Editorial: Panama’s cry for justice; and Bernie for president

Citizens’ March, starting at Parque Porras at 4 p.m. on March 1.

Panama’s cry for justice needs to be renewed and amplified

Oh. Several Martinelista legislators committed flagrant election crimes but the Electoral Tribunal says that the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the case and the Supreme Court says that the Electoral Tribunal has jurisdiction, and meanwhile these people are practicing their usual sleazy maneuvers in the National Assembly.

Oh. The Supreme Court voted to order Ricardo Martinelli’s arrest this past December, but more than two months later the papers haven’t been processed.

Oh. The Supreme Court’s presiding magistrate, José Ayú Prado, has at least 10 criminal cases pending against him, including a rather straightforward one about how he allegedly ordered the destruction of evidence when he was attorney general — but the legislature’s Credentials Committee has decided to argue about procedure instead of taking up any of these cases on their merits.

Gather in Parque Porras at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and march down to the Legislative Palace not with the expectation of instant justice but to renew and emphasize the demands for accountability in a plethora of specific cases and for a new constitutional order that doesn’t encourage corruption like the present one. The offenders are counting on Panamanians from all walks of life to forget, or to give up their hopes in despair. Don’t give them that satisfaction.


BernardoBernie Sanders for president

What’s with all the political turmoil in the United States? The country has been looted and de-industrialized, bled dry by foolish and evil wars, left with the economic bargaining position of most of its population undermined to the point that it hardly matters and had its government turned into the crudest form of institutionalized bribery. People on both the left and the right may point at different sets of villains, but the emerging consensus is that people are sick of it.

The television networks, the large national “newspapers of record,” the big cable TV and Internet Service Provider companies and the wannabe news aggregation monopoly that is Google have a huge stake in the system as it now is. The politics of bribery and the unlimited campaign spending that has destroyed all sense of probity add up to billions of dollars in advertising revenue for the corporate mainstream media, and for their Siamese twin online service companies the possibility of overthrowing net neutrality and establishing lucrative Internet monopolies. For a while they found the Donald Trump “reality” show profitable, but now they know that he really is a fascist and really does intend to appropriate control over their customary bailiwicks. All along they have been terrified of Bernie Sanders. When a total news blackout of his campaign didn’t seem to be working then a stream of scurrilous attacks ensued.

The dominant part of the Republican Party lives in an alternative universe of fiction and hate, such that exposure of Donald Trump’s long standing mob ties or the testimonies of the many people whom he has cheated don’t seem to matter in the GOP contest. On that side of the aisle they have gone way past pitting a primitive religious faith against science — the party line is to hate refugees, so now they also oppose that passage in the Bible which tells of how Joseph fled with Mary and Jesus to Egypt for fear of an infanticidal king. Trump is comfortable with the support of the cross burning heretics of the Ku Klux Klan, and if Marco Rubio, the more Catholic than thou “establishment candidate” objects to The Donald’s David Duke endorsement he bashes the head of his own church enough to make his pitch to that part of the religious right that considers Pope Francis to be the Anti-Christ. All of the Republican candidates agree that black lives don’t matter but they argue among themselves about who hates Mexicans and Muslims more. Ordinarily their only prospect would be for a shattering defeat in November.

On the Democratic side a sophisticated influence peddling enterprise now controls most of the party levers, but half of the rank and file were always opposed to this. So how to deal with that? The Clintons, their party apparatchik Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the moneyed interests that support them and their acolytes in the corporate mainstream media are first and foremost moving — with some success — to suppress debate within the Democratic Party, knowledge of the primary process by ordinary Democrats and the turnout in the primaries and caucuses. They heap insults on anyone who objects to this but come November they expect money, unpaid campaign labor and votes from those whom they insult now.

If Hillary is the inevitable Democratic nominee, why do so many polls show Bernie running better against the Republicans? Yes, there is this vast right-wing gaggle of noise makers, whom Hillary tries to trump up to a conspiracy with imprecision that cannot be excused in a Yale-educated lawyer. But the truth of the matter is that she notoriously takes bribes, with the most attention going to the six-figure speaking fees from Wall Street hustlers but most dangerously when the Clinton Foundation has taken millions of dollars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other foreign powers. Is it any coincidence that the bigoted Saudi regime is waging a Sunni jihad against Shiites in general and Iran in particular and Hillary is promising a more belligerent US attitude toward Iran?

Are we going to get lawyerly parsing and distinctions to demonstrate that nobody can show how any undue favors or promises were forthcoming from donations of a certain size that bought access to one of the Clintons? Are we going to hear outraged protests about how some mysterious market force works so that a particular former and would-be public official can get more than $200,000 an hour in exchange for just uplifting talk to powerful bankers? Of course — but inferences are properly drawn from concealment. Hillary Clinton’s refusal to publish the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs are akin to Richard Nixon’s stonewalling on the White House tapes and if the Democratic Party chooses her as a standard bearer it is likely to lead to a disaster of similar proportions. The Clinton Foundation may well fund some good works, but it is also an influence peddling machine and a parking spot where Clinton political operatives get six-figure salaries between political posts. Fortune magazine may attribute the millions that the Clintons have made on the speaking circuit to their labor, but by that standard all of the proceeds of the LIBOR fraud were the product of the labor of that scheme’s perpetrators — all of whom have been seen hanging out with the Clinton entourage. Let’s not be the naive children that we are expected to be. Let’s call things for what they are.

And will the response be that everybody does it? Bernie Sanders does not operate in such disgraceful fashion and never has. His has not been the only progressive voice in American politics that has been raised in defense of working people and in opposition to ruinous wars and corruption. But he’s the one with such a voice who is running for president. In his long years as a mayor and as a member of Congress Bernie Sanders has demonstrated his qualifications to be a good president.

We are not yet in a general election campaign in which we are confronted with a choice between fascism and an imperfect alternative. This is the primary season, when people should vote based on their hopes and their interests. If you run a hedge fund, then maybe Hillary Clinton is your rational choice. But for most Americans — including a few who run hedge funds — Bernie Sanders is the only one offering a reasonable plan for peace and prosperity. Promises to “get things done” by those who have done favors for an ultra-wealthy few at the expense of everyone else and have overseen costly foreign policy disasters are not a proper substitute. Americans should rightly demand and vote for someone who will do things that are positive for most Americans. That’s Bernie Sanders.


Bear in mind…

That which fascists hate, above all else, is intelligence.
Miguel de Unamuno


I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed when cleaning their knives.
Molly Ivins


Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.
François Voltaire


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