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What links bank bailouts to pepper spray? It’s the lack of accountability.

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If only the transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1% could be captured so clearly on a camera-phone as a policeman using pepper spray on an unarmed, peaceful protester there would have been no need for the demonstrations.

Josh Marshall asks if the violence at the demonstrations threatens to overwhelm the message:

I’ve wondered about this for a week or two. And I haven’t known quite what to make of it or how to express it. It didn’t start with this pepper spray incident at UC Davis. But that sort of crystallized it further in my mind: the core message about economic inequality is being overwhelmed by a distinct story about (depending on your perspective) street violence and police brutality or excessive militarization of crowd control.
There is however a very important link between the banker bailouts and the images of police brutality: The lack of accountability.

What was so galling about the banker bailouts was the fact that the people who created the problem have got off without any consequences at all. For over a decade they got rich through what the establishment assured us was 'wealth creation' but events have since proven to be purely parasitic speculation. When their bets paid off they pocketed the profits and when they went sour they gave the rest of us a choice between covering their losses and seeing the economy crash taking our pensions with it.

The root cause of the financial crisis was a lack of accountability. Banks were not accountable for the quality of the loans they originated. Insurers were not accountable for the fact that they could not possibly meet the obligations they had underwritten as Credit Default Swaps. Credit Rating Agencies were not accountable for the accuracy of the ratings they published. Fraud and larceny were perpetrated on an epic scale but nobody has been held accountable.

The accountability gap is much clearer when a cop pepper sprays an unarmed protester but no charges have been brought (against the police that is) in any of the cases of what are very clearly an aggravated assault. A regular citizen who attacked a police officer with pepper spray would be facing a likely prison sentence. So why have none of the officers been charged with assault?
(Link to TPM.)

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