Keepin’ tabs – New G20 & G8 links & stories

Keepin’ tabs – New G20 & G8 links & stories

Here are a bunch of links. I’m mailing this one in a bit due to time pressures and wanting to get these important links out there. No annotated links tonight – yer on your own! Have a look.

World: ‘Poor Countries Should Have a Seat at G20 Table’, Inter Press Service, Thursday, May 13, 2010 (posted by Global Issues)

Majority objects to leaving out abortion in G8 plan: poll
Stephen Harper’s much-vaunted maternal health initiative that was meant to galvanize next month’s G8 summit is now causing some queasiness…

Europe to push for tougher G20 market regulation
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said several European leaders will press for a ban on certain arcane financial tools tied to the 2008 global economic meltdown

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Cannon to Speak on G8 and G20 at Montreal Council on Foreign Relations on May 20th

Opposition to Afghan War will greet G20 leaders

Merkel insists financial transaction tax must be universal

Canada says hopes G20 to oppose global bank tax

CCTVs installed downtown Toronto for G20

Canadian PM urges G20 leaders to fix deficits
– this is the heart of what Harper is all about at the upcoming G20 – cutting public spending as the road to ‘reform’.

Greek danger, Designated Speech, anti-abortion rally

Greek danger, Designated Speech, anti-abortion rally

1. EU’s Barroso calls on G20 to agree bank levy

There is still some life in the push for a tax levy at the G20, despite Canada’s resistance. The EU’s commission chief is working to get it back on the agenda.

2. Greece: The European Union’s Dangerous Game – Mark Weisbrot

The EU’s plan for Greece guts Greek society, but sets up the same crisis to happen again.

The problem is one of irrational economic policy.

…The projections show that if their program “works,” the country’s debt will rise from 115 percent of GDP today to 149 percent in 2013. This means that in less than three years, and most likely sooner, Greece will be facing the same crisis that it faces today.

This process of “internal devaluation” – whereby unemployment is deliberately driven to high levels in order to drive down wages and prices while keeping the nominal exchange rate fixed – is not only unjust, it is unviable.

The pundits are quick to blame Greece and the other weaker European economies (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Spain) for their problems. Although they did – like most of the world – have excesses such as asset bubbles during the boom years, they didn’t cause the world recession that sent their deficits skyrocketing.

3. Queen’s Park north designated as new G20 protest spot

I can’t believe the police keep calling the the ‘designated speech’ area, which implies that everywhere else is out-of-bounds for speech. You would think they would want a better euphemism that is less obviously anti-democratic.

Either way, designated protest is neutralized protest – if it is not determined by the participants, it is co-opted by the state.

4. Huge anti-abortion rally hails Canada’s new foreign-aid stand.  And pro-choice people were told to shut up?  This is the absolute worst time to shut up over fears of funding cuts.

Economy over climate at G20; Tar sands alternative to gulf spill?

Economy over climate at G20; Tar sands alternative to gulf spill?

It was heartening to learn of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s demands of Harper to lead the charge on climate change, but not at all surprised that Harper rejected them, stating that climate change will be on the margins during the summit.

Harper, who has a long history of rejecting environmental initiatives clearly doesn’t see climate change as an issue that should be at the top of the agenda at the G20. He sees it as getting away from the ‘economy’ mandate of the G20, as decided in Pittsburgh in 2009. This is convenient, but you can’t separate the two. Even if you accept the G20’s self-determined role as fixer of the world economy, it’s being fixed is completely tied to halting climate change.

In any case, so long as the Tar Sands are the centrepiece of our energy policy, Canada doesn’t have much moral authority on the issue. Especially now that Alberta and Canada have the gall to be disastrously promoting the Tar Sands as the ‘clean’ alternative for U.S. energy needs in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. It is not the solution.

Here is a portion of Ban’s speech, cross posted from Its Getting Hot in Here

“We also have an opportunity to address a second existential threat to human kind – a threat posed by climate change. The science is sobering. And climate change is happening much, much faster than you may realize,” Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General said as he began is speech in Ottawa, Canada this morning.

“We must be ready and we must be committed to leave this planet Earth to our succeeding generations to be more hospitable and more environmentally sustainable. That is our political and historical responsibility.

That’s what I’m doing as the Secretary General – I’m going to discuss with Prime Minister Harper, as the leader of the G8, and as a chair of the G20 this year, and as one of the most developed countries in the world, Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play. That is what I want to emphasize here.”

The Canadian government doesn’t have much interest in the environment, even by conservative standards, except for exploiting it for commercial purposes. And Canada’s international image is at a low, in large part due to climate change. But the pressure is clearly on in the post-Copenhagen ‘climate’ to start making in-roads.

“The People of Greece Are Fighting for the Whole of Europe”

If you watch only one video on what is happening in Greece regarding the crisis and the fight back – make it this one.

Euro crisis and response: shock and awe

Euro crisis and response: shock and awe

A lot of the talk this past week has been on how to deal with the Euro crisis, and it will be a key topic at the G20 meetings.

The favored approach is to call out Greece as an example of bloat, cut state budgets, let markets work their magic, and do anything to keep the stock market on track. The 1 trillion dollars to offset the crisis is seen as swift action, but this is public money once again spent to ensure that private creditors are paid. It is always in the form of “we have to, or it will all collapse”, but shouldn’t we start looking at the root causes and long term-effects? What a roller coaster. And the ride has barely begun.

Here are a few articles for context:

  • Can the Euro be Saved? Germany (and its Constitutional Court), partly following popular opinion, has opposed giving Greece the help that it needs.

To many, both in and outside of Greece, this stance was peculiar: billions had been spent saving big banks, but evidently saving a country of eleven million people was taboo! It was not even clear that the help Greece needed should be labeled a bailout: while the funds given to financial institutions like AIG were unlikely to be recouped, a loan to Greece at a reasonable interest rate would likely be repaid.

  • Financial Reform “Fighting to reduce government budget deficits during the worst recession in over 80 years is not only bad, it is insane — unless you are an opposition political party trying to prolong the recession for partisan political gain.”

“Failing to provide fiscal stimulus today will prolong the recession, continue to depress tax revenues indefinitely, and increase the national debt over the long-run.”

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