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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.

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Taiana Bares All | Brazil’s Operation Car Wash


Photo: Autumn Sonnichsen/ Divulgação Playboy

Wearing high heels and covered in dollar bills, the former lover of the currency trader [Youssef] appears on the cover of the January edition of Playboy posing in hotel rooms and private jets. She told the magazine that she was “the first person he messaged after he was arrested.”

As I have noted before, every knock down drag out political scandal has its muse or poster child — a figure, usually an attractive woman who, to coin a phrase, “lays bare the facts” or some such analogy as that.

As Veja and Playboy are both Abril publications, it is not difficult to imagine how Taiana became the Goddess of Truth. Create a poster child with scandalous overtones  Divert attention from other significant  aspects of the case until you can measure the results and decide how — and against whom — to proceed.

Mountains of Money

This meme is a close cousin to the Mountain of Money concept in South American news media, itself a corollary to  the Perp Walk — a standard procedure for Brazilian police.

In Ecuador several years ago in an election won by the leftist Rafael Correa, the viciousness of the smear campaign by the local media was astonishing. Mobilized against Correa,  Ecuadoran TV and radio in general have to be seen to be believed , as is, or was, the case in Venezuela.

A case I remember well was an anti-Chavist talk show host who displayed a parking lot full of colorful HMMVVVs and identified them as constituting bribes to members of the government. A clever researcher was able to pin down the exact location of the photo — a HMMMVV dealership in Southern California. A sign was crudely Photoshopped in an attempt to identify the parking lot as government property in Venezuela. Grotesque.

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No More Chrome @ Home, For Now

Screenshot from 2014-12-19 08:37:30

Joel Lee writes:

After five long years of using Chrome as my main browser, I finally had to bite the bullet and switch over to Firefox due to some glaring issues

In my case, it was the high memory and CPU usage that finally frustrated me to the point of no return.

I have an ongoing process (WIRE) that requires about 30% of memory, and causes Chrome to freeze. The Task Manager provided by developers (above) does not provide a workable solution.

The need to reset the application using

killall chrome

gets tiresome quick.

And so here we are.

Espionage | The John le Carré of Guanabara Bay



Today, the Folha de S. Paulo published one of those cheap little spy novels you can get in any book store, new or used, to help you endure a long and arduous bus journey, stuck in traffic all the way.

I am referring to that story about the CIA agent who worked under some sort of cover story at  the Embassy. Once he realize he was being watched, he called the police, asserting diplomatic privilege. And when the local police, ready to lower the boom on those responsible for the espionage, discovered the surveillance was being carried out by the Brazilian secret service, ABIN.

The Folha article, however, had nothing to say other than that it would it make a fine plot for a novel to read on the bus, if it not for the fact …  Continue reading

The Return of Consciência Humana | Brasil de Fato

cons - entre a adolecencia

The group releases the above LP in 1997, followed by Agonia do Morro (2003)

A seminal human rights-oriented rap crew is back after a decade hiatus. The report is translated from Brasil de Fato.

After ten years without releasing an album, rap group Consciência Humana will appear on a record titled “Strong and Firm,” due for release in the latter half of this year. With the participation of famous guest rappers, the group promises to launch new ideas while maintaing the same principles.

“As long as there is injustice and police violence, people, we are going to be on top of it. On the day that this is accomplished, we will stop speaking out,” says group member WGI.

The rap group Consciência Humana rose to prominence in 1991 with lyrics that focused mainly on violence perpretrated by the State — violence that intensified in the periferal regions of the city after the demise of the civil-military dictatorship of 1964-1985.

It was in this context that the group produced Now is the Time, which portrays murders committed by policemen of ROTA, an elite patrol unit of the state military police.
Listen to a news story with the group’s music as a backdrop.

The song, based on actual facts, mentions the names of military personnel who are quite well known in such outlying neighborhoods as São Mateus (Eastern Zone), the birthplace of the rappers. One of these is Corporal Bruno, who participated in the so-called “Death squad” charged with at least 50 homicides. Paulo Counts Lopes (PTB), the former head of the ROTA a sitting São Paulo city councilman, is also singled out by the record.

Consciência Humana has forged a powerful identification with São Mateus. In the song «Law of the Periphery», the group recites the main problems faced by residents on a daly basis. Group member Preto Aplick said that these songs are important ways to create a sense of belonging to community residents.

“The newspapers have had only negative things to say about São Mateus. Only bad things emerge from the community, as opposed to such postive examples as athletes and performing artists. All of a sudden, here comes a group of performing artists, a rap group calling attention to all our problems. The population of São Mateus trusted our word and this meana so much to us.”

Consciência Humana recently granted an interview to the TV arm of Brazil de Fato … The Brasil de Fato team traveled to the São Paulo neighborhood of Itaquera where the Só Monstros studio, owned by the group, is located. Ten years after its last recorded release, Consciência Humana is readying a new CD, «Firme Forte» — roughly, «Stand Strong and Firm» — that signifies a new era in the group’s career. This year, the group will celebrate 22 years in the business..


With ROTA patroling the streets of the urban peripheries, terror was inevitable. Created in the 1970s with the mission of sustaining the military government in power, the performance of the duties left traumatic souvenirs. The track «Aplick» brings back many powerful memories of that time.
“We lived running away from them. That was when I wrote my first song, «Terror in São Paulo». From then on I was listening to the ideas of people I met in the dark of night. I passed part of my life in the street. Then I ran straight into them. And so we began writing this history. In the middle of recording that song, I met Conte Lopes. He invaded the shanties, he shot my uncle in the mouth. It was from that experience that “The Time has Come” was created.
Conte Lopes counts declares war
After the song made the radio and achieved excellent ratings Consciência HumanaConsciência Human was interviewed by the Popular Notice magazine. The group recounted the persecution and killing carried out by death squads with military police as members.
Popular Notice shone the spotlight on massacres which, according to the residents of São Mateus, were commando by ROTA commanding officer, Counts Lopes. The policeman, however, denied the accusations and at one point threatened the members of group.
In the introduction of another track called «Gray Rat Scumbag», an audio insert appears to be a recording of Conte Lopes, saying «listen here, it is Magnus and Capitan Conte Lopes … this is the Magnão we like to see,” referring to the singers in the group. Aplick says that the persecutions had increased since then.
“In the Popular Notice daily, he asked people to stop singing this song during concerts unless they wanted problems. But people continued singing along with this song. We are not stopping. It was then ROTA started to lean heavily on our shows.. ROTA would arrive at the show and said “You are not going to sing that song.” They took up positions in front of the stage ane were against our performing,” Aplick recalls.
For WGI, another member of Consciência Humana, taking the hard line influenced the political context. . “At the time, Conte Lopes was running for the legislature and we were making sure that he he lost votes among voters in São Mateus.

Michael or Maecenas? | The New Godfathers of Carnaval


Private and principally public patronage of Samba champions 2013

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in. —Michael Corleone, The Godfather (1972)

Champion of this year’s Rio de Janeiro Special Group, with an environment-friendly agroindustrial-related theme sponsored in part by pesticide manufacturer BASF, the Vila Isabel escola de samba illustrates the fascinating convergence of world and underworld during the annual delirium.

iG, for example, shines a spotlight on a young Carnaval Maecenas from a venerable jogo de bicho — numbers racketeering — family, Little Wilson Alves, whose father, the legendary Moisés Alves, was tried and sentenced for racketeering in 2006.

Moisés is said to be a leader of the “nickel hunter” — one-armed bandit — gambling machines mafia.

For “is said to be” read “has been sentenced to a very long time in prison for being, and is free pending the result of appeals …”

The story as iG reports it turns on what is something of a forced analogy, however.

Isn’t the son, Wilsinho, similar to the character of Michael Corleone in The Godfather?

Not really.

He does not really seem all that bitter about being pulled back in, for example. It might be fair to say that he seeks to legitimize the family business, but more information is needed.

Source: iG
Excerpt and translation: C. Brayton

At 28 years of age, the son of Moisés Alves admits to being called «godfather», but attributes his standing in the community to the hard work that brought the samba school into the special access group and won it two championships.


CAPTION: The youngest Carnaval society president ever to win a championship, Wilsinho celebrates with Carnaval muse Sabrina.

The youngest escola de samba president ever to win a Rio Carnaval championsip, Wilsinho Alves of Vila Isabel acknowleges the respect and the reverence in which he is held by  members of the escola, but denies that he is a Godfather, “like in the movie”.

During the verification of the votes on Wednesday afternoon, as iG reported, Wilsinho was observed giving orders and receiving all manner of affection and respect from leaders and supporters of the escola.  Some bystanders asked the young man — he turned 28 on Saturday before Carnaval — for his “blessing.”

“I am not Don Corleone, «The Godfather» — a great film, by the way — but as it happens they do call me Godfather, or in other words, President … Our people are humble, grateful. The nickname is similar, but it is not like in the movie”, he told iG, laughing at the comparison.

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NGOs of the Amazon | Social Irrigation & the Network Effect


A vertex is a good hub, if it points to many good authorities,and it is a good authority, if it is pointed to by many good hubs. —WOUTER DE NOOY, ANDREJ MRVAR & VLADIMIR BATAGELJ, Exploratory Social Network Analysis with Pajek

Source: Thiago Foresti | Carta Capital
Translation: C. Brayton
Network Analysis: C. Brayton

You rarely see social network theory applied to journalism for the lay reader, and so I read with interest Thiago Foresti’s recent progress report on the networking strategies — or lack thereof — of environmental nonprofits in the Brazilian Amazon.


In a nutshell, Thiago’s overview of the complex universe of green NGOs points to an oversupply of “gatekeepers” and a shortage of “hubs.”

I find this interesting: I have my own data from a big Web crawl that allows us to examine the “link ecology” of NGOs enumerated in the article — above, and below.


This makes me happy, because it means the data collected by extensive Web crawling — crawling 100,000 URLs with WIRE, developed by Chilean researchers  — and network analysis — with Pajek, Gephi and yEd — produce lists of concretely linked URLs whose mutual ties tend to be thematically coherent or empirically verifiable.

Above, for example, GTA is positioned as an itinerant broker between two other organizations. Adjusting the sample size and factoring out social networking platforms could present this relation in a different light, however.

Intuitively, however, it comes as no surprise that the the Observátorio do Clima would reference the Grupo de Trabalho Amazônico, for example. This is what countless Web portals in the “observatory” or “watch” genre do for a living.


An analysis of a given site’s «link ecology» can provide us with a roster of networked actors engaged in similar activities.

rosterecoongskingkongs Continue reading