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Editorial: A course correction at SENNIAF and other institutions

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dog germs or something
A protester in front of SENNIAF. So far nobody has been arrested for the abuse at facilities overseen by that government institution, but several nonviolent protesters have been arrested for “altering the public order.” The law enforcement priorities are rather obvious. As, for that matter, are the delusions in high places.

SENNIAF and its environment

First, let’s hold the hysteria and the sadism, as we let our indignation and common sense freely flow.

Say WHAT? Well, of course there are criminal laws on the books about adult men having sexual relations with minors, especially with those who are less able to defend themselves due to this or that disability. Those laws ought to be enforced. But let’s dispense with the talk about how cruel their punishment should be. Innocent until proven guilty, and then the law provides the possible penalties if guilt is proven.

However, when minor girls in custody paid for by the state become pregnant, there needs to be no criminal conviction for the state to take administrative action to protect those in its charge.

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And let’s consider the situation of a minor in state-ordered custody, in an institution or in foster care, or for that matter with one or more parents who don’t particularly care, who is impregnated by an adult. Panama’s abortion law sets a 60-day limit on abortions in the case of rape, but there has to be a police report sufficient for prosecutors to bring a case. And can you blame a girl for not knowing this, given that such and many other matters are forbidden topics in schools that by law are forbidden to impart sex education? If a girl does find out in some timely manner, in Panama children have no standing, can’t go to some office and have a guardian ad litem appointed. For Panama’s girls, there is in effect no rape exception to the draconian abortion laws. The mothers of rich girls can fly them out to Miami, Puerto Rico or some other jurisdiction where abortion is legal, or pay to have a medical abortion in a highly illegal black market. That’s not any kid who is in a SENNIAF-subsidized facility.

The use of the criminal law with respect to others to curtail the human rights of Panama’s girls is an ugly vestige of the Holy Inquisition. The churches that pressed for and got their laws should now be judged by the bitterness of the fruit that their political interventions have borne. SENNIAF is, in one great part, about unhealthy relationships between the churches and the Panamanian state.

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Reduce all accountability to a legal system that DOESN’T have Ricky Martinelli behind bars for the rest of his life? That sort of sludge seeps down to all levels of state and society. And again, this notion that absent a criminal conviction nothing can be done or should be said is legally wrong and morally repugnant when it comes to public administration.

As the long-festering SENNIAF scandals were bubbling toward the surface and the president knew or should have known that they would become public in short order, what did he do? He promoted Carla García, the daughter of his vice minister of the presidency and deputy director of SENNIAF upstairs to be governor of Panama province.

After dodging questions as long as she could, García gave a televised interview in which she pleaded that what went on in the SENNIAF-sponsored foster care facilities was not her department.

Imagine that. A director is incapacitated in some way or another and the number two person has to step in, but she has compartmentalized her knowledge and responsibility to have zero competence at a major part of what the organization does.

That’s unacceptable. It was unacceptable at SENNIAF and it makes García unacceptable as governor. Whose daughter she is, and what her party credentials are, pale beside this glaring disqualification.

That you had a SENNIAF board that put up with this is also a disqualification. As the protesters demand, all of them should also go.

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Let us, however, step back and take a broader view. The very serious abuses – not only sexual ones, but also things like kids being fed dog food and mentally disturbed youngsters being held in shackles and told to pray – affected maybe 10 or 12 of 50 SENNIAF-subsidized facilities. In the places where there were serious problems, not every person was involved.

There are complaints that a bunch of the facilities lacked proper licenses. This is an administrative failure, born of the political patronage system. It’s a treatment of government contracts as plums for favored institutions. It’s an attitude that people who get government jobs at places like SENNIAF are on a five-year ride of good pay with little or no work.

And what about the estimates bandied about in which some 90 percent of those working in SENNIAF-funded facilities have no documented qualifications?

There we should be more careful, and look beyond this particular government agency and the mostly religious organizations with which it contracts to the whole culture of care giving in Panama. From day care for kids to nursing homes, from places for the disabled to penal institutions, proper care for human beings is overall deficient here. You don’t need to take it from an editor whose stepfather died of septicemia from infected bed sores contracted at one of Panama’s better nursing homes to discover this, but maybe that’s a good starting point.

There are two “solutions” that ought to be rejected out of hand. Hiring the most expensive company with the most connected and well-dressed CEO available – or maybe headed by someone less dripping with jewelry and more forthcoming with kickbacks – would be typical. Instantly requiring people to have educational credentials to work at the care of other human beings would also be impractical.

Let’s face it: SENNIAF exists as part of a neoliberal privatization scheme, whereby the state contracts out its responsibilities to cheaper private contractors. Cheaper because the majority of the work force, the people who care for people, receive terribly low wages. Some of these folks have little in the way of formal education, but had been caring for people for much of their lives before taking their jobs, and have learned skills on the their jobs. Fire them all and demand greater credentials? In Panamanian culture that’s only a recipe for fraud.

But we CAN create specific courses at all levels of our education system to improve the quality of care. We CAN have qualified people come in and teach the staff at all institutions that care for human beings in specific skills. New faculties with more administrators who must ride around in the luxury apropos to their new positions? Forget that. But many university departments ought to be called upon to send out some of their faculty members on extension projects designed to improve the skills of low-paid care givers.

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Do we want to allow vile government-paid “influencers” to divert attention by things like slut-shaming teenage girls who get pregnant? As all of this shakes out there will be occasion to assign blame. Some of it will fall upon these finger-pointers.

But moving ahead, we should be thinking about doing properly things that were not done properly. Not as a matter of punishment, but as doing right for the people who depend on the government for care.

  

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Who was the first Latin American? Cortés – not Columbus. Columbus stayed on his boat in Portobelo Bay and wouldn’t land. He was old, like Europe.

Omar Torrijos

 

Bear in mind…

 

 

No sex, no drugs, no Siggie Freud – so why would anyone read it?

Molly Ivins

 

Falsehood and insincerity, unsuitable as they seem to the dignity of public transactions, offend us with a less degrading idea of meanness, than when they are found in the intercourse of private life.

Edward Gibbon

 

Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was.

Margaret Mitchell

 

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The murder of Jamal Khashoggi: a redacted US intelligence report

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CIA

Classified By: █
Derived From: █
Declassify On: █

(U) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

(U) This report is provided by the ODNI. Questions should be directed to the NIO for Near East.

█ We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an
operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

• █ We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decisionmaking in the
Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi.

• █ Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security
and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have
carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.

█ Assessing the Saudi Government’s Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

█ We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an
operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision making in the Kingdom since 2017, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi. Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have
carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.

• █ At the time of the Khashoggi murder, the Crown Prince probably fostered an
environment in which aides were afraid that failure to complete assigned tasks might result in him firing or arresting them. This suggests that the aides were unlikely to question Muhammad bin Salman’s orders or undertake sensitive actions without his consent.
• █ The I5-member Saudi team that arrived in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 included
officials who worked for, or were associated with, the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs (CSMARC) at the Royal Court. At the time of the operation, CSMARC was led by Saud al-Qahtani, a close adviser of Muhammad bin Salman, who claimed publicly in mid-2018 that he did not make decisions without the Crown Prince’s approval.

• █ The team also included seven members of Muhammad bin Salman’s elite personal
protective detail, known as the Rapid Intervention Force (RIF). The RIF – a subset of the Saudi Royal Guard – exists to defend the Crown Prince, answers only to him, and had directly participated in earlier dissident suppression operations in the Kingdom and abroad at the Crown Prince’s direction. We judge that members of the RIF would not have participated in the operation against Khashoggi without Muhammad bin Salman’s approval.

• █ The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom and broadly
supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him. Although Saudi officials had pre-planned an unspecified operation against Khashoggi we do not know how far in advance Saudi officials decided to harm him.

█ We have high confidence that the following individuals participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi on behalf of Muhammad bin Salman. We do not know whether these individuals knew in advance that the operation would result in Khashoggi’s death.

• (U █) Saud al-Qahtani
• █ Maher Mutreb
• █Naifal-Arifi
• █ Mohammed al-Zahrani
• █ Mansour Abahussain
• █ Badr al-Utaybah
• █ Abdul Aziz Al Hawsawi

• █ Waleed Abdullah Al Shihri
• █ Khalid Al Utaybah
• █ Tha’ar Al Harbi
• █ Fahd Shiahb Al Balawi
• █ Meshal al-Bustani
• █ Turki Al Shihri
• (U) Mustafa Al Madani
• (U) Saif Saad Al
• █ Ahmed Zayed Asiri
• █ Abdulla Mohammed Alhoeriny
• █ Yasir Khalid Alsalem
• █ Ibrahim al-Salim
• (U) Salah Al Tubaigy
• (U) Mohammed Al Utaybah

 

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Coalición de Mujeres, Ley 120

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cerdas
Sin haber publicado la enmienda en la página de web de la legislatura, la Asamblea Nacional ya aprobó una nueva ley de adopciónes que permite que los fetos de niñas menores de edad violadas y embarazadas sean “adoptados en el útero”, obligando a las niñas a ser esclavas no remuneradas y dando derechos de propiedad a compradores de bebés que están obligadas a dar luz. Fue propuesto por neofascistas y  ultraderechistas religiosas habituales. Veremos si el presidente Cortizo lo firma. Y si lo hace, si otros países imponen sanciones por trata de personas a cualquiera de los involucrados.
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¿Wappin? Different beliefs / Creencias diferentes

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him irie

Despite all we still find common ground
A pesar de todo, todavía encontramos puntos en común 

Alice Coltrane — Turiya And Ramakrishna
https://youtu.be/QUMuDWDVd20

The Hooters — All You Zombies
https://youtu.be/2LE0KpcP05I

I-Threes – Many Are Called
https://youtu.be/Hm2t8tUEHgY

Yusuf Islam – A is for Allah
https://youtu.be/-L-GOHa5-YQ

The Melodians – Rivers of Babylon
https://youtu.be/F-3-OVv10_M

Aretha Franklin & Mavis Staples – Oh Happy Day
https://youtu.be/wb7D-W-QW-8

Violeta Parra – Maldigo del alto cielo
https://youtu.be/P12pwUSR5V0

Lord Invader – Bed Bug Song
https://youtu.be/pwXxbMUrYsk

Joan Baez & Mercedes Sosa – Gracias a la Vida
https://youtu.be/rMuTXcf3-6A

Sarah Hester Ross – My Mother’s Savage Daughter
https://youtu.be/nPOGkeJypXw

Atahualpa Yupanqui – Preguntitas Sobre Dios
https://youtu.be/WhNliD4k47Q

Tracy Chapman – Across the Lines
https://youtu.be/kP3mpcb3Z4Q

Lord Cobra – Racombey
https://youtu.be/tgRdqq7iI4Y

Coven – One Tin Soldier
https://youtu.be/mASbP3Eq1VE

John Lennon – God
https://youtu.be/oCLsa98D7iU

Jefferson Airplane – Wooden Ships
https://youtu.be/oCLsa98D7iU

 

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vote final

 
 

Fundacion Libertad, The liberal perspective on SENNIAF

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the city
A protest in front of SENNIAF offices in Panama City.

Childhood and the rule of law


by the Fundacion Libertad

At the Fundación Libertad we repudiate the chain of physical, psychological and sexual abuses that have been reported in shelters for children and young people at social risk, under the very nose of the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family.

Not only do we have a failed state in terms of respect for the rule of law and constitutional freedoms, but we have also failed our most vulnerable population in the most cruel ways: our children.

The protection of minors and their rights is a government function. However, Panama lacks a system of guarantees and protection that allows children and adolescents in our country to be, in effect, subjects of law with all of the protections that the law grants them.

From a liberal perspective, we consider it urgent to organize the legal framework for the protection of children and adolescents. This includes a comprehensive and scientific sexual education law, as well as the depoliticization of SENNIAF to guarantee the appointment of suitable technical personnel, and efficient use of resources at all levels to meet the needs to protect the most vulnerable children. Likewise, we demand greater control of the institutions that provide auxiliary services to these state entities and that effective filters and audits be applied to prevent the entry of predators into the system. As citizens, first and foremost, we want justice for these children. These abuses are not nw, which shows the low priority that has historically been given to the protection of children.

Now we hear that not only are the hearings for this case scheduled for the year 2023, but Attorney General Ulloa has washed his hands, leaving the job to a successor. This is an insult to these victims and their rights, as well as to all Panamanians who see ourselves reflected in those children. We demand justice, and they give us re-victimization and uncertainty.

As long as those authorities with jurisdiction do not monitor the shelters with the same zeal with which they monitor restaurants and beaches, Panamanian children will continue to be at the mercy of the indifference, ineptitude and discretion of the courts, which condemn them to a system where they are placed in the custody of untrained personnel – in the best cases — or, as we have seen, in the hands of predators.

 

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Polo Ciudadano, La renuncia de Ulloa y un sistema podrido

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Veraguas
Protesta en Veraguas.
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Nautilus Federation, Vaccinating maritime professionals

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NF cover
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[To see the Neptune Declaration referred to above in PDF format, click here.]

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Australia: Facebook and Google versus journalism

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monopoly 2.0
Smaller publishers “will remain at the mercy of Facebook and Google, which are both seeking to avoid mandatory regulation and will instead choose which media companies they come to agreements with,” said Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance federal president Marcus Strom. Graphic by ecolabs.

Australia tech deals: critics warn corporate power plays won’t save journalism

by Andrea Germanos — Common Dreams

Big Tech’s vast power remained under scrutiny on Tuesday after Facebook announced it would lift the blackout it had imposed on Australian news outlets in response to proposed legislation aimed at making large platforms pay publishers for linking to local news stories.

“Facebook should not be so big as to be able to dictate its own terms with any government,” liberal group Sleeping Giants wrote in a Twitter thread. “Breaking apart Facebook is absolutely essential to reining in their power and control.”

The tweets followed talks between Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the proposed News Media Bargaining Code, which, as NPR summarized, “would force Google and Facebook to pay Australian news publishers for stories with terms of a deal set by a third party, had they not been able to negotiate payout agreements with local publishers themselves.”

While Google recently struck a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. regarding payments, Facebook’s response last week to the proposed code was to go “nuclear,” as Common Dreams reported, blocking Australian users from sharing news and preventing Facebook users worlwide from sharing news from Australian outlets.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of news, said in a statement that “the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald,

The Morrison government agreed to last-minute changes to its proposed media bargaining code on Tuesday in order to bring Facebook back to the negotiating table with news companies. The amendments pave the way for Google and Facebook to avoid the code altogether if they can satisfy the government they have struck enough deals outside it. […]

Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes announced on Tuesday evening the company had signed a letter of intent with Facebook for the use of its news content. […]

Industry and government sources said Nine has restarted negotiations with Facebook. News Corp and the Guardian Australia have also resumed talks with the social media giant.

“Under several amendments to the code,” the New York Times reported, “Facebook would get more time to cut deals with publishers so it would not be immediately forced into making payments. The amendments also suggested that if digital platforms had significantly contributed to the Australian news industry, the companies could avoid the code entirely, at least for now.”

While the news blackout—which also ended up taking down access to a wide range of sites, including some state health services pages, garnered international attention last week, Facebook’s opposition to the measure has been clear for months.

That opposition, monopoly power expert Matt Stoller wrote Saturday, was driven at least in part by the proposal’s threat to Facebook’s data-driven business model. He wrote:

In other words, despite what Facebook’s PR armies are saying, it isn’t a link tax, it is an anti-monopoly law that Facebook is opposing because the law will undermine the firm’s ability to monopolize the ad market and force transparency in how the firm gathers and manages its vast data horde. In some ways, it is an existential threat to the company (which I think might be hiding some things about its business model, considering its revenue is growing at 20-30% a year even though its user base in the US and Europe where it makes most of its money is flat). […]

The details of this law are interesting, but the real point of what Australia is doing is to that it is asserting the rule of law against a monopolist. In response, Facebook is saying, we are more powerful than your democratic officials.

Critics of the proposed code have also stressed it would fail in its purported effort to strengthen “a strong independent media.”

Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy for Free Press Action Fund, wrote at Common Dreams this week that “in the background of this debate are major shifts in the economics of news production.”

“Turning every instance of link sharing into a government-mandated monetary transaction would forever alter the fundamental openness of the internet. We need to invest in new journalism—not entrenched corporate power and gatekeeping.”

More from @TimKarr here

— Free Press (@freepress) February 22, 2021

According to Karr:

The US ad industry has moved away from buying placements in traditional media entities that produced news (like newspapers) toward cheaper, more finely targeted options offered by digital platforms that don’t (like Facebook and Google).

Allowing the most powerful media conglomerates to negotiate payments from the most powerful tech conglomerates is an attempt to rebalance the equation. But giving handouts to News Corp. won’t help the sorts of local, civic-minded news outlets and reporters who have suffered most under this new digital economy. And funding traditional news operations doesn’t meet the needs of communities of color and working-class families, who’ve been long overlooked or misrepresented by US media.

Harold Feld, senior vice president of Public Knowledge, expressed similar concerns last week.

“As we watch the continued developments in Australia, we worry that instead of the intended result of empowering users and promoting local journalism, the system will enrich tech and media moguls at the expense of civic discourse,” Feld said in a statement. “Worse, it could make the internet more and more like cable TV, where media giants force users to sit through content blackouts to extort huge payments from cable companies.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Australia’s union for journalists welcomed Facebook’s move to lift the news blackout but expressed concern the newly forged deals could still leave smaller publishers “out in the cold.”

“For small publishers that have become reliant on Facebook to distribute their news, it will be a huge relief that the news tap has been turned back on,” said Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) federal president Marcus Strom. “But they will remain at the mercy of Facebook and Google, which are both seeking to avoid mandatory regulation and will instead choose which media companies they come to agreements with.”

Strom added that it “shouldn’t be up to Facebook and Google to cherry pick and groom publishers it deems acceptable for side deals. Any code should be mandatory, uniform, predictable, and fair; not at the whim of technology executives.”

 

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Martin, Facebook out of control

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FB

One of these things is not like the others: why Facebook is beyond our control

by Peter Martin, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

What’s the difference between Google and Facebook?

One difference is that last week Google agreed to pay Australian news outlets for their content in the face of a threat of government action to force it to.

Facebook did not, temporarily removing Australian news sources from its feeds, a decision it only reversed after winning a range of concessions.

Another is the reason why.

It’s that Google faces competition, whereas Facebook really doesn’t.

In economists’ language, that’s because Facebook enjoys a rare “network effect”, Google scarcely at all.

If I want to switch from Google to another search engine (something I’ve done) it costs me next to nothing. I might find it hard to move my search history over (although there’s probably an app for that) but otherwise the new search engine will either be better, worse or about the same as the one I left. I’m free to find out.

Google faces competition

It means that Google is forced to defend itself from competition (or the threat of competition) by providing an extraordinarily good service.

Not so Facebook. Although a relatively new concept in economics, the idea of a network effect dates back to at least 1908 when the president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, Theodore Vail, spelled it out in a letter to stockholders.

“A telephone, without a connection at the other end of the line, is not even a toy or a scientific instrument,” he wrote. “It is one of the most useless things in the world. Its value depends on the connection with the other telephone — and increases with the number of connections.”

Facebook faces hardly any

The idea has since been expressed in a mathematical formula, but there’s no need to get into details. The world’s first telephone was indeed useless, the second allowed one household to reach only one other. But by the time there were millions, and almost every household had one, each telephone became incredibly valuable, allowing that household to reach almost every other household.

A startup that tried to compete with the phone system would be offering a very unappealing product. It wouldn’t be able to offer anything like the connections of the existing system until a huge proportion of the population signed up, meaning people would be reluctant to sign up, meaning it would stay unappealing.

Which is the point Vail was making. When it gets big enough, the telephone service is something close to a natural monopoly. There’s no point in anyone setting up a competing one (and in Australia we haven’t — the competing companies, Telstra, Optus and so on, share the one network).

The ASX stock exchange is another example, as is eBay. You could try to sell something on a different platform, but you wouldn’t reach nearly as many potential customers, so you mightn’t get as good a price.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission puts it this way in its report on Facebook: even if the government made it easier for a user to switch to another network, perhaps by mandating the transfer of data,

if none of the user’s friends or family are moving away from Facebook, that user would be unlikely to switch platforms

The “lock in” that happens when a network gets so big people feel they have to use it means it doesn’t have to treat them particularly well to get them to stay.

Without Facebook, it’s hard to know what family and friends are up to. Gil C/Shutterstock

Seventeen million Australians use Facebook every four weeks — a huge proportion of the population, and an even bigger proportion of the population aged over 14 (80%).

Without Facebook, it would be hard to know what family and friends and long-lost classmates are up to — whether or not Facebook offers news. It doesn’t need to treat its users particularly well to get them to stay.

Facebook isn’t quite like the phone system. Young people find the fact that so many old people can use it to check up on them a turn-off and go elsewhere. But for the Australians already on it (that’s most Australians) it’s worth staying.

And there’s room for smaller specialized networks.

Linkedin has its own network for people concerned about the jobs market. If that’s the world you’re in, it’s wise to be on it because of the huge number of other such people who are on it. There’s not much point leaving it for something else.

Winner take all

It wasn’t always that way for Facebook. Fifteen years ago MySpace was how people connected, but not that many of them — it hadn’t grown to the point where network effects took over. When they did, there could be only one clear winner, and it happened to be Facebook.

Now not even its bad behavior (Roy Morgan finds it is Australia’s least-trusted brand) can stop most people using it.

 

Australia’s COVID campaign, off Facebook.

In the same way as people who want the lights on generally have to use the electricity company, people who want to catch trains generally have to use the railway and people who want to drive cars generally have to buy gasoline, people who want to stay in touch generally have to use Facebook.

Which makes the government’s decision to remove its vaccination advertising campaign from Facebook silly. Facebook reaches 80% of its target audience.

Facebook has become a (trans-national) utility, unconcerned about its image. Attempts by one government, or even a coalition of governments, to force it to do anything are pretty much a lost cause.

No-one wanted it to be like this, and it’s not like this for Google. Facebook has moved beyond our control.The Conversation

Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

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Bernal, Let’s raise our voice

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Bejuco
People in ordinarily sedate Bejuco began to raise their voices on Monday.

Let’s raise our voice

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

The silence of the good people is more dangerous than the brutality of the bad people.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The decomposition of Panamanian society advances, at a redoubled pace, without obstacles or restraints. No part of the social fabric avoids the uneasiness, dissatisfaction, discontent, repudiation and disgust generated by the daily actions of the joint criminal enterprise that claims to be the government.

The latest revelations of what happened in the shelters, where mistreatment, abuse, torture and rape of children are commonplace, have corroborated that we do not deal with just any government. The cover-up reaction and the extreme politicking is so that impunity takes the lead from the inept prosecutor’s hands and reconfirms the serious danger that threatens not only human rights and democratic freedoms, but public safety in all areas.

Once again the ineptocratic government, thanks to the exclusion of all civic participation or action, is debased to seeking by all means to continue doing what they want, at all costs. For examples the nearly 6,000 deaths from COVID.19, nor the more than 300,000 unemployed, the more than $15 billion in debt in just under two years, the growing and anti-national remilitarization by the new sepoys of the outdated Torrijismo. They need more fear, more repression, more confinements, more quarantine measures that really aren’t, more media manipulation, more spending on hack journalists and “influencers” scream against the needs of the people. And people still mostly shut up.

During the last two administraions, the “orgy of Odebrecht corruption,” as the Brazilian prosecutors well described it at the time, strutted and dominated over all branches of the Panamanian government. That death lunge ending up striking down the weaker institutions. The joint criminal enterprise led by Cortizo and Carrizo has now managed to produce disbelief and distrust, both of the governed towards the governors, and of the governed among themselves. It thus helps to leave the damage wrought by their predecessors unfixed.

What credibility can the Public Ministry or the Comptroller General of the Republic – to name just two control mechanisms – have today? Their controls must be exercised, but the chain of failures in the prosecution of crimes has no parallel throughout the history of this republic. They have become the womb and cradle of corruption and the sponsors of impunity – thanks, of course, to the local sultans, Cortizo and Carrizo.

They, and only they, are responsible for Panama falling back into the hands of the new criminal organizations of all kinds which, under the protection of political power, have kidnapped the country and its good people, who are silent. Or are we? Do we raise our voices once and for all, join forces against the new crowd and their criminal joint venture? Or do we just prepare as best we can for whatever befalls us?

 

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