Dick Cheney Has Good Reason To Fear CIA Investigations

Any truly independent and unfettered investigation will reveal significant wrongdoing and criminal activity and the trail leads right to the Office of VP during the Bush years.

Dick Cheney is a war criminal. That has worked ok for Henry Kissinger to date, but not so well for General Pinochet. I guess we can take up a collection to give Dick a vacation to The Hague and a tour of the World Court if he wants to review the issues with folks there.

I am betting he is afraid to set foot in Europe and will spend the rest of his life hiding from prosecution in the US.

It is encouraging to see Aborn call the shots so bluntly and correctly. I don’t know if that means he is a serious candidate or an opportunist, but it does not hurt to start with the truth: Dick Cheney is a war criminal.

clipped from www.nydailynews.com

DA hopeful Richard Aborn portrays former vice-prez Dick Cheney as a criminal in campaign mailer

Manhattan district attorney candidate Richard Aborn goes for Dick Cheney's jugular in his new campaign mailer

Manhattan district attorney candidate Richard Aborn portrays former Vice President Cheney as a “criminal” in a provocative new campaign mailer hitting Democrats’ mailboxes.

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The Solar Energy Market Has Always Been Unpredictable

and it’s not because you can’t count on sunshine every day, it’s because countries have not been able to have consistent policies about solar power development. I guess that’s the bad news.

The good news is that solar power is really the primary source for future energy needs. An immense amount of solar energy falls on this planet, free of charge, every day. A distributed energy grid with small solar essentially everywhere has the potential to be the mainstay of electrical generation.

When we wake up to this fact and commit to dependable incentives for development of this distributed solar electric generating system, we start down the right road.

Any day now would be fine.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

More Sun for Less: Solar Panels Drop in Price
When Greg Hare looked into putting solar panels on his ranch-style home in Magnolia, Tex., last year, he decided he could not afford it. “I had no idea solar was so expensive,” he recalled.
But the cost of solar panels has plunged lately, changing the economics for many homeowners. Mr. Hare ended up paying $77,000 for a large solar setup that he figures might have cost him $100,000 a year ago.
The price drops — coupled with recently expanded federal incentives — could shrink the time it takes solar panels to pay for themselves to 16 years, from 22 years, in places with high electricity costs, according to Glenn Harris, chief executive of SunCentric, a solar consulting group. That calculation does not include state rebates, which can sometimes improve the economics considerably.

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Can you say Shadow Government?

So former members of the CIA (if there are such things) are in top management of Blackwater and Blackwater get contract for assassinations, but they never actually did anything. I guess that’s the official story.

I will wait to see if we get more facts about the assassination business. I suspect that if/when we know the truth, we will see a resurrected version of the Nixon enemies list, but the targets won’t be scheduled for tax audits.

David Kay? Paul Wellstone?

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

CIA Hired Firm for Assassin Program

Blackwater Missions Against Al-Qaeda Never Began, Ex-Officials Say

A secret CIA program to kill top al-Qaeda leaders with assassination teams was outsourced in 2004 to Blackwater USA, the private security contractor whose operations in Iraq prompted intense scrutiny, according to two former intelligence officials familiar with the events.

The North Carolina-based company was given operational responsibility for targeting terrorist commanders and was awarded millions of dollars for training and weaponry, but the program was canceled before any missions were conducted, the two officials said.

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Well, Maybe Long Past Time to End the War on Drugs

Talk about failed policies. Is there a more text book failure than the US policy on drugs? Expensive and useless incarceration of thousands and thousands of drug users, did this ever make sense?

But, let’s get real. The Obama “liberals” can’t even hold on to a public option for health reform, what are the chances they are going to be able to push through a sensible and radical change like decriminalization of drugs?

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

It’s Time to Legalize Drugs

Undercover Baltimore police officer Dante Arthur was doing what he does well, arresting drug dealers, when he approached a group in January. What he didn’t know was that one of suspects knew from a previous arrest that Arthur was police. Arthur was shot twice in the face. In the gunfight that ensued, Arthur’s partner returned fire and shot one of the suspects, three of whom were later arrested.

Legalization would not create a drug free-for-all. In fact, regulation reins in the mess we already have. If prohibition decreased drug use and drug arrests acted as a deterrent, America would not lead the world in illegal drug use and incarceration for drug crimes.

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What is Arbitrage? Who Benefits from Arbitrage?

clipped from en.wikipedia.org

Arbitrage is possible when one of three conditions is met:

  • The same asset does not trade at the same price on all markets (“the law of one price“).
  • Two assets with identical cash flows do not trade at the same price.
  • An asset with a known price in the future does not today trade at its future price discounted at the risk-free interest rate (or, the asset does not have negligible costs of storage; as such, for example, this condition holds for grain but not for securities).
  • Arbitrage is not simply the act of buying a product in one market and selling it in another for a higher price at some later time. The transactions must occur simultaneously to avoid exposure to market risk, or the risk that prices may change on one market before both transactions are complete. In practical terms, this is generally only possible with securities and financial products which can be traded electronically.

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    Valuable Commodities

    So, it’s clear when you study the facts that Andrew Hall should be paid the $98 million bucks that his contract calls for. It’s certainly awkward for the Obama folks and Citigroup that they need to pay this guy $98 million as the taxpayers pour bucks into Citigroup, so what is the solution?

    Picture from NY TimesIt really isn’t that hard to figure out that the real problem here is the reagonomic tax structure with greatly reduced top tax rates that encourage an explosion of financial trading, hedging, financial instrument packaging and marketing that can be highly profitable. The problem at the end of the day is that it is very hard to identify a meaningful product from this “industry.” It is the ultimate bubble industry, creating market gyrations that allow savvy traders to hedge and corner commodities or their futures (all on electronic media, I bet Mr. Hall hasn’t had crude oil on his hands in his “work” in the energy sector) that at the end of the day creates impressive profits, but no tangible product that you can trade or use on Main Street.

    The simple solution for this financial house of cards is to reinstate a steeply progressive tax rate such as this country had from the Eisenhower to Nixon era. The country did comparatively well in that era with the tax rates that have now been flattened.

    It’s time to raise the tax rates. Mr. Hall should get his $98 million and the federal tax coffers should get about $70 million of it paid in federal taxes. That sounds harsh until you reflect on how difficult it would be to try to live on $28 million per year instead of $98 million. It would require some belt tightening, but I think it could be done.

    clipped from topics.nytimes.com
    Andrew J. Hall is the head of Phibro, a small commodities trading firm owned by Citigroup. In August 2009, his $100 million contract made headlines, as the Treasury Department pondered the question of compensation for the top earners at banks still dependent on federal funds and Citigroup worried about a possible backlash.
    Citigroup is in an awkward spot, and it is hard to say which is worse: the inevitable public outcry if Mr. Hall is paid $100 million, or the risk that he might take his talents to a firm in which the public has no stake.
    The added wrinkle is that Mr. Hall works in a corner of the trading world that appears headed for its own infamy. Regulators are pushing to curb the role of traders like Mr. Hall, whose speculation in the energy markets may have played a major role in the recent gyrations of oil prices.

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    Energy Trader Earns $100 Million For Citigroup

    So, Citigroup, 34% of which is now owned by the tax payers is set to pay an energy trader, Andrew Hall, $98 million for his energy trading, hedging and arbitrage.

    I guess that’s ok since he made the company a much bigger chunk of money with his trading, but it is a political problem for the Obama administration and for Citigroup.

    Two things jump out at me from this story. The first is that this guy who is apparently head of the class for Citigroup earns money in trading, hedging, and arbitrage. It’s real money that he is making by speculating and spotting profit opportunities on the energy market, but what does Andrew actually create, what does he produce through his work, besides profits?

    So much of the US economy these days is in the financial sector, manipulating and handling money, creating profit from trading, but what is the product? This “industry” has given us “innovative products” like credit default options and tronches of toxic assets. Talk about your widgets, these are the ultimate widgets, a trading nomer with no there there.

    clipped from www.nytimes.com

    WASHINGTON — Senior Obama administration officials were wrestling on Friday with how to handle an explosive executive pay issue involving two traders’ compensation package of nearly $130 million that Citigroup says is exempt from government review.

    On Friday, Citigroup, which is facing a government deadline, submitted the pay packages for its 25 senior executives and highest-paid employees. People involved in that process said Citi advised the Treasury that an energy trader named Andrew J. Hall, due $98 million, was exempt from federal review, and so was a second unidentified trader who received more than $30 million.

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