Successor to ‘Clintons’ Favorite Bank’ in Trouble With FDIC

In a series of articles six years ago, National Legal and Policy Center detailedshorebank-logo how politically connected ShoreBank – a community development lending institution based on Chicago’s South Side – was granted a bailout under unusual terms from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the U.S. Treasury after political pressure from area congressmen.

Now its successor, Chicago-based Urban Partnership Bank, is also in trouble with the FDIC and will try to raise an emergency $15 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. UPB continued the effort established by ShoreBank under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act to “serve economically distressed communities and underserved people by providing access to financial services and products that are often unavailable” in “economically distressed urban areas,” where the financial institutions hoped to spur economic growth.… Read More ➡

The Cult of Tesla Survives Another Round of Bad News

Tesla MotorsElon Musk’s quarterly earnings reports for Tesla Motors always offer a little razzle, a little dazzle, soon-to-be-unfulfilled promises, and rationalized failures.

This go-round was no exception, and after yet another shortfall of financial and vehicle delivery expectations, perhaps the biggest surprise was the revelation that $1.3 billion in subsidies from Nevada taxpayers won’t be enough to get the hyped Gigafactory completed.

Spending and construction have only just begun on what is supposed to be Tesla’s battery-making monster. According to its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, $431 million was spent on the Gigafactory through June of this year, and $520 million is expected to be spent by the end of 2016. Tesla’s partner in the project, Panasonic, said last month it would raise $3.86 billion, with most of it targeted for the Gigafactory. Another $1.7 billion came in via yet another equity sale. Alas, it apparently … Read More ➡

Brit Investment Company Gives Up on US Electric Truck Maker

Frito Lay Electric TruckA British investment company has thrown in the towel on an electric delivery truck manufacturer that it once wholly owned, saw fail, then spun off in the United States at the height of President Obama’s green energy stimulus subsidy mania.

U.K.-based Tanfield Group announced at the end of June that it wrote down the value of the last 5.76 percent ownership stake it held in Smith Electric Vehicles, which received $32 million in U.S. taxpayer funds as a formerly British entity that reconstituted and relocated in Kansas City in 2009. The move by Tanfield followed Smith’s legal action filed against business partner FDG Electric Vehicles, in which it alleged “fraudulent misstatements” against the Chinese company that had enticed it into an agreement.

“The [Tanfield] board of directors has carried out a review of the investment in Smith resulting in a decision to impair the investment value to nil,” the … Read More ➡

Just In Time for Tesla’s Latest Losses, Senate Wants to Waste More on EVs

Ernest MonizNothing of greater significance can be said about the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program other than it was a wasteful failure. Nonetheless 85 U.S. Senators have determined that an additional, similar $1.6 billion program must be created, as part of a larger energy bill that passed last month.

Those who favored the extension of corporate welfare for alternative energy-fueled automobiles justified their decision with the same phony claims they made ten years ago when the ATVM program was established.

“Our measure will help manufacturers and suppliers research and develop innovative technologies to make the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, spurring job growth and reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

NLPC has documented the stumbles of the stimulus-fueled ATVM program – which still has $16 billion availableextensively. Two of its loan recipients, Fisker AutomotiveRead More ➡

More Woes for Tesla from Consumer Reports

Elon Musk ModelSAs it continues to defy common sense and the laws of economics with its lofty stock price, Tesla has again shown it has little corporate competence in the ability to deliver a consistently functional product that satisfies customers.

The latest evidence comes in the recently rolled out Model X, which is allegedly an SUV, but looks like just another car. Retailing at a price only the extremely wealthy can afford ($138,000), the all-electric follow-up to the similarly troubled Model S automobile has stumbled out of the gate. The problems were outlined in a Consumer Reports article posted online Tuesday, which spurred a number of similar follow-up stories in other media, and temporarily caused Tesla’s stock to dip. Long-time followers of the company know that is only a temporary condition, however.

Nonetheless those who actually own a Model X – as opposed to those who own a certificate of … Read More ➡

Apple, Google, Etc. Bully NC Over Restroom Access

A move by lawmakers in the state of North Carolina, which overturned a Charlotte ordinance that allowed individuals who claimed to be transgendered to use public rest rooms and shower facilities of their choosing, has drawn criticism from dozens of major corporations.

The City Council in February ordered that all public buildings, including schools, must permit persons to legally access rest rooms matching their gender “identity,” regardless of their biological sex. Even more tyrannical, the government decreed that all private businesses must make the same accommodations. As a result, the North Carolina General Assembly called a special session to pre-empt the April 1 implementation of the Charlotte ordinance, while at the same time allowing for businesses and local agencies to determine their own policies free and independent from the diktat.

“Council members decided to trample on the rule of law and the privacy rights of the vast majority of … Read More ➡

Super-Subsidized Tesla’s Stock Suffers Precipitous Drop

Tesla logoWall Street, media and government darling Tesla Motors has seen its stock price nearly halved from seven months ago. For so long it has seemed that ongoing bad news never had an effect on the heavily subsidized upstart, but now perhaps the Teflon is eroding off CEO Elon Musk.

The precipitous, rapid descent preceded last week’s horrid earnings report. USA Today helped smear lipstick on the pig, cheerily noting shares rose “14 percent at one point” after its earnings “miss” on Wednesday, because Musk delivered investors a "rosy outlook for the rest of 2016." This was in context of what the newspaper characterized as a “whopping loss” that “badly missed estimates.”

That's the history of earnings reports with Tesla and Musk. The CEO with perpetually sanguine expectations never fails to deliver promising forecasts following dismal earnings reports, despite promises that are often not delivered.

Now he’s got crashing … Read More ➡

Google’s Solar Ally Admits Power Has Zero Dependability

Google logoThe influx of giant technology companies into North Carolina to build artificially “green and clean” data centers, which they say are powered by their nearby solar farms, has led to a revelation that discredits their claims.

The stunning admission: that electricity derived from solar sources is thoroughly unreliable.

The information was unearthed in a report last week by Carolina Journal, a publication of the conservative John Locke Foundation. In a filing with the state’s Utilities Commission, a solar company affiliated with Google reported that the trustworthiness of the energy produced by its proposed facility would be non-existent.

“Solar is an intermittent energy source, and therefore, the maximum dependable capacity is 0 MW,” wrote Rutherford Farm LLC, a subsidiary of Strata Solar, in its May 2013 application to the North Carolina utility regulatory agency.

In November Duke Energy announced that Google would be its first participant in its “Green … Read More ➡

US Taxpayers Hold Largest Debt in Troubled Spanish Solar Company

AbengoaA foreign renewable energy company, that U.S. taxpayers hold a major stake in via the Department of Energy Loan Program Office, is imperiled by massive debt and has begun the process of negotiating with its creditors as a prelude to possible bankruptcy.

The company is Abengoa, based in Spain, which reportedly holds 887 subsidiaries around the world. Reuters reported at the end of last month that investors declined to provide needed capital for the firm, which led to what is called, under Spanish law, “pre-insolvency proceedings.” That entails a four-month attempt to alleviate debt burdens. If that falls short, then formal bankruptcy proceedings would likely follow, which would be Spain’s largest in history. Effects would ripple globally.

Several international banks have investments at risk, to the tune of about $21.4 billion, according to Reuters. American taxpayers could be on the hook for $2.34 billion, which is the amount of debt … Read More ➡

Electric Vehicle Sales Plummet Without Taxpayer Subsidy

Nissan Leaf photoFor years NLPC has reported that the “market” for electric vehicles was anything but free and competitive against traditional gasoline-fueled automobiles. Instead it is “all hype and subsidies.”

The evidence could not be any clearer than what has happened in Atlanta. As Watchdog.org has reported, since a $5,000 state tax credit expired on July 1, sales of “zero-emission” electrics such as the Nissan Leaf have plummeted. Whereas monthly sales averaged 915 in 2015 until the year’s midpoint, sales in the month of August fell to 148, according to vehicle registration data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co.

“It was essentially taking money that would have been paid into taxes in Georgia and a subset of people were getting their car paid for,” said state Rep. Chuck Martin, a Republican, to Watchdog.org.

The steep drop was expected after the tax credit expired, but gasoline prices that are approaching $2 per … Read More ➡