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Comparing unemployment rates by race: The Great Recession vs. COVID-19

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 11:00pm in

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During the Great Recession, between 2008 and 2010, the unemployment rate climbed gradually and then slowly declined over nearly a decade. During the COVID-19 pandemic, between February and April 2020, the unemployment rate spiked to historically high levels but quickly dropped and had largely returned to pre-pandemic levels by April 2022, just two years later.

These are overall patterns, but do they hold across different racial and ethnic groups? To see how the unemployment rate differs by race and ethnicity within each recession, we can look to FRED. Our FRED graph above plots the unemployment rate for Black, White, Latino, and Asian workers—in blue, red, green, and purple, respectively—from October 2006 to the latest available data. Historically, Black workers have usually faced the highest unemployment rate, followed by Latino workers. The unemployment rates of White and Asian workers closely track one another, with Asian workers generally facing the lowest unemployment rate.

COVID-19 recession

During the COVID-19 recession, Latino workers suffered the largest shock: Their unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4.3% in January 2020 to 18.8% by April 2020—a 14.5-percentage-point increase. Asian workers suffered the second highest increase (11.4 percentage points), followed by White workers (11 percentage points) and Black workers (10.3 percentage points). Unemployment rates have since been on a rapid and steady decline. By April 2022, rates had dipped below January 2020 levels for Black and Latino workers, while remaining only 0.1 percentage point above for both White and Asian workers.

Great Recession

On the other hand, unemployment rates gradually climbed over the Great Recession period. Consistent with historical patterns, Black workers faced the highest unemployment rate throughout the episode, followed by Latino workers. By June 2009, the two groups had seen comparable increases in unemployment rates (from pre-recession levels in November 2007) of 6.3 and 6.2 percentage points, respectively. Even though unemployment rates increased by over 4 percentage points for both White and Asian workers over the same period, they faced low unemployment relative to Black and Latino workers. The gradual recovery pattern holds, with unemployment rates stabilizing around pre-recession levels in mid to late 2016 for all four groups.

How this graph was created: In FRED, search for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for one group, e.g. “Unemployment Rate – Black or African American.” From this graph, click “Edit Graph” at the top right corner and navigate to the “Add Line” tab. Search for the unemployment rate of next group, e.g. “Unemployment Rate – White,” and click “Add data series.” Repeat for the remaining groups.

Suggested by Serdar Birinci and Ngân Trần.

Ratinho Junior usa indenização ambiental bilionária para agradar agronegócio e pavimentar reeleição

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 8:00pm in

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De olho numa vaga na Câmara dos Deputados em 2023, o deputado estadual Marcio Nunes, homem de confiança e correligionário do governador do Paraná, Carlos Roberto Massa Junior, o Ratinho Junior, do PSD, não perde uma chance de aparecer fazendo agrados a prefeitos e eleitores.

O Instagram de Nunes, que até março era também secretário estadual de Desenvolvimento Sustentável e Turismo, é uma aula de como a política no Brasil segue a funcionar na base da distribuição de pequenas benesses em troca de apoio político e votos.

Quem se dá ao trabalho de olhar as publicações de Nunes encontra um perfil coalhado de cerimônias de entrega de caminhões-pipa ou de lixo a prefeitos, que posam para fotos e se desdobram em agradecimentos. “Obrigado deputado estadual Marcio Nunes pelo apoio!”, “A população de Brasilândia do Sul agradece ao deputado estadual Marcio Nunes pelas conquistas”, celebram faixas colocadas por assessores – e devidamente instagramadas.

São ao menos 10 postagens parecidas, incluindo uma no perfil da esposa de Nunes, Fatima Nunes, também filiada ao PSD e vice-prefeita de Campo Mourão, próspera cidade agro-exportadora do centro-oeste paranaense e base eleitoral do ex-secretário. “Muito obrigado Secretário e Deputado @marcionunesparana pelo olhar com atenção para Campo Mourão!”, ela agradece cerimoniosamente ao marido.

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Um dos caminhões entregues pelo ex-secretário e pré-candidato Marcio Nunes para a cidade governada pela esposa dele: tudo em casa.

Foto: Reprodução/Instagram

Nunes é também um homem de sorte. Sua campanha ganhou um reforço de peso quando Ratinho Junior, filho do apresentador bolsonarista do SBT e  candidato a reeleição, mandou comprar 373 caminhões do tipo que seu ex-secretário vinha distribuindo (e pelos quais ambos irão seguir recebendo os louros).

O dinheiro para a compra da frota veio de uma indenização bilionária paga pela Petrobras como parte da pena por um crime ambiental ocorrido em 2000 na região de Curitiba. Trata-se da maior indenização do tipo já paga pela Petrobras. O problema é que a dinheirama deveria ser destinada, exclusivamente, à conservação e recuperação do meio ambiente.

Ela é fruto de um acordo firmado entre Petrobras, Ministério Público do Paraná, Ministério Público Federal, Ibama, Instituto Água e Terra, o IAT, e o governo do Paraná. O arranjo levou duas longas décadas para ser costurado e foi finalmente confirmado em outubro de 2021 pela Justiça Federal.

A vultosa soma de R$ 1,39 bilhão é uma compensação paga pela estatal por causa do derramamento de quase 4 milhões de litros de petróleo cru nos rios Iguaçu (que deságua nas famosas cataratas) e Barigui. Foi durante uma operação de transferência de um terminal marítimo em São Francisco do Sul, Santa Catarina, para a Refinaria Getúlio Vargas, em Araucária, região metropolitana de Curitiba.

Na ocasião, uma parte de um oleoduto se rompeu e causou uma das maiores catástrofes ambientais da história do Paraná e da Petrobras. Uma perícia viria a comprovar que o vazamento se prolongou por 1 hora e 45 minutos antes de ser descoberto e começar a ser contido. O óleo se espalhou rapidamente e contaminou uma área de 300 hectares, quase duas vezes a área do parque Ibirapuera, em São Paulo. Pior, tratava-se de uma região de preservação permanente de Mata Atlântica. O petróleo, ao contaminar solo, água e ar, deixou um rastro de morte entre animais e vegetação da região.

 mergulhão atingido pelo óleo no rio Barigui, na cidade de Guajuvira (PR), região onde 4 milhões de litros de petróleo vazaram da refinaria da Petrobras em Araucária, atingindo os rios Barigui e Iguaçu. Guajuvira (PR), 18.07.2000, Foto digital de Caio Guatelli/Folhapress

Acima, funcionários da Petrobras durante os trabalhos de contenção do desastre de julho de 2000. Abaixo, um mergulhão contaminado pelo óleo que vazou dos dutos da petrolífera.

Fotos digitais: Caio Guatelli/Folhapress

A cobiça pelo dinheiro

Cumprindo parte do acordo que assinou com as autoridades e a Petrobras, o governo do Paraná criou um grupo chamado de Conselho de Recuperação dos Bens Ambientais Lesados, o  CRBAL. Em tese, é ali que representantes do governo e da sociedade devem discutir como será aplicado o dinheiro da indenização pelo desastre de 2000. Mas é no próprio conselho que começam os problemas. A maior parte de seus membros, de acordo com uma lei estadual, devem ser secretários do governo de turno – no caso, o de Ratinho Junior, que além de político é, junto do pai, empresário do agronegócio.

Marcio Nunes, o político que exibe faixas em homenagem a si mesmo no Instagram, foi empossado presidente do colegiado (hoje, está fora do cargo porque irá disputar a eleição). Além dele, ganharam assentos o secretário de Agricultura e Abastecimento, Norberto Ortigara, o diretor-presidente do IAT, a autarquia que toca a política ambiental no estado, Everton Luiz da Costa Souza, o procurador-geral de Justiça, Gilberto Giacóia, e a procuradora-geral do Estado, Letícia Ferreira da Silva.

Além disso, duas cadeiras eram reservadas a entidades privadas sem fins lucrativos à escolha do governador. A legislação não especifica se essas entidades devem ser dedicadas à preservação ambiental. Assim, Ratinho escolheu para as vagas Nelson Luiz Gomez, presidente do Instituto de Engenharia do Paraná, o IEP, e Marcos Domakoski, presidente do Movimento Pró-Paraná, uma entidade conservadora fundada pela família Cunha Pereira, dona do jornal bolsonarista Gazeta do Povo e da RPC, afiliada da Rede Globo no estado.

Ao manifestar-se em uma das reuniões, em dezembro do ano passado, Domakoski – cujo currículo para tratar de questões ambientais inclui ter sido professor de administração de empresas, presidido a Associação Comercial do Paraná e amealhado um punhado de cargos de nomeação política em órgãos públicos – deixou claro a quem representa.

“O Pró-Paraná e as demais entidades que o compõem, ligadas à agricultura, à indústria e ao comércio, estão empenhadas em colaborar com o governo do estado para o uso adequado desses recursos que vêm beneficiar o meio ambiente e todos os paranaenses”, prometeu.

Perguntei ao governo quais contribuições relevantes na área ambiental justificam as nomeações de IEP e Pró-Paraná ao CRBAL. Na resposta, a Secretaria do Desenvolvimento Sustentável e Turismo, a Sedest, tergiversa e fala em “conexão com os interesses do Paraná, inclusive nas áreas ambientais” e “notório trabalho em defesa dos interesses do estado” para justificar a escolha.

Também questionei as próprias entidades sobre que currículo possuem para estarem no colegiado. O Pró-Paraná se recusou a responder. Já o IEP afirmou ter 356 filiados ligados ao meio ambiente e um programa de mestrado com dissertações relacionadas à temática. No entanto, também não apresentou nenhum trabalho concreto sobre preservação e conservação, como requisitei.

Enquanto isso, uma parte  da dinheirama – ao menos R$ 130 milhões – já foi depositada em outubro do ano passado. Para efeitos de comparação, o orçamento do estado do Paraná em 2022 soma R$ 54,6 bilhões. Assim, a indenização de R$ 1,39 bilhão colocou ao alcance de Ratinho Junior e sua turma o equivalente a 2,5% de todo o dinheiro que o estado terá para pagar a manutenção dos serviços públicos, os salários dos servidores dos três poderes e os investimentos desejados pelo governo. Num ano eleitoral.

Naturalmente, olhos brilharam no Centro Cívico, sede da administração estadual. De pronto, o governo Ratinho Junior apresentou 38 projetos ao CRBAL para execução imediata. Só que 32 deles não têm qualquer relação com a finalidade de recuperação ambiental expressa no acordo, acusa o MP. Os outros seis, ainda que tenham “parcial aderência”, contêm “graves incongruências formais e materiais”, como omissões sobre as áreas que podem ser contempladas ou falta de justificativa técnica.

Já na segunda reunião do conselho, em 8 de novembro passado, apenas cinco dias após a posse dos membros e aprovação do regimento interno, representantes da Sedest e do IAT colocaram na mesa linhas de atuação e esboços de projetos para começar a gastar a indenização.

Funcionários da Petrobrás retiram óleo de vazamento ocorrido no rio Barigui, em Araucária (PR).

Trabalhadores retiram do rio Barigui parte do óleo que a Petrobras derramou na região metropolitana de Curitiba.

Foto: Caio Guatelli/Folhapress

De havaianas no inferno

Uma das primeiras pessoas a chegar ao local do derramamento em 16 de julho de 2000 foi a ambientalista Lídia Lucaski, então presidente da Associação de Defesa do Meio Ambiente de Araucária, a Amar. Ela se lembra bem de quando recebeu a notícia, nas primeiras horas da manhã de um dia gélido do inverno paranaense.

“Em poucos comparecemos ao local. A visão do rompimento do duto era aterradora. O odor de hidrocarbonetos no local era insuportável. Como documentar a tragédia? Fizemos algumas fotos. Era o que nos restava em meio ao desespero. Até então a imprensa não estava lá. A área precariamente isolada, poucos petroleiros percorrendo o entorno do duto rompido”, relembrou Lucaski, em depoimento por escrito entregue pela defesa da Amar à justiça.

O vazamento começou num lugar conhecido como arroio do Saldanha. Naquele dia frio de julho, só o que se via era um “mar” de óleo se espalhando rapidamente, contou a ambientalista. Sem apoio de autoridades e no desespero para conter o dano, voluntários se apresentaram para tentar ajudar a conter o óleo até de chinelo de dedo.

“Era a visão do inferno. O óleo atingia e contaminava tudo. Havia trabalhadores coletando petróleo com baldes e vassouras de mato. Não estavam uniformizados, trajavam roupas comuns de braçais, muitos calçavam chinelos de dedo!”, rememorou Lucaski.

“O uso de EPIs era um sonho distante e desconhecido. Foram arrebanhados sem qualquer critério e, logicamente, nada disso tinha autorização para ser documentado. Naquela sucursal do inferno nenhuma autoridade federal, estadual ou municipal foi avistada”, ela relatou.

Quando o petróleo encontrou pelo caminho os rios Barigui e Iguaçu, no bucólico distrito rural de Guajuvira, a tragédia em pouco tempo chegou às comunidades ribeirinhas.

“Crianças do local, em Guajuvira, nos traziam, com suas mãozinhas cheias de óleo, peixinhos mortos. Entravam descalços no lodaçal contaminado, com latas e baldes, tentando salvar peixes ainda vivos e nos entregavam. Não sabíamos o que fazer, o caos era total”, contou a ambientalista no depoimento judicial.

“Não havia nas proximidades rios, córregos ou lagoas limpas para salvar os peixes. Tentamos de todas as formas explicar às crianças o perigo da contaminação, suas famílias moravam na região, mas era impossível contatá-las pela urgência de outras ações”, recordou Lucaski.

Governado Carlos Massa Ratinho Massa Jr, Vice governado Darci Piana, Secretario da infra estrutura Sandro Alex.

Ratinho Junior, ladeado por políticos aliados: bolsonarista, ruralista e em busca da reeleição, ele tem planos para o dinheiro da Petrobras que não incluem o cuidado com o meio ambiente.

Foto: Gisele Pimenta/FramePhoto/Folhapress

Precipitação e desperdício

Foi por causa desse estrago todo que a Petrobras se viu obrigada a concordar em pagar a indenização bilionária ao estado do Paraná. O acordo judicial obriga que dois terços (66,6%) do total do R$ 1,39 bilhão sejam aplicados no Fundo Estadual do Meio Ambiente, o Fema – ou seja, quase R$ 931 milhões. O restante deve ser entregue ao Fundo de Defesa dos Direitos Difusos, controlado por um conselho federal que aprova projetos em processos seletivos.

No acordo com a Petrobras, ficou definido que a metade da indenização destinada ao Fema deve custear o desenvolvimento, a implantação e a execução de projetos ou programas relacionados à proteção e recuperação de áreas degradadas, como encostas e margens de rios.

Outros 40% precisam ser destinados a ações de implementação, ampliação, proteção, estruturação, fiscalização e regularização fundiária em unidades de conservação ambiental e em corredores ecológicos – faixas de vegetação que ligam uma área de conservação a outra, para que animais e sementes possam se deslocar. Por fim, os 10% restantes precisam ser aplicados em ações onde ocorreu o derramamento: metade no município de Araucária, a outra na Bacia do Rio Iguaçu.

Os projetos de Ratinho Junior para o dinheiro, porém, têm pouco a ver com isso. A compra dos caminhões a diesel distribuídos pelo secretário Nunes é o objeto de quatro projetos reunidos num programa chamado Paraná sem Lixões – Patrulha Ambiental. Neles está previsto o gasto de R$ 78 milhões, o equivalente a 5% da indenização.

Com maioria no CRBAL, o governo não hesitou em ir às compras contando com a grana da Petrobras: cinco contratos foram fechados, em 24 de janeiro deste ano, para a compra de 53 caminhões-baú, 71 caminhões coletores compactadores, 35 caminhões limpa-fossa, 67 caminhões-poliguindaste e 147 caminhões-pipa.

Ao notar que o governo de Ratinho Junior se inclinava a usar o dinheiro da indenização em obras eleitoreiras e para o agronegócio, o Ministério Público estadual se apressou em pedir à justiça a anulação de todas as deliberações feitas pelo conselho, bem como sua imediata alteração. Cabe frisar que o chefe do MP, Gilberto Giacóia, está no grupo.

“É imperioso que as entidades privadas sem fins lucrativos com assento no Conselho devam ter como fundamento e finalidade a proteção e/ou conservação do meio ambiente, sob pena de incorrer em possível desvio de finalidade”, argumentaram os promotores Alexandre Gaio e Sérgio Luiz Cordoni na petição apresentada à justiça em 11 de janeiro deste ano.

Deputados estaduais da sempre pouco numerosa oposição ao governo do estado se uniram e lançaram requerimento contra a composição do CRBAL. No documento, endereçado ao então secretário Marcio Nunes, eles questionam quais os critérios para as escolhas e a contribuição dos representantes ao tema meio ambiente.

“O risco de o recurso ser gerido com a participação de entidades que não guardam relação com a preservação ambiental e com os propósitos do Fema é um desvio de finalidade”, pontuam os parlamentares, em texto encabeçado pelo deputado Jorge Brand, que usa o nome de urna Goura e é filiado ao PDT e presidente da Comissão de Ecologia, Meio Ambiente e Proteção aos Animais da Assembleia Legislativa do Paraná.

“São entidades que estão alinhadas ao governo. O governo criou um conselho completamente governista e favorável aos seus interesses. Não vai ter nenhuma voz dissonante”, reclamou Goura, como é mais conhecido, em entrevista que me concedeu.

No pedido liminar, o Ministério Público destaca o modo “incomum e atabalhoado” com que o CRBAL tem trabalhado. Os promotores dizem que, assim que o dinheiro caiu na conta, o governo e o IAT passaram a agir de forma “açodada e ilegal” para gastá-lo com projetos que já faziam parte do orçamento do governo do Paraná.

“Chama a atenção [que] o conselheiro e secretário de Estado da Agricultura e Abastecimento afirmou que faltavam ‘apenas 37 dias para finalizar o prazo de empenho dos recursos’, que ‘o momento exigia celeridade’ e que não era possível postergar as aplicações desses recursos, conforme restou consignado em ata”, narra a promotoria.

Em 22 de março deste ano, o juiz federal Flávio Antônio da Cruz, da 11ª Vara Federal de Curitiba, aceitou o pedido do MP e suspendeu temporariamente o uso da indenização até que seja realizada uma audiência pública para que o governo explique em detalhes os planos de uso do dinheiro.

Inconformado, o governo recorreu ao Tribunal Regional Federal da 4ª Região, o TRF4, mas o desembargador federal Luís Alberto d’Azevedo Aurvalle negou na quarta-feira passada, 18 de maio, o pedido de liberação liminar do dinheiro bloqueado. A decisão é temporária e vale até que saia a sentença da 11ª Vara de Curitiba ou nova decisão do próprio TRF4.

Enquanto isso, a conta dos caminhões está pendurada. O estado teria que pagá-los até maio, conforme previsto nos acordos de compra. Agora, com a suspensão judicial do uso do fundo, não deve conseguir cumprir as obrigações. Pressionado pela dívida assumida por seus chefes, o procurador do estado Antônio Sérgio Bione Pinheiro pediu em abril que a justiça liberasse “com urgência” o dinheiro para que Ratinho Junior possa pagar pelo negócio que se precipitou a fazer. Ainda não houve resposta ao pedido.

De qualquer forma, é certo que o atraso resultará em dinheiro jogado fora, já que o contrato de compra dos caminhões estipula a cobrança de jurosde 6% ao ano sobre o valor total dos contratos.

Marcio-Nunes

O ex-secretário do Meio Ambiente e agora pré-candidato Macio Nunes: inspiração em Ricardo Salles e prisão por crime eleitoral no currículo.

Foto: Marcio Nunes/Wikipédia

‘Festa com dinheiro público’

“Vamos supor por um segundo que isso fosse coerente. Cadê os programas das cidades [que receberão os caminhões] para a questão do lixo? Para onde ele será levado? A maioria dessas cidades não tem sequer aterro sanitário. É uma festa com dinheiro público e que está sendo assistida passivamente pela sociedade”, disparou Angela Kuczach, diretora-executiva da Rede Nacional Pró Unidades de Conservação, a Rede Pró UC.

“Não se nega que o destino do lixo urbano é algo fundamental para o governo do estado resolver. Mas não com esse dinheiro, que custou tão caro para a sociedade paranaense, que quase perdeu a bacia do Rio Iguaçu inteira. Por um milagre aquele óleo todo não foi parar nas Cataratas”, argumentou a ambientalista.

O deputado Goura reforça que já existe previsão orçamentária para compra de veículos no caixa do estado, o que torna desnecessário usar para isso a verba da indenização. “Esse não é o objetivo primordial e não é o que está no acordo judicial. Os caminhões de lixo são obrigação das prefeituras, devem ser parte de políticas municipais elaboradas de acordo com a Política Nacional de Resíduos Sólidos. E já existe previsão orçamentária para isso”.

O parlamentar também chamou a atenção para ações deixadas de lado pela Sedest enquanto o foco está no aproveitamento da indenização. “Nós temos uma falha de gestão no enfrentamento às emergências climáticas, por exemplo. Isso já deveria estar sendo previsto. Mas o que nós temos são ações voltadas a interesses eleitorais. O estado deixa de investir recursos próprios e ainda desvia a finalidade das ações previstas com essa multa histórica”, criticou Goura.

O MP, por sua vez, classificou a compra dos caminhões que enfeitam o Instagram de Marcio Nunes como “projetos de mera paramentação, voltados à compra de bens sujeitos a depredação, sem previsão de mecanismos de fiscalização e controle da utilização, que não estão vinculados a qualquer projeto estruturante que apresente pertinência ao que fora pactuado pelas partes”.

Um outro projeto de Ratinho Júnior para usar a indenização também desperta curiosidade. Trata-se do Rio Vivo, que, apesar do nome, é voltado em parte para a construção de estradas rurais “para atender demandas de mobilidade e escoamento de produção agrícola”, de acordo com os promotores.

Sem dar detalhes ou sequer indicar onde fará as obras, o governo diz que a construção das estradas irá “auxiliar os municípios do Paraná na ampliação de alternativas de captação, armazenamento e distribuição da água, propiciando a proteção do meio ambiente ecologicamente equilibrado, mediante apoio institucional em melhorias nos sistemas de manejo e conservação da água, garantindo um ciclo hidrológico sustentável”. Como? Não se sabe.

Para Márcia Marques, professora de Ecologia e Conservação da Universidade Federal do Paraná, a UFPR, o governo está jogando uma grande oportunidade fora. “Eu trabalho com conservação há 30 anos. A gente nunca teve uma oportunidade tão boa para mudar a condição do estado em termos de conservação da biodiversidade e dos ecossistemas. O que parece que vai acontecer é que esse dinheiro vai ser transformado em pó, para cobrir buracos pequenos”.

O acordo costurado pelo Ministério Público com a Petrobras deixou brechas para que o governo desvirtue o uso do dinheiro, avaliou Marques.

“[O acordo] é um pouco generalista, mas a maior falha é não cobrar do governo do estado um lastro técnico em relação aos projetos que possam ser apresentados. Todos deveriam ser justificados tecnicamente”, comentou.

“O acordo poderia ser muito mais específico e efetivo em termos de resultado para recuperação do patrimônio natural perdido se tivesse amarrado [o uso do dinheiro] a políticas públicas, a programas governamentais bem estabelecidos”, me explicou a professora.

Zuleica Nycz, atual presidente da Amar – ela ocupa o cargo que foi de Lídia Lucaski, que ajudou a combater o derramamento em 2000 – concordou que o acordo é mal feito. “Ele não tem cláusulas restritivas que possam ser aplicadas automaticamente. Por isso, agora, [os opositores ao uso que o governo quer fazer do dinheiro] vão ter que entrar com uma ação judicial”, lamentou.

Enviei e-mail para a assessoria do Ministério Público em 21 de fevereiro, solicitando uma entrevista com o promotor Alexandre Gaio, do Grupo de Atuação Especializada em Meio Ambiente, para questioná-lo sobre o acordo e as falhas apontadas pelas ambientalistas. O próprio promotor me respondeu, no mesmo dia, e pediu que enviasse as perguntas por escrito. Elas foram encaminhadas em 22 de fevereiro, mas estou esperando resposta até hoje.

Agora alheio a tudo isso, Marcio Nunes, que no Paraná é comparado ao ex-ministro do Meio Ambiente Ricardo Salles pela vontade que demonstrou por deixar passar a “boiada” do agronegócio, segue em pré-campanha a deputado federal.

Ele aposta na popularidade que os caminhões devem lhe granjear para fazer frente ao desgaste por autorizar a destruição da vegetação nativa do litoralliberar a pesca durante a piracema, gastar dinheiro público em bares em Curitiba e Campo Mourão ou comprar carne para eleitores durante a campanha para deputado estadual (nesse caso, chegou a ser preso por crime eleitoral).

É nas mãos de gente como Nunes e Ratinho Junior que está o destino da indenização bilionária pelo crime ambiental mais grave da história do Paraná.

The post Ratinho Junior usa indenização ambiental bilionária para agradar agronegócio e pavimentar reeleição appeared first on The Intercept.

Journalists, Economists, and Historians

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 10:06am in

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DURHAM, N.C. – Economic Principals is traveling, participating in a conference on one of its favorite topics – the relationship between professional economics and the news business.  A few durable themes stand out. One is the susceptibility of market systems to manias, panics, and crashes.

The most interesting draft paper presented here goes back to the beginnings of modern times to ask, what did London newspapers know, and when did they know it, about the disaster we know today as the South Sea Bubble.

In “British Lions Crouched to a Nest of Owls,” Carl Wennerlind, of Barnard College, describes the episode as “one of the most iconic economic events in history.” In the summer of 1720, shares in the South Seas Company were offered to the public at £170. The stock’s price rose to £1000, before falling to £200 by September, with ruinous effects on the hopes and dreams of families of London emerging upper middle class. A hundred other lesser public offerings had amplified the boom and turned it into a high fever.

What we remember is the outpouring of scorn and blame dished out after the fever broke – in printed ballads, poems, satirical plays, novels, and pamphlets, including works by Jonathan Swift and Daniel Dafoe.

Usually overlooked is the expectation that puffed up the mania – Britain’s entry into new markets for slaves. Realistically speaking, the formation of the South Sea Company was motivated out of practical concerns with the expensive financing. But what remains is the memory of the Crash.

In 2001, historian Julian Hoppit published “The Myths of the South Sea Bubble.” He argued that the effects of the incident had been overblown in those famous accounts in its aftermath. Hoppit identified three commonplace views that showed types of misunderstandings to which the Bubble had been prey.

[F]irst, that investors came from far and wide, but blindly left behind all reason and prudence, skepticism and caution; second, that it produced considerable social mobility by enriching  any and impoverishing more still; and, third, that its collapse led to widespread and profound economic dislocation.

Wetterlind himself is author of a well-received book in which the Bubble plays a part: Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution 1620-1720  (Harvard, 2011). His curiosity reawakened, Wetterlind did something no one had done before.  He read everything written in London newspapers about financial markets during that fateful year.

His conclusion: newspapers had been slow to share the growing exuberance, but quick to assign blame when it went awry, “Courageous and noble English people   had fallen victim to the dark and sinister forces of stock-jobbers,” is how he rephrased the headline that gave him his title. The leadup to the Bubble he found reported in January-April 1720; the Bubble itself began to inflate in May as the public learned there would be more shares to be had, and reached its highest level by the end of June. It burst in Auges and continued to deflate throughout September. In October, the aftermath began.

The day-to-day newspaper time-line that Wetterlind produced seemed valuable to me, given the significance that has been assigned to the Bubble for four centuries. But a second dividend came clear when I read over Hoppit’s account. The narrative timeline of inside information he assembled from archival sources, seemed top recede information available to newspaper readers by a month or two.

This Robert Harley, the Earl of Oxford, heard from his daughter by letter in March, “The town is write mad about the South Sea, some losers, many great gainers, one can hear nothing else talked of.” A month later, his son reported, “The madness of stock-jobbing is inconceivable. The wildness is beyond my thought”  And a month later,” as newspapers began to recognize the Bubble’s beginning, .“The demon of stock-jobbing is the genius of this place. This fills all hearts, tongues, and thoughts. , and nothing is so like Bedlam as the present humour which has seized all parties: Whigs, Tories, Jacobites, Papists, and all sects.”

Evidence, of more were needed, that newspapers often lag well behind the insiders in whatever story they are seeking to cover, but well ahead of those who lack newspapers to read.  The, as now, journalists wrote the first draft of history.   Economists then interpret the available data and fit their findings into pre-existing analytic frameworks

But it is historians, in this case economic historians as well as historians of economics,  who have the last word in assessing significance. The conference was a promising beginning to a long-range reconnaissance patrol,

The post Journalists, Economists, and Historians appeared first on Economic Principals.

Why hasn’t Trump been crowing about the coming abortion ban?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 10:00am in

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It’s his doing as much as anyone’s

Apparently, Trump is a little worried about what he’s wrought. Not because it will hurt women of course. For him, that’s a feature not a bug. It’s because he thinks it might hurt his chances with suburban women (which also indicates he knows he lost the election because of that …)

Donald Trump is on the precipice of achieving the most lasting and impactful part of his presidential legacy, as the justices he put on the Supreme Court prepare to help overturn Roe v. Wade and cement the former president’s status as a hero to social conservatives. But for a man who rarely opens his mouth without talking about his own (real or alleged) achievements, Trump has been near-silent on abortion since it became clear Roe was going under.

Instead, Trump has been privately fretting about what the impending collapse of abortion rights will do for his own political prospects, telling those close to him that the issue could hurt him with “suburban women” should he try to retake the White House in 2024. “Suburban women have been a recurring concern for [former] President Trump, including during the 2020 campaign, when his smarter advisers were sounding the alarm to him about how he was losing suburbs. He is … worried women in the suburbs could punish him for this one day, [too],” said a person familiar with the matter.

In the weeks since a draft opinion to overturn Roe was revealed, Trump has barely talked about the issue during interviews, at political rallies, and in his social media posts. According to two sources familiar with the matter, this is indeed an intentional and calculated silence. In recent days, Trump has told some of his allies and counselors that “suburban women” and other key voting groups don’t like hearing about the issue, as they are simply more pro-choice than the mainstream of the Republican Party and conservative movement. He has also told several associates that if he went too hard now on the topic of overturning Roe, it would give his enemies the chance to “use it against” him — the strong implication being, according to the two sources, that if Trump ultimately runs for the White House again in 2024, it could be more a political liability than an asset.

And, naturally, Trump has recently solicited printouts of the latest polling on the subject, according to the two people familiar with the situation.

“‘Suburban women — some who voted for me — they don’t like it when we talk about it. That’s a problem sometimes [and that is] important to remember,’” Trump said at one small gathering earlier this month, the second source relayed.

There are, however, some conservative die-hards in Trump’s orbit who are personally trying to nudge him toward embracing — or at least firmly acknowledging — the anticipated victory, which would inevitably set the pro-choice movement back decades. “I encouraged him to go bigger on the life issue [following the leaked draft opinion],” said a third person, who said they’d spoken to Trump about this in the past two weeks. “He said [something like], ‘maybe,’ which sounded more like a ‘not now.’”

Trump has remained conspicuously reserved since Politico reported earlier this month that five conservative justices had agreed to an opinion overturning Roe. On Truth Social — his apparent social media home since being kicked off other major platforms after the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., last year — Trump has been busy “truthing” about 2020-election-conspiracy theories, the PGA tour, the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, the Durham probe, Elon Musk’s “probably illegal purchase of a crummy phony account loaded company,” and Tuesday’s Republican primaries. But since the draft opinion leaked, not once in the roughly 120 posts Trump has made on Truth Social have his thumbs tapped out a post referencing abortion, according to a Rolling Stone review of his account.

I knew he was nervous about this. Normally he would be strutting around taking credit for his great victory. But his instincts are right. It will be a problem.

First, nobody believes he really cares about abortion. Second, he once said that there should be some punishment for women for having and abortion which is a huge no-no to say out loud at this stage of the strategy. Third, overturning Roe is wildly unpopular and he campaigned on putting judges on the court who do exactly what they are doing. Yes, they are going to hold him responsible — as they should.

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Sick rich playboys killing for sport

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 8:00am in

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Hateful creeps

This makes me want to throw up:

The following story was written and researched by The Utah Investigative Journalism Project in partnership with The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah hunting guide Wade Lemon faces five years in state prison for the death of a Carbon County bear killed during a guided hunt on May 18, 2018.

But Lemon, a well-known guide didn’t pull the trigger — Donald Trump Jr. did, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Trump Jr. is not named in a recent filing against Lemon, but the DNR confirmed his identity as the person named in the felony complaint as Lemon’s “client” on the hunt. Prosecutors have indicated there was no evidence showing Trump Jr. would have known about the alleged baiting that went on during the hunt.

Without naming Trump Jr., Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the hunter in the case “was actually a victim and a now a possible witness in a fraudulent scheme to lead the hunter to believe it was actually a legitimate Wild West hunting situation.”

The charges against Lemon from the Trump Jr. hunt were filed just before the four-year statute of limitations expired. The DNR initially investigated allegations of illegal bearbaiting on the hunt in 2018 and closed the case later that year.

On Sept. 3, 2020, The Utah Investigative Journalism Project requested files on closed investigations against Wade Lemon Hunting. The DNR provided files on cases dating back to 2009 except for the case on the 2018 Trump Jr. hunt. DNR had decided to reopen that case and denied the records request, stating the release would interfere with the now “open” investigation.

DNR turned the case over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Utah Attorney General Reyes has close ties to Trump, having campaigned for him and even flying to Nevada to investigate the election results after Trump’s defeat at the polls and signed on to a lawsuit claiming “unlawful election results.” The Attorney General’s Office reinvestigated the case for months, then handed it off to the Davis County Attorney’s Office to screen for filing of charges.

Documents show investigations into Lemon’s organization for the past decade — allegations of cruel and illegal big game baiting practices.

“Lots of quality time in the woods hanging out at 10,000 feet. #outdoors #weekend #adventure #cabin #utah,” reads a May 19, 2018 Instagram post from Trump Jr. The president’s son is decked out in camouflage standing casually at the edge of a cliff before a sweeping view of rolling forests, hills and plateaus. The post is tagged “Utah” and the caption reads “Great weekend in Utah with some good friends in the outdoors.”

Trump Jr. was in Utah to help launch Hunter Nation, a hunting advocacy group. That group would later launch its own super PAC, Hunter Nation Action, which spent $96,997 in ads against Democrats in the 2020 election, according to the campaign spending transparency site Open Secrets.

The organization formed in 2018 and was cofounded by Utahn Don Peay, the Utah campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“You will have to go a long way to find a bigger advocate for our hunting lifestyle, a more passionate hunter and conservationist than Don, Jr.,” reads a post Hunter Nation released in the fall of 2019 as part of a raffle for members to win a trip hunting elk in Utah with the president’s son.

“The opportunity to share a hunting camp with him is truly priceless,” the post reads.

There were no pictures of Don Jr.’s kills from his May 2018 trip to Utah on his social media feed, but DNR confirmed that over the course of two days the president’s son bagged two kills that many would consider once-in-a-lifetime hunts — a bear on May 18 and a cougar on May 19, 2018.

Charging documents allege Lemon’s outfitters illegally used bait on the bear shot by Trump Jr. According to the document, a witness identified Lemon and his employees during the hunt in May 2018 and was able to identify Lemon over radio traffic, giving instructions to his employees.

The illegal bait, “a pile of grain, oil and pastries” was discovered with a trail camera pointed right on it with “WLH” (for Wade Lemon Hunting) written on the side and with Lemon’s own telephone number, according to court documents. The charging documents also include evidence from a subordinate confirming Lemon had him place the bait in the location several weeks before the hunt.

Lemon was contacted by phone and said he was surprised by the charges related to the Trump Jr. hunt, saying, “As far as I knew everything was above board,” before ending the call.

A request for comment from The Trump Organization, where Trump Jr. is an executive vice president, was not returned.

Wait. Does Don Jr still have a job other than getting paid to make happy birthday Cameos for MAGA freaks? It seems like all he does is shoot his mouth off, kill animals and post on social media.

He and his brother are both a couple of sociopaths who like to kill animals but apparently they are such pampered little princes that they need people to find the poor creature for them and set up an easy kill so all they have to do is just pull the trigger and strut around like some primitive beast. It couldn’t be more disgusting.

You can read the whole thing to get a sense of what a revolting rich-boy scam this is. It’s just awful.

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Down Under wakes up

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 6:30am in

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Good news for Australia

The country took a sharp left turn. It’s a matter of survival:

Victory belongs to Anthony Albanese, only the fourth Labor leader since World War Two to oust a Liberal prime minister, but the 2022 Australian election was primarily a rejection of Scott Morrison and the brand of politics he has come to personify.

A politics that denied, and sometimes even mocked, the seriousness of the climate crisis – as Treasurer, Morrison laughingly brandished a lump of coal in parliament.

A politics that many female voters especially found bloke-ish and boorish.

A politics that many Australians came to associate with truth-twisting and lying – such as when Morrison claimed that Emmanuel Macron had “sledged” the Australian people over the cancellation of a multi-billion dollar submarine contract, when it was obvious that the French president had mounted a highly personalised attack on a man he labelled a liar.

At a time when conservative politics down under has displayed some small-t Trumpian traits, historians may conclude that Australian voters evicted from office the country’s first post-truth prime minister.

Rather than pulling off Miracle 2.0 – on the night of his unexpected victory in 2019, this Pentecostal Christian declared that he believed in miracles – the departing Liberal leader may well have led his party into the wilderness

Tumbling down have come the walls of conservative citadels. Parliamentary seats where Liberals had for generations dominated now look like barren lands.

The shoreline of Sydney Harbour, which is home to the most expensive real estate on the continent, is a case in point. It has been overwhelmed by a “teal” wave, the colour adopted by the swathe of independents who have had such a transformative effect on the country’s political geography.

Remarkably, the Liberals no longer control any harbour-side seats that stretch from the Opera House to the ocean. These include Wentworth and Warringah, which were represented up until recently by two former Liberal prime ministers, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

It is akin to San Francisco, another great harbour city, losing all its Democrats.

Nor did the teal wave just wash over the Liberal ramparts of Sydney.

In Melbourne, the party looks to have lost the seat of Kooyong, which was once the fiefdom of Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest serving prime minister, and which had remained faithfully conservative since Australia became a federation in 1901.

The same electoral dynamics played out. A party that has become fixated in recent decades with attracting working class battlers in traditional Labor strongholds has lost touch with Tesla-driving professionals in blue-ribbon seats.

For the first time in more than a decade, the electric car nudged out the coal train.

The rise of the teal independents has shattered the main party duopoly in the major cities – urban Australia accounts for 86% of the country’s population.

So, too, have the Australian Greens, one of the hitherto under-reported stories of this election.

With votes still to be counted, the Greens are confident of achieving what they are calling a “greenslide” in Queensland.

That is a startling statement, because, if true, it would shatter the conventional wisdom of Australian politics: that green politics is anathema to the country’s “Deep North” state.

Labor’s phobia of alienating voters in this mining and resources hub has had a paralysing effect on its approach to climate change.

Here, then, the Greens have been beneficiaries of Labor’s timidity regarding emissions targets.

If parts of Queensland become “Greensland” then the ground has truly shifted beneath our feet.

How that’s going to work out is anyone’s guess:

The success of the Greens and the rise of the independents explains why the two major parties, the Liberals and Labor, slumped to a record-low primary vote (which is where voters record their first preference).

There was always a none-of-the above feel to the head-to-head between the main party leaders. That has been borne out in the results.

Anthony Albanese, then, has achieved an ambiguous victory. There was no great groundswell of support for Labor. Indeed, its primary vote was actually 2% down from 2019, a meagre 32%. Although he is certain to emerge as prime minister, we still do not know whether he will stand at the head of a Labor majority government.

My sense during the campaign was that the Labor leader never fully addressed his prime ministerial plausibility problem. His gaffes did not help (although I think the public became more critical of the press pack’s endless gotcha questions rather than his inability to always answer them).

Nonetheless, a politician who was better known for most of his career as a backroom fixer is now front of house, and will occupy the prime ministerial residence, The Lodge. This he will see as vindication of his “small target” campaign and his mantra of “safe change.” It will also justify his political shapeshifting, from a left-wing firebrand to a risk-averse pragmatist…

The federal election has made politics here greener, more feminine and, at a time of creeping Americanisation, more emphatically Australian.

Perhaps the overwhelming message from voters is that they want a different kind of politics. Certainly, 2022 will be remembered for its shock to the system result.

Shocks to the systems can go sideways, as we well know. Let’s hope this one doesn’t.

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More cops died last year than in any year since 1930

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 5:00am in

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And criminals didn’t do it

A whole lot of the dead weren’t vaccinated:

For the second year in a row, Covid-19 was the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers in the United States, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

A total of 458 officers died in the line of duty in the country last year, making it the deadliest year in more than 90 years and a 55 percent increase from 2020, according to preliminary data compiled by the organization. Of those, it found that 301 federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers had died because of Covid-19.

“It has been reported to NLEOMF that these officers have died due to direct exposure to the virus during the commission of their official duties,” the report said.

In the three decades before the pandemic, the organization’s annual tally of officers killed in the line of duty surpassed 200 only twice, in 2001 and 2007. The last time it went above 300 was in 1930.

In recent months, as local governments began implementing vaccine mandates for workers, some police officers and law enforcement unions have pushed back, threatening resignations and legal action.

In October, New York City’s largest police union sued over the city’s vaccine mandate. The Police Benevolent Association of New York said it opposed a vaccine mandate for officers that does not allow an option of being tested weekly instead of being vaccinated. A federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit filed by several Los Angeles police officers who had sued over the city’s vaccine mandate.

I will just point out that police unions insist that their members be given immunity from the law in many cases because their job is inherently dangerous and they need special dispensation to kill when they feel endangered. And yet they allowed their members to refuse vaccines which killed far more of them than gunfire. I guess it makes sense if you believe that a big part of their job is killing innocent members of the public, whether with guns or a deadly virus. But I don’t think that’s really in the job description. Or it shouldn’t be.

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No peace, no justice

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 4:43am in

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“No justice, no peace” is a chant commonly heard at protests. The meaning is that there can be no social peace until the injustices being protested are addressed. And there is truth in that. Social arrangements widely perceived as unjust will and should make it difficult to keep the social peace.

But the converse is also true, “no peace, no justice”. There is no justice in the heat of conflict. Nearly every act in a violent conflict is a perpetration of injustice. Even in nonviolent political contestation, when it is hot, the imperative to act in ways partisans believe will advance the cause often overwhelms concerns about justice. Whatever harm some controversy provokes to the people who happen to find themselves in the spotlight becomes secondary to the role of the event in the broader dispute, the ways that partisans can make use of it, weaponize it. That is all quite the opposite of justice.

If you say you stand for justice, you must also stand for some path to social peace. Partisans on all sides of our contemporary disputes seem to have forgotten this. However our controversies shake out, we will all have to live together. If you essentialize partisans on the other side of your disputes as implacable, evil, you leave no hope whatsoever for justice or for peace. In a society that we share, unless you mean to expel or incarcerate or kill large groups of people (in which case you are neither for peace nor for justice), your politics must create space for redemption, cooptation, reconciliation. If your politics does not envision and work towards a decent outcome for your “enemies” as well as your allies, the cause you serve is not just.

On the cultural right, people who essentialize race and assume that demographics are destiny, and so must become the battleground on which political disputes are fought, serve the cause of neither peace nor justice. Demographic difference is inescapable without recourse to atrocity. The turn-of-the-millennium triumphalism of Democratic partisans based on demographics trends was both morally bankrupt and empirically dumb. US history is a recurring story of the identity and politics of various groups changing as they transform from outsider new immigrants to more comfortably American identities. Democrats have belatedly realized that they cannot pocket “Latinx” voters, who can and will often vote Republican. Unfortunately, the bad intuitions of the discredited “emerging Democratic majority” have transmogrified into “replacement theory” on the right, still empirically wrong but even more socially vicious.

On the cultural left, the essentialization of “whiteness” or “white supremacy” as an evil, almost supernatural, force inextricably bound up in the DNA of the United States but that must be “dismantled” similarly leaves no room for peace, and so no room for justice. If the United States is irredeemably white supremicist, then dismantling white supremacy means dismantling the United States. Insurrection was a bad idea on January 6, 2021, and it remains so today. If you claim that “whiteness is a disease”, your plain language leaves little room for full and equal inclusion of people who think of themselves as white in the better society you hope to build, and so sabotages any hope of social peace, and therefore any hope of social justice. People are people. Our humanity transcends demography and so too must our politics. The United States does indeed have a long and shameful history of white supremacy, but it also has a long, imperfect, history of struggling to overcome race-based caste and resentment, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement to George Floyd protests and the contemporary foibles of corporate HR. If, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being” then it surely has not conveniently set itself to one side or the other of giant nations of human beings. Even the United States can, perhaps, be redeemed.

But there is no redemption, and no virtue, in warfare or atrocity. To seek justice, we must also seek peace. The frameworks, theories, words we use to envisage, evangelize, enact a better future are not handed down to us by God or nature or empirical sciences. We create these ideas, we devise, choose, and develop them. I beg you, when you build your theories, remember that you must include a hopeful future for everyone, even the people who for the moment you may imagine are “on the other side”. It is your work to persuade them, not to destroy them. “A defense of your convictions should never require or permit cruelty,” writes David French. There are no devils in this world, only humans. Both justice and peace demand that all us humans live and thrive and love together.

No, the system didn’t work

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 2:30am in

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And it will be even worse next time

I’ve been working my way through former SecDef Mark Esper’s memoirs, “A Sacred Oath.” You’ve probably heard about its one or two re-reveals of previously reported information. But the real interest of the book arises from a metaphor Esper uses a couple of times.

Esper compares the Pentagon to a soccer ball. There are rules about how it is to be handled. Break the rules – grip the ball with the fingers – and the ball will be briefly indented. But the rule-breaker cannot grip forever. Once released, the ball rapidly recovers its shape.

Esper details instances that support his soccer-ball analogy. EG in a spasm of irritation in December 2019 then-President Trump issued an order that all US forces be removed from Germany. Trump was egged on by his hot-tempered then-ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell.

Esper quotes Grenell about the troop withdrawal: “That will get their [Germany’s] attention.”

He then quotes himself: “Of course it will, and many other countries too, including Russia, but for all the wrong reasons.”

But an order is an order. So Esper agreed to a “comprehensive review … to look at our troop presence around the world,” including European Command. Obviously such a review would take a long time – and as it happened, Trump had left office before the review was completed.

Similar slow-dragging methods were used against Trump’s demand for a big military parade through the center of Washington.

On the evidence of his book, Esper is satisfied that his methods more or less worked. “Despite the friction in my relationship with Trump, I felt I was still able to manage the president and his worst instincts.” (369)

And here really is the crux of the book and its argument. Esper seems to have been a competent manager, moderately conservative, a loyal American. Trump offended him in many ways, but those offenses are presented as distractions from more important work.

As Esper writes: “[A]lthough many things he suggested ranged from appropriate to outlandish, none ever rose to a level that warranted consideration of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.” Esper situates this estimate before the “shoot them in the legs” comment of June 2020, but the estimate remains clearly his view throughout his service. As he writs on p. 5: “There was another major concern I had to factor in to the equation: ‘Who would replace me?'”

The book is intended to reassure: Yes, some excesses occurred, but they were managed and contained. Trump had some good instincts, Esper writes in more than one place, and they could be appealed to – and if not, the worst orders could be mitigated or delayed.

But here are the haunting questions left behind:

1) As I’ve written before, if Trump is returned to office, this time the velociraptors will know how the door handles work. He will bring with him more committed followers, who may defeat the methods of evasion and delay.

2) Passive resistance tactics only go so far. If Trump signs the paper exiting NATO – NATO is kaput, no matter how much DoD may wish to evade and delay. As Esper acknowledges, he could not protect the Vindman brothers from Trump’s retaliateion.

3) Esper describes himself as a man of “conventional” views. Except for the very, very rare Henry Kissinger, the senior levels of government are not staffed by highly imaginative people. Nor probably should they be. Keep the system working, that’s the job. But that natural bureaucratic propensity leaves the system vulnerable when it confronts a novel threat outside its expectation: like a corrupt, anti-constitutional president at the top of the machinery of state. Aside from delay, top managers didn’t know how to cope. So in their memoirs after the fact, they console themselves: the system worked on my watch, more or less. Or if it didn’t work, it can now be fixed, because surely after January 6, Trump and Trumpism must be finished. Americans would never stand for a repeat, would they?

All of which reminds me of something else I said often in the first weeks of the Trump presidency: “The sunny American confidence that everything will turn out all right it itself the greatest threat to everything turning out all right.”

Originally tweeted by David Frum (@davidfrum) on May 22, 2022.

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CPAC: Proud to embrace a Hungarian

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 12:30am in

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Where at least they’re “partly free”

Zsolt Bayer speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest, Hungary. (Screenshot: YouTube via Times of Israel.)

The Guardian scans the cast of speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held this year, this weekend, in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary:

A notorious Hungarian racist who has called Jews “stinking excrement”, referred to Roma as “animals” and used racial epithets to describe Black people, was a featured speaker at a major gathering of US Republicans in Budapest.

Zsolt Bayer took the stage at the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Hungary, a convention that also featured speeches from Donald Trump, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

The last featured speaker of the conference was Jack Posobiec, a far-right US blogger who has used antisemitic symbols and promoted the fabricated “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory smearing prominent Democrats as pedophiles.

There are, of course, plenty of venues for holding the largely Republican conservative event in the United States. The usual cast of young, low-level extremists at CPAC cheer their heroes, take selfies, and purchase “in your face, lib” merch. But the conservative elite needed to make a statement this year, even if it meant excluding the hoi polloi. The statement? “Partly free” is where they wish to take the United States (per Freedom House).

Orbán, like many American Republicans, has embraced the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which involves promoting the belief that the white population is being deliberately reduced by leftist policies and diluted by immigration.

CPAC, which is organised by the American Conservative Union, did not respond to a request for comment on Bayer’s participation. Matt Schlapp, the CPAC chairman, complained on its website that: “Leftist media launched a coordinated smear campaign” on the event.

“Our mission is to increase freedom and opportunity across the globe, including for those living under socialist and Communist regimes,” Schlapp said.

CPAC proclaiming its embrace of “freedom and opportunity” in what has become an authoritarian state is like ingesting Ivermectin as an inoculant against charges it has rejected democracy.

Orbán said in his opening speech to the conference, “We have to take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels. We must find allies in one another and coordinate the movements of our troops.” That includes ensuring the right has its own media and that shows like Tucker Carlson’s run “24/7”.

David Rothkopf responded on Twitter, “The main take-away from the CPAC hatefest in Hungary should not be the overabundance of racists or authoritarians, it should be that it underscores that the movement currently attacking US democracy is global in scope & represents a worldwide threat.”

“CPAC in Hungary demonstrates that, precisely as intended, Putinism is a cancer that has spread through the political systems of democracies worldwide and is now metastasizing,” the professor of international relations added.

Schlapp’s twinning of freedom and opportunity recalls the warning Steve Fraser gave Bill Moyers in 2014 about “the triumph of the free market ideology as the synonym for freedom.”

“It is axiomatic in our current political culture,” said Fraser, “that when we say freedom we mean capitalism.”

In the aftermath of the first Gilded Age, Fraser added, Americans created a social safety net, a “civilized capitalism that protects people against the worst vicissitudes of the free market.” 

But if Putinism is metastasizing in democracies worldwide, so is corporate capitalism. Conjoined, the result tends toward fascism. Democracy becomes mere window dressing and freedom a shibboleth. In Orbán’s Hungary, Freedom House reports, constitutional and legal changes made by his Fidesz party “have allowed it to consolidate control over the country’s independent institutions, including the judiciary.”

American white nationalists are not tiptoeing around where they mean to take this country. By holding CPAC in Hungary, they are broadcasting it.

Working people in the first Gilded Age, says Fraser, “summoned up a kind of political will and the political imagination” to civilize capitalism,” to say to themselves, “we are not fated to live this way.”

Nor are we fated to live in the authoritarian mockery of democracy Republicans, white nationalist authoritarians, autocrats, and oligarchs mean to spread across this continent.

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