Things That Matter

It’s Been Six Months And Brazil’s President Is On A Tear Stripping Rights Away From Every Vulnerable Community

@jairbolsonaro / Twitter

President Bolsonaro, who has been referred to as “Brazil’s Trump” or “Tropical Trump,” has just enjoyed the first six months of his presidency. While his 27 years in Congress was marked by only two bills that became law, Bolsonaro is making irreversible changes as President. The country remains divided in opinion, with some Bolsonaro supporters already regretting their vote, and others experiencing the benefits of his inauguration.

Bolsonaro ran on a platform as anti-corruption and pro-gun as a measure to reduce crime and gang violence in the country. He’s also emphasized a return to “family values,” which includes far-right beliefs like homosexuality as unnatural, and the nuclear working-father stay-at-home mother family archetype. Here’s what all that talk has looked like in real life.

In his first hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro removed LGBTQ+ rights from its human rights ministry scope.

@arabellamartuni / Twitter

He also attempted to remove homosexuality from textbooks. In the past, Bolsonaro has said that he’d prefer his son dead rather than gay. Bolsonaro also had to cancel a trip to New York after American protest due to his anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

Just recently, after Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ people deserve protection from discrimination, Bolsonaro warned against Brazil becoming “known as a gay tourism paradise.” Needless to say, Pride festivals were even bigger this year.

In a play against crime, Bolsonaro eased restrictions on gun ownership.

@JComm_NewsFeeds / Twitter

The executive order makes it easier for a person to import guns and raises the cap on the amount of ammunition a single person can buy in a year… by a lot. Instead of 50 cartridges of ammunition allowed per year, a single Brazilian can purchase 5,000 cartridges per year.

His administration has introduced a bill that would protect police if they kill a suspect out of fear or “intense emotion.”

@KenRoth / Twitter

President Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, Sérgio Moro, is responsible for the introduction of said bill. If an officer cites “excusable fear, surprise or intense emotion,” the officer won’t be held accountable for the death of the alleged suspect. It essentially shields abusive officers from consequence and leaves citizens more vulnerable to the emotionality of officers.

Over 13 million Brazilians remain unemployed.

@RekordNewspaper / Twitter

This photograph is of Brazilians standing in line outside an employment center in Rio de Janeiro. When asked, those in line say they’re ready to accept any job.

Bolsonaro ran a campaign that focused so heavily on pension reform to ease Brazil’s debt that little focus has been left for the growing unemployment crisis.

Bolsonaro has followed through on his promise to strengthen ties with the U.S. and Israel.

@BrazilianReport / Twitter

These two have gotten along great. No democratic President of Brazil has been so pro-US as Bolsonaro. In March, Bolsonaro traveled to Washington to meet with Trump, and the two were publicly heaping praise for each other on national television.

Most significantly, Bolsonaro has begun weakening environmental restrictions to strengthen his ties with agribusiness.

@tveitdal / Twitter

Bolsonaro is a climate-change denier. He has begun removing environmental protections on a forested coast south of Rio de Janeiro in the hopes of creating “a Cancún of Brazil.” A previous Environmental Minister has called Bolsonaro the “exterminator of the future.”

By the end of January, the administration cleared another 159 pesticides and chemicals for legal sale in the country. By March, the administration began floating the idea of loosening regulations around mining in indigenous territory.

Bolsonaro’s own son has been involved in a corruption scandal.

@AndyVermaut / Twitter

An investigation is currently underway to understand suspicious payments between Senator Flavio Bolsonaro and his former driver. A court allowed Flavio’s banking records to be examined as federal investigators call it a money-laundering investigation. This all comes after Flavio Bolsonaro suddenly purchased at least two luxury apartments in Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile, a movement that alleges Bolsonaro framed former President Lula de Silva on corruption is growing.

@fofunista / Twitter

Many political leaders, including Senator Bernie Sanders, have called on Bolsonaro to release Lula de Silva. All this comes after evidence that shows Bolsonaro may have conspired with prosecutor Sérgio Moro to frame Lula de Silva, which pulled him out of a race that he was projected to win.

The credibility of Bolsonaro’s presidency has gone into question.

@caribbeannewsuk / Twitter

For a man whose campaign was run on effectively draining the swamp, many Brazilians are concerned that the election was rigged by the collaboration of Moro and Bolsonaro. Six months into his Presidency, an investigation is underway.

Still, an estimated 4 million Brazilians rallied in support of Bolsonaro on May 26.

@brazil_fake / Twitter

Approximately 330 cities and initial estimates of 4 million continued loyal supporters rallied for Bolsonaro. They all want a smaller government, clean of corruption.

READ: A Tough On Drugs President Just Had 86 Pounds Of Cocaine Found In One Of His Presidential Airplanes

Brazil’s Government Is Wrong About The Amazon Fires And This Proves It

Things That Matter

Brazil’s Government Is Wrong About The Amazon Fires And This Proves It

The Amazon rainforest in South America has been burning for more than two weeks. The majority of the fires are located in Brazil, but neighboring Bolivia has also been affected. Fires in this time of the year are common, but they are usually controllable and die off when rain comes. 

This year is different: climate change, experts argue, has translated into a drier summer spell, which is to blame for the severity of the fires. The incendios are also a result of human action, as they are often used as a method of clearing land for farming and industrial purposes. This time, however, things have gotten out of control. 

The Amazon, which works as our planet’s lungs, are experiencing unprecedented fires.

Credit: Instagram. @costa.vicentina.oficial

Experts argue that the massive South American rainforest provides around 20% of the world’s oxygen. As reported by The Sun, if the Amazon is threatened a process of “dieback” could be triggered. This means that the rainforest would spew carbon back into the atmosphere, speeding up climate change. British researchers have said that “If 20 per cent of Brazil’s rainforest perished it could exacerbate this process in such a way which would dry trees, leaving them unable to absorb as much carbon and making it more flammable and likely to spread fires”. So this could actually be the beginning of the end. 

So how bad is it? 

Credit: Instagram. @maribricenod

In short: pretty damn awful. There are more than 70,000 fires burning as you read this. The amount of smoke is so huge that one of Brazil’s biggest cities, Sao Paolo, has been covered by a dark cloud. The sun is nowhere to be seen. As The Economist reports: “Social-media users posted pictures of the gloom, juxtaposing the dystopian afternoon sky with fictional apocalyptic places such as Gotham City from Batman, Mordor from Lord of the Rings and “the upside down” from Stranger Things”. 

Las cosas se encuentran de la fregada, to be honest.

Credit: Twitter. @WMO

The World Meteorological Organization, the United Nation’s weather arm, tweeted about the fires Thursday: “Fires release pollutants including particulate matter & toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides  and non-methane organic compounds into the atmosphere”. The organization has also been updating satellite imagery of the fires which shows the extent of the damage. Half of Brazil is covered in smoke. 

The main culprits: the cattle and logging industries.

Credit: Twitter. @DaniRabaiotti

Wildfires in the Amazon are not natural events at all. They are caused by two main factors: droughts, a product of climate change, and human industrial activities. The farming industry often starts these fires (sometimes illegally) to clear land for animals to roam. The logging industry is also to blame, as an article in The Conversation explains: “These changes are exacerbated by ‘selective logging’ of specific tree species, which opens up the canopy and further dries out the understory and forest edges, which are drier than the interiors. The result: normally fire-proof rainforests become flammable”. Yes, profit is the force behind the deadly force of fire. 

And obviously environmentalists and activists are muy encabronados!

Credit: Twitter. @MuseWendi

Wildfires concern us all. They will affect the prospects of human survival on Earth for generations to come. To be honest, we should all be very upset about this. 

The whole world should be paying attention, but if you Google “Amazon Fire” this is what you get

Credit: Screenshot. Google Search. 

Seriously. Algorithmic searching does not always work best when it comes to raising awareness on important issues that concern the whole of humanity. As digital natives, we experience news events according to our own media consumption, so we risk living in a bubble where everything seems fine while the world is quite literally on fire. 

Yeah, Notre Dame sure is an icon, but the Amazon keeps the planet alive.

Credit: Instagram. @maribricenod

Sure, the Notre Dame cathedral, which was severely damaged by a fire on April 15, is an icon of Western Europe and a source of pride for France. When the building was burning down, millions of people took on social media to send prayers and express their alarm. The response to the Amazonian fire has been small in comparison, which begs the question: what do we value more, culture or nature? Food for thought!

The fires are a sort of apocalypse for indigenous Brazilians.

Credit: Twitter. @karielaing

The Amazon is inhabited by indigenous populations that have survived centuries of colonization and pillaging first by the Portuguese and then by corporations and the Brazilian government. These fires spell disaster for original owners of the land, whose home and survival is at risk. They blame industry and indiscriminate land clearing for the disaster. 

The Internet is pretty angry at Brazil’s new president, the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, who suggested that NGOs might have started the fires! 

Seriously, WTAF! Even if he has since somewhat retracted from what he said, Bolsonaro has said that the fires are being set by his critics to make him look bad. He said: “The fire was started, it seemed, in strategic locations. There are images of the entire Amazon. How can that be? Everything indicates that people went there to film and then to set fires. That is my feeling”.

Pretty egocentric, eh? No wonder he is often compared to Donald J. Trump. In the latest developments, Bolsonaro has said that his country does not have the resources to fight the fire. Damn. 

The fires could accelerate climate change, according to the UN, but the Brazilian government seems to be ignoring the extent of the catastrophe.

Credit: Instagram. @amnistiapt

The United Nations and European countries such as France are now raising their voices, urging the Brazilian government to act. As reported by Agence France Press: “France’s President Emmanuel Macron said the wildfires were “an international crisis” and called on the globe’s most industrialized nations to address it at their summit this weekend”. 

Macron said on Twitter: “Our house is on fire. Literally. The Amazon, the lung of our planet which produces 20 percent of our oxygen is burning”. 

Bolsonaro’s response? He criticized the UN and France for having a “colonialist mentality”. El burro hablando de orejas. 

Antonio Banderas Owes His Life To A Heroic Drag Queen Who Stopped Traffic To Save His Life

Entertainment

Antonio Banderas Owes His Life To A Heroic Drag Queen Who Stopped Traffic To Save His Life

antoniobanderasoficial / Instagram

Antonio Banderas is one of the most iconic actors to ever live. He has played a long series of characters spanning time, ideologies, and sexual orientations. However, Banderas recently shared a story that suggests his storied career might not have ever happened.

In a recent interview, Banderas recently admitted that he was in a horrific accident when he was a teenager.

Credit: @DNAmagazine / Twitter

Banderas recently spoke to The Independent and the interview started with a story about how a drag queen came to his rescue. Banderas was only about 16 years old at the time and continues to thank and think about the drag queen who came to his rescue.

“It was 1976,” Banderas recalls to The Independent.

“And the front wheel of my motorbike went into a ditch and, boom! I hit a car and my head hit the tank. Bam! Then this person who was working a corner for clients, came from nowhere, got in the middle of the road and stopped a car to take me to hospital,” Banderas told The Independent.”The kickstand got me here [in the calf]. Blood everywhere. You could see the bone.”

That’s right. A 16-year-old Banderas owes his life to a drag queen who drove him to the hospital after a motorbike accident.

We don’t know who the drag queen is and Banderas didn’t give any more details other than the rescue. However, it is pretty cool to hear Banderas recall a story from so long ago that many never knew.

The interview was for Banderas’s new role in “Pain and Glory” where he plays a gay man.

“I don’t really know,” Banderas said when asked if straight people are given LGBTQ+ roles too often. “I’ve played gay characters for a long time and have always tried to be very respectful to the gay community. I’m an actor. I just play the character and try to believe them completely when I’m doing them. I try not to perform them; I try to live them. But, you know, I’m not Zorro, either. I have never been heroic. I run away!”

Banderas has played the role of a gay man multiple times starting in 1987 with “Law of Desire.”

Whoever the person is who saved Banderas’s life all those years ago, thank you. You saved an artistic gem and we are all better for it.

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