July 24, 2012 archive

Jul 24

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Jul 24

Occupy Wall Street Targets the National Conventions

There’s room at the top they are telling you still,

But first you must learn how to smile as you kill.

The more you smile as you kill, the higher you go. In American politics. In American banking. In American business.  All of those smiling killers have been smiling even more in 2012, because they think the Occupy Movement is dying.  Dying like democracy is, dying like equality is, as dying like justice is.

William Rivers Pitt . . .

We are told that the Occupy movement is over, finished, and irrelevant, but I strongly disagree. It is relevant because it happened: the passion required to bring needed change to this nation is out there, all around you, and the evidence of that was there for all to see last year. That passion, that desire, and those numbers are still there, multiplying and gathering strength for the struggles to come.

Occupy, like all the other great movements in American history, is passing through its infancy. The civil rights struggle was an afterthought in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, until the slow and steady groundswell of popular support delivered the Civil Rights Act and the end of legalized Jim Crow racism in America. The anti-war movement was barely a blip on the screen of popular consciousness for many, many years, until it exploded everywhere, ended a war, and took down a president.

Occupy’s infancy will end, and when it does, we will be participants in and witnesses to another moment in history, a moment when the righteous tide will wash in and sweep away the filth that pollutes us as a people and a country.

Jul 24

Germany Flips on Spain & It’s a Flop

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The economic crisis in Spain was supposed to have been resolved in an agreement reached June 29 EU Summit but clearly Germany missed the point of this part:

“We affirm that it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns

Instead of bailing out the banks without adding the burden of repayment on the Spanish government, Germany reversed that and place the burden for repayment entirely on the Spanish tax payers increasing the cost for Spain to borrow and causing the markets around the world to drop:

Analysts pointed to a combination of factors, including a decision by the Valencia regional government to seek a bailout from Spain’s central government as well as revised economic forecasts by Spain’s government. [..]

Strategists said market participants also registered disappointment with provisions of a bailout plan for Spanish banks approved by euro-zone ministers Friday. For now, liability for the package, which is expected to total as much as 100 billion euros ($123 billion), remains with the Spanish government.

That “will do nothing to break the ‘vicious circle between banks and sovereigns’ that EU policy makers asserted was ‘imperative to break’ in the statement that followed their June 29” summit meeting, wrote strategists at Capital Economics.

Spain’s approval of an austerity program didn’t help either:

AS David Dayen point explains Britain’s austerity measures haven’t eased their debt/deficit problem, instead has increased it:

Another austerity program in Spain, in a time of 24% unemployment, has no chance of succeeding, either in improving the economy or even reducing the debt. We have a test case of that today, in Britain:

   Chancellor George Osborne’s deficit-busting plans are struggling to keep up with full-year targets as official figures published today revealed another rise in Government borrowing.

   Public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions, such as bank bailouts, was £14.4 billion in June, up from a revised £13.9 billion the previous year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

So Britain, which is two years into its austerity program, is borrowing more money than ever. It’s not reducing the deficit, it’s exacerbating it. And that’s what you should expect in Spain.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on the European Central Bank (ECB) to “to cut interest rates, implement a “sizeable” package of quantitative easing, and wade into bond markets to drive down borrowing costs.”

The IMF expressed concern about “reinforced negative bank-sovereign linkages” – the increasingly close connection between struggling banks, many sitting on billions of euros of government bonds; and their home states, which in many cases have been forced to offer them aid.

This vicious circle “could further weigh on confidence, growth, and public debt trajectories”, the IMF suggested.

As Spain’s borrowing costs rose, Germany was able to borrow money at a negative real yield – suggesting investors are effectively willing to pay Berlin for holding on to their cash.

In its strongly worded report, the IMF warned that ultra-low bond yields in Germany and other “core” eurozone economies were a sign of malfunctioning financial markets that are depriving other countries of funds.

“Investors are withholding funding from member states most in need, moving capital ‘north’ and abroad to perceived safer assets. This has contributed to divergences in liquidity conditions and lending rates within the euro area, adding to already-severe pressures on many bank and sovereign balance sheets and raising questions about the viability of the monetary union itself,” it said.

The only country that has benefited from this crisis is Germany and all the talk at the EU Summit to stabilize the euro and end the crisis was useless because German Chancellor Angela Merkel never meant a word she said.  

Jul 24

Cartnoon

The Correspondents Explain – Political Parties – The Republican Party (2:05)

Jul 24

On This Day In History July 24

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

July 24 is the 205th day of the year (206th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 160 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1911, Machu Picchu discovered

American archeologist Hiram Bingham gets his first look at Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca settlement in Peru that is now one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

Tucked away in the rocky countryside northwest of Cuzco, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a summer retreat for Inca leaders, whose civilization was virtually wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. For hundreds of years afterwards, its existence was a secret known only to the peasants living in the region. That all changed in the summer of 1911, when Bingham arrived with a small team of explorers to search for the famous “lost” cities of the Incas.

Traveling on foot and by mule, Bingham and his team made their way from Cuzco into the Urubamba Valley, where a local farmer told them of some ruins located at the top of a nearby mountain. The farmer called the mountain Machu Picchu, which meant “Old Peak” in the native Quechua language. The next day–July 24–after a tough climb to the mountain’s ridge in cold and drizzly weather, Bingham met a small group of peasants who showed him the rest of the way. Led by an 11-year-old boy, Bingham got his first glimpse of the intricate network of stone terraces marking the entrance to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire. It was abandoned just over 100 years later, in 1572, as a belated result of the Spanish Conquest. It is possible that most of its inhabitants died from smallpox introduced by travelers before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the area. The latter had notes of a place called Piccho, although there is no record of the Spanish having visited the remote city. The types of sacred rocks defaced by the conquistadors in other locations are untouched at Machu Picchu.

Hiram Bingham theorized that the complex was the traditional birthplace of the Incan “Virgins of the Suns”. More recent research by scholars such as John Howland Rowe and Richard Burger, has convinced most archaeologists that Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. In addition, Johan Reinhard presented evidence that the site was selected because of its position relative to sacred landscape features such as its mountains, which are purported to be in alignment with key astronomical events important to the Incas.

Johan Reinhard believes Machu Picchu to be a sacred religious site. This theory stands mainly because of where Machu Picchu is located. Reinhard calls it “sacred geography” because the site is built on and around mountains that hold high religious importance in the Inca culture and in the previous culture that occupied the land. At the highest point of the mountain in which Machu Picchu was named after, there are “artificial platforms [and] these had a religious function, as is clear from the Inca ritual offerings found buried under them” (Reinhard 2007). These platforms also are found in other Incan religious sites. The site’s other stone structures have finely worked stones with niches and, from what the “Spaniards wrote about Inca sites, we know that these (types of) building(s) were of ritual significance” (Reinhard 2007). This would be the most convincing evidence that Reinhard points out because this type of stylistic stonework is only found at the religious sites so it would be natural that they would exist at this religious site. Another theory maintains that Machu Picchu was an Inca llaqta, a settlement built to control the economy of conquered regions. Yet another asserts that it may have been built as a prison for a select few who had committed heinous crimes against Inca society. An alternative theory is that it is an agricultural testing station. Different types of crops could be tested in the many different micro-climates afforded by the location and the terraces; these were not large enough to grow food on a large scale, but may have been used to determine what could grow where. Another theory suggests that the city was built as an abode for the deities, or for the coronation of kings

Although the citadel is located only about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Cusco, the Inca capital, the Spanish never found it and consequently did not plunder or destroy it, as they did many other sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew over much of the site, and few outsiders knew of its existence.

Jul 24

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Jul 24

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