Fisker Failure was Easy to See Coming

Biden/FiskerWhile hindsight may always be 20/20, foresight should be pretty clear in many instances as well. The Fisker failure was one of these times. Many saw the folly in spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to support the green debacle. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that even the Obama Administration had warning of the Fisker loan risks back in April of 2010 when the Energy Department began emailing their concerns.

Congress will be holding hearings starting today to address the scandalous waste of taxpayer money on Fisker. Reuters states one of the goals of the hearing, “‘The Obama Administration owes the American taxpayer an explanation as to why this bad loan was made in the first place, and what they are going to do to minimize the loss that taxpayers face,’ said Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, chairman of the subcommittee holding Wednesday’s hearing.” Perhaps we should also … Read More ➡

Will GM Earnings be Driven by Channel Stuffing?

GM logo and ObamaEarlier this year, I reviewed General Motors’ first quarter earnings report and annual results. My take-away from the report was that GM relied upon shady accounting techniques and a build-up of US dealer inventories to produce some rosy-looking results. Channel stuffing to the tune of an over 20% increase in inventory from year end 2011 provided for GM’s revenue growth. The trend continues as GM has further pumped-up inventory for quarter one.

The reason that dealer inventory figures are so important is that automakers record revenue when vehicles are shipped to dealerships, not when they are actually sold to consumers. It becomes fairly easy for a company like GM, which operates more with an eye on perception and politics rather than on sustainable profits (why else would they focus so much on the money-losing Chevy Volt?), to manipulate revenue and earnings by getting vehicles into dealerships’ lots. The first … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Battery Technology Questioned After Billions Wasted

Akerson and VoltIt appears that the Mainstream Media folks may finally be starting to expose one of the worst cases of taxpayer abuse that this country has ever seen. Kudos to Deepa Seetharaman who wrote a piece for Reuters which questions the feasibility of the government-subsidized, lithium-ion based battery technology behind electric vehicles (EVs) like the Chevy Volt. While Seetharaman acknowledges the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, what remains unchallenged is the continued waste of billions of taxpayer dollars to support the failing, pseudo-green technology.

The evidence that the Obama Administration’s EV subsidization has been a costly fiasco (particularly regarding the Chevy Volt hoax) continues to mount. While I’m certain that green extremists and General Motors’ supporters will claim that the criticism is limited to right-wing parties with ties to the evil oil industry, a simple review of the facts reveals that some very credible and unbiased sources are admitting that, despite … Read More ➡

BP Finds Sustainability in Oil and Gas, Sells Off Wind

BP-logoOnly a month ago BP – which not long ago promoted itself as “Beyond Petroleum” – released an “energy outlook” video that projected 99 percent of America’s energy will be supplied domestically by 2030, in part because it says the U.S. will grow production from renewable sources 202 percent by that time.

Just don’t expect BP to participate in the alleged alternative energy “boom.” The London-based petroleum producer announced last week it would dump its investments in U.S. wind energy projects, which were said to be worth $3.1 billion. It’s hard to believe they’re really worth that much, however, especially without government subsidies – not to mention the fact that BP is so easily discarding “assets” that are supposed to hold great value. The move follows a December 2011 announcement that the company would exit the solar business.

So where does BP think – its “outlook” notwithstanding … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Sales Plunge – Obama’s Flagship EV a Failure

Obama and VoltThe Chevy Volt has inarguably been the poster child for President Obama’s push to electrify America’s auto fleet. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to produce and subsidize the plug-in electric car. For years we have heard about the supposedly amazing technology for the Volt which would lead America to energy independence, be a “game-changer” for General Motors and provide a multitude of new green jobs. Proclamations were made that supply for the wonder-car could not keep up with the demand. Well, March’s sales figures are in and give further confirmation that the lofty claims were all lies.

March’s sales for the Chevy Volt plunged over 35% from last year to a paltry 1,478 units. To put that in perspective, that’s about one Volt sold every two months per dealership. The number is also down from an only slightly less paltry 1,626 sales in February. GM’s excuses for the … Read More ➡

No April Fools: Obama’s Green Energy Stimulus is Officially a Joke

Three Stooges photoPresident Obama’s alternative energy “stimulus,” administered through his Department of Energy by previous Secretary Steven Chu, had already become a joke because of the failures and foibles of so many recipients of Recovery Act funds. But now – as though officially commemorating the absurdity of this historically bad U.S. government program – one of its bankrupt beneficiaries has changed its name from one of simplicity to one of mockery.

Electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems has changed its name to B456 Systems. Incorporated.

Reporting the development, headline writers across the nation rubbed their eyes, double-checked the wire information, and then – especially realizing how close they were to April Fool’s Day – had to add extra assurance to the breaking news.

For the Boston Herald, where A123 was headquartered near MIT, it was this:

A123 Systems changes name to B456 (seriously)

The Milwaukee Read More ➡

GAO: Bad Publicity Scaring Prospects Away from Stimulus Money

MoneyThe publicity surrounding President Obama’s failed strategy to stimulate the economy, by putting clueless manager Steven Chu in charge of the Department of Energy’s lending activities, has become so bad that few “green energy economy” entrepreneurs want to accept taxpayer money any more.

That’s according to a report published earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office, which reviewed DOE’s loan programs for a briefing to both the House and Senate’s Appropriations subcommittees on Energy. Amusingly though, the Web site of DOE’s Loan Programs Office still calls itself “The Financing Force Behind America’s Clean Energy Economy.” The minor blip that undermines that premise is that DOE is having trouble getting someone to borrow $55 billion.

GAO’s director for Natural Resources and Environment, Frank Rusco, undertook an audit/investigation that evaluated three types of DOE loans: the 1703, 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing programs. The 1705 program backed … Read More ➡

Will Politics or Law Govern Upcoming Ruling on GM Creditor Case?

There has been an important story brewing over the past several months regarding General Motors’ flawed bankruptcy process that has been widely ignored by the media. GM may have to readdress its 2009 bankruptcy settlement due to a lawsuit by a group of GM creditors against hedge funds over a settlement involving the company’s Nova Scotia debt. The creditors brought to light the fact that the company did not have its ducks in a row at the time of its 2009 bankruptcy filing and allege that GM was still in the middle of backroom negotiations with hedge funds beyond the deadline. A court decision is now imminent.

Essentially, the dealings should have been finalized and reviewed by presiding judge Robert Gerber but were not properly disclosed. This is no small matter and it is estimated that the cost to GM could be about a billion dollars, which was approximately the … Read More ➡

I’ve Had My Last Cup of Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks coffee cupAt the Starbucks annual meeting on March 20, CEO Howard Schultz told a shareholder named Tom Strobhar to sell his stock if he disagreed with the company’s embrace of gay marriage.

Shareholders do have this prerogative. That is the beauty of securities markets. But the issue is not so simple. Institutional investors now own the majority of shares of publicly-held companies traded on U.S. exchanges. Many people own stock through mutual and pension funds, overseen by professional managers. As a practical matter, lots of Starbucks shareholders do not have the opportunity to easily sell their stock.

But there is a larger issue. Why is one of the world’s biggest and most widely admired companies taking sides on such a controversial issue? If Schultz can tell shareholders who disagree with him to take a hike, doesn’t this necessarily extend to customers, partners and employees? After all, these relationships are voluntary, too.… Read More ➡

Apple’s 100-Percent Renewable Claim Fails the Sunlight Test

green Apple logoApple, Inc. has grown into a widely admired and one of the most valuable companies in the world, producing terrific products that generate long waiting lines every time a new innovation is announced. You would think executive leadership would not feel the need to bow to environmental pressure groups to appear it is eco-friendly.

But apparently acceptance by the likes of Greenpeace, and a warm reception at Silicon Valley liberals’ cocktail parties, still ranks high in importance in the corner offices in Cupertino, Calif. – even though their boastful claims aren’t true.

The latest example surrounds Apple’s absurd assertion that its electricity-sucking data centers, which support services like cloud computing and iTunes, are powered completely by renewable energy. Why the Mac-makers would brag about a phony achievement that is so easily debunked makes you wonder how smart they really are.

“Our goal is to power every facility at Apple … Read More ➡

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