Thursday, May 29, 2014

It's Down to 'FIFA Go Home' in Brazil

(My new American Thinker post)

There is a lot of pre-World Cup stuff going on in Brazil, and it has nothing to do with the final team roster, defensive strategies, or "fútbol," as they say down there.

As we saw in yesterday's news reports (via Fausta's Blog), there was a large demonstration with "FIFA go home" signs":

"For many Brazilians, the Cup has become a symbol of the unfulfilled promise of an economic boom for this South American nation. But the boom has fizzled.  And now the World Cup’s $11.5 billion price tag – the most expensive ever – and a list of unfinished construction projects have become reminders of the shortcomings that many believe keep Brazil poor: overwhelming bureaucracy, corruption and shortsighted policy-making that prioritizes grand projects over needs like education and health care."

And it gets worse. 

They are still trying to finish facilities for the Cup in Curitiba, Cuiabá, and Porto Alegre.  Did I tell you that the games begin in three weeks?

All of this has translated into support for the Cup plunging, as reported in the WSJ:
Critics contend Brazil erred in constructing so many arenas in a country the size of the continental U.S. The country has spent a record $3.6 billion to build or remodel 12 stadiums, most of which were behind schedule and over budget.
Meanwhile, public support for the Cup has plunged in Brazil, sparking protests by citizens who say the money would have been better spent on improving the nation's schools, hospitals and other public services.
A few years ago, when Brazil was awarded the Cup, I thought that it was a match made in heaven.  Imagine the Super Bowl at Lambeau Field or the World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Today, the country is furious, and the politicians are avoiding questions. 

Yes, the games will go on, but so will protests and demonstrations.  There is going to be a lot of screaming outside the stadium, and it won't be about the games.

P.S. You can hear my chat with Fausta Wertz of Fausta's Blog about Brazil & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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Another silly speech by a silly president

President Obama spoke at West Point and got an "icy" reception, according to a CNN report:
"Obama’s “philosophical” speech to the 2014 graduates of West Point about a new direction for America’s foreign policy was “not a great” speech for that audience, said CNN anchor Jim Clancy on Wednesday. He said that the president did not sound like a “commander-in-chief speaking to his troops” and got an “icy reception” as a result.Clancy did not criticize the substance of President Obama’s speech outlining a shift in tactics, specifically as it relates to America’s approach to fighting terrorist groups. However, he did think that the defining of a new foreign policy doctrine was not something the attendees wanted to hear."
The criticism came from all directions.

The New York Times, also known as the Obama campaign headquarters, was not happy:
"The address did not match the hype, was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors, on the right or the left."
The Washington Post was brutal:
"This binding of U.S. power places Mr. Obama at odds with every U.S. president since World War II. In effect, he ruled out interventions to stop genocide or reverse aggression absent a direct threat to the U.S. homeland or a multilateral initiative. Those terms would exclude missions by previous administrations in places such as Somalia and Haiti and Mr. Obama’s own proposal to strike Syria last year — but not the war in Iraq, which was a multilateral campaign."
The Wall Street Journal pointed out all of the stuff left out of the speech:
"No mention of the Reset. “The reset button has worked,” Mr. Obama avowed in a 2009 meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s figurehead president. That was the same year Mr. Obama announced in Moscow that, “The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chessboard are over.”
No mention of the Pivot or “rebalance” to Asia. This was billed by Hillary Clinton in 2011 as “among the most important diplomatic efforts of our time” and meant as proof that America’s withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan wasn’t simply a retreat from the world. But as assistant secretary of defense Katrina McFarland admitted in March, following the latest round of Pentagon cuts, “Right now, the pivot is being looked at again, because candidly it can’t happen.”No mention of Mr. Obama’s Red Line in Syria against the use of chemical weapons. No mention, either, of the ostensible success of using diplomacy to disarm Bashar Assad. The President was fond of boasting of this achievement until recently, when it emerged that Assad continues to use chlorine bombs to kill his enemies. Somehow that also didn’t make it into the speech.No mention of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which occupied the bulk of John Kerry‘s first year as Secretary of State and which has now collapsed as Mahmoud Abbas patches up his differences with the terrorists of Hamas."
The speech had all of the classic Obama-nonsense, from "false choices" to speaking of successes that even his supporters don't believe anymore.
What a sad contrast.   On one side, hundreds of young people who will be the next military leaders of the US Army.  Sadly, on the other side, a president who doesn't have a clue about what he is doing.
Very sad contrast!

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