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.

12 thoughts on “Florida: The Last Refuge of Washed-Up Wannabe Strongmen?

  1. Oy, Brazil!

    You know, once upon a time, people in nation's around the world looked to America for ways to create and maintain a democracy in their country.

    You could say, we exported democracy..

    Well, now we export sedition and treason.

    Now, the authoritarian thugs and turds around the world look to America for ways to tear-down and destroy democracies in their country.

    Thanks, RepubliKKKLANS!!!

    GREAT JOB!!!


  2. I like your title. I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer would call Florida a “Hellmouth.”

    My wish for 2023 is to see a bunch of delusional 20 rounded up and incarcerated for — sedition? Corruption? “Dating” teens? Something serious to drive whatever’s still left of their base into a state of panic.

    And it would be lovely if we sent Jair back for a very special reception.

  3. My first observation is insurrectionists are about as good at revolution as Russia is at invasion. They're getting their butts kicked. Be it true or no, there are reports that the protesters in Brazil were recruited and paid. Yeah, similarities to J6 – big money bussed the rioters in. Who paid for the party? 

    There did not seem to be a plan for Brazil or for J6. They seemed to expect the government to fold and capitulate. J6 also seemed to be built around a series of unlikely events, like the VP throwing out ballots and accepting bogus ones and the courts going along with the fraud. I still think (with no evidence) that some of the militias intended to take hostages of Congress. The Brazillian fiasco happened on Sunday when no one was there. Did they expect that if they held government buildings on Monday, the resistance of the elected government would evaporate?

    Bolsonaro might have learned from J6 – the shoddy planning and evidence and witnesses are a liability for Trump. So Trump is the last person you'd trust with inside information.

    Regarding the IRS: the House will pass a bill, which will go nowhere. The Senate won't even consider it, I predict.  The House plans (In June) to hold the budget ceiling hostage unless the Senate and Biden will cave. They want much more than to defund the IRS and the list of demands will be much longer – Trump will be under federal and state criminal charges by then. June is also "about" the right time for DeSantis to declare. Big money will be lining up for the 2024 election – a default on the national debt will be bad for Wall Street, they say. Can that power block (big corporate money) be lined up in advance in opposition to a default with the threat of money changing sides if Republicans follow through? 

    Regarding Fulton County: if what I read is correct, the Special Grand Jury has presented a report on the results of months of investigation. The report  WILL be made public, sometime after the 24th of this month. This report justifies what Fani Willis announces. Though it's her decision, on any charges where there's unanimous support for criminal charges, how can she refuse?

    BTW, a Grand Jury investigation is (at least in the Federal system) highly directed by the prosecutor. The defense isn't there at all! Unless there's no case at all, and no evidence, the prosecutor will get what he/she wants. So I expect Fani will be able to pretend surprise at the charges the Grand Jury recommends, and the forceful manner they present the case. My prediction: Rudy is gonna take the brunt of the first charges because the prosecutor will want Rudy to flip on Trump as having directed and designed what Rudy did in GA after the election. (Fake electors.) I suspect the evidence is there to charge Trump and the Grand Jury will recommend it. I'm not sure Fani will go all the way (after Trump) without Rudy's cooperation. 

    I think Mr. Smith will throw down on Trump this month with charges, but only for the MAL documents and obstruction. The case is a slam-dunk and charging Trump with Georgia doubles Trump's criminal liability. IMO, Trump might as well be acting as his own attorney – I'm thinking of recent motions to dismiss the NY civil case in Florida, which was totally without justification. Trump hired a high-powered lawyer ($3 Mil upfront) and sidelined him because Trump refused to follow the advice. (This was the MAL docs case.) I think we can count on Trump to grab the wheel on ALL the cases and issue stupid instructions to his shysters. The more pressure Trump feels, the more Trump wants to call the shots. If/when Rudy caves, the DOJ has the one element for the J6 case against Trump – a witness to Trump's state of mind. NY state jumping in with criminal charges (tax fraud) would be great. Federal tax charges would be perfect. 

    If Trump is charged anywhere, they can ask for his passport(s) if he's deemed a flight risk. (duh) When you own your own plane, the passport can be a formality… to depart. But if the passport is suspended, who will provide Trump sanctuary? Yeah – one country would – Russia. 

  4. Doug is correct. No one in their right mind would be taking selfies at an insurrection. The word does not really fit.  The people both on 1/6 or in Brazil were more involved in an act of desecration than insurrection.  Sure, some thought their tantrum like response would persuade others to follow and be manipulated.  That is how they got there, wasn't it.  Someone unleashed them.  What good lackies they are.  Good and stupid.  They will pay dearly, and their masters will mostly waltz on.  Somehow, the fact that poor political choices can and do have horrid consequences, is totally lost on them.  

    Is Populism a political system whose sole aim into manipulation of people to do really self-destructive acts?  It is getting to look more and more that way.

    The absurdity lies in thinking that loyalty to a strongman might be a good idea.  Can they not see the masses of people these clowns leave in their wake.  So many fools, so little Kool-aid.

    • "The people both on 1/6 or in Brazil were more involved in an act of desecration than insurrection." 

      I don't know about the Brazilians, but at least some of the J6 rioters really were planning insurrection. Just because they had unrealistic expectations doesn't change that. And just because they didn't perceive what they were doing as insurrection doesn't change that, either. Some of them would have hung Mike Pence if they'd gotten their hands on him. They might have killed Nancy Pelosi. They would have taken hostages and issued demands. If they'd gotten their hands on those Electoral College ballots, the ballots would have been destroyed. 

      The true believers in the crew believed that what they were doing was attempting to interfere with a corrupt and unconstitutional government to restore rightful government as the Founders intended, but these people are idiots. I doubt most of them could pass a simple quiz on what the Constitution actually says about anything. They've been marinating in myths and misinformation for years, manufactured by the NRA and other right-wing organizations. They got most of their knowledge of the American Revolution from movies. They may not have expected the Capitol police and other law enforcement people to try to stop them. 

      • I am with you on this and have a problem with reading the intent of the individuals involved.  In both cases the mob knew violent means were being used to invade a respected if not sacred space.  They should all know that their presence with the mob made them personally responsible if they opted to continue and at minimum know what they are doing is wrong.

        Sure, most thought the election was corrupt and their wrong actions were justified.  It was populist truth.  The end would justify the means whatever the outcome was, as that seems also to be a populist truth.  I would contend that moral concept is a falsehood in most cases.  Only in extreme cases does the end justify the means.  In both cases the evidence the mob was using was populist truth unsupported by evidence as far as those outside the bubble can determine.  Hardly extreme IMO.

        True the mob was fed misinformation and exploited for their biases and such.  Some probably would not know the difference between defecation and desecration but are trained that certain places call for certain proprieties.  Those who organized, funded, encouraged, both of these desecrations all need to justify their wrong.  Those who had intent toward insurrection or coup bear a heavier responsibility one can reasonably argue, buy no one involved can claim they did not know they were involved with an act of violent desecration and not a peaceful protest.   


  5. Brazilian wacks, I saw they even had a guy wearing horned headgear and face paint.  It would be interesting to see if Brazil investigates Bannon's and Jason Miller's reputed involvement.

  6. As for who was arrested and held on January 6, as near as I can tell about 50. As a practical matter, there were not enough officers to arrest many people that day. Too busy staying alive. The rest have been charged pursuant to the investigation that came later.

    On a related note, damned few crimes allow for holding someone without bail. A person charged with a crime is just that: someone who was charged. A charge is proof of  nothing (and jurors are told this in every case). They remain presumed innocent. And you legally can't hold someone who is innocent. You can require bond. And a high bond is often set for the improper reason of keeping someone in jail pending trial. (A true fact, but an illegal maneuver.) 

    That's a lot harder to do for misdemeanor charges, which carry far less potential  jail  time than felonies. And most of the charges in this case are misdemeanors.


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