Cliff Stearns

As Another Fisker Karma Spontaneously Combusts, "Green" Dreams Go Up In Smoke

Several months ago it seemed that not a day could pass without someone, somewhere making fun of GM's biggest post-bankruptcy flaming failure to date: the Chevy Volt (gross and net of channel stuffing). Of course, since it was all in the name of ecological progress and carbon footprint reduction, most media observers let it go as merely one of the peculiar hurdles on the way to an utopian future in which America would no longer rely on crude imports from evil petroleum cartels. The time has come to redirect ridicule to that other $102,00+ MSRP object of electric aspiration, and henceforth - mockery: the Fisker Karma supercar.

Did The Administration Break The The Law On Solyndra? Watch The Latest Hearing To Find Out

Just starting on C-SPAN 2 is a new hearing on Obama's Solargate, Solyndra, which today will focus on the question of whether the Solyndra loan restructuring broke the law. From CSM: "Newly released emails show that the Treasury Department was concerned that the loan restructuring, approved earlier this year, could violate federal law. The deal was structured so that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment on part of the loan in case of a default by Solyndra. Administration officials have defended the loan restructuring, saying that without an infusion of cash earlier this year, Solyndra would likely have faced immediate bankruptcy, putting more than 1,000 people out of work. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee say the hearing Friday will focus on whether the Energy Department broke the law when it agreed to restructure Solyndra' s debt in February. The lawmakers cite emails showing that Mary Miller, an assistant treasury secretary, said the deal could violate the law because it put investors' interests ahead of taxpayers. Miller told a top White House budget official that she had advised that any proposed restructuring be reviewed by the Justice Department before it was approved. "To our knowledge that has never happened," Miller wrote in an Aug. 17 memo to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., called Miller's memo "startling" and said it appears that DOE violated "the plain letter of the law" in approving the restructuring. "We need insight into Treasury's role in reviewing this loan guarantee," said Stearns, chairman of the energy panel's subcommittee on oversight and investigations." Learn more in today's hearing.

Next, Comes The Impeachment: Republicans Seek All White House Communication On Solyndra Since Obama Inauguration

This can not be good news for a president already mired in 20% real unemployment and 98.9% Debt to GDP: “Nearly eight months into our investigation, documents provided to the Committee last Friday confirm those closest to the President - top advisors like Valerie Jarrett, Larry Summers, and Ron Klain - had direct involvement in the Solyndra mess.  In addition to the cast of West Wing characters with access to the Oval Office, documents reveal a startlingly cozy relationship between wealthy donors and the President’s confidantes, especially in matters related to Solyndra.  While the President claims ‘hindsight is always 20/20’ and the loan went ‘through the regular review process,’ the facts tell a much different story with some of the loudest alarm bells on Solyndra’s viability coming from within his very own administration.”  Next up: "please define the term 'crony venture capital taxpayer funded loan." Also, stories like this can not help.

Will Obama Rescue Netflix After Congress Rejects Net Neutrality?

Back in December, the FCC decided, in a 3-2 vote, to take it upon itself to regulate broadband internet access, also known as "Net Neutrality" - in other words the FCC essentially decided to give itself the authority to impose rules that bar Internet providers from blocking or "unreasonably discriminating" against Web content, services or applications. As previously explained: "That means Time Warner Cable can't take payments from Google to make YouTube come over the network faster than Hulu. Comcast, [which recently bought 51% of NBC-U], is also forbidden from favoring its own content over others'." The biggest winners were broadband video content distributors who have rapidly become the biggest traffic hogs on the Internet. Names such as Netflix come to mind. So it came as a bit of a shocker that late this afternoon, while everyone was staring at the countdown clock to government shutdown, that House republicans, in a 240-179 vote, "pushed through a measure disapproving the Federal Communications Commission's rules" - in other words rejecting Net Neutrality, and throwing broadband video companies for a loop. Since the triple play companies such as Comcast have become increasingly concerned about the encroaching threat that is Netflix, it is almost guaranteed that if indeed the House vote passes the Senate, where a similar measure has 39 co-sponsors, and becomes law, then Netflix already razor thing cash flow margins are about to get "razor thinner" as the triple plays extract their pound of flesh. There is one out, though: an Obama veto: per Reuters, "the White House said on Monday that President Barack Obama's advisers would recommend that he veto any such resolution." Which begs the question: will Netflix' momo longs have Obama to thank for the continuation of the most ridiculous move in stock market history, or will the fairy tale promptly come to an end.