My latest article, The Economist lowers the bar on low expectations, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.
Archive for the ‘politics’ Category
We talked about this in last night’s podcast:
A leftist who was also friendly to business and tough on crime. Mr. Campos had hoped to appeal to both progressives and fiscal conservatives, but his campaign had trouble gaining traction. A recent poll had shown him with about 8% of the likely vote—a distant third behind Ms. Rousseff and her main rival, Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.
Campos was in third place behind Dilma and Aécio, but the accident may affect the SP’s standing,
Those standings could change, however, if Mr. Campos is succeeded at the top of the ticket by his popular running mate, Marina Silva, who ran for president herself in 2010 and won about 19% of the vote.
Ms. Silva had been exploring another presidential run again this year, but when her own party, Rede Sustentabilidade, was unable to meet the requirements to get her onto the ballot, she joined Mr. Campos’s ticket as vice president.
A deeply religious, environmental activist, Ms. Silva could attract votes from both the left and right in a way that Mr. Campos couldn’t, said João Augusto de Castro Neves, Latin America director at the Eurasia Group think tank in Washington.
“She will threaten both Dilma and Aécio,” he said.
It was a horrible crash: the plane’s fall damaged seven houses:
O Globo reports that firemen have found the plane’s cabin and Campos’s wallet (link in Portuguese).
In addition to the seven killed who were aboard the plane, there were six residents injured.
Arminio Fraga, president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, is now back in the game:
Brazil Ex-Insider Returns to Help Oust President
With slow growth and high inflation hurting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of winning a second term, former central banker Arminio Fraga joins the opposition to persuade voters that Brazil needs a new economic steward.
Mr. Fraga appears to be positioning himself as something of an inflation whisperer. As president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the administration of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, he helped stabilize the currency and rein in consumer prices. Mr. Fraga supports restrained public spending, tough inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate, policies that became known in Brazil as the “economic tripod.”
He is highly critical of the Rousseff administration’s decision slow inflation by capping gasoline prices and electricity rates, moves he dismissed as “gimmicks.” He’s also alarmed that Brazil’s central bank has been intervening regularly in the currency markets to prop up Brazil’s real against the dollar, a strategy he ridicules a “populist move.”
Mr. Fraga said these are stopgap measures that already are proving unworkable and that Brazil needs to focus on long-term fundamentals like increasing private investment and balancing its books.
The fact that earlier this year Standard & Poor downgraded Brazil´s long term bonds credit rating to one notch above junk doesn’t help Dilma – but you have to remember that, even when Dilma’s the candidate, Lula is the man to beat.
Dana Milbank wants all you old white men to know that he understands your concerns, although he doesn’t share them. Big of him, isn’t it?
Actually, he doesn’t even understand them, as his essay proves. He thinks the concerns of those other white men have to do with race itself, and that they’re upset because, increasingly, “Whiteness has less and less to do with being American.”
No, Dana dear, they’re upset because traditional and historical Americanvalues increasingly have less and less to do with being American. You’re the one obsessed with race and ethnicity. For most people opposing increased illegal (or greatly increased legal) immigration, the problems are the following ones, and they have nothing to do with the color of the new arrivals:
(1) Letting people come here who break the law means that you’re bringing in a lot of people with no respect for law. That bodes ill for their future as law-abiding citizens.
(2) Way too many of the new arrivals are economically dependent on the welfare state, and in fact by their own admission that’s one of the main reasons they come here. That was never true in the past (especially back when there was no welfare state) and will constitute a drain on our already-stressed economy no matter whether such arrivals are white, black, green, or purple.
(3) Years ago we stopped stressing assimilation in all its important manifestations. American values have suffered as a result. Assimilation was (and still is) the key to this country’s encouraging immigration and yet continuing to be America, with its American exceptionalism intact. It’s not the race of the new arrivals that’s the problem, the problem is that their failure to assimilate is making this country more like the places from whence they came, and that’s not a good thing.
I don’t see white Dana spending years living in China, Latin America, or any other such places.
I have an article coming up later today on a related topic, so please keep the following in mind:
The Black Book of the Sandinistas
In emulating Castro and their other communist heroes such as Stalin and Mao, the Sandinistas took control of everything in the country: mass organizations, the army, police, labor unions, and the media. They censored all freedom of speech, suspended the right of association and ruthlessly crushed the freedom of trade unions. Faithful to their Marxist ideology, the new tyrants seized the means of production. State controls and nationalization spread, aid to the private sector and incentives for foreign investment disappeared. To put it plainly, another 20th-century experiment with socialism annihilated a nation’s economy along with a peoples’ prospects for a better life.
Thousands of Nicaraguans who attempted to protect their property — or who simply committed the crime of owning private property — were imprisoned, tortured, or executed by the new despots.
Unlike the previous regime of Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinistas did not leave the native populations on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua in peace. In Khmer Rouge style, they inflicted a ruthless, forcible relocation of thousands of Indians from their land. Like Stalin and Mao, the new regime used state-created famine as a weapon against these “enemies of the people.”  The Sandinista army committed myriad atrocities against the Indian population, killing and imprisoning approximately 15,000 innocent people. The Sandinista crimes included not only mass murders of innocent natives themselves, but a calculated liquidation of their entire leadership — as the Soviets had perpetrated against the Poles in the Katyn Forest Massacre, when the Soviet secret police executed approximately 15,000 Polish officers in the spring of 1940.
The Sandinistas quickly distinguished themselves as one of the worst human rights abusers in Latin America, carrying out approximately 8,000 political executions within three years of the revolution. The number of “anti-revolutionary” Nicaraguans who disappeared while in Sandinista hands numbered in the thousands. By 1983, the number of political prisoners inside the new Marxist regime’s jails was estimated at 20,000.  This was the highest number of political prisoners in any nation in the hemisphere — except, of course, in Castro’s Cuba. By 1986, a vicious and violent Sandinista “resettlement program” forced some 200,000 Nicaraguans into 145 “settlements” throughout the country. This monstrous social engineering program entailed the designation of “free-fire” zones in which Sandinista government troops shot and killed any peasant of their choosing. 
The Sandinista Gulag also institutionalized torture. Political prisoners in Sandinista jails, such as Las Tejas,were consistently beaten, deprived of sleep and given electric shocks. They were routinely denied food and water and kept in dark cubicles known as chiquitas (little ones), that had a surface area of less than one square meter. These cubicles were too small to sit up in, were completely dark, and had no sanitation and almost no ventilation. Prisoners were also forced to stand for long periods without bending their arms or legs; they were locked into steel hot boxes exposed to the full force of the tropical sun; their daughters or wives were sexually assaulted in front of them; and some prisoners were mutilated and skinned alive before being executed. One sadistic Sandinista practice was known as corte de cruz; this was a drawing-and-quartering technique in which the prisoner’s limbs were severed from the body, leaving him to bleed to death. 
The result of all of these horrifying cruelties and barbarisms was yet another mass exodus from a country enslaved by communism with tens of thousands of Nicaraguans escaping and settling in Honduras, Costa Rica and the United States. 
As most Marxist regimes, the Sandinista despotism accompanied its internal repression with external aggression. With Soviet and Cuban aid
Last night’s podcast, Memories of old Havana PLUS US-Latin America stories of the week with Graciela Chelo Lodeiro, and host Silvio Canto Jr.
My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, This week in smart diplomacy, is up. Please read it, comment, and hit Da Tip Jar!
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Obama wants to use the crisis for one of two things (or maybe both, come to think of it): (1) coercing Republicans into passing a “comprehensive” bill and giving him what he wants, on pain of being called obstructionist do-nothings (2) doing it himself and getting exactly what he wants.
So far, the plan has worked for him.