Not surprisingly, the Iranian nuclear revelation is dominating the G-20 (group of 20 advanced economies) summit today in Pittsburgh, which was supposed to focus on the still troubled global economy.
** QUICK HITS. Paul Kirk, chairman of the JFK Library and former Democratic national chairman, was sworn in today as the interim replacement for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Kirk will hold the seat for about four months until the special election in Massachusetts. … Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that he’s keeping all California state parks open. Of course, that means cutbacks. … California Republicans are gathering for their second state convention of the year, with gubernatorial hopefuls Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner at each other’s throats. Poizner’s campaign is saying Whitman should drop out of the race following the revelation that she didn’t bother to register to vote until she was in her late 40s. Whitman’s campaign is saying Poizner isn’t a real Republican because of family contributions to Democrats. …
** FROM THE G-20 SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE. Clearly the discussion of the still troubled global economy was eclipsed by the revelation of a previously secret Iranian nuclear facility. The group did agree to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and rein in banker bonuses. Probably the biggest development is this, prodded by President Barack Obama, the G-20 will supplant the G-8 as the principal forum for guiding the global economy. It’s a much more inclusive and expansive group.
Here’s the summary of the G-20′s communique coming out of the Pittsburgh summit:
1. We meet in the midst of a critical transition from crisis to recovery to turn the page on an era of irresponsibility and to adopt a set of policies, regulations and reforms to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy.
2. When we last gathered in April, we confronted the greatest challenge to the world economy in our generation.
3. Global output was contracting at pace not seen since the 1930s. Trade was plummeting. Jobs were disappearing rapidly. Our people worried that the world was on the edge of a depression.
4. At that time, our countries agreed to do everything necessary to ensure recovery, to repair our financial systems and to maintain the global flow of capital.
5. It worked.
6. Our forceful response helped stop the dangerous, sharp decline in global activity and stabilize financial markets. Industrial output is now rising in nearly all our economies. International trade is starting to recover. Our financial institutions are raising needed capital, financial markets are showing a willingness to invest and lend, and confidence has improved.
7. Today, we reviewed the progress we have made since the London Summit in April. Our national commitments to restore growth resulted in the largest and most coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus ever undertaken. We acted together to increase dramatically the resources necessary to stop the crisis from spreading around the world. We took steps to fix the broken regulatory system and started to implement sweeping reforms to reduce the risk that financial excesses will again destabilize the global economy.
8. A sense of normalcy should not lead to complacency.
9. The process of recovery and repair remains incomplete. In many countries, unemployment remains unacceptably high. The conditions for a recovery of private demand are not yet fully in place. We cannot rest until the global economy is restored to full health, and hard-working families the world over can find decent jobs.
10. We pledge today to sustain our strong policy response until a durable recovery is secured. We will act to ensure that when growth returns, jobs do too. We will avoid any premature withdrawal of stimulus. At the same time, we will prepare our exit strategies and, when the time is right, withdraw our extraordinary policy support in a cooperative and coordinated way, maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility.
11. Even as the work of recovery continues, we pledge to adopt the policies needed to lay the foundation for strong, sustained and balanced growth in the 21st century. We recognize that we have to act forcefully to overcome the legacy of the recent, severe global economic crisis and to help people cope with the consequences of this crisis. We want growth without cycles of boom and bust and markets that foster responsibility not recklessness.
12. Today we agreed:
13. To launch a framework that lays out the policies and the way we act together to generate strong, sustainable and balanced global growth. We need a durable recovery that creates the good jobs our people need.
14. We need to shift from public to private sources of demand, establish a pattern of growth across countries that is more sustainable and balanced, and reduce development imbalances. We pledge to avoid destabilizing booms and busts in asset and credit prices and adopt macroeconomic policies, consistent with price stability, that promote adequate and balanced global demand. We will also make decisive progress on structural reforms that foster private demand and strengthen long-run growth potential.
15. Our Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth is a compact that commits us to work together to assess how our policies fit together, to evaluate whether they are collectively consistent with more sustainable and balanced growth, and to act as necessary to meet our common objectives.
16. To make sure our regulatory system for banks and other financial firms reins in the excesses that led to the crisis. Where reckless behavior and a lack of responsibility led to crisis, we will not allow a return to banking as usual.
17. We committed to act together to raise capital standards, to implement strong international compensation standards aimed at ending practices that lead to excessive risk-taking, to improve the over-the-counter derivatives market and to create more powerful tools to hold large global firms to account for the risks they take. Standards for large global financial firms should be commensurate with the cost of their failure. For all these reforms, we have set for ourselves strict and precise timetables.
18. To reform the global architecture to meet the needs of the 21st century. After this crisis, critical players need to be at the table and fully vested in our institutions to allow us to cooperate to lay the foundation for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
19. We designated the G-20 to be the premier forum for our international economic cooperation. We established the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to include major emerging economies and welcome its efforts to coordinate and monitor progress in strengthening financial regulation.
20. We are committed to a shift in International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota share to dynamic emerging markets and developing countries of at least 5% from over-represented countries to under-represented countries using the current quota formula as the basis to work from. Today we have delivered on our promise to contribute over $500 billion to a renewed and expanded IMF New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB).
21. We stressed the importance of adopting a dynamic formula at the World Bank which primarily reflects countries’ evolving economic weight and the World Bank’s development mission, and that generates an increase of at least 3% of voting power for developing and transition countries, to the benefit of under-represented countries. While recognizing that over-represented countries will make a contribution, it will be important to protect the voting power of the smallest poor countries. We called on the World Bank to play a leading role in responding to problems whose nature requires globally coordinated action, such as climate change and food security, and agreed that the World Bank and the regional development banks should have sufficient resources to address these challenges and fulfill their mandates.
22. To take new steps to increase access to food, fuel and finance among the world’s poorest while clamping down on illicit outflows. Steps to reduce the development gap can be a potent driver of global growth.
23. Over four billion people remain undereducated, ill-equipped with capital and technology, and insufficiently integrated into the global economy. We need to work together to make the policy and institutional changes needed to accelerate the convergence of living standards and productivity in developing and emerging economies to the levels of the advanced economies. To start, we call on the World Bank to develop a new trust fund to support the new Food Security Initiative for low-income countries announced last summer. We will increase, on a voluntary basis, funding for programs to bring clean affordable energy to the poorest, such as the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program.
24. To phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support for the poorest. Inefficient fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption, reduce our energy security, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with the threat of climate change.
25. We call on our Energy and Finance Ministers to report to us their implementation strategies and timeline for acting to meet this critical commitment at our next meeting.
26. We will promote energy market transparency and market stability as part of our broader effort to avoid excessive volatility.
27. To maintain our openness and move toward greener, more sustainable growth.
28. We will fight protectionism. We are committed to bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion in 2010.
29. We will spare no effort to reach agreement in Copenhagen through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.
30. We warmly welcome the report by the Chair of the London Summit commissioned at our last meeting and published today.
31. Finally, we agreed to meet in Canada in June 2010 and in Korea in November 2010. We expect to meet annually thereafter and will meet in France in 2011.
** OBAMA’S SUMMITEERING: HIGH ALTITUDE HEADACHES AND RUMORS OF WAR. As any hiker knows, high altitudes often lead to headaches, and President Barack Obama has had a few at his New York summits. They center around AfPak, the perennial question of Israel and Palestine, and Iran. And today the latter went front and center, with war a real possibility in the wake of this morning’s revelation of a secret Iranian nuclear facility.
Even as he unleashed another masterful speech on the global stage, Obama struggled with a few emerging realities.
First, that his latest apparent strategy of nation-building in Afghanistan is bound to fail without about 200,000 troops, which the nation simply wouldn’t allow, to back it up.
Next, the eternal quandary of Israel and Palestine, with the new right-wing Israeli government refusing, in various forms of gobbledygook, to stop settlements by religious fundamentalists on the disputed West Bank and various Arab actors refusing to fully recognize Israel.
And finally, the apparent intransigence of Iran, which says it doesn’t want nuclear weapons even as it apparently insists on its right to them, notwithstanding its signature on the Nonproliferation Treaty. …
President Barack Obama joined British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy this morning in Pittsburgh to charge that Iran has constructed a secret nuclear facility inconsistent with a peaceful nuclear power program.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Pittsburgh today for the G-20 (group of 20 advanced economies) summit.
Obama has had his daily intelligence and economic briefings.
Early this morning, he joined British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to unveil an intelligence report revealing a large secret Iranian nuclear facility that they say is inconsistent with a peaceful nuclear power program. They’re demanding that Iran immediately allow International Atomic Energy Agency officials to inspect the plant. And they want an explanation from Iran by the time negotiations begin October 1st between their countries, Russia, China, Germany, and Iran.
The disclosure is likely to overshadow the G-20 sessions, which are focused on finding ways to further stimulate the still slumping global economy and regulate a financial system which nearly brought it all down.
Obama’s participated in the G-20 leaders working breakfast and is now in the G-20 morning plenary at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
At 9:45 AM Pacific, Obama attends the G-20 leaders lunch at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
At 11 AM Pacific, Obama attends the G-20 afternoon plenary session at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
At 1:40 PM Pacific, Obama holds a news conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
At 3:10 PM Pacific, Obama departs Pittsburgh on Air Force One en route to Andrews Air Force Base.
At 4:05 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, where he boards Marine One.
At 4:20 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
While Obama is working with other G-20 leaders, First Lady Michelle Obama is touring Pittsburgh with the other spouses. One highlight is the Andy Warhol Museum.
President Barack Obama’s full address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Yes, the Pop Art icon was a native Pittsburgher and his museum is located in his home town, rather than New York (where he began as a commercial illustrator in the advertising business) or Los Angeles.
And here’s a fun Warhol fact. Warhol wanted to do the official portrait of Governor Jerry Brown to hang in the Califonria Capitol. But Brown said no, opting to go with a less famous avant garde artist, Don Bachardy.
But there is still a Warhol in the Capitol. It’s a portrait of First Lady Maria Shriver, and it hangs in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal office.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden is in Marietta, Georgia this morning spearheading the federal response to the sudden massive flooding there.
This afternoon, Biden swears in former Democratic national chairman and JFK Library chairman Paul Kirk to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is at the U.S. Marine Corps Base this morning in Twenty Nine Palms to sign a bill creating a day honoring veterans of the Vietnam War.
Schwarzenegger will also put in appearance tonight at the California Republican Party convention in Indian Wells.
Two years ago he chided the party in a major address for turning too far to the right. He got a tepid response, especially in contrast to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who followed him immediately afterwards and delivered the hard right stuff. Perry, you may recall, said earlier this year that Texas should considering seceding from the United States. More recently. he denied that Texas has been in a recession, which will not help him in his re-election campaign.
Schwarzenegger is also contemplating when to call the California Legislature back in special session to deal with outstanding issues on water and educational reform, as well as a possible special session on a several times delayed set of recommendations from a special state tax revision commission.
The latter, as I’ve been mentioning for months, looks like a political non-starter.
And he is preparing for his second governors’ global climate summit at the end of next week at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
** MAD MEN‘S EMMY TRIUMPH COMES AS “GUY WALKS INTO AN ADVERTISING AGENCY.” Last night’s repeat win at the Emmy Awards further enshrined Mad Men as television’s best series on a night when it aired a consequential new episode.
Before getting to the review of “Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency” — a very ironic title, as it happens — replete with the usual spoilers, a few thoughts about Mad Men as the new Sopranos.
While it will never have the populist appeal of a well-written show about angst-ridden mobsters, Mad Men is something I find even more interesting. It’s a highly cinematic time tunnel from a fascinating period, the early 1960s, to the present. It’s a show about the American Dream, about aspiration and identity and value, revolving around some very intriguing characters in perhaps the most quintessential of American businesses. Advertising defines the American Dream and reflects it, all in an endless loop of desire and dissatisfaction, ever adjusting to change and co-opting it. For one purpose: To convince you that you need what it’s selling. …
** OBAMA AND AL QAEDA: NEW MOVES SHOW SUCCESS MAY NOT DEPEND ON AFGHANISTAN. While things are going quite ruggedly for America in Afghanistan, they may be going worse for Al Qaeda everywhere. Osama bin Laden’s taunting 9/11 anniversary message was days late and very lame. And President Barack Obama’s lethal approach to dealing with the organization that attacked America on 9/11 took a startling, and still more lethal, turn this week in Somalia.
Which raises a central question: Are we not in fact much closer to achieving our central goal in Afghanistan than most imagine? … From my September 17th column.
** MAD MEN REVIEW: THE FOG.” … From my September 14th review.
** 9/11 + 8: WHERE WE’VE BEEN, WHERE WE’RE GOING. Eight years since 9/11. It feels like 18 years, if not 80.
So much has changed since then, yet so much is still the same.
We all remember how America seemed unified in 9/11’s aftermath, especially in contrast to the disunity engendered by the Florida election debacle. And much of the world embraced America. Then there was the fear, the feeling that another jihadist strike inside America was surely coming.
All that remains of any of that is the permanent wartime footing at the airports.
Well, that and Osama bin Laden, along with an ongoing problem for America in the Islamic world. And a confused Afghanistan strategy. … From my September 11th column.
** MAD MEN REVIEW: “THE ARRANGEMENTS.” … From my September 7th review.
** WHY THE KENNEDY EULOGIES STRUCK THE RIGHT TONE. … From my September 2nd column.
** MAD MEN REVIEW: “MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME.” … From my August 31st review.
** MAD MEN REVIEW: “LOVE AMONG THE RUINS.” … From my August 24th column.
** OBAMA AND THE AFGHAN ELECTION: WHAT IT MEANS, WHAT IT DOESN’T. … From my August 20th column.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate last fall, prior to the global economic meltdown, with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation. You can listen to my recent video webchat with Schwarzenegger here.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading in the $66 to $67 per barrel range.
This is up about $32 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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