Double Standard Ethics: What the “Occupy Wall Street” Demonstrations Have Revealed So Far

1. When well-behaved middle-class Americans held rallies protesting specific U.S. policies, notably excessive spending, a CNN  reporter challenged them on camera and accused the effort of being a creation of Fox News. When incoherently chanting anarchists, radicals and unemployed youths hold rallies advocating nothing constructive whatsoever, reporters are invariably respectful.

2. Thanks to the efforts of snickering CNN and MSNBC hosts, the emerging Tea Party was immediately referred to using a crude term for a gay sexual act. No such denigrating term has been employed to describe “Occupy Wall Street.”

3. The Tea Party rallies were non-violent, organized, and without confrontations with the police. Occupy Wall Street has featured a demonstrator defecating on a police car,  clashes with police, and costly disruptions of traffic, business, public services and tourism, including  an effort to disrupt the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

4. The scarcity of African Americans at Tea Party Rallies was cited by the media and commentators as proof that the movement is racist. An equal scarcity of African Americans among Occupy Wall Street demonstrators is assumed to indicate no bias at all.

5. The fact that Tea Party demonstrators oppose Obama tax and budget priorities is also cited as proof that the movement is racist. The fact that Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are opposing Obama administration financial sector policies and law enforcement decisions is taken to indicate no bias at all.

6. Republicans, who objected to Tea Party critics using isolated individuals expressing racist views  to impugn the whole movement, now are citing isolated individuals in Occupy Wall Street who express anti-Semitic sentiments to suggest that Occupy Wall Street is bigoted against Jews.

7. You can tell that Nancy Pelosi is lying when you see her lips move. In a discussion with Christiane Amanpour shown on ABC, she approvingly contrasted the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators with “Tea Party demonstrators, who spit on members of Congress.” The accusation that a Tea Party demonstrator spit on a member of Congress was thoroughly disproved, and even withdrawn by the member in question, who clarified that he meant that a demonstrator was shouting so close to his face that he was sprayed with saliva. (As a stage director, I know the difference.)

Meanwhile, no Tea Party demonstrator has defecated on a police vehicle. But perhaps Nancy approves of that.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart says that he can’t see any differences between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

Sure, Jon. Whatever you say.

41 thoughts on “Double Standard Ethics: What the “Occupy Wall Street” Demonstrations Have Revealed So Far

  1. I almost want to counterprotest and have a sign that says, “Dude?” or something else nonsensical. But to me, this is sort of how all protests look. I know they can be different, but all I hear is “Blaaah.”

    Did you hear about those folk who are always protesting whose name I forget, how they’re going to picket Steve Jobs’ funeral? And they posted this from their iPhone?

  2. I’ve been waiting for your response to the Occupy movement, Jack, and, I must say, you didn’t disappoint. You could shill for Fox News, my friend.

    Yeah, I know you don’t care much for Michael Moore, but, last night, I watched Capitalism: A Love Story. Today I followed up with an obscene rant… http://fattymoon.posterous.com/citigroup-memo-details-exactly-how-badly-we-a … because, well, I was PISSED! I found those memos from Citigroup – I’d call them a smoking gun.

    So, Jack, you offer nothing but a put down of the Occupy movement. Guess again, my friend. You are on the wrong side of history. I leave in 30 minutes for a meeting with Occupy Las Cruces. Yesterday, I semi-occupied the local Bank of America… http://fattymoon.posterous.com/mr-piggy-decides-to-beat-up-an-innocent-girl, and Saturday there’s a demonstration on the New Mexico State University campus and another in El Paso. I could provide you with a wheelbarrow full of Occupy links in order to give you some idea of how big this is, and how much bigger it will become.

    For the record, I know you are a smart guy. So is Chris Hedges. http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_shares_his_thoughts_on_occupy_wall_street_20111007/?ln He already has a Pulitzer. You don’t. Does that really mean anything? Of course not. Still, know this Jack – you have intentionally mis-characterized the Occupy movement. And that, sir, is to your discredit. Just so you,and your readers, know.

    • Glad I didn’t disappoint. For the record, I think 99% of all protests are egotistical, self-indulgent wastes of other people’s time and money, and you can start with the anti-Vietnam protests (which were really “please don’t draft me” protests by rich kids) and work forward. How did I “mischaracterize” Occupy Wall Street? 1) That wasn’t the point of the post, but rather to note how contemptuous the media was of a law-abiding, civil, purposeful demonstration from the right and how differently it is treating a primal scream from aging hippies and clueless naifs on the left. The “movement” can’t define itself: don’t blame me. Protesting “corporate greed”? Gee, why not cowardice, bad breath, stupidity and sloth? Wait, no, this group is pro-sloth, it just wants compensated sloth. I guess…who knows? When a movement can articulate its purpose,, then I can respond to it respectfully. Otherwise, its a bunch of people getting in the way of serious efforts to solve problems.

      All these people, undoubtedly weeping for displaced illegals in Alabama, pointing to the farmers whose crops are rotting without semi-slave labor to harvest them. Why aren’t all these unemployed working class heroes going down south and taking those jobs that are cruelly unfilled? That would be productive.
      Contempt is no substitute for a position, my friend. When systems don’t work, you make responsible proposals. Holding your breath until you turn blue is nothing to be proud of.

    • Fatty Moon: EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? NAME ME THREE SPECIFIC POLICY CHANGES YOU ARE ASKING FOR… THEN MAYBE PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO YOU WITH SOME ASSUMPTION OF INTELLIGENCE ON YOUR PART. THIS IS ALL FUN AND GAMES, RIGHT? THE CORPORATIONS THAT YOU HATE FEED YOU, CLOTHE YOU, ALLOW YOU TO LIVE IN SOME KIND OF DWELLING AND COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS. YOU’RE RIGHT. BACK TO THE GLORIOUS STONE AGE, AND HAVE FUN GETTING THERE.

        • An intentional or inexplicable misinterpretation of what Elizabeth wrote.. Corporations bring us basic needs, products and services, “allowing” us to live. Surely you couldn’t have taken that comment to assert that we live by the leave of corporations!

        • “Allow” was probably a poor choice of words. But my basic question remains the same: What corporations make your shoes, sew your clothing, build your homes, provide your phones, move food from farms to stores for your consumption? Are they all bad and should be put out of business?

          Generalized anti-corporate sentiment is, basically, moronic. If you don’t think so, get a hunting license so you can tan hide and make moccasins and dress in animal hides, use smoke signals to communicate, and learn to be a hunter/gatherer.

  3. Here’s why I’m not all that worried by the Occupy Wall Street Crowd – and their fellow travelers in other burghs.

    [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QZlp3eGMNI]If they ever had to decide where to have lunch, they’d all starve to death.[/url]

    • My response, Arthur, which I posted to my blog…

      Looking and listening to the above video, I got the distinct impression that people were voting twice, that is, the same people, or at least some of the same people, voted for two conflicting resolutions, one allowing John Lewis to speak at that point in time, the other allowing him to speak after the agenda.

      If I am correrct in my observation, then this type of confusion needs to be addressed.

      • THAT kind of confusion needs to be addressed? Very amusing. How about the more basic confusion that “Occupy Wall Street” can’t articulate what it wants, what it’s proposing, what it’s objectives are, what its constituency is, and how it fits into constructive policy debates? Being pissed off and feeling entitled/envious/bitter/whatever isn’t a position…except for a pre-schooler.

  4. I can’t resist a bit of history that seems to have slipped your mind: the first tea party rallies were marked by people festooning themselves with teabags: teabags hanging from hats, teabags pinned to jackets
    teabags fastened to lapels, teabags on signs. No wonder they were called teabaggers for a while, mostly from those innocent souls who didn’t know the meaning that some attach to the term.

    • It hasn’t…but that’s the rationalization used to excuse Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper giggling and winking like 7th graders in sex ed class. Really professional. And it can’t possibly justify continuing use of the term alluding to the sexual innuendo, by those who are intending to be disrespectful. Tea bags were a perfectly good symbol, and could have continued to be, had not CNN disgraced itself and its profession by alluding to the image of a man lowering his scrotum into someone’s open mouth for the explicit purpose of using cognitive dissonance to diminish the movement’s legitimacy. Since when is a literal, obvious object an invitation to intentional distortion by journalists?

      I guess the answer is: “since the media decided that people were racist to oppose an inept Administration.” I know Cooper ultimately apologized for his “tea-bagger” joking—I don’t care. He should have been fired. No respectable professional journalist would have done that or even considered it.

  5. Jack: Aside from my rant to FattyMoon (well named, I assume… is he starving because of corporate greed?), I agree with you completely. This is Woodstock without the music, which of course gave Woodstock some small purpose. The “Occupy” protestors have no such even minimal objective they can succinctly state.

  6. Some thoughts:

    1) True tea party individuals should embrace and support the Occupy movement. The tea party movement started because of financial and economic reasons and anyone that claims they are tea party while talking about social issues (abortion, religion) are dolts. While Occupy currently has no agenda or philosophy, it stands to reason that given their targets and their disenfranchisement, they aren’t too far from where the tea party started.

    2) After thinking about it for a while, I like that Occupy doesn’t have organization, agendas, or consensus. What is kind of beautiful about it is that anyone who is upset with the status quo and for what ever reason, can go and be a part of it. You can already see that people are annoyed by them, by the protest, and they want to know what they have to give them to get them to go away. Fixing the current economy isn’t going to be about 1 or 2 goals or policy changes. It’s going to take a culture revolution.

    By being so diverse and incoherent, they are really promoting the overall theme: “Shit sucks. Be better.” They’ve vowed to be there for 60 days. That’s what they want. To be the squeaky wheel for 60 days and air out any gripe they can imagine, and they don’t (shouldn’t) want to be pandered to or paid off to leave.

    • How do you figure THAT, Jeff? The Tea Party started with a cogent and specific concept and goal: a return to the limited, constitutionally-based government envisioned by the Founders. It is a model that, albeit possessed of some flaws, served the United States reasonably well for the better part of 200 years.

      The OWS crowd has no such model – at least, not one that’s been clearly articulated. The meta message boils down to “we’re pissed off!”

      Of itself, that’s not much to hang a successful revolution on, is it? We can discuss the economic and political ignorance displayed another time.

      • You’ve got two groups both saying “The status quo…is not….quo.”

        While Tea Party is everything you stated, they were reduced because they were too focused. Not that focus is a bad thing, but it means that their opposition can keep focused as well, rebut their position, or even pay them off with a concession or two without making any real change.

        Like you say OWS has no such model…which is my point, and what I stated. They are a group that can’t be bought with small concessions. They can’t be appeased by nice gestures. They can’t be countered with reason. They represent how annoying the silent people can be if they no longer wish to be silent and how difficult it will be to put the snake back in the hole if you let it out.

        These people are the lazy kind it would seem. Their model isn’t I’m going to organize and we are going to change the world. Rather it’s, You created this fucking mess, you still hold all the cards, you still have all the power. You fix it, and fix it now.

    • I have to say, Tim, this makes no sense to me whatsoever.

      You’re endorsing an expensive waste of energy, resources and time, by unserious people looking for someone to exploit them. Why would the Tea Party ever identify with such silly, whiny, incoherent characters? Anyone old enough to remember the Sixties has seen this nonsense before, and there’s literally nothing good about it. Screaming is not speech, and anger is not thought.

      • Tea Party wanted reform. These people want reform. What’s not to get?

        Tea Party wanted the debt under control and taxes paid not to be wasted. Occupy wants to not bail out Wall Street with public taxes and have the free market let irresponsible banks fail.

        Both movements are rooted in reducing the overlord status. Tea Party more focused directly on Government. Occupy has a target of the institutions that threaten to be the largest strain on Government.

        You’re endorsing an expensive waste of energy, resources and time, by unserious people looking for someone to exploit them. Why would the Tea Party ever identify with such silly, whiny, incoherent characters?

        They don’t have to identify with them. Just support them and raise them up. They are two sides of the same coin.

        Anyone old enough to remember the Sixties has seen this nonsense before, and there’s literally nothing good about it.

        Quit making excuses for history. There are some institutions out there who are greedy, seeking bailouts from Government because they can smell money. Then they raise fees on every average consumer and lay off more of their work force just because they can blame it on “the economy” and save a few bucks.

        Screaming is not speech, and anger is not thought.

        …and protests aren’t debates or a podium on a lecture circuit. Point?

        • Terrible analogy. Awful.

          “Tea Party wanted reform. These people want reform. What’s not to get?”

          The Tea Party advocates specific measures, and organizes around getting it. That is activism. American as apple pie. Occupy says “Make things better!” That’s bitching. Not productive. In fact, dumb, and dangerous.

          “Tea Party wanted the debt under control and taxes paid not to be wasted. Occupy wants to not bail out Wall Street with public taxes and have the free market let irresponsible banks fail.”

          No they don’t. Where do you see that? For one thing, Wall Street was already bailed out, so now what? They are pro-free market? You’re kidding, right? They are arguing for pure redistribution, from the working and productive to the non-working or unemployable. Or something. Free market??? Wall Street would LOVE a truly free market!

          “Both movements are rooted in reducing the overlord status. Tea Party more focused directly on Government. Occupy has a target of the institutions that threaten to be the largest strain on Government.”

          The Tea Party is rooted in basic checks and balances that it saw trampled on during the health care bill debacle. Occupy wants to blame somebody else for a society-wide failure. Who voted for a “hope and change” president who can’t change a light bulb, deliver on promises, pass a jobs bill or fire a Attorney General? They did.

          You’re endorsing an expensive waste of energy, resources and time, by unserious people looking for someone to exploit them. Why would the Tea Party ever identify with such silly, whiny, incoherent characters?

          “They don’t have to identify with them. Just support them and raise them up. They are two sides of the same coin.”

          One’s a mob, the other’s an organization. There’s a crucial difference, Tim. Mobs hurt people. Mobs are irresponsible Mobs are untrustworthy.

          Anyone old enough to remember the Sixties has seen this nonsense before, and there’s literally nothing good about it.

          “Quit making excuses for history. There are some institutions out there who are greedy, seeking bailouts from Government because they can smell money. Then they raise fees on every average consumer and lay off more of their work force just because they can blame it on “the economy” and save a few bucks.”

          I can’t believe I’m reading this . The Government bails out institutions when the alternative is worse. It isn’t greedy to ask for it: it may be irresponsible to grant it. TARP pretty much worked. Corporations are obligated to “save a few bucks.” When hiring people will allow them to make money by doing so, they’ll hire. You don’t make companies hire people by yelling and threatening them…make it obviously profitable to do so. So far, I haven’t seen an Occupy demonstrator that I would hire to empty my trash.

          Screaming is not speech, and anger is not thought.

          “…and protests aren’t debates or a podium on a lecture circuit. Point?”

          The point is that protests either point the way to something constructive, or they are self-indulgent exercises in emotional time-wasting. The most successful protests DO consist of meaningful lectures—what do you call the “I have a dream” speech? You know, “This fucking shit pukes!” pales in comparison. But that’s just me.

          • “The Government bails out institutions when the alternative is worse. It isn’t greedy to ask for it: it may be irresponsible to grant it. TARP pretty much worked.”

            I don’t think people signed up for “pretty much worked”. Pretty much means that the institution is still there, the big wigs still collect their pay, dividends are still paid to shareholders instead of building a cash reserve for down quarters, and only the little guy loses his job.

            It amazes me that when facing “extinction” an institution had such great negotiating power against the government and tax-payers. Shouldn’t their backs have been against a wall? Shouldn’t the Government been able to put the proper stipulations against the loans to dictate executive compensation, cash reserves, debt reduction, and loan repayment?

            Just because the movement is made up of a million different viewpoints, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist or should shut up and be silent while the important people decide what to do next. Consider this a launch party. Once the tale is written, the major themes will arise and I suspect the goals they create based on the most popular ideas will determine what leadership they will rally behind and what coherent argument they will choose to advance. But that’s just my guess.

            • It’s a BAD guess.

              The government didn’t negotiate for those things because, DUH, the government isn’t supposed to run private corporations, and why should it? It’s in worse financial shape than any of them.The corporations had the leverage—we go under, you have a depression on your hands. Personally, I don’t think that’s been proved, but never mind—it’s the conventional wisdom.

              A million viewpoints is like no viewpoints at all, and uninformed, emotional, ideology-driven viewpoints are worse than none at all. What does it accomplish? Explain that. What constructive does or can it accomplish?

          • I would agree that Occupy looks more like a mob than its predecessors. It’s not a true mob yet, but it’s beginning to look like that. I suspect because the predecessors of Occupy weren’t heeded and taken seriously. I suspect because instead of being better in all aspects, politicians and corporations have routinely dismissed the individual.

            • Which is why you have it backwards—if they were serious and not just working class hero-wannabes, Occupy would join with Tea Party. They weren’t ignored, try as the Reid and Pelosi’s might. They changed the discussion;l they elected representatives. An influx of new, young, less religion obsessed recruits to an already organized network could actually accomplish something. The Tea Party opposed the bailouts and the stimulus. The difference is, at core, the Occupy mob doesn’t believe in representative government or a meritocrisy.

  7. I think it’s a mistake to dismiss Occupy as incoherent. They’re angry about the way our society has moved toward greater and greater inequality. Like them or not,they’re a growing force. Our country needs topay attention.They may be as consequential as Tahrir Square. Or more. Or maybe not.

    • Except that it IS incoherent. Pay attention to what, Bob? That things aren’t good right now? Who doesn’t know that? This is naked class warfare seeded by irresponsible politicians, including the President. Growing force of what? It’s a catch-all for the disaffected, some legitimately so, some who have been playing videogames and getting stoned all day. They don’t have the guts to confront an administration being funded by Goldman Sachs that gives lip service to ant-Wall Street screed.

      Give me a message that I can measure, and a point of view worthy of respect, otherwise it’s ” Hey Hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today!” all over again: Not productive, not intelligent, not fair, not worth listening to.

      • Well. I know I don’t agree but I don’t yet know why. Not exactly. But I’ll write my opinions so I’ll know what I think. I’ll keep you and your readers posted. Soon.

  8. But Jack EVERYONE know that the Tea Party is full of racist rednecks who hate Obama and there fore America and the OWW people are red blooded freedom loving Americans who want whats best for the country.

    I have no respect for the OWW crowd right now. They refuse to get permits, they force theirway into public buildings and when they are arrested they scream about how the cops are out to get them. I only hope they take their anti military attitude to 8Th & I and try to force their way past the Marines.

    • Oh, they will. The Democrats, pundits and others supporting OWS are guaranteed to end up back-tracking and embarrassed, because this is a mob, and violence is just around the corner. Just wait until they get bored or feel ignored,

      My rule of thumb: don’t get caught applauding any group that includes people who take dumps on police cars. It has always served me well.

      • “My rule of thumb: don’t get caught applauding any group that includes people who take dumps on police cars. It has always served me well.”

        I’d be curious to know how you arrived at that rule of thumb, the number of years since its adoption, and the details of the triggering event was that led to its embrace.

        After all, the reason that the little bag of desiccant in a package of beef jerky bears a warning that one shouldn’t eat it is because someone tried to do just that… ;->

        • This arises from my close proximity to the students who made my freshman and junior years of college a mess, who would assert bold and soaring purposes for their civil disobedience and then disgrace themselves with crude speech, crude actions, pointless disruptions of the lives of others, and generally prove that their judgment was so wretched that anyone giving them support or sympathy was sure to look like the village idiot. One such participant had, within my immediate knowledge, taken a dump on a fellow student’s bed. This tipped me off to the kind of people who were chanting about LBJ killing people and calling campus police “pigs.”

          I forgive (sometimes) but I don’t forget.

    • I think it’s fair to say that this statement has been proven right about…in fact, EXACTLY….50% of the time. When assertedby groups that are incapable of saying exactly what it is they think their side IS, however, significantly less than that….

      In any event, “Just wait and see!” isn’t an argument, and it raises the rebuttable presumption that there is none. Personally, I have a hard time believing that any movement embraced by Susan Sarandon, Kanye West, Al Sharpton, Nancy Pelosi and Paul Krugman is on the right side of anything.

      • Jack, I literally mean I’m out of time. I’m posting this at school. So, in lieu of a half assed rebuttal, I thought it best to share this video with you and your readers.

        I am working on a position statement titled, A Three-Pronged Pitchfork On Our Necks. It will be quite succinct. I’ll be happy to share it with you when’s it’s ready.

        • I don’t doubt you Jeff—I was just making the general point that everyone thinks the other side is on the wrong side of history.

          As always, I look forward to your thinking on this and any other topic, and am grateful for it.

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