Editorials: Privileges collapse health efforts; and Biden gets started

The manager of the La Fragata restaurant in Bella Vista physically strikes and detains an inspector from the junta comunal who catches them violating the health decrees — again. The manager purported to refer the local official to the SPI presidential guards.  See the video at https://twitter.com/i/status/1354278910364688387.  The National Police showed up, but instead of going inside to at least investigate if not arrest someone who strikes an inspector from the junta comunal, just lined up outside — quite the display that someone who works for a corregimiento headed by an Arnulfista representante (Ricky Domínguez) gets no protection from a PRD administration.

Epidemic waves have crests and troughs
but it’s not like they’re under control here

An Australian think tank measured the COVID-19 responses of 98 jurisdictions on the basis not only of the death and infection rates but also by the measures taken and their effectiveness. As one might have expected, Bolsonaro’s Brazil was dead last and Ardern’s New Zealand at the top of the list. The United States was in a dismal 94th place. Panama was only slightly better, number 92 out of the 98 countries or territories.

In the late spring Panama was doing better than most other countries, and far better than the United States. So what has happened?

The Cortizo administration availed itself of constitutional war powers to meet the crisis. Then failed to do the most basic things in any sort of war.

Number one for the security of a nation under siege  is to make sure that everyone is fed, but the food relief was clearly insufficient from the outset, the government allowed PRD politicians to steal from it and the stores that honored the bonds didn’t get paid in anything like a timely manner. A lot of people had to go out and scrounge in order to eat, and were treated as criminals for doing so.

Anyone who could work online was urged to do so. Schooling was supposed to be continued on the Internet. But at the specific urging of the Chamber of Commerce, the expanded Internet coverage and distribution of computers to needy students was not forthcoming, because the short-sighted upscale lobby wanted their kids to have an extra advantage over public school kids. And people living in many areas of the Interior? Not only was Internet service not expanded, but telecom companies were allowed to gouge their customers while the epidemic spread.

COVID-19 first broke out in the metro area, and travel restrictions were meant to keep it from spreading too much. But anyone who could show that she or he owned homes in both the city and the Interior was allowed to go back and forth with little restriction. As in, hundreds of thousands of people.

Time and time again, PRD politicians or those with or claiming political connections just openly disregarded the health decrees. A bunch were fined, but the flouting of the rules was done with every expectation of impunity.

It was and is unsustainable. Social inequality — not just the comparative general health of the rich and the poor but de facto different health rules for different social classes — is what made this administration fail in the face of this challenge.


The man did his homework and came to office with a sheaf of executive orders ready to issue. The Republicans, who have been playing obstruction games since the 90s whenever they were in the minority and silencing Democrats when they held the majority, predictably object. Biden explains things via Twitter, but you won’t see him hiring, firing or delegating powers that aren’t his in the first place through that medium. From the President Biden Twitter feed.

Joe’s turn

Joe Biden did not run for office on a promise to turn Washington into an armed camp. A Republican mob so vicious that it trampled one of its own members to death, that killed a Capitol Police officer, that infiltrated law enforcement to let it happen, that includes the two new congresswomen from QAnon who insist on bringing guns to work, that includes maskless men spreading germs and hatred in crowded rooms with their colleagues, forced that move. But Biden did not shrink from it.

As Inauguration Day approached Joe Biden advised congressional Democrats to get right to work, to avoid spending a lot of time investigating the Trump years. But Donald Trump incited a Republican mob to attack the Capitol, Democrats and a few Republicans in the House voted to impeach Trump for it and Senate Republicans immediately let it be known that there will not be two-thirds to convict. Biden became a champion of an impeachment trial, wherein the whole sordid tale of an assault on democracy, of Proud Boys hoodlums with a convicted felon FBI informant among their leaders. The second impeachment trial won’t change the occupancy at the White House but it will expose the culminating crime of a life-long con man’s career.

But Joe Biden is leaving those details to others. First he’s addressing an epidemic that his predecessor called a hoax. First he’s seeking economic relief for the many tens of millions of Americans thrown out of work or out of business by the viral plague.

Mitch McConnell vows to obstruct. Joe Biden urges Democrats to seek relief without him. Most probably, that will entail the end of senatorial filibusters, something that the president carefully avoided advocating while he was on the campaign trail.

Contrary to what was said on the campaign trail, we are not dealing with an old man so set in his ways that he’s paralyzed by them. Joe Biden has moved swiftly and decisively to bring his party and most of the nation together and get results when facing the multiple crises in which the nation and the world are enmeshed.

Around the world, it’s looking like he’s off to a good start.


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     

Bear in mind…


The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.

 Alfred North Whitehead             


Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.

Franklin P. Adams


I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.

Saint Teresa of Avila


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