By Glenn Greenwald and cross-posted from The Intercept
Just over a year ago, in Brasília, one of the most nauseating and humiliating political spectacles I’ve ever seen took place over nine hours. In Brazil’s lower House – a body where a majority of members are implicated in corruption investigations – one dirty, shady cretin after the next stood up in front of television cameras and flamboyantly declared that their conscience, their religion, their God, their children, their devotion to Jerusalem, the memory of their mother, their pastor, the purity of their soul demanded that they punish corruption by removing the elected President, Dilma Rousseff, from office.
Just imagine the most extreme, primitive cartoon version of a gleefully hypocritical moralizer – a preacher who leaves his weekly whorehouse orgy to go directly to Sunday church to rail against hell-bound sinners – and you’ll have a perfect vision of the majority faction that sanctimoniously paraded itself that day. The slime that oozes from their pores is palpable. These are the people who nullified a national election in, and are thus now ruling over, the planet’s fifth most populous country.
With clarifying symbolism so perfect no screenwriter could imagine it, that tawdry, vulgar sleazefest was presided over by House Speaker Eduardo Cunha (pictured, right), an organized crime boss masquerading as a legislator. Shortly after he engineered Rousseff’s removal – which the nation’s major media elites unified to pretend was motivated by earnest concern about corruption – Cunha was sent to prison, accused of bribery, money laundering, witness intimidation, and racketeering.
In sum, Brazil’s incomparably corrupt political and media class tore the country apart, effectively and deliberately reversing the outcome of the 2014 election, by insisting that their high ethics and solemn respect for The Rule of Law simply could not tolerate the mundane, common budget tricks Rousseff deployed to make the economy appear stronger than it really was. Words do not exist to describe what a glaring fraud it all was.
But now – fast forward to yesterday – they themselves have made the true nature of their deeds and their character as clear as it could possibly be. The career mediocrity and soulless operative they installed to run the country, Vice President Michel Temer, has been drowning in actual corruption ever since he was installed. Just two months ago, audio tapes surfaced of Temer endorsing bribery payments by a Brazilian businessman to numerous witnesses, including his party comrade Eduardo Cunha, to maintain their silence.
Just think about that: in the country that, just over a year ago, pretended to be so morally offended by Rousseff’s budgetary tricks that they simply had to remove her from office, they have now all listened to the President they installed endorsing the payment of bribes to ensure the silence of witnesses. They played the recordings on television. Everyone heard Temer, in his own voice, just a few months ago, participate in blatant crimes. He was shortly thereafter indicted by the country’s top prosecutor – the first-ever sitting President to be formally charged with common crimes while in office.
A month later, evidence emerged that Temer personally received ample bribes, accompanied by disclosure of a video of one of his closest aides carrying a suitcase full of cash after Temer directed bribe payments. How can you have a country – especially one that spent a year with its elites pretending to be revolted by low-level budgetary maneuvers – run by someone who everyone has seen and heard wallowing in bribery and witness silencing?…