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June 2012
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THEN AGAIN Occupy group decides money's sometimes OK

In the category of maybe money's not so bad after all, this month's winner is Occupy Wall Street. You remember Occupy. They are the anti-consumerism, pro-environment "movement" that gave rise to the concept of the evil "1 percent", an unfortunate group that even President Obama now routinely demonizes for, we don't know, just being too darn successful we suppose.

Of course a visit to the organization's web site pretty well evaporates the anti-consumerism idea. The group hawks posters on the site, boasting that it now accepts Bitcoin, in addition to good old-fashioned currencies as "donations" for its consumerist wares.

Meanwhile last week a group of 14 Occupiers appeared to get a head start on their peers on the way to joining the 1 percent that we all naughtily aspire to. And they achieved it through that most American of undertakings - the lawsuit.

The 14 agreed to accept $583,000 to settle a lawsuit against the city of New York stemming from their arrests during a protest in lower Manhattan on New Years Day 2012. The 14 were charged with disorderly conduct, charges that were later routinely dismissed.

The arrests followed what city lawyers described as "a very rowdy and tumultuous march" that was also unauthorized. New York police contend they arrested the group after they refused orders to disperse. Lawyers for the protesters claimed the group was surrounded by "a wall of blue" and told to leave or be arrested, but were effectively prevented from leaving by the police cordon and were then arrested for simply expressing their views. Video of the incident suggests the truth lies somewhere in the middle of those two descriptions.

But for whatever reason, the city decided to shell out almost $600,000 to settle the case. The reports we read didn't say whether ultra-liberal New York mayor Bill de Blasio - himself an eat the rich type and former ombudsman for the city - had a role in the decision to settle the case. Certainly the mayor would sign off on such settlements in a smaller municipality, but in New York, with law departments and layers of department heads and commissioners, who knows.

Regardless, it was a pretty good payday for the 14 protesters. Sliced 14 ways, the settlement comes to $41,643 per person. Of course they'll have to pay their lawyers, who (assuming they are vile 1 percenters) generally take one-third in such cases. So call it $27,734 the Occupiers will pocket. Not bad for walking around money.

Oh, the inequality! How will they live with themselves? Well, perhaps guilt will set in and they'll shell out the money pro rata to every member of the Occupy movement. Or maybe they'll buy carbon credits or buy out the supply of posters Occupy is currently pitching on its website. Or maybe not.

Any way you slice it, it's a pretty good haul for a busy day of protesting the evils of making money.

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