In Brazil, President
Jair Bolsonaro has been
effectively removed from power, at least for the foreseeable
His airy insouciance
in face of the spreading virus exposed him to it. He has for the
moment and the foreseeable future been quietly replaced by
Army Chief of Staff General
Walter Braga Netto.
Commented Miguel Andrade on
World Socialist Website,
political establishment, from business circles to bourgeois
editorial boards and the whole spectrum of political
parties, is treating as an accomplished fact that President
Jair Bolsonaro's Chief of Staff Gen. Walter Braga Netto has
been designated by the military brass to rein in the
government's criminally negligent response to the COVID-19
"The pandemic is
rapidly gripping the entire country, with authorities
projecting as an 'optimistic' scenario of 100,000 deaths in
the state of São Paulo alone and admitting to having lost
control of even how many tests have been carried out
He rightly concluded,
negligence and incompetence of the Bolsonaro administration
has called into question the legitimacy of the entire
bourgeois setup in Brazil."
The history of the
Brazilian military in power hardly suggests a chorus of sweet
heavenly angels singing "kumbaya" but they have never to their
credit been remotely as manic or merciless as the Argentinean
armed forces, for example when given their head.
In the United States, President
Donald Trump remains
un-incapacitated by the virus but he has enthusiastically
approved a wild range of big spending bills that rival
those of his two predecessors
George W. Bush and
Barack Obama in their
As I have noted
before, America's Libertarians and Cato Institute
haters of any kind of national government and big spending
continue to mutter and moan at Trump's policies but no one even
in the old Reagan and Bush loyalist ranks of the Republican
party dares to challenge him.
Right now the most dangerous parts of American for the virus are
New York City and other self-righteous, ultra-liberal Sanctuary
City core areas.
This has not gone
unnoted across America's vast continental Heartland which went
for Trump by large margins in the 2016 election.
There are many months for the situation to change, but right
now, Trump looks on course to win reelection by a larger margin
than he did in the 2016 contest with Hillary Clinton.
His margin will rise
to landslide proportions if the Democrats are benighted enough
to replace former vice president Joe Biden, their only
credible candidate, with the self-righteous, but frighteningly
incompetent governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, a
Hillary Clinton loyalist
who lost a thousand ventilators that the federal government had
to help him find in a warehouse in New Jersey.
As I have previously noted, Mohamed Bin Salman was
driving Saudi Arabia into self-inflicted ruin long before the
coronavirus hit but it hasn't helped.
The governor of
Riyadh, the Crown Prince's uncle and key ally has been laid low
by the COVID-19 and MBS and his father, old 84-year-old King
Salman have retreated to an island refuge in the Red Sea.
That makes them more
vulnerable to a coup and there are any number of powerful
players from Iran to the United States who could be motivated to
try and cut them out.
In Britain, Prime Minister
Boris Johnson has been
Notably, on being
discharged from an intensive care unit (ICU) he
graciously thanked the country's National Health Service for
saving his life. This is not as much of a volte face as
it might appear as Johnson pledged after his general election
victory last year to invest much more money in the NHS.
But it will stick in
the craws of the Thatcherite slash-government purists in
his Conservative Party.
Under the remorseless Audit of Pandemic, Johnson is
therefore moving in the same direction as Trump in the United
States and General Braga Netto in Brazil:
Away from the
idealized minimum or zero government role in the economy and
health care and instead towards a nationalist, hands-on
central government that at least acknowledges its
responsibility for the wellbeing of the general population.
sheltered, romantic libertarians will continue to shake their
heads wearing their quaint tricolor hats and muttering darkly
about the anger of their ridiculous false gods
David Ricardo and