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Old 02-23-2003, 08:13 PM   #1
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American presidents all mixed up

Okay, this is from a very "leftist" source, I know. Yet it´s kinda funny...or maybe tragic suits better, LOL. You decide.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/st...884297,00.html

American presidents all mixed up

In a bizarre twist, global bankers love Lula and despair of Bush

Richard Adams
Wednesday January 29, 2003
The Guardian

It's surprising that no one has noticed this, but it looks as if there has been a terrible mix-up involving American presidents.
For some time there have been suggestions that US president George Bush doesn't know what's he is doing. The answer is simple: he's supposed to be the president of Brazil.

Meanwhile, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - or Lula, as the new president of Brazil is known - should be president of the United States. The mix-up is obvious, when you consider the facts.

Wealthy oligarchs, who reach high office through nepotism, promoting friends of their family into government while presiding over corporate sleaze, and running up vast debts by making tax giveaways to their rich, rightwing supporters - that's the sort of behaviour that South American presidents are renowned for.

Meanwhile, policies of stern fiscal prudence, applauded by the international financial markets, coupled with tough welfare reform, is what is expected from leaders of the United States.

But in a bizarre geo-political twist, these stereotypes have been turned on their heads. While the president of South America's most important country couldn't be more different as a person than the president of North America's most important country, it's hard not to think the world would be a better place if the two men swapped jobs.

The irony is that during the 2000 US presidential election, the difference between Bush and Democrat candidate Al Gore was so slim that the pair were mocked as "Gush and Bore".

Coming from a conservative background and party, Bush was supposed to stick to the status quo of balanced budgets and a strong US currency inherited from the Clinton administration. Few analysts - if any - thought Bush's narrow victory would make any difference to the way the US economy was run.

Lula's election was far less auspicious, preceded by dire warnings of economic meltdown - although no one accused the populist former union leader as being indistinguishable from Jose Sera, his technocrat opponent.

A one-time trade union radical from Brazil's huge working class, who had run for the Brazilian presidency four times, Lula's election was treated with dismay. He was said to be a firebrand leftwinger who would destroy the stability that Brazil has enjoyed since the pragmatismo policies of the previous administration, headed by Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Yet since his election, Lula's policies have met with praise from the bankers that rule the financial markets. Brazil was dragged down by Argentina's economic implosion last year, but since Lula's victory, Brazil's currency, the real, has made a remarkable recovery on world markets. At the same time, the interest rate on Brazilian government debt has halved since before Lula's election in November, as bankers have started regarding the country as a lower risk.

While Bush talked a good game about "leaving no child behind" as president, Lula has made social welfare reform his centrepiece, to help balance his government's budget and lower interest rates.

Policy is moving in the opposite direction under Bush. The US dollar has sunk to its weakest levels since his election, while the economy continues to splutter along - despite the US central bank pumping out cheap money at a rapid rate.

Bush's answer to the weak economy has been to reach back to the discredited "trickle down" supply-side policies of Ronald Reagan, and hand out huge tax cuts to the wealthy - exactly the sort of policies that his own father, George Bush the elder, memorably described as "voodoo economics".

Throughout his election campaign in 2000, Bush regularly pledged to balance the government's budget. Instead, in the words of economist Paul Krugman, the US government "faces the prospect of large deficits as far as the eye can see".

Bush is offering tax cuts that will cost over $600bn (£380bn), with more than half the benefits going to the wealthy, those making more than $200,000 (£125,000) a year. Of that sum, $150bn is to go to the very wealthy - those making more than $1m a year.

But the most obvious reason that George Bush should swap Washington for Brasilia is that it suits him better. Bush spends so much time trying to deny his blue-blood, Ivy League-educated background, by posing as a man of the people - slipping off to work on his Texas ranch, wearing cowboy hats, driving a pick-up.

Lula, on the other hand, grew up in abject poverty near Sao Paulo, selling peanuts and working as a shoeshine boy. He is a real man of the people - and in an ideal world would be in the White House.

Of course it also means Brazil ends up with George Bush. But then Jorge Arbusto, as he would be known, might quite enjoy life up the rugged Amazon. Whether the people of Brazil want him is another matter.
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:47 PM   #2
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Maybe we could swap?
I told you how depressed I was when the votes of our last federal election came through. So pleeeeeeeeeeease...........take ours.


I have a pic for you follower....the tree you mentioned, I know it by another name, Barbados Cherry. It gets lovely pink flowers, but it has never fruited here. Some people I know have a fruiting one, and I reckong they taste like starwberries that grow on trees. Just yummy.
My tree grows U2 Cd's...I wish
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:53 PM   #3
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**strawberries**

I forget sometimes that the "quick reply" option, doesn't allow attachments...woops ...again
hmm while I have thsi open I can do this



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oh and this
I was trying to keep up with a latin aerobics instructor. She left me waaaaaaaay behind. Good fun PEACE on EARTH
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Old 02-25-2003, 09:01 PM   #4
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follower, I love that piece about the presidents!



(Big surprise )
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Old 02-26-2003, 06:41 AM   #5
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cass, you never cease to amaze me. Now you have a tree that grows U2 CDs! I wanna have one of those.

martha, why you liking the article doesn´t surprise me either?
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Old 02-28-2003, 08:03 PM   #6
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Sorry guys, this thread was supposed to be dead, I know. But I found another article on the same lines, from US press this time. I hope you don´t think this is shameless propaganda. I just thought it would be good for you to read what this journalist says. And by the way, I was there among those 75.000

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/11/dissonance-cooper.php

Dissonance
The Real Thing
Bush Inc. could learn a truth or two from Lula
by Marc Cooper


PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — It’s hard not to be moved — deeply moved — when you hear Brazil’s new president speak. And even harder not to be downright jarred by the realization — by comparison — of how very hollow, how very dead-ended, our own national politics have become. I can’t think of two countries today more politically divergent than the U.S. and Brazil, or two presidents who reveal more startlingly opposite political possibilities than George W. Bush and the newly inaugurated Luis Ignacio “Lula” da Silva.

I stood last Friday afternoon, along with 75,000 others, surrounded by a sea of flapping flags, in the riverside Por do Sol amphitheater to hear President Lula speak to the third annual World Social Forum, the “people’s alternative” to the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s international powwow of the anti-globalization movement drew more than 100,000 participants to 1,500 panels and seminars, featuring A-list lefties ranging from Noam Chomsky to Danielle Mitterand to Arundhati Roy to Che Guevara’s daughter to Danny Glover.

But it was Lula who towered above all.

There he stood diminutively on the stage, short and pudgy, 57 years old, and bearded. He spoke softly and calmly, with a conversational tone, and with none of the rehearsed trademark theatrics of a trained pol. As the man who now presides over this country of 175 million, with the eighth biggest economy in the world, but with wealth so radically ill-distributed that as many as 30 million live at sub-Saharan levels of poverty, Lula focused his talk on the injustices of the global economy. “There are those who eat five times a day,” he said. “And those who eat maybe once in five days.”

And then, his soft voice hesitating and catching with emotion, Lula continued, “African babies have the same right to eat as a blond, blue-eyed baby born in Scandinavia.”

When Bush utters similar phrases about “leaving no child behind,” you can as much as see the smirk behind it all, the cold political calculations of his chuckling speechwriters and pollsters.

With Lula, you feel the resonance deep in your gut. His sincerity is undoubted because you know his own personal story is so real. Born to an impoverished farm family, Lula dropped out of school at age 12 and moved to the city. Carving out a meager existence on the mean streets of São Paulo (where today the murder rate is five times that of Washington, D.C.), Lula worked as a bootblack.

He never returned to school, and during the 21 years of Brazilian military dictatorship, Lula toiled as a metalworker. He courageously defied the regime and helped rebuild a powerful national trade-union movement. Since 1980 he has been leading another of his creations, the idiosyncratic Workers Party, an amalgam of Marxists, liberals and Christians.

After three earlier failed attempts, Lula swept to a 61 percent landslide presidential victory, propelled by an electorate fed up with the “Washington consensus” — the dogmatic and disastrous application of free-market recipes that in this country has led to mounting unemployment and inflation, a consuming debt and shaky currency. And now Brazil calls on a metalworker and his party to solve the crisis.

Yet we’re told by imbecilic pundits that Bush, son of a former CIA director, vice president and president, a lazy layabout admitted into Yale on the “legacy” affirmative-action program, with his Texas twang and scrambled syntax, should be venerated as a Regular Guy. Or that Bill Clinton’s Cabinet “looked like America” because it vaguely conformed to the politically correct racial quotas of some university administrator’s spreadsheet.

Compare all of that with Lula’s Cabinet: seven trade unionists, a former rubber cutter and maid as environmental minister, a black shantytown dweller and feminist as social-welfare minister, a Green Party activist and popular musician as cultural minister, and a chief of staff who spent 10 years in hiding for his armed resistance to the former dictatorship.

Bush barreled into office rewarding the wealthiest elite with a double serving of juicy and fattening tax cuts. Lula’s first acts were to fire the gourmet chef from the presidential staff and then to cancel the $700 million purchase of 12 new air-force fighter jets, redirecting the funding to his new “Zero Hunger” program.

Most of the trips taken by Bush’s Cabinet members have been to high-ticket fund-raisers or — frankly — to their brokers, to check on their tenuous multimillion-dollar portfolios. Two weeks ago, Lula took his entire Cabinet to the drought-stricken Northeast for a two-day “reality tour,” tramping them through and bunking them down into the slums of Recife. Imagine the political theater — if you can — of Don Rumsfeld and CSX CEO–turned–Treasury Secretary John Snow spending a cozy weekend with immigrant janitors, say, in downtown Chula Vista, California. I can just hear Snow, whose CSX received $167 million in tax rebates, lecturing poor Jose and Guadalupe over an albondigas-soup dinner to start being more self-reliant and to stop expecting so much from government.

Which takes us to the nub of this meditation — our expectations. One adviser to Lula joked to me this week, if you will excuse the crudeness, that “Lula is like a Tampax. He’s in the best place at the worst time.” These are certainly the worst economic times for Brazil. Its debt accounts for 80 percent of its GDP (compared to 52 percent for Argentina, which has already collapsed). The gnomes at the International Monetary Fund have imposed a fiscal straitjacket putting crucial social spending at risk.

But it is precisely now that Lula, and Brazil, have chosen to respond by acting on their dreams, not their fears. Yes, they say, to eliminating hunger. Yes, to doubling the minimum wage. Yes, to expanding health care. Yes, to more schools. And yes, to a more equitable trading position with the richer countries of the world.

And what do we hear? We who live in the richest corner of the Earth, after a decade of the richest times? Only a thundering cascade of no, no, no. No tax relief for the poor — for that would be “class warfare.” No new money for public schools, for that would be “throwing good money after bad.” No rise in the minimum wage because that would be unfair to business. No national solution to the crisis of 50 million without health care because that would be “like going to the post office to see a doctor.”

Brazilians live precariously with the greatest of hopes. And we live with fabulous potential that is the legitimate envy of the globe, and we have, seemingly, no hope.

Or at least none that we are willing to seriously fight for. For in all this, George W. Bush carries no blame. He is merely the product of our congealed aspirations — or lack of them. Just as in Brazil Lula is but a symbol of something much larger. “I wasn’t elected by a TV commercial, or by a collection of powerful interests,” he said humbly to the crowd in front of him. “Nor was I elected because of my intelligence or personality. I was elected by the intelligence and political consciousness of the Brazilian people, who have fought for 40 years for what they have wanted.”
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Old 03-01-2003, 01:36 AM   #7
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Careful. Sounds like Brazil might need to be liberated from this dreadful Marxist-leaning lefty. You know, in the Reagan years, my country would have found a way to help you out of this, and back to the fold of American corporate democracy.


Too bad the Brazilians have opted for true democracy. It may get messy.








Sorry. Was I too too sarcastic? We'll see what our conservative friends say to this. Although I think they left this thread a looooong time ago.
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Old 03-19-2003, 07:17 PM   #8
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These threads can be like time capsules. I hope they remain alive

it is good to add follow-up articles to threads, it can only increase our knowledge and do no harm. I can see by this thread it was less than a month ago I made claims about not being able to grow acerole/ Barbados Cherry here. Maybe the tree just needed to mature and be given a big dose of water. We have had good soaking here rain here at last. But it was a nice coincidence it happened just after you mentioned them to me

It's a sad day follower. War- a good name for an album, but a terrifying human reality.
So all I can do is keep on, my garden, my boys..

It may be a bit unclear, but that is the barbados cherry, loaded with fruit....well one branch, they seem to all be on the new growth.
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Old 03-19-2003, 07:26 PM   #9
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so I'd like to add it to the list of miracles...imho

and here we have the still maturing Barbados Cherry, ( they are just starting to show a blush of red) and THE most delicious japoticabas...that tree is a miracle too imho. This time they are so big.
I was reading some old Bob Dylan lyrics here this morning..With God On Our Side...the phrase "chemical dust" leapt out at me. It's everywhere. I do wish everyone had the chance to grow/buy chemical-free food.
My hand seem to be getting into a few pics here lately, chubby little pink thing that it is...you can see why I'm not a very good guitar player.
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