Even when thousands of Americans took to the streets in 2011 protesting inequality and greed in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations the Wall Street plutocrats appeared completely unshaken in their belief that their power and privileges were legitimate, that they were right and just. To their mind the protesters were just envious of their success and instead of “working hard” as the rich had they wanted to whine.
So while Occupy may have changed the conversation somewhat in the media, its influence on an increasingly unsympathetic 1% seemed minimal.
But now that Pope Francis has weighed in on their transgressions the banksters are quite upset. They may not have cared when the powerless protested but a few criticisms from on high and their pride was wounded.
Billionaire Ken Langone, one of Wall Street’s most aggressive advocates, is the latest to demonstrate hurt feelings over being shamed by the pope. Langone went so far as to claim the pope’s comments questioning trickle-down economics were so problematic for the rich in America that raising money to restore Catholic Church property such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City might be in jeopardy.
Langone reportedly told Arch Bishop of New York Timothy Dolan:
“I’ve told the cardinal ‘Your eminence this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country.”
It’s not enough for Wall Street to control the message from academia and a good portion of the media they also want to muzzle the pope. Stop all the Jesus talk your holiness or we’re taking the money we looted somewhere else.
Ken Langone is a particularly interesting messenger given his background in cutthroat dealings. Langone openly celebrated his involvement in destroying Eliot Spitzer in the film Client Number 9, all but admitting he hired private investigators to dig up dirt on Spitzer and urged Republican state senators in Albany to bring him down. Langone’s animosity stemmed from Spitzer’s condemnation of a Langone ally, Dick Grasso, who was attacked by Spitzer for taking hundreds of millions of dollars of questionable compensation as Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
Ironically in the film Langone says his hatred of Spitzer damaged his Catholic faith:
“I’d like to think I’m not a vindictive person. And a basic tenet of my faith is forgiveness,” says Mr Langone. “The most harm that Eliot Spitzer’s done to me is I’m defying my faith. I can’t forgive him. I should, but I can’t.”
Maybe the church would be better to look elsewhere for funding if censoring Christ’s message is the cost of donations and people the likes of Ken Langone are the ones trying to set the conditions.
Wall Street’s inability to abide any criticism is likely due to the difficulty in having to defend the indefensible – which is much easier if no one questions you in the first place.