Editorials: Post-collapse; and Precedents or lack thereof

A Colon hunger protest: not the best way to go, but to have been expected.


Panama’s initial effort to defend against the coronavirus with a quarantine collapsed because Nito Cortizo sided with the ultra-rich and adopted policies that made it impossible for a huge part of the population to both obey the rules and feed themselves and their families. It was not the health minister’s failure, it was the economic team’s failure. The overpriced purchases, too many exceptions for the privileged, the police state information controls, the delayed pay for and lack of proper protective gear for health care workers, the non-payment of merchants who sold food to people via the government’s food assistance program – those were just gravy.

The president has changed publicists and made it clear that his rabiblanco economic advice is still public policy.

So, while it’s not the time for self-destructive shows of defiance, people need to pay less attention to the promises of a failing presidency and take our defense into our own hands. Nonviolent hands. Frequently washed hands. Hands that put on masks when going out in public. Hands that help our neighbors when Nito’s administration fails to do so. Hands that are found at home whenever possible.


Wikimedia photo by Cayobo from Key West, The Conch Republic.

Precedented and unprecedented

Is the Kremlin subsidizing the deaths of American and allied soldiers? Didn’t the Soviet Union do that on a grand scale in Vietnam?

The United States training jihadis to kill Russian soldiers? Back when the CIA was backing Osama bin Laden against the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan, wasn’t that exactly what was done?

And there is this Russian-backed faction in Libya, that’s in retreat in its war with a US-backed faction. And there is this US-backed faction in Syria, that’s in retreat in its war with a Russian-backed faction.

If Putin is paying to keep US forces bogged down in Afghanistan, that’s not trivial, but it’s also not the stuff of a winning Democratic fall campaign. It’s something about which a Biden administration should talk to the Russians. It’s not something about which to charge off into a ruinous Cold War II, however much the arms merchants would like that. There is plenty of precedent to put things into proper perspective.


Epidemics? Lots of precedents for those – you can go back to the ancient scriptures to read about them. Botched US responses to epidemics? The influenza that ended World War I is an example of that.

A US president who for a reality-free ideological reason tore down national defenses, leading to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths of Americans? That’s what Donald Trump did when he dismantled the US pandemic response apparatus, and what he continues to do every day with his bizarre campaign against science. THAT’S unprecedented.

It’s something that should never be forgotten. Nor should it go left unmentioned on any given day on the 2020 Democratic campaign trail.


Barbara Lee

Bear in mind…

Behind every great fortune there is a crime.

Honore de Balzac

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.

Miss Piggy

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

James Joyce


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