Editorials: Panama’s unfolding crisis; and The Truth

Partial roadblock at the bridge over the Chiriqui River. From a video on the Palabra Pública Twitter feed.

Something of a social explosion

Strikes, disruptive roadblocks, weighty political questions up in the air, the country swirling down into a sinkhole of debt, a widespread crime wave and mutual disrespect the growing norm – Panama is in trouble. Were there some program of action, some confidence building move, it would likely fail because there are too many interests in conflict and people have been betrayed too many times.

A jobs program? Reasonable enough. For those with PRD connections only? We see that already and it does not impress.

A rollback in fuel prices? We see that announced, but it’s little, it’s late and global forces are at work to prevent all that much relief on that front. The same applies to the prices of foods that are based on imports, or locally grown using imported materials.

Let’s not go looking for super-villains, nor sly conspiracies. Yes, we have both villains and plots but we have structural and cultural faults that are widespread within Panama, and some folks with good or bad intention applying their pressures from without.

This “everyone for themselves” attitude has to go. So does the “what’s in it for me?” mindset. So does the search for scapegoats who are different from ourselves. So does the search for some foreign savior.

We need to govern ourselves differently, at all levels. Easier said than done, but nobody else is going to save Panama.


An email exchange with Melania on January 6, 2021 – a bit of circumstantial evidence that also suggests the thinking in the Trump entourage that day.

The rules

The basic rule is that the majority rules in a democracy, and the minority carries on as the opposition to make itself the majority the next time around.

Yes, in the USA there are distortions of that, the biggest one the Electoral College, and then at state and local levels there are all sorts of gerrymandering and vote suppression tactics, some of which reach into the makeup of the federal Congress and the overall popular vote for all offices.

But the rule of thumb is about who got the most votes, and those who didn’t need to adjust their activity to change it the next time, if they can. That was the big rule that Donald Trump violated.

Now the MAGAs cry foul that a congressional committee that lacks the power to fine or imprison anybody is, through witnesses and documents, unfolding the story of an attempt to thwart both the 2020 popular and Electoral College vote. They demand an adversarial procedure, with all sorts of disruptions, to keep the American people from following the story. They intimidate and vilify witnesses. They cherry-pick little incongruities to deny elephant-in-the-room truths.

It’s time to defend the United States of America and its constitutional order against all enemies foreign and domestic. Against Donald Trump and his thugs.

Some of them already have been to trial, but let those who have not get the full panoply of defendants’ guarantees – the exclusion of hearsay from the evidence, the right for to have lawyers who pester with objections, the right to a disinterested jury. But the congressional investigation isn’t one of those. It’s a truthful explanation to the American people and to the world, and the committee has been giving us that.


If you miss a shot, you missed it. You can’t go back. You can only try to not make the same mistake twice. I’ve won a lot in my career, and I’ve lost a lot. You take the good with the bad. Also, it’s not only about winning. It’s about the process and the journey, the people you’re with, continuing to grow and learn, and getting better every day.

Megan Rapinoe


Bear in mind…


The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.

Katherine Mansfield


Fame and wealth without wisdom are unsafe possessions.



The closer the collapse of the Empire, the crazier its laws are.

Marcus Tullius Cicero



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