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Kennedy, Standing with the migrants

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running to Africa
Mary and Joseph fled their country to keep their child alive. We should embrace families making the same difficult choice today. Shutterstock graphic.

This holiday season, I’m standing with migrants

by Kerri Kennedy – American Friends Service Committee / OtherWords

This holiday season — a time so often associated with bringing family together — my thoughts keep turning to the families in the migrant caravans making their way to the US southern border.

I had the privilege of spending four days in Mexico last month with my organization, the American Friends Service Committee, to assess the needs of participants in the caravan and expand human rights monitoring.

As I crept into my children’s bedrooms to give them a kiss when I got back, resisting the urge to wake them up for cuddling and conversation, I thought about what would make me pick up with them and flee, with little notice and even less information about what would lie ahead.

Over and over again, our delegation heard of the need for more strollers for the migrant caravan. Could I even imagine dropping everything to walk 3,000 difficult miles with my children in my arms — without even a stroller?

Watching coverage of the US troops firing tear gas at migrants at the border, and hearing the harrowing reports from my colleague who witnessed that violent repression, I thought again about the mothers I’d met in Mexico. What could push me to take the risk of facing this violence to protect my children?

I met so many people in Mexico who joined the caravan because it was their only way out.

I think about “Maria” (not her real name), a young mother of four I met. Maria is from El Salvador, where violence and a complete lack of opportunities put her family at risk. One of her children had already been killed by gang violence.

When word spread of the caravan, Maria made a spontaneous choice to join. She told me she was in search of opportunity for her family, and the hope of seeing her children grow up in a place without constant danger.

Like Mary and Joseph, who fled to Egypt when King Herod’s government threatened their newborn child, Maria and so many other parents have picked up everything and undertaken a harrowing journey to save their children’s lives.

Caravan participants I met expressed so much faith — both in God and the idea that United States is a place that embraces those fleeing violence and poverty. What else can they do in the face of such an existential threat but hope and pray for a chance for their families to live?

In the season when many celebrate the birth of a child whose family had to flee to another country to keep him alive, what does our shared humanity demand from parents making the same difficult choice today?

In the face of our government’s cruelty, I feel called to stand up for the people of the migrant caravan. That’s why the American Friends Service Committee has called for a week of action in the US under the name Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice.

We mobilized faith leaders to the border on December 10, and for the following week groups lined up to host actions around the country expressing love and solidarity with migrants.

We are demanding that our country open its doors to people like Maria, and thousands of others, instead of meeting them with violence.

In this season of giving, I hope people of conscience across the country will join us in standing up for families in need of aid.

 

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New property tax rules: What could possibly go wrong?

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boondoggle
A structurally unsafe and probably impossible to save real estate boondoggle on Playa Blanca. What did The Bible say about building on the sand? In any case the supposed experts at a state-owned bank accepted this failed project as collateral for a loan and lawyers have been arguing about this and the larger picture into which it fits for years now. Photo by Eric Jackson, passing by on a bus.

A new property tax scheme: not so much doomed to failure as born of failure

by Eric Jackson

First things first. In just a few weeks, at the beginning of 2019, a new property tax scheme goes into effect.

  • The old tax breaks on new construction, which have been the subjects of tinkering over the years are to be abolished but grandfathered in. If you got a 20-year, or 10-year, or five-year exoneration for new construction you will keep it. There just won’t be any more new exemptions of this type under the new plan.
  • It’s all designed for social classes that are not most Panamanians. Most people here don’t have bank accounts, let alone mortgages. But under the new scheme, banks that hold mortgages collect the property taxes by blending them into house payments. Will this morph into some requirement that a bank becomes a mandatory part of anyone owning a house over a certain value? We shall see, as both government action and the private practices of a monopolistic and politically powerful banking industry may determine that question.
  • For a “first home” — and how they intend to verify that ought to be interesting — there will be a three-year exemption up to a value of $300,000. It doesn’t matter if the home is new or used.
  • For a principal residence, there will be a property tax exemption for the first $120,000 of value.
  • For a second residence, or any other real estate holding, there is a total of $30,000 in exemptions. Let the lawyers and tax collectors argue about how that might be structured or counted.
  • The old breaks, and the one percent of the property’s value rate, might be maintained but to take advantage of the new breaks the old ones will have to be renounced and the real estate will have to be registered as “family property.” It will apparently not matter for this purpose if the asset is kept in the name of a corporation or foundation. “Family” is loosely defined — not as in the Family Code. It doesn’t matter for this purpose if the people in the household are citizens or foreigners, or if they are possessed of a marriage license. There will be lawyer and accountant work here.

Nobody is really up in arms, as has been the case with previous attempts to reform property taxes. Rather than squeezing out more money or shifting burdens, this time it seems to be a simple recognition of realities on the ground. Hard, sad realities.

As in, for example, new building permits for the first nine months of 2018 down 49 percent from the same period in 2017. As in all these empty condo towers on the beaches. As in wonderfully productive and beautiful farms along rivers through the hills, and houses near beaches with all the conveniences, just not selling no matter how low the price gets knocked down. As in an economy still growing on paper, largely on the strength of financial transactions on paper, but brutally slow if you look at the production or sale of actual things, with small partial rebounds from catastrophic drops of yesteryear counted as much of the growth. As in a government going deeper and deeper into debt for public works contracts to keep some Panamanians working and provide something for the self-entitled to skim. As in an election approaching in May, so an administration with forlorn hopes of retaining the Palacio de las Garzas and legislators staring at a ‘vote ALL the bastards out’ public mood, so politicians are unwilling to add material pain to the moral outrage of the moment.

flood
Discussing the changing physical realities of real estate investment opportunities down by the water is kind of unpatriotic, isn’t it? Photo by the Presidencia.

Construction and real estate interests are political and media powers, so certain things are left unsaid. Like investments in low-lying areas menaced by rising sea levels.

And understand that political demagoguery has left some fairly salient features of the real estate scene studiously ignored. Like how the crackdowns on immigration from Venezuela in particular, and on the “permanent tourists” and in effect also a lot of snowbirds, have dried up the market for upscale condos. Like how an international outcry that’s not just about The Panama Papers makes investments in this country’s money laundering towers more suspect here and abroad. Supply and demand don’t function in high-end Panamanian real estate, there are all these empty properties.

So the long-running phaseout of tax breaks for new upscale housing units gets more acute? No big deal. There isn’t a lot of that business lately anyway. Nor are the adjustments to how property taxes are collected and how much will be taxed going to drastically affect many people.

The likely winners? Lawyers and CPAs getting paid to interpret and navigate the changes for their clients. Banks that are likely to add a fee for their tax collection services. Perhaps the government, with a more stable collection system if not with a big windfall.

The likely losers have generally already eaten or factored in their losses.

 

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Beluche, Migración y la clase trabajadora

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UN pic
Foto por la ONU.

Apuntes para una política de la clase trabajadora panameña sobre las migraciones

por Olmedo Beluche

Una particular combinación de circunstancias ha producido en Panamá una ola de xenofobia que no tiene precedentes, salvo en las primeras décadas del siglo XX, cuando llegaron a Panamá decenas de miles de afroantillanos a la construcción del canal, muchos de los cuales se quedaron a vivir en nuestro país.

En las décadas del veinte y treinta se produjeron movimientos “nacionalistas” que parecían dirigidos contra la influencia norteamericana, pero mucho más contra la población “extraña” recién incorporada a la “nación”. Esa ola seudonacionalista, mezcla de xenofobia y racismo fascista, tomó cuerpo en la “Doctrina Panameñista” del ex presidente Arnulfo Arias M. y su Constitución Política de 1941, en la que se hablaba de “razas de inmigración prohibida” refiriéndose entre ellas a los de “raza negra cuyo idioma originario no sea el castellano” (art. 12).

La actual ola xenofóbica parece obedecer a la combinación de dos circunstancias contradictorias: un alto crecimiento económico de Panamá respecto de la región, lo que la convierte en sitio privilegiado de inmigrantes en busca de trabajo (es notable la presencia en las calles de miles de recién llegados colombianos, nicaragüenses, dominicanos, hasta españoles); con un crecimiento económico fruto de la reversión del canal, pero que no ha resuelto los graves problemas sociales que aquejan al pueblo panameño porque se han utilizado sus recursos como fuente de acumulación de la oligarquía financiera.

Contribuye de manera particular a la ola xenofóbica la circunstancia de que la oposición política de Venezuela, y la burguesía de ese país, que practica el sabotaje económico y la fuga de capitales allá, con los petrodólares que el gobierno bolivariano les da, han hecho de Panamá su plataforma de operaciones. Este sector de los inmigrantes, que llega con poder económico, ha hecho de la especulación inmobiliaria y la apertura de miles de pequeños negocios una forma de establecerse en el país, pero con una característica sicológica: son los más agresivos, soberbios y reaccionarios, gustando alardear del dinero que poseen, dinero que le falta tanto al pueblo venezolano como al panameño.

El paroxismo de la xenofobia llegó cuando la diputada Zulay Rodríguez, del “socialdemócrata” P.R.D., quien perteneció a los allegados de Ricardo Martinelli hace cinco años (grupo “PAMAGO”), hasta que intentaron “tumbarle” un cliente, lanzó un discurso en estos términos:

“Panamá no se compra, no se alquila, es de nosotros. Estos colombianos, estos nicaragüenses, estos extranjeros… Pero yo no quiero recién llegados de hace seis meses, de un año,…, que no están invirtiendo absolutamente nada. No quiero recién llegados que estén importando pobreza y nuevas modalidades de delito” (Nótese que la diputada iguala pobreza con delito y no menciona a los venezolanos). Además dejó claro contra qué clases sociales está, a las que llamó “escoria”: “Son desplazados que no tienen un centavo en su país, que no vienen a invertir, no traen dinero para hacer competitividad en Panamá para que este avance…” (La Prensa, 24 y 25 de febrero 2015).

Todo esto a cuento de que un sector de abogados se siente lacerado por una regulación especial denominada “Crisol de Razas”, que permite la regularización del estatus migratorio para trabajar a miles de personas pagando unas tasas directamente al estado. Antes, sólo se podía tramitar la residencia en Panamá a través de abogados que cobraban miles de dólares a lo largo de muchos años de gestiones.

Lo más preocupante es que la ola xenofóbica no solo alcanza a las masas influenciables por los medios de comunicación, sino a mucha gente “progresista”. Esto se debe al bajo desarrollo de la conciencia política e ideológica, en parte porque muchos sectores de la izquierda centran sus esfuerzos en luchas economicistas, pero que rehúyen oportunistamente combatir la falsa conciencia y los prejuicios que la burguesía inyecta en la clase trabajadora.

La situación obliga a la clase trabajadora panameña, y a sus dirigentes, a discutir el asunto y asumir una toma de posición que, para ser revolucionaria, tiene que ser compatible: con la moral cristiana, los derechos humanos, la lucha histórica por la integración bolivariana de Nuestra América y el internacionalismo proletario marxista. Aquí aportamos algunos puntos que pueden servir para ese objetivo:

1. El cristianismo aportó el primer criterio, que se ha transformado en conquista moral de todas las religiones y la civilización humana, cuando dice: “todos somos iguales” (ante Dios) y, por ello, debemos “amar al prójimo, como a ti mismo”. No hace falta explicarlo: todos los seres humanos somos iguales, por ello tenemos los mismos derechos, y debemos ser solidarios, en especial con los que sufren y son oprimidos. Eso incluye a los inmigrantes, en especial a los refugiados por razones políticas o económicas. No es muy cristiano decir que no te importa, que los encierren en campos de concentración o que los tiren al mar, que son “escoria” y luego ir a misa y comulgar.

2. El segundo criterio es otra conquista de la humanidad, nacida a raíz de los crímenes cometidos por el fascismo en la primera mitad del siglo XX, que se ha convertido en principio universal de obligatorio cumplimiento moral y legal, es la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas, y todos sus derivados jurídicos posteriores. Parte de esos derechos incluye el asilo, a la salud, la alimentación y el trabajo para TODOS los seres humanos. Lo que incluye a los inmigrantes, no importa de dónde vengan, ni dónde estén.

3. Una verdad histórica: todos somos inmigrantes o descendientes de inmigrantes. Porque la historia humana se ha construido a base de emigrar, poblar el planeta y movernos de un lugar a otro desde que salimos de África, la patria originaria de todos los seres humanos. Panamá, particularmente, ha sido un país de inmigrantes, desde las ancestrales culturas originarias, que llegaron hace once mil años procedentes del norte y del sur, hasta los hispanos que llegaron con la Conquista, hace 500 años, y todos los que llegaron en oleadas sucesivas para la construcción del ferrocarril y el canal. Igualmente son migrantes internos, toda nuestra población interiorana forzada a venir al área metropolitana huyendo de la agonía de nuestra agricultura.

4. Las grandes migraciones del siglo XX y XXI son un problema social, pero los que emigran no son culpables de ello, sino las principales víctimas de situaciones que los han obligado a dejar a sus familias y la tierra en que nacieron. No culpemos a las víctimas. No hagamos generalizaciones falsas e irresponsables, como la lanzada por la diputada (“cada vez que arrestan un panameño hay cinco colombianos al lado”). Porque los delincuentes que llegan con la migración son una pequeña minoría y las leyes ya establecen los mecanismos para su sanción y deportación.

5. Digamos en voz alta de quién es la culpa del problema: del sistema capitalista. La culpa de que millones de personas se tengan que desplazar de sus regiones de origen en busca de una manera de ganarse la vida y alimentar a sus familias es del sistema capitalista internacional, que impone las grandes desigualdades sociales, la explotación económica, el saqueo de los recursos naturales, el hambre, el desempleo, la pobreza y las guerras a la mayoría de la humanidad, y pone la riqueza en el otro extremo en un puñado de países y en un grupo cada vez más minoritario de gente.

6. Para evitar las consecuencias sociales de las migraciones incontroladas hay que combatir el mundo desigual que se ha construido en los últimos treinta años con la llamada “globalización” neoliberal capitalista, en el que siete potencias económicas y 200 trasnacionales saquean al mundo para su beneficio e imponen la miseria a las mayorías. Ninguna ley migratoria, ninguna frontera, ni ninguna vaya, detendrá a la masa de hambrientos que se desplazan para tratar de sobrevivir, si no se cambian las condiciones económicas y sociales impuestas por el capitalismo neoliberal, el imperialismo.

7. La exigencia de regularización para todos los inmigrantes, para que tengan iguales derechos que los nacionales, es la mejor defensa de la clase trabajadora frente a los capitalistas inescrupulosos que intentan dividirnos, sobreexplotando al trabajador inmigrante que no se atreve a reclamar sus derechos por temor a la deportación. Este criterio es válido para los 50 millones de inmigrantes “ilegales” (el concepto Ilegal es absurdo) en Estados Unidos, los árabes y africanos que emigraron a Europa y los latinoamericanos que vienen a Panamá.

8. “Los trabajadores no tienen patria”, han dicho Carlos Marx y Federico Engels en el Manifiesto Comunista de 1847, porque todos son explotados de la misma manera, por los mismos enemigos de clase, en todos los países, los capitalistas quienes son aliados entre sí. De ahí que la consigna siempre ha sido encontrar los intereses comunes que todos los asalariados y los desposeídos del mundo tenemos en común: “Proletarios del mundo, uníos!”

9. El nacionalismo en general es una ideología reaccionaria construida por la burguesía para engañar a sus trabajadores haciéndoles creer que los intereses de la clase explotadora son los mismos intereses que la de los explotados, que en la “nación” todos son iguales, sin distinciones de clase. El nacionalismo siempre ha sido usado por la burguesía para que los trabajadores sirvan de carne de cañón en las guerras donde van a morir en defensa de los intereses de los explotadores matando a sus hermanos explotados de otros países.

10. En base a lo anterior, Lenin explicaba que existen en el mundo actual dos tipos de naciones: las naciones opresoras o imperialistas, y las naciones oprimidas (“sudesarrolladas”, “atrasadas”, coloniales, semicoloniales y dependientes). El nacionalismo de las naciones oprimidas es progresivo mientras enfrente al imperialismo y, en esas circunstancias, los marxistas hacen unidad de acción con el nacionalismo de los países oprimidos que luchan por su independencia, sin renunciar a su perspectiva de clase: el internacionalismo proletario.

11. El nacionalismo progresivo de las naciones oprimidas de Nuestra América, desde el siglo XIX, se expresó como anhelo de integración y unidad latinoamericana frente a los intereses imperialistas extranjeros, principalmente los de Estados Unidos de América. En honor al Libertador de América, Simón Bolívar, se ha llamado a ese nacionalismo antiimperialista: bolivarianismo o bolivarismo. En los últimos 15 años volvió a ponerlo en la acción colectiva de millones de latinoamericanos el comandante Hugo Chávez, constructor de instituciones como el ALBA y la CELAC.

12. Una verdad que ningún panameño debe olvidar jamás: todos los pueblos de América Latina fueron solidarios con Panamá en la lucha generacional por la soberanía y el desmantelamiento del enclave colonial de la Zona del Canal y del paso de su administración a manos panameñas. Por esa razón, la pequeña prosperidad de estos años se debe no sólo al sacrificio de nuestros mártires, y a la lucha constante de las generaciones que nos precedieron desde 1903, sino también a la solidaridad de nuestros hermanos latinoamericanos a quienes les debemos reciprocidad.

13. Por los motivos señalados, una política de izquierdas, progresista y clasista en Panamá tiene que comprometerse con la lucha por la unidad latinoamericana, en la lucha por la soberanía e independencia frente a la intromisión norteamericana de cada país, y de todos juntos, y de la integración económico y social basada en la complementariedad entre nuestros pueblo, y no en la supeditación a los intereses imperialistas.

14. Los extranjeros que hay que combatir son los capitalistas que vienen a explotarnos económicamente y a saquear nuestros recursos naturales, los que se han apropiado de la industria nacional y empiezan a apropiarse de la tierra en contubernio con la oligarquía local, y que no necesitan hacer filas en el programa “Crisol de Razas” porque las leyes neoliberales y los TLC’s se lo permiten. Pero esos extranjeros no son los trabajadores migrantes, ni los pequeños propietarios, son los grandes capitalistas y banqueros. Levantemos la consigna consecuentemente nacionalista y antiimperialista de nacionalización de la banca, la gran industria y los servicios públicos.

15. El movimiento obrero panameño, clasista y revolucionario, frente al tema de la migración actúa guiado por principios básicos: no ser instrumento de clase explotadora mediante prejuicios; se guía por elementales criterios de solidaridad cristiana y derechos humanos; defiende la igualdad de todos los seres humanos; lucha por la unidad latinoamericana y el internacionalismo proletario.

 

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Presidencia, Panama joins non-binding global migration pact

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JCV
President Varela in Morocco. The non-binding agreement that he signed – via the use of distorted or out-of-context excerpts from it – has become something of a rallying point for xenophobic movements in Panama and elsewhere. (This patently false thing, by Chilean neofascists, has been used by anti-immigrant activists in Panama and across much of Latin America.) The president’s sometimes awkward or inconsistent gestures have not helped matters. Photo by the Presidencia.

Panama joins with more than 160 countries in the global commitment to a comprehensive approach to migration

by the Presidencia

Before more than 160 countries, the President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, was invited to open the General Debate of the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, where he reaffirmed the commitment of Panama to an integral approach to the global challenges of the present, one of them being migration.

Together with more than 260 countries and 20 heads of State present at the conference, such as the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; the president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez; the Prime Minister of Portugal; Antonio Costa and the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Pietro Parolin; among others, the Panamanian President shared the experiences, proposals and position of Panama in this issue.

“Panama is a small country in territory, but with great responsibilities. The vocation of Panama and its natural mandate, due to its geographical location, its Canal, its ports and its airport, is to play a global role on the front line facing the global challenges of today, for which reason it must always participate in the debate by contributing to the challenges and opportunities that human connectivity presents,” said President Varela.

President Varela emphasized the need to address migratory flows in all their dimensions with greater cooperation among countries and a common approach because it is a problem that concerns all countries.

“The only way to guarantee that migratory flows are orderly and safe for all it is to share security information, intelligence and migratory alerts among all countries. This information would prevent the entry into our countries of those who represent a risk for the security of States”, said the Panamanian President.

Referring to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted today in Marrakech, the President said that Panama responsibly — because it is historically a transit country — played an important role in the construction of this instrument, by promoting in different spheres the adoption of joint responses to address the global phenomenon of migration.

Before the plenary, President Varela called for the importance of continuing to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, under the premise that the migratory crises of which “we are witnesses in our region and in the world, are caused by the inequality, wars and violence and that therefore can only be resolved by eliminating the causes that force the citizens to leave their countries, risking their safety and that of their families.”

“That is why we are here today: to be globally responsible, share our experiences and perspectives and adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, a document that opens a necessary multilateral dialogue on how to face the challenges associated with migration, respecting the sovereignty of the countries.” President Varela concluded.

Audience with the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres

Later, President Varela held an audience with the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization, António Guterres, where he depened in the concrete actions implemented by Panama in the responsible, safe and orderly handling of recent migratory flows, such as the operation Controlled flow that has allowed the management of migratory crises of Haitian and Cuban citizens in the past, as well as the current flow of extra-continental migrants, always guaranteeing the humane treatment of the migrant.

For his part, the Secretary General of the UN thanked Panama for its commitment to address migration, reflected in the responsible participation in the construction and adoption of the Global Compact and used the meeting to send his congratulations to the country for the recent opening of the Regional Logistics Center of Humanitarian Assistance (CLRAH).

On the Global Migration Pact adopted by majority of the member countries of the UN:

  • The Global Compact creates the integral framework of non-mandatory measures to make migration safer and more dignified for all.
  • The document adopted by the countries is not legally binding and respects the sovereignty of States to manage their borders and their migration policies.
  • The document recognizes that to mitigate the risks and challenges of migration, it is necessary to improve the cooperation among countries.
  • The Pact reflects the common understanding of the Governments that migration that crosses borders is an international phenomenon, and that in order to effectively manage this global reality, cooperation is necessary to expand the positive impact for all.
  • The pact does not encourage migration, does not dictate, does not impose and totally respects the sovereignty of States. It provides a new platform for cooperation and is a resource for finding a balance between the rights of individuals and the sovereignty of the States.

 

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The Panama News blog links, December 10, 2018

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The Panama News blog links

a Panama-centric selection of other people’s work
una selección Panamá-céntrica de las obras de otras personas

Canal, Maritime & Transportation / Canal, Marítima & Transporte

gCaptain, ITF: PanCanal tug captains’ fatigue a disaster waiting to happen

Mundo Marítimo, Rodman: El anhelado hub comienza a tomar forma

Seatrade, LNG bunkering becoming a global phenomenon

gCaptain, Moody’s cuts Maersk’s credit rating

Sports / Deportes

ESPN, January USA – Panama friendly to be Berhalter’s first as US coach

La Prensa, Fin de una era en baloncesto panameño

The National (UAE), Panama’s Indigenous Games

Economy / Economía

Newsroom Panama, Your guide to property tax reform

La Estrella, Panamá: Bancos cobrarán el impuesto de inmueble en 2019

Phys.org, Panama awards $1.4 billion bridge project to Chinese group

Renewables Now: $71 million compensation in Panama wind project

Xinhua, US coal consumption may hit 39-year low

Baker: Trade disputes are about class, not country

Eichengreen, The phony US-China trade truce

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

Boehm: Finally, another woman awarded a Nobel Prize in physics

The NextGen Scientist, The Glasswing paradox: Smithsonian research in Panama

The Conversation, Acidification increases iodine in seaweeds and people

Gizmodo, Ancient Black Plague found in Swedish gravesite

The Conversation, 100 years after the great influenza pandemic

STRI, Frog sex in the city

News / Noticias

Telemetro, Panamá adoptó el pacto global de migración

AFP, UN conference adopts migration pact despite withdrawals

TeleSur, US money laundering charges include Panamanian lawyer

Radio Panamá, Saúl Méndez y una constituyente originaria

EFE, Bernal pide mediación internacional para proteger democracia en Panamá

La Estrella, Iván Blasser reclama al TE por 500 libros del partido UNI

AFP, Peruanos votan no a la reelección de legisladores en referéndum

Xinhua, Interpol rejects Ecuador’s request to arrest ex-president Correa

Blakely, Vox boosted in Andalusia by opposition to Catalan independence

Daily Kos, Trump campaign illegally coordinated with the NRA’s PAC

The New York Times, Federal prosecutors shift focus to Trump family business

Opinion / Opiniones

Caffo, Ecology: the end of rhetoric + an invitation to reality

Nadler & Crain, Social media companies could clean up their acts

Eisner, Israel would fall out of love with Trump if it knew him like we do

Bergmann & Berger, Mueller is telling us: he’s got Trump on collusion

Gandásegui, Los retos de López Obrador

Carlsen, AMLO’s inauguration and the future of Mexico

Sagel, Desatinos legislativos

Bernal, Aniversario de los derechos humanos

Culture / Cultura

Foley, Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

Remezcla, The best books by Latino and Latin American authors in 2018

Huffington Post, The gay man behind the purge of gays in the US government

Metro Libre, Panamá: país invitado en el Latino Film Market de Nueva York

 

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Mujica, ¿Cual es el valor de tu libertad?

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pepe
“Aprendí que si no puedes ser feliz con pocas cosas no vas a ser feliz con muchas cosas.” Foto Wikimedia del expresidente uruguayo por Nicolas Arroyave.

Valores en la vida

 

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Editorials: Mothers Day abuse; and Trump the unindicted co-conspirator

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assholes
The magistrates’ timing was quite deliberate, quite precise.

Mothers Day abuse

It doesn’t matter that two of the seven people who did it were women. The plenum of the Supreme Court chose the afternoon when much of the Panamanian population was headed toward the Interior to issue their ruling divesting the court of jurisdiction over Ricardo Martinelli. It was a cynical, abusive act — nothing new or creative but just another insult by an institution shorn of credibility.

They may protest that they didn’t throw out the charges, that they just transferred the trial to the lowest level of criminal court. Yeah, so Martinelli’s legal hoodlums can again file motion after motion and interlocutory appeal after interlocutory appeal until comes they day when the untried Martinelli will again be before the high court arguing that the statute of limitations has run.

There is no “legal” solution to this. There is a constitutional solution. That would be a new constitution that has among its provisions not a procedure or a law, just an outright ban against any of these seven specific individuals serving as judges, holding a government post or practicing law.

Does somebody protest that there is no law against this sort of timing? These seven magistrates time their pro-corruption ruling because they knew it was wrong and sought to conceal it from the Panamanian people. That’s offense enough, whether or not there is any statute on the books.

 

memo
From Robert Mueller’s sentencing memo in the Cohen cases. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York submitted a separate memo, which was about different crimes but just as damning.

Trump, unindicted co-conspirator

He ordered people to break the campaign finance laws. He ordered people to contact the Kremlin in search of special favors for his business, while he was running for president. People are going to jail because they lied for him. We still don’t know the extent of the offenses that the special prosecutor will cite, but what’s out now is damning.

Are Republican senators sneering that they have they have the votes, that nothing can be done about Donald J. Trump? Perhaps if the guy sinks to single-digit approval ratings and their own standings with the voters follow the trend, they will be alarmed. A problem that they created. A problem that they might go into panic mode to resolve.

For Democrats, it’s not a time for compromise solutions. It ought to be the start of two years of debate and incubation of a plan of action to take to the voters in 2020.

As money matters have to come from the House, it also should be two years of saying no to funding for Republican initiatives.

 

Bear in mind…

 

I am not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.
Mother Jones

 

I married beneath me. All women do.
Nancy Astor

 

Just because I might look like a skinny scientist doesn’t mean I’m not going to crack down on crime here.
Claudia Scheinbaum

 

 

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What Democrats are saying

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jd
See https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/john-dingell-how-restore-faith-government/577222/

What Democrats are saying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Republicans are saying

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DTs
See https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5453413-SCO-Cohen-Sentencing-Submission.html and https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5453395/USDOJ-Cohen-20181207.pdf

What Republicans are saying

 

 

 

 

 

 

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¿Wappin? Canciones de nuestras culturas

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rs
Romeo Santos. Foto por Eduardo Cobian.

Canciones de nuestras culturas

Romeo Santos & Ne-Yo – La Canción Perfecta
https://youtu.be/ajDnsgusv98

Pablo Alborán – Lo nuestro
https://youtu.be/9BvruiqKgeY

Hiromi Uehara & Edmar Castañeda – Fire
https://youtu.be/JiBeeM0gg9g

Eneida Cedeño & Dorindo Cardenas – Camino a Tonosí
https://youtu.be/dqcRkoHhSGE

Lenín Ramírez – Rolling One
https://youtu.be/aan9vCi2oi8

León Larregui – Zombies
https://youtu.be/amO_lPKEsiY

Décimas Panameñas – El gallote, el caballo y el perro
https://youtu.be/4oUx7xZPhWo

Silvestre Dangond & Natti Natasha – Justicia
https://youtu.be/7qix3jy5QdA

Los Ángeles Azules & Denise Gutiérrez – El Listón de Tu Pelo
https://youtu.be/daL7_QWYdkk

Soda Stereo – En La Ciudad De La Furia
https://youtu.be/kuZii-vk5Xw

The Chamanas – Dulce Mal
https://youtu.be/OSNH5YCV26Y

Los Mozambiques – Los Barcos en la Bahía
https://youtu.be/A9m4FC1qytg

Adán Jodorowsky & Natalia Lafourcade – Vivir con valor
https://youtu.be/hUrlHEsmFMA

Cande Buasso & Paulo Carrizo – Barro tal vez
https://youtu.be/w-iBgr-4EfI

Enrique Bunbury – …y al Final
https://youtu.be/UP4Z1X_6Peo

 

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