Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

My Photo
Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack and Invesco

So, I am watching this extravaganza on MSNBC and I am overwhelmed. The Stadium, which is a faux replica of the Lincoln Memorial is filled. Now the announcers just announced that McSame is having trouble filling 10,000 seats somewhere else in the States. Obama is having no trouble filling 80,000 seats in Mile High. HMMM.

If only this holds over to November.

Catch you in the Morning.

Al Gore

Yes, I do love him. And I think that he is making a wonderful speech tonight.

And, oh by the way folks, the columns etc., are representative of the Lincoln Memorial for the Anniversary of the March on Washington with MLK. They have nothing to do with Greeks or Apollo or Zeus. How stupid is our MSM? Apparently they don’t remember “I Have a Dream.”


Update: Where is the Sunshine? Here it is, his speech and what could have been.

Update 2: So is it time for change? So as a Dirty Fucking Hippy (DFH) we were really wrong the last time. Maybe we are right this time?

We can only hope.

The Path to War.

Watching this film again I am struck once again by how LBJ is shown as struggling and suffering over Vietnam and our “Path to War.” If this is true, and I don’t doubt it, he was truly human. I must say that I find it hard to believe that Bush/Cheney have such doubts, struggles or suffering. Their public demeanor, attitude and remarks belie such humanity sad to say.

And, it also appears that a large swath of the American public has not yet learned the lessons of the past and our failed adventures in imperialism. I guess that we are doomed to repeat our lack of attention to history.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Because They are on the Case!

This Administration at work:

FBI saw threat of mortgage crisis

A top official warned of widening loan fraud in 2004, but the agency focused its resources elsewhere.

By Richard B. Schmitt
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible.

"It has the potential to be an epidemic," Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case. "We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis," he said.

Today, the damage from the global mortgage meltdown has more than matched that of the savings-and-loan bailouts of the 1980s and early 1990s. By some estimates, it has made that costly debacle look like chump change. But it's also clear that the FBI failed to avert a problem it had accurately forecast.

Banks and brokerages have written down more than $300 billion of mortgage-backed securities and other risky investments in the last year or so as homeowner defaults leaped and weakness in the real estate market spread.

In California alone, lenders have foreclosed on $100 billion worth of homes over the last two years and are foreclosing at a rate of 1,300 houses every business day, according to a recent report from ForeclosureRadar.com.

Most observers have declared the mess a gross failure of regulation. To be sure, in the run-up to the crisis, market-oriented federal regulators bragged about their hands-off treatment of banks and other savings institutions and their executives. But it wasn't just regulators who were looking the other way. The FBI and its parent agency, the Justice Department, are supposed to act as the cops on the beat for potentially illegal activities by bankers and others. But they were focused on national security and other priorities, and paid scant attention to white-collar crimes that may have contributed to the lending and securities debacle.

Now that the problems are out in the open, the government's response strikes some veteran regulators as too little, too late.

Swecker, who retired from the FBI in 2006, declined to comment for this article.

But sources familiar with the FBI budget process, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the growing fraud problem, say that he and other FBI criminal investigators sought additional assistance to take on the mortgage scoundrels.

They ended up with fewer resources, rather than more.

In 2007, the number of agents pursuing mortgage fraud shrank to around 100. By comparison, the FBI had about 1,000 agents deployed on banking fraud during the S&L bust of the 1980s and '90s, said Anthony Adamski, who oversaw financial crime investigations for the FBI at the time.

The FBI says it now has about 200 agents working on mortgage fraud, but critics say the agency might have averted much of the problem had it heeded its own warning.

"The FBI correctly diagnosed that mortgage fraud was epidemic, but it did not come close to meeting its announced goal," said William K. Black, who was a federal regulator during the S&L crisis and now teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"It used everyday procedures and woefully inadequate resources to deal with an epidemic," he said. "The approach was certain to bring symbolic prosecutions and strategic defeat."

The mortgage debacle has laid bare a system marked by dubious practices at every stage of the process. Lenders often made loans to borrowers who had limited ability to repay them but little desire to pass up the dream of homeownership. Many loans lacked basic documentation, such as information about borrowers' incomes.

Still, mortgage companies could hardly sell them fast enough, packaging the loans as investment securities and peddling them to eager buyers on Wall Street.

The FBI defends its handling of the crisis, with officials contending that as home prices were rising several years ago, the trouble brewing in the mortgage market -- and the potential crimes behind it -- was not immediately apparent.

Officials said they began approaching mortgage companies and others in an attempt to raise awareness about the growing fraud problem. But the lenders had little incentive to cooperate because they were continuing to make money. Black says that in many cases, they were part of the fraud.

"Nobody wanted to listen," Sharon Ormsby, the chief of the FBI's financial crimes section, said in an interview. "We were dealing with the issue as best we could back then."

Over the last three years, the FBI and other agencies have brought dozens of mortgage-fraud cases. The bureau has rooted out foreclosure rescue schemes in which homeowners are tricked into signing over the deeds to their homes to operators who buried the properties even deeper in debt. Agents have disrupted cases of identity theft in which criminals open -- and exhaust -- home equity lines of credit and leave homeowners stuck with the bill.

Many of the cases have been relatively small, however, with about half the investigations involving losses of less than $1 million -- the size of two or three loans.

But the tepid response also reflects a broad realignment of law-enforcement priorities at the Justice Department in which mortgage fraud and other white-collar crimes have been subordinated to other Bush administration priorities.

That has reflected, in part, the ramp-up in national security and terrorism investigations after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the administration has also put more support behind efforts against illegal immigration and child pornography.

In a way, the mortgage debacle could not have come onto the FBI radar screen at a worse time. Just as Swecker was making his doomsday forecast, the FBI, under pressure from Congress and the White House, was creating a crime-fighting brain drain, transferring hundreds of agents from its criminal investigations unit into its anti-terrorism program. About 2,500 agents doing criminal work -- 20% or so of the entire force -- were affected.

Even as the number of new white-collar cases started declining, the Justice Department did pursue some high-profile corporate prosecutions, such as those arising from the collapse of Enron Corp. But some former prosecutors question the administration's current commitment to pursuing complex, high-stakes cases.

"I think most sitting U.S. attorneys now staring at the subprime crisis find scant resources available to pursue sophisticated financial crimes," said John C. Hueston, a Los Angeles lawyer who was a lead federal prosecutor in the trials of Enron executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling.

Absent a major shift in priorities and resources, he said, it is likely that the Justice Department and the FBI will continue on their current path of focusing on simple cases "that don't go to the heart of the problem."

The FBI says it has 21 open investigations into possible large-scale fraud related to the subprime meltdown. The Times reported last month that a federal grand jury in Los Angeles had subpoenaed records from three large California lenders: Countrywide Financial Corp. (now part of Bank of America Corp.), New Century Financial Corp. and IndyMac Federal Bank.

Among other possible targets, the FBI has said, are investment firms that sold billions in securities backed by shaky subprime mortgages and credit rating agencies that gave high marks to the now-worthless securities and failed to protect investors.

But it may be hard to jump-start such probes. Trying to prove that a major mortgage company intended to defraud buyers of its securities, for example, could take years of digging into records and testimony.

Moreover, some of those involved may have special legal protection: Credit rating firms have in other cases successfully asserted that their opinions about the values of securities are protected by the 1st Amendment.

"I am happy to have investigations going on, but these investigations should have taken place years ago," said Blair A. Nicholas, a San Diego lawyer representing investors who lost money in the collapse of several subprime mortgage lenders. "They seem to always get involved after the horse has left the barn. It is always cleaning up the mess rather than being proactive."

Could the crisis have been averted, or at least mitigated, if the FBI had intervened more forcefully?

"Until there is a catastrophic loss, there is no incentive to investigate criminal conduct," said Cynthia Monaco, a former federal prosecutor in New York. "Nor are there people coming forward with evidence" such as angry investors or whistle-blowing corporate employees, she said.

Even now, Monaco added, it is far from clear whether the damage -- suffered by investors and homeowners alike -- was the product of clear-cut fraud.

Ormsby says the FBI is more actively working with other federal investigative agencies in the hope they will pick up the slack. The Secret Service, for example, in a departure from its traditional missions of protecting presidents and heads of state and investigating counterfeiting, has assigned more than 100 agents to examine mortgage fraud, said spokesman Edwin Donovan.

The Justice Department is also starting to mobilize. The department offered what it described as a "basic seminar" on mortgage fraud cases to about 100 prosecutors last week at its national training academy in South Carolina.

Is there anything that these folks can't Fuck-up, including the obvious?

I guess it's better late than never?

Who Better than Randy Newman?

Someone has to speak up on our behalf.

Nuff said!

It’s Where We Are Folks.

Take a “Load off Fannie” from the Band:

And it isn’t a pretty picture.

h/t CalculatedRisk

Terrorists, Na!

Police probe possible plot to kill Obama; two arrested, one with sniper rifle

By Ernest Luning 8/25/08 7:11 PM

CBS4’s Brian Maas reports police are holding two men who could be involved in a plot to assassinate Barack Obama :

According to multiple sources, Aurora police made a routine traffic stop Sunday morning at 2:38 a.m. and arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell. Sources say he was driving a rented pickup truck. The Secret Service says two rifles were found in his truck along with methamphetamine. Another law enforcement source says he was told at least one of the rifles was a “sniper rifle.”

A second source told CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass authorities told officers they are concerned they may have come upon a possible “assassination plot.”

That arrest then led authorities to a second man staying at the Cherry Creek Hotel at 600 South Colorado Blvd in Glendale. When authorities knocked on the man’s door, they say he jumped out of his sixth floor window, landing on an awning and running from the scene. They say they soon found him with a broken ankle. He too was arrested.

But according to the U.S. Attorney, Republican that is, there is nothing to see here folks:

U.S. attorney 'confident' Obama not threatened

By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News (Contact), Judi Villa, Rocky Mountain News , April M. Washington, Rocky Mountain News (Contact)

Originally published 05:15 p.m., August 25, 2008
Updated 06:57 a.m., August 26, 2008

— The U.S. Attorney for Colorado said authorities are "absolutely confident" three men arrested on weapons and drug charges posed no threat to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Aurora Police held a news conference Monday to announce the arrests and said that during their investigation officers seized a bullet-proof vest, two rifles — one of which was stolen; another had a hunting scope — plus ammunition, drugs and walkie-talkies.

"We're aware of the matter discussed tonight by the Aurora Police Department," said Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid in a statement late Monday night. "Federal law enforcement is working hand-in-glove with the Aurora Police Department. Because this matter is currently under investigation, there is little we can say right now.

"We can say this: We're absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado."

Earlier Monday, CBS4 News reported that at least three people had been arrested in connection with a possible plot to kill Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Aurora police had arrested a suspected drunken driver at 1:30 a.m. Sunday during a routine traffic stop. The man was seen "weaving," sources said.

Aurora police seized weapons and drugs, which included methamphetamine, from the suspect's rental pickup.

Detective Marcus Dudley, a police spokesman, told reporters gathered in a parking lot behind the police station Monday that he could not discuss the "federal implications" of the case. However, he did confirm that federal authorities were involved in arresting two of the men.

"Clearly, we feel there are federal implications. Beyond that I can't elaborate," he said.

He said the U.S. Attorney for Colorado will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

CBS4 had reported one of the suspects told authorities that they were "going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle … sighted at 750 yards."

Law-enforcement sources told CBS4 that one of the suspects "was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative."

A second source told CBS4 News that they are concerned they may have come upon a possible "assasination plot."

Dudley identified the three suspects as:

* Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, who was carrying a Colorado identification card that listed a Centennial address. Gartrell was erratically driving a rented 2008 blue Dodge Ram truck that was not registered in his name. The guns, ammo, drugs and other equipment were found in the truck.

* Nathan Johnson, 32. About three hours after Gartrell's arrest, police from Aurora, Denver and Greenwood Village, and federal agents arrested Johnson at a hotel near Interstate 25 and Belleview Avenue. He is being held on drug charges in Denver. His bond amount was not available.

* Shawn Robert Adolf, 33. Police and federal agents arrested Adolf at the Cherry Creek Hotel at 600 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale around 5 a.m. Sunday after he jumped from a sixth-floor window. Adolf was injured when he fell four stories onto the second-floor roof of the hotel kitchen. He then jumped again onto the ground around the hotel, where police caught him a short time later. Johnson was hospitalized with unspecified injuries from his fall. He is being held on 7 outstanding warrants with bonds totaling $1 million.

The Secret Service, ATF, FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office are investigating.

I guess they aren't Muslim.

A Noun, a Verb, and POW!

Maureen Dowd: Even a broken clock gets it right twice a day!

Tad Mosel


1922- 2008

While I was Away!

Going to Saratoga doesn’t mean the world of news comes to an end. It does mean that I am not quite connected. Here are a few stories that I was able to connect up to.

Medicare Report on Fraud.

Apparently this Wrecking Crew is doing a job on Medicare and they have lied about it too. I am so surprised.


Stephanie Tubbs-Jones

1949 – 2008

And, Rachel is getting her well deserved Prime Time Show! It is about time!

The weather was great while I was away, the food was superb, the company was wonderful and the racing was terrific. That said I am glad to be back.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Isaac Hayes


1942 - 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Operator Give Me Jesus on the Line

I grew up with the Church Ladies' Choir and this was my favorite. When we were living in Virginia in the 50’s we lived right next door to a “Negro” Church. Naturally it was run by “Negro” Women. I spent many a day hanging out on the fence listening to the Choir and enjoying the attention of the “Ladies.” In my teens my best friend’s mother was the Leader of the Mt. Olive Church. When his mother passed, the Very Reverend Josephs willed me, among other things, her collection of Clara Ward 78’s and they were my prized possession. Unfortunately, my mother in a moment of pique sold all of my 78’s and the Clara Ward Singers and Bessie Smith collection among other Gospel Classics went. I have been on a mission to find a recording of Clara Ward doing “Operator” since.

So, I have had to settle for the Manhattan Transfer version and it could be worse.

Pretty Good, but it is not the Classic Miss Ward and the Singers. And the Lord knows, as good atheists, that my son and I do love the Manhattan Transfer but I love Miss Ward more.

This video is so Old School and I love it!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It Was the Plan All Along!

Thomas Frank has a new book coming out. It is The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule. It is about what I have been saying all along. When people complain about how “Incompetent” the Bush Administration is I tell them that if you want government to be competent you should elect people who believe in government. When you elect people who don’t believe in government of course they will be “Incompetent” because they want to destroy it. It is really very simple. For conservatives destroying government isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

Here is a snipit from the book that is posted over at Tomgram.

Naturally, Mr. Frank says it better than I ever could. Read it and see how enormously successful these last 8 years have been for this crew.

Paris is Viral!

Not Bad at all! I guess I will have to rethink this whole Paris thing!

From the Genius that is the General

When I was told by a friend of mine that the whole McCain Ad, “The One,” was about Barack Obama as the Anti-Christ I was shocked as I had totally missed the dog-whistle. Then General JC Christian, that manly man, broke it down for us and I had to see it. After all he is totally down with all things Christian and the expert that those of us in wilderness depend on.

So here is his breakdown for all us unbelievers:

My only question is: What is Wrong with these People?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Bully Pulpit

I always have to go with Andros. So this post exactly leads to what I think:

31 July 2008

Ideas & Speeches that Build Consensus & a Movement Forward

I've heard mostly from conservatives that Barack Obama delivers general speeches without many specifics, but I guess they haven't been paying attention to McCain's speeches. Look, many politicians make general speeches and some do offer details, as I think Sen. Obama has done. Their speeches also reveal their philosophy about government, priorities, and the vision for the future. Don't tell me that you haven't noticed a real & profound difference between McCain and Obama!

Check this video and tell me if you don't see something that distinguishes Obama from his opponent. I see a fundamental difference of view regarding the role of government: to protect and empower the people, especially those who are denied equality of opportunity by the system as it exists in the US today.

The president's most important political power is the power to convince. He has to convince the Congress and the American people that his policies are good for the country. Therefore, we do have an important role to play. Every citizen, I believe, has to know enough to make an informed & responsible decision. The basis of democracy is the demos: the people. Conversely, the quality of our democracy, indeed the quality of our lives, greatly depend on our ability to think rationally and elect the right leaders for the job at hand.

Now, the progressive community has to maintain its momentum and apply pressure on Mr. Obama to uphold the principles he articulated during the Democratic selection contest. Here's a letter, published in The Nation magazine, titled, A Change We Can Believe In.

"We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy. We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised."

I always think of politics and elections like the Bar Exam. My vote isn’t for the best choice but for the least wrong candidate. Sad but true in this “Democracy.” If the Bully Pulpit was used for positive ends I would be happier. Maybe that will happen in 2009? It is Change we can believe in.

Mad for Maddow!

She needs her own show and that is all there is to say! Well, actually we all need her to have her own show!

Rescue Me and Everyone Else!

This is a follow up post to the last one. This is pretty much what many people are hoping that Barack Obama can do. I think that it is a very tall order and I am doubtful that it can be accomplished. That said let’s go with Fontella anyway.

It is the hope and change we want to live with!

Greider Gets It: Natch!

Once again our man Mr. Greider has put out an analysis of what went wrong and what the government “of the People by the People” is doing about it and should do. Interestingly it is very important to know exactly who the “People” are, and it ain’t you or me. Apparently the “little People” aren’t “Too Big to Fail.” So, we don’t get socialized risk, only the “Real People” get socialized risk. You know the “Free-Market” types.

So here is a snip-it from his article and do read the whole thing. It is so well worth it:

Let's review the bidding to date. After panic swept through the global financial community this spring, the Federal Reserve and Treasury rushed in to arrange a sweetheart rescue for Bear Stearns, expending $29 billion to take over the brokerage's ruined assets so JPMorgan Chase, the prestigious banking conglomerate, would agree to buy what was left. At the same time, the Fed and Treasury provided a series of emergency loans and liquidity for endangered investment firms and major banks. Investors were not persuaded. Their panic was not "mental," as former McCain adviser Phil Gramm recently complained. The collapse of the housing bubble had revealed the deep rot and duplicity within the financial system. When investors tried to sell off huge portfolios of spoiled financial assets like mortgage bonds, nobody would buy them. In fact, no one can yet say how much these once esteemed "safe" investments are really worth.

The big banks and investment houses are also stuck with lots of bad paper, and some have dumped it on their unwitting customers. The largest banks and brokerages have already lost enormously, but lending portfolios must shrink a lot more--at least $1 trillion, some estimate. So wary shareholders are naturally dumping financial-sector stocks.

Most recently, the investors' fears were turned on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the huge quasi-private corporations that package and circulate trillions in debt securities with implicit federal backing. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (formerly of Goldman Sachs) boldly proposed a $300 billion commitment to buy up Fannie Mae stock and save the plunging share price--that is, save the shareholders from their mistakes. So much for market discipline. For everyone else, Washington recommends a cold shower.

Talk about warped priorities! The government puts up $29 billion as a "sweetener" for JP Morgan but can only come up with $4 billion for Cleveland, Detroit and other urban ruins. Even the mortgage-relief bill is a tepid gesture. It basically asks, but does not compel, the bankers to act kindlier toward millions of defaulting families.

A generation of conservative propaganda, arguing that markets make wiser decisions than government, has been destroyed by these events. The interventions amount to socialism, American style, in which the government decides which private enterprises are "too big to fail." Trouble is, it was the government itself that created most of these mastodons--including the all-purpose banking conglomerates. The mega-banks arose in the 1990s, when a Democratic President and Republican Congress repealed the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented commercial banks from blending their business with investment banking. That combination was the source of incestuous self-dealing and fraudulent stock valuations that led directly to the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

Long before I was introduced to the brilliance that is William Greider with One World Ready or Not, I had an inkling about the state of economic affairs (maybe that is why I was drawn to his analysis.) When Glass-Steagall was defanged I was horrified. When Wall Street started to demand quarterly reporting I was horrified (it seemed to me that it would engender finagling to meet quarterly projections which it did, see Enron.) But then I was very horrified when the decision was made to deregulate the Savings and Loans way back in the day. Of course what did I know I only had first hand knowledge of who the decision makers were in the business having worked there? The S&L scandals should have lead to lessons learned but apparently not. You know this stuff isn’t exactly brain surgery or rocket science just common sense. Apparently though, the Masters of the Universe don’t have very much common sense, because as one guy once said “it isn’t all that common.”

The bottom line, folks, is that we are fucked! I would say screwed but it is far worse than that. Maybe “raped” would be a better metaphor.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Robert Reich’s Primer On Two Theories

I mostly believed that there were two theories of economics and politics. One is the “YOYO” version which is very right-wing and is “You are On Your Own.” The other predominate theory is “WITT” which is predominate on the Left and Progressive Movement which is “We are In This Together.”

Now Professor Reich has broken this down as Top-Down versus Botton-Up and I think it is pretty much the same though by another name.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Short Primer on McCainomics Versus Obamanomics: Top-Down or Bottom-Up

McCain and Obama represent two fundamentally different economic philosophies. McCain's is top-down economics; Obama's is bottom-up.

Top-down economics holds that:

1. If you give generous tax breaks to the rich, they will have greater incentive to work hard and invest. Their harder work and added investments will generate more jobs and faster economic growth, to the benefit of average working people.

2. If you give generous tax breaks to corporations, reduce their payroll costs, and impose fewer regulations on them, they will compete more successfully in global commerce. This too will result in more jobs for Americans and faster growth in the United States.

3. The best way to reduce the energy costs of average Americans is to give oil companies access to more land on which to drill, lower taxes, and lower capital costs. If they get these, they'll supply more oil, which will reduce oil prices.

4. The best way to deal with the crisis in credit markets is to insure large Wall Street investment banks, as well as Fannie and Freddie, against losses. This will result in more loans at lower rates to average Americans. (Bailing them out may risk "moral hazard," in the sense that they will expect to be bailed out in the future, but that's a small price to pay for restoring liquidity.)

All of these propositions are highly questionable, especially in a global economy. The rich do not necessarily invest additional post-tax earnings in the United States; they invest wherever around the world they can get the highest returns. Meanwhile, large American-based corporations are doing business all over the world; their supply chains extend to wherever they can find low labor costs combined with high output, and their sales to wherever they can find willing buyers. Oil companies, too, are operating globally and set their prices largely at the point where global supply meets global demand. Additional drilling here creates environmental risks for us but generates the same marginal benefits for consumers in China, India, and Europe as we might enjoy (most likely not for a decade or more). Credit markets are global as well, so the beneficiaries of bailouts of large investment banks and lenders are also worldwide while the potential costs (including moral hazard) fall on American taxpayers.

This isn't to argue that top-down economics is completely nonsensical. America is, after all, the world's largest economy. So whatever helps the top of it will to some extent trickle down to everyone else here, and whatever hurts the top is likely to impose some burdens all the way down.

But in a global economy, bottom-up economics makes more sense. Bottom-up economics holds that:

1. The growth of the American economy depends largely on the productivity of its workers. They are rooted here, while global capital and large American-based global corporations are not.

2. The productivity of America workers depends mainly on their education, their health, and the infrastructure that connects them together. These public investments are therefore critical to our future prosperity.

3. Global capital will come to the United States to create good jobs not because our taxes or wages or regulatory costs are low (there will always be many places around the world where taxes, wages, and regulatory costs are lower) but because the productivity of our workers is high.

4. The answer to our energy costs is found in the creativity and inventiveness of Americans in generating non-oil and non-carbon fuels and new means of energy conservation, rather than in access by global oil companies to more oil. So subsidize basic research and development in these alternatives.

5. Finally, in order to avoid a recession or worse, it's necessary to improve the financial security of average Americans who are now sinking into a quagmire of debt and foreclosure. Otherwise, there won't be adequate purchasing power to absorb all the goods and services the economy produces. (As to "moral hazard," the financial institutions that did the lending had more reason to know of the risks involved than those who did the borrowing.)

Listen carefully to the economic debate in the months ahead in light of these two competing economic philosophies. And hope that the latter wins out in years to come.

Pretty much works for me!

Thank You Judge Bates!

A little good news. Once again Glennzilla gives us a very insightful analysis of the latest Judicial War with the Administration’s War with the Constitution. A Bushy Judge smacks down Bush. Don’t you love it? Though, as Glenn does the analysis it is clearly very narrow. But you know what, I am so willing to take anything these days including narrow decisions.

So here is Glennzilla:

A federal court rejects Bush's "executive privilege" claims

A Bush-appointed judge rules that the president's top aides do not have absolute immunity from responding to congressional subpoenas.

Glenn Greenwald

Jul. 31, 2008 | The Bush administration and its radical theories of executive power suffered yet another blow today from the judiciary, as a Federal District Judge, John D. Bates of the District of Columbia District Court -- a Bush 43-appointed (and generally very pro-Bush-administration) Judge as well as the former Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigations -- held in a 93-page ruling (.pdf) that Bush aides Harriet Miers (former White House counsel) and Josh Bolten (White House Chief of Staff) are not entitled to absolute immunity from Congressional subpoenas. The dispute arose out of the investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys who, in many cases, had either aggressively prosecuted GOP officials or had refused to prosecute Democrats or otherwise advance the GOP's political interests.

As part of its investigation, the Judiciary Committee issued Subpoenas to Miers and Bolten in an effort to find out, among other things, who actually made the decision for those U.S. attorneys to be fired. The subpoenas ordered Miers to appear before the Committee in order to testify, and ordered both to produce documents to the Committee. Both Miers and Bolten refused to comply with the Subpoenas. Miers simply failed to show up for her hearing, while Bolten refused to produce the demanded documents. They did so in reliance on the Bush administration‘s claim that both of them, as top-level aides to the President, enjoyed absolute immunity from Congressional subpoenas. It was that extremist theory which the court today rejected -- and rejected decisively and unequivocally.

In unusually strong language, the court pointed out that the President's claim that his aides enjoyed absolute immunity from Congressional investigations was "unprecedented" and "without any support in case law" (p. 3). Like so many perverse claims of absolute presidential authority, this claim was plainly contrary to the core principles of how our country has long functioned: "Federal precedent dating as far back as 1807 contemplates that even the Executive is bound to comply with duly issued subpoenas" (p. 31). To underscore how frivolous the administration's claim here was, the court emphasized (p. 78):

The Executive cannot identify a single judicial opinion that recognizes absolute immunity for senior presidential advisors in this or any other context. That simple but critical fact bears repeating: the asserted immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by case law. In fact, there is Supreme Court authority that is all but conclusive on this question and that powerfully suggests that such advisors to not enjoy absolute immunity.

That the Bush administration's claim was purely lawless has long been obvious. After all, the Supreme Court, in 1974, already explicitly ruled (in the context of a criminal investigation) that Richard Nixon lacked exactly the absolute immunity that Bush officials claimed here. Because of that, as I wrote back in March, 2007 when this claim was first asserted by the Bush administration:

It is crystal clear (just as it was when Bill Clinton sought to invoke "executive privilege" to resist Grand Jury subpoenas to his aides -- Sidney Blumenthal and Bruce Lindsey and Hillary -- in the Lewinsky investigation) that the narrowly construed doctrine of executive privilege does not entitle the President to shield the communications here from compelled disclosure.

All along, the refusal of Bush aides to testify (and today's ruling obviously applies to Karl Rove as well) was nothing more than another lawless attempt by the administration to shroud everything it does in secrecy and shield itself completely from accountability of any kind. Indeed, as the court pointed out today, quoting a 1975 Supreme Court case, the power to compel testimony and documents from the Executive branch is indispensable to what are -- at least in theory -- the core Congressional functions of lawmaking and oversight (p. 36):

The power of inquiry -- with process to enforce it -- is an essential and appropriate auxillary to the legislative function.

Today's ruling should elevate the pressure on Bolten, Miers, Rove and other Bush officials to respond to Congressional inquiries regarding what they know about the firing of these U.S. Attorneys, but as a practical matter, its impact will be quite limited. Miers, Bolten and friends can still (and certainly will) assert privilege with respect to specific conversations and documents (the court only resolved whether they have immunity from Congressional subpoenas generally, not whether specific documents and conversations are privileged). This ruling simply means that Miers and Bolten must "respond" to the Subpoenas -- Miers can show up and refuse to answer most questions by relying on specific "privilege" assertions (that the court would then have to resolve), and Bolten can do the same with regard to documents. This administration has repeatedly demonstrated complete indifference to legal process.

The court did note, in several places, that Congress likely has (again, at least in theory) the inherent authority to arrest and detain Executive Branch officials who refuse to comply with their Subpoenas. But they have demonstrated no appetite for exercising that power, and short of something truly threatening like that, it is difficult to envision Bush officials being meaningfully forthcoming in any Congressional investigation.

One interesting point the court highlighted (p. 76) was that the next President could simply withdraw any claims of privilege over these matters. Even though Bush, as a former President, could still assert the privilege, its assertion "would necessarily have less force, particularly when the sitting President does not support the claim of privilege." Thus, an Obama presidency (assuming Cass Sunstein has no say in the matter) could significantly diminish the ability of Bush officials to shield their legally dubious conduct from Congressional and judicial scrutiny by formally withdrawing all of these claims of executive privilege -- not just as part of this investigation but the other scandals as well.

Little by little -- step by step -- federal courts have been fulfilling their function in rejecting the radical executive power claims of the last seven years and imposing some modest limits (at least in theory) on what the Executive Branch can do. That's why the Bush White House is so eager to obtain immunity and invoke every procedural weapon to avoid having to be accountable in a court of law. Today's decision is the latest such step in that process, and provides still further evidence of just how lawless this administration and its animating theories have been.

Glenn Greenwald

Yes, as narrow as this decision is I have to take solace from wherever I can get it. How rough is that?

Anthrax Redux!

Upon the news that a scientist from Ft. Detrick, MD, who worked on the U.S. Biological Weapons program with Anthrax conveniently committed apparent suicide last week, Glennzilla put out another of his very thoughtful and informative columns.

Here it is in its fullness as you need to read the complete piece. This is a horrifying and huge scandal with myriad implications.

Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News

A top U.S. government scientist, suspected of the anthrax attacks, commits suicide. ABC News knows who is responsible for false reports blaming those attacks on Iraq, but refuses to say.

Glenn Greenwald

Aug. 01, 2008 | (Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV - Update V - Update VI)

The FBI's lead suspect in the September, 2001 anthrax attacks -- Bruce E. Ivins -- died Tuesday night, apparently by suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the attacks. For the last 18 years, Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government's biological weapons research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).

The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters -- with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 -- that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax -- sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets -- that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks. This was the letter sent to Brokaw:

[Brokaw Letter won't post]

The letter sent to Leahy contained this message:

We have anthrax.

You die now.

Are you afraid?

Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Allah is great.

By design, those attacks put the American population into a state of intense fear of Islamic terrorism, far more than the 9/11 attacks alone could have accomplished.

Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent -- indispensably aided by ABC News -- to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In my view, and I've written about this several times and in great detail to no avail, the role played by ABC News in this episode is the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade. News of Ivins' suicide, which means (presumably) that the anthrax attacks originated from Ft. Detrick, adds critical new facts and heightens how scandalous ABC News' conduct continues to be in this matter.

During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax -- tests conducted at Ft. Detrick -- revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the chemical additive known as bentonite. ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks, since -- as ABC variously claimed -- bentonite "is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program" and "only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons."

ABC News' claim -- which they said came at first from "three well-placed but separate sources," followed by "four well-placed and separate sources" -- was completely false from the beginning. There never was any bentonite detected in the anthrax (a fact ABC News acknowledged for the first time in 2007 only as a result of my badgering them about this issue). It's critical to note that it isn't the case that preliminary tests really did detect bentonite and then subsequent tests found there was none. No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.

That means that ABC News' "four well-placed and separate sources" fed them information that was completely false -- false information that created a very significant link in the public mind between the anthrax attacks and Saddam Hussein. And look where -- according to Brian Ross' report on October 28, 2001 -- these tests were conducted:

And despite continued White House denials, four well-placed and separate sources have told ABC News that initial tests on the anthrax by the US Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have detected trace amounts of the chemical additives bentonite and silica.

Two days earlier, Ross went on ABC News' World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and, as the lead story, breathlessly reported:

The discovery of bentonite came in an urgent series of tests conducted at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and elsewhere.

Clearly, Ross' allegedly four separate sources had to have some specific knowledge of the tests conducted and, if they were really "well-placed," one would presume that meant they had some connection to the laboratory where the tests were conducted -- Ft. Detrick. That means that the same Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed those attacks on Iraq.

It's extremely possible -- one could say highly likely -- that the same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that Saddam was behind them. What we know for certain -- as a result of the letters accompanying the anthrax -- is that whoever perpetrated the attacks wanted the public to believe they were sent by foreign Muslims. Feeding claims to ABC News designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons, promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s).

Seven years later, it's difficult for many people to recall, but, as I've amply documented, those ABC News reports linking Saddam and anthrax penetrated very deeply -- by design -- into our public discourse and into the public consciousness. Those reports were absolutely vital in creating the impression during that very volatile time that Islamic terrorists generally, and Iraq and Saddam Hussein specifically, were grave, existential threats to this country. As but one example: after Ross' lead report on the October 26, 2001 edition of World News Tonight with Peter Jennings claiming that the Government had found bentonite, this is what Jennings said into the camera:

This news about bentonite as the additive being a trademark of the Iraqi biological weapons program is very significant. Partly because there's been a lot of pressure on the Bush administration inside and out to go after Saddam Hussein. And some are going to be quick to pick up on this as a smoking gun.

That's exactly what happened. The Weekly Standard published two lengthy articles attacking the FBI for focusing on a domestic culprit and -- relying almost exclusively on the ABC/Ross report -- insisted that Saddam was one of the most likely sources for those attacks. In November, 2001, they published an article (via Lexis) which began:

On the critical issue of who sent the anthrax, it's time to give credit to the ABC website, ABCNews.com, for reporting rings around most other news organizations. Here's a bit from a comprehensive story filed late last week by Gary Matsumoto, lending further credence to the commonsensical theory (resisted by the White House) that al Qaeda or Iraq -- and not some domestic Ted Kaczynski type -- is behind the germ warfare.

The Weekly Standard published a much lengthier and more dogmatic article in April, 2002 again pushing the ABC "bentonite" claims and arguing: "There is purely circumstantial though highly suggestive evidence that might seem to link Iraq with last fall's anthrax terrorism." The American Enterprise Institute's Laurie Mylroie (who had an AEI article linking Saddam to 9/11 ready for publication at the AEI on September 13) expressly claimed in November, 2001 that "there is also tremendous evidence that subsequent anthrax attacks are connected to Iraq" and based that accusation almost exclusively on the report from ABC and Ross ("Mylroie: Evidence Shows Saddam Is Behind Anthrax Attacks").

And then, when President Bush named Iraq as a member of the "Axis of Evil" in his January, 2002 State of the Union speech -- just two months after ABC's report, when the anthrax attacks were still very vividly on the minds of Americans -- he specifically touted this claim:

The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade.

Bush's invocation of Iraq was the only reference in the State of the Union address to the unsolved anthrax attacks. And the Iraq-anthrax connection was explicitly made by the President at a time when, as we now know, he was already eagerly planning an attack on Iraq.

There can't be any question that this extremely flamboyant though totally false linkage between Iraq and the anthrax attacks -- accomplished primarily by the false bentonite reports from ABC News and Brian Ross -- played a very significant role in how Americans perceived of the Islamic threat generally and Iraq specifically. As but one very illustrative example, The Washington Post's columnist, Richard Cohen, supported the invasion of Iraq, came to regret that support, and then explained what led him to do so, in a 2004 Post column entitled "Our Forgotten Panic":

I'm not sure if panic is quite the right word, but it is close enough. Anthrax played a role in my decision to support the Bush administration's desire to take out Saddam Hussein. I linked him to anthrax, which I linked to Sept. 11. I was not going to stand by and simply wait for another attack -- more attacks. I was going to go to the source, Hussein, and get him before he could get us. As time went on, I became more and more questioning, but I had a hard time backing down from my initial whoop and holler for war.

Cohen -- in a March 18, 2008 Slate article in which he explains why he wrongfully supported the attack on Iraq -- disclosed this:

Anthrax. Remember anthrax? It seems no one does anymore -- at least it's never mentioned. But right after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, letters laced with anthrax were received at the New York Post and Tom Brokaw's office at NBC. . . . There was ample reason to be afraid.

The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.

For this and other reasons, the anthrax letters appeared linked to the awful events of Sept. 11. It all seemed one and the same. Already, my impulse had been to strike back, an overwhelming urge that had, in fact, taken me by surprise on Sept. 11 itself when the first of the Twin Towers had collapsed. . . .

In the following days, as the horror started to be airbrushed -- no more bodies plummeting to the sidewalk -- the anthrax letters started to come, some to people I knew. And I thought, No, I'm not going to sit here passively and wait for it to happen. I wanted to go to "them," whoever "they" were, grab them by the neck, and get them before they could get us. One of "them" was Saddam Hussein. He had messed around with anthrax . . . He was a nasty little fascist, and he needed to be dealt with.

That, more or less, is how I made my decision to support the war in Iraq.

Cohen's mental process that led him to link anthrax to Iraq and then to support an attack on Iraq, warped as it is, was extremely common. Having heard ABC News in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack flamboyantly and repeatedly link Saddam to the anthrax attacks, followed by George Bush's making the same linkage (albeit more subtly) in his January, 2002 State of the Union speech, much of the public had implanted into their minds that Saddam Hussein was not just evil, but a severe threat to the U.S., likely the primary culprit behind the anthrax attacks. All along, though, the anthrax came from a U.S. Government/Army research lab.

Critically, ABC News never retracted its story (they merely noted, as they had done from the start, that the White House denied the reports). And thus, the linkage between Saddam and the anthrax attacks -- every bit as false as the linkage between Saddam and the 9/11 attacks -- persisted.

We now know -- we knew even before news of Ivins' suicide last night, and know especially in light of it -- that the anthrax attacks didn't come from Iraq or any foreign government at all. It came from our own Government's scientist, from the top Army bioweapons research laboratory. More significantly, the false reports linking anthrax to Iraq also came from the U.S. Government -- from people with some type of significant links to the same facility responsible for the attacks themselves.

Surely the question of who generated those false Iraq-anthrax reports is one of the most significant and explosive stories of the last decade. The motive to fabricate reports of bentonite and a link to Saddam is glaring. Those fabrications played some significant role -- I'd argue a very major role -- in propagandizing the American public to perceive of Saddam as a threat, and further, propagandized the public to believe that our country was sufficiently threatened by foreign elements that a whole series of radical policies that the neoconservatives both within and outside of the Bush administration wanted to pursue -- including an attack an Iraq and a whole array of assaults on our basic constitutional framework -- were justified and even necessary in order to survive.

ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and -- as importantly -- to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They're allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.

They're not protecting "sources." The people who fed them the bentonite story aren't "sources." They're fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood. But by protecting the wrongdoers, ABC News has made itself complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the public, rather than a news organization uncovering such frauds. That is why this is one of the most extreme journalistic scandals that exists, and it deserves a lot more debate and attention than it has received thus far.

UPDATE: One other fact to note here is how bizarrely inept the effort by the Bush DOJ to find the real attacker has been. Extremely suspicious behavior from Ivins -- including his having found and completely cleaned anthrax traces on a co-worker's desk at the Ft. Detrick lab without telling anyone that he did so and then offering extremely strange explanations for why -- was publicly reported as early as 2004 by The LA Times (Ivins "detected an apparent anthrax leak in December 2001, at the height of the anthrax mailings investigation, but did not report it. Ivins considered the problem solved when he cleaned the affected office with bleach").

In October 2004, USA Today reported that Ivins was involved in another similar incident, in April of 2002, when Ivins performed unauthorized tests to detect the origins of more anthrax residue found at Ft. Detrick. Yet rather than having that repeated, strange behavior lead the FBI to discover that he was involved in the attacks, there was a very public effort -- as Atrios notes here -- to blame the attacks on Iraq and then, ultimately, to blame Stephen Hatfill. Amazingly, as Atrios notes here, very few people other than "a few crazy bloggers are even interested" in finding out what happened here and why -- at least to demand that ABC News report the vital information that it already has that will shed very significant light on much of this.

UPDATE II: Ivins' local paper, Frederick News in Maryland, has printed several Letters to the Editor written by Ivins over the years. Though the underlying ideology is a bit difficult to discern, he seems clearly driven by a belief in the need for Christian doctrine to govern our laws and political institutions, with a particular interest in Catholic dogma. He wrote things like this:

Today we frequently admonish people who oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide or capital punishment to keep their religious, moral, and philosophical beliefs to themselves.

Before dispensing such admonishments in the future, perhaps we should gratefully consider some of our country's most courageous, historical figures who refused to do so.

And then there's this rather cryptic message, published in 2006:

Rabbi Morris Kosman is entirely correct in summarily rejecting the demands of the Frederick Imam for a "dialogue."

By blood and faith, Jews are God's chosen, and have no need for "dialogue" with any gentile. End of "dialogue."

It should be noted that the lawyer who had been representing Ivins in connection with the anthrax investigation categorically maintains Ivins' innocence and attributes his suicide to "the relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo."

On a note related to the main topic of the post, macgupta in comments notes the numerous prominent people in addition to those mentioned here -- including The Wall St. Jorunal Editors and former CIA Director James Woosely -- who insisted rather emphatically from the beginning of the anthrax attacks that Saddam was likely to blame. Indeed, the WSJ Editorial Page -- along with others on the Right such as Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report and Fox News -- continued even into 2007 to insist that the FBI was erring by focusing on domestic suspects rather than Middle Easterners.

The Nation's Michael Massing noted at the time (in November, 2001) that as a direct result of the anthrax attacks, and the numerous claims insinuating that Iraq was behind them, "the political and journalistic establishment suddenly seems united in wanting to attack Iraq." There has long been an intense desire on the neoconservative Right to falsely link anthrax to Saddam specifically and Muslims generally. ABC News was, and (as a result of its inexcusable silence) continues to be, their best friend.

UPDATE III: See this important point from Atrios about Richard Cohen's admission that he was told before the anthrax attacks happened by a "high government official" to take cipro. Atrios writes: "now that we know that the US gov't believes that anthrax came from the inside, shouldn't Cohen be a wee bit curious about what this warning was based on?"

That applies to much of the Beltway class, including many well-connected journalists, who were quietly popping cipro back then because, like Cohen, they heard from Government sources that they should. Leave aside the ethical questions about the fact that these journalists kept those warnings to themselves. Wouldn't the most basic journalistic instincts lead them now -- in light of the claims by our Government that the attacks came from a Government scientist -- to wonder why and how their Government sources were warning about an anthrax attack? Then again, the most basic journalistic instincts would have led ABC News to reveal who concocted and fed them the false "Saddam/anthrax" reports in the first place, and yet we still are forced to guess at those questions because ABC News continues to cover up the identity of the perpetrators.

UPDATE IV: John McCain, on the David Letterman Show, October 18, 2001 (days before ABC News first broadcast their bentonite report):

LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?

MCCAIN: I think we're doing fine . . . I think we'll do fine. The second phase -- if I could just make one, very quickly -- the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may -- and I emphasize may -- have come from Iraq.

LETTERMAN: Oh is that right?

MCCAIN: If that should be the case, that's when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.

ThinkProgress has the video. Someone ought to ask McCain what "indication" he was referencing that the anthrax "may have come from Iraq."

After all, three days later, McCain and Joe Lieberman went on Meet the Press (on October 21, 2001) and both strongly suggested that we would have to attack Iraq. Lieberman said that the anthrax was so complex and potent that "there's either a significant amount of money behind this, or this is state-sponsored, or this is stuff that was stolen from the former Soviet program."

As I said, it is not possible to overstate the importance of anthrax in putting the country into the state of fear that led to the attack on Iraq and so many of the other abuses of the Bush era. There are few news stories more significant, if there are any, than unveiling who the culprits were behind this deliberate propaganda. The fact that the current GOP presidential nominee claimed back then on national television to have some "indication" linking Saddam to the anthrax attacks makes it a bigger story still.

UPDATE V: I tried to be careful here to avoid accepting as True the matter of Ivins' guilt. Very early on in the article, I framed the analysis this way: "If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab," and I then noted in Update II that Ivins' lawyer vehemently maintains his innocence. My whole point here is that the U.S. Government now claims the anthrax attacks came from a Government scientist at a U.S. Army lab, and my conclusions follow from that premise, accepted as true only for purposes of this analysis.

It's worth underscoring that it is far from clear that Ivins had anything to do with the anthrax attacks, and someone in comments claiming (anonymously though credibly) that he knew Ivins personally asserts that Ivins was innocent and makes the case as to why the Government's accusations are suspect. As I see it, the more doubt there is about who was responsible for the anthrax attacks, the greater is the need for ABC News to reveal who fabricated their reports linking the attacks to Iraq.

UPDATE VI: I'll be on Rachel Maddow's radio show tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST to discuss this story. Local listings and live audio feed are here.

Numerous people have advised me in comments and via email that ABC News is deleting any mention of my piece today in the comment section to their article on the Ivins suicide (though many such comments now seem to be posted there). Last year, ABC was in full denial mode when responding to the stories I wrote about this issue. The key here, I think, will be to try to devise the right strategy to induce the right Congressional Committee to hold hearings on the false ABC News stories and the anthrax issue generally. I hope to have more details on that effort shortly.

-- Glenn Greenwald

Frankly I think this is scarier than the Faux Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq Scam. I believe that it is time for Brian Ross, of ABC, and John McCain, U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential presumptive nominee, to fess-up as to who the Government Officials were that gave them the information in October 2001 that the Anthrax was from Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

I also believe it is time for Richard Cohen to fess-up as to who the High Government Official was who told him before the Anthrax attacks to start popping Cipro.

Inquiring minds want to know. The Republic needs to know.