Saturday, May 14, 2016

abolishing democracy in the world's fifth largest country...,


theintercept |  So if you’re a plutocrat with ownership of the nation’s largest and most influential media outlets, what do you do? You dispense with democracy altogether – after all, it keeps empowering candidates and policies you dislike – by exploiting your media outlets to incite unrest and then install a candidate who could never get elected on his own, yet will faithfully serve your political agenda and ideology.

That’s exactly what Brazil is going to do today. The Brazilian Senate will vote later today to agree to a trial on the lower House’s impeachment charges, which will automatically result in Dilma’s suspension from the presidency pending the end of the trial.

Her successor will be Vice President Michel Temer of the PMDB party (pictured, above). So unlike impeachment in most other countries with a presidential system, impeachment here will empower a person from a different party than that of the elected President. In this particular case, the person to be installed is awash in corruption: accused by informants of involvement in an illegal ethanol-purchasing scheme, he was just found guilty of, and fined for, election spending violations and faces an 8-year-ban on running for any office. He’s deeply unpopular: only 2% would support him for President and almost 60% want him impeached (the same number that favors Dilma’s impeachment). But he will faithfully serve the interests of Brazil’s richest: he’s planning to appoint Goldman, Sachs and IMF officials to run the economy and otherwise install a totally unrepresentative, neoliberal team (composed in part of the same party – PSDB – that has lost 4 straight elections to the PT).

None of this is a defense of PT. That party – as even Lula acknowledged to me in my interview of him – is filled with serious corruption. Dilma, in many critical ways, has been a failed president, and is deeply unpopular. They have often aligned with and served the country’s elite at the expense of their base of poor supporters. The country is suffering economically and in almost every other way.

But the solution to that is to defeat them at the ballot box, not simply remove them and replace them with someone more suitable to the nation’s richest. Whatever damage PT is doing to Brazil, the plutocrats and their journalist-propagandists and the band of thieves in Brasilia engineering this travesty are far more dangerous. They are literally dismantling – crushing – democracy in the world’s fifth-largest country. Even The Economist – which is hostile to even the most moderate left-wing parties, hates PT and wants Dilma to resign – has denounced impeachment as “a pretext for ousting an unpopular president” and just two weeks ago warned that “what is alarming is that those who are working for her removal are in many ways worse.” Before he became an active plotter in his own empowerment, Temer himself said last year that “impeachment is unthinkable, would create an institutional crisis. There is no judicial or political basis for it.”