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বাংলাদেশের বর্তমান সরকারের আইনগত ও নৈতিক ভিত্তি খুবই নড়বড়ে হয়ে গেছে। এ দুই দিক থেকেই এমন সব প্রশ্ন দেখা দিয়েছে যেগুলো বাস্তবিক পক্ষে প্রধান উপদেষ্টা ড. ফখরুদ্দীন আহমদের কথিত তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকারকে অস্তিত্ব সঙ্কটে ফেলে দিয়েছে। গত ১২ মে টেলিভিশন ও রেডিওর মাধ্যমে প্রদত্ত ভাষণে প্রধান উপদেষ্টা বলেছিলেন, ‘২০০৭-এর ১২ জানুয়ারিতে এক অনিবার্য পরিবর্তনের পটভুমিতে আমরা দায়িত্ব নিয়েছিলাম। আজ প্রায় ১৬ মাসের সংস্কার কার্যক্রমের ভিত্তিতে আমরা কাঙ্ক্ষিত রাজনৈতিক উত্তরণের চুড়ান্ত পর্যায়ে উপনীত হয়েছি।’ তাঁর ওই ভাষণের ঠিক ৬ মাস পর দেখা যাচ্ছে যে, তাঁর সরকার নিজেই পরিবর্তিত হবার পটভুমিতে দাঁড়িয়ে রয়েছে। আর তা বহু বিলম্বিত জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন অদুর-ভবিষ্যতে অনুষ্ঠিত হতে পারে সেই সম্ভাবনার জন্য নয় মোটেও। বরং তা এ কারণে যে, এই সরকারটি সাংবিধানিক বৈধতা হারিয়েছে। আর তা হয়েছে এ সরকার এবং এর হুকুমে প্রতিষ্ঠা করা নির্বাচন কমিশনের কর্মকান্ডের জন্য।

গতকাল দৈনিক আমার দেশ পত্রিকায় সাংবাদিক কাজী হাফিজ রিপোর্ট করেছেন যে, ১১ সদস্যের সরকারের মধ্যে প্রধান উপদেষ্টা ড. ফখরুদ্দীন আহমদ এবং আরো ৬ জন উপদেষ্টা যথা-ড. মির্জ্জা আজিজুল ইসলাম, ড. ইফতেখার আহমদ চৌধুরী, ড. সিএস করিম, ড. হোসেন জিল্লুর রহমান, জনাব আনোয়ারুল ইকবাল এবং বেগম রাশেদা কে চৌধুরী তাদের বর্তমান সরকারি পদে থাকার যোগ্যতা হারিয়েছেন। কারণ, আমাদের সংবিধানের ৫৮গ(৭) অনুচ্ছেদে স্পষ্ট বলা আছে, তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকারের উপদেষ্টা হতে হলে সেই ব্যক্তিকে ‘সংসদ সদস্য হিসেবে নির্বাচিত হইবার যোগ্য’ হতে হবে। এখন নির্বাচন কমিশনের প্রস্তাব করা এবং এ সরকারের পাস করা গণপ্রতিনিধিত্ব (সংশোধিত) অধ্যাদেশে বলা আছে যে, কোনো সরকারি, সামরিক বা বেসামরিক, চাকরি থেকে অবসর নেবার পর ৩ বছর পার না হলে তিনি সংসদ সদস্য নির্বাচনের যোগ্য হবেন না। ওই আইনে এও বলা আছে যে, কোনো বেসরকারি সংস্হার প্রধান নির্বাহীও চাকরি ছাড়ার পর ৩ বছর পার না হলে সংসদ সদস্য নির্বাচনের জন্য যোগ্য হবেন না। উপরোক্ত ৭ জনের মধ্যে ৫ জনের বেলায় প্রথম শর্তটি এবং ২ জনের বেলায় দ্বিতীয় শর্তটি প্রযোজ্য।

নির্বাচন কমিশন যখন এ সংশোধনীগুলো প্রস্তাব করে তখনই প্রশ্ন ছিল যে, এই জাতীয় শর্তগুলো আদৌ গণতান্ত্রিক কিনা। শুরু থেকেই একটা ধোঁয়াটে পরিস্হিতির সুযোগ নিয়ে অনির্দিষ্টকালের জন্য ক্ষমতা আঁকড়ে থাকা অনির্বাচিত একটা সরকারের কাছে গণতান্ত্রিক কাজ অবশ্য আশাও করা যায় না। তার ওপর আইনের মারপ্যাঁচে যাদের বড়জোর ৩ মাস ক্ষমতায় থাকার কথা তারা যখন প্রায় ২ বছর পার করছে তখন তাদের দৃষ্টি বা চিন্তা এবং বিশ্লেষণ শক্তি ঘোলাটে হয়ে যাওয়ার কথা। হয়ে যাওয়াটাই স্বাভাবিক। ওপরে যে অধ্যাদেশের কথা উল্লেখ করা আছে, স্বাভাবিক সময়ে সেরকম আইন পাস হতো জাতীয় সংসদে চুলচেরা বিশ্লেষণের পর। প্রায় দু’বছর ধরে আমাদেরকে সেই সুযোগ পাওয়ার অধিকার থেকে বঞ্চিত করে রাখা হয়েছে। জাতিকে এভাবে বঞ্চনা করাটাও শুধু সংবিধানের লঙ্ঘন নয়, মারাত্মক ছলনাও বটে। একে জনগণ কী বলবেন, অনৈতিক, নীতিহীনতা নাকি ক্ষমতার অপব্যবহার করে দুর্নীতি? এখানে উল্লেখ করা ভালো, সর্বশেষ জাতীয় সংসদের মেয়াদোত্তীর্ণ হবার পর ৯০ দিনের ভেতরে যে আরেকটি জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন অনুষ্ঠান করেনি নির্বাচন কমিশন, মাননীয় হাইকোর্ট সেই ব্যর্থতাকে সংবিধানের লঙ্ঘন বলে অবিহিত করেছেন।

এই দেরি করার অজুহাত হিসেবে দেখানো হয়েছে একটা নতুন ভোটার তালিকা তৈরি করা, যাতে ভোটারদের ছবিও থাকছে। এ ভোটার লিষ্টকে নির্ভুল বলে দাবি করা হচ্ছে। এটা তৈরি করেছে সেনাবাহিনী শহরে শহরে, গ্রামে গ্রামে মুলত স্কুল শিক্ষকদের সহায়তা নিয়ে। তবে এই নির্ভুল বলে দাবি করা ভোটার লিষ্টটা আসলে কতখানি ভুল ছাড়া তা দেখা যাবে নির্বাচনের সময়। এখানে বলে রাখা দরকার, আমরা যতখানি জানি মুদ্রিত ভোটার লিষ্ট এখনো সব নির্বাচনী এলাকায় পৌঁছেনি। কাজেই এই তালিকা কতটা নির্ভুল তা যাচাই হওয়ার প্রকৃত সুযোগ এখনো আসেনি। আর এ লিষ্টের আগমনের অছিলা করেই জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচনকে এতদিন পর্যন্ত কেবলই পিছু হটতে হয়েছে। আর আমরা সংবিধানের সঙ্গে সাংঘর্ষিক শাসন ব্যবস্হার কবলে মৌলিক অধিকারবিহীন হয়ে পড়ে থাকলাম।

এই লেখার শুরুতেই ড. ফখরুদ্দীন আহমদের ভাষণের যে উদ্ধৃতি দিয়েছি তাতে ‘১৬ মাসের সংস্কার’ কার্যক্রম বলে একটি কথা ব্যবহার করা হয়েছে। সংস্কার বলে বর্ণিত সেসব কাজের মধ্যে একটা ছিল ‘সত্য ও জবাবদিহিতা কমিশন আইন প্রণয়ন এবং সে অনুযায়ী কমিশন প্রতিষ্ঠা করা’-এই কমিশনকে তদন্ত, বিচার এবং জরিমানা করার ক্ষমতা দেয়া হয়েছিল। গত ২৫ আগষ্ট বাংলাদেশের ৪ নাগরিক আদিলুর রহমান শুভ্র, ফরিদা আখতার, ডা. দীপুমণি ও নাসির উদ্দিন এলান ওই আইনটিকে অবৈধ ও সংবিধানবহির্ভুত ঘোষণা করার জন্য হাইকোর্টের কাছে আবেদন করেন। গতকাল মাননীয় আদালত ওই আইনটিকে সংবিধানবহির্ভুত বিধায় অবৈধ বলে রায় দিয়েছেন। আপাতত এটাই হলো এ সরকারের সংস্কারের নামে বেআইনি কাজ করার সর্বশেষ নিদর্শন। তা তো হলো, কিন্তু আমরা ভেবে পাচ্ছি না ওই কমিশন যাদের কাছ থেকে শুদ্ধির নামে টাকা আদায় করেছে সরকার সেই টাকাটা কোন আইনের অধিকার বলে তার তহবিলে রাখবে। আমরা এও ভেবে পাচ্ছি না, যারা দুর্নীতি করেছে বলে ওই জরিমানা দিয়েছিল তারা যদি এখন আমাদের সামনে এসে গলা ফাটিয়ে বলে যে, তারা একদম নির্দোষ এবং সৎ অথবা তাদের চরিত্র ফুলের মতো পবিত্র তখন আমরা তাদের কি উত্তর দেব? তদুপরি দুর্নীতি দমন কমিশন যাদের বিরুদ্ধে মামলা করে বিশেষ আদালতের রায় পেয়েছে এবং আরো যাদের বিরুদ্ধে মামলা করছে (তাদের প্রায় সবাই রাজনীতিবিদ) তারা যদি দাবি করেন যে, তাদের বিরুদ্ধে যেভাবে তদন্ত করা হয়েছে তাতে বৈধ অনুসন্ধানের চেয়ে অবৈধ পিটুনির এবং জরুরি বিধিতে গ্রেফতার হবার ভীতি বেশি কাজ করেছে তখন তাদের কথা অবিশ্বাস করার সম্ভাবনা আর কতটুকুইবা বজায় থাকল ক্ষমতাসীনদের বেপরোয়া কাজকর্মের পর।

এদিকে এ সরকার গত বছর এবং এ বছর জরুরি বিধি প্রয়োগের নামে যেসব তুঘলকি কাজ-কারবার করেছে সেই পথ ধরে নির্বাচনের জন্য দলীয় ভিত্তিতে উন্মুক্ত প্রচারের কাজ শুরু হতে না হতে বন্ধ করে দিয়েছে জরুরি আইন কঠোরভাবে প্রয়োগ করার হুমকি দিয়ে। যার ফলে ঘোষিত জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন সুষ্ঠুভাবে হবার প্রক্রিয়া মুখ থুবড়ে পড়েছে। আর কথিত সংস্কারের নামে সরকার ও নির্বাচন কমিশন রাজনৈতিক দলগুলোর প্রার্থী বাছাইয়ের কাজকে ‘তৃণমুল’ পর্যায়ে পাঠানোর বন্দোবস্ত করে কালো টাকা ও পেশিশক্তির বিকেন্দ্রীকরণ করেছে তাও চাক্ষুস করা গেল গত কয়েকদিনে। সাদা চোখে দেখা যাচ্ছে এবং সহজেই অনুভব করা যাচ্ছে, এমন এতসব অপকীর্তির পর এ সরকারের দেশ শাসন করার কোনো অধিকার নেই। আর তার সঙ্গে বলা যায়, বর্তমান নির্বাচন কমিশনের আওতায় সুষ্ঠু নির্বাচন আশা করার কোনো যুক্তি অবশিষ্ট নেই।
এই পরিস্হিতি থেকে দেশকে মুক্ত করতে প্রয়োজন অবিলম্বে জরুরি অবস্হা প্রত্যাহার করা এবং গণতন্ত্র পুনঃপ্রতিষ্ঠায় প্রধান রাজনৈতিক শক্তিগুলোর তথা বড় দু’দলের মধ্যে একটি কর্মসুচি বা কর্মপ্রণালী নিয়ে ঐকমত্য, যেমন তারা করেছিল ১৯৯০ সালে ৩ জোটের ঘোষণা ও সেনাশাসক লে. জেনারেল (অব.) এরশাদের হাত থেকে ক্ষমতা হস্তান্তর ও পরবর্তী জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন নিয়ে। এদিক থেকে সাবেক দুই প্রধানমন্ত্রী এবং দু’দলের নেত্রীদ্বয় বেগম খালেদা জিয়া এবং শেখ হাসিনার মধ্যে এ বিষয়ে বৈঠক ও যৌথ সিদ্ধান্ত অত্যন্ত জরুরি। (সূত্র, আমার দেশ, ১৪/১১/২০০৮)

November 14, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , | Leave a comment

Palin says she doesn’t regret Couric interview

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Wednesday she does not regret her interview with Katie Couric of CBS and wishes she had been more available to the media during the campaign.

“I should have done it, yes. And her questions were fair,” Palin told CNN’s Larry King Wednesday. “Obviously being a bit annoyed with some of the questions, my annoyance shows through.”

Palin had some well-publicized fumbles during interviews with Couric in late September leading up to her vice presidential debate.

“Certainly I should have done the interview. And to attribute I think that interview to any kind of negativity in the campaign or a downfall in the campaign, I think it’s ridiculous.”

Palin added she wished she talked more to the media.

“In retrospect, in hindsight, I wish I would had more opportunities or that we would have seized more opportunities to speak more,” Palin said.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , , | Leave a comment

Obama makes first visit to Oval Office

President Bush had a “relaxed” and “friendly” meeting with President-elect Barack Obama after he and first lady Laura Bush welcomed their successors to their future home Monday, a White House spokesman said.


“The president and the president-elect had a long meeting, described by the president as good, constructive, relaxed and friendly,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement. “The president enjoyed his visit with the president-elect, and he again pledged a smooth transition to the next administration.”

Perino said the two discussed national and international issues but did not provide specifics of the conversation. Bush also gave Obama a tour of the White House’s living quarters, including the Lincoln bedroom.

Bush and Obama held a private meeting in the Oval Office, while the first lady gave incoming first lady Michelle Obama a tour of the residence.

The president and president-elect walked together along the Colonnade by the Rose Garden before entering the Oval Office together. They briefly waved to reporters along the way.

Obama and Bush were not expected to speak on camera after their meeting.

The two met in the Oval Office for just over an hour. When President George H.W. Bush hosted President-elect Bill Clinton after the 1992 election, the two talked for nearly two hours.

Monday’s meeting was a historic formality, but it was also a time for serious talks. It marked the first time Obama has visited the Oval Office.

Bush and Obama “had a broad discussion about the importance of working together throughout the transition of government in light of the nation’s many critical economic and security challenges,” said Stephanie Cutter, spokeswoman for Obama’s transition team.

“President-elect Obama thanked President Bush for his commitment to a smooth transition, and for his and first lady Laura Bush’s gracious hospitality in welcoming the Obamas to the White House,” Cutter said.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama looking to make impact quickly, aides say

President-elect Barack Obama is looking forward to Monday’s White House transition talks with President Bush and is already examining ways to make a quick impact upon taking office, top Obama aides said Sunday.

“I think it was very gracious of President Bush to invite him so early — usually it happens a little later in the process,” Valerie Jarrett, one of the transition team’s co-chairs, told reporters.

“I think because of the daunting challenges that are facing our country, President Bush thought it was important to move forward quickly.”

A prominent Democratic source close to Obama said Jarrett is also Obama’s choice to be named to take over his seat in the Senate, though Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich would have the final say over a replacement.

And John Podesta, the other co-chair, said the talks are likely to cover “a broad range of issues” — but the slumping U.S. economy is expected to dominate the discussion.

Podesta told CNN’s “Late Edition” that Obama will push Congress to enact “at least part” of an economic package before he takes office in January, but said the problems Americans face need short-term and long-term approaches.

“It’s clear that we need to stabilize the economy, to deal with the financial meltdown that’s now spreading across the rest of the economy. The auto industry is really, really back on its heels,” Podesta said.

And Obama’s designated White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said the government needs to consider “fast-forwarding” $25 billion in low-interest loans already approved by Congress to help the Big Three U.S. automakers retool for more efficient vehicles.

“They are an essential part of our economy and our industrial base,” Emanuel told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He added: “There are existing authorities within the government today that the administration should tap to help the auto industry.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, urged Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson over the weekend to extend the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry to shore up the ailing Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, which have been battered by the credit crisis and poor sales of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles. But Treasury spokesperson Brookly McLaughlin said Sunday that the department remains focused on the financial sector and restarting stalled lending.

Podesta said Congress could extend unemployment benefits for laid-off workers and provide assistance to states grappling with increased Medicaid costs quickly. But he said efforts to improve schools, expand health-care coverage and wean the nation’s energy industry away from imported fuels “need to be tackled together.”

And he told “Fox News Sunday” that the incoming administration is conducting an extensive review of Bush’s executive orders, looking for quick changes that Obama can make from his first day in office.

“As a candidate, Senator Obama said that he wanted all the Bush executive orders reviewed and decide which ones should be kept and which ones should be repealed and which ones should be amended, and that process is going on. It’s been undertaken,” Podesta said.

Podesta said Obama’s team will be “looking at — again, in virtually every agency — to see where we can move forward, whether that’s on energy transformation, on improving health care, on stem cell research.”

Podesta said there is a lot the president can do without waiting for Congress, and voters can expect to see Obama do so to try to restore “a sense that the country is working on behalf of the common good.”

Bush and Obama are set to meet Monday afternoon at the White House’s Oval Office.

“I’m sure they’ll be open and frank, as I’m sure they’ve always been able to talk to one another,” Jarrett said. “So I think it’s a good sign for this country that they’re having this meeting when they’re having it, and we look forward to the days and weeks ahead.”

At the same time, first lady Laura Bush will take Obama’s wife, Michelle, on a tour of the executive mansion

November 10, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

BNP undecided, Jamaat ready as time running out

BNP is still undecided whether to participate in the December 18 national election while only six days are left to go before the deadline for filing nominations ends.

The issue of polls participation has already created a distance between BNP and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami, which appears quite keen to contest the election.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday reiterated that her party would take part in the polls if the government meets their demands.

She however did not say what would be the response if the caretaker administration declines to fulfil the demands before November 13, the closing date for submitting nominations.

BNP leaders said they are a bit concerned about Jamaat’s “over enthusiasm” for the election.

Talking to The Daily Star, they said their chairperson has already cautioned Jamaat leaders that it’s time for a reality check. Going to polls at this time would do no good to their four-party alliance.

According to party sources, Jamaat has already completed preparations for the election. The BNP rank and file, on the other hand, still does not know if they would boycott the general election.

“I have no clues to what decision our party might take. We will however follow whatever the chairperson should decide with regard to the upcoming election,” a district BNP general secretary told The Daily Star, seeking anonymity.

BNP insiders said the party wants no part in the election as it thinks the odds are still stacked against it.

However, Jamaat’s arguments that a boycott of the vote would mean letting the Awami League-led alliance win unchallenged have put it in a fix. The prospect of the political opponents gaining the two-thirds majority in parliament is even more worrying.

While Jamaat and Islami Oikya Jote (Aminee) are pressing the party hard for a decision in favour of polls participation, some of its [BNP] top leaders appear hell-bent on boycotting the election.

They say the party must not join the parliamentary race if its detained and convicted leaders are not allowed to contest.

Addressing a public gathering in Chittagong yesterday, Khaleda alleged the government has failed to create a level playing field.

The former prime minister however did not drop any hints about their next course of action.

On condition of anonymity, a former BNP lawmaker yesterday told The Daily Star, “It would not be wise to boycott the election as people want to get out of the current situation through a free and fair election.”

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Bangladesh, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘I’m going to confront this economic crisis,’ Obama says

Sen. Barack Obama spoke at a his first news conference as president-elect Friday afternoon. The following is a transcript of the conference:

Obama: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you very much.

This morning, we woke up to more sobering news about the state of our economy. The 240,000 jobs lost in October marks the 10th consecutive month that our economy has shed jobs. In total, we’ve lost nearly 1.2 million jobs this year, and more than 10 million Americans are now unemployed.

Tens of millions of families are struggling to figure out how to pay the bills and stay in their homes. Their stories are an urgent reminder that we are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we’re going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.

Now, the United States has only one government and one president at a time. And until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration.

I’ve spoken to President Bush. I appreciate his commitment to ensuring that his economic policy team keeps us fully informed as developments unfold. And I’m also thankful for his invitation to the White House.

Immediately after I become president, I’m going to confront this economic crisis head on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity.

And this morning, I met with members of my Transition Economic Advisory Board, who are standing behind me, alongside my vice president-elect, Joe Biden.

They will help to guide the work of my transition team, working with Rahm Emanuel, my chief of staff, in developing a strong set of policies to respond to this crisis. We discussed in the earlier meeting several of the most immediate challenges facing our economy and key priorities on which to focus on in the days and weeks ahead.

First of all, we need a rescue plan for the middle class that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provide relief to families that are watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear.

A particularly urgent priority is a further extension of unemployment insurance benefits for workers who cannot find work in the increasingly weak economy.

A fiscal stimulus plan that will jump-start economic growth is long overdue. I’ve talked about it throughout this — the last few months of the campaign. We should get it done.

Second, we have to address the spreading impact of the financial crisis on the other sectors of our economy: small businesses that are struggling to meet their payrolls and finance their holiday inventories; and state and municipal governments facing devastating budget cuts and tax increases.

We must also remember that the financial crisis is increasingly global and requires a global response.

The news coming out of the auto industry this week reminds us of the hardship it faces, hardship that goes far beyond individual auto companies to the countless suppliers, small businesses and communities throughout our nation who depend on a vibrant American auto industry.

The auto industry is the backbone of American manufacturing and a critical part of our attempt to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

I would like to see the administration do everything it can to accelerate the retooling assistance that Congress has already enacted. In addition, I have made it a high priority for my transition team to work on additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust, weather the financial crisis, and succeed in producing fuel-efficient cars here in the United States of America.

And I was glad to be joined today by Governor Jennifer Granholm, who obviously has great knowledge and great interest on this issue.

I’ve asked my team to explore what we can do under current law and whether additional legislation will be needed for this purpose.

Third, we will review the implementation of this administration’s financial program to ensure that the government’s efforts are achieving their central goal of stabilizing financial markets while protecting taxpayers, helping homeowners, and not unduly rewarding the management of financial firms that are receiving government assistance.

It is absolutely critical that the Treasury work closely with the FDIC, HUD, and other government agencies to use the substantial authority that they already have to help families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.

Finally, as we monitor and address these immediate economic challenges, we will be moving forward in laying out a set of policies that will grow our middle class and strengthen our economy in the long term. We cannot afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign, including clean energy, health care, education, and tax relief for middle-class families.

My transition team will be working on each of these priorities in the weeks ahead, and I intend to reconvene this advisory board to discuss the best ideas for responding to these immediate problems.

Let me close by saying this. I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead. We have taken some major action to date, and we will need further action during this transition and subsequent months.

Some of the choices that we make are going to be difficult. And I have said before and I will repeat again: It is not going to be quick, and it is not going to be easy for us to dig ourselves out of the hole that we are in.

But America is a strong and resilient country. And I know we will succeed, if we put aside partisanship and politics and work together as one nation. That’s what I intend to do.

With that, let me open it up for some questions. And I’m going to start right here with you.

Question: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. I wonder what you think any president can accomplish during their first 100 days in office to turn the economy around? How far can you go? And what will be your priorities on day one?

Obama: Well, I think that a new president can do an enormous amount to restore confidence, to move an agenda forward that speaks to the needs of the economy and the needs of middle-class families all across the country.

I’ve outlined during the course of the campaign some critical issues that I intend to work on.

We have a current financial crisis that is spilling out into rest of the economy, and we have taken some action so far. More action is undoubtedly going to be needed. My transition team is going to be monitoring very closely what happens over the course of the next several months.

The one thing I can say with certainty is that we are going to need to see a stimulus package passed either before or after inauguration.

We are going to have to focus on jobs, because the hemorrhaging of jobs has an impact, obviously, on consumer confidence and the ability of people to — to buy goods and services and can have enormous spillover effects.

And I think it’s going to be very important for us to provide the kinds of assistance to state and local governments to make sure that they don’t compound some of the problems that are already out there by having to initiate major layoffs or initiate tax increases.

So there are some things that we know we’re going to have to do, but I’m confident that a new president can have an enormous impact. That’s why I ran for president.

Question: (off-mike) … from House Democrats that the stimulus package may be in trouble, that it’s going to be a hard time getting out of a lame-duck session. Are you still confident that you would be able to get something done before you actually take office?

Obama: I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later. If it does not get done in the lame-duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.

Question: Senator, for the first time since the Iranian revolution, the president of Iran sent a congratulations note to a new U.S. president. I’m wondering if, first of all, if you responded to President Ahmadinejad’s note of congratulations and, second of all, and more importantly, how soon do you plan on sending low-level envoys to countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, to see if a presidential-level talk would be productive?

Obama: I am aware that the letter was sent. Let me state — repeat what I stated during the course of the campaign.

Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable. And we have to mount a international effort to prevent that from happening.

Iran’s support of terrorist organizations I think is something that has to cease.

I will be reviewing the letter from President Ahmadinejad, and we will respond appropriately. It’s only been three days since the election. Obviously, how we approach and deal with a country like Iran is not something that we should, you know, simply do in a knee- jerk fashion. I think we’ve got to think it through.

But I have to reiterate once again that we only have one president at a time. And I want to be very careful that we are sending the right signals to the world as a whole that I am not the president and I won’t be until January 20th.

Question: Picking up what we were just talking about, your meeting with President Bush on Monday. When — he is still the decider, obviously, stating the obvious. When you disagree with decisions he makes, will you defer? Will you challenge? Will you confront? And if it becomes confrontational, could that rattle the markets even more?

Obama: Well, President Bush graciously invited Michelle and I to — to meet with him and First Lady Laura Bush. We are gratified by the invitation. I’m sure that, in addition to taking a tour of the White House, there’s going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president.

I’m not going to anticipate problems. I’m going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship and a sense that both the president and various leaders in Congress all recognize the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done.

And, you know, undoubtedly there may end up being differences between not just members of different parties, but between people within the same party.

The critical point and I think the critical tone that has to be struck by all of us involved right now is the American people need help. This economy is in bad shape. And we have just completed one of the longest election cycles in recorded history.

Now is a good time for us to set politics aside for a while and think practically about what will actually work to move the economy forward. And it’s in that spirit that I’ll have the conversation with the president.

Question: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. With the country facing two wars and a financial crisis, do you think it’s important for you to move especially quickly to fill key cabinet posts, such as treasury secretary and secretary of state?

Obama: When we have an announcement about cabinet appointments, we will make them. There is no doubt that I think people want to know who’s going to make up our team.

And I want to move with all deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize “deliberate” as well as “haste.” I’m proud of the choice I made of vice president, partly because we did it right. I’m proud of the choice of chief of staff, because we thought it through.

And I think it’s very important, in all these key positions, both in the economic team and the national security team, to — to get it right and not to be so rushed that you end up making mistakes.

I’m confident that we’re going to have an outstanding team, and we will be rolling that out in subsequent weeks.

Question: Yes, sir. To what extent — to what extent are you planning to use your probably pretty great influence in determining the successor for your Senate seat? And what sort of criteria should the governor be looking at in filling that position?

Obama: This is the governor’s decision; it is not my decision.

And I think that the criteria that I would have for my successor would be the same criteria that I’d have if I were a voter: somebody who is capable; somebody who is passionate about helping working families in Illinois meet their — meet their dreams.

And I think there are going to be a lot of good choices out there, but it is the governor’s decision to make, not mine.

Lynn Sweet?

Question: Mr. President-elect …

Obama: What happened to your arm, Lynn?

Question: I cracked my shoulder running to your speech on election night.

Obama: Oh, no.

(Laughter)

Question: (inaudible)

Obama: I think that was the only major incident during the — the entire Grant Park celebration.

Question: Thank you for asking. Here’s my question. I’m wondering what you’re doing to get ready. Have you spoke to any living ex-presidents, what books you might be reading?

Everyone wants to know, what kind of dog are you going to buy for your girls? Have you decided on a private or public school for your daughters?

Obama: Let — let me list those off.

In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living. Obviously, President Clinton — I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.

I have re-read some of Lincoln’s writings, who’s always an extraordinary inspiration.

And, by the way, President Carter, President Bush, Sr., as well as the current president have all been very gracious and offered to provide any help that they can in this transition process.

With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it’s generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything.

We have — we have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.

On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So — so whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.

And with respect to schools, Michelle will be — will be scouting out some schools. We’ll be making a decision about that in the future.

Question: You are now privy to a lot of intelligence that you haven’t had access to before, in fact, much of what the president sees, I’m sure all of it.

First of all, do you — what do you think about the state of U.S. intelligence, whether you think it needs beefing up, whether you think there’s enough interaction between the various agencies?

And, second of all, has anything that you’ve heard given you pause about anything you’ve talked about on the campaign trail?

Obama: Well, as you know, if — if there was something I had heard, I couldn’t tell you. But…

Question: (off-mike)

Obama: I have received intelligence briefings. And I will make just a general statement.

Our intelligence process can always improve. I think it has gotten better. And, you know, beyond that, I don’t think I should comment on the nature of the intelligence briefings.

That was a two-parter. Was there another aspect to that?

Question: Well, just whether — you know, absent what you’ve heard…

Obama: OK, I get you.

Question: … whether anything has given you pause.

Obama: I’m going to skip that.

Question: Mr. President-elect, do you still intend to seek income tax increases for upper-income Americans? And if so, should these Americans expect to pay higher taxes in 2009?

Obama: The — my tax plan represented a net tax cut. It provided for substantial middle-class tax cuts; 95 percent of working Americans would receive them.

It also provided for cuts in capital gains for small businesses, additional tax credits. All of it is designed for job growth.

My priority is going to be, how do we grow the economy? How do we create more jobs?

I think that the plan that we’ve put forward is the right one, but, obviously, over the next several weeks and months, we’re going to be continuing to take a look at the data and see what’s taking place in the economy as a whole.

But, understand, the goal of my plan is to provide tax relief to families that are struggling, but also to boost the capacity of the economy to grow from the bottom up.

All right. Thank you very much, guys.

November 7, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Strains Between McCain and Palin Aides Go Public

Now that the defeated team of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have gone their separate ways, the knives are out and Palin is the one who is getting filleted.

Revelations from anonymous critics from within the McCain-Palin campaign suggest a number of complaints about the Alaskan governor:

Fox News reports that Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent and did not know the member nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement — the United States, Mexico and Canada — when she was picked for vice president.

The New York Times reports that McCain aides were outraged when Palin staffers scheduled her to speak with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, a conversation that turned out to be a radio station prank.

Newsweek reports that Palin spent far more than the previously reported $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family.

Several publications say she irked the McCain campaign by asking to make her own concession speech on election night.

The tension is likely to continue or get worse. Lawyers for the Republican National Committee are heading to Alaska to try to account for all the money that was spent on clothing, jewelry and luggage, according to The New York Times.

Reports of agitation between the two camps bubbled up in the final weeks of the campaign as Barack Obama began pulling away and the GOP duo was unable to regain the momentum.

But those reports are no longer in the rumor stage as McCain loyalists are now blasting away at the Alaska governor, who was a favorite of the Republican right during the campaign, but was cited in numerous polls as a reason why many Americans wouldn’t vote for the Arizona Republican.

Perhaps the most dangerous allegation for Palin are reports in The New York Times and Newsweek that when she was urged by McCain adviser Nicole Wallace to buy three suits for the Republican convention and three suits for the campaign trail, she went on the now-infamous shopping spree at swank stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

A Republican donor who agreed to foot a majority of the expenses was stunned when he received the bill, Newsweek reported. Both the Times and Newsweek report that the budget for the clothing was expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000. Instead, the amount reported by the Republican National Committee was $150,000.

That wasn’t the whole tab, however, according to Newsweek. The magazine claims that Palin leaned on some low-level staffers to put thousands of dollars of additional purchases on their credit cards. The national committee and McCain became aware of the extra expenditures, including clothes for husband Todd Palin, when the staffers sought reimbursement, Newsweek reported.

There is one comment in particular from a McCain aide that guaranteed to heighten friction between the two camps. The angry aide described the Palin family shopping spree to Newsweek as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast.”

It’s unclear how much McCain knew about the clothing debacle. Reports suggest that he was kept out of the loop for fear that he would not approve.

Both Newsweek and The New York Times say McCain and Palin had little contact with each other.

“I think it was a difficult relationship,” one top McCain official confided to The New York Times. But a high level McCain adviser told ABC News that the two had a good working relationship.

“He likes her,” this senior McCain adviser said last week. “He’s had no problem with her. He’s very appreciative of what she’s done.”

The adviser said McCain and Palin talked at least once a day. He also said McCain frequently joked about how large Palin’s crowds were compared to his.

However, press accounts today suggest that Palin rubbed many of the McCain aides the wrong way. On election night when it was clear that McCain would be giving a concession speech instead of an acceptance speech, Palin approached McCain with a speech in hand hoping to make her own concession speech, according to published reports.

Vice presidential candidates traditionally leave the spotlight to the top of the ticket on election night and McCain aides made it clear to Palin that she would be a spectator that night, not a speaker, The New York Times reported.

And when McCain and Palin split up in Arizona Wednesday, the personal differences were stark.

McCain drove himself home in a Toyota sport utility vehicle. Palin’s departure was a grander event. She left with an entourage of 18 family members and friends and a Secret Service detail, heading to the airport in a motorcade stretching more than a dozen vehicles, flanked by a dozen more cops on motorcycles.

McCain aides had numerous complaints about Palin. She was unwilling or unable to find the time and energy to prep for her disastrous interview with Couric. And when she did study, she astonished her handlers by her unsophisticated views.

She didn’t know Africa was a continent, according to Newsweek. Fox News revealed that during her cramming, she couldn’t name the three countries that belong to the North American Free Trade Agreement: the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Questions followed Palin home to Alaska. She was asked about some of the accusations from anonymous sources when she landed there late Wednesday.

Asked about the Fox report that she did not know the NAFTA members or that Africa was a continent, Palin said, “If they’re an unnamed source, that says it all. I won’t comment on anyone’s gossip based on anonymous sources. That’s kind of a small of a bitter type of person who anonymously would charge that I didn’t know an answer to a question. So until I know who’s talking about it, I won’t have a comment on a false allegation.”

When pressed on what went wrong with the campaign, she said, “I certainly am not one to ever waste time looking backwards.”

She defended herself against the notion that she is to blame for the failure of the McCain-Palin ticket.

“I don’t think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit, that I would trump an economic, woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain’s loss to me,” Palin told reporters in Arizona Wednesday.

“Now, having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I’m sorry about that because John McCain I believe is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time. … He being so full of courage and wisdom and experience, that valor he just embodies, I believe he would’ve been the best pick, but that is not the Americans’ choice at this time.”

She also rejected the characterization that she was a “diva” on the campaign trail, as one anonymous McCain adviser told CNN.

“If only people, y’know, come on up and travel with us to Alaska and see this ‘diva’ lifestyle that I supposedly live or would demand, because it’s just false,” she said.

Asked about her national political ambitions, she said, “I have not given it any thought in the context of making any kind of decisions at all, so no, just happy to be back here.”

In one of her favorite coffee shops in Wasilla Tuesday morning, Palin summed it up this way: “Forever, I’m going to be Sarah from Alaska.”

November 6, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why John McCain lost?

Candidate John McCain seemed to have it all.

Few in America did not know about his decades of service, his breath-taking heroism as a war hero in Vietnam, his foreign policy expertise and his ability to reach across the Congressional aisle.

Mr McCain’s opponent was largely untested, inexperienced and, initially at least, unknown; his race only added to his challenge.

If there is such a thing as a perfect political storm though, John McCain found himself caught in the middle of it. In a leaky boat. With limited fuel.

Financial squeeze

From the start, his biggest problem was finding the money to compete with Barack Obama’s $650m (£403m) campaign juggernaut. By accepting federal funding (which Mr Obama declined) he capped his general election campaign spending at $85m (£53m).

Of course much more than that was spent by the Republican National Committee and other pro-McCain groups, but Mr McCain could never seriously challenge Mr Obama’s ability to dominate the TV airwaves – even in states that were traditionally Republican.

Worse, Mr Obama had the money to force him to compete in states he should have been able to rely on, which reduced the amount of money Mr McCain had for states he needed to target.

His other big problem was in trying to separate himself from one of the most unpopular presidents in American history and a Congress which had been Republican for six of the past eight years.

As a mostly loyal Republican, his record was one of support for President George W Bush, which Barack Obama never let him forget.

Mr McCain insisted that he would be a very different president, without explicitly rejecting George Bush’s presidency. Instead he tried to position himself as a maverick who had gone his own way in the past.

But conservative Republicans knew all too well that “maverick” also meant going against them on issues such as immigration and campaign finance reform.

The right-wing, evangelical Republicans who had got Mr Bush elected were unhappy about Mr McCain from the start. That forced him into selecting a vice-presidential candidate who would reassure them.

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was a huge gamble from the start.

Mr McCain had said that the only thing he would look for in his vice-president was the ability to be president. Given that he would have been the oldest first-term president in history, that seemed particularly relevant.

Palin problems

But choosing someone with no national experience and no foreign experience as his running mate raised questions about his judgement and undermined his main argument against Mr Obama.

In the few interviews she gave, it was clear that she had not grasped foreign policy issues to the same extent as anyone she was running against. But there were other problems too.

She was the subject of an ethics probe in Alaska which eventually ruled that she had abused her power. Then came questions about her official expenses and her claims to have tried to end wasteful federal construction projects.

Her “hockey mom” persona was undermined by a revelation that the campaign had spent $150,000 on clothes and accessories for her.

As the weeks went on, her poll ratings fell heavily. She may have helped shore up the Republican base but she made it far more difficult for Mr McCain to broaden his appeal – especially with her forceful views on abortion and the environment.

She also helped drive away some in her own party. Mr Bush’s former Secretary of State Colin Powell cited her as one of the reasons he had decided to endorse Mr Obama; he decried what he saw as an increasing “narrowness” of the party.

He also condemned the negative attacks on Mr Obama coming from the McCain campaign as having gone too far.

Hopes dashed

This was another aspect of the McCain strategy that seemed to backfire. Although Mr McCain ran only 10% more purely negative adverts than his rival, according to media monitoring groups, they were more deeply personal attacks – accusing Mr Obama of having a close relationship with a “domestic terrorist”, for example.

Such ads created a backlash from independent voters, according to the polls, and Mr McCain was forced to change his tone.

In fact, he could never quite find a narrative that worked. He went from being war hero, to the voice of experience, to maverick, to tax-cutter, but he never found a way to lift himself in the polls.

His team hoped the three presidential debates would finally reveal their candidate to be best qualified for the job. But in the “town hall” setting Mr McCain favoured, he wandered around the stage and forgot that what may work in a real town hall doesn’t necessarily work with a TV audience.

In other debates he tried confronting Mr Obama, but was never able to shake the younger man’s almost unnatural cool. At times, Mr McCain seemed to be trying to keep a simmering rage under control, which brought more negative coverage.

When the credit crisis erupted and the economy stalled, it seemed a damning indictment of an era of Republican deregulation and “trickle-down” economics.

Mr McCain’s past quotes about the fundamentals of the economy being strong came back to haunt him. His tax plan – which seemed to favour the wealthy – rang hollow with people facing foreclosure and job losses.

His abrupt suspension of his campaign to return to Washington and “fix the problem” seemed erratic and was ultimately ineffectual.

In the end, he projected an image as a man from America’s past, who had been through much and served his country well.

But in a disgruntled nation, deeply disenchanted with Republicanism, he couldn’t match the appeal of his younger opponent and his message of change.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

অবিলম্বে প্রতিশ্র”ত পরিবর্তন আনার চাপে ওবামা

যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের প্রেসিডেন্ট নির্বাচিত হওয়ার পর জয়ের আনন্দ উপভোগের তেমন সময় নেই বারাক ওবামার। যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে প্রতিশ্র”ত পরিবর্তন আনার জন্য বড় বড় কাজগুলো এখন অবিলম্বে সেরে নেওয়ার চাপ আছে তার ওপর। আগামী ২০ জানুয়ারিতে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের প্রেসিডেন্ট হিসেবে দায়িত্ব নেবেন ওবামা। তার আগে এখন থেকেই তাকে নানা পরিকল্পনা নিতে হবে। চ্যালেঞ্জ মোকাবেলায় দল গঠন করতে হবে।

ইরাক-আফগান যুদ্ধ এবং গভীর অর্থনৈতিক সংকটের কারণে ওবামাকে প্রথমেই প্রশাসন গোছাতে হবে। সরকারের উচ্চপদগুলোতে নিয়োগ দিতে হবে নতুন লোক। বিশেষ করে দেশের অর্থমন্ত্রী ও পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রীর মতো বড় পদগুলোতে দ্রুত লোক নিয়োগের সিদ্ধান্ত নেওয়া তার জন্য বড় চ্যালেঞ্জ।

রাজনৈতিক নেতারা ইতোমধ্যেই বিশ্ব অর্থনৈতিক সংকট কাটাতে ওবামাকে নতুন অর্থনৈতিক ব্যবস্থা গড়ায় সাহায্য করার আহ্বান জানিয়েছেন। এদিক থেকে অর্থনীতিকে নতুন আঙ্গিক দেওয়াও তার সামনে বড় চ্যালেঞ্জ।

ইরাক ও আফগানিস্তান যুদ্ধ এবং অর্থনৈতিক সঙ্কট মোকাবেলায় বড় বড় পদগুলোতে দ্রুত যোগ্য লোক নিয়োগ দেয়া প্রয়োজন বলে মন্তব্য করেছেন সাবেক সরকারি কর্মকর্তা ও নীতি নির্ধারণে জড়িত ব্যক্তিরা।

সাবেক বিল ক্লিনটন সরকারের অভ্যন্তরীণ নীতি বিষয়ক উপদেষ্টা ও ম্যারিল্যান্ড বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের অধ্যাপক উইলিয়াম গ্লাস্টন বলেন, “দুটি যুদ্ধ চলছে এবং অর্থনৈতিক সঙ্কট এখনও কাটেনি। এমন পরিস্থিতিতে নতুন প্রশাসন সহজেই গতিশীল হয়ে উঠতে পারে না।”

কিছু কিছু বিশ্লেষক মনে করেন, অর্থমন্ত্রীর মতো কিছু গুরুত্বপূর্ণ পদে শিগগিরি নতুন লোকের নাম ঘোষণা করা হতে পারে। এ পদগুলোতে ইতোমধ্যেই কয়েকজনের নাম শোনা যাচ্ছে।

ওবামার প্রশাসনে অর্থমন্ত্রীর পদের তালিকায় রয়েছেন, সাবেক অর্থমন্ত্রী লরেন্স সামারস, সাবেক ফেডারেল রিজার্ভ চেয়ারম্যান পল ভোলকার ও নিউ ইয়র্ক ফেডারেল রিজার্ভ ব্যাংকের প্রেসিডেন্ট টিমোথি গিদনার। এছাড়া, শীর্ষ ধনী ওয়ারেন বাফেট, শিকাগো বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের অর্থনীতিবিদ অস্টান গুলসবি ও সাবেক হোয়াইট হাউজ কর্মকর্তা জ্যাসন ফুরমানও ওবামার পছন্দের তালিকায় রয়েছেন।

পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী হিসেবে ম্যাসাচুসেটসের ডেমোক্র্যাট সিনেটর জন কেরি, সাবেক কূটনীতিক রিচার্ড হলব্র”ক, রিপাবলিকান দলের বিদায়ী সিনেটর চাক হ্যাগেল ও জর্জিয়ার সাবেক ডেমোক্র্যাট সিনেটর স্যাম নানের নাম তালিকায় রয়েছে।

এছাড়া, জাতীয় নিরাপত্তা উপদেষ্টা পদের জন্য সাবেক ক্লিনটন উপদেষ্টা জেমস স্টেইন বার্গ ও ক্লিনটনের সহযোগী সুসান রাইসের নাম শোনা হচ্ছে।

হোয়াইট হাউজ বা পররাষ্ট্র বিভাগেরর গুরুত্বপূর্ণ দায়িত্বে আসতে পারেন ওবামার নির্বাচনী প্রচারণায় পররাষ্ট্র নীতি বিশেষজ্ঞ হিসেবে কাজ করা তিন সহযোগী- মার্ক লিপার্ট, ডেনিম ম্যাকডোনাফ ও বেন রোডস।

ইরাক ও আফগান যুদ্ধ চলার প্রেক্ষাপটে প্রতিরক্ষামন্ত্রীর পদে বর্তমান দায়িত্ব পালনকারী রবার্ট গেটসকেই বহাল রাখতে পারেন ওবামা। তবে এক্ষত্রে সাবেক নৌ-মন্ত্রী রিচার্ড ড্যানজিংকেও দায়িত্ব দেয়া হতে পারে।

এছাড়া, হোয়াইট হাউজের গুরুত্বপূর্ণ বিভিন্ন পদেও দ্রুত পরিবর্তন আসবে বলে মনে করছেন বিশ্লেষকরা। সিনেটে সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ নেতা টম ড্যাশেল ও ডেমোক্র্যাট প্রতিনিধি র‌্যাম ইমানুয়েলকে সেনাবাহিনী প্রধানের পদের জন্য বিবেচিত হচ্ছেন। এছাড়া হোয়াইট হাউজের প্রেস সচিব হিসেবে ওবামার যোগাযোগ উপদেষ্টা রবার্ট গিবসের নাম আলোচিত হচ্ছে।

যুদ্ধকালীন পরিবর্তন

১৯৬৮ সালের পর এই প্রথম যুদ্ধ চলার মসয় যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের প্রেসিডেন্ট পদে পরিবর্তন এসেছে। এই প্রেক্ষাপটে পরিবর্তনকে যত সহজে সম্ভব খাপ খাইয়ে নেয়ার জন্য তৎপর পেন্টাগন। পেন্টাগনের মুখপাত্র ব্রায়ান হোয়াইটম্যান বলেন, “১৯৬৮ সালের ভিয়েতনাম যুদ্ধের পর এটাই প্রথম যুদ্ধ চলাকালে সরকার পরিবর্তন। ওই সময় প্রেসিডেন্ট জনসনের কাছ থেকে ক্ষমতা নিয়েছিলেন রিচার্ড নিক্সন। এবার ওবামা প্রশাসনকে সবকিছু ঠিকঠাক জানাতে আমরা প্রস্তুত।”

ইরাক ও আফগান যুদ্ধ ছাড়াও ইরানের পরমাণু কর্মসূচিসহ অন্যান্য গুরুত্বপূর্ণ নিরাপত্তার বিষয়েও মাথা ঘামাতে হয় বিশ্বের একমাত্র সুপার পাওয়ারের প্রেসিডেন্টকে।

ওবামা প্রশাসনকে ইরাক যুদ্ধের ব্যাপারে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ সিদ্ধান্ত নিতে হবে। ইরাকে আমেরিকার দেড় লাখ সেনা রয়েছে। এছাড়া আফগানিস্তানে রয়েছে আরো ৩০ হাজার সেনা।

ওবামা ইরাক যুদ্ধের বিরোধী। এর আগে ইরাক থেকে সেনা প্রত্যাহারে নির্দিষ্ট সময়মীমা ঘোষণার জন্য সরকারের কাছে দাবি জানিয়েছিলেন তিনি। এজন্য তিনি ১৬ মাসের সময়সীমার প্রস্তাব দেন। তবে শীর্ষস্থানীয় সামরিক কর্মকর্তাদের মধ্যে নৌ বাহিনীর অ্যাডমিরাল মাইক মুলেন, চেয়ারম্যান অফ দ্য জয়েন্ট চিফস অব স্টাফ জেনারেল ডেভিড পেত্রাউস এ ধরনের কোনো নির্দিষ্ট সময়সীমা ঘোষণার বিরোধিতা করবেন বলে জানিয়েছেন।

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

What will be the biggest challenge facing President-elect Obama once he takes office?

America is one of the world’s few superpowers, whose actions will have a lasting impact on this century. The world is watching Barack Obama — what do you think will be the most important issue he will have to tackle once his administration begins?

I think he will have many. Changing the right wing extreme views and bigotry and attitudes of self-entitlement that some people have will be the hardest within America.

It will take time to fix the economy and set up legislation and forge forward and accomplish the goals he has proposed. Some things will be achieved quicker than others but being able to count on the American people to work with him will likely be the quickest and best thing that Americans have going, being able to help one another and be the changes they want to see.

Iraq and all that would be a problem for anyone to resolve, but I believe Obama will find a solution, and he is more likely to find a diplomatic one and be received better than McCain would have been IMHO.

I hope that the racist attitudes people have will start to fade away and that people realize we are all human beings created equal in this world. Until people respect one another in that way you will always have internal conflicts which only hinder progress.

So Iraq will definitely be one major, visible issue, and the economy the other. This will take time to fix because as Obama said, many things have to happen (new business for American workers, new energy sources, healthcare, education) and these won’t happen overnight and quite possibly take two terms of presidency to really see the progress and benefit.

But one thing I’m sure of is that you have the right man at the helm to do it.

So enough with the racial stuff and talk of assassinations and murders…that is a horrible thing to even think never mind perpetrate….stop it and get over it and work with your new President to make your country all that it should be.

You know Americans should feel PROUD that the world is celebrating this victory as if it were their own.

You have a great leader with potential to change not only America for the better but the world too. I think the rest of the world is hoping that he finds a way to unify not only America, but ALL OF us, as a global family. Perhaps that is a lot to put on one man’s shoulders, but people are worried about the direction our world is heading and here is someone who has a very special quality who just might be able to lead us all in the direction we all want and need to go, so that our children have a future on this planet too.

Sad would be the day you went back to what you had yesterday!!

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment