Editorials: Nito and his party; and The gun nut right

Nito Cortizo amidst other shadowy politicians. Photo by the Presidencia.

Where is Nito at?

First thing President Cortizo did, he took out a $2 billion loan – then started to use it to pay off debts inherited from the previous administration. The national budget for this fiscal year is more than $1 billion short in revenue collections as it is. The latest thing he did, he told the nation’s assembled mayors and representantes that no, their request for $20,000 for each mayor and $10,000 for each representante to buy hams, turkeys and toys to distribute for those of their constituents on special lists, and to subsidize Christmas parades, has not convinced him to allocate one nickel for those traditions.

Will Ricky Martinelli, Odebrecht or someone else come up with the cash that won’t be coming from the national coffers? If not this might disrupt the Sexual Buffalo’s usual style, which is to distribute picnic hams for Christmas.

(Legislator and representante Sergio Gálvez, the self-proclaimed “Búfalo Sexual,” might have his moniker more reasonably translated as “Stud Bull” but the transliteration is more fun. MEANWHILE, President Cortizo has put in an order through the Ministry of Agricultural Development to import some actual breeding bulls, to improve the productivity of Panamanian cattle ranchers.)

Cortizo’s party swept the local races this past May, a much more convincing stomp than his narrow win in the presidential race. So if he was saying no to the crude Martinelista demagogue, he was ever more so denying the request of municipal elected officials of his own party.

Does it tell us where he is headed in his relations with the National Assembly, which his party and its junior partner MOLIRENA control? On the legislative front the PRD, nominally a member of the Socialist International, is moving in far right directions – railing against immigrants, against Panamanian citizens of ethnicities they dislike, against the press, against homosexuals, against music radio; and on the other hand promoting a registry of miscarriages so that women and girls who miscarry might be thrown in prison and talking rhetoric very much like that of Spain’s neofascist Vox party, words that could be written by Steve Bannon and which are eagerly broadcast by Vladimir Putin’s RT channel. Will he say no to Zulay and the rest, too?

The emerging style is that Cortizo doesn’t make dramatic pronouncements, that mostly we will know where he stands when he’s put in a position to say “yes” or “no.”


The gun nut right and their ugly ruses

So, some white guy who built a shooting platform atop his shack to go disrupting the calm of his neighborhood in Odessa, Texas brandished his weapon in the course of an argument with a neighbor. When she called the police, they wouldn’t come. Seems like in a neighborhood where people mostly live in trailers and shacks, when a woman with a Spanish surname complains of an assault, the authorities in Odessa side with the white assailant.

So the guy gets fired from his job, goes literally ballistic at a traffic stop, kills seven other people, physically wounds at least 21 others, emotionally traumatizes yet others, before the police ram his vehicle in front of a movie theater. And the police chief whose officers couldn’t be bothered to deal with an armed aggressor before says he can’t figure out the motive, but that the cops ended the confrontation in front of a theater might have something to do with it. And the mayor blamed it all on video games.

The governor of Texas expressed weariness and annoyance at having to hold press conferences after mass shootings in his state. The next day, a bunch of new gun laws that he signed went into effect. One of the prohibits certain religious denominations. Any religion that bars people from bringing weapons into their midst during worship services is now illegal in Texas, until the federal courts strike it down as the likely will. Peaceful faiths prohibited. No Quakers, no Amish, and now with a recent change in church doctrine, no Mormons, allowed to keep guns out of their sanctuaries in Texas.

Such are these days of white supremacist power in Texas at the local and state levels, and in the Oval Office in Washington. Such is the power of the National Rifle Association, a gun sellers’ industry lobby now putting all of its chips on the ultra-ultra-right.

Do we politely ignore the deceit and hypocrisy, so as not to drive readers away? Do we search for ways to more creatively curse these people? What responsible media do in such a situation is to urge people to register and vote, and to give people information that will help them do so. Batman isn’t coming to the rescue. You are, or nobody is.


Mr. Hitler was big on me. He kept writing and inviting me to come to Germany, and if the war hadn’t started when it did, I would have gone and I would have taken a gun out of my purse and shot him, because I am the only person who would not have been searched.

Greta Garbo      


Bear in mind…

It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.

John Andrew Holmes

Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.

Thomas Aquinas

Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors?

Edith Wharton


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