Thursday, September 22, 2011

Commander in Thief - Jon Stewart Plays Point for Obama on Solyndra

In October of 2004, liberal comedian Jon Stewart appeared on CNN's Crossfire and effectively killed one of the best shows on television.  Crossfire, argued Stewart, represented the very worst of the cable news world and amounted to little more than "partisan hackery."  When asked by hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala why Stewart allowed high profile left wing guests to escape his acidic tongue on The Daily Show, Stewart hid behind his usual disingenuous firewall, claiming he was just a comedian, and it wasn't his job to conduct hard hitting interviews. This, of course, is complete nonsense.  Stewart leaves his wit at the door when conservatives make the mistake of appearing on his show.  A recent example: National Review contributor Jonah Goldberg appeared on Stewart's show to promote his book "Liberal Fascism", only to be berated by Stewart for 20 minutes over book's cover. Ha ha - funny stuff.  Anderson Cooper and Matt Lauer, members of the media Stewart's show is supposed to lampoon, get treated like rock stars.

What the tone deaf Stewart seems to have missed back then is that Crossfire represented the very best of the media.  Every night, for 30 to 60 minutes, a liberal and a conservative duked it out on different topics without moderators and limited editing.  It was straight from the horse's mouth - no media filter.  Viewers got real debate, not soundbites, but Stewart's ego had done it's damage, and the show was cancelled in 2005.

I bring this up because last week Stewart went to bat for the leftist establishment once again, defending the Obama administration over the Solyndra affair, calling it a "Custom Tailored" scandal invented by the media.  Stewart then proceeded to lecture us about the free market, claiming that companies fail all the time and there was nothing newsworthy about it.

True enough, but most "failed companies" don't make 20 visits to the White House, receive half a billion dollars in federal loans, then file for bankruptcy slightly over a year later amid charges of fraud and embezzlement.  Most companies that fail are also not forced to testify before a Congressional committee with its board of directors claiming they will "plead the 5th."  But what is Solyndra, and why is the scandal that surrounds it so serious?

In securing a loan for the failing energy company, President Obama committed fraud under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.  I am not joking.

Solyndra was a green company that made unreliable solar cell panels.  The company went begging for a half a billion dollar loan from the Bush Administration in 2007.  Their application was rejected, based on the fact that their expenditures more than doubled their revenue, and with Chinese companies selling the same panels for a fraction of the price, Solyndra appeared to have no chance of survival, nor did they have a business plan to prove otherwise.

President Bush also rejected their application based on information that the company intended to go public.  If the administration had approved the loan, it would essentially have been "vouching" for Solyndra, misleading future private investors into believing the company was sound because the government had deemed it sound enough to invest in.  That would have violated the Energy Policy Act, and would have constituted fraud.  No deal, said the Bush Administration.  Approving the loan would have been tantamount to doing what Martha Stewart went to jail for, only on a massive scale.

But what politician would be crooked, corrupt, and frankly, arrogant enough to not only loan these guys money, but try to protect them financially afterwards?  President Obama, that's who.

6 days after taking the oath of office, President Obama "renewed" their application.  Solyndra officials proceeded to visit the White House 20 times, until the loan was secured.  Despite the report that Solyndra could not compete with the cheaper Chinese solar panels, and that it did not have any coherent future strategy, President Obama personally vouched for the them in May of 2010, publicly praising their clean energy "green" company.  This prompted the private sector to invest a billion dollars when the company went public.  Solyndra's executives thanked the president by donating big bucks to his 2012 re-election bid.  Sound sleazy?  It's more than that.  It's a crime.  The President knew about the damning report of the coming collapse, but on May 26th, 2010, he told the American people that Solyndra was:

"...expect[ing] to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world.”

Plants and thousands of workers selling panels around the world?  Only 9 months later, Solyndra had already shut the doors of its first plant and fired close to 1200 workers.  Solyndra needed to protect themselves, and quick.  The administration was getting nervous.  In a quote worthy of Watergate, the OMB stated that "...questions will be asked” if unjustifiable restructuring proceeded - and proceed it did.  The law states the investors are the first to get dibs on liquidated assets of a company that goes belly up.  President Obama created a provision for Solyndra's executives, that they would be protected for the first $75 million in the case of bankruptcy.

 On September 11th, 2011, their offices were raided by the FBI.

But where is the investigation?  Lots of people are asking that very question, but it seems that Holder's justice department is asking for little more than a bankruptcy inquiry on Friday, and Solyndra's board of executives, who just a day ago were planning on pleading the fifth, are now considering not showing up at all.  For anyone else living in America, this is called contempt of Congress; For President Obama's friends, it's no big deal.

So here it is: a scandal that would shake Washington to it's core under any Republican administration; A criminal act involving the nation's commander in chief; A scandal that would bring down any other President.

This should be the only thing being covered on the 24 hour news networks.  We should be sick of hearing about it by now.  This is not a complicated matter.  The facts are clear and linear, and they are not in dispute, but Jon Stewart, a sanctimonious comedian with delusions of profundity, has declared it just another run of the mill bankruptcy, and the nation nods and shrugs while they wait for the Colbert Report.

Only in Obama's America could a joker save the king.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

On this day, over a decade ago, there was not a computer, television screen, or radio station that was not broadcasting the images of two commercial airlines crashing into the Word Trade Center. Before that day, 9/11 was only known as the number you dialed in an emergency.

That night, as Mark Styne noted in National Review, many Americans went to bed wondering if they would wake up the next morning. At the time, I was a dealer support liaison for a major telecom company. That night, filled with neither fear of rage, just an empty, surreal desolation, I wrote the following column.

Sipping strong coffee in the breakfast nook of his downtown apartment on 14th and Union, National Review's rookie Editor Rich Lowry hears the low roar of a plane. It is a quarter of nine, and though he has learned to tune out the noisy bustle of the city that is New York, the sound seems out of place. It's too loud, louder than what he ever heard living in Manhattan.

"That's the sound people talk about when they report seeing plane crashes."

Lowry quickly tucks the thought away; New York is by nature a noisy animal. His thoughts return to work and the business of editing one of the largest and most respected magazines in the United States. Lowry is wrapping his brain around a possible follow up to his article advocating the decriminalization of marijuana, when the phone rings. The disembodied voice dispenses with conventional pleasantries:

"Turn on the TV."

What blazes across the screen is one of the most surreal and horrifying images the 30-year-old editor had ever witnessed. A live video feed from 5th avenue, just a quarter block from his apartment gives him a front row seat to the destruction that is unfolding. The North Tower of 2the World Trade Center is engulfed in a cloud of gray smoke. Just moments earlier, American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked by a group of unknown terrorists, pilot the doomed commercial airliner into the upper floors of the behemoth structure. In another 20 minutes, United Airlines Flight 175 will collide with the South Tower - within an hour, both structures, straining under the pressure caused by the massive structural damage will be flattened into a pile of twisted steel and shattered concrete.

The South Tower is the first to collapse. As it crumbles towards earth, it rains down a path of deadly debris destroying surrounding New York landmarks. The Marriott, the Commodities Exchange Building, the Dean Witter Building, and the US Customs house, all are destroyed within seconds. Over 300 police, firefighters, and rescue crews working to evacuate the doomed towers would be crushed beneath the falling rubble.

Back at his apartment, Lowry scans the chaos on Union Street below. He describes an almost carnival like atmosphere as hoards of people hurry out to 5th Avenue to get a better view of the unfolding disaster. Ghoulish spectators rush to snap photographs of themselves, grinning like imbeciles against the backdrop of the falling towers. Lowry describes the scene:

"The street was clogged, because cars, including a bunch of cabs, were pulled off along the side of the street, their drivers standing next to their cars, with the doors open, sometimes with their radios turned up high. One moron had pulled his pick-up truck over and sat up near the cab so a friend could snap an Instamatic picture of him with the worst terrorist attack ever on the American homeland burning in the background."

As the South Tower of the Trade Center Collapses, the FAA makes a dramatic decision to close all air traffic across the nation, an unprecedented step never before taken. Hundreds of flights are rerouted to Toronto and Halifax, leaving local emergency workers scrambling to find makeshift accommodations for the stranded travellers. 40 minutes later, Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington's Dulles International

Airport to Los Angeles, carrying 58 passengers and six crew members aboard, slams into the Pentagon. The Pentagon was on Alpha security alert at the time. While the administration commences the evacuation of all federal office buildings in Washington, United Airlines' officials report that that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco is missing. The smoldering wreckage of the plane would be found in a field southeast of Pittsburgh.

Back in New York, Rich Lowry sits in his office scanning the latest cover art for National Review's October 1st issue. In bold imposing letters set against a black background read the words "AT WAR". 24 hours has passed since his Nation was attacked by faceless cowards. CNN is reporting that the death toll will exceed 10,000 souls, more than the Revolutionary War, Pearl Harbor, and the war of 1812 combined. There are no words to describe the deep sense of loss and anger we at the Rant feel at this time. Platitudes about defending the shinning City on the Hill feel hollow as one watches footage of rescue crews sifting through the shattered remains of our cherished symbols of freedom.

Our day of infamy was a perfect September day in New York.

Joseph Leger

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

We're on a brief vacation. See you in a week!!

I'll do my best to post from the road, but we'll be back in a week!! Enjoy the site!