By: sebastianjer , 12:38 PM GMT on April 03, 2012



Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and the Commerce Secretary have extensive ties to fast-tracked green energy programs under investigation by the Senate Budget Committee.

Seven solar power companies have received quick approval and little scrutiny from the Department of Interior to lease federal lands in California and Nevada in no-bid processes. Critics have raised questions about the environmental impact of these companies on endangered species.

There are also concerns about political favoritism.

The disparity between conventional energy leases and the fast-tracked renewable energy projects has led Republicans to probe the fast-track program. On Nov. 21, 2011, Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, requested documentation and communications related to the seven projects.

“I am concerned that the hasty siting and permitting of Section 1705 projects may have compromised both the effectiveness of the Section 1705 loan guarantee program and the potential alternative uses of DOI land for proven energy sources,” Sessions wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The Department of Interior has failed to comply with the Senate Budget Committee’s request; after a follow up letter, DOI responded by sending public documents already available on its website.

The Interior Department did not respond to requests for comment regarding the letters.

Three of the seven renewable energy projects—Nevada Geothermal, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve—are located in Reid’s home state. Executives from all three companies have donated to Reid and his fellow Democrats, contributing more than $58,000 since 2008.

Furthermore, Brightsource Energy, which received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department and is also expected to receive Treasury grants once the project is complete, has donated since 2008 at least $21,600 to Democrats and zero dollars to Republicans.

Reid received almost $4,000 from Brightsource executives in the 2010 cycle, including $2,400 from CEO John Woolard, who hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader.

Woolard is also a Barack Obama donor and has visited the White House 10 times since Obama took office.

Reid’s staffers have been a key part of Washington D.C.’s revolving door, setting up shop with lobbying outfits that have ties to green energy companies and the Department of Interior, which oversees such projects.

Kai Anderson, the lead lobbyist for Ormat, is a former deputy chief of staff for Reid. Paul Thomsen, who handles government affairs for Ormat Nevada, Inc., is also a former Reid Staffer. Neil Kornze, the acting deputy director of policy for the Bureau of Land Management under the Department of Interior, is also a former energy staffer for Reid.

Sanjay Wagle served as a renewable energy advisor at the Energy Department; he formerly worked for Vantage Point Venture Partners, a major backer of Brightsource Energy.

Reid’s office did not return requests for comment.

Reid is not the only government official with deep ties to Brightsource. Commerce Secretary John Bryson was chairman of BrightSource’s board prior to his appointment.

According to financial disclosures, Bryson had up to $500,000 in stock options from BrightSource and a $700,000 advisory fee from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, an investment group that has bought a number of solar farms in California.

He was also the CEO of Edison International, which obtained exclusive power purchase agreements for four of the solar projects, at the time the awards were issued.

The Commerce Department did not return requests for comment.

Kathleen Weiss, the lead lobbyist and Vice President of First Solar, had 16 meetings at the White House with Valerie Jarrett and other senior administration staffers. In 2008, she donated $2,300 to then-Sen. Salazar and Reid.

The Department of Interior’s fast-track program was spearheaded by Steve Black, a counselor to Salazar, and Janea Scott, special assistant to Black and former attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Black leads the Renewable Energy Policy Group, a network of senior officials at state and federal agencies who make key decisions on clean energy projects.

Also in the Renewable Energy Policy Group was Manal Yamout, a lobbyist for NextEra Energy who is now in a relationship with Black. Until recently, Yamout was special advisor on renewable energy facilities to both Gov. Jerry Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

During his administration, Schwarzenegger exempted large solar plants from $90 million in taxes. Brown has used ratepayer surcharges to fund more than $70 million in clean energy research.

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4. Ossqss
2:38 AM GMT on April 04, 2012
Does anyone remember how the health care act was passed?

Do you remember the last minute bribery to get to 60?

I do, and it still sickens me.

I must say that this was an interesting video with respect to the last few days desperate actvities :)

BTW, on topic with solar.

Developer of California desert solar plant files for bankruptcy

And more on Another Obama sanctioned taxpayer funded boondoggle goes bellyup.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8217
3. sebastianjer
12:58 AM GMT on April 04, 2012
The Latest Judicial Rebuke Comes From an Obama Appointee

Stephen Smoot

The Obama Administration has not had much support from the judicial branch recently.

With the United States Supreme Court seemingly prepared to strike out some or all of health care reform, the president and his allies lashed out. President Obama seemed especially concerned “that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

Since Marbury v. Madison, that has been the high court’s prerogative.

While the president’s supporters attack conservative and moderate judges on the Supreme Court, a United States District Court judge, Amy Berman Jackson, has also accused the administration of overreach.

Judge Jackson, however, is not an appointee of either President Bush. She ascended to the bench in 2011.

Arch Coal wanted to expand its Spruce #1 mine in Logan County, West Virginia. It estimated that the $250 million investment would create around 250 jobs. In 2007, they consulted with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others to reduce the impact. The EPA then awarded a permit.

With little warning, after the inauguration of Obama, the EPA revoked the permit. It cited that the operation violated the Clean Water Act. Arch Coal took the case to court.

At the time, U. S. Senator Joe Manchin (D) blasted the administration in a press conference, stating that "To bring this self-inflicted pain on top of all of that after it's gone through the process, is just more than I think any agency should have that power to do."

Judge Jackson agreed.

In her opinion, she said that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act is “illogical and impractical.” Jackson accused the agency of “magical thinking” in its efforts to explain the highly unusual step of revoking its own permit.

U. S. Representative Nick Joe Rahall (D WV-3rd) concurred with Jackson, saying “the EPA has twisted the law, circumvented the Congress, and trampled on the right of the people to know what their government is doing. In America, no agency can hide its actions under some veil of secrecy, but the EPA sure has tried.”

This represents one of many recent cases in which the federal courts have slapped down administration attempts to extend its authority. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA could not collect fines against an Idaho family prior to judicial review of their case. No matter how the court rules on health care reform, individual justices’ questions have exposed concerns about how federal power.

What has to concern the administration is that this hand slap emanated from one of the current president’s appointees.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
2. shoreacres
9:36 PM GMT on April 03, 2012
Interesting goings-on in the 5th Circuit
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15290
1. sebastianjer
12:57 PM GMT on April 03, 2012

Barack Obama and the End of the Progressive Era

By Steve McCann

The people of a nation that has experienced unprecedented peace and prosperity for an extended period of time are often lulled to sleep, believing there will never be an end to their good fortune. Many powerful countries throughout history have floundered and decayed as they gradually descended into chaos, not realizing the ultimate fate that awaited them. However, the United States has been granted an opportunity to escape this fate through what appears to be a long-term disaster potentially turning out to be its long-term salvation. That event is the election of Barack Obama as president.

Over the past fifty years, regardless of who was in the White House or in charge of Congress, no one has been able to halt the incessant spread of left-wing radicalism in the nation's institutions, as well as the exponential growth of a federal government with its tentacles increasingly intertwined in the day-to-day lives of all Americans. As long as the people remained largely disengaged, the potential damage to society as a whole and to the financial health of the country was unknown to the vast majority of the population.

Over the past three years, this indifference has begun to change as the reality of the nation's future and the motives and tactics of those on the left have come into focus. But that reality has come to the fore solely as the result of the aggressive implementation of left-wing policies by the current administration combined with a two-year Democrat supermajority in Congress which allowed the progressives to pursue their vision of America unopposed and unencumbered.

During this two-year period, ObamaCare was passed using unprecedented legislative trickery and political bribery. An extraordinary number of "czars" were appointed to enact policy in the dark of night and avoid oversight by Congress. A litany of grants and loans were given to political cronies ostensibly to develop green energy companies -- many of whom have now declared bankruptcy.

Additionally, the regulatory agencies, such as the EPA, have issued a tidal wave of regulations geared to strangle the free market and centralize economic control in Washington. Three failed stimulus packages were passed, none of which came remotely close to creating the jobs promised. Since 2008, over $5 trillion in national debt has been accumulated with no end in sight, and financial insolvency a real possibility in the not too distant future.

The unplanned circumstance of a Democrat supermajority in Congress and a leftist president came about decades before the strategy of gradualism, begun in the 1930s, would have more easily achieved the same objectives. The primary aspect of this strategy was straight out of the socialist/progressive handbook. That is to create a demand for subsistence and dependence on a powerful central government under the mantra that a country so wealthy and prosperous owes its citizenry an ever-expanding social safety net, all the while subtly altering the historic relationship between the people and the government, as a greater percentage of the population would become dependent on the largess of those in control of government.

Additionally, beginning in the late 1960s, the left began to aggressively infiltrate the media, the entertainment complex, the education establishment, and government bureaucracies. The ultimate prize was the control of a major political party while indoctrinating the populace with anti-American and pro-socialist dogma. By the mid-1980s, they succeeded in dominating these sectors of the American ruling establishment, and as of 2008, they achieved control of the Democratic Party.

However, they have had less than thirty years, and only one generation to program with their failed and self-serving philosophy. That is why over 40% of the electorate still identifies as conservative while only 21% self-identify as liberal (moderates make up 35%). In fact, since 1992, conservative identification has increased from 35 % to 40%, while the liberal identification has increased only from 18% to 21%. Assuming that half of those who consider themselves moderates lean conservative, then conservative leaning moderates and conservatives combined would account for 58%-59% of the population, confirming that the United States is a right-of-center country.

The basic character and beliefs of the majority of the American people have not been significantly altered. While the timing may have been in place to have Barack Obama elected president while pretending to be moderate, the timing to turn the United States into a bastion of socialism was not. The infiltration of the various institutions by the left and the creation of a preponderant dependent class have not been underway long enough to change the character of the majority of the population.

In essence, Barack Obama's presidency coupled with the left-wing dominance of the Democratic Party with a congressional supermajority occurred too early in the history of the nation for the left to achieve their objectives.

Yet the overreaching by the Obama administration has continued even after the resounding defeat in 2010, when the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, as Barack Obama is now governing by use of executive orders and recess appointments in contravention of the Constitution. Obama's and the Democrats' indifference to the rule of law and the future of the country has not only awakened the people, but also placed the fate of the American left in jeopardy.

Thus, panic has begun to set, as it is now dawning on the American left that there is a very real possibility that Barack Obama will be defeated in November; the Republicans may well control both houses of Congress by a significant margin; and the odds that the Supreme Court could declare their landmark accomplishment, ObamaCare, unconstitutional have risen dramatically. If Obama loses and the Republicans control Congress, then the last chance for the progressives to achieve their socialist utopian dream will be gone forever. They are now retreating to the only political strategy they know: fear and intimidation.

The digital storm troopers of the left, Media Matters and among others, have been dispatched to shut down the alternative media by any means possible. They harbor a particular animus against talk radio, as chronicled by Jeffrey Lord in the American Spectator. The effort to incite societal upheaval through racial intimidation has been and will be further escalated. Class warfare and its attendant demonstrations, rallies, and riots will be pushed to a level never experienced in the United States. There will be no moral or ethical limits to the lies, vitriol, and demagoguery the nation will be put through over the next seven months.

The hallmark of the conservative and Republican opposition over the past fifty years has been passivity with an over-emphasis on civility. The left is counting on the same in this election cycle, as they intend to overwhelm and intimidate not only their Republican opponents, but the Tea Party movement and the populace as a whole.

While those in the conservative movement and the Republican Party cannot stoop to the level of the Democrats, Barack Obama, and the left, they must stand up and go toe-to-toe with their adversaries and understand that the vast majority of the American people are not sympathetic to the end-product of progressive policies. However, if the Republican Party campaigns as it has over the past five decades, Barack Obama could win an unnecessarily close election despite all the factors arrayed against him.

Therefore, every political accusation has to be answered with a forceful rebuttal; every lie told must be called a lie, and not some polite euphemism; everyone who tells a falsehood or fabricates an anecdote out of whole cloth must be called a liar. There must be a constant drumbeat of focused talking points used by all candidates for public office and their supporters reminding the electorate of the failures of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as well as the long-term impact of these fiascos. Charges of racism, homophobia, misogyny, et al. should be dismissed with Ronald Reagan's famous line -- "There they go again" -- and then ignored, as this tactic is now threadbare from overuse.

Whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination and those running for the House of Representatives, the Senate, and governorships must be determined to win their elections at any cost and without reservation or so-called "civility."

The citizens of the United States have been granted an unprecedented window on a future as envisioned by the American left. That prospect must be rejected by soundly defeating Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in November thus ending the progressive era in America.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197

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