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Volume 18, Number 1
January 5, 2012
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editorial

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Weise, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor

Volume 18

Babies have come of age in the years since our December 1994 initial issue and early 1995 start to regular publication of The Panama News. Competitors have come and gone, and some have stayed. Over the years we have had an all-star cast of contributors, and we still do.

It has not been without conflict. Control freaks, jealous people and those afflicted with malicious small minds have periodically made their moves, without mobilizing much support beyond the like-minded, let alone stopping us. We have been charged with criminal defamation but never convicted because the charges were always unfounded. We were briefly shut down by a carefully directed cyber-attack. We have repeatedly been threatened for taking photos that cops or government officials didn't want taken. This new year was greeted with a sleazy mass email making typically scurrilous unspecified charges. We have weathered all of that, and will continue to do so.

By counting front pages, in Volume 17 we were a Panamanian-style monthly --- a new issue about once a month, but with a 13-month year as in this country's formal economy. However, we are not in the formal economy. We are a ragtag micro-enterprise and community medium that hasn't had a regular payroll in many years.

In our Spanish sections, we publish opinions and cover news that the corporate mainstream press studiously avoids because they step on the interlocking directorate and intermarried rabiblanco family toes of the big media businesses and the ad agency cartel to which they are allied. Our English pages are neither day-by-day translations of the mainstream Spanish media nor screaming sensationalism devoid of facts. We have never reported that somebody who is living has been slain. We respect people's right to privacy but without a very good reason to behave otherwise we disrespect the cravings for secrecy that those who occupy government posts have with respect to their official acts. We don't publish dehumanizing false caricatures of people and organizations. The Panama News is written for thinking people rather than dumbed down to appeal to those with the lowest intelligence and basest instincts. We will take a few weeks to get a story in its right context, with the key facts and without including lies as if they are some sort of "balance" for the truth.

We shall continue. We get by with a little help from our friends. You know who you are, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.



Photo by the Presidencia

Thug rant

Ricardo Martinelli's speech before the National Assembly about the state of the nation's affairs was truly disgusting. The manic rant by the beet-red president included some of the most obnoxious boasts ever made in Panamanian politics. He even claimed credit for the national under-20 soccer team qualifying for the world championships.

Did he deny his personal participation in the $400 million raid on the national treasury that was the special interest capital gains tax break on the Banistmo sale to HSBC? No, actually he admitted it, but wants to throw his accomplices in jail for it.

And what about his attacks on the press? Did he specifically say that the reports on the sordid radar deal with Italy, with the special side deal with fugitive Valter Lavitola's company skimming 10 percent, were in any way inaccurate? No. After trying to suppress disclosure of the skimming contract that he approved, he said that the Italian government will eventually exonerate him. Did he specifically deny the Paitilla and Juan Hombron land grabs that his administration engineered and then tried to conceal? No. He just called the people who called him on it "cowards."

The unspecified accusation of wrongdoing, the denial that doesn't match the claim --- these are the tools of belligerent thugs who have nothing honest or intelligent to say. It's going to get worse before it gets better under Martinelli, and let the true cowards flee. Those of us with any integrity --- even if we can't agree on politics, economics or philosophy --- need to stand together against the president's crude attacks.


An Alice Cooper state ceremony?

Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's

Slain 60s radical leader Floyd Britton's bones may have been found in an unmarked Coiba Island grave. When he died of beatings and abuse in the dictatorship's prisons, his family never got a chance to give him a proper burial.

If the bones that were found are Britton's it would be only proper if, after all of these years, his remains were turned over to his family and friends for proper burial or cremation, and to give people the opportunity to honor his memory in keeping with traditions. And if the remains are identified as those of the fallen leftist leader, we’d like to see him remembered with a dignified and enlightening memorial.

Arnulfo Arias, who was elected president four times, but always thrown out of office by coups or denied office by fraud, died a natural death in exile in 1988, and was buried in Panama City in a funeral that drew tens of thousands of mourners and was a rallying point for opponents of the dictatorship. General Noriega, of course, declined to allow the trappings of a state funeral for that event.

The widow, former President Mireya Moscoso, put on a state funeral and reburial ceremony with government funding and participation. Ricardo Martinelli, who was a beneficiary rather than an opponent of the Norieguista regime, was to play a prominent role, but that was canceled at the last moment.

The Arnulfo Arias state funeral and reburial was a macabre rite, a bizarre spectacle put on by discredited politicians. In no way did it compensate for the low level of teaching of history and civics in Panama's public schools. It was also such a crude and gruesome idea that it's unlikely that the fortunes of any politician or political party were boosted.


Bear in mind...

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Oscar Wilde

What is our greatest fear? That we will be harmed. What is our greatest threat? The escalation of cruelty. What is our greatest need? To believe we are worthy of the joy that is possible in this life. Time Magazine was right to name protesters Person of the Year, for we have collectively left our couches for the trenches and the streets, which means we are beginning once again to believe in ourselves. There is only us to muddle through whatever madness is thrown our way. May we muddle steadily, happily, soulfully: may kindness be the compass. And may all listen without hurry for consensus to be heard.
Alice Walker

Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of causing disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart






    

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Weise, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor


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© 2012 by Eric Jackson
All Rights Reserved - Todos Derechos Reservados
Individual contributors retain the rights to their articles or photos

email: editor@thepanamanews.com or

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thepanamanews@gmail.com

phone: (507) 6-632-6343

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Eric Jackson
att'n The Panama News
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