Brazil: “We Must Clamp Down on the Nazi Internet!”

Paraguayan photoshop job from the Ex-Petista blog, cited by Olavo Carvalho as a reliable source in a Zero Hora column: “Police find fingerprints of PT members on the money!” Source not stated.

If anything characterizes our times, it is a sense of pervading chaos. In every field of human endeavor, the windstorms of change are fast altering the ways we live. Contemporary man is no longer anchored in certainties and thus has lost sight of who he is, where he comes from and where he is going. — The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, quoted in my Spinning the World Backwards.

Who is the true master of the universe in the age of Time magazine’s YOU? A technologist like Larry Page or Sergey Brin perhaps or maybe a marketer like Tim O’Reilly or John Battelle? Or could it be Edelman, Richard Edelman, the ubiquitous CEO of the even more ubiquitous Edelman PR agency, the largest private PR firm in the world. Edelman gets the Web 2.0 revolution better than anyone. He understands that there are no absolutes in this world, that everyone is self-created, that we — individuals and corporations alike — are all responsible for establishing our own version of the truth.

Congresso Em Foco — sort of a Brazilian version of The Hill — features Celso Lungaretti on “Goebbels-inspired noise machines of the left and right.”

Last article we ready by Lungaretti:

Lungaretti seems to be up to two rhetorical tasks here

  1. An appeal to the “radical middle” in the same vein as Cisneros of Venevision, with an ostentatious rejection of “the radicalism of both extremes”; and
  2. “Going Nazi” early and often

On Cisneros, see

On “going Nazi” in public debate, see also

In the process, Lungaretti makes an astonishing factual claim, without backing: That JIBRA, or the Independent Journalists of Brazil, headquartered in London, is an expression of Workers’ Party propaganda.

On which see also

It is the only concrete example that Lungaretti cites, in fact, of alleged Goebbels-style PT propaganda.

Which makes that aspect of this “fair and balanced” analysis of the phenomenon something of a “one-sparrow Spring” — a specious generalization from a single case. “Ronald Reagan had thick, oily hair. Therefore, all Republicans have thick, oily hair!”

But I myself once interviewed a very interesting and thoughtful former GOP congressman from the upper Midwest who was as bald as a cueball.

The problem is that I have been wondering about JIBRA myself, and have been unable so far to confirm anything that has been reported about it. I have tried fairly hard, too. I should probably see if there is any new information on the subject.

So far, I have not been able to trace any of the publications attributed to it to anyone identifiable, much less to supporters or members of the Workers Party.

In one case, there exists a blog that cites JIBRA frequently as somebody else’s work, but whose putative author bears the same name as one of the putative “London exiles” — even though the blog itself is datelined Fortaleza, Ceará.

The people who tend to spread the JIBRA memes are those kinds of bloggers who tend respond to the invitation to provide a profile by saying things like “Who am I? I often wonder that myself! Who is anyone, really, in the greater scheme of things?”

My favorite case: The “ex-petista” blogger cited as a source by Olavo de Carvalho. The portrait of the blogger showed a Bozo-style circus clown. See

The story of the “conspiracy theory” was spread, in fact — as I noted in that prior post — by a blog called Alerta Total.

Which has a long history of spreading the same sort of “tradition, family and property” gibbering that Lungaretti ostentatiously bashes here.

Which seems to imply that the source of Lungaretti’s claim that the left are a bunch of Goebbels-style propagandists may be the same source he spends most of the article assailing the credibility of.

Which makes me tend to suspect that this is the same sort of thing we saw in Colombia recently: Disseminating a message and attributing it to someone else in order to discredit them.

Most recently, for example, “Fidel Castro endorses Hillary Clinton for president!”

It’s a variation on the ancient Pompeiian satirico-political graffito: “The smelly bums who sleep in the park urge you to vote Claudius for mayor!”


An interesting, but fundamentally boneheaded, gambit in “how to win an argument without being right”: reverse plagiarism in the service of a straw man argument, with specious generalization from a single case.

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The Bald Man and the Bad, Bad Banker: Notes on the Contemporary Brazilian Meme Wars

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The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

NMM(-TV)SNB(B)CNN(P)BS on Dailymotion.

This [blog post] is basically a conflation of cinema-induced fantasy, anti-Americanism, anti-President Bush, anti-capitalism, and fear of propaganda stemming from World War II. –Richard Edelman

A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip. — Zen koan.

Fads can be incredibly lucrative: mass hysteria and stupidity can make a real difference to a business’ bottom line. … –Rhymer Rigby. “Craze Management.” Management Today. London: Jun 1998. p. 58

Some commentary on recent journalistic coverage of two Brazilian governance scandals: corruption at the Central Bank ca. 1998, and the emerging story of the bald ad man from Belo Horizonte and his political slush-fund pipeline. With off-the-cuff notes on the Record-Globo face-off and an homage to Richard Edelman and Faith Popcorn.

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Rio: “Militias Arrive in the Baixada Fluminense and Menace Farmers”

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Publicly traded, goverment-controlled, multinational, socially and culturally engaged. Are paramilitary protection rackets trying to dump on the federal firm that controls the pump? Could prove to be a case for the Darwin Awards.

Milícia chega à Baixada e ameaça agricultores: the O Globo daily (Rio de Janeiro) reports that militias extorting rural producers are an emergent phenomenon in rural areas of the state.

I tend to approach this way of framing such stories with prior skepticism. See also

But let us have a read and see. And more power to O Globo reporters who are being allowed to cover such risky stories, in any event.

RIO – Agricultores da área rural de Nova Iguaçu, integrantes de um projeto de hortas comunitárias patrocinado pela Petrobras, estão sofrendo ameaças de uma milícia que se articula na região da Posse. A situação é motivo de preocupação na estatal e foi tema de reunião nesta sexta-feira. O projeto de agricultura orgânica, na comunidade Gerard Danom, é desenvolvido às margens de dutos de combustível. Segundo a polícia, o grupo miliciano poderia ter também agentes de segurança do estado. Seus membros exigem dinheiro em troca de “proteção” e, só esta semana, destruíram duas vezes plantações e instalações da comunidade.

Farmers in the rural districts of Nova Iguaçu, members of a community gardens project sponsored by the state-owned energy firm, Petrobras, are suffering threats from a militia that is emerging in the Posse region. The situation is a cause for concern at Petrobras and was the topic of a meeting held Friday. The organic agriculture project in the Gerard Danom community is being carried out alongside the routes of fuel pipelines.

Meaning that they are on federal property?

Providing a pretext for asserting federal jurisdiction?

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“The Government Has Just Killed 200 People”: Crisis at Congonhas

An airliner crashes, killing 200. And who do they arrest? The guy who owns the whorehouse! –Current bar joke, São Paulo, Brazil

When airplane disasters strike, inaccuracy and unfairness are the rule in deadline coverage, not the exception. “People in the aviation industry just laugh at us, and they have a right to,” asserts Elizabeth A. Marchak, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who has spent recent years investigating aviation safety. “Reporters get it wrong a lot of the time.” Only a handful of journalists is well versed in aviation safety. Officials of the NTSB call the regulars who show up at crash sites “the Seven Dwarfs,” because those mainstays sit together in the front at crash scene briefings.–Columbia Journalism Review, “Covering the Unfriendly Skies” (Sept/Oct 1999).

Yes, but in the days before Journalism 2.0 and “innovation journalism” and “radical impartiality,” a lot of that gabbling bad coverage probably still represented a sincere, but inadequate, effort to actually get the story right.

Some of the issues involved are, after all, rocket science. Literally.

But now imagine a news media that simply does not give a damn whether it gets the story right or not.

Conversa Afiada (Brazil) reprints an interesting e-mail conversation with philosopher Marilena Chauí — former culture secretary for the city of São Paulo, under PT mayor Marta Suplicy, and author of What is Ideology? — on media coverage of the aviation disaster at Congonhas airport here in São Paulo this summer.

I have clipped and commented quite a bit of local coverage, but perhaps the most relevant bits of further reading might be

Later, if I feel charitable, I will give you some of the debate over Ali Kamel’s absurd, logic-chopping defense of Globo’s — and the Jornal Nacional‘s in particular — breathtakingly stupid and irresponsible coverage of the incident and the subsequent investigation.

Era o fim da tarde. Estava num hotel-fazenda com meus netos e resolvemos ver jogos do PAN-2007. Liguei a televisão e “caí” num canal que exibia um incêndio de imensas proporções enquanto a voz de um locutor dizia: “o governo matou 200 pessoas!”. Fiquei estarrecida e minha primeira reação foi típica de sul-americana dos anos 1960: “Meu Deus! É como o La Moneda e Allende! Lula deve estar cercado no Palácio do Planalto, há um golpe de Estado e já houve 200 mortes! Que vamos fazer?”

It was late afternoon. I was at a country resort with my grandchildren and we decided to watch the Pan-American Games on TV. I turned on the TV and happened on a channel that was showing a huge fire, while the voice of the announcer was saying: “The government has killed 200 people!” My God! It’s like Allende and the bombardment of La Moneda! Lula must be holed up in the executive office building, there’s a coup d’etat and 200 are dead! What are we going to do?”

Mas enquanto meu pensamento tomava essa direção, a imagem na tela mudou. Apareceu um locutor que bradava: “Mais um crime do apagão aéreo! O avião da TAM não tinha condições para pousar em Congonhas porque a pista não está pronta e porque não há espaço para manobra! Mais um crime do governo!”. Só então compreendi que se tratava de um acidente aéreo e que o locutor responsabilizava o governo pelo acontecimento.

But as my thoughts turned in this direction, the image on the screen changed. A female announcer appeared, roaring: “One more crime in the ‘aviation blackout’! The TAM aircraft did not not have proper conditions to land because the runway was not ready yet and because there is no room for maneuver! One more crime of this government!” It was only then that I understood that this was an aviation accident and the the announcer was blaming the government for the incident.

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Tania Head: Her Good (Pseudonym) Was Her (Phony) Bond

The Head Case
The Head case: The Catalonian she-Zelig testifies to tragedy. Source: New York Times.

As for her educational background, she has told people that she has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a graduate business degree from Stanford, though officials at both universities said they could not find records of a student by her name.

In reality, Alicia Esteve Head belongs to a well-known Barcelona business family that found itself implicated in the 1992 economic scandal known as the Planasdemunt Affair, one of the biggest ever in Catalonia. Her father and her brother were sentenced to prison for forging documents (short-term bonds) issued by the Barcelona firm BFP.

Suspected bogus 9/11 survivor from Barcelona: report (AFP): A follow-up to

on the ontopsychological status of one Tania Head.

The Catalonian daily La Vanguardia said Tania Head was better known in Barcelona as Alicia Esteve Head, publishing a photograph of her with colleagues taken when she worked as a management secretary in the city between 1998 and 2000. Associates told the newspaper she often recounted unlikely stories which put herself at the centre of the action, notably one of a high-speed car crash in which she was badly hurt.

Oddly, I am not finding that on La Vanguardia‘s Web site. Maybe its search engine is not very good or it has not posted the story yet.

Ah, here it is.

Google found it. The newspaper’s own search engine did not. This happens a lot. Review the performance of your search provider early and often, Webmasters.

La Vanguardia quoted a former colleage as saying that Esteve Head also had a scarred and deformed arm, which she blamed on a 200-kilometre (125-mile) an hour crash in a Ferrari with her fiancé.

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“Why It Sucks to Be a Brazilian Journalist”

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Eros “Cupid” Grau to Lewandoski: “Did you see that the military police invaded the law school at USP?” “No, I didn’t see that.” “A lamentable thing.” O Globo defended intruding upon the private deliberations of Supreme Court justices by invoking the value of “democratic transparency.”

As long as it is believed that representatives should be accountable, then there are clear advantages to having them deliberate in public, but as long as it is also believed that representatives should exercise a degree of independent judgement in making decisions, then transparency can also have costs … recent discussions of transparency in government have often overlooked the fact that it can have both costs and benefits. –David Stasavage, “Public versus Private Deliberation in a Representative Democracy”

You can be aggressive in hunting down news, that’s one thing. It is quite another thing to be agressive in a way that disrespects authority. You must not let your authority be disrespected. … In those who have authority, that authority is intrinsic, it is innate. … if you do not respect yourself, journalist will not respect you, just as no one at home will respect you. A single look can generally resolve half such problems. The way you look at them when you answer, and the journalist will not persist in posing a disrespectful question.Antônio Carlos Magalhães

The Brazilian journalist does not feel free to write. More than just having to follow the editorial line of the publications they work for, the complaints principally have to do with coercion by political or business groups. —“A Profile of the Brazilian Journalist”

Or worse.

NA HORA (Brazil) cuts and pastes a Contas Abertas (“Open Accounts”) gisting of the results of a report by a U.K. group called Article 19 on, basically, why it sucks to be a Brazilian journalist.

Which actually tends to corroborate what my own network of private informants tell me, by the way. That it pretty much sucks to be a Brazilian journalist.

Article 19’s major financial supporters (2005 financials):

  • UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Open Society Foundation (Soros)
  • Ford Foundation
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

Call it a follow-up to

Short, selected list of reasons why

  1. The zombie Press Law of 1967, with those draconian desacato [“respect my authority!”] provisions
  2. SLAPP suits
  3. Physical, psychological and economic pressure
  4. Concentrated media ownership

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Infographic of the Week: Colombia’s Elections Observer Mission

MOE, the Missión de Observación Electoral, set out to discover correlations between elections irregularities and a number of other risk factors, including:

  1. attacks on freedom of the press
  2. the presence of FARC
  3. the presence of the ELN
  4. the presence of emergent criminal-paramilitary groups, including narcoparamilitaries, groups emerging from the ranks of demobilized “paras,” God knows what else, and combinations thereof
  5. the incidence of armed clashes
  6. the incidence of “internal displacement (expulsion)”

They published their observations in map form with a color code not unlike that used by our Homeland Security nationwide terrorist risk indicator — which to my knowledge was set on “amber” on the day it was rolled out and has never budged from “amber.”

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Fuzziness and fear: If the threat remains constantly elevated, does that mean I should never leave home without my chemical warfare protection gear? It’s as though the Teleprompter monkey on the weather desk were to tell you, not what the risk of rain was on a given day, but that “You never know what’s going to happen next, so be prepared for anything!” Waste of taxpayer money of the century?

El Tiempo headined a story yesterday on the study something like “Government admits risk to elections process in 76 [seventy-six] municipalies.”

The text of the story on the MOE study, however, refers — accurately, I think — to 576 [five hundred and seventy-six] municipalities with extreme, high, or moderate risk from one or several of these factors.

We should check to see if ET regretted the error.


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Number of ballot-boxes interfered with, for reasons of public disorder, by municipality.

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