Protests, Camping, and Grumpy Old Men

by JDH on November 26, 2011

Last week I shared my thoughts on why the world is messed up. Sadly, nothing has changed. While my friends in the USA celebrated Thanksgiving, here in Canada, and more specifically Toronto, we celebrated the end of the “Occupy Toronto” protest.

Actually “celebrate” is too strong a word: “oh, it’s over, okay” would be a more apt description. Virtually no-one in Canada paid much attention to a generally well behaved band of protestors who camped out in St. James Park in Toronto for five weeks, before being peacefully evicted by police this week. Public opinion is clearly not on the side of the protestors. A Toronto Star columnist, not known for her right-wing views, correctly concluded that the Occupiers were nothing more than bullies, attempting to impose their will on the rest of us.

I agree that we are all getting screwed by the “elite”. I agree that it was moronic for politicians around the world to give bailouts to billionaire banksters. If they really felt the need to print bailout cheques, it would have made more sense to simply send $10,000 to every man, woman and child. Then, if and when the banks failed, at least we would have had cash in our pockets to pay the rent. So I agree that there are grounds for protest.

Unfortunately camping out in a public park for weeks on end is not a protest. It’s camping. (And if you want to know my thoughts on camping, please see this video of Jim Gaffigan describing camping):

I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man, but “kids” today have it easy.

In 1940 you protested Hitler by going to war and risking your life.

In the 1960’s the U.S. civil rights protests involved marches, education, and very real threats of violent retaliation.

In 2011, “protest” means clicking the “Dislike” button on YouTube.

(If you disagree with me, here’s a video of Dana Carvey as a grumpy old man. Go ahead and click the Dislike button):


Real protest, to make real change, requires real work, and real sacrifice.

“Friending” the “Occupy” page on Facebook is not the same as creating a movement for change. So here’s my advice to people who want real change:

Take care of yourself. Don’t expect the government to take care of you. Cut your expenses to the bone, so even a low paying job allows you to survive. And stop voting for idiot politicians who promise to take care of you, when it should be obvious to all by now that they can’t, and won’t. That’s it. That’s my advice.

Now, on to the markets. Here’s my quick summary: O-oh.

It appears that our rally attempts have failed, so the next stop is the 10,600 level, which is roughly where we were at the beginning of August, and the beginning of October. We’ve had massive swings in the market, and we’ve gone nowhere. In fact, the close of 11,232 on November 25, 2011 is about the same as the close of 11,240 on August 4, 2006. More than five years, and no gains.

So what’s my advice?

Same as before. Keep your debt down. Invest in hard assets. Obviously gold and silver, and their related stocks have not done particularly well these last few weeks. In the “flight to safety” it would appear speculators are selling whatever they can get their hands on, and converting it to cash.

So be it. I will assume that means everything is on sale, and I will continue to deploy cash, because these bargains won’t last forever.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, and happy Thanksgiving weekend to my American friends. See you next week.

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