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September 04, 2011

Humiliating: Time Reporter Who Claimed Solyndra Was In Good Fiscal Health Nine Weeks Ago Is Forced To Report On Its Bankruptcy

They're not really paid to report facts; they are paid to reinforce the beliefs of liberals. So this isn't really as humiliating as it might seem -- he carried Obama's water. That was his job, his real job, and so he'll be forgiven for completely missing the actual story.

Here he was nine weeks ago, telling Republicans to suck it with their scurrilous claims of financial trouble and wasted government millions:

I happened to visit Solyndra’s headquarters today, so maybe I can help the Republicans with their investigation. For starters, the reports of Solyndra’s death have been greatly exaggerated. And while reasonable people can disagree about the loan guarantee program, it’s not the boondoggle its critics suggest.

[...]

As for Solyndra, I can report to the Republicans who seemed so concerned about the company’s viability that it no longer seems to be on the verge of a humiliating collapse. I’m sure they’ll be relieved.

Sarcasm... so reportorial, and not at all like a partisan liberal blogger.

And now?

Solyndra declared bankruptcy on Wednesday and laid off its 1,100 employees. I’ll have more to say about this after I chat with the smooth-talkers who got me to report in June that Solyndra “no longer seems to be on the verge of a humiliating collapse.”

Yes, we wait with bated breath for your outing of the sources who flat-out lied to you. Of course, you were complicit in your own beclowning. You wanted to believe, and you did; and you reported the claims of self-interested parties uncritically. And not just uncritically, but arrogantly, with a sarcastic f.u. to House investigators.

There's actually more news here: When the company was failing, two investors came in with $75 million in further loans. They'll get paid first in the bankruptcy, which means the odds of the government seeing a few pennies of it's $535 million loan are even lower now.

One of those protected, high-priority lenders was George Kaiser, the big Obama donor.

Sources tell me the Obama administration restructured the loan this winter, so taxpayers probably won’t even be the first creditors to get paid after Solyndra files for bankruptcy next week. The first $75 million will go to two Solyndra investors who poured in extra cash when the company nearly went bust in January. And one of them is a venture associated with the billionaire George Kaiser, an Obama campaign bundler.

What is that word "probably" doing in the first sentence? There is no "probably" warranted at all -- the rest of the paragraph indicates the government will not be the first creditors. They will be no higher than the third-- no "probably" about it.

What on earth is that doing in there, except to cushion the blow for Team Obama?

He goes on to make further excuses for this boondoggle.

I wanted to correct something I wrote: Several people have written to tell me that Solyndra's low interest rates are not necessarily that suspicious, even if they were much lower than the interest rates for loans extended to other solar ventures, because, they say, the loan terms were relatively short, and thus would carry lower interest rates than longer term loans.

This doesn't really explain it, though, because these were high risk loans, apparently misclassified as fairly low risk.

I believe what House investigators are trying to discover is what risk level these loans were represented as by Solyndra, and decided by the government -- which is what keeps getting redacted and hidden from them.

The Loans Had 100% Risk-- They Would Never Be Paid Back. Analysts have been questioning this "business model" for a while:

"Here's the bottom line," Lynch said. "It costs them $6 to make a unit. They're selling it for $3. In order to be competitive today, they have to sell it for between $1.5 and $2. That is not a viable business plan."

Other flags have been raised about how the Energy Department pushed the deal forward. The Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News and ABC disclosed that Energy Department officials announced the support for Solyndra even before final marketing and legal reviews were in. To government auditors, that move raised questions about just how fully the department vetted the deal -- and assessed its risk to taxpayers -- before signing off.

Of course, all those pesky questions assumed that Solyndra was selling a business product. It wasn't. It was selling a political product, one that the White House was in need of, some boondoggle it could pour taxpayer money into and then give a speech about.

No matter what the product, if a client wants it, it will get produced.

And if the product the client demands is a half-billion dollar waste of taxpayer money, the market will provide that.


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