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The Occupy Wall Street protesters are getting encouragement from all sorts of public figures these days, some of it welcome and some, frankly, embarrassing.
In the latter category is a statement from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said Wednesday that he believes the protests will grow until they topple the entire system of American capitalism. This a day after the U.S. government announced it had foiled an Iranian terror plot in the capital.
“They (U.S. government) may crack down on this movement but cannot uproot it," Khamenei said of Occupy Wall Street, according to CBS News. "Ultimately, it will grow so that it will bring down the capitalist system and the West."
So there’s that.
Meanwhile, a controversial figure closer to home—and with far more basis for informed opinion on the matter—got a positive reception Tuesday when he weighed in with his support. Eliot Spitzer, who dogged Wall Street cronies in his days as attorney general and then governor of New York before a sex scandal felled his political career, told a New York crowd he identified with the movement’s goals. From the website Capital New York:
"The reason I am intensely sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street folks," he said, reiterating a position he'd put forth during a recent appearance on Keith Olbermann's show, "even though when you look at them and listen to it, it sounds like a visceral scream of anger rather than an articulated policy prescription—that's OK. Because at a certain point that visceral response saying, 'We've had enough,' is what is critically important.”
Spitzer (who contributes columns to Slate) encouraged the protesters to start a petition calling for the ouster of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Capital reports. “Bring Paul Volcker in. Bring in Joe Stiglitz. Bring in Paul Krugman. Bring in Robert Reich. People who understand what can be done and are willing to flex their muscles in a meaningful way."
The biggest news out of the protests themselves Wednesday was the arrest of 11 activists in San Francisco. According to Reuters, they had blocked all entrances to Wells Fargo bank’s corporate headquarters. "Wells Fargo is a good target because they have been very involved in the foreclosure crisis, kicking people out of their homes," a protest organizer said. "Our message is: stop kicking people out of their homes, start paying your taxes."