political correctness

Remember Solyndra? Loss of taxpayer millions now seems forgotten, expert says

It’s been exactly ten years since the Solyndra solar power company accepted a loan of half a billion taxpayer dollars that would never be repaid. Now one industry expert says he’s not sure any lessons have been learned in the years since. On March 20, 2009, then-Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced Solyndra would be the recipient of a $535 million loan from his department under the Obama administration’s revamped loan guarantee program. Solyndra used the money, along with hundreds-of-millions more from private investors, to build a new facility where it would be mass-producing its easy-to-install cylindrical solar “panels.” The whole thing lasted about two years. The ill-fated energy company had initially asked President George Bush for cash under the loan guarantee program, which was created to help companies working with clean energy technologies that might be considered too risky for private investors. But it wasn’t until President Obama launched his sweeping stimulus spending plan that Solyndra’s application was approved, launching the California company to poster-child status despite what were apparently growing concerns about its long-term (and even short-term) viability. Those concerns were reportedly being relayed to the White House in the run-up to President Obama’s highly publicized visit to Solyndra headquarters, which was scheduled just six months before the 2010 midterm elections. Congressional investigators later uncovered information indicating that Solyndra was planning on laying off some of its employees ahead of the midterms, but waited due to pressure from the White House. By the end of August 2011, little more than a year after hosting a presidential visit, Solyndra had filed for bankruptcy. And the writing was on the wall much earlier. In Feburary 2011, the Department of Energy had restructured its loan and included terms that guaranteed private investors would be repaid before the government in the event the company went under. Adding to the anger among Republicans over what was perceived as a politically-charged loan process was the fact that one of the private investors backing Solyndra was a well-known Obama fundraising bundler, George Kaiser. A little more than a week after the company announced it was going bankrupt, the FBI conducted a surprise raid and agents were seen carrying crates upon crates from Solyndra HQ in Fremont, Calif. A 2015 Inspector General report found that Solyndra had over-inflated the value of some of its contracts, with some clients apparently receiving goods at a discount despite indications they would be paying full price. Some of the clients they had been counting on wound up bailing due to the availability of much cheaper technologies from China. Either way, the IG report indicates that “the investigative record suggests that the actions of certain Solyndra officials were, at best, reckless and irresponsible or, at worst, an orchestrated effort to knowingly and intentionally deceive and mislead the Department.” The IG admits that there were signs the government might have missed some obvious red flags, while critics have argued those red flags were more likely overlooked intentionally. The loan guarantee program that helped Solyndra get off the ground, however briefly, still exists today, and taxpayer dollars are still being shelled out to energy companies of all types. The solar industry itself also doesn’t seem to have suffered much, with a recent industry report predicting the number of installed solar projects would more than double by 2021. Tom Pyle, an energy industry expert who led the Trump presidential transition team on energy, says the program’s ongoing existence despite the lessons learned from the Solyndra debacle shows that government has no business backing private energy companies, whether they’re solar or not. “Even though President Trump has submitted very responsible budgets, including eliminating the loan program, Congress continues to fund it… even more generously,” Pyle said. And when he considers the prospects of our energy future under proposals like the Green New Deal, Pyle says the lack of knowledge becomes all the more obvious. “The bottom line is the Green New Dealers want to impose massive government control of our energy resources, and infuse billions of our taxpayer dollars into doubling down on the Solyndras and those projects,” Pyle says. “So there aren’t lessons being learned here, they’re going the opposite way.”

Agreed 100%

Georgia Southern University Calls Police on Students Exercising Free Speech

Students at Georgia Southern University were confronted by school staff and campus police last week while recruiting members for the Turning Point USA student group on campus. Staff told the conservative students that they needed to “fill out paperwork” in order to exercise free speech at the public university, and then proceeded to call the police when the students did not leave the public grounds. An administrator at Georgia Southern University (GSU) told students that they needed to “fill out paperwork” in order to exercise free speech within the confines of the school’s designated “free speech zone,” a specific area on campus that school claims is approved for exercising free speech, as long as the space is reserved in advance. The students, who were recruiting members for their Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter, decided not to leave an outdoor area on campus after GSU staff had requested for them to do so, resulting in the police being called as a last-ditch effort to force the students to comply with the school’s perplexing demand. The apparent intimidation tactic, however, was futile, as the TPUSA students filmed their interaction with the officers, who admitted on video that they could not legally arrest the students for exercising free speech at the publicly-funded university, as seen in a report by Campus Reform. “If we do not leave, will we get arrested?” one individual can be heard asking a police officer. “No,” responded one officer. “Well, now, you will be judicially referred,” added the officer. “What does that mean?” inquired a student. “That means you’ll go in front of the Dean of Students for violating Georgia Southern policy,” responded the officer, suggesting that while the police cannot punish students for exercising their free speech rights on public grounds, the university can. “They’re telling me you’re breaking policies, school policies,” added the officer, “But if you’re asking me about laws, which is mainly what I do here, I don’t know of any laws you’re breaking.”

To see the video of this encounter, and read the rest of the article, click on the text above.  It is hard to imagine that publicly funded colleges and universities, students hare bullied for simply exercising their 1st Amendment rights.  Unreal..

Betsy DeVos Strikes a Blow for Religious Freedom

Last week, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the U.S. Department of Education will stop enforcing a provision in federal law that has long barred religious organizations from contracting with private schools to provide federally funded “equitable services,” like tutoring and professional development. In a letter to Congress, DeVos explained that she was acting in accord with the Supreme Court’s 2017 verdict in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer. In Trinity Lutheran, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Missouri had engaged in unconstitutional discrimination by denying a church-run preschool access to a publicly funded program for playground improvement. Under the Constitution’s free-exercise clause, the Court found, otherwise eligible entities cannot be disqualified from a public benefit “based solely on their religious status.” In a press release accompanying her announcement, DeVos declared that, “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.” This is not a theoretical problem. To take but one example, up to now, parochial-school teachers could not attend a federally funded workshop at Catholic University. In that sense, DeVos’s policy change is long overdue. Indeed, the prohibition on religious providers was not some recent move by the Obama administration. Since its inception, the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was held to require that school districts must provide comparable services to educationally disadvantaged private-school students and educationally disadvantaged public-school students. Washington determined that those dollars could not flow directly to private schools, however, meaning that local districts had to provide the services or find a contractor to offer them. As implemented, federal law dictated that religious organizations were summarily barred from working as contractors with private schools — even when well suited for the work. But the ban on providers was remarkably inconsistent. Bizarrely, under the law, religious organizations have been permitted to provide services like after-school tutoring to public-school students, even as they’ve been barred from providing the same services to private-school students. The secretary’s decision corrects the government’s puzzling policy of intermittent religious discrimination. Predictably, some portrayed DeVos’s modest step to obey Supreme Court jurisprudence as part of a shadowy effort to entangle church and state. (“DeVos Moves to Ease Church-State Rules in Education,” one New York Times headline blared.) But the Department’s decision seems more aptly described as an effort to correct a kind of reflexive, anti-faith discrimination that had been in place for decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his decision for the 7–2 majority in Trinity Lutheran, “There is no question that Trinity Lutheran was denied a grant simply because of what it is—a church.” DeVos is applying the same logic, consistently. There’s no need to overcomplicate this. If the prohibitions in question were being applied to religious organizations that had spent funds inappropriately or engaged in proselytizing while on the federal dime, that would be one thing. But the issue here is wholesale, categorical discrimination against organizations of faith, simply because they’re organizations of faith, when it comes to non-religious programs such as English tutoring and professional development for math instruction. Discrimination of that sort has no place in the American system, and DeVos was right in moving to stamp it out. The new policy has the potential to immediately benefit many of the millions of educationally disadvantaged students who attend private schools, and its significance will only grow if efforts to expand private-school choice continue to flourish. It didn’t spark the commentary or contention that have greeted so many of DeVos’s other actions, but it’s a sensible, overdue act of good stewardship and we ought not overlook it.

 

Thanks to both Frederick M. Hess and Brendan Bell for bringing this to our attention, and major kudos to Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos for making this happen!  This is a HUGE win not only for religious freedom, for the education of our kids.  Frederick M. Hess is the director of education-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Brendan Bell is the education-policy program manager at AEI.    🙂

Media Silence Surrounds Muslim Massacre of Christians

Political leaders and public figures were falling over themselves this weekend to condemn the mosque attacks in New Zealand, while dozens of Christians were slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria to the sound of crickets. The mosque attacks were indeed a horrific affair and worthy of universal condemnation. Presidents, prime ministers, royalty, and religious leaders rushed to extend their condolences to victims and their families — as well they should — while decrying the hate that purportedly motivated the shootings. Without exception, the mainstream media gave top billing to the shootings, with newspapers carrying the story on their front pages and television news channels leading off their broadcasts with the story. The bizarre aspect of the coverage was not, in fact, the attention paid to a heinous crime committed in New Zealand, but the absolute silence surrounding the simultaneous massacre of scores of Christians by Muslim militants in Africa. As Breitbart News alone reported among major news outlets, Fulani jihadists racked up a death toll of over 120 Christians over the past three weeks in central Nigeria, employing machetes and gunfire to slaughter men, women, and children, burning down over 140 houses, destroying property, and spreading terror. The New York Times did not place this story on the front page; in fact, they did not cover it at all. Apparently, when assessing “all the news that’s fit to print,” the massacre of African Christians did not measure up. The same can be said for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, the LA Times, and every other major paper in the United States. The news shows from the three major television channels did not mention the story, and nor did CNN or MSNBC. There are several possible explanations for this remarkable silence, and none of them is good. Since, in point of fact, Muslim radicals kill Christians around the world with alarming frequency, it is probable that one more slaughter did not seem particularly newsworthy to the decision-makers at major news outlets. Muslims being killed, on the other hand, may strike many as newsworthy precisely because it is so rare. A second motive for the media silence around the massacre of Christians in Nigeria may be geo-political and racial. New Zealand is a first-world country where such things are not supposed to happen, whereas many people still consider Africa to be a backwards place where brutal killings are par for the course. Moreover, the slaughter of black Christians in Africa may not enkindle rage among westerners the way that the murder of white and brown Muslims in New Zealand would. Finally, the story simply does not play to the political agenda that many mainstream media would like to advance. How much mileage can be gained from Muslims murdering Christians, when Christians in America are often seen as an obstacle to the “progress” desired by liberals? The left sees Christians in the United States as part of the problem and seeks to undermine their credibility and influence at every turn rather than emboldening them. Anti-Christian bias has been rightly called “the last acceptable prejudice,” one that few bother condemning. “No one much cares about offending Christians,” wrote the coalition of African-American pastors in an essay last Tuesday. “In fact, mocking, belittling, and blaspheming Christianity is becoming a bit of a trend in our culture. Anti-Christian bigotry truly is the last acceptable prejudice.” “The hypocrisy on display is astounding,” the pastors continued. “Christianity is the dominant religion of our country. It is the foundation of our government and morality. And yet, Christians are treated as fair game for mockery and insult.” Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group in the world, but the mainstream media routinely ignore this fact as if it were unimportant or uninteresting. As a result, many people do not even realize how widespread the persecution is or that 75 percent of the victims of religious persecution around the world are Christians. Whatever the reason — or reasons — for the media silence surrounding the most recent massacres of Christians in Nigeria as well as numerous other such events, it should give right-thinking people pause. By all means, the lethal shootings of dozens of Muslims in New Zealand is a massive story and merits extensive coverage. But it only stands to reason that similar coverage should be devoted to the slaughter of Christians. For the moment, it serves as a poignant reminder that a double standard is at work when it comes to news coverage, and that it is Christians who inevitably draw the short straw.

Agreed..  Thanks to Dr. Thomas D. Williams, PhD for that outstanding analysis.  One thing we love to do here at The Daily Buzz is to point out brazen hypocrisy by politicians and the dominantly liberal mainstream media.  Dr. Williams absolutely nails it here.

Thomas Sowell: The dangers of the ‘social justice’ vision

“Despite how persuasive the words of John Rawls and other ‘social justice’ advocates may be in the world of words, demonstrated facts in the world of reality raise the crucial question as to whether the redistribution of income or wealth can actually be done, in any comprehensive and sustainable sense. Where, instead, there is simply a humanitarian desire to see the less fortunate have better prospects for a better life, the ‘social justice’ argument is both unnecessary and an impediment to joining forces toward that end with others who do not happen to share the implicit assumption of that particular social vision. The undeniable fact that life has never been remotely “fair” – in the sense of presenting equal likelihoods of achieving economic prosperity or other benefits – has led many people to conclude that human biases are the reason. There is no question that human biases have contributed to unfair prospects. But it is a complete non sequitur to say that human biases are the sole, or even primary, causes of unequal prospects, without hard evidence to support that conclusion. When there are major disparities in outcomes among men who are all in the top one percent in IQ, and among siblings raised under the same roof, as well as discriminated-against minorities being more economically successful than those discriminating against them – as happened in the Ottoman Empire, many Southeast Asian countries and much of Eastern Europe, for example – the insistence on believing that human biases are the primary cause of disparities in outcomes ignores a vast range of evidence to the contrary. This is not to say that nothing can be done to offer more people more opportunities. Much has already been done, and much can and will be done. But how it is done can be either helpful or harmful, depending on how well we understand and deal with the world as it is, rather than according to some vision that might seem more attractive, for whatever reason. Despite the inability to confiscate and redistribute human capital, nevertheless human capital is – ironically – one of the few things that can be spread to others without those with it having any less remaining for themselves. But one of the biggest obstacles to this happening is the ‘social justice’ vision, in which the fundamental problem of the less fortunate is not an absence of sufficient human capital, but the presence of other people’s malevolence. For some, abandoning that vision would mean abandoning a moral melodrama, starring themselves as crusaders against the forces of evil. How many are prepared to give up all that – with all its psychic, political and other rewards – is an open question. …Certainly there have been many examples of times and places where money or other physical wealth has been confiscated by governments or looted by mobs. But, physical wealth is a product of human capital – the knowledge, skills, talents and other qualities that exist inside the heads of people – where it cannot be confiscated. Confiscating physical wealth for the purpose of redistribution is confiscating something that will be used up over time, and cannot be replaced without the human capital that created it. Nor is human capital itself easily created by third-party decision-makers. While it is possible to hire teachers and buy books, it is not possible to purchase a cultural past that will prepare and orient all people toward the acquisition of the skills, habits and attitudes that are decisive for human capital.”

Exactly!!  That was an adapted excerpt from “Discrimination and Disparities” (Revised and Enlarged Edition) by Thomas Sowell. Copyright @ 2019. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, a division of PBG Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.   Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.   🙂

Sizzling anti-burger narrative puts Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal in a pickle

When Rep. Rob Bishop wanted to signal his opposition to the Green New Deal, he did it by sinking his teeth into a juicy cheeseburger from the Good Stuff Eatery. “If this goes through, this will be outlawed. I could no longer eat this type of thing,” said the Utah Republican between bites at last week’s Western Caucus press conference. “So before they take it away from me, before it’s illegal and an endangered species — I’m actually going to enjoy this a whole lot more than I would the Green New Deal.” Three weeks after it was introduced, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s signature climate-change resolution has become embroiled in a debate over whether Americans should continue to have it their way when it comes to the all-American burger. Foes of the Green New Deal are loving it. At CPAC, former Trump White House aide Sebastian Gorka charred the anti-beef initiative, saying, “They want to rebuild your home, they want to take away your hamburgers. This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved.” Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican, said at the press conference that the sweeping resolution would expand government control, given that “nobody’s going to volunteer to give up their burgers or their milkshakes … People are going to need to be coerced.”

And that’s putting it mildly.  We’ll have to give up airline travel, our muscle cars,  and yes..  steaks and burgers because, well..cows fart too much.  And they’ve said as much!  How crazy is that?!?  For more, click on the text above.

Chicago police blast Jussie Smollett ‘phony attack’: ‘Bogus police reports cause real harm’

Chicago cops laid out their case against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett Thursday morning, accusing the TV star of orchestrating an elaborate hoax involving two “bogus” hate crimes — one involving an alleged attack, and one involving a threatening letter — all in order to get a pay raise. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett orchestrated a “phony attack” in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.” Johnson said at a news conference Thursday that Smollett, 36, also sent a racist and homophobic threatening letter to himself at the Fox studio lot before the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary. “I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” a visibly upset Johnson told reporters. “Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol…how can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city by making this false claim?” He added, “Bogus police reports cause real harm.” Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett, who is accused of filing a false police report, was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct. He turned himself in at central booking early Thursday. If convicted, he is facing up to three years in prison. Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m on Jan. 29. The actor, who is black and gay, said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled “This is MAGA country” — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” — before fleeing. But that isn’t how police say it all went down. Johnson said police found the “check that [Smollett] used to pay [two brothers]” to fake the beating, adding he paid them $3,500 “for the two of them in total, and then $500 upon return.” He said the attack “was staged, the brothers had on gloves during the (air quotes) ‘staged attack’ where they punched him a little, but as far as we can tell, the scratching and bruising that you saw on [Smollett’s] face was most likely self-inflicted.” Johnson was also incensed at the spotlight the incident put on his town for the past three weeks. “This is shameful because it painted this city that we all love and work hard in, in a negative connotation,” he said. “To insinuate and stage a hate crime of that nature when he knew that as a celebrity he’d get a lot of attention… It’s despicable. It makes you wonder what’s going through someone’s mind.” “As a black man, who spent his entire life living the city of Chicago, I know the racial divide that exists here. I know how hard it’s been for our city and our nation to come together,” he said. Johnson added that “absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared….admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of all the resources that were put into this.”

Agreed..  Jussie Smollet is total garbage.  IF found guilty (as it would appear he will be, but we’ll let the legal process out), he should pay the max fine (which would be nothing to him), and actually do the years in prison.  In addition, FOX should fire him from the Empire series, and this loser should repay the City of Chicago for the police resources that we were used investigating this phony hate crime.   Finally he needs to make a public apology on camera to the good people of Chicago for staging this outrageous stunt which could have turned into a riot.  Remember Rodney King in LA?   Or what happened in Ferguson?  That was all based on a lie.  Remember, “Hands up, don’t shoot?”  That NEVER happened.  But, even after it was proven that never happened, the agenda-driven, dominantly liberal mainstream media continued to promote it to fit their narrative.  Yeah..  That all could have happened in Chicago..  Stunts like this are dangerous and put all of us at risk.  The Chicago prosecutors need to make an example of this disgusting waste of oxygen.  People need to see that this sorta thing comes with consequences that even the liberal elite in HollyWEIRD have to pay.