Estadão: “Billions” Pilfered in the Thick Jungles of the South!

Daniel Piza of the Estado de São Paulo notes another case of alleged misappropriation of public funds through the use of outsourced publicity contracts.

In such schemes — the most famous of which is the so-called valerioduto — money is allegedly paid for services not actually rendered, then siphoned off into political slush funds known generically as caixa dois.

In the case currently pending, from Minas Gerais, the scheme allegedly pushed funds into the campaign coffers of 17 political parties. See, for example

The teaser to the article on the front page of the Estadão Web site at this hour (I cut and paste):

MP aponta que Zeca desviou R$ 30 bilhões para mensalão de petistas em MS

That is to say, former governor “Zeca of the PT” is accused of misappropriating R$30 billion to feed the campaign coffers of the PT political party

This number, according to the actual news report, is off by three orders of (base-ten) magnitude.

The correct figure, as alleged by the state prosecutor, is R$30 million.

Which is roughly equivalent to the difference between an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale (a “moderate” earthquake) and an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale (a “great” earthquake, which is one degree of apocalyptic disaster worse than a “major” earthquake, such as the recent temblor in Peru.).

Imagine a ton of high explosives being detonated in Lower Manhattan.

Imagine a kiloton of high explosives being detonated in Lower Manhattan.

Imagine waking up one morning next to a cockroach one meter long.

Imagine waking up one morning next to a cockroach one millimeter long.

The article: O novo PT era… velho.

“The New PT … is the same old same old.”

Which is something of a tired commonplace itself. 

The case in question is not new, and the reporting offers no new information on it.

The impending decision by the federal prosecutor on whether to indict Senator Azeredo of the PSDB for using the same scheme makes it current again, however.

This is a standard “thief calling a thief a thief” — aka “we are all prostitutes” — noise campaign.

Also known as “the Larry Rohter apologia pro vita sua.” See

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Omitted from broadcast commentary as posted to YouTube — is it really the version that aired? — but published in the
O Povo newspaper: “When Lula pointed to widespread corruption under Cardoso …” Lula is a whore! (And so was Cardoso!) See A Note on Moral Relativism in Contemporary Banana-Republican Guilty Pleas

I am not going to rise up in defense of the PT here.

It is a commonplace to note that some of the politicians who came to power with the PT succumbed to the ills to which all political horseflesh is heir, and the PT is quite capable of defending its own record on combating corruption.

The “corruption must be combated, no matter who gets hurt” meme is actually a talking point you hear from both government and opposition these days. Aecio Neves, a potential presidential candidate in 2010, for example, has been heard to say, “I refuse to politicize this issue.”

Suggestions that Neves himself was tainted by caixa dois contributions have likewise been greatly exaggerated by political pundits. See, for example,

But if know my PT public relations damage-control strategy — and whether you like it or not, the fact of the bearded gnome’s reelection and continuing popularity would seem to indicate either great competence or amazing luck in this area —  you will almost certainly see a vigorous rebuttal along the following lines, I would bet you:

From a journalistic point of view, the factual error in the headline here is pretty typical, I think, of the kind of wild inattention to the most basic of information quality-control measures which afflicts even the more generally readable metro dailies in Brazil.

The Estadão has many fine reporters, who do fine work when given their head. It also allots quite a few column inches to gabbling Moonies. The proportion varies according to the current political moment, it seems to me.

The business section, I find, is almost always worth reading — you can learn things, and not be asked to believe in too many nonexistent facts, from the exercise. Which is principally why I generally buy the Estadão.

But in the general-interest sections, and particularly political coverage, editorial management still obediently emits gabbling, irrelevant noise when the head office sends the memo around. Just like at Fox News.

We reiterate our previous rating on most Brazilian news sources: Boil everything before consuming. Just to be on the safe side.

In a half-kiloton explosion, Brooklyn might survive to fight another day. In a half-megaton explosion, stick in a fork in us. We are done. 


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s