Archive for the ‘elections’ Category

Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Having voted with my feet, I’m asking Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election? at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Weren’t they?

Brazil: A petition to the White House

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Brazilian blogger Rafael Merlo of Observatório Conservador, who uncovered Dilma Rousseff’s fake Twitter followers back in July, is petitioning the White House, and emailed me the following (emphasis added),

Two weeks ago (26/10) took place the presidential election in Brazil. By a narrow gap of votes (3%) Dilma Rousseff, the current president and candidate for the socialist Workers Party, was reelected.

Although the international community reported the election as democratic, this is not the perception of significant part of the Brazilians. The election was marred by allegations of corruption and embezzlement of public funds by the Rousseff’s campaign. Other sordid attitudes were taken by the socialists during the election, for example:

– the constant threat of ending the food allowance of the poor people if Rousseff was not reelected;
– attack to the building of the largest circulation magazine in the country, which had denounced government corruption;
– incitement to prejudice and confrontation between Brazilians from the south and north, etc.

But what’s even scarier is that there were evidences of fraud in the elections, and the Brazilian authorities are silent about that. The Superior Electoral Court, the highest court of the election, is chaired by a Workers Party former lawyer. The defeated candidate Aecio Neves, who belongs to the Social Democratic Party, accepted the result quickly and without question. People are outraged and there is no leadership to guide them and give them voice.

That growing wave of outrage is taking the streets. Last Saturday, thousands of people protested in major cities across the country calling for an audit of the election, the investigation of complaints and, if proven, the impeachment of President Rousseff. All this is being muted and distorted by the Brazilian media, which is totally left-biased.

Rousseff and the Workers Party are implanting the Bolivarian comunism in Brazil. And that should concern the Americans as well, because the growth of bolivarian regimes in Latin American is the result of a major plan put into action by an international enemy called Sao Paulo Forum. The Sao Paulo Forum is the most powerfull political organization in Latin America. It was created in the 90’s by Fidel Castro and Lula to “recover in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe”. You can read more about the Sao Paulo Forum here:http://bit.ly/1usa4DV.

With the petition to the White House (http://1.usa.gov/1tJ5bUN) the Brazilians are not expecting any kind of support from president Obama itself, of course, because we know well what we can expect from liberals. But the White House and the US government is much more than Obama and the liberals: we would like to talk to the good American citizens concerned with the future of our continent. And this petition serves two purposes:

1) call the attention of Americans regarding the political situation on the continent, especially the alignment of the Bolivarian communist regimes with declared enemies of the United States, such as Russia and Iran.

2) put in circulation in the US and international media the name of the real enemy that must be fought on the American continent: the Sao Paulo Forum, the agent that is creating a new soviet union in Latin America.

I would be very grateful if you could help spread this petition among your family, friends, and readers of you website: http://1.usa.gov/1tJ5bUN

The petition reads,
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Position yourself against the Bolivarian communist expansion in Brazil promoted by the administration of Dilma Rousseff

On 10/26, Dilma Rousseff was reelected, and will continue his party’s plan to establish a communist regime in Brazil – the Bolivarian molds propounded by the Foro de São Paulo. We know that in the eyes of the international community, the election was fully democratic, but the ballot boxes used are not reliable, apart from the fact the heads of the judiciary, are mostly members of the winning party. Social policies also influenced the choice of the president, and people were threatened with losing their food allowance if they do not re-elect Dilma. We call a White House position in relation to communist expansion in Latin America. Brazil does not want and will not be a new Venezuela, and the USA that need help the promoters of democracy and freedom in Brazil.
Created: Oct 28, 2014

Neves’s acceptance of the results may be due to several factors, which, unfortunately, I am unable to discuss since I am not well-versed enough on Brazil’s internal politics. However, Merlo is accurate when he says that the Foro de Sao Paolo was Castro and Lula’s creation.

Professor Luis Fleischman points out regarding the election,

The vote shows a deep division in the country between the richer South and the poorer North. The North has been the largest recipient of social welfare programs from the Federal government. It is precisely because of these welfare policies that a large majority of people in the North voted for Rousseff, giving her a narrow margin of victory. . The business sector, unhappy with high taxes and other obstacles imposed on them definitely voted against Rousseff. The middle class, that was the key to the protests over the poor quality of health and educational services last year, also voted against Rousseff.

Bottom line, it is populist policies that enabled Rousseff to get reelected.

As Fleischman says,

Populism is not just an economic burden. It also makes the party in power feel more complacent and entitled as it enjoys a degree of popularity.

A lesson Americans should keep in mind.



Comparing voting in NJ to voting in FL

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

IMG_0743Today I’m Comparing voting in NJ to voting in FL at Da Tech Guy Blog.

I didn’t go into the local politics in my article, but after decades of political campaigns in four states, I had never experienced such bombardment as the local Florida Crist-Scott campaign this year. You could not escape the campaigns: TV, radio, robocalls, internet (Google ads ran Crist ads in my blog), knocking on doors, campaign workers at the mall, both sides did not let up.

Brazil: The election was tweeted

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

After Vote, Brazilians Lash Out on Social Media
A day after President Dilma Rousseff squeaked out a close electoral victory, Brazilian voters vented their frustrations one way they know best: on social media.

Many Neves supporters, hailing largely from Brazil’s wealthier south, joked they would be packing their bags to flee to Miami or Orlando. Some posted images showing Brazil divided into two, with the poorer northeastern states which supported Ms. Rousseff hived off into a separate country.

The reactions underscored the divisiveness of the elections, which were the closest in Brazilian history.

Considering all the factors, it would have taken a miracle from God Himself for Neves to win.

Dilma claims, “I want to be a much better president than I have been until now,” which rather fills me with dread, considering how

Brazil has chosen to warehouse a quarter of its population into welfare serfdom for nothing more than the benefit of leftist parties and their grasp on power.

“Better,” for what?



Elections: No change in Brazil, Uruguay

Monday, October 27th, 2014

First Uruguay: Same old, same old, in age and in politics,
Since Pepe Mujica could not run for a second term according to the Uruguayan Constitution, an election took place yesterday, which now goes to a runoff

Leftist ruling coalition candidate Tabare Vazquez led Uruguay’s presidential election on Sunday but he fell short of a first-round victory and will go to a runoff vote next month with the country’s pioneering marijuana bill hanging in the balance.

Vazquez of the Broad Front coalition said as results trickled in that the race would go to a second round and he is likely to face a nerve-jangling contest against young center-right opposition candidate, Luis Lacalle Pou.

Exit polls showed Vazquez winning 44-46 percent of the vote compared with 31-33 percent for Lacalle Pou of the National Party.

The 74 year old Vazquez first was president in 2005, and it looks like he’s going for a rerun. Lacalle Pou is 41.

Also going for a rerun, Brazilians choose to remain “the country of the future”:
Brazil Sticks With Statism
Odds are that the country’s reputation for economic mediocrity is safe for another four years.

Neither Lula nor Ms. Rousseff seem to care about development. According to Goldman Sachs , from 2004-13 government spending grew at almost 8% a year, in real terms, which was more than twice the rate of GDP growth. Inflation is now 7% year-over-year on prices for goods and services not regulated by price controls and 8.6% for services alone. Inflationary expectations are rising.

More worrying is the damage the PT might do to institutions and the rule of law over another 48 months. Civil society here jealously guards civil liberties and pluralism. But as one astute businessman told me, “We are noticing, bit by bit, a trend toward copying Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. The tendency is to reduce democracy.” One example is Ms. Rousseff’s May decree empowering “popular councils,” which would move the country away from representative democracy à la Venezuela. Congress has so far refused to approve the measure but if the usual vote-buying goes on, that may change.

To celebrate, Dilma wore a suit that matched the drapes and her politics,

What may be the most consequential election of the decade

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I wrote today on What may be the most consequential election of the decade. Go read it at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Brazil: Aécio’s plan is the economy

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

In the wake of Dilma’s dismal administration, Aécio Neves will campaign until the Oct. 26 run-off against failing state-run economics. He has Marina Silva’s backing:

Brazil Candidate to Hit Rival on Economy
Brazil’s pro-business candidate Aécio Neves plans to hammer the state-centric economic policies of his rival, President Dilma Rousseff, before their Oct. 26 electoral showdown.

While blaming the president for Brazil’s 6.5% inflation rate, stagnant growth and lackluster productivity, Mr. Neves will tout his achievements as a former two-term governor of prosperous Minas Gerais state, taking credit for rescuing it from near-bankruptcy by cutting expenses and boosting revenue under a program dubbed “management shock.”

And he will criticize a series of scandals that have tarnished Ms. Rousseff’s center-left Workers’ Party, or PT, which has dominated Brazilian politics for 12 years, including alleged widespread corruption and cronyism at state-owned companies like oil giant Petrobras.

From commenter N,

there are some interesting voting maps around (on the web) showing that Dilma Roussef’s votes correlate almost perfectly with he number of people receiving federal government’s handouts.

Neves has his work cut out for him,

Ms. Rousseff starts the runoff as the favorite given the leftist drift of Brazilian politics, but Mr. Neves has a chance if he can convince voters that her policies are responsible for Brazil’s current malaise and that he has a better agenda. Brazil’s populist, redistributionist policies have squandered its potential for decades, and more of the same for another four years won’t bring the change the country needs.

I wish him luck.



Brazil: Aécio goes to the runoff

Monday, October 6th, 2014

While the local and international press were busy talking about Marina Silva, voters were looking at pro-market senator Aécio Neves:

Brazilian Challenger Faces Tough Task in Presidential Runoff
Economist Who Overcame Popular Upstart Will Try to Woo Poorer Voters

Mr. Neves has said he would go after Ms. Rousseff on what he considers her vulnerability: Brazil’s struggling economy. He has vowed to slash government ministries, simplify Brazil’s tax code and tackle inflation.

Popular with investors and businessmen, Mr. Neves has said that, if elected, he would appoint respected economist Arminio Fraga, the former head of the central bank, to be his finance minister.

The reason for Neves’s ascendance?

the economy is undergoing a wrenching U-turn. Brazil slipped into recession this year after four years of stagnation, and inflation is on the rise. The state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA is mired in alleged embezzlement and other scandals. Since Ms. Rousseff took office, the real has lost a third of its value against the dollar and the stock market is down by 21%.

Silva was Dilma-light, and Dilma promises “More Changes, More Future.”

The question is, Does Aécio have the personality to sway the uneducated, low-information, low-income voter?

Brazil: More of the same?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

The Economist reports on Pre-election spending in Brazil
A final splurge

The primary deficit (before interest payments) reached 14.4 billion reais ($5.9 billion) in that month, the fourth in a row in which the government has failed to put aside cash to pay creditors. The consolidated primary surplus in the eight months to August stood at just 0.3% of GDP. Most of that came from the states; the central government managed just 1.5 billion reais, a piffling 0.05% of GDP and the worst result for the period since 1998. The overall budget deficit climbed to 4% of output, the highest level since Ms Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, embarked on a huge stimulus package in 2009, as the global financial crisis took hold.

In turn,

On September 30th the ratings agency told an investors’ conference in São Paulo that it will refrain from re-appraising Brazil’s credit risk until 2016, once it becomes apparent what the next government is doing to tackle weak growth (which will average just 1.5-1.7% a year during Ms Rousseff’s four years in power), and a wonky budget.

On paper, Marina Silva, candidate of the centrist Brazilian Socialist party, promises a more responsible fiscal policy. So does Aécio Neves of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy, the most market-friendly of the main contenders.

The odds odds Neves winning are slim-to-none. Silva is getting a lot of media attention, particularly in foreign media outlets, but Dilma will most likely win, as a commenter points out,

Perhaps you`re right, and that awful woman will be reelected. But not only because she has a “huge… and well funded political machine”. She also has absolutely no scruples whatsoever about lying, scheming and – most importantly – putting the gigantic State machine to work full-time for her campaign. Disgraceful. Worse times ahead for us Brazilians.

Brazil: Dilma up in the polls

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Brazil is holding a presidential election this Sunday.

The Miami Herald has this headline,
Brazil heads into white-knuckle presidential race — Bolivia, Uruguay follow
It’s an active political season in South America. As Brazil and Uruguay head into tight presidential races, Bolivian President Evo Morales is poised to clench a third term.

For the moment, all eyes are on Brazil, which is in a technical recession and expected to grow by less than 1 percent this year. That means the election will largely turn on voters’ perceptions of who can best lift the world’s eighth-largest economy out of the doldrums.

In 2010, the year Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla and hand-picked choice of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was elected, the economy grew 7.5 percent. It slowed to 2.7 percent the following year as the shocks of the global financial crisis took their toll.

But as other Latin American economies improved, Rousseff, stubbornly sticking to centralized economic policy, hasn’t been able to rekindle growth.

That’s true, but, perhaps more importantly, Dilma has a huge, well established and funded, political machine. Hence, I was not surprised by this other headline,
Brazil Leader Regains Edge in Election Polls
Two new electoral polls shows Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff widening her lead over her main challenger in a likely second-round runoff, surveys that disappointed many investors who hope for the incumbent’s ouster.

After a fast rise, Ms. Silva appears to be fading as she heads into this Sunday’s first round of voting. She surged in the polls after announcing that she would run for president in the place of running mate Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane crash Aug. 13. Voters fed up with politics as usual flocked to her in the early going. So did investors and businessmen who liked her market-friendly mix of ideas for getting tough on inflation and reducing state interference in the economy.

But a barrage of television attack ads by Ms. Rousseff has taken a toll on Ms. Silva, who so far has been unwilling and unable to respond in kind. Under Brazil’s unique election laws, Ms. Silva has only a fraction of the TV time allotted to Ms. Rousseff and third-place candidate Aécio Neves in the initial round of voting. Ms. Silva has also refused to go negative in her own campaign ads, despite encouragement from supporters to fight back.

Questions about her toughness persisted after she cried in front of a reporter following an interview. And her campaign has appeared disorganized and unprepared at times, lacking the depth and experience of Ms. Rousseff’s team.

I fully expect Dilma to win.

White knuckle? Not so much.