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Zulay: su manifestación de odio y su anteproyecto de ley

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Zulay Rodríguez acusó a Gaby Gnazzo de interrumpir la sesión de la Asamblea Nacional. Esto es lo que realmente sucedió.

La vaina xenófoba

 

Zu doo
Entonces, ¿qué significa manifestar públicamente ofensas e insultos hacia la nacionalidad panameña? ¿Significa, por ejemplo, que mientras las periodistas panameñas son expulsados de la galería de la Asamblea Nacional si los xenófobos de Zulay les gritan, esa misma mafia puede deportar a cualquier periodista extranjero por cualquier motivo o sin motivo? Pero toque aquí para leer el anteproyecto de ley.

 

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Editorial: Fascism

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Trump’s “fine people” at Charlottesville. WikiMedia photo by Anthony Crider.

About fascism

We can talk about classic or “neo” forms, but in order to confront the resurgence of fascist politicians, methods and ways of thinking we ought to know the phenomenon’s distinguishing characteristics and its classic methods. Everyone whom a leftist despises is not a fascist. Every movement of the right is not fascist. The labels that are presently used, or of political tendencies within which it arose, are unreliable indicators of what is or is not fascist.

The existential core of fascism is that it’s a right-wing movement of the middle classes, of people disgusted with the traditional politicians of both left and right. It’s people who have been ruined or who are afraid of being ruined, and who hate and fear the prospects of a leftist government. The traditional right-wing oligarchs may support or use fascists, but they are different. Fascists hate the old establishment. Likewise, fascists often hire thugs, the dregs of society with no stable economic relationships, people who so desperately need the money that they can be hired to do almost anything. But fascist leaders consider such thugs to be disposable and almost never promote them to responsible positions in the movement.

Look at the right-wing Venezuela opposition. Are THEY fascists? They may have some such in their orbit, but Leopoldo López and Juan Guaidó are representatives of the traditional oligarchy, López the mentor and would-be kingmaker is one of the richest Venezuelans. Guaidó the protege is of middle class origins but beholden to rather than in rebellion against the old establishment. These men may use violence and the endless repetition of lies like fascists often do, but the power base that they seek to mobilize is foreign intervention, not the Venezuelan middle class. Far right they may be, but strictly speaking they are not fascists.

By the way, López and Guaidó define their movement as social democratic. The founding figure of 20th century European fascism, the Italian strongman Benito Mussolini, emerged out of the ranks of his country’s Socialist Party to become its negation. The worst of the fascists, Adolf Hitler, called his party the National Socialist German Working Man’s Party (the Nazi party). But Spain’s Francisco Franco, who came to power with great assistance from Mussolini and Hitler, was a military man who called his movement the Falange. Falangists embraced the most reactionary sort of Catholicism, and dreams of restoring the Spanish empire and monarchy, as parts of their variant of fascism, but they made no socialist pretenses. Don’t look so much at the labels, but at the platforms, methods and followings to identify fascists.

In the USA the most traditional fascist organization predates fascism. That’s the Ku Klux Klan, formed after the Civil War to roll back Reconstruction and prevent black people from voting. The classic American fascist appeal goes something like this: “Those big-shots in Washington and their Walls Street backers [generally read JEWS if not explicitly stated] are taking all of my money and giving it to the [insert nonwhite scapegoat of the moment].” The US middle class is in decline, fascists will say, because brown people crossing the border and getting on welfare are an unbearable burden – even if the basic premises of this are ridiculously untrue.

One common bit of fascist symbolism is organicism, the simile of society to a human body. As in there are infections like feminism or communism or pacifism to be eradicated. As in there are cancers like blacks or Jews or immigrants to cut out.

Fascists need scapegoats and because the charges never stick they need to lie. The cherry picking of an anecdote and false generalization based on it is a favorite. So there are a couple of Venezuelans caught stealing and fencing Rolex watches and that is stretched into manifestly untrue allegations that most or all Venezuelans who come to Panama do so to steal. So a Colombian drug cartel moves cocaine up the isthmus, and it is alleged that all Colombian citizens here and all Panamanians of Colombian origin or parentage are drug dealers.

Hitler’s propaganda people boasted of the big lie tactic, of endlessly repeating a lie until people accepted it as true. This was not a German invention that came after World War I, but rather a late 19th century US advertising industry innovation, perfected in its application to the racist politics of the radio and movie age by the Nazis.

Fascism is anti-democratic and autocratic, which gives it a structural problem with respect to leadership succession. Put one person on a pedestal as the conquering genius and from that lofty position, or after a shattering fall from up there, it becomes hard to pass on a baton. Especially so because fascist leaders are self-made images rather than heirs to institutional posts.

In these troubled times neofascism is a growth industry and international network. Old traditions get dropped or modified as convenient. There are Goyish fascists still preaching about the International Jewish Conspiracy, and there are Jewish fascists. White racism defines most US fascism, but Panamanian fascism is mostly a mixed race phenomenon with some of its adherents appearing to be of rather purely African ancestry. Regardless of the race, however, a fascist will always have some “other” to blame for society’s woes.

These days human migration ultimately caused by the collapse of traditional economies – often with climate change as a precipitating factor — drives a lot of fascist agitation.  Wars begin over this or that professed reason but really it’s about fields that no longer produce and pastures that no longer feed the herds.

But there are the old divisions. Animosity toward Roma and Muslim populations who have long been present in Europe provides scapegoats for a lot of Old World fascists. The subjects of bygone European empires whose ancestors moved to the metropoli, often the most loyal of citizens, are often the “others” at whom fascist fingers get pointed. In the USA the white racism that’s a remnant of US slavery and the conquest of Hispanic and other nonwhite peoples are the bread and butter of fascism.

In Panama and the USA, fascism has non-traditional leaders. Both have bored into traditional parties, with means and methods toxic to the traditions.

Zulay Rodríguez, the daughter of a Soviet-educated lawyer and granddaughter of a Chinese family that Arnulfo Arias wanted to sterilize, arose as a cog in an absolutely corrupted legal system. Her greatest feat as a lawyer was her role in the ouster of an attorney general for being intolerant of the prosecutors under her shaking down the families of prisoners for payoffs.

Donald Trump is a rich criminal, son of a man arrested at a Ku Klux Klan disturbance, the scion of a pimping fortune. He’s a lifelong racketeer whose career has been in money laundering, ordinary real estate and business frauds, bankruptcy fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud.

Not your ordinary ruined middle class profiles, but also not traditional oligarchs of the right. In many ways they’re dedicated to the destruction of the fortunes of the old families. Destroy tourism and real estate in Panama, or destroy world trade in the USA, and there are wealthy people of aristocratic families whose interests are hurt. The Donald and Zulay arose in their places particularly because the old dominant elites had lost their grip, but their games, being bad for business, may yet be major factors in their downfalls.

After fascism?

In Panama we are not quite there yet. Zulay Rodríguez has played the quotient / half quotient / residue game of multi-member legislative circuits that lend themselves to undemocratic and often fraudulent results, but she lost the PRD primary to President Cortizo and lost badly. As in just a bit more than 19 percent, with the PRD going on to victory with just a bit more than 33 percent. Do the math. In the 2019 presidential election cycle Zulay Rodríguez garnered the support of less than seven percent of the electorate and by the post-invasion rotation of parties it would seem unlikely that the PRD continues in office after its five years are up.

In the USA, the 2020 elections will be a Republican effort at fraud and vote suppression to hold onto power. But whatever the result, the global American system that was the last one standing after World War II is shattered and gone forever, along with its domestic compromises. There will be no return to a supposed Golden Age.

We face scary times and an uncertain future. We will see, by how people act and how they express themselves, the essential value of many a human being. The time of the hero and the villain are upon us, and neither is really anything special or magical. It’s just how certain ordinary people respond in extraordinary situations. Just about everyone will have weighty choices to make.

  

Woody Guthrie and his machine. Photo by Al Aumuller, from the US Library of Congress collection.

Bear in mind…

‘1984’ is not a wonder tale. Not only could it happen, but it has happened, but under different names.

Margaret Atwood

Fascism in Uruguay did not begin just with the military coup of 1973, but years before, even when there was still a government with a constitution and parliament.

Pepe Mujica

I was born a Greek and I will die a Greek. Those bastards were born fascists and they will die fascists.

Melina Mercouri

The particulars of Zulay’s personality and cause may be sightly different, but Panama has been down this road before:


 

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Anti-ICE protests continue across the USA and the World

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 July 14 is a traditional day to protest on behalf of the unjustly imprisoned.

July’s #CloseTheCamps protests continue

by Eric Jackson

There have been protests about this subject all month long, starting in a big way on July 1 with Jewish groups protesting and a bunch getting arrested at an ICE facility in New Jersey, then on the July 2 with a demonstration at the White House and at several dozen other places around the USA, then the next day with protesters on the 4th of July in Washington and elsewhere, then vigils and online protests around the United States and the world. Many different groups and individuals are expressing themselves in their various ways.

There are more days yet to come in this cycle. Tomorrow, July 14, is Bastille Day. On July 16 Jewish protesters will be in Washington and other places.

Bastille Day

The actual historical storming of the Bastille, a fortress and prison in Paris, was not the great liberation of political prisoners feat that it was later portrayed to be. In France it marks a symbolic start of that country’s existence as a republic and is their big national holiday.

Around the world among scorned dissidents it means something else. Bastille Day is political prisoners’ liberation day, as it should be.

Will Venezuelans register their protests tomorrow? Set aside their politics — they would have good reason to do so. Will Chinese around the world speak up on behalf of those recently arrested in Hong Kong? Very unConfucian, but it would be justified. Will the friends of Leonard Peltier and other US political prisoners mark the day? We usually do.

But the political prisoner issue of the moment has been children requesting asylum, selected for particularly disgusting abuse for the political purposes of a white racist regime.

Scenes from protests earlier this month:

  

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The July protests will continue, with people in the streets, and people registering objections online and in many other ways. Will you be joining us?

 


 

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Beluche, ¿Qué clase de constitución queremos?

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Por una Asamblea Constituyente

por Olmedo Beluche

Tanto por la forma como por el contenido, las reformas constitucionales propuestas por la Concertación Nacional son inconvenientes e insuficientes para el pueblo panameño. Son reformas meramente cosméticas, hechas para que nada cambie. Su objetivo es prevenir que reviente la paciencia popular, harta de un régimen cuya “democracia” se restringe al sufragio, caracterizado por la corrupción que corroe todos los órganos del Estado, la plutocracia, el nepotismo y la abyección ante los intereses extranjeros, mientras al pueblo sólo le toca la miseria y el desempleo.

Si la Constitución es la “madre de todas las leyes” y, por tanto, define el carácter del país que queremos los nacionales; al pueblo panameño le interesaría una nueva Constitución que acabe con todos los males que sufrimos en el presente. Una nueva Constitución sirve para algo si nos permite barrer con todos los funcionarios y políticos corruptos y las leyes que les amparan.

¿Qué clase de Constitución queremos? Una que diga: que el trabajo no sólo es un derecho, sino que es un deber del Estado proporcionarlo; que el Estado garantizará gratuitamente: salud, educación, vivienda, servicios públicos eficientes; que el bien común está por encima del interés privado, para lo cual los servicios públicos (luz, agua, teléfono, salud, educación, combustible) deben estar en manos del Estado panameño y no de empresas privadas extranjeras que se enriquecen a costa de nuestra miseria.

Al pueblo panameño le interesa una Constitución que establezca que los impuestos serán directamente proporcionales a los ingresos, no como ahora, que los ricos y las transnacionales gozan de todo tipo de exoneraciones, mientras los asalariados pagamos el grueso del impuesto sobre la renta y el ITBMS.

Una Constitución que fije como principio la soberanía económica del país, rompiendo con toda imposición de organismos financieros internacionales, llámense FMI, Banco Mundial, TLC o ALCA; y que desconozca la deuda pública de dudoso origen o impuesta en condiciones leoninas.

Una Constitución que sea verdaderamente democrática impondría la elección directa de todas las autoridades, incluidos jueces y magistrados. Para acabar con la corrupción fije un límite a los salarios de los altos funcionarios (presidente, ministros, legisladores y magistrados); e imponga la revocatoria de mandato inmediata y directa por parte de los electores.

Una Constitución que responda al interés general establecerá que la tierra es propiedad nacional, entregada en usufructo a todo el que la trabaje, por ende, no podrá ser enajenada por intereses particulares, menos extranjeros; que el Estado protegerá e incentivará la producción agropecuaria e industrial nacional frente a toda competencia extranjera; que el Canal es propiedad de la nación y su Junta Directiva y sus finanzas deben estar controladas por representantes de los sectores populares.

Una Constitución que verdaderamente responda al interés nacional debe establecer que la soberanía del estado panameño es innegociable, y sólo podrá ser ejercida por la fuerza pública nacional, prohibiendo permanentemente toda presencia militar extranjera, derogando cualquier tratado que la ponga en duda, desde el Pacto de Neutralidad al Salas Becker.

Hacer esta nueva Constitución, que es la que convendría al pueblo panameño, requiere una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, electa democráticamente, sin el actual Código Electoral, para que puedan llegar a ella los verdaderos representantes populares y no sea controlada por los partidos políticos beneficiarios del actual estado de cosas. Tendría que ser soberana en sus decisiones, sin los límites que impondría ser “paralela”.

Como el objetivo de las reformas actuales no es darnos la Constitución a la que el pueblo panameño aspira, ellos han despreciado la Asamblea Constituyente y han preferido para aprobarlas el método de las dos Asambleas Legislativas.

¿Cómo van a ser positivas unas reformas aprobadas por un Legislativo caracterizado por los escándalos de corrupción? Si las reformas pasaran como ha planeado el nuevo gobierno, nada habrá cambiado.

Por ende, la lucha contra la miseria neoliberal, la corrupción y el régimen antidemocrático seguirá vigente. Por ello, seguiremos sosteniendo la bandera de una Asamblea Constituyente para refundar la República.

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Kermit’s Birds / Los Aves de Kermit

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Gavilán Caminero ~ Roadside Hawk ~ Buteo magnirostris
foto © Kermit Nourse

The Roadside Hawk / El Gavilán Caminero 

A common but majestic bird ranging from Central Mexico to Uruguay and Central Argentina, this is a survivor of deforestation. In pastures, along roadsides, around chicken coops if people don’t prevent it, this is a predator and scavenger of human-altered landscapes. In Panama it’s found in lowland clearings among lightly forested areas on both Caribbean and Pacific littorals but is far more common along the Pacific. 

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Un ave común, pero majestuoso que va desde el centro de México hasta Uruguay y el centro de Argentina, es un sobreviviente de la deforestación. En los pastizales, a lo largo de las carreteras, alrededor de los gallineros, si la gente no lo impide, este es un depredador y carroñero de paisajes alterados por el hombre. En Panamá, se encuentra en los claros de las tierras bajas entre áreas con poca vegetación en los litorales del Caribe y del Pacífico, pero es mucho más común en el Pacífico.


 
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AEVE: Sí al Ministerio de Cultura, pero con una política pública

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AEVE

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GECU: El traslado de DICINE a Ministerio de Cultura

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GECU

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¿Wappin? This, too, is who Panama is

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Raices, al peso de toda la negación.

Leslie George in his context
Leslie George en su contexto

Leslie George – Baptism
https://youtu.be/bzJ9a2EQTOo

Joshue Ashby & C3 Project – Colón Surgirá
https://youtu.be/u4t_uOzc-84

Grandes del calispo panameño
https://youtu.be/JaZuMzNz2oM

Víctor Boa – Negrito
https://youtu.be/YawGVwcjIJk

Milagros Blades y Oscarito Cruz – Solos de Congas
https://youtu.be/hYUdoaueDxY

Monchi Luca – El Criticón
https://youtu.be/MQojxq6vaEY

Fausto con Los Rakas – Oye Oye
https://youtu.be/2Zr113F1f5w

Los Silvertones – Tamborito Swing
https://youtu.be/8hh5_EwhRUE

Ruben Blades – Blackaman
https://youtu.be/OtL0KLP7Pnc

Yomira John – Solita
https://youtu.be/9B4G7wppIuY

Lord Cobra – El Buhonero
https://youtu.be/8uIWyXNuPB8

Kafu Banton – Pa’ Lante y Pa’ Atrás
https://youtu.be/YWL_BQb6ZjQ

Los Mozambiques – El Presidiario
https://youtu.be/x8fccWljLHk

Barbara Wilson – No Te Voy a Olvidar
https://youtu.be/4c6ty1uISGQ

70s Calypso from Panama
https://youtu.be/XJdL8Uvk_pU

 
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Panagringo cuisine: Star apple pie

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Star apple pie

Ingredients

  • 1 quart sliced ripe star apples (carambolas)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (if on a diet, 1 cup sucralose and 1 teaspoon molasses)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Pastry dough for two pie crusts (top and bottom of one pie)

Directions

  • Slice the fruit latitudinally into quarter-inch star-shaped slices
  • Combine tapioca, lime juice and sugar (or sucralose mix) and lightly mix with sliced fruit
  • Line a 9-inch pie pan with pie crust
  • Spread the fruit mix over the pastry
  • Dot with small pieces of butter
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Roll the top pie crust large enough to make a seal, cover and seal the pie
  • Slit the top of the crust to let the steam escape
  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F
  • Bake for about 35 minutes until pastry is golden brown

Option: use ground nutmeg instead of cinnamon

 

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Jackson, Medicare for All is playing for keeps

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Medicare for All is for keeps

by Eric Jackson

I’m a democratic socialist. Have been all of my adult life. It runs in the family, too.

I’m a Democrat. I worked for Democratic campaigns well before I could vote, and have fought in the intra-Democrat wars that have shifted folks in and out of the party and back over a very long time.

It often imparts a jaded point of view. What all factions need to bear in mind, especially but not only entrenched establishment types, is that you don’t play hardball and then complain about the pickoff play.

In the 2020 presidential election cycle, some ideas that Bernie Sanders popularized now have so much public support that candidates of the corporate wing are embracing them or saying that they do. What Americans call the liberals – the word has a different set of meanings here in Panama and in most of the rest of the world – are mostly on board with the left about Medicare for All.

Draw the fine distinctions, which are important, but the left should not get upset about other factions stealing our thunder. That The New York Times and The Washington Post churn out a steady stream of attacks on Medicare for All and vilification of Bernie Sanders and other prominent leaders of the left should only surprise the clueless. The world’s richest man’s paper, and the Gray Lady, are owned by and dependent on the support of people whose interest is not labor, nor the rights and conveniences of those who don’t have a lot of money. They’re corporate media promoting those interests. The Post in particular is the journal of people who may be for legal abortion but hardly ever see an opportunity for a foreign war that they don’t like.

The United States has a two-party system, and within those parties there are forces that in most other countries would be on the ballot in their own right in a fragmented parliamentary system. On the GOP side, the religious right is not exactly the oligarchy, nor exactly the white supremacist movement – even if all of these forces shade into and mix with one another. Among Democrats Bernie and AOC are definitely not Joe Biden, but neither are they Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. After the primary wars are over there will need to be some sincere negotiations, much like coalition talks in a multi-party system.

Democratic socialists may become the principal force within the Democratic Party but the party itself will not become “socialist” as such. The left might lead the coalition and pull the country in that direction. Any attempt by one faction to spit out or spit upon the others means a low turnout and probable loss to the Republicans. The sometimes forgotten name of the general election game is uniting the party, mobilizing the entire Democratic coalition and its constituencies to vote.

This is a new election cycle. Now there’s a new source of bitterness.

See, Medicare for All would be the enduring replacement for a compromise that fell short. Pass it as a meaningful program rather than a slogan emptied of its content and the private health insurance industry goes out of business forever. The pharmaceutical companies would lose their tight grip on the US economy too. Medicare for All is a death sentence for a way of doing business. If some complain about how unfair that would be, consider all of the individuals who have been sentenced to death by the for-profit health care business model.

If America gets Medicare for All, there will still be politics around expanding it, or on the GOP side chipping away at it. Once enacted there would be arguments about making it more efficient or just. However, it would never end as long as the USA doesn’t end.

Politically, Medicare for All would be like Social Security – a platform plank that less radical Democrats of an earlier time swiped from the Socialists. Social Security became a centerpiece of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program and has survived. Social Security is too popular, and too essential to the lives of too many people, for very many people to run for office on a platform of ending it and get elected. When the day comes that health care is a right for all Americans, woe to the candidate who runs on an argument that certain Americans don’t deserve it.

So, much of corporate America is searching high and low for a person or a method to stop not only Bernie Sanders, but more importantly his ideas.

(One of the nay sayers’ weaknesses? Not all of the corporate world is on board with them. Private health insurance is a burden on business too.)

Did Kamala Harris in an instant destroy Joe Biden’s pretense of inevitability by bringing up his record on race relations? We are likely to see as dramatic a moment or series of moments when the line is drawn between those who are for the private health insurance companies and those who would cut out that expensive and often brutal filter between doctors and patients.

Medicare for All is for keeps. A lot of money is being raised to stop it and some of it will be spent on candidates who say that they’re for it, “EXCEPT….” Look for all of this to come out in the ongoing candidates’ debates. Watch for cards like offers to people with no money of an opportunity to “buy in,” or enticements to the young, wealthy and healthy to “opt out.” Watch for contrived polls to “prove” that the huge American majority for Medicare for All really isn’t there if the question is posed in another way. Watch for all the usual consultants and ad agencies hired to deploy all the junk surveys and junk science and junk arguments — because Medicare for All is for keeps.

 

 

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