Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Financial War Crimes Tribunal

These days, even when our President tries his best to put a smiley face on the Nation’s financial distress, we dig the hole a bit deeper. The stock market, seemingly a completely dysfunctional and non-rational system at best, takes a nose dive whenever President Obama opens his mouth.
Having been born during the depths of Global Depression I (The Great Depression) I am now left wondering whether this Second Great Depression—the one they said couldn’t occur any more-- will outlast me, or perhaps more to the point, whether we will outlast our money.
I still remember my Scottish grandparents literally running out of money. There of course was no Social Security system in the late 1940s, when they ran out of money. Family members were expected to care for their elders. That is still the case today, except that our elders are expected at least to pay for part if not all of their expenses.
I am left with this question, though. Do the perps (bankers, economists, and other financial detritus) who created the bubbles that have now all burst have any understanding of the true magnitude of their misdeeds? “Mistakes were made”, that plaintive cry of the Bushies, is simply not good enough. There really needs to be an accounting. Much as people are beginning to demand an accounting of Bush anti-democratic and unconstitutional mismanagement of our government during a time of crisis, we need some kind of Truth Commission, perhaps a Global one, since we are not the only nation affected, nor are our Perps, the only ones who committed these vast crimes against humanity.
We need something like the War Crimes Tribunal after WW II, this one concerned with global financial miscreants who have destroyed lives and perhaps even whole nations. We need an accounting of “who did what to whom” and who allowed these vast misdeeds to be perpetrated. We kept repeating over and over again that the Great Depression could never again occur because of the safeguards built in after that cataclysmic event. But then we slowly but surely eliminated the safeguards, because economists kept assuring everyone that private sector money managers the world over would never be stupid enough, or greedy enough to repeat the mistakes of the past.
But with the safeguards eliminated, they did precisely that. That they were both stupid and greedy now goes without saying. But this needs saying—such people will always be both stupid and greedy. ALWAYS.
Now they need to be held to account.
We need a Commission that will speak Truth to Power.
It is Time.
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