21st Century Wire
September 16, 2011
In the first year of his presidency, George W. Bush was under siege. At that time, he had appeared to win his war in Afghanistan, only to find himself tangled in another story, a tale of corporate greed and political corruption made by the hands of a company known as Enron.
Back then, it was the new energy brokerage houses and the new energy futures market that drove the hubris, and the greed of men like Ken Lay. Today in 2011, Barrack Obama now finds himself in the midst of his own ‘Enron moment’, but this time it’s political favouritism and a seemingly bottomless pit of green government stimulus handouts that has driven his green juggernaut into a ravine.
The Enron scandal saw, among other crimes, the savings and retirement funds of tens of thousands of employees disappear when the politically connected energy giant went bankrupt overnight, but it was the cronyism- the company’s direct connections to Bush, Cheney and other insiders which left the worst taste in America’s mouth. Last week, deja vu hit the Obama White House, as his favourite green pet- solar energy firm Solyndra, managed to do an overnight disappearing act with over $500 million in taxpayer funds. What’s worse is that just like Enron, the solar energy firm’s connections go right up through Washington, and right up to the President himself.
From a policy level, it’s a complete wash out due to the fact that despite over half a billion dollars in Federal Financing Bank handouts, Solyndra did not manage to create any new ‘green jobs’. On an insider corruption level, things are looking even bleaker.
Indeed, in the Obama White House, just as it was in the Bush White House, money buys influence, and more importantly, money also buys business opportunities. Apparently, when Solyndra first applied for its green subsidies, auditors at the Department of Energy (DOE) had serious doubts about the company’s financial strength, yet, they were still fast-tracked for one the biggest green subsidies in US history. Jonathan Silver is executive director of the Loan Programs Office, and is the man who signed off on Solyndra’s loan. Will he be thrown under the bus later, if the investigation reaches Congressional hearings? The plot thickens…
The $500 million question is why this firm was allowed to win such a large handout if its fundamentals did not pass grade? The answer to that question is a man by the name of George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire and a major investor in Solyndra, who also happened to be… a key fundraiser for Obama’s 2008 election campaign. But it gets worse.
When Solyndra when down under Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, you would think that the US taxpayer would be first in line as a creditor who hoped to recoup its $500 million loss. Not so. First in line was… George Kaiser, who managed to pocket his initial $75 million investment before anyone else got to the butchers table.
In an ABC report, Kaiser, like with every inner circle Obama Democrat, moved quickly to place the blame on our far eastern neighbours.“Solyndra’s collapse saying the solar firm faced “serious challenges in the marketplace, especially the drastic decline in solar panel prices during the past two years caused in part by subsidies provided by the government of China to Chinese solar panel manufacturers”, said Kaiser.
Now there is an ethical and perhaps criminal element to Obama’s green scandal. Like with Enron, where thousands of employee retirement accounts were pilfered away by its cowboy executives, Solyndra’s employees were informed literally overnight, that their company was closed and was so broke, that there would not even be a severance cheque waiting for them. But it turns out that insiders in Washington did know the company was in trouble long before it closed its doors last week. The question now is who knew. Which Washington insiders had off-loaded their stocks and shares in the months before the solar manufacturer went down the drain?
Criminal proceeding will certainly follow should investigative authorities come up with any information pointing to gross insider trading and financial malfeasance. At the orders of the DOE’s Inspector General, the FBI have now already raided the offices of Solyndra, seizing all its files, as well as raided the homes of Solyndra executives, seizing their computers and related company documents.
The reality of Obama’s green revolution in 2011 is that, despite his pledge to handout $38.6 billion in Federal loan guarantees to companies like Solyndra, a promise to create 65,000 “green” jobs has only produced a rather pathetic 3,545 permanent jobs- this, after giving out almost half the allocated amount so far, according to the DOE.
One only needs to do the math, and you will discover what every other developed country around the globe already knew in 2008- that the cost per green job is hardly worth the financial pain and suffering.
Unquestionably, this scandal will throw into question every other ‘green jobs’ award that Obama’s White House has given out since 2008, as well as severely damage confidence in any other DOE projects on the table, or in the future.
Now, it is perhaps only a question of time before the investigation reaches the Congress hearing level, where Democrats will be hoping to push a major investigation past the election next November 2012. In the meantime, GOP opponents on Capitol Hill have already caught the scent of political blood left by Obama’s big green debacle. In a recent Washington Post article, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) exclaimed, “My goodness. We should be reviewing every one of these loan guarantee”. In other words, Audit baby audit.
Early indications imply that the sheer size and scope of Obama’s “Solargate” scandal leave us with the impression that this may only be the tip of a much, much larger iceberg. It will be Obama’s first classic Pennsylvania Avenue scandal he has had to face in his first term, one in which we will discover the true quality of this President’s tephlon coating.
Above all, this scandal underlines the very same issues which were present during, and which grew out of the Enron days, because Obama’s “green economy” rides squarely on the back of some very questionable “science” which endorses a belief in Al Gore’s universal theory of man-made global warming and climate change. From this idea also sprung a vision whereby the people of the world would one day be buying and selling their carbon emissions in a carbon marketplace, a market designed by Ken Lay himself. It seems that with Solargate, the house of cards is well and truly coming down.
With Enron, it was pure hubris and greed, combined with opportunity. With Solyndra, it is green hubris and green greed, combined with opportunity. When you get right down to it, they are no different.