Yesterday, the President stood in front of a gathering of House Republicans and took questions for more than an hour, urging them to put aside partisanship and work together for the good of the country. MSNBC described it as going straight into "the lion's den."
He was inspiring.
We've highlighted some of the key moments and trust me, it's worth checking out.
Once you do, please pass this along to everyone you know.
This is the sort of honest dialogue and political courage that we all need to move our country forward.
Let's do it together,
Organizing for America
For more details please click here : http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/obamagopqa/
Saturday, 30 January 2010
A hora do fecho
Aproxima-se penosamente a data para a subida dos preços dos combustíveis, mas há um banco que esfrega as mãos de contente. O governo foi-lhe bater à porta do banco que habitualmente paga aos funcionários públicos para ir buscar 50
milhões de verdes para pagar às gasolineiras os subsídios que manteve até ao fim do ano. Os outros bancos perguntam porquê que uns são mais iguais que outros.
Uma das “estrelas” do mundo mediático das celulares prepara-se para bater as asas para a concorrência. O ambiente andava mau para o homem que deu brado nas televisões e dava muita mola a ganhar a um dos canais em ascensão. Em época de caça, a procissão ainda vai no adro ...
Com a saída dos nomes ministeriáveis os vários lobbies accionaram os seus planos B para os vários sectores. E o homem que controla os cinzentinhos tem que enfrentar a pera amarga do business dos BIs, passaportes e dires. A PGR, o Tribunal
Administrativo e o Ministério das Finanças estão interessadíssimos em saber mais pormenores sobre o negócio de milhões.
Negócio de milhões foi o do saneamento da baixa da cidade de Maputo, muito aplaudido por alguns escribas. Só que cada vez que chove só de barco se pode andar por lá. Até o Greenspan moçambicano chegou atrasado a uma reunião devido ao
entupimento do saneamento. Só as comissões em que não entopem ...
Quem continua entupido é o clima económico no país. O “Índice de Liberdade Económica 2010” divulgado pelo Wall Street Journal coloca Moçambique na 111ª. posição, num total de 176 países. Áreas mais criticas: falta de protecção aos direitos de propriedade, corrupção e conflitos de interesse, liberdade laboral.
Quem não está entupido é o jovem que subiu a ministro à custa dos palpites a favor do partidão nos vários canais televisivos do nosso burgo. Só se espera que, ao contrário do último porta-voz do Conselho de Ministros, também mostre serviço na
área difícil onde foi colocado.
Se uns chegaram aos lugares de topo, outros estão meio amuados com a falta de gás e oportunidade que não tiveram. Fala-se de um mediático deputado jovem que espreitava a juventude e desportos, posto também cobiçado pelo deputado das
mãos invisíveis. Um ex-pp de livro publicado recentemente continua sem tacho com visibilidade e um homem cheio de vento e ambição parou numa comissão parlamentar. É a vida ...
Depois dos desaires do CAN o lobby tuga e as “velhas glórias”movimentam-se freneticamente para ver se conseguem, uma vez mais, tomar os postos chaves nas selecções de futebol. Será que foi a deficiência em português que permitiu os
pequenos brilharetes de Martin Nooj?
Quem não tem planos para vir para cá é o nosso conterrâneo macua, Abel Xavier, aliás Faisal, depois da conversão ao islamismo.
Em voz baixa
Um governador da ala incompetente e populista ofereceu o número do seu celular à população. Vamos ver se a iniciativa tem novos seguidores ou vira “estudo de caso” nas aulas de “marketing político”.
The appointment of Veronica Macamo to the post of Speaker of the Mozambique Parliament under the Frelimo (government party) banner further strengthens the stranglehold the elite from the South has on the country’s institutions. (...)
For more details click here
Friday, 29 January 2010
Escute a ultima parte do testemunho de Tony Blair clicando aqui: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8488465.stm
February 2, 2010
Policy Forum: The Rule of Law in Russia
Washington, D.C | 12:00pm
February 4, 2010
Book Forum: From Poverty to Prosperity
By Arnold Kling & Nick Schulz
Washington, D.C | 12:00pm
February 12, 2010
Film Screening: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police
Washington, D.C | 12:00pm
February 12-14, 2010
Students For Liberty International Conference
February 26, 2010
DC Forum for Freedom
Washington, D.C | 4:00pm
Institute for Humane Studies Spring Internship
Deadline: January 31
IHS interns work in professional arenas, with world-class leaders in their fields. IHS offers competitive, paid internship positions in both Production and Journalism.
Center for Freedom and Prosperity video contest
A new contest has been opened, accepting submissions of videos that address free-market economic issues from students' perspectives. Cash prizes to be awarded.
Cato On Campus Student Contests
Cato On Campus hosts three student contests every month, and selects winners for the highest quality and best representation of liberty in op-eds, YouTube videos, and essays or other work in college courses. Prizes range from autographed copies of Cato books to full scholarships to Cato University in San Diego, California.
National University, Scholarships for Online Economics Courses
National University is offering a limited number of scholarships that cover the full expenses of tuition and application fees for online courses in Free-Market Economics and the Philosophical Foundations of Capitalism.
Independent Institute Essay Contest
Deadline: May 2010
The Independent Institute is holding its Sir John M. Templeton Essay Contest for junior faculty and students in higher education. Frederic Bastiat said: Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget the state wants to live at the expense of everyone."
Video: Economics Rap
Havek v. Keynes
George Mason University economics professor Russ Roberts and John Papola have produced an economics hip-hop rap video contrasting the theories of Keynes and Hayek.
Debt Limit Made Simple
This Heritage Foundation video makes understanding the debt limit a bit easier by presenting a clearly worded narrative that lays out the problems the U.S. is facing in an engaging allegory.
Video: Mass. Election
Cato Scholars on Brown Victory
Cato's David Boaz and John Samples evaluate what Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts means for Democrats and Republicans in the near and far term.
Shifting Superpowers: The New and Emerging Relationship between the United States, China, and India
Shifting Superpowers aims to energize the debate over the proper direction of U.S. foreign policy in the changing Asian landscape.
By Martin Sieff.
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
For over seven years, drugs have been decriminalized in Portugal. This new study examines the Portuguese model, finding that, "judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success."
By Glenn Greenwald.
Climate of Extremes; Paperback
An in-depth look at consistent, solid science on the other side of the gloom-and-doom global warming story that is rarely reported.
By Patrick J. Michaels.
2009 was a rough year in many ways, but in particular for the liberty movement. Ever the opportunists, Washington politicians did their darndest to exploit crises (both actual and imagined) in an effort to expand the power of government. But those of us who value liberty and limits to government coercion didn’t take it lying down. Students like you wrote letters to local newspapers, turned up in drove to Tea Party protests, and spoke with anyone who would listen about the virtues of a free society. And while statist were dealt some heavy blows recently in the form of a tattered health care agenda and a recent Supreme Court decision that upholds our sacred freedom of speech, we must not let up from the fight.
Here at Cato on Campus we’re dedicated to providing you with resources and opportunities that can help make a decisive difference in your own personal battle for the cause of liberty. With that goal in mind, we recently broadcast our first live-streaming student event. Each month at the Cato Institute, with the help of co-sponsor D.C. Forum for Freedom, we host a student event featuring a lecture from one of our scholars on a topic of the day. Now, through our new webinar system, you can attend and contribute to the discussion from anywhere in the world.
International Students For Liberty Conference
"The annual International Students For Liberty Conference is quickly approaching, and more than 250 students have already registered. February 12-14 will bring one of the largest gatherings of pro-liberty students in the world to American University in Washington, D.C. This year, students will hear from hallmarks of liberty such as Ed Crane and Gary Johnson. The conference also boasts breakout sessions with liberty scholars and professionals, a movie debut, networking opportunities, and interaction with many organizations specifically focused on student development. Please visit Students For Liberty's website for more information and to register.
Read the full story on the website.
Healthcare: The Message from Massachusetts
The election of Scott Brown (R), to fill the late Ted Kennedy's (D) senate seat, sent the clear message that Bay state residents reject the healthcare proposals that are being passed through Congress. Regardless, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said will pass "one way or another." Michael Cannon, Cato senior fellow in health policy studies, outlines the "ways" Democrats could pass their plan through Congress. All such possibilities directly against the will of the American people, as seen in the Mass. election. Cannon states that Congress Democrats "have been willing to do almost anything... to force this bill through." Time will tell how far they are willing to go.
Read the full story on the website.
Can Google Beat China?
In a move that grabbed the attention of the world, Google announced that it would pull out of China if the Chinese government did not rescind its policy of censoring Internet content. Reflecting on the battle of the two titans, Cato information technology scholar Timothy Lee explains that "the basis of effective censorship in China, like all government power, is the ability to punish people in "real life" when they do something online the government doesn't like." He then offers several options for Google to increase liberty in China through their policies.
Enter the contest here.
A Beginner's Guide to Liberty
The Adam Smith Institute has released A Beginner's Guide to Liberty, a ten chapter booklet that presents some of the most important principles of liberty that societies must grapple with everyday, written by some of the most prevalent names in liberty-oriented literature. With chapters like 'How markets work,' 'The importance of liberty,' Welfare without the state,' and 'Why government fails,' the book promises to pack quite a punch into its relatively few pages. Reviewers boast that the book clearly presents powerful ideas in jargon-free language. Whether as a gift or for yourself, the book can be purchased or downloaded for free, here. Stay tuned to Cato On Campus, as we highlight each of the ten chapters over the next few months!
Read the full article here.
Libertarian Review of Obama, at One Year
Cato executive vice president, David Boaz, analyzes on President Obama's first year in office. He states that Obama's approach to governance, by the "never waste a crisis" mentality, was misguided from the beginning, and may now be coming back to take its toll. The people didn't buy into his plan of government take-over, and he "energized a small-government element in the electorate." Therefore, to salvage his office - and at greater stake, his party - Obama would do good to be instructed by presidents past.
Read the full article here.
Free Speech for All
Cato scholars John Samples and Ilya Shapiro discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in favor of liberty in Citizens United v. FEC. The court struck down a law that banned corporations to freely voice their opinion in political matters near an election. Some claim that the decision paves a way for corruption, while others say the control of political speech is a slippery slope. Samples and Shapiro comment that this ruling will allow more ideas to be heard, which promotes a freer, more informed society, adding that "We all will benefit from this affirmation of our Constitution."
Read the full article here.
Made on Earth: How Global Economic Integration Renders Trade Policy Obsolete
"The factory floor is no longer contained within four walls and one roof," says Dan Ikenson, Cato Institute trade scholar. Rather, it spans the globe and is highly interdependent. However, "trade and investment policy has not kept pace with these remarkable changes in commercial reality." In this Cato Institute policy analysis paper, Dan Ikenson discusses how our modern, global economic system of integration causes out-dated trade policies to be obsolete. The thesis of his study is that, "To nurture the promise of our highly integrated global economy, governments should commit to policies that reduce frictions throughout the supply chain.
Read the full article here.
The Massachusetts Health Plan: Much Pain, Little Gain
Cato health policy scholar Michael Cannon and Kentucky University professor Aaron Yelowitz analyze the healthcare system of Massachusetts, which mirrors much of the healthcare bills being crafted in Congress. Their analysis suggests that if it's bad for Massachusetts, it would be worse for America. Specifically, they find evidence that, "(the) individual mandate induces uninsured residents to conceal their true insurance status," "the official estimate reported by the Commonwealth almost certainly overstates the law's impact on insurance coverage, likely by 45 percent," and "substantial crowdout of private coverage among low-income adults and children." In regard to young people, Cannon and Yelowitz find evidence that "more than 60 percent fewer young adults are relocating to Massachusetts as a result of the law."
Read the full article here.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 27, 2010
Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address
9:11 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.
It's tempting to look back on these moments and assume that our progress was inevitable -– that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run, and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday, and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions, and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people.
Again, we are tested. And again, we must answer history's call.
One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted -– immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.
But the devastation remains. One in 10 Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who'd already known poverty, life has become that much harder.
This recession has also compounded the burdens that America's families have been dealing with for decades –- the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.
So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They're not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. These struggles are what I've witnessed for years in places like Elkhart, Indiana; Galesburg, Illinois. I hear about them in the letters that I read each night. The toughest to read are those written by children -– asking why they have to move from their home, asking when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.
For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry. They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn't; or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems. They're tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now.
So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope -– what they deserve -– is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories, different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared: a job that pays the bills; a chance to get ahead; most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.
You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids, starting businesses and going back to school. They're coaching Little League and helping their neighbors. One woman wrote to me and said, "We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged."
It's because of this spirit -– this great decency and great strength -– that I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight. (Applause.) Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. (Applause.)
And tonight, tonight I'd like to talk about how together we can deliver on that promise.
It begins with our economy.
Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, and everybody in between, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it -- (applause.) I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal. (Laughter.)
But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular -– I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.
So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took that program over, we made it more transparent and more accountable. And as a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we've recovered most of the money we spent on the banks. (Applause.) Most but not all.
To recover the rest, I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. (Applause.) Now, I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea. But if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need. (Applause.)
Now, as we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed.
That's why we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans; made health insurance 65 percent cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA; and passed 25 different tax cuts.
Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. (Applause.) We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. (Applause.)
I thought I'd get some applause on that one. (Laughter and applause.)
As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime. (Applause.)
Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. (Applause.) Two hundred thousand work in construction and clean energy; 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, first responders. (Applause.) And we're on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.
The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. (Applause.) That's right -– the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill. (Applause.) Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster. But you don't have to take their word for it. Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act. Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created. Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all.
There are stories like this all across America. And after two years of recession, the economy is growing again. Retirement funds have started to gain back some of their value. Businesses are beginning to invest again, and slowly some are starting to hire again.
But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight. (Applause.)
Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses. (Applause.) But government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers.
We should start where most new jobs do –- in small businesses, companies that begin when -- (applause) -- companies that begin when an entrepreneur -- when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, or a worker decides it's time she became her own boss. Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession and they're ready to grow. But when you talk to small businessowners in places like Allentown, Pennsylvania, or Elyria, Ohio, you find out that even though banks on Wall Street are lending again, they're mostly lending to bigger companies. Financing remains difficult for small businessowners across the country, even those that are making a profit.
So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. (Applause.) I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit
-– one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. (Applause.) While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment. (Applause.)
Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.
Tomorrow, I'll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. (Applause.) There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation's goods, services, and information. (Applause.)
We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities -- (applause) -- and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. (Applause.) And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Now, the House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. (Applause.) As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same, and I know they will. (Applause.) They will. (Applause.) People are out of work. They're hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay. (Applause.)
But the truth is, these steps won't make up for the seven million jobs that we've lost over the last two years. The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth, and finally address the problems that America's families have confronted for years.
We can't afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from the last decade –- what some call the "lost decade" -– where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.
From the day I took office, I've been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious. I've been told that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for a while.
For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold? (Applause.)
You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations -- they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They're making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America. (Applause.)
As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may become, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.
Now, one place to start is serious financial reform. Look, I am not interested in punishing banks. I'm interested in protecting our economy. A strong, healthy financial market makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs. It channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes. But that can only happen if we guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy.
We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. (Applause.) We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy.
Now, the House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. (Applause.) And the lobbyists are trying to kill it. But we cannot let them win this fight. (Applause.) And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back until we get it right. We've got to get it right. (Applause.)
Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -– (applause) -- an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investments in clean energy -– in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.
But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (Applause.) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)
I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. (Applause.) And this year I'm eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. (Applause.)
I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -– because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. (Applause.)
Third, we need to export more of our goods. (Applause.) Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America. (Applause.) So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America. (Applause.) To help meet this goal, we're launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security. (Applause.)
We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. (Applause.) But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules. (Applause.) And that's why we'll continue to shape a Doha trade agreement that opens global markets, and why we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia. (Applause.)
Fourth, we need to invest in the skills and education of our people. (Applause.)
Now, this year, we've broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. And the idea here is simple: Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform -- reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. (Applause.) And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.
When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states. Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. That's why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. (Applause.)
To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. (Applause.) Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. (Applause.) And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years –- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. (Applause.)
And by the way, it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs -– (applause) -- because they, too, have a responsibility to help solve this problem.
Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class. That's why last year I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle-class families. That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit, and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg. That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment –- their home. The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.
This year, we will step up refinancing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages. (Applause.) And it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform. (Applause.) Yes, we do. (Applause.)
Now, let's clear a few things up. (Laughter.) I didn't choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn't take on health care because it was good politics. (Laughter.) I took on health care because of the stories I've heard from Americans with preexisting conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who've been denied coverage; families –- even those with insurance -– who are just one illness away from financial ruin.
After nearly a century of trying -- Democratic administrations, Republican administrations -- we are closer than ever to bringing more security to the lives of so many Americans. The approach we've taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market. It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care.
And by the way, I want to acknowledge our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier. (Applause.) Thank you. She gets embarrassed. (Laughter.)
Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office -– the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress –- our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades. (Applause.)
Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people. And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, "What's in it for me?"
But I also know this problem is not going away. By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber. (Applause.)
So, as temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed. There's a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo. But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. (Applause.) Let me know. Let me know. (Applause.) I'm eager to see it.
Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.)
Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it's not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves. It's a challenge that makes all others that much harder to solve, and one that's been subject to a lot of political posturing. So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight.
At the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. (Applause.) By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door. (Laughter and applause.)
Now -- just stating the facts. Now, if we had taken office in ordinary times, I would have liked nothing more than to start bringing down the deficit. But we took office amid a crisis. And our efforts to prevent a second depression have added another $1 trillion to our national debt. That, too, is a fact.
I'm absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do. But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. (Applause.) So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.
Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. (Applause.) Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will. (Applause.)
We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work. We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year. To help working families, we'll extend our middle-class tax cuts. But at a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it. (Applause.)
Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we'll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office. More importantly, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will continue to skyrocket. That's why I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. (Applause.) This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline.
Now, yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission. So I'll issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans. (Applause.) And when the vote comes tomorrow, the Senate should restore the pay-as-you-go law that was a big reason for why we had record surpluses in the 1990s. (Applause.)
Now, I know that some in my own party will argue that we can't address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting. And I agree -- which is why this freeze won't take effect until next year -- (laughter) -- when the economy is stronger. That's how budgeting works. (Laughter and applause.) But understand –- understand if we don't take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery -– all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.
From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument -– that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is that's what we did for eight years. (Applause.) That's what helped us into this crisis. It's what helped lead to these deficits. We can't do it again.
Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense. (Laughter.) A novel concept.
To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust -– deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve. (Applause.)
That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why -– for the first time in history –- my administration posts on our White House visitors online. That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions.
But we can't stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or with Congress. It's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.
I'm also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. Applause.) Democrats and Republicans. (Applause.) Democrats and Republicans. You've trimmed some of this spending, you've embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. (Applause.) Tonight, I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there's a vote, so that the American people can see how their money is being spent. (Applause.)
Of course, none of these reforms will even happen if we don't also reform how we work with one another. Now, I'm not naïve. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony -- (laughter) -- and some post-partisan era. I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched. And on some issues, there are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they've been taking place for over 200 years. They're the very essence of our democracy.
But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side -– a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of -- (applause) -- I'm speaking to both parties now. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators. (Applause.)
Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, no matter how malicious, is just part of the game. But it's precisely such politics that has stopped either party from helping the American people. Worse yet, it's sowing further division among our citizens, further distrust in our government.
So, no, I will not give up on trying to change the tone of our politics. I know it's an election year. And after last week, it's clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern.
To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills. (Applause.) And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town -- a supermajority -- then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. (Applause.) Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions. (Applause.) So let's show the American people that we can do it together. (Applause.)
This week, I'll be addressing a meeting of the House Republicans. I'd like to begin monthly meetings with both Democratic and Republican leadership. I know you can't wait. (Laughter.)
Throughout our history, no issue has united this country more than our security. Sadly, some of the unity we felt after 9/11 has dissipated. We can argue all we want about who's to blame for this, but I'm not interested in re-litigating the past. I know that all of us love this country. All of us are committed to its defense. So let's put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough. Let's reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. Let's leave behind the fear and division, and do what it takes to defend our nation and forge a more hopeful future -- for America and for the world. (Applause.)
That's the work we began last year. Since the day I took office, we've renewed our focus on the terrorists who threaten our nation. We've made substantial investments in our homeland security and disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives. We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence. We've prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. And in the last year, hundreds of al Qaeda's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed -- far more than in 2008.
And in Afghanistan, we're increasing our troops and training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. (Applause.) We will reward good governance, work to reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans -- men and women alike. (Applause.) We're joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitments, and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead. But I am absolutely confident we will succeed.
As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. (Applause.) We will support the Iraqi government -- we will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and we will continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home. (Applause.)
Tonight, all of our men and women in uniform -- in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and around the world –- they have to know that we -- that they have our respect, our gratitude, our full support. And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home. (Applause.) That's why we made the largest increase in investments for veterans in decades -- last year. (Applause.) That's why we're building a 21st century VA. And that's why Michelle has joined with Jill Biden to forge a national commitment to support military families. (Applause.)
Now, even as we prosecute two wars, we're also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people -– the threat of nuclear weapons. I've embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. (Applause.) And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring 44 nations together here in Washington, D.C. behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists. (Applause.)
Now, these diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. That's why North Korea now faces increased isolation, and stronger sanctions –- sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences. That is a promise. (Applause.)
That's the leadership that we are providing –- engagement that advances the common security and prosperity of all people. We're working through the G20 to sustain a lasting global recovery. We're working with Muslim communities around the world to promote science and education and innovation. We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change. We're helping developing countries to feed themselves, and continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS. And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease -– a plan that will counter threats at home and strengthen public health abroad.
As we have for over 60 years, America takes these actions because our destiny is connected to those beyond our shores. But we also do it because it is right. That's why, as we meet here tonight, over 10,000 Americans are working with many nations to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild. (Applause.) That's why we stand with the girl who yearns to go to school in Afghanistan; why we support the human rights of the women marching through the streets of Iran; why we advocate for the young man denied a job by corruption in Guinea. For America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity. (Applause.) Always. (Applause.)
Abroad, America's greatest source of strength has always been our ideals. The same is true at home. We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we're all created equal; that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.
We must continually renew this promise. My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. (Applause.) We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. (Applause.) This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. (Applause.) It's the right thing to do. (Applause.)
We're going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws -– so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. (Applause.) And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system -– to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation. (Applause.)
In the end, it's our ideals, our values that built America -- values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit. These aren't Republican values or Democratic values that they're living by; business values or labor values. They're American values.
Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions -– our corporations, our media, and, yes, our government –- still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.
No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment.
I campaigned on the promise of change –- change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change –- or that I can deliver it.
But remember this –- I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.
Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths and pointing fingers. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high, and get through the next election instead of doing what's best for the next generation.
But I also know this: If people had made that decision 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or 200 years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight. The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.
Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going -– what keeps me fighting -– is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on.
It lives on in the struggling small business owner who wrote to me of his company, "None of us," he said, "…are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail."
It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, "We are strong. We are resilient. We are American."
It lives on in the 8-year-old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti.
And it lives on in all the Americans who've dropped everything to go someplace they've never been and pull people they've never known from the rubble, prompting chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!" when another life was saved.
The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. (Applause.) Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more. (Applause.)
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 10:20 P.M. EST
I've spent a couple of days at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Why come to these things? First up, it is a great chance to meet world leaders and make contacts. Whether lobbying the president of South Africa for support for our 2018 World Cup bid, or discussing what matters for Canada's chairmanship of the G8 with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, you can get a huge amount done.
But this year there's another important reason. President Obama has opened the door to serious reform of finance and banking with calls for a leverage levy and a ban on retail banks undertaking the riskiest activities. These chime with our thinking and it is important that Britain is involved in this debate.
Proper financial regulation is part of what Britain needs to restore our reputation in the world, and it is clear that it needs to be combined with a plan for reducing the deficit and getting our economy going.
This was the message I was able to deliver in a keynote speech to the main lunch for British business here in Davos - the first time it hasn't been addressed by a Labour politician since it was established six years ago.
Terminou a momentos o testemunho do antigo Primeiro Ministro Britanico sobre o Iraque. O testemunho durou seis horas tendo terminado exactamente as 17.10. Viu-se um Blair confiante tendo exibito um certo grau de arrogancia!
De acordo com Tony Blair o mundo hoje esta mais seguro sem Saddam Hussein. Afirmou que estava convencido de que Saadam Hussein tinha armas de destuicao massiva.
No que se refere aos seus encontros com o Presidente Bush em 2002 afirmou que o que disse ao Presidente americano foi que 'estariamos juntos caso houvesse a necessidade de enviar tropas para o Iraque'.
'Dada a historia da Saaddam no uso de armas quimicas contra o seu proprio povo, as constantes falhas no cumprimento das resolucoes das Nacoes Unidas, e as perpectivas sobre a seguranca no mundo' nao tenho duvidas que a intervencao no Iraque estava mais que justificada' afirmou Blair.
No que se refere a legalidade da guerra e o papel do procurador afirmou que estava convencido da legalidade apesar de alguns ministros do seu executivo terem na altura opiniao contrario.
Blair afirmou que com a guerra do Iraque foi possivel evitar uma corrida nuclear entre o Iraque e o Irao.
Ao terminar Tony Blair colocou a chamada 'questao 2010' para a Gra-Bretanha e para o mundo: onde estariamos hoje se Saaddam estivesse no poder?
Sem margem para a duvidas uma licao para a democracia mundial! Chegaremos um dia ao ponto em que Ex-Chefes de Estado sao chamados a depor para comissoes de inquerito?
January 29, 2010
President Obama's first State of the Union address on Wednesday focused on the economy, jobs, and education. Obama proposed a new jobs initiative, called for a freeze on non-defense-related discretionary spending, outlined plans to increase child-care tax credits, and introduced other relief to middle-class families and students. Cato Institute scholars live-blogged the address, offering real-time commentary of Obama's proposals.
During Obama's speech, Cato Budget Analyst Tad DeHaven noticed striking similarities between Obama's address and Bush's rhetoric. DeHaven dug up Bush's speeches and found surprising similarities between the two presidents. Cato also produced a short video that cut through the rhetoric and explained what the president really meant. Here are a few overall impressions from Cato experts:
Gene Healy: Overall, this speech was a major climb down. The president who was going to stop the oceans’ rise is now going to settle for "nearly doubling" the child-care tax credit. But in a way, that's progress.
Andrew Coulson: On education, this really was indicative of a third Bush term: more spending, more federal intrusion, a disregard for evidence proving the failure of federal programs. Americans looking for hope and change in education must turn to their state legislatures.
Tad DeHaven: There is a lesson to be learned this evening, and one that the burgeoning Tea Party movement in particular should heed. President Obama didn’t suddenly wake up last January with the awesome power to shape every facet of our lives: how we educate our children, get medical care, or purchase a car or house. It was the actions of his Democratic and Republican predecessors that enable him to wield such power today. The preceding Bush administration illustrates how power exercised by one administration is inherited by the next. In particular, the massive increase in federal spending, deficits, and debt that President Obama is rightly being criticized for are a continuation of the Bush legacy. Sure they differ on the details and some of the issues, but at the end of the day both men have demonstrated through their actions that they believe our individual liberties should be subjugated to the almighty state.
Cato Scholars Fact Check the Speech
Cato experts put some of President Obama’s core State of the Union claims to the test. Here’s what they found.
Obama’s claim: “The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. That’s right — the Recovery Act, also known as the Stimulus Bill. Economists on the left and the right say that this bill has helped saved jobs and avert disaster.”
Back in reality: At the outset of the economic downturn, Cato ran an ad in the nation’s largest newspapers in which more than 300 economists (Nobel laureates among them) signed a statement saying a massive government spending package was among the worst available options. Since then, Cato economists have published dozens of op-eds in major news outlets poking holes in big-government solutions to both the financial system crisis and the flagging economy.
Obama’s claim: “Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years.”
Back in reality: Edwards: “The president’s proposed spending freeze covers just 13 percent of the total federal budget, and indeed doesn’t limit the fastest growing components such as Medicare.
“A better idea is to cap growth in the entire federal budget including entitlement programs, which was essentially the idea behind the 1980s bipartisan Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law. The freeze also doesn’t cover the massive spending under the stimulus bill, most of which hasn’t occurred yet. Now that the economy is returning to growth, the president should both freeze spending and rescind the remainder of the planned stimulus.”
Plus, here’s why these promised freezes have never worked in the past and a chart illustrating the fallacy of Obama’s spending claims.
Obama’s claim: “Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. 200,000 work in construction and clean energy. 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, and first responders. And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.”
Back in reality: Cato Policy Analyst Tad DeHaven: “Actually, the U.S. economy has lost 2.7 million jobs since the stimulus passed and 3.4 million total since Obama was elected. How he attributes any jobs gains to the stimulus is the fuzziest of fuzzy math. ‘Nuff said.”
Cato Quick Hits
Had enough of long speeches? Here’s a quick, ten-point libertarian State of the Union address.
Why the health care takeover failed.
A libertarian review of ‘Avatar’: “At its core, the movie is about defending property rights.”
How unions will get a sweetheart deal if the health care overhaul passes — and everyone else the shaft.
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Decorre de 3 a 6 de Fevereiro, em Sussex, Reino Unido, uma conferencia sobre 'Os Principais Desafios para Africa no Ano 2010. A conferencia que reune especialistas de varios paises do mundo, pretende passar em revista aquilo que serao os principais desafios do continente africano em 2010, os progressos alcancados desde a criacao da Comissao para Africa, as metas apresentags na Cimeira dos G8 de Gleneagles, ate a data final estabelecida pelos Objectivos de Desenvolvimento do Milenio, accoes urgentes para o continente africano, que prioridades mudaram durante este periodo e quais as actuais prioridades face a crise economica mundial e as mudancas climaticas.
A conferencia patrocinada pelo Departmento para o Desenvolvimento International, pelo Ministerio dos Negocios Estrangeiros da Gra-Bretanha, pela empresa farmaceutica GlaxoSmithKline e a Rockefeller Foundation, conta com a presenca de entre outros, Myles WICKSTEAD, antigo drector da Comissao para Africa, Jackie Cilliers do Instituto para Sul Africano para Estudos de Seguranca, Adebayo Adedji do Mecanismo Africano para os Pares, Moeletsi Mbeki, do Instituto Sul-Africano para Relacoes Internacionais, Leonardo Simao, antigo Ministro dos Negocios Estrangeiros de Mocambique, Agostinho Zacarias, representante do PNUD na Africa do Sul, Andrew Mitchel, Ministro Sombra para o Desenvolvimento Internacional, Andrew Witty da multinacional farmaceutica GlaxoSmithKline, Anna TIBAIJUKA, Commissaria e Directora Executiva da UN-Habitat, Nairobi dentre outros. O antigo Primeiro Ministro Britanico, Tony Blair fara uma apresetacao via satelite.
PREVIEW PROGRAMME-AFRICA 2010: THE KEY CHALLENGES
Wednesday 3 – Saturday 6 February 2010
1027th WILTON PARK CONFERENCE Sponsored by Department for International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, GlaxoSmithKline and the Rockefeller Foundation
What has been achieved and what are the outstanding challenges facing Africa half way between the Commission for Africa Report tabled at the Gleneagles Summit and the target date for completion of the Millennium Development Goals? What progress has been made? Where is further urgent attention particularly needed? How have priorities changed as a result of the global economic crisis and climate change emerging as a key global challenge?
Further information on the themes of the conference is available in the background document, edited by Andy Sumner with contributions from Institute of Development Studies, African Monitor, African Progress Panel, Africa Partnership Forum, Development Initiatives and ONE.
WEDNESDAY 3 FEBRUARY
1500 Participants Arrive
1600 - 1615 Welcome to Conference and Introduction to Wilton Park
Myles WICKSTEAD, Member, Wilton Park Advisory Council; Former Head of the Commission for Africa Secretariat
Richard BURGE, Chief Executive, Wilton Park, Steyning
1615 – 1700 AFRICAN ACHIEVEMENTS – THE LEGACY OF 2005 AND THE FOCUS ON AFRICA
rom 2005 onwards, the international community has had a major focus on Africa’s development. In preparation for the Gleneagles 2005 G8 Summit, the Commission for Africa – with majority African Commissioners – prepared a far-reaching report. How has Africa developed in the past five years? What challenges remain?
Chaired by Richard BURGE
Chief Executive, Wilton Park, Steyning
Tony BLAIR, Prime Minister (1997-2007) who was responsible for the Commission for Africa initiative which reported to the 2005 Gleneagles (UK) G8 meeting, will provide a recorded video message for the conference.
2005-2015: A DECISIVE DECADE FOR AFRICA – TAKING STOCK AT THE MID-POINT
Myles WICKSTEAD, Visiting Professor, Open University; Former Head of the Commission for Africa Secretariat
Moeletsi MBEKI, Deputy Chairperson, South African Institute of International Affairs, Braamfontein
1745-1930 PANEL: AFRICAN PROSPECTS; “WHAT’S CHANGED, WHAT’S NEW?”– INTEGRATING THE NEW CHALLENGES TO AFRICA POLICY
Looking ahead to 2015 what are the medium-term challenges which Africa faces? Since 2005, awareness of the impacts of climate change has risen; the increased role of China has become apparent; the global economic crisis has dented investor confidence and impacted growth prospects; “chaotic urbanisation” is a challenge to many countries as people continue to move from the countryside; there is uncertainty about access to modern energy sources continues and most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have difficulty moving production up the value chain.
CHAIR: Myles WICKSTEAD
Visiting Professor, Open University; Former Head of the Commission for Africa Secretariat
Leonardo Santos SIMAO: Executive Director, Joaquim Chissano Foundation, Maputo; Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mozambique
RESPONSES –“SEEING AFRICA WHOLE” Ahmed HAGGAG
Secretary-General of the African Society, Cairo; Advisor to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
ACCESS TO MODERN ENERGY SOURCES, HIGH ECONOMIC GROWTH, CLIMATE CHANGE: TOO MANY CHALLENGES AT ONCE?
Peter SINON, Executive Director, African Development Bank representing Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda
Panel joined for question and answer session by:
Moeletsi MBEKI, Deputy Chairperson, South African Institute of International Affairs, Braamfontein
1945 for 2015 Reception followed by Dinner
THURSDAY 4 FEBRUARY
0900 – 1000
GOVERNANCE, DEMOCRACY, CIVIL SOCIETY
Adebayo ADEDEJI, Chairperson of the Panel, African Peer Review Mechanism
SECURITY, CONFLICT PREVENTION AND RECONCILIATION
Jakkie CILLIERS, Executive Director, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria
DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES FOR AFRICA – A DFID PERSPECTIVE
Mark LOWCOCK, Director General, Country Programmes, Department for International Development (DFID), London
1100 – 1130 Tea / Coffee
1130 - 1300
ECONOMIC GROWTH, TRADE AND INVESTMENT AND THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR
William KALEMA, Chairman, Uganda Investment Authority, Kampala
Richard TOLBERT, Chairman, National Investment Commission of Liberia and Economic Advisor to the President, Monrovia
Mathews CHIKAONDA,CEO, Press Group of Companies; Former Finance Minister and Reserve Bank Governor, Malawi
1300 - 1430 Lunch
1430-1530 DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE AND THE ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Richard MANNING, Chair of the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex; former Chair, OECD Development Assistance Committee, Brighton
HOW BEST TO DELIVER HEALTH CARE
Rebecca AFFOLDER, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations, New York
Nigel CRISP, Author: 'Turning the World Upside Down: the search for global health in the 21st Century' (January 2010); House of Lords, London
PARALLEL WORKING GROUPS (3)
INTERNATIONAL AID TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE
Owen BARDER, Director, Aidinfo, Development Initiatives, Somerset
Rebecca AFFOLDER/ Nigel CRISP
REGIONAL COOPERATION AND AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
Agostino ZACARIAS, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, South Africa
1645 – 1715 Tea / Coffee
1715 – 1830
PARALLEL WORKING GROUPS (3)
James MACGREGOR and Muyeye CHAMBWIRA
Climate Change Group, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London
SECURITY, CONFLICT PREVENTION AND RECONCILIATION
Nicolas BWAKIRA, Senior Fellow, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria
THE MDG 2010 REVIEW: WHAT SHOULD BE IN THE GLOBAL ACTION PLAN?
Andy SUMNER, Fellow, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team Institute of Development Studies, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton
ADDRESSING CORRUPTION: CASE STUDY AND COMPARATIVE DISCUSSION
Michela WRONG, Author of ”It’s Our Turn to Eat”, London
FRIDAY 5 FEBRUARY
0900 – 1000
THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS – PROSPECTS FOR AFRICA
Garry CONILLE, Director, MDG Support Team, UNDP
Charles ABUGRE AKELYIRA
Deputy Director for Africa, UN Millennium Campaign, Nairobi
REPORT BACK FROM DISCUSSION GROUPS (First set)
1030 –1100 Tea / Coffee
BALANCED DEVELOPMENT FOR AFRICA: FOOD SECURITY CHALLENGES IN AFRICA
Speaker to be announced
Rockefeller Foundation, Nairobi
BALANCED DEVELOPMENT FOR AFRICA: THE CITIES OF THE FUTURE - BEYOND CHAOTIC URBANISATION
Anna TIBAIJUKA, Commissioner; Executive Director, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
1245 -1400 Lunch
1400 – 1445
HEALTH CARE AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR: RESPONSIBILITIES AND OPPORTUNTIES IN THE LIGHT OF AFRICAN CHALLENGES
Andrew WITTY, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
SOCIAL INCLUSION, CIVIL SOCIETY AND TRANSPARENCY
WHAT PROSPECTS FOR WOMEN? GENDER, LEADERSHIP AND THE LABOUR MARKET
Mary CHINERY-HESSE, Chief Advisor to President Kufour 2006-8; former Deputy Director-General, International Labour Organisation. Accra
FUTURE PRIORITIES FROM A CIVIL SOCIETY PERSPECTIVE
Hadeel IBRAHIM, Executive Director, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, London
IMAGE AND REALITY: THE PRESS AND AFRICA
Paul VALLELY, Associate Editor, The Independent, Manchester
1615 – 1645 Tea / Coffee
REPORT BACK FROM DISCUSSION GROUPS (Second set)
1715 – 1800
(1)EMERGING PRIORITIES: REPORT FROM THE AFRICA PROGRESS PANEL
Michael KEATING, Director, APP Secretariat, Geneva
2) BEYOND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS
TRANSPARENCY AND THE USE OF RESOURCES
Peter EIGEN, Chairman, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Berlin
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE AND THE BANKING SECTOR
Matthew KING, Group Head of Operational Risk, HSBC, London
1915 Drinks reception
2000 Conference Dinner
SATURDAY 6 FEBRUARY
0800 Breakfast and check out
BRITAIN’S CONTINUING RESPONSIBILITY: AFRICA AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY
Andrew MITCHELL, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Conservative International Development Spokesman, London
FUTURE CHALLENGES (3)
2010 – A KEY YEAR FOR AFRICAN POLICY PRIORITIES
WILL THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HONOUR ITS COMMITMENTS?
Susan PAGE, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Africa), US State Department, Washington DC
CHINA’S INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICA: ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS
GU Yang, Adviser to the Governor for International Operations, China Development Bank, London
TOWARDS POLICY COHERENCE
Antoinette SAYEH, Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund, Washington DC
1100-1130 Tea / Coffee
OUTSTANDING CHALLENGES FOR AFRICA STRATEGY 2010-15
Jonathan ALLEN, Head of Department, East Africa, Great Lakes and Strategy Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Myles WICKSTEAD, Member, Wilton Park Advisory Council; Former Head of the Commission for Africa Secretariat
1430 Participants Depart
January 29, 2010 London Conference on Afghanistan
Government launches guarantee for young people
Building a platform for the future
Gordon Brown’s article on inequality
Bob Ainsworth webchat
Prime Minister’s Questions
Sarah Brown meets young Haiti fundraiser
January 29, 2010
London Conference on Afghanistan
The London Conference on Afghanistan has concluded with participants agreeing a number of measures including an increase in Afghan security forces to 300,000 by the end of 2011.
Opening the conference, the Prime Minister said the discussions marked a “decisive” step towards Afghans taking control of their own security.
This Week's News.
Government launches guarantee for young people
The Government will guarantee all 18-24 year olds unemployed for six months a job, training or work experience, the Prime Minister has said.
Building a platform for the future
Gordon Brown has said the launch of a new Innovation Investment Fund demonstrates the Government's commitment to the industries and technologies of the future.
Gordon Brown’s article on inequality
The Prime Minister has written an article to coincide with the publication of a report on inequality.
Bob Ainsworth webchat
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth answered questions on the UK’s strategic aim for Afghanistan and how to build the future capability of the Afghan National Security Forces.
Prime Minister’s Questions
The conference on Afghanistan, education and the banking system were on the agenda at this week’s PMQs.
Sarah Brown meets young Haiti fundraiser
Seven-year-old Charlie Simpson, who raised thousands of pounds for UNICEF's Haiti appeal, cycled up Downing Street to meet Sarah Brown earlier this week.
Published by Number 10
Copyright © 2009 10 Downing Street. All rights reserved.
O CONSELHO Municipal da Cidade de Maputo (CMCM) está deste ontem a fazer bombagem das águas pluviais que inundaram os bairros da Maxaquene, Polana- Caniço e Mafalala, em consequência das chuvas que caíram na passada quarta-feira. Entretanto, trinta famílias passaram a noite de ontem em instalações provisórias e sob cuidado do município, depois que as suas residências ficaram completamente inundadas pelas águas das chuvas.
Maputo, Sexta-Feira, 29 de Janeiro de 2010:: Notícias
Outras 170 famílias, conforme o vereador de Infra-Estruturas do CMCM, Mário Macaringue, estão em situações difíceis, mas recusam-se a abandonar as suas residências.
Segundo informações do CMCM, mais de 80 famílias foram abrigadas em escolas na noite de quarta-feira, porque as suas residências ficaram igualmente inundadas pelas águas das chuvas que fustigaram a capital moçambicana.
“Neste momento estamos a fazer um trabalho de levantamento dos danos causados pelas chuvas e junto com o Governo vamos ajudar as famílias”, disse Mário Macaringue, acrescentando que “estamos a trabalhar com a Saúde para fazer tratamento da água de modo a evitarmos a eclosão de doenças”.
No bairro de Inhagóia, segundo Mário Macaringue, o levantamento feito pela edilidade aponta para 70 o número de famílias que serão acolhidas numa escola, enquanto que na Costa do Sol 19 famílias pernoitaram numa outra também identificada para o efeito.
A edilidade, segundo a fonte, trabalha com as vereações de diferentes áreas de jurisdição na identificação de soluções apropriadas, como a concessão de auxílio logístico para as famílias que não têm nem mantas e muito menos alimentação.
Ainda no bairro da Costa do Sol, o levantamento feito pela edilidade indica que 41 moradias estão em situação de alto risco, daí que as respectivas famílias têm de ser retiradas para lugares seguros.
Entretanto, Mário Macaringue afirmou que têm havido obstáculos no trabalho que o município está a desenvolver, porque há famílias que se recusam a abandonar as suas casas sob pretexto de que as chuvas já passaram.
Ainda na tarde de ontem, o Presidente do Conselho Municipal da Cidade de Maputo, David Simango, e a Governadora da capital do país, Lucília Hama, visitaram o Distrito Número Quatro (DN4), para se inteirarem dos danos causados pelas chuvas.
Entretanto, a Direcção de Saúde da Cidade de Maputo alerta aos residentes da capital e à sociedade em geral para observarem permanentemente as medidas básicas de higiene, de modo a evitar a eclosão de doenças como cólera, malária, entre outras causadas pela acumulação das águas.
MDM vai receber dinheiro do Estado
Maputo (Canalmoz) – Uma fonte da Direcção Executiva da Assembleia da República garantiu ao Canalmoz que independentemente da constituição ou não da sua bancada parlamentar, o MDM deverá receber os fundos do Estado, alocados ao Parlamento para compensação dos partidos com representatividade parlamentar. Esta informação contraria o que vem sendo veiculado pela imprensa, e que inclusive havia sido confirmado ao Canalmoz por Ismael Mussa, deputado do MDM, dando conta de que o seu partido, liderado pelo engenheiro Daviz Simango, edil da Beira, não tem direito aos fundos do Estado, alegadamente por não estar constituído em bancada na Assembleia da República dado ter apenas 8 deputados em vez de 11 como impõe como pré-condição do regimento do mais alto órgão legislativo do País.
A fonte da Direcção Executiva da Assembleia da República não quis ser identificada, pelo menos até agora, alegando que ainda está em tramitação um pedido submetido pelo MDM no passado dia 13 de Janeiro, apelando ao presidente da AR, Verónica Macamo, para que delibere a constituição da sua bancada.
No entanto, a fonte parlamentar explicou-nos que a atribuição dos fundos de compensação aos partidos com representatividade parlamentar, é calculada com base na representatividade per capita do partido, e não em função de estar organizado em bancada.
Assim, a fonte explica que o MDM deverá receber fundos equivalentes aos 8 deputados que elegeu para a presente VII Legislatura da AR, mesmo não possuindo bancada parlamentar.
O parlamento é constituído por 250 deputados.
Dois minutos no plenário
Por outro lado, a fonte que referenciamos disse-nos que os deputados do MDM só terão direito a dois minutos no plenário para se pronunciarem durante o debate das matérias, isso se o total do tempo atribuído aos 250 deputados, for de 60 minutos – como tem sido. Caso o tempo para debate em plenário seja de 30 minutos, o MDM terá apenas 1 minutos para falar. A fonte que temos vindo a citar explica que isso sucede em função da representatividade do MDM, que possui apenas 8 deputados, contra 191 da Frelimo e 51 da Renamo.
Esta divisão do tempo, segundo a fonte, nada tem a ver com a constituição ou não da bancada. Representa estritamente a representatividade dos partidos no Parlamento, garantiu a mesma.
Sobre a possibilidade de o pedido do MDM para constituir bancada vir a ter provimento, a fonte não quis avançar muitos detalhes, mas mostrou-se muito reticente quanto a essa possibilidade. Lembrou que os deputados constituídos em bancadas já foram distribuídos pelas comissões parlamentares de trabalho especializadas, e pela Comissão Permanente da AR e os 8 deputados do MDM ficaram de fora de todas essas estruturas funcionais do Parlamento.
É nas comissões especializadas onde todas as matérias que dão entrada no parlamento são analisadas e debatidas com pormenor, antes de passarem para o Plenário.
Recorde-se que o MDM não tendo conseguido, nos quatro dos 13 círculos de que não foi excluído, eleger o mínimo de 11 deputados, que o actual regimento da AR fixa como limite para poder constituir bancada, ficou sem bancada. Ficou-se pelos 8 deputados, cinco (5) eleitos pelo círculo eleitoral da província de Sofala e três (3) pelo círculo eleitoral de Maputo-Cidade. Nos círculos eleitorais de Inhambane e Niassa, o MDM não conseguir eleger nenhum deputado, enquanto nos restantes 7 círculos eleitorais, correspondentes às províncias de Maputo, Gaza, Manica, Zambézia, Nampula e Cabo Delgado, o partido viu as suas listas excluídas pela Comissão Nacional de Eleições (CNE), num acto que foi acompanhado de muita polémica, na altura.
O MDM também foi excluído pela CNE dos dois círculos eleitorais da diáspora.
- defende Moeletsi Mbeki, comentador sul-africano
Pretoria (Canalmoz) - Num discurso proferido a semana passada na sede do Comando Africano (AFRICOM) dos Estados Unidos em Estugarda, o comentador sul-africano, Moeletsi Mbeki, disse que “não obstante ser indesejável dar ênfase à opção militar como forma de se lidar com os desafios enfrentados pelo continente africano, não se devia excluir o uso da força como forma de se resolverem os problemas de África”. Por essa razão, acrescentou, “a criação do Comando Africano pelo governo dos Estados Unidos foi uma importante iniciativa”.
Moeletsi Mbeki, que é irmão do antigo chefe de Estado sul-africano, Thabo Mbeki, salientou que “o AFRICOM não deveria simplesmente limitar-se a trabalhar apenas com governos africanos, mas também a envolver-se com entidades não estatais como forma de ajudar na reconstrução das sociedades”, premissa que considerou ser “de pré-condição para se alcançar a segurança em África”.
Na sua alocução, Moeletsi Mbeki, que presentemente desempenha as funções de vice-presidente do Instituto Sul-Africano de Relações Internacionais, começou por defender que, ao contrário do que muitos dos analistas acreditam, “o desafio que se coloca perante a África subsariana não é a construção de Estados, mas antes a edificação de sociedades”. Para Mbeki, “a edificação de uma sociedade viável, sustentável e estável exige a criação e o desenvolvimento de um grupo ou grupos legítimos e socialmente hegemónicos que possam construir um Estado viável”, destacando a seguir “que as potências coloniais europeias não haviam conseguido realizar esse objectivo na África subsariana antes da sua partida nos meados nos anos 50 e princípios dos anos 60.” Em vez disso, referiu Moeletsi Mbeki, as potências coloniais europeias deixaram algo que se assemelhava a um Estado desprovido de quaisquer alicerces sociais. Foi isto o que deu lugar à instabilidade em África no decurso do último meio século”. O comentador sul-africano acrescentou que “esta instabilidade prevalece até aos dias de hoje em muitos países apesar de um alguns sinais de esperança patentes num punhado de países”.
Moeletsi Mbeki considera que “o factor mais importante na criação de uma sociedade capitalista estável reside na ascensão de uma classe de grandes posses. Por si só, essa classe não é suficiente para criar uma sociedade estável pois para desenvolver os bens que detém e torná-los lucrativos, ela necessita das capacidades técnicas e de gestão das classes de profissionais e de artesãos, normalmente descritas como constituindo a classe média. O poder de negociação desta classe média pode também influenciar e restringir o poder político dos grandes proprietários. Este equilíbrio de forças a nível existencial culmina no surgimento do Estado. Este, é uma criação das formações sociais em jogo, as quais ditam as regras das relações estáveis a desenvolverem-se entre si.”
Na opinião de Mbeki, as potências coloniais europeias não haviam conseguido “desenvolver as suas colónias africanas nos moldes atrás descritos”. Em vez disso, acrescentou Mbeki, “fundaram o que eu classifico de pseudo-Estados que só foram estáveis enquanto permaneceram sob controlo das potências coloniais. Logo que estas partiram, esses pseudo-Estados tornaram-se num foco de conflito entre as várias elites rudimentares que haviam emergido entre os povos indígenas durante a época colonial. As novas elites lutaram entre si como forma de assegurar o controlo das receitas fiscais e outros privilégios associados ao acesso ao poder nesses pseudo-Estados. Em última análise, tratou-se de uma competição a nível de elites, facto que explica a instabilidade política endémica em África nos últimos 50 anos.”
Moeletsi Mbeki considerou três grandes factores que foram a fonte da instabilidade na África subsariana nos últimos 500 anos, designadamente o tráfico de escravos para o chamado Novo Mundo, Egipto e Ásia Ocidental (Arábia); o colonialismo, incluindo a resistência à ocupação estrangeira e ao trabalho forçado; e o surgimento da Guerra Fria na década de 40, em que as potências capitalistas ocidentais lideradas pelos Estados Unidos, e as potências comunistas dirigidas pela União Soviética disputavam entre si o controlo de esferas de influência”.
O texto integral do discurso de Moeletsi Mbeki na sede do AFRICOM encontra-se disponível em: http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3913&lang=0#
Todo o Poder também significa toda a responsabilidade
Maputo (Canalmoz) - Está tudo a postos, para a Frelimo mostrar serviço. Tem o presidente, o Governo que quis, os governadores que escolheu e a Assembleia da República moldada para ser como é, pese embora se conheçam todas as habilidades orquestradas para atingir tal patamar. Tem tudo nas mãos, excepto o Município da Beira, ainda que, mesmo ali, tenha maioria na Assembleia local. Tem até Afonso Dhlakama – o ainda líder da oposição – sob uma espécie de “prisão domiciliária”, em Nampula, manso e aparentemente rendido, por vencido. Tem o “bebé prodígio”, MDM, “acantonado”, sem bancada – por “magia” de um regimento parlamentar desenhado no formato que mais convém a quem tem inequívoca propensão para obstruir os outros e enorme vocação para a ditadura.
A Frelimo, agora, não pode dizer que não a deixam governar. Sempre teve a maioria absoluta, o que já lhe retirava a possibilidade de convencer os outros de que alguém lhe criava obstáculos. Mas, agora, honestamente não tem, desculpas. Se antes dizia que era a oposição que a ocupava com coisas inúteis e assim ia tentando sacudir a água do capote quando metia argoladas, agora tem a maioria qualificada, tem as comissões da Assembleia da República, praticamente todas, na mão. Tem tudo na mão.
Agora, se os jovens não tiverem emprego, a Frelimo já não pode dizer que perde muito tempo a pensar nos problemas que a oposição lhe cria.
Agora, se os formados pelas universidades não conseguirem colocação, a culpa é exclusivamente de quem não consegue ocupá-los.
Agora, quem não tiver água potável para beber, só tem de concluir que é o “governo retumbante” que não é capaz de resolver os seus problemas.
Quando se partir a barra da direcção da viatura; quando rebentar um pneu, etc., por causa dos buracos nas estradas, ruas e avenidas, o cidadão já sabe que a culpa toda é de quem tem a faca e o queijo na mão.
Se há cortes constantes da energia eléctrica, já é só culpa do Governo, que não consegue garantir melhor.
Se o pão sobe de preço, a culpa é do Governo, que não consegue encontrar alternativas aos senhores que têm o monopólio do trigo, etc…
Se os combustíveis faltam, a culpa é do Governo. Se os combustíveis sobem de preço e quem governa congela os preços para se manter no poder, só a quem fez isso se podem pedir responsabilidades, quando tudo der para o torto.
Se os tribunais se queixam de falta de verba para funcionarem, a culpa é do Governo.
Se a Polícia não consegue estancar o crime, a culpa é do Governo.
Se, nas empresas públicas, se continua a roubar, a culpa é do Governo.
Se, nas repartições, continuar a imperar a corrupção para que as coisas andem, a culpa é do Governo.
Se os cidadãos não conseguem ter Bilhete de Identidade, a culpa é do Governo.
Se os cidadãos têm de pagar mais do que um salário mínimo nacional para terem Passaporte, a culpa é do Governo.
Se em Tete, onde está a “nossa” Cahora Bassa, se paga pela energia eléctrica o mesmo que em todo o País, “porque todos devem pagar para que os outros possam tê-la”, e esse mesmo critério oficial não serve quando se trata de se porem os combustíveis a custarem em Tete o mesmo que custam onde estão as “estações oceânicas” de Maputo (Matola), Beira e Nacala, porque, alegadamente são onerados pelos custos de transporte, cabe aos cidadãos de Tete reivindicarem tratamento igual, junto do Governo. Nada vale pedirem à oposição. Com a oposição, só poderão contar nas próximas eleições, se se sentirem frustrados com o Governo que teremos até lá.
Tudo, daqui em diante, só terá um responsável: o Governo e, obviamente, se os dois terços (2/3) são da Frelimo por força da vitória retumbante e esmagadora, só à Frelimo se poderão pedir responsabilidades de força retumbante e esmagadora.
À oposição, que já estava reduzida à insignificância, agora, então, nenhuma responsabilidade se lhe pode atribuir.
É este o preço de quem quer tudo para si. Tem o Poder todo, mas também, na justa proporção, deve ter a responsabilidade.
Da oposição, só se pode esperar muito trabalho fora do palácio da Assembleia da República e das instalações das assembleias provinciais, onde a Frelimo tudo montou para ter maioria qualificada.
Já que ao Parlamento os deputados da oposição, particularmente os do MDM só irão fazer figura de corpo presente, como estão próximos uns dos outros, que isso ao menos lhes possa servir para irem orquestrando operações de fiscalização, porque, embora não tenham bancada, têm mandato do Povo, que os elegeu para não darem folga às instituições públicas e empresas públicas.
O estatuto de deputado, até aqui, serviu para os senhores deputados da oposição serem apenas verbos de encher.
Desta vez, a Assembleia da República tem outra bancada. E tem deputados eleitos pelas listas da Renamo, mas que estão assumidamente zangados com o “líder” Dhlakama, que já não tem qualquer hipótese de recuperar dos tantos “tiros” que já deu “nos seus próprios pés”.
Os deputados da Assembleia da República têm imunidade e mandato para agirem. A desculpa de que não têm bancada não pode ser usada para enganarem o eleitorado, que confiou neles. A desculpa de que não têm verba para trabalhar, também não serve. Têm, antes, de perceber que esta fase carece de mais voluntariedade. Os moçambicanos já tiveram que lutar contra contratempos maiores. Com imaginação, talvez os deputados do MDM ainda consigam pôr a Frelimo a preferir retirar do Regimento da Assembleia da República, com a maior urgência possível, os mecanismos de exclusão que montou com o beneplácito dos senhores da Renamo, de quem, há muito, se desconfia da sua fidelidade à causa de quem entende que alternância democrática é a maior virtude deste sistema, por não permitir que os instalados continuem a julgar-se donos do que pertence, por direito, a todos os demais moçambicanos.
(Canal de Moçambique)