Florida: The Last Refuge of Washed-Up Wannabe Strongmen?

I want to note that more than a thousand of the rioters in Brasilia were arrested on the spot. Our January 6 rioters were allowed to all go home that day, meaning they had to be tracked down later. I never got an explanation for that.

Jair Bolsonaro is in Florida. CNN is reporting that he was just admitted to a hospital for “abdominal ‘discomfort,’ related to injuries from a 2018 knife attack during a political rally, Michelle Bolsonaro said.” Yeah, right. Per the NY Post he’s in AdventHealth Celebration in Kissimmee outside Walt Disney World, if you want to send a card.

The Guardian is reporting that Bolsonaro went to Florida to avoid possible legal action in Brazil. Florida is “a US state much favoured by other anti-communist conservatives from Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America.” Is Florida the new Argentina?

Last week the Palm Beach Post ran a photo from 2020 showing Bolsonaro dining at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, but apparently no one has seen Bolsonaro at Mar-a-Lago lately. It would almost be odd if the two would-be Mussolinis were ignoring each other. Unless they are just pretending to be ignoring each other. Hmm. Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post continues,

But I propose we make an exception for deposed dictators who see Florida as a sanctuary from their failed criminal plots to thwart democracy and establish themselves as kings in perpetuity. 

We took in one of these dead-enders over the weekend. Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro slipped out of Brazil and moved into a house in a gated community in Orlando — where he was seen taking a neighborhood stroll. 

Bolsonaro was supposed to be in Brazil, handing over the presidential sash to the man who beat him in the recent presidential election, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

But, instead, Bolsonaro hightailed it to Florida after saying, “We will not throw in the towel. We may have lost the battle but not the war.” 

He sounds like Trump, in other words.

It’s possibly significant that Bolsonaro entered the U.S. while he was still the head of state of Brazil. Reuters reports,

A U.S. consular official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bolsonaro had almost certainly entered on an A-1 visa, which are reserved for heads of state, diplomats and other government officials. A second source, a senior former U.S. diplomat, also believed it was almost certain that Bolsonaro had entered on an A-1.

Normally the A-1 is canceled after the recipient leaves office. But with Bolsonaro having left Brazil and entered the United States before his term ended, the official suspected his A-1 was still active.

The official, who has experience with the cancellation of visas for former heads of state, said there is no set time limit on how long someone can stay in the United States on an A-1.

I assume the U.S. State Department would honor any arrest or extradition requests from Brazil.

Even if Trump and Bolsonaro have avoided being in direct touch, there are reports that some of Trump’s entourage expressed support for the protests in Brasilia, and I want to know how much any of them may have been involved.

In other news: My so-called U.S. representative, Jason Smith, will chair the House Ways and Means Committee. No good will come of that. The last I heard from Smith was in a pre-election robocall, in which he was huffing and puffing that if Missouri legalized recreational pot it would lead to teaching Critical Race Theory in public school. He’s a MAGA-headed moron.

Republicans, including Jason Smith, want to defund the IRS. This would cost the nation, a huge amount of revenue.

See Paul Waldman, What the right’s war on ‘wokeness’ in the military is really about

Fani Willis’s Fulton County Grand Jury has concluded its work.

In a brief order issued Monday, Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote that the grand jury has fulfilled its duties to his satisfaction.

In addition, a majority of Superior Court judges who have reviewed the special grand jury’s final report agree, his order stated….

… McBurney also scheduled a hearing on Jan. 24, during which parties — including the Fulton District Attorney’s office that advised the jury, the news media and, presumably, investigation targets — will argue whether the grand jury’s report should be made public. Jurors recommended that their report be published, McBurney said….

… The grand jury’s final report, known as a special presentment, is expected to include a summary of its findings. It may also contain recommendations on whether anyone should be indicted, if a majority of jurors can agree.

Fani Willis will have the final say on whether there will be indictments.