Jeez Louise, have I had a major epiphany about how sincerely fucked up my shit’s been. Yeah, I know how y’all hate process stories, but here I am, about to walk you down the road that let me see that my doctor was right all along! I hereby denounce my former purity against the uber-wealthy for the sake of teh Greater Good.
Yesterday morning, in search of any great coverage about the ongoing coup-or-not coups in Venezuela, I stopped by the Real News Network to see if Paul Jay may have revised his earlier misunderstandings on events there. Perhaps he’d seen Amy Goodman’s great program nd had learned a few things. But what I came upon was this (crap) interview with Kevin Roose of NY Magazine who’d crashed a 2012annual event party for the ‘secret Wall Street fraternity’ at the St Regis Hotel ballroom called ‘I Felta Thigh’. Okay; it’s actually called ‘Kappa Beta Phi’, a different bit of word play on ‘Phi Beta Kappa’, which organization they mock as dilettante intellectuals and pansies…or something.
Roose said that when he’d read a number of Wall Street tycoons honking on about how unloved they are, and are friggin’ sick of the 1% getting’ picked on for political reasons; ‘just like the Jews at Kristallnacht, one had moaned, he published a chapter of his book at the magazine.
Writing for the moment in third person he says:
‘Looking up at him from an elegant dinner of rack of lamb and foie gras were many of the most famous investors in the world, including executives from nearly every too-big-to-fail bank, private equity megafirm, and major hedge fund. AIG CEO Bob Benmosche was there, as were Wall Street superlawyer Marty Lipton and Alan “Ace” Greenberg, the former chairman of Bear Stearns. And those were just the returning members. Among the neophytes were hedge fund billionaire and major Obama donor Marc Lasry and Joe Reece, a high-ranking dealmaker at Credit Suisse. [To see the full Kappa Beta Phi member list, click here.] All told, enough wealth and power was concentrated in the St. Regis that night that if you had dropped a bomb on the roof, global finance as we know it might have ceased to exist.’
(And New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones) and incredibly unsuccessful ones (Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld, Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne, former New Jersey governor and MF Global flameout Jon Corzinethen-Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Home Depot billionaire Ken Langone, Morgan Stanley bigwig Greg Fleming, and JPMorgan Chase vice chairman Jimmy Lee), as well.
He embedded a tape of the welcome speech by ’the Grand Ass*Swipe- of the estimable organization’s Wilbur Ross that goofed on OWS, praised the Fed for saving their asses in 2008, some faux-roasting, and ‘regulatory capitalism’ (harharhar), and a few good-natured roasts Bear Sterns and Lehman Bros; (moar har).
Other Soundcloud embeds include:
‘Warren Stephens, an investment banking CEO, took the stage in a Confederate flag hat and sang a song about the financial crisis, set to the tune of “Dixie.” (“In Wall Street land we’ll take our stand, said Morgan and Goldman. But first we better get some loans, so quick, get to the Fed, man.”)
Bill Mulrow, a top executive at the Blackstone Group (who was later appointed chairman of the New York State Housing Finance Agency), and Emil Henry, a hedge fund manager with Tiger Infrastructure Partners and former assistant secretary of the Treasury, performed a bizarre two-man comedy skit. Mulrow was dressed in raggedy, tie-dye clothes to play the part of a liberal radical, and Henry was playing the part of a wealthy baron. They exchanged lines as if staging a debate between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. (“Bill, look at you! You’re pathetic, you liberal! You need a bath!” Henry shouted. “My God, you callow, insensitive Republican! Don’t you know what we need to do? We need to create jobs,” Mulrow shot back.)’
Zo yeah, asSwipes all, and even worse, not even funny. More disgusting and telling junk from the uber-capitalist pigs at our collective trough and commons; big deal. Barely worth a blog, eh?
But then I clicked in to Ralph Nader’s ‘Wanted: Modestly Enlightened Very Rich People’ (or MERPs for short, not to be confused with ‘Swipes’) His grand scheme to rejigger ‘least worst choice’ electoral politics is to find those of 1% who also happen to have ‘philanthropic spirits’. He reckons that just by one or more of them signaling their interest in running for President, they’d put marginalized issues on the table.
‘Issues like reducing specific governmental waste and bureaucratic rigidities, fighting crony capitalism, reforming tax policy, supporting coherent investment in public works, confronting climate change, waging peace, promoting living wages, creating jobs, reducing poverty, implementing universal Medicare, transforming education, prosecuting corporate crimes, freeing shackled health and safety regulators, increasing access to justice, protecting civil liberties (including privacy), abolishing the Electoral College, and reforming campaign finance.’
Well, garsh, Mickey; here is a partial list (the rest of his Twenty Bills and Mega-Bills can be found here):
‘What about Oprah Winfrey? Bill Gates? Ted Turner? These three billionaires have the name recognition alone to make them major players in any presidential race, and they all certainly have the finances to do it.
What about Tom Steyer, hedge fund environmentalist, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and media executive Barry Diller?
What about wealthy businesspersons like Jerome Kohlberg (campaign finance reformer) and Steve Case?
What about well-known Washington D.C. philanthropists like David Rubenstein and William Conway?’
Shoot, what a campaigner Oprah would be! ‘Look under your chairs for your gifts, people!’ Or: ‘Open your boxes! Joy rising!’ I’m in; are you? (We don’t need to mention that little scandal at her African girls’ school, do we?)
Or maybe philanthropist Bill Gates, saving education through privatization and curing world hunger by Genetically Modified Organisms would suit you fancy more. Are you in? Would it sweeten the deal were he to choose his BFF Bono as his Veep? Bono luvs him some GMOs, and could open for him at campaign events!
Hmmmm. Wonder if any of them were also on the Kappa Beta Phi list? Guess we might not want to know that, eh? Especially me, since I’m now beginning to see The Light…and realize what a flipping purist I’ve been. When I’ve honked on about the global Indigenous predicting that we’re on the eve of a global expanded higher consciousness, and the shiver-inducing true Maya Prophecy:…maybe I got it all wrong!
‘Enough war; enough of building weapon to kill people; why don’t we build things to help humanity and the earth…?’ Maybe some dirty fucking hippie in tie-dye clothes did the translation. The prophecy wasn’t about turning sword into plowshares, but just finding a few moderately enlightened billionaires to stem the tide of track we’re on to Doomsday. I wondered…and mused…and began to tweak my personal vision and beliefs, trying to jettison the idea of building a better world as by Zapatismo for instance; or unimpeded Bolivarism…
But then, late in the day, mi amiga hotflashcarol sent me a link that Susie Cagle had sent her, and it sealed it for me, as in whir-click-click: Gestalt!. There is no hope for the simple life of ‘just enough’ and ‘living lightly’ on the planet, oh no, cuz Mica White tells me so. A drum roll please, for the new tech gamechanger for the resistance movement: Mission: OccupyGlass: “Elite technology for the 99%!”
‘We have an opening to exploit an emergent tech and gain a tactical advantage in the struggles ahead.
Occupy co-creator Micah White has been tapped to enter Google’s Glass Explorer Program, an invite-only program that puts Glass into the hands of “bold, creative individuals who want to help shape the future.”
Glass is a potential force multiplier—like barricades in 1848 and general assemblies in 2011—and Micah will be the first professional activist to put this technology toward the people’s struggle. What are the applications of Glass for revolution? How can Glass facilitate the people’s experiment in global self-governance? Let’s find out.
If you can help us cover the cost of investing in Glass, you will deliver a powerful weapon to the wonderful, trusted activists of BAC and Zuccotti. In return, we dedicate this Glass back to you and the global people’s movement.
Thank you so much.
Warm regards from the people’s coast,
-The Founders of B.A.C.
p.s. We accept Bitcoin! Send your contribution to….
Besides being his ‘Boutique Activist Consultancy’, you will remember Micah as the adbuster who claims to have invented OWS. Not having had a clue as to what GG’s even are, hotflashcarol explained to me that Google Glasses can record what the wearer is watching, so yes, they might indeed be truly force multipliers, although we just don’t know…how or what sort. Recording police brutality by the enforcers for the 1%, maybe? But the Explorer Edition costs $1500, and plane fare for two to the San Francisco Base Training Camp is $600 (no prices listed for NYC and LA), so…we will need some serious er…billionaire philanthropists to fund the revolution, as you can see.
As an aside, we’ve been given fair warning against turning into GlassHoles, so pay attention.
Zo. Since we don’t need to rack our fucking brains trying to imagine if there are any truly enlightened billionaires who didn’t make their lucre on the backs of working people, and since ‘moderately’ is a good enough measure for who it’s for, you may name some other worthy candidates who might save us. Additionally, if you’re of the protest persuasion, you might even consider sending them love notes (including those Swipes who feel so left out of the love), and ask them to contribute to your OccupyGlass expenses. Damn, even Warren Zevon knew how fucked up my shit was; why didn’t I heed him back in the day? Change your dream, change yourself… break it on down for us, Warren.
(cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)