Editorials: Prematurely lame ducks; and Baal’s prayers and decorum

Protesting teachers, whose grievances include physically dangerous and unhealthy schools in many places, the apparent diversions from the teachers’ retirement fund to mysterious private sources, broken promises about the funding of education and an ugly looting binge by the political caste in general, at everyone else’s expense. The teachers’ strike in Colon is now into its 18th day. ASOPROF photo, from that union’s Twitter feed.

An early lame duck period

When the end of a government’s term draws near, people who got their public sector jobs by way of political ties who were not thieves from the outset often begin to steal because soon after the turnover they will no longer have government jobs. Public officials, including some elected ones, pay ever less attention and respect to those whom they are hired to serve. They’re on their way out, are not counting on any future, so don’t care how bad they look.

Usually that happens in the last year of an administration. With Nito’s executive branch, the PRD-dominated National Assembly and down to local levels with some representantes and their crews that can read strange handwriting on walls, that process is underway right now.

The “now” is Panama reeling under the impact of an epidemic that has cost us thousands of live and uncounted health problems for a great many others. It’s a Panama squeezed by high prices. It’s a Panama in record debt. We’re in a bad way, folks, and the traditional lowest priorities – Colon, the remote areas, the indigenous comarcas, the people lowest on the economic scale – are being rudely brushed off. It seems that every day someone else is blocking the road. “Dialogue” gets belatedly offered, but rarely cash.

They’re going to give some company a tax break so that theoretically it will create jobs and Colon will be trickled upon? They’re conducting a study RIGHT NOW? Hey! – for the large minority who don’t depend on public transportation, the new license plates are coming soon. LOOK! – the diputada has married a playboy PRINCE of a republic that has no royalty!

None of that stuff matters. It’s even worse, because to scrape by the government is approving ruinous contracts for ephemeral crumbs, destroying our environment for centuries to come to help balance this month’s national economy and making obsequious foreign policy gestures that compromise Panama’s neutrality, interests and dignity.

And all the while, a mad piñata scramble among the PRD. Lame duck periods are ugly things to behold in Panama.



What to about all the massacres in the USA?

First of all, show all due respect for the thoughts and prayers of a governor who signed the bill that allowed a messed-up 18-year-old to buy an AR-15 without any wait or background check. We heard you loud and clear for too long, Mr. Abbott, and Texans, Americans and the world audience don’t need to hear your whining about decorum when you offer banal thoughts and blasphemous prayers. Disrespect and disruption are all due.

Yeah, the Republicans in Congress are going to block domestic terrorism legislation. You see, they’re really into that stuff. The crowd they assembled to attack the Capitol in order to block certification of the voters’ decision in 2020, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the nazis – those are their constituents. Wouldn’t want to stop them from trying it again now, would we Senator McConnell?

Nothing has worked to resolve the anger and violence out and about in US society. It’s not one simple issue, not a subject for one law, not a catchy bumper sticker slogan.

But you know what? Bill Clinton, whatever one may think about him, did manage to get a useful law passed, the assault weapons ban. It by and large worked. Yes, there were plenty of murders in the decade it remained in effect, but not a new one-gunman massacre every day.

Then the Republicans repealed it. They’re FOR domestic terrorism. They threaten it every day. When it happens because they legislated for it to happen, they falsely accuse someone else.

Let’s start small by going back to where American law once was. Let’s ban assault weapons again. The killers might still kill, but it will be harder for them to inflict mass casualties.


Marie Curie working in her lab. In her fearless research she learned about radiation sickness and eventually died from it. And the world tended to understand.


Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

Marie Curie

Bear in mind…



The accent of one’s birthplace lingers in the mind and in the heart as it does in one’s speech.

François de La Rochefoucauld



To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered.

Oscar Wilde



I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Charlotte Brontë



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