Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Most Americans aware of Wall Street protests

A strong majority of Americans are aware of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests against U.S. economic inequality and a majority either view them favorably or do not have an opinion about them, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Wednesday.

Eighty-two percent of Americans have heard of the protest movement, and 38 percent feel favorably toward it, the poll found. Thirty-five percent are undecided, and about one-fourth -- 24 percent -- are unfavorable.
Ipsos research director Chris Jackson said the large number of people who were positive or undecided reflected the mood of the country.
"People are just sort of angry," he said. "They aren't necessarily sure what they are angry about, and the protest captures that to a certain extent."
Democrats and Republicans were equally familiar with the protests, at 84 percent and 82 percent, respectively, but only 73 percent of independents were aware.
But their views are sharply divided by party. Fifty-one percent of Democrats viewed the protests favorably, versus just 11 percent who saw them unfavorably. Among independents, 37 percent had a positive view, compared with 14 percent who felt negative.
Just 22 percent of Republicans said they had a favorable view, compared with 44 percent who were unfavorable.
According to Occupy Together, which has become an online hub for protest activity, the Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked rallies in more than 1,300 cities throughout the United States and around the world.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,113 adults, including 934 registered voters, was conducted October 6-10. It surveyed 536 Democrats, 410 Republicans and 167 independents.
The margin of error was 3.0 percentage points for all respondents, 3.2 points for registered voters, 4.2 points for Democrats, 4.8 points for Republicans and 7.6 points for independents.

Occupy Wall Street protest hits closer to home

The Founding Fathers would be on the side of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters and would show up to support the actions against corporations who make their money through the New York Stock Exchange, a retired Army command sergeant major said Sunday.

Although he only would give his first name - Joe - the Vietnam War veteran said those who created the United States more than 200 years ago did not envision corporations having more rights than American citizens.

Appropriately, the Bisbee Occupy Wall Street event, a phenomena which is happening across the nation, was held at Goar Park in the city's Brewery Gulch, outside a building which was the Bisbee Stock Exchange in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today it is a bar, where some of the old exchange boards can still be seen behind glass.

Although many would think because of Joe's military service he would be conservative in his views, his comments to the Herald/Review proved somewhat different.

As more than 90 people gathered for the 5 p.m. start of the hour-long event, the retired senior noncommissioned officer - on his hat was a pin indicating he was awarded a Silver Star - brought a large American flag which was put up near a rendition of the Statue of Liberty with a sign stating "Help America. Tax Wall Street."

A woman held a sign stating "America, Land of the Fee$, Home of the $lave$."

Joe said his problem with the greed emanating from Wall Street, and corporate board rooms is, "A corporation doesn't bleed, doesn't die for the country," as members of America's armed forces are called upon to do.

And, "Corporations should not have more rights, than citizens," the retired soldier added.

The Rev. Rod Richards, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Southeast Arizona in Sierra Vista, read a statement put out by the Occupy Wall Street organizers in New York.

"This statement was voted on and approved by the general assembly of protesters at Liberty Square on Sept. 29," he said.

The statement outlined a number of grievances "to express a feeling of mass injustice," Richards said.

The protests began in and around New York's Wall Street with small numbers but growing, leading to increasing arrests, with nearly 700 taken into custody the first weekend of this month.

The movement is spreading across the nation, including in Arizona, with one held in Prescott last week. One is scheduled to be held in Tucson on Saturday morning.

The Occupy Wall Street statement has a list of grievances, reading much like the Declaration of Independence in which the reason for seeking freedom from Great Britain in 1776 outlined the founders' rationale for severing ties.

However the statement seeks redress in their list, which Richards read, and includes:

"They (the corporations,) have taken our houses through illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

"They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses.

"They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of ones skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

"They have poisoned the food supply through negligence and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

"They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

"They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay an safer working conditions.

"They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

"They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers' healthcare and pay."

The list continues accusing "they," the corporations, of influencing the judicial system, finding ways out of providing health insurance, being too directly involved in determining national economic policies "despite catastrophic failure" and donating money to politicians who are suppose to regulate corporations and other complaints in the statement, read by Richards.

For Alice Hamers, of McNeal, a self-confessed left progressive Democrat, she believes the unions are involved in the protest and sees no problem with that because of their organizational capabilities.

However, for her the majority of those who take to the streets must be individuals who have been badly impacted by corporation and politicians, of both parties.

Saying when President Barack Obama ran for president, before being selected by the Democratic Party to carry the banner in the 2008 election, she supported Dennis Kucinich.

But once Obama received the party's nomination she voted for him because she could not give her ballot of Republican Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain.

But, Obama has failed and is on the wrong path, she said.

The street protests, which are growing throughout the country, is as much is a warning to both major parties and to the technically unofficial Tea Party, Hamers said.

The politicians, of both parties "are to blame" for the nation's economic woes which can be seen by the horrendous deficit Congress and administrations created in the budget process, she said.

What is needed is a "people's budget," on from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Andrea Witte will outline the "American Dream Budget, aka The People's Budget," at the Sierra Vista Library, Hamers said of the free public meeting, Hamers said.

Joe said during his career, as an Army Ranger, he briefed retired Army Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, when he was a lieutenant colonel battalion commander in Vietnam. Schwartzkopf led Operations Desert Shield/Storm against Iraq. The retired command sergeant major also worked with retired Gen. Colin Powell, when he was secretary of state.

With the growing unhappiness concerning the nation's political arena, he said if some of the founding leaders of the country were still alive he has no doubt they would support the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Saying he wished he brought his grandchild to the Bisbee event and believes children need to see American democracy at work, Joe said, "Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere would be at the (current) protests, serving food."

Kim Kardashian: I'm obsessed with Dubai

“Just touched down in Dubai! I’m so happy to be here!” tweeted Kim Kardashian on Wednesday morning.
Yes, she’s finally here.
The reality star landed in Dubai on an Emirates flight from New York, tweeting of the flight, “Serious Sex & The City swag going on, on this airplane to Dubai! The best plane I’ve ever been on!!! Dubai are u ready???”.

She was quickly whisked through the VIP area of Dubai International Airport and headed straight to her hotel, Atlantis, which she had specifically requested for her visit.

Shahbaz Sharif think we are a bunch of idiots?


Does the Punjab chief minister (CM) think we are a bunch of idiots? What sort of 'effective' mechanism against the curse of dengue is a Facebook page? Amidst much fanfare and press coverage, Shahbaz Sharif unveiled his masterstroke: to teach the people how to protect themselves against dengue by logging onto a Facebook page that details how one can take precautions! Do I need to remind the CM that most people in Pakistan are not computer literate? Most of them are not even literate!

The need of the day is not pomp and show. What we need is effective utilisation of all resources to combat this plague, including education drives, funding for potent fumigation, biological agents and foreign expertise. Facebook pages are designed for little else but self-promotion.


Nawaz Sharif, is it really load shedding or something else?

With an adventurous October settling in, the battle lines are being drawn between bitter rivals and old foes - the central ruling party Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Punjabi rulers - the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The dust was still settling after the crucial All Parties Conference (APC) but surprisingly, the elder Sharif, playing on the masses’ demonstrations over long hours of load-shedding, rose to the occasion and announced a series of demonstrations - possibly after the failure of the Punjab government to control the damage done by dengue across Punjab, especially in Lahore, the home of the Sharifs, which is slipping fast out of their control and landing in the lap of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf - the brainchild of macho man Imran Khan.

On the other hand, smelling a severe government-bashing move by the PML-N against the prolonged hours of load-shedding across the country, the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) also launched a preemptive rant in the national assembly at the government’s failure to handle the situation which has triggered violent protests in Punjab. However, this tirade soon lost its fire as Haider Abbas Rizvi said on the same evening that his party may return to the treasury benches as soon as peace returned to Karachi. Political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi sees the PML-N outburst against the government as a bid to cash in on the wave of anti-government sentiment and push the government to neutralise the gains made by the government at the APC as well as to overthrow the government’s remaining popularity.

“I think that the PML-N, a bit late, has realised that the PPP-led government has made significant gains with the successful APC. They also want to remove the public impression that the PML-N and the PPP are riding the same boat,” he said, adding that after realising the bitter realities, now the PML-N leadership wanted to neutralise these gains.
“Secondly, the time margin for the PML-N is tightening as the March polls for the Senate are getting nearer and they would do anything to stop the PPP from getting the majority vote in the Senate after a long time. Now they are hell-bent to do anything to avert this achievement. The magnitude of the countrywide protests suggest that they will even be happy if the government is overthrown by the military,” added Rizvi.

He also opposed the view that parliamentary resolutions to reshape the country’s foreign policy were binding on the government.

“Neither the joint resolution by the APC nor the parliamentary resolutions can influence the country’s foreign policy. There is no point to talking about reshaping the foreign policy as the foreign policy has been shaped up by the military. The government only wants to get the support from all smaller and major players of the country to achieve two objectives - to tell the world Pakistan stands united at this critical juncture; and sending a message to every Pakistani to forget everything and gel together against the US’ hegemonic designs,” he said.
When asked whether the APC resolution was a success, Rizvi said every political party agreed on a minimum agenda – “anti-Americanism”. “Whether you are a mullah, democrat or even an atheist, everyone feels that the US is beating about the bush after its failure in Afghan war. So the APC has domestic implications and the resolution would help give a surge to anti-Americanism across the country,” he added.
When questioned whether in his analysis the US might attack Pakistan, Rizvi said that the US would not attack Pakistan but it could increase the drone strikes inside Pakistan. He said it was also a possibility that one or two incidents of air space violations by the US helicopters would occur which would not disrupt the bilateral ties. However, he added, a surgical operation or boots on ground would definitely bring about a total breakdown of these ties which would have negative consequences.
Nevertheless, it is very unfortunate to note that the coalition government leadership conducted so many foreign trips to ‘friendly countries’, spending billions of rupees from the national exchequer, but could not muster the support of friends who could have asked the US not to threaten a country whose people and armed forced had suffered most, whose economy was almost paralysed as people on its streets pondered on why they voted for the so-called democratic leaders who had brought the country to this stage.
On the other hand, the opposition parties are also making mockery of the democracy by playing on popular public sentiment for political gains. It is even more devastating to note that the politicians are happy to overthrow the government even if its costs the country a democratic process.
This is why the man on the street is saying, “The Dictator’s rule was really better- electricity, petrol, sugar, grain- we had everything and there was less of this pillage and looting... why did we vote for these people if all General Musharraf’s policies were to be followed and even the government had to follow what the army thinks is right. Where is the political vision?”

Nawaz Sharif, is it really load shedding or something else?

Sharifs’ plan of dissolving PA failed

Former federal law minister Babar Awan said on Wednesday that Sharifs' plan of dissolving the Punjab Assembly (PA) has completely failed.
Awan, while talking to media at Islamabad High Court, said that PML-N during its tenure never generated even a single megawatt of power, while PPP has started more than two dozen large and medium scale dam projects to enhance power production.
Moreover, he accused the Punjab government of the embezzlement of Rs 1.6 billion in the name of dengue spray.
Awan accused PML-N of practicing negative tactics for personal interests and making the job harder for President Asif Ali Zardari, who is struggling hard to steer the country out from the challenges it confronts.

Pakistani Taliban turn to kidnappings, extortion and bank robberies to raise funds for cause

Police caught up with the four Taliban militants about 15 minutes after they robbed the bank, shooting them dead on a bridge as they attempted to drive their loot to the safety of the border regions with Afghanistan.

The rare triumph against the insurgency in this dangerous part of Pakistan was short-lived — 10 days later, the Taliban dispatched a husband-and-wife suicide unit to avenge the deaths, devastating the local police station and killing nine officers.

The daylight raid on the bank and the bombing in June were carried out by the “Black Night” group, a unit of the Pakistani Taliban dedicated to raising funds through robberies, kidnappings and extortion, according to a member of the group and intelligence officers.

The group’s emergence highlights a shift in militant funding inside Pakistan, with al-Qaida, the Taliban and associated groups relying less on cash from abroad and more on crime to get money for equipment, weapons and the expenses associated with running an insurgency.

The development is partly a result of Pakistani and American successes in targeting Islamist extremists.

Greater scrutiny on money transfers means it is harder to send funds around the world, while American missile strikes and Pakistani army offensives have killed or sidelined many mid-to-top-level commanders who had links to Middle Eastern funding networks, said a counterterrorism official.

As a result, “the militants have issued an internal order telling followers to look for funds from internal sources,” said the counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Iraq, another country riven by Islamist insurgency, has seen a jump in crime in recent years, according to U.S and Iraqi officials. Militants there use profits from crime to finance operations, but former insurgents are also believed to have drifted into crime.

The Pakistani Taliban draws on a network of militants and for-hire criminals that stretches from the country’s northwestern towns, through its Punjab heartland to the commercial capital, Karachi, home to some 4 million Pashtun migrants, the ethnic group that makes up the Taliban.

The crime wave also adds to the militants’ goal of destabilizing the country by underscoring a growing feeling among Pakistanis that the U.S.-backed government is unable to provide enough security for its 180 million, mostly impoverished, citizens.

Allied with al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban across the border, the Pakistani Taliban mostly focus on terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, but are also committed to attacking American targets in Afghanistan and the United States. The group trained the Pakistani-American who carried out a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square in 2010.

There are few reliable statistics, but the most common ways of raising funds are kidnappings and extortion, according to Amir Rana, an expert on Pakistani militancy. Ransom demands range from about $150,000 and to $1 million.

The Taliban are currently holding in the border region a Swiss couple seized in July.

The same group is suspected in the August kidnapping in the city of Lahore of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of a liberal provincial governor who was killed by militants, according to intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. They say Taseer is being held in Waziristan close to the Afghan border. Weeks before Taseer’s kidnapping, American development expert Warren Weinstein was taken from his house in Lahore. His fate is unknown.

The “Black Night” group works under the command of Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the top leaders in the Pakistani Taliban, according to a member of the group who spoke to an Associated Press reporter by phone from an undisclosed location.

He said the group would continue to target wealthy Pakistanis, government officials and foreigners from non-Muslim countries for kidnappings. Banks were hit because they charged interest and therefore violated Islamic law, he said.

In Karachi, four bank robberies this year have netted $2.3 million, according to a community police organization. The Taliban are suspected in three of them.

“We are not fighting on that front line against the Pakistani army or NATO forces in Afghanistan, but we are contributing to the jihad through this way,” the militant said on condition that his real name not be used.

Police are not allowed to travel to the tribal-administered areas where the Pakistani Taliban and other militants are based. This status, dating back to British colonial times, means the area has long been attractive to criminals on the run or for those running criminal enterprises.

The robbers who raided the bank in Dera Ismail Khan were smartly dressed and appeared relaxed, striking just after midday. Waving guns, they bundled the employees and anyone on the street into the bathroom, then took $138,000 from the safe, stuffed it into bags and drove off.

Local police chief Zulfiqar Ali blamed the “Black Night” brigade for the robbery and subsequent attack on the police station, but insisted “morale was high” at the force.

“Even with very few resources we are prepared to give militants a tit-for-tat response,” he said.

More than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) away in Karachi, the Taliban didn’t bring guns when they came knocking at the offices of a wealthy Pashtun property developer, but their intent was clear. The man, who didn’t give his name, said they demanded about $20,000.

“I couldn’t escape this situation. As a last resort, I asked them to decrease the amount they were demanding,” he said. “They didn’t bring any weapons when they came to my office the first time, but they can easily harm me and my business.”

Another wealthy Pashtun related how two men on a motorbike seized his 7-year-old child as he left school.

It took 17 days for the kidnappers to contact him with a demand of $140,000. He said the phone calls came from numbers in the Punjab and large towns in Waziristan, and that the kidnappers appeared to know which government agencies he had discussed the case with. After four months, they settled for about $80,000.

Mohammed Yusuf, a member of the Pakistani Taliban who met an AP reporter in Karachi, said two groups — the al-Mansoor and al-Mukhtar — handle much of the fundraising for the movement in the city. He said they also arrange for supplies to be sent to Waziristan and look after fighters when they come to Karachi.

One of the most lucrative businesses was extorting money from the trucking companies that deliver food, oil and other non-lethal supplies to American and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Many of the companies are based in Karachi because the supplies land at the city’s Arabian sea port.

“We can do this because our scholars have decreed that it is quite permissible for us to snatch from those who are siding with our enemies in jihad,” Yusuf said.


Four more polio cases were confirmed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Four more polio cases were confirmed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on Tuesday, raising the total number of polio cases to 111 in the country and 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 29 in Fata this year, a health official said.

The recent cases of type-1 polio were detected in Buner and Nowshera districts while two from North Waziristan Agency tested positive for the crippling disease.

According to the report of Prime Minister s Monitoring and Coordination Cell for Polio Eradication, Ilyas son of Ibrahim is a 12-month-old boy having onset of paralysis on September 14, 2011. The child resides in Bajkata Shingra Hujra village in Bajkata Union Council of Gagra tehsil.

The report said the child had received over seven oral polio vaccine (OPV) doses including three of routine immunisation. This is the second polio case reported from Buner district in current year.

In Nowshera district, Ahad Noor son of Noor Muhammad Din is an 18-month-old boy having onset of paralysis on September 8, 2011. The child resides in Mohallah Yaqoob Garhi in Jalozai Union Council of Nowshera tehsil. As per recall of the parents, the child has received more than seven OPV doses including three during routine immunisation. This is the first polio case reported from Nowshera district in current year, the last polio case was reported on September 25, 2010 and it was also from the same union council.

In North Waziristan, two cases were reported. Haleema daughter of Abdullah Din is an eight-month-old girl having onset of paralysis on September 19, 2011. The child resides in Boya Area Land village of Miramshah tehsil. The child has received one dose of OPV.

The other child is Naima daughter Saifullah, who is a 36-month-old girl having onset of paralysis on September 22, 2011. The child resides in Dandy village in Darpakhel area of Miramshah tehsil. The child belongs to an Afghan family and as per recall of the parents the child has not received any dose of OPV. The area has not been accessible for vaccination teams for three years and became accessible in September 2011.

It merits mention here that five polio cases have been reported from North Waziristan this year. The agency reported seven polio cases last year. A total of seven vaccination campaigns have been conducted in North Waziristan Agency since January 2011.

The cell recommended uniform high quality vaccination activities to achieve above 95 per cent coverage at area level, at least in areas accessible for vaccination teams. It should be ensured that truly revised micro-plans are in use in all the areas of the agency. Proper recording of inaccessible areas and populations should be done in order to have a clear picture of the situation. In addition, every effort should be made to utilise windows of opportunities to vaccinate kids in the inaccessible areas or populations from inaccessible areas, the report stated.

Among 12 reported cases of poliovirus from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are five from Peshawar, one each from Nowshera, Bannu, Dir Upper and two each from Buner and Torghar district. From Fata, 29 polio cases have so far been reported including 11 from Khyber Agency, four from Mohmand Agency, three from FR Kohat, two each from FR Lakki Marwat and Orakzai Agency, five from North Waziristan and one each from Kurram and South Waziristan.

Occupy Wall Street shifts from protest to policy phase

Protesters face the difficult and interesting task of leveraging their influence to achieve concrete policy changes addressing their concerns.

How do you know when a protest movement is starting to scare the pants off the establishment?

One clue is when the protesters are casually dismissed as hippies or rabble, or their principles redefined as class envy or as (that all-purpose insult) "un-American."

Nothing shows that as powerfully as the reaction to the Occupy Wall Street protests that have spread from the financial district in lower Manhattan to cities nationwide, including Los Angeles. Conservative politicians have condemned the Occupy Wall Street protesters as "mobs" supporting the "pitting of Americans against Americans" (Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.) and proponents of "class warfare" (GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who also hung on them the "anti-American" label).On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are expressing support, if gingerly thus far, for the anger against the financial industry underlying the new protests: "People are frustrated, and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works" (President Obama) or "I support the message to the establishment…that change has to happen" (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco).

Progressives plainly hope that Occupy Wall Street will help give concrete form to a political narrative that so far has remained abstract in the public mind: That the financial industry has so far gotten a pass on its responsibility for the 2008 crash and escaped sufficiently stringent regulation, while government assistance to banks and Wall Street firms has left consumers in the dust.

But moving from protest to policy is the hardest leap that grass-roots organizations face, akin to turning a promising patent into a billion-dollar business. Occupy Wall Street is just now entering that very difficult, and very interesting, phase.

The principal rap against the protests is that they're inchoate — both in their ends (Are they articulating much more than an undifferentiated rage at banks and wealth?) and their organization (Are they more than idle hippies camping out in a downtown park?). Yet both points are erroneous.

For one thing, the concerns of the protesters are considerably more focused than their critics acknowledge. They involve the extreme inequality of wealth and income that has hobbled the U.S. economy over the last few decades, the imbalance between the government assistance given big banking institutions and that offered the homeowners who are their customers, and the failure to implement meaningful reform on elaborate financial strategies and instruments.

That the latter contributed overwhelmingly to the crash of 2008 is no secret. Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, acknowledged as much in his 2010 annual letter to shareholders. In it he listed six causes of the crisis, the first four of which were a lack of liquidity in money market funds and the rest of the short-term financial markets; high leverage (that is, excessive borrowing) "omnipresent" in the financial system; poor mortgage underwriting; and unregulated "shadow banking" (off-the-books investing and trading).

Those were not conditions that just happened to the banks, as though deposited by a meteor shower. They were created by the banks, including Dimon's, in an effort to exploit flaws and gaps in government regulations in quest of short-term profits. And the banks have been front and center in campaigns to dilute regulations proposed to address almost all of them.

Implicit in the protests is the idea that the banks have resumed their old practices with barely a hiccup, while pleading that the modest regulatory changes that have been passed have somehow hobbled their ability to do business. How do we know this plaint is a sham? One only has to look at the handsome resurgence of profits in the financial industry since 2008. According to the government's bureau of economic analysis, those profits reached an annualized $438.9 billion in the second quarter this year, up from $122.2 billion in calendar 2008.

More telling, they accounted for nearly 32% of all U.S. corporate profits in the second quarter, up from 13.4% in 2008. That's important, because it documents an unhealthy domination of economic activity in the U.S. by financial transactions, many of which, as we've come to learn, contribute little to economic productivity. That ratio is not only too high, incidentally, it's way out of line with the historical norm, which is closer to the range of 8% to 12%.

Meanwhile, the income disparity between the top earners and everyone else has soared. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 1980 the share of all pre-tax income collected by the top 1% of earners was 9.1%; in 2006 it was 18.8% (federal taxation cut that share to 16.3%). In 1980, the average income of the top 1% was about 30 times that of the lowest 20% of households; in 2006 it was more than 100 times that of the lowest quintile.

These are the conditions and numbers that inspire the Wall Street protests. On a march through lower Manhattan staged last week by Occupy Wall Street, two placards were most commonly seen, says Todd Gitlin, a Columbia University expert in social movements and a former student activist who accompanied the march: "We are the 99%" and "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

As for planning, Occupy Wall Street has reached a delicate stage at which what may have been born as a ragtag protest is being infused with professionals from groups with organizational skills such as and labor unions. Those groups helped plan the attention-grabbing march Thursday, but the change may produce internal dissension over the participants' conflicting agendas.

Yet grass-roots movements rarely achieve much until they're yoked to movements with specific goals and the wherewithal to achieve them. After all, Rosa Parks was not just another seamstress angered by racial segregation on the bus system in her hometown of Montgomery, Ala.; she was the secretary of the local National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People chapter. Her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger one day in 1955 was a spontaneous act of civil disobedience, but it wasn't lost on civil rights leaders that her standing in the community, the stability of her home life and her personal dignity made her the ideal symbol of an organized bus boycott and a test case challenging segregation in court.

No one can know today whether this new protest has legs. ("It's somewhere between a moment and a movement," Gitlin says.) History warns, however, that it's unwise to dismiss it as merely the work of a rabble. In 1932, after an Army detachment under the command of Douglas MacArthur violently broke up a peaceable encampment of the Bonus Army — a movement of World War I veterans agitating for early payment of a promised government bonus to help overcome destitution caused by unemployment — President Herbert Hoover endorsed the bloody confrontation with the words "Thank God we still have a government in Washington that knows how to deal with a mob."

Listening to radio reports of the violence from his New York home, Franklin Roosevelt turned to his close aide Felix Frankfurter. "Felix," he said, "this elects me."

OCCUPY WALL STREET: Protesters have their say

Occupy Wall Street Declaration

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Not even Thomas Jefferson--in all his genius--ever thought of this: A declaration issued by New York City protest movement Occupy Wall Street lists its objectives and complaints. Then, at the end, it appends an asterisk.

This connects to a disclaimer, written in italics: "These grievances are not all-inclusive."

In its declaration, the three-week-old protest group comes out four-square against foreclosures, executive bonuses, workplace discrimination, politicians beholden to lobbyists, monopoly agriculture, and the sale of personal privacy data. It decries everything from colonialism to "faulty bookkeeping."

Of several similar protest movements--Occupy Boston, Occupy Los Angeles, and others now gaining steam around the U.S.--New York's is the first to issue so specific a manifesto.
"I think initially the movement started as just an airing of grievances by people frustrated by the economy and by the lack of government responsiveness to inequality," says Columbia University political science professor Dorian Warren. "But now you see those frustrations starting to congeal into a more formal list of goals and demands, a more specific articulation."

He expects to see such a more formal list issued later this week, perhaps by Wednesday.

Warren compares Occupy Wall St., at this stage of its life, to the nascent Tea Party, when protesters were seeking a vehicle through which to express frustration with the Obama administration.

What's different here? "The Tea Party seemed to be a movement of older Americans, more conservative, whiter," he says. OWS protesters "are younger, more diverse." They've got a sense of humor and they play better music. Some protesters Monday dressed as zombies so that financial workers could "see us reflecting the metaphor of their actions," according to OWS spokesman Patrick Bruner.
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"I was down there yesterday," says Warren, en route to making his second visit to lower Manhattan to observe the goings-on today, "and what surprised me was how festive the atmosphere was. Nobody would describe a Tea Party meeting as festive."

He added: "There's no question, though, that they're angry and frustrated."

Just how frustrated became apparent Sunday, when hundreds of protesters poured onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic. Some protesters were detained temporarily by police, whom the protesters have accused of using too-aggressive tactics, including pepper spray.

Warren says another difference from the Tea Party is the media coverage Occupy Wall St. has been getting: Coverage outside New York has been limited. "What the Tea Party had going for them," he says, "is that they got coverage immediately, and by a national network—Fox. That gave them legitimacy."

Further, the Tea Party had an electoral agenda from the get-go. "It's an open question whether this," says Warren, referring to OWS, "will be channeled into mainstream politics."

There are almost as many grievances as there are protesters. "We're tired, we're mad, and we're standing up," protester Hero Vincent today told ABC News. He complains that the movement is "degraded" by the news media for not having a limited and well thought out set of goals. "Our constitution took a year to make," he says. " We've been here for three weeks, and we're supposed to have an agenda? That makes no sense."

Professor Yochai Benkler, co-director of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, calls Occupy Wall Street still very much a movement in the making. "One of the beautiful things about it," he says, "is that it is a movement defining itself as it 'becomes.'"

If there is a single, clear theme, it's this: Occupy Wall Street says it represents the interests of 99 percent of the American people, against the 1 percent it says controls 50 percent of the wealth.

Gunner Scott, a spokesman for sister movement Occupy Boston, says of his group, "We are in solidarity. We are fed up with how our country is being run. We want fundamental and lasting change. We are the 99 percent not being represented by government, and our needs are not being met. We want to engage other citizens on how we might reform business and government." He looks forward to a nation where "every person has an equal voice and equal access."

Scott says news organizations have been wrong to describe the movement as being made up of hippies and peace activists. "That's not representative of all of us involved. We have students and young people, and the unemployed. But we also have families and the self-employed, who can make their own hours. It's broader than anarchists and hippies."

Warren and Benkler view as significant the role played by social media in the movement's formation and evolution.

It's not that social networking technology has made it possible, they stress. Rather, it's that OWS' members bring to its structure and governance behaviors learned on the web. OWS adherents, says Benkler, are people "comfortable with decentralized collaboration" and with organizations more flat than hierarchical. They naturally seek consensus.

Says Warren: "Think Facebook or twitter: These protesters have adopted that same decentralized structure. There's no one leader. It's not top-down. It's much more democratic, much more 'open-source.'"

Wall Street protesters march past millionaires' NYC homes

Some of the city's wealthiest residents got visits from the Wall Street protesters.
Members of Occupy Wall Street took their march to midtown Manhattan on Tuesday. They walked along Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue where some of the richest 1 percent of the population live in townhouses and luxury apartments.
They paused outside buildings where media mogul Rupert Murdoch, banker Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch have homes, and decried the impending expiration of New York's 2 percent "millionaires' tax" in December.

The marchers say they have nothing against the millionaires personally, but think the rich should pay their fair share of taxes.
For the past 3½ weeks, protesters have besieged a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street, denouncing corporate greed and the widening income gap.

U.S. open to Afghan peace deal including Haqqani

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday signaled the United States remains open to exploring a peace deal including the Haqqani network, the militant group that U.S. officials blame for a campaign of high-profile violence that could jeopardize Washington's plans for withdrawing smoothly from Afghanistan.
"Where we are right now is that we view the Haqqanis and other of their ilk as, you know, being adversaries and being very dangerous to Americans, Afghans and coalition members inside Afghanistan, but we are not shutting the door on trying to determine whether there is some path forward," Clinton said when asked whether she believed members of the Haqqani network might reconcile with the Afghan government.
"It's too soon to tell whether any of these groups or any individuals within them are serious," she said in an interview with Reuters.
Inclusion of the Haqqani network in a hoped-for peace deal -- now a chief objective in the Obama administration's Afghanistan policy after a decade of war -- is a controversial idea in Washington.
Officials blame the group for last month's attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul and a truck bombing that injured scores of American soldiers.
The State Department is facing heat from Capitol Hill for refraining, at least so far, from officially designating the Haqqani group, which U.S. officials say is based in western Pakistan, as a terrorist organization.
The White House has backed away from assertions from Admiral Mike Mullen, who was the top U.S. military officer until he retired last month, that Pakistani intelligence supported the Haqqani network in the September 13 embassy attack.
But President Barack Obama and others have put their sometimes-ally Pakistan on notice that it must crack down on militants or risk severing a key relationship.
According to media reports, U.S. officials have held meetings with Haqqani network representatives as part of their efforts -- which have not yet yielded any visible results -- to strike a peace deal, but the State Department declines to discuss details of the reconciliation process.
In recent months reconciliation has become a more prominent feature of Obama's Afghan strategy even as U.S. and NATO soldiers continued to battle the Taliban and Haqqani militants in Afghanistan's volatile south and east.
Earlier this year, Clinton advanced a peace deal as a key plank of regional policy for the first time, saying Washington would support a settlement between the Afghan government and those militant groups that meet certain requirements, including renouncing violence and supporting the Afghan constitution.
Despite the conciliatory signals, Clinton said the United States would stick to its military campaign that the White House hopes will make militants more likely to enter serious negotiations.
"Now, it is also true that we are still trying to kill and capture or neutralize them (the Haqqani network)," Clinton said. "And they are still trying to, you know, kill as many Americans, Afghans and coalition members as they can."
"In many instances where there is an ongoing conflict, you are fighting and looking to talk," Clinton said. "And then eventually maybe you are fighting and talking. And then maybe you've got a ceasefire. And then maybe you are just talking."
It is unclear how quickly a peace deal could be had, as it remains unclear how military commanders can achieve and defend security improvements as the foreign force in Afghanistan gradually grows smaller.
While parts of the Taliban's southern heartland are safer than they were, Obama will be withdrawing the extra troops he sent to Afghanistan in 2010 just as commanders' focus turns to the rugged eastern regions where the Haqqani group are believed to operate.
Clinton did not directly address the question of designating the Haqqani network as a 'foreign terrorist organization,' but suggested the United States would want to keep its options open as it seeks peace in a region known for historic merry-go-round of political and military alliances.
"It's always difficult in this stage of a conflict, as you think through what is the resolution you are seeking and how do you best obtain it, to really know where you'll be in two months, four months, six months," Clinton said.
"We are going to support the Afghans and they want to continue to see whether there is any way forward or whether you can see some of the groups or their leaders willing to break with others."

Pak court seeks detail of assets of Nawaz, Zardari, Gilani and others

A Pakistani court has issued notices to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and many other politicians in response to a petition seeking the disclosure of their assets abroad.

Lahore high court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry yesterday directed all the respondents to file their replies along with affidavits on the verified list of their worldwide assets.

The other respondents include senior PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab chief secretary Nasir Khosa, Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Ghinwa Bhutto, chairperson of the PPP-ZAB faction.

The federal cabinet secretary and law secretary were made party to the petition.

"Notices shall be issued to the respondents in the writ petition who shall file their replies supported by their affidavits with an advance copy to learned counsel for petitioner," the Chief Justice said in his written order.

The next hearing will be held in the first week of December. Lawyer Javed Iqbal Jaffrey filed his main petition in 1993 and prayed that the respondents should be directed to provide verified list of their worldwide assets.

He recently filed an amended petition and alleged that politicians looted and plundered public money and transferred billions of rupees to foreign banks.

He claimed that Nawaz Sharif siphoned off and laundered over USD 3 billion, mostly to Britain. He further alleged that Gilani had spent about Rs 500 million from public funds on his houses in Multan and Lahore.

Militants to be chased till elimination

The Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Masood Kausar on Tuesday said that militants in FATA were breathing their last and the cowardly acts of terrorism were a clear proof that they were on the run. “We will chase them till their total elimination” he said adding that the govt. was firm in its resolve against militancy, terrorism and extremism and would never be terrified from such cowardly acts.

Addressing the elders, Maliks and political workers at kalaya the summer headquarter of Orakzai Agency during his day long visit, the Governor appreciated the velour and courage shown and the role played by the people of Orakzai Agency in reviving peace and rooting out militants from most of the areas in Orakzai Agency. Commissioner Kohat Division Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, Political Agent Khushal Khan and other officials were also present on the occasion.

The Governor said that terrorists had no faith, no religion; they were the enemies of Islam, Pakistan and development of tribal areas. “They have their own agenda; the agenda of destruction and devastation”, the Governor said and urged the tribesmen to forge unity be aware that such element do not get foothold again in their surroundings.

The Governor said that peace and development were our two major priorities and that of the tribesmen too, adding that efforts would continue simultaneously to achieve both the objectives. He noted with satisfaction that writ of the government had been establishment in majority areas of Orakzai and hoped that remaining few pockets would also be cleared of militants soon.

Talking about the development strategy the Governor said that Rs. 675.705 million had been allocated for 81 development projects in Orakzai Agency in the current year’s development outlay. Responding to the demands mentioned in the welcome address the Governor said that these would be looked for possible fulfillment during the current year.

The Governor underlined the importance of education and said that the government was giving top priority to promotion of education. In Orakzai Agency, he added more that Rs. 220 million is being spent in this sector. He said that shortage of teaching staff had been removed through contractual appointments.

Moreover, he added 32 out of 52 community schools had been reopened recently in Orakzai Agency alone whereas the rest were being investigated for its feasibility. He said that the tribal youth would be equipped with technical education.

“We are planning to open more vocational and technical institutions for tribal youth within FATA and other areas including Peshawar, where they will be offered handsome amount of scholarships as well” he said adding that efforts would also be made to send skilled workers from FATA abroad and he was in touch with few countries in this regard.

The Governor said that the President Asif Ali Zardari was taking interest to bring reforms in FATA in line with the people’s aspirations. He said that so far administrative, judicial and political reforms had been introduced by amending the FCR, providing efficient, clean and committed political administration and extending PPO to FATA.