53 days of Chaos
February 22, 2019 6:00 AM   Subscribe

On January 1st 2019 Brazil´s democratically elected fascist assumed power.
Jair Bolsonaro’s First 53 Days As President Of Brazil Have Been A Resounding, Scandalous Failure.
So much has happened over the last 7 1/2 weeks that it’s impossible to take stock of it all. But by looking through the wreckage, perhaps you can get a sense of Brazil’s political life as of late.
posted by adamvasco (35 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
The whole saga nicely encapsulates Bolsonaro’s young presidency: mistrust sewing internal division; a leak; the unmasking of the president’s ignorance; and then, eventually, a forced reversal.

Sounds vaguely familiar, I just can't put my finger on it though.
posted by entropone at 6:30 AM on February 22, 2019 [42 favorites]


Is it the kind of resounding, scandalous failure that anyone might actually do anything substantive about, or is it the kind of resounding, scandalous failure that approximately 42% of the country and 99% of people with real political power will continue to support regardless?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:36 AM on February 22, 2019 [20 favorites]


Nobody could have imagined that governance could be so complicated, etc.

Happily, most fascists are idiots. The danger is the first time a really competent one comes along.
posted by jaduncan at 6:37 AM on February 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


(Carvalho, it should be noted, has questioned whether the Earth revolves around the Sun and claimed that Pepsi is sweetened with the cells of aborted fetuses, among other nonsensical musings.)

...although even for fascists that's special.
posted by jaduncan at 6:42 AM on February 22, 2019 [17 favorites]


Happily, most fascists are idiots. The danger is the first time a really competent one comes along.

Hitler was a raving lunatic and a lousy general to boot and look what still happened.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:43 AM on February 22, 2019 [32 favorites]


I don't know, I think the worst part of it is that they can be so incompetent and still do so much damage. They don't even have to be smart about it to destroy the world's rainforests and threaten lgbt folk.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:43 AM on February 22, 2019 [25 favorites]


Happily, most fascists are idiots. The danger is the first time a really competent one comes along.

I'm not comforted by this. It doesn't take a subtle genius to order armed forces to commit atrocities and corrode public trust in institutions. You can do it just by being venial whole holding enough power that nobody is able to check you, and the damage will still be there and will long outlast you. Indeed, the damage will persist even if you are eventually checked.
posted by gauche at 6:46 AM on February 22, 2019 [16 favorites]


You being "a fascist in power" and certainly not anybody in this thread.
posted by gauche at 6:47 AM on February 22, 2019


A story of mine from from a thread years ago:

Later, a friend was reading a history of Germany and related a report of a compulsory plan to have workers pay into a "car fund," which would eventually deliver a car to the worker. Money was collected, but no plants, much less cars, were produced. She said "I'm used to Nazis being evil, but they were just confidence men."

However, amusing as this all is, let’s talk about Brazil.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:51 AM on February 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


You being "a fascist in power" and certainly not anybody in this thread.

I'm super tempted to make a SO FAR AS YOU KNOW joke right now, but I'm so angry and bitter about the fact that we humans can't help screwing each other over and fucking up the world right when we all need to be working together to fix it that I. just. can't.

2019, all.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:51 AM on February 22, 2019 [11 favorites]


I'm not comforted by this. It doesn't take a subtle genius to order armed forces to commit atrocities and corrode public trust in institutions. You can do it just by being venial whole holding enough power that nobody is able to check you, and the damage will still be there and will long outlast you. Indeed, the damage will persist even if you are eventually checked.

This is true. But Franco was competent, and both the damage and his direct rule lasted for decades. I am horrified at Brazillians having to live in a police state prepared to extrajudicially execute people (although I'm not sure that could exactly be said to have arrived with their current leadership). I'm just happy that their leadership is sewing the seeds of their own destruction. And yes, dictators are often most dangerous to minorities when they are on their way out. I just still very much want them out ASAP precisely because authoritarianism always gets more intense over time.
posted by jaduncan at 6:55 AM on February 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


Just got back from 2 weeks in Brazil. One thing that struck us is that nobody talked to us about politics at all. Especially contrasted with Argentina over the New Year where everybody goes on about how the other side is evil, corrupt, etc., Mexico last year the same, etc.
posted by signal at 7:02 AM on February 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


They must have some special needles and threads to be able to sew seeds like that.
posted by dr_dank at 7:02 AM on February 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


I feel like all forms of government pretty much inevitably trend toward totalitarianisnm unless energy is constantly poured into preventing that. As long as people with some power are able to grab more power, and then use that power to cement their hold yet further, there is a sort of runaway effect that is very hard to break out of.

Of course, it doesn't help that a great many people seem to actually want to live under a dictator and will short-circuit the usual process of gradual decay by voting to jump straight from democracy to totalitarianism. What is it about people, anyway?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:03 AM on February 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


Later, a friend was reading a history of Germany and related a report of a compulsory plan to have workers pay into a "car fund," which would eventually deliver a car to the worker. Money was collected, but no plants, much less cars, were produced. She said "I'm used to Nazis being evil, but they were just confidence men."

Hard to read this and not think of yesterday's reporting on China's use of "free health checks" to collect biometric data about its Muslim citizens.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:13 AM on February 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


The military are basically running the country.
The Vice President Hamilton Maurão is acting as a brake on the more lunatic ideas which could harm the latifundista class. Which is not the same as harming the majority of the Brazilian people.
On preview signal the wounds from the election are still open. The country is polarized and many are still holding their breath so to speak. There are a couple of people I know who voted for the Bolsonazi or rather against PT because that is what the election was about; who now wonder what they actually voted for.
The Bolsonazi sons are particularily nasty and the ties with the militicias are being revealed as stronger every day.
posted by adamvasco at 7:13 AM on February 22, 2019 [19 favorites]


Of course, it doesn't help that a great many people seem to actually want to live under a dictator and will short-circuit the usual process of gradual decay by voting to jump straight from democracy to totalitarianism. What is it about people, anyway?

Have you read The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer? If not, this does a good job. I read in 2008, and just started to reread now in 2019. What a prescient book. My only complaint on this reread so far is that I think it’s too narrow in its prescription this is a right wing problem. I personally have seen it growing on the left. I don’t know how widespread it is or if I’ve just got a ridiculous cohort of left leaning friends and acquaintances. There is a quiz that by its nature is geared towards singling out authoritarians only from the right because of the political issues enmeshed. I easily know people that if the politics where taken out or shifted to a left political issue, would absolutely fall into the authoritarian group.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


Just got back from 2 weeks in Brazil. One thing that struck us is that nobody talked to us about politics at all.

Pretty rare in my experience for people in Canada or Japan to talk about politics, except online or in the newspaper.

I wonder if people in the States talk about politics in everyday conversations? I'm guessing they don't.
posted by JamesBay at 7:33 AM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


The worse politics get, the less people want to talk about them in public.

🎵Whatever you say say nothing/When you talk about you-know-what/For if you-know-who should hear you/You know what you'll get🎵
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:38 AM on February 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


“The Movement,” his international alliance to combat “globalism.”
An international alliance to combat globalism.

Thanks for that. My irony meter needed a full-power calibration test.
posted by clawsoon at 7:54 AM on February 22, 2019 [35 favorites]


jaduncan: I am horrified at Brazillians having to live in a police state prepared to extrajudicially execute people (although I'm not sure that could exactly be said to have arrived with their current leadership)
It's started:
'It was execution': 13 dead in Brazil as state pushes new gang policy Recent raid suggests police are implementing ‘shoot-to-kill’ tactics that Rio’s new governor campaigned on.

In Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil, the new government and far-right groups are propagandizing a fictional version of the European Middle Ages to legitimize their reactionary agenda.
posted by adamvasco at 8:37 AM on February 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


Any comfort you might be taking from the reports of chaos in the administration is swiftly forgotten towards the end of the article
Like the U.S., the mainstream opposition is entirely feckless and lacks vision; unlike the U.S., no insurgent, progressive rays of hope have emerged to reveal a conceivable new way forward. Like the U.S., government agencies and crucial oversight mechanisms are being gutted, and corporations and oligarchs are quickly and quietly seizing the moment to rewrite the rules even further in their favor; unlike the U.S., few effective institutional safeguards exist to slow their advances.
posted by criticalbill at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


She said "I'm used to Nazis being evil, but they were just confidence men."

If there's anything I learned from studying far-right/conspiratorial factions in the US, it's that the first rule is "Always Be Grifting."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2019 [13 favorites]


[Folks, it is an extremely disruptive and frankly unattractive habit to come in to threads about specific, usually non-American topics and start talking about whatever you find interesting that isn't actually the topic. Please don't do that. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:09 AM on February 22, 2019 [22 favorites]


How Brazil got into this mess. The article predicts Bolsonaro's difficulties, comparing him to Trump:
Bolsonaro is less illiterate. Education in a military academy saw to that: books are not a complete mystery to him. Aware of certain of his limitations, he lacks Trump’s degree of egomania. Trump’s overweening confidence in himself comes not just from a millionaire family background, but a long career of success in real estate speculation and showbusiness. Bolsonaro, who has never run anything in his life, has no such existential build-up. He is much less secure. Given, like Trump, to every kind of intemperate outburst, unlike Trump, he will quickly back off if reactions become too negative.
posted by CCBC at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


An international alliance to combat globalism.

It helps to remember that "globalism" is just the modern incarnation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy theory. (So named, I suspect, so as to be easily confused with globalization, which is a legitimate term for one of the elements of neoliberal policy.)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:41 PM on February 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


It's started:
'It was execution': 13 dead in Brazil as state pushes new gang policy Recent raid suggests police are implementing ‘shoot-to-kill’ tactics that Rio’s new governor campaigned on.

In Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil, the new government and far-right groups are propagandizing a fictional version of the European Middle Ages to legitimize their reactionary agenda.

Sorry, to be clearer I mean 'this was already a thing prior to this administration'. Brazil's policing of the favellas has been horrific for a long time.
posted by jaduncan at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think that could have been sparked by my my misreading of your comment so sorry from me as well. What has happened is that the unofficial policy of shoot to kill with few questions asked has now become the official policy of shoot to kill no questions asked.
posted by adamvasco at 2:04 PM on February 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, believes the only good criminal is a dead one. Many Brazilians agree.
Bandido bem é Bandido morto.
posted by adamvasco at 6:43 AM on February 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


This gives me great pleasure this carnaval weekend:
The top global trending tag on twiitter is
#EiBolsonaroVaiTomarNoCu
Translation: stick it up your arse bolsonaro.
posted by adamvasco at 4:49 PM on March 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Move over Magic Realism
Jair Bolsonaro uses his twitter account as an official medium of communication much like the man in the North.
Last night the president decided to tweet to his 3.46 million followers a video of some people on top of a bus shelter. One man dancing has his finger up his arse and then knelt to have his hair pissed on by another, with the caption: "This is what many carnival street parties have become."
A sickening reminder of what the president is most concerned about in a country where abject poverty is rising; education and healthcare are failing and crime is rampant.
posted by adamvasco at 6:10 AM on March 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Foreign mainstream media seem to be ignoring this statement so far, which in itself is telling.
posted by adamvasco at 6:12 AM on March 6, 2019


New York Times.
The article you’re about to read pertains to a video with sexual content, the president of the world’s fourth-largest democracy and the culture wars roiling Brazil.
We will make every effort to keep it dignified.
posted by adamvasco at 7:29 AM on March 6, 2019


Foreign mainstream media seem to be ignoring this statement so far, which in itself is telling.

Oddly enough, I happened to be in Davis Square, Somerville, MA this morning, and I saw a headline about Bolsonaro's tweet pop up on the Middlesex Bank news ticker there. So, not completely ignored, I suppose...
posted by tobascodagama at 9:26 AM on March 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


As this thread is about to close I thought I would just bring the Brazil clown car a little further up to date
This morning in non Bolsonazi news
Former president Michel Temer arrested on corruption charges. In other words, they impeached an innocent president (@dilmabr), and brought in her corrupt VP who brought w/ him a team of corrupt cronies to gut & sell off the country, & pave the way for Bolsonaro. #Brazil #Temer.

Meanwhile last week an ex policeman who just coincidencially lives in the same condominium as the Bolsonazi and his rotweiler son Carlos, was arrested for the Marielle Franco muder. The driver
also arrested, had a picture of himself arm in arm with the Bolsonazi posted on his facebook page back last september.
The youngest Bolsonazi offspring 20 year old Renan was dating the daughter of Lessa, the accused assassin.
Lessa was then found to be using a friends house to store 117 M16s.
You could not make this shit up.
posted by adamvasco at 10:15 AM on March 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


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