Friday, October 14, 2011


Coming to a city near you, are protestors armed with signs, tents and a litany of complaints they hope someone else will do something about. And they don’t care what it’s going to cost you.

Occupy Wall Street was a grass roots movement spawned from the creative team at Adbusters magazine in Vancouver, BC Canada.

These sharp minds recognized that the American Tea Party was representing the right wing, but no one was representing the left. The revolutions of the Arab Spring seemed sexy and exciting. Everyone loves a David and Goliath story!

Starting with a beautiful photo of a ballerina on a bull and about $100,000 from shadowy benefactors, the creative team designed a poster that screamed for sex, greed and revolution.

Now in it’s fourth week of occupation, the OCW is taking the show on the road.

Occupy will be taking to the streets in Vancouver on Saturday and judging from the past performances of crowds and over/under zealous police, I fear it won’t end well.

I can understand that there is some built up angst among people on the left coast. Lotusland can’t buy a break. Pacific Rim investment has forced real estate prices through the roof. Without four jobs and a 100-year mortgage, no young person could afford a starter home. There are few jobs. Businesses are leaving Vancouver for Calgary on every available stagecoach. Tuition rates are higher than they’ve ever been. Strategic voting turned out to be a disaster.

So here we have a city full of out of work young people, whom can’t afford to go to school, represented by a Prime Minister they didn’t vote for. Of course they want to protest. I get that.

What I don’t get, is what do they hope to accomplish by bringing America’s war to our doorstep? This is not our war. Our banks didn’t fail, in fact, they’ve grown exponentially since the US bailout.

Where was the support for poor, sweet Iceland as they slipped into the economic abyss? What about Greece, Portugal and now the rest of the EU is swirling down the economic toilet, but we’re going to offer the Americans our support? Don’t you know they are the ones who started it all? People get the government they deserve and America got off pretty easy, considering the rest of the world is paying for their idiocy. So far, at least. Eventually chickens come home to roost and once the EU defaults on all that bad paper, Goldman Sachs, Bear Sterns, AIG and the Federal Reserve will be holding the shit end of that stick.

Angst for angst sake

The Vancouver occupiers say they will be protesting a laundry list of things, from oil sands to election reform to personal debt. Again, there is no clear message here, but that’s the way they roll.

What do they hope to accomplish? Well, I didn’t get a clear answer on that. In fact, I didn’t get any answer at all. Just more of the rhetoric about the right to assemble, free speech, civil disobedience, need for a conversation, baggy pants, bongs etc. etc.

Before journalism became the steaming pile of puke it is today, we had two questions we’d ask ourselves before we ran any controversial story. “Whom does it help and whom does it hurt?” “Does this serve the greater good?”

There is a cost attached to policing every protest and municipalities have very tight budgets. When you pay police, transit, sanitation unbudgeted overtime, that money has to come from somewhere.

Certain parts of the budget cannot be reduced. You need money for water, sewer, snow clearing, street sweeping. Essential services like fire, police and ambulance cant be touched. The “discretionary” part of the budget includes things like under-funded soup kitchens, women’s shelters, arts and cultural events. In Vancouver, you can throw in the safe injection site, needle exchange and free crack pipes.

This protest will hurt those who need it most and help no one. You may offer some moral support to the protestors in NYC, but you do so at the expense of your city’s needy.

The City of New York has reached the breaking point now and can no longer afford this occupation.

Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone said the discretionary budget is spent and now fears the closure of essential services.

“We’re going to spend hundreds of thousands, maybe even $1 million on this that we don’t have,” Vallone said. “Because of these protests, we might even wind up shutting down schools and firehouses because this is costing a lot of money.”

Extrapolate those costs across the US and around the world. This is an enormous waste of tax dollars, to say nothing of the wasted human effort.

Taking Occupy on the road will not only diminish Occupy Wall Street, it will diminish every legitimate protest that follows. This is not recreation, people and your angst over the election, the oil sands or the Canucks losing the Stanley Cup do not compare to the Civil Rights Movement, Tiananmen Square or the Arab Spring. I hate to burst your bubble, but if you plan to protest every time you feel disenfranchised, you will lose your audience very quickly. You’re not nearly as compelling as you think you are.

You are the 1%. Although you may feel downtrodden, you are the richest people in the world and you won’t be seeing Occupy Darfur anytime soon.

As they fumble towards sanctimonious self-satisfaction, I’d like to offer the Occupiers some advice:

  1. Proceed with peace in your heart and humility in your soul. You don’t hold any answers to your myriad of questions. You will do best to tread lightly and don’t alienate those who do. You are going to need help.
  2. Give instead of take. Along with your list of demands and manifesto, signatories should offer to repay their host city with volunteer hours equal to the amount of time of occupation. Leave the community better off than it was.

I am part of the 1% of the world’s richest and I apologize in advance to the 99% for the foolish and unnecessary waste you are about to witness in the world.


  1. You'll be pleased to know that your environmentally sustainable white text is even white in my RSS feed. The whole post appears empty inside Google Reader except for the links. You have managed to save countless pixels of type! You should be able to get some sort of award for this.

  2. I went to great pains to edit that white text on a white background. I'm glad someone appreciates it!
    That was one of the reasons I made this page black, too. It uses less juice than a white bg.

  3. Okay, I made it a pretty teal, just for you, Megan. ;)

  4. I was first going to congratulate you on your canny efforts to keep the lefties out. But then I grew concerned. What if, instead of staying away entirely, they decide to throw a charity gala to get you funding to change the font colour? That could be fatal. And we'd have to watch them on CBC.

  5. I support the Occupy movement and hope it will continue on a global basis, I am glad however that you don't seem to have the need for it in Canada.
    Poor, sweet Iceland :) We did get the government we deserved too you know :p There's a few flaws in the link you tagged, actually quite major ones; for one we never went bankrupt, we recapitalized and de-privatized the banks and took loans by the support of IMF and will have to repay those loans for generations to come. Envy us much?
    We are NOT members of the EU and hopefully never will be. We don't have a new constitution yet, although it has been drafted, likely it will get through Alþingi and a referendum next year though. We did not refuse by referendum to pay for the failure of IceSave, we refused to pay on the terms given to us, nay forced upon us. Thankfully the icelandic people don't respond to threats as well as our so-called leaders do. It is our view however that the normal hardworking taxpayer should not have to pay for the failure of a private bank, the amounts repaid will depend on what can be gained by selling the assets of said bank. As it stands now, it looks like the demands will be fulfilled 100% so in retrospect, the whole deal, the attacks from the leaders of Britain and Netherlands on Iceland have been highly unfair, well of course they were as they were mostly done in interest of their own political gain... seems they had little success in that respect though :p
    Anyways, things are definitely not as great here as the foreign media seems to believe, we've never had as much debt, we've had major welfare cuts, at least 10k have migrated to Norway, Canada and other countries which leaves the rest of us with even heavier burden in the years to come and we have a general uncertainty about the future, mainly due to our application to join the EU. We have 2 more years of a government half made up of brown-nosed EU followers, the other half are confused cowards who have forgotten why we voted for them (yeah a complete waste of my vote) and the opposition is useless and most of them quite actually the people that got us into this mess in the first place. We need new blood and higher ethic standards in politics, we need people with courage, we can't depend on a usually non-political President to step in every time our government makes foolish deals and agreements with foreign countries on our behalf.
    But just so you don't think I'm crying in my pillow over this every night, I do believe we have a reason to be optimistic, after all things can't get much worse and we have the means to do great things when we start playing our cards right. That hope is more than many countries can say they have, I fear for the well being of the people of USA, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and just about every country that has yet to fall into the vortex of the economic crisis without the independence and freedom to work their way out of it themselves.
    Anyways, that was my stupid comment, sorry for it to contain little response to your actual blog, but hey you put the link there, I had to clear things up :).
    Miss you Terry, hugs

  6. Thanks for your excellent stupid comment Rosa. :)
    I know there are mistakes in that Iceland link.I first read it a month or two back and followed a number of links to the corrections.
    As I understand it, the men of Iceland quit fishing to become investment bankers. This worked very well for a few years, until the bubble burst. Now the women are going to save Iceland. Knowing you as I do, they are in good hands. History is on your side. While the Viking men were off raping and pillaging, the women looked after the country. ;)
    The banks in Canada are regulated and deposits are insured, but that doesn't mean we are free from collapse. If the EU defaults on their loans, we will likely follow, right behind our southern neighbours.
    I don't disagree with the passion and the enthusiasm of the Occupiers, I just think it's lacks focus and is going to become a terrible drain on municipalities which are already stretched financially.
    The main thrust of the protest here, is that they are unhappy with the results of the last election. We have new generation here who feel that if they cry loud enough they will get what they want. It might have worked with mom and dad, but not so with democracy. No amount of protesting will change that.
    They see what's going on around the world and think it's cool or exciting and want to be a part of it. I get that. I was there once too.
    Now I realize the best way to change a system is from within. Despite our lame duck elected official here, we have still managed to secure millions of dollars for several big projects. We did so without one phone call to our Member of Parliament.
    So you need new blood in Iceland? I was checking the cost of flights the other day. It's cheaper for me to fly there from Edmonton than it is for me to fly to Inuvik. You might be seeing me soon!
    Thanks again for writing. Miss you too and I <3 Iceland! *hugs*


Insert your stupid comment here