Banking Crisis and Words

Of course, you thought we had wrung all the stupid out of the banking system back in 2009 following the banking meltdown and the bailout you and I paid for. We passed Dodd-Frank to prevent a repeat performance. We pointed fingers. We threatened prison terms. And nobody was held accountable.

Glass-Steagall had been designed to prevent another Great Depression. That law separated commercial banks from investment banks and was intended to prevent banks from being market speculators – wild-eyed gamblers – with your bank deposits and it worked really well for decades. Then Congress cut off its legs.

Dodd-Frank had been designed to protect us from another crash like the Great Recession, but shortly after its passage Congress once again went on a leg chopping spree.

Then, in his mania to be maniacal with regulations, President Shoot-Our-Foot and his Congress passed a law in 2018 that effectively ended the last vestiges of Dodd-Frank, to the point that all that is left of it is a recipe for spaghetti sauce.

With that protection gone, banks were once again allowed to grab the handle of sketchy investment slot machines in search of huge profits for executives and stockholders. Too bad about your deposits when they lost big.

Here’s a piece that will help you to understand how we create global crisis with our anti-regulation craziness. And here is a comment that was posted to that article:

“JPM” is J.P. Morgan Bank. “Derivatives” are the key evil buggers that caused the 2008 – 2009 crash. They’re also called credit default swaps. Insightful people call them crap. Almost nobody actually understands them.

They are essentially an aggregation of phenomenally risky subprime mortgages. The banksters stuffed a huge number of these risky mortgages into a sack, called that sack an asset and then traded it or pieces of it to other investors and investor banks. They sold lots of those sacks of non-assets and created an entirely unstable house of cards.

it doesn’t require any banking insight to know that committing banking sleight of hand with risky mortgages doesn’t make them any less risky. Just ask anyone at Lehman Brothers or Washington Mutual Bank. Oh, wait: you can’t ask them because they invested in those stinky things and they crashed and burned in the Great Recession.

Nevertheless, that crazy, phony “asset” idiocy is what the banksters did in 2008. They’re gambling big time now, too. Indeed, the big banks are now too bigger to fail than they were in 2008.

That leaves me wondering yet again why Congress seems astonishingly unable to learn from the past or, really, from anything.

  1. It was the financial Wild West in the 1920s and that led to the Great Depression. Congress passed laws which were designed to prevent a crash from happening again (Glass-Steagall). Then they let that Wild West thing happen once more and we got the Great Recession. Congress created Dodd-Frank to prevent that crash from happening again. But later the geniuses in Congress began to chip away at those protections until in 2018 they effectively removed all the safety guardrails, leaving nothing but the aforementioned recipe for spaghetti sauce. What could possibly go wrong?
  2. They authorized George W. Bush’s idiotic land wars in Asia, this in the face of centuries of examples to tell them not to do that because we were certain to fail. And, of course, there was the then-recent example of Russia’s failure there. How could Congress fall for Bush’s lies and authorize those wars?
  3. We had years of the President of the United States inciting division and violence, accompanied by members of Congress doing the same and that led to a bloody insurrection on January 6. Now members of Congress are gaslighting an entire nation, claiming the insurrection wasn’t an insurrection. They say it was just a bunch of tourists visiting the Capitol Building. Those same members of Congress are still inciting. Do you suppose these insurrection stokers think the results will be different the next time? Maybe they think We The People need to purge our nation of the evil of democracy. Or they think that Jefferson’s comment about the blood of patriots means that we should start shooting one another. Oh, wait: we’re already doing that.

This is not Monday morning quarterbacking. All of this was plain to see at the time and it’s still plain to see. None of it requires any special understanding of complex issues. All it requires is a copy of a high school history book, the ability to learn and the clarity that George Santayana was right when he said,

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

And so we are led by our Congress, which apparently hasn’t a history book in their entire building and too many members of Congress refuse to learn. Consequently, we continue to repeat the past.

Now Marjorie Taylor Greene and others are calling for a “national divorce” and “Second Amendment remedies.” Maybe we should try that again, because we only killed 600,000 of our fellow citizens the last time we tried a national divorce. Note that if we express that number as the same percentage of our population today as then, a national divorce would murder more than 6.3 million Americans, or two of every ten people you know. Still want to listen to that woman?

To understand our current banking craziness, please read Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (R-MA) explainer, as well as Paul Krugman’s slightly different take. And here’s a piece to explain some of the global implications of our self-destruction.


The far right loonies are all about culture war: Demonization-R-Them. Maybe it’s a power trip, but it sure isn’t an intellectual exercise.

Take, for example, their attack on “woke.” Florida Governor Ron DeSenseless proudly tells anyone standing still for more than two seconds that “Florida is where woke goes to die.” We understand the braggadocio, the chest thumping, but we’re left with a hollow spot where meaning should be.

What is “woke?” Click and watch. You’ll be left where you started, in your present state of not knowing because there is no definition.

What is the “deep state?” Click and watch the first idiot squirm trying to avoid the question and then doing the standard off-topic attacks. We’re left with no clarity at all.

Same question about “elites.” And what does “own the libs” mean. Are they talking about bringing back slavery or is it just another power trip grounded in cruelty?

Does it mean anything when terms don’t mean anything? I think it does, because all these terms are calls to division and hatred and sometimes violence. Words matter, even when they don’t mean anything.

And while we’re checking definitions let’s have a look at the false and idiotic claims of equivalencies.

The alt-right, focus-group-named “Freedom Caucus” is populated by renegades, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Josh Hawley, Louis Gohmert and more. They call for truly awful things, including the aforementioned “national divorce” and “Second Amendment remedies,” insurrection, civil war and more. Truly awful and dangerous stuff.

There is no equivalent on the far left. Nobody, not “the squad” or socialist Bernie Sanders or anyone else is calling for assaulting others or trashing the Constitution. The far left legislators might promote policies some don’t like, but none of them is trying to suppress the rights of others, harm people or do anything anti-American.

Journalists and pundits often look to balance what they say by invoking a “both sides” comment, but most often there isn’t a “both sides.” If you think I missed a real world equivalence, educate all of us in the Comments section below. Otherwise, the terms “both sides” and “equivalent” used in the political arena are meaningless. Don’t fall for them.

Today is a good day to be the light.


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

    Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.


    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What do you think?

Your name and e-mail address are required, but your e-mail will not be disclosed.

Keep the conversation going by both adding your comments and by passing this along to three friends.
That´s how things get better.

One Response to Banking Crisis and Words
  1. David L Lindgren Reply

    Hi, trying to let the “light shine” on myself today. I hear you wanting us to take sides and that there is really not an official “moderate” position. The problem though is that the idiots on the Right don’t listen. They just want to be heard or more frankly share what “they” think. So getting into a stinko fight with them is useless.
    But there is a moderate non-political position, in that, once people are thoroughly listened to, they might feel heard. Most of these ner-do-wells grew up with parents that didn’t listen to them. And they had dysfunctional childhoods.
    Biden, I think, tries to listen or give the impression of listening. From the history in Congress, once the idiots are exposed, they fall down the rabbit-hole. Marjory Taylor-Greene is so idiotic that she will eventually fall on her face, along with the former President.
    What I am getting to is that we have a history of ups and downs. I think the Democrats need to remain steady. The Judicial Committee of the Jan.6 inquiry was steady.
    And some of these issues around women’s rights and abortion and children’s rights to align with a different gender are complicated and need some moderate “thinking”.