What do the two have in common? Steven Hayward at Powerline draws two parallels, the first being the companies' precarious financial state:
Enron’s collapse bears some striking similarities to Solyndra, namely, a business model that increasingly depended on government support for profitability. When that government support didn’t come in time, Enron’s house-of-cards collapsed.
I blogged on one particular Enron project back in 2002: the doomed Dabhol, India LNG power plant. The US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform has a fact sheet detailing the history of the venture. When the World Bank refused to finance the project, Ken Lay turned to his government connections:
After the World Bank declined to fund the Dabhol project, U.S. government entities provided key funding for the project. OPIC ultimately supplied Dabhol with a total of $160 million in loan guarantees and $200 million in risk insurance. The Export-Import Bank provided a roughly $300 million loan in late 1994.89 (Of this, $202 million is outstanding, but four Indian banks have guaranteed the loan, eliminating any risk to U.S. taxpayers, according to an Export-Import Bank spokesperson.)
In addition, numerous Clinton Administration officials supported the project. For example, Commerce Secretary Brown wrote to India’s minister of Commerce before a January 1995 trip to India, asking the minister to facilitate “financial closing” of the Dabhol project “in time to be celebrated during my visit.” Once in India, and accompanied by Ken Lay, Secretary Brown oversaw the signature of loan agreements by Dabhol Power Company with U.S. Export-Import Bank and OPIC. In visits to India, Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary expressed Washington’s concern that India stand by commitments to investors. For example, Secretary O’Leary warned India that it was hurting its reputation with foreign investors.
Here’s the salient point: like Solyndra, Enron was a favorite of environmentalists, and Enron was a huge backer of the Kyoto Protocol. A decade ago, people liked to talk about links between Enron’s chairman, Ken Lay, and President George W. Bush. But they leave out that the main thing Lay was urging on Bush was the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Enron probably would have fared much better under a Gore administration. Enron thought they’d make money on the trading operations from a cap and trade scheme. After Enron’s collapse, an internal memo from the late 1990s came to light that said Kyoto would “do more to promote Enron’s business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States,” and concluded that Kyoto would be “good for Enron stock.”
The greenies let their infatuation with clean energy blind themselves to Solyndra's financial unsoundness. Then again, greenies tend to be welfare statists, and they're not used to thinking of projects in terms of their ability to stand on their own two feet.
"And then I thing this, this 30-year anti-government rant that America's been on, something no other country in the world is doing, including all the ones that have predominately been governed by conservatives..."
Note the time frame. He's not just talking about the recent Tea Party movement. Thirty years goes back to the dawn of the Reagan administration. Clinton is claiming that the American conservative movement as a whole is a "rant" unique to America.
What would Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, and East German-born Angela Merkel say to that?
Okay, Clinton specifically said "something no other country in the world is doing," not "something no other country in the world has done," so maybe Walesa, Havel and Merkel shouldn't feel slighted.
But what about today? Is there no "anti-government rant" in Western Europe? Or the Islamic Republic of Iran? Egypt? Tunisia?
We know there hasn't been such a rant in Cuba or North Korea. Not publicly. That's not a good thing.
On September 11, 2001, Islamic supremacism launched its greatest attack against Amercian targets.
Since then, Osama bin Laden has been killed, al-Qaeda devastated, its Taliban allies toppled.
President Bush realized that al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies were not our only enemies in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein was a persistent threat - he was running off UN weapons inspectors for a reason - and Bush decided that this threat must be nipped in the bud. That task has been accomplished.
The war has yet to be taken to all our enemies. Hezbollah has been at war with us since its founding. The US has yet to make so much as a fender scratch, and many of our politicians complained when Israel fought back against Hezbollah attacks in 2006. We're allowed to seek victory over al-Qaeda, Israel isn't allowed to defeat even one of the many warring Islamic terror organizations.
Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy, thus we are in a state of war with Iran. The United States must defeat of the theocratic regime and gain friendly relations with its successor government. Unless the mullahs step up their hostilities to drastic levels, we must seek this victory through a cold war. The Cold War brought a lot of American (and Soviet) meddling in that country, and it bred lots of resentment that continues to this day - even among those friendliest to the West. The solution to this problem must elevate those Western-friendly sorts to power, and we resist the urge to play band director and trust them to restructure their government.
Islamic supremacists believe that Mohammed promised global conquest to to his followers. If this stems from a faulty interpretation of the Koran, then Islamic scholars must step up to the plate and publicly explain why this is so. A key concern is Mohammed's long list of military dictates - scholars must explain logically (and not with Jacques Derrida deconstructionist sleight-of-hand) that those commands were intended to address existing wars, and contained no calls for future generations to fight future wars against the infidels.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce? The "strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country" is dependent on five factors:
Liberty. Laws regarding commerce and property rights are relatively fair and consistent. Taxation levels, while far from ideal, are such that (except in a few areas) they do not choke out business startups and growth. The streets are free from warfare and from government pogroms.
Culture. Society generally encourages private-sector employment; in several African nations, by contrast, the college-educated gravitate heavily toward government jobs. The rate of crimes against person and property, except in various urban neighborhoods, is not so high that businesses are driven away.
Entrepreneurs. These are the people responsible for the organization of an entire company, the establishment of its entire product line, and the assumption of the risk inherent in the venture.
Investors. Businesses must be financed. Outside sources such as banking institutions and stockholders routinely invest in established businesses, and occasionally provide capital for startups. Investors assume some degree of risk.
Labor. Traditionally this term is used to signify all non-managerial positions within a company. I use it to refer to include all non-entrepreneurial positions in a company. The common usage of "labor" and "management" insinuates that managers (including entrepreneurs) don't really do anything, that their organizational duties isn't really "work." I use "entrepreneur" and "labor" to distinguish between those responsible for an entire company and those responsible for portions of it.
Happy Commerce Day! Drink a toast to the Bill of Rights, peaceful citizens, Bill Gates, Wall Street, and all your coworkers.