The two Brazils

The two biggest countries in the Western hemisphere have similar leaders. Dumb, pro-torture, dishonest, corrupt, misogynist, authoritarian, disdainful of scientific expertise, etc.

Now both are trying to cover up corruption:

“Moro abandoned a 22-year career as a federal judge to become justice minister and one of the highest profile members of Bolsonaro’s government when he took office at the start of 2019. He quit on April 24 publicly accusing Bolsonaro of attempting to interfere with police investigations by firing the nation’s top cop, allegations the president dismissed as baseless.

In an eight-hour testimony to prosecutors on Saturday, the former judge expanded on his allegations of presidential meddling in the federal police. According to court documents leaked to the press, he described how Bolsonaro asked him to also replace the regional police chief in charge of Rio de Janeiro — the state where the president began his political career and where some police probes may potentially involve his family.”

Moro had led the investigation into corruption in the Lula administration.

In America, Trump is gradually getting rid of any official willing to blow the whistle on corruption:

“I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo,” Mr Engel added. “Mr Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.”

Last month, Mr Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector-general, who had a pivotal role in his impeachment proceedings last year. Mr Atkinson told lawmakers about a whistleblower complaint regarding the president’s dealings with Ukraine, which sparked the impeachment probe.

The president has also removed other officials involved in his impeachment, including Alexander Vindman, a former National Security Council official, and Gordon Sondland, the former US ambassador to the EU.

Trump also gets rid of cabinet ministers that have quaint ideas about personal integrity, and replaces them with the likes of Barr and Pompeo.

People used to wonder if Brazil could ever become like the USA. Alas, I believe they’re almost there.

PS. Off topic, I like this National Review article:

Trump has remained completely undomesticated in the White House. The idea that he has now, as some of his supporters imply, been seduced, bullied, or otherwise manipulated by a mild-mannered, nearly 80-year-old doctor is bonkers.

The reason Trump issued his shutdown guidance was that the prospect of uncontrolled spread of the virus was too risky to contemplate.

Since populist critics of the shutdowns don’t want to criticize Trump, let alone say that they think he blew one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency, they focus their ire on the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases instead. . . .

This is what we elect presidents, governors, and mayors to decide. It’s their responsibility to balance the competing considerations, and if they are found wanting, they lose their jobs.

Anyone in this position obviously wants to hear from experts, though. Which is why if Trump really did fire Fauci, some other meddlesome epidemiologist would emerge soon enough. If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.

Trump says that Sweden blew it when they didn’t adopt his “shutdown guidance”. We shall see.



8 Responses to “The two Brazils”

  1. Gravatar of Zamba Zamba
    17. May 2020 at 11:11

    Dumb and Dumber, Beavis and Butthead, and now Brazil and USA

    I think you guys finally found your dumb brother from the South.

    I would talk about Bolsonaro with you if I didn’t have to chant Brazil in the local public square while holding a bible in a demonstration against the news only showing the bad side of the virus…

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. May 2020 at 11:47

    Zamba, I feel your pain.

  3. Gravatar of Brandon Brandon
    17. May 2020 at 12:08

    Thanks Dr Sumner. Here’s a good, recent piece on the Bolsonaro affair: The author (a political scientist from Rio) has spent a lot of time explaining Brazil’s deeper problems that lead to politicians like Bolsonaro.

  4. Gravatar of Zamba Zamba
    17. May 2020 at 12:10


    Bolsonaro is exactly like Trump, it’s impressive. Narcissistic, dumb, a compulsive liar, lazy, fond of conspiracy theories, corrupt. The only difference is that he wasn’t born rich. But he sure found his ways…

    I can only hope for an impeachment. The guy is like a windsock in a tornado, and has not an iota of compassion for anyone besides his family.

    We could choose from among many crimes he committed to trial him for impeachment. The problem is that he still has about 30% of support (Dilma had 8% when she fell), and he is doing whatever he can to build deals with the corrupt portion of the parliament to prevent the impeachment. The government is basically over and if he stays in office he will be focused only in saving his ass from now on (not that most of his policies were of any use, anyway).

  5. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    17. May 2020 at 17:08

    Matt Taibbi is a properly cynical and apolitical observer, yet earnest in his actual reporting. I recommend him to all And he is no Trump fan.

    Taibbi has consistently described the purported Moscow-Trump connection as “the Russian hoax” and, of course, Ukraine is a chapter in that empty book.

    Trump has a perefectly awful personality. But just as the GOP manufactured an impeachment case against Bill Clinton, the Donks-DC establishment fabricated a case against Trump.

    Trump, a vindictive sort anyway, is exacting revenge.

    BTW, those who think Trump has crossed some sort of line in his foreign policy should revisit the Wikipedia page regarding Iran Contra. And that page offers a sanitized version.

    The Reaganauts make Trump look like Peter Pan.

  6. Gravatar of Matthias Goergens Matthias Goergens
    17. May 2020 at 19:08

    Benjamin, compare

    Trump is not the worst of America’s presidents. As you suggest, others have done worse. Though I guess that’s mostly not for lack of trying, but lack of competence in getting anything done.

  7. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    18. May 2020 at 06:22

    Matthias; LBJ, Nixon, George Bush Jr. all obviously worse than Trump. That is just in the 60 years.

    President Ronald Reagan once gave his speech advocating placing the Federal Reserve into the Department of Treasury, where, of course, it would report to the President.

    I happen to think Reagan had a good idea as it would result in accountability and an electorate that could vote out bad monetary policy.

    But for those who hold Central Bank Independence as sacrosanct, that would make President Reagan the Devil Himself.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. May 2020 at 08:41

    Thanks Brandon.

    Zamba, Yes, he’ll be hard to dislodge.

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