sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2009

E não é que Obama tomou mesmo uma cerveja com o sargento Crowley e o professor Gates?

A história podia ter redundado no primeiro conflito racial da Presidência do primeiro negro na Casa Branca: um polícia branco prendeu, à porta de casa, um professor de Harvard, negro, aparentemente num caso de abuso de autoridade com contornos racistas.

O Presidente criticou a acção da polícia e ofereceu-se para colocar água na fervura, juntando todos à mesa «para beber uma cerveja» na Casa Branca. Houve quem duvidasse, houve quem criticase... mas aconteceu mesmo:

quinta-feira, 30 de julho de 2009

Lou Dobbs 'vs' FOX sobre o «americanismo» de Obama

Clivagens na reforma da Saúde fazem derrapar popularidade de Obama


Sinais claros de desgaste da imagem do Presidente, no meio da discussão (tensa) sobre os custos da Reforma da Saúde.

SONDAGEM NBC/WALL STREET JOURNAL
«Apoia os esforços de Obama para avançar com a reforma da Saúde?»SIM: 41%
NÃO: 46%

Kathleen Sebelius e os caminhos para a aprovação da Reforma da Saúde

Obama: «Podemos estar a ver o início do fim da recessão»

domingo, 26 de julho de 2009

Até já


O CASA BRANCA estará parado nos próximos três dias, dado que estarei ausente do país até quarta-feira. Quando voltar a actualizar o blogue, talvez já seja mais claro como será possível para a Administração Obama conseguir reunir condições para aprovar a Reforma da Saúde...

Até já, então
.

sexta-feira, 24 de julho de 2009

Joe Biden na Ucrânia e na Geórgia



«TBILISI, July 24 (Xinhua) -- U. S. Vice President Joe Biden is currently paying a visit to Ukraine and Georgia, shortly after U. S. President Barack Obama traveled to Russia in early July.

Biden's trip has been widely regarded as a "psychotherapy" visit to Ukraine and Georgia, after Obama's visit to Russia, which was aimed at repairing the badly strained relations between the two nations.

However, the U. S. vice president's visit to the two pro-U.S. countries means more than just reassuring the nations of U. S. support. His agenda also includes security, economic, diplomatic and other political aims.

One of Biden's major concerns during the trip is Ukraine's presidential election, which is slated for January. Bickering between Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has given other candidates, including Moscow-backed opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych, a chance of winning the election, and the U. S. fears a new administration could turn back to Moscow.

That explains why Biden met with five leading presidential candidates during his two-day visit. The vice president was trying to find out about a new government-to-be's foreign policies, paving the way for the continued U. S. policy of using Ukraine to confine neighboring Russia.

Yushchenko, on the other hand, has expressed worry that a warming up of U. S.-Russia relations would jeopardize Ukraine's interests, and the two powers would redo their "sphere of influence."

Biden has assured Ukrainian leaders that the U.S. does not recognize any sphere of influence, and Obama's bid to "reset" relations with Russia "will not come at Ukraine's expense."

Biden also discussed Ukraine's energy dispute with Russia with Yushchenko and called on the feuding leaders to put disagreements behind them and together take efforts to save Ukraine's devastated economy.

Mindful of a rift within Ukraine about joining NATO, Biden said the U. S. would strongly support the country's bid if a consensus was reached in the country. He deliberately avoided using the sensitive word "NATO" and said "Euro-Atlantic integration" instead in order to not irritate Russia.

Biden made similar gestures in Georgia by emphasizing that the country is an "important strategic partner" of the U. S. and that the improvement of U. S.-Russian ties will not sacrifice Georgian interests. Biden said the U.S. will continue to offer comprehensive support to the South Caucasus country.

Analysts believe that Biden this time will offer Georgia support in four areas.

First, Security. The U. S. will not sit and watch Russia develop a strong presence in the region. Biden has said his government will not recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, and offered U. S. support for Georgia's territorial integrity.

Second, Economy. The U. S. has seen clearly that economic development is the basis for Georgia to cope with its various challenges. To promote regional stability, Biden has discussed additional U.S. aid with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Third, NATO bid. Biden has made it clear that the U. S. continues to support Georgia's bid to join NATO, and will help the country reach all of the qualifications at an earlier date.

Fourth, Democratic reforms. Tbilisi has seen several massive protests this year against Saakashvili for his alleged strengthening of power at the expense of democratic rights. The U. S. feels obliged to urge Georgia to speed up its democratic process.

Russia is watching Biden's visit to its former Soviet backyard closely and has responded angrily to the two nations' efforts to seek NATO membership.

Russia also has accused the U. S. of drawing ex-Soviet republics into its power zone, jeopardizing Russia's security in the region.

Russian media is also suspicious that Biden's visits aim to block any moves of the two nations back toward Moscow, and to cement friendship and loyalty with the two pro-western countries.»

terça-feira, 21 de julho de 2009

Seis meses de Administração Obama

Fez ontem meio ano que, numa manhã fria, mas soalheira, em Washington, se fez história. Barack Hussein Obama tornava-se Presidente dos EUA. Quando está cumprido, apenas, um oitavo do primeiro mandato, vale a pena recordar esse dia inesquecível:

Reforma da Saúde: Obama pede para não se resvalar para a «politização»

O Presidente tem vindo a sentir um forte ataque dos republicanos, e mesmo da ala centrista do Partido Democrata no Congresso, em relação à maior reforma que pretende fazer no primeiro mandato: a Saúde.

Obama já está a cair na taxa de popularidade, devido a esta questão e pede: «Não tornem a Saúde numa questão política». Mas... será possível?

Madeleine Albright e o discurso de Obama no Cairo e na Gana


«O Presidente Obama é, ele próprio, um símbolo de algo que é muito importante sobre a América - a sua diversidade. Ele sabe mostrar-se orgulhoso dessa diversidade. Fê-lo agora, de novo, no Gana. O Presidente pronunciou a palavra muçulmano no seu discurso inaugural. Nenhum Presidente o tinha feito até hoje. Deixou clara a sua compreensão do Islão, lembrando que tem familiares muçulmanos. E fez uma coisa em que é verdadeiramente brilhante: ir direito ao âmago de um assunto, apresentando de uma forma extremamente clara os seus pontos de vista.
Estou muito satisfeita pelo facto de pessoas que vieram de países muçulmanos terem dito o que me disse que disseram - um pré e um pós-Cairo. Foi um discurso histórico.»


MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, secretária de Estado dos EUA entre 1997 e 2001, primeira mulher a chefiar a diplomacia norte-americana (abriu caminho a Condoleeza Rice e Hillary Clinton), apoiante de Hillary nas primárias democratas de 2008, excerto da entrevista concedida a Teresa de Sousa, no Público

40 anos da chegada do Homem à Lua: «um pequeno passo para o homem, um enorme salto para a Humanidade»... ainda hoje


«WASHINGTON — The measure of what humanity can accomplish is a size 9 1/2 bootprint.

It belongs to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. It will stay on the moon for millions of years with nothing to wipe it away, serving as an almost eternal testament to a can-do mankind.

Apollo 11 is the glimmering success that failures of society are contrasted against: "If we can send a man to the moon, why can't we ..."

What put man on the moon 40 years ago was an audacious and public effort that the world hasn't seen before or since. It required rocketry that hadn't been built, or even designed, in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy declared the challenge. It needed an advance in computerization that had not happened yet. NASA would have to learn how to dock separate spaceships, how to teach astronauts to walk in space, even how to keep them alive in space — all tasks so difficult experts weren't sure they were possible.

Forty years later, the moon landing is talked about as a generic human achievement, not an American one. But Apollo at the time was more about U.S. commitment and ingenuity.

Historian Douglas Brinkley called the Apollo program "the exemplary moment of America's we-can-do-anything attitude." After the moon landing, America got soft, he said, looking for the quick payoff of a lottery ticket instead of the sweat-equity of buckling down and doing something hard.

In years since, when America faces a challenge, leaders often look to the Apollo program for inspiration. In 1971, when President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer, his staffers called it "a moon shot for cancer." Last year, then-candidate Barack Obama and former Vice President Al Gore proposed a massive effort to fight global warming, comparing it to Apollo 11. An environmentalists' project to tackle climate change and promote renewable energy took the name "Apollo Alliance."

Those still-unfinished efforts recall May 25, 1961, when President Kennedy, fresh from a disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, announced that America would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade and return him safely home.

"I thought he was crazy," said Chris Kraft, when he heard Kennedy's speech about landing on the moon.

Kraft was head of Mission Control. He was the man responsible for guiding astronauts to orbit (which hadn't been done yet) and eventually to the moon. Kraft first heard about a mission to the moon when Kennedy made the speech.

"We saw that as Buck Rogers stuff, rather than reality that would be carried out in any time period that we were dealing with," Kraft recently told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Houston.

Less than three months later, Kraft was in the White House explaining to the president just how landing on the moon would be done. Kraft still didn't believe it would work.

"Too many unknowns," he said.

It was the Cold War and Russian Yuri Gagarin had just become the first man in space. Kennedy chose landing a man on the moon because experts told him it was the one space goal that was so distant and complicated at the time that the United States could catch up and pass the Soviet Union, Kennedy adviser Ted Sorensen said.

The idea in a world where American capitalism was pitted against Soviet communism on a daily basis was "to prove to the world which system was best, which one was the future," Sorensen said.

"It's not just the fact that the president wanted it done," Sorensen recalled. "It was the fact that we had a specific goal and a specific timetable."

In another speech, Kennedy famously said America would go to the moon and try other tasks "not because they were easy, but because they were hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills."

They weren't just skills with rockets and slide rules. Bringing together countless aerospace companies, engineers, scientists, technicians, politicians and several NASA centers around the nation was a management challenge even more impressive than building the right type of rockets, said Smithsonian Institution space scholar Roger Launius.

And it cost money. The United States spent $25.4 billion on the Apollo program, which translates to nearly $150 billion in current dollars — less than the U.S. spent in both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007.

Yet, in the view of those heavily involved in the challenge, what made Apollo work was two tragedies: the assassination of Kennedy in 1963 and the fatal Apollo 1 fire in 1967.

The assassination of Kennedy made the Apollo program and its budget politically nearly untouchable. The moon-landing goal — which Kennedy later talked about modifying and even including the Soviets on — became a symbol of the martyred president. NASA's launch center was renamed from Cape Canaveral to Kennedy.

The Apollo fire, which occurred during ground testing, killed three astronauts, including Armstrong's neighbor. The main problem was that there was 100 percent oxygen in the capsule, which made fire spread rapidly.

Kraft, in a July interview said he is convinced that NASA couldn't have reached Kennedy's target were it not for the Apollo 1 fire and the way it made the space agency rethink everything: "We were building inferior hardware at that point in time.

"The whole program turned around, both from a hardware and management point of view," Kraft said. "You really learn from failure."

So NASA drilled astronauts and flight controllers ceaselessly with simulations. Failures kept being thrown at the astronauts and the controllers, some just plain unsolvable.

One of the last failures simulated before Apollo 11's launch was an alarm on the lunar lander that signaled the computer was overloaded. During the simulation, Mission Control in Houston aborted the landing. But controllers were later told it was just an "indication" signal and that if they had thought about it, the computer really was working fine. Controllers thought the test was unfair, according to an account in the new book, "Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon" by Craig Nelson.

But during the real mission, as the Eagle lunar lander approached the moon, that test-run computer signal appeared. This time controllers knew everything was OK. They didn't abort the moon landing.

Still, there were more hurdles to come. In another example, experience and nerves paid off. As Eagle neared the landing area in the spot called Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong saw too many boulders and craters to come down safely. So he kept flying horizontally, 100 feet off the ground, scouring the moonscape for a smooth place.

Eagle's fuel tank neared empty. Alarms went off. Mission controllers in Houston fretted.

"We still needed to get down," recalled Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. "I'm not telling Neil, 'Hey Neil, hurry up, get on the ground.' I'm sort of conveying this with body English."

There were only 17 seconds worth of fuel left.

Finally, the radio at Mission Control crackled with Armstrong's voice: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Two hours later, humans walked on a place other than Earth, a place truly foreign.

"This is a very desolate place," recalled Aldrin, second to step on the moon. "It's just boring. It's all one color that varies depending on the sun angle. But the sky is black, it's all black except the one object there, the Earth, and the object behind us, the sun."

The world watched on television as the first two men walked on the moon. But one person close to the action couldn't. He was the third crew member of Apollo 11, command module pilot Michael Collins, who was orbiting the moon alone. He didn't get to see what was happening. But he could hear Neil Armstrong say his famous first words.

Decades later, Armstrong called his first words on the moon "a pretty simple statement, talking about stepping off something."

But Armstrong wasn't merely talking about that small step of his. What came next was the big deal. It was, as he said on the moon 40 years ago, "a giant leap for mankind."

It still is.»

texto: Kevin Vineys e Sara Gillesby, AP

40 anos da chegada do Homem à Lua: Obama recebeu a tripulação do Apolo 11

'Gaffe' de Obama sobre a reforma da Saúde: «seeking greater inefficiencies»...

Não é normal em Barack, mas talvez tenha sido um acto falhado perante a pressão imensa que os republicanos estão a fazer contra a maior reforma do primeiro mandato...

segunda-feira, 20 de julho de 2009

Barómetro semanal: 59 por cento de aprovação

Barack Obama mantém-se com valores próximos dos 60 por cento de apoio por parte do eleitorado norte-americano.

TAXA DE APROVAÇÃO:

-- Aprovação: 59 por cento
-- Reprovação: 37%

(fonte: ABC/Washington Post)

A visita de Hillary Clinton à Índia

domingo, 19 de julho de 2009

O legado de Walter Cronkite, apresentado por Katie Couric


Watch CBS Videos Online

Walter Cronkite - a morte de uma lenda do jornalismo



Walter Cronkite, lenda do jornalismo norte-americano, apresentador da CBS, morreu este sábado aos 92 anos. Durante décadas, contou aos americanos (e não só)... «and that's the way it is».

Anunciou em directo a morte de JFK (e tirou os óculos e parou uns segundos, perante a gravidade do momento); anunciou a chegada da Apolo 11 à Lua; esteve em guerras. Conheceu pessoalmente 12 Presidentes dos EUA. Foi um exemplo.

«Walter Cronkite, who personified television journalism for more than a generation as anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News," has died. CBS vice president Linda Mason says Cronkite died at 7:42 p.m. Friday with his family by his side at his home in New York after a long illness. He was 92.

Known for his steady and straightforward delivery, his trim moustache, and his iconic sign-off line -"That’s the way it is" - Cronkite dominated the television news industry during one of the most volatile periods of American history. He broke the news of the Kennedy assassination, reported extensively on Vietnam and Civil Rights and Watergate, and seemed to be the very embodiment of TV journalism.

"Cronkite came to be the sort of personification of his era," veteran PBS Correspondent Robert McNeil once said. "He became kind of the media figure of his time. Very few people in history, except maybe political and military leaders, are the embodiment of their time, and Cronkite seemed to be."

At one time, his audience was so large, and his image so credible, that a 1972 poll determined he was "the most trusted man in America" - surpassing even the president, vice president, members of Congress and all other journalists. In a time of turmoil and mistrust, after Vietnam and Watergate, the title was a rare feat - and the label stuck.

"For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America," said President Barack Obama in a statement. "His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged."

Mr. Obama said that Cronkite calmly shared the world's news while never losing his integrity.

"But Walter was always more than just an anchor," Mr. Obama said. "He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed."

Cronkite's achievements were remarkable for a man whose beginnings were anything but remarkable.

Walter Leland Cronkite was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on November 4, 1916, the only child of a dentist father and homemaker mother. When he was still young, his family moved to Texas. One day, he read an article in "Boys Life" magazine about the adventures of reporters working around the world - and young Cronkite was hooked. He began working on his high school newspaper and yearbook and, in 1933, he entered the University of Texas at Austin to study political science, economic and journalism. He never graduated. He took a part time job at the Houston Post, left college to do what he loved: report.

After working as a general assignment reporter for the Post and a sportscaster in Oklahoma City, Cronkite got a job in 1939 working for United Press. He went to Europe to cover World War II as part of the "Writing 69th," a group of reporters who found themselves covering some of the most important developments in the war, including the D-Day invasion, bombing missions over Germany, and later, the Nuremburg war trials. In 1940, he married Mary Elizabeth Maxwell - known as "Betsy" - and for the next six decades she was the dutiful reporter’s wife, enduring sometimes long separations while he covered the world, and raising three children. Cronkite once wrote about her: ''I attribute the longevity of our marriage to Betsy's extraordinary keen sense of humor, which saw us over many bumps (mostly of my making), and her tolerance, even support, for the uncertain schedule and wanderings of a newsman."

While working for the UP, Cronkite was offered a job at CBS by Edward R. Murrow - and he turned it down. He finally accepted a second offer in 1950, and stepped into the new medium of television. In the early '50s, it was a medium many of the "serious" journalists at CBS and elsewhere viewed with skepticism, if not disdain. Radio and print, they contended, were for real reporters; television was for actors or comedians.

At first, it seemed an unlikely fit. Walter Cronkite, with his serious demeanor and unpretentious style - honed by his years of unvarnished reporting at UP - was named host of "You Are There" in which key moments of history were recreated by actors. Cronkite was depicted on camera interviewing "Joan of Arc" or "Sigmund Freud." But somehow, he managed to make it believable.

The young director of the series, Sidney Lumet said he picked Cronkite for the job because "the premise of the series was so silly, so outrageous, that we needed somebody with the most American, homespun, warm ease about him."

During his early years at CBS, Cronkite was also named host of "The Morning Show" on CBS, where he was paired with a partner: a puppet named Charlemagne. But he distinguished himself with his coverage of the 1952 and 1956 political conventions and as narrator of the documentary series "Twentieth Century." In 1961, CBS named him the anchor of the "CBS Evening News" - a 15 minute news summary anchored for several years by Douglas Edwards.

At the time, the broadcast lived in the long shadow cast by NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report, the most popular television newscast in the country. Expectations for the Cronkite newscast were not high. But in 1963, the broadcast was expanded to 30 minutes - and Cronkite won a title for which he had long campaigned, Managing Editor. The added time gave the broadcast more depth and variety, and the title gave Cronkite more influence over the content and coverage.

And it came at a significant time. In September of that year, Cronkite launched the expanded program with an extended interview with President John F. Kennedy. Two months later, it was Cronkite who broke into the soap opera "As The World Turns" to announce that the president had been shot - and later to declare that he had been killed.

It was a defining moment for Cronkite, and for the country. His presence - in shirtsleeves, slowly removing his glasses to check the time and blink back tears - captured both the sense of shock, and the struggle for composure, that would consume America and the world over the next four days.

Cronkite’s audience began to grow - but not quickly enough for network executives who, in 1964, decided to try an anchor team at the conventions - Robert Trout and Roger Mudd - to rival Chet Huntley and David Brinkley at NBC. Cronkite was not happy about the change, and viewer reaction was swift. Over 11,000 letters poured in protesting the switch. Network executives never tried that again. In 1966, The CBS Evening News began to overtake the Huntley-Brinkley report in the ratings, and in 1967 it took the lead. It remained there until Cronkite’s retirement in 1981.

They were years filled with astonishing change - and indelible history. In 1968, Cronkite returned from visiting Vietnam and declared on television:"It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is a stalemate." President Lyndon Johnson, on hearing that, reportedly said, "If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America." Not long after, Johnson declared his intention not to run for re-election. That same year saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy - two more shocking moments that bound the country together through the medium of television. Once again, as he had five years earlier, Cronkite was the steadying force during a time of national sorrow.

"It's a kind of chemistry," former Johnson aide and CBS News commentator Bill Moyers once said. "The camera either sees you as part of the environment or it rejects you as an alien body, and Walter had 'it,' whatever 'it' was."

One of Cronkite’s enthusiasms was the space race. And in 1969, when America sent a man to the moon, he couldn’t contain himself. "Go baby, go!," he said, as Apollo XI took off. He ended up performing what critics described as"Walter to Walter" coverage of the mission - staying on the air for 27 of the 30 hours that Apollo XI took to complete its mission.

Cronkite even managed to have a surprising influence on world affairs. In 1977, he interviewed Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, who told Cronkite that, if invited, he’d go to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The move was unprecedented. The next day, Begin invited Sadat to Jerusalem for talks that eventually led to the Camp David accords and the Israeli-Egyptian treaty.

In 1981, Cronkite announced he would retire at the age of 65, to make way for a new anchor in the chair, Dan Rather. A commentator in the New Republic said it was like "George Washington leaving the dollar bill." There were so many requests for interviews, eventually all of them were turned down.

In retirement, Cronkite kept busy with other projects - a short-lived magazine program on CBS called "Walter Cronkite's Universe," a few documentaries, plus a seat on the CBS board of directors. He spent a considerable amount of time at his summer home in Martha’s Vineyard, sailing the boat he named for his wife, "The Betsy." And he wrote his autobiography, "A Reporter’s Life," published in 1996.

In 2005, Cronkite’s wife Betsy died after a battle with cancer. His two daughters and son survive him.

While Cronkite kept a lower profile in his later years, he did make a significant contribution to the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric": it is his voice that has been used during the opening of the broadcast since its debut in 2006, bridging generations and signifying the newscast’s strong link to its storied past.

As Cronkite said on March 6, 1981, concluding his final broadcast as anchorman: "Old anchormen, you see, don't fade away, they just keep coming back for more. And that's the way it is."»

in CBSnews.com

Mensagem semanal: reforma da Saúde, uma grande oportunidade

sexta-feira, 17 de julho de 2009

Resistências à reforma da Saúde na área centrista


Olympia Snowe, senadora republicana do Maine, foi um dos moderados do GOP que aprovaram o Plano de Recuperação Económica, mas põe reservas em relação à reforma da Saúde


Um artigo de Ryan Grim, no Huffington Post:

«A bipartisan group of centrist and conservative senators sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday urging delay in consideration of health care reform.

The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post, was drafted by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and is also signed by Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.). Independent Joe Lieberman (Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, signed on, as did Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins -- moderates heavily courted by President Obama.

The organized effort to slow down the process is a blow to the reform effort. Obama has pushed hard for a final vote before the August recess, arguing that delaying until September could slow momentum and risk missing a historic opportunity.

The letter, sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stresses that while the senators still want health care reform done this year, they don't feel comfortable voting for it until they've had more time to study its costs and benefits.

Reid had said on Thursday that senators always want more time, no matter when a vote comes.

Any of those individual senators calling for delay by themselves would be a surmountable obstacle; but together, they make a formidable force and throw the possibility of an August vote in serious doubt.

"If we fail to act, and act now, working families will continue to see their premiums skyrocket, their benefits will erode even further, the number of uninsured will keep exploding and the deficit will grow uncontrollably," said Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, in response to the news of the letter.

Jake Thompson, Nelson's spokesman, said the message of the letter is to show support for the reform effort, not oppose it. "Sen. Nelson is firmly committed to comprehensive health reform this year and wants to take the time to get this historic legislation right," Thompson said.

The gang of senators say in their letter that the testimony of the Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf on Thursday persuaded them that delay is needed. At that time, Elmendorf said that the current health care plans under consideration would not considerably reduce costs and would add to the debt burden, an analysis that omits cost savings from prevention or negotiating lower prices.

But the timeline doesn't add up. Reid told the Huffington Post on Thursday that he had spoken to Nelson Wednesday night and Nelson told him he would be sending him a letter. The conversation took place before the budget director's testimony. Elmendorf's remarks, however, may have persuaded uncertain senators to sign on to the letter.

"We appreciate the work that has been done by senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Finance committees, but in view of the Budget Director's statement, there is much heavy lifting ahead," write the senators in their letter.

The CBO analysis is is a "devastating blow" to the bill, Nelson said Friday on CNN radio. He also spoke derisively of the House health care reform effort, which taxes the wealthy to subsidize coverage, calling it "class warfare."»

Primárias 2012: Mitt Romney ultrapassa Sarah Palin


O ex-governador do Massachussets, Mitt Romney, passou para a liderança das primárias do Partido Republicano, de acordo com a última sondagem Gallup.

Depois de Sarah Palin ter aparecido à frente nos últimos estudos, a demissão de governadora do estado do Alasca terá prejudicado a imagem de Palin e permite a Romney reforçar posições na ala conservadora.

Resultados:
MITT ROMNEY -- 26

SARAH PALIN -- 21
MIKE HUCKABEE - 19
NEWT GINGRICH - 14
TIM PAWLENTY - 3
HALEY BARBOUR - 2

«About one in four Republicans and Republican-leaning independents make Mitt Romney their top choice for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, giving him a slight edge over Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the choice of 14% of Republicans, with much smaller numbers choosing current Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

These results are based on a July 10-12 Gallup Poll, which asked Republicans to choose which of six possible candidates for the Republican presidential nomination they would be most likely to support in 2012.

As of this moment, Romney, one of John McCain's chief rivals for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, holds a slight but not statistically significant 26% to 21% advantage over Palin, who was McCain's vice presidential running mate.

Palin's strong showing suggests she remains a contender for GOP front-runner status even after her surprising decision to resign as governor of Alaska, which she announced July 3. Some have speculated that she made that decision with an eye toward running for president in 2012.

While Palin trails Romney in the current candidate preference test, she leads both him and Huckabee in terms of their respective favorable ratings among Republicans. Currently, 72% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have a favorable opinion of Palin, compared with 56% for Romney and 59% for Huckabee. But her lead on this measure largely reflects the fact that she is better known than the two former governors, given the substantially lower "no opinion" figures for her. Republicans rate each candidate more positively than negatively by better than 3-to-1 ratios.

However, Huckabee's numbers among all Americans look better by comparison. Although each GOP contender receives a similar favorable rating from the American public -- 43% for Palin, 37% for Romney, and 42% for Huckabee -- Huckabee's negatives are lower. As a result, his +19 net favorable score is much better than Romney's +8 and Palin's -2.

Palin's favorable rating is little changed from last November, immediately after the 2008 election. At that time, 48% viewed her favorably and 47% unfavorably. This suggests no widespread deterioration in her image after her surprising decision to resign her post as governor with more than a year left in her term.

Still, her image has suffered somewhat among Republicans during this time. In November, 81% of Republicans viewed her favorably and 14% unfavorably, compared with the current ratings of 72% favorable and 21% unfavorable after her announced resignation.

Though it is little over a year since the 2008 GOP primaries, Americans' opinions of Romney and Huckabee have changed significantly. Notably, each seems to have lost a significant share of the public familiarity he built up during the campaign. There has been a double-digit increase in the percentage of Americans who do not express either a positive or a negative opinion of both Romney and Huckabee.

However, the loss in familiarity may not be a bad thing, as the increase in "no opinion" has accompanied a corresponding drop in unfavorable ratings for each, with little change in their favorable ratings. Whereas Romney was viewed significantly more negatively than positively in February 2008, about the time he suspended his campaign, now on balance Americans view him more positively due to a 17-point drop in his unfavorable ratings.

Huckabee's unfavorable scores have fallen from 38% to 23%; thus, he has moved from an almost equally balanced positive and negative image to one that is considerably more positive than negative.

The declining negatives for both Romney and Huckabee are evident among Democrats as well as Republicans.

Implications
Presidential nomination preference polls conducted roughly three years before the party's nominating convention in general would not be expected to predict the eventual nominee. At this stage, these polls to a large degree reflect respondents' familiarity with the possible contenders. For example, Rudy Giuliani led most GOP preference polls in 2007, but performed dismally in the actual primaries and caucuses.

However, these early polls do give an indication of who the likely front-runners will be heading into the campaign, which should kick off after the 2010 November midterm elections. They also provide insights into the implications of Palin's highly-publicized decision to leave her job as governor of Alaska in the middle of her term. And, the Giuliani example notwithstanding, early front-runner status in Republican nomination contests is important, because historically, that person usually has won the nomination.

To the extent Palin, Romney, and Huckabee can capitalize on their higher name recognition than that of their possible challengers to raise money and build strong campaign organizations, they will be formidable contenders should they decide to pursue the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.»

in Gallup.com

Jon Stewart a Kathleen Sebelius: «Why are governors such quitters?»

O genial apresentador do Daily Show entrevistou a secretária da Saúde, antiga governadora do Kansas, e lançou uma pergunta deixou toda a gente a rir, pela referência implícita a Sarah Palin...

quinta-feira, 16 de julho de 2009

Barack de volta às campanhas


O Presidente estará no terreno já a partir de hoje, iniciando a ajuda aos candidatos democratas com a presença num comício da campanha de Jon Corzine, que tenta a reeleição como governador da Nova Jérsia.

«President Obama hits the campaign trail Thursday -- not for himself, but for fellow Democrat Jon Corzine.

President Obama campaigns Thursday for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

The president is the main attraction at a rally in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, for Gov. Corzine, who's fighting for re-election this year.

While Obama has headlined seven political fundraising events this year, this will be the first campaign rally he's attended for a fellow Democrat since taking over as president in January.

A poll of New Jersey voters released this week suggests Corzine trails Republican challenger Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, by 12 points. The same Quinnipiac University survey indicates that six out of 10 Garden State voters approve of the job Obama's doing as president.

The rally was originally scheduled to be held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but the Corzine campaign says the event was moved to an outdoor amphitheater to accommodate a crowd larger than originally expected.

"The president looks to Gov. Corzine as a friend, somebody who was head of the campaign committee for Senate Democrats when he was running in 2004," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

Gibbs also noted that the president "has some affection for the fact that Mr. Corzine was a basketball player at the University of Illinois, and somebody that he spent time campaigning for originally for the job in 2005, thinks he's doing a good job, and should be re-elected."

Obama is also scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Corzine and to make appearances at small fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee in New Jersey and New York City.

While the president's in New Jersey, Vice President Joe Biden is headed to Virginia, the other state holding a gubernatorial election this year.

Biden will headline a fundraiser Thursday in Virginia for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, a state senator who's locked in what polls suggest is a dead heat with Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, the former state attorney general. Virginia's incumbent governor, Tim Kaine, is term-limited and can't run for re-election.

Both gubernatorial contests will focus on state issues and the strengths of the candidates. But since both seats are currently held by the Democrats, national Republicans would like to make both races a referendum on Obama and the Democratic Party».

quarta-feira, 15 de julho de 2009

Saúde, uma reforma que não pode esperar


Um artigo da secretária da Saúde dos EUA, Kathleen Sebelius, publicado no CNNpolitics.com:

«Today in Washington, some politicians like to suggest that the many challenges we face as a nation mean we shouldn't tackle health care reform.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

With more and more of America's families, businesses, and local, state and federal governments struggling with the crushing costs of health care, health care reform has never been more important.

As President Obama has often said, you can't fix the economy without fixing health care. Unless we fix what is broken in our current system, everyone's health care will be in jeopardy. Health care reform is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

It's important to look at the size of the problem we face and where we stand. Today, we have by far the most expensive health system in the world. We spend 50 percent more per person on health care than the average developed country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. We spend more on health care than housing or food, the McKinsey Global Institute reported.

Nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, millions more are underinsured, and they aren't the only ones who are suffering. The high cost of care is hurting all of us. A recent study by Families USA estimates that insured families pay a hidden health tax of more than $1,000 every year. The hidden tax is the amount businesses and families with insurance have to pay in insurance premiums, taxes and donations to help cover the cost of treating uninsured Americans.

Health insurance premiums for families that are covered through a job at a small business have increased 85 percent since 2000, and more small businesses are thinking about dropping health insurance benefits.

Nationwide, health care costs consume 18 percent of our gross domestic product. If we continue on our current path, health care costs will consume 34 percent of our GDP by 2040, and the number of uninsured Americans will rise to 72 million, according to the Council of Economic Advisers.

Even though we spend more than any other nation on health care, we aren't healthier. Only three developed countries have higher infant mortality rates. Our nation ranks 24th in life expectancy among developed countries. More than one-third of Americans are obese.

These statistics are the signs of a system that is both unacceptable and unsustainable. They also show us the high cost of doing nothing. If we choose the status quo, more Americans will be uninsured, costs will continue to rise, and every American's health care will be at risk.

Inaction is not an option, and reform is long overdue. The Obama administration is working to enact reform that will reduce costs for families, businesses and government; protect people's choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans; and assure affordable, quality health care for all Americans. We are guided by a simple principle: Protect what works about health care and fix what's broken, and do it in a way that does not add to the deficit.

The president has already introduced proposals that will provide $950 billion over 10years in savings to finance health care reform. Much of these resources come from wringing waste out of the current system and aggressively prosecuting fraud and abuse.

We will continue to work with Congress as it explores other financing options, and the president is open to ideas about how we finance health care reform. But we are not open to deficit spending. Health care reform will be paid for, and it will be deficit-neutral over 10 years.

Working together, we can pass real health care reform that gives Americans the choices they deserve and the affordable, quality coverage they need. And we know they do not want us to wait. Too many people have suffered without basic medical care or paid too much for it.

For years, the American people have called on Washington to meet this challenge. They have waited long enough. The time for reform is now.»

Obama e a reforma da Saúde: «É mesmo para fazer»

Nem quando o teleponto se parte ele se desmancha...

Estará Hillary demasiado na sombra?

Ainda a entrevista a Anderson Cooper no Gana: Obama sobre o Afeganistão, África e Economia

terça-feira, 14 de julho de 2009

O relatório final da comissão do 11 de Setembro


«The 9-11 Commission Report
Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition


The Commission’s Final Report provides a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. It also includes recommendations designed to guard against future attacks. Below you will find the official Government edition of the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

The Full Report (7 MB, 585 pages) has been made available in its entirety, as a single PDF file. The report is also available as a collection of smaller PDFs arranged in a browse table based on the Final Report's table of contents. An Executive Summary (344 KB, 35 pages) of the Final Report is also available.»

Ler tudo aqui:
http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/911comm.html

(com a devida vénia ao Relações Internacionais, excelente blogue de Ana Cristina Ferreira, já aqui analisado há uns meses)

O 'stimulus package' não está a ser suficiente: 'too low, too slow'


Análise de Julian Zelizer, professor de História na Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, citado no CNNpolitics.com:

«PRINCETON, New Jersey (CNN) -- Vice President Joseph Biden has acknowledged that the $787 billion economic stimulus program has not yet had the impact that the White House was looking for.

"We misread how bad the economy was," Biden said during an interview.

But Biden's account downplays the damaging compromises that the administration made on the stimulus package back in February, as well as the problems that have emerged in implementing the program.

Back in January and February, when the administration and Congress completed their work on the economic stimulus bill, several Democrats and liberal pundits warned that President Barack Obama's stimulus was not going to be enough to revitalize the economy.

While Republicans argued that Congress should do nothing other than cut taxes, Obama's Democratic critics said that another bad scenario was to pass an expensive and highly visible measure that would not actually accomplish the job. This would become a recipe for political attacks down the road, evidence that government can't help achieve economic stability and that President Obama's judgment on policy was suspect.

And there is some early evidence that this scenario is now playing out. According to the most recent Gallup Poll, many of the cherished independent voters in swing states who had shifted toward the Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections are now unhappy with the president's policies.

While President Obama's approval ratings remain at the high level of 56 percent, according to Gallup, these independents are concerned that the president's programs are resulting in too much government spending without achieving clear results.

With two million jobs having been lost since Obama started his presidency, it is difficult for many Americans to react well when Director of the White House National Economic Council Lawrence Summers says, "the stimulus is on track...."

The early criticism is now worth revisiting. When Congress agreed to the final stimulus in February 2009, liberal critics offered two major complaints. The first was that the level of spending in the bill was too low given the dire state of the economy.

"I'm not sure if the $800 billion stimulus plan is adequate to the problem," said Nobel Prize- winning Princeton economist Paul Krugman at Willamette University in January before the final deal had been reached. "We're facing one hell of a crisis and we'll need more than a Band-Aid . . . My guess is that the administration will be back later this year for a second round."

After initially complaining that the stimulus was too small, liberals were then furious when Obama agreed to cuts in the size of the stimulus in response to a small group of Senate centrists.

The second criticism had to do with where the money was directed. The liberal critics argued that the final stimulus bill focused too much on infrastructure programs and tax cuts, with not enough assistance being provided to state and local governments. Cuts in the legislative process eliminated funding for states to help with food stamps, school construction and more.

Finally, there is a problem with the stimulus that did not really become clear until after the bill passed. The implementation has been flawed. Currently, only a small percentage of the stimulus funds has been spent. While countries such as France have immediately made use of their stimulus money, the United States has gone slower.

Rightly concerned about the potential misuse of funds, the administration has moved too far in the direction of delaying the distribution of funds. The government's grinding bureaucratic process has also slowed down progress. And the U.S. relies heavily on third parties rather than directly spending the money.

The stimulus is experiencing problems similar to those of President Franklin Roosevelt's Public Works Administration. In 1933, the PWA was slowed down by administrator Harold Ickes due to concerns about corruption and inefficient projects. Ickes, who believed that PWA faced the "unattainable ideal of administering the greatest fund for construction in the history of the world without scandal," centralized decision-making and insisted on approving virtually every decision personally.

While many of his worries had merit, the White House was unhappy that needed dollars were not getting out the door and into the hands of workers. Roosevelt was fortunate because he could rely on Harry Hopkins and the Federal Emergency Relief Agency, which spent money as quickly as possible. Eventually, despite its problems, the PWA created a lot of jobs and accelerated the development of the South and the West.

As the unemployment rate continues to rise and the stock market swings up and down, it is difficult for many Americans to understand the purpose of allocating so much money but then not spending it as soon as possible. The worse that economic conditions become, the harder it is for existing levels of funding to have their desired impact.

Seeing results is important politically if the White House needs to ask for more money to jump-start the economy. The stimulus has become a litmus test through which to evaluate the president and this problem compounds the challenge of passing health care and other measures sought by Obama.

The best strategy for Obama is not to react as Biden and Summers did. Rather, the best strategy is to fix this. With all the doom and gloom about the president, he still enjoys strong standing with the public, and Democrats remain in a good political position.

It is worth remembering that many of FDR's earliest programs, such as the National Recovery Administration, did not succeed, and others, such as the PWA, experienced some problems during the implementation phase. But in the end, FDR's New Deal is widely considered by most historians to have been a tremendous success

While the economy was not fully revived until World War II, the New Deal provided relief. It significantly and steadily brought down levels of unemployment starting during FDR's first term. The jobless rate dropped from a high of nearly 25 percent in 1932 to just above 9 percent in 1937.

Even if, as some conservatives insist, you somehow consider people who were working in New Deal public works jobs to be jobless -- a dubious claim -- the unemployment rate fell by more than 10 percentage points during this period. The only rise in unemployment occurred in 1937-1938, and that was precipitated by FDR's reducing levels of public spending.

Today, the Obama administration cannot afford to stand still on the stimulus. The time has come to correct what's gone wrong with the existing program by speeding up spending and to consider the possibility of making a politically difficult request for more.»

Obama responde a Anderson Cooper sobre aparentes contradições com Joe Biden sobre a Economia

Será que Obama menosprezou eventuais falhanços do 'stimulus package', como Biden deixou escapar? O Presidente garante que não, em entrevista dada no Gana a Anderson Cooper.

O desastre Dick Cheney, visto por Jim Morin, no Miami Herald

A primeira visita oficial a África: frases fortes de Obama


Barack escolheu o Gana para o apontar como um exemplo de excepção em África, que escapou à corrupção e se mantém como um caso de sucesso. Recusou o discurso paternalista e pôs o dedo na ferida sobre o que tem falhado em África. Mais uma vez, um discurso notável. Começa a ser repetitivo dizer isto sobre Obama, mas continua a ser sempre assim...

«O sangue de África corre-me nas veias e a história da minha família acompanha os triunfos e as tragédias de África»

«A história está do lado dos bravos africanos (que lutam pela democracia), não dos que usam golpes ou mudam constituições para subir ao poder. África não precisa de homens fortes, precisa de instituições fortes»

«África não é uma crua caricatura de um continente em guerra. Mas para demasiados africanos, o conflito é uma parte da vida, tão constante como o sol»

«Há ainda demasiadas crianças a morrer de doenças que não as deviam matar. Quando crianças morrem por causa de uma picada de mosquito, ou quando mães morrem no parto, então sabemos que temos mais progressos a fazer»

«O século XXI será marcado por aquilo que acontecer não apenas em Roma, Moscovo ou Washington, mas também no Gana»

segunda-feira, 13 de julho de 2009

Obama no Gana: momentos que marcaram

Dick Cheney deu instruções à CIA para esconder plano de contraterrorismo


«WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney directed the CIA eight years ago not to inform Congress about a nascent counterterrorism program that CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated in June, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

Subsequent CIA directors did not inform Congress because the intelligence-gathering effort had not developed to the point that they believed merited a congressional briefing, said a former intelligence official and another government official familiar with Panetta's June 24 briefing to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Panetta did not agree.

Upon learning of the program June 23 from within the CIA, Panetta terminated it and the next day called an emergency meeting with the House and Senate Intelligence committees to inform them of the program and that it was canceled.

Cheney played a central role in overseeing the Bush administration's surveillance program that was the subject of an inspectors general report this past week. That report noted that Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington, personally decided who in Bush's inner circle could even know about the secret program.

But revelations about Cheney's role in making decisions for the CIA on whether to notify Congress came as a surprise to some on the committees, said another government official. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program publicly.

An effort to reach Cheney was unsuccessful.

A former intelligence official, who was familiar with former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden's tenure at the CIA, said Hayden never communicated with the president or vice president about the now-canceled program and was under no restrictions from Cheney about congressional briefings. The official said Hayden was briefed only two or three times on the program.

Exactly what the counterterrorism program was meant to do remains a mystery. The former intelligence official said it was not related to the CIA's rendition, interrogation and detention program. Nor was it part of a wider classified electronic surveillance program that was the subject of a government report to Congress this past week.

The official characterized it as an embryonic intelligence gathering effort, and only sporadically active. He said it was hoped to yield intelligence that would be used to conduct a secret mission or missions in another country _ that is, a covert operation. But it never matured to that point.

The government official with direct knowledge of the Panetta briefing and the former intelligence official said the CIA has numerous efforts ongoing under its existing authorities that have not yet been briefed to Congress. He said they are not yet known to be viable for intelligence gathering.

The Cheney revelation comes as the House of Representatives is preparing to debate a bill that would require the White House to expand the number of members who are told about covert operations. The White House has threatened a veto over concerns that wider congressional notifications could compromise the secrecy of the operations.

That provision, however, would have no effect on programs like this one.

The former intelligence official familiar with Hayden said Congress has a right to contemporaneous information about all CIA activities. But he said there are so many in such early stages that briefing Congress on every one would be too time consuming for both the CIA and the congressional committees.

The New York Times initially reported about Cheney's direction not to tell Congress of the program on its Web site Saturday.»

in Huffingtonpost.com

sexta-feira, 10 de julho de 2009

Obama no Vaticano com Bento XVI

Obama e as conclusões do G8

A 'armadilha' do 'stimulus package', por Paul Krugman


Artigo do Prémio Nobel da Economia, no New York Times:

«As soon as the Obama administration-in-waiting announced its stimulus plan — this was before Inauguration Day — some of us worried that the plan would prove inadequate. And we also worried that it might be hard, as a political matter, to come back for another round.

I’ll talk about that trap, and how he can escape it, in a moment. First, however, let me step back and ask how concerned citizens should be reacting to the disappointing economic news. Should we be patient and give the Obama plan time to work? Should we call for bigger, bolder actions? Or should we declare the plan a failure and demand that the administration call the whole thing off?

Before you answer, consider what happens in normal times.

When there’s an ordinary, garden-variety recession, the job of fighting that recession is assigned to the Federal Reserve. The Fed responds by cutting interest rates in an incremental fashion. Reducing rates a bit at a time, it keeps cutting until the economy turns around. At times it pauses to assess the effects of its work; if the economy is still weak, the cutting resumes.

During the last recession, the Fed repeatedly cut rates as the slump deepened — 11 times over the course of 2001. Then, amid early signs of recovery, it paused, giving the rate cuts time to work. When it became clear that the economy still wasn’t growing fast enough to create jobs, more rate cuts followed.

Normally, then, we expect policy makers to respond to bad job numbers with a combination of patience and resolve. They should give existing policies time to work, but they should also consider making those policies stronger.

And that’s what the Obama administration should be doing right now with its fiscal stimulus. (It’s important to remember that the stimulus was necessary because the Fed, having cut rates all the way to zero, has run out of ammunition to fight this slump.) That is, policy makers should stay calm in the face of disappointing early results, recognizing that the plan will take time to deliver its full benefit. But they should also be prepared to add to the stimulus now that it’s clear that the first round wasn’t big enough.

Unfortunately, the politics of fiscal policy are very different from the politics of monetary policy. For the past 30 years, we’ve been told that government spending is bad, and conservative opposition to fiscal stimulus (which might make people think better of government) has been bitter and unrelenting even in the face of the worst slump since the Great Depression. Predictably, then, Republicans — and some Democrats — have treated any bad news as evidence of failure, rather than as a reason to make the policy stronger.

Hence the danger that the Obama administration will find itself caught in a political-economic trap, in which the very weakness of the economy undermines the administration’s ability to respond effectively.

As I said, I was afraid this would happen. But that’s water under the bridge. The question is what the president and his economic team should do now.

It’s perfectly O.K. for the administration to defend what it’s done so far. It’s fine to have Vice President Joseph Biden touring the country, highlighting the many good things the stimulus money is doing.

It’s also reasonable for administration economists to call for patience, and point out, correctly, that the stimulus was never expected to have its full impact this summer, or even this year.

But there’s a difference between defending what you’ve done so far and being defensive. It was disturbing when President Obama walked back Mr. Biden’s admission that the administration “misread” the economy, declaring that “there’s nothing we would have done differently.” There was a whiff of the Bush infallibility complex in that remark, a hint that the current administration might share some of its predecessor’s inability to admit mistakes. And that’s an attitude neither Mr. Obama nor the country can afford.

What Mr. Obama needs to do is level with the American people. He needs to admit that he may not have done enough on the first try. He needs to remind the country that he’s trying to steer the country through a severe economic storm, and that some course adjustments — including, quite possibly, another round of stimulus — may be necessary.

What he needs, in short, is to do for economic policy what he’s already done for race relations and foreign policy — talk to Americans like adults.»

Barómetro semanal: 61 por cento de aprovação


A Taxa de Aprovação de Obama mantém-se acima dos 60 pontos.

Aqui vai a última sondagem CNN/Opinion Research Corporation:

-- Aprovação: 61%
-- Reprovação: 37%

quinta-feira, 9 de julho de 2009

quarta-feira, 8 de julho de 2009

Jogador de xadrez


«Obama é como um jogador de xadrez a jogar em vários tabuleiros e começou o jogo com uma abertura pouco usual. Não discordo da opção. Se quer transmitir ao mundo islâmico a mensagem de que a América tem uma atitude aberta para dialogar e não está limitada a uma única opção, o confronto físico, o discurso pode ser muito útil. Mas, se se continuar convencido de que cada crise pode ser gerida com um discurso filosófico, ficará enredado nos problemas wilsonianos»

HENRY KISSINGER, antigo secretário de Estado dos EUA, em entrevista ao Der Spiegel, citado pelo jornal 'i'

Congresso 2010: será que os democratas vão pagar o preço da crise?


«NEW YORK (CNN) -- They are two presidents from different parties but have striking similarities.

President Obama maintains that investing in key areas such as health care will help stabilize the economy.

Former President Ronald Reagan and current President Obama are incredibly popular, and both faced rising unemployment early on.

Reagan's experience could be instructive for Democrats today; the GOP lost 26 seats in the 1982 elections. Reagan's popularity could not trump double-digit unemployment.

"If we look back at 1982, as soon as the unemployment rate hit 10 percent, there was a political dynamic that changed significantly ... and it became much harder for the incumbent party to be able to make their case," said Daniel Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, an investment strategy and policy research firm.

But Reagan was fighting joblessness, inflation and high interest rates. Obama has a full plate, but inflation and high interest rates are not on it.

Nonetheless, the jobless rate today is at 9.5 percent, which is above the peak of 8 percent the White House predicted earlier this year. The administration now concedes 10 percent is likely in the next couple of months.

While some economists have long forecast jobless rates this high, Vice President Joe Biden now admits that the administration "misread how bad the economy was."

Not exactly, according to the president.

"I would actually -- rather than say misread, we had incomplete information," Obama recently told NBC.

But House Minority Leader John Boehner on Wednesday called both explanations "the greatest fabrication I've seen since I've been in Congress."

"I sat through those meetings at the White House with the president and the vice president, and trust me, there's not one person that sat in those rooms that didn't know how serious our economic crisis was," he said.

The White House has stressed that the mess is not its doing, saying that it inherited the economic problems from the Bush administration.

And the president, officials say, is working quickly to fix the economy by investing in and trying to reform energy, health care and the banking system, and by promoting a historic $787 billion economic stimulus package. Watch more on the rise in green jobs »

But two key questions are emerging: How long will the public be patient and give the president's plans time to work? And how big a price will his party pay next year if the jobless rate tops 10 percent?

Clifton says that at the 10 percent figure, "you probably know multiple people who are unemployed and you begin to worry about if you are going to be unemployed yourself, or maybe your spouse, and it creates an anxiety among voters."

And that anxiety may translate to an opening for Republicans to pounce on.

"The first midterm elections for a president are often referendums on his rule and his performance," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. "If he fails to match public expectations that he's going to fix the economy or if the economy gets worse in the view of the public, that could hurt the Democratic Party very much in 2010."

Tina Brown, co-founder and editor of the DailyBeast.com, said the current economic situation has left Obama vulnerable.

"I think there's a huge vulnerability there. I think that Obama has lost focus, or at any rate made us feel that he's lost focus, which perhaps has more important repercussions."

David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, said that Obama's economic plan disregarded "better ideas that could have gone to work right away" -- which leaves him and Democrats vulnerable.

Democrats, however, have a solid majority in Congress, and it will be more than a year until they face voters again.

In the meantime, the White House will have to convince Americans that things are getting better, or at least not getting worse. Obama has promised to save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs. The economy this year is losing, on average, 564,000 jobs every month, according to statistics.

It is impossible to verify whether the president specifically has saved any. And even if a few hundred thousand stimulus jobs can be created, that would not hold back the flood of private-sector job cuts still expected.

That could make for tricky politics from now through 2010.»

in CNNpolitics.com

Joe Biden: «Reforma da Saúde vem mesmo a caminho»

O lado Palin dos States...


Uma peça de Joe Kovacs, na WorldNetDaily:

«WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Many Americans from coast-to-coast turned Independence Day 2009 into a "counterattack" against what they call the high-spending, freedom-shrinking policies of President Barack Obama and members of Congress, irrespective of party affiliation.

With some 2,000 rallies taking place in all 50 states, cities such as West Palm Beach, Fla., were typical of the angst vented against recent government action.

Approximately 1,000 people turned out in this affluent region for an evening featuring brief speeches and hundreds of homemade signs.

Among those carrying a placard was Barbara Allen of Juno Beach, Fla.

"We have the wrong people in Congress right now," Allen told WND. "There's 535 of them and there's a lot of bad guys in there on a bad mission and we need to counterattack and get 'em out. The bad mission is we're gonna be in a state of socialism here if we don't stop this nonsense of spending [and] spending."

She stressed the tea partiers, who take their name from the 1773 Boston Tea Party, are promoting the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

"We're about common sense. We're not about Democrat, Republican, Libertarian. We want our freedom. We don't want to lose our freedom."

The holiday get-together was a follow-up to the first national tea party that took place on April 15, the deadline to file federal income tax returns.

Yesterday's event attracted participants of all ages, including Jenna Wessels, 18, of Fort Lauderdale, and her 19-year-old sister, Katie. They and their father, David Wessels, were inspired to take part in two South Florida tea parties the same day.

Katie and Jenna Wessels of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., take a stand against higher taxes at the West Palm Beach tea party July 4, 2009 (WND photo / Joe Kovacs)

"America needs to wake up and realize what's going on with our country," Jenna said.

"They're not going to be able to afford anything after they get taxed," added Katie. "Our generation is going to be even more in debt than they already are."

Val Anderson of Lake Worth, Fla., said he showed up to protest "the excessive, obscene government spending."

Referring to higher taxes on the way, he sported a suggestive sign reading, "Bend over, here it comes."

"If the cap and trade bill is passed, the taxes on your light bill can go up from $800 to $1,000 a month and your house will have to meet the new green standards if you're a homeowner," he said. "If you can't afford it, what are you going to do? Another government program to pay for it? How much money do we have to put out? How far does government have to go into out lives and we don't have a lot of choices?"

Lisa Fay and Mern Direnzo of Jupiter, Fla., indicated they were fed up with what they feel is a clear government push toward socialism.

"All of his policies seem to lead that way and it has failed in every other country that it's been tried in, and we cannot afford it," Fay told WND.

"Every day they come up with something new to oppress the people," Direnzo added. "Health care, making us have our houses inspected to sell them, putting in light bulbs that we don't want to put in."

Juno Copley of West Palm Beach said she showed up "to protest what the 'Obamanation' is doing to us as American citizens."

"We feel that he's trying to tax us out of the ballpark, and we think he's trying to take over and be a dictator just like in South America and Honduras," she said. "We think he's inexperienced and sophomoric and doesn't know what he'd doing and he's got the Congress diddling along right behind him for their own benefits."

Her fellow city resident, Michael Angelo Pancia, elaborated on the "dictatorship" theme.

"Obama and the Democrats are starting to act like the Kremlin," Pancia said. "They're going to tell us what we can eat, what we can do. They're going to tell us how to run our lives, and we don't want it."

Did the event give people hope their concerns would be addressed?

"I'll be optimistic in four years when [Obama's] out of office," said Chris Zoeller of Jupiter. He's a one-term president."

After voicing their opinions among themselves, the tea partiers then paraded into a nearby section of the city where a traditional Independence Day celebration was taking place with music and fireworks.

Some onlookers appeared surprised, as they watched with open jaws as they read the messages on the tea party signs.

One man apparently upset by the demonstration shouted, "Stop politicizing the Fourth of July!"

Some 50 miles north of West Palm Beach, some ralliers at a tea party in Port St. Lucie, Fla., claimed the city was harassing them by posting its own sign in front of their displays in "Section B" of a Freedomfest celebration.

The city's sign stated: "The city of Port St. Lucie does not endorse, support, or condone the views or products of the organizations or individuals in this section. However we are required to make this space available to avoid the cost of litigation in reference to Section B."

A member of the Treasure Coast Tea Party who posted video on YouTube called Port St. Lucie's sign "atrocious."»

Obama comenta visita à Rússia

terça-feira, 7 de julho de 2009

O discurso de Obama na Escola Superior de Economia de Moscovo

Mais um grande discurso de Obama, agora em Moscovo


Na Escola Superior de Economia, em Moscovo, o Presidente dos EUA falou na necessidade de uma «Rússia forte, mas pacífica».

«MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- A strong Russia is good for the United States, President Obama said Tuesday in a speech in Moscow, which he is visiting in an effort to "reset" the countries' relations.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, greet graduates at the New Economic School on Tuesday.

1 of 3 Addressing an audience including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and graduates at a Moscow business school, Obama said Washington wants to work in partnership with a "strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia."

"This belief is rooted in our respect for the Russian people, and a shared history between our nations that goes beyond competition," he said.

On Monday, Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and concluded a series of agreements -- including one on nuclear arms reduction -- as part of an effort to strengthen ties between the former Cold War rivals. Watch Obama's full opening statement in Russia »

The two-day summit in Moscow was needed to help "reset" a relationship that, according to Obama, "has suffered from a sense of drift" in recent years.

The president reiterated that in his speech Tuesday.

"This must be more than a fresh start between the Kremlin and the White House, though that is important. ... It must be a sustained effort among the American and Russian people to identify mutual interests, and to expand dialogue and cooperation that can pave the way to progress."

Obama was due to meet with Medvedev again Tuesday, and with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, before heading to Italy for the Group of Eight summit. The G-8 agenda is packed with issues including Iran, the global financial crisis, climate change and world poverty.

Medvedev and Obama on Monday signed a deal on parameters for negotiations to replace the Start treaty, with the goal of reducing nuclear weapons. The Start treaty expires December 5. Watch Obama discuss arms control pact »

Under Monday's agreement, Russia and the United States will reduce their strategic warheads to a range of 1,500 to 1,675, and their strategic delivery vehicles to a range of 500 to 1,100. The new numbers would be a reduction from the expiring Start treaty which allowed 2,200 warheads and 1,600 launch vehicles.

After his speech, Obama sat down with CNN's senior White House correspondent Ed Henry for a brief interview.

Obama spoke about a range of issues including relations with Iran and Michael Jackson's legacy.

On Iran, Obama reiterated statements he had made recently about the post-election protests in the country.

"Events in recent weeks have disturbed the world. They are not only heartbreaking, but raise questions over where leaders want to take the country," Obama said. "We have to wait and see how the dust settles. But we have to speak out and say that the Iranian people have to be treated with justice."


The president also spoke about the legacy of Michael Jackson, on the day of the pop star's public memorial program.

"No doubt he was one of the greatest entertainers of our or any generation. Like Elvis, Sinatra, the Beatles, he became a core part of our culture," Obama said. "His extraordinary talent and music was mixed with a big dose of tragedy in private life. It is important for us to affirm the best of him."»

in CNNpolitics.com

Sarah Palin: «Sou uma lutadora, não sou uma desistente»

domingo, 5 de julho de 2009

Obama visita a Rússia pela primeira vez


O Presidente dos EUA vai encontrar-se com o seu homólogo Medvedev e, antes de partir para Moscovo, teve frase curiosa, à AP: «Putin ainda vê as coisas numa lógica de guerra fria. Com Medvedev, acredito que poderemos olhar para o futuro».

Quem disse que Barack Obama não tem coragem de fazer rupturas?

Um artigo de Steven Hurst, na Associated Press:

«Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev end a seven-year hiatus in U.S.-Russian summitry on Monday, with both men declaring their determination to further cut nuclear arsenals and repair a badly damaged relationship.

Both sides appear to want to use progress on arms control as a pathway into possible agreement on other, far trickier issues — like Iran and the tiny country of Georgia, a former Soviet republic. Those difficulties and many others have soured a promising linkage in the first years after the Cold War and pushed ties between Moscow and Washington to depths not seen in more than two decades.

Obama arrives here Monday afternoon, the first stop on a weeklong trip that will also take him to Italy and Ghana.

"It's not, in our view, a zero-sum game, that if it's two points for Russia it's negative two for us, but there are ways that we can cooperate to advance our interests and, at the same time, do things with the Russians that are good for them, as well," Obama's top assistant on Russia, Michael McFaul, said in a pre-summit briefing.

He seemed to be of one mind with the Russian leader, Medvedev.

"Russia and America need new, common, mutually beneficial projects in business, science and culture," the Russian president said in his weekly Internet address. "I hope that this sincere desire to open a new chapter in Russian-American cooperation will be brought into fruition."

Two things appear certain to be on the agenda:

-- The Russians have said they will agree to allow the United States to use their territory and air space to move munitions and arms to U.S. and NATO forces fighting Taliban Islamic extremists in Afghanistan. The Kremlin announced the deal three-days before the summit as a significant sweetener for Obama.

-- A directive by both presidents for negotiators to work on a nuclear agreement that would further reduce warheads and replace the 1991 START I accord that expires Dec. 5. Both sides are agreed in principle to cut warheads from more than 2,000 each to as low as 1,500 apiece.

Those deals are likely to be announced at an Obama-Medvedev news conference.»