Brazil: “Death of a Death & Taxes Protest”

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“Shame on the CPMF! “The ministry of citizens warns: Deputies and senators, the CPFM is hazardous to the health of the Brazilian people” (a parody of cigarette warning labels). A counter. The campaign is apparently something of a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth-style, plausibly deniable 501(3)(c)-equivalent astroturf noise machine run by the 20-something heirs and assigns of the Magalhães and Bornhausen dynasties. “You, with your vote, have the power to change Brazil! Do not let your elected representatives extend the CPMF. Get together with friends and neighbors and hit the streets, yelling at the top of your lungs, SHAME ON THE CPMF!”

7 mil comparecem a evento contra CPMF: 7,000 turn out for a rally against the CPMF, a “check tax” on financial transactions that yields R$40 billion in annual revenues to the federal government, and which is up for renewal in the Senate at the moment.

The hysterical virgins out for the head of the “sex Senator” had threatened to stall the vote if he was not borked — “starving the beast” of funding for social and economic stimulus programs, as the Gingrichian revolutionary vanguard used to say.

And forcing it back into the arms of international lenders, is the counterargument from the Squidist forces. The main talking point of which in recent years has been “Brazil is now the owner of its own nose.”

A pretty effective talking point, too: The current government is rated as “good” or as “regular” (apparently they do not differentiate between “sucks no worse than usual” and the Yiddish horizontal hand-waggle indicating “I can live with it”) by all but 18% of persons surveyed by IBOPE, last I read. Unchanged within the stated margin of error.
G1/Globo runs it with an “eyebrow” of “disappointing turnout.”

Cerca de sete mil pessoas compareceram ao ato contra a Contribuição Provisória sobre a Movimentação Financeira (CPMF), no final da tarde desta terça-feira (16), no Vale do Anhangabaú, na região central de São Paulo, segundo estimativa da Polícia Militar.

Some 7,000 people appeared at a rally against the CPMF late yesterday afternoon in the Vale do Anhangabaú district of downtown São Paulo yesterday, according to military police estimates.

The 5,000 at a similar rally for the Cansei campaign last month — sponsored by the same people — was estimated by a number of press observers as no more than 2,000.

Os organizadores do evento – a Frente Nacional da Nova Geração e entidades comerciais, empresariais e civis, como a Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (Fiesp) e a Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (OAB) – estimavam o comparecimento de um público bem maior, de pelo menos 1 milhão.

The organizers of the event — the National Front of the New Generation and such commercial, business and civil society groups as FIESP and the Order of Brazilian Attorneys — had estimated a much larger turnout, of at least a million persons.

E quem foi ao Anhagabaú estava mais interessado em assistir aos shows de artistas populares – como Netinho, NXZero e a dupla sertaneja Zezé de Camargo e Luciano – do que propriamente protestar contra o “imposto do cheque”.

The people who showed up at Anhagabaú were more interesting in seeings shows from pop music acts like Netinho, NXZero and the country music duo Zezé de Camargo and Luciano than to protest the “check tax.”

Outras atrações que subiram ao palco nesta terça foram a banda Ao Cubo, Nando Cordel, Falamansa, Fresno e KLB. Ainda segundo a organização de evento, nenhum dos artistas cobrou cachê para participar.

Other draws who hit the stage yesterday were the band Ao Cubo, Nando Cordel, Falamansa, Fresno, and KLB. According to event organizers, none of the artists charged an appearance fee.

I kind of like Falamansa.

O apresentador Luciano Huck, que era esperado para fazer as vezes de mestre-de-cerimônia, cancelou de última hora a sua participação ao evento alegando problemas de agenda. Até as 20h48, o presidente da Fiesp, Paulo Skaff, também não tinha comparecido ao Vale do Anhangabaú.

[Youth-oriented Globo] TV personality Luciano Huck [– when we bought a cheap boom box recently, it was (embarrassingly) a Luciano Huck signature model (it does not work very well) –] scheduled to serve as master of ceremonies, cancelled at the last minute, alleging scheduling conflicts. By 8:48 pm, the president of FIESP, Paulo Skaff [sic], had also not put in an appearance.

Mr. Skaf is an interesting figure to keep your eye on.

These are pretty much the same groups that were behind the hotly debated Cansei [“I am sick and tired …”] demonstrations — also underwhelmingly attended. See also

The “movement” was played up as a significant, and genuinely grassroots, phenomenon by some folks in the international press. Which made me laugh until my sides ached. See also

A controversial electoral “mini-reform” — handed down by judicial fiat — that was (arguably) in effect for last year’s elections had put an end to so-called “showmício” — pop music shows used as political campaign rallies — on pain of the candidate losing his or her mandate.

Luciano Huck caused a stir recently with a Folha de S. Paulo op-ed recounting how he was sticking his arm out the window of his car and had his Rolex swiped off his wrist by a local Artful Dodger.

He used the incident to scream for an extermination of the brutes, as I read it. Kind of astonishing. A lot of ink is getting spilled on op-eds suggesting the young fellow is something of a national embarassment. As G1 reported

O apresentador Luciano Huck, da TV Globo, foi assaltado na última quinta-feira (27) na Rua Renato Paes de Barros, no Itaim Bibi, Zona Oeste de São Paulo. Dois homens armados em uma moto levaram o relógio do apresentador. A assessoria dele confirmou o roubo, mas não soube informar detalhes da ocorrência.

Huck was robbed on September 27 in Itaim Bibi, in the Western District of São Paulo. Two armed men on a motorcycle took his watch. His press office confirms the robbery but had no further details about the incident.

Em artigo publicado nesta segunda-feira (1) no jornal “Folha de S.Paulo”, Luciano Huck desabafa sobre o assalto. “Como cidadão paulistano, fico revoltado. Juro que pago todos os meus impostos, uma fortuna. E, como resultado, depois do cafezinho, em vez de balas de caramelo, quase recebo balas de chumbo na testa”, afirmou.

In an article published on October 1 in the Folha, the TV personality rants about the robbery. “As a citizen of São Paulo, I was outraged. I swear I pay all my taxes, a fortune. And as a result, after morning coffee, instead of getting balas [bite-sized candies] of caramel, I nearly get lead balas [“bullets”] in the head.”

“Hoje amanheci um cidadão envergonhado de ser paulistano, um brasileiro humilhado por um calibre 38 e um homem que correu o risco de não ver os seus filhos crescerem por causa de um relógio”, afirmou.

“Today I woke up as a citizen who is ashamed to be from São Paulo, a Brazilian humiliated by a .38 revolver, who ran the risk of not seeing his children grow up, and all over a watch,” he said.

A Rolex.

Personally, I wear a $60 Swiss Army-brand watch I bought at Century 21 maybe five, six years ago. Marked down from $150, it was a damn good bargain, I thought.

Attractive enough. Keeps perfectly good time. But if I lose it, I am not going to miss it that much. Having had it for 60 to 72 months, I have gotten good use out of it for $1 a month, or less.

O apresentador mora no Rio de Janeiro, onde grava o programa semanal “Caldeirão do Huck”, mas nasceu e tem negócios em São Paulo.

The performer lives in Rio, where he records his weekly program, but was born in São Paulo and owns businesses there.

My sense is that this “movement” is just as phony as the spontaneous upwelling of mass popular support for RCTV in Venezuela — a cause celebre being revived by the Interamerican Press Assocation in Miami at the moment.

But you need to actually watch this dreck before making up your mind. RCTV has to be seen to be jaw-droppingly disbelieved.

Or those “a tsunami of indignation that will topple the Stalinist regime!” campaigns pumped down the content pipeline from Miami by the likes of ORVEX.


Seizing of the Nanking Palace.” See also “Spontaneous Joy as the Free Iraqi Forces Seize Firdaus Square” and “A grass-roots groundswell of podcasters rise up to bum rush Billboard Magazine!” “The emergent revolt of the users” is a (most often phony) “innovation journalism” masterplot.

The amazing thing is the dogged determination with which local political marketers keep trying the exact same thing after failing miserably the first time around.

The loud, long horselaugh of negative press over the failure of family members of air disaster victims to gain access to the stage at the Cansei rally, for example — whose organizers required a heavy, ostensive Secret Service-style security contingent to share the stage with them — was painful to watch.

And well-deserved, I tend to think.

I mean, even if you support the cause being promoted, you have to ask yourself, what bang are you getting for your stealth-marketing buck, anyway? If I were those people, I would be performance-auditing that account and looking over the escape clause in my contract. Seriously.

You pay these people to create a public image that will resonate with the popular imagination. And they wind up pisando na bola in the worst possible way, time and time again.

Not that the Brazilian tax system is not kind of a Kafkaesque nightmare, mind you. As are its labor laws.

But a tax reform and simplification package, I understand, is actually lined up on the legislative agenda, waiting for takeoff once they finish bullozing the flaming wreckage of the sex Senator off the runway. As is labor law reform. And it’s funny, too: Quite a few Brazilians seem to be for it, and quite a few foreign investors seem to be for it as well.

As someone interested in reading beancounting stories, I would actually rather be hearing more about that issue than about the tattoo on Mônica Veloso’s ass.

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Cansei satire (Indymedia Brasil): “We are sick of not being able to evade taxes anymore, of losing one election after another, of the high price of botox, of the bankruptcy of the Daslu boutique, and most of all we are sick of this lower middle class that, beyond the fact that it is no longer dying of hunger, now travels by airplane and thinks it’s people … Ah, we’re sick of it all! Enough! Enough! Enough!”

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