Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Brazilian Incongruence

Brazilians want free public healthcare of the best quality. They also want plenty of qualified doctors.

That costs a lot of money

Brazilians want dirt cheap reliable public transportation.

That costs a lot of money

Brazilians want free elementary, middle and high school education with first world standards. They also want free universities.

That costs a lot of money

Brazilians complain about corruption, but elected back into office the same corrupt former president that had been impeached by the people (Fernando Collor). Brazilians call all politicians corrupt (which is true), but they vote for them! They are in denial about the fact that they voted for notoriously corrupt people.

Brazilians complain about having one of the highest tax rates in the world (40%) and not having good services back. While that has merit, the demands on the government to provide everything free and of the best quality require a lot of taxes! And if the money is not being well used (example, full pensions until death for government workers, bribes upon construction of bridges and highways and schools), it is because Brazilians don’t know how to vote.

Brazilians love soccer and want to attend all the games. They wanted the World Cup to be in Brazil. The stadiums had to be built on FIFA standards of safety. Now they complain about them. However, Brazil won the Confederations Cup and everybody cheered and celebrated. They brag about how mnay foreigners attended that cup.

Brazilians complain about not having any money for important social issues, but spend millions on a papal visit when the Vatican has billions! As well as promoting an institution based on lies, corruption and the protection of tons of pedophile priests!

Make up your mind Brazilians!

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Brazil, Politics, Society | 2 Comments

How the Political Divisiveness in America has impacted Dating

democrat-republican-symbols

Our country has been going through a period of intense political divisiveness for quite a long time now. The recent years remind me of the late 60’s when you were either a conservative or a long haired hippie. Nowadays Republicans and Democrats may look the same, but their opinions or “wissenschaft” (worldview) could not be further apart. Red States vs. Blue States. Pro-life vs. pro-choice. For marital equality or against gay marriage. Pro-government or anti-government. It seems our political realm is split in half, with little choice for a middle ground.

How does this impact the reality of dating in the new millennium? Well, when it comes to online dating, we readily know if someone votes Republican or Democrat (or is a Libertarian or a Communist) based on information from their profile. It is our choice to contact them or not. Decades ago, the chances of meeting someone with a completely different view were smaller, since people would usually date within their circles. If you were dating in College, chances are your love interest would have similar views with you. If you were dating your parents’ friends’ son, chances are you and him shared a similar viewpoint too.

When it comes to dating someone with a very different view of politics, society and religion, not everyone can pull the James Carville-Mary Matalin card. These very essential issues can become a sore point, and avoiding any talk about politics is quite impossible in today’s information loaded world. Not only you need to exert a lot of self-control and respect for the other person, you cannot gloat or make your point of view the only one acceptable. If you are passionate about politics, this might prove to be mighty difficult.

June 5, 2013 Posted by | Dating world, Politics | , , , | 2 Comments

Personal Responsability

 
I have a rant about personal responsability and the way Libertarians and extreme right-wingers/conservatives view it.

I am all for personal responsability. As a mother, I compare governments to parenting. If you protect your children too much, if you give them too much, if you coddle them too much or if you don’t let them learn through trial and error and pain, you have the risk of raising a future spoiled lazy brat/brattess. Your child turns 16 and you give them a new BMW? Oh boy…

However, you need to give them a foundation. You need to provide them with a safety net: a clean house, food, education, healthcare and security. You may even help them start their lives and a business with advice and some capital. You reward good behavior.

The same way, I believe in a government that guarantees the minimum conditions for citizens who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Education, a clean environment, water, sewage, healthcare, roads, assistance for poor children, the elderly and the sick (including mental illness), police protection, national security, a justice system that is FAIR for all (we all know that the people with the best lawyers win cases), incentives for small businesses and other job creators, assistance for people with ideas who want to start a business, investments in Science and Technology, etc.

I should also add “government regulations”. There should be regulations in place against the abuse of power, excess greed and destruction of the environment. Banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, cable companies…there has been too much abuse in America.

That means we can have a stronger middle class where more people have opportunities. We have a more educated and healthier population. And we all know that a country with a strong middle class is a strong country.
 
 

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Politics, Society | Leave a comment

David Goldman’s battle and success

I learned about David Goldman’s story a year ago. I was touched by it and it spoke deeply to me as a Brazilian woman, as someone who had been married to a foreigner and as someone who loves her children.  I also have a strong sense of injustice and I felt I could help him with my knowledge of Brazilian culture and history and my Portuguese skills. And the one year journey of being involved in this case thus began.

Along with many other supporters, many of them Brazilians like myself, our bumpy ride included days of hope, days of fury, days of despair and hopelessness, days of joy, nights with imsomnia, days of sadness, neglecting of work and spouses and friends. My friends noticed I was calling them less.  I spent countless hours on the www.bringseanhome.org website. I wrote an enormous amount of letters to politicians, media personalities and bloggers both in Brazil and in the USA. I wrote tons of comments on articles about the case in the Brazilian and American media, defending David.

This case has become the biggest success story I know of engaging a huge amount of people to help someone through the internet. I do not remember the internet being used to mobilize efforts of this magnitude before.

The satisfaction I am having seeing this case solved is undescribable. I always believed in the “sacred”, or natural, right of a mother or father in raising their children, unless there is a major impediment such as drug abuse, mental illness, phsyical and emotional abuse, extreme poverty and neglect. David was a perfectly capable father, and a superb one until his son was ripped apart from him cruelly and drastically.

There was a lot of talk about the best interests of the child. The best interest of a child is to be with a loving parent. Studies have shown over and over that children raised by grandparents, uncles or aunts and step-parents do not get the same quality of attention they get from a parent.

A 9 year old child may think he knows what he wants, but we all know that at the age of 9 you just don’t have the maturity to know what really is the best for you. A parent is the only person who should decide on what’s best for the child, providing they are capable. In the absence of BOTH parents, than it is the grandparents, other relatives or whoever the State determines.

I think Sean will obviously miss his maternal grandparents, his step-father, his nanny and his half-sister, but he will also adjust to his new life and will gradually miss them less.  Unfortunately, at this point, the Brazilian family is not showing any signs of emotional intelligence with this case, by spreading more lies and twisting the truth. Instead of trying to build a bridge to David, they continue shooting their own feet. David has said many times he would allow them visitation, but they are confusing their status of GRANDMOTHER and EX-STEP-FATHER with that of a parent. Grandparents and former step-parents can VISIT a child, but do not normally raise them when there is a capable parent. How many times do we all have to repeat that to the maternal family?

With all that has happened in the last few days, there is a strong probability that Silvana Bianchi Ribeiro, the grandmother, and Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, the step-father, will be a bad influence on the child’s adpatation to his new life with his father. We have not seen them praise David to Sean or try to make Sean’s transition easier. If it were my child, I would monitor each and every contact from them until I felt that they could be a positive influence instead of a malicious one. Sean needs time to feel comfortable with his father and regain the bond they once had.  David has his extended family (great parents, sister, brother in law, nephew and niece) very close by, and that will help Sean have a sense of belonging.

As a child who was 4 when I first came to the United States with my family and 9 when I moved back to Brazil, I know Sean will adapt quickly. Children are so incredibly resilient, specially when they they have love and protection from their parents. They learn languages, they make friends and adapt to the new routines much faster than adults do.

Watch here for the first steps Sean and David are taking together to have a productive and happy life ahead of them:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34619335#34619335

Here’s to Sean and David!

December 29, 2009 Posted by | World Events/News | 4 Comments

I could be buddies with Barack Obama

Watching President Obama on Jay Leno the other night made me think: if Obama was not the president but  just a regular lawyer, he would be the kind of guy I would like to be friends with. I say that because the chances that I bump into the president during a happy hour in DC are very slim…:)

I never wanted to have a beer with Bush. I cannot relate to his mentality. But Barack Obama and I have many, but many similar points of view. He has international experience, he is cultured and likes technology. He has a great sense of justice. He  is modern and is not afraid of innovation. On top of that, the man is cool. He is funny, he is cool, he is down to earth. Who doesn’t like to have a friend like that?

Ah, and Michelle would be a great buddy too. I like smart woman, and since she is tall, we could talk face to face 🙂 

On a more serious tone, I am feeling confident that this administration is doing the best it can do to take the US out of the economic fiasco, as well as making it more competitve internationally. If this team cannot make it, no other will. We have the best heads together now. Let’s give them time. We know we are in honest and capable hands, and this is comforting.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

The DC rally for David Goldman

I just came back from the rally. It was a miserable day in terms of weather, which was getting worse with each passing hour, but I was thrilled, as were the 2 friends that were there with me, to be there. The speeches, the posters, the press. I had the opportunity of speaking to Chris Smith, David’s father (Sean could not wish for a better grandpa!) and David’s sister (she has 2 kids Sean’s age, how cool is that, Sean will have cousins his age near him when he comes back!). I also talked to Bob D’Amico who was very nice too and informative. The only thing I missed was knowing who was who (we needed name tags), I did not feel confortable enough to ask everyone “Who are you on BSH?”. I met Mom25 because she is Brazilian like myself, and the guy whose daughter is in Brazil. I am sure if the weather were more pleasant everyone would have been more inclined to socialize more. We had to hold posters with one hand and the umbrella with the other! Hopefully NYC will have better weather next week for those who live there.

Still, my friends and I left the rally very very happy. We stopped for coffee and sandwiches because our toes were simply frozen. But we felt very good in going.

We were rained on too (not heavy rain, fortunately, but light drizzle) but the rally, as well as meeting David’s grandpa and aunt and David’s friends, only made me MORE determined to continue fighting for this case to be resolved.
PS: At the coffeeshop (Potbelly’s actually) we met 2 Brazilian tourists who had heard a little about the case. You know downtown DC there are always tourists. We talked to them about the rally, and guess what? One of the women lost her mother when she was a child and was raised by her grandma becasue her father was young and in those days Dad’s did not know how to raise girls. Guess what? From this woman’s mouth, she said she always wanted to live with her Dad, who later remarried, and he wanted too but did not have the courage to take her away from the old grandma. She said she longed for her Dad all her life. She was a pretty upbeat woman. We told her and her friend to go bacl to BR and spread the word about David.

See picture below:

That is me with the light grey umbrella and the white button on my coat, long blonde hair.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | World Events/News | 2 Comments

The Sean Goldman case

This is a very sad story. Dateline made a story on it, showing the father in a favorable light. Here is a summarized version of the story:

1) Male model meets nice girl from a well to do family from Brazil during his modeling stint in Italy;

2) They get married and have a son; former male model settles down in New Jersey and becomes a loving father and husband;

3) Husband thinks everything is all right. In-laws from Brazil come to visit and wife and son go back with them for a 2 week vacation. Husband takes family to airport and plans to join them later;

4) A few days later, he receives a phone call that shocks him. His wife is saying she is saying in Brazil for good and wants full custody of the young son. She also tells him to not even try to prosecute her criminally or else;

5) Wife gets a divorce in Brazil and gets remarried. Later, she dies. Father tries to get son back and the grandparents and the stepfather, protected by the slow and inneficiant Brazilian judicial system, stall the possibility of father and son being reunited.

5) David Goldman, the father, has been in a 4 year battle with Brazilian authorites to recover his son. 

This is a sad and unfair story.  My opinion, as a Brazilian and as a mother, is that Sean should be returned to his rightful father as soon as possible! He will adapt well to his new life, will have his father’s attention and love and he can have visitation with his grandparents (say summer vacation).

My analysis of what might have caused Bruna to do what she did:

Young woman from wealthy Brazilian upper middle class family, raised with maids and privilege, goes to Italy to study. Falls in love with handsome American male model. They come to America and she soons realizes that the handsome male model is just a regular guy. The glamour and glitz are gone. She lives in the suburbs, feels possibly isolated and homesick. She has to take care of her son and do housework, whereas in Brazil she could have maids. She misses the human warmth and warm climate of festive Rio. She decides on impulse, or maybe planned with her parents, to go back to Brazil.   She possibly felt disillusioned by her marriage and no longer wanted to be married to David, so instead of urging him to move back to Brazil with her, get a civilized divorce with visitation and vacations, she decides to run. Apparently she met the second husband during her trip there and fell in love very quickly, or maybe he had even been a former boyfriend. Since he was from an influential family in Brazil, her parents might have approved the relationship. For Bruna,  the new guy represented a great opportunity to live the good life, since he was a successful lawyer from a well to do family himself.

This decision was the worse possible. If she was afraid of losing her son (she might have heard stories of American citizens being granted custody of children when a foreign parent decides to move back to their original country), why did she decide to do something so cruel to her husband and to her son? Why did she decide to do something illegal? Why didn’t she try to get a divorce and settle on a visitation pact with the father? Was she wrongly influenced by her parents? Was she ignorant of the law? Was she just plain selfish or clinically depressed? The more I learn about Bruna, the more I see a selfish woman who had no empathy or respect for the man who clearly was a good father and loved his son.

I hope this case resolves soon, and Sean goes back to his father. After all, Sean was born here, so he is an American citizen first.

President Lula, you’ve got to do something about this! This is not acceptable and a shame for us Brazilian internationally! I also hope Obama tells Lula very firmly to stop Bruna’s family from being so dishonest!

See here for details and videos:

http://www.bringseanhome.org/dateline.html

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Being a mother, World Events/News | 17 Comments

This is the time to help Obama

I shake my head at how some Republicans and right wing commentators, bitter after an ugly electoral loss and years of hearing harsh criticism for the man they voted for, George W. Bush, now feel it’s time for a backlash. They are having a almost perverse pleasure in picking apart any act President Obama does.  They are not concerned with the well being of the country as much as blasting liberals and our “socilialist” ideas. What are they smoking? Obama’s administration inherited this chaos! He did not cause it, and it will take a herculean  effort with the help of us all to bring some prosperity again to this country. This bipartisanship does not help the country, it brings division, dissention and the us against them mentality.

Right wingers are so angry and lack such empathy towards their fellow citizens that it makes  me think they did not have love and affection as babies and kids. Not enough touching and holding. They can be vicious and are masters in distoring reality (Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh), consequently,  the less educated folks with less analitical thinking ability are fascinated by the hatred they spew.

Obama is a well intentioned man. He wants to do it right, he wants to make a mark and he does not need to be attacked. Hey right wingers, offer some constructive criticism. Are you even able to recognize that it is impossible for everything to be solved just like magic? McCain, I know you have a bad temper and now you want to sit on the sidelines and make fun of Obama, but that’s an easy task. Let’s see how YOU would fix the mess your buddy put us into.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Grievances, Politics | Leave a comment

Funny YouTube video

David Letterman, Tribute to Great Moments In Presidential Speeches

Very funny!

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Obama’s nod to non-believers

Obama’s comment on religion

If you google Barack Obama non-believers you will find many blogs commenting on Obama’s inaugural inclusion of non-believers. AOL, a conservative and right-leaning website, also talked about the displeasure by some African American preachers with Obama’s comment, while we rejoiced. Many progressive blogs were excited about it. I myself jumped up when I heard it, and immediately thought to myself: “boy, what a relief he is the president now”.
 
Some time ago I made a post where I stated that I suspect Obama is not religious at all, and was just pandering to the masses (mainly the African American community) when he included god talk or church visits to his campaign. My observation was based on comments made by him in the past and in his family history: his mother. As a Sociologist with a Antropology base as well, I know PhD’s in Antropology are usually secular and liberal. Obama’s mother was an intelectual, a non-conformist, and I doubt she raised her son with any Christian brainwash. She also valued education a lot, and these are also the values I was raised with. I too was exposed to a different culture at an early age, and my parents were also PhD’s. I grew up in an intellectual and cultured family, so I can relate to his upbringing.
 
African Americans who voted on Obama exclusively for the color of his skin (although I want to believe they voted primarily for the competence and intelligence he showed during his campaign) are in for major disappointment. Barack is liberal about many positions that the African American churches are not, and Obama does not have anything in common with the African American slavery and exploitation history. Furthermore, he is half Irish, making him mixed race instead of solely African American.
 
When I hear comments about how only in this country a man like Obama could be president I have to laugh at the lack of knowledge about other countries. The Brazilian president is a man who has only 4th grade education and worked in a factory and came from a very working class background. Obama’s mother was a PhD and so was his father (from Harvard!). That is not an unprivileged background.
 
Here is a comment from an April 2008 Time article which reinforces my belief that deep down Obama is an atheist and he is just pretending he is a Xtian to get elected (he knew the African Americans were his largest supporters):
 
“Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, but Obama’s household was not religious. “My mother, whose parents were nonpracticing Baptists and Methodists, was one of the most spiritual souls I ever knew,” Obama said in a 2007 speech. “But she had a healthy skepticism of religion as an institution. And as a consequence, so did I.”
 

 

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Atheism, Politics | 1 Comment