A hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last week investigated the Obama administration’s practice of concealing email communications, with former top officials getting grilled about their use of private Internet accounts to conduct government business.
Two of the most egregious offenders were subject to withering scrutiny, although it didn’t last long enough to get very deep. Lisa Jackson, the former EPA Administrator whose FOIA-evadable email address was under the alias “Richard Windsor” – named in part for her dog – was questioned about a message sent to Siemens vice president Alison Taylor in which she asked her to “use my home email rather than this one when you need to contact me directly….”
Jackson, of course, said it was perfectly normal to direct a corporation official that she regulates to communicate with her via methods for which the public has no access. Marlo Lewis of … Read More ➡
It looks like General Motors is attempting to make up for the money it loses on every Chevy Volt in volume as August sales, spurred by recent price cuts, reached an all-time high of 3,351. The fact that the car has been on the market for about three years and initial much-hyped proclamations from GM would have put sales at 20,000 per month by now goes unrecognized by those that think 3,351 vehicles is a lot of cars to sell in a month. To put the sales in perspective, it took Toyota about 2 ½ days to sell that many Camrys with August sales coming in at 44,731. Fortunately for taxpayers, Volt sales are nowhere near those figures. The 3,351 Volt sales came at the expense of over $25 million dollars of federal subsidies.
The big three plug-in electric cars, Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla, led combined plug-in car … Read More ➡
The auto industry, including Detroit manufacturers, reported strong sales numbers for the month of August. Sales for the industry rang in at pre-recession levels hitting over 16 million units on an annualized basis. While General Motors got its fair share of the wealth, one unusual tactic to drive sales stands out. That is the use of “stair-step” incentives which are paid to dealerships in the month following the reported sales.
Stair-step programs pay dealerships based upon predetermined sales goals being reached at showrooms. As higher goals are attained, more incentive money is allocated towards each vehicle sold. Automotive News reported last week that GM has been “running an unusually broad” level of the incentives. It also seems “unusual” that the brand new Chevy Impala has been included in the program.
Using the stair-step tactic allows GM to report a lower amount of incentive spending for the month. As GM … Read More ➡
When it comes to Tesla Motors, an irrational exuberance has overtaken Wall Street, the Department of Energy, electric car advocates, government interventionists, crony capitalists, techie nerds and Elon Musk fanboys everywhere.
The praise comes rapid fire: $20 billion market capitalization! It’s worth more than Chrysler! Its stock price is at $169! They’ve had two consecutive profitable quarters! They paid back their government loan early! The Model S is the safest car of all time! Consumer Reports says it’s almost perfect! Its batteries don’t burn up!
But the media has not tried to mute the celebration too much with the reality that much of Tesla’s “success” has come thanks to government mandates, subsidies, and taxpayer support. NLPC reported last month, for example, that Tesla’s second quarter results included $51 million in zero-emission credits revenue thanks to a warped California vehicle sales … Read More ➡
Thirteen years ago a former executive chef/kitchen manager launched an environmentally friendly cleaning products company to compete with industry giant Ecolab, his former employer, where he had worked and achieved the position of district sales manager.
At the end of 2004 he gave up that money-losing business and turned it over to a partner, who in the first quarter of 2006 turned it into an electric vehicle charging company run by a former hotel chain executive – a self-described “political beast” – who would heavily depend on government subsidies for the revised company’s survival.
With this dysfunctional history, is it any wonder why Ecotality is on the verge of bankruptcy?
The San Francisco-based subsidy sucker had a bad August. It began under the pall of a Department of Energy Inspector General’s report which found that slow electric vehicle sales affected the worthiness of Ecotality’s $135 million taxpayer-funded charging network. Money … Read More ➡
For years the Obama Administration maintained that they had no significant involvement in the day to day operations at General Motors as the company was guided through a taxpayer-funded bankruptcy process. A report from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) now sheds light on the process and confirms that the Administration did, in fact, drive decisions at GM. One such decision saw GM provide taxpayer funds to “top-off” pensions for politically-favored UAW retirees at Delphi while non-union retirees lost the majority of their benefits. Treasury officials previously denied any involvement in the actions.
The non-union retirees at Delphi have been trying to get their story heard for years. The Chair for the Delphi Salaried Retirees, Dennis Black, offered the following statement regarding the SIGTARP report, “SIGTARP’s finding that Treasury was greatly involved in the involuntary termination of our pension plan legitimizes our request that Treasury … Read More ➡
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has announced that it has served Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew a subpoena to obtain records relating to the Delphi retirees’ pension scandal. Up to this point, the Obama Administration has stonewalled attempts by Congress to get an explanation on why Treasury seemed to be involved in orchestrating preferential treatment for unionized retirees over non-union retirees at Delphi during General Motors’ bankruptcy process.
An article at Vindy.com reports that the Obama Administration’s lack of cooperation regarding the Delphi case for the past three and a half years has left the Oversight Committee no choice but to subpoena the documents from Treasury. Here is a full explanation from the piece:
“Congress has made repeated requests with the Treasury for what lawyers representing the salaried retirees estimate could be as many as 30,000 documents that could help determine why they saw their pensions slashed by more
… Read More ➡
Another fiscal quarter has passed and if you consume most of the mainstream and/or pro-renewable energy media, it’s been another consecutive financial smashing success for luxury plug-in maker Tesla Automotive. That is, if you don’t subtract the buyer’s federal tax credit for each vehicle, or the California emission credits sales scheme, or state tax credits and incentives, or subsidies for battery manufacturers. Also, it’s great for Tesla and CEO Elon Musk if you disregard Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. If you can swallow all that government market distortion, taxpayer largess and books-cooking, Tesla’s Model S is finally taking off!
For almost three months – since its last quarterly earnings report – Tesla and its media sycophants have boasted how it paid back its $465 million Department of Energy loan nine years early(!!). The company was upheld as a rousing success after the high-profile Recovery Act failures such as Solyndra… Read More ➡
The Chevy Volt madness continued this week with General Motors announcing that consumers will see a $5,000 decrease in the price of President Obama’s favorite green wonder-car. Sales of the Volt have been dismal, with most consumers refusing to be as smitten with the car as the President and the few enthusiastic green ideologues who seemed to believe that spending approximately $20,000 more for a car (over a gas-powered rival) that can save them about $3 a day in gas makes sense. What seems to go unrecognized is the fact that the price cut comes at the expense of GM shareholders, not to mention the costs to American taxpayers.
The price for the 2014 Volt will start at around $35,000. Some sources, including GM, deceptively tout the reduced cost of the Volt as being $27,500, reflecting the $7,500 federal tax credit for the car. It is important to realize that … Read More ➡
Another fire, another mysterious technical glitch, and happy-go-lucky Boeing skips along enjoying strong sales, revenues and profits, despite the shadow of uncertainty that hangs over the lithium battery-charged Dreamliner.
The wide-bodied 787, following two fires on Japanese airliners in January that grounded them for months, experienced another blaze on July 12 at Heathrow Airport in London. This time the victim was Boeing customer Ethiopian Airlines, whose Dreamliner had a hole burned through the roof of the fuselage in front of the tail. The cause was attributed to an Emergency Locator Transmitter manufactured by Honeywell International, which contains a lithium manganese-dioxide battery – more about that later.
But the monster-sized lithium ion batteries that caused the January fires were cleared. Still, the Dreamliner has not been without its incidents this summer, which were spelled out earlier this week by travel writer Peter Greenberg. And another issue lingers from the … Read More ➡