Tag Archives: Jair Bolsonaro

The myth of ecocide, by Brendan O’Neill

An amazing mythology has already developed about Amazon fires. From Brendan O’Neill at spiked-online.com:

So now we know: the idea that the Amazon rainforest is burning on an unprecedented scale and that these fires will rob humanity of one of its key sources of oxygen is fake news. It is hard to think of any other global event this year that has been as awash with misinformation as the rainforest fires. We’ve been told these fires are a calamity, an act of ‘ecocide’; they’re proof of humanity’s contempt for the environment; they will blacken and possibly even destroy ‘the lungs of the world’, as the rainforests are referred to, given they produce 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen. It’s all untrue. We are being misled.

Everything – from the photos of fires being shared by heartbroken celebs to the wild claims about these fires harming the whole of humanity – is false. Some of the photos of the fires being tearfully shared on social media are 10 or 20 years old. Many are not pictures of the Amazon at all. Some are from south Brazil, others from India and Sweden. The idea that millions of glorious, oxygen-producing trees are been burnt to a cinder by evil humans is nonsense, too. To the extent that there has been an increase in fires in the Amazon – and this itself is a deceptive claim – many of this year’s new fires are of dry scrubland, where trees have already been felled.

It is untrue that the fires are historically huge or unprecedented. NASA says the Amazon fires are ‘slightly below average this year’. Many are pointing out that we are witnessing the highest number of fires in the Amazon for seven years. But as meteorologist Jesse Ferrell reports, prior to 2012 there were many years in which the Amazon had worse fires than this year’s: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. As Ferrell says, there are always fires on Earth: ‘Thousands of fires are continually burning across the Earth every day of every year, and they always have.’ The idea that what is currently happening in the Amazon is shockingly unusual or apocalyptic or proof of man’s fascistic disdain for his environment is an entirely politicised interpretation of a perfectly normal event.

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Why shouldn’t Brazilians burn down trees? by Brendan O’Neill

How would US citizens feel if Brazilians hectored us on our wildfire policies? From Brendan O’Neill at spiked-online.com:

The Western hysteria over the rainforest fires is riddled with colonial arrogance.

Every now and then the environmentalist mask slips. And we get a glimpse of the elitist and authoritarian movement that lurks beneath the hippyish green facade. The hysteria over the rainforest fires in Brazil is one of those moments. As well-off, privileged Westerners rage against Brazil for having the temerity to use its resources as it sees fit, and as they even flirt with the idea of sending outside forces to take charge of the Amazon, we can see the borderline imperialist mindset that motors so much green thinking. In the space of a few days, greens have gone from saying ‘We care about the planet!’ to ‘How dare these spics defy our diktats?’. And it is a truly clarifying moment.

You don’t have to be a fan of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, and spiked certainly isn’t, to feel deeply uncomfortable with the Western outrage over his policy on the rainforest. Observers claim the Amazon is experiencing its highest number of fires since records began. That those records only began in 2013 should give the Western hysterics pause for thought – this isn’t the historically unprecedented End of Days event they claim it is. There are always fires in the Amazon, some started by nature, others by human beings logging or clearing land for farming. Some of the current fires were started by people who need wood or land – how dare they! – while others are just part of the natural cycle.

More tellingly, NASA has attempted to counter the hysteria. Its data suggests that, while the number of fires might be larger than in the past few years, ‘overall fire activity’ in the Amazon is ‘slightly below average this year’. How striking that the people who wave around NASA reports when making their case that mankind has had a terrible impact on the planet are ignoring NASA’s reports that there is less fire in the Amazon this year in comparison with the past 15 years.

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The Consequences of System Failure, by Michael Krieger

Brazil’s president-elect, Jair Bolsonero, is a result of Brazilian’s disgust with their own institutions. Call it blowback. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

In short, every major political institution has been increasingly discredited as Brazil has spiraled deeper and deeper into a dark void. And from the abyss emerged a former army captain and six-term congressman from Rio de Janeiro, Jair Bolsonaro, with the slogan “Brazil above everything, God above everyone,” and promises to fix everything with hardline tactics.

– From today’s Intercept article: Jair Bolsonaro Is Elected President of Brazil. Read His Extremist, Far-Right Positions in His Own Words.

It’s been only a little over two years since the people of Great Britain surprised the world by voting to leave the European Union. Just a few months later, this nascent trend of political shock continued with the election of Donald Trump.

This tectonic shift toward political upheaval has continued to spread throughout much of the world, with Italy and Brazil being two more recent examples. That something very major and very global is happening is undeniable at this point, yet everyone seems to have their own pet reasons for why it’s occurring. I continue to stick to the same thesis I’ve had for nearly a decade, which is that the dominant global economic/financial paradigm led and managed by the U.S. has failed and is experiencing a slow, painful and dangerous death.

This reality was temporarily papered over by the shady and extremely corrupt financial bailouts of a decade ago. An event that focused all government resources on rescuing the already rich and powerful, while keeping bank executives out of prison.

Ten years ago, all of America’s resources were irresponsibly and aggressively marshaled toward the sole purpose of resuscitating a dead system and keeping it on life support. Rather than jail those who committed egregious fraud and ask the difficult questions about the sustainability of the global financial system, those in charge pretended nothing was wrong and just threw money at the problem. This (coincidentally I’m sure) ended up making those who were rich and powerful before the crisis even more rich and powerful after it. Now it’s 2018 and the world’s staring straight into the face of a gigantic unpayable debt bubble, as well as an overextended and hyper-aggressive U.S. empire abroad.

Incredibly enough, many people still have no conception of what’s actually going on.

What’s been most shocking and disturbing to me — both following the financial crisis and in the aftermath of every new “surprise” election result — is the continued inability of so many people to face reality. The dominant reaction to Trump’s election in the U.S. has been a pathetic joke of a political movement based on fantasy and delusion known as “The Resistance.” A collection of mindless self-proclaimed liberals who actively resurrected George W. Bush’s reputation while running into the arms of opportunistic neocons simply because they couldn’t admit that Obama was a guardian of elitist interests, and Hillary an atrocious candidate.

So they’ve spent two years blaming Russia, blaming Facebook, blaming deplorables, blaming everything imaginable rather than accepting reality. Indeed, we seem to have a cultural addiction to denying reality. We did it after the financial crisis and we’re doing it again in the aftermath of Trump’s election. There’s a large group of people who just want to rewind history back to the way things were, but that world’s gone and it’s not coming back.

When I left Wall Street back in 2010, I naively thought by embracing a passion for liberty and sharing what I knew about the financial crisis I could make a difference to the debate. My efforts proved an abject failure, but the process taught me some painful yet valuable lessons. First, that the wheels of history are going to turn in the way they’re going to turn and there’s not much I can do about it. Second, that more often than not the societal response to system failure is a rejection of freedom and liberty in favor of easier, jingoistic and often darker solutions.

Although I’ve begrudgingly accepted this reality, I haven’t given up. I’ve increasingly turned my attention inward, toward my family and my own individual action. The only things I can impact with any degree of certainty are the things closest to me, so I’ve tried to focus on self-improvement in the small areas of everyday life. I can’t force people to look under the hood of our vast societal problems and focus on root issues versus symptoms. Unfortunately, it seems many people, and indeed entire societies, often have to learn lessons the hard way.

The time for liberty will come, but I fear we’ll see increased hardship first. This is why I remain short-term concerned, but long-term optimistic. We’re still in a very dark stage in this particular cycle of human progress and the longer we remain in denial about what’s happening, the longer this period will last.

My personal hope and challenge is that I do no harm while also adding some joy, knowledge and happiness to the world as we transition from one paradigm to the next. I wish everyone luck, peace and fortitude as we march, crazed, into the vast unknown.

The Bolsonaro Effect, by Hardscrabble Farmer

You get tired of being the “mark” for other people’s scams. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:

Over the weekend my son and I decided to take a break and watch a couple of episodes of a show called The Carbonaro Effect. It features a young magician that pulls a Candid Camera style set of tricks on unsuspecting people using magic as it’s hook. If you haven’t seen him before it’s fairly entertaining in a fashion the first couple of times, but as we watched it became evident that what he was doing wasn’t very popular with the people he was fooling.

During the show there are numerous pop-ups that appear on the screen explaining how he came up with the trick, the way the crew were involved, how the staging was placed, etc. At the end of each trick he reveals to the unsuspecting mark that he has just tricked them and gives them a big hug letting them know it was all in good fun, like Allen Funt used to do with his high trust audiences in the 1960’s. After one of these tricks concluded there was a pop-up that said “most people will try to walk away after the trick and the crew has to re-direct them back into the shot.”

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Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil, by Pepe Escobar

An important election in South America’s largest country looms. From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:

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.

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