In 2000, the legal news service Notícias JusBrasil noted that former mayor and governor Paulo Maluf, along with current vice-governor Guilherme Afif, had been ordered to repay the state for election material printed up with state property and labor and the sale of a building below market price to the São Paulo Commerce Association, the ACSP — presided over by Afif at the time..
The state high court said the two men had used public resources for private ends.
I recently wrote an analysis showing how Afif continues to do so, in my dodgy Portuguese. According to the editor in chief of the ACSP’s newspaper, O Diário de Comércio, Afif continues to sit on the paper’s editorial council even as he serves in the state government.
Furthermore, political allies of the politician have been made vice-presidents of the newspaper, including the sitting mayor, Gilberto Kassab.
But let me get to all that after setting down the gist of the previous case in English. .
The state high court has denied the appeal of the 1982 candidate for vice-governoor, Guilherme Afif Domingos. The politician was ordered, along with fellow PDS candidate for governor,, Reinaldo de Barros and federal deputy Paulo Maluf, to reimburse the state official press (IMESP) for the use of employees to print propaganda advertising the sale of the IMESP building to the ACSP, presided by Afif at the time. The amount to be repaid will be determined during thes sentencing phase.
That is to say, it took 28 years to punish a garden-variety act of corruption.
The PDS was an ersatz partisan agglomeration ostensbly advising and consenting to the ruling military dictatorship.
The original trial court found that the defendants benefited personally from this use of state supplies and manpower, which they received free of charge.The printed material was entered into evidence. According to the deposition of a typesetter, between January and July 1982, the print shop was used improperly to produce newsprint propaganda for the PDS candidates.
These materials had also been delivered to an official party office, located on the ranch of Maluf’s mother. These same facts were attested to by other witnesses, who said that IMESP management forced them to perform the work with threats of firings.
Another element taken into account by the TJSP in the case against Afif had to do with the building housing the print shope . IMESP owned the building, but sold it to the ACSP at lower than market price at a time when the politician was the president of the association.
Now, employing similarly deft public-private role arbitrage, Afif has turned the DComércio into the most direct possible link between the Brazilian hard right and the Tea Party pseudo-movement — mainly thanks to correspondent Olavo de Carvalho, a self-appointed emissary to the neocons now appearing regularly on Blog Talk Radio.
Some time ago, I believe I translated a passage from his Epistle to the Sambodians, chronicling his attempts to warn neocons to the menace of Lula and begging for money to keep up the good fight. At the time, all four major dailies that carried his writings — the Folha, Estado de S. Paulo, O Globo, and Zero Hora — had dropped him from their staffs, leaving him without a cosigner to validate his journalist’s visa.
For the letter, see
My ultimate aim, which though it may be impossible is nevertheless morally imperative and worth the effort, is to stem the billion-dollar flow of financial assistance without which the Latin American communist revolution would die on the vine,
he wrote at the time. The man is absolutely off his rocker. As I often say, if you want to read just one book to help you understand the mentality of the Brazilians extreme right, it would be Carvalho’s translation of Schopenhauer’s treatise on informal fallacies, creatively misprised, not as a guide to the perplexed — the prologemenon is as touching as they come — but as a how to guide.
Carvalho retitled the book How to Win an Argument Without Being Right — and had the gall to sign Schopenhauer’s name to the title he never wrote, to boot.
It appears that DComércio now plays the role of guarantor for the visa that keeps Carvalho in Virginia, though I could not swear to that quite yet. .
This official newspaper of the chamber of commerce, with the mayor and a pantheo of DEM-PFL politicians listed as vice-presidents on the masthead, essentially just funnels the ideology and political agenda of the Cato and Heritage Institute directly into Portuguese print.
The only thing like it I have ever seen is in the archives of the last century: Última Hora, the only newspaper dedicated to the defense of the dictator Vargas, having been secretly financed and established for that purpose.
The paper is also the culmination of a campaign by the Sambodian Instituto Millenium — directly organized and subsidized by Cato, Heritage, Atlas, the Kennedy School, State, USAID, NED and that whole gang — to take a radical stand on freedom of the press late last year.
The keynote speaker at that event, Carlos Alberto di Franco, is an Opus Dei supernumerary and spiritual advisor to the current governor, Geraldo Alckmin. This by his own confession in a 2006 magazine interview that did not go down too well with the Alckmin campaign.
He also runs the Master [sic] em Jornalismo, an Opus Dei-founded University of Navarra extension course for local content managers, as well as a media consulting firm of his own that shares many clients with the Navarra-founded Innovation Media Consulting — such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Among the consultancy’s founding partners were senior executives from the Editoral Abril and the Grupo Estado. In that sense, what we have witnessed at a lot of the major metro dailies has been a Brazilianization of our journalism.
This is not a good thing. Brazilian journalism, in general, gabbles hysterically.
Now, the VP of Marketing for the company that hosts the ASPC’s Web site, Sandra Turchi, is a frequent guest on Globo’s Small Companies, Big Businesses — a joint venture between the network and Endeavor Global and designed to make the youth of Brazil Ayn Randier.
The program began as a publicity campaign by Professa Propaganda, then turned into a radio show with a clever sleight of hand: the lead partner of Professa simply formed an NGO and hosted the show as a journalist employed by that NGO.
Turchi also lectures at the Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing,
She is also VP of Marketing for Boa Vista S/A, a firm with R$50 million in capital that says it invests in “non-financial assets, performs collections and registration services, and handles “distribution of credit awards to NGOs.”
Boa Vista has the precie same street address as the ACSP; 51, Rua Boa Vista, Sé.
It could even be the old IMESP building we just heard about.
Sandra is also VP Marketing for the trade association representing customer call centers, ABRAREC — the same business Boa Vista is in, apparently.
Boa Vista’s servers host a panoply of e-businesss related URLs, while another contributor to the DComércio happens to be the president of the national Câmara-e, or Chamber of E-commerce.
The virtual newspaper’s blogroll — that is, its inventory of durable outlinks, important for SEM-SEO purposes — includes a direct pipeline to virtually every very loud member of the neocon Commentariat still not in captivity, not to mention heavy doses of the Tea Partiers and government agencies like USAID and NED.
In SNA terms — social network analysis — in fact, the DComércio is merely the hub that directs the navigator to the “authority” — that is what those numbers mean on the schematic of the network.
In a minute, if you will allow me, I will show you that this linking behavior is systematic and deep — not just a mention here or there, but dozens of redundant links, incorporating this body of discourse deeply into the DNA of the paper.
Dang, the gizmo is otherwise engaged. But here, in this network of institutions related to Brazil’s biofuels industry, you can see that each site is represented by a number, and that each adjacent number is accompanied by a value in parentheses. That value is the number of links from one to the other.
Thus, in the case shown, site 1 links to site 2 exactly 361 times — probably meaning that it is a permanent element of every page, just as twitter.com/about is of every twitter page view.
You see the same pattern emerging with the DComércio.
Particularly prominent, I thought, were plagiarisms in translation of campaigns against teacher unions by front groups in recent years, as SourceWatch has thoroughly reported on. The state governor sicced the military police on the state teachers when they struck last year.
And those boys are not all sweet and considerate, like your Egyptian riot police. I have seen them in action. They are totally out of control.
It is an eerie feeling: after all these years watching the right-wing netroots evolve, to hear the same shibboleths, now pronounced in Portuguese and repeated over and over again on every bat channel, is creepy and disorienting.
I will not belabor the case, which in any event still needs work.
The legal structure involved is complex, obviously, and happily, IANAFL, although I am at least trying to learn how to research a company at the cartório the way I would back home.
What I find difficult to understand are various facets of the situation — not least how Afif could be elected vice-governor when a law went into effect last year banning public officials convicted of misconduct in office from standing for office that year.
Sandra Turchi, it turns out, is a columnist-blogger for the paper as well, which comes very close to 100% syndicated content — including publications like Wired in bad, poorly paid translation.
It is, in other words, the very model of a modern “glocal” online newspaper, running almost automatically on newsfeeds with the exception of regular contributions from a small cabal of bat-rabd editorialists.
Among its “original” features are a tax ticker — a virtual version of the federal debt counter that has stood at the corner or 42nd and Bryant Park for decades — a feed from UN radio, a blog that essentially just plagiarizes everything that comes out in Globo’s Galileu magazine, and of course, the topic cloud, which indicates an interest in the two major political parties, the big leaders, and, looming large, the ever-popular Olavo de Carvalho.
Recent alliances among communities of pratice such as the engagement of Brazilian PR professionals by the APC.org and the Society of Professional Journalists — who actually gave Judith Miller an award! I quit immediately – are also noticeable in the content mix.
In sum, this is exactly the sort of propaganda rag USAID puts together to parachute into failed states — heavy on American popular culture, largely automated, with just a few tame natives brought onboard to give the impression that the editorials are not being written directly by the U.S. Ambassador, personally.
There will be a — grotesquely failed — separatist putsch on the Bolivian model in the next four years, I predict. Hold me to it. I could owe you a beer.
Currently working on, for serious: Brazilian alt.fuels.
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