Sunday, December 30, 2018

I am fully back in action today.  I have now resumed my customary blogging coverage.  A near-fatal health emergency on Boxing day held me up but I am now back to normal -- JR

Is America's future Brazilian?

A flow of illegal immigrants into a European country can be stopped.  Australia has done it and so have the Eastern European countries.  And in all those cases it was a strong popular will to stop the flow that spurred the politicians into action.

America is not so lucky. The popular will is less easy to discern in America because of the great fractionation of the population.  There are two large minorities and a deranged Left that have much different views from white GOP voters.  So the politicians have little incentive to risk any political capital by doing anything. 

That is very clear from the fact that after two years in charge of both houses the GOP has done precisely nothing to give Trump his wall or the revised laws he needs to control immigration.  America is steadily becoming more Hispanic regardless of anything Trump or anyone else can do.  Even if he gets his wall there will be other ways they can get in and the "catch and release" policy that ICE follows means that once they are in they can stay in.  So unless by sheer force of personality Trump can get useful immigration controls of some sort implemented, nothing will change.

And the Hispanics bring with them Hispanic political attitudes.  And we see only too clearly in Latin America the kind of politics that Hispanic attitudes lead to:  Economic and social chaos and outright Fascism at times.  Only Chile remains prosperous and peaceful as a legacy of the Pinochet reforms.  So as Hispanics become the majority in the USA we can expect more and more of disastrous Hispanic politics and criminality in the USA too.

And that is already underway.  The basic fault of Latin American politics is the appeal of socialism.  Few Hispanics can long resist the siren song of taking from the rich to give to the poor.  They are instictive socialists.  So Latin America repeatedly passes laws aimed at achieving that.  And national impoverishment regularly follows such a system.  So America faces a Hispanic future that is poor, corrupt and vicious.  Poverty creates anger, anger creates lawlessness and it is just a big downwards slide from then on.

So that must be pretty depressing to U.S. whites of British and European origin.  They have created an exceptional country only to see supine politicians let it all gradually go to rack and ruin.  Their own personal future is threatened and bleak.

But how bleak is it? Brazil offers some hope. Whites are already in a minority there so they have already arrived at where the USA is heading.  The CIA says that the Brazilian population is white 47.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 43.1%, black 7.6%, Asian 1.1% and indigenous 0.4%.  Note that what Brazilians refer to as "pardos" (mulattos) would be referred to in the USA simply as "blacks".  By that standard, Brazil is over 50% black.

And the white ancestry there is mainly Portuguese, which is different from the Spanish we see in the rest of Latin America. And as Brazilians often boast, Brazil is something of a melting pot (Remind you of anywhere?) with people from all over the world in addition to the original Portuguese. Perhaps for that reason, they do seem to be less socialist than the Hispanics.  Like the USA, many whites are socialistically inclined but many are not.  And the new Bolsonaro government would seem to be some token of greater conservatism in Brazil.

So how do whites live in Brazil?  Some are poor of course but there is a substantial middle class who live lives not much different from middle class people in the developed world.  There are a lot of gated communities  with condos in them that are pretty similar to American condos.  There is in other words pronounced housing segregation: Modern middle class accomodation combined with large areas of barely livable shacks in the same city. Some blacks live well but most don't while most whites live well but some don't.

What has happened in Brazil is that the whites run just about everything in the country and they have made sure that whites  have access to the education and opportunities generally that enable a broadly Western lifestyle.  If a little loophole in some regulation is needed, that can be provided and most legislation about 'morality" is effectively anti-black and pro-white. And too bad about the non-white half of the population. They have to make their own way if they can

So why don't the poor rebel?  Mainly because the whites control everything -- such as the media and the armed forces -- that would enable a revolution -- and they ensure that no revolution happens.  And one way they keep the peace is by an official doctrine of tolerance -- emphasizing that  people of any origin can rise up, make a success of themselves and join the ranks of the middle class:  A Brazilian version of the American dream, in other words.  And as in America, the numbers who do actually rise into a higher station are few.  But is is a helpful national myth.

Everything I have just said is very broad brush but the salient point is that an outnumbered European population can still mostly live a good life if they are capable people -- so American whites have less to fear than you might think from the prospect of being outnumbered by Hispanics.  They are likely still to rule the roost and have their affairs organized the way they like it, with the  Hispanics going to hell in their own way -- JR


Brazil's new government under Bolsonaro

Brazil's new government under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro includes a star anti-corruption judge as justice minister and a free-market economy minister with broad powers, and sees a third of the slots going to ex-military men.

The foreign ministry is to come under a mid-level public servant who shares Bolsonaro's fervent anti-left views and desire to sidle closer to the United States.

And an anti-abortion evangelist pastor has been named to take charge of the human rights portfolio.

- VP general -

The vice presidency goes to a retired general, Hamilton Mourao, 65, known for right-wing views that mesh with his boss and a similar penchant for shooting from the hip. He has vowed he will not be a "brain-shrunken" second fiddle in the administration.

- Star judge -

Sergio Moro won national fame and plaudits for being the head judge of a vast anti-corruption probe known as "Car Wash" that has thrown some titans of Brazilian business and politics into cells -- including former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Now the 46-year-old will become justice minister, even though he doesn't see eye-to-eye with Bolsonaro on some key issues, such as making guns easier to own or designating poor rural land-grabbers as "terrorists."

- Liberal economist -

Bolsonaro became a darling for investors because of the man he is making his economy minister: Paulo Guedes, a US-trained economist who is intent on sweeping free-market reforms that would upend Brazil's previous protectionism to slash debt.

But while Guedes, 69, will have broad powers, it remains to be seen if he can get privatizations past the conservative president, who has freely admitted he knows little about economics.

- Chief of staff -

The powerful chief-of-staff's post has gone to an experienced lawmaker, Onyx Lorenzoni, 64, seen as the brains behind the campaign that brought Bolsonaro to power.

- Close security -

A military mentor to Bolsonaro in the 1970s, retired general Augusto Heleno, had been considered as defense minister but finally will take on the security portfolio responsible for intelligence.

The 70-year-old notably headed up the UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti in 2004 and 2005.

- Foreign minister fan -

The mid-ranking career diplomat Ernesto Araujo, 51, saw his loyalty to Bolsonaro and his nationalist views -- echoing those of US President Donald Trump -- rewarded with a nomination to head Brazil's foreign ministry.

He has come out strongly against leftist governments in Latin America, namely Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and criticized "cultural Marxism" he believes has influenced scientific thinking on climate change.

- Rights pastor -

Damares Alves, the new minister for women, the family and human rights might be an evangelical pastor opposed to abortion and feminism, but she has also expressed hopes for a rapprochement with Brazil's gay community.

Her responsibilities will also include indigenous rights, which has left the justice portfolio to come under her ministry.



In 2006, Democrats were saying `build that fence!'

As a senator, Barack Obama once offered measured praise for the border control legislation that would become the basis for one of Donald Trump's first acts as president.

"The bill before us will certainly do some good," Obama said on the Senate floor in October 2006. He praised the legislation, saying it would provide "better fences and better security along our borders" and would "help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country."

Obama was talking about the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation authorizing a barrier along the southern border passed into law with the support of 26 Democratic senators including party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer.

Now it's become the legal mechanism for Trump to order construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico, attempting tomake good on a key promise from the campaign trail. Trump specifically cited the law in the first sentence of Wednesday's executive order authorizing the wall.

The episode shows how concerns over border security occupied Washington well before Trump made it the centerpiece of his candidacy, and that Democrats were more than willing to offer big sums of taxpayer money to keep Mexicans and other Latino immigrants out of the United States. The border fence called for in the 2006 law was far less ambitious than the wall Trump envisions, and,as he is apt to do, he has made the issue bigger, more explosive, and far more disruptive to US diplomacy.

Trump has also added his own twist that was never a part of the 2006 legislation, a promise that the Mexican people would pay for the wall. But on Thursday White House spokesman Sean Spicer, in a briefing aboard Air Force One, said that Trump would levy a 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico to fund construction of the barrier.

He estimated that the 20 percent tariff would bring in $10 billion a year and "easily pay for the wall." Later, the White House appeared to back away from the idea of an import tax.

Even before the highly controversial proposed funding mechanism was made public Thursday afternoon, Mexican President Enrique Pe a Nieto announced that he was canceling his planned trip to the United States next week, citing the new administration's focus on the wall.

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who opposed the measure in 2006 when he was in office, had even harsher words for Trump. "Donald, don't be self-indulgent," he posted on his Twitter feed Thursday. "Mexico has spoken, we will never ever pay for the #[Expletive]Wall."

For Democrats who generally support relaxed rules that offer a path to citizenship for immigrants, the 2006 law was seen as the better of two evils. The House had recently passed legislation immigration advocates viewed as draconian because it would make any undocumented immigrant a felon.

By comparison, the border fence didn't seem so bad. Moreover, immigration reform advocates were beaten down after a wider overhaul had stalled.

"It didn't have anywhere near the gravity of harm," recalled Angela Kelley, who in 2006 was the legislative director for the National Immigration Forum. "It was hard to vote against it because who is going to vote against a secure fence? And it was benign compared with what was out there."

The law flew through the Senate with a vote of 80 to 19. (One senator, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, was not present. John Kerry, the state's other senator, voted against it.) In the House, the measure passed 283 to 138, with 64 Democrats supporting it. (The Massachusetts delegation was split.) From there it went to then-President George W. Bush, who signed it 12 days before the 2006 mid-term elections.

The plan was not nearly as expansive as Trump's promise for a wall along the entire border. It allowed for about 700 miles of fencing along certain stretches. Congress put aside $1.4 billion for the fence, but the whole cost, including maintenance, was pegged at $50 billion over 25 years, according to analyses at the time.

The government had constructed about 650 miles of fence by 2015, most of it after passage of the act, according to a report last year by the US Government Accountability Office.

Clinton also voted for the bill, though in a floor speech during the debate she completely ignored the fence issue and heaped praise on an amendment to it that would help New York farmers by expanding the number of visas allowed for agricultural workers.

During her recent failed presidential campaign, however, she referred to the vote.

"I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in," Clinton said at November 2015 town hall in New Hampshire, "and I do think that you have to control your borders."



Trump Throws Down Ultimatum if Border Wall Doesn’t Receive Funding

In a series of tweets Friday morning, President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the southern border if the border wall doesn’t receive funding.

According to Reuters, Democrats and the White House are still far apart on the funding for the wall.

The White House has requested $5 billion in wall funding and has partially shut down the government since last Friday.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have only offered $1.3 billion in funding for broader border security but not for a wall — a prospect they have long opposed.

Congress is in recess until next week. However, even before they go back into session, the president is firing salvos in order to keep the Democrats on their toes.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!” Trump tweeted.

He also said that due to bad trade deals, a shutdown of the border with Mexico and Central America could be a “profit making operation.”  ....The United States loses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation.”

“We build a Wall or close the Southern Border. Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs,” he continued. “Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border.”

Trump also claimed that another incipient caravan was heading our way from south of Mexico.

“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money,” Trump wrote.

“Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries – taking advantage of U.S. for years!”

“Another migrant caravan — this one estimated at 15,000 people — is preparing to leave Honduras on Jan. 15, according to migrant rights advocates and Spanish-language media,” the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

“‘They say they are even bigger and stronger than the last caravan,’ said Irma Garrido, a member of the migrant advocacy group Reactiva Tijuana Foundation.”

“Meanwhile, thousands of Central American migrants from a caravan that left Honduras in October remain stranded at the U.S.-Mexico border and languishing in crowded Tijuana shelters while they wait out a lengthy process to file asylum requests with the United States.”

Neither Pelosi nor Schumer has tweeted in response to Trump as of noon on Friday.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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