A group of ministers stormed JP MorganChase on Park Avenue in New York on Friday to both perform an exorcism and close their accounts. Although they waved their crucifixes with aplomb, and sprinkled holy water in an attempt to cast out the devil of greed, the banking behemoth was still standing as of Monday. No credible reports of CEO Jamie Dimon suffering attacks of pea-soup projectile vomiting or head-spinning have yet been received.
It’s common wisdom that not only has HAMP been a bust , but the big banks are still acting like Mafia shakedown artists in foreclosing illegally and utterly thumbing their noses at the struggling homeowners the program was designed to help. Documents released today by the hacking group “Anonymous” reveal that Bank of America has been running a scam which forces its own expensive insurance on mortgagees without their knowledge. Emails provided by a BofA whistleblower seem to indicate an effort to cover up the scam from the prying eyes of auditors. A nonpartisan, populist activism group called Ampedstatus.com has recently morphed into a social networking site to organize anti-Wall Street demonstrations and nonviolent resistance against the oligarchy. Protest events at several branches of the Federal Reserve are being planned for later this month.
Our government is not watching out for our interests, so somebody has to. President Obama is not about to come out on the side of the people when his White House is stuffed to the rafters with Wall Street insiders. His new chief of staff, Bill Daley, is fresh from a stint as one of the head honchos of JPMorgan Chase. So what if he temporarily divested himself of his bank stock? That revolving door from government to the Military Industrial Complex and K Street is spinning apace, and the boundaries between private and public have become so blurred as to be nonexistent.
The small group of church people and their followers sang “We Shall Overcome” and quoted Martin Luther King before they peacefully performed their symbolic exorcism, entered the bank and closed out their accounts. Rev. Allen Ramirez of the Brookville Reformed Church passionately shouted, “We are here to sprinkle holy water on the Evil Empire!"
|The Hell That Fraud Has Created (Dore engraving from Dante's Inferno)|
That there is a special place in hell reserved for banksters is not a new idea. Dante assigned the penultimate recess of his fiery pit – the Eighth Circle – to the greedy and the fraudulent. One of its denizens is Geryon, the demon of avarice. He has a smiling human face, so we don’t immediately notice his grasping claws and stinging scorpion tail. Dante knew his banking industry, all right. It hasn’t changed in the 700 years since he lived and without regulation, it never will. This is Medievalism Redux.
The only cure for avarice is outside intervention. Exorcism, of course, has some pithy symbolic value. It’s a nice theatrical segue to the mass demonstrations, recalls, elections, public exposure and relentless drumbeat of discontent that grows ever louder with each passing day.
We. Have. Had. Enough.