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“Reactions to the election of Jair Bolsonaro to the Brazilian presidency range from alarmism to outright hysteria. As an apologist for the military dictatorship, a defender of torture, and proponent of a shoot-to-kill policy against suspected criminals, Bolsonaro’s rupture with the political norms that have governed Brazil for the last 30 years has made him the most controversial candidate since the restoration of democracy in the mid-1980s. But Brazil, and the world, should not be panicked.
Brazil’s democratic institutions are resilient, capable of weathering the Bolsonaro storm and curtailing some of his worst vices, and in the “Tropical Trump” analogy frenzy that has accompanied Bolsonaro’s victory, too many facts are being ignored. First, the 1988 Constitution emulates the American Constitution. Like the U.S. founding document, it includes strong checks and balances and three independent branches of government which can overrule one another, thus ensuring a diffusion of power.
Second, as he transitions from the poetry of campaigning to the prose of governing, Bolsonaro will face a multiparty Congress too fractured to easily pass his legislative agenda. As a member of a minority bloc, he faces the onerous task of building and maintaining a multiparty coalition — a mind-bogglingly complex endeavor in Brazil. Even after gaining 44 seats this year, Bolsonaro’s contingent holds 52 in a chamber of 513. They are outnumbered in the lower house by the Workers’ Party, whose presidential candidate lost to Bolsonaro by 10 percent.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."