Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

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Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby conniption » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:13 pm

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Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

October 9, 2018 • 46 Comments

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism, writes Pepe Escobar.

By Pepe Escobar
in Paris
Special to Consortium News

Nothing less than the future of politics across the West – and across the Global South – is being played out in Brazil.

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century, neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.

Geopolitical and global economic reverberations will be immense. The Brazilian dilemma illuminates all the contradictions surrounding the Right populist offensive across the West, juxtaposed to the inexorable collapse of the Left. The stakes could not be higher.

Jair Bolsonaro, an outright supporter of Brazilian military dictatorships of last century, who has been normalized as the “extreme-right candidate,” won the first round of the presidential elections on Sunday with more than 49 million votes. That was 46 percent of the total, just shy of a majority needed for an outright win. This in itself is a jaw-dropping development.

His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT), got only 31 million votes, or 29 percent of the total. He will now face Bolsonaro in a runoff on October 28. A Sisyphean task awaits Haddad: just to reach parity with Bolsonaro, he needs every single vote from those who supported the third and fourth-placed candidates, plus a substantial share of the almost 20 percent of votes considered null and void.

Meanwhile, no less than 69 percent of Brazilians, according to the latest polls, profess their support for democracy. That means 31 percent do not.

No Tropical Trump

Dystopia Central does not even begin to qualify it. Progressive Brazilians are terrified of facing a mutant “Brazil” (the movie) cum Mad Max wasteland ravaged by evangelical fanatics, rapacious neoliberal casino capitalists and a rabid military bent on recreating a Dictatorship 2.0.

Bolsonaro: Danger for Brazil.

Bolsonaro, a former paratrooper, is being depicted by Western mainstream media essentially as the Tropical Trump. The facts are way more complex.

Bolsonaro, a mediocre member of Congress for 27 years with no highlights on his C.V., indiscriminately demonizes blacks, the LGBT community, the Left as a whole, the environment “scam” and most of all, the poor. He’s avowedly pro-torture. He markets himself as a Messiah – a fatalistic avatar coming to “save” Brazil from all those “sins” above.

The Goddess of the Market, predictably, embraces him. “Investors” – those semi-divine entities – deem him good for “the market”, with his last-minute offensive in the polls mirroring a rally in the Brazilian real and the Sao Paulo stock exchange.

Bolsonaro may be your classic extreme-right “savior” in the Nazi mould. He may embody Right populism to the core. But he’s definitely not a “sovereignist” – the motto of choice in political debate across the West. His “sovereign” Brazil would be run more like a retro-military dictatorship totally subordinated to Washington’s whims.

Bolsonaro’s ticket is compounded by a barely literate, retired general as his running mate, a man who is ashamed of his mixed race background and is frankly pro-eugenics. General Antonio Hamilton Mourão has even revived the idea of a military coup.

Manipulating the ticket, we find massive economic interests, tied to mineral wealth, agro-business and most of all the Brazilian Bible Belt. It is complete with death squads against Native Brazilians, landless peasants and African-American communities. It is a haven for the weapons industry. Call it the apotheosis of tropical neo-pentecostal, Christian-Zionism.

Praise the Lord

Brazil has 42 million evangelicals – and over 200 representatives in both branches of Parliament. Don’t mess with their jihad. They know how to exercise massive appeal among the beggars at the neoliberal banquet. The Lula Left simply didn’t know how to seduce them.

So even with echoes of Mike Pence, Bolsonaro is the Brazilian Trump only to a certain extent: his communication skills – talking tough, simplistically, is language understandable to a seven-year old. Educated Italians compare him to Matteo Salvini, the Lega leader, now Minister of Interior. But that’s also not exactly the case.

Bolsonaro is a symptom of a much larger disease. He has only reached this level, a head-to-head in the second round against Lula’s candidate Haddad, because of a sophisticated, rolling, multi-stage, judicial/congressional/business/media Hybrid War unleashed on Brazil.

Way more complex than any color revolution, Hybrid War in Brazil featured a law-fare coup under cover of the Car Wash anti-corruption investigation. That led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and Lula being thrown in jail on corruption charges with no hard evidence or smoking gun.

In every poll Lula would win these elections hand down. The coup plotters managed to imprison him and prevent him from running. Lula’s right to run was highlighted by everyone from Pope Francis to the UN’s Human Rights Council, as well as Noam Chomsky. Yet in a delightful historical twist, the coup plotters’ scenario blew up in their faces as the front-runner to lead the country is not one of them, but a neofascist.

“One of them” would ideally be a faceless bureaucrat affiliated with the former social democrats, the PSDB, turned hardcore neoliberals addicted to posing as Center Left when they are the “acceptable” face of the neoliberal Right. Call them Brazilian Tony Blairs. Specific Brazilian contradictions, plus the advance of Right populism across the West, led to their downfall.

Even Wall Street and the City of London (which endorsed Hybrid War on Brazil after it was unleashed by NSA spying of oil giant Petrobras) have started entertaining second thoughts on supporting Bolsonaro for president of a BRICS nation, which is a leader of the Global South, and until a few years ago, was on its way to becoming the fifth largest economy in the world.

It all hangs on the “vote transfer” mechanism from Lula to Haddad and the creation of a serious, multi-party Progressive Democratic Front on the second round to defeat the rising neofascism. They have less than three weeks to pull it off.

The Bannon Effect

Bannon: Danger for Europe.

It’s no secret that Steve Bannon is advising the Bolsonaro campaign in Brazil. One of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, met with Bannon in New York two months ago after which the Bolsonaro camp decided to profit from Bannon’s supposed “peerless” social engineering insights.

Bolsonaro’s son tweeted at the time, “We’re certainly in touch to join forces, especially against Cultural Marxism.” That was followed by an army of bots disgorging an avalanche of fake news up to Election Day.

A specter haunts Europe. Its name is Steve Bannon. The specter has moved on to the tropics.

In Europe, Bannon is now poised to intervene like an angel of doom in a Tintoretto painting heralding the creation of a EU-wide Right Populist coalition.

Bannon is notoriously praised to high heavens by Italian Interior Minister Salvini; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders; and scourge of the Paris establishment, Marine Le Pen.

Last month, Bannon set up The Movement; at first sight just a political start-up in Brussels with a very small staff. But talk about Boundless Ambition: their aim is no less than turning the European parliamentary elections in May 2019 upside down.

The European parliament in Strasbourg – a bastion of bureaucratic inefficiency – is not exactly a household name across the EU. The parliament is barred from proposing legislation. Laws and budgets can only be blocked via a majority vote.

Bannon aims at capturing at least one-third of the seats in Strasbourg. He’s bound to apply tested American-style methods such as intensive polling, data analysis, and intensive social media campaigns – much the same as in Bolsonaro’s case. But there’s no guarantee it will work, of course.

The foundation stone of The Movement was arguably laid in two key meetings in early September set up by Bannon and his right-hand man, Mischael Modrikamen, chairman of the quite small Belgian Parti Populaire (PP). The first meeting was in Rome with Salvini and the second in Belgrade with Orban.

Modrikamen defines the concept as a “club” which will “collect funds from donors, in America and Europe, to make sure ‘populist’ ideas can be heard by the citizens of Europe who perceive more and more that Europe is not a democracy anymore.”

Modrikamen insists, “We are all sovereignists.” The Movement will hammer four themes that seem to form a consensus among disparate, EU-wide political parties: against “uncontrolled immigration”; against “Islamism”; favoring “security” across the EU; and supporting “a Europe of sovereign nations, proud of their identity.”

The Movement should really pick up speed after next month’s midterms in the U.S. In theory, it could congregate different parties from the same nation under its umbrella. That could be a very tall order, even taller than the fact key political actors already have divergent agendas.

Wilders wants to blow up the EU. Salvini and Orban want a weak EU but they don’t want to get rid of its institutions. Le Pen wants a EU reform followed by a “Frexit” referendum.

The only themes that unite this mixed Right Populism bag are nationalism, a fuzzy anti-establishment drive and a – quite popular – disgust with the EU’s overwhelming bureaucratic machine.

Here we find some common ground with Bolsonaro, who poses as a nationalist and as against the Brazilian political system – even though he’s been in Parliament for ages.

There’s no rational explanation for Bolsonaro’s last-minute surge among two sections of the Brazilian electorate that deeply despise him: women and the Northeast region, which has always been discriminated against by the wealthier South and Southeast.

Much like Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 U.S. election, Bolsonaro’s campaign targeted undecided voters in Northeastern states, as well as women voters, with a barrage of fake news demonizing Haddad and the Workers’ Party. It worked like a charm.

The Italian Job

I’ve just been to northern Italy checking out how popular Salvini really is. Salvini defines the May 2019 European Parliament elections as “the last chance for Europe.” Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero sees them as the first “real election for the future of Europe.” Bannon also sees the future of Europe being played in Italy.

It’s quite something to seize the conflicting energy in the air in Milan, where Salvini’s Lega is quite popular while at the same time Milan is a globalized city crammed with ultra-progressive pockets.

At a political debate about a book published by the Bruno Leoni Institute regarding exiting the euro, Roberto Maroni, a former governor of the powerful Lombardia region, remarked: “Italexit is outside of the formal agenda of the government, of the Lega and of the center-right.” Maroni should know, after all he was one of the Lega’s founders.

He hinted however that major changes are on the horizon. “To form a group in the European parliament, the numbers are important. This is the moment to show up with a unique symbol among parties of many nations.”

It’s not only Bannon and The Movement’s Modrikamen. Salvini, Le Pen and Orban are convinced they can win the 2019 elections – with the EU transformed into a “Union of European Nations.” This would include not just a couple of big cities where all the action is, with the rest reduced to fly over status. Right Populism argues that France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are no longer nations – only mere provinces.

Macron: Perfect “progressive” wolf to be released among the sheep.

Right Populism derives immense satisfaction that its main enemy is the self-described “Jupiter” Macron – mocked across France by some as the “Little Sun King.” President Emmanuel Macron must be terrified that Salvini is emerging as the “leading light” of European nationalists.

This is what Europe seems to be coming to: a trashy, Salvini vs. Macron cage match.

Arguably the Salvini vs. Macron fight in Europe might be replicated as Bolsonaro vs. Haddad in Brazil. Some sharp Brazilian minds are convinced Haddad is the Brazilian Macron.

In my view he is not. His has a background in philosophy and he’s a former, competent mayor of Sao Paulo, one of the most complex megalopolises on the planet. Macron is a Rothschild mergers and acquisitions banker. Unlike Macron, who was engineered by the French establishment as the perfect “progressive” wolf to be released among the sheep, Haddad embodies what’s left of really progressive Left.

On top of that – unlike virtually the whole Brazilian political spectrum – Haddad is not corrupt. He’d have to offer the requisite pound of flesh to the usual suspects if he wins of course. But he’s not out to be their puppet.

Compare Bolsonaro’s Trumpism, apparent in his last-minute message before Election Day: “Make Brazil Great Again,” with Trump’s Trumpism.

Bolsonaro’s tools are unmitigated praise of the Motherland; the Armed Forces; and the flag.

But Bolsonaro is not interested in defending Brazilian industry, jobs and culture. On the contrary. A graphic example is what happened in a Brazilian restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Florida, a year ago: Bolsonaro saluted the American flag and chanted “USA! USA!”

That’s undiluted MAGA – without a “B”.

Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale and author of How Fascism Works, takes us further. Stanley stresses how “the idea in fascism is to destroy economic politics… The corporatists side with politicians who use fascist tactics because they are trying to divert people’s attention from the real forces that cause the genuine anxiety they feel.”

Bolsonaro has mastered these diversionist tactics. And he excels in demonizing so-called Cultural Marxism. Bolsonaro fits Stanley’s description as applied to the U.S.:

“Liberalism and Cultural Marxism destroyed our supremacy and destroyed this wonderful past where we ruled and our cultural traditions were the ones that dominated. And then it militarizes the feeling of nostalgia. All the anxiety and loss that people feel in their lives, say from the loss of their healthcare, the loss of their pensions, the loss of their stability, then gets rerouted into a sense that the real enemy is liberalism, which led to the loss of this mythic past.”

In the Brazilian case, the enemy is not liberalism but the Workers’ Party, derided by Bolsonaro as “a bunch of communists.” Celebrating his astonishing first round victory, he said Brazil was on the edge of a corrupt, communist “abyss” and could either choose a path of “prosperity, freedom, family” or “the path of Venezuela”.

The Car Wash investigation enshrined the myth that the Workers’ Party and the whole Left is corrupt (but not the Right). Bolsonaro overextended the myth: every minority and social class is a target – in his mind they are “communists” and “terrorists.”

Goebbels comes to mind – via his crucial text The Radicalization of Socialism, where he emphasized the necessity of portraying the center-left as Marxists and socialists because, as Stanley notes, “the middle class sees in Marxism not so much the subverter of national will, but mainly the thief of its property.”

That’s at the center of Bolsonaro’s strategy of demonizing the Workers Party – and the Left in general. The strategy of course is drenched in fake news – once again mirroring what Stanley writes about U.S. history: “The whole concept of empire is based on fake news. All of colonization is based on fake news.”

Right Against Left Populism?

Haddad: Three weeks to head off Bolsonaro

As I wrote in a previous column, the Left in the West is like a deer caught in the headlights when it comes to fighting Right populism.

Sharp minds from Slavoj Zizek to Chantal Mouffe are trying to conceptualize an alternative – without being able to coin the definitive neologism. Left populism? Popularism? Ideally, that should be “democratic socialism” – but no one, in a post-ideology, post-truth environment, would dare utter the dreaded word.

The ascent of Right populism is a direct consequence of the emergence of a profound crisis of political representation all over the West; the politics of identity erected as a new mantra; and the overwhelming power of social media, which allows – in Umberto Eco’s peerless definition – the ascent of “the idiot of the village to the condition of Oracle.”

As we saw earlier, the central motto of Right populism in Europe is anti-immigration – a barely disguised variation of hate towards The Other. In Brazil the main theme, emphasized by Bolsonaro, is urban insecurity. He could be the Brazilian Rodrigo Duterte – or Duterte Harry: “Make my day, punk.”

He portrays himself as the Righteous Defender against a corrupt elite (even though he’s part of the elite); and his hatred of all things politically correct, feminism, homosexuality, multiculturalism – are all unpardonable offenses to his “family values.”

A Brazilian historian says the only way to oppose him is to “translate” to each sector of Brazilian society how Bolsonaro’s positions affect them: on “widespread weaponizing, discrimination, jobs, (and) taxes.” And it has to be done in less than three weeks.

Arguably the best book explaining the failure of the Left everywhere to deal with this toxic situation is Jean-Claude Michea’s Le Loup dans la Bergerie – The Wolf Among the Sheep – published in France a few days ago.

Michea shows concisely how the deep contradictions of liberalism since the 18th century – political, economic and cultural – led it to TURN AGAINST ITSELF and be cut off from the initial spirit of tolerance (Adam Smith, David Hume, Montesquieu). That’s why we are deep inside post-democratic capitalism.

Euphemistically called “the international community” by Western mainstream media, the elites, who have been confronted since 2008 with “the growing difficulties faced by the process of globalized accumulation of capital,” now seem ready to do anything to keep its privileges.

Michea is right that the most dangerous enemy of civilization – and even Life on Earth – is the blind dynamics of endless accumulation of capital. We know where this neoliberal Brave New World is taking us.

The only counterpunch is an autonomous, popular movement “that would not be submitted to the ideological and cultural hegemony of ‘progressive’ movements that for over three decades defend only the cultural interests of the new middle classes around the world,” Michae says.

For now, such a movement rests in the realm of Utopia. What’s left is to try to remedy a coming dystopia – such as backing a real Progressive Democratic Front to block a Bolsonaro Brazil.

One of the highlights of my Italian sojourn was a meeting with Rolf Petri, Professor of Contemporary History at the Ca Foscari University in Venice, and author of the absolutely essential A Short History of Western Ideology: A Critical Account.

Ranging from religion, race and colonialism, to the Enlightenment project of “civilization”, Petri weaves a devastating tapestry of how “the imagined geography of a ‘continent’ that was not even a continent offered a platform for the affirmation of European superiority and the civilizing mission of Europe.”

During a long dinner in a small Venetian trattoria away from the galloping selfie hordes, Petri observed how Salvini – a middle-class small entrepreneur – craftily found out how to channel a deep unconscious longing for a mythical harmonious Europe that won’t be coming back, much as petty bourgeois Bolsonaro evokes a mythical return to the “Brazilian miracle” during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Every sentient being knows that the U.S. has been plunged into extreme inequality “supervised” by a ruthless plutocracy. U.S. workers will continue to be royally screwed as are French workers under “liberal” Macron. So would Brazilian workers under Bolsonaro. To borrow then from Yeats, what rough beast, in this darkest hour, slouches towards freedom to be born?

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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby Blue » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:48 pm

Great article, thanks conniption. Neofascism is spreading like a virus globally. It's not just a fringe thing in the US as so many Americans seem to believe.
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:25 pm

Everything You Need To Know About Jair Bolsonaro, The "Donald Trump Of Brazil"

Bolsonaro has been called one of the most dangerous politicians in the world — and at the end of the month, he may become the next president of Brazil.

Ryan BroderickOctober 8, 2018, at 1:41 p.m.
Posted on October 8, 2018, at 1:20 p.m. ET

Nelson Almeida / AFP / Getty Images
On Sunday night, Jair Bolsonaro won big in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. With 46% of the vote, he wound up just shy of the 50% that would have made him president. He’ll go into a second round against runner-up Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of São Paulo and member of the leftist Workers’ Party.

The former member of Congress has a long history of sexist, homophobic, racist, and borderline fascist rhetoric. He swept the country into a frenzy and has incited fears among his opponents of a military coup.

At a campaign rally in September in the city of Juiz de Fora, about 300 miles northeast of São Paulo, Bolsonaro was stabbed. His liver was perforated and he spent the majority of the final weeks of the campaign posting updates from his hospital bed on Facebook.

His brazen use of social media to create a far-right cult of personality has inspired many comparisons to Donald Trump. But his evangelic Christianity and hardline criminal justice platform align him more closely with populists like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. His rise has as much to do with the larger global trend of populism and far-right fanaticism as it does with Brazil’s recent economic decline and rampant corruption.

Here’s what you need to know about the man who might become Brazil’s next president.

1) Bolsonaro has dominated the internet in Brazil.

The Bolsonaro campaign’s use of the internet has been compared to Donald Trump’s use of Facebook ads and Twitter, but what Bolsonaro’s team achieved is actually unparalleled. Bolsonaro only purchased 8 seconds of TV time in a country where television ads have all but determined the winner for years.

He has 7 million followers on Facebook. It’s estimated that about a third of his followers on Twitter are bots. The mere mention of his name on social media can set off a firestorm of harassment and abuse. A report released in April found that 70% of the most politically active Twitter accounts in Brazil supported Bolsonaro.

In July, Facebook deactivated 196 pages and 87 accounts in Brazil for their part in “a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation.” Facebook didn’t disclose what organization these pages belonged to, but senior organizers from Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL), or “Free Brazil Movement,” a right-wing pro-Bolsonaro youth movement, confirmed on Twitter that many of their pages were affected.

But Bolsonaro’s real strength is on WhatsApp. According to a study in 2016, nearly 100% of internet users in Brazil have WhatsApp. Due to WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging structure and the peer-to-peer nature of it, it’s impossible to know how prevalent pro-Bolsonaro misinformation is. But according to a WhatsApp monitor built by fact-checking group Eleições Sem Fake, the majority of the most-shared public WhatsApp posts in Brazil this weekend were rumors that Brazil’s election commission was going to stop Bolsonaro supporters from voting.

2) He’s praised the country’s former military dictatorship.

Picture Alliance / Picture Alliance via Getty Images
Bolsonaro, an ex-paratrooper, has also been accused of being a dictatorship apologist. After a coup in 1964, and with the support of the US government, a nationalistic anti-communist dictatorship controlled the country until 1985. Bolsonaro has long been a public admirer of it. He’s also said that police should shoot to kill in confrontations with criminals.

“I am in favor of a dictatorship,” he said in a speech in 1993. “We will never resolve serious national problems with this irresponsible democracy.”

In 2015, he was quoted as saying the military rule of Brazil was “glorious.” He’s also said that if he ever became president he would stage a military coup on his first day.

He’s also a fan of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose regime is responsible for over 3,000 deaths. Bolsonaro was quoted as saying Pinochet actually should have killed more people.

During impeachment proceedings against former president Dilma Rousseff, Bolsonaro made a speech praising Colonel Brilhante Ustra, who headed up the torture unit that tortured Rousseff when she was protesting the dictatorship.

3) He’s repeatedly come under fire for misogynist comments against women.

Nelson Almeida / AFP / Getty Images
One of the most viral videos of this election cycle, filmed in 2003, shows then-member of Congress Bolsonaro arguing with lawmaker Maria do Rosario. “I wouldn’t ever rape you, because you don’t deserve it ... Slut!” he says, before shoving her. The video has been floating around Brazilian social media for years and one version of it on YouTube has over 3 million views.

Bolsonaro said it again during a debate in 2014. He was ordered by a Brazilian judge to pay a fine of 10,000 reals ($2,560) because of it.

In 2015, he argued that men and women don’t deserve the same salaries because women get pregnant. He believes federal protections for maternity leave harm work productivity.

Bolsonaro has five children. The first four are male, and he has joked that he had a daughter out of “a moment of weakness.”

He’s also become the face of a #MeToo-style women’s protest movement — #EleNão, or “not him” — that has mobilized thousands of women in the last few weeks. But his support among women has risen over 6 points following the protests.

4) Bolsonaro has said that “no father is ever proud of having a gay son.”

Picture Alliance / Picture Alliance via Getty Images
Bolsonaro hasn’t hidden his disdain for Brazil’s LGBT community. In 2016, in an episode of her Vice series Gaycation, Ellen Page confronts Bolsonaro, calling him “a major voice in the anti-gay movement in Brazil.”

“I’m gay,” Page says in her interview. “So do you think that I should have been beaten as a child, to not be gay now?”

“I’m not going to look at you and say, ‘I think you’re gay,’” Bolsonaro replies. “That doesn’t matter to me. You’re very nice. If I were a cadet in the military academy and saw you on the street, I would whistle at you. All right? You’re very pretty.”

Bolsonaro had to pay fine of a $150,000 reals ($39,858.00 USD) in 2017 for hate speech. In 2011, Bolsonaro went on CQC TV and said he couldn’t have a homosexual child because they’re too well educated to be gay.

He’s said that if one of his sons were gay, he’d hope they’d die in an accident. He’s called homosexuality “an affront to the family structure.” He has said that homosexuality can be cured with enough “violence.” And in the 2013 BBC documentary Out There, he told actor Stephen Fry “no father is ever proud of having a gay son.”

5) He’s anti-immigration and scorned both the country’s indigenous population and descendants of African slaves.

Mauro Pimentel / AFP / Getty Images
Bolsonaro is a vocal opponent of immigration. “If we open our border deliberately, we will be aggravating the situation towards disorder and misery,” he tweeted in April. That same month, he made headlines for a speech where he said the descendants of Brazilian runaway slaves “weren’t even fit for breeding” and described Brazil’s indigenousness community living on reservations as “parasites.”

He’s also said that Brazil’s indigenous community would rather have “electricity, television, blonde girlfriends and internet” instead of conservation reforms. Bolsonaro has called the accusations against him of racism baseless.

Bolsonaro also came under fire over the summer for comments about forced sterilization of the poor. “Only birth control can save us from chaos,” he said in 2008. In June of this year, one of Bolsonaro’s sons, Carlos Bolsonaro, a Rio de Janeiro city councilor, said his father was actually talking about removing the bureaucratic hurdles of getting tubal ligation or a vasectomy for better family planning.

6) The international far-right loves him.

Bolsonaro’s rise and rhetoric haven’t gone unnoticed by Trump supporters and international far-right influencers.

On Sunday night, Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson — who is a vocal supporter — tweeted an edited video being shared by Bolsonaro supporters alleging electoral fraud. The Rebel Media’s founder, Ezra Levant, threw his support toward Bolsonaro on Sunday as well, saying that calling Bolsonaro “far-right” was a smear. Far-right French activist Damien Rieu celebrated Bolsonaro’s first-round win. Canadian YouTuber Stefan Molyneux released an hourlong video on Bolsonaro’s stabbing. Pro-Trump subreddit /r/The_Donald tweeted that it’s following the Brazilian elections closely, as well. And 4chan users have been holding “/hue/volution” threads — a play on “hue,” a Brazilian internet onomatopoeia for laughter.

But perhaps the largest English-speaking supporter of Bolsonaro and his fanbase has been Gab, a far-right Twitter/Reddit clone. Gab’s Twitter account spent Sunday night tweeting Bolsonaro memes and created a special section on their website for Brazilian users. The DFR Lab noted that in the weeks since Gab started to embrace Bolsonaro, their traffic had increased 18%.

“Gab is a thing, Bolsonaro is going to win, and you can’t do anything about either. Stay mad BuzzFeed boy,” a spokesperson for Gab told BuzzFeed

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ry ... t-anti-gay

Hitler in Brasilia: The U.S. Evangelicals and Nazi Political Theory Behind Brazil's President-in-waiting

Mix up fascist geopolitics, Pat Robertson's LGBT hate, Bannon's nationalism and Putin's shills and you get Jair Bolsonaro, who's nostalgic for the U.S.-backed dictatorship that tortured and killed thousands of leftists - and he's about to come to power

Alexander Reid Ross Oct 28, 2018 2:09 PM

Demonstrators take part in a protest against Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 20, 2018
Demonstrators hold posters comparing Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro to Adolf Hitler. Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 20, 2018AFP
We are the majority. We are the real Brazil. Together, we will build a new nation…These red [leftist] criminals will be banished from our homeland. Either they go overseas, or they go to jail. It will be a cleanup the likes of which has never been seen in Brazilian history. Jair Bolsonaro, 21 October 2018

Unbelievable: A presidential candidate asks the people to conform to what he thinks or pay the price: Jail or exile. Reminiscent of other [past] times. Former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, 23 October 2018

By the time it ended in 1985, Brazil’s military dictatorship was a last remnant of an once-rampant political ideology rife with fascist influences. The recent success of Brazil’s far-right presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, predicted to win the second and final round on 28 October, indicates that South America's biggest country is on the cusp of joining a global backslide towards those ugly decades.

>>Is Brazil About to Elect the Far-right Executioner of Its Democracy?

It is also a sign of the return of a repressive and nationalistic understanding of the state and its foreign policies that came to a head in pre-war Nazi Germany, spread west to the United States, and was pushed by successive U.S. administrations as a strategic necessity for South America.

First gaining prominence as a staunch defender of the legacy of Brazil’s military dictatorship, which gained power in a 1964 coup, Bolsonaro’s anti-LGBQT, racist, and misogynistic platform is part of his general disdain for democracy. He has advocated sterilization for the poor to stave off "chaos."

Less than 15 years after the end of the U.S.-supported dictatorship that tortured and killed thousands of leftists, the then-Congressman declared in a public interview that, if ever elected president, he would "begin the coup" on his first day in office.

Esse cara é nazista mesmo: https://t.co/Tt4mZS0SCS

— Pádua GuaraniKaiowá (@paduafernandes) October 13, 2018
In 2015, Bolsonaro ran afoul of more controversy after posing for a photo with a Nazi sympathizer dressed as Hitler who had been invited to speak at a Rio de Janeiro City Council session by his son, Carlos.

When another of Bolsonaro's sons, Eduardo, tweeted out a photo of himself posing with the ubiquitous Steve Bannon this August, declaring that the two share the same "worldview," people started asking questions about how far the interconnected revivals of the international far right would go.

Bannon, Bolsonaro’s son said, is "an enthusiast of Bolsonaro's campaign and we are certainly in touch to join forces, especially against cultural marxism." Strangely, weakly, Bolsonaro Sr later denied Bannon’s connection to the campaign.

But Bolsonaro’s implacable opposition to the political left is not the only critical fuel for his worldview. One other key strand, for which Bannon is a key evangelizer, is the role of geopolitics and its use by far-right movements throughout the twentieth century.

While most people do not give a second thought to the term "geopolitics," perhaps no idea has greater explanatory value, nor had a greater historical impact, on the region’s political climate. To fully grasp how the culture wars are playing out today in Brazil, it helps to gain perspective on geopolitics itself.

The term "geopolitics" was coined by the Swedish geographer Rudolf Kjellén in 1899. It was intended to reflect the understanding of political geography developed by his German peer, Friedrich Ratzel, who embraced the conservative nationalism of his day. A veteran of the Franco-Prussian War, Ratzel understood the state as an organic collective of national culture and civilization, spreading naturally - as an empire and as an expression of inner greatness - into larger territories, usually on their border regions and beyond.

Ratzel’s understanding of those "Grosßraum" (large spaces) influenced Karl Haushofer, a friend's son, who joined the military and took an observational post in Japan. After serving as an officer during WWI, Haushofer came to identify with the populist far right, took Nazi Rudolf Hess under his wing, and tutored Hess and Adolf Hitler, himself, in geopolitics during the time they were incarcerated at Landsberg after the failed 1923 Beerhall Putsch.

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), celebrate after polls closed during the first round of presidential elections in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Oct. 7, 2018.
Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate after polls closed during the first round of presidential elections in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Oct. 7, 2018. Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg
Haushofer introduced Hitler to Ratzel’s books, and to geopolitics in general, influencing the Nazis’ turn toward the desire to conquer "Lebensraum" ("Living space") in the East. He further helped develop the Nazis’ pact with Japan and smooth over the Munich Agreement that facilitated Germany’s expansion into the Sudetenland. He was delighted when the Nazis ironed out the infamous non-belligerence pact with Russia, producing the Eurasian space that he believed could defeat North Atlantic hegemony.

Intoxicated by his own success, Haushofer flamboyantly signed his name, "L’inventeur du ‘Lebensraum’!" anointing Hitler and Hess the heirs of Valhalla, and calling for the resettling of Baltic Germans. Yet his plans fell apart when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. At the end of the war, his legacy in ruins, Haushofer and his wife committed suicide together.

Opposed as a pseudoscience by prominent geographers in academia like Richard Hartshorne and Isaiah Bowman, geopolitics was all but abandoned after the war - but it did not die out completely.

While escaped Nazi war criminals found shelter in Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina, the South American military establishment openly embraced the ideas of Ratzel and Haushofer and relied on them for some of their most oppressive policies.

Golbery de Couto e Silva, the strategist behind the 1964 military coup in Brazil, outlined the ideas put into effect through the feared National Security Doctrine in his 1966 book, "Geopolítica do Brasil." Then-Professor of Geopolitics at the Chilean War Academy, Augusto Pinochet, studied Golbery’s text closely and applied its teachings to his own government after leading the U.S.-supported Chilean coup of 1973.

Supporters of Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro take part in a rally along Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo Brazil on October 21 2018
Supporters of Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro take part in a rally along Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo Brazil on October 21 2018AFP
Geopolitics had gained some currency in the U.S. during the 1960s through the Cold War strategizing of Saul Cohen, but it was Henry Kissinger who brought the term back into vogue with his 1979 tome, "The White House Years."

It should come as no surprise, then, that the same U.S. state department wonks who adamantly supported the Latin American dictatorships, as part of a continent-wide strategy of anti-leftist counter-insurgency known as Operation Condor, would help bring about the return of geopolitics.

The next year, the leading U.S. scholar on Latin American geopolitics, Lewis Tambs, helped draft the Santa Fe Document, a 1980s Latin America strategy for the Reagan administration that explicitly advocated geopolitical positions.

The "War on Drugs" and involvement in bloody civil wars - from Guatemala to El Salvador to Nicaragua - would follow, with the full support of Evangelicals like Pat Robertson, whose American Center for Law and Justice helped spread the far-right gospel in Brazil after the dictatorship.

Later, Tambs would pen the forward for one of the only Haushofer texts translated into English - a 1939 edition of a book on the Asia-Pacific region that extolls the Nazi Party.

Banners reading "Not him" and "No to Fascism" at a protest against the Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro outside the Brazilian embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 20, 2018
Banners reading "Not him" and "No to Fascism" at a protest against the Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro outside the Brazilian embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 20, 2018\ AGUSTIN MARCARIAN/ REUTERS
Soon, the International Institute of Geopolitics would open in France, boasting an English-language journal supported by the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, William F. Buckley, Jr, and Samuel Huntington. Geopolitics was back, and while its advocates converged around debates between "Realists" and "Idealists," amid the growth of the neoconservative movement, the advocacy of geopolitical thought provided valuable oxygen for the rehabilitation of Haushofer and Ratzel by more radical forces.

The return of geopolitics in the 1980's and ’90s accompanying the dissolution of the Soviet Union, became part of the triumphal narrative of North Atlantic supremacy, but its advocates rarely examined its roots in radical conservatism.

While the renascent geopolitics accommodated geo-strategy and more liberal understandings of international relations, those who proclaimed geopolitics in its original form largely came from the so-called Nouvelle Droite, a network of far-right ideologues committed to reproducing the conditions for the re-emergence of fascism in Europe.

It was in these circles that the Russian fascist, Alexander Dugin, learned about geopolitics while residing in Western Europe, injecting its fundamental precepts into Russia’s chaotic political environment through his 1997 text, "Foundations of Geopolitics." In his strange book that advances occult myths of an Aryan super-race, Dugin concluded that geopolitics tended toward his own brand of fascism.

Happy to turn a blind eye to its fascist core, Dugin’s ideology was spread with the aid of his numerous connections, from the General Staff of the Russian Armed Services to "Orthodox oligarch" Konstantin Malofeev, one of the major backers of the international far-right Christian network, the World Congress of Families.

A supporter of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, of the right-wing Social Liberal Party, carries a rosary during a campaign rally in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
A supporter of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, of the right-wing Social Liberal Party, carries a rosary during a campaign rally in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018Eraldo Peres,AP
While Steve Bannon’s notorious 2014 speech to far-right zealots held in the Vatican associated with the World Congress of Families did not name Dugin, it outlined his fascist worldview - a fixation on geopolitics that Bannon claims to have studied "intensively." Last year, a magazine supported by the Vatican presciently accused Bannon of "apocalyptic geopolitics."

Brazil's Bolsonaro, who is Catholic but attends Baptist services, has made a populist effort to span denominations, and receives broad support from Brazil’s growing, urban evangelical movement, including boosters associated with the World Congress of Families.

Bolsonaro was baptized in the Jordan River into the Assemblies of God, which has been pouring money into far-right politics in Brazil and around the world. The Assemblies of God are deep drivers of the U.S. Evangelical movement, including some of the most important partners of the World Congress of Families.

Bolsonaro’s richest Evangelical supporters, like the Assembly of God’s head and Pentecostal televangelist Silas Malafaia, have partnered up with WCF allies at the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, and at the Brazilian Center for Law and Justice, which promotes – as does WCF - a transnational movement against LGBT rights.

WSJ editorial board endorses Bolsonaro. Says he "says politically incorrect things about identity politics that inflame his opponents."
Here is what he said about a fellow congresswoman in 2014: "She doesn’t deserve to be raped, because she’s very ugly"

— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) October 10, 2018
Adjusting traditional far-right politics to the characteristics of Brazil’s middle-class, Bolsonaro has become a fighter in the global culture wars, seeking to deliver on a patriarchal mandate that has gained the support of conservative U.S. publications like the Wall Street Journal (for being a "Brazilian Swamp Drainer"), in a country that has, ironically, for the last 15 years, has helped anchor a region-wide leftist movement with its own strong ties to Russia.

Bolsonaro’s candidacy and likely ascendance to the presidency is a sign of a growing geopolitical union of far-right forces forming the backlash against liberalism and the left, and the rehabilitation and glamorizing of military power and authoritarianism. It's a symptom of a greater crisis of democracy that is both producing - and the product of - a system-wide transformation of international relations.

Alexander Reid Ross is a Lecturer in Geography at Portland State University. He is the author of Against the Fascist Creep (AK Press, 2017). Twitter: @areidross

A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask of U.S. President Donald Trump in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. July 22, 2018.
https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premiu ... -1.6581924
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They could still get him out of office.
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby liminalOyster » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:30 pm

Goddamnit, he won. He's a pig.
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:32 pm


Verified account

12m12 minutes ago
Trump shadow consigliere Steve Bannon was and is deeply involved in the campaign of Bolsonaro, the extreme “Trump of the Tropics” who just became president of Brazil. Whatsapp was weaponized with paid disinformation. Social media again became a tool to get a monster elected.

Brazil is about to become a military dictatorship and whoever you are, wherever, this should terrify you.XENI added,


https://twitter.com/xeni?ref_src=twsrc% ... r%5Eauthor
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby Elvis » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:31 pm

The Bolsonaro election victory is very suspicious considering that his political opposite, Lula—sidelined by his enemies—was leading the polls.
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby Grizzly » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:33 pm

:panic: And they got nukes ...
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby DrEvil » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:57 pm

^^Uh.. no they don't. Or did I miss a memo somewhere?
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby liminalOyster » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:09 pm

Snitch on a teacher: Bolsonaro win sparks push against 'indoctrination'
A lawmaker from the party of ultra-right president-elect is urging students to denounce teachers who complain about his victory

Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

Tue 30 Oct 2018 02.00 EDT Last modified on Tue 30 Oct 2018 10.08 EDT

Students of the Rio de Janeiro Federal University hold a banner emblazoned with the Portuguese word for ‘Fascism’ during a protest of an electoral court order for universities to remove banners containing ‘negative propaganda’ against Jair Bolsonaro, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Students in Rio de Janeiro protest against an electoral court order for universities to remove banners containing ‘negative propaganda’ against Jair Bolsonaro. Photograph: Léo Corrêa/AP
A newly elected lawmaker from the party of Brazil’s ultra-rightwing president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, has launched a campaign to encourage students to denounce teachers who complain about his victory.

The call came days after electoral authorities raided university events and classes about fascism on the pretext that they had broken electoral rules, and has raised fears of that Bolsonaro’s historic victory on Sunday will lead to ideological persecution.

Ana Campagnola, a history teacher, was elected to the state legislature in the southern state of Santa Catarina for Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal party in the election’s first round on 7 October.

On Sunday, she launched her campaign on Facebook, telling her 70,000 followers to be on the lookout for “indoctrinator teachers” who expressed outrage over Bolsonaro’s victory.

A WhatsApp number was provided for students to “film or record any party-political or ideological expressions that humiliate or offend your freedom of faith and conscience”.

In an interview with local radio, Campagnola said her phone had been running hot with denunciations. When one Facebook follower questioned the legality of filming in class, she warned: “Just behave properly and there is no reason to be scared, citizen.”

'I don't see any reason for feminism': the women backing Brazil's Bolsonaro
Read more
Campagnola could not immediately be reached for comment. Her Facebook describes her as “anti-snowflake, anti-Marxist and anti-feminist”. She hosts a YouTube channel and espouses the ideals of School Without Party – Escola Sem Partido – a rightwing campaign to outlaw “ideological, political or party” preferences from classrooms.

Jair Bolsonaro's provocative views in six clips – video
In September, a judge rejected a suit Campagnola had launched against the feminist professor supervising her master’s course in history at the State University of Santa Catarina. Campagnola had claimed £3,600 in damages for “intolerance” and “religious and political-ideological persecution”. She is appealing.

Her campaign came days after police and electoral officials visited dozens of universities across Brazil to curb what they said was election propaganda, which is not allowed in public buildings – even though some of the placards, banners and manifestos removed did not mention any candidate by name.

In one university near Rio de Janeiro, police removed a banner which included an anti-fascist symbol, while a student group at the Federal University of Grande Dourados in Mato Grosso do Sul state was ordered to stop an event billed as an “Open Class About Fascism” and student leaders were interviewed by police.

On Wednesday, police interrupted a class that Mário Brasil Xavier, a professor of social science at the State University of Pará, was holding in Igarapé-Açu.

Xavier told the Guardian students had asked if they could take photos of the slides he was using and he jokingly said, as long as you don’t use them to produce fake news.

Researchers have found that Bolsonaro’s supporters spread more fake news before the election than those of his leftist rival Fernando Haddad – an allegation that incensed his supporters.

One of Xavier’s students called her father, who arrived with three heavily armed police officers who interviewed the professor.

“One of the police said I was showing political preference by mentioning fake news,” Xavier said. Xavier refused to accompany the officers to the station without a lawyer and his university is investigating the police visit, he said.

Brazil’s prosecutor-general, Raquel Dodge, said on Friday the raids had “affronted constitutional principles” and a supreme court judge then ruled that no classes or debates could be interrupted or documents collected.

“Freedom of thought is not a concession made by the state. It is a fundamental right,” supreme court justice Cármen Lúcia said in her ruling.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... n-whatsapp
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby Elvis » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:17 pm

Electronic voting in Brazil
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Electronic voting was first introduced to Brazil in 1996; with the first tests carried out in the state of Santa Catarina. The primary design goal of the Brazilian voting machine is extreme simplicity, the model being a public phone booth.

The first Brazilian voting machines were developed in 1996 by a Brazilian partnership of three companies OMNITECH (previously known as TDA), Microbase and Unisys do Brasil attending the TSE RFP for the Brazilian Elections in 1996. This machine was a modified IBM PC 80386 compatible clone, known as UE96. In 1998, Diebold-Procomp, Microbase and Samurai (formerly known as OMNITECH) partnered to produce UE98. In 2000, Microbase and Diebold-Procomp developed the UE2000 together. In 2000, Brazil completed the first completely automated election.

The original operating system was VirtuOS, similar to DOS and includes multitasking support, was developed by Microbase. It was used in the 1996, 1998 and 2000 elections. In 2002, Unisys was unable to renew their partnership with Microbase, and were unable to reuse the VirtuOS based code. Microsoft stepped in, and provided licenses Windows CE operating system free of charge. In 2008, Under initiative from the TSE Electronic voting team migrated to a Linux (dubbed UEnux) OS to reduce costs and take full control of development cycle.[1]. It was incorrectly reported by the press that the UEnux porject was carried out by Diebold/Procomp[2]

The Brazilian voting machine accomplishes three steps (voter identification, secure voting and tallying) in a single process, eliminating fraud based on forged or falsified public documents. Political parties have access to the voting machine's programs before the election for auditing. There still remain some questions about the security of the electronic voting system, but no case of election fraud has been uncovered:

1. Critics argue that the voting machines do not produce receipt for the voter, nor maintain an internal paper based journal which would allow for vote auditing. This makes them highly dependent on trusting the software. The application program which verifies the internal integrity of the system is itself vulnerable to modification.[3] An inspection by the City of Sto. Estevão, Bahia described the system of seals and closure of the machine as simple, and allowed easy access to the internal memory slot.[4][5]

2. It is possible to violate the secrecy of the vote, obtaining the list of the Voter registry IDs and the order of the votes. So by simple comparison one could determine which ID voted for which candidate.

3. Election workers could vote in place of absent voters without their permission. However, voting sections are composed of multiple workers drawn at random from the population as a means of preventing this type of fraud.

On the eve of an election, the election authorities in each State select a number of voting machines by lot (all available voting machines take part in that lot, identified by their serial number), and those machines so selected, instead of being used in actual pooling stations, are retained in the seat of the State's Regional Electoral Court for a "parallel voting", conducted for audit purposes in the presence of representatives designated by the political parties. The audit vote takes place on the same date as the election. This parallel voting is a mock election but the votes entered in the voting machine are not secret, instead they are witnessed by all party representatives present at the audit process. The whole audit is filmed, and the representatives of the political parties present for the audit direct publicly that a random quantity of votes are to be inserted in the machine for each candidate. A tally is kept of the instructions received from each party representative. Each party representative orders a number of votes to be inserted at the machine, but he only reveals that number, and the recipients, during the audit. So, the numbers are not previously known, because the only way they could be known by others is if there were a collusion between rival parties. At the end of the process, then, when all the parties have directed that certain number of votes then chosen are to be registered for each candidate in the audit vote, the votes ordered to be inserted by each party representative for each candidate are added up, and the total number of votes of the mock election is known, as well as the total number of votes of each candidate. Once the mock votes end and the profile of the vote is known, the electronic counting of the votes contained in the voting machines used during the audit takes place. The result indicated by the voting machines software has to correspond to the previously known result. As the machines were selected at random by lot, if the result given by the software corresponds to the previously known result resulting from the sum of the parties's public instructions (which has happened in all elections so far), the system is deemed by the election authorities as reliable for receiving, properly registering and accurately tallying the votes. Given that the machines are chosen at random, the reliability of the chosen ones is deemed to represent the reliability of the others. If the audit failed to produce a positive result (the matching of the votes counted to the sum of the instructions), then the whole election in the State in question would be void.

The voting system has been widely accepted, due in great part to the fact that it speeds up the vote count tremendously. In the 1989 presidential election between Fernando Collor de Mello and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the vote count required nine days. In the 2002 general election, the count required less than 12 hours. In some smaller towns the election results are known minutes after the closing of the ballots.

Supporters of the electronic vote claim that unless the fraud were intentionally designed into the machines, it would be impossible to carry an extensive fraud in such a small amount of time. The Brazilian Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) regularly funds research aimed at improving security. The source code to the voting software is proprietary and the public is not able to examine it. In order to be able to recount the votes, a printing system has been developed and a new electoral registration system is planned.[6][7]

Brazil loans the machines to other countries. They have been used for elections in Paraguay and Ecuador, and there are plans to export the patented machines.

A new biometrics-based voting machine, with an additional apparatus that does the voter's fingerprint recognition before allowing the ballot to be cast, started being used in 2012.[8] TSE is gradually gathering the fingerprints of all registered voters to spread the process, that will be used by 22 million voters in the 2014 general election.[9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroni ... _in_Brazil
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby Marionumber1 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:20 pm

Glad you brought up the topic of electronic voting, Elvis. Their audit process actually sounds pretty decent, better than what most of the US does, because they test the machines at the same time as the election (not before or after). However, there are other theoretical ways for vote rigging software to tell whether it's in audit-mode, then act accordingly. For instance, it could limit its vote rigging to only very large precincts, where the number of ballots is likely to exceed those in an audit. While it is theoretically true that political parties don't reveal the total number of mock votes they're going to cast, in practice, does the number of mock votes truly match that of a real election? That's something I'll need to do more research into. Or it could recognize that these mock votes, which are all being cast during this single audit process, have come in at a rate that's implausibly high for an actual election. Or if the audit works so that party A casts all their votes, then party B casts all their votes, it could recognize that this lack of random variation strongly implies the machine is being audited. Trying to build safeguards around an inherently insecure voting process may seem admirable, but why not make the entire count publicly verifiable in the first place?

Also, I'm a little spooked by the fact that Brazil's voting machines are made by Procomp, a subsidiary of the infamous Diebold.
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby conniption » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:34 am

consortium news

Welcome to the Jungle

October 29, 2018

By Pepe Escobar
Special to Consortium News

It’s darkness at the break of (tropical) high noon.

Jean Baudrillard once defined Brazil as “the chlorophyll of our planet”. And yet a land vastly associated worldwide with the soft power of creative joie de vivre has elected a fascist for president.

Brazil is a land torn apart. Former paratrooper Jair Bolsonaro was elected with 55.63 percent of votes. Yet a record 31 million votes were ruled absent or null and void. No less than 46 million Brazilians voted for the Workers’ Party’s candidate, Fernando Haddad; a professor and former mayor of Sao Paulo, one of the crucial megalopolises of the Global South. The key startling fact is that over 76 million Brazilians did not vote for Bolsonaro.

His first speech as president exuded the feeling of a trashy jihad by a fundamentalist sect laced with omnipresent vulgarity and the exhortation of a God-given dictatorship as the path towards a new Brazilian Golden Age.

French-Brazilian sociologist Michael Lowy has described the Bolsonaro phenomenon as “pathological politics on a large scale”.

His ascension was facilitated by an unprecedented conjunction of toxic factors such as the massive social impact of crime in Brazil, leading to a widespread belief in violent repression as the only solution; the concerted rejection of the Workers’ Party, catalyzed by financial capital, rentiers, agribusiness and oligarchic interests; an evangelical tsunami; a “justice” system historically favoring the upper classes and embedded in State Department-funded “training” of judges and prosecutors, including the notorious Sergio Moro, whose single-minded goal during the alleged anti-corruption Car Wash investigation was to send Lula to prison; and the absolute aversion to democracy by vast sectors of the Brazilian ruling classes.

That is about to coalesce into a radically anti-popular, God-given, rolling neoliberal shock; paraphrasing Lenin, a case of fascism as the highest stage of neoliberalism. After all, when a fascist sells a “free market” agenda, all his sins are forgiven.

Bolsonaro: Leader of trashy jihad.

The Reign of BBBB

It’s impossible to understand the rise of Bolsonarism without the background of the extremely sophisticated Hybrid War unleashed on Brazil by the usual suspects. NSA spying – ranging from the Petrobras energy giant all the way to then President Dilma Rousseff’s mobile phone – was known since mid-2013 after Edward Snowden showed how Brazil was the most spied upon Latin American nation in the 2000’s.

The Pentagon-supplicant Superior War College in Rio has always been in favor of a gradual – but surefire – militarization of Brazilian politics aligned with U.S. national security interests. The curriculum of top U.S. military academies was uncritically adopted by the Superior War College.

The managers of Brazil’s industrial-military-technological complex largely survived the 1964-1985 dictatorship. They learned everything about psyops from the French in Algeria and the Americans in Vietnam. Over the years they evolved their conception of the enemy within; not only the proverbial “communists”, but also the Left as a whole as well as the vast masses of dispossessed Brazilians.

This led to the recent situation of generals threatening judges if they ever set Lula free. Bolsonaro’s running mate, the crude Generalito Hamilton Mourao, even threatened a military coup if the ticket did not win. Bolsonaro himself said he would never “accept” defeat.

This evolving militarization of politics perfectly meshed with the cartoonish BBBB (Bullet, Beef, Bible, Bank) Brazilian Congress.

Congress is virtually controlled by military, police and paramilitary forces; the powerful agribusiness and mining lobby, with their supreme goal of totally plundering the Amazon rainforest; evangelical factions; and banking/financial capital. Compare it with the fact that more than half of senators and one third of Congress are facing criminal investigations.

The Bolsonaro campaign used every trick in the book to flee any possibility of a TV debate, faithful to the notion that political dialogue is for suckers, especially when there’s nothing to debate.

After all, Bolsonaro’s top economic advisor, Chicago Boy Paulo Guedes – currently under investigation for securities fraud – had already promised to “cure” Brazil by bearing the usual gifts: privatize everything; destroy social spending; get rid of all labor laws as well as the minimum wage; let the beef lobby plunder the Amazon; and increase the weaponizing of all citizens to uber-NRA levels.

No wonder The Wall Street Journal normalized Bolsonaro as a “conservative populist” and the “Brazilian swamp-drainer”; this fact-free endorsement ignores that Bolsonaro is a lowly politico who has only passed two pieces of legislation in his 27 lackluster years in Congress.

WhatsApp Me to the Promised Land

Even as large misinformed masses progressively became aware of the massive Bolsonaro campaign manipulative scams on WhatsApp – a tropical post-Cambridge Analytica saga; and even as Bolsonaro pledged, on the record, that opponents would have only two options after Sunday’s elections, jail or exile, that was still not enough to arrest Brazil from inexorably slouching towards a dystopian, militarized BET (Banana Evangelical Theocracy).

In any mature democracy a bunch of businessmen – via black accounting – financing a multi-tentacle fake news campaign on WhatsApp against the Workers’ Party and Lula’s candidate Haddad would qualify as a major scandal.

WhatsApp is wildly popular in Brazil, much more than Facebook; so it had to be properly instrumentalized in this Brazilian remix of Cambridge Analytica-style Hybrid War.

The tactics were absolutely illegal because they qualified as undeclared campaign donations as well as corporate donations (forbidden by the Brazilian Supreme Court since 2015). The Brazilian Federal Police started an investigation that now is bound to head the same way of the Saudis investigating themselves on the Pulp Fiction fiasco in Istanbul.

The fake news tsunami was managed by the so-called Bolsominions. They are a hyper-loyal volunteer army, which purges anyone who dares to question the “Myth” (as the leader is referred to), while manipulating content 24/7 into memes, viral fake videos and assorted displays of “Bolso-swarm” ire.

Consider Washington’s outrage at Russians that may have interfered in U.S. elections allegedly using the same tactics the U.S. and its comprador elites used in Brazil.

Smashing the BRICS

Crushing the BRICS (Russian presidency)

On foreign policy, as far as Washington is concerned, Reichskommissar Bolsonaro may be very useful on three fronts.

The first one is geo-economic: to get the lion’s share of the vast pre-salt reserves for U.S. energy giants.

That would be the requisite follow-up to the coup de grace against Dilma Rousseff in 2013, when she approved a law orienting 75 percent of oil wealth royalties towards education and 25 percent to health care; a significant U.S.$ 122 billion over 10 years.

The other two fronts are geopolitical: blowing up the BRICS from the inside, and getting Brazil to do the dirty work in a Venezuela regime change ops, thus fulfilling the Beltway obsession on smashing the Venezuela-Cuba axis.

Using the pretext of mass immigration from Venezuela to the Brazilian stretch of the Amazon, Colombia – elevated to the status of key NATO partner, and egged on by Washington – is bound to count on Brazilian military support for regime change.

And then there’s the crucial China story.

China and Brazil are close BRICS partners. BRICS by now essentially means RC (Russia and China), much to the disgust of Moscow and Beijing, which counted on Haddad following in the footsteps of Lula, who was instrumental in enhancing BRICS geopolitical clout.

That brings us to a key point of inflexion in the rolling Hybrid War coup, when the Brazilian military became convinced that Rousseff’s cabinet was infiltrated by agents of Chinese intel.

Still, China remains Brazil’s top trade partner – ahead of the U.S., with bilateral trade reaching $75 billion last year. In parallel to being an avid consumer of Brazilian commodities, Beijing has already invested $124 billion in Brazilian companies and infrastructure projects since 2003.

Chicago Boy Guedes has recently met with Chinese diplomats. Bolsonaro is bound to receive a top Chinese delegation right at the start of his mandate. On the campaign trail, he hammered that “China is not buying in Brazil, China is buying Brazil”. Bolsonaro might attempt to pull a mini-Trump sanction overdrive on China. Yet he must be aware that the powerful agribusiness lobby has been profiting immensely from the U.S.-China trade war.

A mighty cliffhanger is guaranteed to come at the 2019 BRICS summit, which will take place in Brazil: picture tough guy Bolsonaro face to face with the real boss, Xi Jinping.

So what is the Brazilian military really up to? Answer: the Brazilian “Dependency Doctrine” – which is a true neocolonial mongrel.

On one level, the Brazilian military leadership is developmentalist, geared towards territorial integration, well-patrolled borders and fully disciplined, internal, social and economic “order.” At the same time they believe this should all be carried out under the supervision of the “indispensable nation.”

The military leaders reason that their own country is not knowledgeable enough to fight organized crime, cyber-security, bio-security, and, on the economy, to fully master a minimal state coupled with fiscal reform and austerity. For the bulk of the military elite, private foreign capital is always benign.

An inevitable consequence is to see Latin American and African nations as untermenschen; a reaction against Lula’s and Dilma’s emphasis on the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and closer energy and logistical integration with Africa.

Can’t Rule Out Military Coup

Despite this there is internal military dissent – which could even open a possible way towards the removal of Bolsonaro, a mere puppet, to the benefit of the real thing: a general.

When the Workers’ Party was in power, the Navy and the Air Force were quite pleased by strategic projects such as a nuclear submarine, a supersonic fighter jet and satellites launched by Made in Brazil rockets. Their reaction remains to be seen in the event Bolsonaro ditches these techno-breakthroughs for good.

The key question may be whether there is a direct connection between the cream of the crop of Brazilian military academies; the “dependency generals” and their psyops techniques; different evangelical factions; and the post-Cambridge Analytica tactics deployed by the Bolsonaro campaign. Would it be a nebula congregating all these cells, or is it a loose network?

Arguably the best answer is provided by war anthropologist Piero Leirner, who conducted deep research in the Brazilian Armed Forces and told me, “there’s no previous connection. Bolsonaro is a post-fact. The only possible connection is between certain campaign traits and psyops.” Leirner stresses, “Cambridge Analytica and Bannon represent the infrastructure, but the quality of information, to send contradictory signals and then an order resolution coming as a third way, this is military strategy from CIA psyop manuals.”

Brazilian Military: Keeping an eye on Bolsonaro. (Wikimedia Commons)

There are cracks though. Leirner sees the arch of disparate forces supporting Bolsonaro as a “bricolage” which sooner or later will disintegrate. What next? A sub-Pinochet General?

Why Bolsonaro is not Trump

In The Road to Somewhere; The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics, David Goodhart shows that the driving force behind populism is not the fascist love of an ultra-nation. It’s anomie – that feeling of a vague existential threat posed by modernity. That applies to all forms of Right populism in the West.

Thus we have the opposition between “Somewheres” and “Anywheres”. We have “Somewheres” that want their nations’ democracy to be enjoyed only by the “home” ethnicity, with the national culture not contaminated by “foreign” influences.

And we have “Anywheres” who inhabit the roootless postmodern vortex of multiculturalism and foreign travel for business. These are a demographic minority – but a majority within political, economic, educational and professional elites.

This leads Goodhart to make a crucial distinction between populism and fascism – ideologically and psychologically.

The standard legal distinction can be found in German constitutional law. Right populism is “radical” – thus legal. Fascism is “extreme,” thus illegal.

Trump being labeled a “fascist” is false. Bolsonaro in the West has been labeled “The Tropical Trump.” The fact is Trump is a Right populist – who happens to deploy a few policies that could even be characterized as Old Left.

The record reveals Bolsonaro as a racist, misogynist, homophobic, weaponizing thug, favoring a white, patriarchal, hierarchical, hetero-normative and “homogenous” Brazil; an absurdity in a deeply unequal society still ravaged by the effects of slavery and where the majority of the population is mixed race. Besides, historically, fascism is a radical bourgeois Final Solution about total annihilation of the working class. That makes Bolsonaro an outright fascist.

Trump is even mode moderate than Bolsonaro. He does not incite supporters to literally exterminate his opponents. After all, Trump has to respect the framework of a republic with long-standing, even if flawed, democratic institutions.

That was never the case in the young Brazilian democracy – where a president may now behave as if human rights are a communist, and UN, plot. The Brazilian working classes, intellectual elites, social movements and all minorities have plenty of reasons to fear the New Order; in Bolsonaro’s own words, “they will be banned from our motherland.” The criminalization/dehumanization of any opposition means, literally, that tens of millions of Brazilians are worthless.

Talk to Nietzsche

The sophisticated Hybrid War rolling coup in Brazil that started in 2014, had a point of inflexion in 2016 and culminating in 2018 with impeaching a president; jailing another; smashing the Right and the Center-Right; and in a post-politics-on-steroids manner, opening the path to neo-fascism.

Bolsonaro though is a – mediocre – black void cipher. He does not have the political structure, the knowledge, not to mention the intelligence to have come so far, our of the blue, without a hyper-complex, state of the art, cross-border intel support system. No wonder he’s a Steve Bannon darling.

In contrast, the Left – as in Europe – once again was stuck in analog mode. No way any progressive front, especially in this case as it was constituted at the eleventh hour, could possibly combat the toxic tsunami of cultural war, identity politics and micro-targeted fake news.

They lost a major battle. At least they now know this is hardcore, all-out war. To destroy Lula – the world’s foremost political prisoner – the Brazilian elites had to destroy Brazil. Still, Nietzsche always prevails; whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The vanguard of global resistance against neo-fascism as the higher stage of neoliberalism has now moved south of the Equator. No pasarán.

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030. Follow him on Facebook.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/29/w ... he-jungle/
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:31 pm

Hmm, kind of missed this one and started another:


Should we merge? I don't know.

I'd like a combined one to be called something simpler, like The Bolsonaro Thread.

What you think?
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby conniption » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:16 pm

JackRiddler » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:31 pm wrote:Hmm, kind of missed this one and started another:


Should we merge? I don't know.

I'd like a combined one to be called something simpler, like The Bolsonaro Thread.

What you think?

Sure. Do it to it, Jack. Brazil ought to be in the title somewhere...okay? thx.
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Re: Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Postby Elvis » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:35 pm

Would you like me to use my awesome mod powers to consolidate the two threads? That arranges all the posts by time/date into one of the threads and deletes the other thread (that gets folded into the remaining thread). (Leaving the old one as a 'shadow topic' is an option.)
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