Brazil: “Paranoid Delirium” Over the Return of the Sex Senator!

“More ‘oranges’ [cut-outs, fronts, Abramoffs, shills] of Renan!” The sex senator illegally controlled two radio stations!
Veja taking up the standard agaisnt concentrated media ownership is like billionaire Bruce Wayne leading the fight against vigilantes operating jet-powered automobiles on Gotham City streets. Which does not mean, of course, that wresting the media from the control of machine politics is not a worthy end in itself. Secondary coverline: “Infrastructure: The war that must be won!” The debate over public policy is war. Violence is a natural part of the political process. Ecce Veja.

“There is no more tolerance in this country for these kinds of billion-dollar deals and these greedy companies that, breaking the law and harming the national interest, make a fortune on concessions they got from the Brazilian state. Now that is a promiscuous relationship between the public and the private sectors in its most perverse form.” –Sen. Calheiros in the Brazilian Senate, on the Grupo Abril, publisher of Veja magazine. See “Veja Mud-Wrestles The Sex Senator” II: Political Pressure on Abril Public Concessions and Brazil: “Parliamentary Probe of the Grupo Abril?”

Tião Viana critica “ambiente de especulações” sobre volta de Renan à Presidência do Senado (Último Segundo, Brazil): The interim president of the Brazilian Senate criticizes what he calls “a climate of speculation” about the return of Renan Calheiros to the presidency of the Senate.

Google News lists 609 news items on this story today. It is by far the most important news story in Brazil at the moment, in that sense. But it is kind of hard to see why.

The man was supposed to have his fate determined this week in an impeachment vote on an ethics charge — having used fronts to control radio stations in his home state of Alagoas — but a last-minute maneuver postponed the vote.

Alberto Diniz of the Observatório da Imprensa had an interesting comment on the case last week.

Given that Calheiros is far from being the only lawmaker who allegedly illegally controls public broadcast concessions — on the renewal of which the Senate votes, for one thing, and aside from the fact that this conflict of interest is barred by statute — it would seem that if he were to be impeached and removed from office, then maybe those others should be, too, on the same grounds.

You might also speculate that maybe, instead of doing that, the Congress could be induced to pass a law reforming the concession process, taking away all those concessions handed out by Toninho Malvadezas as political party favors when he was Sarney’s Minister of Communications.

This might mean, however, that the Sarney and Magalhães (TV Bahia) broadcast empires themselves — their Globo network retransmission facilities are keystones of their political empires — would have to go the way of the dinosaur.
This is what the PROJOR project spearheaded by Diniz wants to get done, pretty much. And you can kind of see why.


Brasília – O presidente interino do Senado, Tião Viana (PT-AC), classificou de “delírio paranóico” as especulações em torno da possível volta ao cargo do presidente licenciado da Casa, Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL). Para Tião Viana, o prolongamento da licença ou o retorno ao posto de presidente são prerrogativas regimentais, que competem única e exclusivamente ao próprio Renan.

Viana classified as “a paranoid delirium” the speculations regarding the possible return of the president of the body, Calheiros, who is currently on leave. In Viana’s view, the extension of the leave or the return of Calheiros are matters governed by internal regulation and are exclusively and uniquely up to Calheiros to decide.

“O que não pode é ficar um ambiente de especulação como se fosse um delírio paranóico de que tem perseguição para “A” ou para “B”, só porque as decisões regimentais não agradam a “A” ou a “B”. Se alguém estiver aborrecido com o bom cumprimento do regimento, como se diz popularmente, dane-se”, disse Tião Viana ao chegar ao Senado hoje cedo.

“What cannot be is for there to be this climate of speculation, a sort of paranoid delirium according to which A or B is being persecuted, just because the rulings of the chair on the house rules do not please A or B. If someone is not satisfied that the rules are being properly applied, to quote a popular saying, to hell with them,” said Viana, returning to the Senate early this morning.

A licença de 45 dias de Renan Calheiros termina no próximo domingo. Ontem, ele afirmou que irá aguardar a definição do calendário de votações dos processos a que responde no Conselho de Ética antes de decidir se estende a licença. O julgamento dele, que estava marcado para amanhã (22), foi adiado depois que o líder do PSDB, Arthur Virgílio (AM), comunicou que só irá apresentar o parecer sobre o caso na Comissão de Constituição e Justiça no próximo dia 28.

Calheiros’ 45-day leave expires next Sunday. Yesterday, he says he is waiting for the voting schedule to be set for the cases he is defending in the Ethics Committee before deciding whether or not to extend. His impeachment trial, scheduled for tomorrow (November 22), was delayed after PSDB leader Virgílio (Amapá) said he would not present his opinion on the case in the judiciary committee until November 28.

A decisão de Arthur Virgílio decorreu de notícias de que Renan Calheiros teria acertado um acordo com o governo para absolvê-lo em troca da aprovação da prorrogação da Contribuição Provisória sobre Movimentação Financeira (CPMF). A previsão é de que o julgamento dele em plenário seja no dia 4 de dezembro.

Virgílio’s decision stemmed from news that Calheiros had stuck a deal with the government to absolve him in exchange for extending the CPMF “check tax.” It is foreseen that his impeachment trial in the full Senate will take place on December 4.

The government, howver, seems to be denying that any such “news” exists, or that any such deal was struck. How about “stems from claims that”?

“Houve sobreposição dos casos. O senador Artur Virgílio aproximou o caso Renan da CPMF e entendeu que assim traria mais dificuldade à CPMF. Vamos ter de conviver com isso, que faz parte dos recursos regimentais que foram apresentados”, disse. “O melhor para a Casa é que os assuntos sejam separados: CPMF é uma coisa, assunto Renan é outra”, acrescentou.

“The two cases got superimposed. Virgílio tied the Renan case to the CPMF and concluded that this would make it more difficult to approve the extension of the tax. We are just going to have to live with it, that this is part of the motions that were made,” he said. “The best thing for the House would be for the matters to be dealt with separately: The CPMF is one thing, the Renan case is another,” he added.

Virgílio disagrees:

Segundo ele, é o próprio governo que tem vinculado os dois assuntos e usando como moeda para aprovar a CPMF a absolvição de Renan Calheiros no plenário.

According to [Virgílio], it is the government that has tied the two issued together, using the absolution of the Senator as a bargaining chip for getting the tax extended.

“Invade Iraq and we will not impeach Slick Willy for not having sexual relations, stricto sensu, with Ms. Lewinsky.”

The leader of the PT in the Senate, Salvati of Santa Catarina, also denies such a deal exists.

“Não existe nem acordão, nem acordinho, não existe nada. O que existe é um compromisso firmado por todos os partidos de que os processos contra o senador Renan seriam encaminhados ao plenário até o início de novembro. Se está sendo ruído o acordo, quem está roendo o acordo não somos nós”, afirmou.

“There is so such ‘big deal,’ no ‘little deal,’ no nothing. What exists is an agreement signed by all parties that the cases against Calheiros would be sent to the floor of the Senate by the beginning of November. If that agreement is being torn up, we are not the ones who are gnawing away at it.”

Nice little play on words with ruir and roer.

So at a minimum it would seem that describing the gentleman from Amapá’s reaction to the “news” is assuming a fact not wholly in evidence at this point.

Why do I mention it?

I really do not know.

To demonstrate the depth of my own ignorance, maybe.

I am hooked on this soap opera, but I have no idea what is going on here.

It makes not a lick of sense to me. I am not from here. I am totally lost. Someone is likely telling fairy tales to me here, and there seems to be no one in press willing to help me figure who it is.


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