Here’s one that wasn’t hard to see coming. General Motors has announced that it is ending production of the Cadillac ELR, which was essentially a gussied up Chevy Volt at twice the price. You can call this one a mercy killing as the overpriced, pseudo-green, government-subsidized vehicle was doomed for failure as low sales figures reflected the lack of value offered by the vehicle. That failure was predicted here back in December of 2013 when the ELR was rolled out.
As with the sales-challenged Chevy Volt, most of the media bought into the Cadillac ELR hype, calling it a potential “Tesla Killer.” Priced at about $76,000, the ELR ran a 0 to 60 time in an embarrassing 10 second range. Despite that, GM CEO Mary Barra had high hopes for the car. That is a fact that should make GM shareholders nervous.
Here’s what I said over two years …
It has now been more than three months since news broke that General Motors, once again, failed to properly protect owners of its vehicles from risks resulting from shoddy quality control. The latest incident involves about 1.4 million GM vehicles that were at risk of erupting into flames due to engine oil seepage. The at-risk vehicles were previously recalled by GM years ago, but the quick-fix remedy offered by GM did not solve the underlying problem.
It appears that most of mainstream media has been fiddling while the GM vehicles burned. One of the few articles that criticized the latest GM recall failure came in November of 2015 from the Associated Press via the Detroit Free Press. That story questioned the actions of GM in the case along with the crony government regulatory environment as NHTSA failed, yet again, to take action on a well-known safety problem. Following are excerpts …
The 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 …
The Obama Administration’s Justice Department is now suing Volkswagen for “up to $90 billion for allegedly violating environmental law.” Politically-favored General Motors was fined $900 million, or 1% of that amount, for covering up an ignition switch defect that led to the deaths of at least 124 people. At last count, the number of people who lost their lives as a result of emissions' tampering by VW stood at zero.
Meanwhile, the GM board unanimously elected CEO Mary Barra as its Chairman, demonstrating that it is still not independent of political influences, even years after the 2009 bankruptcy process.
Barra was in charge of quality control during the time that GM was hiding its deadly ignition switch defect. She became CEO while the company continued to cover up the extent of a problem that was putting motorists' lives at risk. Barra repeatedly evaded and misrepresented in public statements, and in …
When Bob Lutz speaks, automotive journalists listen. Well, at least they usually do. When a recent Automotive News roundtable discussion showed Lutz blasting General Motors’ Chevy Bolt (and electric vehicles like it), mainstream journalists failed to pick up on the story. Lutz was right on the money when he exposed the EV folly, which is costing automakers billions of dollars and driving up prices of conventional, gas-powered vehicles.
Bob Lutz certainly has credibility in the automotive world. As an ex-GM executive he was known as the father of the Chevy Volt, a taxpayer-subsidized vehicle that I have had plenty of criticism for. Now that such a noted figure as Lutz has changed direction and is questioning the logic of lithium-ion battery technology, the automotive community should be taking notice.
So, since Lutz’s criticisms carry much more weight than my own, we can proceed to some of the bombshells that …
Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon takes an even closer look at the relationship between controversial Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra and the Clinton Foundation. This time, she reports that a company in which Giustra owned a major stake received a $150 million loan from the taxpayer-funded International Finance Corporation (IFC) to build a port and pipeline in Colombia. The loan was made despite IFC concerns about the project’s social and environmental impact. From the story:
Within the next few months, two for-profit companies were created in Cartagena. One was a job-training center to teach locals how to work at the port. The other was a food supplier that helped support fishers and farmers by selling their products to hotels and supermarkets.
Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra launched both companies using funding from the Clinton Foundation’s Colombia-based private investment fund, Fondo Acceso.
On November 23, Goodman reported on the existence …
The appearance for some time has been that the State Department under Hillary Clinton was turned into sort of a shakedown operation for the Clinton Foundation. Now Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon details how the Foundation, supposedly a nonprofit entity, operated a private equity fund in Colombia, one of the most corrupt places on earth.
The fund was known as Fondo Acceso, and its “investors” included Mexican crony capitalist Carlos Slim (in photo), a billionaire. Of course, the Clinton Foundation will not say much about how the fund actually operated. From the story:
Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the lack of transparency was a troubling. He said the public has a right to know whether any of Fondo Acceso’s companies received U.S. government support while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
“At the minimum, the Clinton Foundation should
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) is challenging the independence and objectivity of Freedom House in its recently-released Freedom on the Net Index.
Today, NLPC President Ken Boehm sent Freedom House President Mark Lagon a letter detailing the following points:
- Google is a major funder of the Index
- Authors of several country reports have financial ties to Google
- The Index is annually released at Google headquarters
- The criteria used to rate nations seem to reflect Google business priorities
Below is the full text of the Boehm letter:
As one of the premier independent watchdog organizations dedicated to the protection of freedom and democracy around the globe, Freedom House has a special responsibility to shine the light on examples of governments undermining the causes of freedom, human rights, and civil liberties.
At the same time, Freedom House has a special and indeed unique challenge to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest in …
One of the stimulus-funded alternative energy companies that National Legal and Policy Center reported about most the last few years was A123 Systems, which the Department of Energy awarded $279 million to crank out special batteries for electric vehicles.
The examples of government failures in picking successes in industries and economies are countless, with President Obama’s plan for subsidies of a million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015 serving as Exhibit One. He was only off by several hundred thousand.
But that doesn’t mean that vultures can’t consume the carcasses left behind, which is exactly what the Chinese did with A123. As Bloomberg reported last week, the multinational automotive parts corporation Wanxiang Group is running the company to try to meet market demands and is “having better luck.”
Whether “fortune” is leading A123 to an ultimately healthier place is still undetermined, but Wanxiang …
Giant technology companies who deliver much of their services via “cloud” computing – such as Apple, Google, and Facebook – have claimed for years that they generate the massive amounts of electricity they need from renewable sources, despite their obvious dependence on fossil fuels.
For example, Apple has said it has “achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers,” but as NLPC has reported and an investigation by liberal Web site Truthout.org confirmed, Apple does not power its servers with “green” alternative energy. Instead – as in the case with its western North Carolina facility – Apple sells the power from the solar farms and fuel cells it owns in NC to utility Duke Energy, and also buys renewable energy certificates (or “indulgences”) to “offset” the carbon dioxide emissions its electricity produces.
“Purchasing offsets is not the same as actually powering something with renewable …