Sale of A123 Systems to Chinese Gets Final U.S. Approval

A123 logoA123 Systems has received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for the controversial bankruptcy sale of most of its taxpayer-funded technology and assets to China-based Wanxiang, according to a statement released by subsidiary Wanxiang America Corp.

The authorization was the final major hurdle needed to complete the transaction. A123 had been granted $249 million to refurbish two plants in Michigan for battery production, another $30 million as a subcontractor for another stimulus-funded wind energy storage project, and various other grants and contracts by state and federal governments. But A123’s executives, while making sure their own bank accounts were well-taken care of, ran the company into the ground and now Wanxiang will reap whatever technology value is left, for cheap.

“We’re pleased the government has completed its review and provided us with the go-ahead to finalize this transaction,” said Pin Ni, president … Read More ➡

Will Departing Duke CEO Rogers Officially Join the Obama Team?

Jim Rogers and windmill photoNow that he’s been forced out as chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, James Rogers is apparently looking for something else to do, and may now be more receptive to the idea of becoming President Obama’s next Secretary of Energy.

The new speculation, primarily from the Charlotte Business Journal, which is based in Duke’s home city, arose following an interview that Rogers did with Bloomberg News while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Whereas Rogers used to routinely dismiss suggestions that he might be up for a cabinet post, when asked this time by Bloomberg reporter Tom Keene what he would bring to the job if the president asked him to serve, he was unhesitant.

“What I would bring is someone that’s been in the industry a long time and understands the importance of getting the balance right between cheap, affordable energy and meeting our … Read More ➡

Boeing Battery Quick Fix May Be Elusive

The crisis that has enveloped Boeing over the grounded Dreamliner, at a cost of billions of dollars in losses in addition to what has already been “invested” in it  — voluntarily by its owner/investors and coercively from taxpayers – exemplifies perhaps more than any other redistributionist corporatism scheme why government intervention is more headache than help.

Pass the industrial-strength Excedrin.

Of immediate concern to the Chicago-based jet-manufacturer is the lithium-ion battery that powers so many of the 787’s critical functions. Two instances of “thermal runaway” on Dreamliners’ owned by Japan-based airlines caused that country, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, to suspend their use pending investigations. Other flaws since July such as cracked engines, damaged cockpit windows, and fuel leaks have compounded concerns.

But the scare factor surrounding the battery is the biggest deal.

“This is an unprecedented event,” said Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety … Read More ➡

SEC Nominee Mary Jo White Protected Corrupt Union Bosses in Teamsters Prosecution

Mary Jo White and ObamaMary Jo White is a poor choice to head the SEC. As a U.S. attorney, she demonstrated a lack of political independence and competence.

In the late 90’s prosecution of the Teamsters money landering scandal, White won several guilty pleas from low-level has-beens, but gave a pass to prominent union figures who played a key role in the Democratic political campaign of 2000, and every one since. The magnitude of White’s dereliction of duty can be seen in who was not prosecuted- Richard Trumka, Andrew Stern and Gerald McEntee.

In the 1996 Teamster election, incumbent President Ron Carey narrowly defeated Detroit union attorney James Hoffa, son of the legendary Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. After the loss, the younger Hoffa’s operatives pored over Carey’s campaign disclosure documents and found evidence of serious wrongdoing by the Carey campaign. Carey’s campaign raised $538,100 through a series of schemes including some $885,000 in bogus … Read More ➡

Union and Taxpayer-Owned GM Accused of Mistreating South American Workers

There are a couple of little-noticed news stories on General Motors that belie the success narrative that portrays GM as a robust and growing corporation that is rewarding its workers around the globe. Both stories revolve around GM’s South American operations, one involving injured Colombian GM workers who allegedly lost their jobs after being hurt at work and who are now on hunger strikes; the other centers on a strike by Brazilian GM workers who are protesting job cuts there.

The allegation of abusive treatment to Colombian workers is the more disturbing of the two affairs and warrants more coverage from the media than has been given. According to reports, workers at a plant in Bogotá, Colombia work under abysmal conditions and it is typical of GM to fire workers that are injured there who can no longer perform their jobs. Some of those desperate ex-workers took the extreme step … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Green Technology Hobbling Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner?

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was a guest last night on the Willis Report on Fox Business Network. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis: The recent string of battery fires on Boeing 787 Dreamliners could be traced to one thing says my next guest. You can simply point the finger at the government’s obsession with pushing green energy. Paul Chesser, associate fellow at the National Legal and Policies Center joins me now. Paul, welcome back to the show. You know, it occurred to me that we are reporting on this Boeing story all wrong. All the reporting just talks about the fires. It never goes back to this idea that companies like Boeing are being pushed very hard by governments all over the world to make these green products. Whether they are ready for the market or not.

Paul Chesser: Right. … Read More ➡

Boeing’s Green Dreamliner Costs the Company, Customers and Taxpayers

Boeing 787 DreamlinerSeemingly endless government subsidies and the impetus to “go green” have made a mockery yet again of those who direct their business toward pleasing politicians and activist groups rather than delivering quality products built upon a proven history of performance.

Such is the case with Boeing’s troubled – and now grounded – Dreamliner.

The much-delayed 787 is supposed to be “a super-efficient airplane.” Designed (so Boeing says) in response to airlines’ demands for an energy-saving transport, the Dreamliner provides “unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance.” Boeing claims it uses 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized planes, in part by making it lighter by using composite materials for 50 percent of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wing. According to Popular Science, the Dreamliner is 80-percent composite “by volume.”

But the main problem Boeing has with the Dreamliner – which has led airlines … Read More ➡

CBO Says Electric Vehicle Subsidies to Cost $7.5 Billion With Little Benefit

Akerson and VoltI recently came across a report written by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which estimated the cost to taxpayers for “federal policies to promote (aka subsidize) the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles (EVs).” The piece also predicts the short-term benefits of the subsidies and includes the effects of rising federal requirements for fuel economy (known as CAFE) standards. The outlook is that federal subsidies will cost taxpayers $7.5 billion over the next few years for little or no benefit (even when including the impact of CAFE) to total gas consumption or emissions.

The CBO is a non-partisan federal agency that is relied upon by Congress to provide unbiased economic data. Unfortunately, Congress does not seem to listen to what the statistics are telling them. In the case of green subsidies, it seems that no logical data on how little the country benefits from the politically-popular handouts and how many … Read More ➡

EPA Transparency Still In Question After Release from Jackson’s Alias Email Account

Lisa JacksonThe emails released by the Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, that sought communications under a nom de plume for Administrator Lisa Jackson, only heightened the agency’s obfuscation according to the man who went to court to demand them.

On Monday EPA made public approximately 2,100 emails (far short of the promised 3,000) from Jackson’s disguised account, which she used under the alias “Richard Windsor.” Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who had discovered the administrator’s fake identity while researching his book The Liberal War on Transparency, said the contents of the messages were unrevealing and contained useless information such as Google alerts and Washington Post news digests. According to CNSNews.com, the release is the first of an expected four batches that is expected to contain 12,000 emails from Jackson’s alternative account.

“Perhaps seeking to take the air out of a growing … Read More ➡

Boehm Warns About Special Interest Funding of Congressional Travel

Rangel in lounge chairAmanda Becker reports in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call today that outside groups spent $3.6 million to sponsor foreign trips for members of Congress and their staffs in 2012.  The article includes my comments:

“Congressmen are frequently accused of living inside a bubble. So you can make a good case that members should be traveling and getting to see certain things overseas,” Boehm said.

“But all too often they have been arranged by groups that have very pronounced legislative interests,” he added. “And what’s more enticing than having the possibility of talking [to lawmakers] in a relaxed, vacation resort-type setting?”

Foreign travel by members of Congress that is paid for by outside groups is subject to regulations under the House Rules. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), in photo, ignored the regulations in 2008 by accepting corporate-funded Caribbean junkets. He was forced to resign his Ways and Means Chairmanship after being … Read More ➡

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