Author Archives: James A. Bacon

Where Did $140 Million in GreenTech Money Go?

This is the first in a series of articles about Terry McAuliffe and GreenTech Automotive.

by James A. Bacon and Carol J. Bova

In September 2016, the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) of the state of Mississippi began undertaking a review of the contracts signed by the state’s economic development authority. The goal was to see if the corporations benefiting from state incentive money had made good on the capital investment and job creation they had promised. Several companies were targeted for a closer look.

One of those was Greentech Automotive Inc., a Virginia company whose chairman in 2011 when the Memorandum of Understanding was signed was Terry McAuliffe.

GreenTech had announced ambitious plans for a multibillion-dollar business by designing and manufacturing hybrid and electric vehicles. Between 2009 and 2013 the company raised a total of $141.5 million from Chinese investors under the EB-5 program, which gave foreigners a U.S. green card in exchange for a $500,000 investment in the United States. Incentive financing from the state of Mississippi and Tunica County, Miss., amounted to another $6 million. All told, GreenTech raised at least $147.5 million in funding.

Despite a GreenTech commitment to invest $60 million in the manufacturing plant, very few cars ever rolled off the assembly line… assuming there even was an assembly line. The Mississippi auditor’s report could find documentation for only $3.4 million spent on automotive assembly equipment and parts. Further, despite promises to create 350 full-time jobs, the auditors determined that the company had never supported more than 94 active, full-time jobs in Mississippi at a time. GreenTech made only a single $150,000 payment to the state.

Despite having scrimped on manufacturing expenditures, the company listed minimal assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2017. In a final settlement, agreed to last year, investors and creditors recovered only $6.6 million. Mississippi and Tunica County recovered only $575,000.

What happened to the other $140 million? Continue reading

No Critical Race Theory to See Here. Move Along Now.

Ibram Kendi

Ibram Kendi, the nation’s most highly acclaimed and in-demand interpreter of Critical Race Theory in America today, will be the keynote speaker at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference in November. His conference biography notes that he has authored several books about racism, including “How to Be an Antiracist,” “Antiracist Baby,” and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You.”

Many conference topics have a social justice angle to them: closing the wealth gap, increasing minority homeownership, federal recognition of “sovereign nations,” ending youth homelessness, preventing evictions and foreclosures, and changes in Virginia Fair Housing Laws.

But, hey, at least it’s not CRT in the schools! — JAB

Defending Mr. Jefferson

YAF message on UVa’s Beta Bridge.

by James A. Bacon

Tomorrow evening Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, and Texas Congressman Chip Roy, both of whom are University of Virginia alumni, will participate in event entitled, “In Defense of Mr. Jefferson.”

One might not think that the author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia would need a defense. But he indubitably was a slaveholder and is commonly (though less indubitably) said to have raped his slave Sally Hemings, and regardless of his historic contributions in advancing the cause of human freedom, falls short of the standards of perfection held by some in the UVa community.

The discussion is organized by the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and, I am pleased to say, is backed by The Jefferson Council, an organization with which I am affiliated. It is scheduled for 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 28) at Newcomb Hall.

It turns out that not only is the historical interpretation of Thomas Jefferson controversial, the very idea that one might endeavor to defend his reputation is as well. The event is experiencing blowback from elements at the university. Continue reading

VMI, Recognize Binnie Peay’s Distinguished Service

J.H. Binford Peay III. Official portrait as vice chief of staff.

Here follows a letter from Salvatore J. Vitale, class agent of the Virginia Military Institute class of 1961. — JAB

I am a graduate, and proud to be one, of the Virginia Military Institute’s Class of 1961. Since last summer, I and others of the VMI alumni have been pleased to note that Bacon’s Rebellion has published a substantial number of articles concerning the events at VMI climaxing with the publication and fallout from the now infamous Barnes & Thornburg report commissioned by the administration of Governor Ralph Northam. The articles you published have done a great service to VMI and its alumni by, among other things, pushing back against the findings of that report and the libel of VMI in public media, principally in the “news “section of the Washington Post. That libel is that VMI is a systemically racist and sexist institution. …

The attack directed at VMI has no doubt caused injury to many. The reputations of alumni in general have been impugned because of being branded as the product of a systemically racist and sexist institution. The attack certainly raises the question whether young women and minorities in uniform will, rightly or wrongly, fear that VMI officers of higher rank lack respect for them and, perhaps equally unfortunate, transmit that fear into lack of respect for the superior
officer. There is also rightful fear that in this current political environment that VMI’s sullied reputation could harm their opportunities for advancement, particularly for young officers? If this false narrative diminishes the ranks of women and minorities who seek admission to VMI, it will be unfortunate for VMI and for those who are deterred from applying due to this distorted

Some may say that the foregoing is merely speculative. There has, however, been one injury that is beyond dispute to VMI alumni — the reputational damage to former superintendent General J. H. Binford Peay III, VMI class of 1962, following his resignation after receiving public rebuke from Governor Northam through a “lost confidence” communication. Continue reading

A Theme for Youngkin: Lend Us Your Vote

Boris Johnson.

by Donald Smith

To all those who will vote in November, especially those who are thinking of voting Republican for the first time.

You may only lend us your vote. You may not see yourself as a natural Republican.

Your hand may quiver over the ballot, as you debate whether to put your mark in the Republican box—quite likely, for the very first time in your life.

And you may be determined to return to the Democrat Party next time around. If that is the case, I am humbled that, this November, you put your trust in me, that you have put your trust in us. I and we will never take your support for granted.

We will be grateful that you recognized that, sometimes, you have to base your vote on matters much bigger than normal partisan politics.

Glenn Youngkin should give that speech. Or put it in an ad. Because there’s an audience for it in Virginia right now. Many Democrats and moderates are troubled by progressive antics in Washington and Richmond. Those folks will listen to a pitch like this.

If the pitch sounds familiar, it is revised version of Boris Johnson’s victory speech on December 2019 after the last British general election. Continue reading

McAuliffe’s COVID Lies Are an Ominous SIgn

by Kerry Dougherty

Politicians lie. We all know that.

But Terry McAuliffe is a special kind of liar. Not only does he prevaricate about Glenn Youngkin’s policy positions, but he deliberately spreads falsehoods about the severity of Covid-19 in Virginia.

Don’t take my word for it. The Washington Post just gave him FOUR Pinocchios for his continuing gross exaggerations about Covid.

In a piece headlined, “Terry McAuliffe Keeps Inflating Coronavirus Numbers,” the Post’s Glenn Kessler expressed astonishment that the Democrat keeps repeating wildly exaggerated numbers even after he’s been called out for it and his staff admits his numbers are way off.

We first became interested in this issue when McAuliffe in the second and final debate on Sept. 28 said that there were 8,000 coronavirus cases “yesterday in Virginia.” He then repeated the statement the next day and a week later, on Oct. 7.

But when we checked the records, you had to go back to January to find a single day when a combination of confirmed and probable cases in Virginia got close to 8,000. On Sept. 27, there were fewer than 2,000 confirmed cases…

Continue reading

Sidney, We’ll Miss You

Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by James A. Bacon

Sidney Gunst, who died last week, was best known as the pioneering developer of the Innsbrook office park in Henrico County — the biggest employment center in the Richmond metropolitan area outside of downtown Richmond. The Richmond Times Dispatch’s Greg Gilligan did a fine job on short notice of capturing Sidney’s inimitable spirit in an article published yesterday. But to those of us who knew and loved him — and we are many — there is so much more to say. God broke the mold when he made Sidney. Everybody has a story to tell about him. I’ll tell just a few of mine.

The thing I loved most about Sidney, aside from his irrepressible sense of humor, is that he was a man of great enthusiasms. He joked about still being ADHD at the age of 70, and there was probably some truth to his self-diagnosis. He was endlessly curious, and he had an incredibly wide range of interests. But he didn’t dabble. When he got involved in a project, he threw himself into it wholeheartedly.

On this blog, I have written about Sidney’s crusade to redevelop the Innsbrook office park for the 21st century. Innsbrook was designed for the autocentric age of the 1980s and 1990s, but the world had changed. Energy was flowing back into the central cities, and he knew that Innsbrook had to change with the times. He spearheaded the effort, which is finally beginning to show results, of converting the vast tract of scattered office buildings and parking lots into a vibrant, around-the-clock, mixed-use community.

But business was only one of his interests. Continue reading

Another Let-Em-Out-of-Prison Campaign by the Press

by Kerry Dougherty

In a news story dripping with undisguised advocacy, the Virginian-Pilot last weekend published a piece practically begging for the early release from prison of a man serving 80 years for a string of armed robberies in 1997.

“His debt is paid, Portsmouth Man Fights For Pardon Of 80-Year-Sentence,” screamed the headline.

Virginia abolished parole in 1995 and only felons sentenced before that date or are old enough to qualify as geriatrics are sprung early. The Virginia Parole Board’s outrageous release of at least eight killers and other violent felons last year turned into a political scandal as the self-described bleeding hearts on that board acted with unbridled arrogance, wantonly breaking rules to get criminals out of prison.

That out-of-control Parole Board consisted of a mixture of members appointed by Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam.

Felons sentenced after the abolition of parole have two ways out of prison: escape or petition the governor to grant a pardon.

Northam has turned into a one-man parole board, freeing 604 prisoners so far — more than the past nine Virginia governors together, according to the newspaper. In other words, Northam casually substitutes his judgment for that of Virginia’s judges and juries, which had their reasons for handing down lengthy sentences.

Lucky us. Continue reading

Leftist Media Does Battlefield Prep for White Supremacist Trial

by James A. Bacon

Left-wing media from the New York Times to National Public Radio are as excited as can be about a civil trial starting today in Charlottesville that targets organizers of the infamous Unite the Right rally in 2017. As the Times puts it, lawyers for the nine plaintiffs “are hoping that their quest for unspecified financial damages will both punish the organizers and deter others.”

I have zero sympathy for the white supremacists who organized the event, staged an intimidating torch-light march through the University of Virginia, peddled racism and anti-Semitism the next day, clashed with counter-protesters, and in case of James Alex Fields, Jr., drove a car into a crowd, killing a peaceful demonstrator, Heather Heyer. I would love to see white supremacists put out of business. If the civil lawsuit manages to do that, then I’m all on board.

What concerns me is the media-created mythology exempting the Left from any responsibility for political violence in America today while indicting broader American society for the actions of white supremacists.

The New York Times opines that the case will “underscore some of the most divisive fault lines segmenting the Untied States.” Continue reading

Out-of-State Surrogates Are Coming!

by Kerry Dougherty

Here it is. Another sign of Democratic desperation.

I’m talking about this parade of out-of-state lefties coming to Virginia to demand we vote for Terry McAuliffe.

While Glenn Youngkin goes from overflow crowd to overflow crowd with a positive message for the future of Virginia: no grocery tax, more money for education, no CRT in schools, no return of parole, an increasingly frenzied McAuliffe screams two words over and over: “Trump” and “abortion.”

It’s ghoulish. And it’s as if he’s written off independents and centrists. McAuliffe is appealing to his base.

For instance, former President Barack Obama was in Virginia this weekend and in his peculiar sneering way lectured us about a “phony” culture war:

“We don’t have time to be wasted on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage the right-wing media peddles to juice their ratings.”

Phony? Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From the Bull Elephant.

Bacon Bits: More Woke Wars

The culture wars are never ending. My previous Bacon Bits post only scratched the surface. Here’s more….

Crackdown on parents was orchestrated. Remember how the National School Boards Association wrote that letter accusing parents of terrorizing school board members across the country, leading to Attorney General Merrick Garland ordering the FBI to collaborate with local law enforcement to deal with the threat? Well, that NSBA letter didn’t come out of the blue. Emails obtained by Parents Defending Education through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that NSBA President Viola Garcia and CEO Chip Slaven conspired with the White House before sending out the letter, reports The Federalist. In one email Slaven explained that there were “talks over the last several weeks with White House staff” who “requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring.” Of course, as we all know now, one of those threatening “incidents” involved Loudoun County plumber Scott Smith, whose daughter had been raped in a Loudoun school. After the school board refused to let him speak about the incident, he got highly emotional, was escorted off the premises, refused to leave, and was arrested. To cap it off, Loudoun’s woke prosecutor charged him with a misdemeanor.

Free speech for some, not for others. Suppressing conservative free speech is increasingly routine. Most recently, Republican students at Washington & Lee University were banned from displaying campaign material at their booth in an annual activities fair. The material supported Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, reports The Daily Mail. The director of student activities told them that their display violated university policy regarding the endorsement of p0litical candidates. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), however, that policy applies to universities as institutions, not to students. W&L’s stance is beyond ludicrous. The Dudley administration openly supports “social justice” movements on campus, but it’s telling students they can’t pass out pamphlets, pins, and bumper stickers promoting a governor? No wonder W&L alumni are in revolt. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Woke World Update

Sounding more like the Taliban every day! The rhetoric regarding Civil War statues may be undergoing a significant shift: from tear ’em down to melt ’em down. It’s not enough to remove the statues from the public square. Now they must be destroyed. The latest straw in the wind: The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center has submitted a proposal to Charlottesville City Council to melt down the Lee Statue that was removed earlier this year and use the bronze to create a new work of public art. The Swords into Plowshares project has received almost 30 letters of support from organizations and individuals, reports the Daily Progress. The saving grace of the tear-down-the-statues movement has been that the statues have been preserved with an idea that they might be placed in a museum or cemetery. Swords into Plowshares reopens the debate. The statues must be extirpated. One thing never changes. The Left is never satisfied. The Left always pushes for more.

It didn’t take long for that to get racialized! The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted 9 to 1 this week to allow unions to engage in collective bargaining with the county. Chairman Jeff McKay said collective bargaining will lead to better employee retention and service to the community. Yeah, right. When have public-service unions ever led to improved service to the public? Wokeness is not an ideology attuned to pleasing middle-class taxpayers. Indeed, trouble may be brewing before the ink dries on the resolution. SEIUrepresents about 2,000 Fairfax County employees. But some say it is too White. What? Fairfax Now quotes David Lyson, executive director of the Fairfax Workers Coalition, as saying, “The bargaining units are tilted toward wealthier white employees.” Uh, oh. Continue reading

Hey, Show Some Respect!

by Walter Smith

There is a new conservative meme loose in the land. It is profane and disrespectful, and it does nothing to elevate the civic discourse. But it gets the point across. It seems that crowds in football stadiums around the country have taken to chanting, “F— Joe Biden!” Hilariously, one sports commentator mistook the vulgarity as, “Let’s go Brandon!” Now the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” has taken on a life of its own.

At a recent football game at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium, students broke out in just such a chant, and, apparently, the Tech administration did not approve. According to WJHL News, following displays of “selfish, inappropriate and embarrassing student behavior” that “falls short of Virginia Tech standards,” the administration restricted student attendance to season ticket holders and student lottery winners. As examples of objectionable behavior, the university mentioned students entering the game illegally or violating line protocols. The communique did not mention the profane mantra, but the Media Research Center blog, reading between the lines, viewed the crackdown as a rebuke of the anti-Biden chants.

I don’t know the truth of the matter, but based upon memories of my own sordid behavior as a University of Virginia undergraduate, I offer some advice to the Tech students. Continue reading

Public School Meltdown: Teacher Burnout Edition

In video message, Jason Kamras tells Richmond Public Schools community that teachers are burning out.

by James A. Bacon

A student at a Petersburg public school took a knife to school Tuesday and used it to cut a classmate from his earlobe to his face, reports the Associated Press.

The perp and the victim were six years old.

While that particular horror was unique to Petersburg, fights and violence are on the upswing in many Virginia public schools this school year, especially in schools where the student bodies are dominated by African Americans. Most incidents never make it into the news. But disorder in the schools has become so widespread that it is causing teacher burnout. Most teachers signed up for idealistic reasons, not to disarm knife-wielding six-year-olds.

What we’re seeing is the manifestation of social breakdown caused by the confluence of three megatrends. One is the impact of closing schools last year due to COVID-19 and attempting, largely unsuccessfully, to teach poor minority kids through distance learning at home where many were left inadequately unsupervised. A second is the social upheaval triggered by the George Floyd killing and the spread of the conviction that America’s institutions, including schools, are systemically racist and that White teachers are ill equipped to deal with Black-White cultural differences. A third is the watering down of school disciplinary policies, in which school districts have adopted a therapeutic approach to dealing with misbehavior. The bar has been raised so high for punishing students that more disruption and disorder is tolerated than ever before. Continue reading