Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Interview On CNN’s State Of The Union Show

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show (07/31/22) for a wide ranging interview that touched on among other things climate change, and specifically, his pledge that Australia will achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.

Asked whether Australia’s 2050 goal will be thwarted because of reluctance by India, China and the United States to come together, and address climate change with the urgency it deserves, PM Albanese responded(video at 0:38): “Well, I certainly hope not, and I’m very optimistic. At the Madrid NATO Summit, I had discussions with world leaders and also of course at the Quad leaders meeting, and I regard people as being very prepared to take much stronger action. There’s a greater recognition now as well, that dealing with the challenge of climate change represents also an economic opportunity. We will see the greatest transformation that we have seen in our economy since the industrial revolution, with the shift to clean energy, and clean energy will of course see jobs being created at the same time, something that the Biden administration recognizes, something that our European friends certainly recognize as well.”

Asked about the growing threat from China, and specifically, a troubling poll that shows 75% of Aussies believe China will attack Australia within the next 20 years, PM Albanese responded (1:44): “What we are preparing for is strengthening our alliances. We want to have good relationships with China and cooperate where we can, but we’ll stand up for Australian values where we must, and that is my approach to the relationship with China. Clearly it has changed in recent years. Under [President] Xi, China has become more forward-leaning, more aggressive in the region. We have strategic competition.”

Asked whether Australia would defend Taiwan if it was invaded by China, PM Albanese punted, saying he did not want to deal with hypotheticals. He then went on to say(2:38): “Australia supports a One China policy, but we also support the status quo when it comes to the issue of Taiwan, that people respect the existing structures which are there. I believe that clearly is in the interest of all parties, and I have taken the view as well, that it is not in the interest of peace and security, to talk up those issues of potential conflict.”

Asked what Australians think about “the health” of democracy the United States in light of the ongoing January 6th investigation, PM Albanese responded (3:57): “Democracy in the United States remains strong. The United States remains a beacon for the world in terms of democratic nations, I firmly believe that. And whilst the assault on democracy that we saw on January 6th was of real concern to all those who hold democratic processes dear around the world, the fact that you are having an open and transparent process, these hearings are being broadcast to the world, indeed underlies, in my view, the strength of U.S. democracy, the strength of those institutions.”

Asked what America can learn from Australia regarding how to deal with gun violence, PM Albanese responded(5:26): “In Australia we had a bipartisan response to the Port Arthur massacre, and we haven’t had once [mass shooting] since, and I just say that people should look at our experience. It’s up to the United States as a sovereign nation what direction it takes of course, but the truth is that Australia’s experience shows that less guns, particularly less automatic weapons, the less crime occurs, and the less tragedy occurs.”

Asked whether he supports the growing sentiment among Aussies to break away from the Queen of England and become a republic, PM Albanese responded(6:24): “Well, I do support a republic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the Queen, who has presided over the Commonwealth for 70 years, it’s quite an extraordinary achievement. Our priority this term, is the recognition of First Nations people in our constitution. Our history didn’t begin in 1788 with the arrival of the British First Fleet, it goes back some 65,000 years with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people, the oldest continuous civilization on the planet. It should be a source of great pride, and my priority is getting that constitutional change done first.” Hmm, very interesting.

Bottom line folks, interviews with world leaders are always interesting(at least to Your Truly-a nerd), because they give you a glimpse into how others view/deal with the same issues confronting us here in the United States. I think reasonable people will agree that by far, the biggest takeaway from PM Alabanese’s interview, is how politicians in Australia came together to stump out mass shootings after the Port Arthur massacre(1996). Simply put, there is zero excuse for the nonsense we get from Congress, when it comes to addressing gun violence in the United States. Zero!!

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TSMC Chairman Discusses Semiconductor Chip Production & Possible China Invasion Of Taiwan

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Mark Liu, the Chairman of Taiwan Semicondictor Manufacturing Company(TSMC), the most valuable company in Asia, and tenth in the whole world, appeared on CNN’s GPS show (07/31/22) to discuss the growing global shortage of semiconductor chips, and efforts by his company to ramp up production in the United States. TSMC is building a $12 billion advanced chip manufacturing plant in Arizona, thanks in large part to subsidies from the recently passed Chips Act. As expected, the interview also delved into growing global concerns about a possible invasion of Taiwan by China, especially given what is currently happening in Ukraine.

As it currently stands, the whole world relies on TSMC for the supply of advanced semiconductor chips, and as concerns grow about a possible invasion of Taiwan by China (especially after Russia-Ukraine), many in the tech world fear that their industry could be turned upside down without a free TSMC.

Asked what would happen to the chip industry if China were to invade Taiwan, Chairman Liu said even though the production of advanced semiconductor chips is critical to the Taiwanese economy, the chip industry/economy would be their least concern because such an attack would upend the world’s rules-based order, and dramatically change the geopolitical landscape.

Asked whether China may be interested in invading Taiwan so it can have total control of TSMC, one of the world’s most valuable assets, Chairman Liu responded (video at 3:15): “Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take a military force, or invasion, you will render a TSMC factory non-operable because this is such a sophisticated manufacturing facility, it depends on the real time connection with the outside world–with Europe, with Japan, with the U.S., from materials, to chemicals, to spare parts, to engineering software diagnosis, and it is everybody’s effort to make this factory operable, so if you take it over by force, you can no longer make it operable.”

Asked about the so-called “TSMC shield”–this notion that because mainland China relies heavily on TSMC for it’s high end chips, it may be hesitant to invade–Chairman Liu responded (video at 4:45): “Our[TSMC] interruption will create great economic turmoil on either side–in China because, suddenly their most advanced components supply [will have] disappeared…it is an interruption, I must say, so people will think twice on this.” It appears Chairman Liu agrees with the “TSMC shield” theory. He then added that we should draw lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war because as we can see, there are no winners. Russia is suffering, Ukraine is suffering, and the rest of the world is suffering as a result of the war. China’s invasion of Taiwan would be no different.

Asked to explain how Taiwan has managed to grow at 5% per year for five decades straight–the so-called “Taiwan miracle”, Chairman Liu said a lot of it had to do with the fact that the Taiwanese are generally, very peaceful people. He said that since 1949, when the island transformed from authoritarian rule, they have managed to live peacefully. He also added the education system as another reason for the “Taiwan miracle.” Apparently, university education in Taiwan is available to anybody who wants it. As a result, 80% of adults in Taiwan are college educated.

Bottom line folks, as host Fareed Zakaria correctly put it, Chairman Liu is probably the most important man in the world, that you don’t know about. All in all, a fascinating interview, with a fascinating business leader, from a fascinating island, which I hope, the world does everything, to shield from an invasion by China.

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What is Christian Nationalism? An Interesting CNN Segment Delved Into It

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An interesting segment on CNN’s Reliable Sources show (07/31/22) delved into the new hot political topic, and that is, Christian Nationalism. So what is Christian Nationalism? Host Brian Stelter brought in Katherine Stewart, who has studied this topic for years, to shed some light on the issue. Stewart is the author of the book “The Power Worshippers–Inside The Dangerous Rise Of Religious Nationalism”.

This intro by host Brian Stelter is important for establishing the context for the ensuing debate:“Roughly 70% of Americans identify as Christian, and this segment is not about most of them. This segment is about the rise of a White Christian Nationalist movement in the U.S. It’s emerging in the news more and more, you are probably hearing the term Christian Nationalism more and more. Here is one expert’s definition:’Christian Nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way.’ Many observers feel that would threaten our diverse, healthy democracy in the U.S. We are seeing some Republicans in the U.S. embrace the term Christian Nationalism, for example [Reps] Marjorie Taylor Greene…Lauren Boebert…”

Here’s how Katherine Stewart defined Christian Nationalism (video at ):“Christian Nationalism is basically the idea that America was founded as a so-called Christian nation, our law should be based on the Bible, and supposedly right-thinking believers need to reclaim America’s past.”

Stewart said this is dangerous because “it’s a radically anti-democratic ideology. It rejects the principles of pluralism and equality, that represent the best of the American promise. The movement, it’s not just an ideology, it’s also an organized quest for political power.. it’s a political movement. This movement has built up…a sort of a dense organizational infrastructure over decades, that includes right wing policy groups, legal advocacy groups, networking initiatives, that get the leadership on the same page…[including] Supreme Court Justices.”

Stewart went on to expound on her argument re the U.S. Supreme Court saying, all the six conservative justices on the high court are either current or former members of the Federalist Society, which she says “is an organization that plays an outsized role in shaping our courts.” Just so you know, the Federalist Society is part of the “dense organizational infrastructure” Stewart alluded to earlier.

Stewart said Trump’s presidency was key to the Christian Nationalist movement because he “threw open the doors to leaders of this movement. It’s a leadership-driven movement, it’s not defined by the attitudes of the rank and file. Those attitudes are actually shaped by the leadership of the movement. He [Trump] offered them unprecedented political access, offered them of course the justices they wanted. This is a movement that represents the minority of our country. Most American Christians reject the politics of conquest and division this movement represents.”

There’s no other way to interpret Katherine Stewart’s remarks on CNN’s Reliable Sources other than(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), power hungry conservatives have schemed for decades on how to use Chritianity to achieve political power, and they finally got their opening with the Trump presidency. Trump elevated the leaders of this movement, and what we’re witnessing today with Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and others, are simply efforts to make Christian Nationalism a mainstream movement in America. Remember, as Katen Stewart correctly pointed out, a majority of Christians don’t agree with this effort to essentially hijack Christianity for political gain.

The CNN segment singled out Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene(R-GA) and Lauren Boebert(R-CO) as illustrations of this budding Christian Nationalist movement, but if anyone out there is looking for the classic example to date, it is, in my humble opinion, none other than former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a former Pastor, who has now fully embraced Trumpism. Mike Huckabee not only got his daughter Sarah to work in Trump’s White House, but also made sure she secured Trump’s endorsement for her run for Arkansas Governor, a job she is largely expected to bag.

Huckabee has also recently authored “christian” books themed around the Trump presidency. If Mike Huckabee, and his daughter Sarah for that matter, are not the classic examples of the abuse-Christianity-for-political-power-movement, I don’t know who is.

An important piece of advice Karen Stewart gave to the mainstream media when covering this Christian Nationalism movement, is to never forget that it is a leadership-driven movement. In other words, don’t focus too much on what the rank and file go out there and do in furtherance of the movement(often viral videos on social media attacking gays, pro-choice activists, etc), but rather, on the leaders of the movement, who indoctrinate them into doing this stuff. Hmm, very interesting.

Bottom line folks, many Christians, including Yours Truly, regarded former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura (Texas pride–deal with it), as very good representations of a Christian family–despite whatever differences one might have had with their political beliefs. Interestingly, Trump, the leader of the “christian” nationalist movement, has never humbled himself to say anything good about the God-fearing Bushes. That, my friends, is all you need to know about this “christian” nationalist movement. It is anything, but Christian.

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DHS Inspector General Sat On Missing Secret Service Texts Info For A Year

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CNN’s Whitney Wild appeared on Outfront w/Erin Burnett show(07/29/22), where she dropped a bombshell, telling host Jim Sciutto(subbing for Erin), that embattled DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari did not find out about the missing Secret Service text messages in December 2021 as has been previously reported, but rather, in May 2021–seven months earlier. This means Inspector General Cuffari took a whole year before informing the January 6th Committee about the missing texts, a totally unacceptable position, which only heightens concerns about a possible cover up by DHS.

As host Sciutto correctly pointed out in his intro, it’s not only the missing Secret Service texts that are at issue here, but also, those from former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, and his top Deputy Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli’s texts are crucial to the January 6th Committee’s investigation because former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified before the Committee, under oath, that Trump had tasked Cuccinelli with seizing all voting machines for the purposes of investigating his bogus election fraud claims. Cuccinelli’s communications with Trump’s White House officials, or Trump himself, would therefore be very valuable to the January 6th Committee, and the fact that they cannot be retrieved, should be cause for serious concern, even a possible criminal investigation.

CNN’s Whitney Wild(video at 1:50):“What they had said prior is that the [DHS] Inspector General was aware of the missing text messages as of December 2021, that was the information we had learned some days ago, when two key Democrats were calling for the Inspector General’s recusal. Now, sources tell CNN, that the Secret Service notified the office of the Inspector General that text messages were erased in May of 2021, seven months earlier than previously known. The Secret Service has explained that these text messages were lost in a previously scheduled data migration of agents cell phones. The Committee [January6th] and Cuffari [DHS-IG] are interested in these text messages because, as you point out, these are people who were right at the center of what was going on on January 6th, and depending on what the content is, could shed light on the Secret Service’s response that day, and further, what they witnessed, among others…The other big thing that we’re learning here about the timeline[is]…in July, a representative for the Inspector General’s office told the Department of Homeland Security, they were no longer seeking these text messages. That was in July of 2021, about a year before the Inspector General brought these hurdles to congressional oversight committees.”

There’s no other way to interpret Whitney Wild’s remarks other than(I’d be happy to stand  corrected of course), DHS Inspector General Cuffari is not being forthright about his investigation into the missing Secret Service texts. The shifting narratives as to when his office found out about the missing texts only raises suspicions from the general public, of a possible DHS cover up. Also, why did his office stop looking for the texts in July 2021? Wasn’t that the proper time for him, or the DHS Secretary for that matter, to notify the January 6th Committee of the problems they were having retrieving the texts? Very suspicious indeed.

Bottom line folks, the missing Secret Service texts scandal is just the latest in a long line of very troubling stories emanating from DHS, which all center around the same original sin–lack of proper congressional oversight, an issue Yours Truly has repeatedly screamed about, to your rolling eyes of course. Simply put, DHS has devolved into the corrupt federal behemoth we are witnessing today because at every turn since it’s inception, Congress and the corporate mainstream media, have looked the other way, when the public has raised credible concerns about abuses at/by the agency.

One only hopes that some of the outrage over the missing/deleted Secret Service texts will be aimed at complicit Congress and the corporate mainstream media. Simply put, DHS and other agencies tasked with our national security, will never change without proper/effective oversight. Plain and simple.

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Is Moldova Putin’s Next Target After Ukraine?

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CNN’s GPS show(07/24/22) aired a very interesting interview featuring Natalia Gavrilita, the Prime Minister of the small eastern European nation of Moldova, which shares a border with Ukraine. PM Gavrilita expressed her increasing fears that after Putin is done with Ukraine, he may set his eyes on her country, Moldova, because Moldova, like Ukraine, is on a rapid path towards E.U. integration.

The Russia-Ukraine war has had such an adverse global impact, that any talk of a possible Russian invasion of another country, should be cause for concern, not only for the United States, but for every democracy-loving country.

PM Gavrilita began by giving a brief introduction of Moldova, saying (1:13): “Moldova has had a troubled history in a complicated region, and it has not only been part of the Soviet Union, it has also been part of Romania between the first and second world war. The majority of the population is Romanian speaking, but we also have Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, and Gagauz, which is a Turkish speaking minority.”

She went on to tell host Fareed Zakaria that like Ukraine, Moldova is rapidly moving towards E.U. integration. She specifically said(1:43): “In the last elections, the people have voted massively for a pro-European majority, for going the course of democratic institutions, fighting corruption, ensuring the respect for human rights, and striving towards the European integration course, so achieving candidate status for E.U. integration has been a significant victory for Moldova, one that people have waited for for a long time, but it is very unfortunate that it happens in such a complicated context in the region, and such horrible times for Ukraine.”

There is no other way to interpret PM Gavrilita’s remarks other than (I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), Moldova’s rapid move towards E.U. integration comes at a time when Russia is increasingly suspicious of the West/NATO’s intentions. As a result, Putin is more likely to attack Moldova either during his invasion of Ukraine, or immediately thereafter, to prevent Moldova from joining the European Union. In other words, PM Gavrilita is simply sounding an early alarm bell, for a possible Russian invasion.

She went on to say this about her fear of a Russian invasion(3:35):“We are worried of course, this is a risk. It’s a hypothetical scenario for now, but if the military actions move further into the southwestern part of Ukraine, and towards Odessa, then of course we are very worried, especially considering that[Russian] troops[are already]on the territory of the secessionist Transnistrian region. We are doing everything possible to maintain peace and stability and to ensure that the fighting does not escalate.”

She went on to say that if Russia/Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of large chunks of Ukraine, then no small country will be safe. She specifically said(4:26):“This is a very difficult position not just for Moldova, but for any small country, any country that relies on the rules-based international order. If a country can start an annexation war without any regard for international law, then in this sense, nobody is safe, and I think that a lot of countries are worried.”

Bottom line folks, the United States must develop a proactive approach when dealing with Russia and other adversaries. Where, as here, PM Gavrilita is sounding the alarm about a possible Russian invasion, the U.S. must do everything in its power to help Moldova prepare for any such eventuality. It’s better/cheaper to equip Moldova now, rather than after Russian tanks start rolling down their streets.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Europe appears to be churning out some very impressive female leaders lately–from Ursula von der Leyen, to Nicola Sturgeon, to Magdalena Anderson, to PM Gavrilita, who reasonable people will agree, was quite impressive on CNN’s GPS show. This begs the question: Is this the era of female/women leadership? The U.S. came very close (debatable point) to electing its first female president in 2016. Is 2024 the year the U.S. finally gets a female president? Hmm, Nikki Haley certainly thinks so. Oh, and by the way, Gavrilita is pronounced “Gavrilitsa”. Yeah, you didn’t know that.

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s Interview On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show

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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show (06/30/22)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with visiting Fox News host Tucker Carlson (06/30/22) for a wide ranging, and quite interesting interview, that covered issues such as his upcoming reelection fight, China’s expansion into Latin America, COVID, Christianity, the media, LGBTQ rights, and even a pitch by Tucker Carlson to Bolsonaro to allow Fox News in Brazil (yeah, he really did that, I promise).

President Bolsonaro and Hungary’s President Viktor Orban, are two notable world leaders who have struck a resonance with Trump’s wing of the Republican Party, which appears to be on a path towards Christian Nationalism. Yours Truly was therefore very interested to hear what President Bolsonaro had to say regarding a whole host of issues, and so should you.

The first topic of discussion was Bolsonaro’s very interesting, even miraculous rise to the presidency. Here’s how he described it (video at 5:22): “My election itself was almost a miracle. I had nothing going for me to be elected. I was just an isolated member of Congress, known as the lower segment of national Congress in Brazil. I conducted my campaign anchored on a Biblical passage John 3:33–‘Thou shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ The media never gave me any visibility or space, much to the contrary, they attacked me all the time throughout the campaign. On 09/06/2018, on the eve of the election, I suffered an attempted assassination. Doctors said my survival was a miracle. The same is true for my election, and a very important factor which you may perhaps not be aware of, is the fact that Brazil is a country that upon taking office as the President, the incumbent President surrenders strategic positions in the cabinet and political parties, including the cabinet ministries, state banks, state companies. I did not do that.”

Bolsonaro then went on to attack his left wing opponent, Lula da Silva, using strikingly similar attacks you hear Republicans in the United States leveling against Democrats. Bolsonaro, for example insinuated that the left was planning to rig the upcoming elections, that they are using the pandemic to bring down his administration, and importantly, that if the left defeats him, they will never lose any election again after that–an argument strikingly similar to the one used by former President Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, and after his loss to Joe Biden. Bolsonaro then went on to list a long laundry list of Republican-like attacks against Lula/the left wing; that they want unfettered abortions, they are soft on crime, that the left is anti-freedom, that the left wants to disarm the public (Brazil’s “second amendment”, I guess), that the left wants amnesty, that the left is manufacturing opinion polls which show him losing, so as to suppress his vote. Very interesting indeed.

Asked how he plans to win reelection despite what Tucker Carlson characterized as “the entire Brazilian media” against him, Bolsonaro responded (11:25): “Yes, there is the weight of the media against me. True, but social media has been doing a great job in Brazil. My social media channels are the most interactive in the world. I believe that today we have 40% of the population who has not yet expressed their voting intentions. Most of the voters we believe, will vote for me in the elections.”

Tucker then pulled the quintessential “shameless plug” and pitched Fox News to President Bolsonaro (11:49): “Why is there no Fox News in Brazil? CNN is here, you got over 50 million votes in the last elections, CNN’s a political player here, so is Globo, but there’s no TV channel for your voter?” Bolsonaro responded to Tucker Carlson’s pitch saying (12:00): “Well if I could launch an appeal for you, I can only say that you will be the most welcome in Brazil. You will be an excellent counterpart to the other vehicles or outlets. There are very few media outlets that are really unbiased in Brazil.” Hmm, again sounds awfully similar to what Republicans say in the U.S.

Asked how he felt about opposition to him, not only inside Brazil, but also from virtually all the neighboring countries, Bolsonaro gave this interesting answer (12:50): “Brazil is an economic powerhouse in South America. The 10 countries with which we have political, geopolitical, physical borders are not that economically strong as compared to Brazil. We are what you might describe as a cherry on the cake. If Brazil goes down or collapses, the whole of South America will go down, and be colored red(bloodshed) if you understand…”

The interview then moved to the topic that shot President Bolsonaro into the international spotlight, and that is, his opposition/refusal to take the COVID vaccine at a time when COVID cases were sky high in Brazil. This move endeared him to anti-vaxxer movements worldwide, but alienated him from Western governments who were at that time (height of the pandemic), desperately trying to get sufficient numbers of their populations vaccinated.

Asked why he refused to take the COVID vaccine, here’s how he responded (22:05 ): “As I said before, maybe I was the only head of state in the world who did not accept restrictive measures, or was against restrictive measures, and perhaps one of the few heads of state in the world who did not take the vaccine because I had already contracted the virus. The left was so worried about taking me out of office that they wanted me to take the vaccine, and I said well, ‘let me die, just let me die then and choose my policy.’ In South America we are the one country that best addressed the issue involving the need for vaccines, and we very properly and adequately equipped our hospitals with equipment and medications, and I believe we have pretty much turned the page there.”

To be clear, Bolsonaro’s argument was that he did not need a COVID vaccine because he had already contracted the virus. He therefore sought medications instead (including in Africa), that were being advertised at the time as cures for COVID. He says even though he was personally against the vaccines, he did make them readily available to the Brazilian public. He also said that part of his reluctance to take the vaccines, was the fine print from the vaccine manufacturers, which said they were not responsible for any side effects from their vaccines.

The interview then moved on to religion, and specifically, Christianity. Asked how he thought his opponent Lula and the left viewed Christianity, Bolsonaro responded (35:27): “The left wing, I mean the vast majority of them are atheists. They do not respect anything. They criticize priests and pastors and Lula himself has said that he will, if elected, he will place priests and pastors and the military in their rightful place, or in the right place in society. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court recently changed its understanding and ruling on abortion, the left wing in Brazil did not like that. We did like the new stance taken by the U.S. Supreme Court because we defend life from its very conception, but not so among the left wing people and Lula. Lula and the left wing, they often say that abortion is a matter of public health, and it is the woman that should decide. We believe that the life that has been given to a woman does not belong to the woman, and that is a stance espoused by our religion.” Hmm, interesting. Is this the TrumpGOP stance on abortion, too?

Asked about racism in Brazil, Bolsonaro, much like Republicans in the United States, blamed it on weaponized identity politics pushed by the left. He specifically said this about identity politics (38:17) :“It is a way to divide and conquer. Even before Lula took office in 2003, the left wing would already preach that, I mean, the division of people along identity lines such as Blacks and Whites, and employers and employees, and people from northeastern Brazil vis-a-vis southern Brazil. They have gained followers as a result of that approach, and the major divisionary split today is between employers and employees…and they say that, ‘hey you are not doing well today because of your employer’, and that divide approach or policy… has gained them at least one-fourth of the Brazil population. They have always been supported by at least one-fourth of the Brazilian population. My father-in-Law is…a Black man, and I am a blue-eyed White man. Racism is there in Brazil, yes, but not as it is often described. Most of our main football (soccer) players are, you know, people of African descent, no worries.”

The topic then shifted to gun control, where he was asked why he chose to make it easier for Brazilians to acquire firearms. He responded (39:25) :”I was unable to actually change the Brazilian law, but by means of a presidential decree, and also through ministerial orders, we interpreted the existing legislation as best as possible, and there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who legally own firearms in Brazil, and the consequences you see in the Brazilian media, is a drop in the number of people who are killed by firearms in Brazil. We understand that once people get armed, the crooks, the thieves will think twice before they break into other people’s property. If of course the number had gone up, I would be blamed, but just the opposite is going on today, and if reelected, if everything goes well, we will have a substantial support in Congress, and we’ll be able to pass laws on firearms, very much along the same lines as in the U.S.”

The topic then shifted to the Amazon rain forest, and specifically, whether it was being destroyed (deforestation) at an alarming rate causing global climate problems. Climate activists blame Bolsonaro’s administration for the deforestation. Here’s what Bolsonaro said when asked whether the Amazon was being destroyed at the high rates claimed by the news media (46:25): “No, that is not true. Two-thirds of the Brazilian territory are currently preserved, and remain pristine, just as they were back in the 1500s when this country was discovered by the Portuguese. The criminal acts that do happen, we will not deny that, are ultimately given too much visibility because there is a huge interest in making our sovereignty over the Amazonian region a relative fact, or perceived in a relative light. I met with President Putin and thanked him because on two occasions when this issue was discussed with other countries, he stated that the Amazon region belongs to the Brazilian people, not to anyone else. The Amazon region is as vast as eastern Europe. It’s huge, it’s wonderful, it’s just not possible to, you know, take care of every square meter in the Amazon region. There is illegal deforestation, yes, there are fire outbreaks, yes, but not at the rate that is announced out there. California itself always you know, catches fire, and it’s not given that much visibility, French Guyana likewise, I mean, you can’t possibly set a rain forest to fire, but there is illegal deforestation, yes, and we are working to tackle that.”

Asked about criticism regarding the Amazon, by celebrities-turned-climate activists, like Mark Ruffalo, Bolsonaro said (49:30):”These are people who do not understand anything about Brazil. I think these people have never been to the Amazon region, and I would actually invite them to come to the Amazon region, and overfly the region…They talk about the Amazon region because it’s trendy, it’s a fad. I mean, in Europe, if someone says that the Amazon region is not being devastated, they are politically doomed to fiasco. So, it’s politically good for them, you know, the criticism yields power, yields media visibility, yields votes, and that’s what celebrities feed on. They are not at all familiar with the Amazon region. They are not at all knowledgeable about the region, and the difficulty of investing in it. They just criticize it because it’s a fad.”

Asked whether he has enjoyed being President of Brazil, Bolsonaro said (50:30): “I must admit, you know, I first launched myself as a candidate, of course I intended to become the President, but I was all too aware of the challenges and the difficulties, and the experiences we have undergone, or I have undergone, I could never ever have imagined what it would look like, but I am comforted by the fact that the other candidate, the Workers Party candidate, Haddad, if he had won, Brazil would certainly be what Venezuela is today. So that’s a source of comfort to me, and that encourages me to say to the population that God is the one who has placed me where I am today…A message to the Americans–God, the homeland, family and freedom.”

The final topic of discussion was China, which Tucker Carlson said, was the primary reason for his visit to Brazil. Carlson contends that China is on a quest to colonize Africa and S. America–basically invest heavily in these regions and then take them over as colonies.

Tucker Carlson(58:50): “Given your natural resources, are you worried about the level of Chinese investment in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro:”I would very much like the Americans to also take part in more investments in Brazil. We of course have trade flows with China, and they have of course at least at first shown interest in ensuring their food security.”

Bottom line folks, I came out with the impression that President Bolsonaro is trying very hard to identify himself with the Republican Party in the United States, and specifically,, Trump’s wing of the party. His campaign message appears to be:“If you want Brazil to be God-fearing, rich, prosperous, and free, like the United States, vote for me. If Lula wins, Brazil will become a socialist nation and descend into bloodshed. I am the only one standing between Brazil and socialism/bloodshed, so vote wisely.” Will this campaign pitch be enough to earn Bolsonaro a reelection victory? Hmm, we’ll see what happens.

***Updated to include the fact that on 08/04/2022, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban addressed the CPAC Conference in Dallas, Texas. Orban and Bolsonaro appear to be playing from the same playbook re American conservatives–Christian Nationalism ***

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VP Harris Calls Out The Hypocrisy Of “Pro-Lifers” Who Consistently Vote Against Laws Meant to Financially Assist Parents

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris sat down for an extensive interview with CNN’s Dana Bash(06/27/22), where she discussed the bombshell Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v Wade, and other issues confronting the Biden administration as we approach the crucial midterm elections this Fall. One of the major highlights of the interview was when VP Harris called out the “abject obvious hypocrisy” of “pro-life” Republicans in Congress, who talk a big game about “right to life”, yet at every turn vote against measures intended to improve the financial situation of parents. It appears congressional Republicans only care about the life of the baby before they are actually born.

Asked by host Dana Bash whether the federal government will step in and help mothers who will be forced to have babies they can’t financially support, VP Harris responded(video at 0:10):“I’m so glad you raised that point because I’m going to say this, and here’s the abject obvious hypocrisy. Those people who say that they do not want to allow a woman to choose, to make the decision with her priest, with her rabbi, with her pastor, that instead the government is going to interfere and make the decision for her. Those same people are the ones who voted against the extension of the child tax credit, the same ones who voted against a tax cut for families to pay for child care, the same ones who are voting against paid family leave, the same ones who vote against putting resources into public schools. I was doing work on maternal mortality. We are pushing to say that for example, Medicaid should be extended for post-partum care from 2 months to 12 months. These are the same people who reject the notion of expansion of medicaid.”

Asked what the Biden administration can do in the form of executive action, VP Harris said that this is a democracy, and therefore Congress is the proper venue for effectively addressing issues related to the reproductive health of women. She said as it currently stands, “the numbers are not there” and so the filibuster remains an obstacle, even though Democrats control the White House, the Senate and the House. VP Harris said codifying Roe v Wade will become a reality if Democrats pick up more seats during the upcoming midterms–a tall order which I suspect will not sit well with already frustrated Dem voters.

Asked to weigh in on whether Supreme Court Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch lied under oath during their Senate confirmation hearings, VP Harris responded:“I never believed them. I didn’t believe them. That’s why I voted against them.” She added, “It was clear to me when I was sitting in that chair as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that they were very likely to do what they just did. That was my perspective, that was my opinion, and that’s why I voted like I did.”

As about what the Biden administration is doing to assist working families drowning under high inflation and gas prices, VP Harris pointed out that a lot of this has to do with Putin’s war in Ukraine, and that the Biden administration is working closely with our allies around the world to rectify the situation. She also pointed out the things the Biden administration is doing locally to ease the financial burden on working families, namely, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and child care.

Asked about the January 6th investigation, and whether given her background as a prosecutor, she would bring criminal charges against former President Trump, VP Harris cleverly dodged the question, saying jokingly, “As a former prosecutor, I never comment on another prosecutor’s case.”

Importantly, VP Harris finally settled the lingering rumors that keep popping up in various sections of the mainstream media about President Biden possibly opting out of 2024, or picking a different running mate. She gave host Dana Bash a plain an simple answer to that question: “Joe Biden is running for reelection, and I will be his ticket mate. Full stop.”

Hopefully this will put an end to the annoying MSM rumors about a broken Biden-Harris 2024 ticket. Seriously MSM, there are much more pressing issues to focus on–in 2022!!

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Uvalde Police Enlisted A Biker Group To Harass Members Of The Media

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Members of a Texas biker group seemingly harassing a photojournalist covering the Uvalde school shooting incident

As if the senseless massacre of 19 innocent fourth graders, and two of their teachers in their classrooms in Uvalde Texas is not shocking enough, we now find out that the people whose job it was to keep the little kids safe, Uvalde police, are also caught up in a shocking story of their own–an attempted cover up. Norah Lopez, Executive Editor of the San Antonio Express-News, and President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said on CNN’s Reliable  Sources(06/05/22) that police in Uvalde have apparently enlisted a biker group to harass and intimidate journalists trying to make sense of their(police)conflicting public statements regarding the shooting–a shocking development indeed. Needless to say, this Uvalde incident has also raised serious questions as to whether moving forward, the mainstream media should treat initial incident reports from police as Gospel truth, as it sadly happens often.

Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter opened the segment with these remarks:“The children had to hide from the attacker at Robb Elementary. They had to run, they had to jump, they had to hide so they would not be shot to pieces. And now it’s the police that are hiding. They are hiding from the press. They have to hide from what? The truth? The public getting the truth?”

Stelter continued:“I think everybody is pretty angry at this point, some truly shocking state of affairs in Texas, because at first the officials misled the public, shared incorrect information about the massacre, now they are not sharing much at all. In Uvalde this week, reporters have been stonewalled, doors shut in their faces, some even threatened with arrest just for standing on school property…Most outrageous of all, police apparently sent some bikers to intimidate journalists and prevent them from doing their jobs…”

Asked by host Stelter whether, given what has transpired thus far, the public can trust anything they are told by law enforcement in Uvalde, Norah Lopez responded(video at 1:31):“It’s become increasingly difficult for us to trust what authorities and what the police are telling us, and as a former police reporter, that’s just extraordinary to me that I’m actually saying that, because I’ve always trusted what the police was telling us, what the sergent on duty was telling you was happening. But every day it seems like we get one more little bit of information that directly contradicts what was initially told to us…They are trying to control the narrative, it looks like, keeping us away from talking to people who can help clarify the situation, and what’s happening on the ground.”

There’s no other way to interpret Norah Lopez’s statements on CNN(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course) other than police in Uvalde are not only lying to the media about circumstances surrounding the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School, but they are shockingly, also preventing the media from getting the truth directly from the grieving families. The extent of the attempted cover up is so severe, that they’ve even enlisted a biker group to intimidate and harass journalists who try to talk directly to the grieving families. This is truly shocking, even by Texas standards, where reports of these proxy harassment tactics by law enforcement are prevalent. For law enforcement in Uvalde to engage in such despicable conduct towards the media, knowing full well that the eyes of the world are currently on the city, speaks to a much deeper problem with Uvalde Police Department specifically, and Texas law enforcement generally–a culture of impunity.

Put another way. It’s one thing for Texas law enforcement to enlist some biker gang to harass some local whistleblower who say, sued the department, or exposed some shady dealings within the department(quite common in Texas), but when you start pulling such moves on the mainstream media, covering a huge national story, then reasonable people will agree that something is seriously wrong with the police department.

Norah Lopez specifically said regarding the biker harassment(video at 3:21):“The bikers are the ones who told us that they were there on the invitation of the police…We’ve tried to reach out to the police chief to register these concerns about how they are treating the media out there. We’ve not gotten a response from them yet. It has just been a really incredible difficult situation the way they are trying to control access…Reporters are getting told ‘You can’t be here, this is private property’…”

According to Nora, the bikers are apparently also discouraging families who are willing to speak to the media, from doing so. So they are not just harassing members of the media, they are also actively discouraging  grieving families who wish to speak to the media from doing so. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, proxy harassment and intimidation by Texas law enforcement, towards those who raise issues that cast them in negative light–lawsuits, grievances etc–is nothing new. Reasonable people will agree however, that when such despicable police tactics are directed towards members of the media, just trying to do their job covering a huge story of national/international significance–the senseless massacre of 19 elementary school children and two teachers in their classrooms–then the ethical breach is so flagrant, that it calls for an immediate dismissal of the officers involved. Simply put, a thorough investigation needs to be conducted into who in the Uvalde Police Department, brought in the bikers to harass journalists, after which the officers implicated need to be fired immediately.  

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WaPo’s Taylor Lorenz Addresses Charges That She Doxxed A Conservative Twitter Influencer

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Washington Post’s Columnist Taylor Lorenz has caused a lot of uproar from conservatives after she published identifying details about the creator of a prominent conservative influencer on Twitter. Conservatives have since lashed out at Lorenz, accusing her of unethical doxxing. Lorenz denies the doxxing accusations, arguing that because the Twitter account in question(“Libs of TikTok”) is used to go after LGBTQ personalities, knowledge of the person behind the account is newsworthy. She appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources(04/24/22) to defend her position.

Host Brian Stelter(video at 3:05):“So there are several arguments against your article. One is that this person’s identity is simply not newsworthy, that it doesn’t matter who this anonymous conservative woman is, and that you naming her is targeting her, trying to hurt her. What do you say to those folks?”

Taylor Lorenz:“Well, first of all, this woman is targeting LGBTQ folks. I mean, she brags about getting multiple teachers fired. The entire goal of the account is to direct hate to Trans and LGBTQ people. She has said that she doesn’t believe gay people who come out should be allowed to teach children, she attacked the Trevor Project calling it a ‘groomer’ organization, so I don’t know what she’s talking about in that sense…I think you can have concern about what your children are learning in school, and not follow an LGBTQ hate account that the whole goal is to get Trans and LGBTQ people sort of excluded from public life, and drive these very harmful narratives around Trans people…Those are two very very very very different things. She’s also talked about mobilizing her base to run for local school boards, and is collecting email lists which 100% are going to be used for political purposes, so this is a political force, this is an influential media force, the idea that this woman is not newsworthy is nonsense…I cover influencers for a living and I’m telling you this woman is more influential than a lot of people that I cover…the right will make those arguments because they don’t want scrutiny.”

So there you have it, folks. Team “Libs of TiKTok” is claiming unethical doxxing by WaPo’s Taylor Lorenz, and TeamLorenz is countering with the argument that “Libs of TikTok”, and right wingers generally, are simply afraid of legitimate scrutiny.

$1 million question now is, what does TeamPublic think?

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Pressure Mounting On GOP Senator Mike Lee To Come Clean Over His Role In Overturning 2020 Election

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Interesting segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show(04/19/22) looked into the intense pressure building on Senator Mike Lee(R-UT) from his hometown newspapers, for him to come clean over his involvement with efforts to assist former President Trump to overturn the 2020 elections, and specifically, his role in the fake electors scheme. As Maddow correctly pointed out, public statements attributed to Sen Lee regarding Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections are in stark contrast with his newly released private text messages, which clearly show his deep involvement with the fake electors scheme.

It appears Sen Lee’s hometown newspapers have seized on this glaring discrepancy between public “constitutional conservative” Mike Lee, and private insurrectionist Mike Lee, and are demanding that the Senator finally come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections. The newspapers have zeroed in on the Utah State Republican Convention scheduled for Saturday(04/23/22, for Sen Lee to finally come clean about this issue.

Maddow referenced an editorial from a leading Utah newspaper(video at 4:15): “Just today, the Salt Lake Tribune has released a new editorial under this headline, Saturday’s Utah State Republican Convention would be a great place for Mike Lee to come clean…It’s past time for Mike Lee to start fessing up to all he knows about the plot to set aside the results of an honest and fair election in order to keep Donald Trump in power. We know Utah’s Senior Senator had a much greater role in that plot than he has previously acknowledged. His constituents deserve a much more detailed accounting of what went on and the extent of Senator Lee’s participation in it. Yesterday would be a great time for Senator Lee to come clean. Saturday’s State Republican Convention would be a really good opportunity for that too.”

Bottom line folks, it is very encouraging to see the media in Utah pressuring Senator Lee to come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. To date, there has been been very little individual accountability for members of Congress who were clearly involved in Trump’s illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and hopefully, this is the beginning of some much overdue reckoning for members of Congress. It would be great if Texas newspapers would also inquire into whether public “constitutional conservative” Ted Cruz was likewise, a private insurrectionist.

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