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Flores leads in early returns for rector

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Flores
Physicist Eduardo Flores Castro on the campaign trail in Chitre, where early returns show that he won.

With just 10% of the vote in, Flores seems to be the next U of P rector

by Eric Jackson, from other media

Physics professor and former Sciences Faculty dean Eduardo Flores Castro appears to have routed the ruling political machine at the University of Panama. Early returns — only about 10 percent of the vote — have Flores carrying just a bit more than 60 percent in a six-way race, with the next highest vote-getter, VP for Academic Affairs Justo Medrano, garnering just under 28 percent. The percentage that Flores is winning is much like what he got when challenging scandal-tainted Gustavo García de Paredes five years ago, but this time the machine with which the self-proclaimed “Rector Magnifico” ruled the university for a generation appears to have fragmented in the face of multiple criminal investigations and international scorn for the institution’s academic qualities as well as Panamanian education as a whole. One of Flores’s opponents, Dr. Argentina Ying, has already conceded victory to the dissident physics prof.

Final results will not be in until about noon on Thursday, and there will also be results to tally for 15 faculty deans and the directors of nine regional university centers. Those races down the ticket could determine whether a new rector will start out with a team with which he can work or in the face of sullen opposition. Although the campaign was by and large an anti-intellectual bandwagon, insults and pass out the goodies affair like the run-ups to recent national elections, there was a general sense that the university could not continue operating as it has been. If Flores is confirmed as the winner he will come into office having made few hard-and-fast promises, but with expectations that the nomenklatura of the old machine will be scattered rather than confirmed in their positions.

 

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Bolton, Venezuela and the OAS Democratic Charter

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Almagro
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, who served in Uruguayan President Pepe Mujica’s cabinet but is at odds with his former boss over Venezuela these days.

The ongoing Democratic Charter saga exposes deep hypocrisy

by Peter Bolton — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

A meeting of foreign ministers and ambassadors of the Organization of American States (OAS) convened last week to discuss the ongoing efforts of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to use the Inter-American Democratic Charter against the government of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Though there was no vote on whether to apply the Charter,[1] which provides for diplomatic intervention for any member that has experienced a “rupture in the democratic order,” the meeting at the OAS’s downtown Washington headquarters provided Almagro with another opportunity to voice his strong criticism of the Maduro government.[2]

The meeting had been scheduled so that Almagro, a former foreign minister in the José Mujica government in Uruguay, could read from a 132-page report articulating his claims that Venezuela has suffered a democratic break. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, speaking to the gathering on behalf of the Maduro government, argued that the agenda should be rejected on the grounds that it constituted an inappropriate attack on a member state and could serve as a ruse for interventionism.[3] She said that Almagro was using the OAS “to harass and delegitimize the government of Venezuela.”[4] Her proposal was rejected by a vote of 20 to 12 with two abstentions, meaning that Almagro was able to proceed with reading the summary.[5]

Though the meeting was for foreign ministers and ambassadors from member states, Venezuelan opposition figures also showed up at the event in the hopes of speaking in favor of the Charter’s application. President of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, met with Almagro prior to the session starting, but did not address the gathering.[6] Since the OAS is a forum for governments, not parliaments, any opposition representative would have needed an invitation from a member state government representative to address the session. There are conflicting accounts of what took place: according to one report, Ramos Allup was unable to deliver his message because no country provided him with the opportunity to make a statement, though another source claims that he voluntarily decided not to speak.[7] He instead watched the proceedings from a monitor in a side room before addressing a crowd of opposition demonstrators who were protesting out front. There was, however, a discussion inside the chamber of an opposition-prepared summary about the situation in Venezuela.

As expected, Almagro issued harsh words about the beleaguered Maduro administration, accusing his government of being responsible for resisting offers for humanitarian help, jeopardizing the welfare of the Venezuelan public, and using authoritarian tactics to maintain power.[8] Paraguay was the most vocal critic of Venezuela amongst the Latin American contingent in attendance. The US representative unsurprisingly also issued a strong condemnation of the Maduro government while posing as the hemispher’’s champion of human rights and international standards.

These sentiments were praised by Ramos Allup outside the OAS. He said through a bullhorn to the gathered opposition supporters: “We are convinced that we must fight to change our current administration; otherwise things will escalate and get worse. We want to use the democratic, constitutional and electoral methods to change our government.” In addition, Ramos Allup continued his media campaign later in the day at a speaking event at Georgetown University.

But in a further setback for the opposition faction, the session ended without any declaration or announcement of a follow-up meeting to consider applying the Charter. Almost all ministers expressed support for the UNASUR-sponsored dialogue between the Maduro government and the opposition to resolve the economic crisis, which is being accompanied by a former Spanish prime minister and two former Latin American heads of state (both of whom were also present at the OAS). Perhaps most damaging of all for the opposition, several of the countries who had expressed support for the reading of Almagro’s summary, including Suriname and the Bahamas, nonetheless made clear that they are opposed to application of the Charter.

Last week’s gathering has furthermore come in the midst of a surprise meeting between Rodríguez and US Secretary of State John Kerry on the fringes of an OAS summit in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in which Kerry agreed to a dialogue to reestablish full diplomatic relations between the two countries. During the meeting, Kerry lent his support to the UNASUR dialogue and also appeared to distance himself from Almagro’s aggressive posturing. He stated: “At this moment, I think it’s more constructive to have dialogue than to isolate.”[9]

But neither Almgro nor the Venezuelan opposition appear to be deterred by the failure of last week’s meeting to bring about an application of the Charter or this unexpected about-face on the part of the US State Department.

Almagro’s isolation and silence on Brazil

The outcome of the session exposes Almagro’s considerable isolation in his stance on Venezuela, at least in terms of the views of OAS member states, who technically speaking are his employers. No action was taken to endorse the proposals that his report suggested, far less to make any moves toward applying the Charter. The meeting did provide significant opportunity for the opposition to create a press circus, however, and without an unequivocal repudiation from member states the prospect of the Charter still hangs in the air. This fact will serve as an excuse for opposition leaders to continue to stall on entering into the UNASUR-sponsored talks with the government and will also embolden them in their attempts to oust Maduro from office.

Their argument that a push for the Charter is consistent with support for the dialogue, therefore, is simply absurd. Whereas Maduro has been promoting the talks for several months, opposition figures have largely failed to show up for scheduled meetings.[10]. So rather than incentivizing them to participate in a spirit of good faith, having the Charter hanging in the balance will encourage further intransigence and, worse, could provide political cover for extreme elements to engage in violent attempts to destabilize the government. What’s more, despite opposition claims that it is acting on behalf of the Venezuelan people, internal polling suggests that the majority of Venezuelans do not support application of the Charter, and also that a majority does support the UNASUR dialogue.[11]

But such considerations hardly even merit discussion when the entire Democratic Charter saga is taken in the wider context of the region. Whereas the democratic credentials of Venezuela are on display for all to see with the recall effort that is currently being launched by the opposition, whose victory in last year’s legislative election exploded claims of chronic vote rigging, the OAS has done nothing to denounce the flagrantly obvious coup that has taken place against the democratically-elected government of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. Despite being one of the few leading politicians who is not facing corruption charges for personal enrichment, Rousseff was indicted on vague accusations of fiscal irregularities; charges which analysts in the Brazilian Senate subsequently found to be completely false.[12] This development adds to a long list of revelations that have served to undermine the legitimacy of her removal from the presidency.[13] Leaked audio files have now made it beyond doubt that Rousseff’s impeachment was a deliberate political calculation to derail corruption investigations against several of Rouseff’s rivals. The leaks revealed that then-Senator (and now planning minister) Romero Jucá, and former oil executive Sergio Machado, both of whom are targets in the “Car Wash” probe, conspired to oust Rousseff in order to kill the investigation once she was out of office.[14]

The hypocrisy of talk about human rights abuses from the opposition and its US backers is even more shocking when one considers that there has been no kind of condemnation of the Mexican government for the killing of eight people by state actors in Oaxaca this month, or countless other human rights violations across the region. When looked at in an evenhanded manner, the singling out of Venezuela is just the latest chapter in the long history of the United States and its internal allies attempting to oust the Chavista government in order to install an administration filled with friendlier actors who will do its bidding and reopen the country to neoliberalism, US imperialism, corporate profiteering and multinational dominance. Almagro has apparently become the latest US pawn in this in this long destabilization campaign, and has shamelessly abused his position as Secretary General in order to do the empire’s dirty bidding. The contrast between his apparent obsession with what is happening in Venezuela with his conspicuous silence about the coup Brazil and continued state violence Mexico has disgraced his office and delivered a fatal blow to whatever shreds might have been left of the OAS’s credibility.

Notes

[1] Franco Ordoñez, Angry talk as OAS debates Venezuelan democracy, McClatchy, June 23, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article85588442.html

[2] Carlos Morello, OAS head calls for recall of Maduro to restore democracy in spiraling Venezuela, The Washington Post, June 23. Accessed June 27, 2016: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/oas-head-calls-for-recall-of-maduro-to-restore-democracy-in-spiraling-venezuela/2016/06/23/1568edcc-3974-11e6-a254-2b336e293a3c_story.html

[3] Ibid.

[4] TeleSur, OAS Permanent Council Files Almagro’s Attack Against Venezuela, June 23, 2016. Accessed June 27, 2016: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/OAS-Permanent-Council-Files-Alagros-Attack-Against-Venezuela–20160623-0015.html

[5] Ibid.

[6] Franco Ordoñez, Angry talk as OAS debates Venezuelan democracy, McClatchy, June 23, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article85588442.html

[7] ¿Por qué Ramos Allup no habló durante la sesión extraordinaria de la OEA?, El Nacional, June 23, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016: http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Ramos-Allup-sesion-extraordinaria-OEA_0_871713068.html

[8] Carlos Morello, OAS head calls for recall of Maduro to restore democracy in spiraling Venezuela, The Washington Post, June 23. Accessed June 27, 2016: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/oas-head-calls-for-recall-of-maduro-to-restore-democracy-in-spiraling-venezuela/2016/06/23/1568edcc-3974-11e6-a254-2b336e293a3c_story.html

[9] Latin America Daily Briefing, Updates on OAS, Venezuela and Brazil (June 15, 2016). Accessed June 29, 2016: http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot.com/2016/06/updates-on-oas-venezuela-and-brazil.html

[10] TeleSur, Venezuelan Right Wing ‘No Show’ at UNASUR Mediated Talks, June 7, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuelan-Right-Wing-No-Show-at-UNASUR-Mediated-Talks-20160607-0020.html

[11] Hinderlaces Poll: http://www.hinterlaces.com/monitor-pais/67-en-desacuerdo-con-intervencion-internacional-para-sacar-a-maduro

[12] TeleSur, Senate Report Clears Rousseff of Budget Manipulation, June 27, 2016. Accessed June 27, 2016: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Senate-Report-Clears-Rousseff-of-Budget-Manipulation–20160627-0023.html

[13] Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Fishman, and David Miranda, New Political Earthquake in Brazil: Is It Now Time for Media Outlets to Call This a “Coup”?, The Intercept, May 23, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016: https://theintercept.com/2016/05/23/new-political-earthquake-in-brazil-is-it-now-time-for-media-outlets-to-call-this-a-coup/

[14] Aline Piva, Leaked Audios Reveal Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, June 6, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2016: http://www.coha.org/leaked-audios-reveal-plot-to-oust-dilma-rousseff/

 

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Naureckas, The huge media blind spot on terrorism

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Jo Cox
Jo Cox, a British Labour Party MP slain by a fascist constituent with US ultra-right ties.

Corporate media aren’t interested in reporting on the violent far right

by Jim Naureckas

Shortly before the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote, the shocking murder of Jo Cox — a member of parliament and a vocal Remain supporter — exposed the racist roots of elements in the victorious Leave campaign.

That much you may have heard.

What you might not have heard about were the suspect’s ties to a neo-Nazi organization based here in the United States. Accused shooter Thomas Mair, The Washington Post reported, “was a longtime supporter of the National Alliance, a once-prominent white supremacist group.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Post explained, “Mair bought a manual from the organization that included instructions on how to build a pistol.” Cox, it adds, “was shot by a weapon that witnesses described as either homemade or antique.”

The National Alliance was founded in 1974 by William Pierce. The group was a reorganization of the National Youth Alliance, which was itself an outgrowth of an organization that supported the 1968 presidential campaign of segregationist George Wallace.

Pierce turned the group, in the words of the SPLC, into “the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi formation in America.”

While head of the National Alliance, Pierce published The Turner Diaries, a novel that gleefully imagines a guerrilla race war and the mass murder of Jews, gays, and interracial couples. A chapter that depicts the bombing of an FBI building helped inspire Timothy McVeig’’s 1995 bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people.

When he was arrested, McVeigh had photocopied pages of the novel with him in his car. And phone records revealed that McVeigh had called a National Alliance number seven times the day before the bombing.

In the days after, feverish speculation abounded that the attack might’ve been the work of international Islamic terrorists. Yet once it became clear that domestic right-wing extremists were responsible, journalists seemed to lose interest. Few spent any time examining the National Alliance connection.

Yet the group turned up in another more recent terrorism story, when Kevin Harpham planted a bomb filled with shrapnel and rat poison at the 2011 Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane. Harpham, a one-time National Alliance member, is currently serving a 32-year prison sentence for the attempted bombing.

If you don’t remember this story, that’s probably because it got very little coverage. It was mentioned only three times on the nightly news in the 10 weeks that followed.

By comparison, the much less sophisticated “Times Square bomb,” which failed to go off a year earlier, got 49 mentions in the same time frame. It’s a classic example of how the US corporate media treat acts of political violence by Muslims as inherently more newsworthy than others.

In fact, some corporate media outlets have allowed their personalities to promote the National Alliance directly. Bob Grant, a popular and influential radio talk show host who broadcast on WABC in New York — the flagship of the ABC radio network — frequently let callers promote the group on his show, saying he didn’t “have any problem” with it.

Grant was eventually fired by Disney, which was then WABC’s owner, for gloating over the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who was African-American. But even then, his connection to the neo-Nazi National Alliance didn’t become an issue.

This lack of curiosity about the influence of the violent far right is a long tradition in US corporate media. Even the murder of Jo Cox, a member of parliament campaigning in a closely watched vote, seems unlikely to change that.

Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org, where an earlier version of this op-ed appeared. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

 

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School of the Americas Watch, End US security aid to Honduras

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SOAW
SOAW on Capitol Hill, protesting against a US-backed regime that has killed dozens of journalists, more than 100 environmentalists, many indigenous leaders and scores of opposition activists.

After seven years of terror in Honduras…

by the School of the Americas Watch

Tuesday, June 28th marked seven years since the US-backed military coup in Honduras. It’s been nearly four months since Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home for the powerful organizing she carried out with COPINH to protect Indigenous territories. And two weeks ago, HR5474, the “Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act,” was introduced in the US House of Representatives.

TAKE ACTION TODAY! Ask your member of Congress to support HR5474, which calls for an immediate suspension of US security assistance to Honduras “until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Click on: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/727/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19923

a deadly embarrassment

 

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Harrington, Critique of a critical story that the local establishment ignores

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NYT
This story has been widely distributed via the social media, but the rabiblano press has pretty much ignored it. From the online edition of The New York Times.

About the article in The New York Times

by Kevin Harrington-Shelton

[Editor’s note: See http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/22/world/americas/panama-canal.html ]

Disappointing sensational twist, to what has effectively exposed the local media trust’s complicity in the expansion project from its onset.

Yet unwarranted insinuations of malfeasance by the younger Mr. Jorge Quijano (contradicted thereinafter) hardly qualify as “all the news that’s fit to print.” I have long been at odds with the elder Mr. Quijano on official matters, but there is no call for such guilt by association. Researching the parliamentary record on this very point would have avoided much embarrassment.

Regrettably, (too) many in local media fail to acknowledge deficiencies in the rule of law as the root of many of our problems.

Example. The 2006 legislation enabling the expansion established an obligation for the elder Mr. Quijano (and former Administrator Alberto Alemán, on his watch), plus Canal Affairs Minister Roberto Roy, to testify on the Assembly floor every six months. This has not been discharged even once in the intervening decade! Attorney General Ana Belfon dismissed my complaint, that such blatant non-compliance warranted prosecution.

Neither did the legislative branch ever attempt enforcement of the transparency clause it enacted.

Had this transparency been discharged as prescribed in extant law, much of this morass would have been avoided. One is minded of Jeremy Bentham (Poor Laws): “The more strictly we are watched, the better we behave.”

 

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Forecast: extreme displacement of tropical wildlife

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Researchers forecast extreme displacement of tropical
wildlife even under moderate warming scenarios

by Mike GaworeckiMongabay

The tropics are the warmest part of planet Earth, but as global temperatures rise, simply “staying put” and enduring additional warming may be extremely harmful to many tropical species and societies, researchers are warning.

Surface temperatures are nearly uniform near the equator, which means that species trying to migrate in order to find temperatures they are adapted to would have to travel extreme distances, even under relatively mild warming scenarios at the low end of current projections.

Researchers Solomon Hsiang of University of California, Berkeley and Adam Sobel of Columbia write in a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports that “in order to preserve their annual mean temperatures, tropical populations would have to travel distances greater than 1000 km [about 620 miles] over less than a century if global mean temperature rises by 2°C over the same period.”

The nearly 200 countries that negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement last December have agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Calculations by climate scientists have found that Earth could reach that threshold as soon as 2036 if we don’t sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The rapid evacuation of the tropics that could occur under such a scenario would cause migrant species to concentrate in the margins of tropical zones and in the subtropics, potentially leading to population densities increasing 300 percent or more in those areas, which would have consequences not just for ecosystems but for human wellbeing, as well, especially in contexts where alternatives to geographic displacement are limited.

“If populations were actually to concentrate this quickly in what are already exceptionally arid environments, we would expect there to be many adverse consequences in both natural and human systems, such as an accelerated transmission of infectious diseases or conflict over scarce resources,” Hsiang and Sobel write in the study.

The researchers found that 12.5 percent of the global human population would have to migrate more than 1,000 kilometers to stay in the temperature range they’re accustomed to —  and the majority of those people currently live in the tropics. Just under 34 percent of the population would have to migrate more than 500 km.

“Imagining the tremendous cost of actually undertaking such massive spatial reorganization of the global population helps illustrate the potential importance of the dynamics we highlight here, although in the context of humans there are likely many local adaptations that are preferred to these displacements,” the researchers add.

Of course, not all populations can pick up and move as easily as humans — coral reefs and mature forests, for instance. It’s not clear at all that they can manage to move quickly enough to beat the heat.

“If maintaining their present environmental temperature is a critical adaptation to anthropogenic climate change, some tropical populations may have to migrate at unprecedented speeds over extreme distances in order to cope with relatively optimistic warming projections, given current emissions trajectories,” according to the study.

CITATION

  • Hsiang, S. M., & Sobel, A. H. (2016). Potentially Extreme Population Displacement and Concentration in the Tropics Under Non-Extreme Warming. Scientific Reports, 6, 25697. doi:10.1038/srep25697

 

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Editorials, Canal nonsense; and Today’s US voting rights realities

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JCV
President Varela poses with the security crew during the new locks festivities. Photo by the Presidencia.

George Washington didn’t cut down the cherry tree
and Hernán Cortés did not explore Panama

The consensus here is hope that the canal expansion, now that it is up and running, works well. Is there anyone in Panama who hopes for its failure? But do expect that, despite the successful first few days of operation, some adjustments will have to be made. The onset of strong dry season winds is likely to be a key test and it may be that new locks just can’t be used when the wind blows with such force that big ships stacked high with containers act like huge sails.

At the new locks’ inauguration the hype by the ACP, the politicians and those rabiblanco media that reaped fortunes in a government financed “yes” campaign back in 2006 was, however, in many cases insufferable. Consider:

  • The ineptitude of President Varela’s speechwriters, who most probably were not Panamanian and were writing for one of the most poorly educated electorates on the planet. So was it Hernán Cortés, the Spaniard who defeated the Aztecs in Mexico, who gazed out over the Pacific from the Darien? Any Panamanian who didn’t flunk grade school history would know that it was Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

  • Presidential speeches that downplayed the role of the United States in building the original canal and gave priority to Arnulfo Arias, who had little to do with Panama gaining control over or expanding the canal, over General Omar Torrijos, whose dictatorship’s main positive accomplishment was the canal treaties.

  • All this hype from many interested quarters about this remarkable democratic mandate in the 2006 canal expansion referendum, which was an infamous campaign that included illegal public financing for one side only, illegal government suppression of the pitiful efforts of the other side, outrageous deceptions in the ACP’s presentations to the electorate and elaborate steps to reduce participation on the day of the election. It’s important that the abuses should be remembered because they were in many ways a template for the criminal abuses of the 2014 Martinelista campaign in which even greater sums of public money were used to try to effect the proxy re-election of a thug administration.

  • The complete lack of acknowledgment of serious corruption in the canal expansion, including conflicts of interest that saw the award of the locks contract on a lowball bid to a consortium that included a company owned by the family of and formerly run by the canal administrator at the time, and gave a contract for deficient Spanish tugs to a company represented by the son of the current canal administrator.

  • Failure to mention several major costs required to complete the expansion — the new bridge over the Atlantic entrance and the ferry service in the meantime, the change in the metro area’s main water intake to Madden Lake instead of Gatun Lake, the dredging to deepen the ship waiting areas outside of the canal’s entrances, the project for a new bridge to replace the Bridge of the Americas at the top of the list — that ought to be part of any true price tag.

  • A continuing ACP and government information control game wherein a Panama City protest about the Barro Blanco dam project scheduled for the day before the inauguration was suppressed and information about an injury-causing canal waters collision between two vessels on the day of the ceremonies was misrepresented by the ACP.

The new locks are up and running. Let’s make the best possible use of them. But spare this nation the revisionist history.

 

Debbie had to step aside, but what’s
needed is a new Voting Rights Act

Debbie Wasserman Schultz retains her title as chair of the Democratic National Committee, but pending the election of a successor she has turned over the duties of that office to labor leader and Clinton loyalist Brandon Davis. The living symbol of a sordid set of political tricks to rig the primary process, Debbie would be an obstacle to the unity of a party split right down the middle. She faces a hotly contested August 2 primary to retain her seat in Congress.

Now comes a general election campaign in which vote suppression tactics will come into play against Hillary Clinton to a greater extent than similar measures helped her on her way to the nomination. In the primary campaign the voter registration tampering, the bogus caucus vote counts, the pro-Sanders districts that “ran out of ballots,” the measures to prevent university students from voting, the reduction in voting venues with little notice and by suspicious criteria and so on were mainly directed against younger voters. Now the arbitrary application of voter ID laws, changes in voting places, voter registration tampering, intimidation, fraudulent vote counts and so on will be applied in a more traditional manner, by jurisdictions controlled by white racists to suppress African-American and Hispanic voting in order to boost the chances of Donald Trump. The stuff that was pulled in the Democratic primary process has alienated many of the younger volunteers who traditionally have done the legwork of voter registration and other measures to circumvent vote suppression against black and Latino communities. Hillary has to win those young activists to her side and it can’t be done with notoriously cynical and petty manipulators of Debbie’s sort injected into the process.

One of the low moments in the Democratic primaries came in Arizona, with the lowest of the low coming from Republicans rather than Hillary people. That was Maricopa County’s “budget cutting” decision to shut down most of the voting sites in Mexican-American neighborhoods, something that would not have been allowed before the US Supreme Court gutted a provision that required jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to get prior federal approval for any such changes.

That hole carved out in the Voting Rights Act by Republican appointees on the high court needs to be patched. But this year’s year’s primaries featured ugly attacks on voting rights that were in many cases based on age, affiliation with universities or residence in areas where the favored candidate was likely to lose. The old Voting Rights Act was about racial discrimination and it does need to be restored and strengthened on that count. However, American democracy also needs voting rights legislation that protects other groups from discrimination, makes tampering with voter registration rolls a federal crime and affords greater protection against the manipulation of electronic voting systems. That needs to be an issue in the fall campaign, and a new generation of civil rights leaders needs to be in place to assert it.

 

Bear in mind…

 

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker

 

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
David Brin

 

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Hunter S. Thompson

 

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What Democrats are saying

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Pride
Panama’s Democrats will be at this year’s Pride March, as we have been for the past several years. The parade gathers starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 at the corner of Via España and Via Argentina.

Democrats Abroad Panama to
pick a new board on July 23

Democrats Abroad Panama will elect its seven-member Board on July 23 from 2-3 PM at the Balboa Union Church, Calle Enrique Linares, Panama City, Panama. Nominations from the floor will be accepted.

If you wish to join the Board, become a member, vote, or just volunteer to help, contact Phil Edmonston at lemonaid@earthlink.net. Members can vote for the Board through Skype at lemonaidcars1 or Michelle Brion.

Volunteers are welcome to assist in voter registration or help to produce debates with Republicans Abroad if they don’t chicken out again as in 2012.

We aren’t big on speechifying. We believe an educated electorate is key to an honest and progressive government.

Bernie Sanders on the Democrats’ draft platform

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Florida has some hotly contested Democratic primaries on August 2

 

 

 

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If you are a US citizen, you have
the right to vote from abroad

 

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The thing about bug season…

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Jimi Hendrix's ride
Acclimating to life in rural Panama often includes a greater appreciation of insects that come with the rains. Photo by Eric Jackson.

 

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¿Wappin? The mix you don’t get on radio here

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Elijah
Elijah Emanuel — who brings us bilingual reggae from San Diego.

Hey — where’s the corporate playlist?

The National – Fake Empire
https://youtu.be/KehwyWmXr3U

Imagine Dragons – Demons
https://youtu.be/mWRsgZuwf_8

Monchy y Alexandra – Dos Locos
https://youtu.be/ESBMw9-ht2o

Mad Professor live @ Scheune Dresden 2015
https://youtu.be/qG9pUeTyD0s

Peter Gabriel & Sinead O’Connor – Don’t Give Up
https://youtu.be/qsxFclkJlIw

Bob Marley – Get Up Stand Up
https://youtu.be/q7iXcKKpdx0

Shakira – Try Everything
https://youtu.be/c6rP-YP4c5I

Natalia Lafourcade – Nunca Es Suficiente
https://youtu.be/410cZw2YI0g

Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to Love
https://youtu.be/-Xj03UNGFHU

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite – I Ride At Dawn
https://youtu.be/jbz1cKUyXhQ

Aswad ‎- Warrior Charge
https://youtu.be/E25u3xfiNW8

Elijah Emanuel – Luchador
https://youtu.be/4hZPeS5MyHY

Valerie Wellington – Bad Avenue
https://youtu.be/xu79m18hUS4

Big Mama Thornton – Ball And Chain
https://youtu.be/vypSOetzlQo

Cultura Profética – Festival de Viña del Mar 2015
https://youtu.be/pmOETqV78qE

 

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