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Forwhat it is worth:

 

November 26, 2004

 

THE WORLD

Rio Struggles to Contain Violence on the Eve of the Tourism Season

A surge in attacks on travelers has authorities beefing up patrols and rounding up youths.

 

 

By Henry Chu, Times Staff Writer

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO — A wave of assaults on tourists in this seaside resort city has authorities scrambling to contain the violence as they prepare for the annual high travel season.

 

With every summer comes a spike in crimes against visitors, who flock to Rio to soak up the Southern Hemisphere sun and join the revelry of New Year's and Carnaval, the two biggest events on the social calendar.

 

But Brazilian authorities say the upsurge in brazen assaults, one of them fatal, since the beginning of November, came earlier than anyone had expected.

 

Authorities have posted surveillance cameras and beefed up patrols at key tourist spots, including some of the world's most storied beaches, in Copacabana and Ipanema.

 

Police have also rounded up dozens of street children in a campaign that human rights advocates decry as both heavy-handed and ineffectual.

 

Officials are eager to suppress anything that might discourage tourism, which brought in $350 million last summer. But they have had difficulty stifling reports of Rio's losing battle with crime, including a murder rate that dwarfs that of any American city, regular shootouts between rival drug gangs, and street muggings, often at gun- or knifepoint.

 

Especially worrisome has been the well-publicized assaults on vacationers, particularly the Nov. 12 robbery of a Japanese woman.

 

The woman, identified as Yoshiko Magoshi, was attacked in front of one of Rio's tonier hotels, the Copacabana Palace, only hours after she arrived in the city. Resisting a group of thugs, Magoshi was stabbed in the abdomen and then hit by a car when she ran in panic into the street outside the hotel. She remains in the hospital in serious condition.

 

The incident shocked residents already accustomed to frequent stories of violence. Headlines soon began piling up of more attacks on foreign visitors throughout Rio: a Spaniard shot to death by muggers while strolling with his wife, an entire busload of Angolans robbed while out touring early one morning, five French travelers overpowered in their hotel rooms by armed assailants.

 

During one weekend, Nov. 12 to 14, there were 21 reported assaults on tourists. Several of the attacks occurred in the Zona Sul, home to the city's most famous beaches and resorts.

 

In response, police have taken to patrolling the strand in plainclothes and with cameras, keeping an eye on suspicious-looking youths.

 

"This is a new practice that was already under study but had to be put into effect ahead of schedule because of the [recent] incidents," said Claudia Guerreiro, a public security spokeswoman for Rio de Janeiro state. "The measure was supposed to begin with the onset of summer, which hasn't officially started yet."

 

The Brazilian Hotel Industry Assn. is preparing a tourist manual containing safety tips, to be distributed at the airport and in hotels next month.

 

"In reality, tourists are a target all over the world," said Alfredo Lopes, the association's president. "They speak like tourists, dress like tourists."

 

Hotel occupancy rates — close to 70% — are higher than usual, and few cancellations have been reported, at least by international travelers. Domestic tourists, who compose the lion's share of visitors, "are more concerned and question the situation more," said Gracie Croce of the city's tourism department.

 

Officials jealously guard Rio's reputation as a sunbaked paradise and take vociferous exception to anything that might stain its image, especially in the foreign media.

 

When a British newspaper published a lengthy article last month describing Rio as "the city of cocaine and carnage," officials denounced the story as sensationalized. That, in turn, triggered a flood of letters to local newspapers from residents praising the article and accusing the government of being blind to what was happening in its backyard. Rio's own media often refer to the city's soaring crime problem as a war.

 

Measures to stem the tide seem to have limited or no effect.

 

Last week, police arrested nearly 200 street youths over three days as part of "Operation Safe Tourism," the daily O Globo reported.

 

Out of 147 who were to be sent to a central processing center, however, 130 managed to flee, some by scaling walls.

 

Police officials have pledged to conduct daily roundups until the end of summer.

 

"We're trying to help, but we don't have the necessary support," Jose Renato Torres, the deputy chief of the Civil Police, told the newspaper.

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Having just returned from Rio, after a great trip, it distresses me to read such negative articles about what I considered to be one of the great cities of the world (and I have seen many cities). Don't get me wrong; I trust that the article is accurate and I do know that there is a real crime problem in Rio, some of it targetted at tourists.

 

Fortunately I did not experience any difficulties in the 4 days I spent there, and I expect that most tourists have no problem. It is the unfortunate few that are attacked (although 21 in a weekend is more than a few). I would be interested in knowing more about the attacks on tourists such as location, time of day, appearance of the tourist (i.e. did they display opulence or were they displaying valuables), etc.

 

To anyone who is contemplating going to Rio please do not let this article put you off. There are many wonders to see in Rio (inside and outside the saunas) and the crime rate should not deter you. However, like anywhere in the world, one should use common sense to try and reduce the risk of being a target. For my part, I tend not to carry anything with me when I was walking around -- no camera, no jewelry, no cellphone. Also, being a little older, I tend not to go out too much in the evening (other than a short walk to the sauna up the street) when, I would expect, the risk increases. If I need cash, I use an ATM close to the hotel (the Bradesco beside the Hotel Atlantico is well located) and I immediately return to the hotel and deposit the excess in the safe. Also, I try to plan where I am going and generally walk briskly -- basically act as if I know where I am and what I am doing.

I would be interested in hearing how other Rio-lovers attempt to minimize their risk.

 

To first timers - be cautious -- but do go to Rio.

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These crimes have been extensively reported in the local Rio press. While there's no one sure-fire indicator, virtually every story I've seen has mentioned the word "camera" in the same sentence as "tourist," so that would seem to be a clue!

 

The same, never-ending cautions still apply:

 

1) Try dressing inconspicuously (jeans/bermudas and t-shirts in neutral earth tones)

 

2) DO NOT wear any visible jewelry, particularly necklaces or bracelets, which are easy targets. Wear a cheap plastic digital watch.

 

3) Keep your camera out of sight when you're not using it. (This is easier in the era of small digital cameras.) If it doesn't fit in a pocket inconspicuously, carry it in a plastic shopping bag from a local supermarket or down-market store like Lojas Americanas. These are so common that nobody pays attention to them.

 

4) If you're not familiar with the city, try going out taking pictures with at least one other person who can keep their eyes peeled while you're busy taking photos.

 

5) NEVER, EVER leave your hotel or lodging with more money than you'll need for that day's expenses. Hide the rest somewhere in your room. Only take one Visa and MasterCard with you on the street.

 

6) NEVER flash wads of cash.

 

7) NEVER take cash or valuables of any kind to the beach. Leave them in your hotel room. Take only your towel, suntan lotion, etc. and R$20 - 30, at the most, for refreshments on the beach.

 

8) If you live in a big city, or are familiar with them, use the same street smarts in Rio you'd use in any other large urban area. Be alert to your surroundings. Don't walk down dark, abandoned streets at night. Stick to areas with lots of light and pedestrian traffic. Avoid lollygagging -- if you look like you know where you're going you're a less likely "mark."

 

9) DON'T invite anyone you don't know or who hasn't been well-vouched-for to your hotel room. Even if you do, be sure your valuables and other stuff are put away out of sight. There's no need to tempt your guests. A better idea is to get together with new acquaintances at a "motel" or one of the non-escort saunas where you're less likely to get ripped off.

 

10) DON'T accept food or drink from anyone you don't know well. There have been more than enough cases of people being drugged by someone putting things in their drinks, or offering them doctored candy or chewing gum. At bars, buy your own drinks and keep your eye on them at all times.

 

11) Don't take city buses if you're new to Rio. Stick to the metro and taxicabs. After dark, especially late at night, catch a cab back to your hotel rather than walk, even if it's only a few blocks.

 

12) Avoid the beach after dark. NEVER go on the sand after dark. Constant trouble spots along the beachfront seem to be near big international hotels and the discos catering to heterosexual tourists (Iike "Help"), especially after dark.

 

All of these are pretty obvious precautions, but some people drop their guard and find themselves being victimized. Of course, even if you adopt ALL these precautions something could happen to you, but the probability is much lower.

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Guest dreynsol

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

 

In another post, I had incorrectly posted that the average income in Brazil was R$285 (actually the minimum wage), in fact it is more like R$900. But in Rio where we visit, there IS a great disparity of income. This from the BBC, back in April:

 

>>>The data shows almost 15% of the people live below the poverty line of $US27 a month in Rio de Janeiro.

 

The city is notorious for its slums, also known as "favelas", and high crime rates.

 

The average monthly salary in Rio's biggest slums was the equivalent of $US140, the study showed using 2000 census data.

 

But in Rio's well-off districts, such as the beachside Ipanema and Copacabana, monthly wages averaged $US740.

<<<

 

So, your camera, your expensive watch/jewelry, and the contents of your walet are a big incentive for a certain percentage of the population, especially if they're from the favelas.

 

Another addition to Trilingual's post, I would add that Brazilians are very conscious of their clothing to the point of ironing their T-Shirts. So, jeans with holes in them which might be trendy in the US, will certainly make you stand out in Brazil.

 

I also wanted to reinforce that Trilingual's comments are not merely suggestions. Frequent M4Mers to Brazil have practiced these tenants and have not been affected by crimes against tourists. But, don't assume that by ignoring these rules that you won't encounter MAJOR problems.

 

>>>a Spaniard shot to death by muggers while strolling with his wife<<<

In fact, the Spanish tourist was shot in the head execution style.

 

Of the thousands of tourists that visit Brazil, the probablity of this happening to you is extremely low but still quantifiable.

 

Always wondered why the Brazilian boys that escorted me were always aware of their surroundings. It now seems that they are equally concerned also about their safety as well.

 

In oGlobo there was a recent survey as to whether Rio was unsafe for tourists, here are a few of the comments (translated):

 

Andreia Ribeiro of the Penha - andreiaribeiro@ig.with.br

16/11/2004 -

Rio De Janeiro is dangerous for any one.

 

Monica Mendes de Souza - monica.mendes@ig.with.br

16/11/2004 -

Clearly yes, you still ask! Not only for the tourist, but as for the normal population.

 

AUGUSTIN ANIBOLETI Of the WEDGE - aanibole@pcrj.Rio de Janeiro.gov.br

16/11/2004 -

Rio de Janeiro unhappilly is a dangerous place for tourists and mainly for the inhabitants who live here.

 

Not to discourage any potential visitors to our wonderful paradise known as Rio, but I also want to make sure they arrive in a realistic and right frame of mind.

 

Feliz Natal! (Merry Christmas) :-) :-) :-)

 

- Drey

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Lucky,

I read the article this morning with my Brazilian employee. It was on page one.

 

Even after everything, I still look forward to seeing my friends again in RIO. While some may think I am just singing with the choir, in fact,I have always been a soloist. I just enjoy the music of Brasil.

 

I could easily fall prey to being mugged in West Hollywood or Downtown L.A. But RIO is a much more enticing place.

 

Can't wait for my next visit.

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Guest msclonly

U.S. dangerous cities

 

Did anyone read the AOL opening page report on the dangerous and safest cities in the U.S. a couple of days ago. Detroit was #1 and Atlanta #2. LA was right up ther after San Francisco.

 

}(

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RE: U.S. dangerous cities

 

For what it's worth, in more than 20 years of coming to Brazil (and usually, although not always, following my own advice) I've never had anything bad happen. The only times I've ever been mugged or had my apartment broken into were in New York and San Francisco.

 

Drey's right about the income figures in Brazil. I never knew the AVERAGE income until the other night, when it was mentioned on TV -- it's about R$850/mo. (I suspect the median income is considerably lower.) The minimum wage is R$285, although it's a bit higher in Rio (states and municipalities can add local adjustments) and the government is trying to raise it to at least R$300 in 2005. Sadly, there are a lot of people in Brazil surviving on a minimum wage. The cost of living in a big city like Rio is high and it's extremely difficult to get by on one minimum wage. Families manage to get by because more than one family member works and contributes to the family budget. You can live adequately in a place like Rio with an income equivalent to 3 - 4 minimum wages, or about R$900 - 1200 a month. Middle class incomes typically run R$2000 - 4000/mo.

 

You can see that even compared to a middle class Brazilian most of us in the developed world are MUCH richer. Unfortunately, the criminals know that. But by exercising reasonable caution, making an effort to blend in and not be conspicuous, and using common sense, it's possible to avoid a lot of problems!

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RE: U.S. dangerous cities

 

Could someone explain the average income in Brazil to me because it seems like should be much higher. According the CIA world fact book the per capita income in Brazil is $7600 per year. Thats about 1,500 reals per month at an exchange rate of 2.5 reals to the dollar. Now, the 1,500 figure is per capita and since many people in Brazil don't work (because they are too young, too old, staying at home raising kids etc.) I would think the average wage would be about double that or 3,000 reals per month. If anything the average wage would be hirer in Rio and Sao Paulo which are the richest cities in Brazil. So can people say the average wage is really only one tenth or 3,000 reals per month?

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Serious question:

I worry about having my credit card (which doubles as my bank card) stolen in Brazil. Canceling the card would be a big hassle and getting another card before I leave could be difficult. However, posts here say I should use my credit card instead of cash. Why isn't credit card just as big a danger as cash theft.

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Guest dreynsol

Hi Matt,

 

I'm sure your numbers for the total Brazilian economy are correct. However, I think you're assuming that the income is distributed equally among the population. A lot of Brazil's income is from it's agriculture, and I'm sure the landholders/distributors get a lot more than the farm workers. One-third of Brazil's population, or some 58 million people, live on less than a dollar a day, according to the BBC article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3631601.stm

 

Hopefully, the more income that flows into Brazil will result in more of it eventually making it to the general population. They've made some progress, but there is still a big gap between the "haves" and the "have nots". There was even talk about building a wall around the favelas in Rio which kind of represents the feelings of many of the "haves" -- out of sight - out of mind. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a portion of the society that feels left out and desparate. Many of the "have nots" in Rio, unfortunately, have turned to drug trafficking or crime.

 

As far as your credit cards are concerned, I don't think anyone has encouraged their use in Rio. Only that you should not be overly concerned about using them. Cash/ATMs work great! and fortunately, the garatos don't take credit cards. Otherwise, I'd still be paying off my tab! :-)

 

- Drey

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>Serious question:

>I worry about having my credit card (which doubles as my bank

>card) stolen in Brazil. Canceling the card would be a big

>hassle and getting another card before I leave could be

>difficult. However, posts here say I should use my credit

>card instead of cash. Why isn't credit card just as big a

>danger as cash theft.

 

 

 

NOT to rehash what has already been written (somewhat in-depth, too), please read about cc theft in Brasil, esp. the major cities in the archives. Do a quick and simple search.

I also think Tri has included a section about cc's in the FAQ area.

 

I took four cc's with me, two debit cards--one being my main one; I was never paranoid, just careful.

 

If I were you I would have a secondary card to use. After using one of my cc's at Lagoa in Sao Paulo, the card was denied at a good restaurant a day later. When I returned to the States, I found out why, and it had nothing to do with the manner in which I'd used my card. Before going to Brasil, contact your bank card companies and inform them that you will be using their card abroad. Again, Tri has given some great info. about this; unfortunately I failed to heed his wisdom this time...

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RE: U.S. dangerous cities

 

Besides not believing everything the CIA or the State Department say, the figures cited are misleanding. Merely dividing the Gross National Product by the total population yields the per capita income. However, it doesn't work that way in real life. Brazil is notorious for having one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world. There is a small wealthy elite, a significant but increasingly squeezed middle-class, and a vast segment of poor people, some of whom are desperately poor.

 

For people in big cities with real jobs, incomes are higher than in rural areas, but even then they're low. Shop clerks in Rio start at about R$300 - 400 a month for a full-time job! That's hardly enough to live on in a city like this. Most such workers live at home with their families, where everybody is working at something or other and pooling their incomes, which makes it possible for them to survive and even enjoy occasional small luxuries. For the average Brazilian, though, life is very hard and money is difficult to come by. This is the economic class most of the Brazilian sauna boys and escorts come from. They're usually not from the rock bottom of the heap, but they're still low on the totem pole. If they're at all good, they can earn much more as a sauna boy/escort than they ever could with the kinds of conventional jobs open to them.

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RE: U.S. dangerous cities

 

Thanks Tri,

From what I've read there are a few classes in Brazil and I wonder which the sauna boys come from. The poorest live in the favelas. From what I've read the favelas get few, if any, services like police protection or education and have serious problems with crime. So they seem a lot like the inner cities of Los Angeles or Washington DC. But then, I assume, there is another group that can afford to live in an area with city services and have access to education. Do you see boys in the saunas from this group? Is it rare to see sauna boys putting themselves through college by working at the saunas?

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RE: Brazilian economics

 

It's a bit more complicated than that. The favelas are the poorest neighborhoods in Brazil. They start as squatter camps, essentially, so there are many problems about land ownership that make treating them as official neighborhoods quite difficult. (The authorities are working on this.) Favelas evolve, though. They start off as shantytowns but, as they mature and the inhabitants become more established and prosperous, change to masonry construction and businesses and services open in the favela. Rocinha, often visited on the "favela tours" is an example of a mature favela. The city has finally realized the favelas aren't going to go away and has begun a program called "Favela-Bairro," in which favelas are being recognized as official neighborhoods, residents are assisted in gaining title to their properties, urban services like water and sewage are extended to the area, etc. There are so many favelas, though, that it will take a long time to intergrate all of them into the urban fabric.

 

The sauna boys mostly don't come from the favelas. At least not the guys you'll meet at saunas in the Zona Sul. Instead, they mostly come from working class neighborhoods in the Zona Norte, Zona Oeste or the endless poor suburban municipalities of the Baixada Fluminense (the Rio Flatlands) along the highway to São Paulo. It often takes a couple of buses to get from there to the Zona Sul, and it can be a good hour and a half commute away.

 

Few of the guys are working their way through college. Some, though, are finishing high school (which, in the Brazilian educational system, covers many of the subjects Americans study in undergraduate school.) Most of the guys are saving for other things, if they're among the smarter ones: getting married, or building a house, or buying a taxi, or opening a gym, etc. Despite the sterotypical image of Brazilians (and other Latin Americans) as being lazy and laid-back, the reality is that they're very hard workers and strivers. Almost everyone is trying to get ahead, in one way or other, and improve their lot in life. What's miraculous about Brazilians is that in spite of the difficulties in their lives, they also manage to be optimists, happy, and capable of enjoying life in a whole-hearted way that most of us First World folks seem to have lost.

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Guest msclonly

RE: Brazilian economics

 

Tri, your description of the demographics of Rio 'society' sounds just the US with declining Middle class, ruling Elite, and troublesome inner city non achievers. And that just covers the Liberals!

 

 

;(

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RE: Brazilian economics

 

I'll second that! It's so true. Even with the considerable hardships, the Brasilians are able to reach beyond their challenges and enjoy the moment in a way that is not possible for most of my friends here in America. There's a spontaneity, an electricity, a determination NOT to allow the pitfalls of life to interfere with the opportunity to participate fully with moments of great joy. In the Patron Philosophy, Christ is in His heaven and with His outstretched arms, he promises all a better day----someday. :+

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RE: Brazilian economics

 

>Tri, your description of the demographics of Rio 'society'

>sounds just the US with declining Middle class, ruling Elite,

>and troublesome inner city non achievers. And that just

>covers the Liberals!

>

>

>;(

 

There may be some similarities between Brazil and the U.S. (both have rapacious elites and middle-classes sliding into poverty) but in general you can't apply U.S. models and values to Brazil. It's a different society, with a different history, and extremes of wealth and poverty virtually unknown in the U.S., even though Bush & Co. are working non-stop to turn the U.S. into a carbon-copy of Brazil's class structure!

 

A big difference is that Brazilians have had 500 years to figure out how to fend for themselves and still lead rich lives in an essentially unjust and brutal economy. Americans, mostly, don't have a clue about how to do that, and when Bush & Co. succeed the U.S. will be a grim and joyless land, even for the rich who (as in Brazil) will live in a state of complete and justificable paranoia about their personal security and safety.

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RE: Brazilian economics

 

>Tri, your last paragraph is so, so "right on!" What you wrote

>is what I deeply sensed from observation (from a distance) as

>well as from educated conversastion I've had with the few

>Brasilians I've personally met and now know! Thanks! Axiom

 

 

 

The above statement is in reference to your 9417 (if I correctly remembered the number).

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Guest msclonly

Nothing to do with Bush!

 

I fear your fixation on Bush is more of a PC thing, then any conspiracy to take away your rights, etc.

 

There is something that Americans have lost and it has been coming e long before Bush, Reagan, and some others, that are blamed for all of U.S. societies ills in almost a paranoid way, if not a 'liberal' litany of ill directed anger or hate.

 

American society has lost the sense of family and looking out for kin. They have also lost the joy of living in the moment, trying too hard to achieve or accumulate wealth, so that live can be enjoyed in an emotional manner, rather then by their collection of desirable objects or goods. "Gee, if only I had a nice car like those awful conservatives, I would be happy!" "If someone would give me more things, then I would be happy." etc, etc,

Joy comes in being able to relate to people in a meaningful supportive way. We have lost it, and I think that is what we experience in some foreign countries, that seem a better place to be, then at home.

 

Just some thoughts about things, I would like to understand better.

Instead of projecting anger and hate at someone, that we never had any interaction with.

:D

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RE: Nothing to do with Bush!

 

In this case, it has nothing to do with taking away rights. It has to do with the BushCo obsession with rolling the clock back to the robber-baron era of the late 1800s and early 1900s, before there was an income tax, when the rich were free to be as obscenely wealthy as they wished, and everyone else was free to starve or toil endlessly in subsistence agriculture or in "dark, satanic mills."

 

I agree with you that in the U.S. and many wealthier nation we've lost the idea of kinship and friendship that continue to exist in countries like Brazil where one's web of relationships are also one's social safety net. However, I don't think that declined just because the state took over many responsibilities that previously fell on families. Particularly in the U.S., the entertainment industry created an image of a very limited upper-middle class nuclear family that became the norm to which society aspired. This concept was fostered by the consumer goods industry. Why should you spend your money taking care of your aged aunt, when you could spend it on a new Kelvinator or Studebaker? Intellectually limited religious conservatives somehow absorbed this artificial construct and came to preach and believe that the "Ozzie and Harriett" type of family was biblically ordained. We all know the rest of that story.

 

Of course, there's nothing biblical about the modern nuclear family that the religious conservatives so ardently try to defend (sometimes out of extreme cynicism). In biblical times, families were large and extended, and there was a broad web of kinship and mutual responsibility for one's kin. Marriages were economic and political arrangements, intended to increase the prosperity and power of families and tribes (which were the extended interlinked webs of families that had intermarried). Romance might come into the equation, but it was very low on the totem pole of values and only rarely the reason for a marriage. Marriages were ordinarily arranged to assure that the relationship would secure an advantage for the family and tribe. Similar family relationships exist to this day in much of the world. I'm not arguing for arranged marriages and abolishing romance, but in sanctifying the consumer ideal nuclear family the U.S. and other societies have created a false idol.

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Guest msclonly

RE: Nothing to do with Bush!

 

I find your opening paragraph a confused mish-mash by holding Bush responsible for the demise of the family, that started before he was a public figure. Of course, your position of harping, name calling, and derogratory remarks is an illustration of what is wrong with so many 'liberals' ad nauseum, and in direct contrast to the reason we find Brazilians so warm and refreshing to relate to.

Bush had nothing to do with the 1800's or 1900's.

 

As you said ".... It has to do with the BushCo obsession with rolling the clock back to the robber-baron era of the late 1800s and early 1900s, before there was an income tax, when the rich were free to be as obscenely wealthy as they wished...." Would you include George Soros, a billionaire, who hedged and all but destroyed the Thai Baht, Brazilian Real, and Argentinian Peso. And he is doing the same hedging against the American dollar in a VERY BIG and MAJOR way at the present time! That would help explain what the payoff for him would be by giving MILLIONS of $$$$$$$$$.00 dollars to defeat Bush.

Better if he gave that money to feed the hungry or buy drugs for the needy!

 

Do you include SOROS with those ROBBER BARONs, that is hurting the working poor? It would be impossible to say he is atruistic and NOT doing it for his own welfare, when he doesn't need anymore money, since he won't be taking it with him. There are many more examples of liberals, who made their millions and bilions off the needy masses, and yet they are seen as leaders without any criticism from the masses. A good example is the closing of Emergency Roooms and even whole hospitals due to lawsuits by eager (robber baron) attorneys like Edwards and his 10,000 attorney friends, who rant on and on, while they are picking pockets. Their millions are safe, since so many will contribute so much (like Soros) to continue their misplaced fear and anger, that started much much earlier in their lives.

 

Just my $0.98 cents worth!

 

 

}(

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Guest dreynsol

RE: Nothing to do with Bush!

 

If you really think that one person can change the currency rate, I'll call up my good friend Warren Buffett from Omaha to buy down the Brazilian Real so it's worth $R10 to $US 1.

 

That would be a great Christmas present for all of us! :-) and he was not at all supportive of Bush's tax cuts.

 

- Drey, nao mais

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Guest msclonly

Your friend Buffet is doing the same!

 

Warren BUffet is already hedged against the dollar like Soros.

So both are betting that the US$ will be worth less.

Have you noticed, the US$ is already down to the EURO?. Canadian $, and a few others! It has more to go down in the Coming Currency Crisis, that has not hit the TV daily news litany.

 

;( }( ;(

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RE: Nothing to do with Bush!

 

I think it's about time for me to bail out of this discussion! I'd rather be talking about matters South of the U.S.A!!! But I think you misunderstand my posting. You said my dislike for Bush was a PC thing based on a misperception that he was taking away our rights. My response was that my dislike was based more on Bush's agenda of rolling the clock back to the robber baron era. Those are quite different issues, and you've read into my statements things that weren't there. (Of course, I'm also concerned about Bush's wanton disregard of the Constitution and people's rights, but that wasn't what I was talking about in my earlier posting.)

 

As for Soros, he's a concentration camp survivor. He's experienced first hand what governments like Bush's can do. That gives him a perspective that perhaps you lack. Soros has spent literally hundreds of millions of his own money to fund foundations and educational institutions in the former Soviet satellites and in the ex-Soviet Union to teach people about democratic societies and institutions and to educate them about how modern market economies work. The Bushes, by contrast, give stingily to charity. Their game is to use the tax dollars of the American people to reward their own class (the rich) and screw everyone else. Morally, there's no comparison between the Bushes, who rob from the poor to give to the rich, and major philanthropists like Soros.

 

As for hedging against the dollar, all kinds of people and institutions do it, not just Soros. Anyone with a modicum of economic knowledge and sense, and big holdings in dollars, is doing the same thing. All they have to do is look at what the sociopathic Bush administration is doing to the U.S. economy to want to start protecting themselves. The dollar is sliding, not because of Soros, but because BushCo is spending the U.S. into bankruptcy. No country with out-of-control spending ends up with a strong currency. That's why countries like Argentina and Brazil slid into hyperinflation during their military dictatorships -- there was just no stopping the printing presses that had to keep pumping out cruzeiros and australes to pay for the crazed spending! It's miraculous that inflation hasn't roared to life yet in the U.S., but at the rate we're going, it's only a matter of time. . .

 

And none of this, by the way, has to do with "liberal" or "conservative" labels, which have become totally distorted in the U.S. In the last election, it was Kerry and the Democrats who actually ran on a classically conservative platform of preserving constitutional rights, conserving the environment and running an economy designed to balance the budget. Bush and the Republicans, while not "liberal," are certainly the new radicals, wanting to change the Constitution in fundamental ways to limit rights, tear down the wall between church and state, etc., while also throwing the country back into a gigantic defict because of unrestrained spending. The two parties have essentially reversed their positions, in reality!

 

And that's all I'm going to say about this subject in this forum! If you want to keep it going, hop over to the Politics forum to continue it! :+

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