• October 2015
    M T W T F S S
    « Jun    
  • Pages

  • Marginalia

  • Accumulations

King Momo and the Car(nival) Wash


Viva o Zé Pereira,
Que a ninguém faz mal,
Viva a pagodeira,
Nos dias de Carnaval

As the annual revels get underway, the mighty Rooster of the Dawn, like most carnival societies, is not shy about lampooning its betters.

Bakhtin, after all, was right about the Carnivalesque and the four modalities of the WUD, or “world upside down.”

But not everyone is convinced. One the key figures in the Car Wash case is attempting — apparently successfully — to quash distribution of a mask depicting his face, exposing him to ridicule on national TV.

Continue reading

PT | Sue You Too


Source:  PT (Brazilian political party)

The national president of the Workers’ Party,  Rui Falcão, announced today (February 11), that the party will sue former Petrobras manager Pedro Brausco, who accused the finance secretary of our party, João Vaccari Neto, of acting as a go-between in illegal fundraising for the party, without presenting any proof of this accusation.

Continue reading

Sambodian Power and Light | Turn Me Off, Dead Volume

O Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico faz parte de uma complexa rede de instituições e agentes, que desempenham diferentes funções no setor elétrico brasileiro. A figura a seguir ilustra as principais instituições do atual modelo setorial

O Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico faz parte de uma complexa rede de instituições e agentes, que desempenham diferentes funções no setor elétrico brasileiro. A figura a seguir ilustra as principais instituições do atual modelo setorial

Just posted by the Estadão.

The National System Operator  (ONS), which regulates the electrical sector, has determined that various energy distributors in the Southeast and South reduce the supply of energy during part of the afternoon today.

Distributors Eletropaulo (metro São Paulo), CPFL Energia (inland São Paulo), Copel (Paraná), Light and Ampla (both operating in Rio de Janeiro) confirmed receipt of the instruction.

Continue reading

Car Wash Witness | Contrary to Fact Conditional Parole?

"They knew everything"

“They knew everything”

I was leafing idly through the news coverage of Operation Car Wash — a megascandal with dozens of suspects of operating illegally inside Petrobras — thinking of doing a coverage timeline of the scandal,  when I came across a surprising statement.

TV Globo said that its sources did not confirm the version published by Veja, and described the Folha article as “distorted.”

It is very rare to see these particular establishment media outlets criticizing one another in this way.  Normally, stories like this are handled as a three-man tag-team match.

According to Valor, however, the naming of politicians involved in the case will not occur until February — Ash Wednesday, when people finally get back to work.

A tropical W$J or FT in incubation, Valor has published as a joint venture with O Globo and the Folha de S. Paulo — odd bedfellowssince May 2000. With the demise of the Gazeta Mercantil, it represents a relative concentration of the market shared with Brasil Econômico — a cousin to the Rio daily O Dia — and the business pages of the Estado de S. Paulo, along with the weekly Exame (Abril).

Bloomberg, Reuters. AFP, Yahoo News and others add a foreign flavor to the mix. The flow of information from various sources cannot but encourage the market observer.

Rumor and leakage in the Petrobras case do appear to have died down since mid-December as defendants — and officers of the court, including the federal police  — honor the gag order, in the case of defendants on pain of losing their plea deal, and leaky civil servants suffering administrative punishment.

Backgrounders [+]:

  1. Car Wash | Big Brother Is Watching
  2. Nassif on Car Wash | The Tipping Point?
  3. Watergate Braziliense: The Leaky Police on the Leaky Police

Source: CartaCapital (October 30, 2014):

Correction to Youssef deposition is a “lie,” attorney says.

Continue reading

Nassif on Car Wash | The Tipping Point?

fotorcreatedlavajato (1)

Operation Car Wash is on its way to becoming a pivotal moment in the political history of Brazil, decisively dismantling a political, judicial and economic model that flourished over the past four decades.

Starting with the financial liberalization of the 1970s, an enormous gray zone of banks in fiscal paradises sprouted up, fed with the proceeds of financial crimes, narcotraffic, the trafficking of persons, political corruption — an enormous archipelago of corruption from which investment banks, currency traders and offshore funds pontificated [on matters financial].


In this period, various forms of public corruption germinated, the crudest of which had always to do with tenders for public works and government spending.

More sophisticated schemes were practiced during the era of privatization, with the manipulation of municipal bonds, the exchange of privileged information on currency and tax rates as part of [“pump and dump”] operations in  the stock market.

An ecosystem flourished in which all the political and governmental groups could feed their appetites. Denouncing these schemes only made the headlines in the service of opportunistic political games — all in all, a vast spectacle of hypocrisy.


The reaction to this trend had its beginnings in the central nations, with their anti-money laundering (AML) and corporate corruption laws.

In order to arrive at our own Operation Car Wash, we had to run a veritable obstacle course, with previous operations that were aborted by the powerful influence of special interests in all branches of the government — the executive, the judiciary, the legislative and the establishment media.

The congressional inquiry (CPI) of the Municipal Bonds ended in a cozy deal, as did the CPIs of Banestado,  Satiagraha and Sand Castles, because they would have exposed politicians of all political parties, powerful corporate lobbies, and financiers.


The status quo changed little with the inauguration of Lula in 2003.

Major investment banks continued profiting from their participation in municipal fixed-income contracts, betting on new world champions, while the strategy of the PT was to assign its best operators to negotiate with the underworld behind the grandest business groups which, to date, had only opened its wallets for the PSDB.


Whether the needs of governability really required this strategy, future historians will have to say.

What is important is that Car Wash has broken the cycle of impunity under the current way of doing politics.

None of the major parties will escape this web of corruption. There is no room for opportunistic maneuvers. The leading figures of the PSDB are just as involved as the operators of the PT. The advent of the social networks has put an end to the heavy armor the party has reliably provided it.

I was shocked when I read that a Supreme Court Justice criticized by Nassif and the staff of Carta Capital had taken the time out of the official reading of his decision in the ratification of campaign accounts to personally assail Nassif.

I am an occasional Web interlocutor of Nassif — I have read his “The Spreadsheet Heads” and his series on the corruption of journalistic ethics at Veja magazine — but I have to say it: His site is a little unsightly and does not look like an A-list blog. It is mostly just another Ning community of the kind your local children’s soccer team might set up in 15 minutes. But it works.

And so it is a grand day here in Sambodia when the little boy tells his mother that the emperor wears no clothes. Your character, the character of your enemy, that sort of thing.


Here, then, some complex paradoxes arise.

If it is partial (partisan) and not complete, and if it permits opportunism, the results of the operation will be less trusted.

If it heats up the iron and investigates everyone, no matter who gets hurt, it will shut down national politics.


It is not up to prosecutors and police officials to define the limits of the Car Wash affair. It is the prerogative of political actors to offer ways out of the grandest political impasse in the democratic history of Brazil.

It is urgent that these proceedings result in radical proposals in election law, the criminal code, and the Constitution itself.

May the gods of wisdom guide attorney-general Geral Rodrigo Janot and his courageous team through the Car Wash case.


You can also read about Watch Dog Journalism in South America for a much more reasonable price.

Deep Float | Petrobras Underwater, Fire

A napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme

A back of the napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme


There is curiosity today as to the identity of a “deep throat” witness in the Petrobras corruption megascandal.

One month after Operation Car Wash was carried out, in the middle of this year, a career public servant with 30 years of service approached federal agents in charge of the task force and denounced Petrobras for ignoring “signs of criminal behavior” and “intentional mismanagement” inside the state-run petroleum giant “in order to divert funds without awakening the suspicions of auditors and inspectors.”

Together with the acquisition of the Pasadena Refinery in the U.S. – the most emblematic of the charges involving the case — the witness named former Mines and Energy minister Edson Lobão as the “godfather” of one of the suspects and [alleged that] current Petrobras CEO Graça Foster was responsible for the nomination of two other senior executives in the foreign trade division, supposedly responsible for a sale of assets to Nigeria that had led to losses for the company.


Was it a note with awful grammar from some General Nigeriano Ubuntu offering you a handsome sum for laundering some huge amount of cash through your account?

This is the Nigerian Third World Corruption scam. Purge it from your e-mail client. A variant is the wealthy but oppressed damsel in distress, for those more responsive to an emotional stimulus, and might be called the Rwandan Woman in Fear for her Life gambit.

During a four-hour closed session held on April 28 in Rio de Janeiro, – the transcript was appended to the Car Wash case file on Tuesday — the «informant», whose name will not be released during continuing investigations, described six cases of alleged criminal misconduct, chief among them the acquisition of  Pasadena, initiated in 2005. The deal, valued at US$ 359 million at the outset, wound up cost US$ 1,2 bilhão, causing Petrobras to suffer a US$ 793 million, according to the federal accounting tribunal (TCU).

[ … translation to come …]

Continue reading

Lies, Damned Lies and Infographics? | Folha de S. Paulo


Item: Blog da Cidadania |

This is how it works: the passerby reads only the front page headline and skips the article to which it applies. In this way he forms his “opinion” based on a short, snappy phrase and goes around parroting the headlines of these news media, which, as a rule, distort the reporting of the top story.

For this reason, other news outlets — even more tendentious than the others — place their faith in the sale of short, stereotyped ideas which in a manner of seconds implant theses of all kinds in the mind of these consumers of  “fast-food information”.


Such was the case of the notorious election-eve campaign of Veja magazine, which throughout the most recent election campaign, distributed giant banners to newsstand vendors, free of charge, containing accusations against Dilma Rousseff and the PT which, if you actually read them, are obviously nothing than insinuations.

In today’s example, the headline is grounded in an infographic purporting to support the headline that “Dilma is responsible for the Petrogras scandal” according to 63% of survey subjects.

“Brazilians [ the common Brazilian ] blame(s) Dilma for corruption.”

Do they? The juggernaut of a recent march calling for the impeachment of Rousseff swelled to an amazing 500 to 300, and at some point the event turned into a free for all between the two groups of Potemkin villagers.

datafolha-41 (1)

The infographic reproduced on the front page does not assist the reader much in understanding the situation. What registers most is the negative headline about Dilma.

Notice, dear reader, how the phrase is perfectly comprehensible even in the miniaturized version between the top headline and the fold on the front page. Turning to the inside pages, we will begin discovering facts that the headline obscures.

And although the subhed underneath the headline reveals that an overwhelming 46% of those interviewed by Datafolha believe Dilma has done more to fight corruption than her predecessors — more than Lula, even — her party maintains that her popularity has weathered the storm of political attacks against her since her second-round victory.

What is more, the graphic displays an extremely negative fact about the PSDB: ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso appears to have been extremely lenient in the fight against corruption. Only 4% of those surveyed believe corruption was combated during his government, second only to Fernando Collor, believed by 11% to have done most against corruption.


This would make a good critical reading exercise for a Brazilian high-schooler, studying up for his ENEMs, but I will simply cite some of the conclusions of Edu Guimarães, with right of reply assumed by the Estado de S. Paulo from today’s editorial page.

As you can see, the Folha shied away from publishing on the front page the fact that only 43% believed Dilma behaved in a corrupt manner while in charge of Petrobras, and that 45% considered her responsibility for the scandal negligible to none.

And so the Folha and Datafolha plot the intersection of the 43% who accuse Dilma with involvement with that of the 25% who, in answering other portions of the survey, indicate that Dilma is less responsible because of anti-corruption efforts that exceeded those of her predecessors.

The Folha has produced another farce based on market research that, though the bombastic headline suggests otherwise — that there exists a steep decline in confidence — actually shows that most of the population with an opinion on the Petrobras case are supporting Rousseff’s actions against corruption.


Some 75% of Brazilians find their government excellent or acceptable as of December 3

Brazilians apparently recognize that there is institutional progress in the investigation of wrong-doing. Only the PT militants incapable of their removing their blinders will fail to notice that only a few attribute this progress to the president herself — on the contrary, 43% believe she is greatly responsible for corruption.

It is not that Brazilians have a high tolerance for criminality; it is more likely that gratitude for social programs realized over the past 12 years is a determining factor.

But let Dilma beware, because her popularity owes more than her political capital can repay. This capital will dry up as soon as taxpayers suffer the harsh measures that mismanagement during her first mandate become inevitable.

The ESP is a conservative paper with a generally admirable track record of loyalty to the Empire of Fact.

The Numbers

No fewer than 85% of Brazilians surveyed in 173 townships say they are convinced that there was corruption in Petrobras, the scandal of the moment. Worse: 68% believe the president has some involvement in the case.

It cannot be pleasant for the current government to see that it loses only to the Collor government (1990-92) as the government with the most corruption, a proposition believed by 20% and 29% of those surveyed.

There is a certain confusion in all these surveys as to whether the survey is meant to measure the (mostly media-driven) perception of corruption and opinions about actual, proven cases of corruption.


A more telling statistic is the number of  Federal Police  operations during each presidential term. Under Lula, operations realized starting in 2003 outgrew police investigations by FHC by a factor of 50, and white collar crime was a significant new priority.

After the political defenestration of Paulo Lacerda from the PF and ABIN (the Brazilian CIA), the numbers have fallen off a bit, it seems, but there are a number of major cases in the pipeline.

Despite this, 42% assess the Dilma government as excellent or good. This is the same index announced on October 20, just before the second round. It appears that the intense revelations about wrongdoing at Petrobras has not been sufficient to undermine her prestige.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 294 other followers