July 1, 2010


Russian Spies

It’s not clear in what sense the “Russian spies” were spies, since they are not charged with espionage and, according to this Washington Post report, were specifically instructed by their government to avoid classified material. They’re been charged with failing to declare employment by a foreign power, which essentially means they were unregistered lobbyists.

What were the “spies” up to? According to the Post, their task was to ingratiate themselves with wealthy or influential Americans, then find out what these people were talking about. Going to such trouble to discover the kind of information printed on websites that can be read for free from any laptop in the world suggests Moscow actually believes that secret councils of the wealthy in New York City and Washington are pulling the strings on U.S. life. As for the “spies,” it has long been the case that most of the information reported home in breathless cables by intelligence operatives simply comes from local newspapers. Those who live in luxury abroad as “agents” have long hoped their home governments won’t catch on.

Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors, the first American automaker IPO since Ford Motors, 54 years ago. Tesla, which makes high-performance battery-powered cars, is being celebrated as some kind of testament to the entrepreneurial spirit. What a crock. This company is heavily subsidized, and builds a plaything for the rich.

Tesla is capitalized mainly via a $465 million no-collateral federal loan — if Tesla goes out of business, the taxpayer takes the loss, while if Tesla becomes a hit, private investors keep all the profit. The firm’s electric cars entitle buyers to a $7,500 tax credit, plus sales tax exemption in many states, meaning Tesla marketing receives significant subsidies.

The company is purchasing a factory in Fremont, California, where Toyota and General Motors once had a joint venture. The Department of Labor just announced $19 million in special payments to workers there, essentially subsidizing the Tesla labor force. A month ago, Tesla sold federal emissions credits to Honda for $12 million: the company hopes to qualify for more credits, which it will sell.

What’s the product? A $109,000 luxury sports car that accelerates from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds, the speed of the hottest Porches and Corvettes.  Such speed has no relevance to everyday driving, rather, it is useful solely for road-rage behavior: running lights and cutting others off. Your taxes now fund a rich-person’s road-rage toy! Tesla says its next product will be a “family sedan” – expected price, $57,000. Perhaps the White House and congressional officials who approve Tesla’s subsidies think $57,000 is what typical families spend on sedans.

Yes, federal investments sometimes help kick-start what eventually become beneficial industries. But Tesla isn’t even attempting to build a product useful to the typical person. Its output is focused exclusively on the rich – while average people are taxed to cover the company’s bills. If only the Russian spies could have explained how powerful insiders are working this swindle.

Click here to see why Breakingviews journalist Antony Currie says not just anything can ride the markets like Tesla.

Please don’t tell me the government is also subsidizing the Terrafugia flying car, which just won exemption from a federal airworthiness safety standard.  The entire market niche for flying cars is maybe 10 vehicles, and two of them are sure to collide.

Martin Feldman’s oil stocks

Lefties are going nuts over the fact that Martin Feldman, the federal judge who overturned the temporary offshore drilling ban, owned oil-companies stocks. Keith Olbermann has hyperventilated about this to the point that I worried his cheeks would explode. Feldman’s ruling might make oil stocks more valuable – that’s the supposed scandal. But Feldman sold off his oil stocks before issuing the ruling! If he’d purchased oil stocks and then issued a pro-oil ruling, that would be an outrage. But what happened is he sold his stocks in order to avoid benefitting from his decision. Journalism needs a new specialty: Logic Cop.

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Yes. Tesla’s 1st gen stuff is for guilt-abatement of well-heeled Greenies, but they are doing something to spark the trend in a good direction.

The guys at Better Place are doing much more: rolling out the infrastructure for a more widespread and affordable solution.
http://statisticectomy.blogspot.com/2010  /07/you-go-boy.html

Posted by bryanX | Report as abusive