Ethics Tales From The “Occupy” Movement

1. Integrity Check

"This week only: half-price on all chicken suits!"

Reports out of Occupy Wall Street, unconfirmed but apparently credible enough for New York’s Mayor Bloomberg to rely on them, suggest that the “Occupy” gang is refusing to report the various criminals in their midst, opting instead to protect the colony by ejecting and banishing them….and, of course, inflicting them on somebody else. Such wrongdoers range from simple thieves to sexual predators, or, as in Occupy Oakland,  the violent provocateurs who have seeded riots. They might not even be banished…just protected.

How ironic. The ethical rot in America’s institutions, from government to the business world, to religions and Hollywood, to athletic teams and academia, manifests itself by a progressive willingness to ignore misconduct, lawlessness, and unethical conduct among colleagues and others within the group, cementing a “them vs. us” mentality that encourages increasingly irresponsible conduct and erodes integrity. The so-called 99% have the same vulnerability to corruption as the 1% they revile.

2. Accountability Check

From The Nation, which recounts this inspiring tale of an Occupy Wall Street warrior with no apparent sense of its obvious lesson:

“A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion—puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand, he went looking for work at his old school. The intervening years had been brutal to the city’s school budgets—down about 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subject areas, arts included, and spending on art supplies in elementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006 and 2009. So even though Joe’s old principal was excited to have him back, she just couldn’t afford to hire a new full-time teacher. Instead, he’s working at his old school as a full-time “substitute”; he writes his own curriculum, holds regular classes and does everything a normal teacher does. “But sub pay is about 50 percent of a full-time salaried position,” he says, “so I’m working for half as much as I did four years ago, before grad school, and I don’t have health insurance…. It’s the best-paying job I could find.”

Accountability check: a teacher who gives up his job and borrows $35,000 to get a degree in puppetry has a monumental nerve blaming Wall Street for  his “income inequality.” Therrien made a bad choice, and a risky one. He, and no one else, is accountable for his problems. That The Nation would choose the victim of such a self-inflicted career wound as the star of an Occupy Wall Street puff-piece symbolizes how detached the movement is from logic and reality.

3. Loyalty  Check

Across country, the violent Occupy Oakland movement received a surprising endorsement from the craven Men’s Wearhouse corporation, which posted a sign proclaiming its solidarity with the “99%.” Yes, a multi-billion dollar operation whose clientele are mostly white collar workers announced solidarity with an anti-capitalist mob, supporting a protest that has harmed the businesses of it fellow members of the Oakland business community. Then, the very next day, Occupy Oakland smashed in the very same window where the sign appeared, as part of its general uprising…again proving that easily-transferred allegiances aren’t valued very highly, not should they be.

25 thoughts on “Ethics Tales From The “Occupy” Movement

  1. Can we be fair and balanced for a change, Jack? Just this once?

    “Contrary to Rush Limbaugh, Wall Street Occupiers are not ignorant Obama-lovers, Iran sympathizers, anti-Semites or lazy, frustrated hippies.

    “Occupiers come from all walks of life; at a recent OWS rally in Anchorage, I met protestors who are health care workers, teachers, laborers, students and soldiers. I’m a retired oilfield worker, an investor, and I worship a Jew, Jesus.

    “I don’t remember Obama’s name coming up at all, either formally or informally and we didn’t watch any grainy footage of Khamenei’s rants.

    “As Occupiers, the two main things holding us together are our contempt for the death-grip Big Money has on our political system and our common belief that the game is rigged for the benefit of those who buy off our lawmakers and those who mold public opinion through their control of the media.”

      • You’re kidding, right? How is this relevant??? Jack, you have never said one positive word about the Occupy Movement. I know you’re not blind, and you’re far from stupid. So, tell me, Jack, what’s left but your own bias?

        I’ve got a real goodie for you and your readers here. Guess what, Today I was touched by an angel. Or an alien. Or a really smart guy. Read this and judge for yourself. http://fattymoon.posterous.com/occupiers-everyone-i-bear-a-message-for-you-f

        • You seem to be laboring under a misapprehension. The issue is what the so-called movement does, its lack of integrity, its failure to make constructive recommendations, the pervasive ignorance of its participants and the cynical way it is being exploited by other groups, many of them unsavory, because of OWS’s very vagueness. That it’s not completely homogenous (though it is at least as white as the Tea Party)? So? ALL Wall Street Occupiers “are not ignorant Obama-lovers, Iran sympathizers, anti-Semites or lazy, frustrated hippies”? Who said they were? Some/ many/ plenty fall into these categories (other than Anti-semites)…and so what? I don’t care who the protesters are. I care about what they do and how they do it.

          So they are, sort of, from many occupations. Oddly, I can’t quit my job for weeks on end—I have a family, a mortgage and a business to maintain. Every one of the protesters is wasting time hanging out while they could be doing a job or looking for one—and that IS relevant.

          “Obama’s name never came up”? Well, it should have. That’s ridiculous, and indicates how biased and divorced from reality OWS is.

          I have read, and listened, and watched, and been unimpressed at best. That’s not bias. I had an open mind, and have an open mind, but nobody with an open mind can watch this incoherent waste of attention and energy and be positive about it.

          Notify me when the protest does or says anything remotely constructive, or shows any interest in a thought that can’t fit on a bumper sticker. The fact that nice people with good intentions are wasting my time and theirs? I really don’t care.

          • “Notify me when the protest does or says anything remotely constructive, or shows any interest in a thought that can’t fit on a bumper sticker.”

            You HAVE been notified, Jack. Your thoughts, above, lead me to believe you have not bothered to read the screed (link posted above) which comes as a direct result of the Occupy movement.

            I am curious as to your reaction to the discourse. http://fattymoon.posterous.com/occupiers-everyone-i-bear-a-message-for-you-f I’m a two fingered typist and it took me a while to type it up. While laboring I read and digested again the man’s words. To me, the thoughts contained within are worthy of everyone’s attention.

            I await the reaction to this piece from you and your readers.

              • Jeff: A response is problematical. Any sincere effort like this requires a lot of thought, and obviously serious and quality thought. I think it is a terrific springboard for discussion, of more like 100 discussions. it deserves more that a reflex dismissal, and can’t justify a reflex assent.

                Obviously, a wholesale overhaul of all American institutions is not going to happen, so the proposal can’t be taken as a literal set of recommendations. Like all utopian schemes, it allows the perfect, which is unattainable, to be the enemy of the good—such a wholesale junking of 250 years of success can only be justified by panic or misrepresentation, neither of which is called for. In addition, and this has to be recognized, one can’t simultaneously support freedom and propose severely limited forms of commerce. That requires a dictatorship.

                I could pick out especially unworkable aspects—leaving the teaching of science to chance is suicidal; “opinion” crimes are called societal standards, and the justice system described is chaotic, unfinancable and generally impossible—but that’s not the way to look at this, I think. It’s a holistic view of one man’s take on what is wrong and how it could be improved, and that deserves credit and respect….it is also helpful, if only to assist in focusing on real problems and practical solutions.

                • I appreciate you taking the time to read it, Jack, and your response. I’ve sent it around a bit and the responses are quite positive.

  2. “That The Nation would choose the victim of such a self-inflicted career wound as the star of an Occupy Wall Street puff-piece symbolizes how detached the movement is from logic and reality.”

    Alright, so if I find a story about Occupiers that don’t have self-inflicted career wounds… How about this story? http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/11/occupy-oakland-general-strike/all/1

    Some highlights: When Chris Lukens couldn’t find a job with his screenwriting degree, he took up bartending. After getting off from his job at he went down to where Oakland’s General Strike had occurred. He came across Adam who was guarding a window of the store Oakollectiv that had been broken when a violent group attempted to hijack the strike. However, Adam had to work in the morning. Since the next day was Luken’s day off, he took over the job of guarding the broken window.

    So there is a story of two members of Occupy, who BOTH have jobs, and seem to be pretty responsible.

    Your statement “Every one of the protesters is wasting time hanging out while they could be doing a job or looking for one—and that IS relevant.” is false. Many protestors are part time and come when they can. Also, if you set up an internet hotspot you can still be submitting your resume online and looking for a job.

    • Thanks for that story. But again, someone who majors in screenwriting is estopped, in my view, from ever complaining about disparities in wealth. That’s a choice—I’m in the arts too, and I’m good at it, but if I devoted my career to being a professional stage director, I’d be eating dog food. Honestly: how dare anyone blame Wall Street for an obviously risky career choice that didn’t pan out? The average income of professional writers is poverty level, and has always been so; if he expected anything else, he didn’t do his research. Did Wall Street make him foolish?

      And I’ll stand by my statement. I’ve been out of a job many times, and you find employment by calling people, meeting people, knocking on doors and working at it around the clock, not by sending out e-resumes. And if he’s a screenwriter, he should be writing screen plays, part time or not….unless he thinks it makes more sense to lobby for the government to take money away from businesses to give to bartenders.

      • When I first moved to Las Cruces, NM, no school district would hire me for the simple reason I had no local references. I endured interview upon interview (only later did I understand that the interviewees already had a candidate picked… this interview crap was just to satisft the law). One day I drove my Harley up to the little town of Hatch 40 miles north. I was just out for a ride, that’s all, when I passed the offices of the Hatch School District. I left the secretary a one-page resume (always keep ’em with you when you’re hunting a job). The next day the middle school principal called and said, “You want to teach 6th grade math, be here tomorrow. I worked there three years before leaving for a school district closer to home.

        Jack, your absolutes don’t always stand the test, my friend.

  3. > The so-called 99% have the same vulnerability to corruption as the 1% they revile.

    Wait. ALL human beings are susceptible to the same us-vs-them mentalities brought on by millions of years of evolution? A stunning revelation!

    Either way, I’m not certain of the purpose of your first bullet. It appears to be a condemnation of the entire “movement” by citing a specific (ostensibly extant) action that you deem unethical. I don’t think there’s any real response to be made.

    >Accountability check: a teacher who gives up his job and borrows $35,000 to get a degree in puppetry has a monumental nerve blaming Wall Street for his “income inequality.”

    I see an issue, here. Yes, he got a degree in puppetry (a “media form” I assume you have no respect for, but I don’t believe your respect of things gives them meaning). Yes, times are hard and it’s difficult for *anyone* to obtain a job. Do you feel, however, that it would be *just* or good for this man – who has dedicated his life and education to better our children’s education – to starve in the cold for his poor timing in obtaining education? What is your best-case scenario for this man? Should the majestic free-market come along and make all wrongs right? Why does he not have the right to be upset over “income inequality” – because you have a distaste for his career path or means of demonstrating how upset he is?

    As to your third point: …Ok? Of course businesses will attempt to coopt Occupy protests – they are businesses in the free market trying to maximize profits. Even the current administration tried to coopt Occupy protests to their own advantage (though, from what I understand, their support was very much unappreciated).

    I’m concerned that there is more behind this screed against the Occupy-business than a calm and rational examination of the issues.

    • Well, there isn’t. You can abandon your concern.

      1) If the OWS has any validity at all, it is as a call for a higher moral, ethical orientation by the financial and business sector, which can only be accomplished by self-policing and discipline. A movement that shows itself incapable of either is not an effective messenger for that cultural change. In other words, if they want people like me to give them any respect, they need to adopt the principles they are advocating. Obvious? Apparently not to them.

      2) (You don’t have to be such a snotty correspondent, do you? Just curious.)

      “Yes, he got a degree in puppetry (a “media form” I assume you have no respect for, but I don’t believe your respect of things gives them meaning).”
      I have great respect for puppetry, mime, drama, juggling, street singing, kazoo-playing and all sorts of arts that cannot support a reasonable quality of life. Nothing I wrote suggests otherwise. I have special respect for those who dedicate themselves to an art without expecting to fare better than such artists fare in the marketplace.

      “Do you feel, however, that it would be *just* or good for this man – who has dedicated his life and education to better our children’s education – to starve in the cold for his poor timing in obtaining education?”
      No, I think it would be just for him to take responsibility for his own risky choices and not lay them off on the job market, public tastes, the educational system, the tax system or Wall Street. The ethical value is accountability.

      “What is your best-case scenario for this man? Should the majestic free-market come along and make all wrongs right? Why does he not have the right to be upset over “income inequality” – because you have a distaste for his career path or means of demonstrating how upset he is?”

      He has a right to be upset about whatever he wants to be upset about, as well as a right to participate in whatever fool demonstrations he chooses. MY “best case scenario?” He develops the next Muppets, gets a contract with Disney, becomes a billionaire and seeds an institute for puppetry. Second best—develops a hilarious puppet and wins X-Factor, and goes to Vegas. Third best: he gives up puppetry and finds a teaching job. None of those will be accomplished while he’s hanging around OWS.

      His means of demonstrating “how upset he is” is juvenile and the equivalent of a tantrum, whether he has the right to do it or not.

      • Fair enough.

        1) I see. The problem that I see is that no movement in the history of mankind has been able to be *entirely ethical*, especially such a nebulous movement that essentially anyone can claim to be a member of. (I hate to sound like I’m invoking a No True Scotsman, but it seems to me that everyone is equally Scottish in the “99%” so you’ll have an incredibly variegated expression of opinion. I know, at least from some outside sources, that a few anarchistic organizations have infiltrated some protests and are doing some quite nasty things. I’d love to think that they’d be able to self-police, but how would you have them do so? Should they use violence against the violent in their midst to put them down? Should they ask the police (who are there to corral and potentially arrest them) to get “This Guy” but not “that guy”? Seems like a tall order for your respect. Out of curiosity, since your political leanings tend to the right from my perspective, what did/do you think of the Tea Party? Did they do a good job self-policing the racist, xenophobic morons that some news organizations plastered all over TV?

        2) I don’t see how I was excessively “snotty,” but alright. I’ll agree I’m not being entirely agreeable while not agreeing with you.

        It seemed apparent to me that you were somewhat annoyed with his choice to receive a degree in puppetry.

        >who gives up his job and borrows $35,000 to get a degree in puppetry has a monumental nerve

        (With puppetry emphasized) Maybe I interpreted incorrectly, my apologies. I don’t necessarily think I did, though.

        >The ethical value is accountability.

        Exactly. You and “PuppetMaster” (how I will refer to that guy, humorously) both share that view. You believe that PuppetMaster needs to accept accountability for his poor market timing, and suffer the consequences in silence. PuppetMaster believes that major Wall Street organizations and related sycophants need to accept accountability for their role in an enormous financial crisis (rebundling of sub-prime mortgages, lobbying of Congress for relaxed regulation, et al.). You both *agree* that there is an issue of accountability, and merely disagree on where it is to be applied.

        Provided that neither of the two best case scenarios occur (since they are one-in-two-hundred-million chances, essentially, and I doubt you think that all members of a democratic state should be subject to the same odds for success), where does it say that he is not

        >Third best: he gives up puppetry and finds a teaching job.

        It appears as if he has found the only teaching job he could find. We do not know how hard and how long he searched, only that he was barely able to find a substitute-teaching position, even with experience in the relevant field and a Master’s in a semi-related art form.

        I hope you realize that I am essentially playing Devil’s Advocate for this man. I don’t think he was smart to take essentially his salary in debt to achieve a degree in something, while no doubt marvelous to him, has little marketability. What I am trying to deduce, however, is where the line between your distaste for *this man* and your distaste for *these protests* is drawn.

        It seems apparent, to me, that you are extraordinarily upset and annoyed by these Occupy protests. I don’t even support them, and I find myself wondering just *why*.

        >His means of demonstrating “how upset he is” is juvenile and the equivalent of a tantrum,

        WHY? For goodness sake, when did protest become such a universally despised activity?

        Oh. Also, any thoughts on the third bit?

        • 1. If my political perspective looks right to you, then you are too far left. I am equally derided by both ends of the political spectrum, and every measure I have taken places me dead center on average, though I visit the poles on particular issues.
          2. The accountability protest where Wall Street is concerned is also a tantrum. I strongly doubt that there were laws broken sufficiently clearly to gain convictions, and that reason, and no other, is why we haven’t seen indictments. Yes, it’s frustrating, but the protest doesn’t solve the problem. And yes, it is infuriating that the best of bad options was to bail out the companies and executives that did the damage, but it was an unusual problem, and that was, (I suppose) arguably the most rational response. Again, bitching about it is pointless. It was indeed “unfair.” Sometimes unfairness is unavoidable. It wasn’t fair that Nazi scientists got a free ride into the US after WWII, but it was probably the smart, utilitarian move.
          3. I am NOT “extremely” upset about OWS. I’m seldom upset about anything I write about. I write ethical opinions in assertive prose because mealy-mouthed mildness has been the death of ethics and why most people associate it with deep sleep, and I do care about this stuff.
          4. The problem with puppetry, or in my case, starting a professional theater company, is that the odds against anyone being especially successful are a million to one or worse. But if you accept the odds, it’s your choice, and if you don’t know the odds, you’re an idiot.
          5. I have no distaste for the guy at all. I’m sympathetic. I think hanging out at the protest is foolish, that’s all, and that for the Nation to pick him, of all people, to highlight OWS street shows a serious disconnect.
          6. Because protests cost communities money, disrupt work and recreation, waste time and tempt politicians and journalists into grandstanding, I hold them to a high standard: I think protesting without a clear purpose, message and objective is arrogant and irresponsible. I’ve seen one effective, important series of protests in my lifetime—in the Sixties, for civil rights. The union protest from the late 1900s through the 30s were also critical and effective. Women’s suffrage protests helped.
          7. The Tea Party policed itself much better than OWS, because they held two day events and left. There was no violence at any of the rallies that I can recall. To the extent that the rallies created tangible political action, they were reasonable. I think its message was simple and clear, and well-timed; it was not free-floating anger. I think directing anger at the political establishment makes a lot more sense than scape-goating the financial sector for all our ills. It was still simple-minded; all protests are simple-minded. OWS passes what I would consider the final frontier of simplemindedness.

          • 1. It’s likely because I am new and haven’t seen your writings express any opinion that would lead me to think otherwise. I’ll stick around, though, so no worries.
            2. I think that’s the point – *laws* may have not been broken, but the lack of/presence of laws does not make their actions *right*. Taken in totality, they were downright *evil*. The “Bitching” about it is *necessary*, just like *bitching* about “separate, but equal” was necessary (to use hyperbole). Major exposure is needed to enact major change. I think you may be victim to what I see as a clever ploy by media outlets – the very same they used on the Tea Party to marginalize them from the left. Media searches out the most radical, misinformed elements of a protest (the drooling monsters I saw at the Tea Party, the college dropout wastoid you see on *the TV now, etc.) in order to avoid social awareness. I see this on the left and right and it is *so* frustrating. You know something is wrong when the least biased source on US politics is aljazeera (their incredible hatred for Israel, aside).
            3. Alright, it just seems to be bleeding over into your arguments. You characterize protesters as thugs or simpletons, atheist cadets as whiny or anti-charity… it’s simply unnecessary. It makes your arguments look much less rational (and become so, if the idea becomes a pattern in your thoughts) and unpersuasive. I’m guilty of the same in things that I care about (see: the USAFA article you posted, declassification of cannabinoid use, voting reform, etc.), and it hurts my arguments as well.
            4. That’s the thing – he was already clearly qualified to be a teacher, and is now unable to even be a teacher – even with an improved resume and education.
            5. Who in the Nation picked him? I’ll be a little more snarky – I wasn’t told about that vote. Would you say that a majority of Occupy folks chose him as an example? A plurality? Did any group whatsoever have any say in his choice as figurehead except media outlets covering the protests?
            6. They do cost money – I think that may be one of the intentional effects (so that they produce more attention – the main goal). You’ve seen an effective series of protests in the past – what did they look like? Were they homogeneously good? Were there any violent elements to them (I’m looking straight at Malcolm X, here)? Did they at any time appear to not have a “cohesive” (at least according to some, even learned, people) goal? How were they portrayed, usually, by the news agencies covering them?
            7. I disagree wholeheartedly.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-teo/tea-party-protest-turns-v_b_360035.html

            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/12/1025512/-Police-Violence:-Another-Big-Difference-Between-The-Tea-Party-and-Occupy-Wall-Street

            http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/12/fearing-tea-party-violence-arizona-republicans-resign/

            http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20001259-504083.html

            Mind you – this is just a quick google – I do not defend the reputability of any one of these particular websites, but the videos hosted therein are undeniable evidence of exactly the opposite of what you claim.
            The Tea Parties are *exactly* like this OWS business, save the demographic and policies they serve. Each of them have severe distaste for some aspect of American government, and express that distaste in very similar ways. This finger pointing and calls to partisanship are laughable, in my humble opinion, and I’ve grown so tired of it.

            My point of all this is *not* that OWS is right, and that all their protesters are amazing human beings, and that everyone should just play nice. I just feel like pointing a trend that I have noticed that everybody seems to gloss over for very partisan and very stupid reasons. Both the Tea Party and OWS started with similar grievances, similar calls to bipartisanship, and similar tactics. Both were picked on by major media outlets, to the point of comedy – only the most idiotic opinions were represented at all times. Both are now hated by some political party, and sympathized with by the other, even though those people hardly represent their actual grievances and only “support” out of political expediency.

            It’s lunacy, honestly. If somebody charismatic could find a way to unite the Tea Party and OWS, that would be wonderful. I don’t see how it could ever happen though, since each side is so focused on the means that they won’t recognize their similar core grievances.

            Or, maybe I’m just a misinformed ideologue who wholly misunderstands both movements, and our country is doomed to idiotic and time-wasting partisan bullshit.

            • Arggh. Just lost a long response. This will have to be shorter and less brilliant.

              1. I do work very hard at keeping things balanced and unbiased. Obviously, that is sometimes impossible, but it is a core objective here.
              2. I would opt for incompetent, reckless, negligent and greedy. These people didn’t set out to wreck the economy—they have to live here too. I don’t feel in the least biased against OWS et al, by the media, because unlike with the Tea Party, the media has been sympathetic and supportive, defying all logic and objectivity, and even in the wake of the violent incidents. The right wing media has indeed been contemptuous, but my ethical problems with OWS doesn’t arise out of their class warfare sensibilities, which is a legitimate, if wrongheaded, opinion, but their lack of the coherence and rationale I think has to justify taking up the public’s attention.
              3. You’re not wrong, and thanks for the reminder. Keep kicking me on that. I still think there are times to call a spade a spade, a coward a coward and an asshole an asshole, but it has to be judicious.
              4. So why isn’t he at Occupy the NEA? I can’t see the nexus between his problems and Wall Street greed—just envy.
              5. Excellent point; you are right. My beef is with the Nation on this, not OWS. I think the Nation failing to see the irony in its choice of a poster boy is telling on many of the full-throated supporters out there, but I can’t blame OWS for the face someone else puts on them. Thanks for clarifying that.
              6. All of those things, but the protests that justified themselves had narrowly focused, well-supported demands and leaders who were serious, articulate and knew their facts. Even protests that I found self-serving and destructive, like the Vietnam rallies, had leaders who could out-debate anyone, and participants who could recite you a map of North Vietnam. The fact that a majority of OWS couldn’t identify the SEC is pretty damning, don’t you think? How can I, or anyone, regard that as a serious movement? How can you demand reform if you don’t know what you are reforming?
              7. Yikes, Steven: The Daily Kos and Rawstory? Talk about a jaundiced eye! Where’s Move-On? Brietbart, anyone?
              8. I think both the core Tea Party followers and OWS are dim; I give the Tea Party props for getting uninvolved citizens civicly active within the system. But the Tea Party’s main issues of excessive spending and out-of-control entitlements are demonstrably legit, and 180 degrees from the OWS call for a confiscatory big government redistribution and a European-style nanny state; one extols self-reliance, the other rejects it; one has fairly narrow objectives with just a little static and nonsense; the other is too vague and mostly static. Did you see the Occupy Vancouver “demands”? Reminds me of “Bananas,” when the revolutionary dictator declares that the new language is Swedish, and “everyone under the age of 16, is 16.” Both lack respectable, persuasive leadership, and both have attracted a lot of horrible characters whom I would not want to be in the same room with.

              You don’t sound like an ideologue to me. But as I said, I’m tired.

              • (I’ll be skipping a bunch as I think we’ve hit a wall in a few of our discussions)

                2. The media has been sympathetic to OWS and mean to the Tea Party? Jack, that’s bordering on delusion. I would say that the media attention received by each has been comparable: highlights of their most radical, uneducated fringes, followed by biased summation. You do know that you have to include Fox News – and all of Murdoch’s organizations – when you consider the “media” in totality, right?
                4. Is there an Occupy the NEA? Probably because he knows that latching onto an already in-progress and large movement is more likely to effect some form of change, hopefully in his favor. It’s the same reason that I, even though I hate essentially every Republican and every Democrat, am forced to vote for one or the other oftentimes.
                6. Ah. Leaders. That is certainly a problem for OWS. They are so eager to express their opinions “democratically” that they are lost to the noise of the rabble. They certainly could benefit from charismatic leadership, though I think many within are too dissatisfied with other forms of leadership to accept a new one.
                7. You didn’t respond to them at all, and I even noted exactly what you commented on. Do I need to do ten minutes of googling to find sources you will appreciate more that demonstrate the exact same thing? If nothing else, respond to the very easy-to-watch videos of Tea Partiers behaving like raving idiots.
                8. “I give the Tea Party props for getting uninvolved citizens civicly active within the system.” Ok. Woah. You don’t think that OWS has done this with a different demographic? If half of the OWS kids *actually vote* for once, we might have a voter turnout approaching 40%. As I said: each side has similar grievances with the government and dissimilar means of resolving them. One side extols the virtue of a more free market and smaller-scale government, the other side admires the simplicity of a centralized control of goods and services and amenities. Neither side is *wrong* or *right*… they are just *different*. What are some issues that both sides could unite on? Voting reform, I think, should be near the top. Preferential voting should be screamed about in Congress daily, in my opinion. Campaign finance reform should be on the tips of everyone’s tongues. There are common gripes to the OWS and Tea Party – don’t be quick to dismiss either side because they have an alternate strategy to fix what’s broken.

                Just a reminder: kids have been stupid since the beginning of time, according to adults. Hesiod, Socrates – they all *knew* that the youth of their time were a disorganized rabble of disrespectful lawlessness, just as these OWS kids are today, right? Be careful not to assume that, because they are different and young and not salted in the ways of the world, they are incapable of thought and originality.

                • 2. The media has been positive, over-all, regarding OWS and was not regarding the Tea Party. I am speaking of CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Times, the Washington Post, and most major dailies. If you are balancing those with Fox and Rush, that’s ridiculous. Even the MSM would agree with my assessment, I’d bet. Where’s the gross, gay sexual practice Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow have snickered over as describing OWS? Frankly, I can’t believe you’re even arguing this. Devil’s advocate or delusion?
                  4. Fine—he’s doing the same thing as Jesse Jackson, Kanye West and Michael Moore. But blaming someone for your problems when they aren’t responsible for them isn’t justified because it’s convenient.
                  7. I didn’t respond because it’s a silly contention. Where were the repeated violent clashes with police? Where were the smashed windows? Where were the smelly encampments? The Tea Party got permits and paid up front, OWS has been freeloading. The fact that leftist websites cherry-picked videos doesn’t change the balance. The disruptions at the town meetings, where arrogant, lazy representatives had the gall to announce their support for a hopelessly corrupt heath care bill they hadn’t read were legitimate and provoked, angry protests over elected officials skirting their duties.
                  8. “the other side admires the simplicity of a centralized control of goods and services and amenities”-–yes, that’s called authoritarian government, and according to American values and founding documents, it is indeed “wrong.” And people need to say so as loudly as possible. I don’t want individuals who are dedicated to taking my liberty away because they can’t find jobs having much influence in determining any kind of reform, as much as reform is needed. Let them organize into the Socialist Non-Workers Party and see how much support they get.
                  9. The fact that all rowdy youths haven’t been stupid, facile, selfish, naive and inexperienced doesn’t mean that these aren’t. I continue to wait for a constructive sentiment that doesn’t pervert “social justice” into “you have it, I want it, and the government should make you hand it over to me.”

                  If you’ll use The Daily Kos, then you can’t complain about THIS…
                  I really think this is much closer to reality than your claim that media was equally critical of both.

                • An addendum on leadership: it’s cheating to duck finding a leader, because it tells us a lot. I would have had high hopes for the Tea Party if it didn’t have leaders like Rand Paul, Michele Bachman, and Christine O’Donnell—you know, morons. If you’ll follow a moron, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.

        • Re: Third bit. I guess “of course they have no integrity and are weasels” isn’t a persuasive argument for me not to chastise the company for being so. Men’s Wearhouse is especially ridiculous and disloyal, and if I didn’t object to vandalism in demonstrations, I would respond “good” to the fact that their facile profession of solidarity was rejected.

          • I agree with the chastising, I just don’t see it as relevant to Occupy-stuff. It’s a business being greasy – nothing new to see here.

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