What’s been going on?

Thehuntrio

Hashtag fans: #thehuntrio

 

Hi readers! It’s been a little while since my last entry and there are quite a few things to talk about today, so I thought I’d do today’s post as a kind of bulletin:

After 5 years it’s official: Eat Rio is a “Popular Website”

Eat Rio will be 5 years old next Tuesday! When I wrote that first post back in 2011 I had no idea that this little vanity project would have such a transformative effect on my life. A website is only relevant if it has readers so a big thanks to all of you who’ve visited over the years.

Those of you who follow the Eat Rio Facebook page will have seen that local English-language news site, The Rio Times, featured an interview with me yesterday (here’s the link). The reporter, Chesney Hearst, was super-nice and asked me lots of questions about my book, The Hunt Rio de Janeiro (plug: now available to purchase on-line in the US, the UK and Brazil!).  I’m going to tell you lots more about the book in the next post (bet you can’t wait!), but I was rather tickled to see Eat Rio described in the article as a “popular website”. Readers, it’s been a long journey but we finally made it!

What on Earth is going on in Brazil?

I don’t want to get bogged down in a heavy political discussion here in the post (though maybe down in the comments section if anyone’s up for it!), but I struggle to imagine what the rest of the world is thinking about Brazil right now. First came the massive street protests (for and against presidential impeachment), then the farcical impeachment vote (replete with confetti, dedications to dictatorship torturers and spitting incidents). Then the dynamic and charismatic young 75 year old vice-president, Michel Temer (quite possibly the most evil and shifty looking man of all time) stepped into the limelight.

I really feel for his PR team: OK Michel, why don’t you try smiling for your next publicity shot?

Michel-Temer-smiling

Terrifying isn’t it?

 

Oh god God no! Cancel the smile – you look like a creepy villain. Let’s go for ‘serious statesman’?

Michel-Temer-serious

Temer’s wife, Marcela (43 years his junior), made headlines recently when she was admiringly described in popular progressive magazine Veja as a “beautiful, demure housewife’. A quick Google search of “bela recatada e do lar” will give you an idea of the response from good people across Brazil.

Er, OK – I guess we’ll have to go with that then…

Thankfully now that Temer is in charge things are getting back on track. Those pesky ministries of culture and human rights have been subsumed and eliminated respectively and a new government leader of the lower house, André Moura, has been appointed (Moura is a safe pair of hands, accused of corruption and attempted murder!). The world will start taking Brazil seriously again, any minute now…

A quick trip back to Britain

In happier news, Mrs Eat Rio and I recently spent a whirlwind week back in England. It was our first trip back to Blighty since Christmas 2014 and a nice chance for us to catch up with friends and family, indulge in British culinary treats and do some good old-fashioned sight-seeing. It was also the first time in years I’d had the pleasure to see spring in England’s green and pleasant land – the bluebells were out, the mayflies were hatching and England did it’s very best to tempt us into considering what life would be like if we lived there instead.

Seeing as this post has descended into a glorified diary entry I’ll leave with some of our holiday snaps. More details on my book coming soon!

My mum and I had a joint birthday celebration while I was back. Centrepiece was this delicious roast piggy. Later on an ice-cream truck showed up!

My mum and I had a joint birthday celebration while I was back. Centrepiece was this delicious roast piggy. Later on an ice-cream truck showed up!

 

This is my kind of birthday cake.

This is my kind of birthday cake.

 

This is the park in Winchester where I used to play football with my friends.

This is the park in Winchester where I used to play football with my friends.

 

These bluebells were so intense they kind of hurt your eyes.

These bluebells were so intense they kind of hurt your eyes.

 

Boom! Welcome to London!

Boom! Welcome to London!

 

If you ever get the chance, go check out Postman's Park. It's a small space dedicated to unsung heroes from everyday life. Every city should have one of these.

If you ever get the chance, go check out Postman’s Park. It’s a small space dedicated to unsung heroes from everyday life. Every city should have one of these.

 

Black-headed gulls eggs and Hix in Soho. This (very) rare treat was a first for me - rich and delicious.

Black-headed gulls eggs at Hix in Soho. This (very) rare treat was a first for me – rich and delicious.

 

Bone marrow on toast at St John Bread and Wine. This was divine. Mrs Eat Rio's verdict: That was probably the best thing I've ever eaten.

Bone marrow on toast at St John Bread and Wine. This was divine. Mrs Eat Rio’s verdict: “That was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”

22 replies
  1. marcos
    marcos says:

    Hi Tom!

    It’s good to read your posts after some time of resting which everyone deserves. I had a look at your new website and I think it’s an excellent website for people who want information about Rio. It’s very informative indeed. Congratulations Tom, and keep up the good job. Thanks.

    Reply
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Hi Marcos! Good to be back and great to hear from you! Hoping to step up the pace of the posts and also beefing up the recommendations section of the site. In fact I just added a new listing for Roberta Sudbrack’s street food restaurant in Leblon, Da Roberta! 🙂

      Reply
  2. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    Massive protests were held against the Dilma government; minor and state sponsored protests were held fprojects. Not one protester received a penny to participate in the anti-government rallies; this was not the case with the pro-government “protesters”. Equating the two, be it in numbers or motives is outlandish.
    Please don’t sell the narrative that a coup d’etat occurred in Brazil. Even in subliminal fashion. This is another falsehood.
    Regarding cutbacks in certain areas like cultural projects (which more often than not just subsidizes projects and tickets for middle to upper middle-class) I think it better to curtail such spending rather than decrease real social spending in health and education. Last but not least: I think it is great that you point out some dodgy members of the current government, shame though that.not a sentence was written in your blog about the utterly corrupt and incompetent Dilma Rousseff government, which in the end is what made the current cutbacks you criticize a necessity.

    Reply
    • Phil
      Phil says:

      Gritty, you wrote that “Not one protester received a penny to participate in the anti-government rallies; this was not the case with the pro-government ‘protesters'”. As I understand it, hundreds of thousands if not millions of people have been involved in street protests, so how can anyone know that there were no payoffs on the anti-government side, but there were payoffs on the pro-government side? Even if there had been pollsters at the protests keeping track of such things, who would ever admit that they were being paid to take part in a protest?

      The phrase “for and against presidential impeachment” does not equate the two, either in size or motivation. There is nothing “outlandish” about using the conjunction “and”.

      If the new government is indeed channeling funds away from supporting the arts and human rights to helping the poor, then more power to them, but do we know this is the case, or is it just a hopeful assumption based on what the new leadership is saying?

      As an outside observer, I felt that the impeachment vote was indeed farcical and an embarrassment, but we’re seeing breakdowns of political processes all over the world. As a US citizen, I’m certainly in no position to criticize.

      I agree that the impeachment, despite its circus-like atmosphere and despite the fact that so many of the politicians supporting it are under investigation for corruption, was not a coup. I saw no suggestion from Tom, “subliminal” or otherwise, that it was a coup.

      Dilma is out, if not permanently, at least for now. I suspect that her opponents will continue to rail against her, but she’s no longer the issue. The new government must govern on something more substantial than the mantra “Dilma screwed things up”. Let’s see if the new government can do any better. If the economy does not rebound and if corruption continues to be a problem, Brazilians are likely to remain dissatisfied.

      Reply
      • The Gritty Poet
        The Gritty Poet says:

        Tom,
        Thanks for posting my correction comment (the one that includes “set on getting rid of Dilma”); but I think the comment it corrects wasn’t posted (I’m not seeing it at least).

        Reply
        • tomlemes
          tomlemes says:

          Hey Gritty – corrected now. For some reason WordPress had started sending your comments to the holding area where each one needed to be approved. It’s all there now.

          Reply
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Hey Gritty – I think Phil just did a great job of saying most of the things I was going to say (cheers Phil!). This dismissal of the entire anti-impeachment/pro-democracy protests as being a scheme paid for by the government is pretty weak.

      Looking at this at the anecdotal level, I don’t have a huge group of acquaintances but I know dozens of people who attended anti-impeachment demonstrations (without payment! 😉 ). There is a huge and very justifiable concern among many perfectly decent Brazilians (both PT and non-PT voters), and in the wider world, that the impeachment process was undemocratic. Did the anti-Dilma/PT protests have greater numbers? Sure, so what? Can you legally impeach a president because he/she has low approval ratings? Nope. Was the impeachment in any way related to eliminating corruption? Anyone who thinks that is seriously misguided – look at who impeached her and who replaced her!

      I keep hearing people say “She was so unpopular she had to go” – sorry, but that’s not how it works. In a democracy you have to respect the result of a democratic vote, even if you think the voters are stupid or uneducated (these 2 covers of Veja say it all). If the elite are tired of illiterate voters ‘stupidly’ voting PT into power time and again then maybe they should actually make a serious attempt to improve education and living standards in Brazil’s poorest communities. Instead they promote and indulge the prejudices of the rich, writing off Brazil’s poor as being stupid, dishonest and work-shy.

      None of this is to defend PT and portray it as an honest party, free of corruption; obviously it isn’t, none of them are are. The current political culture in Brazil is rotten to the core; the system practically demands it of any party that wants to get into power. And I couldn’t care less whether people call it a coup or not – that’s just semantics (and incidentally, I didn’t mention the word). What happened was that the democratic process was opportunistically bypassed by a bunch of incredibly dishonest politicians who find the rules and restrictions of democracy too inconvenient to bear when things don’t go their way. A massive step backwards for Brazilian democracy.

      Reply
      • The Gritty Poet
        The Gritty Poet says:

        Tom,
        The impeachment procedures followed due process. If anything it was lenient toward Rousseff as Supreme Court did not allow evidence of Rousseff’s involvement in the Petrobras corruption scandal nor budgetary infringements committed during her first term. This due to an understanding that a president may only be removed due to crimes during the term being served. A discrepancy which originated when reelection was allowed; yet certain laws were not updated (since previously presidents served allotted one term then obviously could only be impeached because of wrongdoing occurring during that term). Some legal scholars point out that in case of reelection it would be coherent to consider a first term as part of a whole mandate and thus a president should be accountable for impeachable infractions occurring during the entirety of their tenure. The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled against this interpretation and Rousseff was only impeachment because of budgetary fraud which extended to her second term. These infractions are ground for impeachment and were detected by both the Fiscal Accounts Court and the Brazilian Central Bank. So Rousseff was not removed due to unpopularity (although it would be naive to claim that an impeachment hearing, anywhere, does not contain a political component); but in Rousseff’s case legal implications ultimately brought her down.Rousseff will appeal her impeachment in the Supreme Court, using basically the same arguments that you put foward. And will most likely lose.

        Reply
        • The Gritty Poet
          The Gritty Poet says:

          Sorry for the mistakes in my previous comment (ended up trying to change the structure of a couple of sentences and unfortunately hit “post” half ‘way thru. Anyway I don’t think content and meaning were hindered; yet if something is not clear please ask.
          I’d like to add that what bothered me about your post was that you mentioned things like a variety piece about Temer’s wife but omitted the Worker’s party unscrupulous corruption and mismanagement which lead to Rousseff’s removal. I also find that constant “evil elite” mantra quite intriguing. Who is in this devilish organization? Are Veja readers to blame? Is a piece about Marcela Temer admitting she is happy being a housewife really an attempt to brainwash the culture into thinking all women should do the same (although she never said such a thing)? Another little tidbit that amuses me is how today’s fierce democracy warriors, so vehement in their democratic principles, fail to recall that when Collor was impeached in 1992 then speaker of the lower chamber who presided over hearings and vote was soon after removed due to corruption charges, as were 13 other deputies. Collor was latter acquitted by the Supreme Court regarding the which lead to his impeachment. Funny how not one of our brave warriors were bothered by this at the time and said that such a congressional body could not impeach a president. I think many of these so called “independent” progressives are kinda full of it and their poetic speeches and plans regarding “social justice” fall apart the minute they are confronted with their perks and refuse to let them go (useless government jobs along with obscene pension plans, free federal university, research grants while they are attending said free universities, mommy and daddy handing down pensions to offspring, “cultural” projects for the well connected while public schools don’t even have an art or music programme). But hey, all is forgiving when it comes to this seemingly cosmopolitan yet extremely shortsighted, selfish and parochial “classe pensante”. Our real problem is Marcela Temer . . .

          Reply
          • The Gritty Poet
            The Gritty Poet says:

            By the way you should update your post: after days of public buildings being occupied by these enlightened professional activists finally Michel Temer has caved in and will maintain the Culture Ministry. So we will continue to finance a bunch of well heeled visionaries who think others should pay for their movies, poems, tours and so on. Now that things are settling down the cleaning staff of each occupied venue can come in to pick up after these heroes of the common man and maybe find something left behind among the rubbish (paper, markers) that their children may use as school supplies. A big progressive parabéns to all involved, and I’m sure there’s a movie in there somewhere which the so called evil elite along with the cleaning staff must pay for.

          • tomlemes
            tomlemes says:

            Hi Gritty – maybe you’d like to update your comment(s) in light of today’s Jucá revelations? I’m sorry to say that although your points on this post have been wide-ranging they haven’t been remotely convincing or persuasive. I can’t believe your heart was really in it when suggested that culture shouldn’t be paid for by taxes – you’ve displayed enough enthusiasm for various cultural works over the years for me to seriously doubt that you meant that.

            Your comments and tone here have reminded me of a climate change sceptic or a tobacco industry spokesperson: someone who has already decided their position and will bend/distort/misrepresent any and all evidence in order to fit that position, regardless of what is plain to see by all reasonable people. When evidence becomes overwhelming the spokesperson (looking increasingly desperate) shifts the goalposts. First there was “definitely no climate change”. Then, when the weight of scientific evidence became to heavy too deny, there was climate change but it wasn’t caused by man (I shudder to think what their next move will be). It’s hard to take those people seriously and I can’t believe that, in your heart of hearts, you really believe that stuff about Dilma’s impeachment being above board. Are all the anti-impeachment protesters still just ‘professional activists’? Or have today’s revelations required a shifting of the goalposts on that question too? I’d find it far more convincing if you simply said “Well, the ends justified the means – she was a terrible president and it was good for Brazil that she was ousted, even if they broke the rules”.

            I accept the fact that we find ourselves on different sides of the fence here, but I’d like to think that my position is less entrenched and less blinkered. For instance, there are various policies of the left in Brazil that I think are terrible! This 13th salary thing is a joke – it’s a cheap trick, a very patronising way of placating people with a Christmas treat instead of giving them something decent year round. The bloated state and pensions, the bureaucracy, the massively inefficient public industries – these all need to be hacked down to size with a (metaphorical) machete. Do you give any ground to the centre and/or left? Do any of the right’s policies/actions give you cause for alarm?

            Your straw-man arguments about Temer’s wife suggest that you are wilfully missing the point. No one is seriously suggesting that Veja or anyone else is trying to brainwash people into thinking all women should be stay-at-home housewives. The point (and surely you don’t need me to explain this) is that the attitudes championed in the article were symbolic of the massively out-dated, conservative mindset of Temer, Cunha and the rest of those rich, old, white dishonest men (yes, the evil elite). These are the people who are trying to take this country back to “the good old days” (good old days for them!) – to scale back poverty relief and environmental schemes, to relax the definition of slavery, to outlaw abortion, even for rape. It’s easy to put “evil elite” in quotation marks as if that somehow invalidates the term – I’ll admit that it comes across as melodramatic, but what else can you call these people? Bolsonaro, Cunha, Aecio, Temer – no one reasonable can describe these people as “good”. There is a mountain of evidence which suggests that they are thieves, cheats and liars. It’s the most open of secrets.

            And the position of the right in Brazil has never had anything to do with defending the rights or interests of the “common man”. The syrupy sympathy for the cleaning staff that you portray nobly digging through the refuse looking for educational material left behind by the rich kids playing at revolutionaries – it’s a pretty sick approach when you contrast it with the reality of what the heroes of the right really think about those people.

          • Phil
            Phil says:

            So when hundreds of thousands of people protest in the streets, we are to assume that they are all there for the purest of motives and represent the voice of the people. And as you said earlier, not a single one of them is paid (unless they supported Dilma, of course).

            But when a smaller group protests in government buildings, they’re “professional activists” representing “well-heeled visionaries” (yes, I know that the “visionaries” part was sarcastic). Interesting.

            If Temer has already “caved in” to the forces of progressivism, the honeymoon with the conservative crowd certainly didn’t last very long. Maybe it’s time for another impeachment.

          • The Gritty Poet
            The Gritty Poet says:

            Tom,
            I find it hard to agree with your post´s take on the reasons and main characters behind Brazil´s current distress.. You talk about a white right wing elite and yet a leftist party (PT) has been in power for the past 13 years. You bring up names like Eduardo Cunha (up until recently a PT ally) and then associate him to politicians that were not part of Dilma Rousseff´s ruling coalition. You fail to mention Dilma, Lula, Jose Dirceu, Joao Vacarri , Delcidio Amaral, Renato Duque, Paulo Roberto Costa, Cervero and many other PT members or operatives empowered by that party in Petrobras and other state owned companies and institutions – with the sole purpose of funneling hundreds of millions in bribes to personal and party coffers. This severely weakened the Rousseff government. Instead you focus on a so called right wing media espousing what you describe to be right wing or conservative social norms. It just seems like an attempt to deviate from what actually brought Rousseff down (fiscal fraud) along with corruption and gross mismanagement resulting in widespread angst: budgetary infractions made her removal legal while the rest ultimately rendered it a necessity,. And regardless of what one may think of Aécio and others not aligned with Rousseff they have nothing to do the disaster she inflicted upon Brazil: Dilma enjoyed a comfortable majority in both houses during most of her tenure. You claim I am shifting goal posts but in actual fact I´m just not accepting the initial assumptions you put forth as to what is essential and relevant in this matter, be it the issues you highlighted (alleged conservative social norms, Ministry of Culture downgrade, etc) or the culprits of your choice (Veja, Aécio, Bolsonaro, Marcela Temer). When you blame certain politicians and media and in doing so employ terms meant to instigate an age old image of a given patriarchy (old white men, right wing) and then I look at the present day players in the PT who carried out much of the wrongdoing it sure does come across that your post´s purpose is to provide damage control to a corrupt leftist government. It turned out that these people ended up being what the evil white conservative patriarchy is supposed to be. And what transpired just doesn´t fit the script you are accustomed to believe, hence Cunha´s accomplices and overlords just can´t be the PT crowd, surely they must be someone else – anyone else. And Rousseff´s demise must be a fabrication of evil white men.
            I´d like to add a few observations about the Ministry of Culture ordeal tomorrow.

          • The Gritty Poet
            The Gritty Poet says:

            Regarding the Culture Ministry of Brazil (Minc), this is how they spend our money (data refers to a 2016 budget of R$ 2.6 billion).
            – 88% goes to paying culture ministry staff and other constant ministry expenses.
            – 12% is used for actual cultural projects.

            What kind of projects? Who is receiving these funds? Take a look at the article linked at the bottom.

            So yeah, an image of the cleaning staff picking up after brave dilettantes who occupied public buildings in the name of “culture” and then looking for paper and markers among the trash in order to save on school supplies for their kids seems spot on. Wait! The evil white patriarchy must once again be to blame here. . . (Although… if you look beyond the empty intellectual posturing and second hand hipster wardrobe of this “classe artistica” you may well find people whose families have been leeching off the state in many areas for generations).

            http://www.infomoney.com.br/blogs/terraco-economico/post/5020937/quem-pediu-volta-minc-esta-mesmo-preocupado-com-cultura

          • Phil
            Phil says:

            Gritty, you’re starting to sound like a sore winner. Dilma is out (at least for now). Your guy Temer has replaced her, though it sounds as if you’re already unhappy with him, too.

            It reminds me of some Democrats who spent the first several years of Obama’s administration continuing to blame Bush for all the country’s problems. Even if it were true, at some point the finger-pointing and righteous indignation have to stop (or at least subside) and the country must move forward.

            When you accused Tom of trying “to provide damage control to a corrupt leftist government” you impugned his integrity as a journalist/blogger. Tom can speak for himself, but I think it was inappropriate and borderline offensive, even if that probably was not your intent. People should be able to express opposing views without having their motives questioned.

          • The Gritty Poet
            The Gritty Poet says:

            Phil,
            Temer is not my guy; he was chosen by Rousseff and her PT party to be their running mate on a ticket for the 2010 presidential election.
            Now on to other misunderstandings.
            – The Rousseff removal was not illegal, please read the following:
            “Esse tipo de crime de responsabilidade é descrito tanto na Constituição, no artigo 167 (vejam aqui), quanto na Lei 1079, artigo 10º, a chamada de Lei do Impeachment (vejam aqui). É proibido que instituições financeiras públicas concedam empréstimos ou transfiram recursos ao Tesouro Nacional. E a Constituição diz que esse tipo de conduta é passível de impeachment a ser julgado pelo Congresso”.
            Click here for the article above – containing links to legislation which allows for Rousseff’s impeachment http://blogs.oglobo.globo.com/miriam-leitao/post/entenda-por-que-presidente-dilma-e-acusada-de-crimes-de-responsabilidade.html

            If you want an in depth account regarding Rousseff’s fiscal infractions then I recommend the following piece. It is a bit long yet the author (Leandra Peres) was able to transform an account of law bending budgetary blunders into quite an exciting story. It is well paced and a page turner. Congrats to Ms Peres.
            http://www.valor.com.br/pedaladas
            ———–

            As you can see Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment was done by the book. And as pointed out in previous comments she was lucky not to have had evidence of her involvement in the Petrobras probe included in the charges for her dismissal.
            So, unlike what was stated in the post “that’s not how it works, etc” in actual fact that is how it works – if you want to follow the law. The result will wield winners and losers – and even if some of the winners are unsavory (and btw were all allied to the PT previously) that does not take away from the issue at hand: laws were obeyed. It is also important to note that many of these rational fiscal restraints where passed and written into law in 1998 because of Brazil’s historic and chronic lack of fiscal rectitude – which would always end in high inflation and economic chaos – hurting those with the least amount of purchasing power the most. And yes: the PT party voted against the entire body of legislation which brought fiscal sanity to Brazil. They were also against Bolsa Escola and auxiliary safety net programs (which once in power they later adopted – changing the name to Bolsa Família and claiming them [it] as their own). This time around they lost, good for the rule of law, good for the livelihood of the Brazilian people,
            Now on to rebuilding an entire economy, and you can bet that the PT, PCB and other maggots who tried to sabotage the Plano Real, Fiscal Responsibility Act and so many other measures which later proved to bring well being to millions will once again do everything in their power to undermine reform. Of course they’ll also raise havoc to retain their entitlements (government jobs, pork for their “journalists” and bloggers, posts in the state owned EBC network – which dreams of being a Brazilian version of PBS but lacks both talent and honesty).
            There is a bumpy drive ahead, and in an unlikely yet possible Rousseff return the car will certainly fall off the edge of a cliff called Monte da Inepta – straight into Burro and Corrupto valley (a great place for birdwatching though – the rare Lulabird who knows of nothing yet witnesses everything is nested there).

          • Phil
            Phil says:

            Gritty, thanks for your reply and I will look at the links you sent.

            But first I want to set the record straight. I never said nor did I imply that the impeachment was illegal. In fact, I specifically said that it was not a coup, so I’m not sure what gave you the idea that I am questioning the legality of the process. It was carried out in a way that made me question the motives of the deputies voting for impeachment, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t legal.

            I understand that Temer may not have been your first choice to replace Dilma, but you know the way the process works, so you must have realized he was next in line of succession. With Dilma’s impeachment, Temer became not just “your guy”, but “Brazil’s guy”, unless he’s deposed and someone else replaces him.

            I also agree that Dilma’s financial shenanigans cannot be ignored, though whether they were sufficient grounds for impeachment will depend on one’s opinion of Dilma and the PT. And anyone who thinks that her financial manipulations were the main reason for her impeachment is not being totally honest. I do not believe that the impeachment would have been successful if Brazil were still enjoying an economic boom. And I also believe that should the new government fail to produce economic growth fairly quickly (before the next elections), the people will again look for someone to blame, and who knows what party they’ll support next time? Both the Democratic and Republican parties in the US have been declared “dead” many times, only to be returned to power within a few years after their supposed demise.

            One final note: I do not think it’s necessary or helpful to characterize one’s political opponents as “maggots” or other derogatory terms. I know that people do it all the time, and everyone has a right to express their opinions however they want. But when I see that sort of thing, it immediately lowers the credibility of whoever is doing it. It makes it harder for me to take the rest of their remarks any more seriously than I’d take a schoolyard taunt. Ad hominem comments are often what people resort to when they have no better argument, and since you’ve clearly got lots of other arguments that you use to support your positions, the ad hominem comments may not be required. Again: I’m not trying to stifle your freedom of expression. Say what you want. I’m just expressing my own opinion of that type of attack. That was what prompted me to suggest that you went over the line by accusing Tom of doing “damage control for a corrupt leftist government.” There had to have been a less personalized way to say that, and if there’s not, maybe it didn’t need to be said at all.

          • tomlemes
            tomlemes says:

            Hi guys – sorry to have left this thread for so long without a response. It’s a very lame thing to say but I’ll be honest: I really lost my appetite for this discussion, partly due to lack of free time but also because, Gritty, I found your position to be so entrenched and so closed off that I just lost the will to keep engaging with it (on this subject and on this occasion – happy to continue discussions on Marmite and the relative merits of Men Without Hats vs They Might be Giants and I’m sure we’ll return to the themes covered in the post in future).

          • The Gritty Poet
            The Gritty Poet says:

            Tom,
            You claim my views are entrenched and that I don’t consider other options for Brazil’s well being beyond a given set of right leaning policies; yet I rarely opined on what should be Brazil’s path back to stability and then on to progress – preferring to focus on your evaluation of Brazil’s current state of affairs: the characters behind it all and to a large extent the general mindset and culture you attached to them, along with social strata. Said players and their obtuse values should – your post and subsequent comments convey – render Dilma’s removal illegal, unfair, and detrimental. And although I disagree with much of what you wrote. ultimately it is what you omitted that bothered me the most. It is also important to remember that I pointed out and linked to legislation behind Rousseff’s removal, which I find legally sound. Again though, it is your portrayal of the whole thing that really got to me. So I ask: does the post fairly and accurately depict what is essential to understanding Brazil’s current dire situation and what caused it? After all you fail to mention any wrongdoing on Dilma’s part, nor do you take into account how corrupt her party is. One could argue that she isn’t responsible for what her party members and operatives do in connection to government contracts and favors, even when they’re serving in her administration given the colossal size of Brazil’ state. So these crimes aren’t relevant to her impeachment (and actually weren’t); yet you do bring up unsavory characters from other parties and use that to undermine the legitimacy of her removal from office. She was actually removed due to budgetary infringments but you did not bring that up to then argue for or against it. I think this is importsnt when addressing what has been on going in Brazil. You also report on an opposition deputy citing a torturer from the military era as he cast his vote; yet you do not mention that beforehand two pro Dilma deputies payed an homage to Lamarca and Marighella while casting theirs – both were guerrilla fighters. These guys carried out atrocities against civilians and soldeirs. You link to two covers of Veja magazine as evidence of middle to upper class elitism and disregard for the poor. In this scenario Veja represents said class (a strata which supposedly blames the poor for everything) and is set on getting rid of her (because she somehow favors the poor, in spite of the economic recession she created which hurts all, above all the… poor). Anyway, I find all of this to be a caricature of Brazilian society, often used by left wing parties as class warfare in order to turn people against each other to then rob them blind. Notice how neither of those linked Veja covers claim that poor people are responsible for Brazil’s ills, only by way of extreme abstractions could one derive such a conclusion. Or better yet: this is a case of a pre-established conclusion looking for evidence, preferably among her usual culprits.
            On a final note: I do not think that Brazil’s “conservative” parties are enlightened entities. I would say they are unscrupulous morons, and are not really conservative at all (give one of these guys an Adam Smith book and receive a blank stare in return). The Brazilian Left is equally ignorant and for the most part has been unable to move beyond her ridiculous dogmas and mature into modern social-democratic parties like those found in Europe. In an English context Brazil’s left is not even Old Labor, she is Fred Flinstone Labor (without Betty Rubble – who is adorable).

          • The Gritty Poet
            The Gritty Poet says:

            A correction to my previous message: “In this scenario Veja represents said class (a strata which supposedly blames the poor for everything) and is set on getting rid of Dilma (because she somehow favors the poor, in spite of the economic recession she created which hurts all, above all the… poor).”

  3. John Napper
    John Napper says:

    Hi Tom,
    I’m looking forward to getting hold of the book.

    That photo of the park in Winchester brings back memories from before you were born I suspect. Is the School of Art still there?

    As for Michel Temer, I will refrain from comment on what has happened and what he is doing as acting President and just mention that every time I see his picture I can’t help thinking he used to own BHS. Maybe Sir Phillip Green is his long lost twin brother?

    Reply
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Hi John! That’s great (about the book) – I hope you like it and find it useful.

      Ha ha! They both look like Bond villains don’t they? Separated at birth 😉

      Reply

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