Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity… and on occasion, poetic justice.
Street Gangs enforce lockdowns in Brazil
Last week we highlighted how Brazil’s president claimed Brazilians don’t get sick.
Unfortunately for President Bolsonaro, his driver is now in the hospital, sick, being tested for Covid-19.
But Bolsonaro is undeterred, still not worried about the threat of Covid-19 to Brazilians.
So smaller regional “authorities” are taking the matters into their own hands.
And by ‘authorities’ I mean street gangs and drug cartels.
Irritated by their President’s incompetence, various gangs are enforcing lockdowns and social distancing in their neighborhoods. Some are also forcing some businesses to reduce their operating hours.
Rules include an 8pm curfew, no large gatherings, and basic hygiene. A gang near the Christ the Redeemer statue is even distributing soap and demanding anyone entering the favela wash their hands.
I guess sometimes the line between gangs and governments is hard to distinguish.
Hungary Prime Minister assumes dictatorial powers
In a rush to respond to the pandemic, the Prime Minister of Hungary has taken dictatorial powers.
This week parliament passed a law, “On Protecting Against the Corona Virus,” that will allow Prime Minister Orbán to sidestep parliament, “while the crisis lasts.”
Orbán can now, “suspend the enforcement of certain laws, depart from statutory regulations and implement additional extraordinary measures by decree.”
Anyone who obstructs the government response to pandemic, for instance, by leaving quarantine without permission– can face three years in prison.
Hungarians could be sentenced to up to five years in prison for distorting the truth or publishing false information about the virus and the government response.
As usual, the government gets to decide what counts as false or misleading information.
Why would a government ever let go of these powers? They could extend the emergency for years, and maybe transition right into another crisis that demands the same authoritarian power.
Congress proposes 50% tax on guns and ammunition in the US
Congress is considering a bill to require citizens to apply for a federal license before being able to purchase a firearm.
And the government would have the authority to deny a license, even if the applicant has no criminal history or mental health issues.
That makes this essentially a nationwide “red flag law.” The government can deny or revoke a license if they arbitrarily deem you to be a problem.
The proposed law would also tax firearms at 30% and ammunition at 50%.
Meanwhile, March saw record firearm sales.
The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 3.7 million background checks required to buy firearms. That is the highest month on record since the system began in 1998.
Joe Biden’s sexual assault accuser denied legal assistance
During the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Joe Biden said:
“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.”
Now a woman named Tara Reade, who worked as a staffer for Biden in the early 90s, has come forward claiming he sexualy assaulted her.
It’s even worse than what Kavanaugh was accused of: Biden was a sitting Senator in his early 50s at the time, not a high school teenager.
And taking Biden’s own standard into account, everyone should believe Tara.
But instead, the group “Time’s Up”, which provides victims of sexual assault legal assistance, denied Tara any help.
Time’s Up claims they couldn’t go after a politician like Joe Biden because it would risk their nonprofit status and funding.
And, coincidentally (I’m sure), the head of the group’s Public Relations firm is also one of Biden’s top advisors.