Editorials: Vile display in the legislature; and Kurds will fight alone if necessary

Hernán Delgado, a Cambio Democratico dissident, was the lone deputy to vote against the removal of ombudsman Alfredo Castillero Hoyos. His argument was that people were accusing Castillero of a crime, so the case should have been referred to the Supreme Court where there would be some hope of at least minimal due process. From the National Assembly’s video.

#VoteNo on constitutional proposals by the people who brought us this ugly spectacle

It was billed as some sort of human rights defense, of removing a Defensor del Pueblo (ombudsman) who had sexually harassed someone at his office. 

But where was the specific allegation? Instead there was a questionnaire asking Alfredo Castillero Hoyos whether he had ever had any sexual relationship with anyone at the office. Where was the witness, any witness? Instead we were told that to testify would make a victim become a victim again.

Sexual misconduct? We are obligated  to believe the woman? But no woman came forward.

And what about the most strident woman against Mr. Castillero Hoyos? That was in the form of vicious but unspecified personal attacks by one Corina Cano, for years a principal leader of the ultra-extreme religious right here, the Panama voice of the Madrid-based and Moscow-backed CitizenGO movement. She has been at the head of the opposition that has prevented sex education in Panama’s hools. She does her very hardest to SUPPORT naive young girls being impregnated by grown adult men.

It was all smugly orchestrated by Zulay Rodríguez, who was removed as a judge for improperly granting bail to Colombian drug smuggling suspects, who promptly disappeared, and who took $100,000 from PANDEPORTES for an alleged sports program that is not shown to exist. As in, run the ombudsman and his staff out and open up all those political patronage jobs for the legislators’ campaign staff, with a fake veneer of righteousness to cover it.

Every credible human rights organization in Panama, and President Cortizo as well, said that if Castillero had engaged in sexual harassment he should be removed, but only after proper proceedings in which he was afforded due process rights. The legislature mocked them, and us.

And the next item to which they set their totalitarian minds? A revision of Panama’s constitution. Yeah, they will put a couple of lures in among their hooks, but we know where they are coming from. #VoteNo — on ANYTHING they submit to us. 



Faces of the Kurdish resistance in northern Syria. The Islamic State tried to run themout of their homes. The jihadis were hit by US air strikes, but it was the YPF Kurdish militia that defeated Mr. Baghdadi’s fanatics on the ground. Now the Americans are leaving with Donald Trump hurling insults instead of offering thanks or apologies. Civilians have already died in the first shelling of the Turkish attack on the Kurds. The Kurds as a people will survive and some of the Turkish invaders as individuals will not. American crediblity in the world is shot and after the current US regime is gone it will have to be rebuilt from scratch. Foto by the YPF.

Trump abandons and insults America’s worthy friends

Donald Trump didn’t consult anyone before agreeing with Turkish strongman Tayyip Erdogan to not only withdraw our friendship from Syria’s Kurds, but also to back a Turkish offensive aimed at killing them. He didn’t talk to his own advisors, nor to the Israelis, nor to his vicious friend the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. So the Turks are moving in, the Iranians are moving up and issuing warnings, and the Kurds are looking for negotiations with erstwhile foes like Bashar al-Assad and the Russians.

Looking at it strictly through the lens of US interests, some of this could not be helped. These forever wars need to end and the United States has not established the ability to dictate any political outcomes on the battlefield. Maintaining US forces in the Middle East for the purpose of some day sponsoring a free, united and independent Kurdistan would be folly. Perhaps it would be folly for a noble cause, but in a forever commitment the nobility tends to wear off.

But also as a matter of strict American interests, you don’t just abandon allies who have fought for or alongside US forces and you don’t make deals to in a matter of days, with no provocation, go from friends of the Kurds to backers of a military attack on the Kurds. What you do is offer to bring those who were comrades in arms back to America, along with their families, to become Americans. What you do is make dipolomatic overtures to protect communities left behind. But the nativist and white supremacist Donald Trump won’t allow people from the Middle East to become Americans, and he has hollowed out the United States as a world diplomatic power so doesn’t even have the capable people with the talent, knowledge and authority to make representations on behalf of the Kurds.

Donald Trump will not be impeached by the House and removed by the Senate for what he’s doing to the Kurds. The voters, sitting as a grand jury of the republic, are the ones to remove this genuine and lifelong fraud and money laundering racketeer raised to the status of fake reality TV character from public life. The rest would have to be left to ordinary prosecutors.

When he’s gone, an honorable America will need to make amends for this and previous betrayals of the Kurds. The zombies in MAGA hats will never understand, but a fully developed sense of honor and a global reputation as a country whose actions are guided by such are essential to a great nation’s power in the world.



JQ Adams

America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

John Quincy Adams (1821)          


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Victor Hugo      

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Margaret Chan      

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