Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Joe Nocera (NYT): Fannie and Freddie's Expensive Scam

Joe Nocera of the NYT exposes the scam conducted by Fanny and Freddie whose officers were warned off sub prime loans in good time but chose to continue buying them since they assumed correctly that they would be bailed out if they failed, and since CEO's multi million dollar salaries were unaffected if not enlarged. Repeatedly in public testimony they cynically used the excuse of their alleged mission to maintain low cost housing loans as a cover for their reckless malfeasance.

Are they really too big to fail or is it simply a case (surprise surprise) of the Bush administration protecting Wall St and hedge funds and other investors?


New York Times
August 23, 2008
Talking Business
A Mission Goes Off Course
Whenever the mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, find themselves in a tough spot — and boy, are they in a tough spot now! — they always seem to find a way to blame their problems on “the mission.” “We exist to expand affordable housing,” says Fannie Mae on its Web site, and although it also lists its other mission — providing liquidity for the American housing market — it is the former that has long been the companies’ trump card.

That mission of creating affordable housing is the reason that Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, could testify, year after year, that Fannie and Freddie had become so large, and took so much risk, that they could one day damage the nation’s financial system — only to be utterly ignored by the same members of Congress who otherwise hung on his every word.

The mission is why Representative Barney Frank, the powerful, and usually clear-eyed, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, will defend Fannie and Freddie even now, when their misdeeds are so clear. The mission is why the two companies were able to run roughshod over their regulator for years, and why the Bush administration was unable to rein them in, even after an accounting scandal.

Read more:


Monday, August 04, 2008

George Washington's Blog: Anomalies in Anthrax Suicide Story

My take on the anthrax attacks is that they were perpetrated by the same terrorists who planned and executed the 9/11 attacks which were planned to be coordinated with the Patriot Act (not to mention the invasion of Iraq). The two Senators who received the deadly anthrax letters, Tom Daschle, Senate Majority Leader, and Pat Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had key roles in finally allowing the Patriot Act to pass in the form Cheney wanted.

If there were anything resembling accountability in this country, it would have been a scandal that there was no investigation for almost 7 years after the relevant strain of anthrax was linked to Ft Detrick, MD. .

Interesting that I found some relevant information regarding the Bruce Edwards Ivins suicide/anthrax attacks on 911blogger.com. The coverup is so clear that even NPR quoted at least two people who claimed that there was no way that Ivins was guilty of the attacks. Also, doesn't the news that Ivins was suicidal and homicidal seem a bit strange in a scientist in such a responsible position? How did the US get the information? What evidence is there that such stories are true?

Government Tries to Bury Anthrax Story
by George Washington's Blog


The government is trying to bury the 2001 anthrax attack scandal (the anthrax came from a U.S. military base) by claiming that one of the key suspects - Bruce E. Ivins - was a "lone nut" who committed suicide. Case closed.
There are just a couple of loose ends:
Ivins "was actually part of a team that helped the government investigate the anthrax attacks after Sept. 11"
"The attacks were not entirely unexpected", according to a journalist, who was urged soon after 9/11 to take cipro by a high-level government official (confirmation that government employees started taking Cipro before the Anthrax attacks here). As Michael Fury put it, "So even if Ivins was involved, how would "a high government official" know that a rogue bioweapons scientist was going to "go postal" with anthrax if that "high government official" was not himself involved?" (and see this comment by Atrios)
Why did the anthrax letters attempt to link 9/11 and the anthrax attack and pretend to be from radical Muslims and be anti-America and anti-Israel, if they really came from a disgruntled American?
Why did the U.S. government - including, apparently, the people responsible for sending the anthrax letters - falsely claim that the materials in the anthrax prove that it was manufactured in Iraq? Would a disgruntled "lone nut" be motivated to concoct a false justification for invading Iraq?

Read more: