© The Bennington Vale Evening Transcript
An Iranian court has found four individuals guilty for their parts in a banking scandal
that caused serious complications for the government and led to the ouster of several executives. Officials have sentenced those responsible to death. Directors at an Iranian investment company used forged documents to embezzle $2.6 billion in secured loans to purchase state-owned enterprises in the fraudulent scheme.
The incident was discovered in 2011, and over 39 people were identified as being involved. "According to the sentence that was issued, four of the accused in this case were sentenced to death," a judiciary spokesman told state media. News of the executions, however localized, managed to draw the attention of politicians in the United States, sparking a polarizing debate between Democrats and Republicans after a surprising number of struggling, middle class taxpayers said the bold move had given them "newfound respect" for Iran.
Republicans immediately denounced the handling of the situation by Iranian officials. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney called the executions "appalling." Romney is currently touring the Middle East to prove his foreign policy chops to leaders abroad, and believes this issue warrants a response from the global community.
"This hostile action by Iran reveals so many problems in that country," Romney told reporters during his visit to Israel Monday. "Human rights violations, for one thing. But of all the possible targets for their hate and abuse, bankers? Bankers form the axis on which this planet spins. Bankers are among the purest and noblest people in any profession, in any country. If Iranian investigators had bothered to look into the situation, they probably would've discovered it was an unintentional blunder. Like what happened with JPMorgan, HSBC, LIBOR, AIG and so many others. This is precisely why it's so important for the United States to repeal the evil Dodd-Frank Act."
Romney also said that "if there was ever a reason to consider a preemptive military strike against Iran, this is it. Any American citizen who thinks Iran did right in this..this prelude to genocide should be tried for treason."
Other prominent U.S. figures criticized Romney for being too loose with his words, a problem also pointed out recently by members of the British press and government.
"Let's just think this over," mused Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). "Iran may be a little batty, but it's a country just like ours, right? And like the U.S., Iran's going through a tough slog economically. Some say it was just a blunder, that execution was too extreme; I don't know how I feel about that. Wouldn't you say that, oh I don't know, failing to accurately price the risk associated with crappy home loans qualifies as a little blunder? And that little oopsie led to a liquidity shortfall that bankrupted America."
Vice President Joe Biden also approached the news with an open mind, reminding his peers that "it only takes one snowball to cause an avalanche. Hell, it only took one sperm to create Dick Cheney, even though hundreds of machines are required to keep him alive. Point is, Iran's onto something, and I don't want to rush to judgment on this."
"I agree with them both," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The way I interpret it, it's textbook treason. A small group of individuals acted out of self interest and ruined the economy. Just like what happened here a couple of years ago with Wall Street executives. Intentionally sabotaging the ability of a country to operate, to support its citizens and to defend itself is treason. Iran punished its malefactors properly. What did we do? We made sure the traitors got billions in bonuses, and we pulled that money right out of the wallets of middle-class taxpayers. They're never going to see that cash again. And then we fed them some crap about owning the banks but having no power over them. Crap. I'm sorry. Please pardon my language, I just had lunch with Rahm Emanuel."
Holder added, "You know, back in the days of Jefferson, treason was punishable by firing squad on the White House lawn. I say there's a precedent. Honestly, it's the only reason I haven't pushed back as hard on all this OpenCarry stuff. When the time comes, we're going to need as many marksmen as possible. There are a lot of bankers in this country. Really, bullets are a hell of a lot cheaper than TARP. We had Geithner crunch the numbers."
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn't share the same sense of enthusiasm.
"I think we're opening a can of worms if we seriously entertain the idea of making Iran's 'frontier justice' an international precedent for penalizing fraud, whatever the scope," he cautioned. "Biden actually wants to use the same wording -- all that stuff about entitled bourgeois children infiltrating fringe groups to bypass regulation, then ruining the national economy. It makes me nervous. And would that even apply in this situation? Besides, our government's far too big and overly regulated to allow a bunch of wealthy, mollycoddled elitists to take over the country and its banks."