Category Archives: JP Morgan Chase

Hot Air

Cool

How do like sleeping with the windows open all night long these days?

Now we come into fall, perhaps the prettiest, most comfortable season of the year. Natch, I didn’t always feel this way. For the longest time, well into my adulthood, I dreaded the coming of September and October — that meant it was time for another school year. For an inveterate school-hater like me, the fall was a jail sentence.

Schoolroom

How Did I Survive This?

Anyway, the cool is fine by me at this advanced stage of my life. So cool was it yesterday AM that I spied one woman walking east on Kirkwood Avenue wearing a heavy fall coat and a scarf wrapped around her neck.

No, let me amend that — it wasn’t that cool yesterday morning. Politics, apparently, isn’t the only thing that causes people to overreact.

Patriot Games?

One of Bloomington’s most respected and beloved citizens has told me she was informed by her bank that the institution no longer wants her business.

Which seems odd, considering the fact that all sorts of reprobates and sociopaths are welcome to deposit their questionably-earned gains in banks from sea to shining sea. You may recall it took a federal statute to force banks to look into enormous deposits of cash. You know, the kinds of deposits drug kingpins make.

Cash

Another Day, Another….

In fact, it was only this past winter when JP Morgan Chase began asking people who wanted to make huge deposits for ID to make sure they were indeed account holders. JPM was forced to institute the new rule in the fallout from the Bernie Madoff affair. Spokesbeings for the bank said the rule was intended to weed out money launderers.

Nice of them. Of course, it took a US Justice Dept. investigation to get the Chase banksters to become such concerned citizens.

In any case, the Bloomington woman was phoned one recent morning by a rep from her __________ branch. She was told, after some hemming and hawing, “Your business is no longer welcome at __________.”

The woman says she’s been a customer of the same bank for at least 10 years. The bank was taken over first by another financial outfit and then by __________. The way the woman sees it, she should be considered a __________ customer for all those ten-plus years.

When the woman asked why __________ was doing this, she was told the Patriot Act was to blame. Or, at least, __________’s interpretation of same. The woman adds that all the __________ reps she spoke with (several people took the phone during the call in question) were “extremely apologetic.”

Bush Signing

George Bush Gleefully Signs The Patriot Act

Nevertheless, the woman was highly offended. One rep explained to her that because she was closely related to someone who “works for a foreign government” the bank could not longer do business with her under its own guidelines. The woman and her relative were natural-born citizens of a Middle Eastern nation. The woman has since become a naturalized American. “I’m not an Arab-American,” she says. “I’m an American.”

She may be an American, but she’s no longer a  __________ customer.

[MG note: I will not identify the woman or the bank until I hear back from the bank.]

This Bloomington woman’s story comes at a time when Arab-Americans across this holy land are being given the bum’s rush by their banks. At least she got something of an answer when she asked why. Acc’d’g to a story in the LA Times, most Arab-Americans being told their accounts are being closed are given no reason at all.

I’ll continue digging into this story. Stay tuned.

Black Eye

You wanna get even madder?

Okay. The National Football League didn’t give former Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice a lengthy suspension for punching his then-fiancé into unconsciousness until after video of the incident was uncovered by the gossip site TMZ.

[I’m not going to provide a link to the TMZ story because I don’t believe disseminating the video serves any purpose other than to hurt the victim again.]

NFL czar Roger Goodell had suspended Rice for two games after the incident first was reported. The video was revealed the other day. Suddenly, Rice’s two-gamer has become an indefinite lay-off.

Rice

This Man Punched His Fiancé Into Unconsciousness

In other words, it’s sorta bad for an NFL player to punch the shit out of his beloved. It’s super bad if the act is caught on video.

Rice, BTW, has been fired by the Baltimore Ravens. Again, the team took no action against him even after he made a plea agreement with prosecutors over the incident. The Ravens acted only when they were embarrassed by the video.

More BTW: Let’s talk punches. It takes a monster blow to induce unconsciousness, despite what you think you’ve learned watching the movies or TV. Unconsciousness resulting from a blow generally occurs when the brain stem or the spinal cord near it are twisted or impacted. Such twisting occurs when the puncher delivers a roundhouse, forcing the recipient’s head to turn violently and suddenly. The impact trauma can occur when the inion, a small projection at the base of the rear of the skull, collides with the spinal cord, again due to a blow that causes sudden head rotation.

This is why boxers are taught to grit their teeth when they’re punched and why they work so hard to develop strong neck muscles. The idea is to resist the rotational forces of the cross punch.

So, Ray Rice didn’t merely jab at his fiancé’s face when he struck her in that casino elevator last February. He swung a roundhouse. He wanted to cause damage to her. He belongs in prison.

As for his then-fiancé — she is now married to him. She belongs on a psychiatrist’s couch.

Roger Goodell and the top officials of the Baltimore Ravens? They belong in hell.

Union, Yes

WFIU is reporting that Bloomingfoods employees are considering unionizing.

Bloomingfoods

All I can say is, Yay!

Hot Air

Capital Letters

I’ve worked at the Book Corner now for about four and a half years. In that time, we’ve sold our share of blockbusters. There’ve been the 50 Shades of Grey series, Go the F●k to Sleep, the Hunger Games trilogy, and, of course R.R. Martin’s Games of Thrones franchise. Add to those immediate splashes the ongoing flow out the door of the Freakonomics pair of books and anything by Malcolm Gladwell.

From our vantage point, the book biz is as healthy as can be. And the hits, apparently, keep on coming. The big deal these days is French economist Thomas Piketty.

Picketty & Book

Kids, Piketty’s huge take on that dismal science, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, is flying off the shelves. It’s big in sheer heft, coming in at 685 pages. It’s big in price —$39.95. And it’s big in sales, natch, moving out its entire first printing less than a week after it hit the streets. Piketty’s publisher, Belknap Press (an imprint of Harvard U. Press), is hustling out a second printing, due May 12.

Literary experts are scratching their heads over the Capital phenomenon. Economics books are about as sexy Donald Trump in a Speedo®. Piketty, though, earned the imprimatur of the liberals’ darling and this holy land’s No. 1 haranguer against the 1%, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. New York magazine has called Piketty the “rock star economist.” Slate and The Nation are fawning over Piketty. Hell, next thing you know, Vanity Fair‘ll be doing a two-page, Annie Leibovitz spread of him in a Speedo®.

The Nation‘s reviewer quotes from Piketty’s Capital: an “…apparently small gap between the return on capital and the rate of growth can in the long run have powerful and destabilizing effects on the structure and dynamics of social inequality.” I consider myself a fairly smart potato but I have no goddamned idea in holy hell what that sentence means. Then again, I’m afflicted by a sort of economics retardation. On the third hand, how many people do you know actually understand the byzantine utterances of economists?

Much of the reason Piketty is breathing the same rarified air as Suzanne Collins and E.L. James is he actually offers strategies to ward off the oncoming crushing global oligarchy that’ll keep the rich ever richer and the poor ever poorer — and an ever-growing swath of the world population. Piketty, among other things, calls for taxing the bejesus out of obscene inherited wealth.

My guess is that millions of copies of Piketty’s Capital will be conspicuously left on coffee tables, the last 4-500 pages of which never being read. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was purchased for precisely the same reason some 25 years ago. People heard how exciting Hawking’s scribblings were and they dashed out out en masse get the book.

Problem was they found they had to actually read the damned thing which turned out to be a tad daunting.

I have no doubt most purchasers of Capital will come to the same conclusion.

Not that I’m getting all superior here: I probably wouldn’t get past page 63 of Piketty’s epic. The only diff. is I’m not going to buy the book in the first place. Economics, remember, is the dismal science.

Filthy Lucre

Speaking of wealth, if you’ve made your wad in the porn rackets, Chase Bank doesn’t want your dough.

Honest. One of the too-big-too-fail financial mobsters of the world has sent letters to depositors who work in porn advising them to take their bank accounts elsewhere.

AVN Awards

Porn Star Michelle Bombshell & Date At AVN Awards — Her Money’s No Good At Chase (photo by Nate “Igor Smith)

Imagine that! Chase’s parent co., JP Morgan Chase, made billions — shoot, hundreds of billions — defrauding customers by selling them bundles of mortgages that the bank knew were losers. Chase not long ago paid a record $13 billion fine for such activity, which largely caused the near global collapse of 2007-08.

Now, arts organizations, social service agencies, schools, libraries, and other cultural outfits are starving for cash and millions are still out of work. For that, JP Morgan Chase, rewarded its CEO, Jamie Dimon, to the tune of $20 million in 2013. Who sez crime doesn’t pay?

Anyway, if you take your clothes off for dough before rolling cameras, your deposits are dirty, as Chase sees it. The Chase gang, obviously, has an idiosyncratic sense of morality.

Piling On

Okay, let’s stick like glue to the arch-criminally wealthy. The Koch Boys fund the supposed grass-roots org. called Americans for Prosperity.

A for P stood on its head to stop Nashville, Tennessee’s proposed mass transit plan. Known as AMP, the $175 million project would improve movement into and around Nashville, cut down on auto traffic in the center city, and even clean up the air a bit. Natch, the Koch Monsters saw it as a commie plot to rob them of all their billions. Why? Who knows?

Koch Bros.

Aspiring Archcriminals

The Kochs, though, through their dummy assoc., leaned on the Tennessee state legislature to crush the Amp project — and any others like it.

These are the fellows, I remind you, on whose behalf the Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court has turned American elections over to the plutocracy. Corporations are now people. Money is now speech. And the rich now run this holy land brazenly and without apology.

And if you need to take a bus to get anywhere in Nashville, well, fuck you. Go buy yourself a limousine like the Koch Boys did.

[Bonus anger-button issue: The Kochs of late have been standing on their heads again, this time to stop a tax levy to support the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo. Because, as you well know, animals are takers.]

Hot Air

The Mob

Ralph Nader quotes Jim Hightower in Saturday’s Huffington Post:

Assume you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating US trade laws, and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the punishments you’d get? Howe about zero? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you get to stay on as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree, and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!

The hoodlum H-tower speaks of would  be the big boss of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, a man whom, Nader reminds us, proclaims for all the world to hear that he is “so damn proud of this company.”

Dimon

“Proud”

We keep forgetting that reprobates like Dimon were responsible for crashing the entire world’s economy back in the mid-aughts. It wasn’t socialism, or communism, or same-sex marriage, or legalized pot, or a Manchurian Candidate president from Kenya, or even god’s will that millions more Americans now live below the poverty line, millions are unemployed, municipalities are going broke, school budgets are being slashed, libraries are closing, and…, and…, oh, it’s all too depressing.

All those ills were brought to us courtesy of the Liar’s Poker, casino-mentality, degenerate gamblers in fancy Wall Street offices (and their coat-holders in Congress).

They all are the very definition of mobsters.

Trade Rumors

Here’s an idea regarding the development of some land along the B-Line Trail that cuts through central Bloomington. Habitat for Humanity wants to develop a little strip of woods along the Trail, just northwest of downtown B-town. So the city’s angling for a zoning variance to allow HforH to build a couple of dozen homes for the needy there.

Habitat/B-Line

Habitat’s B-Line Neighborhood Is Next Door To…

And, according to folks who don’t think much of the idea, the city’s positioning the question as an either-or: either you want to help Habitat do its good works or you don’t. The problem acc’d’g to some, is that Habitat’s property is the last lush green space near downtown. That, and it is apparently going to be difficult to develop.

Instead, say a group of petitioners, the city and Habitat should swap land. The city-owned Certified Tech Park butts up against the Woods parcel. The CTP already is zoned for high-density residential development, the argument goes, and much of the land is cleared.

Bloomington CTP

…Bloomington’s Certified Tech Park

The simple solution? Let HforH build its homes on the Tech Park site and let the city take over the Woods and transform that land into a Parks & Rec facility.

If you buy this argument, slap your sig. on the petition calling for the land swap.

Then again, if you think the city’s gonna let low-income folks live in its shiny new neighborhood, you must believe you live in a liberal college town.

A Dickens Of A Tale

Overheard at Soma the other day, a barista talking to a customer:

My parents told me my actual last name was Nintendo. When I was about six, they said I was the heir to the Nintendo family fortune but that my original parents disowned me because they didn’t like the way I looked. So I was adopted.

Does too much coffee do that to people?

The End Is Near — Maybe

And finally, it took a foreign newspaper to report on disturbing study by this holy land’s own NASA. Our Murrican space geeks have sponsored some alarming research with the help of scads of scientists from a variety of disciplines that show humanity’s present rate of consumption and excretion could potentially topple our whole house of cards within a few decades.

Fin

We’re using so much stuff and belching so much of our wastes into the air, the water, and the soil that our civilization itself could collapse of its own weight. Don’t laugh — countless civilizations before us have gone all to hell for a screwing up what they knew of the world a lot less than we are.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has submitted the study to the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for the Journal of Ecological Economics. That gang contemplates stuff like this; you know, how much it costs us as a species to make sure everybody’s got all the latest hand-held devices and to keep our petro-plutocracy in charge of, well, everything.

Natch, Murrican newspapers and TV news outlets haven’t touched this thing yet because it has nothing to do with Justin Beiber or a white man shooting an unarmed black kid. Those, of course, are the only topics of import in this mad, mad, world.

Anyway, the study doesn’t come right out and say we’re doomed, only that we could be. There’s a chance, see? Except folks who think scientists are a political party would pooh-pooh the report out of hand, if only they had the intellect to understand it.

Inhofe Book Cover

And here’s a conclusion the study makes that’s sure to make Ma & Pa Kettle bristle: We ought to stop having so many kids. Yup, overpopulation is strangling us, the study sez. There ain’t enough raw stuff on this planet to manufacture the products needed to satisfy all 7B of us. The conclusion is, those of us who have need to make sure that the rest of us have not; otherwise, we lucky few won’t have as much as we want.

Yeesh. So, when’s the last time you read the word overpopulation in your morning newspaper? Or heard the word uttered by a blonde, lacquered anchor lady?

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.” — Kin Hubbard

YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN, BABY

In the first chapter of Thomas Frank‘s latest book, he describes the ways people during the Great Depression rallied around each other.

Groups of farmers, for instance, would pitch in to help save another farmer whose land was in danger of being foreclosed on. And if they couldn’t scrape up enough cash, why, they’d all go down to the town en masse and shake their fists at the president of the bank.

Solidarity

People were angry, Frank observes, and they knew precisely where to direct their rage.

The point of this and other anecdotes in the chapter was that 75 years ago just plain folks understood that they were all in this together. The misfortunes that befell seemingly every other person in America, they knew, had a hell of a lot to do with an economic system that was rigged to ensure money would remain in the hands of the moneyed.

Mr. Moneybags

It was really a heartening account of what I can only describe as patriotism. Neighbors cared for neighbors. Americans felt a kinship with each other (as long as they were white, natch).

Frank concludes the chapter by flashing ahead to the 21st Century. He describes visiting a Tea Party rally. The participants are as angry as their predecessors from the Great Depression were. Only the Tea Party-ists’ rage isn’t directed against banksters and plutocrats. No, it’s aimed at those people an earlier generation would have embraced and comforted.

One Tea Party placard Frank describes says everything you need to know about this holy land today: “Your mortgage,” it reads, “is not my problem.”

Go Help Yourself

Pick up “Pity the Billionaire: The Hard Times Swindle and the Unlikely Resurgence of the American Right” if you get a chance. If you need to economize, wait for it to come out in paperback on September 18th.

BULLY PEOPLE

Speaking of plutocrats, how about that Jamie Dimon, the capo di tutti capi of JP Morgan Chase, announcing yesterday that his firm lost a couple of billion dollars last year on some extremely risky “positions”?

Dimon, of course, is speaking in code — he really means he and his fellow degenerate gamblers chased bad bets with more bad bets.

Dimon: “Believe Me, I Can Stop Any Time I Want.”

Addicts and obsessives all seem to share the predilection to soft-soap their unhealthy habits, and Dimon is no different.

The Me Party-ists don’t see Dimon and his compares as the problem, though.

Perhaps he and his pals aren’t easy enough targets for the Me Party-ists. Should that be true, I might be tempted to come up with yet another snarky moniker for the folks who gave us Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann: The Bully Party.

BULLY BOY

Yes, Mitt Romney bullied kids way back when he was a student at Richboy Tech.

I don’t like it. No one should like it.

“I’m Tougher Than A Fag!”

But I hope we’re not going to write off all pols for the nitwit, often cruel, things they did as teenagers. There is, after all, redemption, no?

I prefer to write off Romney for the bullying he’s done to people as an adult.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Friday, May  11, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

B-Line Trail at the Bloomington Banquet Sculpture — Bloomington Bikes Week, Women’s Ride: Noon

Deer Park ManorEdible Lotus Night Bazaar, tastings from 20 local restaurants; 6pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterCardinal Stage Company presents “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”; 7pm

Boxcar BooksJames Capshew reads from his book, “Herman B. Wells: The Promise of the American University”; 7pm

IU CinemaFilm, “The Kid with a Bike”; 7pm

IU SOFA, upstairs theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Raw and the Cooked”; 7pm — “444 Last Day on Earth”; 8:45pm

Panache DanceJennifer Luna teaches salsa with dance party to follow; 7:30pm

◗ IU Woodburn HallRyder Film Series, “Keyhole”; 7:45pm

Cafe DjangoEarplane, Latin-Brazilian jazz; 8-11pm

IU SOFA, downstairs theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Fairy”; 8:15pm

The BluebirdKip Moore; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceQwintis Sential, Lonewolfe 10man; 9pm

Uncle Elizabeth’sVicci Laine and the West End Girls; 10pm & midnight

The Comedy AtticDan Telfer; 8 & 10:30pm

The BishopDave Walter Karaoke; 11pm

The Pencil Today:

LOVE IS CRUEL

So, Anne Hathaway’s getting married. I guess The Loved One can rest easy from now on.

Big Mike Must Face Facts: She Loves Another

MAKE IT EASIER TO VOTE? I DUNNO, IS THAT WISE?

The Monroe County election board will vote Thursday on voting centers. The board’s only Republican, Judith Smith-Ille, has opposed a 2012 start-up for the centers. County Clerk Linda Robbins, a Democratic board member, wants them for next year’s election.

Butting Heads: Smith-Ille & Robbins (IDS photo)

The idea is the county will do away with its 90 precinct polling places and replace them with strategically located sites in which any registered voter from anywhere in the county can cast a ballot.

Everyone agrees the vote centers will make it easier for citizens to do their duty. So why are Smith-Ille and other Republicans fighting the 2012 roll-out?

Search me. But is it my imagination or do Republicans as a rule start to get itchy whenever talk turns to increased voter turnout?

IF YOU DO THE CRIME YOU MUST DO THE TIME

Jails in a few cities and towns of this holy land hosted hundreds of Occupy protesters last night. Los Angeles cops busted up the encampment in that city with a couple of hundred earning their plastic wrist-ties. Philadelphia police applied the strong-arm as well, taking 40 into custody.

LA Bust Last Night

And whaddya know? Even Bloomington, the Solar System’s center of liberalism, progressivism, and intellectualism, saw its cops wade into a mass of protesters. Officers nabbed five of them and shipped them off to…, let’s see now, Guantanamo? No. The Gulag Archipelago? Uh uh.

No. The kids were taken to the county lockup and were promptly bailed out.

Apparently, the protesters were not affiliated with the local Occupy gang although they claimed to be “in solidarity” with the campers at People’s Park.

And forgive me for judging this book by its cover, but yesterday’s protesters at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business didn’t appear to be used to such rude treatment. The protesters were blocking the door to a room in which capos from JP Morgan Chase were to recruit new soldiers for their mob.

Civil Disobedience

See, when you do civil disobedience, you should expect to be jailed. And when you’re jailed in those circumstances, you should take it with dignity. After all, in an unjust society, the only place for a just human being is in jail.

Am I nitpicking here? You tell me.

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