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“Scarcely a week into Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure as president of Brazil, protections for the environment and indigenous and LGBTQ populations have been removed, and both the neoliberal economic policies closely associated in Latin America with the thirteen-year Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and the language of Brazil’s military junta, which ruled from 1964 to 1985, have resurfaced. “I come before the nation today, a day in which the people have rid themselves of socialism, the inversion of values, statism, and political correctness,” Bolsonaro told his inaugural crowd, pleasing Brazil’s elites and the stock market. His call for surgical violence—Brazil’s “whole body needs amputating” was the memorable phrase—left others fearful of a return to “disappeared” bodies and torture cells.
Threat is a fundamental tool of the 21st-century authoritarians on the rise: Dominating is much easier if you’ve prepared people to be afraid of you when you take office. Bolsonaro used it to sell himself as the only candidate capable of tackling Brazil’s soaring violence problem, which included a record murder rate in 2017. “A good criminal is a dead criminal,” he said last fall, earning comparisons to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made good on his own campaign promises to carry out extrajudicial killings of those involved in his country’s drug trade.
Yet Bolsonaro has also preventively criminalized all leftists and other political opponents, promising to send such “red outlaws” to prison or into exile. “It will be a cleanup the likes of which has never been seen in Brazilian history,” he said in October, raising the possibility that he might aspire to be even harsher than the former junta, which he believes didn’t kill enough people. Years of documented Bolsonaro hate speech against gays and blacks suggest other potential targets, although even if he gets a ruling majority in parliament, “cleansing” an enormous country with a multiracial and ethnically complex population would be a Herculean task.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."