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Brazil sinks deeper into crisis as its unelected President faces corruption charges

Deepening political and economic crisis in Brazil exposes the folly of last summer’s impeachment of Dilma Rousseff – the country’s democratically elected leader – on obviously concocted charges.

Alexander Mercouris

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Back on 29th August 2016 I wrote an article for The Duran in which I said that the pending impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was a disaster for Brazil, removing from office a President who for all her mistakes had been democratically elected and was not corrupt, and replacing her with Michel Temer, an appointed President who would inevitably be compromised by the grossly partisan method of his appointment through a flawed impeachment process orchestrated by a corrupt and self-seeking elite.

I also pointed out that the ostensible reason for impeaching Rousseff – that her government had engaged in an illegal budget manoeuvre during Brazil’s recession – would convince no one since it was all too obviously not the real reason for Rousseff’s impeachment but rather an excuse for it, the true reason being the wish of a corrupt right wing elite to remove form office a President who was both left wing and not corrupt.

This is how I summarised the situation in my article

This is very bad for Brazil.  The country has had a difficult history of political instability and violence.  Within living memory Brazil has experienced two long periods of dictatorship (under Getulio Vargas from 1930 to 1945, and under the military from 1964 to 1985), military coups in 1930 and 1964, an attempted military coup in 1954 (aborted by the suicide of the then President, the former dictator Getulio Vargas), and extreme political violence during the period of military rule from 1964 to 1985, in which Dilma Rousseff herself became involved as an urban guerrilla before being captured and tortured by the military.   As is true in most of Latin America class and political conflict in Brazil is intense.

Brazil also suffers from deep seated problems of violent crime and corruption.  The recent holding of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro highlighted the degree to which the slum areas of the city – the favelas – are to a great extent controlled by heavily armed criminal gangs and have become no-go areas for the police.   Meanwhile the irony that one of Brazil’s few genuinely non-corrupt politicians – Dilma Rousseff – is being impeached in the middle of a corruption scandal by a political system rife with corruption is lost on no-one. 

In such a fragile system removing a democratically elected leader through a grossly partial impeachment process is not only profoundly undemocratic.  It is also fraught with risk, and can only add to the already dangerously high levels of cynicism and alienation which exist in the country…..

It is Brazil’s deeply corrupt, dysfunctional and highly polarised political system which is holding the country back.  By removing its democratically elected leader Brazil’s political class has just ensured that it remains corrupt, dysfunctional and highly polarised still.

Since I wrote those words the political and economic crisis in Brazil has deepened, exactly as I – and many others – predicted.

Lacking an electoral mandate Brazil’s new President Michel Temer predictably sought to consolidate his authority by doing what the elite and the international investment community wanted from him: imposing austerity measures to “cure” Brazil’s economic crisis.

These austerity measures in turn threatened the economic and social benefits Brazil’s lower classes had won during the decade of leftist rule under President Dilma Rousseff and her charismatic predecessor President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

That in turn provoked a storm of protests culminating in a general strike in April, during which Temer’s poll ratings crashed to single figures.

Temer now faces mounting calls to resign as claims about his previous corrupt practices have become widespread, with Temer now under investigation for corruption by the country’s prosecutor general.

Meanwhile revelations about the corruption of the country’s political elite have exploded, with the speaker of the parliament who presided over Rousseff’s impeachment now in prison on corruption charges, and his successor as parliament’s speaker, 9 ministers of Temer’s government, and scores of other politicians, officials and business leaders under investigation also.

Temer meanwhile is resisting calls ti resign despite reports of a revolt against him from within his own party, and despite talk of a possible petition to the Brazilian courts to set aside the result of Brazil’s last Presidential election, which put Temer in the position to succeed Rousseff as President by electing him alongside her as her Vice-President.

The trouble is that even if Temer is removed from an office for which on any objective assessment he seems completely unsuited, there is no one who obviously commands the respect or authority to replace him.  Interestingly no one so far seems to be calling for Rousseff to be brought back, possibly because following her impeachment that is either politically or legally impossible.

The result is that Brazil – Latin America’s largest country and a founder member of the BRICS group – seems destined to descend into even deeper crisis whether Temer stays or goes, with no end to the crisis in sight.

This is a tragedy.  This is what I wrote about Brazil’s potential last August

Brazil is a country with enormous potential.  Possessing huge natural resources, a large, young and dynamic population, a by no means insignificant industrial base, a potentially strong commercial and financial hub in Sao Paulo, no external enemies to speak of, secure borders, and with large areas of the south of the country as developed and as wealthy as many places in Europe and north America, Brazil should be a world leader.

People have been saying thing like this about Brazil’s potential for as long as I can remember.  Yet Brazil’s seeming inability to resolve the problems of its dysfunctional political system always seem to prevent this potential from realised.  It seems that after brief hopes in the 2000s that this barrier had at last been broken, the country once more is falling back into the corrupt and dysfunctional mire from which it has never managed to escape.

The contrast with Russia is instructive.  During the economic and political crisis of 1998-1999 Russia experienced a financial crisis far worse than the one Brazil experienced under Rousseff, whilst in Boris Yeltsin it had a leader whose failings were many orders of magnitude greater than Rousseff’s.  However despite extraordinary provocations Russia remained politically stable, largely because the leaders of the country’s opposition – fully conscious of the fragile of the state of the country – were determined to keep it so.  I remember at the time being impressed by how violent and extreme responses were consistently rejected, as the country sought to resolve its problems peacefully and constitutionally.

The result was that when the transfer of power from Yeltsin to Putin finally took place it was carried out smoothly with all the constitutional formalities observed, and was immediately put to the people for their consent in a Presidential election.

The consequence is that the legitimacy and authority of Russia’s government is today never seriously questioned, whilst the general standard of Russia’s governance is of a quality of which Brazil can only dream.

The truth – of which Rousseff’s impeachment serves as just one example – is that cutting corners in a country which aspires to be a democracy in order to remove from office the country’s constitutional leader is not the right way to secure democracy or end a political crisis however flawed that leader may be.  On the contrary doing that undermines democracy, and exacerbates the crisis.

That has been true in recent years in both Ukraine and Brazil.  If the attempts to impeach Donald Trump on manifestly bogus charges ever succeed it will also be true of the United States.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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