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Exit, Stage ‘Left’ — How Brazil invited impeachment into its parliament

Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment shows how a political movement that aspires to socialism in Latin America can never achieve its objectives by practising liberal reformism.

Haneul Na'avi

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On 31st August 2016 the ‘B’ in BRICS finally succumbed to a 14 year-long battle with opportunism.  

Following Lower House Speaker Jose Eduardo Cardozo’s annulment of its majority vote, head of Senate Renan Calheiros defiantly continued the impeachment process. As Sputnik reported 

“Following a three day debate, a majority of 61 senators voted definitively to remove Rousseff from the presidency. 20 senators voted against; there were no abstentions.”

Responding to the impeachment, Rousseff dejectedly addressed her supporters.

“The will of 61 senators has replaced that of 54,5 million people who voted for me.”

The bitter irony is that these ’54.5 million Brazilians’—many whom depend on former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s Borsa Familia conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes—could only watch as Brazilian Democratic Party Movement (PMDB) leader, Michel Temer, was officially sworn in on 1st September 2016.

Shortly after receiving the news, three countries—Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia—recalled their embassies and denounced the new leadership.  As Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa explained

“Never will we condone these practices, which recall the darkest hours of our America.”

Unsurprisingly, the United States, the godfather of colour revolutions, hurriedly expressed its solidarity with Temer.   In the well-crafted Duckspeak of US State Department spokesman James Kirby declared

“[…] the Brazilian Senate in accordance with Brazil’s constitutional framework has voted to remove President Rousseff from office.  We’re confident that we will continue the strong bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries as the two largest democracies and economies in the hemisphere.”

Latin America’s far-right parroted the State Department. Argentina’s Foreign Ministry, in banal political jargon, declared

“[The] Argentine government expresses its respect for the institutional process [and] its willingness to continue on the path of a real and effective integration in the framework of absolute respect for Human rights, democratic institutions and International Law.”

Latin America is no stranger to Western contortions of ‘human rights, democratic institutions, and international law’, where in November 2015, acting Argentinian President Mauricio Macri beta tested Temer’s privatisation scheme after defeating leftist Daniel Scioli in elections, and like a despotic oncologist, followed up with a cocktail of media blackouts, budget cuts, privatisations and deepening ties to the US State Department to remove as many traces of Kirchnerismo as possible.

As expected, Pro-Rousseff demonstrators flooded the streets across Brazil. RT reported

“The greatest act of civil disobedience took place in Sao Paulo, where protesters clashed with police on Agenda Paulista, in the downtown area; in Rio de Janeiro, where activists gathered in Cinelandia square; and in Brasilia, where activists rallied in the Praca dos Tres Poderes square.”

Despite the public’s legitimate concerns, the Worker’s Party has squandered its ‘revolution’.  Nevertheless, hindsight is 20-20, but Brazil’s future stands at 50-50, and the chagrin of Rousseff’s adamant supporters may not be enough to reinstate her in power due to an uncomfortable truth: the Worker’s Party’s immature understanding of socialism was its primary shortcoming.

Several prominent member states of the Boliviarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA) such as Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and Bolivia, have struggled almost unabatedly with foreign interference and have won, at least temporarily, by uniting under a common framework which is politically, economically, and socially Marxist in nature.

Since its foundation in 2004, when United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) founder Hugo Chavez increased bilateral agreements with Cuba, the ALBA has expanded from 2 to 11 countries, serving as a model for Latin American self-determination and not simply an Economist quick fix of common market and trade associations.   Brazil however was only partially involved.

A Latin American Bureau article highlighted this

“[…] the most serious disappointment of all was the PT’s failure to develop a strategy for political reform, the only way of breaking the right’s stranglehold over the country’s political institutions, particularly Congress, and of curbing the insidious impact of massive electoral financing by the country’s economic elite.”

Yet, even this only flaccidly represents the truth. Brazil needed political revolution, not reforms, in order to purge the very opportunists now in power.

Secondly, Lulism, the theory behind Lula da Silva’s politics, was impossible under its coalition-based parliamentary system.  Furthermore, Lula wrongly assumed that creating an ‘alternative’ to Latin America’s Boliviarian and Chavism movements, instead of fully integrating with them, would yield better results. Dan La Botz asserts that

“during [Lula’s] first term, rather than leading the working class forward in struggle against the country’s capitalists and politicians as many expected, he made peace with them.”

The PT simply pandered to Brazil’s class contradictions instead of dissolving them.  For example, the PT relied on Petrobras oil sales and government coffers, but forged partnerships with the World Bank to monitor payouts.

Dubbed the “Quiet Revolution”, Brazil’s Borsa Familia programme created a welfare state dependent on capital from the Washington-funded InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB). Brazil even initiated the IADB partnership and sought financing for its pacing of disbursements programme (SWAp components).  As a World Bank report highlighted

“[They] requested the World Bank to partner the BFP in the context of longstanding Bank support for its social agenda under the Policy Sector Reform framework.  The Bank’s four-year project loan, excluding counterpart funds, is expected to be US$572.2 million.”

The World Bank is the economic muscle of US imperialism, created to financially restructure post-War (and coup) countries, ensuring US dollar dominance.   When Rousseff challenged this by shifting to Iran to trade in Brazilian Reals, this infuriated the State Department, which later commanded its ‘assets’ to overthrow Rousseff and privatise Brazil’s pre-salt oil deposits.

Conversely, Brazil’s neighbours remained vigilant. President Nicholas Maduro, although not as politically graceful as Chavez, still defended socialism by expanding it across South America in defiance of US-led sanctions, colour revolutions, falling oil prices, and ongoing parliamentary coup.

In fact, Boliviarianism, the unifying ideology of the ALBA nations, is to combat Western imperialism and liberal democracy.   As a FRIDE report puts it

“[…] the emergence of Chavism and other populist leaders can be explained by the limited results of liberal democracy and the neo-liberal politics designed in Europe and Washington.”

In international relations, Brazil and Venezuela both see the Islamic Republic of Iran as a strategically; however, Venezuela has expanded ties since the Ahmedinejad administration as a measure of solidarity, not trade.  As FRIDE says

“Both [Iran and Venezuela] are strongly committed to creating a bilateral alliance based on common oil interests, military cooperation, ideological affinities between the presidents and open hostility against the United States and its allies.”

Going against public ‘opinion’, former MERCOSUR leader Rodolfo Nin Novoa (Uruguay) chose Venezuela as the bloc’s new leader, ignoring protests from Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil’s reactionary leadership.

To combat these advancements, the State Department currently uses neoliberal parliaments and colour revolutions as weapons against the ruling party.  However, where Venezuela has preserved its autonomy as the centrepiece of ALBA and MERCOSUR, Argentina and Brazil succumbed to their American creditors via regime change, failing to counteract them.  

One such example—rather than becoming victimised by bogus indictments and legislative skullduggery, Maduro wielded them both to crush the colour revolutions of Popular Will leaders Leopolo Lopez and Lester Toledo; well-documented State Department assets.  As reported by Venezuela Analysis

“Minister of Domestic Affairs, Justice and Peace, General Néstor Reverol […] has issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Lester Toledo of the Popular Will Party (VP) in Zulia state for allegedly ‘financing terrorism’. This comes after President Nicolás Maduro also said on Tuesday that he will consider stripping all Venezuelan politicians of immunity in order to permit courtprosecutions for suspected coup-plotters.”

ALBA members fully understand that the ‘moderate opposition’, just like Islamic State, is a loose confederation of dog-eat-dog extremists used to overthrow democratic governments.   The CEPR think-tank outlines

“The U.S. government has been funding the Venezuelan opposition for at least 12 years, including, […] some of the people and organisations involved in the 2002 military coup [to] get rid of the Chávez government and replace it with something more to their liking.  The outside pressure for unity […] has been a serious problem for the Venezuelan opposition. The cables also show that this is a serious concern for the U.S. government.”

Rousseff could have followed Venezuela’s example by creating an executive order, citing threats to the public ownership (privatisation) by any foreign government assets as an act of treason, jailing all congressmen—59% whom are suspected of corruption—and preemptively ending their chicanery.

Other self-proclaimed ‘democracies’ love executive orders; especially the United States.  

Instead, the PT crawled into bed with every single opponent to its democracy, and even the US intelligentsia noted this.  As even a 2011 Brookings Institute report explained

“Contrary to the consensus among scholars and political analysts, unified government in the multiparty [coalition]-based presidential regime might not necessarily lead to an easier life for the newly-elected Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff-PT, in regard to her relations with the Brazilian Congress.” 

The report continues, predicting her demise:

“With regard to power sharing, she will also be tempted to follow the same path of her political “guru” given that she will be under great pressure to preserve several PT internal factions in power.  […] Thus, disproportionally treating the PMDB and other coalition partners (like PL and PSB) with a small number of cabinet positions and other coalition currencies, as did Lula, might generate growing dissatisfaction within an already fragmented and regionally based key coalition partner.”

These predictions were evident in Temer’s 2015 letter to Rousseff.  Rousseff’s ‘socialist’ government only succeeded in forming a coalition with hardcore capitalists devoid of any profit (and power) motive.

It goes without saying that members of the ALBA rightfully denounced the coup, which mirrored the one that ousted then-President João Goulart in 1964, after his Basic Reforms Plan socialised corporate profits, provoking the anger of US assets within the Brazilian military.

Any amateur socialist who has fumbled through a copy of The State and Revolution understands that the state apparatus, in every government, is used to repress those hostile to it, and Brazil’s true state power wielded that authority on 31st August 2016.

Brazil created a welfare state similar to the British Labour Party, where former PM Clement Attlee attempted to build socialism in the vacuum of capitalism; there is nothing revolutionary about that.

Without ownership of the means of production, a common ideology, strong international  friendships, an effective defence of public capital, and worker representation, there can be no socialism.

Simply put, revolutions have no business in bourgeois hands.  With Rousseff gone and protesters at the mercy of unbridled privatisation, Brazil should recall former Uruguayan president Jose Murcia’s words as he entrusted Venezuela with MERCOSUR:

“Politics must prevail over law and legality”.

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BARR: No collusion by any Americans

Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Alex Christoforou

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Attorney General Barr found no one in the Trump campaign colluded with “Russia” to meddle in the 2016 US election.

A devastating blow to Democrats and their mainstream media stenographers.

Trump reacted immediately…

Via RT…

With the full report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into claims President Donald Trump colluded with Russia about to be released, Attorney General William Barr is giving a press conference about its findings.

Barr maintains the allegation that the Russian government made efforts to interfere in the election through the Internet Research Agency, an alleged Kremlin-control “troll farm”, as well as “hacking efforts” by the Russian intelligence agency GRU.

The bottom line, Barr says, is that Mueller has found Russia tried to interfere in the election, but “no American” helped it.

Barr explained the White House’s interaction with the Mueller report, whether Trump used executive privilege to block any of its contents from release, as well as on how the Justice Department chose which bits of the 400-page paper to redact.

On the matter of obstruction of justice, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein have reviewed Mueller’s evidence and “legal theories”, and found that there is no evidence to show Trump tried to disrupt the investigation.

He said Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Most of the redactions in the report were made to protect ongoing investigations and personal information of “peripheral third parties”.

Barr said that no-one outside the Justice Department took part in the redacting process or saw the unredacted version, except for the intelligence community, which was given access to parts of it to protect sources.

Trump did not ask to make any changes to Mueller’s report, Barr said.

Trump’s personal counsel was given access to the redacted report before its release.

A number of Trump-affiliated people, as well as Russian nationals, have been indicted, charged or put on trial by Mueller over the course of the past two years, but none for election-related conspiracy. Still, Democrats in Congress as well as numerous establishment media personalities have been insisting that Barr, a Trump pick for AG office, is somehow “spinning” its findings in order to protect and exonerate Trump, and are calling to see the full report as soon as possible.

They have equally condemned Barr’s decision to hold a news conference before the report is release, claiming he is trying to shape the public perception in Trump’s favor.

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran: “Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis. It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis, again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis, with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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Nigel Farage stuns political elite, as Brexit Party and UKIP surge in polls (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’s stunning rise in the latest UK polls, which show Tory support splintering and collapsing to new lows. Theresa May’s Brexit debacle has all but destroyed the Conservative party, which is now seeing voters turn to UKIP and The Brexit Party.

Corbyn’s Labour Party is not finding much favor from UK voters either, as anger over how Britain’s two main parties conspired to sell out the country to EU globalists, is now being voiced in various polling data ahead of EU Parliament elections.

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Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk:


The Guardian reports Tories Hit by New Defections and Slump in Opinion Polls as Party Divide Widens.

The bitter fallout from Brexit is threatening to break the Tory party apart, as a Europhile former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell on Sunday announces he is defecting to the independent MPs’ group Change UK, and a new opinion poll shows Conservative support plummeting to a five-year low as anti-EU parties surge.

The latest defections come as a new Opinium poll for the Observer shows a dramatic fall in Tory support in the past two weeks and a surge for anti-EU parties. The Conservatives have fallen by six percentage points to 29% compared to a fortnight ago. It is their worst position since December 2014. Labour is up one point on 36% while Ukip is up two points on 11%.

Even more alarmingly for the Tories, their prospects for the European elections appear dire. Only 17% of those certain to vote said they would choose the Conservatives in the European poll, while 29% would back Labour, and 25% either Ukip (13%) or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party (12%).

YouGov Poll

A more recent YouGov Poll looks even worse for the Tories

In the YouGov poll, UKIP and BREX total 29%.

Polls Volatile

Eurointellingence has these thoughts on the polls.

We have noted before that classic opinion polls at a time like this are next to useless. But we found an interesting constituency-level poll, by Electoral Calculus, showing for the first time that Labour would get enough constituency MPs to form a minority government with the support of the SNP. This is a shift from previous such exercises, which predicted a continuation of the status quo with the Tories still in command.

This latest poll, too, is subject to our observation of massively intruding volatility. It says that some of the Tory’s most prominent MPs would be at risk, including Amber Rudd and Iain Duncan-Smith. And we agree with the bottom-line analysis of John Curtice, the pollster, who said the abrupt fall in support for Tories is due entirely to their failure to have delivered Brexit on time.

The Tories are facing two electoral tests in May – local elections on May 2 and European elections on May 23. Early polls are show Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party shooting up, taking votes away from the Tories. If European elections were held, we would expect the Brexit party to come ahead of the Tories. Labour is rock-solid in the polls, but Labour unity is at risk as the pro-referendum supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to put the second referendum on the party’s manifesto.

Tory Labour Talks

The Tory/Labour talks on a compromise have stalled, but are set to continue next week with three working groups: on security, on environmental protection, and on workers’ rights. A separate meeting is scheduled between Philip Hammond and John McDonnell, the chancellor and shadow chancellor. The big outstanding issue is the customs union. Theresa May has not yet moved on this one. We noted David Liddington, the effective deputy prime minister, saying that the minimum outcome of the talks would be an agreed and binding decision-making procedure to flush out all options but one in a series of parliamentary votes.

May’s task is to get at least half of her party on board for a compromise. What makes a deal attractive to the Tories is that May would resign soon afterwards, giving enough time for the Tory conference in October to select a successor before possible elections in early 2020.

This relative alignment of interests is why we would not rule out a deal – either on an agreed joint future relationship, or at least on a method to deliver an outcome.

Customs Union

A customs union, depending on how it is structured, would likely be worse than remaining. The UK would have to abide by all the EU rules and regulations without having any say.

Effectively, it will not be delivering Brexit.

Perhaps May’s deal has a resurrection.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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