It's always a pleasure Joan.
I'm concerned that the last trappings of help for the citizens of this country are falling away with little hope in sight. It is clear that we will not get meaningful health care reform. Congress failed to pass the foreclosure relief act sponsored by Senator Durbin (D-IL) and the credit card bill of rights forgot to mention the 30% interest charged by credit card companies. That's three strikes. There's much more.
The recent G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh is a different sort of problem. G-20 nations represent 80% of the Gross World Product - that's what you call a monopoly. They get together from time to time to rein in the wild swings of the world economy (for their own benefit). But this meeting, the Pittsburgh Summit, was different. Now they're claiming that the G-20 nations are the "premier coordinating body on economic issues" worldwide and they announced that they are rewriting the rules on international finance.
It's clear you don't see much from Obama in the "change we can believe in" department. Do you think this was always his bent (substituting the rhetoric of change for change itself) or did he somehow get overcome once he got into office?
President Obama's appointment of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, straight from the New York financial elite, signaled where the administration was going. We heard some nonsense about Obama had created something like Lincoln's compromise cabinet from revisionist historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Guess what Kearns Goodwin forgot to mention? Lincoln's first cabinet failed.
Money talks and everything else walks. The insurance industry, Wall Street banks, defense giants, and the other state enabled monopolies, are not just big money, they're almost all of the money. The outcome of the presidential race was determined well before the primaries by the very nature of the campaign system and money in politics. It's all about preserving The Money Party.
That's pretty depressing. Back to G-20. When you say the the G-20 has a monopoly and will run the world economy, what do we have to look forward to?
The nations comprising the G-20 represent the vast majority of the world's wealth. They are either the industrialized/high tech U.S. and European Union nations or emerging powers like China, Brazil and India. As the organization of financial leaders and banking officials, they have effective control of the other international bodies like the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. If you're a worker, small business owner, entrepreneur and not in this exclusive club of 20, that means you play by their rules or you don't play at all. It is a multinational monopoly.
What does this mean exactly?
The significance of this is huge. These 20 nations, run by the most dominant partners like the U.S., China, and the European Union group will rewrite banking regulations, their stated task, and maintain favorable terms of trade for their benefit. It's not about the needs and interests of the people. Rather, the process is for the enrichment of the dominant financial interests in each nation or the multi-national corporations that will be in control. That control means more of the same - lots for the top 1% and a continued struggle for the rest of us.
Ironically, a U.S. delegate, Ben Bernanke, the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, announced that we were headed for a "recovery" but that it would be "a jobless recovery." Who is recovering here? Not the people. Recovery means returning to a previous state that was acceptable. Well, before the recession/depression, half of the world's workers made $2.00 a day and citizens in the United States had seen flat income, by 2008 dollars from 2000 through 2008. Is going back to that a recovery?
What about the serious security overkill? All those guys in riot gear with tear gas and sonic weaponry. Someone who was around in
Europe in WWII said that it reminded him of wartime Poland. Comments?
It only looks like "security overkill." The purpose of the daunting homeland security apparatus is to send a message -- It's pointless to demonstrate and please notice that it's also going to be frightening. The use of heavily armored police, sonic cannons, etc. is intentionally disproportionate.
The very best example of influential public assembly were the immigration reform demonstraiton by Latinos in April and May 2006 in over 100 cities across the United States. Latinos were firm in their statement that proposed immigration laws were totally unacceptable. You can't "SWAT" that many people, particularly when they're right.
Thanks for joining us, Michael, and for giving us your take on the G-20 happenings in Pittsburgh.