Another "Solar Fail" – Abound Solar

SUA Staff – Another ‘green project’ is laying off workers. No, not Solyndra, this time its Colorado based Abound Solar. $400 million in guaranteed loans to another boondoggle. The company is offering many excuses, but like Solyndra, it appears its original technology is not cutting it. They claim they need to “perfect the process”. Is that code for, ‘it just is not working’?

ABOUND SOLAR: Colorado’s Solyndra, Obama’s Latest Green Energy Headache

by ColoradoPeakPolitics

The Daily Camera is reporting that Abound Solar is laying off 70% of its workforce, or 280 jobs, in Colorado after receiving a $400 million taxpayer-backed loan from Barack Obama’s Energy Department. News of the layoffs was first reported by the Longmont Times-Call.

From the Daily Camera:

Abound Solar on Tuesday cut 280 jobs — 70 percent of the workers — at the company’s production facility along the Interstate 25 Frontage Road near Firestone.The company notified the workers, which had been running three shifts around the clock, on Tuesday, according to chief financial officer Steve Abely. The cuts affected 180 full-time workers and 100 temporary workers Abound had hired.

Just 18 months ago Obama promised that the loan would help create “1,500 permanent jobs” between Abound’s two plants in Colorado and Indiana. Obama’s “permanent jobs” is beginning to seem a lot like his “shovel-ready jobs,” as in a complete farce.

See video of Obama promising “1,500 permanent jobs” on July 2, 2010 here:

Complete Colorado’s Todd Shepherd and the Independence Institute’s Amy Oliver have been covering the flawed fantasy and crony capitalism of green energy economics in Colorado for some time now, and Abound’s collapse gives great credence to their work.

See Todd Shepherd’s editorial in 2011 calling for public access to Abound’s $400 million loan here.

Why was Abound able to get such a sweet, taxpayer-backed loan? Two words: Pat Stryker. Todd Shepherd outlines the crony capitalist connections between billionaire Democrat activist heiress Pat Stryker, former Democrat Congresswoman Betsy Markey and the Obama administration’s loan programhere.

With Abound’s failure, it is high time the left stop foisting their fantasy economics on American taxpayers. Much like another green substance favored by Boulder voters, when green energy’s feet is put to the economic fire it goes up in smoke.

Everybody loves the idea of the wind and sun powering their homes and fueling their cars. The problem is, the technology and economics just aren’t there right now. You can’t force that to work, no matter how much good government money you toss after the bad. That’s how the market works, whether the left accepts reality or not.

Fortunately for Coloradans, some leaders in this state had the good sense to realize that.

As Amy Oliver reports:

In 2011 Weld County extended $98,445 in personal property tax incentives to the solar module manufacturer, but when it came up for renewal in December for the 2012 budget, commissioners decided to save the taxpayers that money instead. Commissioner Sean Conway explained he wasn’t convinced that Abound actually was creating jobs for county residents, which was the intended purpose of tax incentives.

With Governor Hickenlooper running ads in support of fracking on behalf of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and now Abound’s failure, it is sure a tough week to be a greenie.

Maybe the government should take some of that wasted Energy Department loan money and put it towards college courses in economics for its loan staff.

Because the Obama administration is failing loan approval in a spectacular fashion.

Somebody take away their checkbook.


"A-load-of-you-know-what" – Class, and dignity?

Editor’s Note – Perhaps one of the more egregious ways to demean the Oval Office is to talk like a street thug while wars loom on the horizon, the economy and personal worth are at a nadir, jobs are non-existent, world finances are at the brink of collapse, and our troops in Afghanistan are being killed by those pesky Taliban and a thankless Hamid Karzai doesn’t apolgize, Obama does.

Class is the hallmark of the Oval Office, yet we have a Chicago thug, a community organizer demeaning our processes while apologizing overseas. That is not class, and dignity is not a needed asset apparently. Decorum is gone and ‘street cred’ is in! Are you proud?

Obama speaks to the UAW - Chicago politics

President Obama Suggests Romney Shoveling ‘A Load of You-Know-What’

Yahoo News

By Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce

As Michigan Republicans headed to the polls Tuesday morning,President Obama delivered an aggressive defense of the bailout of the auto industry and his presidency in general, harshly criticizingGOP frontrunner Mitt Romney – though he never mentioned him by name.

“I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” the president said to a raucous crowd at the United Auto Workers Convention. “The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.'”

In a November 2008 New York Times op-ed titled ” Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Romney wrote, “If General Motors, Ford andChrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.”

In a boisterous, excited tone, President Obama continued, criticizing Republicans who said “the workers made out like bandits in all of this; that saving the American auto industry was just about paying back unions. Really? I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you-know-what.”

Campaigning in Grand Rapids, Mich., earlier this month, Romney said the bailout was ” crony capitalism ,” arguing that President Obama had “gotten hundreds of millions of dollars from labor bosses for his campaign. And so he’s paying them back in every way he knows how. One way of course was giving General Motors and Chrysler to the UAW.”

As part of the GM bailout’s complex arrangements, a UAW-owned trust was given a 17.5 percent ownership stake the car company (now roughly 10% as stock has been sold) in exchange for various concessions including the union taking responsibility for health care costs of retirees. The president today argued that with reduced hours and pay, some worker rights relinquished, and roughly 700,000 auto worker retirees seeing a reduction in health care benefits, workers indeed gave things up in the bailout.

The visit was an “official” presidential event, not campaign-related, but the odd dynamic when the president took the stage to chants of “Four More Years!” after which a labor official told the crowd, “This is not a political event.”

That seemed a questionable assertion, given how the president continually referenced Romney, defending how his moves to save GM and Chrysler demanded change and accountability. “The other option we had was to do nothing, and allow these companies to fail,” the president said. “In fact, some politicians said we should. Some even said we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt'” – another reference to Romney’s New York Times op-ed.

The crowd booed at that reference.

“You remember that?” the president said to the crowd that clearly did. “You know him?”

“Think about what that choice would have meant for this country,” the president said. “If we had turned our backs on you; if America had thrown in the towel; GM and Chrysler had gone under.”

The president used the event to not only reject Republicans referring to labor unions as a special interest group, he painted his support of the industry as part and parcel of his campaign platform: “”This notion that we should have let the auto industry die; that we should pursue anti-worker policies in hopes unions like yours will buckle and unravel – that’s part of that same old you’re-on-your-own philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves….We can’t afford to go back. Not now….The economy is getting stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And now is the time to keep our foot on the gas.”

Without directly asking the UAW workers to help his re-election campaign he said, “I’ll promise you this: as long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.”

Interpol swoop nets 25 suspected ‘Anonymous’ hackers

PsyhOrg.com

“Operation Unmask was launched in mid-February following a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain,” said Interpol, based in the French city of Lyon.

The statement cited attacks on the websites of the Colombian Ministry of Defence and the presidency, as well as on Chile’s Endesa electricity company and its National Library, among others.

A masked hacker, part of the Anonymous group, is pictured in Lyon, France, in January 2012. Interpol has arrested 25 suspected members of the 'Anonymous' hackers group in a swoop on over a dozen cities in Europe and Latin America, the global police body said Tuesday.

The operation was carried out by police from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, the statement said, with 250 items of computer equipment and mobile phones seized in raids on 40 premises in 15 cities.

Police also seized credit cards and cash from the suspects, aged 17 to 40.

“This operation shows that crime in the virtual world does have real consequences for those involved, and that the Internet cannot be seen as a safe haven for criminal activity,” said Bernd Rossbach, Interpol’s acting director of police services.

However, it was not clear what evidence there was to prove those arrested were part of Anonymous, an extremely loose-knit international movement of online activists, or “hacktivists.”

Spanish police said earlier they had arrested four suspected hackers accused of sabotaging websites and publishing confidential data on the Internet.

They were accused of hacking the websites of political parties and companies and adding fangs to the faces of leaders in photographs online, and publishing data identifying top officials’ security guards, Spanish police said.

The operation, carried out after trawling through computer logs in order to trace IP addresses, also netted 10 suspects in Argentina, six in Chile and five in Colombia, Spanish police said.

They said one of the suspects went by the nicknames Thunder and Pacotron and was suspected of running the computer network used by Anonymous in Spain and Latin America, via servers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

He was arrested in the southern Spanish city of Malaga.

Two of the suspects were in detention while one was bailed and the fourth was a minor who was left in the care of his parents.

In Santiago, deputy prefect Jaime Jara said police confiscated computer equipment belonging to five Chileans and a Colombian, aged between 17 and 23.

Jara said the suspects appeared to have hacked web pages in Chile, Colombia and Spain.

The six suspects did not know each other and were released after voluntarily giving statements, police said, though they will likely be ordered to appear in court to face possible charges relating to online crimes.

Anonymous has in recent weeks targeted the websites of a series of police organisations, with subgroup “Antisec” on Friday vandalising the website of a major US prison contractor.

Anonymous took credit Thursday for an online raid on the Los Angeles Police Canine Association and previously attacked websites of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Anonymous has notably defended WikiLeaks when it was facing a funding cutoff and recently collaborated with the anti-secrecy site for the release of a swathe of emails from Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor.

In December 2010, Anonymous attacked the websites of Mastercard, PayPal, Visa and others for blocking donations to WikiLeaks after it began releasing thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.

High Alert – U.S. on guard against possible Iran plots

Editor’s NoteKamikaze attacks are being planned by Iran against USA forces across the globe and locally in the Gulf should Israel attack according to late reports and breaking news, coupled with the following article, all seems very testy right now. Stay tuned for updates. It seems the ever increasing chatter across the board is making a lot of people nervous. It is at unprecedented levels now, and we at SUA want our readers to be prepared and vigilant.

Report anything out of the ordinary to the proper authorities! Anything!

U.S. on guard against possible Iran plots

By John Miller

CBS News 

The FBI is pulling out all the stops on Iran. A classified nationwide conference will be held Thursday to share the assessment of the intelligence community that an attack by Iranian agents, or even a surrogate group such as Hezbollah, may be more likely in the event of an Israeli air strike on suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.

The secure video teleconference, led by FBI Assistant Director Ralph Boelter, the Bureau’s top counterterrorism official, will be a 90-minute meeting with each of the 56 field offices.

The special agents in-charge of those offices will be polled on what operations they are running covering suspected Iranian agents, Hezbollah investigations and confidential sources that may yield valuable intelligence. They are also being asked to make sure their local police departments are attuned to the threat and focused on suspicious activity around government buildings, Israeli consulates in major cities and prominent Jewish organizations.

James Clapper, the US intelligence chief, who has warned that an Iranian attack on America and its allies is increasingly likely. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The increased concern that is driving this “leave no stone unturned” strategy has emerged from two developments: first, the assessment that Iran has increased surveillance of potential U.S. targets overseas; second, that Iran is suspected of being behind what appears to be a series of coordinated attacks against Israeli targets last week.

In India, the wife of an Israeli military attache was wounded in a car bomb. In Georgia, and Thailand, suspected Iranian agents were taken into custody. One Iranian suspect in Bangkok was severely wounded when the bomb he was carrying detonated prematurely.

In Azerbaijan, police broke up a plot in January that involved a group of Iranian suspects working with a local crime boss to target Israeli locations and victims. Police say the recovered diagrams, drawings, photos and dossiers of the targets along with a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight.

Intelligence analysts agree that the foreign attacks targeting Israelis are almost certainly in retaliation for a series of assassinations of Iranian scientist working for that country’s suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran has accused Israel and the United Sates of being behind the attacks.

The last scientist to be killed was blown up by a car bomb that was stuck to his car by a passing motorcycle. It was the exact same technique that was used in the attack against the Israeli attache’s wife in India last week.

“They are trying to be very clear with the Israelis that two can play this game,” said one U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Iran has denied involvement in any of the attacks against Israeli diplomats, and has suggested that Israel itself is to blame.

Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a letter to Security Council President Kodjo Menan that Israel “has resorted in masterminding camouflaged assassination attempts and acts of terrorism or more specifically the so-called ‘false flag operations,’ and attributing them to others.”

While this has unfolded largely as a proxy war between Israel and Iran, the concern over a potential strike against the U.S. is one that was recently revised. On February 16, Director of National Intelligence General James Clapper said in testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee that a recent plot broken up the FBI targeting the Saudi ambassador for assassination in downtown Washington D.C. restaurant was a game-changer.

Clapper said the plot “shows that some Iranian officials – probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.”

Clapper also said that the economic sanctions and condemnations from the U.N. may be a factor in whether Iran would want to absorb the cost of going forward with an attack on U.S. soil.

While Israel has two intelligence agencies and one national police force, one of the challenges for the United States is coordinating the efforts against a single target across 16 intelligence agencies and 18,000 police departments. Coordination on terrorism issues is run through the National Counter Terrorism Center, (NCTC) a modern X-shaped complex in Northern Virginia where representatives from all agencies are assigned and have access to their databases.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence also has an Iran mission manager whose job it is to coordinate the intelligence community’s efforts on Iran across an array of issues.

“When you have Iranian-backed terrorist groups, but also Iranian intelligence operatives from the elite Quds force, and they are also working with Mexican drug cartels and Thai crime bosses, you have a number of intelligence streams to tap,” said a former intelligence official who asked to remain anonymous because he still consults with government agencies.

Tom Betro, the former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) said that as tensions rise, it is likely that Iranian operations in the proxy war being carried out in diverse countries across the globe will increase.

“That’s the fear. The fear is that would be the the type of attack we’d see increasing in frequency and in seriousness as leading up to a conflict,” he said.

And Betro believes that in the event of an Israeli airstrike on Iran, the odds of an attack against the U.S. for its long support of Israel increases.

“Yes, I could see them striking on U.S. soil. They do have a network of surrogate groups. They have provided material support, assuming that support is already in place. I think they know, psychologically, the impact that an attack on U.S. soil would have on our country and on our leadership.”

Betro, who led NCIS operations in the investigation of al Qaida’s attack on the USS Cole in Yemen and investigations into terrorist plots against naval bases overseas, was part of an intelligence community task force that targeted Iraq’s intelligence services. Betro says Iran, because its intelligence operations are larger and use more outside groups to carry out operations, will be a hard target to collect against.

“Quite frankly we – we don’t have as much intelligence about their networks as we would’ve had against the Iraqis,” Betro said. “I would say that the urgency, because of that type of warfare, that unconventional warfare, which I think everyone would agree is clearly part of Iran’s kind of battle plan … it’s much more important to aggressively disrupt those activities.”

Proof: DHS is monitoring social media, bloggers, and…why?

By Scott W. Winchell

Its official; the Department of Homeland Security did award the HS HODC-10-00080 contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Division as the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) for DHS. What does that mean?

It means that the DHS project – Media Monitoring Capability Mission – is actually underway as we all suspected. What the project should be called is the “Cover our asses, identify our enemies, and spin baby, spin, capability mission.”

Its similar to the system for data collection that the Obama 2012 Campaign is doing on Facebook now:

Barack Obama‘s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before…

For the past nine months a crack team of some of America’s top data wonks has occupied an entire floor of the Prudential building in Chicago devising a digital campaign from the bottom up. The team draws much of its style and inspiration from the corporate sector, with its driving ambition to create a vote-garnering machine that is smooth, unobtrusive and ruthlessly efficient. (Read the rest here.)

MMCM Contract Documents – On December 15, 2010, the contract was awarded. Two links below show documents related to the project:

  1. Raw Story posted the FOIA request fulfillment document here on the actual contract. (Names redacted, 285 pages)
  2. DHS Analysts’s desktop binder that details the project. (40 pages)

What the MMC Mission purports to do:

First – to continually update existing National Situation Summaries (NSS) and International Situation Summaries (ISS) with the most recent, relevant, and actionable open source media information.

Second – to constantly monitor all available open source information with the goal of expeditiously alerting the NOC Watch Team and other key Department personnel of emergent situations.

Third – to receive, process, and distribute media captured by DHS Situational Awareness Teams (DSAT) or other streaming media available to the NOC such as Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Full Motion Video (FMV) and via open sources.

What does it mean to the public?

Ostensibly, reading the actual words printed, it sounds like a great way for DHS to stay abreast of the mountains of information available from open sources that should be known by its staff and management. As public servants, its wise to be more conversant in all aspects of all events to make sure that the proper resources are being allocated, dangers are mitigated, and life-saving efforts can be maximized. Sounds great – our tax dollars going to a good thing; our government being wise and efficient.

Well, enough of that bilge. What it more likely means are one or all of the following scenarios:

  1. Making sure that any DHS spokesperson, whether from FEMA, or any other agency, does not have a James Clapper moment. The Director of National Intelligence was blind-sided by the media about a major story he did not get briefed on, but definitely should have known;
  2. Covering their collective posteriors because the intelligence gathering and analysis performed in recent years has been eclipsed by open-source investigators who are much less constrained in acquiring important information;
  3. Allowing appointees and other politicians a way to spin information to misdirect, change the focus of, or just plain old twist the facts for a given incident;
  4. Protect the reputation and image of the department and its requisite divisions and leaders;
  5. Monitor those of us who monitor them, and identify political adversaries, assign strong negative names and labels to political movements, collect the names of all “subversive” individuals as defined by political forces, and control baby, control…the imagination just carries you away, does it not?

Those summaries above need to be looked at in more detail, the following shows what information is actually being studied and monitored and why:

Leverage Operationally Relevant Data

Leveraging news stories, media reports and postings on social media sites concerning HomelandSecurity, Emergency Management, and National Health for operationally relevant data, information, analysis, and imagery is the first mission component. The traditional and social media teams review a story or posting from every direction and interest, utilizing thousands of reporters, sources, still/video cameramen, analysts, bloggers and ordinary individuals on scene. Traditional Media outlets provide unmatched insight into the depth and breadth of the situation, worsening issues, federal preparations, response activities, and critical timelines. At the sametime, Social Media outlets provide instant feedback and alert capabilities to rapidly changing or newly occurring situations. The MMC works to summarize the extensive information from these resources to provide a well rounded operational picture for the Department of Homeland Security.

Support NOC in Identifying Relevant Operational Media

Supporting the NOC by ensuring they have a timely appreciation for evolving Homeland Security news stories and media reports of interest to the public and DHS/other federal agencies involved in preparations and response activities is the second key component. DHS and other federal agencies conducting joint operations may be affected by other evolving situations in that area. These situations may be related; have a cause and effect relationship; or be unrelated but have a detrimental effect. Through coordination with the NOC Duty Director (NDD), Senior Watch Officer (SWO) the MMC works to ensure the NOC Watch Team is aware of such stories and news events and has time to analyze any effect on operations.

Timely reporting of current information is an integral element in maintaining complete operational awareness by Homeland Security Personnel. The MMC understand it is vital that critical information is relayed to key Department decision makers in as expeditious a manner aspossible.

Increase Situational Awareness of the DHS Secretary

Mitigating the likelihood that the Secretary and DHS Executive staffs are unaware of a breaking Homeland Security news story or media report is the third component. The Secretary and executive staff members are subject to press questions regarding domestic and international events and may or may not be informed of the most current media coverage. The MMC understands critical information requirements and monitors news coverage with the perspective of how the breaking story may be related to current and other important ongoing situations and DHS activities. The on-duty MMC analyst alerts DHS personnel and related federal agencies of updated news stories through distributed Items of Interest (see section 3.9.6). Recognizing that local media coverage is potentially sensationalizing an incident, the MMC strives to comprehend the media’s message and identify sensitive situations that must be brought to the attention of the Secretary.

Facebook

It is clear to many Facebook aficionados that the DHS work has been more than just gleaning information.

There are reliable reports where:

  • If you type certain words on your wall, it will automatically “friend” you on the DHS page, without permission, and you cannot “un-friend” yourself;
  • If you type anything that has the word DHS or a few other key words, your post will show up on the DHS FB page;
  • Politicians are using it as well, ask the Romney people. If you post “I love Mitt Romney” on your wall, that post will appear on Romney’s FB page;
  • Then there are other weird anomalies, and many FB folks are “pruning” their friends lists for these very reasons, no privacy!

Wake up America, DHS and others may be watching you and gleaning information from you, and as we have seen repeatedly with the current administration, it will or could be used against you. Remember, the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has reset a lot of the rules on detention for American citizens. The pieces and parts for total control are coming into place.

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Denise Simon contributed to this article. She is the Director of Research at SUA.