G20 Video AlJazeera, Excerpts NYT, WSWS, & more
World leaders have begun arriving in London ahead of this week’s G20 summit, where they will discuss ways of dealing with the global financial crisis.
But the summit is attracting much anger, with large protests expected.
Barbara Serra reports from London.
Obama holds “very pleasant” meeting with top US bankers
This is only the latest—and by no means the last—of the bank bailout schemes initiated by the Bush administration and continued under Obama. Before it is all over, upwards of $10 trillion will be handed over to these institutions.
On Tuesday, during his prime time press conference, Obama insisted, “The rest of us can’t afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit. That drive is what has always fueled our prosperity, and it is what will ultimately get these banks lending and our economy moving once more.”
As the administration works with Wall Street to make the banks—and the personal portfolios of the bankers—whole, Obama is preparing a massive attack on the working class. During his press conference, the president repeatedly stressed his determination to tackle “high health care costs” and implement “Entitlement reform”—i.e., cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
As the question of restrictions on executive bonuses is dropped, Obama repeated on Thursday his insistence that any aid to the auto industry be conditioned on further job and wage cuts from autoworkers. In an online town hall meeting, the president said that the auto industry will have to “make some pretty drastic changes. And some of those are still going to be painful.”
The policy of the administration is to ensure that this “pain” is born entirely by the working class, while the looting of public assets by the financial elite continues. –more–
Obama Will Face a Defiant World on Foreign Visit
WASHINGTON — President Obama is facing challenges to American power on multiple fronts as he prepares for his first trip overseas since taking office, with the nation’s economic woes emboldening allies and adversaries alike.
Despite his immense popularity around the world, Mr. Obama will confront resentment over American-style capitalism and resistance to his economic prescriptions when he lands in London on Tuesday for the Group of 20 summit meeting of industrial and emerging market nations plus the European Union.
The president will not even try to overcome NATO’s unwillingness to provide more troops in Afghanistan when he goes on later in the week to meet with the military alliance.
He seems unlikely to return home with any more to show for his attempts to open a dialogue with Iran’s leaders, who have, so far, responded with tough words, albeit not tough enough to persuade Russia to support the United States in tougher sanctions against Tehran. And he will be tested in face-to-face meetings by the leaders of China and Russia, who have been pondering the degree to which the power of the United States to dominate global affairs may be ebbing.
“Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries. But question it we must. The myth of growth has failed us. It has failed the two billion people who still live on less than $2 a day. It has failed the fragile ecological systems on which we depend for survival. It has failed, spectacularly, in its own terms, to provide economic stability and secure people’s livelihoods.”
Strong words from Tim Jackson, Economics Commissioner of the Sustainable Development Commission, an independent advisory body to the UK government. It comes from a report entitled ‘Prosperity without growth’, and it sounds a warning to the G20 as they convene.
“A return to business as usual is not an option. Prosperity for the few founded on ecological destruction and persistent social injustice is no foundation for a civilised society. ” –more–
What’s Loud, Unnecessary, and Costs $75 Million?
A Group of 20 summit, of course.
… I have some sympathy for the Germans on this point. The reason they, the French, and many others in Europe—the British are an exception—have avoided spending large amounts of money on their economy is not because they are incompetent Continentals. It is because they do not think it will work. Strange though it may sound, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, are leaders who, for better or for worse, came to have some respect for what used to be called Anglo-American capitalism, with what used to be its reputation for fiscal conservatism. More to the point, they are also running up against the limits of what they can borrow and are worried about inflation as well. –Slate–