Author: Graham Fitzgibbon

Background Briefing: September 12, 2019

 

Finally Antitrust Action Against the Tech Monopolies

We begin today’s program as the latest round of Democratic presidential candidate’s debates begins in Houston and speak with Matt Stoller, a Fellow at the Open Markets Institute whose latest book out soon, is Goliath: The Hundred Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy. He joins us to discuss his op-ed at The Guardian, “The great breakup of big tech is finally beginning” and offer an optimistic assessment of almost all the Attorneys General of all the states with the exception of California and Alabama joining together to initiate anti-trust action against the Google and Facebook monopolies in the absence of any action from the Trump Administration. We look into the devastating cost to American journalism with half of all jobs lost since 2007 with two-thirds of America’s 3,000 counties now with no daily newspaper and no way to check on local governments as Google and Facebook, who do not create content but profit from other people’s work, kill the newspaper business whose advertising revenues they have drained. Meanwhile Facebook’s global revenue, mostly from advertising, will be over $60 billion this year and Google’s will be more than $110 billion, 85% of which comes from advertising.

 

Afghanistan’s Uncertain Future

Then following the collapse of the peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Trump Administration, we examine the uncertain future of Afghanistan after the U.S. pulls out from its longest war with Thomas Barfield, the President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies and a professor of Anthropology at Boston University where he directs the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations. He joins us to discuss how Pakistan which has always stabbed the U.S. in the back, will likely finally get the Taliban government it wants in Afghanistan, but long term Pakistan’s patron China is likely to grow increasingly wary of a jihadist terrorist state on its border, particularly given its concerns about its own the Uighur population becoming radicalized.

 

Trump’s Cynical Deal with Honduras’s Drug-Dealing President

Then finally Silvio Carrillo, a freelance film and news producer and nephew of the assassinated Honduran environmental activist and human rights defender  Berta Cáceres, joins us. We discuss the cynical deal Trump struck with Honduras’s President Hernandez to have desperate Hondurans wanting to flee drug violence forced to seek safe haven in Honduras in order to have their asylum claims processed. Incidentally Hernandez’s brother is facing federal drug smuggling charges in New York which also name Honduras’s president as a co-conspirator.