Absolute Corruption

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” – Lord Acton

Solyndra may very well turn out to be a case where an administration worshiping at the altar of green jobs gave a questionable company money and loan guarantees. What’s becoming even likelier is that a Chicago politician gave a sweet deal to a campaign contributor under the cover of investment.

Right now, I know a few disturbing things. The technology that Solyndra was developing had already been made cheaper and better by competitors without government help and some employees knew it. Also, Solyndra had gotten other loans at favorable rates by not making the government the first creditor paid in the event of bankruptcy. That should not have even been allowed, especially since parts of the deal were red flagged by other agencies.

This is the logical result of giving a corrupt politician the power of a president. Not only does he have the presidency, but the Democratic Party has shown little interest in doing anything but give him a rubber stamp until the very recent present. Jackass may have been palling around with terrorists, but it’s not the bombs that were causing the damage. Many of these people either see politics as a way to bankrupt the government to feed a social agenda or as a funnel to enrich themselves.

Barack Obama’s Rezko ties, Michelle Obama’s hospital council position, the William Ayers connection and the Chicago political machine were all signs of money and political advancement possible by supporting the rich and well-connected. Jackass received hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions and an impressive portion of the stimulus went to paying back those donors.

This president isn’t a good man who does bad things. He’s apparently an amoral man whose flaws are amplified by the power of his office. The people who think he’s a corporatist or a socialist are both off the mark. He’s a crony with the biggest job in the world. His donors are socialist and corporatist and he’s trying to serve too masters at once.

About 1539days

I'm like a word a day calendar for executive disasters.
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65 Responses to Absolute Corruption

  1. ralphb says:

    HONK * 1000

    There’s not one word of this that I don’t believe whole heartedly. We have become an oligarchy.

  2. Three Wickets says:

    Thanks Days. People are always saying “crony corporatist.” What is the difference between “crony” and “corporatist” in your mind. Asking sincerely.

    • 1539days says:

      I guess it depends how you define corporatist. Some people like George Soros have a lot of money but have socialist goals. Unions don’t have a lot of corporate support so they use the Democratic Party to enact legislation. I consider that cronyism. THere’s money involved for the enrichment of the donors, but it doesn’t serve corporate goals.

      Then again, the worst part about cronyism is that there are no positive goals. Corporations don’t give a lot of money to a candidate to encourage capitalism. They do it so their company and theirs alone will reap the benefits.

  3. HELENK says:

    the knows and likes very little about America. This was very plain during the primaries. The only change is now he is in a position to do the most harm to America.

    As bad as this latest scandal is, it is only about money. The next one is about interfering with our national security and trying to get a general to change his testimony.

    unemployment needs to start in DC asap

  4. Three Wickets says:

    Also, how are you defining “socialist” here. The term can have a range of meaning. A socialist to a Republican often seems quite different from a socialist to a traditional Democrat. Again, asking so I get your full sense. I agree with the post.

    • Monster from the Id says:

      How many actual socialists can afford to donate much of anything? I don’t understand 1539’s use of the word “socialist”, either. 😕

      • WMCB says:

        Monster, are you so naive as to believe that filthy rich power brokers do not exist in real, actual socialist societies? The filthy rich string-pullers exist everywhere. They exist under dictators. They exist under socialism. They existed under communism. They always and ever exempt themselves from the rules that they demand the rest of us live by. Those who are both wealthy and politically connected have done just fine for themselves under every brand of govt imaginable, from right to left.

        A rich man being an avid socialist or communist is no guarantee that he necessarily expects any of the societal rules he’s setting up to apply to him. He’s still gonna have the big household staff and the lovely dacha and the nice car and the best food, cupcake. The Planners are exempt from the Plans. That’s for the rest of us.

        I think 1539’s point was that Obama is neither a righty nor a lefty, which is why both sides have a point in accusing him of being the other. Obama is all about Obama. Always has been. He will take money and power from whatever quarter is willing to give him some. He has no ideology. None. He’s utterly amoral. He’ll hump the leg of zombie Reagan or zombie Che Guevara for advantage. Makes no difference to him.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Agree. Though I will say George Soros is as much a socialist in the sense of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” as Ayn Rand. He’s a crony capitalist who decided to use Obama just like Jeffrey Immelt and most of the original monopolistic titans at the TBTF banks.

        • ralphb says:

          Honk on George Soros!

        • 1539days says:

          I’ll defer to WMCB on that one. Generally, when I talk about socialists, it’s in the “1984” sense of the word.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          We seem to have a difference in definitions, WMCB.

          I don’t think of the authoritarian societies you correctly denounce as truly socialist, any more than the Inquisition, or its Protestant equivalents in societies like Calvin’s Geneva, were truly Christian.

          “Socialist” makes me think of a country like Sweden, not the late, unlamented USSR.

          Also, have you considered cutting back on the caffeine? :mrgreen:

        • WMCB says:

          Oh, I realize that communism and socialism are not the same thing. But your original question was how any socialists had any money to donate. There are plenty of filthy rich socialists in Europe and elsewhere. Socialism does not eliminate them.

        • WMCB says:

          As for the caffeine, Monster – NEVER! I am a coffee junkie. I own an amazing Italian espresso machine, and I wear that sucker out. 😀

        • He’s a Corporate tool in Socialist’s clothing.

        • WMCB says:

          He’s the Fresh Prince of Hot Air.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          WMCB, you’re welcome to your share AND mine of the world’s coffee. I like the smell of it brewing, but I never acquired the taste for it, since I tend to think that a taste that must be acquired is not worth the effort to acquire it. 😛

          However, my avoidance of not-immediately-pleasurable experiences has helped to keep me away from ethanol, tobacco, and the illegal recreational drugs, so I suspect it has worked in my favor overall.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          Kudos for that “Fresh Prince Of Hot Air” comment. :mrgreen:

        • myiq2xu says:

          However, my avoidance of not-immediately-pleasurable experiences has helped to keep me away from ethanol, tobacco, and the illegal recreational drugs, so I suspect it has worked in my favor overall.

          😯

          That’s the weirdest thing I ever heard

        • Monster from the Id says:

          I just thought of something: some fat cats may be smart enough to realize that it’s safer and shrewder to use a welfare state to prevent the masses from getting desperate and angry enough to rebel–especially if they can use their control over the political system to make sure other non-rich folks pay for most of it–than to hoard every last bit of money, and then hope they can squelch the rebellion, or else get out of the country before the tumbrils come for them.

          WMCB, if that’s who you mean by “wealthy socialists”, I may be starting to see your point.

        • WMCB says:

          That’s pretty close to what I mean, Monster, or at least a portion of it.

          I think it’s an exercise in futility to try to rid the world of the powerful rich, even if one thinks that’s a laudable thing. It has never happened in all of human history, and never will.

          The best we can do is limit undue influence. Which is why I somewhat agree with the conservatives about “the govt not picking winners and losers”, not just for “free market” reasons, but for reasons of POWER. Because if the powerful rich are going to exist, there is no way to limit their influence so long as the govt has the power to dispense favors to them.

          I think liberals for too long have focused on cutting off their ability to donate. But one can also approach it from the other end – cut off the govt’s ability to provide any special dispensations in return for donations. Both parties are guilty of wanting to make “exceptions” for industries and businesses they see as beneficial, while labeling those other perks to industries they dislike as corrupt.

          I say cut them all off. The few good are not worth the risk of the bad, and compromising our entire system. If there is nothing to sell, corporations might not be so keen on buying. But if the easiest way to succeed and make a profit is to suck up to politicians, then that is what they will do.

        • “Socialist” makes me think of a country like Sweden, not the late, unlamented USSR.

          HONK! That’s the understandable and useful definition.

        • Pips says:

          “Socialist” makes me think of a country like Sweden, not the late, unlamented USSR.

          FYI Sweden is not Socialist but Social Democratic. Big difference actually. Also, it’s been led by a center/ right of center government since 2006. Just saying. 😉

        • WMCB says:

          Sweden’s entire school system is now a voucher system – with students allowed to go to a religious school, a private school, a public school, whatever the parents want.

          Seems to me that’s a “do what works” mindset rather than a “govt is always the only answer” mindset.

          There is nothing wrong with govt helping out. There is something wrong with Statism. I’m opposed to Statists, whether right or left. You don’t have to get rid of govt help to get rid of Statism. There are many examples of how the govt can serve the people without exercising overbearing control.

        • 1539days says:

          That’s the funny part about socialism. You’d think that libertarians would be opposed to the government spending money on education because it’s government money. Instead, they see the value in public education and want a choice of schools to simulate competition.

      • Pips says:

        I’m sure the Gauche caviar crowd is to be found everywhere. 😉

        [The term] is broadly similar to the English champagne socialist, the American Limousine liberal, the German “Salonsozialist” and the Italian “Radical Chic”.

  5. ralphb says:

    Documents show Solyndra sought second government loan guarantee for $469 million

    Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research told TheDC that Solyndra’s failure looks even worse in light of its aim for even more taxpayer money in 2009.

    “Solyndra saw the American taxpayer as their personal piggy-bank, so it’s no surprise that they wanted another half billion dollar loan from the taxpayer,” Simmons said in an email. “The only surprise is that the Obama administration rejected the second loan. After all, both private and Department of Energy financial analysts were not excited by Solyndra’s prospects before the first loan.”

    On the Solhyndra mess, I don’t know what to make of this. Did the Obama admin get cold feet on the loans or what?

    • 1539days says:

      They were late with the 2012 campaign contribution.

    • ralphb says:

      Maybe Solyndra is not only an example of corruption but also incompetent government corruption.

      If the administration had went all in, they could have approved the second loan, then arranged for a nice captive market for overpriced solar products. Say by having an entity, like the Pentagon, sign no-bid contracts with a defense supplier who would then use Solyndra panels for every tent in use by the military.

      You could call it the Richard B Cheney Memorial Electrification project.

      • WMCB says:

        LOL! Yeah, and guess who voted for Cheney’s closed-door Energy Bill in the senate? And guess who voted against it?

      • Or they could have put a tariff on solar panels imported from China. Protecting baby US industries from foreign competion is a respectable old practice.

        But by letting the solar company fail, the cronies still get the money, and Big Oil is pleased too.

  6. WMCB says:

    And the shit pile just gets deeper. The LA Times did some digging, and a second Obama bundler, Steve Spinner, may have been involved. Also, the state of CA now looking into state monies that went to Solyndra.

    Obama fundraiser linked to loan program that aided Solyndra
    The revelation is likely to spur new inquiries about the solar company’s political influence. Separately, California lawmakers seek investigation of a state tax break the firm received.

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

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

    Oh, and Spinner’s wife’s law firm represented Solyndra. The WH is claiming he recused himself, and had nothing to do with the Solyndra project. It’s just coincidence that the spouse of the firm’s attorney was put in charge of the whole loan shebang.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-solyndra-donor-20110917,0,440510.story?track=rss

    • ralphb says:

      Oklahoma should be looking into state money for it as well, and they may be doing it. Since the first bundler uses them as another piggy bank.

      • WMCB says:

        Oh, and guess who the exclusive financial advisors were for Solyndra? Our old friends Goldmann Sachs.

        Funny how they turn up like bad pennies everywhere there’s a financial/govt shitpile. I wonder if they sold the stock on the happy projections while secretly shorting it themselves. Maybe they made a bundle on both the up and the down side. Who knows? Only the Squid knows.

  7. DisenfranchisedVoter says:

    Excellent analysis. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts as we deal with what will be a horrendous election year. John Stewart devoted an entire segment to the Solyndra scandal:

    http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:thedailyshow.com:396892

  8. Here’s the other side on Solyandra with some informative background links — but lacking your perspective about workers already knowing that China was already producing cheaper panels.

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/09/how-talk-about-solyndra

    Basically, Solyndra was working on a solar technology that promised to be cheaper than silicon, and at the time of the loan it looked really promising both to DOE and to private investors. But then the market turned: Silicon prices dropped, and China started producing super low-cost silicon PV. That spelled doom for Solyndra. They had a good idea, but it didn’t work out.
    In any case, Solyndra is a tiny fraction of DOE’s green-energy loan program, and Solyndra’s loan guarantees are dwarfed by those of both fossil fuel and nuclear companies, which range into the multiple billions.

    • Sorry I forgot to blockquote. Everything below the link is from the link.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Charlie Manson didn’t kill nearly as many people as Pol Pot.

    • 1539days says:

      This is a major misdirection of the real problem. I know there’s a popular meme that conservatives hate solar power and don’t believe that sunlight contains energy or something. Solar power is still produced at costs equal or greater than fossil fuel based energy. Startup costs are high and scalability is going to be slow. The right generally doesn’t like the government trying to subsidize an industry into existence.

      But if you think solar investment is a good idea, Solyndra was NOT the place to do it. Their loans were structured so that when they ran out of Obama money, they could get lower risk loans by making them the primary creditor and not the government. Regardless of whether the company had a “good idea,” they used political connections to get the money. Since most alternative energy companies know Democrats are more in their corner than Republicans, I suspect there are any number of companies with the same deals in place.

      • Three Wickets says:

        “Their loans were structured so that when they ran out of Obama money, they could get lower risk loans by making them the primary creditor and not the government.”

        Do you mean from banks with government guarantees? I’m still getting up to speed on this stuff. Subsidizing a business that fails is bad policy, but not sure it represents wrongdoing beyond the political fallout. How different is it from the money sucking ethanol subsidies and their lobbies.

        • Mimi says:

          My understanding is there are no banks in these loans. It is a straight shot to the US Treasury, hence the OIG of Treasury belatedly getting involved. They were directly raiding the treasury without a bank intervening inconveniently. Yes it really is that bad.

        • WMCB says:

          TW, the biggest stink bomb, to me, is that the LAW that Congress passed was very specific: when doing these kinds of loans, the taxpayer was to be the primary investor, and NOT subordinated to any other investor. Period. We get paid FIRST if the thing goes belly up. Congress was very clear about that when they wrote the law. It was foreseen as a potential problem, so they wrote the law deliberately ironclad in that regard to protect the taxpayer.

          The Obama administration got their lawyers to “interpret” that law to mean that only the original loan had to be structured that way. But if you wanted to change the terms of the loan after the fact, that was fine. So according to them, you could set up the loan on Monday to meet the requirements, then on Thursday you could change the entire loan to say the other investors get paid first. So long as you comply with the law on Monday, you are then free to break it on Tuesday, because Congress didn’t specify that you couldn’t modify it later, now did they? Yeah, because all contract law that says you “you must do X in this contract” only applies to the day you sign it. You are free to do something entirely different 2 days later, right?

          It was blatant bullshit, and total disrespect for and sneering at the rule of law. They knew it, despite their weasel words from their lawyers.

          THAT, to me is the most appalling and infuriating part of this whole thing.

        • Mimi says:

          The LA Times story on Steve Spinner is spinning out of control. Who is he?

          He is an enormous bundler for Obama in 2008 and now. He was the “monitor” for the Energy Dept green tech loans. His wife works for Solandra’s law firm. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on Energy Policy and writes extensively without divulging his prior tasks at the DOE. There is much, much more at CorruptionDOE . What the hell is this site CorruptionDOE? My eyes are crossing.

      • A lot of remarks go around about woo woo energy never working, never can work, will never make any jobs, is always a boondoggle or a scam.

      • Mimi says:

        The misdirection is too little too late. In a Friday night news dump the
        LATimes drops another turd. A second $500,000 bundler is involved.

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

        Spinner did not have any role in the selection of applicants for the loan program and, in fact, was recused from the decision to grant a $535-million loan guarantee to Solyndra Inc. because his wife’s law firm represented the company, administration officials said Friday.”

        He was “monitoring” the loans to his own investments that his wife was the lawyer for while raising hundred of thousands of dollars for Obama. Jesus. I hope he enjoys being screamed at by a House Republicans. Also used were state tax credits in CA just like Kaiser used in OK. They had their finger in every pie.

        • Mimi says:

          Another misdirection is that Kaiser was not involved but rather Argonaut LLC which is an investment vehicle of the George Kaiser Family Foundation of Tulsa, Okla. The foundation is headed by billionaire George Kaiser. But of course he doesn’t have anything to do with it.

  9. myiq2xu says:

    Non-attackwatch tweet of the week:


    If Scarlett Johansson is embarrassed about those photos I need to reconsider ever taking off my clothes in front of anybody ever again.

  10. WMCB says:

    Oh great. The taxpayer not only funded the crappy company, we also funded their customers.

    At least one museum in Florida bought solar panels from Solyndra – with stimulus funds. So we paid for both ends of the deal? Those are adding up to some fucking expensive solar panels.

    http://chalkboard.blogs.gainesville.com/2011/09/bankrupt-company-made-uf-museums-solar-array/

  11. Three Wickets says:

    Random. I really think they should teach economics like biology and not engineering. 🙂 Of course the accounting would always involve math.

  12. ralphb says:

    Red Bull gives you wings, Tequila gives you gravity.

  13. DeniseVB says:

    Is everything “pay for play” with Team WTF ?

    http://newhampshire.watchdog.org/9255/restaurant-chain-partnering-with-white-house-anti-obesity-campaign-received-obamacare-waiver/

    Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52, received a waiver from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on October 26, 2010 allowing the company to avoid some of the insurance mandates of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare. The law eventually outlaws “mini-med” plans to offer low benefit levels to low-wage employees. But companies can keep their mini-med plans if they can show that they couldn’t afford to comply with the law.

  14. Underwhelmed says:

    There are two kinds of government. One says: this is not my money, it’s the people’s money, therefore I must treat it with kid gloves. And then there’s the kind that says: this is not my money, so yee haw! Let’s spend! On me!

    Your current administration is the most obscene poster child for the latter. 2012 cannot come fast enough, for everyone.

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