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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has once again left Brazilians wondering whether he's off his rocker (made of endangered rainforest wood) following an unhinged video in which he ranted and carried on, shaking his finger, crying some, threatening to shut down a TV network, and generally losing his shit. To be sure, the network, Globo, had run a report claiming Bolsonaro was connected to two ex policemen charged with murdering a popular Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, but if American presidents went all crazy on TV every time someone accused them of murder, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton never would have gotten a lick of work done.

Also somewhat weird: Bolsonaro livestreamed his tantrum from a hotel while he visited Saudi Arabia (at 4 AM Saudi time). But like Donald Trump, when Bolsonaro wants to go on the internet with an opinion, he goes.

As the Washington Post put it -- mildly, at that --

But rather than defuse the explosive claims, Bolsonaro's emotional and profane response appeared to draw greater attention to them on Wednesday, as people in and out of Latin America's largest country openly questioned the president's mental stability.

"He tried to put the flames out with gasoline," said Alexandre Bandeira, a political strategist in Brasilia. "He had blood in his eyes … almost as if he were calling for a duel."

Don't give him ideas, dude.


Prosecutors in Rio have already cast doubt on the TV report, saying its chief source contradicted recordings they have, which could be because the guy was either confused or was lying. Either way, Bolsonaro didn't exactly come off looking all that presidential, as if that could hurt him with his followers, either. He says what he thinks! Even if what he thinks is nuttier than a big bowl of Rainforest Crunch. Yes, all our references are from around 1988.

As for the murder stuff: In March 2018, Rio City Councilwoman Marielle Franco was murdered in her car. She was gay, an up-and-coming advocate for the poor, the only Afro-Brazilian woman on the 51-member body, and a frequent critic of the country's corrupt cops and their treatment of poor communities. All in all, generally the sort of fantastically good person who tends to make enemies and get wiped out by corrupt rich assholes.

We'll hand the summarizing duties over to WaPo now:

In March, authorities charged two former police officers with her killing: Ronnie Lessa, 48, a retired officer who allegedly fired the shots that killed Franco; and Élcio Vieira de Queiroz, 46, who allegedly drove Lessa to the scene of the crime.

With the arrests, questions began circulating about the suspects' connections to the president.

Bolsonaro denied knowing either man personally. But before his election last year, he and Lessa lived in the same upscale condominium in Rio de Janeiro, and their children had once dated, according to police reports. Scandal erupted when a photo of Bolsonaro and de Queiroz emerged on social media, showing the two men in a friendly embrace.

Apart from the murder, that sure sounds a lot like a certain American guy who likes to insist he's never heard of the mugs, pugs, thugs, and Methodists connected to his criming, huh?

Police said they considered that photo only a coincidence, however.

The Globo report featured a doorman at the gated community where Bolsonaro and Lessa, the triggerman, both lived, who said that the day of the killing, de Queiroz showed up at the gate and asked to be let in as an invited guest of Bolsonaro. Doorman called Bolsonaro's apartment, and he said that "Mr. Jair" said to wave him on in. Again, we'll copypasta from the Post:

The doorman said he kept watching de Queiroz's car on security cameras and saw the vehicle was heading not to Bolsonaro's home but to Lessa's. So he called the apartment back. He said "Mr. Jair" told him he knew where de Quieroz was going and to let him continue, the news program reported.

Bolsonaro was in Brasilia that day for two plenary votes. That evening, as Franco was in a car in Rio, two other vehicles pulled up, and someone opened fire on the councilwoman. Nine police-issue bullets were lodged in her body; she died almost instantly.

All very dramatic, except prosecutors in Rio said yesterday it's not in line with the evidence they have. Recordings and call logs from that day show it was Lessa who authorized de Queiroz's entry, not Bolsonaro.

"Any information different from that is wrong and does not match the technical proof," prosecutor Simone Sibilio told journalists. "Whether the doorman got confused or lied, that will be investigated."

Earlier Wednesday, Bolsonaro's son, Carlos, tweeted a video of the alleged recordings. They indicated that Queiroz asked the doorman to go to Lessa's house, not Bolsonaro's.

At the very least, that makes the doorman's story pretty unlikely, unless there's fake audio and a big damn cover-up. But even bad journamalism doesn't do a hell of a lot to make Bolsonaro's livestreamed rant any more hinged, now does it? Bolsonaro starts off composed enough, but gets more and more heated. Some translated snippets, via Reuters and the Guardian:

This is rotten, villainous journalism by TV Globo!

[regarding the network's broadcast license]: We'll talk in 2022," Bolsonaro said. "You'd better hope I'm dead by then, because the renewal process won't be persecution, but ... there won't be any workarounds for you or anyone else.
You rascals, you scumbags! This will not stick! [...]

I shouldn't lose it. I'm the president of the Republic. But I confess I am at the end of my tether!
[to TV Globo journalists]: For the love of God who do you think you are? [...] I know what you are: you're scumbags! Rascals! You aren't patriots. You don't think about Brazil!

Here's the whole 23-minute video; it's a pretty impressive escalating tantrum, with the full meltdown really getting rolling around the 10-minute mark.

Mais uma matéria porca da Globo. Caso Marielle. www.youtube.com

Someone should nominate that man to the United States Supreme Court!

Ultimately, the allegations may prove unfounded, and Bolsonaro may survive politically. But that won't protect him from an intellectual property lawsuit from NBC-Universal and the estate of John Belushi, because Bolsonaro is totally stealing Belushi's old "Weekend Update" schtick.

Weekend Update: John Belushi on March Weather - SNL www.youtube.com

In conclusion, we feel old today and thank goodness an American president would never go all wacky like that, oh God what are we even saying, the end.

[WaPo / Reuters / Guardian / Globo (in Portuguese, Google Chrome will "translate" that for you)

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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