By Jim Hightower on February 06, 2014

The funny thing about Wall Street banksters is that they make a killing by defrauding millions of homeowners, customers, investors, and taxpayers – then, when caught, they wonder why we don't love them.

That's "funny" as in bizarre, not as in ha-ha.

Still, it's hard not to laugh at Jamie Dimon, the vainglorious, silver-haired boss of the JPMorgan Chase house of banksters. Last year alone the bank racked up a record level of regulatory fines for the recidivist criminal operation overseen by the boss. A little self-reproachment might have done him some good, but Dimon chose a funny way (again meaning bizarre) to express remorse: He's been running a feel-sorry-for-me campaign, claiming that he's the victim of this sordid story!

Never mind his long rap sheet of malfeasance and incompetence, which cost so many so much, Jamie wails that everything from Wall Street's bailout to the pay of top bank executives have made people envious of bankers' success. Thus, he moans, an anti-Wall Street sentiment has spread through the public, prompting politicians and regulators to pander to this populist anger by persecuting enterprising bankers like him. He called the whole thing "unfair."

Good grief. This guy builds bank profits through rip-offs, piles billions of dollars in fines on the backs of shareholders, pockets $20 million in personal pay for one year's work – and he wants us to weep for him? Being a Wall Street boss, you see, means never having to say you're sorry, for it's always someone else's fault.

Only 25 years ago, more than a thousand bankers were prosecuted for this sort of malfeasance during the savings & loan scandal. Let's return to the ethical accountability of those days. Or maybe We the People should send our own message to today's banksters by rolling a guillotine down the center of Wall Street.

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Photo: "Confident senior businessman with private jet," via Shutterstock.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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