Feed on

From JP Morgan Chase’s website:

JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing “profound gratitude” for the company’s donation.

“These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dimon said. “We’re incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work.”

From Naked Capitalism:

Now readers can point out that this gift is bupkis relative to the budget of the police department, which is close to $4 billion. But looking at it on a mathematical basis likely misses the incentives at work. Dimon is one of the most powerful and connected corporate leaders in Gotham City. If he thinks the police donation was worthwhile, he might encourage other bank and big company CEOs to make large donations.

And what sort of benefits might JPM get? It is unlikely that there would be anything as crass as an explicit quid pro quo. But it certainly is useful to be confident that the police are on your side, say if an executive or worse an entire desk is caught in a sex or drugs scandal. Recall that Charles Ferguson in Inside Job alleged that the use of hookers is pervasive on Wall Street (duh) and is invoiced to the banks.

Or the police might be extra protective of your interests. Today, OccupyWallStreet decided to march across the Brooklyn Bridge (a proud New York tradition) to Chase Manhattan Plaza in Brooklyn. Reports in the media indicate that the police at first seemed to be encouraging the protestors not only to cross the bridge, but were walking in front of the crowd, seemingly escorting them across:

The wee problem is that the police are in the street, and part of the crowd is also on the street (others are on a pedestrian walkway that is above street level). That puts them in violation of NYC rules that against interfering with traffic. Note the protest were aware fo the rules; they were careful to stay on the sidewalk on the way to the bridge.

Over 700 of the marchers were arrested, and the media has a rather amusing “he said, she said” account, with OccupyWallStreet claiming entrapment and the cops batting their baby blues and trying to look innocent.

Nothing as crass as an explicit quid pro quo! Just a little something to remind the cops that some people deserve more protection than others, and are likely to be very grateful for it. More here.

Virtually Speaking tonight

Sunday, Oct 2 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific | digbyJoan McCarter discuss developments of the week, highlighting issues neglected or misrepresented on the Sunday morning broadcasts,  drawing from their work of the prior week and the wickedly funny Bobblespeak Translations Informative, thoughtful and passionate.Listen live and later on BTR

Global change

October 15th:

Brooklyn Bridge arrests

Occupy Boston

From last night:

Clouds, rain, clouds, rain:

Right on

As David says, an excellent beginning.

NYPD game plan

The New Yorker:

It isn’t clear whether the police deliberately allowed the demonstrators onto the bridge or whether they temporarily lost control of the crowd. But interviews with the protesters suggest that many of them thought they had been given permission to use the roadway, indicating that they weren’t willfully breaking the law. Whatever happened to begin with, the N.Y.P.D. brass clearly seized the opportunity to show who’s boss.

So why are the police behaving in this way, evoking comparisons to the civil-rights era? One theory is that the protest, which is now spreading to other cities, is creating genuine alarm inside the financial and political establishment. “The over-reaction clearly shows that the authorities feel quite vulnerable,” Carne Ross, a former British diplomat and expert on direct democracy, who has been speaking regularly to some of the protesters at their Zuccotti Park encampment, told me. “If this was an animal rights protest, the police wouldn’t be reacting in this way. They know there are very strong feelings among ordinary people about Wall Street and the bailouts: the rage and hatred is intense.” Ross may be right. But even now, the protest remains far too small to be called a mass movement. And thus far it has had a negligible impact on the day-to-day business of Wall Street.

As the protesters debate the meaning of anarchy and community banking, the employees of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase are carrying on as normal. If Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are quaking in their Church’s wingtips, they are keeping it to themselves.

The other theory is that Kelly and his boss Bloomberg are blundering around, not sure what to do. During the past decade or so, City Hall and the N.Y.P.D. have adopted an increasingly hard line approach to street protests, which has gone hand-in-hand with the growing militarization of the police department in response to 9/11. Does the N.Y.P.D. really need helicopters armed with machine guns capable of shooting down small planes? BearCat armored personnel carriers? Intelligence operatives in the Middle East? Kelly thinks it does, and Bloomberg has given free rein to his imperial ambitions.
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In her article today, Ginia Bellafante didn’t call Occupy Wall Street “pantomime progressivism” — an improvement — but it appears she’s still reluctant to acknowledge the significance of the ongoing protests

Stupid girls


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