As you know, I was out all day today. It was nothing earth-shattering. Just a long list of mundane tasks that needed to get done. Accordingly, I had a lot of time to think. Think about trust. Honesty. Responsibility. The present. The future. All of this stuff swirling around in my mind for hours. I had an idea of what I wanted to write tonight but I didn't know if I could pull it off.
I guess what got me started was MFing Global. OK, so I lost 3G. I can handle it. But do you know that one of your fellow Turdites lost thousands of dollars and 5000 ounces of physical silver? That's incredibly disturbing. MFing Global clients were assured that their funds were held "separately". They were assured by the CME that all would be well. Clients trusted them and now that trust is gone. Soon, Bank of America will declare bankruptcy due to the untenable book of derivatives they inherited when they purchased Merrill Lynch. In broad daylight, BoA recently transferred the default risk of these derivatives from their ML subsidiary and onto their retail bank subsidiary. Now, when BoA ultimately files for Chapetr 11, the losses will be borne by their regular, retail bank customers. "Don't worry", they say. "The accounts are FDIC insured", they proclaim. Really? Really. And that makes it OK? Steal regular folks savings accounts to pay off the counter-parties of some long ago CDS deal? How can this happen and no one even bats an eye? I guess it's just business as usual these days.
How did we get to this point? How could a country that was built upon personal responsibility and self-reliance degenerate so rapidly into a narcissistic cesspool of corporate and individual sociopaths? Did the descent begin with Watergate? Was it Iran/Contra and the Gordon Gekko 80s? Could it have been "read my lips, no new taxes"? How about "Listen to me. I did not have sexual relations with that woman"? Maybe it was "I've got to violate the free market to save the free market"? Enron. Worldcom. Ceaseless wars. All of this has combined to push this country to the brink of dissolution and anarchy.
At any rate, this was what I wanted to write and then I found that it had already been written. It was also written much better than I could have ever done. So, please humor me now and take a few minutes to read this column from Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform.
At the risk of redundancy, below is the final paragraph. This reads like something I could have written myself.
"When I consider all that is wrong in our society, I become despondent, angry and despairing for the future of our country. It seems that everyone in positions of power across the spectrum of education, religion, finance, and politics are psychopaths, bent upon self-destruction no matter the cost to society or unborn generations. Our nation has degenerated into an egocentric, self-loathing, vain, shallow excuse for a civilization. There is anger flaring up, but it is just as likely to be misdirected and misinformed. The lack of critical thinking skills and the overwhelming effects of media propaganda has so degraded the intelligence of the populace that when the system breaks down in the next few years, the masses will clamor for a savior rather than seeking truthful answers and willingly making the sacrifices required to get our nation back on track. This country will get what it deserves – a despotic ruler and a brutish civilization governed on the basest of principles. This is what happens when a society rewards lying and greed over honesty and compassion. There are consequences to actions and inactions alike. We’ve made our choice."
The optimist in me wants to hope that there is still time, that we can correct our course. The realist in me knows that there can be no turning back. The die has been cast.