Sunday, September 21, 2008


In an NYT op-ed entitled "Art of Darkness" this weekend, Jonathan Lethem laments the fact that no one has been held accountable for the events of the past few years and that it's a pattern that's now being repeated in the financial sector.
If, like me, you’d hoped, distantly, vaguely, probably idiotically, that the 2008 presidential contest might be a referendum on truths documented since the previous presidential election, guess again. That our Iraqi invasion was founded on opportunistic lies, that it was hungered for by its planners in advance of the enabling excuse of 9/11, is a well-delineated blot on American history. But for those of us interested in a conversation about accountability it was always declared to be too soon — we remained unsure of the evidence, or too traumatized to risk fraying the national morale — until the moment when it was abruptly too late, when it became old news.

Yet I suspect it is still the news. While both candidates run on the premise that Washington Is Broken, I’m disinclined to disagree, only to add: our good faith with ourselves is broken, too, a cost of silencing or at best mumbling the most crucial truths. Among these, pre-eminently, is the fact that torture evaporates our every rational claim to justice, and will likely be the signature national crime of our generation — a matter in which we are, by the very definition of democracy, complicit.
Reading this Salon article by Glenn Greenwald, I'd have to say we're seeing Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine in action all over again. A quick visit to her site reveals she feels the same way: It currently showcases a series of articles around the theme of "Disaster Capitalism in Action," all of which discuss the unfloding government bailout of the financial services sector. 

A friend, mapkid, also points out this article by Senator Bernie Sanders. He calls for some accountability, too: 
[I]n addition to protecting the average American from being saddled with the cost, any serious proposal has to include reforms so that we end the type of behavior that led to this crisis in the first place. Much of this activity can be traced to specific legislation that broke down regulatory safety walls in the financial sector and allowed banks and others to engage in new types of risky transactions that are at the heart of this crisis. That deregulation needs to be repealed. Wall Street has shown it cannot be trusted to police itself. We need to reinstate a strong regulatory system that protects our economy.

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