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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
What a deal. I have 200 year old pecan trees......
Sitting at the center of the Solyndra scandal is an off-balance-sheet bank at the Treasury Department that dates back to 1973.
This little-known government bank, the Federal Financing Bank [FFB], had a zero balance in 2008 for green energy projects, but now, with little Congressional oversight, it is giving out billions of dollars in loans to White House pet projects often at dirt-cheap interest rates below 1%.
In July alone, the government bank, which had $61 billion in assets, lent nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in taxpayer funds with no Congressional checks and balances.
Plus the bank is funding the insolvent U.S. Post Office; the White House’s expensive green car projects at Ford Motor, Nissan and Tesla Motors; a $485 million loan to an expensive solar project that’s lost $160 million over the last three years that’s backed by Google, BP and Chevron; plus the FFB is funding the teetering HOPE housing bailout program, which gives delinquent mortgage borrowers breaks on their loans.
And according to KPMG’s audit report of the bank, the FFB is losing billions of dollars in taxpayer money because it is forgoing collecting interest costs on already inexpensive loans that are financing projects at agencies like the Agriculture Dept.
What’s scary for taxpayers is this: The FFB can borrow unlimited amounts of taxpayer money from the Treasury for these kinds of political pet projects. Under the 1973 “FFB Act, the bank may, with the approval of the Secretary, borrow without limit from the Treasury,” says the bank’s audited statements from KPMG.
The Treasury Department’s inspector general is now investigating the bank over its $528 million loan to Solyndra. FFB’s chairman of the board is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and the bank’s board executives are Treasury officials.
Who is getting the FFB’s green energy money? As the White House and Democrats in Congress rail against tax breaks for oil companies, the FFB gave taxpayer loans to green companies with high cash burn that were spilling red ink.
For instance, Solyndra was still getting loans from the FFB up until it filed for bankruptcy. It got $3 million in loans at a 0.89% rate just a month and a half before it filed for bankruptcy protection.
The FFB is also giving loans to risky solar companies as well as to a money-losing solar energy outfit backed by companies such as Google, Morgan Stanley, Chevron and BP that has spilled $160 million in red ink for the last three years.
In the month of July alone, the FFB gave a $12.5 million loan to Abound Solar; 60% of Abound's balance sheet will come from federal taxpayers, or $400 million in guaranteed federal loans.
FFB also gave a $117,330 loan to the struggling Kahuku Wind Power and more than $77 million to the Solar Partners companies, whose parent company is due $485 million in White House approved loans.
The Solar Partners companies are units of BrightSource Energy, which is building a massive solar-powered energy plant near the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino, California.
BrightSource lost $45 million in 2008, $44 million in 2009, and $72 million in 2010, even though it has rich backers that include Google, Chevron, Morgan Stanley and BP, among others, says FOX News analyst James Farrell.
Besides the green energy projects, the FFB provides a backdoor government bailout of the US Post Office, which has been spilling red ink. The FFB has lent the US Post Office so far $12.6 billion. The Post Office faces an estimated $10 billion shortfall this year, as the Internet, companies like FedEx and UPS, and high retiree health-benefit costs slice into its bottom line.
Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges
A professor has been censored twice, reported to the "threat assessment team," and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller's poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion's character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, "Warning: Fascism," Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
"Colleges and universities are supposed to foster brave and bold environments of freewheeling intellectual inquiry and expression. If a quote from a network science fiction show is a bridge too far, something has gone seriously wrong," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "As both president of FIRE and a huge Firefly fan, I call on the chancellor of UW–Stout to rein in his overreaching administration and to restore both free speech and basic common sense."
On September 12, 2011, Professor Miller posted on his office door an image of Nathan Fillion in Firefly and a line from an episode: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed." On September 16, UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter emailed Miller, notifying him that she had removed the poster and that "it is unacceptable to have postings such as this that refer to killing."
Amazed that UWS could be so shockingly heavy-handed, Miller replied by email, "Respect liberty and respect my first amendment rights." Walter responded that "the poster can be interpreted as a threat by others and/or could cause those that view it to believe that you are willing/able to carry out actions similar to what is listed." Walter also threatened Miller with criminal charges: "If you choose to repost the article or something similar to it, it will be removed and you could face charges of disorderly conduct."Later on September 16, Miller placed a new poster on his office door in response to Walter's censorship.
Recently BangShifter John Gatliff attended the Nitro Nationals and Old Time Drags at Tulsa Raceway Park in Oklahoma. Unlike some nostalgia races that feature pokey street rods on the strip, this one showcased nitro in spades with Fuel Altereds, the Texas Blown Fuel Association boys, and a load of other equipment on the "good stuff" as well.
Luckily for us, John has his camera at the ready and sent us more than 100 great photos from the strip, the pits, and the car show that happened in conjunction with the race. If you dig great muscle cars, blown dragsters and altereds, gassers and more, this one is for you!
The big open secret about Ron Paul is that he is a powerhouse in the 2012 presidential race, not some little nobody who can be pushed around. He is not simply running on a political platform to get a fifth of the votes and go home, he is leading a revolution of ideas that is awakening a nation from a long, media-induced sleep.This revolution will ultimately be successful because Dr. Paul's message is so timely and he has the support of the two most important groups who can make or break a revolution: the young people and the military.Ron Paul has gotten more donations from the military than President Obama and every other Republican candidate. They don't even come close to him. Dr. Paul is like the Usain Bolt of military donations. Between April and June he received over $35000 dollars from the military. Mitt Romney and Herman Cain barely got $5000 dollars each. And Perry didn't even register on the scoreboard.Below I have listed five reasons why Dr. Paul is the clear choice for President in the military's eyes.
Today Liberty Legal Foundation filed a motion for summary judgment asking the Federal District Court in Lubbock Texas to rule Obamacare, in its entirety, unconstitutional. We wanted to let you know right away, hence the mid-week update. You can read our motion on Liberty Legal’s web page - OCA Case Status.
We filed this motion now because over the past several weeks several rulings from other Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, emphasized that our argument is correct. Liberty Legal Foundation has been arguing from the beginning that ALL of Obamacare is beyond the scope of authority of Congress. We never limited our arguments to the individual mandate. Instead we’ve been arguing all along that the FDR-packed Supreme Court of 1942 destroyed the Constitution in its Wickard v. Filburn ruling.
Now, a year and a half after Obamacare was signed into law, Federal Courts are starting to say the same thing! I urge you to at least read the quotes from the 6th Circuit on pages 10 and 11 of our motion.
A couple of weeks ago I told you about the 11th Circuit and 6th Circuit decisions, one upholding the individual mandate and the other ruling it unconstitutional. Both courts had split decisions from their 3-judge panels. One was 2 to 1 upholding the individual mandate, the other was 2 to 1 finding it unconstitutional. What was amazing about the opinions written by these 6 Federal judges was that as much as they disagree, they all agree on the underlying problem. We have two courts, six judges, five separately written opinions, two opposing rulings, and a tie on whether the individual mandate is constitutional: three judges for, three against. Yet they all agree on one thing: Wickard made a mess of commerce clause precedent.
Now, with all that laid out, isn’t the solution obvious?! OVERTURN WICKARD!!
Fortunately this is exactly what several of the judges suggested. Even the judges that ruled the individual mandate constitutional noted that their ruling was because Wickard left no appreciable limit on Congressional authority.
So, with all this recent ammunition from sitting Federal judges, we decided it was time to go on the offensive. Rather than wait for our Federal court to cite Wickard, dismiss our case, and send us up the appeal ladder, we filed our own motion for summary judgment, citing all the great language from the other courts.
Understand that because we are asking the court to overturn Supreme Court precedent typical procedure would be to expect the lower court to dismiss our case, allowing us to appeal to the Circuit Court, then to the Supreme Court. Traditionally lower courts refuse to overturn precedent from higher courts, even when the lower court is completely convinced that the precedent is wrong. However, in my opinion tradition is less important than upholding the Constitution. The Constitution protects fundamental rights from government intrusion. Fundamental rights, granted to us by God, are more important than the traditions of men in black robes.
So, we asked the court to violate tradition and ignore Wickard, in favor of the clear meaning of the Constitution.
Of course we understand that judges are unlikely to throw aside tradition, so we also made an alternative request of the court. We asked the court that if it denies our motion for summary judgment, it also make that ruling immediately appealable with a statement about its opinion of Wickard. This way, if our judge agrees with us, as we hope he will, but he still wants to honor tradition over the Constitution, he can tell the higher courts what he thinks of Wickard and pass our case up the ladder with his statement attached.
Please understand just how unusual this motion is. Asking the Court to set aside this particular tradition amounts to legal heresy. I really can’t overstate just how much lower courts honor even the most ridiculous precedent from higher courts. However, this so-called doctrine really is just a tradition. Nothing in the Constitution, in any statute, or in any rule of procedure that I’m aware of requires it. Yet asking a court to ignore it is akin to screaming obscenities in church. It is simply not done.
However, our Founding Fathers stood up to the power of a King to establish our Constitutional Republic. Hundreds of thousands of men have died horrible deaths on the battlefield to defend our Constitutional Republic. Our Constitution protects the freedom that God gave to all of us, the freedom that made America great. With that perspective in mind, I can’t stand by and allow a mere legal tradition to delay our battle to restore our Constitutional Republic. I don’t think it’s asking too much of a Federal judge to stand up for the Constitution, even if it means violating a sacrosanct tradition and defying the higher courts in this one instance. A little rebellion is a good thing. Especially if it prevents a bloody revolution.
Co-Founder, Lead Counsel
Joaquin Guzman is head of the Sinaloa Cartel (the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world), one of the world’s most wanted men – and now the father of two American citizens.
The L.A. Times reports that Guzman’s 22-year-old wife crossed the border in July in order to give birth to twin girls at a hospital in Los Angeles County on August 15. Following the birth, the multibillionaire fugitive’s wife and children returned to Mexico.
“Name of the Father” was left blank on the birth certificates, but U.S. law enforcement confirm the children‘s mother is Guzman’s wife Emma Coronel, a former beauty queen who already holds U.S. citizenship, thus making the children eligible for U.S. Citizenship. The 54-year-old drug lord nicknamed “El Chapo” (Shorty), married Coronel in a lavish ceremony on her eighteenth birthday. The L.A. Times explains why Coronel was not apprehended when she crossed the border:
This is an interesting interview that starts out with a word game and gets to more substantive questions about half way through. But my favorite part was when West was asked if Obama is just inept or if he is intentionally harming the economy. West says he’s definitely doing this on purpose and I love the fact that he didn’t play the “we can’t criticize Obama’s motives” game that some politicians want to play:
West calls Paul "off the ranch." Surprising and he drops down a few pegs.
In the 1980s, world-renowned artist and hometown boy Bob Timberlake took a piece of land just down the road from where he grew up and turned it into his personal space, with a studio, a log cabin, a barn, and acres of Davidson County backdrop.
If the Yankees had their way, Bob Timberlake’s art studio would’ve been burned down long ago.
Just after the Civil War, just outside of Lexington, Mrs. Henry Shoaf was home tending to a house with a dozen children when one of the kids shouted, “Soldiers are coming! Soldiers are coming!”
In her apron, Mrs. Shoaf walked out of the kitchen and saw a group of Union soldiers on horses, trotting down the path. They tipped their hats at the housewife, real friendly-like.
She knew what they were doing, though. They’d done it to her neighbors and friends.
Lexington is just north of Salisbury, which was home to one of the most notorious prison camps in the South during the war, and Mrs. Shoaf’s husband, along with many men in the area, had enemies in the Union.
Under orders, the soldiers continued moving down the lane.
In her apron, Mrs. Shoaf walked alongside them.
“Mrs. Shoaf,” the lieutenant said, “I don’t want to do this, but I have orders. I have to burn the barn.”
“You can’t,” Mrs. Shoaf pleaded. “We need the barn. How will we survive?”
In her apron, she moved between the men and the barn. The lieutenant ordered her to move aside.
The lieutenant ordered his private to proceed and light his torch. The private got off his horse.
From behind her apron, Mrs. Shoaf pulled a gun and pointed it at the private.
The lieutenant ordered her to put it away and tried to rationalize with her: “Mrs. Shoaf, if you shoot him, we’ll kill you.”
Mrs. Shoaf, now surrounded by the children, kept the barrel aimed at the private.
“You’re not going to burn the barn while I’m alive,” she told the lieutenant. “You may kill me, but I promise you, I’ll kill him, and I’ll get another shot off before you get me, too.”
That barn that she protected so dearly, built in 1809, cared for through the centuries, is now the core building of Bob Timberlake’s studio in Davidson County.
“The lieutenant backed down,” Timberlake says, recalling the story he’s heard for years from a soft-cushioned chair with his feet propped on a coffee table, “and he trotted away, and I have a studio.”
When the Yankees came to visit Mrs. Henry Shoaf
A nationwide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation targeting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes or stayed in the United States after being ordered to depart resulted in more than 2,900 arrests, including 51 in Alabama, ICE announced today.
All of those arrested had prior criminal convictions, ICE reported, including at least 1,282 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions.
More than 1,600 of those arrested had felony convictions including manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault. Also, 42 were gang members and 152 were convicted sex offenders.
In addition to convicted criminals, 681 of those arrested had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Another 387 re-entered after being deported multiple times.
Looking ahead to the general election, there are two candidates who would beat President Obama and one who would make it a very close race. If Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee, he would win over President Obama 53% to 47%. If Ron Paul was the Republican nominee, he would beat President Obama 51% to 49%.
Dr. Ron Paul's 11-Point Plan That Could Save America
Have Americans read Dr. Ron Paul's written plan for the country? Are Americans ready to upset the apple cart in a controlled and methodical way for the betterment of the greater good? The main source I am referencing here is Dr. Ron Paul's website, so that we can debate his priorities and proposed approaches. I have paraphrased items from his site; however, I encourage the reader to thoroughly review all the links.
Here is Dr. Ron Paul's 11-point plan:
--Sen. Charles Grassley
--Sen. Charles Grassley
‘We’re going to keep on it until we get to the bottom of it…We’re going to find out who gave the approval for this fast and furious and hopefully get that person fired.
--Sen. Charles Grassley
In response to a report that could lead to questions about the credibility of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, is calling for hearings to investigate. The report — from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the EPA — reveals that the scientific basis, on which the administration’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases hinged, violated the EPA’s own peer review procedure.
In a report released Wednesday (at Sen. Inhofe’s request, dating back to April) the inspector general found that the EPA failed to follow the Data Quality Act and its own peer review process when it issued the determination that greenhouse gases cause harm to “pubic health and welfare.”
“I appreciate the inspector general conducting a thorough investigation into the Obama-EPA’s handling of the endangerment finding for greenhouse gases,” Inhofe said. “This report confirms that the endangerment finding, the very foundation of President Obama’s job-destroying regulatory agenda, was rushed, biased, and flawed. It calls the scientific integrity of EPA’s decision-making process into question and undermines the credibility of the endangerment finding.”
Inhofe lambasted the EPA for its failure to adhere to its own rules, outsourcing the science to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — and refusing to conduct its own analysis of the science — in the period leading up to its final endangerment finding.