O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;

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Mostrando postagens com marcador Washington Post. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Washington Post. Mostrar todas as postagens

sexta-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2020

USA: o declínio de uma grande democracia - Ishaan Tharoor (WP)

Trump’s authoritarian style is remaking America

Ishaan Tharoor
The Washington Post, February 13, 2020

President Trump speaks at a rally Feb. 10 in Manchester, N.H. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump speaks at a rally Feb. 10 in Manchester, N.H. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Over the course of his presidency, there have been myriad warnings about President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. He has played to the fears of his critics by blowing past the republic’s increasingly creaky system of checks and balances. And with the aid of a right-wing echo chamber, he has pushed forward a narrative that conflates national interest with his personal gainpatriotism with unflinching loyaltyto the occupant of the Oval Office.
As Trump embarks on a reelection campaign and basks in the aftermath of the Senate impeachment trial — in which, thanks to a Republican Party wholly captured by Trumpism, acquittal was seemingly always a fait accompli — he is adding to the strains on America’s polarized democracy. His calls this week for prosecutions of his perceived enemies and public attacks on federal judges and prosecutors involved in cases against his allies were so abnormal that it led to an unlikely rebuke from Attorney General William P. Barr, a Cabinet official largely viewed by Trump’s opponents as shamefully acquiescent.
The Washington Post’s White House reporters described a president“simmering with rage, fixated on exacting revenge against those he feels betrayed him and insulated by a compliant Republican Party.” He is willing to test the rule of law even further and is comfortable doing so, they reported, “to the point of feeling untouchable.”
“If a president can meddle in a criminal case to help a friend, then there’s nothing that keeps him from meddling to harm someone he thinks is his enemy,” Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney, told my colleagues. “That means that a president is fully above the law in the most dangerous kind of way. This is how democracies die.”
 
The president’s demagoguery has left a deep mark on American society. An investigation by my colleagues sifted through 28,000 reports of bullying in U.S. schools and found hundreds of incidents in which Trump-inspired rhetoric was used to harass children, especially students from Hispanic, black or Muslim backgrounds.
“Since Trump’s rise to the nation’s highest office, his inflammatory language — often condemned as racist and xenophobic — has seeped into schools across America,” my colleagues wrote. “Many bullies now target other children differently than they used to, with kids as young as 6 mimicking the president’s insults and the cruel way he delivers them.”
This unsettling trend speaks of a deeper malaise and entrenched divisions. David Roberts at Vox argued that the United States is in the grips of an “epistemic” crisis: A decades-long right-wing project to create its own media bubble cemented a polarized political reality in which rival camps can’t even agree on the facts of their disagreements.
“That is what a tribalist like Trump wants: for communication and compromise across tribal lines to become impossible, so that loyalty becomes the only measure and everything is reduced to pure struggle for dominance,” Roberts wrote.
Lawmakers are still trying to check Trump’s power. On Thursday, every Democratic senator and eight Republicans in the Senate passed a resolution to curb Trump’s ability to order future strikes against Iran. But Trump is almost certain to veto the latest effort by Congress to assert its oversight authority over an emboldened executive.
Former Trump administration officials have emerged in public to criticize the president’s behavior and policies, including former White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday. Myriad Republican politicians and operatives in private bemoan Trump’s hold on the party, but few are willing to risk overt dissent. Those who do are dragged through the coals by Trump and his loyalists.
“The Republican Party is betraying democracy, and these are historical times,” Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor and author of “How Fascism Works,” told Business Insider. “The Republican Party has shown that it has no interest in multi-party democracy. … They are much more concerned with power, with consolidating power.”
The ruling party’s cynicism has engendered visions on the left of its wholesale defeat.
“The Republican Party is now a reliable opponent of equality and a malignant force in American life — a cancer within a patient in denial about the nature and severity of her condition,” wrote the New Republic’s Osita Nwanevu. “It should be not only defeated but destroyed — vanquished from the American political scene with a finality that can only be assured not by electoral politics or structural reforms alone, but by a moral crusade.”
This is, of course, hardly the first time the United States has been so divided. An important piece in the New Yorker by Harvard historian Jill Lepore examined the sense of democratic crisis that was felt by many Americans in the 1930s. She details the astonishing New Deal-era civic engagement that took place in response, the profusion of debates, publicly backed artistic projects, town halls and radio shows that drew in millions around the country.
“Our wisdom or ignorance stands in the way of our accepting the totalitarian assumption of Omniscience,” the historian Charles Beard argued at the time, when explaining how Americans would resist the pull of communism or fascism. “And to this extent it contributes to the continuance of the arguing, debating, never-settling-anything-finally methods of political democracy.”
 
There’s plenty of arguing now in America, but it’s hard to see any glimmers of civic reconciliation.

quarta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2013

Programa nuclear iraniano: o coracao da materia -- Mark Hibbs entrevistado por Max Fisher

A nuclear expert explains, in very basic language, the science at the heart of Iranian nuclear talks


The Washington Post Blog, November 12 at 7:00 am

Iran's ongoing negotiations with world powers over its nuclear program, most recently this weekend in Geneva, have not yet resulted in a deal. This weekend's talks fell through, according to some reports, because French representatives worried about how the agreement would have dealt with Iran's nuclear facility at Arak.

The details of the facility, how it works and why it's so controversial can be confusing. To get a better understanding of it and the other scientific issues at the heart of this very political process, I talked to Mark Hibbs. As a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's nuclear policy program, Hibbs understands both the science of the Iranian program and the politics around those scientific issues. A lightly edited and compressed transcript of our phone conversation follows.

Can you explain to me, very simply, what are the main technical issues in these negotiations with Iran? In other words, what are they negotiating over?
The two main parts that are of concern are the uranium enrichment program and the heavy-water reactor [in the city of Arak].
Can you explain the dispute over uranium enrichment first?
The question is, how much enrichment should an agreement with Iran permit Iran to do? What would be the enrichment level? Where would Iran be permitted to do the enrichment, and, finally, what happens to the enriched uranium when it comes out of the enrichment plant?
Iran has been building up an inventory of enriched uranium. Most of it is 3 percent enriched or 5 percent enriched. It's "low enriched" uranium fuel, at the level of enrichment that normally is used for normal nuclear power reactors, like the reactor Iran has at Bushehr. There is a small nuclear inventory that Iran is enriching at [its nuclear facility at] Fordow, at a second enrichment plant, and that's enriched to 20 percent. And the problem is that 20 percent enriched uranium. The amount of work that's necessary, the amount of processing of the uranium to enrich it to 20 percent, that gets you most of the way there to enrich it further to 90 percent, which is what you would want for a nuclear weapon. The concern is that there has been, in recent years, a small but growing amount of 20 percent enriched uranium, which is the focus of a great deal of tension in this negotiation, because that would be the inventory that's closest to bomb grade.
They have slowed down the accumulation of this 20 percent enriched uranium. They've slowed it down to a crawl, and they haven't crossed that line. That is an indication that Iran is aware that this is a sensitive matter. That being said, in a negotiation to try to solve the Iranian crisis, the powers negotiating with Iran want to eliminate this threat. They want all of the 20 percent enriched uranium removed, converted to other nuclear materials that can't be readily accessible. And there hasn't been a discussion on it on how best to do that.
Most of the time, since about 2006, the countries negotiating with Iran have been preoccupied primarily with schemes to get that 20 percent uranium out of the country, and more recently there has been a discussion about an alternative approach which is to take the 20 percent enriched-uranium inventory and convert it into an oxide form, which would be less accessible in the sense that Iran would have to take a number of processing steps to convert that back again into metal.
The French are involved in that; the Americans are involved in that. Politically, ultimately it has to do with what you believe to be Iran's intentions. Technically, it has to do with what your assessment is about Iran's capabilities, the question of would Iran be able to reconvert the uranium, how quickly would Iran be able to do that and would they be able to do it fast enough that they wouldn't be detected.
What about Iran's heavy-water reactor in the city of Arak? Some reporting suggests that the negotiations in Geneva fell apart because the French didn't think the agreement was tough enough on this reactor. What does a heavy-water reactor do, and why is this one so controversial?
Okay, I am going to walk you through some basic science. [Laughs] The uranium fuel in the reactor core is surrounded by what's called a "moderator." The moderator in most reactors is water. For example, in a power reactor that makes electricity, there is enriched light-enriched uranium surrounded by a water moderator, which permits the nuclear reaction to happen. In the case of this Iranian reactor, the moderator is not normal water, it's heavy water. Heavy water is water for which the hydrogen isotope has a proton and a neutron, instead of just a proton, making it denser. You can make it through several chemical processes.
Heavy water moderates the reactor less efficiently than the normal, light water does. What that means for the reaction is that the deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen, absorbs fewer neutrons, which are released spontaneously by the fuel in the system. It means that there's going to be a lot more neutrons in that nuclear system, in the core of that reactor. That means that the natural uranium fuel, which is to a large extent over 70 percent of the uranium in that fuel, is isotope U-238.
The excess neutrons in that system get absorbed by that natural uranium. They absorb the neutrons and it transmutes the uranium into plutonium-239, so you're creating plutonium by doing that. That's what you're doing in your reactor. The heavy water permits the reactor in Iran, or will permit the reactor in Iran, to be very efficient at producing plutonium.
Which is used for making nuclear weapons.
Correct. The design of the reactor is considered a red flag for nonproliferators. They see the heavy water, together with the use of the natural uranium fuel, the U-238 in the fuel, as a red flag. It's a reactor that can be very efficiently used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
This gets to the heart of the problem. The United States has a very firm position about this. It has taken the view that the reactor in Iran is a bomb factory. The Iranian narrative says the reactor is supposed to be used for medical isotope production and for general research.
Who's right?
In a sense the problem that the negotiators have about this project is that both of them are right. The reactor can be used to make bombs, but it's also perfectly suitable for a large number of peaceful-use applications.
What this problem reveals is a disconnect between the nonproliferation community, which sees the heavy water reactor and its neutrons as a threat because they can be used to make bombs, and then you have the nuclear research community, academic people mostly, who use heavy water reactors in many countries to produce neutrons that they need for new nuclear research. So nuclear researchers will tell you that the most valuable reactors in the world are those that create the most neutrons, and in fact these heavy water reactors do that.
But if you take the position as the U.S. government has taken, that there is no justification for this reactor in Iran other than making bombs, then there's no way that you could justify a solution that would permit Iran at the end of the day to have this reactor.
But Iran says it doesn't want a nuclear weapon, so presumably its position is that it should be allowed to keep the reactor.
Iran will make the argument that it should have the reactor, because the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog] is inspecting everything in Iran. And Iran has agreed to implement a so-called Additional Protocol, which is an agreement that provides a far greater level of IAEA intrusiveness into the program. So the Iranians will argue, "If we're demonstrating our nonproliferation bona fides to you, to the IAEA, then you should let us have the reactor."
So what was the big disagreement over Arak? Some reports say that the deal at Geneva this weekend fell through because the French diplomats had some concerns about how it would deal with the Arak reactor.
The French were not satisfied that this agreement really addressed the future of this reactor. The French were saying, "What we want to see happen is for the Iranians to agree not to do any more work on this reactor for six months or more. And during this period of time, we will sit down with Iran and we'll discuss how to go forward about the long-term future of this project."
What we have heard is that the preliminary agreement that had been discussed was that Iran had agreed not to start up the reactor for six months. And if that's the case, that wouldn't suffice. That reactor probably cannot be started up anyway during the next six months, because the Iranians are having trouble finishing the project. They're under sanctions and there's things that are missing. So they can't finish it.
In other words, if Iran had agreed not to start up the reactor for six months, that would have been pretty meaningless since they probably weren't going to be able to do that anyway.
That's why I think that in the longer term, when we look at this in a week or so, maybe in a couple of weeks, we'll look back and we'll see the French intervention is something which was constructive and positive. And it's not something that happened because a few people in a negotiating team weren't happy for one reason or another. I think there are issues here that have to be addressed.


Max Fisher is the Post's foreign affairs blogger. He has a master's degree in security studies from Johns Hopkins University. Sign up for his daily newsletter here. Also, follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

sábado, 12 de outubro de 2013

Brasil: um pais rico que financia os pobres americanos; o Tesouroagradece...

Não o nosso Tesouro, claro, mas o deles.
O nosso torra pelo menos 35 bilhões de dólares por ano -- repito: US $ 35.000.000.000 -- para manter essas reservas remuneradas a 2,5% ao ano, emitindo títulos da dívida pública brasileira que ele remunera a 10% na média.
Quem é o estúpido nessa história?
Paulo Roberto de Almeida


WorldViews

This surprising chart shows which countries own the most U.S. debt


It's no secret that China is the world's largest foreign holder of U.S. debt – and that Beijing is, for this reason, expressing a lot of concern about the U.S. shutdown and now possible default that could significantly devalue their investment. This chart, of foreign debt-holders by country, really drives home why China is so preoccupied with our internal squabbles. They've got $1.28 trillion riding on the U.S. economy. Move your cursor over the chart to see who holds how much debt:
The depth of China's investment in the United States is also a reminder of how closely the two economies are linked, and the degree to which any U.S. setback also harms China, which is just emerging from its own very different sort of debt crisis.
This chart is also an important reminder, though, that China is not, as it's so often described, "America's banker." China holds the largest share of U.S. debt but less than a quarter of the total $5.6 trillion in foreign-held debt.
And China's share is not the largest by a very wide margin; Japan has $1.14 billion worth, which is pretty close to China's investment. You might be surprised by that, given how little we talk about Japan's investment in U.S. Treasury securities, versus China's. While we heard a lot of similarly scary rhetoric in the 1990s about how Japan was "taking over" the United States, we've come to accept the idea that Japan investing in our economy is just a financial decision – and a vote of confidence in American wealth – rather than part of any nefarious plot to control us from afar.
When Japan's finance minister urged the U.S. to avoid defaulting on its loans this week, we took it as a serious warning, as opposed to construing as "scolding" the similar sentiments from our "Chinese bankers." Of course, the U.S. has a much friendlier political relationship with Tokyo than it does with Beijing, which goes a long way to explaining why we see it so differently, but China doesn't want to see its investment tank any more than Japan does.
The third-highest foreign holder of U.S. debt is Brazil, with $256 billion. European countries hold about $1 trillion in combined U.S. debt; $1.14 trillion if you include Russia. The largest holder of U.S. debt is, of course, the United States itself; the majority is American-owned.

quarta-feira, 29 de maio de 2013

Venezuela = Iraque? - zona de guerra para o Departamento de Estado

A notícia certamente não é uma surpresa, mas talvez ajude a convencer burocratas em vários serviços diplomáticos do mundo a conceder um adicional de risco, e proteção ampliada, para quem trabalha em Caracas, ou na Venezuela, de maneira geral.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida


Two U.S. embassy personnel were wounded by gunfire outside a Caracas night spot early Tuesday morning, according to the State Department. The details of the incident are unclear, but it draws attention to the Venezuelan capital's high crime rate . (Washington Post)

State Dept. report for Caracas personnel: Crime level ‘critical’

A Venezuelan soldier stands during a patrol at the slum of Petare in Caracas May 23, 2013. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sent some 3,000 troops into the streets of the capital of Caracas to crack down on rampant crime that has made the OPEC nation one of the most dangerous in the world. The "Secure Fatherland" plan is a new effort to lower violent crime following close to 20 similar attempts during the 14-year rule of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
A Venezuelan soldier patrols the Petare slum in Caracas on May 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Two U.S. embassy personnel were wounded by gunfire outside a Caracas night spotearly Tuesday morning, according to the State Department. The details of the incident are unclear, but it draws attention to the Venezuelan capital’s high crime rate .
According to the AP and State Department spokesman William Ostick, the two embassy workers were injured at ”some sort of social spot” — a nightclub, according to several reports in the American press, and a popular strip club called Angelus, according to local journalists. Wherever they were, they received non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to recover. Ostick would not specify the injuries. According to AP, a police spokesman said one was wounded in the leg and abdomen, and the other in the abdomen.
Caracas retains the dubious distinction of being “the world’s murder capital” —Reuters reports that its murder rate, at upwards of 55.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, is one of the highest in the world. There are more than 15 million illegal weapons in the country, according to a 2011 State Department report. Crime has gotten so bad, in fact, that President Nicholas Maduro sent 3,000 soldiers into the streets to establish checkpoints earlier this month, and promised to wage war on TV shows that promote a “cult of weapons.
Violence has bled from Caracas’s slums — where the State Department bans embassy employees from so much as driving, unless they’re on a highway — into its more affluent neighborhoods, like the upper-middle-class residential district where the embassy employees were injured Tuesday morning.
That neighborhood, Chacao, is home to a mall and a number of government employees, both Venezuelan and American. (A 2011 report by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security says the majority of embassy personnel live in Chacao, Baruta or El Hatillo.) But even in those areas, the bureau warns, “armed robberies continue to occur regularly, day or night,” and other crimes against foreigners, such as kidnaps for ransom, have become more common.
The neighborhood falls in what the U.S. Embassy in Caracas calls “the orange zone,” or an area where direct-hire personnel are discouraged from travelling after 8 p.m. and before 6 a.m.
The bureau further warns diplomatic personnel not to wear valuables, use international credit cards or take public transportation in Caracas, especially to or from the airport:
Embassy employees and visitors have been robbed at gunpoint while walking on the street and while driving. The high volume of vehicular traffic, combined with the poor conditions of roads, has created major traffic problems within Caracas. Armed bandits patrolling the streets on motorcycles prey on potential victims waiting at traffic lights or stuck in heavy traffic.
To sum up the State Deparment’s most recent assessment for employees, “the criminal threat level for Caracas is CRITICAL.”
Of course, until the State Department or a local police agency releases a more detailed statement, it’s impossible to know what happened Tuesday morning.


terça-feira, 28 de maio de 2013

Grandezas e tragedias da educacao superior nos EUA: discurso de formatura - Richard Cohen


Richard Cohen
Richard Cohen
Opinion Writer

The richness of learning



President Jones, members of the faculty, assorted notables, proud parents and financially indebted graduates. I come before you on this auspicious day to say something about the degree you have just been awarded. You have been told it is not worth the papyrus it is printed on. I am here to tell you it is worth a fortune.
In preparing for this commencement speech, I assembled a file of newspaper stories about the cost of college, the burden of student debt and how much you can expect to earn in your first year after graduation — assuming, of course, that you can even find a job. The numbers are daunting. Unless you are graduating from one of those name-brand elite institutions — Harvard, Yale, etc. — you’re probably not going to make much your first year out. In fact, we now have many examples ofcommunity college graduates earning more than those with bachelor’s degrees. In Virginia, the difference can be $20,000 a year.


What’s more, people often come out of school burdened with debt — about $24,810 on average, but an astounding $41,230 in Washington, D.C., where many residents have advanced degrees. This is hardly small change, of course, but aside from Washington, we are talking the price of a new car — without the premium package. This is a debt your average young person gladly takes on without whining to Congress. I add that just to provide some perspective and get you riled up.
The figures concerning salaries and debt are not to be dismissed. But they, too, need some perspective. College, after all, is not solely about earning power — although you are forgiven for not knowing this. College, believe it or not, is about education — and that, boys and girls, is not something you can put a number on. Let me give you a word: anthropology.
This is a word I’m not sure I ever heard in high school. But when I got to college, I had to take a year of it to satisfy a science requirement. I did one semester of physical anthropology and one of cultural — and about 40 years of both ever since. I became enthralled with the study of evolution, with paleontology, with my pal Australopithecus africanus and with the “sexing” and “racing” of skulls. Give me a good skull and to this day I can give you the sex and the race of the dearly deceased. I was CSI Cohen before there was CSI anything.
I still keep up with anthropology. I try to stay somewhat current in sociology and psychology, my major and minor before I lost my way and took up journalism — and I do these things not for credit but for fun. College taught me how to have fun with knowledge. It enriched my life in ways that cannot be quantified. I came out of college with a debt, but my real debt was to my professors.
When I wanted to become a writer, I found teachers who showed me how. One of them, John Tebbel, a former newspaperman turned author, took me aside. He praised. He criticized. This is how it’s done, kid. The man changed my life.
See, this is the part of college no one talks about anymore. It’s all about numbers — what it costs and what you can earn. It’s all about a financial investment — how much in and how much out, as if value is always about money. But there’s value in the discovery of fine art or cinema or literature or. . . anthropology. And — very important — you will get an overview of the world, not just your little area but all the rest. This will make you a better citizen, which is nice, and will give you greater control of your life, which is also nice.
About a month ago, a hostess at a dinner party asked the table what college had done for them. Absolutely nothing, one person instantly responded. I braced for a cascade of negativity, but to my surprise it never came. Guest after guest praised their education and how it had made them a richer, happier person. I was gratified.
I know what you’re thinking: It’s fine for you to say, Cohen. You’ve got yours. You’re not poor and scratching for a job. True enough. But you will find truth in the cliche that money cannot buy happiness. This has been the case for thousands of years — or, as I like to put it, since Australopithecus africanus.
You can Google that.
Read more from Richard Cohen’s archive.

domingo, 12 de maio de 2013

Dia das maes: tres vivas para a adocao (Washington Post)

Apoio totalmente a ideia de se valorizar a gestaçāo-adoção como uma das melhores ações que se possa pensar em apoio a casais que buscam desesperadamente um filho e para evitar o recurso ao aborto ou à maternidade sem pai, afligindo jovens mulheres que se tornaram grávidas e que serão mães sem o desejar.
Minha homenagem às mães, a todas as mães...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

A Mother’s Day plea to stop equating adoption with abandonment


Nina Easton is Fortune magazine’s Washington columnist and a Fox News analyst.
The Washington Post, 10/05/2013
In today’s America, a single woman facing a surprise pregnancy is likely to consider just two options: abortion or single motherhood. The third choice, adoption, carries such a social stigma that domestic placement of infants has plummeted — even as the number of parents desperate for a baby grows.
Birth mothers choose life, and a family, for their child. But this choice is rarely celebrated. Women routinely face family, friends and even health-care providers who think that adoption equals abandonment, according to researchers and conversations with birth mothers. “Just look at the language people use: ‘She’s giving up her baby,’ ” says Kathy Kunkel, founder of the Utah-based agency A Act of Love. “In fact, a birth mother is choosing a good home for her baby.”
Birth mothers in the United States each year number in only the thousands, compared with approximately 1.2 million abortions performed annually, according toGuttmacher Institute estimates, and 1.4 million unexpected unwed births each year. Women bucking the cultural tide generally do not publicize their choice. They are much more willing to admit they have terminated a pregnancy, adoption advocates say, than to say they have placed a live newborn with loving parents.
This cultural bias infuses the guidance women receive. Just 1 percent of pregnant women who seek counseling, whether at a church-backed pregnancy crisis center or a clinic where abortions are performed, walk out with an adoption referral, according to the National Council for Adoption. And as council President Charles Johnson told me in an interview: “Your decision is only as good as the information you’re given.”
Russia’s recent ban on adoptions by American parents has drawn attention to the troubled state of international programs, but the U.S. adoption system is also in crisis. Reliable data on American babies placed for adoption are difficult to find. Figures from the adoption councilthat are five years old suggest that annually there are about 18,000 children up to age 2. Only some of those are newborns.
A woman’s decision to carry a baby to term knowing that she will not reap the fruits of motherhood should be treated as an act of bravery and selflessness — the ultimate standards of good motherhood. How did it come to be considered an act of shame?
The numbers offer some insights. Domestic adoptions peaked in 1971 at 90,000 a year — and began a dramatic decline after the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made abortion legal. Whereas abortion silences the trauma of unexpected pregnancy, birth-mothering trumpets it. Carrying a baby to term invites intrusive questions from friends and strangers alike, and admitting that you are not keeping your baby may incite hostility.
Single motherhood, meanwhile, has become socially acceptable. A majority of births to women under 30 now occur outside marriage. Plenty of single moms carry that off, but what of those who end up in a destructive cycle of poverty, government dependency or abusive partners?
The stigma of adoption even extends to some pro-life evangelical quarters, where, Johnson notes, abortion is cause for seeking forgiveness and moving on, but adoption means giving up on your faith — and your baby. During his years training pro-life counselors at pregnancy crisis centers across the nation, Johnson told me, he would invoke the names of inspiring adoptees from the Bible, including Moses, to make his case.
Tears ran down Adria Anderson’s cheeks as she recounted last month — publicly for the first time — her decision to terminate her surprise pregnancy three years ago. She was too young to raise a child on her own, she explained when we met, and abortion seemed the least bad option. Now it’s a decision she will always regret. “No one ever talked about adoption,” she recalled.
Anderson is helping to lead the adoption council campaign geared toward birth mothers, atIChooseAdoption.org. “I want to make sure no one has to feel the pain that I do,” she says. “I want to feel proud about the choice I made.”
A full accounting of adoption as an option would not underestimate its emotional challenges — the grief and loss for birth mothers, the uncertainties for adoptive parents operating under a patchwork of state laws. But commonly held myths about domestic adoption would be dispelled. The super-secret affairs of old are largely gone; rather, birth mothers typically choose the family, and adoptive parents share letters and pictures. The baby’s future does not disappear into a black hole.
Adoption should be an empowering option for young women in crisis, knowing that the people around them — family, friends, church — will respect their choice. On this Mother’s Day, I’ll be celebrating the courage of the birth mother who gave our daughter the gift of life — and gave my husband and me the greatest joy of our marriage.

segunda-feira, 2 de agosto de 2010

O aquecimento global existe, ao que parece -- Editorial do WP

O Washington Post publica um editorial reforçando a posição dos "aquecimentistas" (desculpem o nome que acabo de inventar; eu sou um cético desabusado...) e reforçando o campo dos cientistas que batalham sob o calor...
Resta saber o que pretendem fazer os partidários da tese: todo esforço de contenção será rigorosamente inútil, ao que parece. Antes de se inverterem as tendências, talvez tenhamos, naturalmente, algum desaquecimento global.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

The truth about global warming
Editorial - Washington Post
Monday, August 2, 2010

IN A DEPRESSING case of irony by juxtaposition, the death of climate change legislation in the Senate has been followed by the appearance of two government reports in the past week that underscore the overwhelming scientific case for global warming -- and go out of the way to repudiate skeptics.

First came a report on global climate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which confirmed that the 2000s were by far the warmest decade in the instrumental record -- as were, in their turns, the 1980s and the 1990s. Unlike year-to-year fluctuations, these 10-year shifts are statistically significant. Further, the report notes that it derived its conclusions from an array of data sources -- not just the land-surface readings that doubters challenge -- from ocean heat uptake to melting land ice to sea level rise.

"If the land surface records were systematically flawed and the globe had not really warmed, then it would be almost impossible to explain the concurrent changes in this wide range of indicators produced by many independent groups," the report said. "The warming of the climate system is unequivocal." The gases most likely responsible for that warming, such as carbon dioxide, continue to accumulate.

Second was a strongly worded response from the Environmental Protection Agency to petitions that it revoke its finding that "climate change is real, is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities and threatens human health and environment." As with much climate-change skepticism, the petitions were based "on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. Among other things, the agency reviewed every document from the "Climategate" e-mail hack at a respected British climate research unit. The EPA found what four other independent studies did: that the e-mails contained some "candid" language but nothing that seriously discredits the scientific consensus on global warming.

Perhaps it is still too much to hope that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II will call off his misguided investigation of climate scientist Michael Mann, which seems to be based on the e-mail affair. Many climate-change skeptics will simply dismiss these reports as more evidence of a sprawling conspiracy instead of what they really are: yet more affirmation of the risks humanity runs if it continues to pump carbon into the atmosphere.

terça-feira, 20 de julho de 2010

Top Secret America - Washington Post

O jornal Washington Post criou uma seção, melhor dizer um programa inteiro dedicado aos esforços oficiais dos Estados Unidos na luta contra o terror:

A Secret America: a Washington Post Investigation

Watch the Intro
Read the Stories
See the Map
Explore Connections
Find Companies
Search the Data

"Top Secret America" is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Read More

More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent two years developing Top Secret America
See the details

TSA INDEX:
Part 1: July 19, 2010
* A hidden world, growing beyond control

Part 2: July 20,2010
* National Security Inc.

Latest Headlines
Types of top-secret work
Methodology and credits
A note on this project
Frontline video

segunda-feira, 19 de julho de 2010

Estados Unidos: a quarta guerra mundial (contra o terrorismo)

O jornal Washington Post, considerando que as ações antiterroristas nos EUA já conformam uma nova tradição política, criaram um novo site, digno de atenção específica.

News Alert: THE WASHINGTON POST LAUNCHES 'TOP SECRET AMERICA'
05:41 AM EDT Monday, July 19, 2010
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The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies duplicate work.

Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin spent two years on their investigation, and the resulting series begins this morning at washingtonpost.com/topsecretamerica.

Visit the site for an innovative online reading experience, accompanied by a searchable database of government organizations and corporate contractors that do top-secret work; details on what that work entails; and the cities and states where that work is done.

For more information, visit washingtonpost.com:
http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/QJTXP3/E5APH/1OLNOJ/0X7XP9/9QUWL/4O/t

quarta-feira, 21 de abril de 2010

2054) Iran e seguranca nuclear: ofensiva diplomatica contra as sancoes

O Irã está despachando missões diplomáticas para países que estima importantes no bloqueio de novas sanções. Não pretende fazê-lo em relação ao Brasil, talvez por julgar que não é necessário, talvez porque o Brasil se antecipou ao gesto e está enviando uma missão diplomática a Teerã, aliás, do mais alto nível, como se sabe...

Iran seeks to persuade Security Council not to back tough nuclear sanctions
By Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TEHRAN -- Facing increasing momentum behind a U.S.-backed bid for new sanctions against it, Iran is launching a broad diplomatic offensive aimed at persuading as many U.N. Security Council members as possible to oppose tougher punishment for its nuclear program.

Iran wants to focus on reviving stalled talks about a nuclear fuel swap to build trust on all sides, according to politicians and diplomats in Tehran. But leaders of Western nations say that unless Iran alters its conditions for the deal, they will refuse to discuss it again. Under the arrangement, aimed at breaking an impasse over Iran's uranium-enrichment efforts, Tehran would exchange the bulk of its low-enriched uranium for more highly enriched fuel for a research reactor that produces medical isotopes.

As Iranian diplomats fly around the world to discuss the swap, they are lobbying some of the Security Council's rotating members to vote against a fourth round of sanctions proposed by the United States, officials said.

The Obama administration is seeking unanimous support for further Security Council sanctions against Iran. Three previous rounds of sanctions were accepted by all members, except in 2008, when Indonesia abstained. This time, Iran is actively working to get more Security Council members to oppose the U.S. initiative.

"In the coming 10 days, the Islamic republic's delegations will travel to the capitals of Russia, China, Lebanon and Uganda to pursue talks," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said. "Other countries will be visited in the near future." He said that "nuclear issues" will be on the agenda.
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Iran also plans to try to rally support during an international conference to review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In Tehran's view, the gathering, scheduled for May in New York, is shaping up as a confrontation between nuclear powers and developing nations.

Iran's official stance is that the U.N. sanctions are not effective. But unofficially, any vote against a new sanctions resolution would be welcomed as a great diplomatic victory.

"The groups we are sending out will be focusing on the correct implementation of the NPT, the disarmament trend and fuel-swap issues," said Kazem Jalali, a member of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee. "Naturally, our explanations during the trips will have a positive effect against the efforts by the United States in trying to impose new sanctions."

To start its diplomatic offensive, Iran held a nuclear disarmament conference last weekend that several Security Council members attended. The meeting, with its motto of "nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none," focused on what Iran and other developing nations call "double standards" and "discriminatory elements" in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Participants in the Tehran conference shared complaints that world powers are using proliferation fears as a reason to prevent developing nations from establishing independent nuclear energy programs.

Iran's diplomatic effort seems especially aimed at developing nations such as Brazil, Nigeria and Turkey, which hold rotating seats on the 15-member Security Council. Iran is also betting that council members Lebanon -- which has a government that includes members of Iran-backed Hezbollah -- and Uganda might vote against new sanctions or abstain.

As a part of the campaign, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will begin a two-day state visit Friday to Uganda, where he is expected to promise help in building an oil refinery.

Brazil and Turkey already have said they are wary of imposing additional punishment on Tehran. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, visiting Iran on Tuesday, announced that his country is ready to mediate on the uranium swap proposal and other nuclear issues.

The U.N.-backed arrangement, proposed in October, was the subject of promising initial negotiations. But it was soon shelved after Iran repeatedly changed its conditions, saying the exchange should take place on Iranian soil and demanding more Western security guarantees.

With Western nations insisting that the swap occur outside Iran, Turkey offered last year to act as a neutral location for the exchange, but Tehran was not interested, diplomats said.

Asked Tuesday about the proposal, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters, "The venue of any fuel swap will be in Iran."

Special correspondent Kay Armin Serjoie contributed to this report.