Costa Rica’s TSE: still counting those ballots. Chain of custody issues to be looked at later.
Stupid freaking Brazilians, that don’t know how to vote properly” –President-General Figueiredo of Brazil on a spanking taken at the polls by ARENA, the party of the generalíssimos.
A gente não sabemos escolher presidente
A gente não sabemos tomar conta da gente
A gente não sabemos nem escovar os dentes
Tem gringo pensando que nóis é indigente
A gente somos inútil
–Korzus (Brazil), “Inútil (Useless)”, from Mass Illusion
Yes, nós temos bananas
Bananas pra dar e vender
Banana engorda e faz crescer
— Alberto Ribeiro and João de Barro
YouTube reproduces a floor speech by Ohio’s Senator Brown in which the disheveled heartland heartthrob with the Yale B.A. describes the FUD strategy used in the recent Costa Rican referendum, as well as the astonishing “arm-twisting” — do you know that story? — used to pass CAFTA in the first place.
Seriously, what would happen if Administration officials — dedicated democracy exporters all — were found to have broken another democratic people’s election laws at the behest of Chiquita freaking “we armed both the FARC and the AUC” Banana Brands?
I know it sounds insane, but other countries have laws against foreign interference in our elections. Come to think of it, so do we.
Do we really think that having Susan Schwab’s name signed to a front-page editorial during the “election ceasefire” period, conveying disinformation, is a harbinger of success during the next try at getting Doha done?
Do we really think that people who live in [literal] banana republics lack critical reasoning faculties? Bananas, the nutritionists tell us, are actually a form of brain food, you know. (We have a banana tree growing in our quintal here, in fact.)
Most recent comment, on previous Spanish and Spanglish comments on the “NO” side of the issue:
All of the people wtitting here don’t know a heck of commerce or economics, chicos por favor soy tica, no se metan en lo que no saben, el desarrollo va de la mano del libre comercio, estudien un poco.
Arguments from ethos, or appeals to personal authority — “You do not know what you are talking about, but I do, because I have studied the issue” — do not tend to work well in combination with anonymous cowardice (as they call it over on the Slashdot forums).
I mean, I could go onto some physics forum and say the same thing to a bunch of Dr. Frinks regarding the latest theories of black holes.
“Oh, please, Dr. Frink, everyone knows that only the theory of the luminiferous aether can plausibly explain the quango nature of the event horizon. Get with the times, you ignorant slobs!”
The supernerds would very properly blow me off with the question: “And … you are who, and got your Ph.D. in quarkian thinkology where, again?”
And I would be stumped. At the very least, the commenter should sign themselves as “Joseph Stiglitz” or something.
(I am doing a reel from the Costa Rican YES and NO campaigns. Interesting example: “Oscar Arias Sánchez urges you to vote NO!” This Oscar Arias Sánchez is another Oscar Arias Sánchez than the president — a young and kind of hunky Oscar Arias.
The TSE disallowed an ad from the campaign that does not reveal that fact, but — I think — allowed others in which the young, hunky guy comes on camera and reveals that HE is the Oscar Arias Sánchez in question, not the President of Costa Rica.
These ad execs — what shennanigans will they get up to next?)
No wonder Mayor Mike — I admit it, the guy was the first Republican I ever voted for in my life — left the GOP.
These people are even more politically suicidal than the gabbling, Blogging for Dean-driven Kerry campaign of 2004. (One of the worst presidencies of any political persuasion, ever. They could not beat it. D’oh!)
They apparently smoke their own crack.
If the Iraq War wound up not paying for itself, and rose petals were not strewn in the path of the conquering armies of liberation, and the CPA’s redrafting of Iraq’s intellectual property laws did not magically solve the problem created by disbanding the freaking Iraqi Army — the one institution in the country reasonably well set up to keep young men reasonably well fed and occupied and out of trouble — then what made them think the rest of the world was going to sit still for this kind of thing?
It’s Homer Simspon diplomacy: Remember how when Homer does something stupid that causes him a lot of pain, he goes and does it again? And again? “If you try, and fail, try, try again — without taking into account where you went wrong the last time.”
It reminds me of that scene from The Manchurian Candidate:
Senator Jordan: I despise John Iselin and everything that Iselinism has come to stand for. I think, if John Iselin were a paid Soviet agent, he could not do more to harm this country than he’s doing now.
You just imagine those Bolivarian flacks in Caracas sitting around laughing and going, “God, how stupid and short-sighted can these people possibly be?”
My insidious strategy for keeping Chávez tamped down: Without the loud spear-rattling of the empire to the north, Venezuelans start judging the guy on whether he is really doing the best possible job of picking up the trash and delivering school lunches or not.
He eventually hands over power to the former transportation commissioner of Caracas, who is a dull fellow but got the city bus system running.
This redistribution of wealth thing could actually work in our capitalist running-dog favor: People who move out of mud huts into decent housing, and get jobs, could be induced to want refrigerators, and stereos, and not having to spend so much time during their commute to work. A guy with a little patience could really clean up in a situation like that, provided he managed not to alienate his future customer base for generations to come.
Such as by giving money to people who line trade-unionists up against walls and shoot them.