are the turncoats who, looking for personal gain, will humor
Martinelli by helping him change the constitution?
any constitutional change coming out of Martinelli's cabinet or the
legislature that he controls is that he gets to run for another term
in office. Something less that a quarter of the Panamanian electorate
thinks that would be a good idea, and the people who think it's a
terrible idea haven't started to campaign. If the president puts it
to a referendum vote in any straightforward fashion, he gets crushed
at the polls.
put something more innocuous on the ballot, get it passed, then have
the Supreme Court rule that since the whole constitution is now
different, the ban on re-election does not apply to Martinelli
because he was elected under an old order. It's law school flunkout
reasoning, but other Latin American caudillos have sold it to lapdog
courts and Martinelli is anything but an original thinker. However,
enough people know that game so that whatever demagogic
constitutional proposal Martinelli might put on the ballot ---
guarantee yourself free money in some form or fashion was the gist of
the original ideas --- the opposition can still argue that this is
Martinelli seeking to suit himself, and would still defeat the
president in a referendum battle.
then there is
the possibility of convening a constituent assembly according to the
2004 "Pacto MaMi" deal between Mireya Moscoso and Martín
Torrijos. That process was designed to be rather completely
controlled by the political party leaderships. Meanwhile, Martinelli
has removed some of the smaller parties from the scene (and the
courts will decide whether he has done the same with MOLIRENA) and is
using early 1960s Selma, Alabama county courthouse tactics to keep
any leftist party or independent candidacy to get ballot status. A
Pacto MaMi process would have Cambio Democratico, the PRD, the
Panameñistas, the Partido Popular and possibly MOLIRENA running
slates of candidates for delegates, then a convention among these
delegates to work out some sort of deal, the result of which would be
submitted to the voters.
any process, Martinelli might prevail by election fraud. He and his
supporters have engineered these in the Ngabe-Bugle Comarca in the
October 2010 voting for delegates to the officially recognized but
popularly rejected Ngabe-Bugle General Congress, in the country's
main bar assocition the Colegio de Abogados, and in the Panamanian
Business Executives Association. The more than doubling of the size
of the Cambio Democratico legislative caucus and the Martinelista
takeovers of a number of local governments are really just another
form of election fraud.
other than outright fraud --- which people should be prepared to
resist in the streets, with all due militance --- Martinelli only
prevails in a Pacto MaMi process through a sordid deal with one or
more of the existing political parties. The question then becomes
which parties, or which individuals, would be the accomplices that
the president needs to get what he wants. It is not too soon before
the 2014 elections to begin mobilizing the electorate around the
simple notion that he or she who switched to the Martinelista camp is
a traitor who should never again hold a political office, get or
retain a goverment job, be trusted in any sort of private business
transaction or be considered fit company for socializing. To call
such a person a "sapo" would be an insult to our friend the
toads. But Martinelli doesn't change the constitution without those
sorts of people as accomplices, and notice should be served from the
outset that accepting the president's offer or caving to his
blackmail will irreparably harm a person's or a political party's
reputation and prospects.
a collapsed economy...
pretty things are in bed now of course
fathers they're trying to endorse
reincarnation of Paul Revere's horse
But the town
has no need to be nervous
September in the United States,
a net 103,000 jobs were
created --- fewer than the 150,000 or so young people coming into the
The euro zone teetered on the brink of a disaster that would drag the
US economy down with it. There was talk of whether China, Brazil and
the other emerging economies might bail out the industrialized former
colonial powers, but surely that would not be done in such a way to
restore any semblance of the US dominance of the Cold War era, or
even to sustain the current US standard of living.
debate things like whether the United States can afford to be a
nation engaged in multiple wars with no foreseeable end point? Might
the representatives want to take stock of decades of bipartisan
posturing that had the government passing more laws criminalizing
more things and increasing penalties for existing crimes, such that
it has swollen the prison populations in ways that don't protect
members of the general public but do add up to an aggravated assault
on the public treasury? Might they be figuring out ways to raise more
money to meet the expenses of government? Might they be hammering out
a deal that gets some of the long-term unemployed back to work?
Boehner's leadership, the House of Representatives is considering
this century's version of The Smith Act --- House Judiciary Committee
Chairman Lamar Smith's proposal to criminalize the commission of, or
conspiracy to commit, any act that would violated the Controlled
Substances Act if committed in the United States. As in, for example,
a borderline diabetic who has a US passport asking a family member to
pick up the monthly refill of over-the-counter metformin
hydrochloride tablets at the pharmacy in El Rey, without showing a
piece of paper from the physician who prescribed this medication some
time ago. Under the new Smith Act, John Boehner would have the DEA
grab all parties to this highly animalistic crime and have them doing
hard time at US taxpayers' expense.
America is not so much that this law would be enforced. It's that
this is the frivolity to which Boehner and his gang of fanatics have
sunk, dragging US public discourse with them at a time when there is
an economic crisis and much work must be done.
need to be concerned about reciprocity. In Austria, Brazil or China
someone might read about what John Boehner and his Republicans are
doing, and die laughing. Then those countries might want to extend
their jurisdiction into the United States to apprehend the offenders.
liberation is necessarily an act of culture.
jail you finally feel that you are being stripped of whatever you
have. You look on as the police empty your handbag. You start right
out being humiliated by having so much in your handbag.
Spirit had desired me to be a white man, he would have made me so in
the first place.