Editorials: The fourth bridge, and Trump off the deep end

4th bridge
The proposed fourth bridge over the Panama Canal. Graphic by MOP.

Let the money issue give us time to rethink the fourth bridge contract

President Cortizo says that with a review of state resources and priorities, the fourth bridge across the Panama Canal and the coastal road to the Interior are not happening for the time being. Public Works Minister Rodolfo Sabonge says that the project and the contracts signed by the Varela admiistration are still on, just on pause.

There are two big problems with this project.

First, Panama has no coherent national development plan and especially the road has all the appearance of a boondoggle for the benefit of real estate speculators, without regard for all the unsold beach condos that now exist and without a thought of how climate change is likely to affect our coastal communities. And crossing the canal? A tunnel would get container freight rail traffic across from Howard and the ports on the west side of the canal like a bridge never could.

Then there are the contractors, China Communications Construction Company and its subsidiary China Harbor Engineering Company. That consortium won the contracts in a Varela administration bidding process. It has also been blacklisted by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and other international financial institutions due to a long history of bribery, bid rigging, fictitious cost estimates and kickbacks. More or less, they have the reputation as Asia’s analog to Odebrecht. Not because Washington says so, not because rival companies say so, but Panama should think again just to improve our own standards.



Castle Bravo, the first US hydrogen bomb test in 1954. US Department of Defense archive photo.

Like a spoiled kid with a new toy – but this is Planet Earth

A weird president? A slightly demented one? One with a clinically identifiable mental disorder? The United States has had all of those, and some of them have been great ones. Abraham Lincoln, with his depressions, comes to mind.

But Donald Trump, who denies the reality of climate change and says that talk of it is a Chinese plot to destroy American industry, now suggesting the detonation of nuclear weapons inside of hurricanes? Let’s see – out in the Atlantic on a course toward Puerto Rico, with the hope that the fallout has all rained down before the storm reaches Florida?

Struggling with moods, having a complicated or tragic personal life, those can be worked around in the Oval Office. But this guy is stark raving mad and puts the whole world is at risk.




One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.

Maria Montessori


Bear in mind…


I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Rabindranath Tagore


That’s free enterprise, friends: freedom to gamble, freedom to lose. And the great thing — the truly democratic thing about it — is that you don’t even have to be a player to lose.

Barbara Ehrenreich


To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Sun Tzu


These links are interactive — click on the boxes






vote final