November 1, 2018

Bolsonaro Wins in Brazil

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

Far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, promising to clean up politics, shrink the state and crack down on crime."


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From the Left

The left sees Bolsonaro as a danger to democracy, human rights, and the environment.

“Globally, Bolsonaro’s imminent ascension to Brazil’s Presidency has appended Brazil to the growing ranks of nations ruled by authoritarian populists who openly espouse bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, and anti-immigrant views, as well as violence as a means of problem-solving."

The New Yorker

“Bolsonaro is a former military officer who was trained during the most repressive years of the military dictatorship. Recently, Bolsonaro has voiced support for military intervention in politics and has argued that the former military regime ‘didn’t go far enough’ in eradicating leftists. It goes without saying that military intervention and liberal democracy don’t go together."


“The watchdog group Global Witness documented 57 instances in 2017 where environmental activists were killed in Brazil during clashes with poachers, loggers, ranchers, and others. Many worry Bolsonaro’s election will exacerbate that fraught reality... In addition to fearing for their own lives, activists worry Bolsonaro’s presidency will almost certainly imperil some of the world’s most precious natural resources."


Some note that “it shouldn't be surprising that Brazil's economic decay and elite failure gave rise to right-wing revanchism. If leaders around the world want to stop [right-wing populism]... they must do better at protecting their citizens from the ravages of capitalism."

The Week

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right sees Bolsonaro’s election as a reaction to a corrupt and incompetent ruling class.

From the Right

The right sees Bolsonaro’s election as a reaction to a corrupt and incompetent ruling class.

“The president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, benefited from an assassination attempt but his victory is chiefly a reaction to three consecutive presidents who have been mired in scandal. Three-term ex-president Lula da Silva was briefly imprisoned. His chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office for corruption... her successor, President Michel Temer, has also been charged with embezzlement and corruption."

National Review

Maybe the world should show a decent respect for Brazilian democracy and try to understand what happened… Brazil has yet to recover from the leftwing populism of PT President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and successor Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016). Deficits, public debt and inflation soared... By the time the [PT] was done, Brazil was in a recession that lasted nearly three years... Brazilians didn’t vote for fascism or a military coup. They voted for hope and change, and they will throw Mr. Bolsonaro out if he fails to honor his promises.”

Wall Street Journal

Some posit that “the alternative, Haddad, was much worse. As Americans know, when there are only two options, sometimes you pick the lesser of two evils... Haddad's proposals were genuinely radical. They included ‘democratic control’ over the media (i.e., censorship) and ‘democratic control’ over the prosecutors and the Judiciary (i.e., an erosion of judicial independence and the rule of law).”

Washington Examiner

“The broader context here is North Korea's crop crisis. If Kim hasn't got sanctions relief by August's end, a painful winter is coming… Absent Kim's commitment to suspend all ballistic missile tests, the U.S. should not support the provision of food supplies to the North Korean people. A North Korean long-range nuclear strike capability poses an existential threat to American society… Trump must not allow North Korea's coming suffering to dictate his decisions. Supporting North Korea with food will both prolong North Koreans' suffering under Kim and directly undercut U.S. interests.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

Minority View: “Anathematizing Chinese companies simply for being Chinese would cripple the world economy… If U.S. telecom companies and network managers are worried about Huawei, they should ask to see the company’s software source codes. If consumers interpret the continual patter of software upgrades as a threat to privacy, Washington should assign the role of managing them to domestic telecommunications companies… Huawei isn’t a problem. It’s an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. economy and enhance its digital infrastructure. The U.S. should embrace Huawei as a triumph of the American-led system rather than push it into the arms of Chinese hard-liners who revel in autarkic dreams.”
George Gilder, Wall Street Journal

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

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