Conservatives Demand Surrender To China

The worldwide battle to get away from the coal and oil industries has been underway for some time. Countries are fighting to gain a share of the new green manufacturing industries with millions of jobs and trillions of dollars on the line. Country after country is executing plans to grab a share of this new industry. But not us. Oil-funded conservatives are trying to keep us from even fighting in that war.

Oil And Coal Are The Problem

Look around you, the climate is changing, the seas are rising, terrible storms are hitting, huge fires are burning, terrible droughts are causing crop failure, and plants, animals and insects are migrating to new areas. (In DC right now you might not be able to turn on a light because of that huge, freak storm you just had, so maybe wait and look around you after the sun comes up.) We have to stop burning oil and coal, and find a way to get that carbon back out of the air.
Aside from the terrible effects of climate change, our country has a trade deficit that is partly about buying oil, and those purchases send money to places that use that money against our country’s interests.
Other countries get all of this. But our country is in the grip of an oil-and-coal-funded propaganda machine that tries to keep us from getting it.

Green Job Opportunities

We are in a worldwide economic competition to build the post-oil economy. This is a competition for millions of jobs and trillions of dollars. Every country wants a share of the design and manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, biofuels, electric cars, high-speed rail, urban and suburban light rail, advanced batteries, smart-grid power transmission systems, and all of the rest. And there is also the fight for the construction, installation and maintenance contracts for all of these systems.
Many countries are fully engaged, and have national plans to capture a share of this new industry. They compete with us as countries, and see us as a country to compete with even if we do not. Because we refuse to act as a country, we send our companies out to compete with countries, and as big as our companies are they cannot compete with the resources of engaged countries.

Conservatives Demand Surrender

Our top competitor is China. Shots have been fired; China is helping their companies compete, and this has cut solar prices. So a few American companies are going under. In response, America’s oil-backed conservatives are demanding immediate surrender. In fact, they don’t just demand surrender, they are giving aid and comfort, even actively helping the other side, running down America’s efforts to fight for a share of the new green economy.
This huge effort by conservatives to keep our country out of the world competition for a share of the new green economy kind of makes you wonder about the secrecy surrounding all of the money that funds the conservative movement, its think tanks, media outlets, and now even funds political campaigns. We don’t even know where the hundreds of millions funding these horrible, negative ads comes from! Does any of it come from our economic competitors? Shouldn’t we at least be able to find out who (or where) is funding the conservative propaganda and political machine that is running down our own government and demanding we surrender the new green economy to China?

Solyndra And Chevy Volt

Conservatives celebrated the fall of Solyndra, declaring that its demise meant that green energy in general is a “bad bet,” or losing technology. They also have been trying to convince people not to purchase hybrids and new technologies like the Chevy Volt. The next time you hear someone of FOX running down our country’s green energy efforts, knocking the Chevy Volt or denying climate change, think abougt this: Fox’s second-largest shareholder is a billionaire Saudi oil prince. Fox might just have an agenda beyond backing conservatives here. Speaking of conservatives, though, keep in mind that the Koch brothers == oil.

Abound Solar Goes Under

Last week solar panel manufacturer Abound Solar filed for bankruptcy. NY Times reports in “A 2nd U.S.-Supported Maker of Solar Panels Will Close,”

Republicans, including Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, seized on Solyndra’s failure as evidence that the Obama administration was wasting taxpayer money by supporting clean energy companies.
… The company said it could have been profitable if it had had large-scale manufacturing under way, but “aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar panel companies have made it very difficult for an early stage start-up company like Abound to scale in current market conditions.”

Abound Solar was unable to compete with low solar prices resulting from Chinese subsidies for their own solar manufacturers. (Add to that, China’s currency manipulation which keeps the prices of everything made there up to 30% lower, even bore their subsidies, trade barriers, etc.) Federal officials froze their credit line last year, after the Solyndra failure, so Abound was unable to draw on credit to scale its manufacturing to a level that could compete with subsidized Chinese imports.
Conservatives immediately stepped up their drumbeat of demands that we surrender to China. Here are a few examples of conservatives blaming America first, calling America’s efforts a failure, or generally running down efforts to fight for a share of the new green economy:
Hot Air: Yet another DOE-backed solar panel company bites the dust

Good grief. I feel like these ailing Department of Energy-backed loan guarantees are so laughably many that they’re barely even worth noting anymore, but you’re darn tootin’ I’ll continue to do so as long as President Obama keeps acting like it’s the federal government’s divine right to pick and choose winners in the energy market on the taxpayers’ dime.
… This article tries to spin the situation to suggest that the company’s failure is the result of too much unfair competition and global oversupply, and we should therefore direct our ire at China. No — just no. This is the fault of the Obama administration. Maybe if we had just left the decision to develop solar (or not!) up to the private sector, we would’ve quickly figured out that investing in solar energy was a bad idea.

Weekly Standard: Video: Obama Touted $400 Million Loan to Another Solar Company Now Declaring Bankruptcy
Washington Moon Times: Yet another government-backed solar company turns out the lights

News of the company’s demise prompted early criticism from Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and chairman of the House subcommittee on regulatory affairs, stimulus oversight and government spending.
In a statement, Mr. Jordan, among other Republicans, said Abound’s collapse shows that “our government is not good at picking winners and losers in the marketplace but has certainly proved it is good at wasting taxpayer dollars.”

National Legal and Policy Center: Yet Another DOE Green Failure as Abound Solar Goes Bankrupt

And now with failures like Solyndra and Abound Solar, in addition to several others, these crony redistributors leave the political fallout to others and just move on to their next “green” scheme. Unfortunately we won’t find out if the ultimate political price is paid until November, but in the meantime DOE continues with its renewable energy “investments,” which will undoubtedly lead to more pain for taxpayers.

Human Events: Your Obama “green energy” bankruptcy of the day: Abound Solar,

Abound had borrowed about $70 million against these loan guarantees. That would have bought a lot of health care for poor people, but the Obama Administration blew it on solar panel junk instead.

Heritage Foundation: Another Stimulus Backed ‘Green Energy’ Company Goes Bankrupt

Another stimulus-backed green energy company has filed for bankruptcy, further fueling criticism of Energy Department programs that backed highly-risky investments on the taxpayer dime.
Like Solyndra and a number of other green energy investments made under this administration, Abound Solar had a very poor credit rating, but enjoyed a wealth of political connections.

So … should we respond as a country to this economic attack on us by other countries who see us as a country and compete with us as a country? Or should we surrender the new green economy to others?
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Solyndra ‘Scandal’ About Big Oil, King Coal Power And Intimidation

Last week big oil/big coal sent a not-subtle message to the country’s investment community: if you back companies or technologies that compete with us we will crush you. Our media/political machine will accuse you of every crime in the book. Your picture will be plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the country looking like you are on the FBI’s “Most Wanted List.” We will haul you before Congress and grill you like a tri-tip on national television. The evening news will speculate that you should be in prison.
Here is the other message that is being sent out loud and clear to the rest of us: America is for oil and coal. If you want alternatives let China do it.
Extending To Everything
Here is what the conservative propaganda machine does. It sets a narrative, pounds out a drumbeat on that narrative, and then every news event is twisted to leach the lesson of the narrative. The oil-backed right had been on an anti-green kick for some time. In The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal I gave some examples — just a taste — of this narrative development:

Attacking Green Manufacturing
The Solyndra accusations are really just one part of an ongoing conservative and oil-interests-funded anti-green-manufacturing campaign drumbeat. Long before Solyndra’s bankruptcy the Heritage Foundation was running stories like 2008’s Green Jobs Are Con Jobs, 2009’s The Green Job Myth Exposed, and this year’s Obama’s “Green Jobs” Pipe Dream, The Green Jobs Story Obama Doesn’t Want You to Hear, Are “Green Jobs” the Answer?, Are Green Jobs ‘Gone with the Wind’?
Media Matters had previously exposed the nature of this ongoing effort, in Heritage Foundation Green Jobs Panel – Bought and Paid For By ExxonMobil,

Instead of showcasing the views of unbiased academics and economists, the Heritage Foundation put forth a panel of individuals financially connected to ExxonMobil.
The ENTIRE PANEL Received Money From ExxonMobil.

More conservative-outlet examples include the ever-malignant Fox News: Solyndra Investigation Begins Critical Look at Federally Funded Green Ventures.
Other conservative outlets continue the drumbeat, Obama’s green dream hurting U.S. taxpayers by Linda Chavez.
Another: Obama Green Jobs Con Job and the Ill Wind That Blows from Spain,

Another: Reason: Obama’s Green Jobs Failures and Obama’s Green-Jobs Fantasy and The Green Jobs Delusion and The Unseen Consequences of “Green Jobs”: Will investing in clean energy harm the economy?
NewsMax: Green Jobs Spending Is a Waste of Greenbacks, “If the congressional “supercommittee” wants to cut wasteful spending, the green-jobs agenda is a great place to start.”
And more and more and more and more…

That is what they do. They develop the narrative — in this case, anti-green, and when there is a story in the news they twist it to teach the lesson.
The Solyndra Lesson
So now Solyndra is in the news. On FOX news — 2nd-largest shareholder is an oil billionaire — the story is played 100 ways hour after hour. On talk radio it is repeated endlessly. In right-wing blogs it echoes everywhere. In right-wing newspapers, echoed in “mainstream” outlets by right-wing supported columnists, and driven into the mainstream. Lie after lie after lie, repeated until it becomes “truth.”
Charles Krauthammer On Solyndra: A “Toxic Combination Of Lenin Socialism and Crony Capitalism”
So the narrative was that efforts to push for green-energy alternatives jobs was bad, Solyndra came along and was used to teach the lesson. Now that Solyndra is the narrative, it is being used to teach the larger lesson – anything government does is bad, anything opposing oil and coal and big multinationals is bad. Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, The birthing of Solyndra,

Since the solar-energy company went belly-up a few weeks ago — leaving taxpayers on the hook for $535 million in loan guarantees — a business that was once the poster child for President Obama’s green-jobs initiative has instead become a tool for Republicans to discredit most everything the administration seeks to do.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah used Solyndra to argue against worker-training benefits. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina used it to argue that the federal government should stay out of autism research. Disaster relief, cancer treatments, you name it: Solyndra has been an argument against them.
And this week, the government faced the prospect of a shutdown because House Republicans added a provision to the spending bill to draw more attention to — what else? — Solyndra.

The Serious People
One side intimidates, and means it. So they are seen as the “serious” people — deadly serious. If you cross them, you will have trouble. Serious trouble. The other side plays along, caves, accommodates, appeases, refuses to exercise power when they have it, does little even to enforce obvious lawbreaking by the big — serious — players.
Which side do you think people are going to take seriously?
The media won’t call out the intimidators because they are intimidated. One part of this intimidation is the organized, funded “liberal media” accusation. But that is just part of a larger strategy: neutralize those who might call you out on what you are doing. Yet another part of media intimidation is the effect on people’s careers. If you call out the right, you are a “leftist” and you career is in danger. If you are known as a liberal your career is not going to advance in most outlets. If you go after corporations you are “anti-business” and your career is not going far.
But you can say any silly thing, be as wrong or stupid as you can be, as long as it supports corporate/right positions. Nothing bad will happen to you. In fact you are more likely to do well careerwise – be promoted, make more money, get access, speaking fees, etc. And if you actually work for the right’s machine, the sky is the limit. You will always, always have a job at an “institute” or in an “association” or even on the government payroll as a staffer. Seriously.
Seriously Using Power
Oh, and for those concerned about government subsidies, deals, etc.:

And is that pesky government trying to regulate you?

And not just big coal and oil:

As for getting goodies from the government?

This list could go on all day.
This is how power is used, and big oil/big coal/Wall Street/Big Multinationals have that power.
Solyndra – Government Doing The Right Thing
The first thing that needs to be emphasized here: the government — under Bush first, then under Obama — was right to assist Solyndra and other solar companies. Our government wants to help us capture some of the new green-energy industrial revolution for our country. It is millions of jobs and trillions of dollars coming down the road. To accomplish this the government stepped in to help explore promising new technologies, just like they do with cancer research. Solyndra had a promising new technology and that is why the Dept. of Energy started considering them for a loan guarantee – under the bush administration – that would encourage private investors to take the plunge.
That is all that happened here. Period. One company went under but the technology was promising and still is. Jobs were created – here. Research was funded – here. Facilities were built and will be used – here.
But China stepped in and put $30 billion into winning this bet – there – and this drove the prices down, so one company here went out of business. That is what happened.
Did it cost the government some money? Yes and no – the jobs, research, facilities, supply chain is all still here. And the money was nothing compared to the money the government puts into big oil, big coal, big ag, big financial, etc.
Silicon Valley’s San Jose Mercury News Silicon Valley observers say fears of ‘more Solyndras’ are overblown,

…the scandal has already created an unexpected roadblock for another area solar firm, San Mateo’s SolarCity. Earlier this month, the company heralded conditional Department of Energy approval for a $275 million loan guarantee that would help put solar panels on dozens of U.S. military bases. On Friday, the company’s CEO sent an urgent letter to Congressional leaders, saying new federal concerns in the wake of the Solyndra scandal could scuttle the SolarCity deal.
… “In the past 48 hours, the DOE has informed us that while they remain strongly supportive of Project SolarStrong, they will be unable to finalize their approval of the loan guarantee” prior to next week’s expiration of the loan program.
Adding that the high-flying company ultimately may have been undone by the rise of lower-cost competitors, he said: “Solyndra isn’t a sign of the failure of solar. It’s a sign that this market is booming.”

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Republican Committee Report Exposes Shocking Union/Environmentalist Conspiracy

Oil-backed Republicans are doing everything they can to turn the public against … alternatives to oil. Today a Republican Congressional committee held a hearing, named the hearing “How Obama’s Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs,” and released a “report” with the same name. The report calls the push for green-energy jobs “a propaganda tool designed to provide legitimacy to a pre-determined outcome that benefits a political ideology.” Here’s the thing: the report itself actually is “a propaganda tool designed to provide legitimacy to a pre-determined outcome that benefits a political ideology.” Heh.
The Report
The Republican House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has release a 33-page report, How Obama’s Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs. This “report” is a stunning document that reads like an oil-company promotional piece raised to he level of Glenn-Beckian, conspiratorial hysteria. From the Executive Summary,

The Obama Administration’s green energy campaign has been pursued while it simultaneously implemented a regulatory agenda that is choking American businesses and restricting access to abundant domestic natural resources which have traditionally provided cheap energy that supports economic growth.
… By sacrificing domestic carbon-based resources upon the altar of an ill-fated “green energy” experiment, the President has put U.S. economic security in jeopardy and wasted billions in taxpayer money at a time when our fiscal health is in peril.

One “finding” of the report is that green jobs might help people who are members of labor unions, and that “payment of union-level wages” might be mandated! Along with this, a press release promoting the report warns:

It also points out that the guise of “green jobs” has become a rallying cry for a political coalition comprised of environmentalists and union leadership to consolidate an ideologically-based agenda, and notes that many federal green jobs programs have strings attached that require union workers, union-level wages and other mandates.

Shocking, Americans might want a clean environment and good pay. We must warn our constituents about this terrible possibility before communists take over!
Key Findings
Among the report’s “key findings:”

  • Labeling an occupation as a green job does not mean it has any special economic worth;
  • The guise of “green jobs” has become a political rallying cry aimed to unite environmentalists and union leaders in a deliberate effort to consolidate an ideologicallybased agenda;
  • Labor unions are profiting from the many so-called “green” programs because there are often “strings attached” that require hiring union workers, the payment of union-level wages and other mandates;
  • The metric of a “green job” is nothing more than a propaganda tool designed to provide legitimacy to a pre-determined outcome that benefits a political ideology rather than the economy or the environment…

The Conspiracy
The report lays out in detail a grand, Glenn-Beckian conspiracy theory, claiming that environmentalists and labor unions are working together to promote a grand, “green jobs” conspiracy. The section titled, PART I: OBAMA’S GREEN AGENDA DECONSTRUCTED lays out this conspiracy,

…union leaders support “green jobs” because much of the subsidized work is designated to be awarded to unionized workers. For their part, environmentalists benefit from having a broader base of support for policies that seek to “green” the economy. The outcome is a political alliance with incredible power.
The genesis of promoting so-called “green jobs” can be traced to a group known as the Apollo Alliance, which has been the center of gravity for the green jobs movement since 2001. … Accordingly, the Apollo Alliance and other coalition efforts like the Blue-Green Alliance bring together two major components of the Democratic political base – environmentalists and labor unions. …
Labor Unions are Profiting under the Pretense of Green Energy
While the green jobs movement clearly advances the interests of environmental special interest groups in the green jobs movement, the interests of labor unions may not be as readily apparent. However, a careful look at statutes passed in the Democrat controlled 110th and 111th Congresses reveal that unions stand to benefit from many of the so-called green programs because these programs have “strings attached … that require paying union-level wages, hampering lower cost, nonunion firms from competing for the jobs produced by the grants.” The left-wing magazine, The American Prospect, noted in September of 2007 that Leo Gerard, the President of the United Steelworkers, has played a major role in the development of the Apollo Alliance and its political influence…

The report goes on to make the case that one goal of this conspiracy is to promote American steel, and require other parts of this effort to be American-made, which would benefit members of the Steelworkers union.

Another reason why Gerard and the United Steelworkers, in particular, are drawn to this coalition is the amount of steel required to manufacturer green energy products, such as wind turbines. To the extent that manufacturers use American steel, the assumption is that the government subsidies and regulations would benefit their membership as well. As Gerard has stated, arguing for steel protections, “If we are not going to do solar panels and fluorescent bulbs and wind turbines here, the next generation of R and D will not be here.”

Oil Good, Green Bad: Promoting Oil Companies
Another section of the report, Fossil Fuel Use Has Been a Major Driver of American Prosperity, explains the benefits to America of promoting oil companies and getting rid of any green jobs effort to promote alternatives to fossil fuel use. You can almost hear the patriotic music welling up as you read this section.

The positive relationship between access to affordable energy sources and economic growth is undeniable; fossil fuels have been the backbone of American prosperity.
… The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) credits carbon-based energy with spawning “one of the most profound social transformations in history.” Fossil fuels currently meet more than 80% of U.S. energy demand, with petroleum satisfying half of that demand.
The expanded use of fossil fuels throughout history has facilitated the development of some of our nation’s most productive industries. …
Oil is credited with “the rise and development of capitalism and modern business” itself. Today, coal, oil and natural gas form the backbone that supports the American economy. [emphasis added]

Misstatements Of Fact
The report also contains what can politely be called “misstatements of fact.” The report talks about “a private investor—one who happened to be a prominent Obama fundraiser.” This is just flat-out false, In my post, Five Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Solyndra I pointed out the way this lie is used to create an appearance of impropriety:

5. The biggest investor in Solyndra was an Obama donor.
Conservatives (and now picked up by corporate “mainstream” outlets) make the accusation that there was corruption in the process by which Solyndra received its loan because a major Obama donor named George Kaiser is a major investor in Solyndra. The charge is that Solyndra only received the loan guarantee as a result of campaign contributions by people “connected to” Solyndra. The problem with this is that George Kaiser was not an investor in Solyndra. According to Tulsa World,

In an emailed statement to the Tulsa World, a representative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation said the organization made the investment through Argonaut.
“George Kaiser is not an investor in Solyndra and did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan,” the statement said. “GKFF invests in a globally diversified portfolio across many different asset classes.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a philanthropic organization, which means Kaiser (or anyone else) could not personally profit from a successful investment by the foundation.

Please take the time to skim through this astonishing report. A copy of the Committee report is available by clicking here.
At Politico Darren Sameulsohn explains what Republicans are up to, in President Obama’s green losing streak writing, “Now, with Solyndra’s collapse, Republicans are promising to make the green jobs concept politically toxic for years to come.”
This Mark Fiore animation sums it up.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Top 5 List: 5 Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Solyndra

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Oil-backed conservatives have been absolutely ecstatic over the collapse of American solar-power company Solyndra and the rise of China as the dominant country in green energy, because they think they can turn this into a story that makes President Obama and government look bad. It also gives them a bonus opportunity to attack alternatives to coal and oil. So is there really a “scandal” behind what happened to Solyndra? Or is this just one more conservative smear, made up from whole cloth and spread around conservative outlets, talk radio and FOX News, hoping the “mainstream media” will be tricked into propelling the propaganda out to the public?
The Smear Machine
When Bill Clinton was President conservatives developed and refined a “smear machine” technique of making up accusation after accusation after accusation (after accusation after accusation), repeating them endlessly and hysterically in conservative-funded outlets, and working to get major media outlets to pick up and repeat them. Unfortunately they were often successful at driving phony smears into the public arena. Even though the stories were invariably refuted after investigation, by the time each smear was refuted many, many more were circulating. After a while people began to believe “where there’s smoke there’s fire.” One such story that major outlets repeated involved the supposed “sale” of an Arlington cemetery plot for campaign contributions. When it was proven to be nothing more than a false smear the repetition in major outlets was justified “because it’s just the sort of thing he might have done.”
In the 2004 election we saw the process repeated with the “Swift Boat” smear that turned around John Kerry’s lead in the polls. It was entirely a made-up lie but the mainstream media picked it up and propelled it.

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The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal

Well here’s a surprise: conservatives and oil interests are pushing deceptive and destructive stories about President Obama and clean energy. Imagine that! Their intent (as always) is to turn people against President Obama, clean energy, national energy policy, stimulus to help the economy, and government in general. It’s what they do. Here is some information to help you push back on the latest whipped-up, anti-green, anti-government, anti-Obama “scandal.”
Solyndra
Solyndra was a startup solar-power equipment manufacturer based in Fremont, California that went bankrupt at the end of August. The company’s solar collectors used a special tubular internal design that let it collect light from all directions, and were made with a copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) thin film that avoided using then-expensive silicon. It was one of several companies that received assistance from the government, in an attempt to push back on China’s strategic targeting of green-energy manufacturing.
The company, partly backed by the conservative Walton family had received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan, which was originally pushed by the Bush administration, was 1.3% of the DOE portfolio.
The economy tanked and cut demand, and at the same time Solyndra could not compete with subsidized companies located in China as they rapidly scaled up. So Solyndra ran out of money. Conservatives and oil interests are using the bankruptcy as a platform to attack green energy and the idea of green jobs in general, solar power in particular, President Obama as always, stimulus funding and the idea of developing a national strategic industrial policy to push back on China and others who have their own national policies to win this key industry of the future.

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