Friday, May 29, 2009

Solar Does Make Sense, For Small Applications

Although I am critical of solar energy for power plants, I do believe it is efficient for low voltage applications.

To that end, Sharp has released the "industry's thinnest" solar module. Measuring .8mm thick, this module is currently being used to power its Solar Ketai, a solar-powered, waterproof cell phone.

What I like about this story is that solar is being used to power low voltage-requiring applications. While this has been done with calculators for years, it is finding new applications to power, like attic fans (which I have in my house and it works great).

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Were I an investor in solar companies, I would focus on these types of applications, as they quick wins. Additionally, they incrementally remove devices from the grid as the technology improves. However, I still believe the use of solar for large-scale electrical generation is nowhere near ready for prime time.

When one calculates the cost of producing the photovoltaic cells, mirrors, and associated equipment, then batteries, transformers, and storage, it is staggering. Then, one has to use vast tracts of desert, which can be environmentally sensitive, to deliver a limited amount of power during a limited period of time to an insufficient grid.

For more on the specifics, read "Nuclear, American Style," and the other 7 articles on this topic I have written. The keyword is nuclear.

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But good for Sharp! I am excited to see more and more devices efficiently using solar power.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Did Bondholders Learn from Chrysler?

The Wall Street Journal ran a front page story on their May 27, 2009 edition titled "GM-Union Deal Raises U.S. Stake."

Although the piece deals largely with the U.S. government getting a 70% share of GM, with the UAW taking a reduced, 17.5%, it mentioned that bondholders could reject a debt-for-equity swap ($27 billion in unsecured debt for 10% of the company).

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It turns out that the bondholders did reject the swap and now GM is highly likely to enter bankruptcy on or around June 1, the government deadline for restructuring.

Although I have written about evils of the nationalization of auto industry here, here, and here, the GM bankruptcy process has been somewhat different.

In the now-failed deal, the senior creditors were to be made whole with $6 billion. Sounds good so far. The union, according to the Wall Street Journal, reduced their stake because they "...were concerned about GM's prospects..." also sounds pretty sane. However, GM's bankruptcy is more complicated because it is so large and has no single buyer in the wings. People who switched to Allstate saved an average of $396 per year. Quote Now!

These conditions will make for a good court fight. Why is this a good thing when the consequences are so bad for so many? It is good because it serves as a reminder to the current Legislative and Executive branches that government has no business trying to run the auto business. A good court fight will allow the stake holders to duke it out and have the market best decide the fate of a failing company. Try RingCentral Fax FREE for 30 days

Further, this bankruptcy will show all future lenders to U.S. companies that the business climate of the U.S. is transparent and operates under the rule of law. This concept has been put in grave doubt by President Teleprompter's interference with Chrysler and GMAC.

Finally, a long bankruptcy will put the brakes on the socialism express this country has been on since January, 2009. If free markets are to succeed, no company can be sacred, and no industry too important.

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Tax the Economy to Health, yeah Right!

Nothing reduces consumption faster than rising prices. Lower consumption leads to lower overall economic growth. So what idiot would propose raising prices to "avert fiscal calamity?"

According to Lori Montgomery of The Washington Post, the idiot(s) would be:

"... a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT."

A VAT, or Value Added Tax, is sales tax, usually a fixed amount added to the purchase price of any good or service sold. Ms. Montgomery continues that the poor are most hurt, but should promote a VAT because:

"VAT advocates say those negatives could be offset by using the proceeds to pay for health care for every American -- a tangible benefit that would be highly valuable to low-income families."

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Ahh, now I understand, to add health care to the list of nationalized industries, President Teleprompter needs some extra cash. Is it not clear to the 50% of us who pay income tax that even darker economic times are yet to come??

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Let me provide the fastest and easiest way to get this country out of its economic trouble, REDUCE GOVERNMENT SPENDING!!! Additionally, reduce fees and regulatory burdens on business, as well as eliminating the death tax and capital gains tax. Did I mention eliminating corporate taxation?

Lest anyone forget, this VAT being discussed is ON TOP OF existing federal income tax, and will likely be raised, just like state sales taxes are. Again, higher prices equals less consumption. Less consumption leads to lower industrial and economic production. Lower production leads to unemployment and economic degradation. Stop this VAT nonsense!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buy Your People's Car with a Loan from the People's Bank!

When you thought it couldn't any worse, President Teleprompter is going to take over GMAC, thus vertically integrating the manufacture, sale, and financing of cars in the United States. It is hard to believe this is actually happening.

In previous posts, "Killing Chrysler," "The Rule of Law is an Absolute Priority," and "Goodbye GM, Hello People's Car," I wrote about the gross aggregation of financial power by President Teleprompter, and his control over a large portion of the U.S. economy. By the way, nationalizing health care is next (socialized medicine), but I digress. Executives & Professionals: Changing Jobs?

The Wall Street Journal reports in the May 21 edition:

"The Treasury Department is poised to inject more than $7 billion into GMAC LLC, the first installment of a new government aid package that could reach $14 billion,... The GM plan being devised by President Barack Obama's auto task force calls for the government to emerge with a majority stake."

This move vertically integrates the production, marketing, sales, and financing of cars in the United States. This is a frightening thought. The government is using a large portion of industrial productive capacity to promote a political agenda, pay back union backers, and hope to modify consumer behavior. Guard against ID Theft with 15 Points of Protection from TrustedID, including our $1,000,000 Warranty. Click Here!

What makes this behavior worse is:

"Many of the loans to GM and Chrysler are likely to be written off, administration officials say. Other programs, such as the government aid to auto suppliers, are essentially a revolving credit line that is meant to be replenished."

In other words, this becomes a state-run, money-losing, union payback, with little hope of returning to private hands. While this may sound hyperbolic, I can't help but coming to the conclusion, based on the evidence.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good Bye GM, Hello People's Car!

**Be sure to read the follow up articles here and here.**

"Let me be clear. The United States government has no interest in running GM. We have no intention of running GM" - President Teleprompter, March 30, 2009.

Nobody ever accused President Teleprompter of truthfulness, or accuracy. However, his fits of reverse psychology are beginning to create a pattern. Whether the issue is nationalizing Chrysler and GM, or so-called "torture photos," the President says the opposite of what he truly means. Executives & Professionals: Changing Jobs?

Reuters reports on 19 May 2009 the following:

"NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) - General Motors Corp's (GM.N) plan for a bankruptcy filing involves a quick sale of the company's healthy assets to a new company initially owned by the U.S. government, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday."

Huh, not wanting to run GM, right... So, President Teleprompter has made it clear for months that Americans should drive the cars that he wants us to drive, not what we want. To realize his dream of econobox hybrids for everyone, he has nationalized GM with over $15.4 billion of U.S. taxpayer money! Includes 300 FREE Fax Pages per month

To add insult to injury, Reuters continues:

"The government's plans include giving stakes in the new company to GM's union and bondholders, although the ownership structure of the company is still being negotiated, said the source who is familiar with the company's plans."

Great, another union give away, just like Chrysler. Americans, are you starting to see a trend?? The rule of law is being destroyed before our very eyes! President Teleprompter has created the largest patronage system in modern history, all using taxpayer money. Protect your Medical Identity with TrustedID. $1,000,000 Warranty & Great Customer Service

If you are a GM bond holder, you better be screaming louder than you have ever screamed to stop this madness. Bankruptcy laws in this country, especially the principal of absolute priority, make large-scale commercial lending possible. I warned you about this in "Killing Chrysler."

Americans, open your eyes to the trend! Whether banks, health care, or cars, President Teleprompter and his cronies in Congress want there hands on everything. This country can not continue to exist unless this madness stops. Exercise your legal rights in bankruptcy courts, voting booths, and writing your Senators and Representatives. American capitalism is truly on the verge of collapse.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rule of Law is an Absolute Priority

**Be sure to read the follow up post, "Good Bye GM, Hello People's Car!"**

I thought all was well with the world when the senior creditors told President Teleprompter to see them in court. What I should have remembered was that Chicago bare-knuckle politics now rules the day.

In my two posts, "Killing Chrysler" and "He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules, Or So He Thinks," I wrote how bankruptcy law would win the day. Boy, was I wrong.

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It appears that President Teleprompter's goons strong-armed the TARP-compromised creditors, then demonized the hedge funds and others. When that didn't work, the threats started rolling in about audits, etc. I fear we are becoming a banana republic, and not the store with expensive khakis. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on The Free Trading Community.

In the Wall Street Journal, Todd Zywicki writes an editorial about this mess and how the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the principle of Absolute Priority should have prevailed. Instead, the senior creditors were muscled into taking $0.30 on the dollar, while the junior creditor, the UAW (surprise surprise), ended up getting $0.50 on the dollar, which is 55% of the company.

Constitutionally, what President Teleprompter did was violate the contracts between the senior creditors and Chrysler as well as casting bankruptcy law into confusion (from Professor Zywicki's article),

The Contracts Clause of Article V of the Constitution, which prohibited states from interfering with the obligation to pay debts. Hence also the Bankruptcy Clause of Article I, Section 8, which delegated to the federal government the sole authority to enact "uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies."

Regarding Absolute Priority,

The absolute priority rule is a linchpin of bankruptcy law. By preserving the substantive property and contract rights of creditors, it ensures that bankruptcy is used primarily as a procedural mechanism for the efficient resolution of financial distress... Violating absolute priority undermines this commitment by introducing questions of redistribution into the process. It enables the rights of senior creditors to be plundered in order to benefit the rights of junior creditors.

In other words, the "orderly bankruptcy plan" was really just a ploy to take from the senior creditors and give to the politically-connected UAW. This risk of government interference and confiscation is going to have a negative effect on ALL business in need of credit, especially those who have politically-favored unions. If you are a senior creditor of GM, you should be afraid, very afraid. Guard against ID Theft with 15 Points of Protection from TrustedID, including our $1,000,000 Warranty. Click Here!

America, consider very carefully if this type of government interference and control is the hope and change you voted for. Consider if you want drastic government control over business. Consider if you want to see the world's largest economy collapse under the weight of uncertainty. If you don't, call your representatives and demand the U.S. Constitution be upheld, and the rule of law maintained. If not, expect the worst!

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Friday, May 1, 2009

He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules, Or So He Thinks

As I wrote in my most recent post, "Killing Chrysler," bankruptcy might be the best thing for debt holders. While I generally don't care for bankruptcy, it does happen, and the rights of both parties should be respected by law. However, with President Teleprompter and his union goons in office, what should be and are vary greatly.

The Wall Street Journal reports indirectly, in a piece titled, "Chrysler Pushed Into Fiat's Arms" (May 1, 2009), that TARP-backed banks were pressured to encourage other debt holders to accept the government's deal. People who switched to Allstate saved an average of $396 per year. Quote Now!

What becomes clear, as the story reports:

"The administration had repeatedly said it has no plans to run Chrysler or dictate its business plans. ... The pact allows the government and UAW to reorganize the company's top management."

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Interesting, President Teleprompter wants to reward the UAW goons with control over the third largest automaker, and then tell them what cars to make. Sounds crazy? Also from the article:

"Moreover, the government said it would use the agreement with Fiat and Chrysler to encourage fuel-efficient cars."

Didn't it seem strange to anybody that the President of the United States was announcing the bankruptcy of a publicly traded company? Have you wondered why the federal government is getting its nose and your money into these businesses and not just letting them fail naturally, under existing bankruptcy law?

Clearly, this is about political power, and the socializing of the U.S economy. Consider how President Teleprompter speaks about the debt holders seeking enforcement of their contractual rights and relief from the courts:

They "decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified, taxpayer-funded bailout," Mr. Obama charged. Were that not enough demonization, Cogressman for Life, Rep. Dingell (D. MI) calls the debt holders, "...'rogue hedge fund' and 'vultures' and said in a statement that they 'will now be dealt with accordingly in court.'

Wow, name calling, threats of court? This is just business, right? Not really, as this is really just a push to control as much industry as possible. Guess what GM, you're next!

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In less than 100 days, the federal government now owns 85% of one of the world's top insurance companies (AIG), and has its claws in the top banks via TARP. GM is next, and after that, health care. If this isn't stirring just a bit of worry in your mind, it better!!

My sincerest hope is that when the debt holders get to court, they plead their case, and the judge pays the secured debt holders their due. Further, I hope the judge pays each aggrieved party all they are entitled to under the law, and leaves President Teleprompter's dreams of industrial domination in the dirt.

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