Monday, 26 December 2011

For a Public Audit in Portugal (follow up from the Dec 18 article) - Auditoria Cidadã à Divida (ai sim?)

I feel an obligation to translate my last post in this blog on December 18th however, due to the amount of time I suspect for me to take to translate my own words I'll first write the "follow up article" (as promised) in both languages and later post a translation of my thoughts on the mentioned date.

- Sinto-me na obrigação de traduzir o que escrevi no último artigo contido neste Blogue, do dia 18 deste mês, no entanto, como sei que é uma tarefa que irá demorar um bocado a fazer, vou primeiro escrever o seguimento que na altura prometi fazer. Depois, e de seguida, traduzir-me-ei.
Peço desde já perdão por ainda não apresentar o anterior artigo,
ou a quase totalidade deste, em Português. Espero muito em breve corrigir este mal.

(Margarida Costa)

- In Lisbon (S. Jorge Theatre) on the 16th and 17 of this month I attended an event that had been set up to give an initial boost in the implementing a Public Audit.

Among those speaking were: Maria Lúcia Fattorelli (two excellent articles regarding her work
LINK 1 and LINK 2 .. there are others),
Costas Lapavitsas (Link 1 and Link 2)
and Éric Toussaint (Link 1 .. Link 2 - and Link 3) , each bringing their experience, expertise and knowledge to the benefit of listeners achieving a richer and more focused outlook.

To understand the importance and scope of the matter I Leave a highly informative documentary (74 minutes, all very worthwhile) regarding what has happened to Public Debt and why. Some of the speakers that were in attendance in Lisbon can also be heard herein
(Costas Lapavitsas & Éric Toussaint)

Debtocracy : World - European - Greek

Debtocracy International Version

(an international version with the original spoken languages and subtitles thoughout in: French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and German)

The first time I had seen the above documentary was in an excellent post written by a friend in the end of June, an act of civic duty and will to see the world more acceptable to her fellow man. She took it upon herself to fully transcribe into Portuguese what is said therein (useful as one can thus more freely access any topic within the sequel regardless it's precisely timed "minute & second"- a very helpful tool).
Alice Valente Alves - 29 June - A Democracia é uma DIVIDOCRACIA - Debtocracy - (Filme e Texto)
Other than the obvious worth of my friend's post I mention it also to exemplify that which I see on the part of individual citizens (some of which I know) trying their best to work for the greater "good", obtaining no "political" or economic dividends from said sense of duty, people who are truly worried with the abhorrent onset of dehumanization.. vile (mis)appropriation of public assets amd the transforming of all our collective monies into a safeguard of PRIVATE (corportate) institutions, the very same ones that had caused all this nonsense and crisis to begin with.

Their motivation is by no means a small one, I must add. It is the non-acceptance of the enslavement of others. We are all being treacherously "sold", the future of society, of our children's children's children and the "Welfare State" all taken like fatted calves

As is well known and documented, it was the private financial sector (in the IMF, Private Banking, Insurance.. etcetera..) that collapsed, crashed and burned in 2008.
Not a breath was held nor syllable spoken regarding "sovereign debt" until Lehman brothers and the likes took a dive.
How convenient it is, and has been since, for these bloodsucking culprits to transfer and transform "their" problem into a "public" (taxpayer's) problem.

There is nonetheless an inability to not be able to manipulate, mistaken, or confound all of the PEOPLE all of time.

I leave the LINK to the article I wrote a week ago, on the 18th

Enablers and the politics of Debt - The Death of (kratos, κράτος) to the Demos (Δῆμος) - Democracy

It is far beyond my linguistic capabilities to be able to fully describe the shock I had received by the end of Saturday's meeting at the mentioned theatre (the event's second day) upon realizing how truly "sick" and on its deathbed our democracy is. More than causing revolt, I was truly saddened to see at the very heart of those whom allegedly would have us believe they truly wish to help the nation and their fellow citizens actually show the very same symptoms of what they profess to wager war against!
I regret to say (to conclude, at least for the time being) that there is no seriousness whatsoever in their intentions.
I shall explain my reasons in saying so.

The first speaker, whom I had never had the pleasure to have seen or heard of before, on the first day made a lengthy discourse in which she seemed to be addressing herself to a half-witted, mentally handicapped audience.
I had to bear though the deal in order to listen to the other two guest speakers who were scheduled to partake in the opening night (Costas Lapavitsas & Éric Toussaint) who I must add weren't so quick to judge everyone in the audience as being dumber than a bucket of hammers.
As expected the two spoke well and were to the point.

******* (please see note at the bottom of this article)

Overall the first day was pleasing and made me feel the need to attend the whole of next day's events. I was eager to see how things would unfold and how serious the ones proposing such an audit in Portugal were in seeing things through.
On the following Saturday I was a bit put off by seeing people speak and having their discourse interrupted and shortened (the two previously mentioned gentlemen and some of our own), not giving them time to fully speak their points to a reasonable degree. Their information was vital not to mention the fact that their discourse was vibrant and alive. I can't begin to understand the reason for such happening nor any benefit whatsoever therefrom.
But on the whole I was pleased to see a large theatre packed to the brim full of people who are interested and willingly eager to participate for the "greater good" of their nation (some from diverse political factions, others belonging to none). It was heartwarming to see, rejuvenating and for moments gave one a sense of heading for a better future (so very difficult to feel in this day and age). But the dream was completely shattered by an event occurring at the end of the day.

This man (it took me a while to come to write this follow up mostly on account of trying to find the identity of the man, a person whom I had also never seen before ). He seemed to unnerve some of the Portuguese moderators to an uncanny degree - António Brotas.
I could not account for the uneasiness and never for a moment had I, or anyone else for that matter, seen the person intervene in an "uncivilized or undemocratic" fashion throughout the day. Moreover, having enlisted himself to pose (as many others had) an addition or alteration to the proposed summary document for the conducting of said audit, he desperately tried before everyone's eyes to speak. He waited, and waited and waited... Personally most people I know, myself included, would've blown their top but he remained resilient, resolved and withstood whatever necessary unequal treatment so as to make a point he felt as being important come across. His civility was truly remarkable.
My friend left her seat. She was also unfamiliar with this man but she just couldn't stand the unequal treatment anymore and suspected as did I the reasons for fearing his words (as any thinking person should, sooner or later). I remained..
It was more than an undemocratic and unfair treatment of another. It was intended to be humiliating (this at least seemed to be the purpose)
- there in front of the entire theatre packed audience. I and any who wish to recall that ending note saw as plain as day the Portuguese moderator who wants us to believe that there there is civic duty, justice and true concern for her fellow citizens
manipulate things in hopes of gagging his words/thoughts.
Her fear was paramount and I'm led to conclude that her colleagues for the most part shared in the very same dire fear because it took quite a while for any to react or put a stop to what was becoming an "incident" of poor citizenship and democratic procedure.
Naturally, people had constantly interrupted before and not one was treated in such a manner. After a while as if it were an act of grand kindness another moderator said "Oh its true, his is listed for speaking and even if he weren't our posture is a democratic one. So let us let him speak"
(condescending and visibly uncomfortable in my opinion not only due to the amount of time taken to react, but because he most certainly felt the need to do so due to some of us speaking out inquiring a justification as to why we could not hear this particular man's words)

Finally the gentleman was permitted to speak and here are his words (I took it upon myself to record his actual words, having had so much anticipation due to said humiliating incident. Looking back, it wasn't he who was humiliated but rather the audience and those who conduct or perpetuate this type of discrimination)

«I propose that at point 6.1 of this document we add that we need to have a Public Audit of the National Budget at least since 1986. I'd rather it be since 1976 but understand that it may be too much to ask for now. I myself had been in office but I think that it is of vital importance for the matter at hand to see how these Budgets were made and met, or failed and thus "altered" - and why»

It is obvious to anyone objectively listening that he meant - since we started to receive monies from the European Union (at the time called CEE in Portugal, or EEC) - so that we can have grounds for "renegotiating" or calling debts acquired due to manipulative Euro dismantling of our economy (in wrongful action and campaign from the EU, or on the part of whomsoever in Portugal's political leaders that succumbed to said wrongdoings or corruption even), even though as he had said he would personally prefer them to include previous years including the time he had been in office.
How on earth do these people expect to have a Public Audit prove and/or give reason for "renegotiating", or the existence of an "Odious Debt" (for instance) to save us as they so love to say they want?
It's as if they're only "in it" for placing the laurel leaves upon their heads (this is truly a travesty as they are playing with the poverty of a nation and destroying perhaps the only democratic tool that can be used to fix this "cruel, unjust crap" that has most likely been wrongfully imposed upon all of us)
It seems then that the only purpose behind this particular venture is the "climbing" of the ladder of power within this or that political party - simultaneously not willing to make liable any past colleagues and/or rulers, nor their "accepting" Opposition for their actions that have lead us to the present. Nor does there seem to be the will to actually reveal the necessary proof of our taxpaying money having been misused or wrongfully applied. After the man spoke the audience burst into an ovation, but the more intelligent moderator ( the one who let him speak) quickly intervened and responded with a purely manipulative "Oh, that's all very fine and dandy but it's much too much to audit unfortunately". Sooner or later anyone looking at what had been and is proposed as being the subject of the Audit can see how ridiculous the justification is, even though at the time (having seconds to respond) it was a brilliant manoeuvre as he wanted to get the matter quickly dismissed. The less intelligent moderator quickly jumped at the opportunity and after the relaying of the false notion of it being too much to audit, asked the audience to vote in the following manner

«Who here votes that the document not be altered as requested and thus wish to have things move along, not wishing excessively or needlessly burden said Audit with such time consuming things?»

- For some reason there is great fear that the public find out what indeed has been done to our taxpaying money. The fearful moderators belong to the Party known as PS but apparently so is the man whom they so fear.
Another moderator belonging to the BE (party) didn't add to the attack but she shrugged her shoulders and "washed her hands" of the matter.
Odd, isn't it?
I shall not dwell any more on the subject but I do advert that he or she - that whomsoever reads this, should bear in mind that any one or any group of citizens can propose a Public Audit (with or without so much "media circus-type horsing around") and that not all feel the need to receive political dividends or favour. Some people actually love and care for their fellow man.

I leave the proposed Documented Summary of the resolutions for the conducting of the Public Audir - where you can view the section 6.1 (if this link should for any reason disappear I have a copy of it's contents)

I also leave the document made prior to the proposed and accepted changes that where made by many in the audience with the obvious exception to the incident I mention above (for some mysterious and fashionably occult reason)
December 4th version of said document
If for any chance this link ceases to exist (or should become "modified") I have also taken the liberty of keeping a copy (actually more than one copy)
The date on these downloads inequivocally and clearly stand as proof.

I highlight the fact of the only thing altered in section 6 being the omitting of
« 6.1 e) giving a full public account during and throughout the entire process of said Public Audit »

[in Protuguese: "assugurar a informação pública ao longo de todo o processo de auditoria" ]

and the omitting of section 6.2

«It is within our objectives that we, the IAC, support the initiatives taken "Locally" as well as those conducted by groups/sectors of citizens that wish to promote the study and transparency of the use of Public monies»

[in Portuguese: No quadro dos seus objectivos, a IAC apoiará a iniciativa local e sectorial dos cidadãos e cidadãs, orientada para o escrutínio e transparência das contas públicas ]

Amazing isn't it? Omitting these two points stikes me as being... well its much too obvious isn't it? The example I give, these two points I saw altered leads one to inevitably conclude a "boycott" to say the least.........

Let me ascertain that I hold not contempt of all that are present in our political parties, I do respect and admire a small lot from a variety of different factions. Nonetheless It sorrows me beyond words to see how some bring down the very things they say they love "Democracy" and the "caring for their fellow citizens"

Democracy to be true and meaningful in any sense of the word must come from "down" (the governed) - "up" (those who govern), and also
laterally as well as bilaterally.

- and I say:


I leave a quote attributed to many across the globe along the ages:
« You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. »

Presently I must resentfully admit that there is no seriousness in this quest for making a PUBLIC AUDIT in Portugal.

I hope with all my heart to be proven wrong, but I'm 99.99¨9 % sure I'm not and this knowledge makes me unbearably sad.

I hope all had a safe and loving Christmas and that 2012 (despite what I say) brings the necessary and honest solidarity the world needs and a reason to smile.

"The Tree of Common Knowledge" © G. Almeida

Note: *******
(Added the day after first publishing this article. Today being already the 27th and not wishing to alter the original post, I place this here at the bottom. It is regarding the opening night)

I recall that at the time I was particularly impressed with C. Lapavitsas's words. He kept mentioning something that was never addressed by others (the word "default" seemed to not arouse curiosity that day or the next) as to what the true outcome would be, or how one deals with as he put it - the country's need to "default". He kept repeating this was a necessity and indeed inevitable for some of our European countries. Some of the questions that raced in my head had to do with this topic.. He had said that the "creditors" can but will not let us "default", and if they did it would truly mean disaster (If I recall correctly) ..
- that it should be done by the "debtor" (us in our case) and not the "lender"so as to enable a fairer, more acceptable "renegotiation".., or if you will, to not be forced to pay "debt wrongfully acquired " and so forth..
(* I recalled at the time how Iceland had done something like this 3 years ago... )
I truly had "zillions" of questions regarding the subject.. but I didn't want to hog time and cut myself short so as to allow others to pose their questions.

Nevertheless, still regarding "default" or "renegotiation", it is in my opinion beneficial not only for those who were wronged and "force fed" debt in a wrongful (deceptive) manner but to those whom are amongst the creditors (one can only pay if one actually has money......... )
You can't force dead men to pay.
If one takes away another's livelihood, starving them and their children, what indeed is to be expected other than receiving bones and ashes of the dead and hungry?

At the end of this opening night and its three speeches we were allowed to enlist ourselves in order to ask 1 question each (so as to not take too much time). I was first. The myriad of questions I had on my mind I  FRANTICALLY   reduced to one.. To save time I even blurted it out in English directed and directly to
Costas Lapavitsas so as to further reduce time taken up by me.
What I asked, and the response, is in the last article I had written on the 18th of this month (link* Enablers and the politics of Debt - The Death of (kratos, κράτος) to the Demos (Δῆμος) - Democracy)

(extra note: now regarding Maria Lúcia Fattorelli - chief coordinator for the Brazilian Public Audit)

- I saw her speak on the second day of the event and although I was truly grateful of her insight, and experience, I wanted to hear more - much, much more.  It was truly nerve racking to see her race though her informative diagrams (having to skip a number of them). The highly valuable information she brought plus her natural capacity to communicate made me wonder, even before the "António Brotas" incident mentioned above, if there was truly a desire to inform and aid our comprehension of precisely what is at stake.

I leave you with a sample of her thoughts (video-clips in Portuguese)

(parte I - part one)

(parte II - part two)



  1. Obrigado pela tradução e pelo texto!

  2. Eu é que agradeço muito teres tido a paciência de teres lido o que aqui está, e por aguardares a tradução.