to suffer consequence (b) in order to keep big Democratic constituencies (labor, Latinos) on board.

6. Dispelled legitimate fears of “corporatism“–that is, fears that he was creating a more Putin-style economy in which big businesses depend on the government for favors (and are granted semi-permanent status if they go along with the program).  I don’t think Obama is a corporatist, but he hasn’t done a lot to puncture the accusations. What did electric carmaker Tesla have to promise to get its Dept. of Energy subsidies?  Why raid GOP-donor Gibson’s guitars and not Martin guitars?  We don’t know. At this point, you have to think the president kind of likes the ambiguity–the vague, implicit macho threat that if you want to play ball in this economy, you’re better off on Team Obama. That’s a good way to guarantee Team Obama will be gone in 2013.

7.  Stolen some populist Tea Party thunder by going vigorously after Wall Street.  Even Alter says Obama “neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public.”  (Alter was also the first to get Obama’s admission of “shovel-ready” ignorance. How many does it take, Jon?)

8. Not appointed pro-union innovators to NLRB who try to hamstring our biggest remaining industrial exporter by preventing it from opening a non-union factory in South Carolina–and then not had his spokesman say there’s nothing the president can do about it because, hey, the NLRB is “independent.”

9. Faced with Republican demands for leaner government, embraced them! Instead of letting GOPs make him the champion of bigger government and higher taxes, Obama could have said he thought higher taxes are probably inevitable but that he wasn’t going to raise them or cut a penny from benefits until he was sure all the fat has been wrung out of Washington. Become Dr. Cut-the-Bloat! Instead of letting his top management official advertise for a new $80,000-a-year ”deputy speechwriter,” tell him to lead a government-wide diet of the sort private companies conduct all the time. Publicize and promote the agency heads who cut their staffs and lower their budget requests instead of those who protect their turf. Have some “RIFs”–actual layoffs of redundant bureaucrats. The goal would not just be to reduce the deficit but to shrink the government to a level that’s … how do they put it … sustainable. This would be the greatest gift Obama could give to liberalism, and it would leave the Republicans gasping for air, speechless, Don’t they teach “co-optation” in Alinsky School? Given the choice between a triangulator and someone who acts like a triangulator, people will vote for the real triangulator every time.

10. Defend the core of Medicare, a popular universal program that works and (according to Orszag) is cutting costs, rather than proposing to  shrink Medicare by raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67.  It seems like only yesterday Democrats were trying to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 55–a political winner. Now the party has to defend a standard bearer who wants to raise taxes but who has no sympathy for the most valuable things those taxes pay for. (Screw granny for “green jobs”!).
**********
Would doing these 10 things have revived the economy? Who knows. Probably not. FDR didn’t really revive the economy either until World War II began, as Alter knows. But Obama would have shown leadership and creativity. He wouldn’t be both unsuccessful and disdained.

P.S.: I’m also not saying that Obama is necessarily headed towards a failed presidency in the larger judgment-of-history sense. Just a single-term presidency. If his health care reform sticks, he’ll go down as a success in a way Jimmy Carter won’t.  One day soon we may look back on 2011 with fond longing.  But that’s not the question Klein and Alter asked.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 11:00:33 AM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #266 on: August 29, 2011, 01:58:08 PM »

The saying something rotten in Denmark seems appropo here.  When we have such a big political supporter/investor in bed with the most powerful pol in the world affecting policy and naturally investing accordingly well...:

****The Examiner Washington Is Barack buddy Buffett betting on bank bailout?
Is Barack buddy Buffett betting on bank bailout?
byTimothy P. Carney Senior Political Columnistposted18 hours ago at8:06pmwith19 Comments

President Barack Obama presents the 2010 Medal of Freedom to Warren Buffett during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)If you're looking for proof that Too Big to Fail is still alive, and that Washington won't leave large financial institutions to the mercies of capitalism, consider billionaire Obama fundraiser Warren Buffett's $5 billion bet on struggling Bank of America.

Buffett, who recently won plaudits for advocating higher taxes, has spent four years betting on bailouts and big government -- and tilting the playing field in that direction by putting his money and prestige at the service of Barack Obama.

Buffett gave the maximum donation to Obama in 2007 -- $4,600 to his campaign, and $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee -- and also hosted a fundraiser for Obama in Omaha. By mid-2008, Obama had tapped Buffett as an official economic adviser to the campaign.

When Wall Street nearly collapsed in September 2008, Buffett rallied behind the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and bet big on its passage. He put $5 billion into failing investment bank Goldman Sachs. "If I didn't think the government was going to act, I would not be doing anything this week," Buffett said on CNBC at the time.

Obama had campaigned against policies that mainly serve wealthy Americans, belittling the notion that "somehow prosperity will trickle down." Obama was the only man in position to block the bailout, but he voted aye and took much of his party with him.

As Congress was passing TARP and Republicans were falling in the polls, Buffett made another investment in Obamanomics, taking a $3 billion stake in General Electric.

Goldman got $10 billion in TARP funds, and by late 2009 was reporting record profits. Buffett made more than $3.6 billion in profit off the investment.

GE never got TARP money, but a month after the Buffett investment, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation gave GE a $139 billion guarantee on its debt, and GE was a regular recipient of other Federal Reserve bailouts besides TARP. Then GE forged an intimate alliance with the Obama administration, boosting investments in greenhouse-gas credits, embryonic stem cells, wind power, battery technology, and trains -- all technologies subsidized by Obama. GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt, who lauded Obama's "reset capitalism" in which government would be an "industry champion," became Obama's "job czar."

More recently, Buffett said he's considering investments in ethanol pioneer Archer Daniels Midland, nuclear-power king Exelon, and government contracting giant General Dynamics. ADM was built on close ties to politicians, as was Exelon. ADM relies on ethanol subsidies for profits, while Exelon lobbies for greenhouse-gas restrictions that will profit the company's nuclear-power holdings. And General Dynamics, with $139 billion in federal contracts since 2000, is also cozy with government.

In this light, and recalling his Goldman-bailout profit, consider Buffett's investment last week in Bank of America.

Investors had been dumping Bank of America shares, presumably over worries about the mortgages it holds. But B of A holds ugly mortgages mostly because it bought Countrywide in 2008 -- a move government officials encouraged because they thought it would stabilize the financial sector. Similarly, B of A bought up Merrill Lynch with some nudging from the Treasury Department.

Finally, the Obama administration is simultaneously siding with struggling mortgage-holders against their banks while also trying to promote more lending. You could say Uncle Sam owes Bank of America.

At least Moody's, the credit-ratings agency, seems to think so. In a June 2 announcement, Moody's (owned by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, by the way) wrote that Bank of America's credit rating "currently incorporates an unusual amount of 'uplift' from Moody's systemic support assumptions that were increased during the financial crisis." In other words, Moody's -- and thus most creditors -- assumes the government will not let Bank of America fail.

By putting $5 billion in B of A, Buffett seems to be following his mantra: "Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful." But does the Oracle of Omaha, as he did in 2008, find his courage in the promise of a bailout? And does he have good reason to expect one?

Last week, when Buffett spoke with Obama and decided to invest in Bank of America, we learned that he is hosting another Obama fundraiser. This all sounds familiar.

It's beginning to look a lot like 2008, which is bad news economically -- unless you know how to profit off bailouts.

CORRECTION: This column originally understated the size of Buffett's investment in Bank of America. The correct figure is $5 billion, not $3 billion.

Timothy P.Carney, The Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Monday and Thursday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.****
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #267 on: August 29, 2011, 03:49:53 PM »

Very interesting!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #268 on: August 29, 2011, 06:21:36 PM »

A very savy market friend (Rick N. for those in the know) comments:

Buffett negotiated a new issue of perpetual cumulative preferred stock paying a 6% dividend.  A cumulative preferred issue means that all unpaid dividends must be paid to Buffett before BAC can pay any dividend to its common shareholders.   Right now, Treasury has prohibited BAC from paying any dividend to its common shareholders.  Once Treasury permits such a dividend to the common stock, BAC must first pay Buffett all past dividends that it was prevented from paying due to TARP, Treasury and FinReg.

 

The perpetual nature of the preferred stock makes BAC’s liability to Buffett infinite.  Treasury could prohibit BAC from paying dividends for decades, but BAC’s liability to Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway would still grow.  That liability accrues at $75 million per quarter starting from the end of the quarter after the issue date of the preferred shares.

 

I don’t think Buffett is betting on another bank bailout.  I believe that he is betting that BAC will extricate itself from TARP and will be permitted eventually to pay a dividend on its common shares.  Buffett has just stepped ahead of all of the little people by negotiating a dividend preference for his shareholders.  Treasury had to have approved this deal because it involves an accrued, perpetual dividend liability.  The cronyism exists in the regulatory approval of this deal, not in a likely bailout of BAC from its Countrywide acquisition.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #269 on: August 31, 2011, 08:06:57 AM »


Here's a novel idea: Have Congress create a "bank" that could borrow huge sums with only a small federal outlay and would be independent of any political interference. If you believe in this miracle, you probably thought Fannie Mae was a private company that wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime.

We're referring to Washington's latest marketing tool to sell spending to a skeptical public, a new federal "infrastructure bank." For the low, low price of $30 billion or so, President Obama says Congress can conjure hundreds of billions in new "grants and loans" to rebuild "roads, bridges, and ports and broadband lines and smart grids."

He says the bank would put "all those construction workers" back to work and "be good for the economy not just for next year or the year after that, but for the next 20 or 30 years." In a cats and dogs living together moment, the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO are both in favor. Since both unions and construction companies would be beneficiaries, this alone ought to give taxpayers pause.

This is the Fannie Mae model applied to public works. The new bank would be a government-sponsored enterprise, or GSE, whether or not anyone admits it. The bank would have an implicit subsidy for its debt because it is backed by the government. And the debt it issued would be "off-budget," which means it wouldn't show up in annual outlays. When she first proposed the concept in 2008, Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro explicitly described the bank as a "public private partnership like Fannie Mae."

Such an outfit will inevitably be politicized, as similar examples have been all over the world. Japan's postal bank has been used for decades to finance public works. Japan's roads and bridges are grand but its economy has grown little in 20 years. Agribanks, regional development banks, Brazil's BNDES national bank have all become vehicles for the political allocation of credit.

Ms. DeLauro's bill admits as much, stating that the bank must take into account the "economic, environmental, social benefits and costs" of the projects seeking financial assistance. Among the considerations: responsible employment practices, use of renewable energy, reduction in carbon emissions, poverty and inequality reduction, training for low-income workers and public health benefits.

No one disputes that American public works need improving, and government has been spending huge sums to do so. As the nearby table shows, between 2001 and 2011 federal "public physical capital investment outlays" more than doubled to $330 billion from $142 billion. Every major area of infrastructure—transportation, Army Corps of Engineers, energy—is up by at least 75% in a decade.

The scandal is that we buy so little brick and mortar with all this money. Earmarking has wasted billions and is an inevitable byproduct of a system that collects federal taxes and allows Congressmen to send it back to their districts. The bank is supposed to eliminate earmarking, but the Members will surely find a way to influence the bank's lending too.

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro described the infrastructure bank as a 'public private partnership like Fannie Mae.'

Taxpayers also get less for their money because federal projects must follow Davis-Bacon Act rules that require "prevailing wages." This law has come to mean de facto union wages on all public projects, inflating costs by 10% to 30%, depending on the project and location. Democrats and Republicans both refuse to relax Davis-Bacon rules, and the infrastructure bank would require them. The bank would also divert dollars to the mass transit lobby, which favors rail projects that serve a tiny fraction of commuters.

Instead of a Washington-centric bank that picks winners and losers, Congress would be wise to move in the opposite direction: devolving most public-works decisions to the state and local levels so users decide whether they want to finance a new school, bridge or water system. The feds can focus on maintaining the interstate highway system and then let states and localities choose what to fund. Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake and others have bills that would let states opt out of the federal highway program in return for getting back the federal gas tax money that its residents send to Washington.

GOP Congressman John Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is no fan of a federal infrastructure bank. He says he wants more state and local control of funds because "that way they won't have to come to Washington to get approval."

Mr. Mica is dealing with a reality that eludes many in both parties: With a $1.28 trillion deficit, Uncle Sam can't afford to keep serving as paymaster to states and localities. The infrastructure bank is merely a new gimmick to maintain the old system.

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ccp
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« Reply #270 on: August 31, 2011, 10:41:15 AM »

Interesting analysis from RN.

This is a perfect example of what I was trying to explain that we have do not have fairness in our system.

The guys at the top ARE ripping us all off big time.  The system IS rigged.  Republicans could, I think, win over the independents by putting stops to this kind of crap (at least giving the effort of trying).

If the government has any role it is not to penalize the successful but it could be to at least try to keep the system fair for all to succeed.

This game Buffett is playing is a perfect example of how the game can be rigges and those "at the top" are simply robbing the rest of us.  The Democrats certainly do have a point here but the Republican answer is not to turn around and rob the rich (as the Dems want to do) and redistribute.  It should be to try to make the system fair for all.  The government must not be a position to play favorites.  It is so corrupt.  The cans simply seem to ignore all of this.  Continue to ignore this and thus continue to have millions resent the Rep party.  What else can I say?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #271 on: September 01, 2011, 07:49:41 AM »

If I have my numbers right, the 1100 now vaporized jobs were created at a cost of $486,364 each (i.e. $535,000,000) this "public-private partnership" (a.k.a. economic fascism)  rolleyes angry cry

POTH

By MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: August 31, 2011
 
WASHINGTON —  A Silicon Valley maker of solar power arrays that was started with high hopes and $527 million in loans from the federal government said on Wednesday that it would cease operations. The failure of the company — and the loss to taxpayers — is likely to renew the debate in Washington about the wisdom of clean energy subsidies and loan guarantees.

Employees work on equipment used to produce innovative cylindrical solar cell modules at the Solyndra plant in Fremont, Calif.

 President Obama praised the company, Solyndra, for its advanced technology during a visit last year. But in a statement on Wednesday, Solyndra said its business had run into trouble because of difficult global business conditions, including slowing  demand for solar panels, and stiff competition.

The Energy Department, which approved the funding, said China’s subsidies to its solar industry were threatening the ability of Solyndra and other American manufacturers to compete. The price of a solar array, measured by cost per watt of capacity, has fallen 42 percent since December 2010, the agency said.

Two other American solar companies, Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt, also sought bankruptcy protection in August, and both said competition from Chinese companies had contributed to their financial problems.

In the case of Solyndra, some experts said that regardless of the competition, the company’s unique designs, which were expensive to manufacture, were to blame for its failure.

Solyndra was promised loans of up to $535 million under a guarantee program authorized by Congress as part of the 2009 stimulus package. The Energy Department has made more than 40 promises of guarantees, of which Solyndra was the first. It has committed $18 billion in guarantees and expects to allocate several billion dollars more by the time the program finishes at the end of September.

The government calculates premiums for the guarantees, essentially a loan fee based on the risk of default, but it picks up the cost of the premiums for the companies in the subsidy program. By that yardstick, it has spent $2.4 billion in credit subsidies for the program.

Solyndra’s troubles have been growing for some time. Republican budget-cutters in Congress have viewed it as a model of poor government investment.

“In an apparent rush to push stimulus dollars out the door, the Obama administration wasted $535 million in taxpayer funds in guaranteeing a loan to a firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market,” said Representative Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican who is chairman of an investigative subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

He said the Energy Department might have authorized the guarantee because an Oklahoma oil man who was a donor to the Obama campaign, George Kaiser, was an investor in the project. In a joint statement, Mr. Stearns and Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the chairman of the committee, said, “We smelled a rat from the onset.”

But the Energy Department dismissed that assertion, saying that Solyndra applied for federal help during the Bush administration and that Obama-era officials merely finished the process the Republicans had begun.

The department says government subsidies are essential to keep the United States competitive in renewable energy, and not all companies will succeed.

“The project that we supported succeeded,” insisted Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Department of Energy.

“The facility was producing the product it said it would produce, and consumers were buying the product,” he said. “The company struggled because the market has changed dramatically.”

Although the government typically guarantees loans made to a company by a commercial bank, that was not the case for Solyndra. Solyndra borrowed the money from the Federal Financing Bank, part of the Treasury Department, so in effect, the government was lending the money to the company directly. The Energy Department gave Solyndra a conditional guarantee for $535 million, in multiple stages, contingent on reaching a variety of milestones, and to date, it had received $527 million.

===============

Mr. LaVera held out the hope that in a bankruptcy reorganization, Solyndra or some other company would run the factory profitably and that not all the taxpayer investment would be lost. In addition to the government, private investors put about $1 billion into the company. More than 1,000 employees were laid off.

Although the Obama administration is under pressure from energy companies to extend the guarantee program, it is a likely target for Congressional budget-cutters.
“Solyndra is a black eye for the program,” said Matthew A. Feinstein, an analyst at Lux Research. “And that means bad things for the solar industry in the United States.”

Solyndra, which once had plans to sell stock to the public, was a darling of policy makers. When it broke ground in Fremont, Calif., Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was then governor, and Steven Chu, the federal secretary of energy, wielded ceremonial gold-colored shovels.

Solyndra’s problem, according to outsiders, was that the product looked better when it was conceived than when it hit the market. Solyndra’s design avoids the use of silicon, a commodity that was selling at very high prices in 2009 when the loan guarantee was approved but that has crashed since then.

The design also sought to cut costs with an innovative cylindrical design that reduced the labor required for installation. As the sun moves across the sky, the light hits a different facet of the cylinder. But the capital costs for manufacturing were high.

Barry Cinnamon, the chief executive of Westinghouse Solar, a competitor, said Solyndra and Evergreen Solar had tried new designs that turned out not to be as good as standard flat panels.

“In both cases, they made a bad bet,” he said.

Evergreen, based in Massachusetts, received tens of millions of dollars in state loans and grants in exchange for opening a factory there. In January, it announced that it was closing that factory and moving manufacturing to China. But a few weeks ago, it concluded that even the move offshore was not enough to save the company.

SpectraWatt, a small solar company near Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ceased operations earlier this year and declared bankruptcy on Aug. 19. The company, which was created as a spinoff from Intel, the computer chip maker, cited poor market conditions created by China’s subsidies to its manufacturers.

Ken Zweibel, director of the Solar Institute at the George Washington University, said solar companies in China and Germany were receiving big subsidies from their governments and were pressuring American companies.

“There’s definitely a crisis in traditional technology,” he said. But Solyndra, he said, was “a wild-card technology,” and both Solyndra and Evergreen products had “questionable attributes.”
==========
Note that POTH failed to mention the connection with a donor , , ,  rolleyes

------------------------------

Another day, another stimulus burnout. On Wednesday, solar panel maker and White House favorite Solyndra announced plans to suspend business and file for bankruptcy. Its demise is a reminder of the perils of politically directed investment.

This wasn't supposed to be the storyline. In March 2009, Solyndra was the first company to get an Energy Department loan guarantee, worth $535 million. Vice President Joe Biden spoke via closed circuit TV at the groundbreaking of the company's Fremont, California plant, and President Obama touted the thousands of jobs the stimulus money would create. Such investments were all the better, Mr. Obama said at a visit to the plant last spring, because "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra." You know, "green jobs."

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Bloomberg
 .Lots of venture capital companies bought into the hype, investing in green technology to piggyback their own capital on federal favoritism. Solyndra's relationship with the White House came under special scrutiny because of Solyndra backer and Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser's history as an Obama fundraiser. In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu in February, the House Energy and Commerce Committee raised concerns about the loan, noting that the company had suffered "financial setbacks," and asking for information about "whether Solyndra was the right candidate" for the loan guarantee.

The Department of Energy marched on anyway, and yesterday it said it has "always recognized that not every one of the innovative companies supported by our loans and loan guarantees would succeed." Well, sure, businesses fail, but most failures don't saddle taxpayers with as much as $535 million in potential losses.

Solyndra's story is more evidence that trendy, politically directed investments don't make for efficient allocation of capital. Beyond the immediate losses, they mean the money wasn't available for market-directed investment with a better chance to succeed. This is how you get a 1% recovery.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 08:47:36 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #272 on: September 01, 2011, 09:21:19 AM »

"If I have my numbers right, the 1100 now vaporized jobs were created at a cost of $486,364 each (i.e. $535,000,000) this "public-private partnership" (a.k.a. economic fascism)"

In our elaborate system of checks and balances, I wonder if that 'investment' was properly vetted by the other branches of government like the Jobs Czar, the Auto Recovery Czar, the California Water Czar, the Car Czar, the Climate Czar, the Economic Czar, the Energy and Environment Czar, the Government Performance Czar, the Green Jobs Czar, the Health Czar, the Information Czar, the Pay Czar, the Regulatory Czar, the Science Czar, the Stimulus Accountability Czar, the TARP Czar, the Technology Czar, or the Urban Affairs Czar.  With all that oversight you would think that someone watching the public hearings on CSPAN would have smelled a rat!

(Those were only 19 of the 32 Czars listed at http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/29391/)

Might I add my opinion that even if the subsidy of the federal government singling out and unequally helping one specific enterprise over all others was just $10 per job and even if the venture went on to become world champion, it is still a violation of founding principles and the constitutional concept of equal protection.

There is something sinister about injecting 'investment' into a 'market', where it is therefore in fact not a market.  Why not just go whole hog Soviet style state enterprise to the produce desired goods if you truly believe central government knows best?

At $486,364 each and $535,000,000 total over 1100 jobs, none of which materialized, could we at least get a full recap of political contributions that led to it or came from it?
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« Reply #273 on: September 01, 2011, 10:08:20 AM »

Contrast the Obama administration with what we find for Dem governance elsewhere across the fruited plain.  Kind of a fluff piece by George Will today but he points out that Colorado's new Dem Governor has a business background, and a more relaxed view of placating his state's divided electorate; he seems to be governing so far without Washington style, firebrand liberal activism.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/colorados-fresh-brew/2011/08/30/gIQAOqexsJ_story.html

“We are such a purple state” — Colorado is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third unaffiliated — “we can avoid the big fights.”
----
From the NYT: In the 2010 midterms (when Hickelooper was elected), Coloradans sent four Republicans and three Democrats to the U.S. House. In 2008 the split was five to two in favor of Democrats.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/magazine/09Hickenlooper-t.html?pagewanted=all


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« Reply #274 on: September 01, 2011, 04:40:16 PM »


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/maxine-waters-gangster-banks-must-modify-loans-or-were-gonna-tax-them-out-of-existence/
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« Reply #275 on: September 01, 2011, 04:45:47 PM »

second post of afternoon:

Feds raid Gibson Guitar:

Caveat: I've only read what is at this page and not yet listened to the clips.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/update-gibson-guitar-ceo-says-feds-told-him-to-outsource-labor-to-madagascar/
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« Reply #276 on: September 26, 2011, 10:29:56 AM »

Long detailed piece linked below on the Solyndra fiasco by Steven Hayward

From my point of view it is important to note that the problem here is not that it failed.  We are actually worse off when this fascism appears to succeed because then it will never end.  It is important to oppose all this governmental cronyism in its concept and in all its iterations.  When the friends of the public officials get goodies and preferences that the rest of us don't get and have to pay for, it is morally and constitutionally wrong before we find out its failure and all the scandalous details.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/president-solyndra_594151.html
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« Reply #277 on: September 27, 2011, 05:25:42 PM »



http://www.theblaze.com/stories/report-ford-pulls-anti-bailout-ad-after-pressure-from-obama-admin/
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« Reply #278 on: September 27, 2011, 09:38:48 PM »

"File this in the random-things-politicians-say file. Speaking to a Cary Rotary Club today, N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue suggested suspending Congressional elections for two years so that Congress can focus on economic recovery and not the next election.

"I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that," Perdue said. "You want people who don't worry about the next election."

The comment -- which came during a discussion of the economy -- perked more than a few ears. It's unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious -- but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea.  (Read her full remarks below.)

Later Tuesday afternoon, Perdue's office clarified the remarks: "Come on," said spokeswoman Chris Mackey in a statement. "Gov. Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own election instead of what’s best for the people they serve."

The Republicans sure are taking it seriously as they look to score political points. Here's a statement from GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood:

“Now is a time when politicians need to be held accountable more than ever. To suspend an election would be removing the surest mechanism that people have to hold politicians accountable: the right to vote. Does the Governor not believe that people of North Carolina have the ability to think for themselves about whether or not the actions of elected officials are working?"

UPDATED: GOP House candidate Paul Coble didn't think much of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's idea that congressional elections be suspended for two years so Congress can concentrate on the economy.

“That’s a proposal that only the politicians that have worsened our economic mess could appreciate,” said Coble, who is chairman of the Wake County commissioners. “Governor Perdue and the politicians in Washington may fear the message voters send next November.”

Perdue's full statement:

"You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It's a little bit more contentious now but it's not impossible to try to do what's right in this state. You want people who don't worry about the next election."

Read more: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/perdue_suggests_suspending_congressional_elections_for_two_years_was_she_serious#ixzz1ZD8TdMMN"

_____________________________________________________

Sounds like a probe doesn't it?
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« Reply #279 on: September 27, 2011, 09:50:21 PM »

I doubt it's a probe, but it's just a reminder how the left isn't real big on voters, especially when the political winds aren't blowing their way. They think of themselves as god-kings and are unhappy when their divinity is questioned.
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« Reply #280 on: September 28, 2011, 12:08:37 AM »



Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C. S. Lewis
English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 - 1963)
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« Reply #281 on: September 28, 2011, 10:41:27 PM »

Pasting here CCP's post from the Cognitive Dissonance thread.

Crony Socialism: Obama Gives $737 Million to Solar Firm Linked to the Pelosi Clan
Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 12:14 PM
 
It’s as if Solyndra never happened. The Obama Administration is giving $737 million to a Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve. PCG is an investment partner with SolarReserve. Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law happens to be the number two man at PCG.

Team Obama is spending $737 million to create 45 permanent jobs.
The Hill reported, via Free Republic:

The Energy Department announced Wednesday that is has finalized a $737 million loan guarantee for a Nevada solar project.

The decision comes several weeks after a California-based solar manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration in 2009 filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers, setting off a firestorm in Washington.

The $737 million loan guarantee will help finance construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-megawatt solar-power-generating facility in Nye County, Nev. The project is sponsored by Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve.

Crescent Dunes is the latest solar project to receive a loan guarantee from the Energy Department in recent weeks. The department announced a $1.2 billion loan guarantee to Abengoa Solar for a solar generation project in California and a $150 million loan guarantee to 1366 Technologies for a Massachusetts solar manufacturing project earlier this month.

The Energy Department says the project will result in 600 construction jobs and 45 permanent jobs.

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« Reply #282 on: September 29, 2011, 09:51:51 AM »

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/bobbeauprez/2011/09/29/doe_trying_to_use_$65_billion_in_loans_to_create_283_jobs/page/full/

Repeatedly throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama made the claim that he would "create 5 million 'green jobs; will invest $150 billion over ten years to deploy clean technologies, protect our existing manufacturing base and create millions of new jobs." 

The growing Solyndra scandal focused renewed attention on Obama's go-green obsession, and has sparked at least five high-profile investigations, including the FBI. 

If there is any good news, it would be that thus far Obama hasn't blown through $150 billion – yet.  But, he's also well short of creating 5 million green jobs. 

According to Investor's Business Daily, about $10 billion has been committed.  The Department of Energy says just over 2300 permanent jobs are or will be created as a result.  That amounts to about $4.3 million per job.  In fairness, a number of construction jobs also benefitted from the funding, but are temporary, rather than permanent funding.

The program that has funded green loans like Solyndra and others expires on September 30, so the DOE is scrambling to get billions more out the door.  As the following graphic represents, the DOE is busy processing nine more applications totaling $6.5 billion.  Estimated numbers of permanent jobs to be created are required from applicants as part of the application program.  As the chart shows, just 283 permanent jobs would result – at an average of nearly $23 million per job.





Source: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/586155/201109271759/DOE-Mulls-Loans-For-Green-Projects-At-23-Mil-Per-Job.htm


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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« Reply #283 on: October 13, 2011, 11:21:38 AM »

Obama's Red October Uprising
The Resurgence of the American Socialist Movement
"We must make our election between economy and Liberty, or profusion and servitude." --Thomas Jefferson
 
By now, you're aware that the seeds of socialist dissent are being sown across our great nation, mostly within the fetid soil of urban centers, where cadres of activists coalesce under the aegis of "Occupy [fill in the blank]." It would be difficult to avoid the fanfare, given the amount of Leftmedia coverage (read: promotion) that these protests receive.
According to my colleague Brent Bozell at Media Research Center, the protests were the subject of "more broadcast network stories in the first nine days than the Tea Party drew in the first nine months."
Typical of the adoring coverage was this missive from ABC's Diane Sawyer, who claimed the occupiers "have spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica." (Seriously, this drama queen actually said "more than a thousand countries.")
In stark ideological contrast to the Tea Party Movement, which seeks to restore Liberty and Rule of Law as enshrined in our Constitution, the socialist "Flea Party" movement occupying city blocks across our nation is composed of the latest generation of useful idiots and debauched opportunists.
Conservative political observers have uniformly written off these protests because they're populated by the usual suspects -- a mix of leftist protagonists supported by Ivy League ignorati, collegiate lemmings, paid union thugs, the socially disenfranchised, and a handful of unwitting poor folks. Though these protestors exhibit limited "intellectual occupancy," I would caution that underestimating the threat to Liberty that these Occupier protests pose is a serious error. Reputable polling firms find that more than 35 percent of likely voters support the protests.
Post your opinion
Just who is behind the Occupiers?
Here's the short answer: Barack Hussein Obama and his socialist bourgeoisie.
As our editors have comprehensively revealed through the pages of The Patriot Post, from the time Obama first emerged on the national political scene in 2004, to the rise of his present-day regime, Team Obama has crafted a perilous national security crisis bent on "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" by imploding free enterprise and replacing it with Democratic Socialism.
 
So, while the Occupiers are of many guises their common thread is a storm-trooper adherence to Obama's Marxist agenda.
The mob movement was organized by "Occupy Wall Street," a front for the Marxist General Assembly movement, whose communications director, Brian Phillips, clearly articulated the organization's primary objective "to overthrow the government."
That goal has been echoed in the last two weeks from coast to coast, as affirmed by an Occupy LA leader, who proclaimed that nonviolence is not an option: "[T]he bourgeoisie won't go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class. Long live revolution! Long live socialism!"
Their populist national slogan, "99 percenters v. 1 percenters," implies that the American people are 99-to-1 in favor of forcibly redistributing the possessions of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to the other 99 percent.
This slogan, and its underlying message, is being promoted by William Ayers, the former Weather Underground radical. Ayers issued a "collective statement" for the Occupiers concluding "that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power."
Post your comments
As you may recall, Ayers is a close friend and former neighbor of Obama back in Barack's "community organizer" days in the fashionable Hyde Park section of Chicago. It was Ayers who hosted, in his own home, the first fundraiser for Obama's successful 1996 Illinois State Senate campaign, thus launching BO's political career.
This latest rash of socialist protests has crafted its classist message around the revolution-tested politics of disparity, under the leadership of old-school radicals like Ayers.
They are building on Obama's classist theme of "asking people who have benefited the most over the last decade to share in the sacrifice." Of the current 99-percenter protests, Obama concludes, "I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel."
Obama's DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was a bit more candid: "The protests are symbolic of the frustration that middle class folks and working people feel. ... We understand their frustration, we applaud their activism and hopefully they're going to help get the Republicans in Washington's attention so we shift the Republicans' focus from just Barack Obama's job, to everyone's job."
Nancy Pelosi added, "The message of the protesters is a message for the establishment everyplace. No longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street. ... God bless them for their spontaneity. It's independent ... it's young, it's spontaneous, it's focused. And it's going to be effective."
Obama's "Red October" uprising takes its inspiration from the 1917 Social Democratic Labour Party protests in Russia, which gave rise to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Then, as now, the economy was in serious decline. Then, as now, Bolshevik revolutionaries were young, some 85 percent of them under age 30. Then, as now, they issued decrees giving rise to "the most militant and class-conscious" protests.
When their protests had grown to sufficient strength, the Socialist Democrats concluded, "an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe."
It was a brief and bloody revolution, and at its conclusion, the protestors implemented policies that mirror proposals advocated by SDLP of today, the Occupiers: All real property was seized and redistributed, companies and factories were nationalized, all private wealth was confiscated by the state, Church properties were seized, and debts were repudiated.
 
Fast-forward about 100 years to the "99 percenters v. 1 percenters."
Today, almost 35 percent of Americans are dependent upon government subsidies, and 40 percent of Americans pay no income tax and thus have no stake in the cost of government. Consequently, most are predisposed to vote for the redistribution of others' incomes rather than work for their own. Further, if the Supreme Court rules that ObamaCare comports with the so-called "living constitution" rather than strikes it down based upon Rule of Law, by 2013 the number of Americans who depend on the largess of the central government will swell to well over 50 percent.
Combine the dependent ranks, the sprouting seeds of socialist unrest and the grim reality that the American economy is at serious risk of collapsing altogether under the Obama "debt bomb", and we have all the ingredients for an even bigger Red October uprising today and just before the election of 2012.
Should Barack Hussein Obama be re-elected in 2012, a prospect that, admittedly, seems rather inconceivable today, it would create the proverbial "perfect storm" to finish transforming the national landscape from one characterized by Liberty to one smothered by tyranny.
America is a great nation with a resilient economy and political system, but it is only kept so to the extent that the American people uphold the principles and values upon which that greatness is founded. However, for those who remain complacent in the belief that Liberty is self-perpetuating, that the question of transition of power by bullets rather than ballots is archaic, I remind you that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. Of such complacency, Samuel Adams wrote, "If ye love wealth better than Liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"
Tell me what you think
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Libertas aut Mortis!
 
Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post
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« Reply #284 on: October 13, 2011, 11:48:34 AM »

It will be interesting on the left to see who owns and who dis-owns the message that will come out of the 'Occupy' movement.

GM posted the purple hair and nose ring lady.  BD advised to look past a few kooks for validity in their points.  Over time we will see what are their points.  I predict from past similar movements it will devolve into anti-capitalism which puts Obama the mainstream anti-capitalist in a tricky situation about taking sides.

"Fast-forward about 100 years to the "99 percenters v. 1 percenters."
Today, almost 35 percent of Americans are dependent upon government subsidies, and 40 percent of Americans pay no income tax and thus have no stake in the cost of government. Consequently, most are predisposed to vote for the redistribution of others' incomes rather than work for their own."

Our own CCP has persuasively made this point.  '35% of Americans' understates the influence.  Normally I have seen it written more like '53% of households' receive federal transfer of wealth payments.  I understand helping the oldest and weakest among us who cannot get help from their own family, church, county, state or neighborhood, but not defining the weakest among us who have no chance as the lower 99%!

Which hurts you more financially if you are middle class, the people who are taking from you or the people who pay taxes in dollars about 40 times more than you are?
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« Reply #285 on: October 19, 2011, 10:24:49 AM »

"[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few." --John Adams, An Essay on Man's Lust for Power, 1763
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« Reply #286 on: October 21, 2011, 11:15:03 AM »



http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/car-company-us-loan-builds-cars-finland/story?id=14770875
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« Reply #287 on: October 21, 2011, 11:35:06 AM »

http://www.fantasticalandrewfox.com/2011/10/19/fisker-karma-solyndra-on-wheels/

Fisker Karma: Solyndra on Wheels?



Fisker Karma: can you say, "crony capitalism?"
 
Our tax dollars at work… a half-billion dollar loan (actually $529 million) from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a hybrid toy for the wealthy and/or celebri-licious (like Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the first customers) that, in real world driving, won’t get much better mileage than your average crossover utility vehicle. Not only that, but the cars are manufactured in Finland — that’s right, Finland – and shipped here for sale, where their purchasers will then receive a $7,500 tax credit for buying one (the “cheap” base model starts at $96,895, with the full-zoot Eco Chic model going for a bargain $108,900).
 
I generally try to keep this blog pretty much clear of politics. But I’ll make an exception for this. Staring out the windows of my lunch room this afternoon, I saw something intriguing enough to get me to scarf down my lunch and get myself out into a gray, drizzly afternoon to check it out. Across the street from my building, a very large automotive transport truck with a fully enclosed trailer unloaded four cars of a type I had never seen before. They looked somewhat like big, four-door Chevy Corvettes, with voluptuous curves leading to a sleek rear end. People on the sidewalk next to the cars crowded around them and took photos with their camera phones.
 
I headed downstairs to see what the heck the cars were. I thought they might be one of the new four-door luxury electric models from either Tesla or Fisker, which I’d read about but hadn’t yet seen pictures of. What threw me, though, was spotting a round gas tank door on the rear driver’s side flank, plus dual exhausts. Not electric, I thought. By the time I got downstairs and across the street, the cars had been moved a block away, to the front of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, a luxury hotel in Southwest Washington, DC. I spotted the driver of the auto transport rig and asked him what he’d been hauling. He said four of the brand-new Fisker Karma performance hybrid sedans. Oh, gas-electric hybrids, I thought; that explains the gas tank and the exhausts. He said he’d had the devil of a time getting into this corner of Southwest Washington. Most of the city’s highways had been off-limits to his giant truck, and then he had found several local streets blocked by Occupy DC protests taking place at MacPherson Square, our local version of Occupy Wall Street. He said this was Fisker’s big roll-out. The head of the company, Mr. Fisker himself, was present at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to do a press conference.
 
I walked over to the front of the hotel to get a look at the cars. Pretty damned nice, I’ll certainly admit, with a sleek roof lined with solar panels that, according to the company’s claims, give up to five additional miles per week of all-electric driving. While I was standing there admiring the four identical silver cars’ lines, a cabby exited his ratty old Crown Victoria and wandered over next to me, a look of rapt admiration on his face. “Nice, but it’s not for the likes of you and me,” I said. He nodded a little sadly, circled the cars, then returned to his cab.
 
I recalled reading that the Federal government had become a major financial partner in Fisker Automotive. That would explain the official rollout taking place in Washington. When I got back to my computer, I looked up the specifics. We the taxpayers are on the hook for more than half a billion dollars, about the same amount that got loaned to Solyndra, another “green manufacturer,” before they went bankrupt. At least Solyndra was manufacturing their products in this country, providing American manufacturing jobs (if short-lived jobs), and making a product that average Americans could conceivably afford. Fisker is manufacturing these gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio toys in Finland. And the kicker, for those of you who would still claim that the risk of half a billion tax dollars is justified by environmental gains… contrary to the company’s initial hype, the Karma will only run for thirty-two miles on its electric motors before its turbocharged gasoline engine needs to kick in (as opposed to the initial estimate of fifty miles). Once that occurs, the Karma gets about the same mileage as a Ford Explorer. Not the new Explorer, even. The older, gas-hog, body-on-frame model. We’re talking twenty miles per gallon, folks. So much for your “green investment.”
 
Those Occupy Wall Street-types in their tents at MacPherson Square? If they really, truly are bugged by corporate welfare, they need to schlep their signs and their chants and their anger over to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Right now. Because the Fisker Karma is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to corporate welfare.
 
I have no problem with a group of entrepreneurs raising money from private investors to build a hundred thousand dollar toy for rich folks who want to flaunt their eco-consciousness. When and if that’s the case, may they have all the mazel in the world. But damn, it steams me up when my family and every family in America are forced to pay for it.
 
Al Gore is on the list of customers waiting to receive their Fisker Karmas, having put in his order before the DOE signed off on the company’s half-billion dollar loan. Oh, and by the way, it just so happens that several major investors in the company are also major donors to the Democratic Party. And here’s information on John Doerr, an advisor to President Obama who is also a major investor in Fisker Automotive. Can you say, “crony capitalism?”
 
Update: The analysts at Green Car Reports, “the ultimate guide to cleaner, greener driving,” worry that the Fisker Karma may discredit the entire Department of Energy loan program. Given that, in a comparison of EPA mileage ratings between the two “American made” (scare quotes present due to the Karma being manufactured in Finland, with its electric motors and batteries being sourced from China) plug-in hybrids now on the market, the Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma, the Volt is “rated at 94 MPGe in electric mode, and 37 mpg on gasoline, with an electric range of 35 miles,” whereas the Karma is rated at “54 MPGe in electric mode; 20 mpg in range-extended mode,” with an electric range of just 32 miles, they may well be right to worry. Oh, and Fisker conveniently left out that little detail about “20 mpg in range-extended mode” in their press releases sent out in the last few days. Details are for the little people, don’t you know…
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« Reply #288 on: October 21, 2011, 06:26:30 PM »

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2011/October/Witness-to-Evil-Mothers-Kill-Children-to-Survive/

Inside N. Korea’s Prisons: Moms Kill Children to Survive
 

By George Thomas
CBN News Sr. Reporter

Friday, October 21, 2011
SEOUL- South Korea -- Meet a woman who has witnessed unspeakable evil and lived to tell about it.
 
For 28 years, Kim Hye Sook languished as a prisoner inside North Korea's oldest concentration camp. She saw daily executions, mass starvation, and mothers killing their children to survive. 

Kim granted CBN News the first American television news interview. We must warn you that the images and content of this report are not suitable for children.
 
Languishing in Prison
 
Kim is perhaps the longest serving prisoner ever to escape from North Korea.
 
"I went to the prison camp when I was only 13 years old and I got out when I was 41," she said.
 
The year was 1975. One morning North Korean government agents burst into her home and dragged away all the members of her family.
 
"My entire family went to prison," she recalled. "Some were taken to the mountains; others were put in different labor camps all because of my grandfather's one mistake: he escaped to South Korea during the Korean War."
 
Re-Education Center No. 18
 
Kim and some of her family were sent to Re-Education Center No. 18, also known as "Bukchang."
 
"I lost seven members of my family, including my grandmother, mother, brother, and my husband," Kim said.
 
Today she wears dark glasses to conceal her identity.
 
"I wear these glasses because I have family in the camp," she said. "Two of my sisters and brother are still in there."
 
Bukchang holds some 50,000 prisoners. It's one of six political prison camps operated by the North Korean government.
 
Human rights groups estimate some 200,000 North Koreans are languishing behind the walls of these secret internment camps.
 
"I attended indoctrination classes in the morning," Kims said. "In the afternoon the children were sent to push trolleys in the coal mines, often without any safety gear."
 
Treated Like Slaves
 
Kim said she was forced to work 16 to 18 hour work days with no rest.
 
"People were dying in the mines. There were numerous mine collapses, so many injuries, people who lost their legs, many who were buried alive," she recalled. "It was horrible."
 
"I was treated like a slave and worse. I hardly slept. It was inhuman," she said. "But I never complained. I just followed all the rules. I had to find a way to survive."
 
Prisoners didn't have enough food to eat. Kim said a family of seven was usually given just 10 pounds of corn a month. 

Widespread Famine
 
"1996 was horrible. That year many people died of starvation. There was nothing to eat. There was no grass, no plants were growing," Kim said.

"You looked around and there were bodies littered throughout the camp," she said. "At first I was shocked but then you become numb to it all."
 
CBN News asked Kim if there were days when she felt that perhaps it was not worth living. Perhaps she thought of killing herself.
 
"Yes, I thought of committing suicide hundreds of thousands of times in those 28 years," she admitted. "But the way the camp is set up there is always someone watching you."
 
"Each prisoner is assigned to watch four or five other prisoners," she said. "So if anything happens, the other prisoners would alert the guards because they didn't want to get into trouble themselves."
 
Public Executions
 
Kim told CBN News that she witnessed countless public executions.
 
"Often these prisoners were killed over petty things like stealing food," she explained.

"The guards would always gather other prisoners to watch the execution. It was a form of intimidation," she said. "The command was then given to fire at the prisoners."
 
Perhaps most chilling is Kim's account of fellow prisoners killing their own children to stave off hunger.
 
Mothers Killing Children
 
"One time a mother put her 9-year-old daughter in this big cast iron pot and boiled her," she said. "She was a too big for the pot so the mother had to chop her legs and head to fit the body in the pot."
 
"On another occasion, a lady killed her 16-year-old son, chopped him into pieces and took him to a butcher shop to get some corn in exchange," she said.
 
Kim said talking about these gruesome details isn't easy.
 
"It is hard to talk about but I want the world to see these images and to hear my testimony," she said.
 
Retold in Tears
 
She escaped from Bukchang in 2003. The details of which are being kept confidential for security reasons. Now she lives in South Korea.

This summer Kim released her memoir called, A Concentration Camp Retold in Tears. It includes images seen in this story that she drew from memory of the horrors witnessed.
 
"I'm thankful to be alive but I can't get over the fact that I've lost half my life," she said.

Tear Down These Walls
 
In September, Kim flew to Washington, D.C., to testify before a United States congressional panel about the beatings, starvation, and brutal executions that she witnessed in Bukchang camp.
 
"My message to the world is that we have to shut down these labor camps and set the prisoners free," Kim testified.

"Every day people are dying. Every day people are killing each other," she said. "I am living proof that there are no human rights in North Korea."
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« Reply #289 on: October 21, 2011, 08:04:57 PM »

That's hardcore. I did a paper in college once on North Korean "Reeducation" Camps.

One of their favourite things to do is shackle you to a floor by your wrists, with just enough room to squat, but not stand up, over a stool with protruding raised squares cut in the surface of it so that as you fatigued, gradually over time, one would begin sitting on the surface of the seat, with the squares digging into one's skin and after days of this, they would begin to fester.

There were instances of women being violated in the most heinous of ways with the bladed end of a full size gardening shovel. Of course, these women died.

It makes the idea of them placing rectangular objects between one's fingers, clamping the fingers together and rotating the object back and forth seem like very small potatoes.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 08:10:03 PM by DF » Logged
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« Reply #290 on: November 18, 2011, 09:17:10 AM »



How George Soros benefitted from the 2009 Stimulous Package

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PICKET: New book shows how Soros set up and financially benefited from '09 stimulus


Peter Schweizer, a Hoover Institution fellow, explores in his new book, "Throw Them All Out" how Capitol Hill lawmakers financially benefit from their own legislation and manage to sidestep insider information laws. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is under fire for allegedly buying $1 million to $5 million of Visa stock during the credit card company's initial public offering (IPO) phase and later blocked credit card legislation reform two years later. As a result, her investment took off 203 percent. Big Government's Wynton Hall writes:


Despite Pelosi’s consistent railing against credit card companies, on March 18, 2008, the Pelosis bought between $1 million and $5 million (politicians do not have to report the exact amounts, only ranges) worth of Visa stock at the IPO price of $44 per share. Two days later, the stock price rocketed to $65 per share, yielding a 50% profit. The Pelosis then bought Visa twice more. By their third purchase on June 4, 2008, Visa was worth $85 per share.

How did Nancy Pelosi snag one of the most coveted initial public offerings in history? The facts are still emerging. Yet according to Schweizer, corporations that wish to build congressional allies will sometimes hand-pick members of Congress to receive IPOs. Pelosi received her Visa IPO almost two weeks after a potentially damaging piece of legislation for Visa, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, had been introduced in the House.

If passed, the bill would have cut into Visa’s profits substantially by lowering so-called “interchange fees,” the 1% to 3% charge retailers pay Visa when customers use Visa cards for purchases. Interchange fees are a critical source of revenue for the four credit card companies–$48 billion in 2008, to be exact.If the Credit Card Fair Fee Act had been passed into effect, it would have amended antitrust laws to require credit card companies to enter negotiations with merchants over interchange fees, and it would have given the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission the power to arbitrate if the two sides failed to come to an agreement. For that reason, Visa and the other credit card companies strongly opposed the bill.

It is not just the lawmakers on Capitol Hill who can make a killing. Their rich and powerful cronies can also financially benefit from intel they receive from Washington D.C. politicians. According to Schweizer's book, George Soros made his way into the Obama White House by becoming one of candidate Obama's "first big catches."

Mr. Soros donated more than $60,000 to Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and helped build the Obama 2008 war chest substantially. Soros gained amazing access to the president and the president's economic agenda immediately after the 2008 election, according to Schweizer, who writes in his book:


"Days after President Obama was elected, Soros was helping to set the agenda. Soros had regular meetings with senior White House officials. He met with Obama’s top economist, Larry Summers,on February 25, 2009. He also had meetings in the Old Executive Office Building with senior officials on March 24 and 25 asthe stimulus was being forged. He was later involved in private discussions concerning widespread financial reform."

"Soros was also a financial backer of the Center for American Progress, which functioned as Obama’s think tank. John Podesta,who headed CAP, was Obama’s transition director. Several CAP policy ideas became part of Obama’s agenda. Soros said at the time, 'I think we need a large stimulus package, which will provide funds for state and local government to maintain their budgets, because they are not allowed by the constitution to run a deficit. For such a program to be successful, the federal government would need to provide hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, another infrastructure program is necessary. In total, the cost would be in the 300 to 600 billion dollar range.'”

Schweizer found that after "tens of billions" of tax payer dollars were invested in the Democrat backed 2009 stimulus package, in the first quarter of 2009, Soros made a financial windfall by investing in stimulus winners like: Hologic, a maker of diagnostic equipment, which gained from federal funding of medical systems, Emulex, a government contractor that designs fiber channels and software products, and EMC, a data storage company.

I spoke with Schweizer on Sunday night about his book and asked about how the rich and powerful can legally obtain insider information from insider Capitol Hill activity and financially benefit.

Schweizer calls the scheme that Steve Eisman, Warren Buffett, and Soros use the "Baptist and bootlegger strategy."

"What a lot of these guys do like Buffett and Soros or Eisman, in the case of for-profit education, is present themselves as reformers. They present these grand ideas and they're sort of statesman who are just interested in improving the situation in our country, but the reality is, as I point out in the book, at the same time, they're often aggressively trading stocks," Schweizer said.

As I have covered in previous Water Cooler posts, Steve Eisman, a New York hedge fund manager, was brought forth to Capitol Hill to testify before Senator Tom Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to support the Department of Education's Gainful Employment (GOE) rule.

Supporters of the GOE rule and of Eisman will say he was needed at the hearings, because Eisman provided valuable warnings and insight about the mortgage crisis. Many said Mr. Eisman was only trying to help the country stave off another financial crisis that would stem from the student loan defaults in the for profit school industry.

His participation in the hearings have been severely questioned, though, as the education regulation would financially cripple for profit schools. Evidence that the D.C. based organization CREW found showed that Mr. Eisman was short-selling for-profit schools.

If these schools failed he would financially profit. Congressman Darrell Issa, California Republican, and Senator Mike Enzi, Wyoming Republican, urged the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to probe into whether or not there were any laws broken, but the SEC has yet to act.

"The Senate confirms the SEC commissioner and they set the budgets for the SEC," says Schweizer who thinks the model of having the SEC investigate such matters is unworkable.

"Warren Buffett, for example during the financial crisis, helped establish the public-private partnership and at the same time, that was going to bail out banks and he helped design it. As he was doing it, he was buying billions of shares in bank stocks," Schweizer added.

Schweizer also explained that Buffett financially profited off the bank stock investments, and it was completely legal, "because for some reason if you do this with government money or with government institutions it's okay. But were he to do that in a scenario with a merger taking place, he would face insider trading laws."












http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/...nd-financiall/
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« Reply #291 on: November 20, 2011, 11:37:38 AM »

http://theothermccain.com/2011/11/19/indoctrination-what-the-occupiers-believe-and-why-they-believe-it/

Indoctrination: What the Occupiers Believe and Why They Believe It

Posted on | November 19, 2011



NYPD arrest Occupy Wall Street protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge, Oct. 1


“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”
 – William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)


“We have a class called 21st Century Challenges and Choices. They’re studying the current world. They went on a field trip to see Occupy Denver.”
 – Dierdre Cryor, principal, St. Mary’s Academy


“We want them to see the democratic process in action.”
 – Celia Bard, Social Studies Department chair, St. Mary’s Academy


“You’re f–king up our future. . . . What do you think we learn at school? This is what we learned about. . . . We’re the 99 percent.”
 – 17-year-old student, St. Mary’s Academy



Workers World Party national conference, New York, Oct. 8


“An epic battle is underway for the direction of our country. The Occupy movement is not alone. . . . We stand with the courageous young people who have sparked this movement and join with the occupiers who are putting themselves on the line to transform our nation and achieve a secure and sustainable future. . . . The time has come to put people before profits.”
 – “Communist Party heralds Occupy Wall Street movement,” Oct. 18, 2011, CPUSA.org


“How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”
 – Ronald Reagan, Sept. 25, 1987

During today’s first anniversary broadcast of Da Tech Guy‘s radio show on WCRN, Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom was discussing his video of Catholic schoolgirls who took part in an Occupy Denver protest against last weekend’s BlogCon:



In discussing the beliefs of the Occupiers, including these 17-year-old girls who attend a private Catholic academy where the tuition is $14,000 a year, Jeff suggested they had been “indoctrinated.” This called to mind Buckley’s description of indoctrination in Up From Liberalism, and made me wonder how these girls were taught that they are “the 99 percent” on whose behalf the Occupiers claim to speak.

Born in 1994, these girls cannot possibly have any useful memory of political events prior to the Bush presidency. They were in first grade during the 2000 election and were 14 when Obama was elected. Therefore whatever “knowledge” they have of history is what they have been taught, and the content of that curriculum undoubtedly accounts for their sympathy with the Occupy movement.

 These girls are scarcely alone in that regard. An entire generation of youth has been taught to view the radical protest movements of the Sixties as unquestionably righteous. Young people may never have heard of Mario Savio, Tom Hayden, Stokely Carmichael, Bill Ayers or Abbie Hoffman, but they have been rigorously indoctrinated with the worldview of the 1960s New Left. And so when they behold the spectacle of left-wing protests like the Occupy movement, it touches a chord that resonates, evoking the heroic conception of revolutionary struggle instilled in them by their teachers, by TV and movies, and by the news media.

‘Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out’

Hagiographic treatment of Sixties radicalism convinces young people, who can know nothing of that long-ago era except what they have been taught, that the New Left represented all that was good and right, and that the protest movements of the 1960s were a glorious triumph. One wishes these kids could be de-programmed by exposure to such eyewitness testimony as Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers by Tom Wolfe, or perhaps even some seminal gonzo journalism:


“In 1965 Berkeley was the axis of what was just beginning to be called the ‘New Left.’ Its lenders were radical, but they were also deeply committed to the society they wanted to change.
 “Now, in 1967, there is not much doubt that Berkeley has gone through a revolution of some kind, but the end result is not exactly what the original leaders had in mind. Many one-time activists have forsaken politics entirely and turned to drugs. . . .
 “The hippies, who had never really believed they were the wave of the future anyway, saw the [1966] election results as brutal confirmation of the futility of fighting the establishment on its own terms. There had to be a whole new scene, they said, and the only way to do it was to make the big move — either figuratively or literally — from Berkeley to the Haight-Ashbury, from pragmatism to mysticism, from politics to dope. . . . The thrust is no longer for ‘change’ or ‘progress’ or ‘revolution,’ but merely to escape, to live on the far perimeter of a world that might have been.”
 – Hunter S. Thompson, “The Hashbury is the Capital of the Hippies,” May 1967, collected in The Great Shark Hunt (1979)

Thompson was always a man of the Left, but harbored no illusions about the Left’s failures. He watched young idealists follow the New Left downward, as the movement splintered and descended into a futile festival of drugged and disorganized (yet ironically herdlike) “non-conformity” that became known as the counter-culture.

Not everyone in the New Left followed Timothy Leary’s advice to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” however. Many of the radicals made the Long March Through the Institutions. This is how Bill Ayers, a terrorist leader who spent years as a fugitive wanted by the FBI, eventually became an influential academic, along with many others who shared his revolutionary vision if not his penchant for revolutionary violence.


“We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men . . . deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle against U.S. imperialism.”
 – Bill Ayers, et. al., “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism,” manifesto of the Weather Underground, 1974

In all the 2008 uproar about Ayers’s association with Barack Obama, few seemed to take alarm at the thought that, from 1987 onward, Ayers was a professor of education — a teacher of teachers — at the University of Illinois. Ayers’s acceptance within academia suggests that many other administrators and faculty were sympathetic to his radicalism. And if, for the past quarter-century, admirers of Marxist revolutionaries have been so influential in our nation’s most prestigious educational institutions, are we surprised to find 17-year-olds sympathizing with the Occupy mobs?

**Read it all.
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« Reply #292 on: December 08, 2011, 11:05:33 AM »

By T.J. RODGERS
At the end of the recently released film "Margin Call," the chairman of the fictional investment bank that triggered the mortgage-backed securities meltdown sits in his executive dining room, looking down on the Hudson River sunset while enjoying a steak and an expensive bottle of Bordeaux. Why not? He has just saved billions for his shareholders by dumping the firm's entire "toxic loan" portfolio in one hectic trading day. Just before giving a bonus to the brilliant analyst who foresaw the meltdown only hours in advance, the chairman predicts, "There's going to be a lot of money made coming out of this mess."

Wall Street understands how to make money, up-market or down. "Margin Call" may fuel Occupy movement ire, but in creating mortgage-backed securities, Wall Street did nothing other than facilitate home-financing access to the next tier of less-qualified home buyers, as demanded by every president since Bill Clinton. After that, the bankers did exactly what their shareholders wanted: bundle those risky loans into securities, sell them to lock in the profits, and dump the risk right back onto the federal government—where it belonged.

My purpose is not to debate the morality of mortgage-backed securities but to update the Law of Unintended Consequences with the corollary Law of Misguided Subsidies: Whenever Washington disrupts a market by dumping subsidies into it, Wall Street will find a way to pocket a majority of the money while the intended subsidy beneficiaries are harmed by the resulting market turmoil.

The recent crash in mortgage-backed securities was a near-repeat of the savings-and-loan crash of the 1980s, in which Washington insured the S&L industry but failed to set limits on high-risk loans. When the bubble burst, Washington paid Wall Street the insurance money while homeowners lost huge sums in real-estate hell. Wall Street understands how to manage risk; the federal government and consumers do not.

Enlarge Image

CloseGetty Images
 .Consider the current 30% federal solar energy subsidy. A home solar system with 60 solar panels produces about 15,000 watts of power, enough to completely offset the $6,000 annual electricity bill of a typical upscale California home. The system costs about $90,000 prior to the 30% federal income-tax credit, which reduces its cost to $63,000. After a simple payback period of about 10 years, the homeowner literally enjoys free electricity for the remainder of the guaranteed 20-year system life, a very profitable 10 years.

But what if that $27,000 tax credit, the accelerated-depreciation tax savings, and most of the hefty post-payback profits went to Wall Street firms with a "tax appetite," not the homeowner? That's just what happens with the majority of new home solar-system installations today.

Washington and consumers are both notoriously shortsighted investors. Washington thinks in two-year election cycles, and consumers will usually choose a financially unfavorable option if it offers no money down. Today's most successful pitch for home solar financing goes like this: "Why pay a lot of money when you can get your solar system installed free and immediately reduce your utility bill?" Most homeowners find that proposition compelling. They ignore the fine print: "You must give your tax credit and depreciation to us and sign a long-term contract to buy power from us at prices just below market."

Today, most new home solar systems are purchased by special Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) that are specifically created by Wall Street firms to purchase home solar systems and to sell power to the homeowner on a cell-phone-like contract. The homeowner does not mind giving up the tax benefits as long as the "free" system reduces utility bills.

However, when the system is paid off and the monthly LLC profit jumps to 100% of the electricity bill, the LLC solar electricity price to the homeowner is maintained just below market—and the profit really begins to roll into the LLC. Since the risks to the LLC grow as the solar systems age, many banks offload their risk by selling the LLCs before their 20-year lifetime is up, locking in much of the long-term profit. There is now a growing market for what might be called "solar-backed securities." Wall Street understands the time-value of money; the federal government and consumers do not.

One of the largest solar-system installers in the U.S., SolarCity Corp., uses the LLC strategy and currently buys a majority of its solar panels from the low-cost Chinese supplier, Yingli. Thus when President Obama said that we must subsidize our solar industry to remain competitive with the Chinese, it would have been more accurate to say that we subsidize Wall Street to create employee-less corporations that buy and install Chinese solar panels in the U.S. Wall Street and consumers understand that free markets are borderless; Washington does not.

Just last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission found the Chinese solar industry guilty of "dumping" solar panels in the U.S. Tariffs are likely to be levied against Yingli and others. Here then, is a practical guide to the Obama administration's nonsensical solar policy: Washington gives tax breaks to Wall Street to fund LLCs that buy solar panels from the Chinese to "help" the American solar industry, while the ITC threatens to levy a tariff on those solar panels, which would raise the price of solar energy to U.S. homeowners. In short, Wall Street pockets the money and consumers get higher solar-energy prices.

We should stop reflexively indicting Wall Street "greed" and focus instead on Washington as the disruptive force in one market meltdown after another. Solyndra, the poster child of the Law of Misguided Subsidies, borders on irrelevancy compared to the full impact of bad economic policy.

Mr. Rodgers is the founder, president and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor.
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« Reply #293 on: December 22, 2011, 09:52:51 AM »

Democrats have spent years arguing that private lenders created the housing boom and bust, and that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac merely came along for the ride. This was always a politically convenient fiction, and now thanks to the unlikely source of the Securities and Exchange Commission we have a trail of evidence showing how the failed mortgage giants turbocharged the crisis.

That's the story revealed Friday by the SEC's civil lawsuits against six former Fannie and Freddie executives, including a pair of CEOs. The SEC says the companies defrauded investors because they "knew and approved of misleading statements" about Fan and Fred's exposure to subprime loans, and it chronicles their push to expand the business.


The executives deny the charges, and we hope they don't settle. The case deserves to play out in court, so Americans can see in detail how Fan and Fred were central to the bubble. The lawsuits themselves, combined with information admitted as true by Fan and Fred in civil nonprosecution agreements with the SEC, are certainly illuminating.

The Beltway story of the crisis claims that Congress's affordable housing mandates had nothing to do with it. But the SEC's lawsuit shows that Fannie degraded its underwriting standards to increase its market share in subprime loans. According to the SEC suit, for instance, in 2006 Fannie Mae adjusted its widely used automated underwriting system, "Desktop Underwriter." Fannie did so as part of its "Say Yes" strategy to "provide more 'approve' messages . . . for larger volumes of loans with lower FICO [credit] scores and higher LTVs [loan-to-value] than previously permitted."

The SEC also shows how Fannie led private lenders into the subprime market. In July 1999, Fannie and Angelo Mozilo's Countrywide Home Loans entered "an alliance agreement" that included "a reduced documentation loan program called the 'internet loan,'" later called the "Fast and Easy" loan. As the SEC notes, "by the mid-2000s, other mortgage lenders developed similar reduced documentation loan programs, such as Mortgage Express and PaperSaver—many of which Fannie Mae acquired in ever-increasing volumes."

Mr. Mozilo and Fannie essentially were business partners in the subprime business. Countrywide found the customers, while Fannie provided the taxpayer-backed capital. And the rest of the industry followed.

As Fannie expanded its subprime loan purchases and guarantees, the SEC alleges that executives hid the risk from investors. Consider Fannie's Expanded Approval/Timely Payment Rewards (EA) loans, which the company described to regulators as its "most significant initiative to serve credit-impaired borrowers."

Related Video
 Mary Kissel on the SEC's suit against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.
.
.By December 31, 2006, Fannie owned or securitized some $43.3 billion of these loans, which, according to the SEC, had "higher average serious delinquency rates, higher credit losses, and lower average credit scores" than Fannie's disclosed subprime loans. By June 30, 2008, Fannie had $60 billion in EA loans and $41.7 billion in another risky program called "My Community Mortgage," but it only publicly reported an $8 billion exposure.

The SEC says Fannie executives also failed to disclose the company's total exposure to risky "Alt-A" loans, sometimes called "liar loans," which required less documentation than traditional subprime loans. Fannie created a special category called "Lender Selected" loans and it gave lenders "coding designations" to separate these Alt-A loans from those Fannie had publicly disclosed. By June 30, 2008, Fannie said its Alt-A exposure was 11% of its portfolio, when it was closer to 23%—a $341 billion difference.

All the while, Fannie executives worked to calm growing fears about subprime while receiving internal reports about the company's risk exposure. In February 2007, Chief Risk Officer Enrico Dallavecchia told investors that Fannie's subprime exposure was "immaterial." At a March 2007 Congressional hearing, CEO Daniel Mudd testified that "we see it as part of our mission and our charter to make safe mortgages available to people who don't have perfect credit," adding that Fannie's subprime exposure was "relatively minimal." The Freddie record is similarly incriminating.

***
The SEC's case should embarrass Congress's Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which spent 18 months looking at the evidence and issued a report in January 2011 that whitewashed Fan and Fred's role. Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the commission to prosecute the Beltway theory of the crisis that private bankers caused it all, and Chairman Phil Angelides delivered what she wanted.

Far from being peripheral to the housing crisis, the SEC lawsuit shows that Fan and Fred were at the very heart of it. Private lenders made many mistakes, but they could never have done as much harm if Fan and Fred weren't providing tens of billions in taxpayer-subsidized liquidity to lend on easy terms to borrowers who couldn't pay it back.

Congress created the two mortgage giants as well as their "affordable housing" mandates, and neither the financial system nor taxpayers will be safe until Congress shrinks the toxic twins and ultimately puts them out of business.

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« Reply #294 on: January 27, 2012, 10:36:26 PM »


"Thanks for your support, Warren.  I will make it up to you."
 
___________________________________
 
 
Warren Buffett cleans up after Keystone XL- The Sage of Omaha is one lucky guy.     by John Hayward  01/24/2012262

When President Obama, who is normally a great proponent of “infrastructure” projects, made his bizarre decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline project, I wondered if he might have been induced to create those thousands of American jobs if the oil could be moved by his beloved high-speed rail.
 
As it turns out, oil is already moved from northern latitudes, such as the booming oil fields of North Dakota, down to the Gulf of Mexico by rail of the old, low-speed variety.  Fortunately, as Newt Gingrich pointed out during the Monday night Republican debate in Florida, the oil is on private land, so Obama can’t shut production down.
 
Shipping the oil with a pipeline would have significantly reduced costs, as an Associated Press report explains:
 
Billions of dollars of infrastructure improvements have been made in recent years to allow North Dakota's oil shipping capacity to keep pace with the skyrocketing production. North Dakota is the nation's fourth-biggest oil producer and is expected to trail only Texas in crude output within the next year.
 
Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Mineral Resources, said the state's so-called takeaway capacity is adequate, though producers and the state were counting on the on the Keystone XL to move North Dakota crude.
 
Shipping crude by pipeline in North Dakota adds up to $1.50 to its cost, compared to $2 or more a barrel for rail shipments, producers say.
 
"Oil that would have moved by the Keystone XL is now going to shift to rail transportation," Ritter said.
 
Amusingly, a spokesman for the Sierra Club admitted “there is no question that [transporting] oil by rail or truck is much more dangerous than a pipeline,” but that didn’t stop the zero-growth Eco-fanatics from calling in their chips with President Downgrade to kill that pipeline.
 
Those rail shipments are expected to “increase exponentially with increased oil production and the shortage of pipelines,” according to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.  That’s going to be quite a windfall for the railroad companies, isn’t it?
 
As it happens, 75 percent of the oil currently shipped by rail out of North Dakota is handled by Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC… which just happens to be a unit of Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.  What a coincidence!
 
For some reason, nobody from BNSF or Berkshire Hathaway would return the AP’s telephone calls, but oilman Harold Hamm told them he was sure this was just a wonderful “lucky break” for Barack Obama’s favorite billionaire, who is “certainly favored by this decision.”  I’ve heard Buffett’s famously overtaxed secretary will be a guest at the State of the Union address tonight.  Maybe someone could ask her about it.
 
The “tax me more” refrain from liberal billionaires is one of the oldest sucker games in the book.  For the well-connected, the money that can be made through government power – whether by influencing corrupt politicians, or merely predicting what they’re going to do - dwarfs whatever income they offer to cough up.
 http://Http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49036
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G M
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« Reply #295 on: January 29, 2012, 07:41:15 AM »

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/01/warren-buffett-shut-up-he-explained.php

Posted on January 28, 2012 by Scott Johnson in Obama administration, Taxes

Warren Buffett: Shut up, he explained

 
We tried to back into an estimate of the income of Warren Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, in “Analyze this.”Ms. Bosanek was one of the stars of President Obanma’s State of the Union address. Buffett and Obama portray her as the victim of an unfair tax code.

As I noted in an update to the post, it turns out that Ms. Bosanek reportedly makes about $60,000 a year. When they suggest that she pays 35 percent of her income in federal income taxes, Obama and Buffett are apparently taking her federal marginal tax rate, adding both sides of the payroll tax, and comparing it to what must be Buffett’s effective tax rate. Megan McArdle observed: “That comparison is beyond bizarre.” It is a farcical mistake to take anything these folks say at face value.
 
Buffetts’s hometown paper tried to follow up on the questions left hanging:
 

Debbie Bosanek and her boss both declined Thursday to disclose how much she’s paid, saying it’s private.
 
In an interview with The World-Herald, Buffett also said none of the online guesses about Bosanek’s salary is right, and the critics are missing his point.
 
“I’m saying she is being treated unfairly in the tax code, as are tens of millions of others, compared to me,” Buffett said. “They shouldn’t change the rates on all the other people. They should change mine.”
 
The pseudonymous Jim Treacher expertly translates: “No fair asking why we should take his word for any of this. No fair asking why, if he’s so worried about not paying enough taxes, he doesn’t pay the $1 billion — that’s $1,000,000,000 — he already owes. No fair. No fair. Shut up.” Citing Politico, Treacher adds that the White House isn’t much interested in exploring details either. Politico explains that “for the moment, the White House wants to keep the attention focused on Obama’s argument that it’s unfair to tax Buffett’s secretary at a higher rate than her boss.” My translation: The White House wants to keep the propaganda undiluted.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #296 on: January 29, 2012, 11:14:00 AM »



From a book entitled  Throw Them All Out, by Peter Schweizer.  With respect to Buffett, Schweizer describes Buffett's heavy lobbying for government bailout money and then notes that

“Buffett needed the TARP bailout more than most. In all, Berkshire Hathaway firms received $95 billion in bailout cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Berkshire held stock in Wells Fargo, Bank of America, American Express, and Goldman Sachs, which received not only TARP money but also $130 billion in FDIC backing for their debt. All told, TARP-assisted companies constituted a whopping 30% of his entire publicly disclosed stock portfolio. As one investigation by the Houston Chronicle put it, Buffett was "one of the top beneficiaries of the banking bailout."
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Cranewings
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« Reply #297 on: January 29, 2012, 02:31:09 PM »

"OAKLAND, Calif. - Dozens of police maintained a late-night guard around City Hall following daylong protests that resulted in 300 arrests. Occupy Oakland demonstrators broke into the historic building and burned a U.S. flag, as officers earlier fired tear gas to disperse people throwing rocks and tearing down fencing at a convention center.

Saturday's protests — the most turbulent since Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment in November — came just days after the group said it planned to use a vacant building as a social center and political hub and threatened to try to shut down the port, occupy the airport and take over City Hall." - http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/300-arrested-flag-burned-at-occupy-oakland-1.3487271

This sort of thing really pisses me off. The whole point of a protest isn't to convert other people to your side. It is to gather like minded people to your side. No one is like this besides the 20 people who did it. It is ignorant. It is basically begging no one else to come and help.

Tea Party and OWS could be the same group if they focused on small government instead of their liberal and conservative wish lists. Even if the OWS would shut up about getting the government to pay off their student debt, they aren't going to get a bunch of straight laced Christians to show up with a bunch of lawn crapping flag burners hanging around. Of course the tons of people with jobs that just show up to march in protest of the government are in your shadow.
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G M
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« Reply #298 on: January 29, 2012, 02:47:20 PM »

Just a reminder, the gov't doesn't have money to pay off current debts, much less new bills like student loans.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #299 on: January 29, 2012, 03:14:39 PM »

Just a reminder, the gov't doesn't have money to pay off current debts, much less new bills like student loans.
Student loans aren't so scary if you actually graduate and with a degree in something marketable. 50,000 in debt for a computer science or accounting degree from state college is a lot better deal than 100,000 in debt to private college for a history degree.
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