Is there a single doubt left in your mind?

Are you still a believer in Rufus T. Firefly Jamie Dimon as the world’s smartest banker?

Is there a scintilla of wonder left in your mind that the giant banks are legitimate?

Have you come around to understanding — finally — what some of us have long understood about banks?

Are you willing to accept the truth about these corporate behemoths — that they are a horrific combination of economically dangerous, criminally inept, led by pathologically lying CEOs?

Do you harbor any doubts that the giant banks are anything less than ruthlessly efficient criminal enterprises?

Can you — finally — admit that our bank-created financial crisis of 2008-09 has led us to where we are today?

Do you understand the only options presented as a result of that — either corporate bankruptcy and nationalization or a completely artificial Fed driven recovery? (The third option was a Japan-like multi decade recession). Do you realize that the feeble recovery, the slow, deleveraging-driven process of gradual economic healing was the result of how our policy makers chose?

Do you recognize that the world of banking is divided into two camps?

On one side, there are those who understand that the giant banks must be broken up. They are dismayed at the large banks  under-capitalization, over-leverage and opacity. These folks have figured out that these banks are not only too big to fail, but are so large that they are too big to succeed, and that the best route is to let insolvent banks fail. They are unhappy that our finance sector is a trillion dollar black box. They know that the majority of giant banks’ profits come from bailouts, and subsidies. This group is dismayed at the corruption of our political system by financiers. They understands huge banks are anti-competitive, a blaspheme against capitalism. They are shocked about  corruption of even the most fundamental measures of interest rates such as LIBOR. They are stunned that bankers have overturned a bedrock, fundamental principle of our society — the rule of law rule — with the threat of disrupting the world’s economy if prosecuted for their crimes.

On the other side lay the bank apologists, corrupted politicians, and crony capitalists. They advocate the Big Lie of the financial crisis. They choose to ignore the facts and data that disprove their narrative. They continue to push the lies that the bailouts were a good investment. (They weren’t). They work against the Bipartisan consensus that the giant banks should be broken up. They ignore the many former bank CEOs who call for the break up of “Too Big to Fail” banks. They mandated that GSEs were banned from Lobbying, but they made sure that the big banks retained their influence peddling and hold on Washington DC.

They no longer represent the voters of their districts, but instead are the elected representatives of Bankistan.

And unless we do something — and soon — they will vanquish America.


Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Corporate Management, Credit, Crony Capitalists, Legal, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

54 Responses to “Bankistan Vanquishes America”

  1. stonedwino says:

    Bravo! The total expose. Short & sweet…

  2. PeterR says:


    The message should even reach the hinterlands of the distant province of Greenspanistan!

  3. george lomost says:

    If we are to talk about cynicism why stop at this?

    Behavior tends to follow what is rewarded:
    - the bigger the bank the higher the compensation of its management team.
    - if these banks are so dangerous why have “investors” bid up their prices so high?

    Old-timers used to call this kind of stuff “the contradictions of capitalism.”

  4. Herman Frank says:

    Funny that your quote of the day could be construed as “”A banker is a liar standing beside his balance sheet.”

    I agree with your fury, but please remember that Al Capone wasn’t caught on anything else than tax evasion. You can rant, scream and shout at “the honorable gentlemen misfits”, but you’ll have to run the numbers to catch them. And the numbers will have to be clean and to the point to make the action just. It’s the numbers which will have to support the case to take the action.
    Now …. can we send for an independent auditor from the outer reaches of our galaxy??

    Oh, and by the way, if JPM did all the things and some more what HSBC and their other foreign nephews did, apply the same 100 lashes. You cannot have one set of laws with totally different outcomes.
    Or have we submitted to the defeatist view of “there’s a different law for everyone?”

    The trust in our institutions is rapidly waning – which makes for a cynical, depressed and defeatist mood.

  5. alexd says:

    Incentivise their breakups. It wcould be financial incentive playing on their greed or it could be a little more extreme as the considered use of military drones upon corporate board meetings. Those 50 ton weights dropping from the sky as in the Terry Gilliams animations in the old Monty Python programs would work too. Money and death often seem to motivate specific behaviors. After all water rolls downhill. Honesty if not inherent can be imposed via environment.

  6. whskyjack says:

    So what now?

  7. BennyProfane says:

    You’re going to have to wait at least three years for any sort of change, so, invest accordingly. Obama ain’t about to do squat.

  8. Robert M says:

    When Bankistan destroys your investment business I suggest you become an evangelical preacher. I suggest you watch The Apostle.

  9. jnkowens says:

    Yes indeed! And now little Timmy Bankster gonna write a book to tell us all what a great and necessary service he provided, and how it all worked out so well for the peeps.

  10. Toktora says:


    I think I heard similar arguments during the Occupy movement.

    In all seriousness, thanks for your continued coverage of TBTF banks, if only we could buy some politicians ourselves to do something about this problem.

  11. bobnoxy says:

    Isn’t this our own fault as citizens and voters? Everyone knows our politicians are corrupt and bought off by the bankers and other assorted lobbyists. Congress had a 10% approval rating before the last election.

    And we voted most of them right back in again! Until we hold anyone accountable, it’s on us.

  12. Boffin says:

    Bravo! Bravo! Nicely said.

  13. Iwasframed says:

    Make em mark assets to market and maintain proper reserves or you’re done. Far from sinking the markets the next bull run might actually be based on something real.

    Other things to consider:
    Return to pre-Clinton bank regulation
    Limit CEO pay (was it Sweden who just did that)
    No insider trading by Congress
    Proper oversight of derivitives sp?
    Charge progressive fees on high frequency computer bids
    In an ideal world bank regulators would give up their right to return to banking following office

  14. gloeschi says:

    “I discovered a glitch”

    - Greenie

  15. old dog says:

    Mercy me! For a second there I thought I had tuned in to ZeroHedge by accident!

  16. lotusblue says:

    Bankistan,where all the citizens are lotus eaters.
    Alittle story-A Citi employee negociates with congressional aids for new tax law all the while knowing the Highway he’s creating to drive thier trucks of money through.

    Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows……..”

    Saddly,I don’t see any firebrand that may divide or reel in the Bankistan heads of State.

    Liz Warren?

  17. AHodge says:

    you go guy! righteous
    the committee actually did a good job overall and really hit accounting for the first time.

    josh everybody does adds a lot
    and i am loving that the smooth stooges like rogin cohen and Sally Crawchuk are really statrting to get heat and back talk on TV

    the main thing i fear now
    other than bankistan the tenacious still vanquishing america
    is a short attention span on the righteous side

  18. Expat says:

    take everyone working in FIRE and send them to Iraq and Afghanistan. If they are so frickin’ smart and essential to the economy, then we should expect those two former nations and present hellholes to be in the OECD top-twenty within ten years. And if they are just liars, psychopaths, parasites, and criminals, then they will be be dealt appropriately by Al Qeada, freedom fighters, US troops, Pakistani border guards, and the elements.

  19. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    Too bad there’s no one like Teddy Roosevelt in American politics today.

  20. SkepticalOx says:

    “Isn’t this our own fault as citizens and voters? Everyone knows our politicians are corrupt and bought off by the bankers and other assorted lobbyists. Congress had a 10% approval rating before the last election.

    And we voted most of them right back in again! Until we hold anyone accountable, it’s on us.

    Congress’s overall approval rating may have been that, but you’re missing a part of the big picture *wink wink for reference to this blog’s name*. In each individual district, the approval ratings for people’s own congressman/woman are quite high. People approve of their own congresspeople that they vote in, but not of other districts’.

  21. BennyProfane says:


    “Too bad there’s no one like Teddy Roosevelt in American politics today.”

    You know, that might be what we need, if history is any kind of teacher. The NYT is running this: this week in the Magazine, and, I’m afraid I was a commenter who got all pissy about American royalty and all that. But, one commenter came up with a good one (too lazy to search for it): That, basically, the only politicians who have succeeded against the bankers were the men who were also wealthy and went to the same schools, and could not be intimidated by them. Hell, they probably partied together way back when. Turned me 180 thinking about this. May be our only hope. A wealthy reformer from the upper class.

  22. 873450 says:

    Government pretending bailouts are investments enables Wall Street to claim socialism for plutocrats is capitalism.

    POTUS pretending systemic financial crimes are mistakes enables government to pretend Wall Street capture is democracy.

    Where’s RICO ?

  23. b_thunder says:

    Dimon: evil genius is still a genius. Would have loved to see him follow Paulson and Rubin into the Treasury… it’s been rumored that he was offered the job…

    JPM: untouchable among the untouchables by virtue of being Fed’s “favorite” institution for doign Fed’s “dirty work” like take-under of BSC, interest rate trading/manipulation, commodity price manipulations, etc. If you bust them, the system will truly crumble.

    Big Banks: “…unless we do something — and soon — they will vanquish America.” If you’ve benefited from this market, if your net worth is near 2007 level, then you absolutely MUST thank the big banks. The whole post-crash bailout and asset appreciation strategy by the Fed, the Treasury and the other Central banks is of, for, and by the Big Banks. The bonuses, the campaign donations, the manhattan real estate bids, the cocaine dealer and stripper incomes keep rolling in… Greed is back and, for lack of the better word, greed is good. The market’s at all time highs, banks are paying dividends… are you not entertained? Are You Not Entertained???

    Short of another “S&P 666″ crash the banks will be what they are, and will only grow thanks to the Fed’s subsidies. And as long as Fed exists, such crash won’t be allowed to happen.

  24. krice2001 says:

    @ SkepticalOx
    You anwered “bobnoxy” on “why we keep voting them back in” pretty well but missed one key point in the ‘Big Picture’. Highly effective “gerrymandering” has created purposely non-competitive uniform voting districts at the House of Representatives level. In 2010, especially, states controlled by Republican legislatures effectively worked with the new census data to redistrict. Democrats have done it previously but on a smaller scale. So we now have districts of uniform thought, designed to prevent any threat to the incumbent (especially by Party).

    So there is no fear for most Representatives of being voted out – except by someone more ideologically rigid. I fear we have created a House that never has to compromise or look out for the good of the country.

  25. WFTA says:

    Like every other intolerable, but apparently perpetual situation one can observe (Israeli-Palestinian, U.S. healthcare, war on drugs, climate change :) those who could affect its change benefit from its continuance.

    Have a swell weekend.

  26. kek says:

    Greed also runs all the way to Main Street. Ma and pa got greedy on dotcom and their home equity line of credit, and got crushed twice in seven years. Banks made it easy to tap the home equity credit for sure, but the folks need take a share of the blame for their greed.

  27. rd says:

    We are going to have one more shot at this.

    I still think there is one more big down-cycle in this secular bear. The final part of the washout that has to happen is the exposure of the lie that Geithner and Dodd-Frank stabilized the financial sector over the past three years. The Tea Party will finally become of great value because they will be in a position to work with the Democrats who do not buy into the happy talk about the financial sector to bring about real reform by preventing a massive bailout of the banks unless it comes with break-up, management changes, and prosecutions.

    TARP etc. were a one-time deal. The next go around, it will be clear to everyone that they refinanced a bunch of criminal enterprises with TARP and that the saviors like Geithner, Frank, Dodd etc. were just maintaining a very poisonous status quo.

    I thought in 2009 that we needed to save the institutions, replace all of the managements, prosecute many of the individuals, and then institute a Volcker rule with teeth. The financial sector would have reduced by 50% or more back to where it was several decades ago as a percentage of GDP. Doing this would have generated much more confidence and would have had a good chance of preventing a repeat of the 2009 economic and market low.

    The key to our economic future is very simple: reduce the portion of GDP that the financial, military, and health care sectors occupy by 10% to 15% over the next decade. That will allow our society to invest in sectors that will provide more long-term benefit and growth.

  28. dsawy says:

    There never was any doubt in my mind. After the initial blow-up by Citi in 2007, people who had any interest in this subject could start digging in and seeing how bad the situation was and still is. It didn’t take some report to tell the story, just start reading the banks’ 10-K’s and then look at their actions in the markets.

    I’ve never held out any hope or confidence that this administration would actually do anything. As soon as Geithner was put up for SecTreas, the fix was in. He was head of the NY Fed. That’s all you needed to know to realize that the banks were running the show. The fact that Geithner was a tax cheat as well… that’s a humorous little side-show. We’ve now had the banks running the US Treasury since Hank Paulson was put into the office in the Bush administration.

  29. eliz says:


    But I am not optimistic. The government appears hopelessly captured.

  30. b_thunder says:

    What’s common between Dow-Jones and JPMorgan’s lobbying spending? Both are at all-time highs!

  31. Sean says:

    I like the passion! … it seems everyone here agrees that the situation is unsustainable and we all know that “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”… but we also know that a body in motion will remain in motion until a force is applied to stop it… so I have 4 questions…
    1. How long can this situation last?
    2. What will it take start making some serious changes?
    3. What are the impacts of a transition to a new financial structure?
    4. What does the new structure (ideally) look like?

    My guesses:
    1. 2 years for an initial force to be applied and 8 – 10 years before the new structure is in place and a new bull market (in real terms) takes hold.
    2. A new financial crisis that brings a mass realization that monetary policy has been abused for 30 years and big banks have taken DC hostage.
    3. Assets revalue to sub-intrinsic value levels, the obscene amounts of excess aggregate supply is taken out of the system, social strife and unrest around the world.
    4. Smaller banks with legislative caps on size (maybe even laws like bank execs are personally liable for losses, I believe the Swiss have something like this and it creates a “give a sh*t factor” as Kyle Bass calls it), separate investment & retail arms, bankruptcy (the healthy apoptosis of capitalism that is currently missing and allowing cancer to run rampant) is allowed to happen as frequently as it should, assets are allowed to be properly priced and capital flows to the most productive assets, America leads the next major growth cycle with domestic industries in cold fusion, nano-bio-tech, personal super-computing and cheap-clean-abundant energy.

  32. Greg0658 says:

    b thunder @1038 I’m pretty sure you dropped in out of time (unmoderated)
    I could be wrong – these are strange times where items magically appear and disappear

    that statement “NOT Entertained” and the whole sentiment deserves a response not overlooked

    this IS some OpSys and it has worked for milleniums and will work for many more until some experiment goes horribly wrong (which it will) (maybe not for me & my close kin)

    anyway – have a nice weekend playing in the sandbox of your choice / or is it ours / I get this whole democracy thingee all mixed up – lifes the same I’m moving in stereo

  33. ToNYC says:

    The precise dividing line was espoused by ex-Goldman-Banker-Politician and director of control frauds, the honorable senator governor ceo mr. Jon Corzine, The non-seat belt speeder with state police at the wheel man of US global financial power who “did not intend to break any financial law”. The fools who believe in asymmetric intention as a get out of jail card for their Masters, deserve to believe the serfdom they deliver to their children.

  34. Slash says:

    As far as some people are concerned, they’ve already vanquished America (I think you linked to this yesterday or day before).

    From the LA Weekly story: “The night before, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Laura Ellison had indicated that she intended to side with Wells Fargo in a summary judgment.”

    I mean, I don’t know how it gets worse or more blatant than that. A bank can take your house because of an error on their part, charge you for it and face no punishment whatsoever.

    It’s a goddam travesty. Actually, I think it may redefine travesty.

  35. Bridget says:

    Nary a doubt. Not one.

  36. AHodge says:

    its a good start–a surprisingly good start
    unfortunately congressional committee arent the direct regulators-even if they clearly know more
    congress says what the bnnk did wrong but not how high up
    and not treated as illegal or criminal

    hell they cant even nail ina drew apparently
    try to prosecute the pastsies please iksil etc and get them to roll?
    otherwise CEO even the CIO says we are so sorry about this low level employeee misbehavior we will get right on that

    still first you embarass them
    clearly enough that the stooges cant spin how great they still are
    ive seen some pathetic attempts that got slapped down the last 12 hours

    then you take away any popular presumption of innocence even if the law doesnt

    then with enough pop support overcoming dollars
    you get some regulators and prosecutors

  37. AHodge says:

    its a popular opinion world. if the JPM smell gets sensed by lot more than us reformist ranters
    it could move even the regulators and prosecutors? or those out of mainstream like the NY attorney general.
    but honestly
    while they are the deserved target du jour
    and the highest to fall from jamies annointed and laurel wreathed pedestal,
    are they really worse than B of A, Citi, Ally, AIG

  38. S Brennan says:

    Thanks Barry, your continued support of a people who have been muted through forced fed ignorance and silenced by economic ruin is atypical of A-list bloggers. I am sure life would be easier if you took another path.


    “Too bad there’s no one like Teddy Roosevelt in American politics today”

    I am sure that such a person is no longer possible…and it’s not that Americans are lacking in courage, intelligence, vigor or moral integrity, we have that in full measure. What we lack is the ability to free ourselves from our barely visible chains, so securely have we been fettered.

    Should a man or woman arise that is truly representative of the will of the people, the gears of the state will shift into action, all the carefully preserved records of the person will be searched. Dossiers secretly kept on each American lie dormant, as most us lead insignificant lives and it makes no sense for the information to be gleaned, but should you rise and seek to be truly representative of the will of the people…things will change. All embarrassing things will be revealed to the lap dog press who will howl incessantly of “moral imperfection [X,Y,Z], we could do better” and the voice representing American consensuses will be drowned in an ocean of cacophony.

    And should that rarest of men arise, an American with courage, intelligence, vigor, moral integrity…and a blemish free life…there are always those in the media willing to contrive shocking lies to sow doubt among those who’s harried existence does not allow them to comb through media disinformation. Orchestrated lies work, because when you spend an ever increasing number of hours a day working, your time to understand the world must be curtailed in favor of family and the chores of daily life. And should these surreptitiously composed deceptions fail, there is always the time honored custom of murder.

    I’d like to think there is a political solution to save our sinking ship of state, but the decks are awash and the officers are rowing away in the last of the lifeboats filled to the gunnels with their ill gotten gains. As much as I’d like to see another Roosevelt arise, I think the time has come give up such hopes and to ask, where is our “Caesar”? The oath and duty of every US Military Officer is clear on this point:

    “I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    If I was a big time thieving bankster, why fear Eric Holder? After all, Eric helped create the CDS mess in the mid-90′s he has shown due deference to his fellow thieves. But if I was a thieving bankster, I would fear a Caesar. Without elections, the financial powers have no leverage over the apparatus of state and what protestations they make can easily be quieted by the sword. And as for the media minions, they know to do what they are told, they are lap dogs after all.

    It is a shame that empirical republics end this way when they cannot be reformed. The corrupt political hacks that come in all shades sizes in DC would do well to consider, that when the kabuki show is over, they are no longer needed and will need to make a life in the wasteland they have created.

  39. rj chicago says:

    Ya know BR – I just don’t know anymore – so much of this is so far any logical explanation my head just spins. Thanks for keep the light on this debacle!!

  40. Hans Zarkov says:

    blaspheme is a verb, I believe you mean blasphemy

    the corruption of our political system by financiers. They understands huge banks are anti-competitive, a blaspheme against capitalism. They are shocked about corruption of even the most fundamental measures

  41. flakester says:

    Go BR!

    Excellent job, more please.

  42. Chuck says:

    The ‘Too Big to Fail’ are protected by government. I don’t believe there ever should be ‘cooperation’ between government and business. The inevitable result will be ‘corporatocracy’ and corruption (probably synonymous). When Government becomes a player in the market place it will favor one constituency over another through regulations, corporate welfare, and outright subsidies.

    Any regulation should be designed to provide desired social benefits while maintaining a level playing field for competitors. Unfortunately, there is little chance to rationally debate reforming the regulatory process with a shrill media that only sees ‘Laissez-faire’ capitalism or socialism.

  43. socaljoe says:

    Well said!

    I fear nothing will change until we have another, even bigger, crisis.

    Then it will be interesting to see if the congress has the stomach to authorize another bailout.

    Even if they do, I’m not sure the federal government is big enough to pull it off without destroying the currency.

    This is the tail risk for which one owns physical precious metals.

  44. Syd says:

    We elected the wrong Barry.

    Thanks for continuing to shine a light on the criminal behavior of the TBTF banks.

  45. SpecialAgentA says:

    I see. I know. I believe. And so? Gee, thanks a lot. In realizing that the rule of law has been purchased, I fell on the sword of righteous indignation and citizen outrage. (I’m from a poor family, my parents immigrated on a boat, I wasn’t trained properly in private school for all this smug awfulness.) How does one join wholeheartedly with sociopaths and keep up a facade if one is not actually a sociopath? So, here I am, watching JPMorgan before the Senate in disbelief and incredulity, but wonder, what is the use of this vision and knowledge, of understanding just how horrid the whole farce is? To awaken, to have the intelligence and critical faculties to understand what has been created, that the worst are first, well, then what? Would it have been better to keep pretending? Now a more soulless buffoon just takes my place and I’m left wondering how I will ever afford the things I thought I could provide. They have all the money, the politicians (on both sides), the entire electoral system, the media, the law and accounting firms, the Supreme Court (for Christ’s sake), and the Fed is their own monster. So, what does one actually do about it? Let me know, I’ve got enough money saved up for one good shot at something and I would really like for my kids to grow up in a world that is not morally insane.

  46. DTouche says:

    It is about time Dimon and Company are exposed. I have been saying for years that the Tea Party and OWS actually share similar beliefs about the cancerous TBTF banks and the revolving door between said banks and DC.

    The Federal Reserve is lumped into the criticism. Emotionally I understand this connection between the Fed and the Banksters. Rationally I understand that without the Fed we would all be f@cked.

    BR was right to demand the Swedish solution years ago. May BR become the next TR.,

  47. Joe_in_Indiana says:

    Best post yet on the subject–Thanks

  48. ravenchris says:

    Wow, thanks BR.
    The solution begins when there is a one term limit for members of Congress.
    To protect yourself and the future in the meantime, do not vote for incumbents.

  49. SecondLook says:

    Let’s keep in mind that Theodore Roosevelt was President purely due to the assassination of McKinley. Most historians consider it unlikely that he would ever have been nominated by the GOP for the presidency.

    Another thing that is really overlooked about his Presidency, is how much in charge the GOP was of Congress during his just about 8 years. Not only did the Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate, they had large margins. They had number like 58 to 32 in the Senate, 198 to 153 in the House.

    With that consistently large a majority (consistent being critical, solid control throughout), TR could push very progressive, reformist, economic agenda – even with significant opposition within his own party.

    It was a confluence of the right President, the right Congress, and the right times. It really did take all three.

  50. farmera1 says:

    Half the country distrusts government much more than they distrusts big banks. As long as that is true, nothing will be done to the big banks. However I believe they will collapse under their own weight. The real issue is how much of the US economy and the world’s economy do they take with them.

    The Swedish model is government taking over (nationalizing) the big banks. Yea, that is an option in the US, not. There would have been a revolt against the obviously socialist in the White House with the following impeachment. Like it or not, the Swedish model was never an option in this country. In time it might be possible, when things gett really really bad, but I have my doubts.

  51. raholco says:

    Simple fix-allow private citizens access to the Fed to borrow up to $10 million at the same rates and terms that the big banks play so they can pay off all outstanding debts.

  52. Glen says:

    This was Obama’s chance for greatness, his great failure and now, his legacy:

    Real bank reform to fix the world economy

    The banks are the real terrorists, break them up, and throw the banksters in jail.

  53. James Kostohryz says:

    Hey Barry:

    This is an issue I know you are passionate about. We are on opposite sides of this, in some ways. But I do read your opinions regularly and respect them.

    PS I don’t lump you in with those I refer to as “populists and demagouges,” in this article.