A Brazilian breakfast is quite different than an American one.
A typical American breakfast might be a couple of eggs prepared the way you like them along, a rasher or two of bacon or breakfast meat of choice (Taylor Ham in Jersey), toast, juice and coffee. You could replace or add to the egg’s, pancakes, waffles, or cornflakes. Regardless of what is included it is designed to be a substantial meal that will stick to your bones so your hunger will not get the best of you before lunch.
A typical Brazilian breakfast is a tad lighter. There is bread (pao.) Cheese (queijo) and occasionally those two together (Pao De Queijo) served with some fruit (we like papaya (mamao)). Coffee is served hot, never cold and please, we are not savages, do not serve cold milk with our coffee.
I enjoy my Brazilian breakfast when I am here. It seems fitting for my environment although after 6 weeks here I would kill for a Taylor ham, 2 eggs over easy, cheese on a Kaiser roll.
Despite the differences there is one aspect of breakfast that is the same in both countries. That is, one spouse hiding behind the veil of a newspaper while the other slowly drinks their coffee and stares off into space contemplating the day ahead. In our case, at least in Brazil, Elaine is the rabid consumer of newsprint and I the dreamer. I do not begrudge her this. One of the reasons that we are compatible with each other is that we both are rabid consumers of the news and love to debate political ideas and concepts.
I am delighted to say that while most often we agree with each other we sometimes do not which just adds spice to the relationship.
As I do not have a newspaper to start my day, I often annoy Elaine by asking her about how Globo (The Newspaper) is reporting the days events. I do this because it is often boring staring off into the middle space but I do actually want to know what is going on here in Brazil and it is difficult to get an English news source on the events in this country. Sometimes this is mundane information. For example, the police arresting a bikinied woman who was violating the cities ban on populating the beaches. And sometimes it is far more pertinent to me e.g. Flights to the United States have been cancelled until further notice.
Yesterday’s news started out mundane but as the story progressed became more and more relevant to me.
News reports had been circulating all day that a Justice Minister was going to resign. Not big news in my world. I only live here part time, I do not vote here, and ministers resign all the time. However, as the story developed, I saw more and more parallels to the US and its relevance increased.
The Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, the equivalent of our Attorney General (separate position here in Brazil), was resigning because the President (Jair Bolsonaro) was demanding he fire the Chief of the Federal Police (equivalent to the FBI) Moro, a former federal judge who had achieved prominence as the head of Brazil’s operation Car Wash that rooted out huge amounts of political corruption in the country and led to the removal of a President from office and the imprisonment of another, claimed that Bolsonaro wanted the police chief removed because he wouldn’t provide access to investigative files on his two sons. Moro, whose reputation as a corruption fighter bolstered the President’s faltering approval ratings, said he was resigning because while the President has the right to fire anyone, he does not have the right to investigative files. Especially when those two files are about his children.
Part of my fascination with this story was that Bolsonaro is often described as a mini Trump (Trumpette, if you prefer.) The parallels between Trumps dismissal of James Comey and his continual interference with the Justice system and this case are uncanny and undeniable as are the inclusion of his two sons in the political process. But what really hooked me was that one of the crimes Bolsonaro’s son was being accused of was spreading fake news.
Similar to the United States, Brazilians have the constitutional right to free speech. However, in this country the law also states that “hate speech” and “fake news” are not protected free speech. Both have specific criminal statutes and you can be arrested for either. It made me wonder, in this day and age, should the US pass a law prohibiting the creation and distribution of fake news?
In the US all of our constitutional rights are limited rights. This means while you have the right to bear and keep Arms, you cannot own a thermonuclear missile. It means despite your right to free speech, you cannot yell fire in a crowded theatre. In general, our rights are limited by their infringement on other citizens rights or constitutional guarantees. In the case of 2nd Amendment, the government can limit the type of weapons you can own. With the 1st Amendment restrictions apply to incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and threats.
Thinking about the fake news that is put out by people like Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and others of the same ilk or the political memes that come from the right, almost all of them fall within the restrictions to free speech. Yet they continue because there is no adequate remedy to their transgressions. You cannot put the feathers back into the pillow once they have escaped. The fake news spreads as fast as a malicious virus and the infection it causes chokes off the free speech of others because the real news is lost in the fog of the fake.
Donald Trump uses this to his advantage every day. He spits out fake news or false stories and then calls the working press out as fake news which, to some, makes one undisguisable from another. It means that at times of national crisis we do not know who to trust and in the case of Covid19 this has led to 1000s if not 10s of 1000s death.
So shouldn’t we follow Brazil’s lead. Shouldn’t we create a law that makes the creation and distribution of fake news a criminal act. It would certainly allow for a better dialogue. And who knows we might get lucky and indict Donald and his sons.
Discuss over breakfast. Perhaps your spouse will put down the paper