Only a year after Tesla Motors and CEO Elon Musk extracted themselves from the $465-million taxpayer stimulus loan that brought critical scrutiny to the company’s performance, the electric automaker has once again put itself under the spotlight that comes with taking government corporate welfare.
Today the company will announce its plans to build a battery manufacturing plant near Reno. The new gambit was the culmination of competition that pitted at least five states against one another for the “privilege” of hosting Tesla’s “Gigafactory” – named so because of the amount of stored power they plan to produce. Cost to build the plant is estimated to be $5 billion, and Musk said he expected the winning bidder to cover at least 10 percent of that, according to the Associated Press. That means at least $500 million in some form of incentives or conciliations from Silver State taxpayers.
The dance … Read More ➡ “Tesla Wants to Put ‘Gigafactory’ Battery Plant in Nevada”
If anyone thought the Obama administration planned to sit on the sidelines after the riots in Ferguson, Mo., those thoughts should be dispelled by now. Last Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder visited the suburban St. Louis community with the apparent ulterior motive of laying the groundwork for a federal criminal indictment against a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who on August 9 shot to death a local black youth, Michael Brown. Wilson, far from being a trigger-happy “racist” cop, very likely had acted in self-defense. Brown allegedly sucker-punched Wilson, tried to take his gun, and then, after walking or running away, stopped, turned around, and then violently charged at Wilson. Holder appears to be putting race above impartial law enforcement. Upon arrival, he stated at Florissant Valley Community College: “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”
When it comes to judicious … Read More ➡ “Is Eric Holder Trying to Railroad Ferguson Cop?”
It has now been over six months since General Motors finally recalled vehicles with a known deadly ignition switch defect. The defect was attributed with being the cause of accidents that resulted in at least 13 deaths. The Wall Street Journal now reports that only 34% of the recalled vehicles have been fixed.
GM has taken $3.4 billion in charges and losses on the past two earnings’ reports for all of their recalls, despite the fact that most of the recalled vehicles have yet to be repaired. The most questionable part of GM’s charges come from the first quarter’s earnings’ report.
In April of this year, GM took a $1.3 billion recall-related charge for the quarter ending March 31st. Repairs on recalled GM vehicles for the ignition switch defect began in April of this year. According to GM’s earnings’ release, the $1.3 billion charge was “for recall costs in … Read More ➡ “6 Month GM Recall Tally – 34% Fixed, $3.4 Billion in Expenses”
General Motors continues to deny that it has a safety problem with brake lines that are prone to corrosion in as few as five or six years. Thousands of owners of GM trucks and SUVs have complained of failing brakes due to brake lines bursting from the rust problem. One of these owners, Joe Palumbo from Pennsylvania, has made it a quest (see his website here) to expose the safety defect, thus far to little avail. GM’s latest response to Mr. Palumbo includes an implied admission that the company has been using inferior quality brake lines in its vehicles.
The response to Mr. Palumbo’s complaint of prematurely corroding brake lines came in the form of an email on August 6th of this year from [email protected]. Drew, a “Chevrolet Executive Assistant,” responded to the complaint regarding Mr. Palumbo’s 2004 Chevy Avalanche, which had brake failure after just … Read More ➡ “GM Admits Original Corroding Brake Lines were Lower Quality than Replacements”
Two years ago, in August 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department issued its so-called “sweep” rule forcing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to surrender all future profits. Shareholders were angered. Some sued the government. Their displeasure now has a measure of vindication. Near the end of July, an unnamed source leaked a confidential Treasury document to the public, dated June 13, 2011, showing that the department was willing to go to bat on behalf of outside investors, particularly The Blackstone Group, to facilitate purchases of equity stakes in the companies. At the time, Fannie and Freddie were rebounding from a deep slump, yet their management, under tight federal conservatorship since September 2008, had their hands tied. The latest revelations may strengthen the claims of existing shareholders, and more broadly, the cause of property rights.
National Legal and Policy Center for more than a year (such as here) … Read More ➡ “Documents Reveal Government Saw Gold in Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Profit ‘Sweep’”
New York City Democratic leader Albert Baldeo was convicted last week of seven counts of obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on three counts of fraud related to the use of straw donors to qualify for taxpayer matching funds for 2010 for his unsuccessful City Council campaign. The scheme was exposed by NLPC and was the subject of a New York Post story on October 11, 2011.
Baldeo is a close associate of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). The two shared an office from 2006 to 2009. The two have jointly sponsored workshops and programs on immigration and mortgage foreclosure. Meeks even arranged for a Congressional Proclamation in 2009 that called Baldeo a “visionary leader” and thanked him for his community service. See photo.
Preet Bharara, the US District Attorney for the Southern District of New York who prosecuted the case, released this statement:
The fact that Albert Baldeo lost his
… Read More ➡ “Meeks Crony Baldeo Convicted of Obstruction of Justice”
The arrival of Al Sharpton in St. Louis could have been predicted. And his departure can’t come soon enough. On Tuesday morning, Sharpton, the New York City-based minister, civil rights leader and media personality, was in town supposedly to defuse the ongoing street violence following the fatal shooting last Saturday by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri of a local black youth, Michael Brown. As revealed days later by hidden video footage, Brown very likely had robbed a convenience store. Moreover, Brown minutes later assaulted the officer and tried to grab his gun. Sharpton has demanded that police release the name of the officer and arrest him. Early today, he got his first wish. Hopefully, the cop, Darren Wilson, won’t have to hide for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon yesterday ordered State Police to take control of the riot area.
The rioting … Read More ➡ “Sharpton Creates Tension in Wake of St. Louis-Area Rioting”
General Motors has yet another unresolved safety concern with its vehicles. This one involves trucks with anti-lock braking system (ABS) problems. The ABS in some GM trucks engages at slow speeds in dry conditions, leading to a loss of braking and increased stopping distances. Once again, this is a known problem at GM, as they have recalled vehicles previously from earlier model years with the same problem.
A search on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website finds hundreds of complaints from owners of GM trucks, model years 2003 to 2008, who experienced loss of braking from inadvertent ABS activation. The root of this problem is not hard to discover; GM recalled earlier model years of the same vehicles that experienced the same problems back in 2005. The plot thickens when considering the known cause, which was brake line corrosion; a problem we at NLPC have been trying to get … Read More ➡ “Another GM Unresolved Recall Problem – Trucks with ABS Defect”
It has been two years since General Motors admitted that there was little demand for the Chevy Volt (as reported here) due to there being “no plug-in market.” Their answer was to “create market” to drive sales for the politically popular but economically-nonviable Volt. GM manipulated sales for the Volt through the use of subsidized leases at a time when President Obama’s favorite, green wonder-car was being criticized for low sales as it failed to live up to the early hype.
GM was able to use taxpayer money in the form of electric vehicle tax credits to help drive down costs to lessees. Taxpayers chipped in $7,500 for each Chevy Volt placed on the road for terms as low as two years. The taxpayer subsidies, along with inflated residual values and other GM incentives, provided for low monthly lease payments and led to a full two-thirds of all Volt “sales” … Read More ➡ “Chevy Volt Resale Values Plunge as Lease Returns Hit Market”
After three years and $1.4 billion in stimulus subsidies from U.S. taxpayers, you’d think the technology and performance of the all-electric Nissan Leaf would have improved rather than worsened by now.
You’d be wrong.
Whereas once the Leaf enjoyed a favorable review by Consumer Reports (despite an extremely unpleasant test experience by one of its researchers and the identification of several negative features), the magazine has yanked its recommendation. That’s because of the Leaf’s dismal safety performance in crash testing of small cars by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where it received a rating of “poor,” along with three other models.
“Collapse of the occupant compartment is the downfall for four small cars in this group, including the…Leaf,” said Joe Nolan, senior vice president for vehicle research for the IIHS. “A sturdy occupant compartment allows the restraint systems to do their job, absorbing energy and controlling … Read More ➡ “Consumer Reports Removes Recommendation After Nissan Leaf Fails Crash Test”