27.5.17

Undermining the presumption of regularity


The “presumption of regularity” is a term that is typically applied in relation to both elected and appointed government officials where it is assumed that, in the execution of their duties, they will act according to the law and properly discharge their functions. It is not an assumption that is easily dismissed since it is readily accepted that there could be errors in judgement and failings in leadership. What would undermine this belief would be a discernable pattern of misconduct and a perceived effort to conceal it.

A number of political commentators are arguing that events in the USA are moving in just such a direction. At the same time that the process is in-hand to select and appoint a new head for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), fresh controversy has surfaced concerning the abrupt termination of James Comey, the previous holder of that post.

In particular, the New York Times has reported that, according to notes kept by James Comey concerning his meetings with Donald Trump, the latter had tried to influence him in relation to the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor. Flynn was subsequently forced to resign after it was revealed that he had misled the US Vice President about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

There are opposing views as to the exact nature of the President’s alleged intervention. Some believe that the President was blatantly trying to condition the FBI Director to abandon the Bureau’s investigation of Flynn whereas others hold that the President had been merely conveying his personal opinion about the character of his national security advisor. In either case, it has also been established that, in appointing Flynn as his national security advisor, Donald Trump had disregarded the specific warnings from the then acting attorney general, Sally Yates, given before her dismissal by Trump, earlier this year.

In these circumstances, the original probe into the possibility of Russian interference in the US presidential election has now evolved into an inquiry as to whether Donald Trump exerted unwarranted pressure on the FBI Director to influence the outcome of the investigation and whether the President eventually fired the Director because he had not bowed to such pressure.

The way things are developing has even led a number of political commentators to speculate on the possibility that the whole issue could lead to a call for the impeachment of Donald Trump. The US constitution gives the US Congress the power to bring formal charges against a government official for crimes alleged to have been committed. To date, no US President has been removed from office by impeachment and an ensuing conviction. Andrew Jackson (in 1868) and Bill Clinton (in 1998) are the only two US Presidents to have been successfully impeached by the US Congress but both were later acquitted by the US Senate. An impeachment process was also launched against Richard Nixon who resigned his office before a vote was taken.

Undoubtedly, the Russiagate question will continue to figure prominently in the news over the forthcoming days amid rumours that a high ranking individual within the White House staff is under investigation by the FBI. In the meantime, the Justice Department has appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the broad investigation into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

Broadly speaking, a “special counsel” is a person appointed to conduct investigations on behalf of the federal government. They are often referred to also as “independent counsels” because they are brought in from the outside to avoid having a situation where the government is investigating itself. What is very important in this case is that Robert Mueller enjoys the trust of both parties in Congress. This is imperative if the public is to be ultimately convinced that the investigation will be carried out properly and exhaustively even though it concerns the President and his staff.








22.5.17

Kalkoli politiċi żbaljati




1.     Il-poter politiku jrid jiġi kontrollat.  Meta ma jkunx, allura l-effetti tiegħu jkunu ħżiena ħafna.  Għalhekk, id-demokrazija hija sistema ta’ bilanċi u kontrolli fejn ħadd m’għandu dak assolut.  Hekk għandu jkun, imma konsegwenza tal-aħħar riżultat elettorali pajjiżna ra, għall-ewel darba, wisq saħħa politika f’idejn persuna waħda.  Il-maġġoranza elettorali ta’ ‘l fuq minn 36,000 vot maġġoranza u ta’ disa’ siġġijiet parlamentari ġiebu magħhom poter li huwa viċin l-assolut.  Kif kien qal tajjeb Lord John Dalberg-Acton, politiku kattoliku Ingliż: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.



Poter jikkorrompi



2.     Minn dan il-punt telqet din il-leġislatura.  Poter konċentrat b’mod tant qawwi li ġieb miegħu biża’ u għarfien żbaljat li min tela’ fil-poter ħadd ma huwa ser ineħħih minnu.  Issemmew diversi leġislaturi futuri, ħmistax, għoxrin, tletin sena.  Saħħa politika invinċibbli.  Proprju għalhekk il-poter tela’ malajr għar-ras.  Proprju għalhekk li l-Istat ma baqax jiġi rispettat f’dak li huwa, imma sar parti minn fewdu personali.  Billi skont, f’dak iż-żmien ħadd ma seta’ għalihom, allura bdiet it-triq tal-abbużi.  It-triq li flok timxi b’korrettezza, b’attenzjoni, b’ġustizzja, b’onestà u b’verità marret kompletament il-kontra.



Dnubiet mortali



3.     Dan wassal malajr sabiex b’dik il-kunfidenza, b’dik l-arroganza politika jsiru żbalji kbar.  Dnubiet mortali li mhux il-poplu kollu lest li jaħfer jew jinsa.  L-aħbarijiet sodi ta’ kontijiet bankarji miftuħa fejn m’għandhomx, kif ukoll għal skopijiet żbaljati bdew sena ilu.  Minn hemm baqgħu jiġru wara din l-amministrazzjoni ta’ dan il-moviment politiku li issa laħquhom u qed jgħadduhom.  Il-pajjiż huwa llum iktar konvint li l-ħsieb kien dirett lejn l-interessi personali u li dan sar b’aġir li huwa wieħed żbaljat, illegali u korrott.  Il-kunfidenza mal-poter politiku ġiebet bnedmin fil-poter jaqgħu għat-tentazzjonijiet li jdaħħlu f’buthom bil-moħbi.



X’sar sewwasew



4.     Dak li sar sewwasew ħafna konvinti li ftit jafuh.  Biss, l-għażla politika li wieħed imur malajr malajr lejn elezzjoni ġenerali saħħet il-konvinzjoni morali li hemm ferm iktar fil-bir.  Ftit jaċċettaw li din kienet deċiżjoni politika ġusta u f’waqtha.  Il-maġġoranza jaħsbu li kien, u għadu żball li ċċaqlaq pajjiż f’din is-sitwazzjoni.  Iktar u iktar meta l-allegazzjonijiet, u l-akkużi, huma tassew gravi.  Fejn il-poplu qed isib ruħu mdaħħal fin-nofs sabiex fl-innoċenza tiegħu jiġi użat u abbużat.  Speċjalment dawk il-votanti leali u kostanti li nġiebu issa fil-pożizzjoni li jridu jittimbraw u jiffirmaw bħala tajjeb dak li huma ma jafux l-istorja sħiħa u vera ta’ dak li ġara.



Proċeduri demokratiċi



5.     Diversi qed jargumentaw li jekk ma hemm xejn minn dak li ngħad u ġie stampat, kellhom l-ewwel jispiċċaw il-proċeduri demokratiċi qabel ma wieħed imur lejn dawk elettorali.  Il-Gvern kellu fuq dan diversi għażliet.  L-ewwel: seta’ mar direttament il-Parlament u wieġeb għad-domandi, spjega quddiem kulħadd bil-miftuħ.  It-tieni: seta’ nkariga inkjesta separata u indipendenti magħmula minn persuni integri, fejn il-fatti setgħu faċilment u malajr verifikati.  It-tielet: seta’ wkoll sejjaħ kemm ried ġurnalisti Maltin u barranin biex jikkonfronta u jwieġeb għad-domandi li qegħdin isiru llum.  Dan ma sarx, u minflok għażel li jmur lejn it-triq legali u neċessarjament kumplikata ta’ inkejsti maġisterjali.



Verità



6.     Il-ħsieb kien li l-poplu ser ikun sodisfatt li l-kwistjoni qed tiġi investigata u ma jagħtix iktar kas.  Mhux biss, imma li l-għarfien legali huwa li din mhix ser tinqata’ kif ġieb u laħaq, u għalhekk trid il-ħin tagħha.  Il-kalkolu kien mod, mentri kif qed tiżviluppa s-sitwazzjoni ġiet proprju l-kontra.  Proprju għax għad hawn diversi membri tal-partit tad-dubju u dixxendenti spiritwali tal-appostlu San Tumas.  Ħafna ma jarawx li huwa biżżejjed li din tiġi investigata, imma jridu r-riżultat – il-verità u l-informazzjoni sħiħa tingħatalhom issa u mhux pitgħada, meta l-vot tagħhom ikun diġà ttieħed.



Suspetti ġodda



7.     Tul din il-ġimgħa ltqajt ma’ iktar persuni ta’ fehmiet politiċi varji li esprimew suspetti ġodda fuq dak li qed naraw.  It-tluq mix-xenarju politiku ta’ deputati parlamentari min-naħa tal-Gvern żied dan.  Għax huwa minnu li kien magħruf li sija l-Ministru George Vella, li kien fattur qawwi ta’ stabilità interna b’servizz ministerjali li ftit ikkritikaw, kif ukoll id-deputat veteran Joe Debono Grech kienu ħabbru li ser jieqfu.  Biss, ħafna ma stennewx li d-Deputat Prim Ministru Louis Grech kien ser iħabbar, fl-aħħar mument, li ser jitlaq.  Wisq inqas li d-deputati l-oħra li kienu taw ħafna servizz qabel bħal Charles Mangion, Charles Buhagiar u Joseph Sammut.  Mhux biss, imma li l-frosta tal-grupp parlamentari Godfrey Farrugia mhux biss telaq, imma rriżenja u mar mal-Partit Demokratiku.



Partit żarmat



8.     Ħafna semmewli kif raw li ġie żarmat dak li kien il-Partit Laburista bl-ideali veri tiegħu.  Għax huma jafu, u nnutaw b’dispjaċir in-nuqqas tal-preżenza ta’ dawn il-politiċi li semmejt u diversi oħrajn li m’għadhomx hemm għal raġunijiet varji.  Dawk li vvutaw għalihom b’maġġoranza daqshekk qawwija fl-2013, illum m’għadhomx hemm.  Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, li ġiet unanimament elevata għall-President tar-Repubblika.  Karmenu Vella, li qiegħed issa Kummissarju Ewropew.    Leo Brincat, illum membru Malti fil-Qorti tal-Awdituri, kif ukoll Anġlu Farrugia, li tneħħa bi tradiment minn Deputat Kap tal-partit u okkupa l-kariga ta’ Speaker.  Dawn huma parti mill-elenku li qiegħed isirli.



Nuqqas politiku



9.     Anzi ħafna qed jaraw iktar nuqqas politiku proprju fuq il-ħatra ta’ Deputat Mexxel tal-partit għall-Affarijiet Parlamentari.  Hemm kuntrast ikbar f’kif fl-2013, f’ħakka t’għajn u fuq skuża ineżistenti tneħħa Anġlu Farrugia u sar malajr malajr Louis Grech.  Issa, fl-2017 telaq kwiet kwiet Louis Grech u ħadd ma ġie magħżul, flok malajr malajr.  Jidher ċar li s-sitwazzjoni ħarġet mill-idejn u m’għadhiex iktar taħt kontroll.  Dak li kellu jsir bil-kalma, paċenzja u attenzjoni qiegħed isir ta’ malajr u f’paniku elettorali.  Ħafna f’dan, għalhekk jaraw li l-Gvern ma kellux jieqaf ħesrem.  Proprju għalhekk li hemm iktar u iktar ċar f’għajn il-pajjiż li saru wisq kalkoli politiċi żbaljati, li minnhom ilkoll sejrin inbatu.






18.5.17

Ma Weriex Wiċċ b’Ieħor




1.      Il-bnedmin mhux dejjem ikollhom kliem ta’ tifħir fuq ħuthom.  Rari ħafna li ssib min japprezza u jirrikonoxxi l-kwalitajiet tajba ta’ min huwa l-proxxmu tiegħu.  Biss, quddiem bnedmin li jkollhom kwalitajiet, talenti uniċi li jagħrfu jikkultivawhom u jissudawhom, dan jinbidel.  Ftit huma dawk li jingħataw rikonoxximent, però dawk il-ftit li l-poplu, fil-ġudizzju tiegħu jħoss li jkunu ħaqqhom, jimmeritaw li nsemmuhom.



2.      Għax hemm mexxejja kbar, Presidenti jew Prim Ministri, li ħafna drabi jiġu nċensati u mfaħħra.  Bħalma hemm ukoll, fi klassi iktar ġenwina u li fiha ma hemmx artifiċjalità, dawk il-bnedmin li l-komunità tirrikonoxxi fis-sens u s-sustanza li jħaddnu.



3.      Nhar is-Sibt 6 ta’ Mejju, il-qniepen tal-Parroċċa ta’ Ħal Tarxien daqqew il-mota li takkumpanja l-funerali.  Ir-raħal waqaf sabiex jiċċelebra l-aħħar sagramenti għal ruħ bniedem uniku li għamel differenza kbira f’ħajjet it-Tarxiniżi u l-pajjiż tagħna.



4.      Ma kienx bniedem kiesaħ, anqas rasu mimlija bih innifsu; wisq inqas supperv.  Kien ċittadin intelliġenti u, proprju għax kien hekk, ħaddan l-umiltà, ir-rispett, l-irġulija u s-servizz lejn l-oħrajn.  Joe Cassar, magħruf mal-pajjiż bħala Peppinu Cassar, kien proprju dan il-bniedem.



5.      Kont ilni nafu minn meta, ta’ wieħed u għoxrin sena, bdejt ninvolvi ruħi fil-kamp politiku.  Niftakarni nisimgħu u nitkellem miegħu bejn sigarett u ieħor.  Moħħu kien ċarissimu.  Avvanzat, u l-ħin kollu mixtieq li jiltaqa’ ma’ bnedmin bħalu li jaqraw u kapaċi jidħlu fi djalogu miftuħ.



6.      Ma kontx tlaħħaq miegħu fil-qari u fl-għerf li kien irnexxielu jiġbor tul iż-żmien li kien avukat u politiku.  Kien intellettwali li ma qagħadx fuq fil-gallarija, imma li niżel bid-diffikultajiet li tali triq tieħu b’kuraġġ u determinazzjoni kbira biex ikun għad-dispożizzjoni tal-bniedem.



7.      Ma kienx minn dawk li jitkessaħ, imma kien dejjem lest li jisma’ u jifhem.  Kont ngħidlu xi qrajt u x’qed naqra, speċjalment fil-kamp politiku u nsibu li diġà kien rahom.  Kien qara tajjeb kitbiet demokristjani li Luigi Sturzo, De Gasperi u Moro ħallew.  Però kien ukoll mgħarraf f’dak li l-moviment materjalista tax-xellug kien isostni.  Marx, Engels, Lenin, li trid, qrahom.



8.      L-impostazzjoni politika tiegħu kienet ċara.  Fi ħdan ix-xellug ta’ partit demokratiku Kristjan.  Niftakar, fost id-diversi artikoli li kien kiteb, wieħed li fih spjega bl-iktar mod ċar dan.  Mhux biss, imma ma kienx waqaf.  Baqa’ jaqra u jiskopri.  Kien l-uniku politiku interessat li sliftlu numru ta’ kotba demokristjani li għad għandi fuq l-ixkafef ta’ dari.



9.      Proprju għax kien bniedem u avukat tal-poplu li kien, u baqa’ maħbub ħajtu kollha.  Niftakru jaħdem il-Qorti bħala avukat.  Kien iservi jum wara jum lill-klijenti tiegħu mingħajr ma jaħseb f’butu.  Anke jekk kellu klijentela numeruża, għajjex il-familja fuq il-ġenerożità libera tagħha.



10.   Serva ‘l-istituzzjonijiet demokratiċi.  Elett deputat tal-poplu serva fit-tul u ġie maħtur darbtejn Segretarju Parlamentari.  Wara, maħtur ġustament Maġistrat, serva b’imparzjalità u b’ġustizzja.  Kien mhux biss jixraqlu, imma min bħali ħadem fil-Qrati jaf li kien qata’ kwantità kbira ta’ kawżi u s-sentenzi tiegħu huma fonti ta’ dritt.



11.   Kont u għadni nħossni fortunat li bqajt in kuntatt miegħu.  Fl-aħħar snin li dħalt inservi jien ukoll lil dawk li serva hu, kont ngħaddi għandu l-iktar meta jistaqsini jekk għandix xi ktieb partikolari li minn hawn jew minnhemm kont inġib minn barra minn xtutna.



12.   Is-sejħa tiegħu lura għand il-Ħallieq ħasditni, bħal diversi oħrajn.  Biss, ġiebet quddiemi kitba tiegħu li tispjegah aħjar li kienet dehret fis-17 ta’ Novembru 2016 taħt it-titolu “Il-Kuxjenza”.  Hemm kien qal: “X’inhu tajjeb, x’inhu ħażin, kull bniedem għandu t-tifsir ta’ x’inhi l-kuxjenza.  Jagħmel dmiru, ma jurix wiċċ b’ieħor.  Dak li jemmen fih iwettqu, jiġri x’jiġri.  Iħares il-ħsieb ta’ ħaddieħor, jaqbel u ma jaqbilx miegħu.  Xi ħaġa hekk qal Voltaire.  Ġewwa fih is-sliem ukoll is-sliem ta’ ħaddieħor.  Fejn tidħol il-kuxjenza ma jittieħed l-ebda vot, il-vot li jibni maġġoranza u minoranza”.  Ċert li jinsab igawdi dak li ħadem, kemm felaħ, ħajtu kollha għaliha.






16.5.17

Loyalty versus honesty




On the 9th May, the US President Donald Trump sacked James Comey, the Head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Given our recent experience in Malta, where we have had no less than five Police Commissioners in the space of just four years, this development might not sound so sensational but Comey was only the second FBI director ever to be dismissed.

What makes this development particularly distressing is that the director had been leading an investigation that could implicate the President himself. That investigation is examining alleged Russian interference in last year’s US election including the potential involvement of members of Trump’s campaign team. The removal of the FBI director has fueled accusations of a cover-up, talk of an institutional crisis and comparisons with the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974.

Comey had been appointed FBI director in 2013, with the support of both the Democratic and Republican parties. He became the subject of controversy in the last days of the 2016 presidential campaign when he had made public the fact that the FBI was reopening its investigation into the emails of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The latter has since attributed her loss in the election, in part, to Comey’s action.

Paradoxically, it is this same incident which is being cited by the Trump administration as one of the reasons for Comey’s removal. In the official dismissal letter, it is stated that the President was acting on the advice of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General who concurred that Comey was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau”. It is claimed that this negative assessment by the Justice Department was based on what it concluded was Comey’s inappropriate tendency to seek public exposure.

In his usual casual way of speaking, a few days after the official announcement, Trump stated that he had already decided that Comey had to go, even before the recommendation from the Justice Department. In the words of Trump, he considered Comey to be a “grandstander” and “showboat”.

Comey was not personally informed about the President’s decision but he learned of his dismissal from the media, while he was addressing FBI staff in their Los Angeles office. The rushed nature of the dismissal and the lack of basic courtesy has fueled further the suspicions of those who seek an ulterior motive in Trump’s actions.

In particular, it has been claimed that Comey had been intent on accelerating the inquiry into the alleged Russian interference and that he had even made a request for additional resources to pursue the investigation. The Trump administration has denied this accusation but some statements made subsequently by the President himself have rekindled the controversy.

The New York Times has come out with details of a private dinner between Trump and Comey, just a couple of weeks after Trump’s inauguration. According to this newspaper, at some stage during their conversation, Trump had asked Comey if he, i.e. the President, could count on the loyalty of the FBI Director. It is claimed that Comey’s reply was: “President, I can guarantee to you my honesty in the service of our country”.

This is what has been reported in the New York Times and the US media is rife with speculation as to whether a recording exists of this particular dinner conversation. For the moment, therefore, one must consider it only as hearsay. However, it should still be seen as a critical admonition.

Honesty in the service of your country, of the democratic system we adhere to, means being loyal, first and foremost, to your legal duties and responsibilities and not to anyone else. Not even to those who were responsible for your appointment.














Michael Novak




1.     Is-soċjetà tagħna għandha l-elementi partikolari tagħha.  Dawk li jsostnuha, u fl-istess ħin jagħmluha dak li hija.  Biss, minħabba diversi raġunijiet, ftit huma dawk li jkollhom il-ħin jieqfu jaħsbu f’liema sistema legali u x’livell, xi kwalità ta’ demokrazija nħaddnu.  Ngħixu lkoll f’komunità fejn naċċettaw ħafna, mingħajr ma nifhmu sewwasew dak li jagħmilna u huwa ta’ ġid għalina.



2.     Għax irridu naċċettaw li ftit huma dawk li għandhom il-ħin u l-okkażjoni li jistaqsu numru ta’ domandi determinanti marbuta madwar liema kundizzjonijiet soċjo-ekonomiċi qegħdin ngħixu.  Xi kwalità ta’ demokrazija nħaddnu?  Xi prinċipji etiċi fundamentali jiffurmawna?  X’forma u mekkaniżmu għandna fis-sistema ekonomika tagħna?



3.     Hemm diversi forom ta’ demokraziji, bħal ma hemm ukoll varjetà fil-prinċipji etiċi u sistemi ekonomiċi.  Kull deċiżjoni dwarhom tagħmel differenza fil-ħajja tal-bnedmin, ferm iktar milli naħsbu.  L-Istat u l-garanziji sabiex jitkattru l-libertà u l-ġustizzja huma essenzjali.  Bħalma huma dawk il-prinċipji etiċi li jiggwidaw id-demokrazija u s-sistema ekonomika.  Kull poplu jrid joqgħod attent għal dan u ma jidħaqx bih innifsu fl-illużjoni li m’humiex importanti għalih.



4.     Kull soċjetà għandha tħares li kull ċittadin tagħha, anzi kull min jgħix fi ħdanha, ikollu sistema demokratika li tħallih jgħix fil-libertà u l-ġustizzja fejn titħaddem ekonomija li għax hija għas-servizz tal-bniedem, tassigura t-tkattir tal-ġid, u wara d-distribuzzjoni intelliġenti u soċjali tiegħu.  Proprju għalhekk li l-pilastri demokratiċi tagħna jridu jibqgħu kkurati u sostnuti sabiex jagħtu iktar sostenn lejn il-bniedem fid-dinjità sħiħa tiegħu.  Għax l-Istat huwa garanti, però fuq kollox huwa protettur tal-bniedem.



5.     F’dan irridu naċċettaw li llum għandna riżultati li l-esperjenza umana sawret u sarrfet għalina.  It-tmiem tas-sistema Sovjetika neħħiet min-nofs kull illużjoni li hemm xi sistema differenti li biha tmexxi ‘l-bnedmin għas-sewwa, u li mhix id-demokrazija u li ma tagħmilx użu mis-sistema kapitalista.  Biss dan ma fissirx, u ma jfissirx li kull forma ta’ demokrazija u tħaddim tal-ekonomija fuq il-linji tal-kapitaliżmu jagħtu frott u jwasslu lejn ugwaljanza.



6.     Ir-riflessjoni preżenti ta’ diversi tibqa’ li s-sistema kapitalista newtrali hija l-aħjar mekkaniżmu ekonomiku biex toħloq il-ġid.  Biss, il-kwistjoni determinanti hija kif minn naħa l-waħda ma tkissirhiex, u fuq l-oħra li tassigura tqassim f’iktar idejn u bnedmin.  Il-politika demokratika ma tistax f’dan titlaq mill-punt li ma tindaħalx kif taħdem is-sistema ekonomika tagħha.  Tħalli kollox għaddej u taċċettah bħala konsegwenza normali tal-libertà ta’ min huwa l-iktar b’saħħtu finanzjarjament.  Trid iżżomm f’idejha l-mazz li tiċċaqlaq fil-mument fejn tara li hemm żbilanċ fid-direzzjoni, u tintervjeni.  Dawn il-miżuri u l-forma tagħhom tiddependi fuq il-liġijiet, fuq is-sistema ġuridika li aħna nibnu u nibqgħu nħarsu u nikkuraw.



7.     Ngħid iktr dan għax ftit ġimgħat ilu ġie nieqes Michael Kovak, filosfu kattoliku.  Bniedem li kiteb u influwenza diversi deċiżjonijiet politiċi fl-Istati Uniti tal-Amerika, kif ukoll direttament l-enċikliċi ta’ San Ġwanni Pawlu II u l-Papa Benedittu XVI.  Partikolarment qawwi huwa l-ktieb tiegħu “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism”.  Kitba verament interessanti, fejn isostni u jipprova li għall-kuntrarju ta’ dak li qal Max Weber mhix dixxiplina jew iċ-ċaħda, imma huma “the social dimensions and the free play of creativity both rooted in catholic ethics” li jagħmlu suċċess mis-sistema kapitalista fid-demokrazija.



8.     Il-lezzjonijiet mingħand bnedmin bħal Michael Novak għandna neħduhom.  Għax aħna wkoll ngħixu u nqumu f’forma ta’ sistema kapitalista li qegħda titħaddem fis-soċjetà tagħna.  Però rridu naċċettaw li hija waħda li għalkemm qed toħloq il-ġid ekonomiku m’hijiex, fuq in-naħa l-oħra, tassigura t-tqassim ġust tiegħu.






Il-kwistjoni Soċjali.




1.     L-Istati avvanzati huma hekk għax għandhom sistema soċjali li tassigura li tibża’ għall-membri tagħha.  Fis-seklu li għadda pajjiżna, fost oħrajn, ħa ħsieb li jibni mill-1932 ‘l hawn huwa wkoll sistema li tassigura kemm tista’ li ċ-ċittadini tagħha jkunu protetti.



2.     Minn diskors parlamentari li sibt tat-23 ta’ Novembru 1932 nannuwi, bħala Ministru tal-Finanzi, kien spjega l-viżjoni ta’ dan meta qal: “L-iskola, id-dar, l-isptar huma fost l-akwa u l-ewwel ħtiġijiet tal-poplu”.  Il-bini ta’ djar moderni għall-ħaddiema, sistema edukattiva u ta’ saħħa għal kulħadd.  F’kull żmien kellha l-avvanzi tagħha sabiex l-isfidi l-ġodda jiġu affrontati.  Mhux kull soċjetà, f’kull żmien però kapaċi twieġeb għal dawn il-punti, u fil-veloċità li għandha.



3.     Għax minkejja dak kollu li nkiseb u tqiegħed f’postu, għad għandna numru ta’ persuni f’din is-soċjetà li jsibu ruħhom f’sitwazzjonijiet fejn ma jsibux assistenza, jew din ma tkunx adegwata għall-bżonnijiet tagħhom.  Per eżempju: bnedmin li jkunu qed jirċievu benefiċċji li jsibuhom maqtugħa barra jew b’talbiet ta’ rifużjoni f’daqqa ta’ flus li jkunu suppost ħadu meta ma kellhomx.  Kif qiegħed jiġri, għax tul is-sena li għaddiet kien hemm 2,800 li applikaw għall-għajnuna soċjali mentri tneħħew minn fuq il-lista 4,600 persuna.



4.     Inkella ċittadini li wara snin jaħdmu jsibu ruħhom, għal raġunijiet varji, jirċievu pensjoni li tkun taħt il-ħames mitt ewro (500) fix-xahar.  Jew dawk li sabu ruħhom jirċievu pensjoni mhux kontributorja li taqa’ taħt din il-figura.  Hemm bħal dawn pożizzjonijiet varji li jmissu mar-realtà tas-soċjetà tagħna.  Għax nafu li għandna 8,000 ruħ li jgħixu fuq il-pensjoni mhux kontributorja u għandna wkoll 24,000 oħra li għandhom dħul tal-pensjoni taħt il-ħames mitt ewro u hemm reġistrati 1,400 persuna oħra li appellaw quddiem l-Arbitru sabiex il-benefiċċji li nqatgħulhom jiġu mogħtija lura.  Sitwazzjonijiet, fost diversi oħrajn, li qed jitolbu attenzjoni u rimedju.



5.     Għax hemm bżonn li naraw mill-ġdid x’pakkett għandu l-istat soċjali tagħna u kif qiegħed jaħdem fil-ħidma tagħna kull ġurnata.  Irridu, fuq kollox, immorru kontra l-kurrent liberalista li daħal f’dawn is-snin li l-istat soċjali għandu jitnaqqas u mhux jiġi sostnut.  Sfortunatament naraw u nisimgħu numru ta’ ekonomisti li jinfluwenzaw lill-politiċi u jsostnu li l-pajjiż jimxi ‘l quddiem jekk iħalli lura lil min qiegħed f’kundizzjonijiet soċjali ħżiena.  Li min qiegħed fi stat ta’ faqar jew nuqqas ta’ dħul għandu jwaħħal fih innifsu u jekk m’huwiex kapaċi jibdel il-pożizzjoni tiegħu jibqa’ fejn huwa.



6.     Din hija linja politika li qed twassal sabiex nisimgħu diskors li fih jiġi reġistrat kemm tneħħew persuni mill-benefiċċji soċjali, u għalhekk kemm qegħdin niffrankaw mit-taxxi tagħna.  Dan jingħad mingħajr f’dan ma aħna naraw kemm effettivament, flok qed innaqqsu l-problemi soċjali, qegħdin inżiduhom.



7.     Hemm bżonn li nbiddlu dan u nerġgħu nassiguraw li d-dmir ta’ kull Stat li jaħseb f’kull ċittadin tiegħu jiġi affermat mill-ġdid.  Għax għad hawn wisq persuni fis-soċjetà tagħna li huma f’pożizzjoni diffiċli li m’humiex jiġu milħuqa.  Pożizzjoni li rridu nwieġbu għaliha sabiex ikollna anqas persuni li jgħixu ‘l bgħid mid-dinjietà u r-rispett li jixirqilhom.



8.     Għax għandna dmir li ngħinu lill-proxxmu fis-solidarjetà reċiproka, u dan għandu jsir: l-ewwel, direttament minna ċ-ċittadini bejnietna, però l-Istat għandu vantaġġ ferm iktar u aqwa li m’għandniex inħalluh imur lura kif inhuwa, imma rridu nissudawh u nirriformawh biex jaħdem b’mod iktar dirett u effiċjenti.  Fuq kollox, li jasal għand dawk li huma fil-bżonn u li l-Gvern ma jaqtagħlhomx l-għajnuna fix-xejn.











 




14.5.17

F’hiex ġejna.


1. L-eventi ta’ din il-ġimgħa komplew għamlu l-ħsara politika lil pajjiżna. Kull poplu jkollu l-problemi interni tiegħu. Ebda stat ma jista’ jaħrab minn dan. Biss dak li qiegħed iseħħ fil-preżent magħna huwa uniku. Kull Prim Ministru jaf li meta jkun hemm allegazzjonijiet serji kif għandna hawn irid jieħu ħsieb li jgħażel l-interess tal-pajjiz mhux tiegħu. Jgħażel li ma jintilifx il-kredtu li għal raġuni jew oħra nbniet għalina. M’huwiex aċċettabbli fi stat modern, demokratiku, Ewropew li jitħallew isiru dawn l-affarijiet. Il-verità hija li r-reputazzjoni tagħna bdiet tieħu daqqiet mortali.



Abbandun tad-dmir

2. Diġà l-kwistjoni tan-nepotiżu u l-korruzzjoni kienet qed tiġbed l-attenzjoni tal-medja internazzjonali. Imma meta wieħed jikkonsidra li pajjiż bħal tagħna li ġġieled tant biex ikollu huwa wkoll il-Presdienza tal-Unjoni Ewropea jsejjaħ ħesrem elezzjoni ġenerali fiha, din tikber. Għax, l-ewwel, m’għandekx issejjaħ elezzjoni ġenerali waqt li tkun qed tmexxi l-Presidenza. It-tieni, m’għandekx żgur tmur għaliha u tabbanduna dmirijietek waqt li għaddej il-proċess tan-negozjati tal-ħruġ tar-Renju Unit u b’numru ta’ elezzjonijiet kruċjali fl-Ewropa. It-tielet għax b’dan l-aġir tkun qiegħed turi li hemm iktar milli qiegħed jidher fil-wiċċ.

Growing corruption Scandal

3. Tul l-ġimgħa li għaddiet għalhekk dak li qiegħed jidher li qed isir internament qiegħed isib ruħu fil-gazzetti Ewropej. Il-gazzetta Ewropea influenti The Guardian qalet hekk “The Mediterrean Island state’s Presidency of the EU, which began in January has been rocked by allegations of money laundering and kickbacks.” U kompliet, “Malta’s embattled prime minister Joseph Muscat, is facing a growing rebellion in Brussels, where MEP’s are openly calling for his departure amid a growing corruption scandal involving his wife, a Panamianian Shell company and alleged payments from the President of Azerbaijan’s daughter.” Kliem li jitkellmu waħedhom u m’ għandhomx bżonn spjegazzjoni.

Prijorità nazzjonali

4. Din il-kwistjoni m’hix sejra tieqaf hawn. Għadha kif bdiet u qed tiġbor ferm aktar attenzjoni negattiva għalina. Kif l-anqas ma hija ta’ wisq ġieh li l-Prim Ministru jiġi mitlub għat-tieni darba b’ittra sabiex jidher quddiem il-kumitat tal-Parlament Ewropew li qed jinvestiga l-kwistjoni Panama. Anqas ma hija ta’ ġieħ li jibqa’ jirrifjuta. Ma hemm xejn li jista jżommu milli jmur u jiffaċċjhom. Il-verità hemm bżonn li toħroġ urġentement barra. Il-poplu tagħna dan ma jagħmillux ġieħ u jixraqlu li jkollu ferm aħjar.  Hemm għalhekk in-neċessità għall-ġid tagħna lkoll li isem pajjiżna jiġi mnaddaf u lliberat minn kull dell ikraħ li għandu bħalissa fuqu. Din hija prijorità nazzjonali fl-isem l-istess nazzjon tagħna.

Qatt ma rajna bħalhom

5. Kollox wara jkompli jiżdied. Bħall-mozzjoni li ġiet ippreżentata fil-Parlament Ewropew mill-membri parlamentari tal-Partit tal-Ħodor sabiex is-sitwazzjoni f’pajjiżna tiġi diskussa urġentement. Għax nafu li kif wieħed jibni fama ħażina allura jikbru ħwejjeg oħra li fihom pajjiżna jkompli jlaqqat daqqiet oħra. Bħal ma smajna minn Ministru ta’ Stat Reġjonali Germaniz u parti mill-Partit Soċjal-Demokratiku Norbert Walter Borjan li fetaħ attakk fuq s-servizzi finanzjarji tagħna. Xenarju li qabel ma rajniex bħalu. Mhux biss imma b’dak li qiegħed jiżviluppa l-ħin kollu hawn ma aħniex f’posizzjoni li niddefendu ruħna imma li biss naċċettaw passivament.

L-aqwa

6. Ma aħniex fl-aqwa tagħna. Bhal ma anqas aħna mmexxija mill-aqwa Gvern. Anzi, għal min jgħarbel, sejrin direttament ferm iktar l-isfel milli qed naħsbu. Ir-reputazzjoni politika, soċjali u ekonomika tagħna qed issofri u ser jkun iebes biex nerġgħu nġibuha lura. Iktar u iktar issa li l-ewwel hemm numru sew ta’ politiċi b’esperjenza fil-partit tal-Gvern li mhux ser jerġgħu joffru s-servizzi tagħhom u t-tieni li hemm oħrajn li kienu jidhru tant ileqqu qabel fl-2013 li issa fl-2017 marru lkoll fuq il-matt. Għax m’hemmx dubju li t-tluq ta’ żewġ politiċi partikolari bħal Dr. George Vella u Louis Grech ser jaffettwaw aktar l-istabilità interna tal-kabinett. Fuq dan għalhekk dak li qiegħed jiġi offrut illum mill-Partit Laburista ħadd ma huwa ser jemmen li huwa l-aqwa kabinett  fl-istorja.

Demokrazzija, Paċi u Stabbilità

7. Sejrin għalhekk f’elezzjoni ġenerali mimlija inkwiet. Sejrin diġà f’baħar imqalleb u minn dak li qiegħed jidher dan mhux ser jikkalma imma sejjer imur lejn iktar maltempati qawwijin. Iktar mal-jiem jgħaddu iktar ix-xenarju jinbidel. Il-Gvern li kien tant b’saħħtu u sod issa qiegħed iħoss it-tmermir u l-abbandun. Il-poplu huwa għalhekk iktar minn qabel inkwetat dwar dak li kien igawdi tant tajjeb. Hawn ħafna li qed jaraw li għandna theddid varju lid-demokrazija, il-paċi u l-istabilità tagħna. Pedamenti li huma essenzjali biex nimxu fil-progress veru. Proprju għalhekk li qed nifhmu fejn ġabna ħaddiehor li għandha tikber iktar d-determinazzjoni tagħna sabiex dak li għad għandna ma nitilfuhx u nġibu lura dak li tlifna.      

11.5.17

A sigh of relief for Europe.  


               

Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French Presidential election last Sunday had been largely anticipated following his strong showing in the first round of voting, two weeks earlier. However it was certainly not something anyone could have predicted barely a year ago when Macron first launched his new political movement ‘En Marche’ (on the move). At just thirty nine years of age, Macron is the youngest President in French history and the youngest French head of state since Napolean Bonaparte.

However what has impressed many, even more than Macron’s young age and his rapid rise to the highest post in France, has been his choice of political platform. At a time when it seemed that the political debate was gravitating towards extreme positions or in danger of moving towards a nationalistic, populist standoff, he came out strongly in favour of a balanced ‘centrist’ position. Macron has consistently declared that he is “neither right nor left” and whilst promoting a liberal approach on economic issues, he has always stressed the concept of “collective solidarity”.

And instead of denigrating the European Union, he built his electoral platform around the core belief that a united Europe is essential for the future well-being of the people of France and of the other European countries. Macron is openly pro-European and the EU flag was always on prominent display in his political rallies. However, he is also pro-reform and he has spoken about a number of policy deliberations to re-energise the European project. The leaders of the other EU countries promptly applauded Macron’s victory but, as the Guardian has noted, his victory is “more a cause for relief than celebration”.

A victory for Marine Le Pen and her Front National would have been a catastrophe for the European Union but her party remains a formidable force. In the second round she managed to increase her share of the vote from 21% to 34% and, whilst this is well below Macron’s 66%, it is double the number of votes obtained by her father, Jean Marie Le Pen, when he similarly reached the presidential run-off in 2002.

In addition, voter turnout was the lowest in the last forty years and a significant number of voters either left their ballot paper blank or otherwise spoiled their vote such that almost one third of eligible voters chose neither Macron nor Le Pen. It is surmised that many of these were supporters of the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon who, although not wanting to vote for the extreme right still decided not to support Macron.

The task facing Macron is a daunting one. He has become president at a time when France is still under a state of emergency in the face of a major terrorist threat and still struggling with very high unemployment brought about by a sluggish economy. Furthermore, it still has to be seen how many of those who voted for him did so because they endorse his stated policies or merely to fend off the challenge from the far right.

Macron’s first test will come very soon when in June France will be holding its legislative elections. He faces the considerable challenge of trying to win a parliamentary majority for his fledgling political movement in a scenario where France’s political landscape is characterised by a strong far right and a strong hard left. Without a majority in parliament it would be difficult for him to deliver on his election promises.

Macron is clearly fully conscious of this predicament. In the immediate aftermath of his election victory, he chose to deliver a speech which was celebratory but not triumphal. His greatest achievement to date is that he has created a new strong centrist platform that is optimistic and ambitious. Addressing thousands of supporters in the grand courtyard of the Louvre, he told them that people everywhere were watching them and waiting for them “to defend the spirit of the Enlightenment, threatened in so many places.” For the moment, at least, they are doing this successfully.