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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
September 29, 2022

Has Bolsonaro released a flood of guns to overwhelm Brazil's democracy?


OPINION: Brazil’s president may well lose Sunday’s election, but he has ensured he has plenty of armed supporters

Carolina Ricardo
29 September 2022, 11.58am

Firearms for sale in a shopping centre in São Paolo, Brazil, 2019 | Alamy stock
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Afew weeks ago, The Economist released an issue with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on the cover. Comparing him to Donald Trump, the magazine said that the Brazilian is preparing to tell his own “big lie” about the validity of elections if he loses. Win or lose, The Economist argued, Bolsonaro represents a “threat to democracy in Brazil”.

cover of The Economist with picture of Jair Bolsonaro,
September 2022, with coverline "The man who would be
The Economist

Over the months, Bolsonaro has repeatedly said that he can disrespect the decisions of the Brazilian Supreme Court. He harasses journalists daily and encourages his followers to take to the streets to scream for the closing of the Supreme Court and Congress. In July, he gathered foreign ambassadors in the capital, Brasília, repeating unsubstantiated untruths about the electronic voting system that Brazil has used since 1996 and often cited by the international community as a model.

Brazilian society has countered with public letters in defence of democracy. One was signed by hundreds of civil society organisations, including representatives from industry, unions and academics; another has the support of almost 1 million people at the time of writing.

. . .

Bolsonaro has legitimised the political use of these weapons. At a notorious ministerial meeting in April 2020, he said: “I want to open up the issue of gun ownership,” with the argument that “if a shitty mayor makes a decree forcing citizens to stay at home” – in other words, ordering a lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus – “they must be able to defend themselves”.


September 29, 2022

Brazil, South America and the world need Lula to win - Mark Manduca

Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday will be closely watched by the world.

14 hours ago| Mark Manduca|2
7 min read

Towels with the images of presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are seen for sale at a street in Brasilia. PHOTO: AFP

One of the most consequential elections in the world will be taking place on Sunday, October 2. Jair Bolsonaro, the incumbent Brazilian President, is being challenged by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, the former president of Brazil. Lula is currently leading in the polls with 43.4% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 34.8%.

The election is extremely important, with Brazilian democracy at stake. In the past, Bolsonaro has expressed his admiration for the military dictatorship of 1964-1985; a dictatorship which saw two decades of widespread human rights abuses such as torture and killings.

He has in recent weeks challenged the democratic process in the country stating that he would not trust the election results of October 2, while also criticizing Brazil’s institutions and threatening a coup. His response to COVID-19 was so disastrous that it led to an investigation by Brazilian authorities which were later dropped.

The man he is facing for re-election is a political giant and an icon of the left. Lula, having first been elected in 2002 on the Workers’ Party ticket served as President of Brazil from January 1 2003 to January 1 2011, winning a landslide re-election in 2006 and having an approval rating of 87% when he left office, a record for Brazilian politics.


September 29, 2022

Brazil may have its own January 6 moment - or worse

Incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro’s aggressive rhetoric may lead to post-election violence if he loses the September 25 vote.

Erika Robb Larkins
Associate Professor of Anthropology at California State University, San Diego

Lucas Louback
Human rights activist
Published On 29 Sep 2022

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro points up during a military parade to celebrate the bicentennial of the country's independence from Portugal, in Brasília, on September 7, 2022 [File: Eraldo Peres/AP Photo]

On October 2, Brazil will hold its ninth democratic election since military rule ended in 1985. But this young democracy, the second largest in the Western hemisphere, is under threat. The greatest menace comes from current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is seeking re-election.

Bolsonaro lags considerably behind challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with recent polls showing only 31 percent of the electorate supports him. But a Bolsonaro defeat doesn’t mean that Brazil will immediately get back on the path to democracy, prosperity or political sanity.

Bolsonaro enjoys a fervent base of supporters, many of whom are armed extremists, hailing from the military, police and militias analogous to the Proud Boys in the United States. If he were to lose at the polls, there is an imminent risk that Brazil will experience something similar to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Or worse.

As president, Bolsonaro has used the highest office in the country to aggressively fan the flames of disinformation. This tendency became tragically clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he personally promoted the use of unproven (and now disproven) treatments and opposed vaccination. As a result, Brazil suffered some of the highest death rates in the world.


September 29, 2022

The Fixers: Top U.S. flooring retailers linked to Brazilian firm probed for corruption

by Karla Mendes on 29 September 2022

A yearlong investigation by Mongabay and Earthsight has uncovered new evidence of corrupt deals and illegal practices used by Brazil’s largest flooring exporter, Indusparquet, and its suppliers.

From its headquarters in São Paulo to the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest, Indusparquet has used fixers to secure secret timber deals from suppliers who have been fined millions for their illegal sourcing practices, while claiming to supply products to high-profile projects like Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel, the Vatican and Taj Mahal.

The company was charged in two bribery lawsuits in Brazil over its use of public officials to gain access to timber supplies. Following a tip-off from an anonymous source, we obtained access to dozens of hours of wiretaps and video footage revealing how Jose Antonio Baggio, the company’s co-founder and defendant in one of the cases, used a local official to secure bracatinga (Mimosa scabrella), a tree species native to the Atlantic Forest — the most threatened Brazilian biome.

Requests for further information confirmed that Indusparquet had bought bracatinga from suppliers named in the court case against Baggio during the same period, which the wiretaps show was for an unnamed “U.S. client.” Despite Indusparquet’s claims that court decisions cleared the charges against Baggio and closed the case, there is still room for appeal, as the prosecutors’ office confirmed to Mongabay.

September 28, 2022

Donald Trump considered bombing drug labs in Mexico, according to new book

Josh Dawsey
08:34, Sep 29 2022

As US president, Donald Trump weighed bombing drug labs in Mexico after one of his leading public health officials came into the Oval Office, wearing a dress uniform, and said such facilities should be handled by putting "lead to target" to stop the flow of illicit substances across the border into the United States.

"He raised it several times, eventually asking a stunned Defence Secretary Mark Esper whether the US could indeed bomb the labs," according to a new book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. White House officials said the official, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, often wore his dress uniform for meetings with Trump, which confused the former president.

"The response from White House aides was not to try to change Trump's view, but to consider asking Giroir not to wear his uniform to the Oval Office any more," Haberman writes in Confidence Man, an extensive book about Trump's time in New York and as president.

The 607-page book, which has long been awaited by many of Trump's aides, is set to be published Tuesday. A copy was obtained by The Washington Post. The book details unusual and erratic interactions between Trump and world leaders, members of Congress, as well as his own aides, along with behind-the-scenes accounts of his time as a businessman.


Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir

September 27, 2022

Amazing! I've disliked this man for years and years! Good grief!

This article should help anyone who doesn't know who he is to have a clearer picture:

If You Grew Up With the U.S. Blockade as a Cuban, You Might Understand the Recent Protests Differently
23.07.21 - US, United States - Independent Media Institute

. . .

The Miami Mafia

Tablada keeps a close eye on the Cuban policy being shaped by Washington, D.C., and Miami, where right-wing Cuban exiles effectively drive the agenda. She does this in her role as the deputy director-general in the Cuban Foreign Ministry in charge of U.S. affairs. There is a cast of characters in this story that is little known outside the world of U.S. right-wing politics and the Cuban exile community. Of course, four well-known elected officials lead the attempt to overthrow the government in Cuba: Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, as well as Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Representative María Elvira Salazar of Florida. Beside them are other politicians such as Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez and a range of Cuban American businessmen and professionals such as Emilio Braun of the Vulcan Funds and the lawyer Marcell Felipe.

These men are at the core of a set of organizations that lobby U.S. politicians to harden the U.S. blockade on Cuba. Felipe runs the Inspire America Foundation, which Tablada describes as the “heir to the most anti-Cuban, reactionary, and pro-[former military dictator of Cuba Fulgencio] Batista traditions from South Florida.” This foundation works with the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance—a coalition of anti-communist groups that calls for a U.S. invasion of Cuba. At the center of these men is Mauricio Claver-Carone, a former head of the Cuba Democracy Advocates, who was Trump’s main adviser on Cuba and is now president of the Inter-American Development Bank based in Washington, D.C. Claver-Carone, Tablada tells us, “has been nothing short of the leading lobbyist of the groups acting politically against Cuba in the United States, in the U.S. Congress, representing those entities who benefit from this policy of hatred and aggression against my country.” “If you ever mentioned [Fidel] Castro, he’d go berserk,” recalled Claver-Carone’s friend about his attitude in the 1990s.

“The main goal of these people,” Tablada said, “is to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.” Their plan for Cuba, it seems, is to revert it to the days of Batista when U.S. corporations and gangsters ran riot on the island.

Lester Mallory’s Memorandum

In 1960, the U.S. State Department’s Lester Mallory wrote a memorandum on Cuba. Mallory said that most “Cubans support Castro” and there is “no effective political opposition.” Mallory said that there was only one way to go: “The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” There has been no change in policy. The entire embargo is based on Mallory’s memorandum.


Mauricio Claver-Carone with former Miami "exile" Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,
who was one of the first US Republican Congress critters to catapult herself
to Honduras on the next flight as soon as the right-wing oligarchy and its
puppet military kidnapped President Manuel Zelaya and replaced him with a
wildly corrupt, brutal interim President, then an "elected" narcotrafficking
thoroughly trashy President and his drug-dealing son and brother, to continue
oligarchy business as usual.

Mauricio Claver-Carone and Argentina's progressive President Alberto Fernández,
whom he claims attempted to "obstruct" the vote to assure him his new position,
"accusing it of trying to delay the vote until next year due to concerns over the
coronavirus pandemic."


~ ~ ~

Peppertree, you have posted an exceptional news event. It's simply wonderful. It's hard to find truly great news currently, and this development is praise-worthy. Of course there will be raging in Miami against our good, honest President, for his righteous decision, but they have hated progressives forever, anyway, so screw-em!

Thank you, so much.

September 26, 2022

Mexico's missing students: Where are the key players now?

By Bernd Debusmann Jr
BBC News

34 minutes ago

The case of the 43 missing students shook Mexico
The disappearance of 43 Mexican students on 26 September 2014 shook Mexican society, exposing the depths of government corruption and highlighting spiralling violence that had already left thousands dead. Eight years on, what really happened is still unknown.

About a half hour's drive from the small, sleepy Mexican town of Cocula, a trash-covered, fetid rubbish dump in the hills was once said to be the final resting place of 43 Mexican students who vanished as they were traveling together on their way back from a protest.

It was there, amid piles of discarded plastics and everyday detritus, that Mexican authorities claimed that members of Guerreros Unidos - or "United Warriors" - killed and burned the students, all from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College, after they were kidnapped by corrupt police officers in the nearby town of Iguala and handed over to the gangsters.

By 2016, however, independent investigators had disproven the government's theory that the students were killed and burned at the dump - one of the most glaring falsehoods in a case which laid bare Mexico's twin battles against deeply entrenched corruption and rampant violence.


September 26, 2022

Life Expectancy: The US and Cuba in the Time of Covid

SEPTEMBER 26, 2022


Photo: Puentes de Amor.

Recent data shows that between 2019 and 2021, life expectancy (LE) in the US plunged almost three years while for Cuba it edged up 0.2 years. Yet, in 1960, the year after its revolution, Cuba had a LE of 64.2 years, lower by 5.6 years than that in the US (69.8 years). As I document in Cuban Health Care, the island quickly caught up to the US and, from 1970 through 2016, the two countries were nip and tuck, with some years Cuba and other years the US, having a longer LE. But neither country was ever as much as one year of LE ahead of the other.

. . .

This continued through the beginning of Covid, which sharply changed the pattern. LE in the US suddenly dropped behind that in Cuba. Bernd Debusmann Jr.of BBC News wrote, LE in the US fell “to the lowest level seen since 1996. Government data showed LE at birth now stands at 76.1 compared to 79 in 2019. That is the steepest two-year decline in a century.” From 2019 to 2020, “LE declined in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

How could a country with all the problems of Cuba, actually have LE almost three years greater than the US? There were enormous differences between the way the countries responded to Covid.

The Covid Contrast

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data confirmed that “Covid-19 was the main contributing factor [to changes in LE]. The statistics show that Covid-19 accounted for 50% of the decline between 2020 and 2021. Between 2019 and 2020, the pandemic contributed to 74% of the decline.”


September 26, 2022

Cuban zoo helps deaf visitors experience the wild

SEPTEMBER 25, 2022

A group of partial hearing visitors touch a four-month-old jaguar cub named Cindy at the Cuba's national zoo in Havana, Cuba, on Sept 21, 2022.

HAVANA - The rhinos, giraffes and lions that populate Cuba's national zoo have long been a wonder for all, but for deaf Cubans like Tatiana Romero, tours of the sprawling facility outside Havana have recently become a lot more welcoming.

Earlier this year, sign language interpreters began accompanying groups of deaf visitors aboard the bus and trails that take them across an enclosed plain designed to imitate the African savannah.

"When I was a child I used to visit the park. But many years have passed," said Romero, 35, who lost her hearing in the womb. "The interpreter was a great surprise, now I can understand everything."

The tours are one among several innovative programs the state-run and operated zoo offers for people with disabilities, including animal therapy for children with Down's syndrome, autism and other special needs.


September 25, 2022

PBS and BBC Team Up to Misinform About Brazil's Bolsonaro

This article was posted at another site by amazing earlier DU poster, E.F., where I saw it, and had to share:

SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

Both the US and British governments supported the rise of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. A high-ranking British Treasury official—allegedly future Prime Minister Liz Truss—had secret meetings with the future president in 2018 to discuss “free trade, free markets and post-Brexit opportunities” (BrasilWire, 3/25/20).

The US Department of Justice was a crucial partner in the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) investigation, which resulted in the prosecution and jailing of Brazil’s left-leaning former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. The politically motivated legal campaign against Lula served to prevent his participation in the 2018 presidential election, in what Gaspard Estrada calls “the biggest judicial scandal in Brazilian history.”

Because of this history, and because Brazil is a hard country to explain concisely, I was weary to learn that the British and US state-affiliated media outlets BBC and PBS had co-released a documentary about Jair Bolsonaro only a few weeks before this year’s Brazilian presidential election (10/2–30/22). It didn’t fail to disappoint.
Rise of the Bolsonaros was released on August 28 on PBS, and is airing as a three-part series in Britain on BBC2. It tells the story of Brazil’s far-right president through the words of people like Steve Bannon, Bolsonaro’s son Flavio, journalists, and current or former allies of the president, including a far-right lawmaker who is merely introduced as an “anti-corruption crusader.”


To see Rise of the Bolsonaros:

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