Sunday, November 30, 2008

Be thankful, turkeys

Scott Horton of Harper's, a fine reporter and writer, cannot help skipping down the road to the tune of 'the Reign of Witches is over'.

But it is not so, I fear. The planned continuation of the GWOT, run by Gates and Petraeus with a carte blanche from the White House and Congress, will still require a militarized Homeland along with most of the constitutional outrages that were perpetrated by Bush. The most oprobrious, the military kangaroo court system, Gitmo, and a few others might be curtailed temporarily, but the mechanisms are not going anywhere.

As with the economic dream team that Obama put together, the intelligence/military/homeland security team is a direct continuation of Clinton/Bush policies. Good cop, bad cop, good cop.

Change you can believe in is no change at all, turkeys.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wise up

I'm a big fan of Marcy Wheeler (aka emptywheel), but it seems to me she is missing the point when she asks why someone in the Senate is now blocking an appointment to oversee the distribution of TARP money, and asks whom that might be.

Why did Congress give away the money without oversight in the first place? Why let one (as yet unknown) Senator block oversight to a program, and let the others pretend they are flabbergasted?

It's a fucking game, Marcy, don't get taken in.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Gates of Hell

Ray McGovern looks over the record of SecDef Robert Gates and finds that he is not the right man for the job in the Obama administration. Highly recommended.

Blog Simple agrees. As we stated before, the first crucial test of the Obama administration will be taking control of the military and the intelligence apparatus (that is more and more part of the military). Gates has worked hand in glove with Petraeus to build the myth of the surge, a tactic that was primarily aimed at getting a Republican elected in 2008. He failed, probably because Iraq was booted off out of the national attention by the economic crisis, and the ineptitude of the candidate.

But he showed quite clearly that he was on board with guiding the military for domestic political concerns. He may be enough of a yes-man to do the same for Obama, but that is certainly not what the military, or the country, need.

An interesting fact in McGovern's article, that I was unaware of, is that Rumsfeld was actually going off the reservation in terms of the surge, and that was probably the reason for his removal, not his manifest incompetence. Incompetence never disqualified anyone in the Bush administration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Funny, and true

"Where will it all end?", asks Andy Borowitz.
In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.
But at least someone in prepared to stand up for America:

The president-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

(h/t Blah3)


It has become clear that the Afghan war is now the Pakistan/Afghan war.

The US is now blowing up houses in Pakistan proper as well as the border regions. Supposedly, this last attack killed a top al-Qaida honcho, hence it dovetails nicely with Obama's campaign promises to pursue al-Qaida into Pakistan, whatever the Pakistanis might think.

One might think it better to allow the incoming administration to make decisions that might further destabilize Pakistan, rather than present them with a fait accompli, but it seems Gen. Petraeus has taken Obama at his word.

However, that is not the only escalation going on. Syed Saleem Shahzad of the Asia Times reports on attacks on NATO convoys in Pakistan:
The attacks have been so incessant that Asia Times Online has learned that 530 containers loaded with armored personnel vehicles, military trucks, Humvees, arms and ammunition have not yet been delivered. They were sent four months ago from Jabal-i-Ali in the United Arab Emirates to Karachi. Clearly, if this continues, NATO's war effort will be severely compromised.
Convoys are now being escorted by Pakistani troops which is both expensive and reduces troops for other activities. And NATO wants final say on all action:
NATO will therefore lead all actions, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan. This is not too popular in Pakistan. Last week, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, visited Islamabad to brief parliamentarians, but several of them, including those of the dominant Pakistan People's Party and Federal Minister Raza Rabbani, refused to attend.

They called the meeting a serious breach of Pakistan's sovereignty as no military official of another country is supposed to approach parliamentarians without the Foreign Office's mediation.
Pakistan is very weak at the moment, and will not be able to resist NATO pressure, if only for financial reasons. However, emotions sometimes trump self-interest. NATO and the US continue to play with fire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The WaPo reports that the Bush administration is busy transferring political appointees to civil service roles. So far, the main action seems to be in the Interior Department, HUD, and Labor.

It will be more difficult to get rid these crooks as civil servants, and undoubtedly they will continue to damage the country, and try to enrich themselves and their friends, which is what they've been doing as political appointees. The article also informs us that Clinton used the same technique, which doesn't surprise us at all.

The real danger to the Obama administration will not be these clowns, avarice and incompetence in the federal bureaucracy is nothing new, but rather in the people that Cheney has planted throughout in 'intelligence' apparatus, and the military. These people were put there precisely because they will continue to obey orders from their gangster masters, and undermine those coming down the chain of command.

So, the first and most important task of the new administration will be to insure its ability to command. A big first test will be the Greatest General EVAR Petraeus. He was given the mantle to set policy by Bush, and as the head of CENTCOM has completely displaced the barely sentient Condi from policy and diplomacy throughout Asia.

I'm not sure that Petraeus is a Cheneyite. The signs of overriding personal ambition make it hard to believe that he is anyone's man but his own. Obama can take one of three ways with him:
  1. Let Petraeus continue to run CENTCOM as before. That might lead to some interesting situations if Sen. Clinton takes over at State. Whatever one might think about her, she is no Condi.
  2. Impose policy as the Commander in Chief. Petraeus's reaction may be to quit, and to move directly into presidential politics.
  3. Bump him up to the Joint Chiefs. It's hard to quit after a promotion, even if the higher post really has less power.
A clue to how this will play out is Obama's choice for SecDef. Keeping Gates would seem to make choice 2 difficult. He will definitely need his own guy at SecDef to fight Petraeus.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Insurers are banks, manufacturers are banks, blogs are banks, now even cities are banks!

I have a dream, that one day we can all stand together as on the day of judgment, and we can say out loud and to each other, "Truly, it is as it was written, we are all banks now!". Even the dead will rise, clothed in radiant flesh, and from their lips shall come the same glad cry, "We are all banks now!".

Then the heavens will open, and above the three mighty figures of Paulson, Bernanke, and Bush will open their mouths and out will stream dollars, gold, gems of wondrous hue and shape, and we shall all have real everlasting communion, along with deposits, loans, bonds, CDOs, and financial instruments yet undreamed of, and we shall all be banks, forever more. Hallelujah!

UPDATE: Glory be on high! Our gift cards are protected now, as are our prepaid telephone cards. Truly, bank has its privileges.
(h/t Calculated Risk)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talking Omar Blues

China Matters has a couple of interesting posts on the possibility of negotiating with Mullah Omar. One, two.

An Iranian news agency reported that M. Omar has been removed from the State Dept. terrorist list. Since that has not been confirmed anywhere else, it's not too believable, yet. Certainly the door to negotiating with the Taliban seems to be opening, even the DoD under the watchful gaze of Petraeus seems to be willing to talk to the 'right' Taliban, if one can be found.

The US strategy in Iraq has been to divide and conquer, the dividing part worked out pretty well, while the conquering remains an ongoing and not especially successful project.

Trying to turn the Taliban against each other might thus be the new strategy for Afghanistan. But lacking the very deeply rooted Sunni/Shiite divide in Iraq, the project would have to rely on personal differences between the leaders. With the current level of religious fervor, augmented by the resentment from the constant air strikes, it looks difficult to make fighting other Afghans more palatable than fighting the US and NATO.

The war in Afghanistan serves no one's purpose, apart from arms manufacturers and a few crazed neo-cons. The war, if the US has the money and stomach for it, could last indefinitely, and dreams of pipelines and prosperity will remain carrots dangling forever out of reach. If the war is expanded by Obama, the creation of a failed state in Pakistan could become reality at any time.

If that occurs, current expenditures of men and material would go through the roof, once again with no serious strategic advantage to be gained. It's time to start talking.

The engine of doom

And we all thought it would be a nuclear catastrophe, or some horrible virus, or something unimaginable, but not this:
Later, when I sit down with Eisman, the very first thing he wants to explain is the importance of the mezzanine C.D.O. What you notice first about Eisman is his lips. He holds them pursed, waiting to speak. The second thing you notice is his short, light hair, cropped in a manner that suggests he cut it himself while thinking about something else. “You have to understand this,” he says. “This was the engine of doom.” Then he draws a picture of several towers of debt. The first tower is made of the original subprime loans that had been piled together. At the top of this tower is the AAA tranche, just below it the AA tranche, and so on down to the riskiest, the BBB tranche—the bonds Eisman had shorted. But Wall Street had used these BBB tranches—the worst of the worst—to build yet another tower of bonds: a “particularly egregious” C.D.O. The reason they did this was that the rating agencies, presented with the pile of bonds backed by dubious loans, would pronounce most of them AAA. These bonds could then be sold to investors—pension funds, insurance companies—who were allowed to invest only in highly rated securities. “I cannot fucking believe this is allowed—I must have said that a thousand times in the past two years,” Eisman says.

His dinner companion in Las Vegas ran a fund of about $15 billion and managed C.D.O.’s backed by the BBB tranche of a mortgage bond, or as Eisman puts it, “the equivalent of three levels of dog shit lower than the original bonds.”
That's from a long article by Michael Lewis, "The End". There's too much there to effectively summarize, so read the whole thing. Just remember that the people (Paulson, Bernanke, Pelosi, Reid, et. al.) who are now throwing government money at this 'engine of doom' are only concerned that they and their buddies get out of Dodge. The local governments, pension funds, retirees, etc. that are left are going have to be content with nothing but a big pile of poop.
(h/t Limited, Inc.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Plan B and Plan C

It's been just a little over a month since the first half of the $700bn was passed over to Paulson, first to buy 'toxic securities', and soon after to buy non-voting equity in Paulson's buddies' banks.

Paulson now says the next $350bn will go to "help relieve pressure on consumer credit", whatever that means. Maybe that the new bank AmEx will get a big share, in addition to the funds it can now borrow from the Fed.

There also seems to be a shift in Treasury's approach to the public:
There does indeed seem to have been a visible change in Treasury policy since the election. Until that point, it cared a little about optics. Now, it's giving monster bailouts to the likes of AIG and American Express; it's dragging its feet on homeowner relief; and in general Hank Paulson's Wall Street buddies seem to be getting much better access than anybody in Detroit. And no one's even trying very hard to defend these actions in public: they know they'll be out of a job in January anyway, so they're just doing what they want to do and what they feel is right, without caring much whether anybody else agrees with them
As Brian Wilson points out, the TARP is now the CARP (Consumer Asset Relief Program), and he hints, soon to be the CRAP (make up your own acronym). CRAP will be Plan C.

We are privileged to be watching the greatest ripoff in the history of the world, done in broad daylight. Neither the media, the Congress, nor the public seem to care. It's hard to imagine a more silly, slavish, stupid people than we Americans. Soon we will get our just desserts.


Following Blog Simple's move to become a bank, we see that General Electric has followed our lead, and has asked for coverage of $139bn, almost fourteen times our modest, reasonable request.

Despite its large size, we welcome GE as another recipient of Federal monies, as we will welcome other businesses, saving and loans, farms, unions, fantasy football leagues, schools, and day laborers.

The only persons and entities, real or imagined, that must be excluded from being the recipient of Federal largeness is the federal goverment itself. If and when the Fed asks the Treasury for a bailout, or vice-versa, we will know that the game is well and truly up, and we'll all be sucked into that black hole they're working on in Europe. But until that day, let the good times roll!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama's on the line... not

The Asia Times' M K Bhadrakumar explains India's discomfiture over a missing phone call from Barack Obama. Usually Ambassador Bhadrakumar is a sober interpreter of the events in Asia, but in this article he pokes some fun at India and its 76 year-old Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:
The Indians could learn a thing or two from the Kremlin. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev found himself exactly in Manmohan's predicament when by November 8 his Kremlin telephone still had not rung. But 43-year-old Medvedev did a smart thing.

He put a call through to Chicago to the 47-year old president-elect. The Kremlin thereupon went ahead and publicized the conversation in an upbeat account. A budding controversy was nipped before it could blossom.
Young people move real fast.
The murky area of the US/India nuclear agreement seems not to be as resolved as Singh may have thought, but Bhadrakumar comes up with a novel plan:
Delhi's priority is to use the deal to provide the context to access to sensitive US military technology within the overall framework of the "strategic partnership". Surely, there is a grey area here. Did the Bush administration negotiate the deal with transparency? Hard to say. Are Indians so dumb as to be led up the garden path and hustled into a deal full of ambiguities? Not really. Only Bush and Manmohan would know.

It appears India and the US have a growing need to retain Manmohan and Bush in their current jobs as lifetime heads of governments so that the strategic partnership can go from strength to strength.
That's change we can believe in! I suggest you read the entire article, lots of good clean fun for the whole family.


It has been hereby decided that from this day forth the blog 'Blog Simple' is now a blog-bank, with all due rights, privileges and benefits that accrue to both blogs and banks.

This is partly in answer to the question, "Does Everybody Get To Be a Bank?", and partly to allow Blog Simple to continue to expand its readership, and to take the next logical step of being a friendly neighborhood bank where you can deposit your money with trust, and get a loan when you have sufficient assets to cover it.

The blog-bank 'Blog Simple', to achieve full transparency, both as a blog and as a bank, will list below a full statement of assets, liabilities, deposits, loans, and other financial instruments:
Assets: $0
Liabilities: $0
Operating Costs: $0
Current Deposits: $0
Current Loans: $0
Outstanding Credit Default Swaps: $0
Readership: huge!
Net Balance: $0

Thus the financial health of the blog-bank Blog Simple is unassailable, and far more healthy than that of the numerous organizations already being propped up by loans from the Fed and Treasury.

To achieve our goals, we are asking for a $10bn loan from the Fed discount window at the current rate of 1.25%. Due to our financial health, reputation for probity and general moral excellence, the $10bn will strengthen the economy and our nation.

As soon as I figure out how to put a PayPal button in the template, you may transfer the funds, Mr. Bernanke.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trashing the place

When the Bushies first moved into the White House back in '01, the story was that the Clinton staffers had 'trashed the place', removing Ws from computer keyboards, writing graffiti, vandalizing, and leaving obscene messages.

Though widely reported, by the 'paper of record' as well as Fox News, that 'news' has been debunked, though the myth lives on.

The Bush administration is now doing its own version of trashing, but they think too big to be content with childish pranks in the White House, they're going after the whole country.

Start with the 'bailout'. Paulson's $700bn does have some strings attached, but the Fed has already given away $2 trillion dollars and refuses to say to whom, or for what collateral.

AIG already sold itself to the government, but now it needs another $40bn. Moon of Alabama has a good review of the numbers, which don't add up.

And just to top that, while Congress and the press have been all distracted by the election and bailouts and other folderol, another $140bn has been given to Paulson's buddies:

The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill. When they found out, some legislators were furious. Some congressional staff members have privately concluded that the notice was illegal. But they have worried that saying so publicly could unravel several recent bank mergers made possible by the change and send the economy into an even deeper tailspin.

Then there is the environment:
The proposals include changes to the Endangered Species Act, new management plans for 11 million acres in Utah, an effort to revoke congressional committees’ emergency powers to protect public lands, and a rule change for mountaintop mining regulations.
So, what's left for the next two months? One thing you can be sure is going on, documents are being destroyed, computer files are being deleted, and every piece of evidence that would serve to incarcerate these criminals is being scrubbed. And pardon season is going to be a thing of beauty. Everybody walks!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Translation and replies

The original:
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) asked Paulson to "review the feasibility . . . of providing temporary assistance to the automobile industry during the current financial crisis."
The translation:
Oh, please Secretary Paulson, couldn't you just give some of the $700bn bailout money to our poor auto industry, they're so needy, you know. We've given you all that money in good faith, to help the country, not just to keep the gravy train going for you and your friends.
Paulson's reply:
Pelosi and Reid:
How much more do you want?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Collateral, we don't need no stinkin' collateral...

It seems the Fed doesn't want to tell us what collateral they are accepting for their sweetheart loans to the banks. Bloomberg has filed an FOIA lawsuit.
The Fed staff planned to recommend that Bloomberg's request be denied under an exemption protecting ``confidential commercial information,'' according to Alison Thro, the Fed's FOIA Service Center senior counsel.
The confidential commercial information is undoubtedly that the collateral is shit, so the US now is the proud possessor of $1.5 trillion worth of the stinky substance. Enjoy!
(h/t naked capitalism)

Legacy or bust

b at Moon of Alabama asks why it took three months for the NYT to report what was obvious from the get go, that Georgia invaded South Ossetia, shelled the major city, and killed a bunch of civilians and 'peacekeepers'.

I wonder if this has anything to do with it:
The Bush administration wants talks with Russia soon on proposals to limit strategic nuclear warheads and address Moscow's concerns about a U.S. missile shield in Europe, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
Keller and at least some of his merry band of reporters have worked with the administration like a tag team since day one. After demonizing Russia for the past three months, and totally distorting the historical record, it seems that the Bushies have some new priorities. Can it be because the lame duck no longer needs to worry about the neo-con gang? That it may be time to put at least a few plus signs beside an administration stuck with minuses on every front? Whatever, the cue has been given and it's time to make nice with the Ruskies, so the paper of record leaps to the task.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Real Obama

Will you please stand up. Or maybe better not.

Sam Smith looks at his record and it's not pretty. He seems more conservative than Clinton, and at least as beholden to the corporations that have been calling the shots for the last thirty years. The first signs of his new administration seem to be on track with his previous record. Hope and change made for slogans and a very successful campaign. Neither they, nor the failed policies of the past, will serve to get the country and the world working to solve the immense problems that Bush exacerbated, but did not cause.

We can hope that he will use his opportunity to do the necessary, rather than continue to play to the crowd while the nation continues its slide into oblivion. Hopefully the crowd will speak up sooner rather than later if he continues to substitute platitudes for policies. Sam Smith:
Above are listed nearly three dozen things that Obama supports or opposes with which no good liberal or progressive would agree. Unfortunately, what's out there now, however, looks more like a rock concert crowd or evangelical tent meeting than a determined and directed political constituency. Which isn't so surprising given how successful our system have been at getting people to accept sights, sounds, symbols and semiotics as substitutes for reality. Once again, it looks like we'll have to learn the hard way.
(h/t Uncle $cam)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's choice

This excellent article by Jeffrey Sachs sets out the real challenge that Obama will be facing when he takes office.

Since Reagan took office in 1981, the economic direction of the US has been pointed firmly towards the cliff it has now fallen off.

Here is what Sachs sees as necessary:

Our macroeconomic problems require major public investments in new technologies, infrastructure, public education, and poverty reduction. At some point soon, Americans will have to start paying for these investments themselves, rather than borrowing heavily from abroad. We are experiencing the structural shift from an economy relying on easy money and seemingly endless international borrowing to an economy that is gradually realizing that ultimately we will have to pay our way, especially if the United States wants to be a leading power. There are pressing domestic and global investment needs, and the money has to come from somewhere. The only place it can come from is an increased tax base, which requires abandoning the Reagan-Bush mythology.

In sum, the recipes since 1981 of small government and small-bore solutions are passé and dangerous for our very survival in the United States and on this planet. While Reagan was crudely ideological, Clinton mildly reformist, and Bush simply crude in the application of these small-government doctrines, none of the recent approaches will do. It's time to stop talking about who can give away more to the public in rebates and start talking about investing in our future in a way that can save the poor, sustain the rest, and build a decent world for our children. Those are the real family values.

That will require the kind of leadership we haven't seen in the US since FDR. Unfortunately, looking at the people that Obama has surrounded himself with does not make me hopeful that he can see the need for the political risks that have to be faced. A Clinton style administration of timid competence, paired with purely political calculations, will not cut it. Better a one-term presidency that sets off on a new road than a two-term collection of band-aids and compromises with the people who landed us in this mess.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

In praise of barack-billed platitudes

The people have spoken, and Bush lost the election. Duh.

McCain ran a horrible campaign, sucking up to an administration that is despised by 95% of the world, and 75% of the US, picking an idiotarian for VP, clowning around with the bailout, and he still got a goodly percentage of the popular vote. This election has not been a testament to the brain power of the electorate.

President-elect Obama has continued his policy of pronouncing pleasing platitudes for the crowd; he does it very well. Calls for change abound, but from what, and to what, remain in the imagination.

The first key to success for his administration will be the ability to command the operative parts of the national defense apparatus and the Justice Department. Both have been thoroughly corrupted during the last eight years, there will be deeply planted moles in many key locations, and to root them out has to be the number one priority.

Expect major push back from the neo-cons, keeping their shadow government going in an Obama administration will be a sign to all of their inevitable triumph, even as their policies continue to weaken the country.

Going with any of the current cabinet crop, especially Gates, will be a sign of surrender and a display of weakness. The calls of bipartisanship and unity will probably be the rocks on which the new administration will flounder.

Pakistan in a pickle

China Hand, at the blog China Matters, has an illuminating post about Pakistan's economic predicament. Neither the US, nor China, nor Saudi Arabia is willing to cough up the 4 to 6 billion dollars that Pakistan says they need to get through the next two years. That leaves the IMF (controlled by the US) that would lend the money, but only if Pakistan signs away their soul and anything else the IMF deems of value. It's a lot like borrowing money from Tony Soprano:
Pakistan’s The News, citing an internal document, sets out what it said were extremely tough conditions.

1) a 30 percent cut in the defence budget between 2009 and 2020
2) reduce government pensionable jobs from 350,000 to 120,000
3) a new taxation structure to raise revenues including tax on wheat production and other crops
4) Revenue collection reports/analyses to be submitted each quarter to the IMF down to the provincial level
5) Six IMF directors and two from the World Bank to monitor preparation of the federal budget
But why doesn't the US, China, or Saudi Arabia loan the democratically elected government the cash? Because no one is getting what they want. The US wants more cooperation in fighting the Taliban, including the green light for cross border raids, China wants just the opposite, and Saudi Arabia wants Sharif in power and a cooling down in the tribal areas.

China Hand thinks that it is China and Saudi Arabia with the winning hand, and that is logical. But if Pakistan did try to shift that way, don't be too shocked by another coup.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I guess for some, the good times will never stop.

Petraeus in Pakistan

It makes sense that the new CENTCOM commander, Gen. Petraeus made Pakistan his first stop on his victory tour. While Iraq and Afghanistan are still moving with all deliberate speed towards ongoing disaster, events in Pakistan are accelerating, and US policies are feeding fuel to the fire.

Last week, Islamabad summoned the US ambassador for a formal protest of missile attacks on Pakistan territory. While these attacks had been quasi sanctioned by Musharraf, the new government and president need public support for a wide range of policies, and the public is not OK in being the US's target range. Hence the protest.

With the tact that has made the current administration famous, another attack followed the protest. Petraeus's visit has given Zardari, et al, someone to complain to, but it's hard to believe that he will reverse the policy. It's also hard to see that Zardari can go on just protesting, as more attacks continue inflame public opinion.

So, we seem to be at a moment when push comes to shove, I would think to the dismay of Zardari, Gilani and Kiyani. It's hard to know how the seemingly astute Petraeus will play it. The time between the election and the inauguration is going to be full of maneuvering. Petraeus has been a very loyal member of Cheney's team so far, is he now willing to strike out on his own?

Wool, meet eyes

One 0f the joys of the Internets is the possibility of encountering someone who actually knows something of what they are writing about. It's even better when they are writing about something that reveals, just by its expertise and clarity, the swamp of misinformation that is presented in our national press.

Meryl Nass, M.D. writes a blog about anthrax. She's a leading expert in the field of anthrax vaccines, and know many of the people involved with anthrax research, both living and dead.

I strongly suggest reading in its entirety this post where she reviews an article by the NY Post, and contrasts it with an article in the WaPo. However, here is a money quote:
New information in this story includes the fact that the FBI was renting the house next door to Ivins, the better to perform surveillance (and this establishes FBI harrassment, since surveillance is properly performed in secrecy mode).
"One of Ivins' former colleagues was being aggressively pressured to confess to the crimes just two months before Ivins killed himself on July 29, 2008, he told the Post. And he identified at least one other employee who was under the same pressure."
At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, the available facts in this case point to only one conclusion: the Justice Department was desperate to "solve" (read bury) this case any way it could before the Bush administration left office. To accomplish this feat, the FBI illegally harrassed at least 3 Fort Detrick employees. Recall that Perry Mikesell, a former Fort Detrick scientist under FBI surveillance, began drinking heavily and died in 2002.
This is an accusation of a criminal conspiracy involving the FBI to 'solve' the anthrax attacks by harrassing scientists, such as Steven Hatfill, to confess to crimes they did not commit, and that the FBI knew they did not commit.

Since these crimes and the cover-up obviously involve people at the top level of both the current administration and the federal bureaucracy, they will not only never be solved, they will never be investigated. Right, President Obama?

But thanks anyway to Dr. Nass and her attempts to pull the wool back from our eyes. She can't help it if it keeps being pulled up again, and that (almost) nobody even complains.

Also, there is a lot of other good material at her blog about the current effort to legally protect the manufactuers of the current anthrax vaccine. Read it, what you don't know could hurt you.