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La vaina del Carnaval de IDAAN

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IDAAN
su vaina

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Nader, Some seamy sides of US foreign policy that should be reported

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Trump - Varela - Temer - Santos et al
Bribes to get what Washington and giant multinational corporations want from fragile countries merit more reporting. How is it, for example, that Panama’s support was obtained for sanctions and for the use of Howard for overt military threats against Venezuela, which has never attacked Panama? What implicit or explicit promises or threats may have been made? Consider, for example, this gathering among public officials who are notorious for their transactional politics. White House photo of a 2017 dinner at the Trump Tower in New York, where the US president hosted President Varela and leaders at the time from Colombia, Brazil and Argentina to map out strategies to overthrow the government of Venezuela.

Three major news stories that need to be exposed

by Ralph Nader – Common Dreams

The news is filled with stories about President Trump and his predecessors imposing sanctions on other countries, their officials, and other prominent persons. But the media rarely spells out exactly what these sanctions are, the intermediaries who enforce them, the impacts they have on innocent civilians – women, men and children – how they are countered or evaded, and whether they fulfill or undermine their diplomatic, military, or economic purposes.

For example, sanctions against Iran by Trump increase by the year. They force banks and other financial institutions to cut off all decreed transactions, such as exports from Iran or purchase by Iran of critical spare parts, raw materials, even medical devices. Years ago, sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein prohibited Iraq from purchasing chlorine to purify drinking water and children’s catheters. These sanctions produced deadly results for innocents. Iran’s economy is now in ruins and the brunt of the pain is suffered by innocent families. Under international law, disproportionate harm on civilians from sanctions is a serious violation.

Presently, from Trump there are sanctions on individuals in numerous countries, restricting their travel, their purchases and more. When banks like Citigroup and Bank of America are told by Washington to cut off any financial transactions from any companies doing business with a sanctioned country, do the banks receive payment for their trouble, or are there other quid pro quo rewards? We do not know. Secret government actions are pervasive, though sometimes a freedom of information request, followed by litigation, may pry open what is hidden.

Media alert! Sanctions are potential hotbeds for corruption and illegalities.

A little told story relates the tariffs Trump is imposing on imports from other countries, especially China. There are serious questions as to whether presidents have the constitutional authority or whether Congress must maintain authority on tariffs. Veteran constitutional law litigator Alan Morrison is now contesting sweeping executive tariff power in the federal courts. Reporting on this overreaching by the President is scarce.

Digging deeper, reporters should be asking what standards control presidential discretion or whims on imposing tariffs. The “national security flag” can’t just be waved arbitrarily.

Trump passes out many waivers for certain US companies. Why, for example, did Trump give Apple CEO Tim Cook a waiver on tens of billions of dollars in iPhones imported from China, but not provide waivers to any number of smaller US companies who buy products from China for their manufacturing or retail/wholesale sales?

Constitutional law specialist, Bruce Fein, says the absence of standards for giving waivers raises fundamental questions of unlawful delegation by Congress.

Media alert! Potential incentives for corruption and lawlessness in these burgeoning behind the scenes intrigues are huge.

The third hotbed of abuses relates to the charges by Washington that countries abroad tolerate “corruption,” and that security and economic relations with them are either jeopardized or unworkable. Such charges are regularly made against the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq – both militarily occupied by the United States.

Corruption involves more than high-level officials taking bribes. Low-level public servants, so woefully underpaid, take money under the table to survive. As it happens, Ashraf Ghani, the elected president of Afghanistan, a former professor at Johns Hopkins University, was a leading expert on the nuances and functions of bribery in third-world countries. He can be a worthy source of knowledge on corruption.

US agencies are a major generator of secret corruption in countries like Afghanistan. For example, cargo planes full of crisp one hundred dollar bills are shipped to Kabul and then trans-shipped to places like Kandahar. It doesn’t take much imagination to frame a reporter’s investigation—of what happens to cash in occupied, desperate societies.

Books and articles on the intelligence agencies note that cash handouts, big and small, are critical to achieve their purposes. There is so much bribery cash in Afghanistan that to stop the flow would seriously affect their shaky economy.

Bribery is a two way street – the briber and the bribee. Secret payments and bribes have often backfired against US foreign policies in many undesirable ways.

Bribes to get what Washington and giant multinational corporations want from fragile countries merits more reporting, if only to show that a good deal of the bribery is under our control and within our power to reverse.

Media Alert!

 

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¿Wappin? Algo panameño para Carnaval

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Congo dancer

Something Panamanian for Carnival

Nenito Vargas y los Plumas Negras 2020
https://youtu.be/9ABpZGgYch0

Yomira John – Mama Congo
https://youtu.be/PlaKQSsVF-A

Kafu Banton Mix 2019
https://youtu.be/SSaM0UFy_pM

Arcadio Molinar – Popurri de Antaño
https://youtu.be/yEjUu4upu84

Miguelito Rivera, Lili Samaniego y Tano Mojica – Décima del Despecho
https://youtu.be/xd79H6zcYXg

Lucy Jaén – Tamborito por la Mañanita
https://youtu.be/ot6nymufgSQ

Alfredo Escudero – Dejen Vivir al Viejo
https://youtu.be/Bkjw-7DIQkE

 

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What Democrats are saying

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ADW
“Be careful, they will pick on your child. Be careful, because they will arrest you. Be careful what you sign up for. Getting a group of dynamic, powerful women – I’ll tell you who needs to be careful: the state of Alabama.” Former Jefferson County Commissioner Sheilia Smoot, addressing the first Alabama Democratic Women’s Conference.

Dem voices

 






 

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What Republicans are saying

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not as good as snake oil
Reverend Jim Bakker suggests his $125 a bottle silver solution starter kit kills coronavirus, SARS, HIV and all venereal diseases. Still from the Jim Bakker Show.

GOP voices






 

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Hightower, They shortchange and deny health care and call it “choice”

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hospital wait
In the US corporate-run health system, consumer “choices” are shaped entirely by profit-seeking monopolists. Shutterstock photo.

The lie of health care “choice”

by Jim Hightower – OtherWords

Lyndon Johnson had a saying about special interests trying to get his support to pass some blatantly self-serving legislation: “They can’t make chicken salad out of chicken (bleep)!”

Yet chicken (bleep) is all that the corporate health complex has to work with as it frantically tries to defend its current system of mass malpractice. After all, as most Americans have learned the hard way, profiteering insurance giants, Big Pharma, and hospital chains grossly overcharge us while constantly trying to shortchange — or outright deny — care to millions of our families.

So, unable to win public support on their own merit, the corporatists and their hired political hacks are going all out to continue their gouging and keep control of America’s dysfunctional system. They’re now running a multimillion-dollar PR and lobbying campaign of lies to trash and kill all reforms that would deliver quality, comprehensive care to everyone, at far less cost than they can deliver.

Masquerading as a “Partnership for America’s Health Care Future,” the profiteers warn ominously that such reforms as Medicare for All or a public option for health insurance would take away people’s “choice” and our “control” over health care.

Hello: we presently have no choice or control.

Our “care” is managed by a handful of insurance, drug, and hospital monopolists whose primary objective is not improving our health, but feathering their own cushy nests. And the undeniable, ugly truth is that they can only continue ripping us off by killing real reform.

That’s one reason the American Medical Association and others are dropping out of the Partnership’s political front. Honest health care practitioners no longer believe it’s in their best interest — or the public’s — to be part of its chicken (bleep) PR campaign.

 

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Proyecto Playa Aguas Sucias cayendo

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dibujo
El dibujo de la Alcaldía.

El plan de playa del alcalde se derrumba

La “consulta ciudadana” del 12 de febrero en una sala en la que solo cabían 300 de los casi 700,000 votantes de la Ciudad de Panamá fue pospuesta por un mes y luego se trasladó a una sala que alberga a 5,000.

El alcalde anunció que traería partidarios en buses para una votación vinculante.

Después, el Tribunal Electoral anunció que no existe una base legal para dicha votación, por lo que no participará como lo anunció el alcalde.

Después, un miembro clave del consejo municipal –el representante PRD de San Francisco– se opuso a toda la idea de una playa artificial.

Después, el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente emitió una declaración de que el alcalde no ha presentado un estudio de impacto ambiental, que tendría que ser analizado y aceptado antes de que dicho proyecto pudiera ser aprobado.

Todo en un contexto creciente de protestas, que se mueven de un énfasis en la insensatez ambiental de una playa artificial en una contaminada Bahía de Panamá a las acusaciones de que todo es un fraude ayudar a los especuladores inmobiliarios a vender condominios en la Avenida Balboa a extranjeros con más dinero que inteligencia y favorecer a ciertas empresas de construcción y minería de arena.

 

MiAmbiente

protest

12 de febrero de 2020

El Tribunal Electoral informa que, previa conversación de los magistrados con el alcalde del distrito capital, José Luis Fábrega, no participará en la consulta ciudadana programada para el jueves 12 de marzo de 2020 por el Municipio de Panamá, con relación al plan de “Recuperación integral de los espacios públicos, la movilidad urbana y las playas de la Bahía de Panamá”.

El proyecto municipal se presentará bajo la modalidad prevista en la Ley de Descentralización, que no implica ninguna votación, razón por la cual no será necesaria la participación del Tribunal Electoral.

 

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Bernal: Philosopher, political prisoner and patriot Roberto Arosemena

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Arosemena
I bow in respect on the occasion of the death of Roberto Arosemena Jaén, a combative and consistent patriot. Civilismo has lost a valuable activist. Rest in peace!

Prism of a republic

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

A man’s life is measured by its results. The human product is the result that determines the final value of a lifetime.

Sophocles       

Almost 40 years ago, Roberto Arosemena wrote in his work about Octavio Mendez Pereira: “some days men disappear just like the others, however, there is a general commotion indicative of suppressed national values.”

On this past February 9 the death of Roberto Arosemena Jaén deprived Panama of a selfless and committed patriot and citizen, one in favor of freedom and justice. The University and academia lost a distinguished and dedicated teacher who, for several decades, radiated light and knowledge from his chair. Penonome lost an illustrious and meritorious son. We, the men and women who love Panama, lost a combative champion who was faithful to his principles.

Throughout his existence, Roberto sowed principles and values, commitments, knowledge, examples, all palpable testimonies of a quest. A search with stumbles, but always looking for the best orientations, for the best situations. Roberto never limited himself to simply preaching. He always practiced what he preached and he was not just another philosopher or spectator.

For those who knew him and shared ideals, struggles, kilometers of antimilitarist street demonstrations, debates, discussions, concurrences and dissents, joys and frustrations, dreams and hope, his is an irreparable loss because he was, above all, a good man.

In a very concise synthesis, Roberto said that during the 1980s he was a passionate civilista activist. He faced the military who ruled the country between 1968 and 1989 without reservations. Arosema Jaén was a believer of peaceful resistance and did not hesitate to join political movements such as the Popular Nationalist Party (PNP) in the late 1970s and also noted his participation in the Popular Action Party (PAPO). In 1987, when the last great wave of protests against the military broke out with the Crusada Civilista, he was arrested and sent to the penal colony that then existed on Isla Coiba.

“Prism of a Republic” and “Witness of Freedom,” along with various essays and hundreds of articles, are parts of the legacy of this citizen, whose departure leaves a void.

So long, my friend!

 

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Ms. Pelosi vs Ms. Fu, with editor’s notes and questions — US vs Huawei

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The editor’s notes and questions

In general

* First, admissions of bias. Yours truly, the editor, is a dual US and Panamanian citizen, a Bernie Democrat as a gringo and an independent and anti-imperialist man of left as a panameño. I have pretty much assimilated the ethical principles of free expression, and the skeptical views of how it tends to be deployed in this world, that run through the journalist profession. This article is written on a Chinese-made Lenovo computer and sent to you via a Chinese-made Huawei wireless Internet modem, with which the editor is generally satisfied.

* Do I want to launch into a diatribe about oligarchy, nepotism, party bosses and controlled news media? Where to point a finger? At China? At the USA? At Panama? Let’s be neither naïve nor hypocritical here.

* Is instinctive trust ever that useful in politics, or in trying to understand the world? I have a sense of trust that was destroyed in childhood and have to look at the world in other ways — empirical ways both personal and as a history major, the sought and collected opinions of others with all due skepticism, deductive reasoning based on the inferences that might be drawn from evidence. Ditch or at least set aside the loyalties and identities when it comes to determining facts. Hold onto the fears based on loyalties and identities but don’t drown in them.

* China is emerging toward becoming the world economic hegemon, with scientific, military and political dominance that could ride their ways to the top on those business power coat tails. As a Panamanian, an even more valuable national customer. As an American, an increasingly serious national rival. As an old antiwar hippie, I say let’s NOT go to war over this. As a history major I say let’s remember the last time that the United States and China went to war, when China had been weakened by decades of civil war and had yet to re-emerge as a major world industrial power, yet the United States could not defeat China in the Korean War.

* My opinions are of somebody who well recalls the bot attack coming out of China that briefly shut down The Panama News, apparently in retaliation for an article we published about Falun Gong activities in Parque Omar. Xi is not Deng, and that bot may have been sent by an annoyed Chinese private citizen rather than the government in Beijing, or may have been sent by a criminal with an entirely different agenda who was posing as Chinese.

The Huawei threat

* To the extent that Nancy Pelosi represents a district in northern California and a party with a lot of US tech industry donors, there might be nothing more sinister about Huawei’s intention to export its 5G technology than the potential success of a business rival.

* Does Donald Trump warn us about Huawei? Ignore that. That man lies all the time and is thus the most unreliable of sources.

* Do the Chinese media protest, and present their country’s interest as all sweetness and light? Perhaps discount or at least treat with suspicion what they tell us because Chinese media, including the YouTube channel that carried the above video, are tightly controlled by the state.

* A number of US allies, including the Conservative British government, have partially or entirely rejected the Trump administration’s allegations about Huawei. The most important, but partial, rejection of the US ban on Huawei comes from the European Union, which is moving to secure its online infrastructures from threats and technological “back doors” coming out of China or anywhere else but is open for Huawei to become a central player on that field all across Europe.

* Do we want to look at the world’s experience with cyberwarfare? The Russians have used it, against the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Estonia, against the United States, against several European countries. The Chinese have used it against Taiwan in particular. The Americans have used it against Iran and most probably many others. The Israelis brag about their abilities, how truthfully beyond widespread Internet propaganda we might debate. Surely many other powers great and small maintain but do not advertise their Internet warfare prowess. It is instructive that the first detailed proofs that the US government got of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections — we can argue about how effective that was but denials are foolish — came from Dutch intelligence. Any US sales pitch about how the world should reject Chinese technology with its possible built-in insecurities and instead opt for American tech and its possible back doors is inane and deceptive.

* The radio waves inherent in wireless Fifth Generation Internet networks are greater than those in previous generations of the technology. Some of the problem has been studied and there are rules about setbacks for towers from residences that have been adopted in many places with respect to the prior Internet generations. There are people who fear and defame all new technologies but concerns should not be blown off as unique to such persons. Panama in particular has a horrible record of suppressing environmental health studies to protect economic interests, but this problem is by no means unique to us. We need to go into 5G development, if and when we do, with eyes wide open, proper safety standards and filters that screen and identify the propaganda of those with particular narrow economic interests.

I’d like to know

* Given the problems detecting Internet viruses and worms, how do people and nations deal with the threats of entire technological platforms that may have intentionally built-in and potentially crippling holes in them — especially if they are kept as “sleepers” pending some great crisis?

* Should Panama’s defense against cyber-attacks be built upon an attempt at impregnability, or should we concentrate on back-ups that make us resilient? Or are there other good approaches to cyber-defense?

* Can China really export its “firewall” of censorship via Huawei 5G networks? And if it can export enhanced censorship capabilities, what sorts of Panamanian, and American, hands should we make special efforts to keep away from the controls?

 

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Colegio de Sociología, Alto al ataque contra profesionales

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Santo Tomás
Los médicos extranjeros podrían llenar los vacíos en áreas remotas donde no hay suficientes profesionales de la salud. Pero traer extranjeros para destruir los sindicatos de los sistemas de salud pública no hace nada para resolver el problema principal: la corrupción masiva que deja a nuestros hospitales sin medicamentos ni suministros. Foto del Hospital Santo Tomás.

Alto al ataque de la Cámara de Comercio contra la educación y profesionales

por el Colegio de Sociología y Ciencias Sociales de Panamá

La Cámara de Comercio, Industrias y Agricultura de Panamá (CCIAP) ha hecho un pronunciamiento injurioso contra la educación panameña, especialmente dirigido hacia las y los profesionales nacionales, cuestionando sin pruebas su calidad para así justificar la “importación” sin restricciones de personal especializado de otros países con salarios y emolumentos inferiores a los nacionales, la cual es la real e inconfesable motivación de las y los empleadores de ese gremio empresarial. Una solapada doble explotación laboral.

En una declaración sin base en ningún estudio científico, la directiva de la Cámara de Comercio ha pretendido descalificar al conjunto del sistema educativo panameño, bajo la falsa afirmación de que no contamos “con una educación de calidad mundial”. Es innegable que la educación panameña tiene múltiples dificultades, todas ellas producto de los desaciertos de gobiernos cuestionados por corrupción y que han estado al servicio de capitalistas que lucran de los fondos públicos, por lo que no les ha interesado aumentar el presupuesto respectivo al 6% del PIB, como lo señala la UNESCO. Sin embargo, es falso que el sistema formativo no esté produciendo recurso humano especializado de calidad.

Hace más de cien años el estado ha ido invirtiendo y mejorando la formación profesional y técnica de la fuerza de trabajo que el país necesita. Así se han graduado decenas de miles de profesionales, con distintos niveles de especialización en la educación superior, y a lo largo de varias generaciones, gracias al trabajo de sus docentes, impulsando el desarrollo nacional.

La verdadera intención: aplicar políticas neoliberales

El ataque de la Cámara de Comercio contra la educación, como hacia las y los profesionales de todas las categorías que existen en Panamá, es un elemento más de las políticas neoliberales, lanzadas desde los organismos de saqueo internacional, como el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), que han ido destruyendo las conquistas laborales, los derechos sociales y económicos, y que han empobrecido al pueblo panameño y a todas las naciones del planeta.

Esta solicitud de “libre importación de profesionales” es de la misma calaña que la llamada “apertura de mercado” que ha llevado a la crisis la industria y la agricultura nacional. Las políticas neoliberales han pauperizado a las mayorías y concentrado la riqueza en pocas manos haciendo de Panamá, uno de los países más desiguales del mundo.

Respeto a las y los profesionales nacionales, sin xenofobia y persecución

Condenamos las intenciones, que buscan explotar las capacidades de las y los profesionales de otras nacionalidades, desconociendo derechos y la normativa establecida en el Código de Trabajo, buscando crear una ola de xenofobia, que ponga a profesionales nacionales contra las y los profesionales migrantes. Los únicos que parecen haber olvidado la normativa laboral, sobre contratación de personal no nacional, es la clase empresarial que no genera empleo y pisotea el trabajo decente de la gran mayoría del recurso humano especializado.

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