Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rot in hell, Ken Lay

Ken Lay, despite his whimpering, is guilty as sin, and should have been dragged out of that courtroom in chains, babbling like a baby; I am positive that his thousands of ex-employees would gladly have stoned him on his way out the back door, and gleefully helped throw him into a Black Mariah, then volunteered to push it all the way to the Federal Correctional Complex in Beaumont, Texas, or better yet, a SuperMax anywhere.

Unfortunately, his sharkskin-suited superlawyers will argue that he be allowed to play golf at a resort like Beaumont, but odds are that he won't be that lucky, because the tennis courts have been closed.

But the best of all possible worlds would be for him to have Cheney or Bush as his bunkie.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What will they think of next? Buck Rogers lasers in Iraq

Information Clearing House is running this video interview from Italian RAI-TV investigating the use of Buck Rogers-like ray guns in Iraq, and Donald Rumsfeld more or less confirms it.

According to official Pentagon sources, military vehicles equipped with this laser device have been used in Afghanistan to explode mines. According to two reliable military information sites – Defense Tech and Defence Industry Daily - at least three such vehicles are being used in Iraq as well and some people report having seen them.

Not to mention, they're zapping people, too.

Go here for the vid: Windows Media Player, about 24 min long.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Real world results of the Energy Task Force

One thing that I have learned from managing to stay alive these fifty-eight years, despite some serious attempts on my life, is that when a bunch of guys have a meeting behind locked doors in a government office, you can be pretty sure that they aren't in there swapping margarita recipes.

Recall the Energy Task Force that Cheney assembled immediately after the Bush junta took office? Well, we were't allowed to see the agenda - so much for transparency in an alleged democracy - or any other paperwork it might have generated, but we sure can see the results in the real world.

From Tom comes this capsule summary:

The ever-helpful staff of Rep. Henry Waxman, D.-Calif., have prepared a review of what we've gained:

  • Energy prices have risen rapidly. Over the last five years, crude oil prices have increased by 143%; gasoline prices have increased by 71%; natural gas prices have increased by 46%; and prices for other fuels have increased at a rate significantly higher than the inflation rate.
  • American families are spending record amounts for energy. Five years ago, the average American family spent $3,300 on gasoline, home heating, and electricity. This year, the average American family will spend over $5,100 on gasoline, home heating, and electricity. This is an increase of nearly $2,000 per family. The indirect costs of higher energy prices in the form of higher prices for consumer goods and services are likely to cost families another $1,400 per year.
  • The nation's dependence on foreign oil has increased. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Texas Governor George Bush criticized the Clinton Administration for allowing U.S. imports on foreign oil to reach 56% of U.S. oil consumption. Five years after President Bush announced his energy plan, U.S. imports of foreign oil have risen to 65% of U.S. consumption.
  • While the last five years have seen sharp increases in energy prices and increased U.S. dependence on foreign oil, there is one group that has benefited considerably: the energy industry. Oil companies reported record profits of over $100 billion in 2005.

Read the full Democratic minority report here.

In-Q-Tel, CIA's Wall Street arm in trouble

You'd think that transporting cocaine and heroin via its false-flag airline Air America would leave them pretty much rolling around like Scrooge McDuck in piles of unreported cash income, but apparently that's not enough of a cash cow for the CIA. It seems that they are also a player on Wall Street.

The unltra-patriotic New York Post is reporting trouble for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital fund...

Launched in 1999 by CIA director George Tenet as a Wall Street venture fund to finance new technologies for the spy world, In-Q-Tel quickly found friends on Capitol Hill, where policymakers seized on the fund as a way to remind constituents that the ghost of Vietnam no longer walked the land. The attacks of 9/11 gave In-Q-Tel even more stature in Congress, where the fund came to be seen as an essential element in the war effort.


A year ago, this column drew back the curtain on a fishy In-Q-Tel investment, fianced out of the black box budget of the CIA, in a defense-sector start-up called Ionatron Inc.

Run by a longtime Wall Street regulatory violator named Robert Howard, Ionatron used a cash infusion from In-Q-Tel to promote itself around Washington as the developer of a laser-equipped, remotely controlled device the size of a golf cart that could patrol the highways of Iraq, ferreting out and detonating insurgent land mines ahead of troop movements.

We warned in this space that the technology being trumpeted by Ionatron was not only unproven, but had been obtained by Howard and some midlevel researchers at Raytheon Corp.under highly irregular circumstances designed to persuade a West Coast laser researcher into turning over his research to Howard's group.

Nonetheless, Sen. Hillary Clinton and her Democratic colleague from California, Barbara Boxer, quickly embraced the Ionatron program, which eventually devoured more than $12 million in government funding before the Pentagon finally concluded last week that the devices are not reliable and cancelled plans to deploy them.

Ionatron's stock price has tumbled more than a third in the last three weeks, leaving the company's largest investor - prominent hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, run by Steven A. Cohen of Connecticut - sitting with millions in paper losses.

It gets more interesting. Read for yourself.