Odd Bedfellows, Unpantsed

I’ve had my eye on Transparência Brasil for a while now, as I have on its parent organization, Transparency International, which is its only declared source of funding — and which itself is substantially funded by multinational energy concerns, including Exxon, that ethical paragon — international grand master of astroturf PR and the mindfuck style of information warfare.

There’s something very funny going on there. TB’s “don´t vote for mensaleiros” campaign in particular smells of a Nixonian Rovean dirty tricks mindfuck — I use the term in its technical acception — given that the congressional investigation into an alleged cash for votes scheme never did prove the existence of such a scheme according to anything a gringo tourist with a course in high school civics under his or her ample belt would recognize as due process of law, with precautions to preserve the integrity of that process, and civilized standards of proof.

Although it did turn up a cash pipeline that was going into illegal campaign coffers, the investigation ended in “pizza” when it turned out that, while members of a number of parties had availed themselves of its services, the scheme itself appeared to have been mounted in Minas by the governor and then-president of the PSDB, and may well have benefited the national party.

Investigation dissolved by party-line vote, as I recall — the party of government voting to continue, the opposition voting to wrap it up, who now imply in their campaign materials that the government party hushed the matter up.

Transparency also includes due process of law, it seems to me — of which there was laughably little in that case.

TB has said nothing about the grotesque fact that Paulo Maluf, the former São Paulo mayor and governor, fresh out of jail, and impeached former president Fernando Collor, stand excellent chances of being elected to the Senate.

That’s like appointing the ghost of Spiro Agnew to the Supreme Court, if you need a local equivalent to help you understand the enormity of the sacanagem here.

Or better: Bull Connor for Civil Rights Commissioner.

Watching the “scandal” on TV from both near and afar — as a gringo down in Brazucoland watching it every night on the TV, preempting the soap operas — it made me feel like I was right back home again — in gerrymandered Texas.

Almost as laughable as Civita telling a Wharton interviewer that Brazil’s press never reports on business corruption because, in all but trifling cases, it is the government that corrupts business.

This inspired pre-election rant from Fazendo Media of Niterói and Porto Alegre tends to point to the same set of factoids that have set me to puzzling, and even to flesh them out a bit, though I am still checking up on this Abramo character — whose offices, I discover, are actually not that far from the office suite we own and rent out, in Pinheiros.
What I translate below is merely the preface, mind you: the entire essay on “The Globo Standard Candidate” is a treatise of some 300 laudas.

The executive director of Transparência Brasil, the journalist Cláudio Weber Abramo recently read, and recommended on his Web site, the book “The phony consensus: The mass media and the formation of the ultra(neo)liberal agenda in Brazil”.

When WordPress.com changed the freaking template I use on this blog, it borked the proper paragraph spacing inside of blockquotes.

This is really cramping my style. I am a fiend for clean typography. Translation continues in italics.

The author is Francisco Fonseca, professor of political science at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas. Abramo recommends the book and says “it presents an original perspective on the behavior of the most influential media vehicles in Brazil”.

The constant one-note ideological samba hammered home by the mass media monopoly is hardly an original subject, but it certainly does remain a major obstacle to democracy .

Commenting on Cláudio Weber Abramo’s praise for the book, Internet user Luiz Lago quips:

“It’s great to see a political scientist from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas deciding to write something on the subject. Because when mere mortals such as myself raise the same question, we are simply written off as paranoids”.

He’s right. Continue reading


McKinsey Calls for the Clampdown

The McKinsey Quarterly: Reining in Brazil’s informal economy:

The gray market thrives in Brazil, where the informal economy generates nearly 40 percent of the national income. Many companies don’t pay their taxes and ignore regulations, thereby gaining an unfair advantage over their law-abiding counterparts while hurting the nation’s productivity. Brazil’s onerous bureaucracy is partly to blame: burdensome regulations, high taxes, and weak enforcement conspire to encourage evasion because the benefits outweigh the relatively small possibility and cost of being caught.

The “take-away”?

Brazil’s economy could grow by an additional 1.5 percent a year if its government launched a concerted effort to reduce the size of the gray market, as many other countries have succeeded in doing.

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Buemba! Buemba! Buemba! NMM Radio Official Launch!

The New Market Machines Radio is:

Out of alpha and sticking to a schedule, it’s the New Market Machines Week in Review from São Paulo, Brazil: BRIC-centric coverage of global media and finance with a pandeiro beat in the background.

This week, more tainment than info, but still: Brazil overhauls IT tax incentives; new pools of dark liquidity; pig****er media politics in Mexico leave risk managers jobless; the Merc in India; Citi scandal No. 1,001(a); Cardosonomics dissed; Red Hat routed; and more.

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