“My right hand was playing Mozart’s minuet
And at the same time my left hand was playing; have a banana; from Carmen
And at the same time my mouth was whistling a sextet from Luicini
And at the same time What do you think my foot was doing?
While keeping time it was cracking walnuts; see I had to eat too.”
— Jimmy Durante
SAN FRANCISCO — Cheeky.
That sums up former British PM Tony Blair’s attempt to characterize Occupy Wall Street for an audience of 4,000 at Charles Schwab’s investor conference in San Francisco last week.
“What I learned in my time as prime minister is that those that shout loudest don’t necessarily need to be heard the most,” Forbes quoted Blair as telling the audience from the podiumm even as protests shut down the nearby Port of Oakland.
Blair’s comments should not be dismissed offhand. Yet they seem to exemplify the kind of disconnect that exists between the public and government officials that are part of the ruling oligarchy in the western world.
And that … more than anything else … may be the very reason that “Occupy Wall Street” exists in the first place.
The Itar-Tass news agency reported last week that the former PM will receive $12.7 million per year in the employ of authoritarian Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Occupy and other activists and proponents of reform have long decried the conflicts between public and private interests arising as public officials take lucrative private-sector jobs.