Little GirlJabberwocky: “Total nonsense. A fit of rambling which resembles a civilized language but in fact is meant only to obfuscate meaning or confuse the victim, or listener.” Directly taken from the story “Alice Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. [][1] Continue reading “Nuts and Dolts: How Total Nonsense Helped Win An Election”

Gavel“Trials are primarily about the truth.  Consent decrees are primarily about pragmatism.”  Appellate Panel  Opinion, Second Circuit Court of Appeals in United States Securities and Exchange Commission vs. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.

As the Big Bank settlements and stipulated decrees have continued to fill the financial pages over the last few years, most Americans have grown ambivalent about their habit of leaving federal courthouses after paying huge fines, but declining to admit they had broken any laws. The rationale for permitting them to do so is a concession by prosecutors in deference to Wall Street’s fear that such admissions would open the floodgates to litigation from shareholder groups.  Apparently, it’s one thing to admit you were caught with your hand in the cookie jar, but quite another to admit that cookie theft is wrong.  Continue reading “The Rakoff Effect On Big Banks’ Refusal To ‘Neither Admit Nor Deny’”

Crystal BallWall Street Journal (May 8, 2014 by, Nick Timiraos, “5 Takeaways on Fannie, Freddie Earnings” ): “Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sending $10.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury after reporting combined first-quarter profits of $9.3 billion. But Thursday’s earnings reports hinted at a possible cooling off in the profits of both companies, which have benefited from large one-time gains over the past several quarters. They also suggested a modestly softer housing demand.” Continue reading “Fannie, Freddie, And The Future”

jesterAND THE AWARD GOES TO… [complimentary drum roll here] Jason Furman and James Stock! [Hereinafter collectively referred to as “J&J.”]  Both economists,[1] apparently shilling for the White House, are calling for the dismemberment of Fannie and Freddie, the government sponsored enterprises, or “GSEs,” with something – anything – else.  They have recently co-authored a puff piece [“The Moment is Right for Housing Reform”] that managed to make it onto the Wall Street Journal opinion page, mercifully “below the fold.”

Both gentlemen appear to have all the right credentials to be comfortably ensconced in the ivory towers of Ivy League academia.  But for all their whiz-bang credentials in economics and statistics [here], one would think this article would contain a little more meat and a little less mush. In fact, the article is so packed with political pablum it ought to carry a warning against reading it without first putting on a bib.  The piece appears to be directed to those folks in the audience who nod knowingly, but know nothing. In other words, J&J’s intent is not to inform, but to influence. To its credit, the article appears to comply with the federal mandates set forth in the “No Idiot Left Behind” learning program for useless information.  Congratulations guys!

Continue reading “Nuts and Dolts: White House Puff Piece On “Housing Reform””

paulvolckertotherescue_300“We supported former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker’s simple idea: Don’t let federally insured banks gamble in the securities markets. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to stand behind Wall Street trading desks. What we can’t support is the “Volcker Rule” that was first distorted in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and has now been grinded and twisted into 71 pages of text plus 882 more pages of explanation after three years of agency sausage-making.” ~ December 11, 2013 Wall Street Journal Opinion: ‘The Volcker Ambiguity Continue reading “The Volcker Rule: How Complexity Kills Good Ideas”

GavelIn Part One of my latest rant blog post, I took a look at the Big Banks and their sordid activities during the securitization heydays of 2005 – 2007/8. But I was just getting warmed up.  Part Two discusses how the banks have come to the aid of the prosecutors and courts in presenting themselves as “victims” that suffered “actual losses.”  This is patently untrue; the record must be set straight.  Part Two is my effort to do so.  ~PCQ  Continue reading “Big Banks, Loan Fraud, and Moral Equivalence – Part Two”

Take the Bonus and RunIntroduction. As the Big Bank scandals appear to be diminishing, I’ll admit that it’s probably time to get over the RATs (Rapers of the American Taxpayers), and move on to other more uplifting topics for this blog site. Perhaps I will…. Continue reading “Big Banks, Loan Fraud, and Moral Equivalence – Part One”

FrankendoddIt is no secret that my regard for the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“the CFPB”) is akin to my regard for Bubonic Plague; they both grow exponentially, can be difficult to eradicate – and they both come from rats.  For background about this regulatory Leviathon, see my rants posts here and here. Continue reading “The CFPB – Spawn of Frankendodd”


It’s no secret that I have little sympathy for Standard and Poors and the other ratings agencies.  Like carnival barkers at the securitization circus, S&P, Moodys and to a lesser degree Fitch, gave rosy ratings to the securitized bonds that made the Big Banks Big Money. For background on the scam, see my posts, here, here, and here. Continue reading “S&P Comes Out Swinging – Sort Of”

Background.  The Big Banks, their excesses, and the stories of their rapacious greed, are slowly receding into the rearview mirror of memory, like an Elm Street nightmare. We all know how it ended; the federal government bailed them all out to the tune of $445 billion.  Some accepted the money begrudgingly, saying they were forced to take the medicine although they weren’t really sick.[1]

Clearly, the Big Banks have suffered huge reputational damage over the last few years – and rightfully so.  But there was another player during these years that – except for those who have followed the story of the Financial Crisis – seems to have gone relatively unnoticed in the public eye; probably because the word “bank” is not found in its name.  The company is American International Group, or “AIG”.  Interestingly, the name and acronym give no hint of its core business.  It is an insurance company!  That’s right, insurance; quite possibly the world’s most boring, dry, unsexy and uninteresting profession, second only to statisticians.[2] Continue reading “AIG – Hapless Victim or Reckless Ingrate? (Part One)”