Monday, October 03, 2011

Radical proposal: Massive Debt Relief to kick-start economy

The rich are getting VERY concerned; timing is uncanny with Occupation of Wall Street and similar movements across America

REUTERS
10/02/2011

NEW YORK  –

More than three years after the financial crisis struck, the economy remains stuck in a consumer debt trap. It’s a situation that could take years to correct itself. That’s why some economists are calling for a radical step: massive debt relief.

    Federal policy makers, they suggest, should broker what amounts to an out-of-court settlement between institutional bond investors, banks and consumer advocates – essentially, a “great haircut” to jumpstart the economy.

    What some are envisioning is a negotiated process in which cash-strapped homeowners get real mortgage relief, even if it means forcing banks to incur severe write-downs and bond investors to absorb haircuts, or losses, in some of the securities sold by those institutions.

America is finally reaching the boiling point
“We’ve put this off for too long,” said L. Randall Wray, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “We need debt relief and jobs and until we get these two things, I think recovery is impossible.” The bailout of the nation’s banks, a nearly trillion dollar stimulus package and an array of programs by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero may have stopped the economy from falling into the abyss. 


But none of those measures have fixed the underlying problem of too much consumer debt.

At the start of the crisis, household debt as a percentage of gross domestic product was 100 percent. Today it’s down to 90 percent of GDP. But by historical standards that is high. Households are still more indebted than their counterparts in Austria, Germany, Spain, France and even Greece – which is on the verge of defaulting on its government debt.

Tens of millions of citizens remain burdened with mortgages they can no longer afford, in addition to soaring credit card bills and sky high student loans. Trillions of dollars in outstanding consumer debt is stifling demand for goods and services and that’s one reason economists say cash-rich U.S. companies are reluctant to hire and unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Take Donald Bonner, for example, a 61-year-old from Bayonne, New Jersey, who lost his job working on a dock in June. Back in March, he attended a “loan modification” fair held by JPMorgan Chase in New York. 

He has lived in his home since 1970, but was on the verge of losing his job. After falling behind on his $2,800-a-month mortgage, he sought to reduce his monthly payment. Bonner says the bank denied the request on the grounds that he is ineligible because his income is higher than the minimum threshold set by the Federal government for loan modifications.

“They keep asking me for additional documentation,” Bonner said on Friday. “It seems to me there is never enough documentation and it has to be renewed every month. It does make you wonder with all this bailout money these banks have received, they don’t want to lend the money.”

DEBT JUBILEE

The idea of substantial debt restructurings and a haircut for bondholders has been raised by financial pundits, including Barry Ritholtz and Chris Whalen, two popular analysts and bloggers.

Renowned economist Stephen Roach, currently non-executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, has gone a step further, calling for Wall Street to get behind what others have called a “Debt Jubilee” to forgive excess mortgage and credit card debt for some borrowers. The notion of a Debt Jubilee dates back to biblical Israel where debts were forgiven every 50 years or so. In an August appearance on CNBC, Roach said debt forgiveness would help consumers get through “the pain of deleveraging sooner rather than later.”


But it’s not just the liberal economists and doom-and-gloom financial analysts calling for a great haircut. Even some institutional investors, who might suffer some of the impact of debt reductions on their portfolios, are seeing a need for a creative solution to the mess.


“If there is something constructive that can be done it should be,” said Ash Williams, executive director of the Florida State Board of Administration, which oversees $145 billion in public investments and pension money. “You don’t want to reward bad behavior and you don’t want to reward people who were irresponsible. But if there is a way to do well by doing good, then let’s take a look at it.”

To be sure, consumer debt levels have been coming down since the crisis began. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported in August that outstanding consumer debt has fallen from a peak of $12.5 trillion in third quarter of 2008 to $11.4 trillion. (NY Fed report: http://tinyurl.com/3uuvk8d) That’s a sign that consumers are getting less indebted.

But households are still carrying a staggering burden of debt.

As of June 30, roughly 1.6 million homeowners in the U.S. were either delinquent on mortgages or in some stage of the foreclosure process, according to CoreLogic. And the real estate data and analytics company reports that 10.9 million, or 22.5 percent, of homeowners are underwater on their mortgage — meaning the value of their homes has fallen so much it is now below the value of their original loan. CoreLogic said the figure, which peaked at 11.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, has declined slightly not because home prices are appreciating but because a growing number of mortgages are entering foreclosure.

The nation’s banks, meanwhile, still have more than $700 billion in home equity loans and other so-called second lien debt outstanding on those U.S. homes, according to SNL Financial.

Debts owed by American consumers account for almost half of the nearly $9 trillion in worldwide bonds backed by pools of mortgages, car loans, credit card debt and student loans, which were sold to hedge funds, insurers and pension funds and endowments.

And that doesn’t include the $4.1 trillion in mortgage debt sold by government-sponsored finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics and public policy at Harvard University and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, has said the ongoing crisis should be called the “Second Great Contraction” because households remain highly leveraged. He says the high level of consumer debt is what distinguishes this from other recessionary periods.

COMPETING INTERESTS

    For those in favor of a radical solution, there are a lot of headwinds.

Any debt reduction initiative must confront the issue of “moral hazard” – the appearance of giving a gift to an unworthy borrower who simply made unwise spending choices.

Institutional investors who own securities backed by pools of mortgages are reluctant to see struggling homeowners get their mortgages reduced because that means those securities are suddenly worth less. Any write-downs that banks are forced to take could imperil their capital levels.


Tent makers had a great year
Institutional investors who own securities backed by pools of mortgages are reluctant to see struggling homeowners get their mortgages reduced because that means those securities are suddenly worth less. Any write-downs that banks are forced to take could imperil their capital levels.
 and bondholders, meanwhile, have competing interests. This is because mortgage write-downs depress the value of the securities in which mortgages are pooled and sold to investors. 

Big institutional investors like BlackRock have long argued that any meaningful principal reduction on a mortgage must also include a willingness by banks to take their own write-downs on any home equity loans, or second liens, taken out by the borrower on the property. The banks continue to hold those second liens on their balance sheets and so far have been reluctant to mark down the value of those loans, even though the borrower often has fallen behind on their primary mortgage payments.

In other words, bondholders are taking the position if they must suffer losses, so must the banks.

“Institutional investors, pension funds and hedge funds all have fiduciary obligations and they can’t necessarily agree to haircuts solely because it may be good social policy,” Sylvie Durham, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig in New York, who practices in the structured finance and derivatives area.

Tad Rivelle, chief investment officer of fixed-income securities at TCW, which manages about $120 billion of which $65 billion is in U.S. fixed income, doesn’t support a big haircut. But he says he can see why some economists and consumer advocates would favor debt reductions and debt workouts as way of dealing with the financial crisis and freeing up more money for spending.

Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ and a popular financial blogger, said the standoff between the banks and bondholders is untenable and doing a good deal of harm. An early critic of the bank bailouts, Ritholtz says bankers and bondholders are all in denial and both need to get far more pragmatic.

“They’d be bankrupt if not for the bailouts,” says Ritholtz of the banks’ position. “For their part, bondholders need to understand that we’re not earning our way out of this mess and should eat losses now before they get nothing.”

TIME FOR A MEDIATOR?

Given the standoff, there’s a sense nothing will happen unless federal policymakers make the first move. The Fed reports that 71 percent of household debt in the U.S. is mortgage-related.

But so far Washington policymakers seem more content to rely on voluntary measures. The two main programs set up by the Obama administration to reduce home mortgage debt – the Home Affordable Refinance Program and the Home Affordable Modification Program – have had limited success.

To date, the Treasury Department reports that those voluntary programs have resulted in 790,000 mortgage modifications, saving those borrowers an average of $525 a month in payments. Many of those modifications, however, were for borrowers paying high interest rates, not ones underwater on their mortgages.

In fact, Bank of America, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, said it has offered just 40,000 principal reductions to its borrowers.

Administration sources told Reuters that they support the concept of carefully targeted principal reductions for underwater borrowers. But these sources, who did not want to be identified, say the administration cannot mandate banks and bondholders to accept any principal reductions absent Congress authorizing the procedure.

The sources point out that federal authorities don’t have a “magic wand” – even at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed home-loan titans.

These sources explain that even though Fannie and Freddie are effectively owned by the federal government, they are controlled by an independent regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. And it’s up to the FHFA, and not the administration, to approve any principal reductions on home loans involving Fannie and Freddie.

An FHFA spokeswoman declined to comment. The agency has repeatedly taken the position that its first job is protect taxpayers’ return on investment in Fannie and Freddie rather than reducing mortgages for underwater borrowers.

CLOCK TICKING

The fear of some economists is that the economy may be going into a double dip recession. That means precious time is being lost if a negotiated approach to debt reduction isn’t taken now.

But the banks also have their own big debt burdens to deal with. Next year alone, banks and financial institutions must find a way to either pay off or refinance $307.8 billion in maturing debt, compared to the $182 billion that is coming due this year, according to Standard & Poor’s.

This maturing debt for banks comes at a time when they must start raising capital to deal with new international banking standards and are facing the possibility of a new recession that will crimp earnings. (Bank of America story: http://link.reuters.com/sys63s)

Beyond bank debt, hundreds of billions of dollars in junk bonds sold to finance leveraged buyouts also are maturing soon. S&P says “the biggest risk” comes in 2013 and 2014, when $502 billion in speculative-grade debt comes due.

Still, there are still plenty of economists who say the concern about consumer debt is overdone and that doing anything radical now would only make things worse. One of those is Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, who says a forced write-down or haircut of debt “would only result in a much higher cost of capital going forward and result in much less credit to more risky investments.”

He said significant progress has been made in reducing private sector debt, and draconian debt forgiveness measures would be a mistake. “Early in the financial crisis I was sympathetic to passing legislation to allow for first mortgage write-downs in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but the time for this idea has passed,” says Zandi.

Still, the notion of a debt write-down and bondholder haircuts will probably be around as long as the unemployment rate stays high and the housing market remains depressed.

Indeed, it has been two years since the notion of a “Debt Jubilee” made it into the popular culture when Trey Parker and Matt Stone used it for an episode of the politically incorrect cartoon “South Park.” In the episode aired in March 2009, (http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s13e03-margaritaville) one of the characters used an unlimited credit card to pay off all the debts of the residents of South Park to spur the economy.

At the time, the idea seemed like just a funny satire on the nation’s economic mess. But now it seems like no joke at all.

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein; Additional reporting by David Henry and Joseph Rauch; Editing by Michael Williams and Claudia Parsons.


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Assassination of Al Qaeda Leaders Designed to Keep Americans in the Dark


In-depth probe would expose "Al Qaeda" for what it is:  A CIA creation ran by their CIA trained leader -   Osama bin Laden

Global Research
By Sherwood Ross
10/02/2011

It is hardly surprising that President Obama ordered the assassinations of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki since the last thing he wants is to bring any leader of al-Qaeda to trial. If the U.S. wanted bin Laden to have his day in court it might have had the Navy Seals go against his lightly defended hideout with stun grenades or tear gas instead of launching a shoot-to-kill attack.

    As The New Yorker article "Getting bin Laden" of August 8 by reporter Nicholas Schmidle makes clear, the bin Laden slaying was a shoot-and-kill operation from the get-go and "all along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden's corpse into the sea." Schmidle writes that when the SEALs came upon Obama in his three-story compound in Abbottabad that he was unarmed and that those guarding him had already been killed. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to capture him and put him on trial. Instead, by having the SEALs execute him, Obama made good on his 2008 campaign pledge, "We will kill bin Laden" and spared the American public the story of how the U.S. created al-Qaeda in the first place and why and how the terrorist band turned against Washington.

Seals
Reporter Schmidle writes the bin Laden slaying was a CIA covert operation, so it was a natural fit for the President. For years a CIA employee, Obama shares the Agency's criminal outlook, which has long been the expropriation of the energy resources of the Middle East. To further this goal, Obama vastly increased the number of drone assassination terror strikes by the CIA over those ordered by his predecessor George W. Bush, and this escalation has also led, reliable sources inform us, to the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians---a figure that now may well number a thousand or more. I underscore: innocent civilians. Ask yourself, how any civilized man can purchase the destruction of an accused enemy at the price of the murders of so many innocent bystanders, including women and children?

    And why no trials? Well, it is hard to think of any aggressorin history who sought to put his foreign captives on trial. As a rule, invaders don't do that. The U.S. surely hasn't done this in the Middle East. Of the thousands of "terrorist" captives (and I put the term in quotes because in my book a man is still innocent until proved guilty in court) arrested and held for years in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and other hell holes, how many have been put on trial? How many have had lawyers? How many have had anything resembling due process? How many have been allowed to contact their families? The late entertainer Michael Jackson's physician currently is on trial in a procedure exposed on nation-wide television---but which captive of the Pentagon allegedly guilty of the grave crime of seeking to destroy America by force and violence has been afforded a like opportunity to defend himself in a public trial?

    If there was the slightest shred of justice in the CIA's renditions, it has been obliterated by the burdens the U.S. has heaped on the several lawyers allowed to represent a handful of the accused, making it difficult for them to visit their clients, to speak to their clients, and to represent them fairly. Worse, the Pentagon has dressed military personnel in civilian suits and sent them to tell captives they are their court-appointed lawyers and can speak to them freely when, in fact, they are spies! And nothing points to American culpability so much as the widespread torture of captives. When, in the annals of human history, has a nation using such foul methods ever been in the right? When has any nation that closets men in secret prisons to deny access to them by the International Red Cross not had something ghastly to hide? When, in all of human history, has any nation that ever outspent all the other nations on the planet combined on armaments not been an aggressor state?

Guantanamo
Let's be clear about this: the nation that arrests suspects without first going before a judge to make its case is no respecter of human rights. Just the opposite. Its violation of international law is precisely what it accuses those it arrests of doing. Al-Awlaki's slaying by the U.S. "is a real body blow against the United States Constitution by the Obama administration---the murder and assassination of a U.S. citizen in gross violation of the Fifth Amendment," says Francis Boyle, the distinguished authority on international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign. This states: "No person shall...be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

    Instead, Boyle says, this was a "Mafia-style 'hit'" on a U.S. citizen authorized by President Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School and former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago whose action "proves how degraded and bankrupt legal education at such elite institutions has become." Harvard's moral bankruptcy, though, is the least of it.

    The killing of al-Awlaki is no cause for rejoicing by the American people. Not only has President Obama once again authorized a murder but by denying al-Awlaki any chance of a fair trial Obama cheats the American people of their right to hear what the defendant has to say. One of the great blessings of trial by jury enshrined in centuries of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence is its educational aspect. There is not only sworn testimony presented by the involved parties but the opportunity to examine and cross-examine witnesses and to get at the motives for their conduct and to determine the truth of their positions. There is the opportunity to hear opening and closing arguments by both the defendant and the prosecution and to evaluate them calmly and weigh them one against the other. In the present situation, the prosecution is trying al-Awlaki, like bin Laden before him, in the compliant media of the American Warfare State.

Boyle charges that as the CIA originally established Al Qaeda to fight in Afghanistan, "they are aware of all the dirty work we have been involved in around the world since about 1980 that we have had them doing, most recently in Libya. Hence, they all get Kangaroo Courts on Gitmo that are under the complete control of the Pentagon to silence and control whatever they have to say as well as their lawyers." In short, bin Laden and al-Awlaki knew too much.

    Finally, just as President Bush's attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq created a precedent for waging deceitful and illegal "preventive wars," so, too, has President Obama's latest assassination established a precedent for the murder of Americans by the White House without jury trial, opening the door to the killing, say, of any president's political opponents and dissenters. Where Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo failed miserably, Presidents Bush and Obama have brilliantly succeeded in turning America into a totalitarian state that can execute on a president's whim. With luck, other peoples and nations will halt the spread of this American empire using creative non-violence rather than the use of force. The way to fight fire is with water.

Sherwood Ross was active in the civil rights movement and has worked as a reporter for major dailies and as a columnist for several wire services. He currently runs a public relations firm "for good causes" and directs the Anti-War News Service. To contact him or contribute to his news service, email sherwoodross10@gmail.com


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Dreaded militant hit squad goes on rampage in Pakistan


Militants increasingly seen utilizing the guerrilla terror tactics of Mao, Ho Chi Minh

Reuters
By Michael Georgy
10/02/2001

A blindfolded man stands on explosives, trembling as he confesses to spying for the CIA in Pakistan. Armed men in black balaclavas slowly back away. Then he is blown up.

    One of his executioners -- members of an elite militant hit squad -- zooms a camera in on his severed head and body parts for a video later distributed in street markets as a warning.

    Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani network -- blamed for a September 13 attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul -- picked the most ruthless fighters from their ranks in 2009 to form the Khurasan unit, for a special mission.

New tactics:  psychological warfare, heavy on the terror
Militant groups don't have the military technology to match the American drone programme, but they understand the value of human intelligence, and fear, in the conflict.
So the Khurasan were deployed to hunt down and eliminate anyone suspected of helping the Americans or their Pakistani government and military allies.

     Just this week, an Afghan couple visiting Pakistan was shot dead for spying in North Waziristan, where the group operates.
 
    A committee of Khurasan clerics decides their fate. Most are declared guilty after what group members admit are "very, very harsh" interrogations.

    "The whole community is scared of the Khurasan, and sometimes we ask each other 'have you seen the videos'," said one man, who like everyone else interviewed about the Khurasan, asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

    "They have people everywhere. How do I know who is an informer for them and who isn't?"

HAQQANIS IN FOCUS

    Made up mostly of Arabs and Uzbeks, the Khurasan, named after a province of an old Islamic empire, are a shadowy group of several hundred men who operate in North Waziristan, where Washington believes Haqqani network leaders are based.

    CIA pilots, who remotely operate the drones, could step up their pursuit of the Haqqani network leaders after an attack on the U.S. mission in Kabul last month. That would likely prompt the Khurasan to become more ruthless, after capturing about 120 people they've accused of being spies since 2009. When suspected collaborators are caught, they are held in cells in a network of secret prisons across North Waziristan.

Professionals now; electric shock, drills, nails for interrogation
"They are given electric shocks. If they don't help then an electric drill is used or the spies are forced to stand on electric heaters," said one Khurasan operative.
 "Or nails are hammered into their bodies." Any attempt to intervene on behalf of people who are captured is risky. The Khurasan see that as collaboration with the enemy too and it is punishable by death.

    Whenever someone is found guilty, the Khurasan make sure everyone knows about it.

    "The spies are taken outside residential areas at night and shot dead. Their bodies are thrown on roadsides or squares in the town with a piece of paper warning others to refrain from this 'dirty' job of spying," said one operative.

     Their methods have become so brutal and widespread that the Khurasan have alienated some of the militant leaders who created them, men who would not think twice about ordering beheadings.

    "We tried very hard to reform the Khurasan but repeated attempts to correct them failed," the top Taliban leader in North Waziristan, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, said in a statement.

    The Khurasan are not dependent on larger militant groups like the Taliban, funding their operations through kidnappings.

PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT SEEKS HELP FROM PUBLIC

    They are making it more difficult for the Pakistani army to persuade Pashtun tribal communities to form pro-government militias -- a cornerstone of its counter-insurgency strategy.

"No job too big or small, we drill them all"
On Friday, senior Pakistani military officials complained to members of a North Waziristan pro-government militia that they were failing to improve security and that militants had formed a state within a state there, tribal elders told Reuters.

    The Khurasan, meanwhile, have gone rogue, challenging other militants who may want to rein them in.

    "No one is above our law," said a Khurasan militant.

    News of torture and executions carried out by the Khurasan spreads fast in the villages and small towns of North Waziristan, a region President Barack Obama described as "the most dangerous place in the world".

    People believe members of the group -- who always have their faces covered and wear dark camouflage -- are capable of watching their every move.

    "They know all about the people they pick up. They even have devices on which they record telephone calls of the people they are working on," said a resident of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

    "They are silent when they carry out operations. They are more sophisticated than the army's commandos."

    The Khurasan usually don't engage in direct confrontation with the Pakistani army. But a senior military official says that's changing.

    "We face serious problems in areas where the Khurasan operate. We can't leave our compounds and camps because they are on the lookout," said a Pakistani soldier who requested anonymity. "We can't risk an ambush."


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Over 700 arrested in Occupy Wall Street march on Brooklyn Bridge


Cops will now find beating, gassing protesters does not work anymore

Chicago Sun-Times
By Colleen Long
10/01/2011

NEW YORK – 

More than 700 protesters demonstrating against corporate greed, global warming and social inequality, among other grievances, were arrested Saturday after they swarmed the Brooklyn Bridge and shut down a lane of traffic for several hours in a tense confrontation with police.

    The group Occupy Wall Street has been camped out in a plaza in Manhattan’s Financial District for nearly two weeks staging various marches, and had orchestrated an impromptu trek to Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. They walked in thick rows on the sidewalk up to the bridge, where some demonstrators spilled onto the roadway after being told to stay on the pedestrian pathway, police said.

Protesters no longer fear cops
The majority of those arrested were given citations for disorderly conduct and were released, police said.
Some protesters sat on the roadway, chanting “Let us go,” while others chanted and yelled at police from the pedestrian walkaway above. Police used orange netting to stop the group from going farther down the bridge, which is under construction.

Some of the protesters said they were lured onto the roadway by police, or they didn’t hear the calls from authorities to head to the pedestrian walkway. Police said no one was tricked into being arrested, and those in the back of the group who couldn’t hear were allowed to leave.

    “Multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway and that if they took roadway they would be arrested,” said Paul Browne, the chief spokesman of the New York Police Department.

    Erin Larkins, a Columbia University graduate student at who says she and her boyfriend have significant student loan debt, was among the thousands of protesters on the bridge. She said a friend persuaded her to join the march and she’s glad she did.

    “I don’t think we’re asking for much, just to wake up every morning not worrying whether we can pay the rent, or whether our next meal will be rice and beans again,” Larkins wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “No one is expecting immediate change. I think everyone is just hopeful that people will wake up a bit and realize that the more we speak up, the more the people that do have the authority to make changes in this world listen.”

    Several videos taken of the event show a confusing, chaotic scene. Some show protesters screaming obscenities at police and taking a hat from one of the officers. Others show police struggling with people who refuse to get up. Nearby, a couple posed for wedding pictures on the bridge.

Cops find solidarity of The People confusing
“We were supposed to go up the pedestrian roadway,” said Robert Cammiso, a 48-year-old student from Brooklyn told the Daily News. “There was a huge funnel, a bottleneck, and we couldn’t fit. People jumped from the walkway onto the roadway. We thought the roadway was open to us.”

    Earlier Saturday, thousands who joined two other marches crossed the Brooklyn Bridge without problems. One was from Brooklyn to Manhattan by a group opposed to genetically modified food. Another in the opposite direction marched against poverty organized by United Way.

    Elsewhere in the U.S. on Saturday, protesters assembled in Albuquerque, N.M., Boston and Los Angeles to express their solidarity with the movement in New York, though their demands remain unclear. Occupy Wall Street demonstrators have been camped in Zuccotti Park and have clashed with police on earlier occasions. 

    Mostly, the protests have been peaceful, and the movement has shown no signs of losing steam. Celebrities including Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon made recent stops to encourage the group.

New York leaders employing disinformation to derail protests
During the length of the protest, turnout has varied, but the numbers have reached as high as about a few thousand. A core group of about two hundred people remain camped throughout the week. They sleep on air mattresses, use Mac laptops and play drums. They go to the bathroom at the local McDonald’s. A few times a day, they march down to Wall Street, yelling, “This is what democracy looks like!”

    There has been a growing swell of coverage in mainstream media, but there has been loud complaining the cause hasn’t been championed fast enough — or in the way protesters want.

    Misinformation has added to the confusion. For instance, a rumor sprang up on Twitter that the New York Police Department wanted to use tear gas on protesters — a crowd-control tactic the department doesn’t use. The claim was eventually retracted, one of several such retractions over the past several days. On Friday, a message said Radiohead would be performing in solidarity for the cause, but the band’s management said it wasn’t playing.

    Earlier clashes with police have resulted in about 100 arrests. Most were for disorderly conduct. Many were the subject of homemade videos posted online.

    One video surfaced of a group of girls shot with pepper spray by NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. 

    The woman claimed they were abused and demanded the officer resign, and the video has been the subject of several news articles and commentary. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said internal affairs would look into whether Bologna acted improperly and has also said the video doesn’t show “tumultuous” behavior by the protesters.

    A real estate firm that owns Zuccotti Park, the private plaza off Broadway occupied by the protesters, has expressed concerns about conditions there, saying in a statement that it hopes to work with the city to restore the park “to its intended purpose.” But it’s not clear whether legal action will be taken, and police say there are no plans to try to remove anyone.

    Seasoned activists said the ad-hoc protest could prove to be a training ground for future organizers of larger and more cohesive demonstrations, or motivate those on the sidelines to speak out against injustices.

    “You may not get much, or any of these things on the first go-around,” said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a longtime civil rights activist who has participated in protests for decades. “But it’s the long haul that matters.”


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Cheney demands apology from Obama for criticism of Bush foreign policy


Looking wan and catatonic, delusional Cheney tops himself in his "hide in plain sight" act

RAW
By Andrew Jones
10/02/2011

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is demanding an apology from President Barack Obama for slamming the Bush Administration on foreign policy and not using the phrase ‘war on terror.’

    On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning, host Candy Crowley asked him that given President Obama’s foreign policy accomplishments if it really mattered to use the phrase. 

Hiding under big rock looking better and better
Still upset over Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo that criticized their administration, Cheney continued to express the importance of the phrase to himself. 

“It matters a lot,” Cheney said. “In terms of the signals that are sent by the commander-in-chief with respect to the kind of efforts that are going to be used, what we expect our people to be doing. He needs to be clear with what he’s doing, and he clearly is fighting a war. I agree with the attacks. But don’t get wrapped up in your underwear then trying to go back and validate the foolish things said in their campaign.”

    Despite Crowley forcing Cheney to admit the Obama Administration’s success in dealing with terrorists, including Friday’s killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the former Halliburton CEO was not backing down from his staunch support of the “war on terror” label.

    “They need to call it what it is,” he said. “When he goes to Cairo and in-effect says we walked away from ideals, we forgot our core principles and values on our (the Bush Administration’s) watch, that’s a big mistake.”

    When Crowley asked if he wanted an apology from Obama, Cheney said, “I would. Not for me, but I think for the Bush Administration and that he misspoke when he gave that speech two years ago.”

    Cheney’s daughter Liz added: “I think he (Obama) did tremendous damage. I think he slandered the nation and I think he owes an apology to the American people.”


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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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