Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The year 2012 saw the “Mensalão” scandal be resolved, more or less finally, by a courageous Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) which, by differing majorities, found any number of Brazilian politicians, government bureaucrats and their civilian cronies guilty of any number of crimes and misdemeanors.
No one, not even the Curmudgeon, could foresee the STF, eight of whose eleven Justices were appointed by Presidents Lula and Dilma, actually imposing criminal sentences upon defendants who were connected to PT, their party. It can’t happen here … but it did!
President Dilma, to her lasting credit, has subsequently refused to utter a single solitary word about the Mensalão scandal. She became Lula’s Chief of Staff after all the mechanics of the scheme were put in motion, and most likely she was ignorant of the moneyed machinations manipulating Congressional alliances.
Former President Lula, to his lasting shame, has loudly and repeatedly recanted his 2005 statement that he was “betrayed” by the Mensalão schemers, and has now staked out his position that there was never any such thing as the “Mensalão”!
According to him and to PT, the party he brought to power in 2002, it’s all an invention of the troglodyte owners and editors of newspapers and magazines who dare to denounce and decry his liberal/progressive programs which rescued Brazil from being only the 10th largest economy in the world to the 7th and, in the bargain, dragged between 30 and 50 million people into the real economy, and indeed into the middle class.
In other words, not only couldn’t it happen here, “it didn’t happen here”.
This is precisely the PT party line. According to PT, their progressive protégés whose nicknames are “Zé” (Dirceu and Genoino) never could and never would have engaged in anything so slimy as paying politicians to vote for their programs, while allocating ministries (and their billions in revenue) to those parties. Unfortunately, the STF decided that it DID happen here, and those who made it happen should go to jail.
The Curmudgeon, long fascinated by constitutions, has heard the proposal that the Brazilian Constitution should have only two Articles: Article the First: “Everyone should have a sense of shame.” Article the Second: “All provisions contrary to Article the First are hereby revoked.” Were this the full text of the Brazilian Federal Constitution, “It can’t happen here” and “It didn’t happen here” would be banned.
One of the Curmudgeon’s gurus is Zardoz who, having seen the future, knows it doesn’t work. Zardoz projects that in 2014 Lula will jettison Dilma, run for President, and will win. PT rampant, he will pardon Zé and Zé and their cohorts, and declare that, by electing him once again, the STF has been shown wrong. The populace, having refused to learn from the past, will repeat it. That’s a depressing scenario, but it won’t happen till 2014.
So, for 2013, the Curmudgeon wishes all well-wishers well, and all ill-wishers ill, and hopes that it can’t (won’t?) happen here.
Michael Royster, aka THE CURMUDGEON first saw Rio forty-plus years ago, fetched up on these shores exactly 35 years ago, still loves it, notwithstanding being a charter member of the most persecuted minority in (North) America today, the WASPs (google it!)(get over it!)