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Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro targets ‘lying’ press, wants crusading judge as minister

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Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has revisited his most contentious campaign promises, calling for looser gun laws, urging a high-profile anti-corruption judge to join his government and promising to cut government advertising for media that “lie.”

In interviews with TV stations and on social media, Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former Army captain, who won 55 percent of Sunday’s vote and will be sworn in on Jan. 1, made clear he would not waste time in pushing through his conservative agenda.

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Bolsonaro, who ran on a law-and-order platform, said he wants Sergio Moro, the judge who has overseen the sprawling “Car Wash” corruption trials and convicted former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of graft, to join his government as justice minister.

Barring that, he said he would nominate him to the Supreme Court. The next vacancy on the court is expected in 2020.

Moro did not respond to requests for comment.

But Ascânio Seleme, editor in chief for the O Globo newspaper, wrote in a Tuesday blog post on the publication’s website that Moro should not accept the offer to become justice minister. He has too much work to do on pending corruption trials, Seleme wrote.

Seleme added it would also bolster accusations from the Workers Party (PT), whose candidate Fernando Haddad lost to Bolsonaro in Sunday’s vote, that Moro has a vendetta against the PT and worked to keep it from power.

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The PT accuses Moro of finding da Silva, its founder, guilty of graft to block him from making a presidential run.

The guilty verdict was upheld on appeal and Brazil’s Supreme Court has rejected numerous requests to free the former president, universally known as Lula.

The Globo newspaper, in a separate article citing unnamed sources close to the judge, reported on Tuesday that Moro was weighing Bolsonaro’s offer, feeling that he could reassure citizens concerned the president-elect will not govern democratically.

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MEDIA SHOWDOWN
Late on Monday, Bolsonaro said in an interview with Globo TV that he would cut government advertising funds that flow to any “lying” media outlets.

During his campaign, the right-winger imitated U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy of aggressively confronting the media. In particular, he took aim at Globo TV and especially Brazil’s biggest newspaper, the Folha de S.Paulo.

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“I am totally in favor of freedom of the press,” Bolsonaro told Globo TV. “But if it’s up to me, press that shamelessly lies will not have any government support.”

Bolsonaro was referring to the hundreds of millions of reais the Brazilian government spends in advertising each year in local media outlets, mainly for promotions of state-run firms.

The UOL news portal, owned by the Grupo Folha, which also controls the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, used Brazil’s freedom of information act as the basis for a 2015 article that showed Globo received 565 million reais in federal government spending in 2014. Folha got 14.6 million reais that year.

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The federal government’s secretariat for communication, which tracks the figures, did not immediately reply for a request on how much money the government has spent on media advertising since 2014.

Neither Grupo Globo nor Grupo Folha replied to requests for comment.

Reporting by Brad Brooks, editing by Larry King


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Who is worse: Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell ?

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He’s maybe the most dangerous politician of my lifetime. He’s helped transform the Republican Party into a cult, worshiping at the altar of authoritarianism. He’s damaged our country in ways that may take a generation to undo. The politician I’m talking about, of course, is Mitch McConnell.

Two goals for November 3, 2020: The first and most obvious is to get the worst president in history out of the White House. That’s necessary but not sufficient. We also have to flip the Senate and remove the worst Senate Majority Leader in history.

Like Trump, Mitch McConnell is no garden-variety bad public official. McConnell puts party above America, and Trump above party. Even if Trump is gone, if the Senate remains in Republican hands and McConnell is reelected, America loses because McConnell will still have a chokehold on our democracy.

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Boris Johnson’s big election victory: What it means for the UK and Brexit

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Boris Johnson is now confirmed to have secured a big victory in the British general election. He went into the poll at the head of a minority government and has emerged with a significant majority. With just one seat left to count, his Conservative Party holds 364 seats in the 650-seat Westminster parliament – a majority of 78.

The Labour Party has suffered its worst loss in decades – and its fourth general election defeat in a row, ending up with just 203 seats. The Scottish National Party has made significant gains in Scotland and now holds 48 seats. That would appear to strengthen the case for a second Scottish independence referendum, posing another huge constitutional question for the UK.

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The dangers of depicting Greta Thunberg as a prophet

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She came from obscurity and ignited a global movement. Beginning with a small but persistent act of protest outside the Swedish parliament, she inspired millions to join her. Her fiery speech to the United Nations in September 2019 warned of the end of the world. Her unfailing determination and passion makes her appear otherworldly, even uncanny, an affect largely attributed to her diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.

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