Amazon Rainforest Deforestation Accelerates Under Brazil’s New President

(image via rosinakaiser/pixabay)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is making good on campaign promises to allow increased deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, according to the New York Times.

While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.

Seven months into his term, that is already happening.

Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.

In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.

The deforestation of the Amazon is spiking as Mr. Bolsonaro’s government pulls back on enforcement measures like fines, warnings and the seizure or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas.

The Amazon Rainforest makes up so much of South America that, if it were its own country by mass, it would rank 7th in the world.

The Amazon Rainforest has been called the lungs of the planet helping to create a huge portion of the oxygen needed to sustain the world population. So, imagine losing that much oxygen-producing plantlife.

Plus, when deforestation happens in the Rainforest, it’s not just cutting down tree. The process often uses techniques like torching vast areas of vegetation, which also destroys valuable nutrients and shortens the lifespan of the land.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Brazil’s Homophobic President Cancels US Trip After Public Outrage

Jair Bolsonaro (image via Flickr/Agência Brasil Fotografias – CC License)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has cancelled an upcoming trip to the United States, where he was to be honored as person of the year by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, after growing outrage among LGBTQ activists and other groups.

The American Museum of Natural History last month announced it would no longer host the event with Bolsonaro.

Delta Air Lines, The Financial Times and Bain & Co are among the companies that pulled their sponsorship of the event because of Bolsonaro’s participation.

Otávio Santana do Rêgo Barros, a spokesperson for Bolsonaro, announced the trip’s cancellation due to “deliberate attacks from the mayor of New York and the pressure of interest groups on the institutions that organize, sponsor and host the event annually.”

A former Brazilian Army captain and member of Brazil’s Congress, Bolsonaro took office on January 1 after waging a very anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-indigenous campaign.

He’s publicly said that he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son.

When asked if he was homophobic, he not only answered ‘yes,’ but said he is ‘proudly’ homophobic.

Shortly after being sworn in, he ordered Brazil’s human rights office not to consider LGBTQ-specific issues.

Bolsonaro on March 19 stressed his government’s “respect of traditional family values” and opposition to “gender identity” as he spoke alongside President Trump during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden.

And last week, Bolsonaro announced he does not want Brazil to become a “gay tourism paradise.”

News Round-Up: April 26, 2019

• Celeb chef Franco Noriega was wishing for Friday - and here we are! #FrancoFriday #morewine
Celebrity chef Franco Noriega

Some news items you might have missed:

• Celeb chef Franco Noriega was wishing for Friday – and here we are! #FrancoFriday #morewine

• Anti-gay President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters this week regarding his country’s travel economy: “If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life. But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”

• In the first poll published after former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced his run for the White House, Biden leads Donald Trump by six points.

• In related Biden news, his campaign announced Friday that he raised $6.3 million on his first day as an announced candidate, placing him atop the crowded Democratic primary in terms of first-day fundraising totals and shutting down doubts about his ability to raise enough money to compete.

• Mat Staver, founder of the virulently anti-LGBTQ Liberty Counsel, says passage of The Equality Act would lead to pedophilia.

The Washington Post reports: “A majority of Americans say they oppose calls for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” I agree. Impeachment proceedings would only make Trump a martyr heading into the 2020 election.

• Geraldo Rivera, on this morning’s Fox & Friends, referred to openly gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg as “flamboyant.”

“If you wanted to go with the young buckaroo with flamboyant ideas and an aggressive point of view, maybe you go with Mayor Pete who has demonstrated success in South Bend.”

News Round-Up: March 11, 2019

Jonas Brothers score their very first #1 song

Some news items you might have missed:

• The Jonas Brothers have officially topped the Billboard Hot 100 with their come-back single “Sucker.” It’s the Jo Bros first number one (previous high was #5) and first boy band #1 in sixteen years.

• Democratic Presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said this weekend that she never supported conversion therapy, despite working for an organization that promoted it.

• Milwaukee beat out Houston and Miami for the 2020 Democratic Convention scheduled for July 13-16, 2020. Since the Democratic ticket barely lost usually ‘true blue’ Wisconsin in 2016, this makes perfect sense.

• This idiot not only got a beat down for grabbing the employee at McDonalds, but he was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The customer was apparently irate he couldn’t find a straw. Watch him get more than he bargained for below.

• Jussie Smollett’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, says the former Empire star is getting ‘gang-banged‘ by the media.

• A Brazilian politician called same-sex kissing ‘obscene’ and suggested it could be punishable with prison time.

• Speaking of Brazil, Donald Trump has invited the country’s newly-installed, virulently anti-LGBTQ president, Jair Bolsonaro, to visit at the White House. #OfCourse

•Music icon Olivia Newton-John celebrates the release of her first memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’.

With her trademark positive outlook, the Grease star shares personal anecdotes including a new afterword (added after the Australian printing) of her stay in her own hospital, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research  Centre, last fall when she experienced a fractured sacrum.

The four-time Grammy Award winner went undercover for a few weeks for treatment and shares how proud she is of the world-class facility.

She also shares never-before-told stories from her 50+ year-old career in entertainment.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

Brazil’s New President Begins Attack On LGBTQ Rights Hours After Being Sworn Into Office

Jair Bolsonaro (image via Flickr/Agência Brasil FotografiasCC License)

The LGBTQ community in Brazil began to see its fears realized on New Year’s Day when newly-elected President Jair Bolsonaro immediately issued executive orders targeting the South American country’s gay citizens.

Just hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro removed all LGBTQ issues from the agenda of the Human Rights Ministry.

Damares Alves, a former evangelical pastor who is now Brazil’s new human rights minister, said in her first public statement, “The state is lay, but this minister is terribly Christian.”

“Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes,” said Alves. “There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.”

In removing LGBTQ concerns from the Human Rights Ministry, Bolsonaro did not name another agency to take on the responsibilities.

Bolsonaro has been virulently anti-LGBTQ his entire career having worn the label of “proud homophobe” for years. In the past he’s said parents should beat their children if they suspect they might be gay, and that he’d rather have “a dead son rather than a gay son.”

In fact, his platform of anti-LGBTQ, anti-Black, anti-women, and anti-Indigenous positions won his the presidency with more than 55% of the vote in October.

As I’ve recently reported, numerous same-sex couples made a dash to the alter to get married before Bolsonaro took office, concerned he might attempt to reverse the country’s 2013 same-sex marriage law.

According to NBC News, Bolsonaro signed a document in partnership with the Catholic organization Voto Católico Brasil promising “to defend and promote the true meaning of matrimony: the union between a man and a woman.” LGBTQ activists and advocates saw that as a threat to repeal marriage equality.

Bolsonaro’s impending presidency led to a 66% spike in same-sex weddings in November according to The New York Times.

Considering the assault on LGBTQ rights by the Trump administration, it comes as no surprise that Donald Trump tweeted a message of support to Bolsonaro, who has been called the “Trump of the Tropics.”

President Trump also sent his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to attend Bolsonaro’s inauguration.

LGBTQs In Brazil Rush To Marry Fearing New Anti-Gay President

Even though same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, LGBTQ couples are hurrying their wedding plans before right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro is sworn into office as the country’s new president.

Bolsonaro, often referred to as the “Donald Trump of the Tropics,” has been virulently anti-LGBTQ his entire career and campaigned on a promise to defend “the true meaning of matrimony as a union between man and woman.”

Bolsonaro’s campaign already seems to have begun to influence public opinion and actions.

Comparing 2017 to 2016, anti-LGBTQ murders are up 30% (387 in 2017 vs. 327 in 2016) according to local LGBTQ advocacy group Grupo Gay de Bahia.

And openly lesbian city councillor Marielle Franco of Rio de Janeiro was murdered in March of this year.

All of this and Bolsonaro’s impending presidency has led to a 66% spike in same-sex weddings in November according to The New York Times.

In Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, 57 same-sex weddings were celebrated during the first ten days of December compared to 113 in all of December 2017.

Aline Foguel set a date for her wedding to her girlfriend Carolina Zannata right after Bolsonaro’s landslide victory. She, like many in the LGBTQ community, worries that the new far-right president’s ascension will give permission to homophobes to openly air their hateful, divisive rhetoric, possibly leading to violence.

“People now have this open homophobic discourse that they were too embarrassed to say before,” Ms. Foguel told the Times. “I’m so afraid of reliving a past that I thought we had already conquered. I’ve had panic attacks.”

The Brazilian Bar Association’s head of sexual diversity, Maria Berenice Dias, urged same-sex couples “who want to get married to hurry up and formalize their union before the end of the year.”

And it’s not just marriage equality Brazilian LGBTQs are concerned about.

Noah Beltramini, a transgender man, not only rushed to marry but also to officially change his name and gender identification after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year allowed.

“It wasn’t something I was worried about before,” said Beltramini. “But with Bolsonaro I feel completely vulnerable.”

(h/t The New York Times)