With Energy & Health Care being such cornerstone components of the Obama administration’s agenda, it would be logical for one to assume that a company like GE might have some role to play in the game. However, with so many little hidden policies weaving their way all throughout the Stimulus bill that was passed in February, one would also think it highly possible that a company like GE could stand to gain far more than just “a place a the table” or some “skin in the game”.
Why do I mention this? Because lately I feel like GE is around every corner I turn, even when I’m not looking for them. Bear with me here, and I’ll try to explain.
Let’s start by taking a look at Obama’s agenda in these areas, in his exact words:
- Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
- Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
- Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
- Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
- Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
- Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
- Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
Not only are there some obvious too-close-for-comfort synergies between the President’s agenda and GE, but there are also these other hidden benefits between GE, the Stimulus bill and the Auto Industry bailouts:
- Billions in federal Stimulus cash set aside for “lithium-ion batteries, manufactured in the US, for electric vehicles”
- General Motors (GM) and Chrysler coincidentally were told to partner with GE needed a supplier for, you guessed it, lithium-ion batteries, manufactured in the US, for electric vehicles
- By the way, GE has a$55 million stake in A123 Systems Inc. for this purpose
- Several instances in the Stimulus bill address the need for funds to be allocated for more affordable and accessible medical technology, including equipment for better screening and early detection (ie MRI, CT, radiology)
- Again, coincidentally, GE is focusing its Healthcare unit’s product development efforts on using its flagship platform to produce smaller, more affordable and accessible screening technology that private medical practices and independent physicians can actually purchase
- Numerous instances, too many to even list here, in the Stimulus bill set aside funds for a variety of programs aimed at driving consumers to purchase energy efficient appliances, light bulbs, and other “green” products (that GE of course manufactures).
- One such example is a letter I just received from my PRIVATE utility provider just this month, informing me that the government & board of public utilities have partnered to conduct a mandatory “energy assessment” in my home, during which a “counselor” will inspect my home and inform me of any appliances, such as washer, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, that must be replaced with energy efficient applicances, and of any weatherization, such as roofing insulation and solar panels, that will be recommended – all to reduce the amount of energy that I use, which, according to monitoring by my utility provider has been deemed to be “too high” by the government. Yes, that’s a real letter I got.
- When I called about the letter, one place I was referred to was the “recommended contractors and suppliers list”. Surprise, surprise – the energy efficient appliances they mention I might need to purchase, are of course GE appliances.
Next, let’s take another step back again and look at the GE conglomerate, and each of its four key divisions:
- GE Capital
- GE Healthcare Finance
- GE Aviation Financial Services
- GE Railcar Finance
- GE Commercial Finance
- GE Energy Financial Services
- GE Treasury
- GE Technology Infrastructure
- GE Healthcare
- GE Aviation (and the former Smiths Aerospace)
- GE Energy Infrastructure
- GE Wind Power
- GE Nuclear Power
- GE Coal Power
- GE Oil & Natural Gas
- GE Solar Power
- GE Hydroelectric Power
- NBC Universal (entertainment company)
- Universal Studios & Theme Parks
- NBC Universal Television Group
- NBC News & NBC.com
- USA Network
- MSNBC cable TV & MSNBC.com
- Bravo TV
- SendMeRSS & DealMeRSS (RSS-to-email gateways/splogs, out of service without notice since August 2008)
- Telemundo Television Studios
- The Weather Channel
Jeffrey Immelt is the current chairman of the board and chief executive officer of all of General Electric; he previously served as President and CEO of GE’s Medical Systems division (now GE Healthcare).
So in essence, he controls Energy, Healthcare Technology, and most of the Left Wing Media outlets.
In February of 2009, Immelt was selected by President Obama to serve on his Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Is anyone else seeing what to me should be very obvious conflicts of interest here?
If this weren’t enough to concern us, we should be reminded that GE doesn’t exactly have a squeaky clean track record of being a good government partner. In 1990, GE was convicted of defrauding the U.S. Government, specifically the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1992, GE was again convicted on charges of corrupt practices in the sale of jet engines to Israel. And as recent as 2009, there is still ongoing speculation over whether GE continues to do business with Iran, which would be in violation of US sanctions against Iran. GE’s CEO Immelt claims all business between GE and Iran halted in 2005, but some reports continue to speculate there still may be evidence of violation.
Is this who we really want “partnering” with the government and “advising” our President? Really? Come on, America. Wake the hell up already. I’m all for the private sector leading the country’s key initiatives, but this is ridiculous. First, it’s not really private sector anymore when there is this much government collusion. Secondly, this is not the shining example of private sector most Americans are looking for.
And last but not least, the President and Congress are pushing the H.R. 3401 Bill, “National Infrastructure Bank Act”, which would create a national bank, financed by “private sector” funding, to be used for “infrastructure projects that are in the best interest of the country”, including major renewable, sustainable energy and green initiatives.
If the average American cannot see the obvious connections here and at least question it, and ask themselves to consider the potential for conflicts of interest, then we’ve got an even bigger problem in this country than I’d initially thought. Please America, start speaking up. Start asking some honest questions of yourselves and of this administration.