Could the song ‘A Banda’ by Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda be a case of plagiarism?

Could the song ‘A Banda’ by Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda be a case of plagiarism?

My British father in law is a lover of Big Bands, Jazz and Musicals, and knowing that my husband and I shared his taste in music, when he last visited us in August Summer of 2019, he gave us a large box of CDs he no longer wanted due to a change in his life. I started to listen to the CDs, until I ran across a particular one that made me very uneasy, because one of the songs had a segment that seemed to me exactly like the song called ‘A Banda’ (The Band), by the Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda (1944-). The CD in question is ‘Strictly Big Band’, by Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra, recorded in 2008, with 17 tracks of amazing songs.

Searching through the internet I found that:

“The Syd Lawrence Orchestra was founded in 1967 by trumpeter and arranger Syd Lawrence, is considered the best Big Band in the UK; It has been thrilling audiences in concert halls, theatres, TV shows and music festivals all over the UK and Europe for over 40 years. Renowned for its exciting blend of high octane Big Band Swing and Classic Dance Music, the Orchestra’s repertoire ranges from the legendary Glenn Miller through the era of the great Count Basie Orchestra to the hit songs of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. It has recently been voted “Best Big Band in the Land” for the eleventh consecutive year”.

The particular song of the Strictly Big Band that had a part so alike a Brazilian song I know is ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, on track 4.  This song, sung by Angie Mills, was by the American composer Jerry Herman, about whom, I got the following information:

“American songwriter Jerry Herman (b. July 10, 1931) is the first composer-plus-lyricist in history to have written three musicals that scored over 1,500 performances on their initial Broadway runs: Hello, Dolly! had 2,844, Mame 1,508, and La Cage aux Folles 1,761. (Stephen Schwartz matched this record in 2007.) Creator of ten Broadway shows so far, and contributor to two more, Herman has been nominated for Tony Awards® in multiple categories five times, and won two for Best Musical (Hello, Dolly! 1964 and La Cage aux Folles 1983)”.

The song ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ was made famous by the musical ‘Hello Dolly’. I had heard it many times before, but the version on this CD is the only one I know that has the particular part that matches  ‘A Banda’of Chico Buarque de Holanda. As for the lyrics, that of the Portuguese version are different, although the theme of how a marching band helps to raise spirits, is also the theme of the Portuguese version by Buarque de Holanda. Here is the information I found in the internet about the song A Banda by Chico Buarque de Holanda:

“Chico Buarque de Holanda composed this song when he returned from Europe, where he had toured with the play Morte e Vida Severina (Death and Life of Severino), adapted from a poem by João Cabral de Melo Neto that tells the story of Severino, a Brazilian economic migrant. It won the 2nd Tv Record Brazilian Popular Music Festival, and was recorded on her first album in 1966”.

There is more than one version for the song ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, of the musical ‘Hello Dolly!’, which would explain why this one was the only one that included the particular section I mentioned. The one that contains the melody that matches ‘A Banda’ could be from the original Broadway Cast Recording of 1964.

If anyone wants to compare the similarity of a segment of the song  Before the Parade Passes By’ in Track 4 of the CD ‘Strickly Big Band’, by Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra, the segment starts precisely two minutes and twelve seconds from the start. The full lyrics of the song is listed below. The segment in question is  marked between the stars.

Before the Parade Passes By – Melody & lyrics by Jerry Herman (Album Strictly Big Band’, by Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra, 2008)

Before the parade passes by

I’ve gotta go and taste Saturday’s high life

Before the parade passes by

I’ve gotta get some life back into my life

I’m ready to move out in front

I’ve had enough of just passing by life

With the rest of them

With the best of them

I can hold my head up high

For I’ve got a goal again

I’ve got a drive again

I wanna feel my heart coming alive again

Before the parade…

Look at the crowd up ahead

Listen and hear that brass harmony growing

Look at that crowd up ahead

Pardon me if my old spirit is showing

All of those lights over there

Seem to be telling me where I’m going

When the whistle blows

And the cymbals crash

And the sparklers light the sky

I’m gonna raise the roof

I’m gonna to carry on

Give me an old trombone

Give me an old baton

Before the parade passes by


*** [Here is where it starts]

I’m going to march up and down

Right here in front of the tent

I’ll be the talk of the town

Whilst I make my stand

No clouds will darken my skies

My feet are feeling the shoes

The world will soon realize

I’ve got no room for the blues

Now get that tanner outside

I’ll take the trumpets and blow

I’m going to shout to the world

That I’m ready to go

*** [Here is where it ends]

Before the parade passes by

Listen and hear that brass harmony growing


When the parade passes by

Pardon me if my old spirit is showing

All of those lights over there

Seem to be telling me where I’m going

Look at that crowd up ahead

Listen and hear that brass harmony growing

Look at that crowd up ahead

Pardon me if my old spirit is showing

All of those lights over there

Seem to be telling me where I’m going

When the whistle blows

And the symbols crash

And the sparklers light the sky

I’m gonna to raise the roof

I’m gonna to carry on

Give me an old trombone

Give me an old baton

Before the parade passes by



I believe in intellectual property rights. I am not a professional musician but my ears tells me that the song ‘A Banda’ by Brazilian composer Chico Buarque de Holanda could be a  plagiarism of a part of  the song ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ by the American songwriter Jerry Herman.  I believe that an expert should check my suspicion.

Here is a link for the version I mention in this posting, which includes the part that was supposed plagiarised, which starts at 2:08 minutes from the start:

Your opinion of the case is greatly appreciated.


Meet Maurice Strong: Globalist, Oiligarch, ‘Environmentalist’

Meet Maurice Strong: Globalist, Oiligarch, ‘Environmentalist’

James Corbett

Disgraced kleptocrat Maurice Strong died late last year at the age of 86. He was shunned from polite society and forced into a life of exile in Beijing after his decades of business intrigues, crimes against humanity, and environmental destruction unraveled. His savagery culminated with an attempt to profit off of the death of starving Iraqi children. His funeral was a quiet affair, attended only by those few family members who could not find it in their heart to shun him completely. Former friends and business associates like Paul Martin, James Wolfensohn, Kofi Annan, Conrad Black, and Al Gore all avoided calls for comments on their disgraced friend’s passing.

…is how Maurice Strong’s legacy would have been remembered in any reasonable world. Instead we get this:

On Wednesday, hundreds will gather across from Parliament Hill for an extraordinary commemoration. The Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment, the former president of the World Bank – among other dignitaries, in and out of office – will pay homage to one of the great Canadians of his generation. They will celebrate the life of Maurice Frederick Strong, who died on November 27. His passing brought the obligatory obituaries and personal tributes. But in a country that often hides its light under a barn, Maurice Strong – and the feverish, consequential life he led at home and abroad – should not go uncelebrated.

And the accolades just keep pouring in.

From Canadian PM Justin Trudeau: “Maurice Strong was a pioneer of sustainable development who left our country and our world a better place.”

From the co-founder of the World Economic Forum at Davos: “He was a great visionary, always ahead of our times in his thinking.”

From author and philosopher John Ralston Saul: “He changed the world.”

In fact, a whole gaggle of globalists showed up to pay tribute to the memory of Strong earlier this week in Ottawa, from former World Bank president James Wolfensohn to under-secretary general of the UN Achim Steiner to Martin Lees, the former secretary-general of the Club of Rome. Written condolences poured in from other prominent globalists including Mikhail Gorbachev, Gro Harlem Bruntland and Kofi Annan.

So why exactly was Maurice Strong so beloved by the globalist jet set?

Oh, that’s right:

INTERVIEWER: “Maurice Strong doesn’t have any ambition for the United Nations to become the world’s government?”

STRONG: “No, and it’s not necessary, it’s not feasible, and certainly we are a long way from any such thing. But we do need–if we are going to have a more peaceful world, a more secure world–we need a more effective system of cooperation, which is what I call ‘system of governance.’ And the United Nations, with all its difficulties, is the best game in town.” (Interview)

President of Power Corp. President of the Canadian International Development Agency. Chair of Petro Canada. Chair of Ontario Hydro. Head of the United Nations Environmental Program. Founding member of the World Economic Forum at Davos. Father of the IPCC. Committed globalist.

No, it is not difficult to see why globalists love arch-globalist Maurice Strong. But how did this man, a dirt poor high school dropout from Oak Lake, Manitoba, rise to become an international wheeler-dealer who is responsible for shaping our modern day globalist institutions? The story is as unlikely as it is instructive, and it leads us from the heart of the oil patch to the formation of the IPCC.

Given Strong’s remarkable ascent through the ranks of political power to become a globalist kingpin, it won’t be surprising to hear that he had political connections in his family. But it may be surprising to hear where those connections were placed. His aunt, Anna Louise Strong, was a committed communist who befriended Lenin and Trotsky (who asked her to teach him English) before she ultimately settled in China, where she was on familiar terms with Mao Zedong. She became close with Zhou Enlai, who wept openly when she was buried with full honors in Beijing’s Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery.

Unfortunately for humanity, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with young Maurice. Born in rural Manitoba in 1929 and suffering through the worst of the Great Depression, Maurice Strong drops out of school at age 14 to look for work. He works his way around as a deck hand on ships and then, at age 16, as a fur buyer for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada’s North. There he meets “Wild” Bill Richardson, whose wife, Mary McColl, hails from the family behind McColl-Frontenac, one of Canada’s largest petroleum companies.

Through Richardson, Strong makes contacts that propel him into his unlikely career. As Wikipedia cryptically explains:

“Strong first met with a leading UN official in 1947 who arranged for him to have a temporary low-level appointment, to serve as a junior security officer at the UN headquarters in Lake Success, New York. He soon returned to Canada, and with the support of Lester B. Pearson, directed the founding of the Canadian International Development Agency in 1968”.

As far as massive narrative gaps and cryptic cover-ups of detail go, that paragraph is a masterpiece. The truth is even weirder. That “UN official” referred to by Wiki? That was none other than the Treasurer of the UN himself, Noah Monod. In fact, Monod doesn’t just get him a job, he gives him a place to live; the two room together during Strong’s time in the Big Apple. But most importantly, Monod gives him an introduction to the man who more than any other will be behind his meteoric rise to international superstardom: David Rockefeller.

Maurice Strong liked to relate the story that he had been confrontational with Rockefeller at the start. According to Strong, some of his first words to David were “I’m deeply prejudiced against you and all your family stands for.” Oddly, David doesn’t remember the meeting that way, saying instead that the two had “a strong working relationship.”

Either way, from that moment on Strong was a made man. And from that moment on, wherever Strong went Rockefeller and his associates were there somewhere in the background.

Alberta-OilIt was a Standard Oil veteran, Jack Gallagher, who gave Strong his big break in the Alberta oil patch when he quit his UN security job to return to Canada. Gallagher had been hired to create a new oil and gas exploration company by Henrie Brunie, a close friend of Rockefeller associate John J. McCloy. Strong signed on as Gallagher’s assistant.

When Maurice Strong suddenly decided to quit his job, sell his house, and travel to Africa, he found a job with Rockefeller’s CalTex in Nairobi.

When he quit that job in 1954 and started his own company back in Canada, he hired Brunie to manage it and appointed two Standard Oil of New Jersey reps to its board. By this point he was in his late 20s and already a multi-millionaire.

After considerable networking with Canada’s political elite, Strong was appointed head of Power Corporation, the baby of the powerful “Canadian Rockefellers,” the Desmarais family. Power Corp is a political kingmaker in Canadian politics and under Strong’s stewardship it continued to function in that role. One of his appointees: a fresh-faced Harvard MBA named James Wolfensohn, future president of the World Bank. Another hand pick: Paul Martin, future CEO of Canada Steamship Lines and Prime Minister of Canada.

Strong left Power Corp to head up Canada’s External Aid program. He oversaw the creation of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). As journalist Elaine Dewar, who interviewed Strong for her ground breaking book Cloak of Green, explains:

“IDRC had a clause in its enabling legislation allowing it to give money directly to individuals as well as to governments and private organizations. It was set up as a corporation, reporting to Parliament through the minister of external affairs. Its board of governors was designed to include private and even foreign persons.[…]Since IDRC was not created as an agent of the Crown (as CIDA is) , it was able to receive charitable donations from corporations and individuals as well as government funds”.

Those “corporations and individuals” generously “donating” their money to IDRC naturally included Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation itself. Strong admitted to Dewar that the IDRC was able to peddle political influence in the third world under its quasi-governmental guise.

His quasi-business/quasi-governmental/quasi-“philanthropic” career reached a new level in 1969, however. That’s when the Swedish ambassador to the UN called Strong up to see if he wanted to head the forthcoming United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, due to take place in 1972. He got the call not out of any supposed love for the environment, but because even by that time Strong was renowned as a human Rolodex of political, business and financial connections across the developed and developing world.

Naturally, he was duly appointed a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, which then funded his office for the Stockholm summit and supplied Carnegie Fellow Barbara Ward and Rockefeller ecologist Rene Dubos for his team. Strong commissioned them to write Only One Earth, a foundational text in the sustainable development arena that is heavily touted by globalists as a key for promoting the global management of resources.

The 1972 Stockholm summit is still hailed as a landmark moment in the history of the modern environmental movement, leading not only to the first governmentally-administered environmental action plans in Europe but the creation of an entirely new UN bureaucracy: the United Nations Environment Program. UNEP’s founding director: Maurice Strong. As Dewar explains:

“Like so many of the organizations Strong has made, this one too had multiple uses. In 1974, UNEP rose out of the undeveloped soil of Nairobi, Kenya, Strong’s old stomping ground. Placing UNEP in Africa was explained as a sop to the developing countries, who had been suspicious of Western intentions. But it was also useful for the big powers to have another international organization in Nairobi. After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Nairobi became the key spy capital of Africa”.

The Yom Kippur War and resulting OPEC oil embargo (magically foretold by the Bilderberg Conference in Sweden earlier that year and arranged by David Rockefeller’s agent, Henry Kissinger) had another spin-off effect that ended up benefiting Strong. The embargo hit eastern Canada hard, prompting Prime Minister Trudeau to create a publicly-run national oil company. The result: Petro-Canada was born in 1975 and Trudeau naturally appointed Strong, by now the single most powerful member of the global(ist) environmental movement, as its first president.

David Rockefeller was there with Strong in Colorado in 1987 for the ‘Fourth World Wilderness Congress,’ a meeting of world-historical importance that almost no one had even heard of. Attended by the likes of Rockefeller, Strong, James Baker and Edmund de Rothschild himself, the conference ultimately revolved around the question of financing for the burgeoning environmental movement that Strong had shaped from the ground up through his work at the United Nations Environment Program.

It was at that conference (recordings of which are available online thanks to whistleblower George Hunt) that Rothschild called for a World Conservation Bank, which he envisioned as the funding mechanism for a ‘second Marshall Plan’ that would be used for third world ‘debt relief’ and that favourite globalist dog whistle ‘sustainable development.’

Rothschild’s dream came true when Strong presided over another high-level UN environment summit: the 1992 Rio “Earth Summit.” Although perhaps best known as the conference that birthed Agenda 21, much less well known is that it was the Earth Summit that allowed the World Conservation Bank to become a reality.

Started on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit as a $1 billion World Bank pilot program, the bank, now known as the “Global Environment Facility” (GEF) is the largest public funder of global environmental projects, having made over $14.5 billion in grants and cofinanced a further $75.4 billion. The bank is the financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the organizing convention directing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

With Agenda 21 under his belt, Rothschild’s GEF dream bank in the can and the IPCC already twinkling in his eye, Strong’s remarkable career showed no signs of stopping. After wrapping up the Rio Summit he took on a series of appointments so bewildering it almost defies credulity. From his official website comes the following list:

“After the Earth Summit, Strong continued to take a leading role in implementing the results of Rio through establishment of the Earth Council, the Earth Charter movement, his Chairmanship of the World Resources Institute, Membership on the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the African-American Institute, the Institute of Ecology in Indonesia, the Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and others. Strong was a long-time Foundation Director of the World Economic Forum, a Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank, a Member of the International Advisory of Toyota Motor Corporation, the Advisory Council for the Center for International Development of Harvard University, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund, Resources for the Future, and the Eisenhower Fellowships”.

There is no doubt that Strong led a charmed life. And given the persistent presence of Rockefeller interests in that life from his earliest years, there is no doubt why doors seemed to open for him wherever in the world he went.

But still, one has to ask how and why a high school dropout who made it big in the oil patch thanks to his big oil connections would go on to become the single most important figure in the international environmental movement. Was he genuinely interested in protecting the environment?

Consider Strong’s acquisition of the Arizona Colorado Land & Cattle Company from Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in 1978. As part of that acquisition, Strong gained control over a ranch in the San Luis Valley in Colorado called the Baca Grande. As Henry Lamb explains in a 1997 article:

“The ranch, called Baca Grande, sat on the continent’s largest fresh water aquifer. Strong intended to pipe the water to the desert Southwest, but environmental organizations protested and the plan was abandoned. Strong ended up with a $1.2 million settlement from the water company, an annual grant of $100,000 from Laurance Rockefeller, and still retained the rights to the water”.

No, Strong’s interest in the site had nothing to do with preserving the pristine environment of the San Luis Valley. His interest was altogether stranger. As Quadrant Online notes:

“Maurice Strong had been told by a mystic that:

The Baca would become the centre for a new planetary order which would evolve from the economic collapse and environmental catastrophes that would sweep the globe in the years to come.

As a result of these revelations Strong created the Manitou Foundation, a New Age[1] institution located at the Baca ranch — above the sacred waters that Strong had been denied permission to pump out. This hocus-pocus continued with the foundation of The Conservation Fund (with financial help of Laurance Rockefeller) to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain. At the Baca ranch there is a circular temple devoted to the world’s mystical and religious movements”.

Indeed, Strong’s missionary zeal for spreading his environmental message of doom and destruction for so many decades can be more easily explained as a quasi-religious zeal for preparing the way for the “New World Order” that this environmental doom supposedly foretells.

Further insight into Strong’s own mystic, New Age beliefs are found in what he considered to be his most important achievement: the creation of the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter was an outgrowth of Strong’s Earth Council Institute which he founded in 1992 with the help of Mikhail Gorbachev, David Rockefeller (of course), Al Gore, Shimon Peres, and a bevvy of Strong’s globalist friends.

Strong’s own website has described the Earth Charter as “a widely recognized, global consensus statement on ethics and values for a sustainable future,” but Strong himself has framed the document in religious terms, saying he hopes it will be treated like a new Ten Commandments.

So what does the Earth Charter say? Other than the predictable mealy-mouthed platitudes one would expect about “social and economic justice” and other political buzzwords, the document ends up as a love letter to world government:

“In order to build a sustainable global community, the nations of the world must renew their commitment to the United Nations, fulfil their obligations under existing international agreements, and support the implementation of Earth Charter principles with an international legally binding instrument on environment and development”.

The Earth Charter itself rests in the “Ark of Hope,” a literal ark that was constructed specifically to house the original document in an obvious reference to the ark of the covenant. The ark was unveiled on September 9, 2001, and then carried 350 miles to the United Nations in the wake of 9/11. The Earth Charter Commission member who presided over the unveiling just happened to be none other than Steven C. Rockefeller.

While this quasi-religious quest for global government is always wrapped in feel-good language about strengthening communities and preserving the planet, the underlying reality is about a much more Machiavellian agenda. As Dewar notes of the Rio Summit in “Cloak of Green”:

“Advertised as the World’s Greatest Summit, Rio was publicly described as a global negotiation to reconcile the need for environmental protection with the need for economic growth. The cognoscenti understood that there were other, deeper goals. These involved the shift of national regulatory powers to vast regional authorities; the opening of all remaining closed national economies to multinational interests; the strengthening of decision-making structures far above and far below the grasp of newly minted national democracies; and, above all, the integration of the Soviet and Chinese empires into the global market system. There was no name for this very grand agenda that I had heard anyone use, so later I named it myself–the Global Governance Agenda”.

Strong himself gave some insight into what this agenda actually entailed for the average man or woman in a 1972 BBC interview prior to the start of the Stockholm summit. Discussing the “overpopulation problem” then en vogue as the environmental cause du jour, Strong admitted to his musings on the potential for reproductive licenses:

“Licenses to have babies incidentally is something that I got in trouble for some years ago for suggesting even in Canada that this might be necessary at some point, at least some restriction on the right to have a child. I’m not proposing this, I was simply predicting this as one of the possible courses that society would have to seriously consider should we get ourselves into this kind of situation”.

That Strong was so successful in promoting his ‘global governance’ agenda for so many decades is a testament not to his own visionary leadership, as so many globalists profess, but to the incredible resources of the Rockefellers and Rothschilds and others who are funding this agenda into existence and pushing it along at every step.

It is some measure of good fortune, then, that Strong’s decades of deceit finally came to an end (more or less) in 2005, when, as Quadrant Online notes, he was finally caught ‘with his hand in the till’:

“Investigations into the UN’s Oil-for-Food-Program found that Strong had endorsed a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong — issued by a Jordanian bank. The man who gave the cheque, South Korean business man Tongsun Park was convicted in 2006 in a US Federal court of conspiring to bribe UN officials. Strong resigned and fled to Canada and thence to China where he has been living ever since”.

Although still making appearances at various events around the world, Strong led a much more low key existence for the past decade, likely slowed by the ravages of advancing age. But now that he has finally passed away, we are left to be subjected to yet more nauseatingly lavish praise for this man and the many globalist institutions that comprise his legacy.

No, it is not difficult to understand why Maurice Strong was so beloved of the globalist jet set. Just don’t expect any of the members of that jet set to tell you this story in any detail.

Illustrations of the original post:

  1. Photo of Maurice Strong over a background of a parched landscape and a seal of the UN.
  2. Photo of Anna Louise Strong, aunt of  Maurice Strong, next to Mao Zedong and other Chinese dignitaries. Anna Strong was a committed communist who befriended Lenin and Trotsky.
  3. Picture of the Alberta oil patch, where Maurice Strong worked after he heft his job with the United Nations.
  4. Photo of young Maurice Stong in front of the Chairman desk in a UN conference.
  5. Photo of George Bush, the President of the United States, addressing the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
  6. Picture of the outdoor plaque of the Baca Grande ranch in the San Luis Valley in Colorado, that Maurice Strong acquired, which became the site of the Manitou Foundation, a New Age institution. He also created The Conservation Fund, with financial help from the philantropist Laurance Rockefeller, to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain.
  7. Photo of Maurice Strong speaking during a conference where he announced the creation of the Earth Charter.
  8. Photo of a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong, issued by a Jordanian bank, endorsed with Maurice Srong’s signature.

Published originally in, on 31 January 2016

[1] New Age is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary online as “a way of life and thinking that developed in the late 1980s, based on ideas that existed before modern scientific and economic theories.” This definition puts the movement within the postmodernist doctrine.

Postmodernism and how it ushered the Age of Dishonesty

Postmodernism and how it ushered the Age of Dishonesty

Joaquina Pires-O’Brien

Modernity and postmodernity

Modernity and postmodernity are different conceptions of the world. Whereas modernity is based on the Enlightenment and the advances of rationalism and science, postmodernity is based on the break with the Enlightenment and the rigor of rationalism and science. The beginnings of Postmodernism can be traced to the structuralist linguistic school which had emerged within the current conception of modernity, whose ‘structuralist’ idea was an overview of the world based on knowledge and reality. Such idea was absorbed by other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, where it was targeted by dissenters, giving origin to the philosophical doctrine of ‘structuralism’ which was eventually identified as ‘Poststructuralism’.  The latter rejected the modernity world view, and came to be known as Postmodernism.  The respective approaches to modernity and postmodernity correspond with Structuralism and Poststructuralism. Thus, modernity and structuralism have become synonymous, as have postmodernity and poststructuralism.

Postmodernism, deconstructionism and constructivism

Postmodernism is an ambiguous ideology that is difficult to define except for its purpose of destroying modernity and replacing it with the postmodernity of Marxist inspiration. The ambiguity of postmodernism has served well to conceal its falsehoods. Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and thinker rightly described postmodernism as Marxism with a new skin.

The falsehood of postmodernism lies not only in its method of falsifying realities, such as creating media icons, but also on the way it undermines the Enlightenment, rationality, science, etc. These two methods are called deconstructionism and constructivism. The objective of deconstructionism is to destroy modernity and the objective of constructionism is to create postmodernity.

Deconstructionism is the process of debasing the things characteristic of modernism by attacking its metanarratives, reducing them to arbitrary sequences of linguistic signs or words, and then replacing original meanings with others, to finally conclude that no interpretation of these word sequences is more correct than another.

Constructivism is the process of creating abstractions – constructs – through rhetoric. While there are certain commonly accepted constructs, such as state, money, law, and national identities, the constructivism of the postmodernist doctrine is radical, irrational, and dishonest, as it is based on the premise that everything is a matter of semantics.

Deconstructionism began in the midst of the Marxist French intelligentsia, with Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) the recognized father of this movement. Initially deconstructionism was a form of literary criticism, but when absorbed by the humanities and social sciences, it had other applications. Derrida believed that Western thought has been addicted since Plato’s time by a tumor he called ‘logocentrism’, referring to the assumption that language describes the world quite transparently. In Derrida’s view, the description of the world through language is an illusion, and language itself is not impartial and words prevent us from actually experiencing reality directly. What Derrida wants is to tear down the belief in an objective external reality that can be explored through language, rationality, and science, and to show that the Enlightenment’s grand narrative is nothing but a delusion. Derrida’s method of destroying language is deconstruction – a technique that makes us see that the ‘signifiers’ – the words themselves in the Saussurean system – are so ambiguous and changeable that they can mean something or nothing.

The idea of ​​constructivism predates modernity, but the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) introduced the concept in modern times, to describe how children create a mental model of the world. Although postmoderns seem to like the connection with Piaget, Piagetian constructivism is positive, while the constructivism adopted the postmodernists is negative. Piagetian constructivism states that knowledge is something constructed by the individual based on his interactions with the physical world and the social world. Postmodern constructivism claims knowledge is socially constructed. In order to distinguish postmodernist constructivism from Piagetian constructivism the former came to be known as social constructivism or socioconstructivism.

What is the intention of Postmodernism?

The intention of Postmodernism is to create a hood to conceal the propeling of a new Marxist socialist revolution. Its main weapons are deconstructionism, which is used to debase rationalism and science, and socioconstructivism, which is used to create political identity groups and leaders through imagery and rhetoric. The strategy of postmodernism is to subliminally create a postmodern disposition or mindset, a postmodern Zeitgeist.

The objective of Marxist socialism is to create an ideal society, and in order to attain that objective it rejects society. The samething can be said about Postmodernism, for it too rejects reality and longs for an idealized reality. The fact that  the various attempts to implement the ideal society ended up in genocidal tyrannies has turned many people away from socialism, and postmodernism became a solution to this problem, with sophisticated tactics to win people’s hearts and minds. As Jordan Peterson cleverly pointed out, postmodernism is Marxist socialism with a different cloack.

In the postmodern mindset, reality is what is spoken, and the best way to speak is to appear in the media. That’s where the obsession with fame and famous came from. The postmodern mindset longs for strong identities because they are shortcuts to power. However, an individual’s genuine identity is based on his cognitive abilities and cultural background, and, generally plain and unremarcable. The way the postmodern mindset conteract this is by exchanging the genuine identity for the ‘persona’ – “a kind of mask, designed for the double purpose of giving a firm impression to others, and hiding the true nature of the individual,” as shown by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.

The bad consequences of Postmodernism

In the Zeitgeist of postmodernity, authenticity went out of the window, and appearance trumps substance.

In the postmodern Zeitgeist, the loss of the genuineness of the individual has been accompanied by the loss of the spontaneity of social processes. The diminution of social trust is just one of the unintended consequence of the postmodern Zeitgeist, as it leads to two errors of judgment: valuing the undeserving and failing to value the deserving. Basically, it means the end of meritocracy, which is a waste of human capital whose social consequences are yet to be assessed.

The beginning of the postmodern world

The beginning of the postmodern world can be traced back to the 1960s, when the boundaries between high and low culture were blurred. This allowed the emergence of Pop Art and its settlement as a form of popular power. One of its leaders, Andy Warhol (1928-1987), predicted that “in the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”

Wherever postmodernism is found, its entry has been sneaky. Postmodernism entered Latin America via the socialist networks of universities, where it became nested in the humanities and the social sciences.  From there it penetrated into the trade unions and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In  Latin America, Postmodernism was initially housed in universities, especially in the humanities and social sciences, and from there to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and political identity groups. Western Civilization is a major target of Postmodernism, and Latin American postmodernists have longed preached Latin Americans to reject it altogether.  The result of that was that the postmodernist converts, who are basically the converts of left-wing politics, developed the desire to be defined entirely by internal characteristics. Those who were not converted, continued to take for granted that Latin America was a sub culture of Western Civilization.  There is an obvious cognitive dissonance in Latin America regarding civilizational identity, and such dissonance is one of the reasons why the political scientist Samuel Huntington (1927-2008) did not include Latin America as part of Western Civilization in his book Clash of Civilizations (1997).

The rise of Socioconstrutivism

Socioconstructivism became common in Latin America from the 1980s, something that can be deduced from the large numbers of artificially created heroes and heroines. The socioconstructivism method consists of five main steps: (i) choosing sympathetic causes such as the defence of forests, animals, and oppressed groups; (ii) to co-opt leadership from known bases; (iii) increase the profiles of these leaders by persuading journalists to publish stories about them; (iv) indicate the leaders chosen to participate in donor organizations; and (v) nominate the leaders chosen for available awards and lobby them with the awarding institutions.

 The choice of cause requires care and attention. For example, in the case of an NGO linked to the indigenous cause, the more colourful tribes still practicing their dances and ceremonies are more promising than those that are less colourful and more acculturated. Once the cause is chosen, the next step is to choose the most promising individuals in terms of appearance and malleability to be promoted to the media.

Backstage machinations to build leadership and to attract the interest of journalists are unethical, and they create a danger for critics or whistle-blowers who do not accept lies and half-truths. Thus, socioconstructivism has a protective cover against whistle-blowers, so that any criticism of the NGO’s financial management or its lies and half-truths is perceived as a vile attack on a noble cause, that is, the oppressed group, the forest, or the charismatic animal, causing the critic to be labelled racist and worse things.

One of the few examples to be reported in the international press was the story of young Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchú, who was transformed into a heroine of her tribe and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. However, when anthropologist David Stoll decided to evaluate the merit of Menchú, discovered that his narrative of the genocide of his people in the early 1980s in autobiographical book I, Rigoberta Menchú (Verso, 1984), was full of inconsistencies and even lies, and that the same book, edited With the help of several people, he had an agenda to help the guerrillas to which Menchú had joined in 1981. Stoll published his findings in the book Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans (1999), but the truth he expounded was ignored and he himself was considered an enemy of the indigenous peoples. What happened to David Stoll discouraged any similar denunciation. It was evidence of the protective cover of sociocontructivism, analogous to that of viruses. Another example was the transformation of Paulinho Paiakan, a Kayapo indian chief from Southern Pará, Brazil, into an icon to represent the cause of the Brazilian rainforest during the Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.

Ordinary people, who understand what is known as the public, have a duty to be aware of what is happening around them. The questions they should ask are of the type ‘for whom’, as those below.

i) Is socioconstructivism good for the oppressed individuals to whom they advocate?

ii) Is socioconstructivism good for society?

iii) Who gains with socioconstructivism?

Although socioconstructivism purports to care for the downtrodden and the oppressed, is a paternalistic form of collectivism that robs the individual of his right to be himself and to develop his potential. To society itself, the lies and half-truths of socioconstructivism corrode social trust, creating a society of low confidence that is extremely unfavourable to economic development. Anyone who takes the trouble to examine socioconstructivism will realize that it only perpetuates oppression and that the only persons who gain from socioconstructivism are the socioconstructivists themselves, who win the ears the left-leaning journalists and NGOs, through which they gain unfair advantages in both the public sphere and the circles of power.


Postmodernism is Marxism itself with another skin. Both employ the same language of resentment, anger and envy. While traditional Marxism praised the destruction of capitalism that would occur as a result of the socialist revolution, postmodernism (or neomarxism) planned and launched a coverted revolution. Western civilization succumbed to Postmodernism and became its prisoner. The demeaning of the larger society through its fragmentation into political identity groups, the lack of genuineness and spontaneity, and the abundance of fabricated leaders are all consequences of Postmodernism. Deconstructionism and socioconstructivism, the most potent weapons of Postmodernism serve their leaders, who are the puppeteers controlling their fabricated figureheads. They don’t serve society but themselves. Society as a whole has lost a great deal due to the machinations of Postmodernism, from genuineness and spontaneity to trust among their citizens. There are several reasons why Postmodernism is wrong, but the most abhorrent one is its falsehood.

Joaquina Pires-O’Brien is a Brazilian who lives in the UK. In 2010 she started PortVitoria, a magazine of the Iberian culture, for speakers of Portuguese, Spanish and English. Link:

Read the next post by guest blogger James Corbett: Meet Maurice Strong: Globalist, Oiligarch, ‘Environmentalist’

The most dangerous thing about the Amazon fires is the apocalyptic rhetoric

The most dangerous thing about the Amazon fires is the apocalyptic rhetoric

Moralising on social media from footballers, actors and politicians is doing harm

Matt Ridley

Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese expert on forests who also plays football, so when he shared a picture online of a recent forest fire in the Amazon, it went viral. Perhaps he was in a rush that day to get out of the laboratory to football training, because it later transpired that the photograph was actually taken in 2013, not this year, and in southern Brazil, nowhere near the Amazon.

But at least his picture was only six years old. Emmanuel Macron, another forest ecologist who moonlights as president of France, claimed that ‘the Amazon rainforest — the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire!’ alongside a picture that was 20 years old. A third bioscientist, who goes under the name of Madonna and sings, capped both their achievements by sharing a 30-year-old picture.

Now imagine if some celebrity — Donald Trump, say, or Nigel Lawson — had shared a picture of a pristine tropical forest with the caption ‘Amazon rainforest’s doing fine!’ and it had turned out to be decades old or from the wrong area. The BBC’s ‘fact-checkers’ would have been all over it, seizing the opportunity to mock, censor and ostracise.

In fact, ‘Amazon rainforest’s doing fine’ is a lot closer to the truth than ‘Amazon rainforest — the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire!’. The forest is not on fire. The vast majority of this year’s fires are on farmland or already cleared areas, and the claim that the Amazon forest produces 20 per cent of the oxygen in the air is either nonsensical or wrong depending on how you interpret it (in any case, lungs don’t produce oxygen). The Amazon, like every ecosystem, consumes about as much oxygen through respiration as it produces through photosynthesis so there is no net contribution; and even on a gross basis, the Amazon comprises less than 6 per cent of oxygen production, most of which happens in the ocean.

But it is the outdated nature of the pictures shared by celebs that is most revealing, because the number of fires in Brazil this year is more than last year, but about the same as in 2016 and less than in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012. For most of those years, Brazil’s president was a socialist, not a right-wing populist, so in BBC-world those fires did not count. More significantly, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon basin is down by 70 per cent since 2004.

It is probably true that President Jair Bolsonaro’s rhetoric has encouraged those who want to resume logging and clearing forest and contributed to this year’s uptick in fires in the country. But was it really necessary to claim global catastrophe to make this point, and was it counterproductive? ‘Macron’s tweet had the same impact on Bolsonaro’s base as Hillary calling Trump’s base deplorable,’ says one Brazilian commentator.

I sometimes wonder if the line wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, ‘a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on’, is now taken as an instruction by environmental pressure groups. They operate in a viciously competitive market for media attention and donations, and those who scream loudest do best, even if it later turns out they were telling fibs.

Around the world, wild fires are generally declining, according to Nasa. Deforestation, too, is happening less and less. The United Nations’ ‘state of the world’s forests’report concluded last year that ‘the net loss of forest area continues to slow, from 0.18 per cent [a year] in the 1990s to 0.08 per cent over the last five-year period’. A study in Nature last year by scientists from the University of Maryland concluded that even this is too pessimistic: ‘We show that — contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally — tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1 per cent relative to the 1982 level).’

This net increase is driven by rapid reforestation in cool, rich countries outweighing slower net deforestation in warm, poor countries. But more and more nations are now reaching the sort of income levels at which they stop deforesting and start reforesting. Bangladesh, for example, has been increasing its forest cover for several years. Costa Rica has doubled its tree cover in 40 years. Brazil is poised to join the reforesters soon.

Possibly the biggest driver of this encouraging trend is the rising productivity of agriculture. The more yields increase, the less land we need to steal from nature to feed ourselves. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University has calculated that the world needs only 35 per cent as much land to produce a given quantity of food as 50 years ago. That has spared wild land on a massive scale.

Likewise, getting people on to fossil fuels and away from burning wood for fuel spares trees. It is in the poorest countries, mainly in Africa, that men and women still gather firewood for cooking and bushmeat for food, instead of using electricity or gas and farmed meat.

The trouble with the apocalyptic rhetoric is that it can seem to justify drastic but dangerous solutions. The obsession with climate change has slowed the decline of deforestation. An estimated 700,000 hectares of forest has been felled in South-East Asia to grow palm oil to add to supposedly green ‘bio-diesel’ fuel in Europe, while the world is feeding 5 per cent of its grain crop to motor cars rather than people, which means 5 per cent of cultivated land that could be released for forest. Britain imports timber from wild forests in the Americas to burn for electricity at Drax in North Yorkshire, depriving beetles and woodpeckers of their lunch.

The temptation to moralise on social media is so strong among footballers, actors and politicians alike that it is actually doing harm. Get the economic incentives right and the world will save its forests. Preach and preen and prevaricate, and you’ll probably end up inadvertently depriving more toucans and tapirs of their rainforest habitat.

Note. Taken from The Spectator, digital edition, 31 August 2019. Translated by Jo Pires-O’Brien, editor of PortVitoria.

Matt Ridley (1958-) is a British journalist, businessman and author of several provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards. He is also known as the 5th Viscount Ridley DL FRSL FmedSci, a member of the House of Lords.

‘The buck stops here’. Expressions of administrative probity and corruption in English and Portuguese

By Jo Pires-O’Brien

In drafting this edition of PortVitoria [no 18, Jan-Jun 2019], which talks about corruption in Brazil and the recent destruction of Brazil’s National Museum, I experienced a long flow of thoughts that intercrossed all the areas of knowledge I am familiar with, including linguistics and history. I decided to take advantage of this experience by compiling my vocabulary of administrative probity and corruption and to wrap it into a didactic narrative that would be of use to the readers of  PortVitoria.

The empire where the sun never sets

The British Empire and its designation of ‘the empire where the sun never sets’ exists only in history, but for all its rights and wrongs, it left as its main legacy the English language. English is the third most spoken language in the world after the Mandarin and Spanish, and the most important language in international relations. According to Guillaume Thierry, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University, English is the first most widely spoken language in the world, when people who speak it as second or third languages are included[1]. Regardless of the ranking of English language, the Anglophone world includes 54 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign states, all sharing the same historical and cultural roots. The most important Anglophone countries are the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

TheUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or United Kingdom, has considerable experience in administration, which included governing domains, colonies, protectorates, warrants and territories. The largest territorial extension of its history occurred after World War I, when on June 28, 1919, the newly created League of Nations, through the Treaty of Versailles, created the British Mandate for Palestine, covering a vast in the Middle East, which included Transjordan, which was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and entered into force on September 29, 1923. The incumbency did not come in good time for the UK, because its economy was in ruins due to the war and it had already lost its old position of greatest industrial and military power of the world. And as was to be expected, the British empire declined and ended with India’s independence in 1947. Its last protectorate was Hong Kong, which was returned on June 30, 1997, as stipulated in the leasing agreement of 99 years, with China, signed in 1898.

Language and cultural values

Language is much more than a collection of communication signals, for words and expressions carry cultural values ​​and perceptions. Language and culture are closely linked, and one influences the other. For example, the high number of English idioms of nautical origin has to do with the fact that the British navy dominated the world for almost three centuries. Britain’s long imperial experience taught it not only to deal with the most diverse cultures, but also to develop a sophisticated system of administration, from which came many idiomatic expressions of pride in administrative probity such as  ‘not in my watch’ and ‘the buck stops here’, which are explained below. Thus, whenever someone interacts with another language, it ends up interacting with the culture that speaks the language.

In the ranking of countries by the level of corruption of Transparency International, the predominance of the Anglophone countries is remarkable. Among the 10 least corrupt countries are New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain, while Australia and the United States rank among the 20 least corrupt.

Not on my watch

The expression ‘not on my watch’, whose literal translation into Portuguese is ‘não na minha vigia’, is of nautical origin, as it comes from the phrase ‘officer of the watch’, the officer responsible for everything that happens on a vessel during a certain shift. The expression connotes administrative probity and responsibility. However, the word ‘watch’ alone means sentinel, shift, or administration. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) the sense of observation of the word ‘watch’ evolved from the periods in which the night was divided. The Israelites divided the night into three periods, the Greeks into four or five, and the Romans into four. From that sense of observing the passage of time, the word ‘watch’ gained the sense of ‘clock’.

A similar phrase in Portuguese that comes closest to the English phrase ‘not on my watch’ is ‘Eu jamais aceitaria esse tipo de coisa na minha gestão’ (I would never accept this kind of thing in my administration).

Table 1. English expressions using the word ‘watch’ in the sense of ‘to oversee’ or ‘overlooker’.

English Translation into Portuguese
not on my watch não no meu turno; não na minha administração; de maneira alguma;
it happened on his watch aconteceu no turno dele
keep watch mantenha-se de sobreaviso
be on the watch ficar de sobreaviso
watch one’s mouth tomar cuidado com o que diz
watch the pennies tomar cuidado com o gasto
watch this space fique de olho nesse espaço
watch the time fique atento para o tempo
watch your step olhe onde pisa
watch your back proteja-se
watch the President’s back proteja o Presidente
watch the world go by ver o mundo passar

 The buck stops here

The phrase ‘the buck stops here’ translates literally as ‘the responsibility stops here’, or in a more natural translation, ‘the ultimate responsibility is mine’. This expression became well known after President Harry Truman of the United States placed a small wooden plaque engraved with it.

Figure 1. Replica of the plaque that President Harry Truman had on his desk.

The word ‘buck’ has Germanic origin, and in Old English, it means ‘deer’, or any male cervid. The most common meaning of ‘buck’ in modern English is ‘dollar’. The earliest reference to the use of ‘buck’ in the sense of dollar is 1748, about 44 years before the manufacture of the first dollar coin. It is clear from this reference that in trade between the American settlers and the Indians, the exchange rate of a box of whiskey was ‘5 bucks’, a reference to 5 deer skins. There is another reference dating from 1848, when a fellow named Conrad Weiser, during a trip through the present state of Ohio, noted in his journal that someone had been ‘stolen for 300 bucks[2].

However, the word ‘buck’ has several other meanings, besides deer and dollar, such as price, responsibility, guilt, black man, deviation, bucket, etc. as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. English expressions using the word ‘buck’ (responsibility, money, etc.).

English expressions Natural translation into Portuguese
passing the buck culpar outras pessoas
pass the buck jogue a batata quente para outro
bucks the system ir contra as regras que os outros seguem
bucked the trend fazer algo diferente dos outros
big bucks dinheiro à beça
buck up your ideas organize suas ideias
making more than a quick buck ganhar uma boa quantia de dinheiro
bang your buck obter algo de qualiade por um preço baixo
buck up (v.) ganhar coragem; passar a responsabilidade para um superior;
Buck’s Fizz coquetel feito com vinho espumante ou champagne e suco de laranja.
bang for the buck valor para o dinheiro

Several expressions denoting administrative probity use the word ‘accountable’, which means having an obligation to account for something. See examples in Table 3.

The English words ‘accountable’ and ‘responsible’

‘Accountable’ is usually translated as ‘responsible’, but this translation recalls that ‘responsible’ has a cognate in English: ‘responsible’. The English words ‘responsibility’ and ‘accountability’ have distinct meanings but with overlap. In the New Oxford Dictionary (NOD), the ‘accountable’ entry shows two meanings. The first sense is that of person, organization, or institution required or expected to justify actions or decisions. The second sense appears as ‘explicable’ and ‘understandable’. In the first sense, but not in the second, ‘accountable’ is synonymous with ‘responsible. Yet in NOD, the entry ‘responsible’ shows a single sense: having an obligation to do something, have control over someone, or have a duty to care for someone. In legal language, ‘accountable’ means ‘liable’ or ‘responsible for liabilities.’ A ‘liability’ is an obligation, or a debt, of a legal person governed by public or private law.  The Portuguese translation for ‘liability’ is ‘passivo’, although the word is normally used in the plural (passivos). Therefore, the translation of the words ‘responsible’ and ‘accountable’ into Portuguese depends on the context. One tip is to examine the original English idiom: ‘accountable for’, ‘be accountable’, ‘accountable to’, ‘responsible for’, ‘be responsible’, ‘responsible to’, ‘responsible party’, ‘solely responsible’, etc.

Table 3. English expressions with the word ‘accountable’ or similar.

English phrase Translation into Portuguese
Parents cannot be held accountable for their children’s actions Os pais não podem ser responsabilizados pelas ações de seus filhos
The directors are held accountable by the shareholders. Os diretores são obrigados a prestar contas pelos acionistas.
Senior managers are directly accountable to the Board of Directors. Os administradores sénior respondem diretamente ao Conselho Administrativo.
Local authorities should be publicly accountable to the communities they serve. As autoridades locais devem prestar contas publicamente às comunidades que servem.
Ministers are accountable to Parliament. Os ministros prestam contas ao Parlamento.
Accountability is a cornerstone of the human rights framework. A responsabilização é um dos pilares da estrutura de direitos humanos.

The English word ‘right’

As NOD shows, the word ‘right’ has several connotations in the English language, not only as a noun, adjective, adverb and verb, but also as a component of several idiomatic phrases. The Collins Portuguese Dictionary & Grammar provides the following translations for ‘right’:

Adjectives: certo, correto, justo;

Adverbs: bem; corretamente;

Nouns: direito; direita (o que não é esquerda);

Verbs: corrigir, endireitar.

The word ‘right’ in many English idiomatic phrases connotes probity, as shown in Table 4.

Table 4. English idiomatic phrases with the word  ‘right’.

English phrase Translation into Portuguese
to do the right thing fazer a coisa certa
to hire the right person for the job contratar a pessoa certa para o emprego
be in the right estar certo
do right by tratar com justiça; fazer justiça
in one’s right mind em sã consciência
not right in the head não está bem da cabeça
on the right track Na rota certa
put something to rights corrigir algo
right-minded de princípios corretos
right enough certamente
too right é claro; é isso mesmo
right on isso

The vocabulary of corruption

Corruption is a plague that exists everywhere, and tables 5 and 6 list words or expressions of corruption in English and Portuguese.

Table 5. Words or expressions of corruption in English and Portuguese.

English – Natural translation into Portuguese
Backhand. Propina
Birds of a feather. Farinha do mesmo saco
Blacklist. Lista negra; colocar na lista negra
Bribe; bribery. Suborno; subornar
Blackmail. Chantagem; extorsão
Cheat. Prevaricar
Cook the book. Adulterar o livro caixa
Coterie. Círculo social próximo;
Covert. Secreto; encoberto
Cozy up. Engraciar-se
Cyber crime. Crime cibernético
Deflect. Defletir; desviar (a atenção)
Embezzle. Defraudar
Embezzlement. Desfalque; fraude financeira
Extort. Extorquir
False accounting. Fraude de contabilidade
Fickle spirit. Espírito volúvel
Figurehead. 1. Uma pessoa com um título ou cargo mas sem muita
responsibilidade; 2. Figura na proa de embarcação
Forge; forgery. Falsificar; falsificação
Hush money. Dinheiro pelo silêncio
Innapropriate. Inapropriado
Jobbery. Agiotagem; especulação; velhacaria
Kickback. 1. um pagamento a alguém que facilitou uma transação ou
nomeação, em geral ilícito; 2. recuo forte e súbito
Maladminisration. Má administração
Malfeasance. Má administração (tem a ver com a falta de motivação
para fazer o que precisa ser feito, ou adiar o que precisa ser feito; não é necessário haver ações ilícitas)
Misappropriate. Apropriar indevidamente
Misinvoicing. Fatura errada; fatura fraudulenta
Money laundering. Lavagem de dinheiro; branqueamento de capital
Nepotism. Nepotismo
Pay off. Saldar algo como suborno (por algo)
Perjury. Perjúria; perjurar
Pilfer. Furtar; abafar
Pot shot. Provocação; provocar
Prevaricate. Evadir-se, esquivar-se, ou furtar-se de compromissos 
Skimming. 1. forma de evasão fiscal envolvendo não declarar dinheiro recebido; 2. tirar a nata
Slush fund. Caixa dois (p. ex., para campanhas eleitorais)
Suborn. Subornar
Tax evasion. Evasão fiscal
To shop. Denunciar
Turpitude. Torpeza; maldade; baixeza;
Venality. Venalidade. 1. condição ou qualidade do que pode ser
vendido; 2. natureza ou qualidade do funcionário público que exige ou aceita vantagens pecuniárias indevidas no exercício do seu cargo.
(D. E. Houaiss).
Whitewash. 1. caiação; 2. fazer com que o caso acabe em pizza
Wrongdoing. Transgressão

Table 6. Portuguese words and phrases describing corruption.

Portuguese words and phrases English translation
acabar em pizza. Resultado danão apuração de uma acusação de corrupção. to end as pizza (to end as something easily digestible)
caixa dois. Prática financeira ilegal, envolvendo um caixa paralelo onde determinadas entradas ou saídas não são registradas, e, com algum objetivo ilícito. cashier two; slush fund
clientelismo. Maneira de agir envolvendo uma troca de favores ou benefícios; p. ex., quando um político ou partido político emprega processos demagógicos e favoritistas para ganhar votos. clientelism
corrupção ativa. É o crime cometido por particular que dá propina a funcionário público em troca de vantagem indevida. active corruption
corrupção passiva. É o crime cometido por funcionário público que, em razão de sua função, ainda que fora dela ou antes de assumi-la, solicita ou recebe, para si ou para outrem, vantagem indevida, ou aceita promessa de tal vantagem. passive corruption
delação premiada. Sistema empregado pelo Ministério Público para obter a colaboração de réus, oferecendo uma diminuição da pena em troca da delação. rewarded accusation
laranja. Indivíduo cujo nome é utilizado por um terceiro para a prática de ocultação de bens de origem incerta e outras formas de fraude front. A ‘laranja’ usually hides a white-collar criminal by helping him to commit crimes such as money laundering, misuse of public money, cartel between concurrents, tax evasion, etc.
peculato. Crime de apropriação, desvio ou roubo de bens públicos por um funcionário público. pecuniary misappropriation
pixuleco. Sinônimo de propina, dinheiro sujo ou dinheiro roubado bribe; dirty money or stolen money
propina. Antigamente propina era um sinônimo de gorjeta, mas hoje em dia refere-se aos ‘agrados’ oferecidos por cidadãos para funcionários públicos, em troca de favores indevidos. bribe; bribery.
testa de ferro. Indivíduo que aparece como responsável por um determinado negócio ou firma, enquanto o verdadeiro líder se mantém no anonimato, controlando a empresa. figurehead


Language is much more than a collection of communication signals, for it also expresses values. The wealth of English in expressions of administrative probity suggests that administrative probity is a value recognized by English-speaking peoples. The Transparency International’s perception of corruption in the organization’s 2017 corroborates this, showing that among the 10 and 20 most respected countries, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom are in the first group, while Australia and the United States in the second.

Among the Portuguese speaking countries, Brazil was in position 96, among the more corrupt half, but Portugal was in position 29, among the less corrupt. This shows that although there are moral values ​​correlated to language, language alone does not determine the moral values ​​of a society. Administrative misconduct and corruption exist all over the world, but all societies can evolve and improve.

Post Scriptum

After I finished this article, a new stream of thoughts came to me, about the new mentality of judging history on the basis of contemporary ethics, such as those manifested in Cape Town, Charlottesville, and Oxford. Therefore, I want to clarify that the purpose of this paper is simply to offer an English lesson on the vocabularies of administration and corruption. I also point out that the short historical narrative was included only for didactic purposes. In compiling this article, it was not my intention to support the British Empire or to rejoice with the power it exercised over the most diverse peoples. The fact that this work deals with the English language in no way means that I do not recognize the difficult situation of the native languages ​​of the colonized peoples. The relationship between colonizer and colonized has always been fraught with conflicts of interest, which I believe can continue to be solved peacefully by the exchange of ideas and common sense.

1. Guillaume Thierry, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Bangor University. The trouble with speaking English as a second language.

2. Fonte:

Jo Pires-O’Brien (BA, MSc, PhD) has been an English teacher, translator and botanist. In 2010, she created PortVitoria, a biannual magazine about the Ibero-American culture.


I thank Jackie Meikle (UK) for revising the terminology in corruption in English and Portuguese, and Carlos Pires (Br) for revising the overall text.

[1] Guillaume Thierry, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Bangor University. The trouble with speaking English as a second language.;

[2] Fonte:;

Niall Ferguson on the networks of today and yesterday

Joaquina Pires-O’Brien

The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward. Winston Churchill

I discovered the British historian Niall Ferguson (1964 -) through a seminar he gave at the Long Now Foundation, in San Francisco, about his most recent book, The Square and the Tower: Networks, hierarchies and the struggle for global power (2018) as well as the future of networking, in YouTube. Ferguson’s idea was that the extensive networks of our era, which were made possible by the internet, have made us perceive it through its uniqueness in relation to all other eras of the past. Due to this perception, all the historical analogies of our era are situated in the 20th century, like the 1930’s, with the type of populism that was conducive to fascism, and the 1970’s, with the network British spies that the KGB operative Arnold Deutsch managed to recruit amid the elite of Cambridge University students. But Ferguson offered an analogy that went back centuries, to the period right after the appearance of the printing press in Europe. My desire to find out more about Ferguson’s vision on networks led me to buy The Square and the Tower, which I read with great interest.

In The Square and the Tower Niall Ferguson points that the way to understand the problems of our era is by asking ‘When in history something similar appeared?’ He disagrees with the analogies of our era with the 1930s and the 1970s due to the networks of fascism and traitor spies. To Ferguson, the common traits of networks are their tendency to polarize and attack one another and by looking for this tendency one can uncover the hidden networks of history. Once these networks are uncovered, it is important to disregard their speed for the networks of past centuries were much slower than those of the present. What connects the period that followed the appearance of the internet to the period that followed the appearance of the printing press in Europe is the optimist expectation of what their consequences would be.

After the introduction of the printing press it was commonly thought that greater availability of books was going to lead to more literacy and more education. Something similar happened in the era that followed the appearance of the internet at the end of the 20th century. People initially thought that the internet would remain decentralized and free, and that it would usher a new society formed by a union of ‘netzins’ (internet citizens).

After the appearance of blogging, it was thought that everyone would speak truth to power in their blogs, while the appearance of social media suggested the upended possibilities of social networking. What happened in the two eras above turned out quite different from what was expected. The introduction of the printing press created a network of distribution that polarized the West in various ways. Just a few years after the appearance of the internet, it came under the control of a few companies which created hierarchical structures and allowed the return of monopoly capitalism.

The author explains the dynamics of some of the mightiest networks of the 20th century. Perhaps the greatest network of the 20th century is the European Economic Community (EEC) that was created in 1957 through the Treaty of Rome. Not content with it, they proposed a new treaty (Maastricht) to turn the economy community of Europe into a political one, creating the European Union (EU). Further to that, many hard core Europeans began to ventilate the idea of turning the EU into a European state, which many British politicians find intractable.

Another important network of the 20th century is by the World Economic Forum (WEF), an international organization for public-private cooperation, founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab (1938 -). The WEF is not jut for chief-executives of multinationals and selected politicians, but also by any leadership formal or informal. Such is the power of the WEF that even though it is perceived as a bastion of capitalism, even socialist politicians and statesmen have attended their annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland. Nelson Mandela attended it in 1992, right after his release from prison, and returned a couple of times after he was the President of South Africa.

Some 20th century individuals were genius at creating networks. Two notable examples that Ferguson cites are the Hungarian-American investor George Soros (1930-) and Henry Kissinger (1923 -). Soros is mentioned in chapters 1 (The Mystery of the Illuminati) and 49 (Breaking the Bank of England) while Kissinger is only mentioned in Chapter 2, Our Networked Age. Regarding Kissinger, it is pertinent to mention that Ferguson has written a biography of Kissinger, covering the period until 1968 (Kissinger:1923-1968: The Idealist; 2015). Soros defeated the pound and became a millionaire by tricking the creation of a network of copy-cat investors.

Networks from other centuries other than the 20th are also described in this book. Some examples the Masons in Scotland, Freemasonry in America, the American Revolutionaries in Boston, the house of Bourbon in France, the British campaigners for the abolition of slavery, the British Empire, the ‘Round Table’ of world powers, etc. Other networks that Ferguson describe are that created by the American rev Political parties such as the Democratic and the Republican parties in the United States.

The understanding of networks is still very limited. Many people tend to think of networks as level playing fields but the reality says otherwise. However, many networks are hierarchies where the top node controls those below. Examples of hierarchical networks are the socialist and fascist regimes of the 20th century. Stalin and Hitler were notorious for their paranoia regarding dissenters and dissenting networks. Even the egalitarian networks created through social media have harmful consequences in their failing to segregate between the honest and the dishonest content. Although most people understand the measures of success of in social networks, such as the number of visualizations, followers, and likes, few realize that these social networks also serve dishonest and unethical causes. For the curious minds wanting to gain a deeper understanding of our age and its networks, The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson fits the bill.

Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, and visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities. Ferguson has authored fifteen books in popular history. In 1998, he published The House of Rothschild: the World’s Bank: 1798-1848, his 6th book. The second volume, covering 1849-1998, will be published in 2019.

Jo Pires-O’Brien, a Brazilian-British, is the founder and editor of PortVitoria, a magazine for the Iberian culture worldwide.

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka and her friendship with Pope John Paul II

Joaquina Pires-O’Brien

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (1923- 2014), the woman who gained posthumous fame for having had a friendship with Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) for more than thirty years, was a Polish American phenomenologist philosopher. In this essay I try  to show that although it was Tymieniecka’s  friendship with Pope John Paul II that has caught the interest of the greater media, she was an accomplished individual in her own right.

Continue to read in PortVitoria, magazine of the Iberian culture worldwide.