Imperial Arrogance

Today this sign appeared in the windows of the Chicago Board of Trade, high above the Occupy Chicago protest taking place below.  Its message?  “We Are The 1%.”

Well, then.

Such sublime overconfidence oozed out of another proud plutocrat nose-thumbing just days before, when Wall Street banksters sipped champagne on a luxurious veranda handily removed from the madding crowds.  Both pictures immediately swept the internet, if not the mainstream media, and just like the wanton police brutality before that, served only to galvanize and nationalize the movement.  Who’d a thunk?  Now that nearly all of the major unions, Russ Feingold, Ron Paul, the Progressive Caucus, and even Ben Bernanke, for Pete’s sake, have either expressed support or at least sympathy for OWS, you’d think these rich bastards would start doing a little math and tone it down a bit.  But you’d be wrong.

Perhaps bolstered by TV nitwits like Erin Burnett of CNN, most famously, but also multiple NYT reporters who have dismissed the movement as a small bunch of delusional hippies, the banksters are responding to the first generalized threat against them not with more of the usual petulant whining, but this time with a big, albeit bejeweled, middle finger.   It’s striking, really, but I’m beginning to think Lady Bracknell’s seminar about “The Effect of a Permanent Income on Thought” is desperately needed in certain perfumed quarters.  So drunk on the sheer joy of being (temporarily) at the top of the heap, the top 1%ers just can’t stop themselves from tossing garbage on the 99% below, and with a Leona Helmsley-grade haughtiness that makes Marie Antoinette look like Mother Theresa.

But why wouldn’t they?  They’re reaping the rewards of many years of putting their money where it would do the most good: buying the government, ruining its finances, and consolidating American business into a consortium of like-minded monopolies, especially in the media.  The only problem is, like all people driven by maniacal obsessions, the increasingly stateless global elite can’t stop themselves when they’ve gone too far.  Throughout history, the willingness of the bottom 99% to put up with the depredations of the top 1% relies on a certain level of stability that comes from at least a modest hope for a decent life.  If mass deprivation is required so the ultra-wealthy can enjoy an eighth house or a fourth trophy wife, which seems now to be the case, trouble invariably ensues.   And, if these gains are seen to be ill-gotten, so much the worse.

You see, the Robber Barons of old, unscrupulous as they often were, actually did things, some of them quite great.  They built steel mills and railroads, typewriters, television networks, and newspaper chains.  They built mansions for themselves, of course, but they also built iconic train stations and skyscrapers, and factories that employed millions.   None of these three-card monte players have ever, in their miserable, grabby lives, done anything half so useful, and instead of later building libraries to uplift the poor like Andrew Carnegie, they now use their limitless wealth to cripple and defund public schools, and to try to prevent the (preferably uneducated) poor from voting.  That’s the “charity” we’re all supposed to be counting on once they’ve taken all of our money and pulled away the social safety net.

They must be the last people on earth who don’t think anyone sees this, and it shows.  Tomorrow the Occupy movement comes to Portland, and CHNN will be there; I can only hope for more in-your-face behavior from this bunch.  At the rate they’re going, the next bubble they burst will be their own.


  1. michlib says:

    Top 1% in income – not intelligence. Festooning their office with exclamatory banners would be the equivalent of a deer painting a bullseye on it’s flank. Stoooopid.

  2. dirigo says:

    Sarah is new rich, almost part of the wizard one percent maybe, but she seems to have come to her senses. At least for the moment.

    Could be a hopeful trend.

    Maybe she’s an acorn, from which a humble oak will grow.

    Whatever – she’s a nut, and a hot one, as Roger Ailes now admits.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, to someone who looks like Roger Ailes, Margaret Thatcher would be considered “hot.” Don’t think I’ll miss her much.

      • dirigo says:

        Final note to Sarah (and perhaps to the one percenters):

        “Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.”

        – Tomas Transtromer

    • mikeinportc says:

      At least smart enough to know when the water is getting too hot, and to let the whole mess crash on somebody else’s watch. Besides she’s devoting herself to a higher calling : God Famiy, & Country! Youbetcha! :) ))))

  3. mikeinportc says:

    I’m hoping it spreads to the other parts of this particular Axis of Evil : K Street, the Capitol, the White House, the Pentagon, NSA, CIA, prisons ( especially private ones) , and other beneficiaries of crony capitalism beides banks, such as Booz-Allen and Halliburton. Would be nice if the Chicago 1%ers were blockaded in, or out( don’t are which) of their den of financial iniquity by the 99s. ( Note to all the authoritarian punishers out there, that’s a vision/wish ,not a command, or incitement . Don’t tase (or drone) me bro’ . ) ;)

    I saw a map of protests on Aljazeera. I counted 63 cities,and as it wasn’t responding to clicks, I couldn’t see anything east of New Hampshire. I know of at least one more, in Ithaca, that wasn’t on the map. That in front of the BoA branch. ( ~200 people)

    • cocktailhag says:

      I just got back from Portland’s, and there were more than ten thousand there. No crowd estimates yet, but I have some experience with these things.

  4. mikeinportc says:

    OT, in the Politics-Makes-Strange-Bedfellows Dept. ( or just plain “strange”) :|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    Ol’ Matt’s in the right place, but maybe watching The Ed Show a little much. The Council was probably thinkng mainly of flood losses . ( The third once-in-500-yr event in the last five yrs[ & we got little from Irene!], but don’t worry, it’s all socialist hype )