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That President George W. Bush's idea of a global plan "to avoid a repetition" of the financial crisis spawned in large part by radical deregulation of financial services is to call a summit for nations "to strengthen the underpinnings of capitalism by discussing how they can enhance their commitment to open, competitive economies, as well as trade and investment liberalization" brings to mind Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
The White House today said that the Nov. 15 summit would advance a common understanding of the crisis' causes and lead global leaders to agree "on a common set of principles for reform of regulatory and institutional regimes for the world's financial sectors." Yet unless the radical financial services deregulation agenda that has been aggressively promoted and entrenched by the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund is understood as a source of the current crisis, reform proposals will not address the crisis' root causes.
The content of the Bush administration summit announcement suggests
that trying to resuscitate the radical deregulatory agenda and the
laissez faire ideology thoroughly discredited by this crisis is the
primary objective of the summit, rather than a serious discussion of
what new global governance and regulation is required.
While an extreme deregulation agenda had been pursued in the United
States by various administrations, it was the WTO's 1995 General
Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and 1999 WTO Financial Services
Agreement (FSA) that exported the radical deregulation agenda worldwide
and locked it into place. Deregulation of the financial services sector
- including banking, insurance, asset management, pension funds,
securities, financial information and financial advisory services - has
been among the most important but least discussed aspects of the WTO's
agenda since its inception.
As part of its original WTO commitments, the United States agreed to
conform a broad array of financial services including banking,
insurance and other financial services to comply with GATS rules. In
some cases, for instance regarding the "firewall" policies established
in the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that forbade bank holding companies from
operating other financial services, U.S. WTO commitments that
contradicted domestic policy were used to push for domestic revocation
of existing laws. (The U.S. WTO GATS schedule explicitly includes a
Clinton administration commitment to roll back Glass-Steagall, which
had been keeping foreign financial service firms that offered both
traditional consumer banking and investment banking services from
operating here.) Other U.S. WTO commitments in financial services
simply locked into place existing U.S. policies because the GATS
includes a "standstill" rule - meaning countries may not roll back
liberalization and deregulation once a sector is bound to GATS.
The United States then used ongoing WTO financial service
negotiations to export the U.S. model of extreme financial service
deregulation to the other 100-plus WTO signatory countries, including
through a 1999 WTO Financial Service Agreement. Further financial
service deregulation is currently on the agenda of the WTO Doha Round
READ our backgrounder on the WTO's role in the crisis.
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.(202) 588-1000
"If you want to send me to jail, I am prepared for it," said the embattled politician just hour before he was taken into custody under heavy guard.
Supporters of Imran Khan took to the streets of Pakistan nationwide in angry protest Tuesday after the former Prime Minister was arrested on corruption and embezzlement charges—allegations the champion cricketer turned progressive politician has denied and says are politically motivated.
The protests erupted in various cities—including Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Lahore—clashed with police who used water cannons and tear gas in an effort to control the crowds.
In Islamabad for a scheduled court appearance over the allegations, Khan was taken into custody upon his arrival. Video footage showed him being taken away by a throng of police in riot gear and placed into an armored vehicle.
Imran Khan Arrested in Islamabadwww.youtube.com
According to the Washington Post:
Khan's arrest comes after days of mounting public dispute between the former prime minister, who was ousted from his office last year, the current government, and the country’s powerful military. Khan had recently accused a senior officer of having been part of an assassination attempt against him last year, which he narrowly survived.
The former prime minister's party said there were political motives behind the arrest linked to the current government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Khan's supporters say the government is acting undemocratically, having repeatedly sought to delay key regional votes this year after Khan performed above expectations in by-elections last October.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters that Khan's arrest was "in accordance with the law” and ordered by National Accountability Bureau (NAB). "NAB is an independent institution and we have never tried to control it," Sanaullah explained.
In a video message filmed hours ahead of his arrival in Islamabad—and released by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party just prior to his arrest—Khan said he was prepared for whatever came next.
\u201c\u0622\u0626\u06cc \u0627\u06cc\u0633 \u067e\u06cc \u0622\u0631 \u06a9\u0648 \u0645\u06cc\u0631\u0627 \u062c\u0648\u0627\u0628 \u0627\u0648\u0631 \u0648\u06c1 \u062f\u0648 \u0628\u0646\u06cc\u0627\u062f\u06cc \u0648\u062c\u0648\u06c1\u0627\u062a \u062c\u0646 \u06a9\u06cc \u0628\u0646\u06cc\u0627\u062f \u067e\u0631 \u067e\u06cc \u0688\u06cc \u0627\u06cc\u0645 \u0627\u0648\u0631 \u0627\u0633 \u06a9\u06d2 \u0633\u0631\u067e\u0631\u0633\u062a \u0645\u062c\u06be\u06d2 \u06af\u0631\u0641\u062a\u0627\u0631 \u06a9\u0631\u0646\u06d2 \u06a9\u06cc \u06a9\u0648\u0634\u0634\u0648\u06ba \u0645\u06cc\u06ba \u0644\u06af\u06d2 \u06c1\u0648\u0626\u06d2 \u06c1\u06cc\u06ba: \n\u06f1\u06d4 \u0645\u062c\u06be\u06d2 \u0627\u0646\u062a\u062e\u0627\u0628\u06cc \u0645\u06c1\u0645 \u0686\u0644\u0627\u0646\u06d2 \u0633\u06d2 \u0631\u0648\u06a9\u0646\u06d2 \u06a9\u06cc\u0644\u0626\u06d2 \u06a9\u06cc\u0648\u0646\u06a9\u06c1 \u0627\u0646\u0634\u0627\u0621\u0627\u0644\u0644\u06c1 \u062c\u0628 \u0627\u0646\u062a\u062e\u0627\u0628\u0627\u062a \u06a9\u0627 \u0627\u0639\u0644\u0627\u0646 \u06c1\u0648\u06af\u0627 \u062a\u0648 \u0645\u06cc\u06ba \u062c\u0644\u0633\u06d2 \u0645\u0646\u0639\u0642\u062f \u06a9\u0631\u0648\u06ba \u06af\u0627\u06d4 \n\u06f2- \u067e\u06cc \u0688\u06cc \u0627\u06cc\u0645 \u062d\u06a9\u0648\u0645\u062a \u0627\u0648\u0631 \u0627\u0633 \u06a9\u06d2\u2026\u201d— Imran Khan (@Imran Khan) 1683616655
Speaking in Urdu, Khan said the reasons behind his potential arrest were twofold. "One," he said, "to stop me from campaigning" when new elections are announced. And two, he added, "to restrain me from mobilizing the people for a vigorous mass movement in support of the Constitution," which he says has been violated by his political opponents and the ruling government.
"Come to me with warrants, my lawyers will be there," Kahn says in the video. "If you want to send me to jail, I am prepared for it."
The new push is led by Our Revolution along with Rep. Ro Khanna and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All supporters who are working on legislation to tackle medical debt.
"I'm 72 and now live with my daughter after losing everything because of medical bills. I had $250K saved up for retirement and then disaster hit—several bouts of cancer and a stroke in 2009."
That's the story of Arizonan D'Anne MacNeil, a patient advocate and member of Our Revolution—which is working with U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the National Consumer Law Center, and Tzedek D.C. on a new campaign.
The "Freedom From Medical Debt" initiative launches Monday with a virtual town hall at 8:30 pm ET.
\u201cAmericans hold $195 billion in medical debt. It should be 0. \nDon\u2019t miss our LIVE Town Hall to End Medical Debt with US Rep. @RoKhanna and Our Revolution patient advocates, hosted by me, LIVE this Monday, 5/8, 8:30 pm ET!\nhttps://t.co/iiAJf2AuF6\u201d— Joseph Geevarghese (@Joseph Geevarghese) 1683209883
"I wouldn't owe anything if hospitals didn't gouge patients," said Mary Willis of Texas. "The cost of an MRI in the hospital was eight times the cost of an outpatient MRI and 80 times outsourced MRIs. I owe over $8,000."
The virtual town hall is set to feature similar stories—including that of Washingtonian Kristin Noreen, who "barely survived" being hit by a vehicle while on her bicycle in 2010. After enduring a brain injury and having her hand amputated and reattached, Noreen is still paying off medical bills and for pain treatments not covered by insurance.
Fellow patient advocate and Our Revolution member Elizabeth McLaughlin of Indiana, who received a $20,000 bill for an emergency visit in 2015, also plans to join the town hall, along with Khanna.
"We need to strategize for legislation Bernie Sanders and I are doing and figure out how we finally end medical debt in this country," Khanna said in a Monday video promoting the event. The lawmakers have worked together for years; Khanna co-chaired Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign and both support Medicare for All, for which the senator has long led the fight on Capitol Hill.
In a Saturday email about the town hall, Our Revolution—which came out of Sanders' 2016 presidential run—said that as the senator and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) "prepare to reintroduce Medicare for All in Congress, we are organizing people struggling with medical debt to speak up and fight for healthcare justice."
\u201cNo one should go bankrupt because they can\u2019t pay their doctor bills. Yet medical debt is the number #1 cause of bankruptcy in the US and nearly 100,000,000 people carry medical debt.\u201d— Ro Khanna (@Ro Khanna) 1683580725
The Hill, which first reported on the town hall, noted that in addition to backing Khanna and Sanders' forthcoming bill, patient advocates are hoping to pressure President Joe Biden "to use executive action to help stop price gouging for vulnerable patients, end a variety of predatory debt collection tactics, and ensure that people seeking medical assistance have financial aid and free or reduced-price care available."
Highlighting that "medical debt is the number one reason for personal bankruptcies in the United States," Our Revolution executive director Joseph Geevarghese told the outlet, "We can stop that and the president has the power."
As part of the campaign "calling for Congress and the president to deliver systemic solutions to this massive healthcare injustice," organizers have launched a website to collect medical debt stories and hope to get at least one from every congressional district.
The way that the Petermann Glacier in Northwest Greenland is melting indicates that current models are too conservative.
A glacier in the north of Greenland is melting faster and in a different way than scientists previously thought, and this has troubling implications for the future speed of global sea-level rise.
The new discovery was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday. The scientists found that warming ocean water had melted a cavity in the bottom of Petermann Glacier taller than the Washington Monument, as The Associated Press reported. If other glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica behave the same way, it could double predictions for how quickly the burning of fossil fuels will melt ice and raise sea levels.
"It's bad news," study author Eric Rignot, a University of California, Irvine (UCI), glaciologist, told the AP. "We know the current projections are too conservative."
"This is an order of magnitude larger than expected for grounding lines on a rigid bed."
The Petermann Glacier is a massive glacier in Northwest Greenland that contains enough ice to raise sea levels by a little more than a foot, the study authors noted. It is one of four Greenland ice masses that make up "the largest threat for rapid sea-level rise from Greenland in the coming decades" since they drain into the ocean below sea level.
Up until recently, however, the glacier was relatively stable, gaining about as much mass each year as it lost. That began to change in 2016, when the center of its grounding line began to edge backward at a rate of 0.6 miles per year.
A glacier's grounding line is the place where it moves from being supported by land to floating on the ocean, and it's this feature of Petermann that is the focus of the new study. The scientists from UCI, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Houston, Finland's Iceye mission, China's Tongji University, the German Aerospace Center, and the Italian Space Agency used satellite radar data to learn that the grounding line was moving significantly with the tides.
"Petermann's grounding line could be more accurately described as a grounding zone, because it migrates between 2 and 6 kilometers [approximately 1.2 to 3.7 miles] as tides come in and out," lead author Enrico Ciraci, a UCI assistant specialist in Earth system science and NASA postdoctoral fellow, said in a statement. "This is an order of magnitude larger than expected for grounding lines on a rigid bed."
This movement, in turn, accelerated ice melt.
"These ice-ocean interactions make the glaciers more sensitive to ocean warming," Rignot explained.
Between 2016 and 2022, the grounding line retreated by more than two miles. During that time, the warmer ocean water melted a 669-foot tall cavity at the bottom of the glacier. The melt rates around the cavity for 2020-21 were 50% greater than the melt rates for 2016-19, and, during 2022, the cavity stayed open the entire year.
What's especially concerning to the study authors is that what happens in Petermann may not stay in Petermann.
"These dynamics are not included in models," Rignot said.
If they were included, it could double sea-level rise projections, the study authors observed.
Hélène Seroussi, a glaciologist at Dartmouth College who was not involved with the study, cautionedThe Washington Post that models for ice melt and sea-level rise would not incorporate these findings overnight, since scientists still need to determine how many glaciers they really apply to. However, Seroussi acknowledged that the measurements were unprecedented.
"The melt rates reported are very large, much larger than anything we suspected in this region," Seroussi said.
Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware, a scientist who studies Petermann Glacier but was also not a part of the study, further told the Post that the high melt rates were observed over a relatively small area.
"My main takeaway is that models need to be improved," Muenchow said.