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Thursday, May 25, 2017

What a Time to be Alive

For the older generations, it may be deja vu.

To me, it is mesmerizing to see those green t-shirts in the streets:

Not too far from my home, yesterday.

In the background, the Congress, a place I often visit to show around for friends coming to Brasilia the first time. It may be the most famous Oscar Niemeyer's work.

In the foreground, not the police.


Harry Eagar said...

There was a time, abut a generation ago, when it seemed as if popular self-government was pushing the fascists, despots and tinhorn dictators into the background, not just in Latin America but in many places.

That would have been the time for the USA to ave wholeheartedly supported democracies. It didn't.

There were/are many reasons for that, but I blame mostly the idiot anticommunism of the hysterical American right and, forsooth, most of the center that sees a red under every bed.

US diplomats always would rather work with an easily bribed 'strongman' than a passle of unruly democrats.

I do not think that has much to do directly with Brazil's current disarray, which seems to be home-grown, but the images as, as you say, are similar.

Bret said...

Harry wrote: "I do not think that has much to do directly with Brazil's current disarray..."

Ummmm. Then what, pray tell, is yer point here? :-)

I mean, we already know you hate everything about the US except for those sufficiently far left, in your opinion. Was this crisis in Brazil just a good excuse to trot that out again?

Harry Eagar said...

Clovis said it is a case of deja vu. Indeed it is.

erp said...

When my husband was in the administration at Yale, he was on fire watch duty on the roof of his building while Black Panthers were stomping around the campus with serious looking guns slung over their shoulders -- neither the military nor the national guard were called out.

I believe that was during the period generations ago that Harry fondly remembers as being a gateway to worldwide popular self-government. I'd love more information about those countries Harry and also the names of the "fascists, despots and tinhorn dictators" we supported.

If that fool Carter hadn't dispatched the shah, a lot of the mess we're in now wouldn't have happened.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis, you are the best thing that has happened to this blog since Peter.

BTW, that is very high praise.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] There was a time, about a generation ago, when it seemed as if popular self-government was pushing the fascists, despots and tinhorn dictators into the background, not just in Latin America but in many places.

What's a generation worth these days, Harry? Are millenials having kids?

I would love -- really -- for you to provide a list of the fascist despots and tinhorn dictators we were supporting, not just in Latin America, but throughout the entire world in 1990. You can not imagine my eagar anticipation.

Harry Eagar said...

Park, Marcos, Pinochet, Mobutu, Sadat etc. etc.

erp said...

Do you really mean that these guys were "popular self-government" leaders:
and the one not like the others, Sadat.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] I would love -- really -- for you to provide a list of the fascist despots and tinhorn dictators we were supporting, not just in Latin America, but throughout the entire world in1990.

[Harry:] Park, Marcos, Pinochet, Mobutu, Sadat etc. etc

Park. Is that a place? A verb?

Marcos: Your reading comprehension is as sucktastic as ever. In 1990, Marcos had been out of power four years.

Pinochet: Squeaks in just under the wire. He got the boot in 1990.

Mobutu: DING DING DING, you have a winner. He remained in power until 1997.

Sadat: DONG DONG DONG, you are a looooser. Killed in 1981.

You might -- might -- be one for four. I have no idea how much we were supporting Mobutu in 1990.

As for the other three, you have proven yourself a complete history retard. You are woefully ignorant, adrift from any notion of time, and, even though the ball was in your court, unable to avail yourself of the wonders of Google.

And yet you lecture erp.

Without an inkling of the epic irony involved.

erp said...

Skipper, the epic irony is that the names on his list make no sense as belonging together either in time or in temperment and we only support lefty dictators when lefties are in power, otherwise, we send in the marines.

Hey Skipper said...

They don't make sense in terms of time. And, as always, Harry -- where he isn't completely incompetent with the calendar -- is once again ranting about causeless effects.

Harry Eagar said...

Don;t pretend to be stupid, Skipper. I said a generation ago. You insisted on a single year.

All those tinhorn dictators and strongmen (and I could name plenty more) were supported by the US. None was remotely leftist. And several were either replaced by something like popular government or seemed at the time to be about to be. But now a generation is passing, it begins to look as if it might not be sticking.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Don;t pretend to be stupid, Skipper. I said a generation ago. You insisted on a single year.

Harry, don't actually be stupid. Not only is my point transparently obvious, but "about a generation ago" -- your words -- is damn near about 1990 (generation: the average period, generally considered to be about thirty years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children of their own.).

What happened about 1990? The ignominious collapse of communism, which is the cause you ascertain with every bit as much perspicacity of Mr. Magoo.

Your relentless Magooishness with respect to the predations of communism is exceeded only by your delusional supposition that liberal democracy can prevail against communist predations. Please tell me how free and fair elections are supposed to work against people like you who are perfectly happy to murder their political opponents in the run up to an election, then murder the survivors, win or lose.

erp said...

Thank you Skipper. You saved Comrade Google from the chore of upchucking all the Soviet advisers, etc. in the service of those god-fearing democratic leaders round the world that we perversely refuse to support.

Harry Eagar said...

I take back 'pretend.'

Clovis e Adri said...


BTW, that is very high praise.

I am sure it is, for I believe Peter is quite smarter than me.

The thing I most miss in this blog, though, are probably AOG's thoughts. I couldn't agree with half of it, but he has an interesting mind.

erp said...

I miss aog too and emailed him several times, but got no response. I'd love hearing from David and Brit and PJ and some of the other guys as well. I can't remember the fellow from Utah's name? Was it Oro??? I'll tell ya, being senile is rough.
Last I heard he had a new baby about the time we had our triplets and they're 15 now.

Bret said...


If you have time, I'd like to know your take on the following article:

It seems like at least some of it is similar to your commentary, but it dwells a lot more on the influence of socialism. Is that just because the author is a libertarian?

Clovis e Adri said...


That article is good on details - to the extent I can see, he gets most of it right - but it indeed suffers, IMHO, from a too heavy emphasis on socialism, as if the dispute down here was ideological, as his comparisons to Venezuela indicate.

If you read carefully his account, it is easy to conclude that emphasis is misguided, as all parties, of every ideological stripe, have shown themselves to be leeching the country equally. The opposition was getting the same money from kickbacks as was the party in power - if not more.

And all parties are being bought for to pass legislation that benefitted the bribing companies, no matter if the legislation is socialist or not. When they wanted lower taxes, the supposedly socialist party in power gave it to them while talking up the virtues of supply-side economic concepts. When those companies wanted subsidies, the supposedly pro-free-market opposition would tell us how incentives were important to boost the economy. It may look schizophrenic, until you learn the real deals.

And take the two paragraphs below:

The bottom line here is to not lump all protests as having the same reason, or made by the same people. There are clearly two forces at the very least, one made up by the majority of the people, who flooded the streets in the millions, clad in yellow and green, against Lula and Dilma, another made of socialists who defend Lula and Dilma and come out in the thousands, bearing red and black flags.

The first is popular and spontaneous, made of working class people with no favored politician. The latter is widely rejected and widely believed to be paid, made of a mix of syndicalist thugs, college socialists and special interest groups defending their government handouts. The first defends the investigations and more economic freedom, the second defends the parties and politicians being investigated and more socialism.

He, like the majority of my fellow citizens, is blinded by the Us X Them mentality.

A good deal of the "good" yellow and green protesters were first stirred by groups paid for by Temer's group. Many of them used t-shirts written "It is not my fault, I voted on Aecio" (the supposedly right-wing guy who disputed the elections with Dilma in 2014 and lost by little).

Well, Aecio is just the guy who was caught on tape 2 weeks ago, asking 2 millions from the meat giant JBF (of the group J&F. BTW, they now own most of the US market too, you guys are probably eating their meat), and who got 80 millions from them since 2010. Not only that, he was caught on tape saying something like "I will choose someone to collect the money that we can kill before he gives us up" - then sent a cousin of him to get the money.

What you see down here is not so different from the partisanship in the US, where some Trump supporters look blind about his shortcomings while raging about Clinton, and vice-versa.

With the difference that all sides here were proven - beyond a shadow of doubt - to be absolutely corrupt and dirty to levels few in the US can imagine. And yet, you see people falling for the trap of thinking the other side is the problem, like this article ends up doing somewhat.

Bret said...

Thanks, Clovis, your comments are helpful.

"Corrupt socialism" is a phrase used frequently by many. I often ask, "would corrupt capitalism or corrupt free markets really be an improvement?" because it seems to me that the primary problem is "corrupt" and if that was magically fixed one could worry about the economic structure afterwards.

erp said...

Bret, when capitalism or free markets are corrupt and not propped up by the government, they fail. The same isn't true for socialism because paraphrasing Reagan, government programs are the closest thing there is to immortality. They never die.

Clovis e Adri said...


That's the main reason I can't subscribe to any political tendency down here - they are all meaningless as long they are only facades to corrupt people/businesses/unions/etc.

We suffer from both the State being too heavy, on what it takes in tax and regulations, and from it being too weak, on its failures to establish justice, law and order. So you will easily find libertariabs saying socialism is the problem, and leftist saying the corrupt evil elites are the problem -- and both will be right!