Is JP Morgan Getting a Good Return on $4.6 Million “Gift” to NYC Police? (Like Special Protection from OccupyWallStreet?)

No matter how you look at this development, it does not smell right. From JP Morgan’s website, hat tip Lisa Epstein:

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.”

Perhaps I remember too much of the scruffy and not exactly safe New York City of the 1980s, where getting your wallet pinched was a pretty regular occurrence. My perception has been that police-related charities have relied overmuch on the never-stated notion that if you didn’t donate, you might not get the speediest response if you needed help. As a mere apartment-dweller, I can’t imagine that anyone could scan incoming 911 calls against a priority list. But the flip side is if I owned a retail store and thought the beat police would keep an extra eye on it if I gave to a police charity, it would seem like an awfully cheap form of insurance.

But what, pray tell, is this about? The JPM money is going directly from the foundation to the NYPD proper, not to, say, cops injured in the course of duty or police widows and orphans. But that is how the NYPD Police Foundation works. From its website:

The New York City Police Foundation, Inc. was established in 1971 by business and civic leaders as an independent, non-profit organization to promote excellence in the NYPD and improve public safety in New York City.

The Police Foundation supports programs designed to help the NYPD keep pace with rapidly evolving technology, strategies and training.

The New York City Police Foundation:

Provides resources that are not readily available through other means – to date over $100 million has been invested in 400+ innovative NYPD programs;

Serves as a vehicle for tax-exempt gifts and grants from individuals, businesses, and philanthropies;

Is the first municipal foundation of its kind in the country, and serves as a model for similar organizations in other cities;

Is the only organization authorized to raise funds on behalf of the NYPD and;

Does not solicit by telephone or use telemarketers.

The Police Foundation works closely with the Police Commissioner to develop a strategic program agenda. The Foundation encourages and supports NYPD programs in two main areas:

Projects, research studies, and equipment to improve the effectiveness of police activities; and

Education, training and skill development to strengthen the partnership between the police and the public.

Given when the NYC Police Foundation was formed, it looked to have been a desperate move during New York City’s fiscal crisis (remember the infamous headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead”?) When I moved to the city in 1981, pretty much everyone I knew who lived in a non-doorman building had suffered a break-in. Guiliani’s reputation was built on cleaning up a perceived-to-be unsafe city (which he did by hiring William Bratton). Even in the later 1980s, when I lived in a townhouse on 69th between Park and Madison (translation: good neighborhood), I’d be the first out of the building in the AM. The inner door to the townhouse was locked, the outer one was closed but unlocked. I’d always have to navigate my way out carefully so as not to waken the homeless person sleeping in the vestibule.

So while this effort to supplement taxpayer funding has a certain logic, it raises the nasty specter of favoritism, that if private funding were to become a significant part of the Police Department’s total budget, it would understandably give priority to its patrons.

And look at the magnitude of the JP Morgan “gift”. The Foundation has been in existence for 40 years. If you assume that the $100 million it has received over that time is likely to mean “not much over $100 million” this contribution could easily be 3-4% of the total the Foundation have ever received.

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. From the New York Times:

But many protesters said they believed the police had tricked them…

“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who marched but was not arrested…all insisted that the police had made no mention that the roadway was off limits. Ms.[Annie] Day and several others said that police officers had walked beside the crowd until the group reached about midway, then without warning began to corral the protesters behind orange nets…

Where the entrance to the bridge narrowed their path, some marchers, including organizers, stuck to the generally agreed-upon route and headed up onto the wooden walkway that runs between and about 15 feet above the bridge’s traffic lanes.

But about 20 others headed for the Brooklyn-bound roadway, said Christopher T. Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who accompanied the march…They were met by a handful of high-level police supervisors, who blocked the way and announced repeatedly through bullhorns that the marchers were blocking the roadway and that if they continued to do so, they would be subject to arrest.

There were no physical barriers, though, and at one point, the marchers began walking up the roadway with the police commanders in front of them – seeming, from a distance, as if they were leading the way. The Chief of Department Joseph J. Esposito, and a horde of other white-shirted commanders, were among them…

A freelance reporter for The New York Times, Natasha Lennard, was among those arrested….

Mr. Dunn said he was concerned that those in the back of the column who might not have heard the warnings “would have had no idea that it was not O.K. to walk on the roadway of the bridge.” Mr. Browne [of the NYPD] said that people who were in the rear of the crowd that may not have heard the warnings were not arrested and were free to leave.

Earlier in the afternoon, as many as 10 Department of Correction buses, big enough to hold 20 prisoners apiece, had been dispatched from Rikers Island in what one law enforcement official said was “a planned move on the protesters.”

Etan Ben-Ami, 56, a psychotherapist from Brooklyn who was up on the walkway, said that the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road. “They weren’t pushed back,” he said. “It seemed that they moved at the same time.”..

He added: “We thought they were escorting us because they wanted us to be safe.”

The part I find more interesting, which has not been as well reported, is that some (many?) the protestors who used the walkway and got across the bridge were also corralled and not permitted to proceed to the Chase plaza. Greg Basta, deputy director of the New York Communities for Change, told me by phone, based on multiple reports from people who participated in the march, that as soon as protestors got to the Brooklyn side of the bridge, they were kettled. Greg was under the impression that there were construction barricades at the foot of the bridge which made it impossible for the marchers not to walk on the street. Because the focus has been on the what happened on the bridge, the coverage of what happened to the rest of crowd is sparse.

Some confirmation in passing comes from MsExPat at Corrente (apparently some of the very first off the bridge were permitted to proceed):

My friends and I made it to the Brooklyn side okay–we ended up with about 350 other marchers in Cadman Plaza, a lovely 19th century park. What I didn’t find out until later is that several hundred people behind me also got kettled and barred from going all the way to Brooklyn. So I was among the lucky marchers in the middle.

But notice even then that the procession to Chase Manhattan Plaza [correction, Cadman Plaza} was effectively barred. [Note JPM may have operations nearby, Bear Stearns had much of its back office there, and if the leases were cheap, JPM may have kept the space].

We simply don’t know whether the police would have behaved one iota differently in the absence of the JP Morgan donation. But it raises the troubling perspective that they might have. Richard Kline pointed out that that local policing was important protection against control by the elites:

The oligarchy specifically and the Right in general are far less strong in American society apart from what their noise machines and bankroll flashing would make one think. The great bulk of the judiciary remains independent even if important higher appellate positions are tainted. Domestic policing is, by tradition and design, highly decentralized, with a good deal of local control, making overt police state actions difficult, visible, and highly unpopular (think TSA). While the military is a socially conservative society in itself, it is also an exceptionally depoliticized one, with civilian control an infrangible value. Popular voter commitment to the nominally more conservative political party has never been narrower or more fragile.

So far, the JP Morgan donation is an isolated example. But the high odds of continuing deep budget cuts at the state and local level open up the opportunity for corporate funding of preferred services, and with it, much greater private sector influence on the apparatus of government. This is a worrisome enough possibility to warrant a high degree of vigilance by all of us.

Update 5:00 AM: Debra C, via e-mail, points to FreakOut Nation, which has screen shots to show how the New York Times edited the OccupyWallStreet story after it went live to make it less protestor friendly:

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    1. Mark P.

      Arguably, the NYPD is playing that role, though many decent cops won’t like it.

      On both sides, in any case, forces seem to be beginning to emerge —

      ‘Welcome to OCCUPY TOGETHER, an unofficial hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. As we have followed the news on facebook, twitter, and the various live feeds across the internet, we felt compelled to build a site that would help spread the word as more protests organize across the country. We hope to provide people with information about events that are organizing, ongoing, and building across the U.S. as we, the 99%, take action against the greed and corruption of the 1%.’

      And if this site goes down or is a plant, there will be others. I guess these will be interesting times.

      1. psychohistorian

        It is and will be interesting to watch the paid confuse/diffuse/obfuscate efforts in relation to the passionate by misguided and those seriously useful.

        I find it had to believe that they can keep cranking out the seemingly obvious propaganda articles about situations in our world and then started wondering if the oligarchs are bleeding to death at this point with the propaganda costs or if their raping of the world’s other 99% is covering their current costs?

        From a historic basis it will be very interesting to see how the nation’s local police, and , I suspect, the National Guard or direct military involvement will evolve. We were down this road in 20-30’s but this challenge will show us more enduring results this time, I trust.

        Laugh the global inherited rich out of control of our society and into “rooms” at the Hague.

    2. Woodrow Wilson

      “Corporate mercs coming soon?” –

      Already here.

      Cerberus Capital Management, L.P bought Dyncorp International. $120k a year, tax free, isn’t bad if you’re a kid just getting out from the service, with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you were Infantry/combat MOS, your options are limited here.

      It doesn’t really matter though, the general American populace is too pacified and will let the looting continue unabated. Does anyone think harsh language works anymore?

      1. Richard Kline

        So ‘Woodrow,’ undercutting the post withing 20 minutes of it going up; right on schedule. Who’s paying you to monitor blogs? I’ve been asking you for ten months, and we’ll find out in the end. C’mon, be a sport, give us a hint . . . I mean, we know, but it would be great to hear it from your own keyboard.

        1. Woodrow Wilson

          “Who’s paying you to monitor blogs?” –


          I wish, I just happened to be up earlier than usual on this Sunday morning. Yves can easily see my ISP, one from home, and one from work. This just happens to be an excellent blog that I enjoy reading. If you have actually been paying attention that much, you would have also read what I do for a living, and where.

          However, if you think these “demonstrations” are going to change anything, then good luck to you.

          1. F. Beard

            However, if you think these “demonstrations” are going to change anything, then good luck to you. Woodrow Wilson

            They will change a lot because the police will overreact and create a vast wave of sympathy as they already have.

          2. Liah

            That’s like saying the Vietnam protests had no effect on the war or our country. As I recall, not only was the war ended under a black cloud, and Nixon have to resort to black politics to sooth his fear and ambition – but the whole culture was changed and was relatively warmonger-free for some many years. In fact, the peace-&-love culture was hard to kill. It took the investment of a couple of decades stoking dominance (Economic Hit Men) and citizen acquisition as holy virtues to prepare for GWB and his “go shopping” and “fight Islamofascists” answer to “oh! we’ve been attacked, what-ever-should-we-do?!? Mr. President?”.

            Jimmy mighta took the rap for BadFeelingAmericaPostVietnam and Mr.BigDaddyShiningCityonaHill took the reins of inflation (with the Maestro’s help) and international dominance – and whipped it full speed ahead into what we have today – an entire country that feels entitled to be dominant! I can only imagine what Volker really thought, although Stockman is probably a good indication!

            As Jefferson said:

            “The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution… Bankers are more dangerous than standing armies… [and] If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.”

            Amen to our American Revolutionary beginnings: Let It Be So. Again.

          3. Jesse

            “Demonstrations” – Why the scare quotes around demonstrations? Do you not believe they are demonstrating?

          4. Edward B

            Instead of being a sideline douchebag, maybe you can make some suggestions about how things can improve in our corrupt country?

    3. andrew

      Why do you all complain about the police?
      You have the best police money can buy!!!
      Ask JP Morgan

  1. Yearning To Learn

    As I said yesterday, they need blankets and food.

    you can send nonperishable food/blankets or anything (warm socks… batteries) to them.

    you know… being part of the solution…

    ’nuff said.

    1. wtf

      FYI–I was there at noon today (10/2) and the persons staffing the donations area said they don’t need any more socks, but do need warm knit caps.

  2. Richard Kline

    To me, the telltale with the JippyMo ‘donation’ is that it was _publicly_ announced. Jamie the Demon and his top heads want the public to know that the banksters LIKE the police, as opposed to those daft, sloppy, protestors.

    The bankster/Kochster assault on unions was excruciatingly badly timed. It aims directly at public service unions. At their pensions. At their staffing levels. At their equipment. One of the most cogent remarks coming out of the intitial Wisconsin action (before the org-heads diverted it into failing to elect more Democrats) came from the police there, to the effect that lower staffing levels threatened _their_ safety. The local police were markedly sympathetic to the capitol building occupation in Madison. Some of this has clearly been whispered in the ear of the financial oligarchs by their paid consultants to the effect that alienating the police is not in the interests of the 1%. I don’t think that the sum of money is especially relevant or substantial. What matters is that it is a public demonstration that the banksters _like_ the police, with the implication that they will be prepared to drop a little more loose change on them if they’ll clap the rabble into Rikers like good fellows.

    We’ll have to here more to assess the degree of police incitement in the muscle-and-cite mass action on the Brooklyn Bridge. I get the impression—transport lined up ahead of time, bulk of march blocked short of destination—that this was a deliberate police move directed from higher authority, but we’ll see. Regardless of that, what this police action is, of certainty, is STUPID. Last week, deliberate police action to crush 2-300 marchers went very sour; this week, there are 2000+ marchers. This week, the police make mass arrests amongst 2000 marchers; next week??? Tread on a weed and it grows the better. The Boston Police understand this clearly. The NYPD, with twenty years of relative impunity muscling aside minorities and undesirables and a mandate to keep ‘terrorist sympathisers’ very much off the streets, mean to show the scouts of the 99% who’s boss. The police can find out the answer to that contest, and they will if they continue to escalate a repressive response.

    1. Glen

      It’s also interesting to see how proactive the “white shirts” are in events. Reports I have read and heard are that this is very unusual behavior. It would be interesting to hear from the blue shirts in the NYPD about what’s driving police force actions.

    2. Jeff

      Keep in mind that the main ally of the public safetyunions are the taxpayers that pay the taxes that guarantee
      police pensions. Should enough people get arrested
      perhaps the TeaParty wackos that want to strip every
      pension from public employees might get a whole lot
      of new allies: arrested demonstrators and most of the
      people in the OWS movement?

      I’ll rephrase that,
      “officer, we are demonstrating to help
      guarantee that you and other public employees get your pension when you retire-You need all the allies that you can get”….

  3. FÍrëan

    Re the Brooklyn Bridge demo : The British main stream media gives coverage and yet misleading information on the Brooklyn Bridge incidents.
    The Telegraph newspaper writes that demonstrators were mostly given on the spot fines and totally ignores the planned busing of the arrested.

    where as the british Guardian newspaper leads the reader to believe that sitting in the roadway on the Bridge was a planned part of the Bridge demo.

    Conveniently, for their coverage, neither shows the video posted above of the police leading the demonstrators onto the Bridge ( they obviously have little knowledge of the structure of the Bridge and it’s “sidewalk”).

    1. Overseas guy

      Hey there.

      I think The Guardian probably made an honest mistake – they’re good guys, the ones who exposed Rupert Murdoch in London.

      They’ve now got this story:

      Also see the BBC:

      Also, the LA Times is showing the NY Times how to actually report on a protest (i.e. – give people the protester’s reasons for protesting):

  4. lollardy

    I didn’t see this in the comments, but it’s worth mentioning that JPMorgan has substantial financial leverage over twitter, which has been censoring the #occupywallstreet tag from trending.


    “March 1 (Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested in a fund that has bought about $400 million in Twitter Inc. shares, valuing the blogging service at as much as $4.5 billion, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

    The fund, which has more than $1 billion, is being run by Twitter investor Chris Sacca, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the arrangement isn’t public. JPMorgan is committing the bulk of the financing for the fund, the people said.”

    1. frobn

      It appears that, in the short term, JP Morgan is getting a good return but the question that the Mayor, Police Commissioner and the police should be asking themselves is is JP Morgan and their money worth it. From an financial perspective they have to realize that have increased the costs associated with OccupyWallStreet immensely which could result in budget deficits and layoffs; from a police view they have made their jobs more difficult, people will be less willing to cooperate within the protest as well as in everyday police work; instead of containing the protests they have motivated new participants to join and have made the participants more determined; and they have greatly diminished their image by associating it with the greed of Wall Street.

      1. wunsacon

        >> the Mayor, Police Commissioner and the police should be asking themselves is is JP Morgan and their money worth it.

        It’s always “worth it” to stay on as a henchmen, if the alternatives are worse. But, over time, unless the mark-to-myth profits continue, the crooks will flee the sinking banks and the henchmen will become ronin.

        1. frobn

          I think there are going to be a lot of policemen who don’t agree when they loose their jobs because of budget cuts. I was watching the youtube vidio there were a lot of policemen assigned that should have been off duty or at their regular posts. The overtime bill keeps rolling.

        2. another

          “It’s always “worth it” to stay on as a henchmen,…”

          Indeed. Especially later on in the process, when it’s you and Mr. Dimon in a helicopter and you’re the one with the gun.

      2. Jeff

        Meant this reply to go here:

        Keep in mind that the main ally of the public safetyunions are the taxpayers that pay the taxes that guarantee
        police pensions. Should enough people get arrested
        perhaps the TeaParty wackos that want to strip every
        pension from public employees might get a whole lot
        of new allies: arrested demonstrators and most of the
        people in the OWS movement?

        I’ll rephrase that,
        “officer, we are demonstrating to help
        guarantee that you and other public employees get your pension when you retire-You need all the allies that you can get”….

    2. BetaSheep

      Twitter also seems to be time-delaying the results when you search for the #occupywallstreet tag, i.e. when you refresh, the newest results are from 5 or 6 minutes ago, nothing sooner.

      1. Ms. Gumshoe

        Yesterday, of all days, Michael Bloomberg was scheduled to speak at the Digital Technologies for the 21st Century conference in Madrid. Link to event and speaker photos here —

        I’d be interested in hearing (1) whether he in fact was in Madrid, (2) if he was, did he speak, and (3) if he spoke what did he have to say on the subject?


        P.S. Didn’t see any representatives from Big Finance on the roster.

  5. c13579c

    There was one commander “blocking” the outbound roadway and announced in 3 times in a soft monotone the obligatory “you are ordered to disperse”.

    He stepped aside and basically half of a very large crowd marched on the Bridge.

    I held back and did figure this to be a trap. I marched on the walkway.

    The police were waiting on the outbound roadway at the point of maximum vertical height to the BB walkway, making it nearly impossible for people to get back onto the walkway.

    They could have chosen a spot closer to Manhattan, but they knew people would then easily climb up to the walkway.

    Those of us who were on the walkway were also surrounded by police. We weren’t kettled, just directed back to Manhattan.

    1. c13579c

      Another point to note – while we were walking back to Manhattan we noticed the inbound cars on the Bridge were honking exuberantly. Hundreds – thousands of NY motorists were raising their fists in solidarity.

      It was beautiful and for the first time in 20 years I said to companion “I love New York”.

    2. Yearning To Learn

      Thanks to you. I’m praying that all of you keep this up. I’ve been feeling rather hopeless of late, a little down. Although my personal life is very good, and my financial situation is pretty darn good too, Global Financial and political events have not transpired as I would have hoped.

      although I’m 99% sure that many of the OWS crowd do not share all my views (or even most of my views), those folk give me something that I haven’t had in a while.


      anyway, I’ll be stopping by next week.

      1. Joe Rebholz

        ” … I’ve been feeling rather hopeless of late, a little down.”

        There’s a cure for that. Do something. Anything to help bring about the change we need (the real drastic change we need, the revolution, not hope destroying fake Obama change. Isn’t it so sad he has ruined whole beautiful concepts like hope and change).

        Maybe you are about to take the cure. I wish I could go there with you.

  6. F. Beard

    Keep it up fascists! The way a society treats its protesters is a sure indicator of its health. Those protesters might be naive but they will win the sympathy of every decent person if they are mistreated.

  7. Jack Straw

    These protests have a lot of needles they need to thread, not least of which is basic logistics in the cold weather cities (there has been frost the last three days here in the AM), and that tends not to improve for long the next six months or so. That said, I am impressed with what is happening. There seems to be a very acute sense that deliberation and genuine consensus-building are qualities that have not exactly been well-nurtured for a very, very long time, and that practicing them under what are going to be increasingly more difficult circumstances could be a transformational contribution to humanity, and the USA.

    1. lambert strether

      The story is the self-organizing of the occupiers, not kids v. cops. Acute comment, Jack. I agree about the weather, but IIRC Madison WI was cold, also. We shall see. Bold, persistent experimentation!

    2. doom

      Right. It amazes me that they could produce a such a cogent declaration so fast. But this is an articulate crowd with lots of pertinent education. The experience will be handy as they get out to more downtrodden victims.

      It’s also of interest that this one focuses on corporate malefactions. Presumably the October 2011 meeting in Washington will fill in the blanks on government abuse of function, while they’re on the subject of repression and aggression. Because it’s all just different kinds of violence, Right?

  8. hello

    apologies for my grumpy old man-ness, but geez stupidity on all sides.

    Rule #1 of mass civil disobedience, don’t corral yourself onto a bridge with only two exits isolated from every day civilians. The protesters need to focus on tourist-heavy Times Square and Central Park, where police would give them a wide berth—not Lower Manhattan which is conventiently largely empty on the weekends.

    And #2, what’s the point of rallying towards Chase Plaza in Brooklyn? Oh indeed, rallying in front of the back offices and Chase’s server farm is really going to send a message to Jamie Dimon.

    uggg, the bad guys win because good is leaderless and stupid.

    1. Richard Kline

      Helllloooo, well that’s right on tactics but wrong on strategy. (Or at least strategic thinking, as I wouldn’t attribute the following conclusions to the march organizers, they’ll have to speak for themselves.)

      First, the march was coordinated with the police, with a planned route, not done in defiance of police—but the police betrayed them. That bad faith and duplicity will rebound _directly_ on the police and public authorities. The citizens followed the rules and the authorities did not: that’s a lesson for the public which is to the advantage of the protestors and amplifies their message exactly.

      Second, the point of the march is not necessarily the destination but the fact of acting in solidarity with those others who’ve come to participate. _That_ effect IS the goal of the march, plus to show the public that you are there, in this case there for them as the Scouts of the 99%. As another commentor pointed out, the Brookly Bridge just happens to be jammed with tourists, and drivers by: lots of witnesses.

      Third, it’s important that this not just be a Manhattan thing but at the very least a New York thing. The occupation core group doesn’t yet have the numbers to hold satellite demmonstrations, so they have to do marches to near points. What’s nearest to Lower Manhattan? Yeah, just where they were going.

      Fourth, the occupation isn’t being down to annoy or draw the attention of Jamie Dimon, or any one person. It’s being done as a ‘witnessing,’ to bear witness to a wrong and physically (if very gently) maintain an ongoing confrontation of that wrong. Yes, the symbology would be even better if the literal Wall Street was the sight of the occupation, but in present circumstances Liberty Plaza works quite well.

      Fifth, the audience isn’t tourists in Times, its the world. As in, “The whole world is watching.” And that audience is now getting the message, and the moreso the more the police and authorities act with violence and duplicity to harass the occupiers.

      I get the impression, hello, that you’re a lot more clever than you are smart . . . .

      1. MsExPat

        I thought the choice of the Brooklyn Bridge was excellent. On a Saturday afternoon, there’s no more visible place in New York City. Tourists, bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, are all crossing the bridge. As someone noted above, there’s lots of vehicle traffic. (And, bless them, yes, the motorists cheered. Some even hung out of their windows, arms raised in jubilation.)

        Plus there’s optics to consider: The beauty–and architechture!– of a long, thick line of demonstrators crossing one of New York City’s most beloved and famous landmarks is impossible to ignore. It was moving. And a magnificent photo op, to boot.

        And isn’t that really the point? A march nowadays has to be about PR and optics, above all. The days when marchers can make an impact by drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets is over. Nobody reports it, and what coverage does come out usually devolves into a useless numbers game. The cops claim only 20,000 marchers, the organizers claim a half million, and the press either ignores the march or just “fairly” reports the conflicting body counts (which become ever more difficult to make, as police learn new kettling techniques.) I’ve watched this happening over the last few years in Hong Kong, where street demonstrations are large and frequent (and where the police seem to be using the same crowd-kettling techniques and equipment as the cops New York City–I suspect that is no coincidence, and that some trans-global private corporation is selling crowd security equipment and training to police around the world).

        So: Brooklyn Bridge as a tactic = dazzling. Not to mention the symbolic value of making OWS visible, big time, to a part of New York City where many potential sympathizers live.

        1. MontanaMaven

          Yes, the Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful thing. And walking over it has been one of the great joys that I’ve had. Wish I still lived in NYC to be there with you. I hope people go over to Correntewire to read your wonderful first hand account and your nice encounter with the “blue shirt” cop.

        2. Boytjie

          Marching over the Brooklyn Bridge is not particularly imaginative, its been done many, many times.

      2. Darren Kenworthy

        It seems to me that the OWS folks are anything but naive or unsophisticated. They are
        Playing the police state like a tai chi master plays push hands with a clumsy opponent. I love it.

    2. Yearning To Learn

      seems to me getting 700 people arrested makes this seem like A Very Big Deal Indeed.

      Let people enjoy NYC for the most part, don’t interrupt their $200 Broadway Tickets or taking their kid to the zoo… and then they can go back to their hotel and see 700 peaceful demonstrators zip tied on TV. not to mention anybody who reads the NYT, and there’s finally a link even on CNN’s home page (but no pic/video on home page)

      Besides, “Occupy Times Square” lacks a certain symbolism, don’t ya think?

    3. doom

      Like Seymour always sez,

      cops are not just breaking heads but telling a story about terrifying lawless mobs. If the mobs won’t break the law, the cops have to trick them into it, or get violent enough to push them to forcible self-defense. That’s where the peace component of the peace-and-social-justice movement comes in handy. It keeps the focus on cops in their role as lawless corporate goons.

    4. decora

      where do you think the good leaks come from? the back office. if you want to influence anyone, its the anonymous dudes working in some basement in the belly of the beast. they are the ones who can tell you what is really going on.

  9. JohnB

    The looting must stop!
    If we don’t start prosecuting the bankster criminals, Capitalism is Dead!

    No one is too BIG to JAIL

    1. chris

      Capitalism already is Dead sorry to say. This is now an effort to just try and restore our system back to a bit less corporatism. We haven’t seen Capitalism for ages…..The fact that we spend trillions of dollars every 10 years to bail out banks during small crises followed by the current major crisis bailout shows enough. Enron execs are still in jail and no banksters are going to be there with them. and now banks are charging people to use their own money, when a debit card saves the banks millions already. but now they say they have to recoup….they never gave a discount when debit card came out…..just how many jobs were cut because no one ever had to to into the bank anymore or had to come in to withdraw funds? Capitalism is something with less government intervention and less favoritism of the government on the side of the corporations including the banks. Capitalism is a pipe dream that will never work. If you let the elites run themselves they pillage the rest of the country, if you over regulate commerce it is less like capitalism as well.

  10. Rik Hardy

    While the Icelandic police have just complained about being expected to be a human shield between the parliament and their own people…

    Who knew…? Democracy DOES still exist…

  11. johnson

    “Cadman Plaza, a lovely 19th century park”

    It is on land of buildings that have been knocked down. Including the terminal of the Fulton Subway line.

    Not a 19th Century Park.

    1. MsExPat

      Forgive my haste–I wrote this article quickly after returning from a long wet day. In fact, our lucky band of 350 demonstrators actually ended up (and very appropriately!) in Walt Whitman Park, a small wooded green square adjacent to the much larger Cadman Plaza. Walt Whitman park dates from 1945, however in style and design it reflects the 19th century vision of so many other great Brooklyn public spaces, like Prospect Park.

      When we entered the space, our group instinctively congregated around a statue and base that makes a natural “stage”. I couldn’t help but notice that the park architecture of a century ago was explicitly designed to accommodate spontaneous public gatherings, just as the corporate design of today’s “public” spaces (c.f. Zuccotti Park) is not.

  12. rd

    So does this mean that Jamie Dimon believes that taxes are too low since critical government agencies or underfunded?

    Or does it mean that he believes only the police are underfunded in the “land of the free”?

    1. wunsacon

      >> So does this mean that Jamie Dimon believes that taxes are too low since critical government agencies or underfunded?

      Nice observation!

      But, no, I’m sure he’d still claim that taxes shouldn’t be mandatory and that the only oligarchs who should pay are those with enough decency who want to pay.

      1. Habenicht

        Along the lines of rd’s comment, it seems clear that if JPMorgan Chase is getting some kind of negotiated tax exemptions from the city as an incetive to keep their operations here (which I understand is a common concession the city makes to attract big corps to keep shop here), it really should be the other way around as they are clearly willing to “spend” more for the infrastructure and protections that go along with a high tax jurisdiction.

        The subtlety here is that instead of paying a tax which politicians could spend on “other services” including social services, schools, etc, JPMorgan essentially controls what their contribution should be spent on.

        If instead they were to pay higher taxes in the city, perhaps the city would need to rely on these “favors” from the entitled classes……

        1. Habenicht

          typo in last sentence:
          If instead they were to pay higher taxes in the city, perhaps the city would NOT need to rely on these “favors” from the entitled classes……

  13. Ep3

    “on it if I gave to a police charity, it would seem like an awfully cheap form of insurance”

    Isnt this like the mafia yves? Sure reminds me of what Tony soprano does. I thought the mafia was bad and this type of shake down stuff was put to an end years ago? And we have our govt institutions encouraging it?

    1. citalopram

      The Italian Mafia ain’t got nothin’ on this crew. The level of theft the banksters have gotten away with dwarfs even the most sophisticate mob operation. Methinks they had to get the mob out of the way in order to hand that power over to corporations.

  14. alex

    Special thanks to Debra C for catching the NYT in a blatant act of throwing the truth into the Memory Hole. That one picture speaks volumes about MSM coverage.

    Reminder: George Orwell wrote ‘1984’ as a warning, not a how-to manual.

  15. Dan Duncan

    It’s hard to take the protests seriously because they are unoriginal, uninspiring and ineffective. It just feels a bit hackneyed. Petrarchan Protesters, who instead of loving the idea of being in love, merely love the idea of protesting.

    “We’re a part of something, man. This
    is so grassroots! Revolution! Gonna
    bring down the system!”


    If you want these protests to be taken seriously then be original. And if you’re not going to be original, then at least be ruthlessly effective:

    Just Pick One.

    Just one company.

    Make it interactive. Get these blogs and Social Networking Groups to have an Open poll to the effect of:

    We are protesting Wall Street. To Show
    we are serious, we are going to destroy
    one major bank/firm. After the
    destruction, if changes aren’t made, we’ll
    simply destroy another.

    Destruction shall include Massive protests
    outside all of “The Chosen One’s”
    Facilities. Protests shall include a
    complete and total ban of their products.
    Protests shall continue until said
    bank/firm is destroyed.

    Destroy one monolith and you will catch their attention. Guaranteed.

    And for the love of God, dump the Geriatrics from the ’60s telling you “how we used to protest”.

    If you’re from the ’60s, haven’t you already done enough?

    So please…

    If you have ever listened to a Joan Baez song, read an Alan Ginsberg poem, lived on a hog-farm commune or used
    “self-actualization” in a sentence, then please…PLEASE…

    Giddy-up on your Rascal Mobility Scooter, head off into the pharmaceutical sunset and get your weekly fill of insulin,
    cholesterol-lowering statins, erectile dysfunction pills and anti-depressants.

    1. anon

      It’s hard to take the protests that comment seriously because they are it is so unoriginal, uninspiring and ineffective.

      Yes, if only the protesters used the right tone, or wore the right clothes, or had the right demands (in the right PowerPoint presentation with the right fonts)… Then what, they wouldn’t get so much of your attention?

      1. anon

        (Pardon, but HTML code for strikethrough apparently does not work here. That’s what’s wrong with my first sentence above. Hopefully you’ll all get my drift anyway).

      2. citalopram

        None of the matters. What matters is numbers, and the more people you have the more ornery you can afford to be. It’s seems to be gaining steam, which is a good thing.

    2. JCC

      I read an interesting editorial yesterday in one of the NY Papers written by a NYPD cop that defended the protesters. Unfortunately I cannot find the link after searching through Google for the last 20 minutes (go figure).

      Anyway, he specifically addressed comments like “why don’t they get a job instead?”… His answer -> “That’s why theu’re protesting, they have no job and they’re angry about that fact.”

      “They are quick to protest, but they won’t offer any solution”… His answer -> If the Federal Reserve and Congress are clueless, how can these people be expected to be any smarter?”

      “They are all 60’s hippies trying to relive their youth”… His answer -> “They are retired people listening to Congress threaten their retirements that they’ve spent a lifetime paying for while the Banks are being bailed out and speculating their 401K’s all away.

      Many of them may not know exactly what they are doing there but they clearly know the root cause of their fear and loathing.

    3. craazyman

      seriously Dan, get off your couch potatoe butt like I did and go down there to the square for a visit and talk to people and tell us what you see and hear.

      you can’t believe everything you just think up inside your own head. :)

      sometimes there really is an outer reality and you have to go and check it out for yourself. I admit it can be a bit of a workout, but no pain, no gain. LOL.

    4. LeeAnne

      I don’t know. I knew a lawyer, he represented me in a few small real estate matters, but he was married to a minor movie star and was interestingly connected, presented on the cover page of a crummy magazine as the next Roy Cohn. I saved the cover -from the 1980s. His claim to fame was that he irritated everybody.

      He never went anywhere.

      1. aet

        Oh, shut your mouth! You say yourself that he made the cover of a “crummy” magazine – that alone counts for something!

        Was it perhaps the Rolling Stone?

    5. JustAnObserver

      Mr. Duncan: The most powerful, iconic, stunning image of protest for the last 30 years is the picture of the lone Chinese guy standing in front of the tanks on Tiananmen (?) square carrying that most lethal of weapons – a shopping bag.

      Its not for nothing that the Chinese authorities have moved heaven and earth to ban that image in China. If the image had, instead, been of some kind of rampaging, brick throwing, mob then you can imagine that the same authorities would have made it mandatory to replay the image 10 times a day … accompanied by violent attacks on “foreign subversives”, “counter-revolutionaries”, etc. etc. … kind of like the MSM’s current attempts to daemonize OWS.

      Far from being some kind of 60’s or 70’s throwbacks the OWS crew have learned, as did Gandhi and the civil rights movement before them,the resonance of that kind of imagery and its ability to build long term support. Lets only hope that here in the “democratic” West it we can get to the “and then you win” stage without having to go through a tanks-on-the-streets one.

    6. Alex

      I rather like the idea of destroying one bank as an example to the others. The appeal of this idea is twofold. Part one is the appeal to those who can’t or won’t take to the streets. I think that most of the population believes that street protests are useless, but “making an example of someone” is something that is universally understood.

      The second bit of appeal lies in the fact that there are people and businesses who require the services of a large international bank. Telling such people and such businesses to switch to a credit union doesn’t present them with a plausible alternative. On the other hand, if we decide to make an example of Bank of America, for example, people and businesses who need a large bank can simply switch their funds to Citibank (or whatever) as a form of protest, while encountering relatively little inconvenience.

      The poster above certainly isn’t brilliant, but there is one good idea in all that verbiage, assuming that the implementation details can worked out.

  16. Lilguy

    For those of us old enough to remember and young enough to still be able to remember, the anti-Vietnam protests began in very much the same way.

    Ca. 1964, draft card burnings began on campuses with small groups of “radical” students cheering on the resisters. Things go bad enough to make burning draft cards a federal offense by 1965.

    By 1968–and specifically the police riot at the Democratic convention in Chicago in August–opposition to the war went mainstream. The harder the police cracked down on the protesters (almost all peaceful), the broader the support for the anti-Vietnam war movement.

    Four years later, we were getting out of Vietnam.

    The OccupyWallStreet movement is analogous to the early days of the the anti-war movement, but it will take years and lots of police beatings to bring WS under control.

    1. Susan the other

      I think I disagree. As a card carrying member of the Geriatric 60s I remember that those protests were very well defined. No More War. It morphed into a late 60s all out civil war for civil rights. And although it was played down so no one would really understand, the country collapsed. We ended the war and a long battle for civil rights ensued which is finally being achieved. Except for what appears to be financial civil rights. This “protest” is by necessity a fugue. Because we have found ourselves in a gigantic muddle.

      This protest is for financial equality. That means a very broad-based revision of former thinking on democracy and capitalism. The foggy nature of this protest is its very strength. As Klein and other commenters have already said here -this protest is immune from cliche establishment reaction because it is smart enough to be searching for answers, not demanding them.

      1. Joe Rebholz

        “This “protest” is by necessity a fugue.”

        I love it — one or a few themes in multiple times and places overlapping beautifully harmoniously. All the pieces fitting together, experimenting, learning, changing, evolving. This is movement, progress. This is moving. And it will move more and more people to support it and join it.

      2. aet

        The Vietnam a war was won by the courage and sacrifice of the North Vietnamese Army, and NOT by the rather self-centered and self-important American demonstrators against that war.

        To quote Kurt Vonnegut:

        I was protesting during the Vietnam War. We killed fifty Asians for every loyal American. Every artist worth a damn in this country was terribly opposed to that war, finally, when it became evident what a fiasco and meaningless butchery it was. We formed sort of a laser beam of protest. Every painter, every writer, every stand-up comedian, every composer, every novelist, every poet aimed in the same direction. Afterwards, the power of this incredible new weapon dissipated. Now it’s like a banana cream pie three feet in diameter dropped from a stepladder four feet high. The right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances is now worth a pitcher of warm spit. That’s because TV will not come and treat it respectfully. Television is really something.

        The government satirizes itself. All we can wish is that there will be a large number of Americans who will realize how dumb this all is, and how greedy and how vicious. Such an audience is dwindling all the time because of TV. One good thing about TV is, if you die violently, God forbid, on camera, you will not have died in vain because you will be great entertainment.”


        Here’s a quote from Venezuela: The revolution will NOT be televised.

        Because television is the primary problem, judging from the date of its introduction to America. Who does the programming? Herr Goebbels’ ghost?

    2. decora

      i really dont like listening to old people claim they stopped the vietnam war. the war lasted from 64 to 73, which means 5 years after the big protests of 1968, it was still going on. it’s like claiming you went on a raindance and ended a drought.

    3. decora

      the war lasted from 64 to 73, which means 5 years after the big protests of 1968, it was still going on. it’s like claiming you went on a raindance and ended a drought.

  17. JCC

    Scorsese’s “The Gangs of New York” wasn’t just about the Irish in Five Points, but all the gangs including the Cop Gangs and the Gangs that ran City Hall.

    Other than the weaponry of choice, not that much has changed.

  18. Susan

    This JP Morgan donation is a gift whose worth keeps on giving. On the first day of OccupyWallSt not only was the NYSE effectively cordoned off but so was Chase Plaza Manhattan which is near the NYSE.
    I asked the police at Chase Plaza Manhattan that day who were standing in front of the locked gates why one building and its supposed public space was off limits to anyone and was told that they were guarding it from the demonstrators.

  19. rotter

    “These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,”..

    Im pretty certain the lives of Garbage Men and Roofers are in more danger than are the lives of the cops of any Police Department in the US.I would think that NYPD cop lives are quite a bit safer than any others in NY , except those of Jamie Dimon and other Merril Lynch Executives.

  20. Joe Renter

    I was at Occupy Seattle yesterday with 300 or so citizens (local media put the figure at 50). We are claiming a local park in the center of the downtown shopping area. The police were in the background and gave us no problem. As they say, “This is what democracy looks like.” The organization has take the Occupy Wall St style of committees and no one person or one single idea to represent the protest. I hope the readers on NC get involved at the street level as well. We will prevail.

  21. LeeAnne

    There off to a very good start. The “We are the 99%” message is brilliant.

    And, they’ve already won one battle -Congratulations!! Sacrifices were made to achieve it. People were mauled, arrested and held. Do we know if they’re all out of jail and safe right now? That each and every one of those held have the right to speak about their experience? All free of any lists that might prevent them from travel or jobs?

    The demonstrators crushedNYPDs ability to assault people in broad daylight for photographing and carrying cameras. Of course, the cops did that to themselves with the craven stupidity of their leaders, particularly one Officer Bologna who, by the way, is NYPD Counter Terrorism. Think about that. And, charges against him have not been adjudicated after 4 years. So, ‘Justice Delayed, Justice Denied.’ Here’s this criminal cop who qualifies for terrorism duty caught doing his scummy work on camera. What could be more dangerous for the public than this kind of psychopath on the loose and armed. And, prepared to treat peaceful demonstrators as terrorists with the full support of the courts. THE COURT SYSTEM acROSS THE LAND.

    Trapping a few thousand people on the Brooklyn Bridge was planned because the NYPD had lost the last battle, lost big with the photos of their ugly beefy brutality and sexual molesting broadcast world wide.

    Since it is the courts and judges all over the land that permit cops to behave this way; permit them to claim photographing police is illegal when it is not, and act accordingly; until the courts are persuaded to behave differently we can expect police brutality to continue.

    These demonstrators, I spoke to several of them, actually believe the police showed up in such big numbers the evening before their Brooklyn Bridge gambit, to protect them -in case something on the scene happened that hurt someone.

    Now,they are just a little bit older and wiser since those same police entrapped thousands of them; at the very least neglecting to direct the demonstrators away from car traffic on the lower level of the Brooklyn Bridge (terrorist tactics). They had, after all been directing demonstrator traffic for days prior.

  22. LeeAnne

    Just one more example of how our criminal government has organized massively under the guise of an war, this one the War on Terrorism for the wars that are actually against the American people.

  23. sgt_doom

    So, let’s say you wanted to send Jamie a thank you card:

    Jamie Dimons home addresses:

    270 Park Avenue, New York, NY, US

    1185 Park Ave, Apt 11l, New York, NY, US

    398 Greenwich St, New York, NY, US

    211 E 70th St, Apt 10h, New York, NY, US

    388 Greenwich St, New York, NY, US

    1185 Park Ave, Unit 17l, New York, NY, US

  24. watercarrier4diogenes

    “That’s libertarians for you – anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.”
              ~ Kim Stanley Robinson

  25. Skippy

    How much was the fine, (per-person) given to the 700 bridge-napped people?

    Skippy…mighty fine revenue stream you got there NYPD…gravy…yummmm.

  26. globalnomad

    There once was a banker named Germy Demon,
    Who paid for police to squash poor freemen.
    As Demon wanked off, in jubilant glee…
    The freemen did hope, all “funnilee”..
    That Demon would drown, in his own semen.

  27. David

    It’s worth noting that Al Baker (attributed in the amended article) is the police bureau chief for The New York Times and the son of a police lieutenant.

  28. DavidE

    Yeah, these protesters come to the park with their clothes made in China, Apple computers made in China and their Amazon Kindles made in China and shipped from warehouses that are more than 100 degrees in the summer where workers routinely pass out from the heat.

    1. phill_hub

      “Yeah, these protesters come to the park with their clothes made in China, Apple computers made in China and their Amazon Kindles made in China and shipped from warehouses that are more than 100 degrees in the summer”


      Indeed, how dare these people protest the financial ruin of this country while wearing Chinese sneakers!
      As for the Apple gear, don’t these Chinese sneaker wearing rabble realize the huge personalize sacrifice Steve Jobs is making by putting some Chinese peons’ lives on the line in inhuman conditions to squeeze another buck on those stock options??

      Like all of these goddamned low income types, these yahoos don’t have any gratitude. That’s what’s wrong with America today, no gratitude for Steve Jobs moving factories overseas. No gratitude for those cheap Chinese sneakers.
      So what if they hurt your feet. Break them in you ungrateful punks. Here maybe a walk on this bridge can help you with that.

      Jesus F*ing Christ, the garbage you have to sift through in these comments…

    2. Hellga

      Oh yeah, those protestors would be SO much more authentic without Chinese made items, they should be wearing handspun woolen tunics and handmade deer leather moccasins and american denim bellbottoms and native American jewelry…..hey wait a minute…..

      On another note, I’m going to call around tomorrow and see if I can buy the kids on wall street a port a potty for a week. :shrug: might as well.

  29. Tom

    Your money is your greatest weapon.
    You get to vote every two, four, or six years.
    You vote with your wallet every day.

    A boycott, strike, or merely refusing to do business with bankers if LAWFULL and effective.
    Don’t mow their lawns, drive their limo’s, cut their hair or even shine their shoes.

    Shun them as if they have Ebola.

    1. F. Beard

      Shun them as if they have Ebola. Tom

      And to Christian churches and Jewish Synagogues – what are you doing tolerating usurers and counterfeiters in your midst? Sold out, have we?

    2. sgt_doom

      Boycotts are the ruse of the wussies and the corporate stink tanks, there are far more effective ways, Tommie boy.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Bear Stearns had some back office ops in a building right on Cadman Plaza. I don’t know how it was consolidated into other JPM ops (if the lease was cheap, they may have kept the space).

      I’ve reported what I was told by various people in contact with the organizers, but something got garbled in transmission. The original intent may have been to go to Chase Plaza, with the Brooklyn Bridge as the fallback. Or they may have chosen all along to use Brooklyn Bridge and then hang out in Cadman Plaza (and I believe other firms besides the old Bear have moved ancillary operations to that area, so there is more finance there than one might realize).

  30. Stefan

    Big deal. If they simply paid their fair share of taxes, it would amount to a lot more than $4.6mil, I’m sure. That such chicken feed is accepted with “profound gratitude” is a pathetic commentary on the shape things are in.

  31. Charles

    Gee, Bill O’Reilly offered a contribution in exchange for the PD investigating his wife’s lover. JPM offers money to arrest people occupying the public space in front of their building.

    Why don’t the rich just hire the cops outright?

  32. Erin

    Ohhh Liah. Before you start quoting our Founding Fathers, you might want to do just a modicum of due diligence and check to make sure that your attributions are actually correct. They aren’t in this case. There has been much talk about the general public being sheep, and that the Occupy Wall Street movement is standing up to that apathy, and yet you acted just like a sheep by believing that quote attributed to Jefferson. He never said it; or anything remotely like it. Let me guess, you got an email with the quote in it, and like a lemming, you started diseminating it without question. It took me less than FIVE minutes to find the source info on this “quote.” Respectfully Quoted (a dictionary of famous quotations) refers to this quote as “obviously spurious.” Sigh. Sheep, and lemmings…..

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