In Europe as in America they are looking at the Financial Powers, especially the ones overlooked here.
One group, however, has so far escaped the grip of the widening affair, although it's embroiled just as deeply. That group is the major credit rating
agencies -- the same ones which are now causing Europe to shudder, having downgraded their ratings for Greece, Spain and Portugal.
They're the éminences grises of Wall Street, phantoms and puppet masters. They wield enormous power over the fate of loans, deals, companies and
even countries. Yet rarely has anyone ever really questioned their actions -- let alone held them accountable.
Their role, however, is far from unblemished. In the US, the rating agencies' behavior is now finally being called into question, albeit slowly. New
York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman accuses them of "a deeply corrupt system." US Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat,
sees them as the main culprits in the credit crisis: "If any single event can be identified as the immediate trigger of the 2008 financial crisis, my
vote would be for the mass downgrades starting in July 2007," he says. "Those mass downgrades hit the markets like a hammer."
Despite this dubious track record, the agencies still carry a carte blanche: If they award their highest seal of approval -- an AAA rating -- it means
it's safe for investors. Unfortunately, such a rating can also be a trap. An AAA rating snared the Goldman clients -- among them the German bank IKB
-- who invested in "Abacus 2007-AC1."
Yet a reform of the system is not in sight. The Democrats' current proposals to further regulate the US financial industry contain little about the
rating agencies, apart from a tepid appeal to "strengthen" their regulation.
Some critics are now trying a different approach. A few institutional investors -- among them the state of Ohio -- are suing the agencies for their
role in the financial crisis. On Monday, a Manhattan court denied Moody's and S&P's joint motion to dismiss one of those class-action lawsuits.
Two days later, S&P's hammer fell on Spain.
It appears another black mark against the US has risen its foul head. As we try and crush Europe and become its master we are caught out. As country
after country in the EU falls to our credit scams the populace learn who is really to blame. Already too many believe that the US caused 9/11. What
nefarious plan do we have next in line to crush these upstarts and put them in their place? Will our German ally/puppet stay on board and join US in
drafting the young men to die in the Iran meat grinder to come? In the darkness that grows, only the Shadow knows.