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“The U.S. also should indicate that Brazil’s behavior risks disqualifying it from joining any free trade system including America. The de facto theft of U.S. patents is inconsistent with open access to the American market.”
Fine, but first there is the challenge of convincing the average Brazilian that free trade involving the U.S. is a good thing. The prevailing perception, propagated by the PT (Workers’ Party, which Lula belongs to) is that free trade with the U.S. is simply a predatory opportunity for the U.S., with no benefit for Brazilians. PT’s own propaganda states that if NAFTA were extended to include Brazil, the Brazilian market would be “Flooded with cheap U.S. products, driving Brazilian companies out of business and putting millions of Brazilians out of work!” Such cheap U.S. products include…um, I don’t know, they don’t list a single example, and after three years of living there, I couldn’t think of any myself. Talk about “boob bait for bubbas!” I did notice, and Walter Williams has pointed this out, that computer products cost at least double, in U.S. dollars, what they cost in the U.S. There is a 100% tax levied on computer equipment and other machinery imported to Brazil; but since this equipment is rarely in competition with any Brazilian-made products (cars would be an exception), the tax serves no purpose but to fatten government coffers; and as Williams points out, it amounts to government officials conspiring to make Brazilian citizens poorer.
For another example of “boob bait for bubbas,” consider the rumor cooked up and passed around the Internet and which even made it into a major newspaper before being retracted, that the U.S. has taken over the Amazon rain forest from those “irresponsable” (sic) Brazilians who couldn’t be trusted with its custody. This deliberately fabricated, widely distributed urban legend makes use of a page that is supposedly taken from a textbook widely used in American middle schools.
The above link is from an urban-legends site, sort of a Brazilian Snopes.com. It’s obvious that this “textbook page” was not written by a native English speaker, let alone by a “textbook author” whose name does not appear on Amazon.com or other bookseller sites. But you wouldn’t believe the trouble I had in convincing many Brazilians, even after printing out and showing them the debunking in Portuguese, that this is nonsense. How are we supposed to develop good relations with a population so predisposed to believe this kind of laughable codswallop about our country?p>Brazil has a population of nearly 180 million, giving it a political clout that other Latin American countries do not have, and whose current leader idolizes Fidel Castro. The overall perception of the United States and its foreign and economic policies is one of suspicion driven by the day-to-day disinformation churned out by the Brazilian media: their press hates Bush as much as ours does, only there is no opposing voice, except for the yeomanly work done by Olavo de Carvalho and friends . Americans who are rightly concerned about the state of political affairs in Brazil and its effect upon the U.S. could do worse than to visit and support
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online