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¿Wappin? Would’ve been the Friday playlist, but for a chip running out

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Tessa Murray
Tessa Murray of Still Corners. Photo by acb.

If the sky doesn’t turn blue today, there’s this
Si el cielo no se vuelve azul hoy, hay esto

Big Daddy Wilson – Walk A Mile In My Shoes
https://youtu.be/gUm_VC3vBt4

Lee Oskar – Lee’s Blues
https://youtu.be/DTEX2hNIy44

Still Corners – Black Lagoon
https://youtu.be/LB_M44NCwUY

Bunbury – Lady Blue
https://youtu.be/AY8z7ZXJ-Vg

Donnie Hathaway – For All We Know
https://youtu.be/KEHRrMYqmI4

Beth & Joe – I’d Rather Be Blind
https://youtu.be/UEHwO_UEp7A

Lauryn Hill – I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind
https://youtu.be/pb7KjMTgK-Q

Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
https://youtu.be/5E-OqIBvsRg

Emmylou Harris – Tougher Than The Rest
https://youtu.be/sq0MVlwL-SE

Semito – Ungowami
https://youtu.be/Su33VoF0suI

Cienfue – La Décima Tercera
https://youtu.be/AGa0ntjZLUk

Bad Bunny – Callaíta
https://youtu.be/acEOASYioGY

Prince – Free
https://youtu.be/qnE775jB0Ik

Natalie Merchant – Motherland
https://youtu.be/A2JbLUVt0Z0

Conscious Woman (Female Rasta Roots Reggae)
https://youtu.be/iV9ZKPl_ajQ

Opening Democratic presidential candidates’ debate lineups

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dems
On NBC and online. A good time for watch parties. PxHere photo.

Get ready to rumble!

NIGHT ONE, Wednesday, June 26:

Cory Booker
Bill de Blasio
Julián Castro
John Delaney
Tulsi Gabbard
Jay Inslee
Amy Klobuchar
Beto O’Rourke
Tim Ryan
Elizabeth Warren

NIGHT TWO, Thursday, June 27:

Michael Bennet
Joe Biden
Pete Buttigieg
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kamala Harris
John Hickenlooper
Bernie Sanders
Eric Swalwell
Marianne Williamson
Andrew Yang

All right, you young progressives! It's your generation's job to put these old buzzards out to pasture!
Very important: register, vote and get others to do so.
 

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Sanders, Socialismo democrático

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Don Bernardo
Bernie en la campaña electoral. Foto por Gage Skidmore.

Por qué me llamo socialista democrático

por Senator Bernie Sanders, traducida por Eric Jackson

Mientras que la Carta de Derechos nos protege de la tiranía de un gobierno opresivo, muchos en el establecimiento desean que el pueblo estadounidense se someta a la tiranía de los oligarcas, las corporaciones multinacionales, los bancos de Wall Street y los multimillonarios.

En 1944, el presidente Franklin Delano Roosevelt propuso una declaración de derechos económicos, porque sabía que no puede haber verdadera libertad sin seguridad económica. No fue capaz de promulgarla antes de su muerte. Setenta y cinco años después, ese trabajo nos corresponde a nosotros.

Por eso propongo que completemos el trabajo inacabado de FDR y el Partido Demócrata al presentar una Carta de Derechos Económicos del Siglo XXI. Estos derechos incluyen:

  • Atención de salud de calidad

  • Una educacion completa

  • Un buen trabajo que paga un salario digno.

  • Vivienda asequible

  • Una jubilación segura

  • Un ambiente limpio

Estos son mis valores, y es por eso que me llamo socialista democrático.

Lo que creo es que el pueblo estadounidense merece la libertad, la verdadera libertad. Libertad es una palabra que se usa con frecuencia, pero es hora de que echemos un vistazo a lo que realmente significa esa palabra.

Pregúntate: ¿qué significa realmente ser libre?

¿Eres realmente libre si no puedes ir a un médico cuando estás enfermo, o te enfrentas a una quiebra financiera cuando sales del hospital?

¿Eres verdaderamente libre si no puedes pagar el medicamento recetado que necesitas para seguir vivo?

¿Eres realmente libre cuando gastas la mitad de sus ingresos limitados en vivienda y se ve obligado a pedir dinero prestado a un prestamista a una tasa de interés del 200%?

¿Eres verdaderamente libre si tienes 70 años y te obligan a trabajar porque no tienes una pensión o dinero suficiente para jubilarte?

¿Eres verdaderamente libre si no puedes asistir a la universidad o a una escuela de oficios porque tu familia carece de ingresos?

¿Eres verdaderamente libre si te obligan a trabajar 60 u 80 horas a la semana porque no puedes encontrar un trabajo que pague un salario digno?

¿Eres verdaderamente libre si eres madre o padre con un bebé recién nacido, pero te ves obligado a volver a trabajar inmediatamente después del parto porque no tienes un permiso familiar pagado?

¿Eres realmente libre si eres propietario de un pequeño negocio o agricultor familiar que quedarte sin negocio por las prácticas monopólicas de las grandes empresas?

¿Eres verdaderamente libre si eres un veterano, que arriesgaste tu vida para defender este país y ahora duermes en las calles?

Para mí, la respuesta a esas preguntas, en la nación más rica de la tierra, es no, no eres libre.

Es hora de que el pueblo estadounidense nos levantamos y luchamos por nuestros derechos a la libertad, la dignidad humana y la seguridad.

 

 

 

 

 

Polo Ciudadano: Las propuestas constitucionales de la “Concertación”

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them
La Concertación. Foto por MIDES.

Las propuestas de la “Concertación” carecen de legitimidad

por el Polo Ciudadano

El Consejo de la Concertación Nacional carece de legitimidad para reformar la Constitución Política de Panamá. La mal llamada “Concertación” es un organismo nombrado de a dedo para avalar las políticas de los gobiernos de turno revistiéndolas de una falsa apariencia de “consulta”.

La “Concertación” no ha sido electa por el pueblo, por ende, carece del principio de la representación. La “Concertación” tampoco ha recibido mandato popular para reformar la Constitución Nacional, por eso carece de representación y legitimidad.

En esta jugada antidemocrática participan: los grandes grupos económicos poderosos que se asocian en el Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada (CONEP), cuyo vocero en la “Concertación” es el empresario Enrique de Obarrio, personaje de estirpe oligárquica; los desprestigiados partidos políticos tradicionales, encabezados por el PRD y Panameñismo, respaldados por Cambio Democrático; algunos sectores de la burocracia sindical; el gobierno saliente de Juan C. Varela; y el gobierno entrante de Laurentino Nito Cortizo, quien ha decidido dar por bueno todo lo actuado por este ente.

La jugada antidemocrática para reformar la Constitución, sin convocar la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, usando esta entidad mal llamada “Concertación”, como nuevo mecanismo al habitual, es que la actual Asamblea Legislativa está quemada de múltiples escándalos de corrupción. Tratando así, de ganar la legitimidad para un proyecto como este, que de hecho, si pasaba por la Asamblea nacería desprestigiado. Por lo que se ha recurrido a un organismo dedocrático que el pueblo no conoce, ni sabía de su existencia: la mal llamada “Concertación”.

Los sectores del poder político y económico que están detrás de esta manipulación antidemocrática, buscan imponer algunos nuevos parches a la Constitución Política, que sirvan para engañar a la ciudadanía haciéndole creer que toda la corruptela antipopular del régimen se va a superar con algunas reformas burocráticas y cosméticas como un traje a la medida de los proponentes y del nuevo gobierno.

“Cambiar algo, para que nada cambie” en el fondo, en el típico gatopardismo de la política panameña, para seguir controlando los poderes del estado, enriquecerse a costa de las finanzas públicas y continuar sacrificando al pueblo panameño a costa de sus derechos humanos, económicos y sociales.

Por eso, desde el Polo Ciudadano, rechazamos esta nueva y burda maniobra antidemocrática y continuamos exigiendo una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente originaria, electa con garantías democráticas para que el pueblo ponga a sus verdaderos representantes en la función constitutiva mediante el voto. Lo cual exige un método de elección que no puede ser el del fraudulento Código Electoral actual o cualquier otra maniobra ilegitima o dedocrática del gobierno entrante.

 

 

 

 

 

Martinelli out of jail, under house arrest

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captured enemy propaganda
Screenshot of the June 12 online edition of El Panama America, a newspaper which Ricardo Martinelli controls. If the order letting him out of preventive detention at El Renacer Penitentiary stipulates that he can’t talk to “the media,” that neglects his beneficial ownership and control of a media empire, which was a major propaganda outlet for his Cambio Democratico party in the recent election campaign. The EPASA publishing company, which also publishes La Critica and Dia a Dia, was allegedly purchased with the proceeds of kickbacks from government contracts, then boosted by government advertising purchases during the Martinelli regime. There is or was a criminal investigation about it, with associates suspected of money laundering in the transactions. But proof of ownership? That’s forbidden under Panama’s corporate secrecy laws.

Martinelli under house arrest

by Eric Jackson

With the prosecutors going out the back door to avoid questions and word of the decision released at 5:40 a.m., Ricardo Martinelli, who fled Panama to avoid prosecution, was released from preventive detention into house arrest on June12. He is now at one of his houses in Altos de Golf.

There will be a hearing on Friday, June 14 in which Martinelli’s lawyers will argue for his release without restrictions and prosecutors will argue to send him back to jail while his trial on illegal eavesdropping without a court order and theft of public services and property is pending. There may be interlocutory appeals to further delay the ongoing trial, in the police and national security agents who carried out Martinelli’s eavesdropping orders have been testifying against him in recent days.

The court reportedly took custody of Martinelli’s Panamanian and Italian passports, forbade him to leave the country, asked the Italian Embassy not to give him a replacement passport and provided that he come to and from court appearances only under police custody. It also forbade him from “talking to the media” or making public comments alluding to his case.  It seems that the media which Martinelli controls — the EPASA newspaper chain, NexTV and several radio stations and websites — are not bound by these restrictions, save that he probably gets in trouble of some sort if he is quoted by them.

Martinelli has spent nearly two years behind bars, half of that time in the United States fighting extradition. Prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of more than 20 years for illegal eavesdropping, illegal use of government property to do this, and theft of the Israeli-made equipment and Italian and Israeli software used in this operation. There is a known enemies list of 150 people, but with all of the people with whom those named enemies held telephone conversations or exchanged emails — including this writer — the number of people whose privacy was illegally invaded is in the thousands.

 

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In war zones one in five have mental symptoms

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Yemen
Yemeni street scene: will some, noticing no bleeding or missing limbs, conclude that the man in “unharmed?” Doctors warn against such a rush to judgment. New estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlight a need for increased, sustained investment in the development of mental health services in areas affected by conflict.
United Nations photo.

The Lancet: One in every five people living in an area
affected by conflict has a mental health condition

by the World Health Organization

One in five people (22%) living in an area affected by conflict has depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and about 9% of conflict-affected populations have a moderate to severe mental health condition, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet. The figures are substantially higher than the global estimate for these mental health conditions in the general population, which stands at one in 14 people.

Depression and anxiety appeared to increase with age in conflict settings, and depression was more common among women than men.

The findings suggest that past studies underestimated the burden of mental health conditions in conflict-affected areas – with higher rates of severe mental health conditions (5% at any one time in the new study compared to 3-4% over a 12-month-period in the 2005 estimates), and also of mild to moderate mental health conditions (17% at any one time in the new estimates compared to 15-20% over a 12-month period in previous estimates).

Overall, the mean prevalence was highest for mild mental health conditions (13%), for moderate the prevalence was 4%, and for severe conditions the prevalence was 5%.

The revised estimates use research from 129 studies and data from 39 countries published between 1980 and August 2017, including 45 new studies published between 2013 and August 2017. Settings that have experienced conflict in the last 10 years were included. There was limited data for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, so estimates for these conditions were based on global estimates and do not take into account any increased risk of these conditions in conflict settings. Cases were categorized as mild, moderate or severe. Natural disasters and public health emergencies, such as Ebola, were not included.

“I am confident that our study provides the most accurate estimates available today of the prevalence of mental health conditions in areas of conflict,” said lead author of the study Fiona Charlson of the University of Queensland, Australia and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, USA. “Estimates from previous studies have been inconsistent, with some finding inconceivably low or high rates. In this study we used more stringent inclusion and exclusion criteria for the literature search, and advanced search strategies and statistical methods.”

Currently, there are major conflict-induced humanitarian crises in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In 2016, the number of armed conflicts reached an all-time high, with 53 ongoing conflicts in 37 countries and 12% of the world’s population living in an active conflict zone. Nearly 69 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced by violence and conflict, the highest number since World War II.

“The new estimates, together with already available practical tools for helping people with mental health conditions in emergencies, add yet more weight to the argument for immediate and sustained investment, so that mental and psychosocial support is made available to all people in need living through conflict and its aftermath,” said study author Dr. Mark van Ommeren, of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization.

Dr. van Ommeren concludes: “In conflict situations and other humanitarian emergencies, WHO provides support in many ways: firstly, by supporting coordination and by assessing the mental health needs of populations affected, secondly by determining what existing support is available on the ground and what more is needed; and thirdly by helping provide the capacity for support when it isn’t sufficient, either through training or bringing in additional resources. Despite their tragic consequences, when the political will exists, emergencies can be catalysts for building quality, sustainable mental health services that continue to help people in the long-term.”

 

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Cleaning up before a constitutional conversation; and A draft we should resist

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dem a shoot dem a loot dem a wail

Clearing the field

As a practical matter, the constitutional change process that Nito Cortizo has embraced is stillborn. The stuff coming out of the “Concertación,” the Chamber of Commerce and CoNEP is mostly banal, although there are a few interesting ideas. So many of the business proposals are about aggravating the hammerlock that a few rich families have on Panama’s government. If the allegedly more representative Concertación body screens out much of the worst stuff, they also don’t include much to address the real structural problems in Panamanian government.

The necessary prelude to structural change is a cultural change, which is well underway but not as advanced as it ought to be.

How do imperfect individuals promote the culture in which a more decent government can flourish? As individuals, by acknowledging and limiting our bad sides. By asserting our own self-interest, which rebels against the notion of government according to the principle that everybody steals. By accepting vices for what they are, and if not going on extreme and pointless crusades against them, at least not pretending that they are virtues. By being more demanding customers, both in the notions that we buy and in the people and institutions with which we are willing to do business. By abstaining from personal participation in public corruption.

Moving from the individual to the institutional, if the Cortizo administration is to sponsor any constitutional change that’s both successful and worthwhile, one of the things that needs to happen during its tenure is accountability for what has gone before.

It need not be extremist, as in the longer sentences under more brutal prison conditions that has been a staple of US politics for so long and with so little positive to show. In some cases the accounting need not take place within the criminal justice system.

However, we can’t go on with Ricardo Martinelli, in or out of prison, controlling major communications media that were purchased with the proceeds of public corruption and then boosted with government advertising — those are stolen properties and it’s not an attack on freedom of the press to confiscate them and make new arrangements for their continuation that do not conflict with the public interest. We can’t go on awarding public works contracts to people and companies who stole from us, no matter what any plea bargain in a criminal case may have provided. We can’t continue with our sports federations incorporated into predatory political patronage schemes. We can’t let phalanxes of lawyers interposing delays to in the end thwart justice for obvious crimes, and then have the guilty emerge to wave their impunity in our faces.

Obstacles need to be cleared away before Panama can lay the constitutional foundations to build better public institutions. The next president can do some of that administratively, without haggling with the legislature or courts. He shouldn’t interfere with the courts, but that should not stop him from taking public notice of their weaknesses and failures, appointing honest and capable magistrates and proposing appropriate reforms to the laws under which they operate.

Nito Cortizo is president-elect on the strength of a plurality of just over one-third of the vote. He was not elected as dictator. However, he’s in a position to become a far more popular leader, not the caudillo who lulls people into trusting in whatever he does but the statesman who inspires people to act on their own behalf.

 

no war

It’s not Panama’s fight: we should resist any conscription into it

There are nasty things that people can truthfully say about China and some of its government’s policies. There are nasty things that people can truthfully say about the United States and some of its government’s policies. They could say unflattering things about Panama and Panamanians, too. But this country’s central economic activity is as an international transportation and commercial crossroads, such that joining any hue and cry against China or the United States would be bad for business.

We should recognize that white racism is a fundamental aspect of the current US administration, and that China has Han racism as part of its historical baggage and current problems as well. But in Panama there is no room for racial or ethnic hatreds. Foreigners who try to import them should be kicked out. Panamanians who embrace them should be scorned.

We are witnesses to an unfolding battle over technological platforms, and without much capacity to establish our own alternative ones. Let’s see who comes out on top there, but Panama should not obey US orders to boycott Huawei or impede international commerce in its products. Nor should Panama accept US demands to block Venezuelan oil and gas shipments to China. On the other hand, as a maritime nation Panama should not accept Chinese dictates about the law of the sea. Nor should we deny people persecuted in China for their beliefs asylum here, so as not to offend Beijing.

How does a small country maintain its independence when elephants get to fighting? By keeping our eyes wide open and being ready to duck when necessary. By acting together with other small countries, so as to avoid alignments being forced upon us. By sticking to principles of international law and ordinary decency.

And what about US citizens and Chinese citizens in Panama, and our larger ethnic gringo and chino communities? We should carry on as friends and neighbors, conducting business as usual. We should raise our voices against vilification and slander when we hear it.

 

EG

Bear in mind…

 

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
Phyllis Diller

 

Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.
Mark Twain

 

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Eleanor Roosevelt
 
 

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STRI, La conservación de anfibios en Panamá

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rana dorada
Atelopus zeteki, la rana dorada de Panamá. Imagen cortesía de Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian National Zoo.

Más de una década de conservación de anfibios en Panamá produce resultados

por Sonia Tejada — STRI

El mundo está viendo a sus anfibios desaparecer. La pérdida de sus hábitats, la contaminación ambiental y el cambio climático, causados por los humanos, tienen a más del 30% de las especies en riesgo. Además, está la severa amenaza del hongo quítrido, responsable de una enfermedad letal que aún no se sabe mitigar.

Ante esta situación, distintos países han establecido programas de conservación, incluyendo Panamá, con el Proyecto de Rescate y Conservación de Anfibios de Panamá (PARC) en Gamboa, que administra el Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI).

A través de la reproducción en cautiverio y la creación de poblaciones estables, se minimiza el riesgo de extinción de las especies en peligro. También se generan oportunidades para hacer investigación sobre las amenazas que enfrentan estos anfibios. A medida que las poblaciones superan la capacidad del centro, los científicos las pueden aprovechar para hacer experimentos diversos.

En el caso del PARC, donde hay cinco especies de Atelopus —incluyendo la rana dorada Atelopus zeteki— algunas de las más amenazadas por el hongo quítrido, varios años de investigación han resultado en una serie de avances sobre distintos aspectos de la conservación de estos animales. Los detalles se publicaron recientemente en un artículo en la revista Biological Conservation, en el que participaron los científicos del Smithsonian Roberto Ibáñez y Brian Gratwicke.

“Las colonias de resguardo de las especies de Atelopus panameñas pueden ayudarnos a evitar extinciones y proporcionarnos un recurso para responder preguntas de investigación específicas, que en última instancia nos ayudarían a restaurar las poblaciones silvestres”, detalla Gratwicke, biólogo conservacionista del Instituto de Biología de la Conservación del Smithsonian donde dirige sus programas de conservación de anfibios.

Para empezar, las ranas enfermas traídas de la naturaleza permitieron mejorar los protocolos para la detección y el tratamiento de la enfermedad. También, se descubrió que las ranas toleran mejor la infección en condiciones cálidas y secas, que en climas templados.

Uno de los objetivos principales del PARC es la eventual reintroducción de las especies amenazadas en su hábitat natural y el restablecimiento de poblaciones silvestres en el país. Con ello en mente, los científicos han creado mapas que identifican las regiones más apropiadas para la supervivencia de las ranas.

Para estudiar la transición de las Atelopus cautivas a la naturaleza, se han realizado liberaciones de prueba con las ranas excedentes. Estas han permitido a los investigadores experimentar con distintos métodos de reintroducción y de monitoreo post-liberación.

Aunque difícil de hacer, el monitoreo después de la liberación de las ranas permite a los científicos conocer qué otras amenazas enfrentan en la naturaleza, en qué etapa del desarrollo es más conveniente liberarlas para su supervivencia, o si logran recuperar la toxicidad natural que pierden en cautiverio.

Un reciente y prometedor descubrimiento, por algunos científicos del Smithsonian y de otras instituciones, demostró que algunas poblaciones de anfibios han desarrollado secreciones de piel que resisten el hongo quítrido. Las ranas con este rasgo evolutivo podrían introducirse en hábitats donde existe el hongo; por ejemplo, criando ranas resistentes al hongo, aumentando así las secreciones antifúngicas en su piel, pero se requiere de más investigación para progresar en esta dirección.

Finalmente, en el laboratorio se está avanzando sobre la crioconservación de tejidos y esperma de las Atelopus panameñas, un proceso de preservación a temperaturas muy bajas para su uso en el futuro, que permitiría incorporar eventualmente la reproducción asistida entre las estrategias para salvar a las ranas de Panamá.

 

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What Democrats are saying

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ella
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz at SXSW 2019. Her proposals are getting a better reception from the public than from her colleagues, which in turn has most of the top tier Democratic presidential primary candidates saying nice things about some of them. Wikimedia photo by nrkbeta.

The Dems’ messages

 














 

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What Republicans are saying

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mongering imperialist wars
Donald Trump meets with Theresa May, who is on her way out of office and after he took the unprecedented step of endorsing Boris Johnson as her replacement. White House photo.

The GOP messages…

 



 



 



 



 


 

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