Those are the four words used by Phil Angelides, chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, describing what facets of the financial industry he’ll be investigating.

Angelides is charged by Congress with answering two big questions for American taxpayers outraged by the excesses of Wall Street bankers: what caused the meltdown of our financial sector on 9/15/2009, and how exactly did it come to be that the citizens of the United States ended up footing the bill for the banks’ comeuppance?

The target of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 may have been symbolically financial, destroying the entire World Trade Center complex and damaging several nearby banking buildings. But the actual destruction of the American economy and financial markets took place 9/15, when, saddled by bad debt, bad bets and sketchy practices, the markets collapsed under their own weight, taking the American economy with them.

This weekend, venerable New York Times columnist Frank Rich argued that while the nation is focusing on stopping terrorism of the sort that brought down the buildings housing financial markets, we are wide open – still – to the financial weapons that brought our economy to its knees a little over a year ago.

“What we don’t know will hurt us, and quite possibly on a more devastating scale than any Qaeda attack. Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin. Without that reckoning, there will be no public clamor for serious reform of a financial system that was as cunningly breached as airline security at the Amsterdam airport. And, without reform, another massive attack on our economic security is guaranteed.”

It gets worse. As Americans are asking themselves how long they can make it on unemployment checks, executives at Goldman Sachs are preparing for an average $585 K bonus payout, funded by tax dollars. Other banking big wigs are wondering whether there bonuses will be six, seven or eight figures.

But it’s not going to end unless we demand it. The federal government is set to form an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency to put, at long last, the interests of consumers ahead of bankers. And that scares the “too big to fail” bankers to death. The revolving door between banks and government allowed banks to operate unchecked, creating the conditions that led to 9/15, and now allowing the same banks to profit at our expense, while raising our rates.

Those days are over – if we fight for it. Big Business is, predictably, fighting the agency’s creation tooth and nail. Even in our own backyard, state legislation to protect consumers from greedddy banks and businesses has been stalled by Big Business ,funded lawmakers like Andy Dillon, making the fight for our rights, and for the economic future of our nation, even more pressing.

Take action today by signing our petition of support. We can’t afford another bailout, and we shouldn’t have to, either.